The Excellent Things

Php 2:1  Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion,

Php 2:2  make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.

Php 2:3  Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;

Php 2:4  do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

Php 2:21  For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.

 

I want to talk about several verses in Philippians Two, but first let us go to Philippians One to see the background of them.   Phil. One talks about some non-instructions that Paul was giving to the Philippians.  Non-instructions are saying things in love to lead them to doing; to encourage and suggest without really commanding them to do it.  He encouraged the people to perform the ‘excellent things’ that were high things to keep a group or organization together.  They are in vss. 1&2 above.  Then he talked about wanting to honor GOD in his body whether by being alive or if he had to by dying.  Sounds like he was in control of it. But his being alive was better for them because he could keep encouraging and instructing these people as an organization or church so that they would stay together for a long time.  They would be connected by cords of Love.  They would be of the same mind and intent on one purpose.

There is encouragement in Christ, consolation of love, and fellowship of the Holy Spirit.  These things are God meeting our needs and we become like rivers of living water flowing out of our bellies.  God meets our needs and helps us grow; we can, all of us when we mature, have natural affection and compassion for one another.  When our needs are met we turn to others with the same love, encouragement, and maturity in the church and help them grow.  We turn to the weakest links and help them to grow into solid citizens who can do the same for others to fulfill the one purpose we are set on, which is the furtherance of the gospel.  We have one Lord, one gospel, one baptism, one mind.  We are very intent on letting the gospel be heard because we have a world that could be headed for hell and we have to warn them and show them Jesus, who is the way.

So we read the first two verses then the third.  By maintaining the same love in vs. 2 we should do nothing in selfish motivation, not for ourselves or in empty conceit.  Thinking we are good enough to love like Christ but not being able to, just to prove a point.  But in humility of mind regard one another as more important than ourselves.  We should grow up,’ we should not think of ourselves more highly than we ought’.  We should grow our compassion and see that people are in need and in want.  We have our needs met, you understand, and now we can give a cold drink of water to our enemies and clothe the naked and visit the sick and in prison.  Actually turn outward and improve our worldview to take in its inhabitants and empathize or sympathize and meet some needs- another reason we are here.  That is great love.  Great love will hold us together and get things done and we will grow and become more like Jesus and the world may even be a better place for a while.

So we don’t merely look out for our own interests but also for the interests of love.  Here is how to love someone more than yourself!  Have your need met and leave yourself behind.  Focus on others, nurture your family, supply others with the gospel and the spirit of GOD.  How many of us really know how to love with an everlasting love, to encourage, having something worthwhile to give.  The gospel and eternal life are the only non-temporaries worth giving.  Caring- the obvious ones who need are always the target but our own families lack love and the ability to overcome without Jesus.  Who can help some of us but God alone- we are so stubborn.  That guy who wouldn’t put his cup in the dishwasher and his wife divorced him- that’s stubborn.

Then in the following verses of Chap.2 Paul talks about the workers he once had that turned back to the world and selfishness.  That quit loving him and Jesus and decided to pursue their own interests.  Do you think they went to heaven after only going half way and then quitting, they fell away.  He talked about Timothy his faithful son in the Lord who was still doing so much, and the Gospel and being a Pastor fit him perfectly though he had some shyness.  He did everything thing Paul taught him and was eating it up and doing well and keeping his church together possibly in Ephesus, Turkey.

He continued and talked about Epaphroditus.  Who was a great worker too, did everything Paul told him to the point of getting sick and he almost died.  But he got better and now he wanted to go back to Philippi and possibly lead their church, he had grown so much and was set on spiritual fire.  He had a heart for the Lord and for the people.

Then in vs. 21 he said about the ones who had fallen away that ’they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus’.  We should all seek after the interests of others and be committed to do so.  Get saved, get your needs met and be more than a conqueror of your own life and in the lives of others.  Our brothers could use a helping hand, ya know?  Making it with a little help from your friends is not that bad.  Like a commune run on godly principles that has gone on for almost 2000 years.  Serve Jesus and these excellent things and receive a great reward when the work is done.

 

 

 

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What Is Interesting About Reading?

The Bible was written by honest men.  After being with Jesus three years how could they be otherwise.  Why would they lie.  He was the truth so they told it like it was.  They were very consistent in what they said.  So much so that they can be cross checked among themselves (the gospel writers and even Paul) showing that they have very near the same facts in every instance in debate.  There are no mistakes in the Bible, seriously!

Luke was a scrupulously detailed and accurate historian.  In his mention of 32 countries, 54 cities and nine islands in his two books, he never made an error in this information.  There are many ancient authors who made copies of the New Testament.  In fact there are over 5000 complete manuscripts of the New Testament and over 24,000 fragments and whole copies of this document.  This is unlike any other writing of antiquity.

The New Testament was written in the first century and people who were there during Christ’s life were still living.  They would have kept the gospel writers from making mistakes in their transcribing Jesus’ life.  And there is the John Rylands fragment written 29 years after John the Apostle wrote his gospel.  It is very close to the ‘John’ we have today.  This is unheard of in any other writing that a copy was made so soon after the original.  Copies give evidence as to the accuracy of a document, the more the better.

The Chester Beatty Papyrus, just to mention a few early ones, was written 150 years after Paul wrote Romans, Hebrews and the Corinthian letters and more of them in the 50’s and 60’s AD.  The p66 fragment of John was written 130 years after Jesus lived; and the p67 fragment of Matthew was written 130 years after Jesus lived.  So some scientists are trying to dismiss the Bible as having too long between copies.  Which is not true.  But if they do they will have to dismiss Plato, Aristotle, Caesar and Homer because it was truly a thousand years and more for some, after the original, before a copy was made of them.  Aristotle was written in 400BC approximately and it was not until 1000AD that a copy of him was made.  They have no doubt what Aristotle said they should have no doubt about Jesus.  But this is the type of run around that the Bible gets while not being accepted as true.

Moving on to the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were found in 1949 in Qumran, Israel.  They found a complete copy of Isaiah and fragments of all the other books of the Old Testament (OT) except Esther.  The Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) have become an important witness for the origin and accuracy of the OT.  They have also provided evidence against criticism of the Books of Daniel and Isaiah.  Very important works of Messianic and other prophecies; they really do prove the supernatural origins of this Book.  The Masoretic Text of the OT also has received support in both origins and accuracy by the DSS.

The Masoretic text was the previous oldest copy of the OT and was also written in 1000AD.  But the DSS changed all that having received a 1917 years age from carbon-14 dating which is accurate in clean materials but not so much in rock or dirt.  With a 200 year variant so Isaiah can be found to have been written in 100BC.  With the age of the materials written on, the dating and the archaeological evidence there is not the slightest doubt about the age and origin of this Isaiah copy.  It was written by the Essenes and their whole history concerning the Dead Sea Scrolls.

This has been the Paleographic evidence, but there is also archaeological evidence concerning dates for these documents.  There were coins found in the same areas and levels of dig that by their inscriptions have been dated to 135BC to 135 AD.  Pottery from that time period in the caves, the materials and style are from that time.  Also the weave of the cloth written on has been dated because of other known finds to that time.  So the DSS have been placed at 100 years before Christ to 100 years after.  There is ‘no doubt’ in the scientist’s minds because of the evidence that this is true.

The significance of the DSS find is: Confirmation for the Hebrew OT text because it says the same thing.  Support for the Masoretic text- no longer standing alone as the source we have of the text.  There is also support for the Septuagint or Greek OT because it says very much the same now there is continuity.  It has been considered very useful in the quest to prove the Bible’s authenticity, to say the least!

This has led to more studying of Biblical sites and a whole flurry of discoveries of archaeological conspicuities for other parts of the Old and New Testaments.  Confirmation has been found for the use of crucifixion in Christ’s time.  A body was found in a grave in Northern Jerusalem that had a sign on it Joseph of Caiaphas.  They believe it to be the Caiaphas, the high priest that condemned Jesus to die.  This man had a nail still through both heel bones and possibly others in his wrists.  A slab was found with an inscription in mosaic by Pilate.  That he donated a temple to the Jews in Caesarea- evidence that he indeed existed.  He was the Roman governor who scourged and had Jesus crucified.  And last: there were countless scriptures that were doubted because of the lack of evidence for them. These are now believed and confirmed by new archaeological evidence found in this century.  An exciting time to be a Christian.  The DSS might have cast a bright and positive outlook and future on the quest for the authenticity of the scriptures and belief in Jesus and the God of Israel.

Unsustainable?

I have been an environmentalist since the seventies, where we heard of extinction, desertification and man’s encroaching habitat.  That was the age of the ‘Eve of Destruction’.  The environment has gotten better in some ways since then.  The air, not the sea; the rescue of mammals and friendliness to pets; the proliferation of some species has continued with declines in other populations.  Man has finished his exploration of earth, but not the mind or space.  Many say we have continued to decline in our world, in sustainability.

Man is trying to add the spiritual dimension to his findings.  He uses that as he, she scratches and claws his, her way to what he, she wants for earth and themselves for the future and for man’s beloved prosperity.  No matter where his work takes him, or what improvements he makes we have limited possibilities.  Our resources will run out, turn to technology.  Nuclear war is ever threatening, turn to evolution.  Everywhere social evils are, turn to your higher good.

In fact it is GOD who we should turn to, for the God of Israel has much to say about our futures.  He offers salvation for the dying not eternal prosperity!  Prophecies do predict what will come and Messianic prophecies have been reliable.  Empires have arisen and fallen in Daniel and Isaiah.  Look at Israel past and present.  All has been prophesied that happens to Israel, past, present and future.  Its present existence, fulfilled.  Its exile to Babylon, fulfilled.  Jerusalem’s destruction by the Romans, fulfilled.  The Messiah to be crucified, fulfilled.

Then to war, Ezekiel 38 & 39 a great war in Israel, almost destroyed.  Terrible trouble will come to the crowns of its attackers.  Farther out will be the last war, Armageddon.  Israel is self supporting now with water, gas, and oil found and a thriving economy.  All her neighbors hate her and all have forsaken her, fulfilled.  As Israel goes so goes the world!  America is not found in the Bible and presidents have hurt it and will continue to destroy its sovereignty.

In Revelations, The Great Tribulation will cause almost complete destruction on the earth, physically, environmentally and the populace.  All we know and love will be destroyed.  The land, the seas, the fresh water, the cities and the hearts of mankind will also no longer be sustainable for fear.  We will be given a chance to die for the Lord as the only way to receive Him by faith.  Many will do just that.  Our ability to buy and sell will be taken by the Mark of the Beast if we are wise we won’t take it. Many will continue to rebel and hate Him.  Then the New Jerusalem will come down from heaven.  We will have spiritual bodies and everything will be provided for by GOD.  Then the final rebellion, judgment, and heaven will be given to those who have endured in Christ.  Lake of Fire is for all others. This is how it will be.

 

THE PEOPLE JUST LOVED IT

Pro 4:23  Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

Pro 4:24  Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.

Pro 4:25  Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.

Pro 4:26  Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.

Pro 4:27  Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.

 

These verses are a bit of wisdom from the Bible especially vs. 23.  It is really neat.  You can break down the scripture into smaller pieces into individual words and find more that way.  Then you can put it altogether again and get more meaning.  I want to work on the first verse but all are good.

John Wesley says:  ‘Heart- thy thought, will and affections.  From there proceed all the actions, as of the natural, so of the spiritual life, which lead to eternal life.’  He says the natural come from the heart but the spiritual actions do lead to eternal life with GOD in heaven.  But there is a scripture which I shall share in a little bit and it leads me to believe that following the heart can lead to eternal punishment as well as reward.

‘Keep thy heart’, Protect it from evil and from doing evil.  Don’t hate someone, it will eat you up.  You will spend so much energy hating him and destroying him and defeating everything about him that your capacity to love will fade. This verse : ‘The heart is desperately wicked and full of evil, who can know it’?  It is capable of murder, anger, wrath, seditions, malice.  In short the works of the flesh.  They will hurt you, cutting off the circulation, the blood flow to your organs and members, causing disease.  The cause would be in your emotion center right between your temples.  The tangled emotions and reactions and resulting trouble would be detrimental to your health even causing cancer, etc.  Not ‘in your mind’ but in emotions that we were never meant to dwell upon.  That takes a spiritual turn and can cause a mix up of signals and causes stress and tensions that the body can’t relax from without love or medicine or a complete washing of your system.  A true repentance could clear you out.  Complete awareness from and soothing of GOD so that the flowing of the organs and what they do will upstart again.  That will change you and make you more loving and you will lose less energy to fight hallucinations and ultra –anger and the strongest of our emotions.

‘The heart’- out of it flows the issues of life- what you know, what you do.  We all have issues:  we have inferiority issues, abandonment issues, love issues and security and money issues.  But in Jesus Christ we can circumvent them, work through them or avoid them.  We will no longer be self centered if we don’t want to be. We can be others focused and let our own stuff subside.  We can look on them with disdain it is only in relationships that we need to deal with them.  They won’t always come up if we have godly relationships and God’s word will be our guide.

We also like certain things and are entertained by certain things.  We like something in a man or woman.  But control your heart.  If we are in relationships all our lives looking for that one special marriage we pick up a lot of bad habits in our confusion as to what to do with so many partners.  We get to be really a mess.  We need to take control of our lives.  We need to wait and have faith in God.  You say what you do.  Don’t let your heart take its head like a horse that does whatever it wants and runs and runs away.  ‘It must be harnessed with bit and bridle else it will not come near you’.  This means to come to Christ freely.  But Christ is a bit and bridle that tames us and makes us manageable.  We become something we can deal with, doing some good.  Jesus is the way and the truth.

The fascinating thing about this first verse quoted above is that it is the heart, the source what we are looking for.  Many people meditate and they look for the source of thought.  The heart is the source that we by pass or become aware of or delve into it.  It is what some are looking for.  It is the source of thought and feeling and emotion.  It can be evil or good depending on how we keep it.  Get on the right track and keep it there.  Jesus is that source of control where we can use wisdom in making our lives and making decisions.  We make fewer mistakes, do less stupid stuff and heal from our pasts in our relationship to GOD.   This keeps us from tangled emotions and we find a peace that can’t really be explained.  I can’t see really why people don’t want Jesus more, after struggling with their own way and seeing what it has got them sometimes…..

But it is not just hard control and depriving yourself.  Obedience yes, but it is obedience to a loving Father, master and friend.  Jesus way gives life where there is none.  It is hard sometimes but there is only one way to go.  It is fun and encouraging and challenging.  It’s a good life in JESUS.  He has given us the owner’s manual and showed us the way.  The life takes effort like anything else.  It keeps you out of trouble and has a great reward.  So if you have more trouble than you know what to do with, come to Jesus.  Be around, let Him find you.  Your life and post life will be so much better.