This year one of my goals was to read through the Bible, but more importantly to really dig into scripture. Some months have been better than others. Now that the year is halfway over I probably won’t make it through the Bible just reading the Scriptures, not because I don’t have enough time. But, because I want what I’m reading to be understood, to have meaning, and to be impactful. I believe that the Bible is just as true today, just as relevant today, as it was when it was first written.
In June Katie bought me a blank journal for my birthday.
Those that know me know I love pens, journals and notebooks, and really just about any kind of school supplies. I wasn’t sure what to do with the journal. I am a terrible journal keeper. I do okay for a few days or even weeks then life happens and I get busy and stop doing it or I don’t think I have anything exciting to write. Many times I’ve gone on mission trips or to camps or retreats and started a journal with every intention of completing it, but very rarely do. So this time I wanted to do something more with these blank pages. To leave behind something that someday my kids or grand-kids will pick up and read, and get to know me through them. I am writing out the scriptures as I study them, adding notes and interesting things I learn along the way.
In the Bible study I’m leading right now, I challenge the women to be in scripture daily and of focusing on what they’re reading . In June I read through the book of Philippians and try to really study it and see what truths I could get out of it. I took about two weeks time, to really dig into this book in the Bible. Here are some of my notes from Chapter 1.
Philippians was written about 61 AD written by Paul it was a letter of encouragement to the Christians and Philippi and to believed everywhere! Paul wrote this letter to thank the Philippians and to encourage them and give them strength.
Chapter 1-Living for Christ
As you grow in Christ love your heart and mind must grow together.
Verse 1 I thank my God every time I remember you
Verse 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good working you will carry it on until the day of Christ Jesus.
— what this verse says to me is when God starts a project he completed and that God won’t give up on you
Verse 9 and this is my prayer; that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight.
— what this first speaks to me is as you grow in Christ love your heart and mind must grow together and that we need to be unified in love
Verse 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and maybe pure and blameless until the day of Christ .
Verse 21 for me to live is Christ and to die is gain
— this verse says to me is if you’re not ready to die, then you’re not ready to live. Devote your life to what really counts without fear of death. Make certain of your eternal destiny then you’ll be free to serve.
Verse 27a whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ ...
This first part of Philippians, talks about Christ and his provisions for us. We can find joy in serving and living for Christ. One of the things my study Bible talks about with this first part of Philippians is not to let your present conditions rob you of the joy of knowing Christ or keep you from growing closer to him. And I think that’s really true. Sometimes our lives are not what we expect them to be, sometimes we’re going to have bad days maybe even bad weeks or months or years. But we need to remember that joy and happiness are different. When I find my joy in Christ and being obedient to what he’s called me to do, I don’t get so caught up in what the world says I need. Chapter one talks about living for Christ even when we don’t get what you want and spite of our circumstances and even with conflicts and I think that’s a hard lesson to learn. As a believer we want to think that the soon as we have that relationship with Christ everything’s gonna be perfect in our lives are going to get better, and they do but not in the way that we sometimes think it should.
As I spent time each day over a two week time in the book of Philippians I feel like I was really able to soak in some truths. I’ll share soon the the remaining three chapters and what stood out to me in each soon.
Overall in Philippians these new truths stood out.
Joy is the quiet, confident assurance of God‘s love and work in our lives-that he will be there no matter what!
Happiness depends on happenings, but joy depends on Christ.
Rejoicing or joy appears 16 times and these four chapters.
Paul knew freedom from suffering meant freedom to preach the gospel,. Period. His faith had been refined in the pressure cooker, so he knew there was no need to turn tail and run when things got hard.
Philippians is Paul’s joy letter. It emphasizes the real joy of Christ in our lives. It was most likely written while he was in prison.
It’s not enough to hear or read the word of God or even to know it well, we must also put it into practice. We are not designed to live out our faith in isolation.
As I read through these four short chapters it reminded me about God‘s love for me. Paul wrote this as an encouraging letter to others while he was in jail suffering himself. The faith he had and what God was doing in him and through him even while he was in prison is such an encouragement to me. It helps me to see that no matter what I’m going through, no matter how difficult my day seems to be, God is with me, and God can use this difficulty in my life to shine His light! So next time I’m confused, hurt, or wondering why God is allowing this bad thing to happen to me or someone I love, I’m going to reflect on what I learned in Philippians even if I have to go back and reread it and keep re-reading it.
Have a Blessed Day!