So I have been sitting in Philippians 1 nearly every day….reading, listening , writing, mulling, praying and expecting, talking reading, writing, listening. As I look back on the last month I fee like I have been well fed and yet there is a hunger for more??to keep digging! and feeding on what promises life. Though we all have so much to be thankful for and it has been my intention to integrate thanksgiving as a habit, the pace and the pressure of life often squeeze the joy from us. Our shoulders slumped and our heads bowed, we find some days—or months—very difficult to get through. Desperate, we often search for joy in all kinds of ways—acquiring possessions, visiting places, or seeing people… none of these can provide lasting joy or the contentment we long for. Where do I find joy and contentment in the midst of a trying circumstance? Paul knew, and Paul tells me in so many different ways…
Don’t let your heart be shackled and contorted any more or with ‘that’..that jealousy, disappointment, frustrations and rejection. Don’t let ‘those’ prison gates close around your heart. Stay free, and live free, worthy of the life that has been given to me. Paul ends with this incredible exhortation to stand in agreement with other Christians.. for me that is Hills Church???not some random people up the road or oversea. This passage is about how I flesh out my walk with God alongside Hills church believers. The mums, the girls, the guys, the teens, the grannies, the new Christians, the older Christians…In the context of my Hills church community…consider chapter 2. We don’t shut the door on Philippians 1 ..we take it with us. we flesh it out in March and April and May. We must take all that the Holy Spirit (via Paul ) has poured into us. Paul will begin chapter two with this one word: Therefore…in the light of all that you have just read and heard in February ….this is what I need you to do.. CHAPTER 2.
So what is it I am taking with me…Only what I have lived….Is it being activated in me? has it become flesh?
Has something shifted in me?
Am I willing into to believe what God says about me and what he promises me in Chapter 1? Am I the saint he calls me? Am I feeling heard and feeling grace and peace?
Am I applying the manna that I have daily fed on or have I simply left it sitting on my iPad for someone else to feed on.
Has it changed my mind, and helped me love better and wiser and stronger and more?
Have I simply fed my mind but not allowed it to penetrate my heart?
A wiser mind should change my heart and make me live a better life.
Am I a doer of the word or just a reader.
Am I listening or just hearing.
It is not about doing more but doing more like Jesus than I was yesterday an dying more to jenny and living Christ more today than yesterday.
Is the word becoming flesh?
Am I letting God complete the work he started or am I resisting his work in me?
Am I loving more than I was yesterday?
Am I really a saint because of who I belong to or has my gospel changed somewhat to suit my needs and wants.
What is the gospel and it is my gospel or the real gospel?
Is my gospel based on the work of Christ or my good deeds and my worthy conduct?
Am I citizen of heaven because I am better than others or because I belong to Jesus.
does my conduct make me a citizen heave or am I a citizen of heaven first
Is my life proving the gospel is real or is it causing confusion for those looking on?
When I am angry, frustrated, annoyed , hurt and offended…in that moment what does my life say about heaven and the gospel.
Am I truly thankful or just saying thanks becasue it is expected of me?
Am I truly thankful or am I tying to use thanksgiving like a magic potion to get God to agree with me.
Is my desire to make thanksgiving a habit or is the habit a by product of my desire to be thankful.
Do I choose thanksgiving to keep discontentment away or do I use thanksgiving as a strategy when discontentment comes near.
Is discontentment wreaking it’s havoc over my heart and mind or am I able to keep the clanging bars of that prison at away because grace and provision from heaven is a far better way?
Can I recognise the symptoms of discontentment better than I could a month ago?
What part do I play in joy giver or joy theif, peace maker or peace breaker?
What part will I play in partnering in the devil’s efforts to shackle, intimidate or manipulate?
Will I partner with the enemy or with other beleivers?
When others are not playing their part. Struggling to grasp the gospel and live the gospel…will my conduct help clarify the gospel or confuse it?
Will I stand with them until they are strong enough to stand?
Did today prove the gospel’s power is real for me?
What does it mean for me to live today worthy of the gospel?
Did my kids see the gospel in me today? In my tone? my time? my demands?
Did the volunteers and customer at the op shop see the gospel more clearly today then yesterday?
Is joy defining me today or do others have to listen to the white noise of a bad attitude because I have lost sight of grace?
Why is the favour of God only the good stuff?
Why does suffering play a part in this ‘sent from heaven’ equation?
How am I going with wrestling out favour, suffering, freedom, hard, long suffering, and abundant life all in one sentence?
How do I live on earth as a heaven-sent citizen when my family, my work, my circumstances are anything but heavenly….
Bring on chapter 2 ..I am ready for my heart to be wrenched in 1000 different directions to be put back whole, well, and joy filled because Jesus lives here and is open for heaven’s peace and grace to be poured in…