In My Heart

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Each Friday I will be posting on the week’s discussion from the book of Philippians at Philter 48.  This is the first week of postings.  You can check out the other posts, by clicking on the link provided.

The authors:  Paul and Timothy, bond-servants (slaves) of Christ Jesus,

The recipients:  To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons:

 We, you and I, are the recipients of this book.  We are considered saints.  Holy ones.  What an amazing description!  Would you describe yourself this way? 

This letter is also for the overseers and deacons: the leaders of the church.  The overseers are considered “elders” and the deacons were established to help the elders.  If the deacons will do the hands-on work, then the elders can give more time to teaching and prayer.  (Titus 1:6-7; Acts 20:17,28; 1Tim 3:1-7)

v. 2-5  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.

What a beautiful way to describe his feelings!  We see the constant prayer going up as Paul remembers, as he’s reminded of the Philippians and their participation in the gospel.  With each mention of them he prays constantly.  Now wouldn’t that be a great way to live?  As someone comes to mind, offering up a prayer of thanksgiving for that person.  I’m not talking about a formal show, just a thankful response in your heart, “Thank you, Lord, for Nor and Darla.  They’ve been so dear to me.”  Simple.  Instantly my heart feels lighter and a smile crosses my face.  Try it.  I think you’ll be surprised at the lifting in your spirit.

v.6  For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

This verse is a favorite for many people, myself included.  It speaks clearly of the sanctifying work in the Christian’s life.  God sets us apart for a good work.  He began the work and He will complete the work.  When?  Until the day of Christ Jesus.  From the beginning of the work until the day we see Christ, we are being perfected.  Not that we will achieve it this side of heaven, notice the timing.  It is a good work and Paul is confident it will be completed.

v.7  For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me.

Sometimes I’ve wondered if  I’m a sap.  I have such strong feelings for people.  I’m not at all the “tough American” living on the frontier — although I do like to let people know I’m a Texan.  (There’s something in the word “Texan” that just sounds tough.)  But I cry for people…lots.  I understand Paul when he says it’s only right to feel this way.  I didn’t know my heart could hold so many people in it, and still keep beating.  But it does.  I love people.

Paul is in prison at this writing.  We get our first clue in verse 7: both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel “…in my imprisonment” in the Greek literally means, “in my bonds.” He is bound, fettered, chained as he writes this book.  Yet he speaks of joy (v.4).  We aren’t past the introduction to the book and Paul is speaking of joy while in chains!  As will be seen, joy while in difficult circumstances is the theme of this book. 

v. 8  For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.

Here we see it again.  What?  The third time Paul expresses his love for them.  He specifically declares, this affection comes from Christ.  The word affection originates from the word “spleen.”  The KJV uses the word bowels — I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.  Not so pretty!!  But note this definition: the bowels were regarded as the seat of the more violent passions, such as anger and love; but by the Hebrews as the seat of the tenderest affections.

Do you have strong, tender affections for those you know in Christ?  Paul is talking about the church at Philippi, a congregation he knows.  He has them in his heart.  In his gut he feels strongly for them.  Do you have this kind of connection with your church, with those you are in fellowship with through Christ?  This is the kind of love we are to have within the body.

It’s only right to feel this way (v.7). 

It’s his prayer for them, to have an abounding love:

v. 9  And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment…

Next Friday I’ll delve more deeply into verse 9 as we continue going verse-by-verse through the book of Philippians.  Be sure and check out Philter48.  It’s a great site for some good discussion!

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14 responses »

  1. I have prayed this passage many a time over my loved ones. I haven’t done it in awhile. Thanks for this. I like how you break each verse down 🙂

  2. wow girlie..you really nailed those verses. Glad you joined in over at Philter48. Hopefully I will have time this weekend to catch up over there…..and Hopefully my problem with Spam is over…this is a test… love you!

  3. Hey, Selena! You actually pulled yourself away from Facebook. Wow. I love looking at scripture verse-by-verse. I think this will be a great study. Philippians is such an encouraging word. Good to see you out and about. 😉

    Yay, Darla!! You aren’t spam! I’m glad I joined too. Nothing better than digging into the Word. It brings my mind right to where it needs to be. Love you!

  4. But I cry for people…lots. I understand Paul when he says it’s only right to feel this way. I didn’t know my heart could hold so many people in it, and still keep beating. But it does. I love people.

    That is who we are commanded to be…

    I love that your brought back a smile to your avatar. Much better to see you smiling.

    Peace and love sis.

  5. I didn’t know my heart could hold so many people in it, and still keep beating. But it does. I love people.

    This makes me love you even more. 🙂 That really impacted me. I love that God doesn’t ask us to put either our emotions or our intellect on the shelf – rather, He wants us to display Him with them! I love that. 😀 That makes me smile.

  6. Hey, Carl! I’m glad to be in the rotation. I need the discipline. Yeah, I had a feeling people weren’t liking my “serious” avatar. It was Phat’s favorite, but not many other people felt the same. Blessings to you!

    Ahhh, Sparkle, thank you. I’m glad we aren’t called to stoicism. So many seem to think that’s a virtue. I tend to think it’s a lack of being in touch with all He’s created us to be.

    YOU make me smile!!! Love you, Annie.

  7. For the record, I would not consider myself a saint. But then, you know me too well. You know my struggles from a previous blog. We are saints? That’s a bold statement, even from Paul and Timothy. I tend to subscribe to the Numbers 32:14 philosophy. But that’s just me.

    Do you speak with a Texan drawl? 🙂

  8. Hey, Tim! For a journalist I understand your desire to state the record, but, and it’s a big BUT, in heaven the records are a bit different than on earth. If we believe the Bible speaks truth, then it tells us we have our names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life when we are covered by the blood of Jesus. Once all our sins have been forgiven He declares us His and records our names. So, for the record, if you are in Him you are clean!

    Now, to answer the question about being a saint, a holy one, AND the Texas drawl…you’ll find both here. It is a bold statement, but when we see ourselves as God sees us, we do tend to live a bit “nicer” — for lack of a better term. 😉

  9. Hey Sis! We’re talking about this post online but I just wanted you to know how much I look up to you for your wisdom and your passion for God’s Word. You truly are my mentor in the Word and I thank you so much for allowing God to use you in that way. Love you so much.

  10. You just reminded me of something I wanted to say. You NEED to resurrect your video blogged bible study! You know you want to. The response to your November 14th “vlog” was enormous. So Michelle, whaddaya waitin’ for? 🙂

    Speaking of journalism, have you read The Case for Christ? It’s the perfect book for pompous, journalistic naysayers like me! Author and former Chicago Tribune reporter Lee Strobel sets out to “prove” the historical reliability of the bible. I know what you’re thinking. Who needs to prove anything? All we need to do is BELIEVE. But trust me when I say, if you walked into the newsroom where I work, you’d find plenty of reporters who would argue the existence of God to their last breath. This book is written for hardcore cases like them. I can say without spoiling the ending that Lee Strobel is a Christian who became one after embarking on his own research. This book is a goldmine for anyone who doubts.

    Of course, even once a nonbeliever has read the material, he or she still must take that “leap of faith.” Therein lies the problem of Christianity. At the core of every human, regardless of their professed faith, is a nasty little thing called “doubt.” That’s where I’m stuck.

    I say all this not to be the contrarian on your blog (all of your readers agree with everything you say), but to offer up my own personal struggle with the religion-thing. Regardless, I do enjoy reading your blog, and think you’re an excellent teacher. Just remember, there are people with a journalistic-mind who require a bit more to convince them.

    ~Tim

  11. Hey, Tim! (I love that you came back — I have a new Lucado post, if you’re interested.)

    You said, “Of course, even once a nonbeliever has read the material, he or she still must take that ‘leap of faith.'”

    I wonder if that’s why Strobel followed up with, A Case for Faith? For the journalistic-mind, check out my “Books and Videos” page. 😉

    God understands your doubts, Tim. I find the account of the father coming to Jesus for his son’s healing quite interesting:

    “…But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” And Jesus said to him, “’If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” ~Mark 9:22-24

    “Then I believe. Help me with my doubts!” (The Message)

    Jesus did not condemn the man for his doubts. He healed his son. He answered the man’s cry. He is faithful to answer that prayer. Lots of us have doubts from time to time. He understands.

    Oh, and I don’t see you as the resident contrarian but as a sincere seeker. I love that you keep coming around. Your input always brings a smile to my face. 🙂

    I just read this post from Storm Stories. You might find it helpful.

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