Philippians 4:14-20 (Devotional Thought)

Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Philippians 4:14-20 ESV)

Paul is beginning to wrap up the letter to the Philippians. He is so glad that the gospel has taken root in their lives and that it is transforming them. The church there is not ashamed to be associated with Paul. He gives us a rare picture of what happened after he had to leave Philippi in Acts 16. He travels on to Thessalonica to start another church. Scholars estimate that Paul didn’t stay the Thessalonica long before he had to leave, perhaps a few weeks. Yet, even while he was in Thessalonica a group from Philippi had caught up with Paul and brought him some money to make sure he didn’t have any needs.

This small church had only been in existence for a month, maybe two and they are already Continue reading “Philippians 4:14-20 (Devotional Thought)”

Philippians 1:3-6 (Devotional Thought)

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:3-6 ESV)

When I was twelve I belonged to a BB gun club that met in the basement of a bank. We met each week, shot our targets, talked about BB gun safety, and compared the guns we had. It was cool. I really liked hanging out with my BB gun club friends.

Over 20 years have passed since I participated in the bb gun club and truth be told, I don’t know those guys anymore. I’ve forgotten their names. In these verse we see a picture of a stronger bond than BB guns, sports teams, chess, or stuff like that. He writes about fellowship (it’s the word translated at partnership in the passage above).

Fellowship rightly translated as partnership here is more than getting together and hanging out. It’s a deep bond where both parties are committed to a common goal or agenda. Fellowship requires a commitment of time, energy and even finances.

If you haven’t already, look back at Acts 16 and read about the first three converts to Christianity at Philippi. They hardly had anything in common: a wealthy business women, a formerly demon possessed slave girl, and a suicidal jailer. They were from three different economic classes. They probably didn’t move in the same social circles. They were probably different ages. If they had facebook, twitter or Instagram back in those days they wouldn’t have even crossed lines on social media… but something drew them together! It was the power of the gospel! This rough group of people had a common experience with Jesus Christ that so changed their lives that they partnered together so that other people might experience the same relationship with God that they had.

From the very start the people of this church were dedicated to seeing the gospel not only transform their lives, but transform the lives of others as well! They worked to help establish the church at Philippi, they gave money to help take the good news of Jesus to those who hadn’t heard yet, they are faithful in prayer for the Apostle Paul. This is why Paul can say “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). Paul knew that the gospel had truly impacted their lives because this church was partnering together in various ways to spread the gospel all over the world.

How has the gospel changed your life? If you don’t see how the gospel has changed your life, spend some time in prayer asking God to reveal this to you.

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Mark 5: where are you going?

Mark 5:19 – “Go Home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”

I used to beg God to send me as a missionary to one of the darkest places on earth. I’ve heard that some people dread that God might call them to Africa, that wasn’t me. I have several friends who are now on or headed to the mission field, some of them from my own ministry. I have to admit sometimes I wish it were me. Who knows maybe one day God will call me to leave my country and go.

However, the last time God said “Go” it was just an hour away. So we sold our house, uprooted our family and moved an hour away; still in the South, still on the gulf coast, and in a town very much like the one we left. In a sense, we are still home.

I used to think that perhaps we were second rate Christians just trying to reach our neighbors and teenagers and stuff. After all we didn’t have to learn a new language or customs or anything. We just had to find a way past the fence.

I’ve come to find that by comparison it isn’t the darkest place on earth. There are a lot of churches that talk about the gospel here. (note: Have you ever tried to attend one as a guest? I’ve been to various churches my whole life. When we are on vacation it’s still one of the most intimidating things to walk into a new church as a visitor.) But I’ve come to find that there is still a lot of darkness here. There are actually still a lot of people who have never heard the gospel on the gulf coast. I know because I’ve shared with dozens who profess that they have never heard it before.

I used to ask God if I was missing his call. I used to wonder if I was a second rate Christian for going “home” with the gospel. I heard a missionary once say the question isn’t weather or not God is asking us to go, but if He is asking us to stay. I know he was well intended, but even if God calls us to “stay” home with the gospel, He is telling us to “go home” with the gospel. We should always be going with the gospel, even when we are going home.

The demon possessed man at the beginning of Mark 5 found freedom in Jesus and wanted to follow Jesus wherever he went, Jesus instead commissioned the man to “go” home with the gospel. If you are a believer the question isn’t, “should I stay or should I go?” It is, “where has God called me to go with the gospel?” are you sharing the gospel where you are?