Philippians Perspective

OK, ladies, this is going to be nothing earth shattering for you. However, I chose to go about the initial study of the book of Philippians by first getting to know the background of the Philippians. I realized that though I am familiar with the name of the book, I have never stopped to research the city, the culture, or the residents that appear elsewhere in the Bible.

A little bit of research into the city of Philippi, the people who lived in Philippi, their culture, and even the background of Paul as he wrote this letter all serve as a purpose to help this book come to life for me.

It no longer becomes words on a page and key verses that I recognize from sermons. It becomes a view into history. A letter written to an actual people.

As I listen in on what Paul has to say to this church at Philippi, the Holy Spirit uses this fresh perspective to change and challenge me.

Here’s a few links that I used and read that gave me a good understanding of the city, the church of Philippi, and Paul when he wrote it. The way I found these articles was doing a google search of the church of Philippi and the city of Philippi. I tried to mainly stick with websites that had writers from reputable places (like the following two whose writers I believe are from Dallas Theological Seminary). I did however also read the Wikipedia article on Philippi to see what, if anything differed from the other articles I had read.

https://bible.org/seriespage/1-birth-church-philippi-acts-1536-1640

https://bible.org/seriespage/introduction-background-and-outline-philippians

http://www.bibleplaces.com/philippi.htm

Happy studying ladies! Would love to hear what websites or books you have used to get background information on the book. Also, does getting the background information of the book help you in any way as you read the book?

Wrapping It Up

Thirsty Thursdays – What if?

Please get out your bibles and turn to Philippians 2:1-18.  Notice there are four “ifs” in verse 1. In our language today, we use the word “if” as a speculation, as a maybe. The Greek word for “if” is ει and is considered a first class condition (out of four classes). Yeah, I know this doesn’t mean a whole lot to us but the importance of this is that in first-class conditions the statement is assumed as true; it is very close to reality. The “if” in verse 1 does not express any doubt here, but is to be considered as a strong affirmation that the statement is true. There IS encouragement (exhortation) in Christ, just as there IS comfort of love, fellowship in the Spirit and tender mercies and compassions. There are no maybes about that.

Paul wasn’t questioning whether these “ifs” were true but pointing out that as saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi (see Chapter 1 verse 1 for the who and where) they do have encouragement, love, fellowship, mercies and compassions. We have this too! What if we lived daily based on those truths?

Verses 2-4 speak to characteristics of believers and verse 5 says “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus “which tells me all of these things are an attitude. They begin in our mind. (Ephesians 4:23  “to be made new in the attitude of your minds;) What if we actually obeyed the command to let this mind be in us?

What comes next in verses 6-8 is a graphic picture of Jesus, a reminder of who He is and what He did. What if we all had all those attitudes all the time like Jesus?

Verse 9 begins with a “therefore”. Ahhh, that’s one of our connecting words. It’s there for a reason. It brings us to a logical conclusion.  The logical conclusion in verses 9-11 relate to Jesus. With the attitudes of Jesus in verses 1-5 and the humility of Jesus in verses 6-8, God exalted Him to the highest place with a name above every name. By His attitudes and obedient actions, Jesus was exalted. James 4:10 says “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you” What if we had the humility of Jesus?

There is another “therefore” in verse 12 and it relates to Paul’s audience. Believers. He tells them to continue to work out their salvation. Hummm, if I just read that verse out of context, I might come to the conclusion that I have to do something for my salvation. But no, dear ones. Paul has already reminded us in verse 8 about the cross. It is what Jesus has already done.  Paul is speaking to the church. He is not telling them to work for their salvation. That was already a done deal.  He is telling them to work out among themselves, to apply the truths he had just mentioned. In verse 13, he reminds us that it is God who does the work in us. What if we were to quit trying to work for our salvation and actually let God worked it out in and through us?

Verse 14 actually gives a clear command. Do all this without grumbling. Verses 15-16 tell us not to grumble so that we can be a faithful witness to a broken world. What if – well, you know.

Finally, in verse 17, Paul let them know that he rejoices in the fact that they are willing to sacrifice as an expression of their faith and that he is willing to sacrifice his own life.  He leaves us in verse 18 with a command to rejoice with him over all of this. What if we really did rejoice in our sufferings and sacrifices?

Just think what a world this would be. What if?

Prayer Monday ~~ Proverbs 22

Proverbs 22:1-12

1  A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, Loving favor rather than silver and gold.
2 The rich and the poor have this in common,
The Lord is the maker of them all. 3 A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, But the simple pass on and are punished. 4 By humility and the fear of the Lord Are riches and honor and life. 5 Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; He who guards his soul will be far from them. 6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. 7 The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower is servant to the lender. 8 He who sows iniquity will reap sorrow, And the rod of his anger will fail. 9 He who has a generous eye will be blessed, For he gives of his bread to the poor. 10 Cast out the scoffer, and contention will leave; Yes, strife and reproach will cease.
11 He who loves purity of heart And has grace on his lips, The king will be his friend.
12 The eyes of the Lord preserve knowledge,
But He overthrows the words of the faithless.

 

Father we pray in Jesus name that you would guide us with wisdom from your word! We pray you bless the ministry of Women’s Life Fellowship.  Continue to use this ministry for your glory Father!  We pray for the next study coming in March! We pray that you would again bring in new ladies to study and learn how to pray in this next 5 week session on prayer!! Thank Father for our communication with you through prayer !! In your name , amen!!

Reminder ~~ We will finish up Living by the Book today February 23rd at 7pm and Wednesday February 25th at 9:30am!! See you there !!

The new study, Lord Teach Me To Pray, will begin Monday March 16th at 7pm and Wednesday March 18th at 9:30am!!

Sisterhood is Tuesday night February 24th from 6:30-8pm at Pope Drive Church!!  Remind your pastors wives, women in ministry and women’s ministry leaders!! Topic – Soul Care for Leaders.

 

Thirsty Thursdays- The Plan

Ok.  Be honest.  We missed bible study Monday because of the weather. Did you use that time to do extra bible study?  To practice observing the text? Utilize the tools we’ve learned?

Let’s face it. Many times we learn something that we know is revolutionary, can change our lives yet don’t fully put it into practice or sometimes forget about it completely.  For example, we know that exercise is good for us but it’s sooooo hard to actually act on that valuable and potentially life changing information.

That’s where a plan comes in.  A plan includes specific goals, timelines and actions.  Howard Hendricks say “Too much ‘application’ stays at the level of good intentions because we talk about the end of the journey without specifying when, where, and how we’re going to take the first step”.

We’ve been viewing the videos, doing our homework, discussing our findings and issues at bible study and next week we will be taking that first step of being on our own to observe, interpret and apply scriptures in our lives.  We move on to the next topic of how to pray but that does not mean we need to abandon observing, interpreting and applying.

So what’s your plan to continue with what we’ve learned? Here’s a few suggestions to get you started.

All successful plans start with goals and the must be specific. What is your goal? An example would be to spend a certain amount of time per day/week reading the bible using the methods and tools you’ve learned about.  Or another would be to focus on getting better at asking questions of the text.(just be sure you can identify what getting better at it looks like) Or perhaps to be able to answers to the 9 application questions for the text you are studying.
1. Is there an example for me to follow? 2. Is there a sin to avoid? 3. Is there a promise to claim? 4. Is there a prayer to repeat? 5. Is there a command to obey? 6. Is there a condition to meet? 7. Is there a verse to memorize? 8. Is there an error to mark? 9. Is there a challenge to face?  (You’ll learn about these in our last class)

Write your goal(s) down

Saturate your goal(s) in prayer

Honestly assess your present conditions. Jesus said, “For which one of you when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it?” (Luke 14:28). This will help you be realistic. A mom with 4 young children will have a different plan of action than a woman living alone. What will actually be workable for you at this season of your life?

Identify what stands between you and the goal? Write down everything you need to get from where you are to where you want to be.

“In all labor there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty” (Proverbs 14:23) Take action.  Write down your plans and then follow through with them.

Find ways to hold yourself accountable and identify if your plan is working, if you are improving.  Allow for unforeseen circumstances. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t always work your plan.  Get back to it as quickly as you can or adjust your plan as needed. Just don’t abandon it.

I am praying that this is the year that we take a giant leap of faith and trust that God will provide the time, resources, and desire to be women who Live by the Book. Let’s plan on it.

Bible Studies Canceled This Week!

ATTENTION —Trying to err on the side of caution: Monday night and Wednesday morning Bible study will be cancelled and we will finish our last session next week (Feb 23/25). Please let any friends know that may not access our FB page or Website blog. See you next week. Stay warm and safe! (Oh! everyone should be able to have their homework done. Had to say it :)~~Deanna

Prayer Monday

Lord, Your faithful love reaches to heaven, Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Ps. 36:5

God loves you and he created you to receive his love! Praying you rest in that truth!  Praying for those who felt lost and alone this Valentines will feel the love and comfort from Christ alone!!

 

ATTENTION —Trying to err on the side of caution: Monday night and Wednesday morning Bible study will be cancelled and we will finish our last session next week (Feb 23/25). Please let any friends know that may not access our FB page or Website blog. See you next week. Stay warm and safe! ( Oh! everyone should be able to have their homework done :) Had to say it :)~~Deanna

 

 

Application and a willing heart

In our study of how to read and study the bible based on Howard Hendricks Living by the Book, I hope you are convinced that spending a lot of time in observation is a necessity for correctly interpreting scripture.  It is different and sometimes difficult, but necessary

Now we get to the application part.  Finally I can do something. But wait.  I have just learned a correct interpretation of a passage in the bible and realized that I have had some faulty thinking. Uh oh. I must do something about it. I’ve changed my way of thinking which will (or should) naturally change the way I act. What will my family think? What will my friends think? This excitement I’ve had over a spiritual revelation now turns to reality for me.

Howard Hendricks says there are 5 substitutes for application, 5 routes which, sadly, many Christians take in their study of the Word.  The 5 substitutes are his words. Commentary mostly mine :)

  1. We substitute interpretation for application.  The classic example of this is the scribes and Pharisees.  They knew the law, they had the knowledge.  They could spout it out without hesitation. They didn’t live it out.
  2. We substitute superficial obedience to substantive life change.  We look at biblical truths in areas of our lives where we are already living it out and feel good about it but neglect to look for those areas that are blind spots for us where that biblical truth needs to be applied.  We go to bible study and church, go through the motions, get excited about something we hear but don’t follow up with any life change.
  3. We substitute rationalization for repentance. We all have this little bell that goes off when biblical truths hit too close to home and we get defensive.  We rationalize that we work hard for our money and when we get paid in cash, we shouldn’t have to report it. Or when someone else blows up and shows anger we recognize that he lost his temper but when we do it, it’s righteous indignation. We allow ourselves to be persuaded to do something wrong and then blame the person that persuaded us.  Oh wait that was Adam, wasn’t it?  Yep. He set the example and we follow it well.
  4. We substitute an emotional experience for a volitional decision (a conscious choice).    There is nothing wrong with responding emotionally to the truth of the scriptures but if all we do is grab our Kleenex, sob out a few sorrowful prayers and then go on our merry way without changing our behavior, we are just weak emotional beings.
  5. We substitute communication for transformation. Peter comes to my mind with this.  “Oh Lord, I won’t ever deny you” then bam, he did just what he said he wouldn’t do.  I cringe when I hear famous people and athletes praising God, wearing big crosses, pointing up to heaven, then very little in their lives seems to honor Him.   Lots of people are talking the talk.  Are they walking the walk? At least we got to see Peter repent and change his behavior and glorify God.

Application requires a decision and a specific plan of action in order to allow the Holy Spirit to mold us into the person God made us to be.  This may not be fun and it may even be painful at times but there is great joy in pleasing God.   If you recall, early in this study we pointed out that bible study involves both a product and a process.  We have been learning the process which then leads to the product – life change.

Hendricks says it best. “The spirit of Bible study is a willing heart – and the fruit of bible study is a changed life”

Prayer Monday

Ephesians 2:4-10

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Thanking and praising God for His grace! Father in heaven we pray you lead us and show us the way you would have us to walk!  Father we thank you for your love and kindness.  Father we thank you for your amazing word and all the wisdom you provide through it!  Father continue to bless, lead, guide and direct the paths of ladies in our Bible studies.  We pray Father that you would help us share your word and your grace with others! We give you all the praise, honor, and Glory in Your amazing name name we pray, amen !!

 

Thirsty Thursdays – Questions Questions Questions

And you thought you were going to get answers.  As we are learning how to correctly read and study God’s word, who would have thought we would now have more questions than ever?  However, our questions have changed. We used to ask “what in the world does that mean?” and now we ask, “What does the text tell us about God?”  “What is the author’s intent and who was his audience?” “What were the circumstances, the culture?” “What is the literary genre, structure?” “Why was it written?” “What is the context?” “What is emphasized?” “Repeated?” “Related?”  What is alike?”  “Unlike?” “What other verses does it compare to?” Whew!

We have learned and been conditioned to find answers, to fill in the blanks, to search the internet, dictionaries, encyclopedias and other sources for information, and to go to others seeking their opinion or knowledge on a topic.   Now we learn that the one source of truth is really all we need.  Everything we need is right at our fingertips and all we have to do is ask. For understanding. For wisdom.

Asking questions is a good thing but our intentions need to be pure. Our questions should be designed to learn more about our God and not to question His motives. Our questions should be for our own understanding of His Word and not questioning His authority.  Our questions should lead to wisdom to discern. We certainly need to question other people’s ideas, even our own preacher’s.  A good preacher will tell you to make sure he is preaching the truth. After all, we are all capable of making mistakes. The problem is when we continue to take things at face value and fail to test it against God’s Word.  Satan loves it when we accept a deception. Even when it sounds so right.  So question away (with the right questions)

Some great questions in the bible:

The apostle Paul asked “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)

God questions Job “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?” (Job 38:4)

Abraham pleading with God to spare Sodom. said “Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen. 18:25)

David asked this great question “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? (Psalm 8:3-4)

 And perhaps the greatest question of all. Jesus asked his disciples “Who do you say that I am?” — (Mark 8:29)

None of these questions are fill in the blank or have a quick reply.  But the answers are worth the work.

Don’t you think?