Thursday, December 17, 2009


1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6Who, being in very naturea God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7but made himself nothing,
taking the very natureb of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

12Therefore, 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 according to his good purpose.

14Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16as you hold outc the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. 17But 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. 18So you too should be glad and rejoice with me

Philippians 2… requires no commentary.

Monday, December 14, 2009


22“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 24However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.
32“Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. 34You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. 35In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20: 22-35)

Many times, Paul uses the analogy of running a race to describe his journey of evangelism among the early Church (see references below). I have mentioned before that running requires discipline and endurance; it is a difficult task that requires preparation. I leave that thread of discussion to, perhaps, be picked up at another date and time. For now, I want to focus on something else in this passage: Paul’s sacrificial, self-denying life. Paul specifically says that he knows he must go to Jerusalem—he is compelled by the Spirit—despite the persecution and death that he faces. Paul walks in constant (and very REAL) communication with the Holy Spirit, so there is no question in his mind of whether or not he should go to Jerusalem (or anywhere else he feels called, for that matter)—he simply goes, and does, as he is compelled by the understanding that he can do nothing other than give—he will give of himself unto death, just as Christ gave himself unto death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2: 4-7).

I am called to imitate Paul as he imitated Christ—and how does that become a reality?

1. preparation in the Word
2. daily, fervent prayer
3. so that I might see myself as nothing
4. and walk out the understanding that Christ is the maker and redeemer of this world (Colossians 1)

**References in which Paul uses the “race” analogy
Galatians 2:2 & 5:7; Philippians 2:16; I Corinthians 9:24: II Timothy 4:7;
(Also see Hebrews 12:1)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

towards holiness…

3Who may ascend the hill of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
4He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to an idol
or swear by what is false.
5He will receive blessing from the Lord
and vindication from God his Savior.
6Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, O God of Jacob.
………………………………… Psalm 24: 3-6

If I were to suggest a list of Scriptures that absolutely should be studied and committed to memory, I would put the entirely of Psalm 24 near the top of the list.  Above is a selection of three verses that state the requirement that God places upon us.  What is required of me if I am to dwell in the presence of the Most High? I must have clean hands and a pure heart and be free from idolatry.  What a daunting proposition!  What an impossible thing! Fortunately, the blood of Jesus makes it possible for me to enter into communion with God—I have been redeemed. But a large part of that redemption includes that I will walk in righteousness.  God has not called me to walk in this alone, but has commanded that I be in community with fellow Believers. We Believers, then, are commanded to build each other up into faith and in unity in the Truth.  Ephesians 4 states this clearly:

7But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8This is why ita says:

“When he ascended on high,
he led captives in his train
and gave gifts to men.”b

11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. …  16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. 17So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

25Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26“In your anger do not sin”d: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold. 28He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.

29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
……………………………………………………………………… Ephesians 4: 11- 32