Tag Archives: Self examination

What Was I Thinking?

Philippians 4:8 Part 1

Finally, brethren,

whatsoever things are true,

whatsoever things are honest,

whatsoever things are just,

whatsoever things are pure,

whatsoever things are lovely,

whatsoever things are of good report;

if there be any virtue, a

nd if there be any praise,

think on these things.

 We have now come to a verse that I would consider one of the key verses for any Christian in the whole Bible. There is such richness and so much depth said in such a simplistic way in Philippians 4:8 that it boggles my mind. I’m sure that you have been in this verse as many times as I have. I am not going to go over this very quickly. We are going to spend some time here because I feel what Paul says here is so essential to the church, especially in these last days. We must, and I reiterate, we must put these things into practice every day, every minute, every second.

First he says “Finally my brethren”. I get a picture of Paul putting his pen to the paper and preparing to finish his letter to the Philippians with another verse or two. And then outflows Philippians 4:8 and Paul can’t help it go on for another 15 verses. The power of the Holy Spirit overcomes him and he just keeps on writing.  Reminds me of those preachers who say they are closing and then go on for 20 more minutes!

One thing we have to remember is the preceding four verses that tell us to rejoice, to be gentle, to give thanks, and to have peace. I think Paul led up to this verse brilliantly because the attributes mentioned I verse 8 would be very difficult if we did not have the previous four verses active in our lives. We learn to rejoice in any situation, we learn to be gentle, we learn to give thanks when we pray and we learn about the peace of God.  If we have those disciplines down pretty good, then it makes it so much easier to do what Paul asked us to do here. If you’re not in that place you can try to do these things, and I would highly recommend that you try, but it will be more difficult. Imagine trying to think on only good things if you have not learned to rejoice in the Lord!  Or imaging thinking on things that are lovely if you haven’t learned to give thanks in everything!  Could you think only of things that are good report if you did not have peace?  You being to see why the verses go in this order.

I want to skip down to the end of the verse before I go through the middle.  Paul says “think on these things”. It’s not a matter of saying the right thing – Paul wants us to think on the right thing. To have our mind so in tune with God that all we can think about are things that are true, and honest, and just and pure and lovely and of good report and virtuous and praiseworthy. Those are the things that hold my mind everyday. There is no lust, no greed, no bad thoughts. We are thinking like God when we think like this.

The bible says whatsoever is in the heart the mouth speaketh (Matt 15:16). I need to think on these things so it will get it down into my heart.   James says the tongue is an unruly evil )James 3:8) and that we need to learn to tame it (James 3:2). The writer of Proverbs, the wisest man in the world, mentioned several times that our tongue can be trouble for us (Proverbs 12:18, 15:4,18:21). But the mouth will only say what is in the heart. We don’t have to look any farther than the last presidential election to know what can be in some hearts.

So the next few days, as we go over these things, keep in your mind Philippians 4:4-7 and then keep in your mind the fact it we are supposed to think on these things. Don’t worry. I’ll be reminding you! Perhaps if each one of us would concentrate enough we could see this thought process very active and alive on an everyday basis. Wouldn’t that be awesome!

He Did It Before.  He Can Do It Again 

Psalm 44

We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work thou didst in their days, in the times of old.

How thou didst drive out the heathen with thy hand, and plantedst them; how thou didst afflict the people, and cast them out.

For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, because thou hadst a favour unto them.

David talks about the  stories of victory from the past that have been told over and over again by the Jews. I can just see people sitting around a fire at night talking about the Exodus from Egypt and how the Red Sea parted. Or talking about the walls of Jericho falling down with a shout. Or maybe it’s Gideon, who beat the enemy with lamps and horns. Over and over again, victory after victory, it was God who delivered the Israelites.  We may  even tell  some of these stories to our kids today.  David reminds the Lord of this, anticipating that if He did it before He can do it again.

Are we passing down a testimony of deliverance in our own lives to our children? My children need to know that my strength does not come just from myself, it comes from God. They know that I was a drunk and a drug addict, and Jesus saved me and helped me overcome those things.  They know that He cleaned up my language and moved me from Massachusetts to Iowa. Without Him the battles I have faced in my life would have been impossible to win. When I had  fight off Pride because it was eating me up and tearing apart my family there was a spiritual battle that took place that I never want to repeat. And now that I’m fighting this cancer I have to continually give praise to God for giving me the strength to see it through. In Revelations it says that the people overcame by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony (Rev 12:11). We must make sure that we’re sharing the testimony of God’s victory in our lives with those around us.

Thou art my King, O God: command deliverances for Jacob.

Through thee will we push down our enemies: through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us.

For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me.

But thou hast saved us from our enemies, and hast put them to shame that hated us.

In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever. Selah.

David reiterates the fact that right now you are my King, Lord, you will bring deliverance. He knows that through God and His name deliverance will come.  It’s not his  bow or his sword that will get it done. David’s going to boast in the Lord and praise His name forever.

I find myself boasting in the Lord a lot. Heaven forbid I should boast of myself because without God I’d be a wreck going through this cancer. I’d be worried.  I’d be complaining all the time about the things that are going wrong in my body. I’d be distraught. My wife would not be happy with me at all because of the complaints that I’d have.

But I’m not like that. Instead I rejoice in what God is going to accomplish through this, and the testimony that he will give me a healing and deliverance. I have absolutely no doubt that he’s going to bring me out the other side whole. Just like David I will boast in God and I will praise His name forever.  Nothing can happen to me that will stop that. He has done it before, He can do it again!

Are you facing a difficult situation right now? Does it seem like the world is coming against you and you don’t know where to turn? Look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Only He can give you the strength to endure through the temptations and trials you will face. Only He can give you peace in the midst of the storm. Only He can give you joy when you should be worried and downcast. Allow His love and His grace to permeate your body right now.

But thou hast cast off, and put us to shame; and goest not forth with our armies.

10 Thou makest us to turn back from the enemy: and they which hate us spoil for themselves.

11 Thou hast given us like sheep appointed for meat; and hast scattered us among the heathen.

12 Thou sellest thy people for nought, and dost not increase thy wealth by their price.

13 Thou makest us a reproach to our neighbours, a scorn and a derision to them that are round about us.

14 Thou makest us a byword among the heathen, a shaking of the head among the people.

15 My confusion is continually before me, and the shame of my face hath covered me,

16 For the voice of him that reproacheth and blasphemeth; by reason of the enemy and avenger.

17 All this is come upon us; yet have we not forgotten thee, neither have we dealt falsely in thy covenant.

Now I have to David says He’ll trust in the Lord,  then all of a sudden He says Lord You cast us off, the enemy is not turning back and we are being overtaken. We are a reproach to out neighbors and a byword among the brethren. Lord I’m confused. I don’t know what’s going on now that all this has come upon us. We have not forgotten or forsaken you!  We haven’t dealt falsely with your covenant Lord. Why is this happening to us?

One of the great truths of Christianity is that even if we are doing everything right, trials and tests will come our way. When they  come, we may ask for immediate relief from the Lord, but it’s rare that he’ll give it. One of the beauties of God’s plan is that He uses every circumstance in our life to fulfill the plan He has for us. He did the same for David. Whenever the enemy came, David might have been at a loss for words in what to say to God, but he never lost his trust in God. He just had a close talking relationship with God and would tell god exactly how He felt.

Let’s make sure when we have trials and tests that we don’t try to get out of them before hey  have accomplished His purpose. God will bring victory when the time is right and we should just pray that His will will be done. Don’t get upset, don’t get discouraged.  Just allow God to work in your life the way he wants to.  And have an honest, open discussion with Him about how you feel.  Gd loves that!

18 Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from thy way;

19 Though thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death.

20 If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god;

21 Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.

22 Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter.

David reminds God that they have not turned their hearts away from Him and that their steps are still leading them in the right direction.  He actually asks God if he David has forgotten His name or stretch their hands out to restrict God.

It’s so important that when we get up in the morning we give God praise.  Then we should go through the day in prayer, just talking to God. It doesn’t have to be some lofty speech or some specially formatted prayer.  Just talk to God.  Keep the lines of communication open.  Ask Him to bless you in His own way.  He’ll always be right there to guard and protect you even in the midst of the trial when you don’t know He’s there

23 Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord? arise, cast us not off for ever.

24 Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and forgettest our affliction and our oppression?

25 For our soul is bowed down to the dust: our belly cleaveth unto the earth.

26 Arise for our help, and redeem us for thy mercies’ sake.

David actually asks God to wake up!  Because he haven’t gotten an answer to his prayer he thinks God is sleeping . The enemy is coming and David thinks God has given them over to him. Then he tells God to rise again and redeem them for His Mercy sake.

I wish I would learn to just talk to God that David does.  He doesn’t hold back his feelings at all.  Sometimes we see David like a yo-yo, bouncing up and down up and down, one minute giving God credit for deliverance and the next minute saying where are you God and then a minute later wake up. Wake up.  Let’s build our communication skills so our conversation with God is as natural as it is with our fellow man.

Wonderful Peace

Philippians 4:7

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

As a worship leader, I come across a lot of songs that just stick in my head.  During difficult times, this is a wonderful thing, because I can call upon them at any moment, and they encourage me over and over again.  I am reminded of one such song now – Wonderful Peace.  The chorus and second verse are most touching to me when I think about the peace of God:

What a treasure I have in this wonderful peace,
Buried deep in the heart of my soul,
So secure that no power can mine it away,
While the years of eternity roll!

Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above!
Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray
In fathomless billows of love!

 

This peace that God gives us is something that people can see on the outside if we truly walk in it. They won’t understand it, but they sure will observe it. It is a peace that surpasses anything this world can offer. Jesus said that He leaves His peace and then our heart should not be troubled or afraid (John 14:27). We can look at Jesus life and notice this peace while He was on this Earth.  He had peace about Him in every situation, even on the cross. And He said He was going to leave His peace with us. We can walk through life the same way He did. Nothing will bother us and we will live in harmony with God.

I know that I’ve mentioned this time and time again but it becomes so relative when I’m doing these studies. I was diagnosed with cancer March 10th 2016. And it wasn’t a simple cancer like prostrate. It was multiple myeloma, which has a long recovery cycle. I’ve been afflicted by several things that we are not sure whether they’re related or not. My right shoulder is not working and I’m right handed. And I have terrible neuropathy in both feet and both feet have succumbed to drop foot.  So I have to wear braces on both feet in order to get around. I need to use a walker even in the house.

Am I frustrated with all this? Of course I am. Do I question God and ask him why? Of course I do. Do I have peace about it? Absolutely. I know God is on my side and I know he does all things for my good (Rom 8:28) and I know if he has a plan and it includes His peace and an expected end (Jer 29:11). I’m not trying to brag but other people look at me and are amazed at the attitude that I have in the midst of this struggle. There’s a peace about me that only God can give, and the world does not understand it.

I pray that you’re experiencing his peace today. You will know if you have it because nothing will bother you. the enemy could send 1000 devils your way and you would know that God is on your side and you cannot be defeated. Relax and enjoy this wonderful peace that only God can give

What A Day That Wil Be

Philippians 3:21

21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

 In the end, we will gain the victory.  Paul finishes off chapter three before the glorious conclusion of the book in Chapter 4, with a wonderful promise of our future life in heaven, and Jesus all powerful nature.  It’s the perfect way to finish off this section which has discussed how we must give our lives, and all we have accomplished, for His service.

First, He will change this vile body so it will be fashioned like His glorious body.  Who alive can’t wait for that day?

No more sickness, no more pain. no more heartache over there. 

No more sniffles, no more coughs, no more sneezes will I bear. 

No more suffering will I face. 

No more sadness in that place. 

No more hurts that will bring my eyes to tears.

 

Full of joy, full of love, full of hope all of my days

Songs of praise, Lifting hands, worship all around the place

All is peace forevermore

On that happy, golden shore

I can’t wait to see my Saviors face

 

This is what awaits us if we have accepted Jesus as our Savior and lived an overcoming life of repentance.  Remember, even Jesus said that not everyone who calls Him Lord will enter heaven (Matt 7:21-23), but those that do the Father’s will.  God wants us to live the life of an overcomer (see Rev chapters 2 and 3).  And repentance (read the Psalms).  It’s not enough to ask Him once at an alter and then never change.  It’s not enough to tither, or go to church, or do a lot of good deeds.  He must be Savior and Lord, Master and King.  You say it’s too much!  I have to give my life up?  It’s too demanding.  I’ll have no freedom!  I’ll tell you it’s quite the opposite. Free from sin. shame, guilt, fear, doubt, hopelessness.  Alive in Him.  It’s heaven on earth!  When the one who has all power to change your circumstances is Lord, you gain everything.  And that brings me to the next promise.

He works this in us by His power.  The power that can subdue all things, all troubles, all circumstances, all heartaches, all enemies.  There is nothing and no one He hasn’t already defeated.  God has put all things under Jesus feet (Eph 1:22).  He’s the one who will change our vile bodies into the likeness of His glorious body on the day we enter heaven.  What a day that will be!

What Kind of Life Are You Living?

Philippians 3:20

20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ:

 

To fully understand this verse we have to understand that the word conversation has very little to do with the words coming out of my mouth or our ability to listen to somebody else. The word conversation means our behavior and our conduct. A lot of people call it a lifestyle. This changes the whole context of the verse.

When I first looked at this verse I thought it was talking about the fact that heaven will be our eternal destination and that is where our life is. I was going to write about the fact that we need to store up Treasures in Heaven instead of treasures on this Earth. Then I went to look up the word and I had something totally different to talk about

What this verse is really talking about is that life down here should be lived as if we are living in heaven. Our conduct and behavior should be the way we would want to carry out those things in heaven. Oh my, if that is true then I have a lot of work to do. There are times that I do things that I shouldn’t do, and say things I shouldn’t say, and walk places I shouldn’t walk. My conduct is not always heavenly.

In one of my other blogs I am studying to the Book of Psalms. One of the things I notice constantly is that David has no reservations about asking the Lord to judge him according to his righteousness. I’ve commented on that blog how amazed I am that David could easily ask God to do this. David must have been living a very good life, a righteous life, in order for him to feel that he could ask God this question. Over and over again David asked God to give him mercy. Over and over again David talks about the righteous Judgment of the Lord.

As I walk through my daily life from now on I am going to be more aware that my conversation is in heaven. I need to be living my lifestyle as if I’m already there. After all Jesus did say the Kingdom of Heaven is within us. Let my life be a reflection of that kingdom so that others will see it and want to take part in it.