6/28/17 Unity In The Holy Spirit

“Because in Jesus, and in God’s Holy Spirit, lies all comfort, love, fellowship, affection, and mercy, be united in the Holy Spirit in these things.  Come together as one, agreeing with each other in love and in joy, in all things, having brought all things first before God in prayer, so that you might act as one with the strength and love of the Holy Spirit.  Hearing of this will bring me much joy.  Do not do anything out of selfish motives, for personal gain.  Instead, each person must come to the assembly humbly, putting others ahead of himself.  Do not work solely for your own good, but for the good of all the community of brothers and sisters.”

 

Philippians 2:1-4

6/27/17 You Are Heirs Of The Kingdom, So Live Accordingly

“Be sure that act as one who has been redeemed and adopted by God, instead of falling back into the sins that used to enslave you.  Whether it is God’s will for me to come to you once more or not, either way it would bring me joy to hear that you are living according to your faith, standing together, united against Satan in mind, body, and spirit, working together as one for the Kingdom, unafraid of those who delight in persecuting you.  To those who Satan is using against you, this is a sign that you belong to Satan, but we know that in reality this shows that you have been saved by your faith in Jesus, and now belong to God.  You have not only been given the gift of salvation through Jesus, but the privilege of suffering for His sake, and suffering the same persecutions that I have endured, and that our Lord has continually delivered me from.”

 

Philippians 1:27-30

6/26/17 To Live Or Die – Which Is Better?

“I know that through your prayers, along with the prayers of so many other brothers and sisters, along with the working of the Holy Spirit, everything that is happening now will work out for good for me.  I hope and pray with all my heart that I will never have cause to be ashamed of myself, but that I would continue as I have done, to speak boldly the words given me by the Holy Spirit, so that people would see the love of Jesus in me, whether that be in my life or in my death.  For me, either option is glorious, because Jesus lives in and through me, and my life is His.  If He chooses to keep me here on earth, continuing on in the work He has called me to do, I will count it my honor to do so, because He is my life.  But if He calls me home to Himself in Heaven, I count that as something even better, for I will be with Him even more fully than I can be here and now.  I could not choose between them, because with all my heart I long to be with Jesus, and I know that life in Heaven will be far better than life here on earth.  But if I continue on here with this life, I will continue to bring this joy of salvation to more and more people, and to encourage and build up my brothers and sisters in faith, which in turn will also bring me more joy.  Knowing this, I feel sure that God will keep me here for a while longer so that I might continue in the work He has called me to, and that I might keep encouraging you in your walk of faith.  I hope that some day soon our joy might increase together if I am able to return and visit you once more.”

 

Philippians 1:19-26

6/25/17 Opportunities In Prison

“My brothers and sisters, I don’t want you to be discouraged because of my imprisonment.  It has actually worked out for good, enabling me to bring the good news of Jesus’ sacrificial gift to places I may otherwise never have been able to go.  The entire palace guard, and many palace residents as well, have heard His message and have seen that I am not a prisoner of Rome, but of Jesus.  Not only that, but most of the brothers and sisters who have been doing this same work alongside me have been strengthened by my experience as a prisoner of Jesus, and have found a greater courage in boldly speaking the words given to them by the Holy Spirit wherever and whenever they are called to do so, no matter the audience.  We all know that there are some among us who spread the message of Jesus with mixed motives, hoping for personal gain from their work, even sometimes hoping to stir up contention among the brothers in order to make my  imprisonment more difficult.  But then there are so many others who spread the message of Jesus with a pure heart, out of their love for our Lord, and some even out of love for me as well, knowing that Jesus called me to this work.  But either way, I rejoice, because whether the message is spread out of mixed motives or pure ones, it is still being spread.  People are hearing what Jesus wants them to hear, and that is always a good thing.”

 

Philippians 1:12-18

6/24/17 Love For The Philippians

“Whenever I think of you, it is always with thanksgiving to God in prayer.  I pray for you joyfully, thanking God that He called you all to by my brothers and sisters in our faith, and that from the first day that you believed until now you have remained faithful.  I know that God, who began to work in your hearts to change you into the people He created you to be on the day you put your faith in Jesus to deliver you from your slavery to sin, will continue to do so every single day of your lives until the day Jesus calls you home to Heaven.  I hold you all in my heart, and so it is fitting that I should believe this about you.  You are with me in all that I say and do, even though you are not here with me physically, sharing my imprisonment.  But you are with me, in my heart, whenever I share the good news of Jesus’ message or defend our faith before those who seek to destroy it.  You share God’s grace with me, and my heart longs to be with you, because you are my beloved brothers and sisters in Jesus.  I pray that your love may continue to grow, in the knowledge and wisdom of God, that you would look favorably on what is good, that you would remain true to your faith and free of the stain of sin until the day that Jesus calls you home, and that through the working and leading of the Holy Spirit you would be filled with the rewards that come from doing the good work that Jesus has called you to do, giving all honor, glory, and praise to God our Father.”

 

Philippians 1:3-11

6/23/17 A Goodbye & A Hello

Paul finishes his letter to the Ephesians, rolls it into a scroll and seals it.  He looks at Onesimus and smiles.  “Alright, my son.  All the letters are finished.  I pray that you will have a safe journey and be met with forgiveness and love upon your return home.”  The two embrace, tears in their eyes.  Onesimus shoulders his pack, tucking the letters carefully inside.  “Goodbye, my father.  You will be in my prayers always.  Thank you for all you have done for me.  I love you more than I can ever express.”  He sets out on his journey to deliver Paul’s letters to the churches of Ephesus, his hometown of Colossai, and his master Philemon.  Paul, wanting something to take his mind off of the departure of his beloved Onesimus, immediately launches into another letter with Timothy.  “Paul and Timothy, servants in chains for our Messiah, Jesus, greet our brothers and sisters in Jesus, along with the bishops and deacons, of the church of Philippi, praying God’s grace and peace upon you in the Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus.”

 

Philippians 1:1-2

6/22/17 Closing Prayer

“I am sending my beloved brother and faithful helper in Jesus, Tychicus, to you with this letter, so that he might share with you what has been going on with me and with the brothers and sisters here in Rome.  I pray that you would receive him as a beloved brother and that you would be comforted by his presence and his words to you.  I pray that God would grant all of you, my brothers and sisters, His peace, His love, and increased faith in Him, through His Son, our Messiah, Jesus.  I pray His grace upon all of you, and upon all those who truly and sincerely love our Lord, Jesus.  Amen.”

 

Ephesians 6:23-24

6/21/17 Pray In The Holy Spirit

“Pray always in the Holy Spirit for all our brothers and sisters, and for me as well, watching and waiting in faith, knowing in your mind and believing with your whole heart that God will hear and answer your prayers.  Do not stop, do not give up, but pray earnestly and continually until God answers your prayer, though at times the answer will be ‘no’ or ‘wait.’  Pray for me, that God would give me the words He wants me to speak and the power to speak them.  Pray that I might not be afraid, but would speak boldly the words He gives me to speak, no matter who the audience might be, so that I might continue to spread the message of Jesus, opening people’s eyes to the mystery of the good news of Jesus.  He has entrusted me with this work, even now, while I am a prisoner, and I pray that He would continue to strengthen me and enable me to do it, helping me to speak His words without fear, the way a true ambassador of God should.”

 

Ephesians 6:18b-22

6/20/17 The Armor Of God

“A Roman soldier puts on his armor in a very specific order, and once it is on, he is ready to stand strong against any who would come against him.  We must put on the armor of God in the same way, and for the same reason.  First, we put on the belt of God’s Truth and the breastplate of His Righteousness, which come together to form at our core a good and Godly reputation based on His Word and His Truth.  Next, our shoes.  Instead of the gladiator sandals or hobnailed boots of a Roman soldier, we strap on the message of Jesus, the good news of His sacrifice on our behalf that brings peace to all who will hear it and come to Him to be saved from judgment for their sins.  Then we must carry the shield of faith, using it to absorb the shots that Satan fires at you.  Then we put on the helmet of our salvation, the knowledge that we are no longer marked for death because of our sins, but forgiven and redeemed children of God, heirs with Jesus of the Kingdom of Heaven.  With this knowledge comes the power to resist Satan because we know that there is nothing that can come between us and God, nothing that can hurt us so much that we will lose our eternal life in Heaven with Him.  And finally, we must carry the sword of the Holy Spirit, the living Word of God, praying and petitioning God through the Holy Spirit, united with Him.”

 

Ephesians 6:14-18a

6/19/17 The Strength Of God In You

“Brothers and sisters, I urge you to remember that the Holy Spirit living within you is able to strengthen you in your faith, so that you will be better equipped to live out your faith in everything you say and do.  God’s strength and power will enable you to fight against the temptations that Satan puts in your path, if you are willing to remain faithful, praying earnestly for God to give you what you need.  Put on His armor to stand strong against Satan.  Remember that our fight is not against people or kingdoms, but against Satan and his agents of evil, against darkness and evil here on earth and in the spiritual realm.  If you will put on the whole armor of God, He will give you the strength and power to stand firm against every attack Satan throws your way.  You will discover that God’s power and strength is all you need to get through, and this will create in you a sense of peace and security, so that you know deep in your heart that you are safe in His arms and nothing can touch you apart from His will.”

 

Ephesians 6:10-13