Why is it hard to understand Philippians 1:9-11

Bread And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Obviously, a sense of rivalry and personal ambition took place among some believers if Paul wrote these verses. Someone listened there to the Judaists in returning to the laws of Pharisees or began to adapt to the secular views of religion, tradition and or laws. History of Hebrews in scripture illustrates the possibility and the tendency of such behavior, exemplified in turning to foreign gods, likewise the comportment towards non-believers. The modern church uses the same methods at times using ritual and belief based on ancient pagan practice and modern business practice rather than the Bible.

First, our culture has been desensitized by the upbringing of western organizations, and the ethos of society has become pragmatic, where we determine truth by examining practical results. Pragmatism work in hand with the philosophers of rationalism, considering the thoughts and concepts inherent in a person from birth or in the form of makings. Rationalism dictates there is nothing in the mind that is not in the senses; Feelings and experience are sources of knowledge, and the reason is only a systematizer of data derived from experience.

Moreover, we live in a capitalist system, where a member of society is valued depending on the size of his property: the more property a person has, the more he is considered a person; thus the essence of man is identified with his property. Consequently, a Christian member of the society ceases to think with the brain and feel with the heart – as a result he or she looks at the world through the prism of the capitalist value of a property, and his feelings pass through the filter of his understanding of wealth. The protection of property bothers him more than the protection of honor and a Kingdom mindset. For this reason, Western churches are influenced by a pragmatic understanding of capitalist truth and bring it into congregations; all is true that leads to the preservation and increase of (fill in the blank) …. or to improve their social situation; right and true is whatever leads to success.

Capitalism does not look good without the results of the Revival of Humanism, meaning the elevation of man as the main value of the world. Humanism is the exaltation of man as the main value of the world. But humanism was born out of Secularization – the release of science from the religious influence, born in the age of Revolutions. Although the development of scientific and technical thought brought much good, a Christian should not be influenced by the concepts of ideal utopian states, as secularization desensitizes one to the principles of tolerance.

The capstone to pragmatism is the Principles of Positivism. Positivism argues for knowledge to be accurate and reliable. Positivism maintains the scientific method and to build on the achievements of other sciences. Philosophy and advance of knowledge are achieved only through empirical observation. The principles contend through an examination of evident facts, not their causes, furthered from the value and appraisal nature of the study. Positivism is capstone within the idea of halting the “dictatorship” of other sciences and takes its specific place among them.

Thus, we bring this mindset to the Church. We desire to have affluence in the congregations, we size up the value of the church in if it works. We tend to want more success in its growth, pragmatically looking at face value rather than heart value. We tickle people’s ears, rather than take care of their hearts. And we worship God in pagan ways, because it creates a sense of goosebumps rather than an intimate knowledge of God, as it is a slower process.

Today, the illusion is widespread, in which society can be offered some new options for the development of society with the help of such well-known categories as “creativity” and “pragmatism”. As a result, the so-called “new identity” is formed. The illusion is that the undoubted successes of the material order in some societies are extrapolated to the spiritual sphere and we are all invited to be “pragmatic” and “creative” in order to solve problems of the second (that is, spiritual) order. These problems include the problem of the meaning of personal existence, and the problem of moral choice, the problem of conscience, the problem of faith, etc. A false message, since never solving material problems did not remove the problems of the spiritual state of society, its development and order.

Western culture transferred all the wealth of human creative nature beyond the bounds of church ritual, thereby providing scope for creativity for the sake of gaining money, fame and demonstrating his own individualism. Any ritual, any desire to devote one’s abilities, one’s creative impulse to a specific goal, no matter whether it is God or the people and their well-being, affirms the moral principles of society invariably and consolidates it on the basis of a single view of the future and the value of the world and man.

Also, spreading the divide among people and directing everyone along the path of individualism, ending in the subconscious destruction of the unification ritual. And this destruction, in turn, gives rise to social heterogeneity, disunity, and the goal of a person’s creative aspiration is not serving God, society, man, good, but only self-expression, not striving to be understood by all the surrounding layers of society. These strata are precisely formed on the absence of a single common ritual and tradition, on the dissimilarity of interests and the destruction of the invisible spiritual unity of the people.

It may be difficult for us when we look at Christian life pragmatically, to love brothers and sisters because of the pragmatic tendency to see their weaknesses first. We all make mistakes every day. however, if we cannot overlook the mistakes of others, our love for them cools. As Christians, we need to depend on the Scriptures as the absolute standard of truth versus determining truth by consequences. Paul calls us to Purge out the old leaven, that we may be a new lump, as we are unleavened.

Therefore, we need to set ourselves from a modern culture in following “You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way” (Deuteronomy 12:30-31). The point of faithfulness is that God defines how He should be worshipped, not man: “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it” (Deuteronomy 12:32). And take Paul’s guidance from Philippians by growing in the intimacy with our brothers and sisters founded on the word of God. “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore, we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so, we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.” ~ Romans 6:3-5

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Our God, Holds Your Right Hand

20190929_164712.jpg“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

Life can be difficult, there may be many circumstances in our life, and we may get weary sometime. At times, fear may come. When you’re tired, weak, worn down, and exhausted, that’s when the enemy will try to drag you down. Albeit, this is also when you need to keep your guard up.

Conversely, Paul reminds us: “the flesh desires the contrary of the spirit”? Paul does not call physical matter flesh but our human nature, the evil will flesh; for example, when he says: “you do not live according to the flesh, but according to the spirit” ; and also: “those who live in the flesh cannot please God”.  Since the enemy has already lost the war, all he can do is take as many as he can with him and that’s exactly what he’s set out to do. Satan is coming at us with everything that he has; every device, every trick, every temptation, every snare that he can set for us will be set, he and he tempts the fleshly nature of men.

But fear not, if we take the work of God, by consuming his word, studying His scripture and believing In Him and placing your trust in Him, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. Being led by the Holy Spirit, you will pray for abilities to match your circumstances, rather than the vice versus. The Holy Spirit is our Helper, whom the Father has sent in Jesus’ name, and he will teach and impart into you the words not taught by human wisdom interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual and bring to your remembrance all that the Lord has said to you.

It is the Holy Spirit who searches everything, even the depths of God. . .. no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God, and if we allow Him, he will teach these depths as well. He makes you adequate, casts the spirit of fear out and fills that gap with love. It is He who helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And He who searches hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Finally, Like God, we must love the people of the world without falling in love with the world itself! It’s impossible to love God and the world at the same time; you’re either with Him or against Him. When we choose to serve the world, we walk away from Gods protection, and His blessings in our lives! But when we search God’s heart, search the scriptures and align ourselves with God’s word and allow the Holy Spirit to infill us and lead us from within ourselves, The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.

Lift up your eyes on high,
And see who has created these things,
Who brings out their host by number;
He calls them all by name,
By the greatness of His might
And the strength of His power;
Not one is missing.

Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might, He increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

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If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit

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‘The love of Christ is my prayer-book.”—Gerhard Tersteegen

“Prayer is the key of heaven; the Spirit helps faith to turn this key.” —Thomas Watson

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.

Walking in the Spirit means being obedient to the Spirit, in relation to God’s laws and commandments, which the Spirit reminds you of when various temptations come. It is not a sin to be tempted, but during the temptation you are confronted with a choice. In order to discern the voice of the Holy Spirit, we must study the word of God until it becomes part of our identity, or second nature to us. We must build a relationship with the Holy Spirit based on common interests, grow in mutual respect and assistance, built trust and affection towards each other, consequently developing a friendship.

Thus, the consciousness of friendship between you and the Holy Spirit involves sympathy and affection, affecting the spiritual side of the human person. Here, the friendly attitude is even more of a purer moral manifestation than love, since it is not so demanding. At the same time, we start to grow in our best qualities of friendship with Our Lord, and the Holy Spirit – we learns to be attentive, caring, to show support, and always come through in difficult situations for Our Lord by trusting Him, consequently developing a two way relationship.

There is a common saying, which goes along the lines of “show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” To me it means that you will become similar with them. Wise people who spend time with those who are wiser, grow in wisdom. Fools become foolish in the company of the disorderly, and troublesome become rebellious. However, something amazing happens by becoming a friend of the Lord and through walking in the Spirit: this is what the Bible calls the fruits of the Spirit, they begin to grow in your life. These are such fruits as: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, mercy, faith” Gal. 5:22. You, who used to be so restless, fearful and depressed from time to time, now you get the best “state of health”. You become more stable and gain the ability to manifest Shalom in the world around you.

Howbeit, one needs to be diligent in feeding their spirit, by being busy researching and searching the Scriptures. Partaking in the communion of our daily bread in inquiring from the Spirit to reveal the ways of Yahweh. And when in prayer, nourish yourself with the spirit of the Lord. Draw near to Him and receive His strength from Him to strengthen your spirit.

Chrysostom has said, “The just man does not desist from praying until he ceases to be just;” and Augustine, “He that loveth little prayeth little, and he that loveth much prayeth much;” and Richard Hooker, “Prayer is the first thing wherewith a righteous life beginneth, and the last wherewith it doth end;” and Père la Combe, “He who has a pure heart will never cease to pray, and he who will be constant in prayer shall know what it is to have a pure heart;” and Bunyan, “If thou art not a praying person, thou art not a Christian;” and Richard Baxter, “Prayer is the breath of the new creature;” and George
Herbert, “Prayer…the soul’s blood.”

This is the life that Jesus lived on earth and which you, as a disciple, can live. Walking in the Spirit is an exercise. Failure can sometimes happen, especially at the beginning of your Christian life, but this should not take your courage. The Holy Spirit is called in one translation as the Comforter. He comforts us and gives us more courage when we need him. He leads us on our way and gives us the necessary nourishment we need, if we love and seek the truth. Irrevocably, in the diligent research of the Scriptures, with the knowledge of the will of God, we discern the voice of the Lord from the enemy and begin to know our God.

 

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Pursuing God’s plan

Law of the Lord

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face; And the things of earth will grow strangely dim In the light of His glory and grace.

H. Lemmel

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

If God requires faith from us when it is impossible for us to have faith, then we would have the right to make an appeal to Him. But if He gives us the means by which faith arises in our hands, then the responsibility for our faith lies with us. God told us that without faith it is impossible to please Him. But He also told us how to gain faith. However, if we do not have faith, then it is not God’s fault. Blaming God for our lack of faith is nothing but ignorance. God has prepared the way that everyone can have faith.

 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. In order for us to be able to use the word of God as a weapon, we must study the word of God until it becomes part of our identity, or second nature to us.  This is not a simple reading of Scripture, but a study of Scripture. Do you study the scriptures? How do you research?

The word “research” – is subject to scientific consideration in order to have cognition; to extract something from the “trace”; carefully, the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions. If we want to know the will of our Father, we are to diligently, thorough research of Scripture study his word. Jesus became the Word in flesh, and he desires us to follow his example.

Conversely, there is a big difference between simply reading and research. For comparison, just reading the Word of God is like taking milk. This is usually common in infants. The study of or research is consumption of solid food. An additional example would be: investigation of the word of God, is similar to when you not only look at the contents of the table or smell the dishes but approach and take it in your mouth, chew the food thoroughly (crush it, soften it with saliva), at the same time you feel the taste, the food passes in the throat, and it is useful for digestion. In doing so, you are partaking in the communion of the Kingdom. Howbeit, the Word of god, will be a foundation for discernment, and growing in faith.

Strange, but for some reason, many people think that the prophets of old testament received revelations as a given, perhaps in a sudden manner. Many emphasize that God spoke to them through dreams, visions, and simply in the middle of the day, speaking in His voice. But an important point is missed – the prophets didn’t wait for the voice of God only. Peter says the following:

Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you,  searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.  To them it was revealed that not to themselves, but to us, they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into.

The prophets did not sit idly by, waiting for revelation from God. They were busy researching and searching the Scriptures. Look at the fruits of their search and study of Scripture: “It was revealed unto them!” Therefore, God sent revelations to them, because they searched the Scriptures, sought the will of God, knew how to discern the voice of the Lord from the enemy, and knew their God.

according to the good hand of his God upon him. For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel.

A great incentive to study the Scriptures! Notice that over Ezra there was a beneficent hand of God! Why? Because “Ezra set his heart to study the law of the Lord …”. Do you want to have God’s beneficent hand over you? Then take up the study of Scripture.

If you take care to plant the Word of God in your heart, keep that Word, but for a long time nothing has changed outwardly, then keep in mind, God wants to accomplish something great through you. Begin to study the Bible and you will see confirmation of this truth. The ministry of Jesus on earth was 3.5 years, however, He prepared for this ministry for 30 years. But over these 3.5 years, Jesus changed the whole world, for ages to come. All because Jesus has undergone serious training in building the inner foundation and seeking the face of His and our Father.

I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

Without the help of the Holy Spirit, we cannot receive the Word of God. Ask God to help you understand what you will read and study in the Bible.

Pray and ask: “Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law

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Called to Righteousness

I will stand my watch
And set myself on the rampart,
And watch to see what He will say to me,
And what I will answer when I am corrected. Habakkuk 2:1

All who do not love the Lord are strangers, aliens, and foreigners. And although they come to the prayer meetings, worship houses, service at a congregation, they do not belong to the number of children of the true Lord. And that source of life does not belong to them. After all, even an unkind person can be baptized with water; and the evil can also prophesy.

Conversely, there is something similar from the story of Saul … First, in his pursuit of David, Saul sent servants to take David, and when they saw a host of prophets prophesying and Samuel reigning over them, the Spirit of God came down to the servants of Saul, and they began to prophesy. The same happened to another group of servants. Finally, Saul himself went in pursuit personally, and when he entered a group of prophets, consequently, was defeated by grace and was one of the God-bearers, because the prophetic spirit, through him wished to teach the apostate. Therefore, under an unexpected set of circumstances, which is mentioned in this story the Bible says a proverb was born: “Is Saul too among the prophets?”

Consequently, the Spirit of God did not purify the soul of King Saul, a cruel persecutor; and yet he touched Saul, forcing him to prophesy. Caiaphas the high priest was the persecutor of Christ, and yet he spoke a prophecy: You do not know anything, and you won’t think that it’s better for us to die for people than for all the people to die (John 11:49, 50). The Evangelist John hastened to clarify this prophecy when he said: But this he did not say on his own, but, being the high priest that year, he predicted that Jesus would die for the people (John 11:51). Caiaphas the high priest prophesied, Saul the king prophesied, but they did not have the mercy of God.

How many Christians today have settled in complacency, or have never truly met the Lord Jesus Christ? How many Christians have forgotten the first love? How many walk in resentment, anger, jealousy, bitterness…? The list goes on. How many do not know the sweet grace of meekness and humility because they do not know the Holy Spirit?

We are called to righteousness, thus we are to renew our minds daily with the Word of God. We are to be diligent and present ourselves approved to God, as workers who do not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. Christian, stand on a solid foundation of God, and be stamped with a seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”

Keep in mind that in the great house of God there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Cleanses yourself from the latter, and you will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.  Pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree,
He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.

Those who are planted in the house of the Lord
Shall flourish in the courts of our God.

They shall still bear fruit in old age;
They shall be fresh and flourishing,

To declare that the Lord is upright;
He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

~Psalm 92:12-15

The trees of the Lord are full of sap,
The cedars of Lebanon which He planted,

Where the birds make their nests;
The stork has her home in the fir trees.

~Psalm 104:16-17

When the wind blows, and the storms try to break you, the Holy Spirit (the sap) will heal your wounds with the scent of fresh aroma. Your wounds will be useful to the people, while the unnecessary and dead branches will break away, cleansing you to mature more beautiful; but you will stand. Blessings.

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