Friday, February 26, 2010

Blogging Bible Study: Philippians Lesson 3

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi
Philippians 2: 1 - 16 Exhortation to Humility

Can I just say, before I get started with this, that Phil. 2:1-11 is one of my favorite Scripture passages?

1. Humility through Unity Phil. 2: 1 - 4
Actually, I think this ties in with what we looked at last week -- conducting oneself in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ (Phil. 1:27). I didn't hit the particulars of that too hard last Friday, let me review them again:
- stand firm in one spirit
- contend as one for the faith of the Gospel
-not frightened by opposition.

If you look at that short list, you'll see that 2/3 of it refers to being united; further discussion of that concept opens chapter 2.

Of course, such unity with people flows out of unity with Christ, and Paul properly places the relationships in that order. But look at how many different ways he describes unity among believers:
- be like-minded
- have the same love
- be one in spirit and purpose
- don't do anything out of conceit or selfish ambition
- consider others better than yourselves
- look after one anothers interests...not just your own

Just the first one will trip me up. Be like minded. That means I need to strive to see things from other people's point of view; I need to consider how they process information and how they perceive the words and actions of people around them. I'm really not entitled to my own opinion.

Ouch. Just sayin'.

But if we really practiced unity...instead of would make a huge impact on the way the body of Christ functions.

2. The Example of Christ Phil. 2: 5 - 11
Of course, our pace-setter in this walk is Jesus Himself. He lived a life totally devoid of self-serving or personal ambition; his whole life was lived in unity with and in obedience to the Father...even to the point of death.

But, because he was obedient to that level, he was also rewarded. We need to remember this as well; God doesn't manipulate us around just to see if He can; He moves us and positions us through our obedience into a place of blessing and reward. That's His real goal.

3. The Expression of the Worthy Life Phil. 2:12 - 16
This is where the rubber meets the road; how do we really practice unity?
Verse 13 is a fabulous promise. Look at it closely: is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

See, it is God working in us so that our will lines up with His. In other words, He adjusts our attitude so that we WANT to do what He desires. It becomes less and less of a struggle as we continually move in obedience.

Then he gives them one last principle of unity: The Good Attitude.
Do everything without complaining or arguing

Live a life worthy of the Gospel? If you live w/o complaining or arguing, Paul says, you'll actually stand out like a shining star on a moonless night.

And he points out that if those he has taught will do those things, he will feel like he has accomplished the purpose God had for his life.
Be humble
Be united with the body of Christ
do all things without complaining or arguing.

Such a short list! But such potential impact...

The Study so far:
Feb. 5 Intro
Feb. 12 Lesson 1 Phil. 1:1 - 11 Affectionate Greetings
Feb. 19 Lesson 2 Phil. 1:12 - 29 Testimony in a Time of Suffering
Feb. 26 Lesson 3 Phil. 2:1 - 16 Exhortation to Humility
March 5 Lesson 4 Phil. 2:17 - 30 Commendations of Coworkers
March 12 Lesson 5 Phil. 3: 1 - 16 Warnings Regarding Legalism
March 19 Lesson 6 Phil. 3:17 - 4:7 Instruction on Living as Citizens of Heaven
March 26 Lesson 7 Phil. 4:8 - 23 Gratitude for Concerned Support

Monday, February 22, 2010

Before You Speak...

Today, I heard a remark (that was not directed specifically to me) that really started me thinking...

'[It's apparent] when you've been thinking then speaking, and then when you've been praying then speaking.'

Wow. I tend to be pretty lame at even thinking before I speak; sometimes my mouth opens just so I can stick my foot in it. But praying before I

Now, on occasion, I do pray before I speak. When I have to address a delicate situation; when I have to teach...y'know,on occasion. But to routinely pray before I say anything? That's a paradigm shift.

But I bet I'd suffer much less foot-in-mouth disease if I made it a regular practice.

Cause, you know, if other people can tell the difference between a thought-based word and a prayer-based word, I should be much more particular to keep my words prayer-based.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Blogging Bible Study: Philippians Lesson 2

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi
Testimony in Time of Suffering: Philippians 1:12-29
1. The Gospel Advances - Phil. 1:12-18a
After his greetings, Paul immediately begins reassuring the Philippians about his condition. Sure, he's imprisoned and in chains, but he is quick to point out that those very circumstances have served to spread the Gospel - even the palace guards have heard the message of Jesus! And other brothers -- those not in prison -- have become more courageous in sharing the Gospel as well. Sure, Paul says, some of those folks weren't preaching from the best motives, but, so long as the Gospel is getting out, he's happy.

What a ministry model. Paul had no turf to guard, no agenda to protect. He didn't care if he got any credit for anything. So long as the Gospel was preached, he was happy. But, beyond that, even though he was shackled, he was actually able to share the Gospel with who otherwise might not have been able to hear it. He didn't complain about his unjust imprisonment; on the contrary, he saw it as an opportunity.
Friends, that's pretty amazing. I've got a long way to grow before I will be at that level. I'm just sayin'.

2. Paul Expects Freedom - Phil. 1: 18b - 25
So, Paul's rejoicing because the Gospel is spreading, and he's also rejoicing because he expects to be released. It's interesting to note that he freely recognizes that release could either be freedom from his prison, or it could be that he is killed for his stand in Christ. But look at what he says about those possibilities:
I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. (v. 20)

He's talking about having courage when the executioner comes, if that's the outcome. He even admits in the next verse that it would be gain to him if he dies. But, he recognizes that it would be difficult for the Philippians, who love him, if he dies. So, he says, so long as it is necessary and expedient for him to live, he's sure he will. He even states that he expects to be reunited with them at some point in the future....since they have been praying for him (v. 19).

3)Living the Testimony of Suffering - Phil. 1:27 - 29
Still, Paul cautions them, 'Whatever happens...' He had confidence that he would be restored to them, but he also knew that God's plans might not go that way. He wanted to make sure the believers at Philippi did not get discouraged if he were not released, or, worse, if he were executed.

'Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ,' he instructs them.
Let's look at how he describes a 'manner worthy of the Gospel':
-- stand firm in one spirit
-- contending as one man for the faith
-- not frightened in any way by the opposition

Living this way points to the grace of Christ, which empowers believers to maintain that lifestyle even in the face of suffering. It's a sign to those who oppose the Gospel message. It's the reason Paul's testimony has reached so far from his confinement...and the Philippians, who have shared Paul's struggle, have the same opportunities.

Final Thoughts: Paul's circumstances became a ministry tool; what unfavorable situations are in my life about which I need to shift my paradigm to consider them opportunities? To whom might such a shift testify about God's grace?

The Study so far:
Feb. 5 Intro
Feb. 12 Lesson 1 Phil. 1:1 - 11 Affectionate Greetings
Feb. 19 Lesson 2 Phil. 1:12 - 29 Testimony in a Time of Suffering
Feb. 26 Lesson 3 Phil. 2:1 - 16 Exhortation to Humility
March 5 Lesson 4 Phil. 2:17 - 30 Commendations of Coworkers
March 12 Lesson 5 Phil. 3: 1 - 16 Warnings Regarding Legalism
March 19 Lesson 6 Phil. 3:17 - 4:7 Instruction on Living as Citizens of Heaven
March 26 Lesson 7 Phil. 4:8 - 23 Gratitude for Concerned Support

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Random Dozen, Olympic Style

I decided, oh, long 'bout Sunday, that I'd do Linda's Random Dozen Meme this week. Sort of an instant blog post, if you will.

But, given the fact that I haven't turned the TV on once all week, I do feel a little hypocritical in talking about the Olympics. At least she didn't ask any questions about the current competition...

1. If you could compete in one Olympic event (not necessarily winter sports) what would it be?
I've always *loved* figure skating, despite the fact that I have the balance,flexibility and grace of a landlocked sea turtle. Not to mention that I'm scared of heights and going fast on slick surfaces. But, yeah, I wish I were a graceful skater.

2. Do you remember a specific Olympic moment from the past?
I remember lots of Olympic moments, but the one that comes to mind first would be the definitive Olympic moment of 1996, when Keri Strug stuck that second vault with a torn up ankle. And I hope I remembered how to spell her name.

3. Have you ever known anyone who competed in the Olympics?
I don't *think* so.

4. If everyday activities were Olympic-worthy, which activity would you have a gold medal in?
The Procrastination long can I put things off and still get them done on time?

5. Do you know anything about your ethnic heritage?
Somewhat. Scotch/Irish/English mostly.

6. Do you enjoy sleeping late?
Of course! That's the chief training for Number 4. But at my house, 'late' means past 6 AM.

7. Have you ever performed CPR on anyone? Do you know how? (Yes, that's two, I know. Whatevs.)
A) No. And I'd really like to keep it that way because B)my CPR certification is about 25 years out of date.

8. Name one country you'd like to visit and explain why.
I tend to get sick on airplanes, so my inclination to travel is understandably limited. But if I could get there without embarrassing myself, I'd love to visit Ireland. Back to my roots and all (see number 5).

9. Have you ever fixed up a couple romantically?
Um, I don't think so.

10. What is the last book you read?
I can't believe I'm having a hard time answering this. Me, the one known to get into trouble for reading when I should be doing other things ever since I learned how. It's what I do best. And yet...when did I last sit down with a book?, I think it was Prophetic Evangelism by Sean Smith.

11. Do you enjoy sleeping late? NO, YOU write the question! How's that for random??
Ok, here's my question: Thin Mints or Trefoils? Trefoils

12. What is your favorite meal at your favorite restaurant?
At this moment, it would be Penne Rustica at Macaroni Grill. With a breakfast of beef biscuits and gravy at Das Dutchman Essenhaus in Middlebury, IN a close second ;)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Early in our marriage, I told My Sweet Baboo that I'd gladly accept flowers from him any day of the year EXCEPT Valentine's Day.

Couldn't handle the idea that he paid 2-3 times the usual rate for flowers just because it's February 14. So, I rarely get flowers on Valentine's Day.

But that's just fine with me. He's my Valentine...whether I get candy and flowers or not.

And, because it's Valentine's Day, I want to share one of the reasons My Sweet Baboo is My Hero.

We have a ministry to low-income kids at church in which MSB is heavily involved and, just today, we discovered a video about the program has been posted. So, for Mom and anyone else who's interested, here's the link:
Ranger Videos
You'll have to scroll down to select the one that says, 'What If...RR in Huntsville, AL.'

Um, don't be surprised if you recognize my honey's name. Not him, just his name. ;)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Blogging Bible Study: Philippians - Lesson 1

(Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi)

Philippians 1: 1 - 11 - Affectionate Greetings

1. Paul's affection for the believers at Philippi (1:1 - 8)
Imagine for a moment that you are the Apostle Paul, under house arrest, likely awaiting a trial before Nero, in a city that you've always longed to visit but hadn't had the opportunity. People can come and visit with you a bit, but you are shackled in the house and always attended by a Roman guard. There is no sightseeing, no outings. Your faithful protege, Timothy, is with you and acts as your secretary and errand runner, but most of the friends you have made through years of traveling in ministry seem very far away.

Then, one day, a young man arrives at your door, having traveled from the first city you arrived in after answering the call to go to Macedonia so many years earlier. He brings greetings from the people there and, to your surprise, a monetary gift that will go a long way towards purchasing things to make life more good food. But he's picked up some kind of ailment on his travels, and he arrives very ill. In fact, it's touch-and-go for a bit, but at last he throws off the infection and regains his health and his strength. Now, he can return to his people, and passage is booked on a return ship.

Timothy picks up quill and parchment to write the letter you will dictate for the young man, Epaphroditus by name, to carry back with him. How would you start a letter to these folks who have sacrificed on your behalf and who have supported you in prayer since you met them?

After the opening salutations and traditional greeting, Paul verbally embraces his far away friends. This is how The Message renders his words:
Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God's message, from the day you heard it right up to the present.

Paul was overjoyed to hear from his friends, he was overjoyed when he thought about his friends, he was overjoyed when he prayed for his friends. Never mind that he was shut up in the house...he knew their hearts for him and for the ministry of the Gospel and it filled him with joy.

He was so full of joy that he assured them of the confidence that he had that God, who began a good work in them, would carry that work on to completion.
Paul could obviously be referring to their salvation, but he could also be referring to the spread of the Gospel in Europe...that work began in Philppi. As he noted earlier, the Philippians were partners with him in that work, so his encouragement in the ministry would apply to them as well. To be sure, both applications are true. God works in us individually and corporately to complete the work that HE began. What is required from us is not our effort, but our submission.

Paul emphasizes the relationship he had with the folks at Philippi once more, stating that he has them in his heart and they share in God's grace with him, whether he's imprisoned or out in ministry. In fact, he longs for them with the affection of Christ.

Sounds like he misses his friends very much. So, he prays for them often.

2. Paul's prayers for the Philippians 1:9 - 11

This is a very interesting example of how to pray for people. Look at Paul's requests for his friends:
- that their love abound in knowledge and insight
- that they could discern what is best
- that they would be pure and blameless
- that they would be filled with the fruit of righteousness

It's interesting that he didn't pray for their physical well-being or prosperity or personal safety. He prayed for their spiritual lives.

I tell you, I'm challenged to pray this way. Most of my intercession involves praying for safety, or healing, or favor. Not purity and righteousness and abounding love.

But, you know, if love abounds w/knowledge and insight, and discernment as to what is best is operational while we walk pure and blameless, filled with the fruit of righteousness...what more is there to want? Really?

Lord, I don't know the names of all the people that might stumble across this post, but I pray that their love would abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that every one of them would be able to discern what is best, and will be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ - to the glory and praise of God

The Study so far:
Feb. 6 Intro
Feb. 13 Lesson 1 Phil. 1:1 - 11 Affectionate Greetings
Feb. 20 Lesson 2 Phil. 1:12 - 29 Testimony in a Time of Suffering
Feb. 27 Lesson 3 Phil. 2:1 - 16 Exhortation to Humility
March 6 Lesson 4 Phil. 2:17 - 30 Commendations of Coworkers
March 13 Lesson 5 Phil. 3: 1 - 16 Warnings Regarding Legalism
March 20 Lesson 6 Phil. 3:17 - 4:7 Instruction on Living as Citizens of Heaven
March 27 Lesson 7 Phil. 4:8 - 23 Gratitude for Concerned Support

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Something new!

The broiler on our old stove died sometime in the last six months. Not sure when, but sometime back I decided to use it and it wouldn't heat up. Now, when we bought the house it came with a home warranty, and we've kept the policy up...since we have appliances/heat pumps/etc that are aging with the house. And we've had to make use of the policy a couple of times. It's been pretty much worth it.

So, we called the home warranty folks and they sent a repair man out who identified the problem as a bad(I think) circuit board and ordered a new part.

Well, since the stove is probably as old as the house, the part was no longer available. Upshot: we're getting a whole new stove (and the home warranty just paid for itself big time!)

The old stove required special reflector pans that cost something like 20 bucks each...and the old ones were looking pretty bad. The old stove had a 'self cleaning' cycle on it, but you know there was no manual left anywhere for it so I had no idea how to use it. So the oven looked pretty bad, too.

And the electric coil burners (aka 'eyes' in the South...) did not lay flat. can imagine how tickled I am. Especially since My Sweet Baboo decided it would be worthwhile to pay a bit ourselves and upgrade to a glass top model.

It's supposed to be here tomorrow...wheee!!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Publish Post

One thing about letting myself *not* blog gets way too easy to not blog at all.

Which probably isn't a world-altering crisis, but I've discovered that the less I blog, the less I think critically about life. I let myself slide on too many levels.

I sit at the screen, all mushy-minded, trying to think of a topic about which I could write intelligently. Then, before I realize it, I find myself closing the window, without writing anything. It's suddenly just too much effort to think coherently.

That *is* bad. Regardless of whether or not anyone reads what I write, I need to write it, for the sheer exercise of it. Because practicing the art of communicating is necessary.

So. I got out of the blogging routine...I need to get back into the blogging routine.

Not because you, my faithful few readers, are hanging onto every word that comes from my keyboard, but because I need to hold myself accountable for the standards by which I live my life.

Somehow, knowing I will be blogging about an issue tends to keep my perspective on it a little more objective.

And I have started to erase this whole post about three times; each time, I realize that erasing it would be falling back into the shell.

Not gonna do that. So...'Publish Post'

Friday, February 5, 2010

Blogging Bible Study: Philippians Intro

You know, when I start these things I don't study them out and then write them up for the blog; I basically just blog my own study. So sometimes I have to say, "You know, I thought I knew something but I was wrong."

That's the case w/the introduction to Philippians. For some reason, I had it fixed in my head that Paul wrote this during his final imprisonment, when he was in the horrible Mamertine Prison.

But, as I read Mr. Scofield's notes, I find I have been mistaken. Paul likely wrote this during his first imprisonment...the house arrest mentioned in Acts 28. So, while Paul was not exactly free, he was not in the miserable state I thought.

But still. It's a remarkable letter from someone whose liberties are restricted and who really does not know what his future holds.

The church in Philippi was Paul's first ministry in Europe, and the believers there loved Paul and were much loved by him. Knowing Paul was imprisoned, the Philippians had taken up a collection for him and sent it to Rome with a young man named Epaphroditus. So Paul wrote the letter as a response to the gift, and sent it back to the Philippians w/ the returning Epaphroditus.

Paul no doubt never guessed that 2000 years later believers would still be reading his instructions and exhortations and testimonies; he may not even realized God had a purpose in the letter at all. But such is the mystery of inspiration...that God used ordinary people to do things with extraordinary impact. So I'll be looking for God's purpose in preserving this letter for us to study today. What is the message for me?

Here's the plan:

Feb. 13 Lesson 1 Phil. 1:1 - 11 Affectionate Greetings
Feb. 20 Lesson 2 Phil. 1:12 - 29 Testimony in a Time of Suffering
Feb. 27 Lesson 3 Phil. 2:1 - 16 Exhortation to Humility
March 6 Lesson 4 Phil. 2:17 - 30 Commendations of Coworkers
March 13 Lesson 5 Phil. 3: 1 - 16 Warnings Regarding Legalism
March 20 Lesson 6 Phil. 3:17 - 4:7 Instruction on Living as Citizens of Heaven
March 27 Lesson 7 Phil. 4:8 - 23 Gratitude for Concerned Support

Now, I may change the emphasis of each lesson after I get into it; this is my general outline.

I'm looking forward to this!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Template Weirdness

Ok. I give up...I've looked and looked, trying to figure out why my side bar is way over there.

It only slides over when the whole blog is displayed; if a single post is selected, then it's where it belongs (if you came in on a single post and you want to know what I'm talking about, click on the blog header and you'll see what I mean).

Any ideas? HTML is not my first (or second or third...) language. I think it must be in the sidebar stuff, but I'm not sure where to look or what I'm looking for...

Update, with more detail
I've noticed that, for some reason I don't fathom, all of the side bar info is not present when I click on a single post. So I thought perhaps the problem is in the section that is not visible then. (Mostly the Archive info). Also, the footer looks weird.

But, if I click on a label (such as one of the Bible studies), the sidebar is in the right place, with all elements present, and the footer is cropped properly.

So what's the difference? Why does it change?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Change of Hats?

More like a complete wardrobe change.

Y'know, for the past 11 months I've been like the cleanup lady at work...I come in and do the odd little routine jobs so that the ladies with the real jobs can work more on those tasks.

I kinda liked being the cleanup lady. I didn't have any really major responsibilities. Do my time, go home. Tend the kids. Sew costumes. Blog now and then.

But it looks like all that's gonna change. We had a department meeting today, and we all got specific assignments. My office maintenance jobs have been passed around...I'm going to become, for want of a better term, the Data Base Administrator.

Now, ya'll, I have a degree in computer science. So it's not unthinkable., I had a mental picture of going to a dented metal cabinet, unlocking it with a rusty key and hearing it creak as I opened it while spider webs snapped and a moth flew out.

I've been helping a bit w/some of the data base chores...y'know, the routine ones...but I only know what I needed to know to do that. I've got a LOT to learn. I'll confess, I'm just a little intimidated. Which is silly.

But I'd gotten very comfortable in the cleanup lady role.

On the way home, I remembered something Rita Springer spoke over the congregation in a recent worship service at church. I wrote it down in my journal, because it kinda echoed in my spirit. It was, 'There are talents that you have buried; this year the Lord is going to ask you to go back and retrieve them.'

My CS degree did not pop into my head at that moment. But...hmm...