Posts

Showing posts from February, 2013

Onward

Image
Day 4 I press on to take hold  of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.   - Philippians 3:12b "pressing on" - to continue and carry through with, not giving up and pushing forward "take hold" - hold firmly, keep close "that" - im not exactly sure what they mean by "take hold of THAT" "Christ Jesus took hold of me" - his embrace, security and assurance To keep this verse in context, Paul was talking about being imperfect, how he doesnt fully know all of Christ, doesnt fully understand the power of the resurrection, hasnt fully become like him in his death (v.10). But he remains encouraged to "take hold of that" and to "press on", not to give up just there. He says to take hold like Christ took hold. And as we know, Christ is perfect and everlasting. He loves and holds us forevermore, and I think we in the same manner, should hold firmly to the strive towards righteousness in a sense of "foreverm

Metamorphosis

Image
Day 3 13  For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.   - Philippians 2:13 (NLT) The technique "Pronounce It" encourages and recommends that you read the verse several times, and every time to focus on a specific word. Each time, I read it with an emphasis on a word it really stood out to me, and I thought more than just what the word meant, but how it was said. "working" - this is in present tense, God has been, is, and will continue to work in your life. He's doing that right now. "giving you" - what is he working on? he is giving, granting and gifting us something. He is such a gracious and wonderful God, giving and blessing us with so much. "desires" - the urge, the want, "power" - and the ability to execute "what pleases him" - he gives us the urge and ability to glorify Him. He equips us well for his task and his will, not leaving us empty-handed. He is a conside

Whatever Happens,

Image
Day 2 27  Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy  of the gospel of Christ.  - Philippians 1:27a I have also found it helpful to digest the Word by replacing words with synonyms, to get a better feel for the overall verse and passage and what it is trying to say. Whatever happens, regardless of the circumstance or situations, let us conduct and behave ourselves, no matter what we say or what we do, in a manner, in such a way that is worthy of the gospel. The gospel has great and infinite worth, let us live a life as worthy that reflects Christ and the gospel itself. As I explained previously in my post, im in a tough situation this week, dealing with decisions, considerations, and patience, im really relying on God and the Spirit to speak to me, and i think this passage is a good reminder that "whatever happens", no matter the situation or outcome, that God is in control. That I am to live a life for Christ, reflecting his love and characteristics a

Commitment

Image
Finally i've been able to begin my "40 Days in the Word" booklet by Rick Warren, so i've decided that I'm taking a short break from my typical daily devotions routine to go through this, try the new techniques and ways of reading, loving, and applying scripture in hopes that it will benefit me in the future. "Pronounce It" is the first technique they are implementing, and it involves, reading through a verse, multiple times, exaggerating one word at a time as you go through it. By doing it, it provokes one to really think through each word, to really digest the material instead of just flying by and taking the initial thought/meaning they get. Day 1 6  being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion  until the day of Christ Jesus. - Philippians 1:6 Coming across this was interesting because I had just previously read the book of Philippians, so it was interesting to go back to again, and maybe i'

Regardless of Circumstance

Image
2  Devote yourselves to prayer,  being watchful and thankful.   3  And pray for us, too, that God may open a door  for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery  of Christ, for which I am in chains.   4  Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.   5  Be wise  in the way you act toward outsiders;  make the most of every opportunity.   6  Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt,  so that you may know how to answer everyone. - Colossians 4:2-6 The final chapter of Colossians is a quick wrap up from Paul, where he sends his greetings and final instructions. It's very similar to the instructions he has sent previously, although it may seems repetitive, it is always a constant reminder and reinforcement to how we should live for Christ, and how to remain in his presence. As I think about it more and more, I begin to realize how much more I need to apply this into my life. Im currently in a situation with mixed feelings, with a job opportuni

Laundry Day

Image
Now that we have decided to be with Christ, to have him live in us, we must practice our devotion with holy living. We must realize that the materialistic and earthy things on this earth will fade, and that we should focus on what is eternal instead, for they satisfy forever. Paul explains holy living as if you were changing your outfit or clothes. We once rolled in the mud, fell in puddles and are covered in dirt. Our filthy clothes that are stained with sexual immorality, lust, greed, rage, anger, slander, and idolatry. But in Christ, we are to take off and put down those rags we once owned and put on a new fresh and clean set of clothes, cleansed from all sinful things. They're threaded with humility, kindness, patience, gentleness, forgiveness and love. As we put it on, we're to live out those characteristics as well. Paul guarantees us that when we put on this new self, and live accordingly, we will experience true peace, and true joy. With the scriptures, we will b

Freedom

Image
In Christ, there is freedom. Colossians 2 talks about freedom from human regulations through life in Christ. When we have truly accepted Christ as our Lord and Saviour, we must continue to live in Him, rooted in Him, and be strengthened in our faith (v.6-7). Christ is pure and holy, and in him, there is no sin. As followers, we have to put off our sinful nature, whatever it may be, and learn to put on the new self Christ has given us (v.11-13). He loves us so much that if we do put off our sin, and confess, he takes away all our wrongs, and he has done so by nailing it to the cross through his son Jesus Christ. We cannot serve both God and Man. And the struggles we face, must be given to God. We ourselves are limited and cannot overcome it just by self-effort. We need God to change our hearts, break us down and help us realize his grace, his love and his power for us. All our sinful desires and acts ultimately lead us down the road to death, to eternal punishment in hell. We a

looking back

Image
From Epharas, we move on to Colossae. Paul writes the letter Colossians concerning the people of Colossae. Although he has been told that they have been holding on to their faith, they have been teaching against the gospel. So Paul hopes that this letter will help strengthen and guide them back to Christ. As I read Colossians 1, there was this odd feeling because the passage stood out so clearly as if I have read it before or something. Going back through my blog, I realized that it was this text that started my scripture chapter-by-chapter studies. It has been almost five months since that started and it is interesting and reflect and see how far i've gone. The passage tells us to live a life worthy of the Lord, bearing fruit, growing in scripture, being thankful and patient, enduring all things (v.10-12). Quickly thinking about it, I think parts of me have developed in those areas. I have learnt to be more prayerful and thankful, integrating Christ more and more into my life

In All Circumstances

Image
Paul gives several different hints and pieces of advice we can take from Philippians 4. As I read along through the passage, several verses stuck out, but towards the end, Paul talks about how we should act no matter the circumstances, he uses words like "always", meaning it is a continuous act. Rejoice in the Lord always (v.4).  Be joyful at all times. God is a good God who will only do good for you. He blesses, he watches over, he guides and sustains us. He will never do anything that is bad for you. Although we go through rough and difficult times, they have a good purpose hidden in them. Are you able to rejoice in times of suffering? Dont be anxious, but by prayerful and thankful (v.6). We will definitely go through times of stress and anxiety throughout our lives. In fact, I myself am struggling as I attempt to apply and find for jobs in the summer. Sometimes things do get frustrating and discouraging, but Paul reminds us to pray and thank God for what he's

Flesh & Christ

Image
As we live on earth, there is a constant struggle, a constant game of tug-of-war between the flesh and Christ. We as humans are sinners, living a broken life, with selfish desires, yearning for the pleasures of the earth. Especially when we come to faith and come to Christ, we are called to live differently, and that change causes us to be torn, between Christ and flesh. I feel like most of our walk, if not all is to realize and to learn to be fully given to Christ. Paul tells us in Philippians 3 not to put confidence in the flesh. Several times in previous chapters, we've been told that the sins and desires of the flesh lead to death and destruction. It is all temporary, whereas a life in Christ leads to an eternity of happiness. It is all a matter of the heart, and our hearts are a battlefield. 7  But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss  for the sake of Christ.   8  What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing  Christ Jesus

Imitate: Humility

Image
Ephesians 5 calls us to imitate Christ, and once again here in Philippians 2, the first section is appropriately named, "imitating Christ's humility". Dictionary.com defines humility as "the quality or condition of being humble; modest opinion or estimate of one's own importance, rank, etc." Synonyms found are lowliness, meekness, and submissiveness. The opposite of humility is pride; boasting about oneself, putting yourself above everything else, but Paul here calls us to flip it around, to put others first. That doesn't necessarily mean to put yourself down, but to have the interest of others in mind. You may go on to ask "how exactly does one even do that?" Look to Christ. He is always to perfect example, and in the chapter, Paul explains it perfectly. Christ made himself nothing, he came down to earth, not as a king, but as a helpless child, a servant. He put others' interests before him, and he followed God, to his death on the

How Committed

Image
Paul writes the next book, Philippians while he is imprisoned in Rome. This book was probably written around 60-62 C.E. Throughout Philippians, Paul shares his experiences, his plans, and encourages humility and plans. He also later on reminds them of the consequences of false teachings. 9  And this is my prayer: that your love  may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,   10  so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,   11  filled with the fruit of righteousness  that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. - Philippians 1:9-11 Even in prison Paul was praying for those around him, in the worst of circumstances, he still thinks of others before himself. While reading these two verses, I felt that we could similarly say that this should be our prayers and for others as well. Paul prays that our love abound more in knowledge and insight. Let us continue to love more and more, uncondition

Obedience in Christ

Image
As I continue to read the following chapters of Ephesians, including the final one, chapter 6, I continue to realize that all of it is relevant to living for God, how we should act, and what it truly means to be a follower of God.  Paul again tackles how we should live with in three final aspects before concluding his letter. Honor Your Father and Mother (v.1-4) We're called to obey our parents, from the get go in the book of Exodus, it is one of the ten commandments we must follow. Our parents ultimately have much more wisdom and experience than us, and as our true parents, they have a genuine heart to look out for us and give what is truly best for us. They're the closest thing we have to our holy Father who resides in heaven. Obeying them will only do you good. Of course only if it aligns with the Bible. Obey and Serve God (v.5-9) Paul puts this instruction in an interesting manner by comparing our obedience to those who are enslaved to their masters. Just as we are

Lent 2013

Image
Its that time of year again. Its time for Lent! For those who do not know, lent is a forty day period before Easter, where we give up something that we hold dear to our heart so in turn we can spend more time with the Lord. We are often cluttered with errands, work, assignments, who knows what. Yet we never have time for the Lord, the God who created us, unconditionally loves us, and yearns to have a relationship with us. I've never really done lent, but last year I started with 40 days without twitter. I dont really remember how I felt throughout the period, but i think it was definitely hard at first, but better as time went on. But this year, I've really decided to kick it up a notch and lent something bigger. It's all out or nothing. I've really started and understand and learn the importance of my faith, and where it should stand on my list of priorities. Its difficult to keep it at the forefront when you have so much going on. That's why i've decide

Lord, Light, & Love

Image
Most of the next chapter in Ephesians, chapter 5 continues and concludes the bit on "Living as Children of Light." As touched upon in the previous post, Paul kicks off the chapter by saying "be imitators of Christ." When we have a role model, we want to be like them, do what they do, say what they say, and we should have the same mentality with Christ, to grow to be Christlike, following his every move. Paul also notes to live a life of love, as a living sacrifice. God doesnt just show love, he himself is love. Sacrifice is also the greatest way to show love, just as Jesus did. Therefore, Paul's two final notes are simply rooted in love. We are called to love, its the greatest commandment. With these reminders, Paul also comes with rebuke. Just as he did in chapter 4, he tells us of the things we should not do, that are not pleasing and holy to God. But as you read verse 3, the severity of these two sins seem to be very significant. He strictly tells us to

As One

Image
Ephesians 4 is a great chapter that explores the life after our repentance and after we have turned back to Christ. It compares our old desires and ways with what our new attitude and outlook should be. Paul gives several simple guidelines to follow as we learn to live and grow in Christ. Paul first addresses us as a whole, as a body and a unit of Christ. When we've been adopted into God's family, we're not an only child, but in a family of millions, by placing ourselves in a community of believers, we will be surrounded by people who care and love God, which results to love and care for those around them. As a whole we are called to live humbly, gently, patiently, and lovingly. God assigned and gave us pastors, preachers, teachers, evangelists etc.. so that they can help equip and build us up, preparing us for works of service, knowledge of scripture, but most importantly, the ultimate goal, attaining the fullness of Christ (v.11-13). With fellow brothers and sisters,

A Prayer for You

Image
14  For this reason I kneel  before the Father,  15  from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.   16  I pray that out of his glorious riches  he may strengthen you with power  through his Spirit in your inner being,   17  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts  through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted  and established in love,   18  may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people,  to grasp how wide and long and high and deep  is the love of Christ,   19  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge —that you may be filled  to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20  Now to him who is able  to do immeasurably more than all we ask  or imagine, according to his power  that is at work within us,  21  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. - Ephesians 3:14-21 This is the second half of the chapter, and entitled "A Prayer for the Ephesians", i think it can easily be ch

Simply Put

Image
Its crazy how God speaks and works because just before my devotions, I read exactly what I prayed afterwards. Paul tells us that we were made alive in Christ in Ephesians 2. We are easily sucked into the ways of this world we live in, having our own desires yearn for the sins of the flesh, and being tempted by billboards, media, videos, friends and other influences. We've all sinned, and we've all indulged in such cravings, making us objects of wrath (v.3). We are fully worthy of the eternal punishment we are bound for. But again, we are reminded that a God who loves us no less has saved us because of his love and grace. It just a simple gift from God. If you do choose to accept that gift, we've become apart of his household, his family, and his community, with Christ as our chief, our cornerstone, holding us up through all trials and storms (v.19-22). As a community of God, we are created to do good, to share his love with others through speech and through deed. Thi

Always Remember

Image
The New Testament continues with the book of Ephesians, again written by Paul around 62 A.D. It mainly focuses on love, unity, and God's redemptive works. The major themes found through the book are a) that Christ has reconciled all things to Him, and b) that Christ unites all nations to Him. The first chapter beings with a great summary of everything we are to be reminded of, things we should always have at the forefront of our minds. 3  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,  who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.   4  For he chose us  in him before the creation of the world  to be holy and blameless  in his sight. In love   5  he predestined  us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure  and will—   6  to the praise of his glorious grace,  which he has freely given us in the One he loves.   7  In him we have redemption  through his blood,  the forgiveness of sins, in accorda