2925.) Philippians 4

July 3, 2020

Philippians 4 (NIV)

Prayer

Lord, you are the giver of every good gift. We pray that your grace may always precede and follow us, that we may continually be given to good works by joyfully serving others; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Closing Appeal for Steadfastness and Unity

1Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my JOY and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!

Paul used the ancient Greek word for crown that described the crown given to an athlete who had won the race. It was a crown of achievement (a stephanos); not the crown that was given to a king (a diadema). The Philippians, as they stand fast in the Lord, were Paul’s trophy.

–David Guzik

2 I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Final Exhortations

calligraphy by Michael Noyes

4 REJOICE in the Lord always. I will say it again: REJOICE! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Paul stresses that we can take everything to God in prayer.

As it has been beautifully put: “There is nothing too great for God’s power; and nothing too small for his fatherly care.” We can bring our prayers, our supplications and our requests to God; we can pray for ourselves. We can pray for forgiveness for the past, for the things we need in the present, and for help and guidance for the future. We can take our own past and present and future into the presence of God. We can pray for others. We can commend to God’s care those near and far who are within our memories and our hearts. 

And every prayer must surely include thanks for the great privilege of prayer itself. Paul insists that we must give thanks in everything, in sorrows and in joys alike. That implies two things. It implies gratitude and also perfect submission to the will of God. It is only when we are fully convinced that God is working all things together for good that we can really feel to him the perfect gratitude which believing prayer demands.

–William Barclay

7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Romans 12:2 (ESV)

Do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
that by testing you may discern what is the will of God,
what is good and acceptable and perfect.

9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Thanks for Their Gifts

10 I REJOICED greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Let’s replace all our whining with joy! All our complaining with thanksgiving! All our self-serving discontent with generosity! We can do this through Christ who gives us strength!

14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15 Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. 17 Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.

Paul described the gift of the Philippians in terms that remind us of sacrifices in the Old Testament (Genesis 8:21, Exodus 29:18, 29:25, and 29:41). Our giving to God’s work is similar to Old Testament sacrifices, which also cost the person bringing the sacrifice a lot. Bulls and rams did not come cheaply in that day.

–David Guzik

19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Spurgeon thought that this verse was a great illustration of that wonderful miracle in 2 Kings 4:1-7, where Elisha told the widow to gather empty vessels, set them out and pour forth the oil from the one small vessel of oil she had into the empty vessels. She filled and filled and miraculously filled until every empty vessel was full.

  • All our need is like the empty vessels.
  • God is the one who fills the empty vessels.
  • According to His riches in glory describes the style in which God fills the empty vessels – the oil keeps flowing until every available vessel is filled.
  • By Christ Jesus describes the how God meets our needs – our empty vessels are filled with Jesus in all His glory.

20 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Final Greetings

21 Greet all God’s people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. 22 All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.  23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

_________________________

Music:

Twila Paris says, “I want to encourage people to be faithful in what God has given them to do, however insignificant it might seem, because they have no idea how huge it could be in God’s overall plan.”  HERE she sings “I Can Do All Things” — and notice that her emphasis is on the “through Christ” rather than the “I.”

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
verse and sunflowers.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/1482586028051563516s600x600q85.jpg
Noyes.   http://www.michaelnoyes.com/images/products/product_165_copyright.png
Think on these things.    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/111/290317481_2baba442c0.jpg
No Whining.    https://www.amazon.com/NO-WHINING-Window-Bumper-Sticker/dp/B00434ZXA6
Paul signature.    http://www.rowforhope.com/html/images/Paul%20-%20Signature.GIF

2924.) Philippians 3

July 2, 2020

Philippians 3 (NIV)

Prayer

Loving Father, you sent Jesus to earth to die on the cross and save us from our sins. Strip us of any pride in our own accomplishments, and strengthen our hearts to value Jesus above all else, that we may joyfully serve you in true faith, both now and in eternity. Amen.

No Confidence in the Flesh

1 Further, my brothers and sisters, REJOICE in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. 2 Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. 3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— 4though I myself have reasons for such confidence.

If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.

Paul first lists four things that were his possessions by birth.

  • Paul was circumcised the eighth day in accordance with Leviticus 12:3.
  • Paul was of the stock of Israel, a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and an heir to God’s covenant with them.
  • Paul was of the tribe of Benjamin, a distinguished tribe. Benjamin was distinguished by the fact that it gave Israel her first king, Saul (1 Samuel 9:1-2). It was the tribe that aligned itself with faithful Judah when Israel divided into two nations at the time of Rehoboam (1 Kings 12:21). It was also the tribe that had Jerusalem in its boundaries (Judges 1:21).
  • Paul was a Hebrew of the Hebrews. This contrasts him with the Jews who embraced Greek culture as it spread through the Mediterranean. In that time, many Jews became ashamed of their Jewishness and tried to live and act as much like Greeks as they could, sometimes even to the point of having their circumcision cosmetically restored or hidden so they could enjoy the Roman public baths without being noticed as Jews.


Paul lists three things that were his by personal choice and conviction.

  • Concerning the law, a Pharisee:  This tells us that among an elite people (the Jews), he was of an elite sect (the Pharisees), who were noted for their scrupulous devotion to the law of God.  “There were not very many Pharisees, never more than six thousand, but they were the spiritual athletes of Judaism.  Their very name means The Separated Ones.  They had separated themselves off from all common life and from all common tasks in order to make it the one aim of their lives to keep every smallest detail of the Law” (Barclay).  The concern that Pharisees had for keeping the law is reflected in passages like Matthew 23:23.
  • Concerning zeal, persecuting the church:  Paul was not merely an intellectual opponent of perceived heresies, he was an active fighter against them – even in his blindness to God.  Paul’s observation that the Jews of his day have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge (Romans 10:2) was of course true of his own life before God confronted him on the road to Damascus.
  • Concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless:  This shows that Paul achieved the standard of righteousness which was accepted among the men of his day – though this standard fell short of God’s holy standard.  By man’s interpretation of the law, there were those who were deceived into thinking that they really were blameless, like the rich young ruler (Luke 18:18-23).

In summary, if anyone could lay claim to pleasing God by law-keeping and the works of the flesh, it was Paul.  He was far more qualified than his legalizing opponents were to make such a claim.

–David Guzik

7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

To suffer for the faith is not a penalty, it is a privilege, for thereby we share the very work of Christ.

–William Barclay

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast
Save in the death of Christ, my God
All the vain things that charm me most
I sacrifice them to His blood

See, from His head, His hands, His feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were all the realms of nature mine
That were a present far too small
Love so amazing, so divine
Demands my soul, my life, my all

–Isaac Watts

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

. . . but I press on . . .

We live too hurried lives, sometimes; talk too much; think too little. With the goal in view am I racing on is one version of verse 14.

I am pressing on — that was Paul’s word. Is it ours? For what has our Lord laid hold of us? Are we laying hold of that? Or are we content to live the ordinary life?

Let us press on through all hindering things, distracting thoughts, unworthy feeling. Let us press on through all feelings of sloth or discouragement or fear, to the place where our God can speak to us in the stillness, and hold us close to His heart.

Following Paul’s Example

15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven.

Cartoonist Arthur Brisbane once pictured a crowd of grieving caterpillars carrying the corpse of a cocoon to its final resting place. The poor, distressed caterpillars, clad in black raiment, were weeping, and all the while the beautiful butterfly fluttered happily above the muck and the mire of Earth, forever freed from its earthly shell. Needless to say, Brisbane had the average funeral in mind and sought to convey the idea that when our loved ones pass, it is foolish to remember only the cocoon and concentrate our attention on the remains, while forgetting the bright butterfly.

Dr. Werner von Braun, well-known for his part in pioneering the U.S. space program, said that he had “essentially scientific” reasons for believing in life after death. He explained: “Science has found that nothing can disappear without a trace. Nature does not know extinction. All it knows is transformation. If God applies the fundamental principle to the most minute and insignificant parts of the universe, doesn’t it make sense to assume that He applies it to the masterpiece of His creation — the human soul? I think it does.”

The English scientist Michael Faraday (1791-1867) is considered to have been one of the greatest experimental physicists. When Faraday was questioned on his speculations of a life after death, he replied:  “Speculations? I know nothing about speculations. I’m resting on certainties. I know that my Redeemer lives, and because He lives, I shall live also.”

And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

_________________________

Music:

Verse 10:  I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings . . .

HERE  is Larnell Harris and “I Want to Know Christ.” Yes, yes, yes!

I know that I know that my life is redeemed
I know I have found what some only have dreamed
I hold in my heart the pearl of great price
Dear God, hear my cry
I want to know Christ

I want to know Christ
I keep Him before me
I lift up my eyes
I drink in His glory
I press toward the goal
His goodness unfolds
March on , oh my soul
I want to know
I want to know Christ

I know that my path is the way of the cross
So I count what I gain and forget what I’ve lost
In pain there is joy
In death there is life
Dear God, hear my cry
I want to know Christ

And the things that entangle me
I lay them down
All the treasures and trophies of life
Let them be lost
Only let me be found in Christ
For I want to know
Yes I want to know

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Philippians 3:8.    http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ldy2atP1fS1qcgzw1o1_500.jpg
4.    http://ohshouse.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/12427969621529811764number_4_in_red_rounded_square-svg-hi.png
3.    http://www.superhifive.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/600px-MA_Route_3.svg_.png
Philippians 3:14.   https://scripturememory.com/memory-books-and-tools/other-products/philippians-3-14-calligraphy-digital-download.html
citizenship in heaven.    http://www.edmarbella.com/SafelyHome/images/CitizenshipHeaven.jpg

2923.) Philippians 2:12-30

July 1, 2020

Philippians 2:12-30 (NIV)

Prayer

Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word and filled with your joy, may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory, that he may be known, worshiped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you thee and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Do Everything Without Grumbling

12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

from This Day with the Master,
by Dennis F. Kinlaw

REMEMBER THE FUTURE

In Philippians 2:12-13 Paul tells the people in Philippi to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, for “it is God who works in you.” He never indicates that God will work redemptively in our lives in spite of us. God wants to work with us for our future, transforming us into the people he desires us to be.

Do you ever feel uneasy about the future? One of the best antidotes for that uneasiness is to look back upon the past and see the miracles of God’s prevenient grace:  how he worked in your life even before he brought you to himself. It helps to consider how many strings he pulled and what power he used to bring us to the place where we found Christ. Notice his providential, sovereign hand on you since that day, and remember that God’s will toward you has not changed. His will toward you is just as good today as it was yesterday, as good as it was when you were a sinner who did not know him and he was lovingly working to bring you to himself. And he will continue to work and bring you to ultimate, final, and full salvation.

That is why Paul can joyously look at circumstances that seem negative. When he is in prison (Phil. 1:7) and when he is in need of financial support (Phil. 4:12), he can rejoice. He knows what the will of the One who is sovereign over all is toward him. It is good, and it will not change. How appropriate to work with that will.

14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.

One of the features of Paul’s writing is his love of pictures from the life of the athlete.

And there is little wonder. In every Greek city the gymnasium was far more than a physical training-ground. It was in the gymnasium that Socrates often discussed the eternal problems; it was in the gymnasium that the philosophers and the sophists and the wandering teachers and preachers often found their audience. In any Greek city the gymnasium was not only the physical training-ground but also the intellectual club of the city. In the Greek world there were the great Isthmian Games at Corinth, the great Pan-Ionian Games at Ephesus, and, greatest of all, the Olympic Games, held every four years. The Greek cities were often at variance and frequently at war; but when the Olympic Games came round, no matter what dispute was raging, a month’s truce was declared that there might be a contest in fellowship between them. Not only did the athletes come, but the historians and the poets came to give readings of their latest works, and the sculptors, whose names are immortal, came to make statues of the winners.

There can be little doubt that, in Corinth and in Ephesus, Paul had been a spectator of these games. Where there were crowds of men, Paul would be there to seek to win them for Christ. But, apart from the preaching, there was something about these athletic contests which found an answer in the heart of Paul. He knew the contests of the boxers (1 Corinthians 9:26). He knew the foot-race, most famous of all the contests. He had seen the herald summoning the racers to the starting-line (1 Corinthians 9:27); he had seen the runners press along the course to the goal (Philippians 3:14); he had seen the judge awarding the prize at the end of the race (2 Timothy 4:8); he knew of the victor’s laurel crown and of his exultation (1 Corinthians 9:24; Philippians 4:1). He knew the rigorous discipline of training which the athlete must undertake, and the strict regulations which must be observed (1 Timothy 4:7-8; 2 Timothy 2:5). 

So his prayer is that he may not be like an athlete whose training and effort have gone for nothing. For him the greatest prize in life was to know that through him others had come to know and to love and to serve Jesus Christ.

–William Barclay

17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am GLAD AND REJOICE with all of you. 18 So you too should BE GLAD AND REJOICE with me.

Timothy and Epaphroditus

19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20 I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. 21 For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. 23 I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. 24And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon.

25 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier,

“My brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier”: Paul gives these important titles to Epaphroditus. He was a man Paul valued as a partner in the work of ministry.  Brother speaks of a bond to be enjoyed; worker speaks of a job to be done; soldier speaks of a battle to be fought. It is precious and rare when God grants to us relationships which operate on each of these three levels.

–David Guzik

who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. 26 For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may BE GLAD and I may have less anxiety. 29 So then, welcome him in the Lord with great JOY, and honor people like him, 30 because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me.

The ancient Greek phrase for not regarding his life uses a gambler’s word that meant to risk everything on the roll of the dice. Paul says that for the sake of Jesus Christ, Epaphroditus was willing to gamble everything.

In the days of the Early Church there was an association of men and women who called themselves the gamblers, taken from this same ancient Greek word. It was their aim to visit the prisoners and the sick, especially those who were ill with dangerous and infectious diseases. Often, when plague struck a city, the heathen threw the dead bodies into the streets and fled in terror. But the gamblers buried the dead and helped the sick the best they could, and so risked their lives to show the love of Jesus.

–David Guzik

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is a song we all need to be singing, every day, as we live in our comfortable lifestyles (often with silly complaining and without thankful hearts or overflowing joy) in a world so full of need: “Change my heart, O God.”

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Charlie Brown.    http://www.normanramsey.com/stop-complaining-how-to-follow-jesus-with-faith/
house of the future.   http://www.plan59.com/images/JPGs/styling_house_of_the_future_00.jpg
Roman sports.   http://www.crystalinks.com/romesports.html
gambling with dice.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2018/09/philippians2-gambling.png

2922.) Philippians 2:1-11

June 30, 2020

The Face of Christ — detail from the Crucifixion from the Isenheim Altarpiece, c. 1512-16

Philippians 2:1-11 (NIV)

Prayer

Father of us all, who gave your only begotten Son to take upon himself the form of a servant, and to become obedient even to death on the cross; give us the same mind that was in him, that sharing his humility, we may also reflect his glory here and enjoy eternal blessedness with him in the world to come. In the name of him who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Imitating Christ’s Humility

1 Therefore

“Therefore” points back to what Paul has said in chapter 1, telling the Philippians how to stand strong for the Lord against external conflicts. Now he tells them how to act against internal conflicts in the body of Christ.

if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,

“If there is any consolation in Christ”: Is there any consolation in Christ? Of course there is! Every Christian should know what it is to have Jesus console their soul.

  • Luke 2:25 says that one of the titles for Jesus as the Messiah is the Consolation of Israel. Paul could say in 2 Corinthians 1:5, For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. In 2 Thessalonians 2:16, Paul says that God has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace. Of course there is consolation in Christ!

“If there is any . . . comfort of love”: Is there any comfort of love? Of course there is! Every Christian should know what it is to have Jesus give them the comfort of love.

  • 2 Corinthians 1:3 says that God is the God of all comfort. There is no way He cannot comfort us and no circumstance beyond His comfort. But this is more than comfort; this is the comfort of love.
  • The word comfort in this passage is the ancient Greek word paraklesis. The idea behind this word for comfort in the New Testament is always more than soothing sympathy. It has the idea of strengthening, of helping, of making strong. The idea behind this word is communicated by the Latin word for comfort (fortis, the same root as for “fortitude” and “fortress”), which also means “brave.” The love of God in our loves makes us strong and makes us brave. Of course there is comfort of love!

“If there is any . . . fellowship of the Spirit”: Is there any fellowship of the Spirit? Of course there is! Every Christian should know what it is to have the fellowship of the Spirit.

  • Fellowship is the ancient Greek word kononia. It means the sharing of things in common. We share life with the Spirit of God that we never knew before. The Holy Spirit fills and guides and moves in our lives in a powerful and precious way. Of course there is fellowship of the Spirit!

“If there is any . . . affection and mercy”: Is there any affection and mercy? Of course there is! Every Christian knows something of the affection of God, and the mercy of God.

Paul mentions these things in a manner that suggests to us that they should all be obvious parts of the Christian’s experience. To make his rhetorical point, he could have just as easily said, “If water is wet, if fire is hot, if rocks are hard” and so forth.

Each of these gifts – consolation in Christ, comfort of love, fellowship of the Spirit, affection and mercy – are communicated to us both in a direct, spiritual way from Jesus, and from Jesus through His people. But there isn’t any doubt that these are real gifts for Christians to really experience.

–David Guzik

2 then make my JOY complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

If I consider you above me, and you consider me above you, a wonderful thing happens:  We have a community where everyone is looked up to, and no one is looked down on!

Psalm 138:6 (ESV)

For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly,
   but the haughty he knows from afar.

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Make a copy of these verses. Put it in a prominent place in your house. Rejoice in this truth daily.

In many ways this portion (verses 5-11) is the greatest and most moving passage Paul ever wrote about Jesus. It states a favourite thought of his. The essence of it is in the simple statement Paul made to the Corinthians that, although Jesus was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor (2 Corinthians 8:9). Here that simple idea is stated with a fulness which is without parallel. Paul is pleading with the Philippians to live in harmony, to lay aside their discords, to shed their personal ambitions and their pride and their desire for prominence and prestige, and to have in their hearts that humble, selfless desire to serve, which was the essence of the life of Christ. His final and unanswerable appeal is to point to the example of Jesus Christ.

So the follower of Christ must think always, not of himself — but of others, not of his own glory — but of the glory of God.

–William Barclay

Isaiah 43:11 (ESV)

I, I am the LORD,
   and besides me there is no savior.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is Chris Tomlin and “Name of Jesus.”

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
The Face of Christ.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/222497257ethe-face-of-christ-detail-from-the-crucifixion-from-the-isenheim-altarpiece-circa-1512-16-posters255b1255d.jpg
obedience of Christ.  http://www.tracts.com/slave5.gif
Jesus name above.   https://images.knowing-jesus.com/i/philippians-2-9-the-name-that-is-above-all-names-red

2921.) Philippians 1

June 29, 2020

Philippians 1 (NIV)

Prayer

Eternal God, who lives eternally in perfect unity with the Son and the Holy Spirit, you have called us to be members of one body. Join us with those who in all times and places have praised your name, that, with one heart and mind, we may show the joyful unity of your church, and bring honor to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,

To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:

The Apostle Paul wrote this letter to his close friends, the Christians in Philippi, likely from his Roman house arrest described at the end of Acts (Acts 28:30-31), waiting for his court appearance before Caesar (around the year 61). Philippi was a wealthy town, thanks to nearby gold and silver mines and a large number of (retired military) Roman citizens. The church in Philippi was founded by Paul some eleven years before this letter, on his second missionary journey (Acts 16:11-40). This was the first church established on the continent of Europe.

2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with JOY 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Ezekiel 16:60 (NLT)

Yet I will remember the covenant I made with you when you were young, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you.

7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. 8 God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Deuteronomy 5:33 (ESV)

You shall walk in all the way that the LORD your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess.

Paul’s Chains Advance the Gospel

Paul chained to a Roman guard.

12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.

from Experiencing God Day-by-Day,
by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby

FURTHERING THE GOSPEL

There are two ways to look at every situation:  How it will affect you, and how it will affect God’s kingdom. The apostle Paul was always concerned with how his circumstances might aid the spreading of the Gospel. When he was unjustly imprisoned, he immediately looked to see how his imprisonment might provide God’s salvation to others (Phil. 1:13; Acts 16:19-34). When he was assailed by an angry mob, he used the opportunity to preach the Gospel (Acts 22:1-22). When Paul’s criminal proceedings took him before the king, his thoughts were on sharing his faith with the king (Acts 26:1-32)! Even when Paul was shipwrecked on an island, he used that opportunity to share the Gospel there. Regardless of his circumstance, Paul’s concern was how he could use his current situation to tell other of God’s good news of salvation.

Often when we encounter a new situation, our first thoughts are not about God’s kingdom. When we face a crisis, we can become angry or fearful for our own well-being, rather than looking to see what God intends to do through our circumstances. If we remain self-centered we will miss so much of what God could do through our experiences, both for us and for those around us.

Ask God to make you aware of how He could use your present circumstances to bless others. Perhaps someone around you needs to see the difference Christ’s presence makes in your life. Are you willing for God to use your circumstances to demonstrate His saving power to those around you?

15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I REJOICE.

Yes, and I will continue to REJOICE, 19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.

Since Paul was in prison awaiting trial, he had to face the fact that it was quite uncertain whether he would live or die; and to him it made no difference.

“Living,” he says, in his great phrase, “is Christ to me.” For Paul, Christ had been the beginning of life, for on that day on the Damascus road it was as if he had begun life all over again. Christ had been the continuing of life; there had never been a day when Paul had not lived in his presence, and in the frightening moments Christ had been there to bid him be of good cheer (Acts 18:9-10). Christ was the end of life, for it was towards his eternal presence that life ever led. Christ was the inspiration of life; he was the dynamic of life. To Paul, Christ had given the task of life, for it was he who had made him an apostle and sent him out as the evangelist of the Gentiles. To him Christ had given the strength for life, for it was Christ’s all-sufficient grace that was made perfect in Paul’s weakness. For him Christ was the reward of life, for to Paul the only worthwhile reward was closer fellowship with his Lord. If Christ were to be taken out of life, for Paul there would be nothing left.

“For me,” said Paul, “death is gain”. Death was entrance into Christ’s nearer presence. There are passages in which Paul seems to regard death as a sleep, from which all men at some future general resurrection shall be wakened (1 Corinthians 16:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:14 and 16); but at the moment when its breath was on him Paul thought of death not as a falling asleep but as an immediate entry into the presence of his Lord. If we believe in Jesus Christ, death for us is union and reunion, union with him and reunion with those whom we have loved and lost awhile.

The result was that Paul was swayed between two desires. “I am caught,” he says, “between two desires.” As the Revised Standard Version has it: “I am hard pressed between the two.” 

–William Barclay

25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and JOY in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your JOY in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.

Life Worthy of the Gospel

27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. 29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.

Matthew 5:11-12 (ESV)

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

_________________________

Music:

“For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.” Oh, to say these words with all my heart!  HERE  it is in musical form, by the Sidewalk Prophets.

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New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Be joyful.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/philippians-joy.jpg
map showing Philippi.    http://www.jesuswalk.com/philippians/images/philippi_map.gif
Philippians 1:6 with butterfly.    https://pendernews.org/2013/07/10/todays-bible-verse-philippians-16/
Paul chained to Roman guard.    http://www.purifiedbyfaith.com/Ephesians/images/Paul%20chained%20to%20a%20Roman%20guard%20writing%20a%20letter-w-bkgnd.jpg
To live . . . to die.   https://faithful-in-christ.tumblr.com/image/114067781966
life, lips.   https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/62909726018419493/

2920.) Psalm 105

June 26, 2020

Psalm 105  The Message (MSG)

After reading Genesis and Exodus, we can see that this Psalm gives us a historical perspective. Remember, as you are part of the family of God, this history is YOUR history, too!

Hallelujah! Thank God! Pray to him by name!
Tell everyone you meet what he has done!

“Be thankful for the smallest blessing, and you will deserve to receive greater. Value the least gifts no less than the greatest, and simple graces as especial favors. If you remember the dignity of the Giver, no gift will seem small or mean, for nothing can be valueless that is given by the most high God.”

–Thomas a Kempis

Sing him songs, belt out hymns,
translate his wonders into music!
Honor his holy name with Hallelujahs,
you who seek God. Live a happy life!
Keep your eyes open for God, watch for his works;
be alert for signs of his presence.


Remember the world of wonders he has made,
his miracles, and the verdicts he’s rendered—
O seed of Abraham, his servant,
O child of Jacob, his chosen.

7-15 He’s God, our God,
in charge of the whole earth.

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

–from the Nicene Creed

And he remembers, remembers his Covenant—
for a thousand generations he’s been as good as his word.
It’s the Covenant he made with Abraham,
the same oath he swore to Isaac,
The very statute he established with Jacob,
the eternal Covenant with Israel,

Namely, “I give you the land.
Canaan is your hill-country inheritance.”
When they didn’t count for much,
a mere handful, and strangers at that,
Wandering from country to country,
drifting from pillar to post,

“Not all who wander are lost.”

–J. R. R. Tolkien

He permitted no one to abuse them.
He told kings to keep their hands off:
“Don’t you dare lay a hand on my anointed,
don’t hurt a hair on the heads of my prophets.”

16-22 Then he called down a famine on the country,
he broke every last blade of wheat.
But he sent a man on ahead:
Joseph, sold as a slave.

They put cruel chains on his ankles,
an iron collar around his neck,
Until God’s word came to the Pharaoh,
and God confirmed his promise.
God sent the king to release him.
The Pharaoh set Joseph free;
He appointed him master of his palace,
put him in charge of all his business
To personally instruct his princes
and train his advisors in wisdom.

Proverbs 23:17-18  (NLT)

Don’t envy sinners,
but always continue to fear the Lord.
You will be rewarded for this;
your hope will not be disappointed.

23-42 Then Israel entered Egypt,
Jacob immigrated to the Land of Ham.
God gave his people lots of babies;
soon their numbers alarmed their foes.
He turned the Egyptians against his people;
they abused and cheated God’s servants.
Then he sent his servant Moses,
and Aaron, whom he also chose.

I tremble for my country when I hear of confidence expressed in me. I know too well my weakness, that our only hope is in God.

–General Robert E. Lee

They worked marvels in that spiritual wasteland,
miracles in the Land of Ham.
He spoke, “Darkness!” and it turned dark—
they couldn’t see what they were doing.
He turned all their water to blood
so that all their fish died;
He made frogs swarm through the land,
even into the king’s bedroom;


He gave the word and flies swarmed,
gnats filled the air.
He substituted hail for rain,
he stabbed their land with lightning;
He wasted their vines and fig trees,
smashed their groves of trees to splinters;


With a word he brought in locusts,
millions of locusts, armies of locusts;
They consumed every blade of grass in the country
and picked the ground clean of produce;
He struck down every firstborn in the land,
the first fruits of their virile powers.
He led Israel out, their arms filled with loot,
and not one among his tribes even stumbled.
Egypt was glad to have them go—
they were scared to death of them.
God spread a cloud to keep them cool through the day
and a fire to light their way through the night;

“Pillar of Fire” by Jeanne Kun

They prayed and he brought quail,
filled them with the bread of heaven;
He opened the rock and water poured out;

Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me . . .

“The earthly form of Christ is the form that died on the cross. The image of God is the image of Christ crucified. It is to this image that the life of the disciples must be conformed; in other words, they must be conformed to his death (Phil 3.10, Rom 6.4) The Christian life is a life of crucifixion (Gal 2.19) In baptism the form of Christ’s death is impressed upon his own. They are dead to the flesh and to sin, they are dead to the world, and the world is dead to them (Gal 6.14). Anybody living in the strength of Christ’s baptism lives in the strength of Christ’s death.”

–Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

it flowed like a river through that desert—
All because he remembered his Covenant,
his promise to Abraham, his servant.

43-45 Remember this! He led his people out singing for joy;
his chosen people marched, singing their hearts out!
He made them a gift of the country they entered,
helped them seize the wealth of the nations
So they could do everything he told them—
could follow his instructions to the letter.

Hallelujah!

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Music:

Perhaps you are in a busy or difficult or trying time in your life right now. Perhaps you have lost a loved one, or maybe you are moving, or you could be looking for a different job. As I was working on this psalm, I felt a sweet assurance that, just as God led the people of Israel out of bondage in Egypt to the Promised Land, so we can count on the Lord to lead us where we need to go. And this is not wishful thinking, or a false hope — Jesus has promised to be with us always!

Fanny Crosby wrote the hymn “All the Way My Savior Leads Me.”  HERE  is Chris Tomlin’s version.

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The Message (MSG)   Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Images courtesy of:
Keep your eyes open.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/psalm105_04.jpg
Seek the Lord and his strength.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/psalm105b.jpg
Abraham and the stars.   http://www.sundayschoollessons.com/sunfolder2/image9.gif
Joseph sold.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/3_3_joseph_sold.jpg
frogs.   http://www.lindaedwards.co.uk/i/pics/sm/webphoto_dza8.jpg
hail.   http://www.bl.uk/learning/images/story/haggadah/large6195.html
Kun.   http://www.swordofthespirit.net/bulwark/pillar-of-fire-by-jeanne-kun.jpg
He opened the rock.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2020/06/c0183-12.png
Hallelujah.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/hallelujah1.jpg

2919.) Psalm 78

June 25, 2020

Psalm 78 (NIV)

Everyone knows the old adage:
Those that forget the past are doomed to repeat it. 

A psalmist’s account of what we have just finished reading in Exodus, along with a look at future attractions.

“Psalm 78 is the longest of the historical psalms. Its lesson is that history must not repeat itself. The people must never again be unbelieving.”
–James Montgomery Boice

 1 My people, hear my teaching;
listen to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth with a parable;
I will utter hidden things, things from of old—
3 things we have heard and known,
things our ancestors have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their descendants;
we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD,
his power, and the wonders he has done.

Proverbs 22:6 (KJV)

 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

5 He decreed statutes for Jacob
and established the law in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors
to teach their children,
6 so the next generation would know them,
even the children yet to be born,
and they in turn would tell their children.
Centuries later the Apostle Paul would explain that one of the great advantages God gave to Israel was that He committed to them His word, the oracles of God (Romans 3:2).
–David Guzik
7 Then they would put their trust in God
and would not forget his deeds
but would keep his commands.
8 They would not be like their ancestors—
a stubborn and rebellious generation,
whose hearts were not loyal to God,
whose spirits were not faithful to him.

1 Corinthians 10:11-12 (NIV)

These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!

9 The men of Ephraim, though armed with bows,
turned back on the day of battle;
10 they did not keep God’s covenant
and refused to live by his law.
11 They forgot what he had done,
the wonders he had shown them.
Forgot; not historically, but practically. They did not so remember them, as to love, and serve, and trust that God of whose infinite power and goodness they had such ample experience.”
–Matthew Poole (1624-1679, English Nonconformist theologian
12 He did miracles in the sight of their ancestors
in the land of Egypt, in the region of Zoan.
13 He divided the sea and led them through;
he made the water stand up like a wall.
14 He guided them with the cloud by day
and with light from the fire all night.
Open now the crystal fountain,
Whence the healing stream doth flow;
Let the fire and cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through.
Strong Deliverer, strong Deliverer,
Be Thou still my Strength and Shield;
Be Thou still my Strength and Shield.
15 He split the rocks in the wilderness
and gave them water as abundant as the seas;
16 he brought streams out of a rocky crag
and made water flow down like rivers.
.
17 But they continued to sin against him,
rebelling in the wilderness against the Most High.
18 They willfully put God to the test
by demanding the food they craved.
19 They spoke against God;
they said, “Can God really
spread a table in the wilderness?
In 1933, the middle of the Great Depression, a young Irishman named J. Edwin Orr left a good paying job. With no fixed source of income, he trusted that God would provide for him and his mother. He planned to travel around Great Britain with the message of prayer, salvation, and revival. He left Belfast with 2 shillings and 8 pence, about 65 cents. He had a bicycle, a change of clothes, and a Bible. He spent the next year travelling to every county in Great Britain and organized some 300 prayer groups dedicated to pray for revival. He wrote a book about it all and somehow convinced a publisher to take it, after being rejected 17 times. That first book was titled Can God — ?  It was based on Psalm 78:19, and was published in 1934. It sold hundreds of thousands of copies and was a tremendous inspiration to Christians in that day. Orr’s book and his life was a remarkable demonstration of the fact that God can prepare a table in the wilderness.
–David Guzik
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Ps78 Ps23
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20 True, he struck the rock,
and water gushed out,
streams flowed abundantly,
but can he also give us bread?
Can he supply meat for his people?”
21 When the LORD heard them, he was furious;
God was “furious” at their ingratitude. That is food for thought in our lives which are, let’s be honest, pretty easy, pretty comfortable. Are we careful to be thankful rather than to complain?
his fire broke out against Jacob,
and his wrath rose against Israel,
22 for they did not believe in God
or trust in his deliverance.
23 Yet he gave a command to the skies above
and opened the doors of the heavens;
24 he rained down manna for the people to eat,
he gave them the grain of heaven.
25 Human beings ate the bread of angels;
he sent them all the food they could eat.
.
.
Manna in the Morning

Cook fires,

clothing scraps,

animal dung

have long disappeared

from the desert.

But the story remains:

how the Israelites

fled Pharaoh

under a spiral

of swirling white clouds

as angels swept

stones and snakes

from their path.

For forty years,

Jews followed Moses

with manna-filled bellies,

thirst quenched by

a wondrous wandering well–

the same fountain I sipped

this candle-lit evening

with honeyed challah

and roasted chicken.

.

Carrying dishes to the sink,

my sandaled feet skip

on a freshly swept  floor,

free of snakes and stones.

Tonight, Pharaoh lies drowned

behind me

and I am traveling to Canaan

under a sheltering white cloud,

certain of manna in the morning.

–Jacqueline Jules
.
26 He let loose the east wind from the heavens
and by his power made the south wind blow.
27 He rained meat down on them like dust,
birds like sand on the seashore.
28 He made them come down inside their camp,
all around their tents.
29 They ate till they were gorged—
he had given them what they craved.
30 But before they turned from what they craved,
even while the food was still in their mouths,
31 God’s anger rose against them;
he put to death the sturdiest among them,
cutting down the young men of Israel.
32 In spite of all this, they kept on sinning;
in spite of his wonders, they did not believe.
Ps78 hard heart
What more could God have done? The tragedy of hard hearts!
33 So he ended their days in futility
and their years in terror.
34 Whenever God slew them, they would seek him;
they eagerly turned to him again.

Ps78 seekmyface

Hosea 5:15 (ESV)

 I will return again to my place,
   until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face,
   and in their distress earnestly seek me.

35 They remembered that God was their Rock,
that God Most High was their Redeemer.
36 But then they would flatter him with their mouths,
lying to him with their tongues;
37 their hearts were not loyal to him,
they were not faithful to his covenant.
38 Yet he was merciful;
he forgave their iniquities
and did not destroy them.
Time after time he restrained his anger
and did not stir up his full wrath.
39 He remembered that they were but flesh,
a passing breeze that does not return.

Psalm 103:15-18 (ESV)

As for man, his days are like grass;  
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,  
and its place knows it no more.
But the steadfast love of the LORD
is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,  
and his righteousness to children’s children,
to those who keep his covenant  
and remember to do his commandments.

40 How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness
and grieved him in the wasteland!
41 Again and again they put God to the test;
they vexed the Holy One of Israel.
42 They did not remember his power—
the day he redeemed them from the oppressor,
43 the day he displayed his signs in Egypt,
his wonders in the region of Zoan.
.
.
44 He turned their river into blood;
they could not drink from their streams.
45 He sent swarms of flies that devoured them,
and frogs that devastated them.
46 He gave their crops to the grasshopper,
their produce to the locust.
47 He destroyed their vines with hail
and their sycamore-figs with sleet.
48 He gave over their cattle to the hail,
their livestock to bolts of lightning.
49 He unleashed against them his hot anger,
his wrath, indignation and hostility—
a band of destroying angels.
50 He prepared a path for his anger;
he did not spare them from death
but gave them over to the plague.
51 He struck down all the firstborn of Egypt,
the firstfruits of manhood in the tents of Ham.
52 But he brought his people out like a flock;
he led them like sheep through the wilderness.
53 He guided them safely, so they were unafraid;
but the sea engulfed their enemies.
54 And so he brought them to the border of his holy land,
to the hill country his right hand had taken.
55 He drove out nations before them
and allotted their lands to them as an inheritance;
he settled the tribes of Israel in their homes.

Acts 13:16-20 (NLT)

So Paul stood, lifted his hand to quiet them, and started speaking. “Men of Israel,” he said, “and you God-fearing Gentiles, listen to me.

“The God of this nation of Israel chose our ancestors and made them multiply and grow strong during their stay in Egypt. Then with a powerful arm he led them out of their slavery.  He put up with them through forty years of wandering in the wilderness.  Then he destroyed seven nations in Canaan and gave their land to Israel as an inheritance.  All this took about 450 years.”

56 But they put God to the test
and rebelled against the Most High;
they did not keep his statutes.
57 Like their ancestors they were disloyal and faithless,
as unreliable as a faulty bow.
58 They angered him with their high places;
they aroused his jealousy with their idols.
59 When God heard them, he was furious;
he rejected Israel completely.

God is “furious” again — this time for idolatry, for valuing things over God. Do we yield our lives entirely to his will? Is the Lord truly first as we consider what to think, to say, to do?

60 He abandoned the tabernacle of Shiloh,
the tent he had set up among humans.
61 He sent the ark of his might into captivity,
his splendor into the hands of the enemy.
62 He gave his people over to the sword;
he was furious with his inheritance.
63 Fire consumed their young men,
and their young women had no wedding songs;
64 their priests were put to the sword,
and their widows could not weep.

Psalm 6:8-10 (NLT)

Go away, all you who do evil,
      for the Lord has heard my weeping.
The Lord has heard my plea;
      the Lord will answer my prayer.
May all my enemies be disgraced and terrified.
      May they suddenly turn back in shame.

65 Then the Lord awoke as from sleep,
as a warrior wakes from the stupor of wine.
66 He beat back his enemies;
he put them to everlasting shame.
67 Then he rejected the tents of Joseph,
he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim;
68 but he chose the tribe of Judah,
Mount Zion, which he loved.
69 He built his sanctuary like the heights,
like the earth that he established forever.
70 He chose David his servant
and took him from the sheep pens;
71 from tending the sheep he brought him
to be the shepherd of his people Jacob,
of Israel his inheritance.
72 And David shepherded them with integrity of heart;
with skillful hands he led them.

“If Israel’s record is her shame, God’s persistent goodness emerges as her hope (and ours) for the unfinished story.”
–Derek Kidner (1913-2008, British Old Testament scholar)

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Music:

One of my favorites from David and Isaac Watts!  HERE  is “My Shepherd Will Supply My Need,” which contains some of the most comforting lines I know:

The sure provisions of my God attend me all my days;
O may Thy house be mine abode, and all my work be praise!
There would I find a settled rest, while others go and come,
No more a stranger or a guest, but like a child at home.

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New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Psalm 78:4.   https://girlsbrigade.org.au/2018/12/passing-on-the-torch/
children at church.   http://images.clipartpanda.com/kids-church-clip-art-kids20church.jpg
history.  http://philmontfirecompany.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/history-color1.gif
pillar of fire.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/tabernacle_by_shawnrl61.jpg
You prepare a table.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/ed126-creation-ss-6.jpg
manna falling.    https://awildernessvoice.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/1-manna-falling-from-heaven.jpg
hard heart.   http://www.deebrestin.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/heart-of-stone2.jpg
seek my face.   https://fruitfulfellowship.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/seekmyface.jpg?w=365&h=365&crop=1
beach grass swaying in the wind.     http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5025/5550514589_ba8361f09a.jpg
10 plagues.   http://www.nccg.org/10_plagues.gif
menorah.   http://rlv.zcache.com/menorah_photosculpture-p153231483757751702z89x5_400.jpg
praying hands.    http://cliparts.co/cliparts/Bca/rpo/Bcarpodzi.gif

2918.) Psalm 15

June 24, 2020
St. John's Cathedral in North Brabant, Holland -- a photograph by Tim Van Woensel

St. John’s Cathedral in North Brabant, Holland — a photograph by Tim Van Woensel

Psalm 15

Who Shall Abide in God’s Sanctuary?

1O Lord, who may abide in your tent? Who may dwell on your holy hill?

The word translated abide can be better thought of as sojourn; it describes a visit, receiving the hospitality of a tent-dwelling host. This opening is understood in light of the customs of hospitality in the ancient near east.

“In the gracious hospitality of the antique world, a guest was sheltered from all harm; his person was inviolable, his wants all met. So the guest of Jehovah is safe, can claim asylum from every foe and share in all the bountiful provision of His abode.” (Maclaren)

–David Guzik (and all following comments in red)

2Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right,

In one sense David speaks from an Old Covenant perspective. Though the Old Covenant gave an important place to sacrifice and atonement through blood, it also based blessing and cursing on obedience (Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 28). The disobedient could not expect blessing, including the blessing of God’s presence.

The New Covenant gives us a different ground for blessing and relationship with God: the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Under the New Covenant, faith, not performance, is the basis for blessing.

Nevertheless, David’s principle is also accurate under the New Covenant in this sense: the conduct of one’s life is a reflection of their fellowship with God. As John wrote: If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth (1 John 1:6). We might say that under the Old Covenant a righteous walk was the precondition for fellowship with God; under the New Covenant a righteous walk is the result of fellowship with God, founded on faith.

and speak the truth from their heart;

3who do not slander with their tongue, and do no evil to their friends, nor take up a reproach against their neighbors;

Ps15 mouth speaks
“I think more damage has been done to the church and its work by gossip, criticism, and slander than by any other single sin. So I say, don’t do it. Bite your tongue before you criticize another Christian.”

–James M. Boice (pastor of Philadelphia’s historic Tenth Presbyterian Church, 1968-2000)

“Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls:
Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing;
’twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.”

― William Shakespeare, Othello

Oh, Lord. Let me be more careful, more gentle with my words.

4in whose eyes the wicked are despised, but who honor those who fear the Lord; who stand by their oath even to their hurt;

5who do not lend money at interest, and do not take a bribe against the innocent.

God wants us to be helpful to others, even when it might require our own expense.

Those who do these things shall never be moved.

15. Yes Lord

The righteous ones will abide in God’s sanctuary!

1 John 2:17 (NLT)

And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is Hillsong with  “Dwell in Your House.”

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Van Woensel.   https://dwellingintheword.wordpress.com/2015/10/05/1676-psalm-15/
“the mouth speaks.”    http://lh6.ggpht.com/-Ph3G3Wwzgew/TqDRPos_LFI/AAAAAAAAh4Q/1gNVAImRQLc/image%25255B17%25255D.png?imgmax=800
Nathalie Kelley silk print banner.  http://nathaliekelleyart.com/Flag-Yes%20Lord.jpg

2917.) Exodus 40

June 23, 2020
"The Glory Fills the Tabernacle" digital art by Ted Larson

“The Glory Fills the Tabernacle” digital art by Ted Larson

Exodus 40   (NRSV)

The Tabernacle Erected and Its Equipment Installed

The Lord spoke to Moses: 2On the first day of the first month you shall set up the tabernacle of the tent of meeting. 3You shall put in it the ark of the covenant, and you shall screen the ark with the curtain. 4You shall bring in the table, and arrange its setting; and you shall bring in the lampstand, and set up its lamps. 5You shall put the golden altar for incense before the ark of the covenant, and set up the screen for the entrance of the tabernacle.

6You shall set the altar of burnt offering before the entrance of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting, 7and place the basin between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it. 8You shall set up the court all around, and hang up the screen for the gate of the court.

9Then you shall take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle and all that is in it, and consecrate it and all its furniture, so that it shall become holy. 10You shall also anoint the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and consecrate the altar, so that the altar shall be most holy. 11You shall also anoint the basin with its stand, and consecrate it.

12Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the tent of meeting, and shall wash them with water, 13and put on Aaron the sacred vestments, and you shall anoint him and consecrate him, so that he may serve me as priest. 14You shall bring his sons also and put tunics on them, 15and anoint them, as you anointed their father, that they may serve me as priests: and their anointing shall admit them to a perpetual priesthood throughout all generations to come.16Moses did everything just as the Lord had commanded him.

17In the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, the tabernacle was set up.

the first day of the first month of the second year

. . . one year after the children of Israel left Egypt.

18Moses set up the tabernacle; he laid its bases, and set up its frames, and put in its poles, and raised up its pillars; 19and he spread the tent over the tabernacle, and put the covering of the tent over it; as the Lord had commanded Moses.

20He took the covenant and put it into the ark, and put the poles on the ark, and set the mercy seat above the ark; 21and he brought the ark into the tabernacle, and set up the curtain for screening, and screened the ark of the covenant; as the Lord had commanded Moses.

22He put the table in the tent of meeting, on the north side of the tabernacle, outside the curtain, 23and set the bread in order on it before the Lord; as the Lord had commanded Moses.

24He put the lampstand in the tent of meeting, opposite the table on the south side of the tabernacle, 25and set up the lamps before the Lord; as the Lord had commanded Moses.

26He put the golden altar in the tent of meeting before the curtain, 27and offered fragrant incense on it; as the Lord had commanded Moses. 28He also put in place the screen for the entrance of the tabernacle.

29He set the altar of burnt offering at the entrance of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting, and offered on it the burnt offering and the grain offering as the Lord had commanded Moses.

30He set the basin between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it for washing, 31with which Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet. 32When they went into the tent of meeting, and when they approached the altar, they washed; as the Lord had commanded Moses.

33He set up the court around the tabernacle and the altar, and put up the screen at the gate of the court. So Moses finished the work.

grunge image of a ladybug climbing cammomile flower

Philippians 1:6 (CEV)

God is the one who began this good work in you, and I am certain that he won’t stop before it is complete on the day that Christ Jesus returns.

The Cloud and the Glory

_________________________

Music:

“This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.”  HERE  is the wonderful Oslo Gospel Choir! What marvelous thing has the Lord done for you today already?

_________________________

34Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

Psalm 26:8 (NIV)

I love the house where you live, O LORD,
the place where your glory dwells.

36Whenever the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, the Israelites would set out on each stage of their journey; 37but if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out until the day that it was taken up. 38For the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, before the eyes of all the house of Israel at each stage of their journey.

"The cloud of the Lord was upon the tabernacle" by Marc Chagall

“The cloud of the Lord was upon the tabernacle” by Marc Chagall

Reflection:

The book of Exodus is the history of God’s people during the year between their deliverance from Egypt and the erection of the tabernacle at Mount Sinai. It begins with groaning and ends in glory, with God at work throughout. What situation has you groaning, that you need to have end in deliverance and glory? God’s presence dwells gloriously in the work and walk of those who are willingly and diligently obedient, seeking the holiness of the Lord! As God graciously did wonderfully for the Israelites, he will also do wonderfully for you, according to his purposes!

THE END  of the book of Exodus.

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Larson.   https://digitalartbytedlarson.net/
daisy.  http://www.christianwomenonline.net/DaisyGrunge.jpg
Chagall.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/40-chagall2.jpg?w=450

2916. Exodus 39

June 22, 2020
One idea of Aaron and his priestly garments.

One idea of Aaron and his priestly garments.

Exodus 39   (NRSV)

Making the Vestments for the Priesthood

Of the blue, purple, and crimson yarns they made finely worked vestments, for ministering in the holy place; they made the sacred vestments for Aaron; as the Lord had commanded Moses.

“Dress gives one the outward sign from which people can judge the inward state of mind. One they can see . . . the other they cannot.”

–Queen Elizabeth II, quoted in Class Acts by Mary Mitchell

2He made the ephod of gold, of blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and of fine twisted linen. 3Gold leaf was hammered out and cut into threads to work into the blue, purple, and crimson yarns and into the fine twisted linen, in skilled design. 4They made for the ephod shoulder-pieces, joined to it at its two edges. 5The decorated band on it was of the same materials and workmanship, of gold, of blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and of fine twisted linen; as the Lord had commanded Moses. 6The onyx stones were prepared, enclosed in settings of gold filigree and engraved like the engravings of a signet, according to the names of the sons of Israel. 7He set them on the shoulder-pieces of the ephod, to be stones of remembrance for the sons of Israel; as the Lord had commanded Moses.

8He made the breastpiece, in skilled work, like the work of the ephod, of gold, of blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and of fine twisted linen. 9It was square; the breastpiece was made double, a span in length and a span in width when doubled. 10They set in it four rows of stones. A row of carnelian, chrysolite, and emerald was the first row; 11and the second row, a turquoise, a sapphire, and a moonstone; 12and the third row, a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst; 13and the fourth row, a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper; they were enclosed in settings of gold filigree. 14There were twelve stones with names corresponding to the names of the sons of Israel; they were like signets, each engraved with its name, for the twelve tribes. 15They made on the breastpiece chains of pure gold, twisted like cords; 16and they made two settings of gold filigree and two gold rings, and put the two rings on the two edges of the breastpiece; 17and they put the two cords of gold in the two rings at the edges of the breastpiece. 18Two ends of the two cords they had attached to the two settings of filigree; in this way they attached it in front to the shoulder-pieces of the ephod. 19Then they made two rings of gold, and put them at the two ends of the breastpiece, on its inside edge next to the ephod. 20They made two rings of gold, and attached them in front to the lower part of the two shoulder-pieces of the ephod, at its joining above the decorated band of the ephod. 21They bound the breastpiece by its rings to the rings of the ephod with a blue cord, so that it should lie on the decorated band of the ephod, and that the breastpiece should not come loose from the ephod; as the Lord had commanded Moses.

robe of blue cloth with bells and pomegranates around the hem

robe of blue cloth with bells and pomegranates around the hem

22He also made the robe of the ephod woven all of blue yarn; 23and the opening of the robe in the middle of it was like the opening in a coat of mail, with a binding around the opening, so that it might not be torn. 24On the lower hem of the robe they made pomegranates of blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and of fine twisted linen. 25They also made bells of pure gold, and put the bells between the pomegranates on the lower hem of the robe all around, between the pomegranates; 26a bell and a pomegranate, a bell and a pomegranate all around on the lower hem of the robe for ministering; as the Lord had commanded Moses.

27They also made the tunics, woven of fine linen, for Aaron and his sons, 28and the turban of fine linen, and the head-dresses of fine linen, and the linen undergarments of fine twisted linen, 29and the sash of fine twisted linen, and of blue, purple, and crimson yarns, embroidered with needlework; as the Lord had commanded Moses.

30They made the rosette of the holy diadem of pure gold, and wrote on it an inscription, like the engraving of a signet, “Holy to the Lord.” 31They tied to it a blue cord, to fasten it on the turban above; as the Lord had commanded Moses.

_________________________

39. red dress

Music:

After all this talk about vestments, I asked my family to name songs they knew concerning clothing. Here are some of their suggestions (some more appropriate than others!):  “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off,”  by Joe Nichols. “Wonderful Tonight,” by Eric Clapton. “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress,” by the Hollies. “Underneath Your Clothes,” by Shakira. Now each one, in its own way, is a wonderful song . . . but I am going to give you the most romantic clothing song I know — “Lady in Red” sung by Chris De Burgh. It was released in 1986 and went to #1 in twenty-five countries.  HERE  it is.

_________________________

The Work Completed

39. Larry Git 'er Don

Colossians 4:17 (NIV)

“See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord.”

32In this way all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting was finished; the Israelites had done everything just as the Lord had commanded Moses. 33Then they brought the tabernacle to Moses, the tent and all its utensils, its hooks, its frames, its bars, its pillars, and its bases; 34the covering of tanned rams’ skins and the covering of fine leather, and the curtain for the screen; 35the ark of the covenant with its poles and the mercy seat; 36the table with all its utensils, and the bread of the Presence; 37the pure lampstand with its lamps set on it and all its utensils, and the oil for the light; 38the golden altar, the anointing oil and the fragrant incense, and the screen for the entrance of the tent; 39the bronze altar, and its grating of bronze, its poles, and all its utensils; the basin with its stand; 40the hangings of the court, its pillars, and its bases, and the screen for the gate of the court, its cords, and its pegs; and all the utensils for the service of the tabernacle, for the tent of meeting; 41the finely worked vestments for ministering in the holy place, the sacred vestments for the priest Aaron, and the vestments of his sons to serve as priests.

42The Israelites had done all of the work just as the Lord had commanded Moses. 43When Moses saw that they had done all the work just as the Lord had commanded, he blessed them.

39. thankyou_note

”There are two things people want more than sex and money — recognition and praise.”
–Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics

A capable leader —

  • makes those who are working with him or her feel important and appreciated,
  • excels at creating opportunities to provide recognition and thanks to his or her staff,
  • creates a work environment in which people are valued and rewarded.

Moses showed himself a good leader by blessing the people who had accomplished their work.

Who are the people helping you accomplish your work? How can you recognize them, thank them, and bless them? Should you be careful to do such more often?

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
high priestly garments.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/highpriest.jpg
blue robe.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/39-blue-garment.jpg?w=450
red dress.  http://www.1920s-fashions.co.uk/vintagefashion/reddress.jpg
Larry the Cable Guy.   https://www.amazon.com/Larry-Cable-Guy-Git-R-Done-Entertainment/dp/B00UGPQH9W
thank you.   http://positivepsychologynews.com/ppnd_wp/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/thank_you_note.png