Content or Contentious

“But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last yourcare for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:10-13 NKJV

Greetings my friends! Grace be to you.
Paul, and the apostles, always started with the formal greeting and I don’t. I am not sure I need to because of the contemporary styles of writing and my very informal way of just pouring out thoughts on the page. But it does seem we always skim over these verses.  It is sad, as there are gems and a measure of grace given in these greetings.  Skimming over them is like ignoring the blessing when the pastor or his wife bless and dismiss you. (yeah, do not ignore that blessing in exchange for hurrying to grab your coat and keys! Receive it and be blessed!!!)

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you and give us wisdom. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is from the book of Philippians (embedded below the image below for your convenience). This is another letter written to the plural “All y’all” as they say in the USA south – or the plural you, for the rest of us.  Failing to understand this or failing to take these verses in context can literally create false doctrinal teachings. I am watching it happen all around me.

Wednesday night I turned on my usual Wednesday night service of choice, which I have joined for almost 3 years, to hear the guest speaker miss the nail in her doctrine, strike her thumb with the proverbial hammer, so to speak – then stumble to make it all line up without contradiction. Oh Lord help us!

“beware of dogs”

I did not mention it when we were there but as an example of misinterpreted scriptures lets go back to 1 Corinthians chapter 5 – Paul discusses immorality defiling the church, having to judge it, and to be a sanctified, separated people from such.
In our modern and corrupted world – we see a new believer come in who is in sexual relations with multiple partners and we shun them and turn them away. God forbid! We are so legalistic that grace in measure cannot be extended? But they are a threat to our women?! Ok, but have the men gone to the new believer and counseled? Does the new believer even know that it grieves God or understand what is happening?  Have they been anointed with oil and prayed over? Have they been released of stronghold and delivered?!
We all want revival and signs and wonders – but you WILL NOT have signs if you ARE NOT anointing and praying over EVER sinner who walks in your door!!! Period. Then end.
“Tent meetings” by design are prayed over before, and every person who comes is prayed over before and while there – there are multiple altar calls, including the salvation call, and prayer, prayer, LOVE and prayer.
Anyway, if we are to take 1 Corinthians chapter 5 in context it is written to the church as a group because of a specific problem – many of the believers, new and established still participated in the immoral sex worship of pagan Gods. This practice should NOT be tolerated.
Then we look elsewhere like here in Philippians about immoral new believers who didn’t know better and were immoral with multiple sex partners (not pagan worship), love them into the kingdom.  The difference is the cultural practices of the cities these letter were written.
So if someone comes into our church a sinner practicing witchcraft or humanism – do we throw them out? No, we extend grace. Because the early church bodies did NOT look like the current church body!!! Shame on us!
Back them they went out to the sinners and ate with them and talked with them and let God save them where they are. Today we have an outreach by opening our church door and saying, come in we have cookies! (God bless our Christmas cookie night, I am not putting it down – but it is not an “Out”reach it is a “pull-in”reach). The early church was like a huge family who came and went from each other’s homes like family. So when Paul is talking to the church it is to the core group.  The sinners were converted and changed before they ever came in. The church function was to feed, grow and send back out the believers.  Now our churches must also evangelize and save people who are in the building, full of people who are not serving, loving and edifying each other let alone the new comer) and most doing it with a form of godliness but denying the power therein.
We can and need to do better.

The Philippian church – they were doing A LOT right and Paul loved them so much this letter is not so strongly worded. Paul is tender and transparent to them about his own heart and conflicts. This church was poor and in contentions. Paul, in his writing, sets an example about putting aside your own “oh poor me” to serve and love others. And Paul sets forth sandwich style correction after sandwich style correction throughout the whole book. So do not take a verse without the ones around it. Because it is laid out with: you did this well, don’t do this, and do more of this cause you also do it well. See, a praise, a correction, and a praise.  We take the praise without the correction we feel really good about ourselves and God – but missed the shift we must experience in loving grace! (Why in grace? Because only God’s grace can change us!)

“God will provide all our needs!” Glory to God! This is great news! I should make this my go to scriptural promise for all my prayers and when I don’t get my petition, hold it up to God and scream at him – “But you said…!” Last year we spent a week on that verse. A week. Keeping it in context – going back into the previous chapter. Exploring how the book is in three parts and may not be laid out in our Bible in the exact order it was written, moving God’s provisions to the heart of the book! A week!
And we learned that this verse is not a promise, moreover a reprimand.
Paul was saying they are poor, yes – but you cannot out give God! Hello?!?!
Paul praises them for giving out of there need, and not out of their abundance and they are good givers – but they held back and were not content in obedience when they were asked (by God) to give more. This is a word of knowledge specifically to them. It only applies to us, if God said to us to give more than we want or feel comfortable giving. But all the money is God’s and he shuffles it as He wishes and His preferred means to shuffle money is through obedient followers. It keeps us in a place of keeping money and temptation in its place and it fulfills kingdom work. So duh – God will supply! If you give it all and cannot eat, God will give you food.
Like us, these people already had the teaching of Jesus and knew Jesus said in essence that God feeds the birds, and we are more precious than birds so he will feed us and give us good things. Like us these people had the prosperity and abundance verses, even though they did not have means (or what Paul calls “opportunity”).  Like us, they had the Hebrew Scriptures and “God owns the cattle on the hill” and “The Gold and Silver are mine says the Lord”. We have read them all this year, already. We have discussed them.

The Philippians also had them – so when Paul says ‘duh! God provides!’ it is not a glorious feel good promise, but a loving correction to their lack of faith – a call to remember all the GOOD of GOD! A reminder to count our blessings!

To be content and not contentious!

Because yes – this lead to people having people problems among themselves and the rest of the book is committed to it (like every book, it seems). Lack of love, lack of showing each other grace, etc and come-on already!!!

Only one is the accuser of the brethren with the lies – do not do His work. Paul says good root produce good fruit and corrupt roots do not bear well in the Spirit. Back to walking in the secret place to perceive these things – to judge fruits, not flaws. To make sure our actions are in love to restore and correct – not condemn and cause strife.  You will recognize him well – as the first thing he attacks is who you are and your testimony.

I am autistic with ADHD – but look what the Lord can do with an autistic person – so do not give up on the people and children you know who have autism and ADHD – God made them with a special plan!!
I was addicted to drug, alcohol and cigarettes – I am delivered!
I was pursuing my lusts and passions – I have been transformed in divine purpose!!
I overcome by the word of my testimony – and the accuser cannot steal it! He has already robbed me of so much and in the name of Jesus he must give it back! I am not playing.

Get into the secret place – walk in the spirit – walk being content in all things. If you are under God’s wing, listening to His heart beat – what is there to possibly not be content about?! Keep the scriptures simple – stop complicating and distorting them to make it prove your point. In the spirit and in the light – you can see clearly and there is no fear, no overwhelm, no worry.

Read Philippians 4:6-8. My Bible splits it up with a header – but Paul did not separate these verses!!! Do not worry or be anxious – because in the secret place, in the spirit, while bathed in right thinking, God gives you a different perspective on the bad news of this world – with supernatural peace!
Praise the Lord for the new Mask Mandate and the Fear Mongering – because we have the opportunity to finally conquer fear in our churches and overcome! We have been given a fresh opportunity and chance!  Get fed up and get under God’s wing!!! Either He heals or He doesn’t. Decide and act accordingly.

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: This month we have another powerful verse – this one will give you peace that passes understanding as the world around us spins out of control we know our sovereign God still has a plan! We may not be able to comprehend, but hang in there His way is better!!   

Isaiah 55:8

NIV – “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.”
NLT – “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”
ESV – “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.”
KJV – “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.”
NKJV – “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.”
NAS – “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.”
AMP – “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Philippians 1-4 NKJV

Greeting

Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ,

To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the [a]bishops and deacons:

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

Thankfulness and Prayer

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Christ Is Preached

12 But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, 13 so that it has become evident to the whole [b]palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; 14 and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

15 Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: 16 [c]The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; 17 but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.

To Live Is Christ

19 For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20 according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I [d]cannot tell. 23 [e]For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. 24 Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. 25 And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith, 26 that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again.

Striving and Suffering for Christ

27 Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but [f]to you of salvation, and that from God. 29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30 having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.

Unity Through Humility

Therefore if there is any [g]consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

The Humbled and Exalted Christ

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it [h]robbery to be equal with God, but [i]made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Light Bearers

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

14 Do all things without [j]complaining and disputing,[k] 15 that you may become blameless and [l]harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.

17 Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.

Timothy Commended

19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your [m]state. 20 For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. 21 For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. 22 But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel. 23 Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me. 24 But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly.

Epaphroditus Praised

25 Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need; 26 since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. 27 For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I sent him the more eagerly, that when you see him again you may rejoice, and I may be less sorrowful. 29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem; 30 because for the work of Christ he came close to death, [n]not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me.

All for Christ

Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe.

Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! For we are the circumcision, who worship [o]God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain[p] to the resurrection from the dead.

Pressing Toward the Goal

12 Not that I have already attained,[q] or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have [r]apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. 16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already [s]attained, let us walk by the same [t]rule, let us be of the same mind.

Our Citizenship in Heaven

17 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. 18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. 20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

Be Anxious for Nothing; Think These Thoughts

Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved.

Be United, Joyful, and in Prayer

I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. [u]And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

Let your [v]gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Meditate on These Things

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

Philippian Generosity

10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your[w] care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to [x]be abased, and I know how to [y]abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through [z]Christ who strengthens me.

14 Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress. 15 Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. 16 For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. 18 Indeed I [aa]have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. 19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 20 Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Greeting and Blessing

21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. 22 All the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar’s household.

23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with [ab]you all. Amen.

Footnotes

  1. Philippians 1:1 Lit. overseers
  2. Philippians 1:13 Or Praetorium
  3. Philippians 1:16 NU reverses vv. 16 and 17.
  4. Philippians 1:22 do not know
  5. Philippians 1:23 NU, M But
  6. Philippians 1:28 NU of your salvation
  7. Philippians 2:1 Or encouragement
  8. Philippians 2:6 Or something to be held onto to be equal
  9. Philippians 2:7 emptied Himself of His privileges
  10. Philippians 2:14 grumbling
  11. Philippians 2:14 arguing
  12. Philippians 2:15 innocent
  13. Philippians 2:19 condition
  14. Philippians 2:30 risking
  15. Philippians 3:3 NU, M in the Spirit of God
  16. Philippians 3:11 Lit. arrive at
  17. Philippians 3:12 obtained it
  18. Philippians 3:13 laid hold of it
  19. Philippians 3:16 arrived
  20. Philippians 3:16 NU omits rule and the rest of v. 16.
  21. Philippians 4:3 NU, M Yes
  22. Philippians 4:5 graciousness or forbearance
  23. Philippians 4:10 you have revived your care
  24. Philippians 4:12 live humbly
  25. Philippians 4:12 live in prosperity
  26. Philippians 4:13 NU Him who
  27. Philippians 4:18 Or have received all
  28. Philippians 4:23 NU your spirit

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