Yeah, but I’ve Got the “Creds”!! – Joy in Believing – PHILIPPIANS (Chapter 3a) [8]

Perhaps when we began this series on Philippians, http://wp.me/p5nZpi-mp, you may have thought Paul was going to show us some easy, quick, instantly gratifying ways to experience joy.  So far that hasn’t been the case.

In chapter 1, Paul described how we can experience Joy in Suffering,  http://wp.me/p5nZpi-mF.  In chapter 2, Paul described how we can experience Joy in Serving,  http://wp.me/p5nZpi-nA.
Perhaps you thought serving would be an easy, and obvious way, to experience joy.  Yet, as we learned with experiencing joy in suffering, experiencing joy in serving, also requires sacrifice and dependence on God.  And we’ll see that to experience joy in believing, will require no less.
When I think of experiencing joy in believing, it seems like this will be easier than to experience joy in suffering and serving.
After-all, how hard can it be to believe?
Well, I guess it all depends on what you believe. Because our beliefs are the foundation on which we base our decisions, make our choices, determine who or what we follow, and what formulates our worldviews.
For our purpose, we’ll be looking at experiencing the joy in believing from the perspective of what we put our “faith” in (a strong belief or trust in someone or something).  As Paul puts it in Philippians 3:3 – We put no confidence in human effort. Instead, we boast about what Christ Jesus has done for us.
Paul was the perfect person to make this statement because, as we’ll see in a moment, Paul has the “creds” that would easily allow him to puff out his chest.  People that knew him, might have even called him “SuperJew”.
Perhaps he looked a bit like Jason Alexander, better known as, George Costanza from the hit comedy, Seinfeld??
Yet I could have confidence in myself if anyone could.  If others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more! – Philippians 3:4
Philippians 3:5-6—-
  • I was circumcised when I was eight days old.
  • I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one!
  • I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. 
  • I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church.
  • And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault.

Now how’s that for a resume?

But let’s look at Paul’s very next verse.  I once thought all these things were so very important, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.  Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ and become one with Him.- Phil. 3:7-9a

                          phil3-8

 

WOW!!

IF PAUL, AND ALL HIS CREDENTIALS WERE CONSIDERED GARBAGE, THEN WHERE DOES THAT LEAVE US, OR PAUL, FOR THAT MATTER??

< All My “Creds” are Garbage???  –  Joy in Believing –  PHILIPPIANS  (Chapter 3)   [9], http://wp.me/p5nZpi-sC >

 

  • Would you like to have a personal/intimate relationship with the God??  Take a look at the tab, The Cornerstone…, in the menu for more info.
  • If you would like to receive notifications when new posts are published, click on the FOLLOW button in the sidebar.  Or if you are viewing from your mobile device, scroll down the page and you’ll see the FOLLOW blog via email button 🙂
  • It you are viewing with the mobile version, scroll down to the bottom of this page for additional info and pics 🙂
  • Take a look at the other tabs in the menu for encouragement and inspiration as you continue to BUILD A FOUNDATION!!

 

 
 

How Can I Have an Extraordinary Day??? – Joy in Serving – PHILIPPIANS (Chapter 2d) [7]

Before Paul tells the Philippians how they can experience the fullness of joy in their daily service, he encourages them with these words…

Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. –  Phil 2:12

These words resonant with me as a mom, and teacher.  It is my deep desire, as I’m sure it is for those who share their knowledge, experiences, skills, wisdom, etc. with others, that what has been taught/”caught” will be implemented when we’re not around to correct, redirect, or point out alternative responses.

Paul sets us straight in the second half of this verse, clearly stating who we should follow, and obey.  He doesn’t say follow me, Paul, or your mom, your dad, your Grandma or Grandpa, your teachers, coaches, etc.  No, Paul is very clear.  He says, obey God!!

So it doesn’t matter if your mom, or other mentor, isn’t around at every moment of your day, because God is.  He is there to guide, support, encourage, comfort, and direct our steps.

                       BhwLf0qIUAAAFqP

 

HOW DO WE KNOW WHAT GOD WANTS US TO DO?

We could simply let our conscience be our guide.

                      conscience

However, our consciences are subject to change, depending on where we get our information.  Therefore, it is important to have an unchanging/timeless/accurate source of truth.

WHERE DO WE FIND AN UNCHANGING/TIMELESS/ACCURATE SOURCE OF TRUTH?

Absolute truth is found in the Bible.

                            bible77

It is particularly important to read God’s Word for yourself verses just listening, or reading what God has taught others, or being an inactive observer.   Although listening and reading what others teach can provide great insight, independent reading of the Bible allows God to personally speak to you and to your situation.

                Reading-Bible-pd

 

WHERE DO I GET THE DESIRE TO READ AND LEARN GOD’S WORD?

GOD!!!

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.  –  Phil 2:13, and it’s not simply reading the Word of God, but you must do what it says –  James 1:22.

As promised from the last post, Follow the Leader??  –  Joy in Serving  –  PHILIPPIANS  (Chapter 2c)  [6], http://wp.me/p5nZpi-ot, here are some practical ways Paul gives us to serve God and others in our everyday lives.

 

PRACTICAL WAYS TO SERVE IN OUR DAILY LIVES…  PHILIPPIANS 2:14-16

  1.  In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing – v.14
  2.  Live clean, innocent lives as children of God – v.15  Paul realizes this won’t be easy as the second part of this verse says, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. – v.15       [Keep in mind that Paul is writing this letter to the Christians in Philippi, and believers everywhere.  It is these people who Paul is referencing when he says, children of God.  Children of God are those who have been born again, all people are not children of God. But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God.  They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.  –  John 1:12-13] 

<See upcoming post for more on – Are All People Children of God?>

3. Let your lives shine brightly, as lights, in the world – v.15

4. Hold firmly to the Word of Life, the Bible – v.16

 

HOW TO APPROACH OUR DAILY INTERACTIONS…

  1. Don’t expect to be served
  2. Look for opportunities to serve others, your faithful service is an offering to God  –  Phil 2:17

Choose to serve, and watch your ordinary day turn into an extraordinary day 🙂

                         the-difference-between-ordinary-and-extraordinary

 

 

  • Would you like to have a personal/intimate relationship with the God??  Take a look at the tab, The Cornerstone…, in the menu for more info.
  • If you would like to receive notifications when new posts are published, click on the FOLLOW button in the sidebar.  Or if you are viewing from your mobile device, scroll down the page and you’ll see the FOLLOW blog via email button 🙂
  • It you are viewing with the mobile version, scroll down to the bottom of this page for additional info and pics 🙂
  • Take a look at the other tabs in the menu for encouragement and inspiration as you continue to BUILD A FOUNDATION!!

Follow the Leader?? – Joy in Serving – PHILIPPIANS (Chapter 2c) [6]

At the end of my post, My Attitude!! My Rights!!  –  Joy in Serving  –  PHILIPPIANS  (Chapter 2b)  [5]   http://wp.me/p5nZpi-o2, I mentioned that when we humble ourselves, and choose to follow God, as Jesus humbly choose to come to earth in human form, we still retain ourselves.  Jesus, although in human form was still God, and people who profess they are Christians are still sinners. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard  –  Romans 3:23

You may hear people call themselves Christians, “the tree”, yet when you observe their  actions/interactions, “their fruit”, the two don’t seem to match up.  For example, when I see an apple tree, I expect to see apples growing on it.

                              Apples_2

I don’t expect to see socks growing on an apple tree!

        tree socks

 

Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.  –  Romans 6:16

It’s because of our tendency to sin, regardless if we’ve asked God into our hearts, see The Cornerstone… in menu tab for more info, that we so desperately need a leader.  We need to follow someone who has faced all of the same testings we do, yet did not sin – Hebrews 4:15.  Someone who knows the way to JOY, and wants to help us experience it in our lives.

WHO SHOULD WE FOLLOW?

JESUS!!!

HOW DO WE FOLLOW JESUS?

To follow someone or something means that we conform to, imitate, copy, and give our allegiance.

Whether it is in the childhood game of follow the leader,

dressing like our favorite celebrity personality,

or giving our support, financially and/or emotionally, to a particular cause

If we say we follow ______, we’re saying that we want to live like that particular person or imitate their particular life-style.

If you read the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, in the New Testament of the Bible, you will get a first-hand account of the life of Jesus.  You’ll see how He interacted with all sorts of people.

                  Jesus Loves Me

                                           Jesus_heals_many_people

And you’ll also see how He depended on God for strength to endure the trials He faced as a human.  Jesus often withdrew Himself to quiet places and prayed – Luke 5:16.    

                                               jesus-praying-in-the-garden

When we put our trust and lives into God’s hands, we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear – Hebrews 13:6  For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.Phil. 2:13

God wants everyone to experience the Joy that comes in serving 🙂

In the next post, we’ll look at Philippians 2:14-16, where Paul gives us some practical ways to serve God and others in our everyday lives.

 

  • Would you like to have a personal/intimate relationship with God??  Take a look at the tab, The Cornerstone…, in the menu for more info.
  • If you would like to receive notifications when new posts are published, click on the FOLLOW button in the sidebar.  Or if you are viewing from your mobile device, scroll down the page and you’ll see the FOLLOW blog via email button 🙂
  • It you are viewing with the mobile version, scroll down to the bottom of this page for additional info and pics 🙂
  • Take a look at the other tabs in the menu for encouragement and inspiration as you continue to BUILD A FOUNDATION!!

My Attitude!! My Rights!! – Joy in Serving – PHILIPPIANS (Chapter 2b) [5]

We had talked about God’s counter-intuitive ways for people to experience joy in the posts, “I Just Wanna Be Happy!!”, http://wp.me/p5nZpi-kK.  In Phil. 2:5, we see Paul is revealing to the Philippians another tip to experiencing joy in serving.  He says, You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. 

WHAT WAS JESUS’ ATTITUDE TOWARD SERVING?

He humbled Himself, not clinging to His rights as God, and taking the form of a servant. – v.6-7  Mark, in Mark 10:44-45, puts it this way – whoever wants to be first among you must be the servant of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others.

                       Helping-Others

 

IS GOD’S ATTITUDE DIFFERENT FROM THE “WORLD’S” ATTITUDE?

I think the answer would be a definite YES!!

As I think about the way schools, businesses, and various organizations measure success and HAPPINESS, it seems that the world connects success and HAPPINESS with personal achievement.

                 report-card2

       

                EmployeePerformanceJPG

 

Whereas, when we look at the counter-intuitive teaching of Jesus, He encourages people to look for ways to be a blessing to others, connecting service with success and JOY.

           feed starving children vol

          Feeding_Programs

 

YEAH, BUT WHAT ABOUT MY RIGHTS?  WHAT I DESERVE?

Remember from v.6, Jesus did not cling to His rights as God. 

Here are a couple of examples of our “rights” —

  • “I can have an abortion.  It’s my body, and I have a “right” to decide what I want to do.”
  • “I worked hard to earn my money.  I have the “right” to keep it all for myself.”
  • “I work hard for my grades in school.  I have the “right” to be recognized and rewarded for my efforts.”

WHAT DO OUR RIGHTS HAVE TO DO WITH SERVICE?

Because of our sinful natures, our natural tendency is to choose what we want, our will, verses God’s will. Our first reaction is self-preservation – me, me, me.

In Philippians 2:6-7, Paul is bringing to our attention that the world’s road to glory, fulfillment, success, happiness, etc., is nothing more than an illusion.  Nothing more than a carrot dangling ahead of us, tempting us, and leading us to believe that if we catch it, then we’ll finally be HAPPY.

               chasing a carrot-iStockphoto-retrorocket(edited)

Paul describes Jesus’ preparation for service in Phil. 2:7, He made himself nothing, He emptied Himself, He took the humble position of a bond servant, and appeared in human form.

Jesus was now subject to “human” experiences.  To pain, to temptation, to rules, to His parents, and most importantly, He was dependent on God.

I take a moment to note that Jesus, in choosing to humble Himself, to voluntarily take on the form of a human, in no way changed the fact that He continued to be God.

The fact that Jesus continued to be God, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet He did not sin, Hebrews 4:15, is encouraging to me.  It demonstrates I am not being forced to serve, or forced to depend on God.  I choose to empty myself.  I choose to serve.  I choose to depend on God.  Also, in making those choices I will not lose who I am, my personality, the characteristics that make me, me.  No, instead I am accepting an opportunity to experience JOY.

Keep in mind that Jesus did not lose who He was, God.  In the same way, as I mentioned above, we don’t lose who we are either.  And who are we?  Sinners!!  –  For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard  –  Romans 3:23

It’s because we’re sinners that we so desperately need a leader.  We need to follow someone who has faced all of the same testings we do, yet did not sin – Hebrews 4:15.  Someone who knows the way to JOY, and wants to help us experience JOY in our lives.

WHO SHOULD WE FOLLOW?

 

  • Would you like to have a personal/intimate relationship with GOD, the Creator of the Universe??  Take a look at the tab, The Cornerstone…, in the menu for more info.
  • If you would like to receive notifications when new posts are published, click on the FOLLOW button in the sidebar.  Or if you are viewing from your mobile device, scroll down the page and you’ll see the FOLLOW blog via email button 🙂
  • It you are viewing with the mobile version, scroll down to the bottom of this page for additional info and pics 🙂
  • Take a look at the other tabs in the menu for encouragement and inspiration as you continue to BUILD A FOUNDATION!!

Blessing and Being Blessed :) – Joy in Serving – PHILIPPIANS (Chapter 2a) [4]

Paul defines serving in Philippians 2:3-4.  He says,

  • DON’T be selfish

    sharing

  • DON’T live to try and make a good impression on others
  • DON’T think only about your own interests, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing

                      blindside

  • DON’T think that you are better than other people, be humble

   prison ministry

I think Paul’s definition is interesting.  Instead of telling people to do, do, do, having a what’s in it for me attitude, we’re told instead, don’t, don’t, don’t.  Reinforcing others before ourselves.  Reinforcing that we will experience joy through serving.  Through sacrifice and humbling ourselves.  As we bless others, we are being blessed in ways we would never have thought possible.

HERE’S AN EXAMPLE MY FRIEND, SARAH (NOT HER REAL NAME), SHARED WITH ME —

Sarah began bringing over meals to Pam (not her real name), who was diagnosed with cancer.  Pam shared with Sarah how much her efforts meant to her and her family.  She’s receiving healthy food, aiding in her recovery, as well as quality time with Sarah.

As a result of Sarah’s willingness to give her time to Pam, she has also been blessed. She’s learned to prepare delicious looking, and tasting, vegan food.  She’s also found a confidant who has prayed with, and for her, as she’s going through her own emotionally difficult trials.

Although Sarah and Pam’s pain/suffering, are different, both woman have been blessed by each other in ways they could never have imagined.  They may never have connected in this way if it weren’t for the pain/suffering each woman is experiencing.

Sarah put her own issues aside to care for her friend.  And in her opinion, has been blessed far more than she’s been a blessing.  And I bet if I talked to Pam she’d have the opposite response – Sarah has been far more of a blessing to her, than she’s blessed Sarah.

        two friends

Isn’t following God’s ways interesting?  🙂

————————————–

In the last two posts, we learned that we can experience joy in suffering, http://wp.me/p5nZpi-mF, http://wp.me/p5nZpi-no.

As we begin to look at experiencing joy in serving, we see that suffering and joy are sometimes connected.  Pain/suffering is something God promises to go through with us, Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. – Psalm 23:4

We have an opportunity to serve and bless others, and in turn be blessed.  Allow God to use your pain/suffering to make a difference in someone’s life.

2 Corinthians 1:4 —-

            hands4

  • Would you like to have a personal/intimate relationship with God??  Take a look at the tab, The Cornerstone…, in the menu for more info.
  • If you would like to receive notifications when new posts are published, click on the FOLLOW button in the sidebar.  Or if you are viewing from your mobile device, scroll down the page and you’ll see the FOLLOW blog via email button 🙂
  • It you are viewing with the mobile version, scroll down to the bottom of this page for additional info and pics 🙂
  • Take a look at the other tabs in the menu for encouragement and inspiration as you continue to BUILD A FOUNDATION!!