Archive for Philippians

Anger and Bitterness part 3- How to Cope

Alright. The tough, tough stuff. How do we cope with being bitter and anger at God? Because if we hold these feelings in too long, that bitterness becomes rage, and we start to hate God and anyone who stands for him. We’ve already acknowledged that we are humans, and that we will naturally become angry at God, even though we are technically wrong. But if you don’t take steps to consistently get rid of that anger, we can fall away from a faithful relationship with God. This is an example of what can happen if you let bitter feelings of God go too far: Are You Mad at God? an article by David Wilkerson.

I will attempt to explain this the best I can, as I battle against my selfishness and bitterness at God, to reach for a higher good. While I am explaining, I am also living it. So I pray that I can be a successful example, and I can show what really works.

1. First, I let God know what I am feeling in my heart. Though he already knows the struggles I deal with on a daily basis, I will feel like I can trust him more when I open up to him and say that I am hurting. I can get it off of my chest, and it will seem like he is more of a friend.

2. Then I pray about my issue. I pray that the Lord takes away my pain, that he heals my internal wounds, that he is glorified through me. Even if it is his will for me to suffer for the time being, I pray that I have strength to hold on to my faith until the end.

“Do not worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks. And God’s peace, which is so great we cannot understand it, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

3. I get into the word! I have this little book that is divided into sections. It has all kinds of bible verses for various situations. Verses for when I’m angry, rebellious, lonely, rejected, depressed, etc. I use this when I try to deal with my bitterness and anger at God because it’s a lot harder to search in the bible by yourself for verses that relate to you. They can be confusing or hard to come across- not to say that you shouldn’t try it, anyway. But when I am in a moment of desperation, I write out the various things bothering me, I may pray about it, and then I open this little booklet, and find verses that give me strength and peace and that disarm my huge bomb of anger. It can be difficult to get myself to do, but I definitely think it helps in the long run. It helps the bible to become more applicable to my everyday life, and so I find less and less reason to find it irrelevant, like a lot of people to day think. It makes God seem more alive and more ‘here’ to me, caring about how I feel. The book is called ‘God’s Promises for Every Day‘. You should invest in one! I want to live my life by God’s word, so this is a good way to do it.

4. Find Godly people who can help you with your struggles. Sometimes, we have questions that others know the answers to. They can offer guidance when we need it. They may have gone through a similar spell when they were upset with God, and found and effective way to deal with it. They will pray for us and with us, giving us encouraging words to hold onto our faith, and offer community where we can find strength. They give us hope that is harder to find when we are alone. They may be able to see ways out of our bitterness, while we can’t see them. We need a community of faith to keep us grounded and focused on the Lord. I am still struggling with this greatly, and I haven’t found many people that I can talk to about my struggles with bitterness with God. I have always had a horribly difficult time opening up to people, so this is certainly something that I am working on.

On my next post, I will continue on about how to cope with bitterness and anger.

On Excellence part 2

I have been working at Chick-fil-A for about a year. It has been a great experience, and I want to relate it to being a disciple of Christ.

At Chick-fil-A, we aim for excellence. We are not allowed to settle for 2nd best. We are told to keep improving at whatever we do, taking care of customers to the fullest possible amount, and to be upbeat and smile. Our boss Jon Holmes would never lest us settle for being less than the best.

I believe Christians should be the same way: we should aim to be excellent. We should never settle for being 2nd best, we should do our job to the best of our abilities. What is our job as Christians? Go and make disciples! Bring people to Christ! Encouraging our brothers and sisters in Christ to not sin, to remain strong in their hearts while they pursue being like Christ.

Making sure we take care of ourselves when it comes to Jesus and heaven, doing all that he asks us to! We need to fight to win back a world lost in sin, and show everyone in Christ and not yet in Christ the love in the Lord. We need to love one another. All of this stuff is our job as Christians. We have to aim for excellence, putting our foot down in a powerful and effective way to a world that ignores us. We become excellence by striving to be more like Christ.

Personally, I aim for excellence at work by listening wholeheartedly to my managers, trying to do everything they ask to avoid trouble. I definitely listen to the boss when he tells me something, and I put what he says above what anyone else says. I try to go above and beyond to meet the needs of customers and to appear friendly and loving to show that I care. Surprise them with kindness: helping them carry their trays, smiling, making conversation, actually investing in each individual as much as I can, because this is part of our job. Our job is not just to take money and orders. We are to also exhibit this kindness and show how much we care, making people feel not just like a customer, but like they are at home.

For Christ, I aim for excellence by listening to those who are above me, such as pastors and people I see that are living for God. I keep in mind that they are not perfect, not always right, but I respect them and try to listen to them so I may learn how to become closer to God. I always listen to the boss man, who is God. I guess it would be boss men: The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Whatever they say is above what anyone else tells me, because they are the ones who take the most and best care of me. My soul depends on their love and graciousness, so I will respect and listen to them.

I try to go up and beyond for my fellow Christians: not only talking about Jesus with them but also showing them his love through my actions: helping them when they are in need, guiding them when they get lost and need help in the faith, truly loving and being friends with them. I go up and beyond for them, so that they see the love of Christ shining bright in me.

I attempt to act humbly towards non-Christians; encouraging them, being friendly, and being there for them. This is because even as non-believers, they will begin to see the love of Christ in me, and this is what truly wins people to Christ: our actions, not just our words. You could shout at someone all day and they wouldn’t believe a word you said, but if you just showed them sincere kindness, the beauty of Christ flows right out of you, and it is really evident to them. It’s not always about talking the talk. You got to walk the walk!

“When you do things, do not let selfishness or pride be your guide. Instead, be humble and give more honor to others than to yourselves. Do not be interested only in your own life, but be interested in the lives of others.” Philippians 2:3-4

Valentine’s Day Love

My friend Kayla and I did something very special for valentine’s Day. We bought all different kinds of flowers and a bunch of vases. We had about 41 vases, and decorated each vase with a curly ribbon. Then we put 3 flowers in each vase. We went to a nursing home and handed them out to the people there. There were only about 30 old people, and then workers. So we handed them out to the elderly. It was so incredible, watching their faces light up, and listening to them talk about how pretty the flowers were and how it made them feel happy and special.

The flowers were expensive, and no one told us to do it, we just decided to on our own. We had also made Valentine’s cards- Kayle made about 12 and I made 8 and sent them to people at Hospice. We put things in them like “someone cares, stay strong, Jesus loves you.” We also gave them the rest of the flowers we had left. There were 16 people living in Hospice, so we had plenty. 🙂

We weren’t allowed to go into the rooms to hand them out like we did at the nursing home because of the rules, but the lady at the front desk told us she would certainly hand them out for us. We wanted people to feel special, feel loved, know we care, that Jesus cares. If there were more Christians who could be selfless and love other people like Jesus loves, this world would be a better place. There would be less broken hearts, less pain, more people falling in love with Christ and the freedom and redemption and hope he offers.

A big problem is that there are lots of greedy Christians who are focused on themselves, and only care about what God has to offer them. That prevents God’s love from reaching people, the people who truly need his love most: the down-trodden, the weak, those left behind.

This is a reason Christ is so grounded in humility and so strongly desires to see it in us. It’s because being humble and selfless allows us to stop obsessing about ourselves and all the things we ‘need’ and don’t have, and allows us to take care of people who truly have need. Christ did not say “No, I’m not going to die for anyone, I want to live my life and be happy”; he did not refuse to die for us. He humbly accepted his fate, even though it meant he would suffer. He put someone else above his self.

“When you do things, do not let selfishness or pride be your guide. Instead, be humble and give more honor to others than to yourselves. Do not be interested only in your own life, but be interested in the lives of others.” Philippians 2:3-4

“Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:26-29

Jesus was perfect, deserved everything, and he was not self-centered. He placed other people above himself, event though it caused him pain. That’s because we needed him desperately. We are supposed to be like him, put others before ourselves, because others need us- and Christ through us- desperately.

I don’t want people walking around thinking Christians are hypocrites and liars, and that they try to act good but they are actually heartless. I want them to feel love and compassion and hope, I want them to see how headstrong we are in changing the world. That is who we are meant to be. But we have to be Christlike in the way we live, doing for others before we do for ourselves. That is how the world may know him, through us. This is the truth they were meant to see.

Jesus is your: Example! Con’t 3

“Bear with each other, and forgive each other. If someone does wrong to you, forgive that person because the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13

No one has the right to say “you don’t know what that person did to me”, “you don’t know how bad they hurt me”, in the face of a blood stained cross. How can you say you can’t forgive someone, when Jesus was nailed, hands and feet, to a cross, praying for the people who were doing it? He forgave the horrible things that happened to him, and he forgave us for doing bad.

Who are we to say we are too good, acting like we are better than him, saying we can’t forgive? He forgave, he says to forgive others as well. He also says that if we forgive others, our father in heaven will forgive us for our sins.

“You are God’s children whom he loves, so try to be like him. Live a life of love just as Christ loved us and gave himself for us as a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2

“In your lives you must think and act like Christ Jesus. Christ himself was like God in everything. But he did not think that being equal with God was something to be used for his own benefit. But he gave up his place with God and made himself nothing. He was born as a man and became like a servant. And when he was living as a man, he humbled himself and was fully obedient to God, even when that caused his death—death on a cross.” Philippians 2:5-8

“If I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash each other’s feet. I did this as an example so that you should do as I have done for you.” John 13:14-15

Paradox: Become Greater By Becoming Less

We, as human beings, want to be treated like we are the greatest people ever. In our own sinful, selfish nature, we naturally want to put ourselves before others, be taken care of first, put everyone else second. We say “my life is about ME, ME, ME.” In our walk with Christ, our own evil heart wants to be the center of attention, we want to make decisions for OUR lives, we don’t want Jesus to make them for us. WE want to lead. WE always have the answers.

But that’s an interesting paradox when it comes to living for Jesus:

“Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 10:26-28

We must put ourselves last to become first. To Christ, humility shows much greater strength and deserves much more honor than pride does. A proud man in God’s sight is a wicked man, he is about himself, not concerned with the wellbeing of others, so long as he gets what he desires.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:3-11

So essentially, because Christ, who in his nature is God, decided to humble himself and be a servant and serve others, rather than trying to be equal with God the Father, God made him the greatest person, ruling over all the others. Because of his complete humility and obedience and willingness to be beneath others, God honored him and gave him glory and gave him everything.

Strange paradox, but true. When we fight the desire in our heart to be first, and instead truly desire to serve others, help them when they are in need, show them how to live upright lives for God, and take care of their needs before we worry about our own, God will take care of us. When we make ourselves like nothing, we will bring him glory and he will honor us, and we will be the most blessed.

It’s because God admires humility so much. When we put others first, he puts us first. He loves humility because when we are humble, he really gets to be in charge of our lives, and we help others more, love others more, are more compassionate, caring, and we can change the world with such love. Humility means we stop being arrogant and recognize that others have needs, too. We serve others, and these other people we serve are God’s children, and he sees how we help them. To become great in God’s sight, we have to become less. We have to be second, instead of being first.

“Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.” Proverbs 18:12

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2

“In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’” 1 Peter 5:5

Jesus was abused, cursed at, spit on, died on a cross for us. He was obedient to his father to the point of death. He could have called angels to kill all the people who hurt him, who caused him nothing but pain and misery. He is God! But he did not. He loved them, he still prayed for them, still died for them. Humility. Serving others. Obedient. And God sees his son denying himself for the sake of others, and now Jesus is the greatest one ever, and it is impossible to get to heaven with out him. He is the greatest one in our lives, the most important, most significant.

When you want a position like that, and you aim for that, being proud and depending on yourself and being all about yourself, trying to exalt yourself, God makes you last and the least among men, and you will never achieve such greatness.

A lot of people don’t understand the paradox. When others are trying to make their names great, they get caught up in sin and really aren’t great. When I am trying to make Jesus’s name great, and I am serving others for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven, he sees that, and I will achieve more than the selfish person.

Embrace the paradox. Or face the frustration of constantly trying to succeed and only finding failure. Make Jesus’s name greater. When it comes to yourself, become less.

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.

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