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Archive for November, 2013

Verses 14-15: “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,”

Ever had to tell the difference between 2 objects that look or act identical but you know that they are different? One of my favorite Saturday morning shows growing up was a Filmation live-action series called The Ghost Busters, starring Forrest Tucker, Larry Storch, and Bob Burns. In the first episode titled “The Maltese Monkey”, the ghost-busting detectives had to foil the plans of 2 gangsters from summoning back the ghost of Big Al Caesar (Larry Storch, in a dual role, mimicking Marlon Brando). When Kong (Forrest Tucker) had to try to tell the difference between Big Al and Spenser (Larry Storch), he asked the duo “Who’s buried in Grant’s tomb?” Caesar said, “That’s easy; President Ulysses S. Grant.” Spenser said, “Aww, I didn’t know he was sick!” Kong (pointing at the real Spenser, who sometimes was a few bricks shy of a load): “THAT’S Spenser! C’mon, let’s get out of here!” 🙂

Paul here wants us to act like Jesus Christ, not like the world. How can the world tell we are different if we grumble or gripe like others would? I never said it was easy; the Lord knows I’ve done more than my fair share of griping and complaining. But we need to do things and approach life with a Christ-like attitude, so that the world can point at us and say definitely, “THAT’s a Christian.”

Something to think about.

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Verses 9-11: “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 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, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

I remember when I was a young boy, I saw a production on TV of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella”; this was the version with Stuart Damon and Lesley-Anne Warren. In this musical was a song called “The Prince is Giving a Ball”, which contained the following lyric of the Queen dictating to the Herald the announcement:

(Queen)
Lionel take this down:
His royal highness,
Christopher Rupert,
Windmehr Lademehr,
Carl Alexander,
Francois Reginal,
Lansalot Herman….

(Lionel) Herman?

(Queen) Herman.
Gregory James… (he’ll thank us for it later) Is giving a ball!!

I found this version of the lyrics at http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/r/rodgers_and_hammerstein/the_prince_is_giving_a_ball.html

Even though I was a little boy, I remember my first impression was “that’s a long name!” Royalty, as I later discovered, had long names and long titles.

As Paul writes here, there is a name that is above all names, given to God the Son: Jesus Christ. He was the perfect sacrifice, the atonement offering of mankind’s sins, and is the free gift to all who would accept Him as Lord and Savior. You see, one day, every knee WILL bow, and every tongue WILL confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. His titles are many, but in short, He is the Kings of Kings and Lord of Lords, sitting at the right hand of God the Father. To Christians, He is our Advocate. Unlike the untouchable royalty of fairy tales, He is real and He lived on this earth as a man and died for us and rose from the dead. Now, that’s a name.

Have a blessed day in the Lord!

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Verses 3-4: “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 interest, but also for the interests of others.”

Is it any wonder true Christians stick out when compared against the world’s view of things?
The world says “look out for number one”; Jesus wants us to look out for others first.
The world says save yourself; Jesus died to save us all (if we only accept His sacrificial gift).
The world gives attention to the attention seekers; Jesus recognized those society rejected.
The world says be first; Jesus says the first shall be last.

I think of our church’s custodian when I think of humility; he never seeks recognition, yet when he had to take some time off when his wife died, it took an entire congregation pinch-hitting to do his duties. Yet he never brags and is the epitome of a Christian servant. May we serve God in the same humble manner.

Have a blessed day in the Lord!

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Verse 21: “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

“To lose is to win and he who wins shall lose” was the riddle from the ancient Gallifreyan message that the previous incarnations of The Doctor had deciphered. Once President Borusa, the Lord President of Gallifrey, appeared with the current Doctor in thrall inside the Tomb of Rassilon in the Dark Tower of the Death Zone, the other Doctors realized that it was Borusa who had captured them. He had pitted them in the game of Rassilon so that he could claim what Rassilon had discovered: immortality. Though Rassilon appears and asks the Doctors if he should grant Borusa’s request, they all voice their opposition (including the current Doctor who the others have freed)…all except the First and original Doctor, who tells Rassilon to give Borusa what he’s asked for. Rassilon does grant Borusa immortality…as part of the living rock of his tomb, where others before him have tried to claim immortality! Thus with Borusa defeated, the first Doctor tells the others that he had figured out the riddle: “I suddenly realised what the old proverb meant: “To lose is to win, and he who wins shall lose.” It was all part of Rassilon’s trap to find out who wanted immortality and put him out of the way. He knew very well that immortality was a curse. Not a blessing.” http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/First_Doctor#The_Five_Doctors_.5B20.7.5D .

To read more about the plot of one of my favorite Doctor Who episodes, please click the following link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Five_Doctors .

One might think that the statement Paul makes in verse 21 is equally mystifying, but it’s not. He knew that as long as he lived on this old Earth, that he was to live for Christ, to spread the Gospel…Paul’s life didn’t matter, only Jesus did. And even if he died, then he would be in Heaven with Jesus! This would, in Paul’s eyes, be the win-win situation! Now Jesus wants us to live for Him while we’re here; we should be spreading the Gospel. We shouldn’t fear death though, because if you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then you’ll be with Him in paradise the moment your physical body expires.

That is the attitude we should have today.

Have a blessed day in the Lord!

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Verse 15-18: “Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. 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.”

Better the team succeed than I. Let’s take 2 quarterbacks on a football team. Both are competing for the starting job. Quarterback A wins the starting job and leads the team to several victories. Unfortunately, he gets hurt and Quarterback B has to take over for him during his time on injured reserve. During A’s injury, B leads the team to even more victories; there even comes the eventual comparison of who is the better quarterback, A or B. It would be humanly understandable if A was jealous of B’s success and accolades, thinking they should be his. However, the right attitude to have…the team attitude…is for A to be happy for B’s success. Once fully healed, A can compete as before with B; the end result is that whomever is quarterbacking the team, the team wins.

Paul had this attitude. He knew there were some that would preach the gospel, hoping for the same accolades Paul had, or even to preach the gospel to “rub it in Paul’s face” since he was in jail. Paul said figuratively, “Who cares? Not I! The gospel of Christ is spread regardless!” We are not in competition with our fellow Christians; after all, we’re not spreading the gospel to see who can get the most converts…we’re doing it because Jesus told us to spread the Word, to spread the Good News. Our reward is at the end of the season, not at the end of the game.

Something to think about.

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Verse 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,”

The right place at the right time. During this autumn season, there is a tree in our neighborhood that turns a magnificent bright gold, and when the evening sun hits it, it seems to glow with a radiant shine. When this tree’s leaves are all golden, you just want to stop and stare at it. Now, before this happens, there are parts of the tree that are green and parts that turn gold. Shortly after its peak, all the leaves just fall right off…usually with the help of wind or rain, but they quickly fade brown. You truly have to be right there when the peak time occurs, else you miss a wondrous sight. That peak time is not long either. You have to be in that right place at the right time.

God had Paul in the right place at the right time. Though in prison, God was using Paul through his tribulations to spread the Gospel to guards and to citizens alike. Would you or I be encouraged to be thinking of witnessing during such an ordeal? We should. God puts us in the right place at the right time to minister in His name. We need to remember, that as Christian witnesses in this world, we are on His time.

Something to think about.

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