Archive for Favorite Verses

Philippians 2:12-18, Shining as Stars

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.” -Philippians 2:12-18, NIV

Paul and Timothy are writing to the saints in Jesus Christ at Philippi, and they are trying to encourage everyone to remain faithful to the Lord.

In this passage, they are talking about how the people are obeying the Lord Jesus and how they should continue to do so, even in the absence of Paul. They should be very careful and do what is right, to avoid sin, so they can receive salvation from Christ. They should fear and submit to him. It is God’s will for these people to listen to him and carry out his good plans for them.

They should not complain or fight so that they won’t sin and will be pure. They will be God’s own children who live holy lives as opposed to those who live lives of sin and greed, jealous, immorality. They shine like the brightest stars in the universe compared to those people, as they uphold Christ’s word and live it out. This will make Paul and Timothy very happy because all their work they did with these people to spread the name of Christ will not have been in vain. They (Paul and Timothy) are very happy with them, so they should be happy
with them and rejoice together.

This is one of my favorite verses because as children of God, we are called to live lives like these; be the brightest stars in the universe as a contrast to how all other people in this world are. I love the huge contrast there is from God’s people and worldly peple.

People of the world: their hearts are not chagned and they worry and obsess over the temporary things of this world. Our hearts are changed by the grace and mercy of Christ, and our lives reflect it. The huge gap between the two types of people truly reflect how powerful the message of the Gospel is, and how, for the people it does change, it truly does rock their worlds, wash their hearts clean, and truly gives them a new and free life with God. Nothing better than that!

We uphold God’s rules for us because his rules are created so they protect us from sin and give us freedom to live the best and most fulfilling lives. His rules are created for our ultimate success, so we should be careful not to fall away from his powerful message and truth, and in doing this, our lives are richly blessed compared to the people of the world who can’t receive Christ’s blessings.

Click here to Accept Christ!

Paul’s Hardships

Paul’s Hardships

We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and
opened wide our hearts to you. We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. As a fair exchange—I speak as to my children—open wide your hearts also.” 2 Corinthians 6:3
I love this passage- my very favorite in scripture. I have a lot of favorites, but this has to be the absolute best one. Paul is talking about how he has faith in Christ. Even when it causes him pain, he does not give up. Jesus was in a heck of a lot of pain in life because he loved us, and Paul is picking up his cross, and following Jesus.

He is willing to deal with the hardships. He talks about how he endures trouble and remains strong, even while times get hard. He deals with beatings, being in prison, being attacked. He works hard and goes without sleep and food, and yet during all this, he tries to remain pure and patient and kind.

He continues to show love to everyone, despite his hardships. He still spreads the message about Jesus, regardless of if bad or good things happen because of it. Even when people say bad stuff about him. He is doing God’s good work and sometimes is looked at as being fake. He says he’s dying, but he is living on and trying to stay strong. He’s can get very sad, yet he is always praising God, always being glad in him. He is poor and remains humble, yet he is enriching the lives of many people by preaching God’s word.

Even when he does not have anything in this world, he says he has everything, and it’s true; he has Jesus’s heart, he has the riches in heaven, he is changing people’s lives by telling them of Christ.

Essentially, he’s happy despite all of his crap. He know Jesus loves him and he knows the power of God’s message. He knows it changes hearts and delivers people from evil, it rocks their worlds. So he suffers, tolerating the pain for the sake of the message of Christ. It’s so beautiful! And I love this verse because it shows his true love for Christ. He’s willing to go through anything for him.

And in my life, when I’m sad and I feel criticized for loving God, I still try to spread the Gospel- even when I’m in pain. Even when the world tells me I’m wrong. Even when it seems so hard I could just give up. I remember this passage- and how as Christians, we stand beside Jesus not only in the good times, but in the bad times. We have his love, but Jesus had to suffer so we could have it. And being his children, we are called to pick up our cross, and at times, suffer also. Christ sacrificed himself, and we are called to self-sacrifice.

I look at it like this- when we were young children, we got in a lot of trouble, got on our parents nerves, acted spoiled, did bad things.. and our parents loved us anyway. When we take up money, time, energy, and in return, cause stress and worry for our parents, they don’t stop loving us. They never stop working hard to provide for us.

Christ is the same way. We can be so unfaithful and ignore what he says, act like jerks to him, don’t spend time with him; and at the end of the day, he still loves us. We are called to love him like he loves us. When the child matures and grows older, and the parents of the child grow really old, the child is supposed to help their parents and provide for them, the same way the parents provided for them. It’s all about showing love, intergrity. Being generous.

So I will take up my cross and follow Jesus. I will stand beside him even when it means suffering, I will stand beside him when it means endless joy. The message of Paul’s hardships- it’s about not giving up hope. About being strong, being bold in the face of trouble. It’s about loving Jesus with all your heart. Jesus promises to bless us with everything if we would just take up our cross and follow him.