A Study in Philippians

Beginning with the New Year, there will be an ongoing study of the book of Philippians.

There are many contributors to this study, and you are invited to join in the discussion by adding your comments and insights as we progress through this wonderful book.

The study is being hosted by  Philter48, which is set up by two brothers in the Lord. It is being handled in a forum format. This allows the various authors access to establish a new thread for discussion, and for you the reader to participate at any level you so desire.

The insights offered by such a variety of believers and the lively discussions engendered should make for interesting and enlightening reading each day.

Therefore, add this link to your “Favorites” and check back often. Or, you can click on the Philippians Category to the left and get into the discussion. Either way, you don’t want to miss out on this opportunity to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.

I look forward to your participation in this new way to tap into the vast resources of the Body of Christ, with each part supplying that which is useful for building up the Body in love.

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The Stethoscope

Is your heart okay?

Spell Check in WordPress

     I know that being able to spell is not the main thing in life. But, for those of us who attempt to communicate our hearts through writing, spelling is an essential piece to the effectiveness of that communication.
     I learned to type in high school a few decades back. That was when the keys were designed for big fingers. I still managed to lock the keys on the manual typewriter, so I was never allowed to attempt the only electric typewriter we had in the classroom.
     Now we have these things called keyboards that are designed for the Japanese female, and I really have a rough time! Thankfully they don’t lock, but you ought to see some of the words I come up with. Added to that is a severe case of typing dyslexia–the ability to type words backwards from the known spelling.
     For instance, ‘the’ usually comes out as ‘teh;’ ‘of” almost always arrives on the page as ‘fo;’ and ‘and’ is almost always ‘adn.’ And that is just the small words! You should see what I do with the bigger words.
     But, I try to catch all that before it gets to your eyes. (Just then there was a ‘d’ at the end of ‘before.’ How? I dunno.)
     I usually go back and read all that I’ve written to look for the mistakes. But, we’ve all learned that the eye sees what it wants to see; and since I wrote it, it must be okay. I read what I thought I wrote.
     I tried teaching re-writing and editing to the middle school students, but that was an exercise in futility. “Done” was their goal and that was it. “Do-overs” are not allowed in the classroom–only on the playground.
     Going back over something is tedious and time consuming, but it must be done if we want excellence in our work. E-mail and posting to our blogs have taken away some of that drive for excellence. In the name of speed and efficiency, effectiveness takes the far back row.
     So, I’ve tried to use a spell checker, but to no avail until this morning. One of my sons would read my posts and go in and correct the typos, and then tell me what he had done. He kept telling me that they would show up as red-lined words in his editor; but that wasn’t happening for me. So, he told me to try using FireFox as my browser, because that may be the ticket.
     I did. It wasn’t. Spent most of yesterday just trying to learn my way around the new format of FireFox.
     I tried to use the spell-check that WordPress supplies on the toolbar for posting, but all I could get was language choice. That was because I was hitting the drop-down arrow. Finally figured out that I should just hit the ABC box–the one with the checkmark in it.
     The upshot of all this is that now I can find the misspellings and the typos. It won’t make the distinction between sense, since, and cents, but that is for the writers among us–not necessarily those who are simply trying to share their heart.
     So, after you type a post, before you hit the publish button, try to do a spell check of your document. It will help a little toward a more excellent product.
     Is that not what we want?

SNOW!

What a beautiful day!

We were predicted to have snow and ice beginning about 4am. Didn’t start until after 7. But, WOW! did it start!

Coming down heavily and beautifully.

Snow is beautiful–but impractical. Unless, of course, you’re a kid off from school with a sled.

Everything is white and the silence is deafening. I love it. Always have.

The amazing thing is the difference between here in the Northeast and the Southwest. Where we lived in Missouri, we had to wait until the storm passed before any trucks came out with plows and/or salt. Here, however, the trucks begin within an hour of the first snowfall.

Now, here is the really wild thing about that. In MO I lived on a county highway that was a major thoroughfare. Here, I live at the end of a lane. The truck has to make a turn around in front of my house to go back up the street. In MO it was no problem.

In Missouri, schools shut down with the threat of snow. Here, it is business as usual–unless a blizzard comes in.

I know that it takes money to run the trucks, and provide the cinder and salt. Here in PA we are taxed for everything, and that helps provide the necessary funds.

Right now, it is coming down as a three-fold mix: snow, sleet, and rain–all at the same time. I guess the clouds are at different levels, but all full and in need of emptying.

We made our mandatory trip to the store–just to see if we could make it 🙂 It was tough getting back up the hill, but we made it safely.

Now, we are in for the day, and Gracie is busy in the kitchen putting together the Christmas gifts of mix that I just made.

This is a good day.

Blogged Bible Study–John 21

Double Entendre

The final encounter between Jesus and Peter is loaded with food for thought, especially as we look to the words that are used.

The English language leaves much to be desired when trying to communicate various thoughts or nuances of meaning. For instance, I have been told that the the Eskimo have about seven different words for “snow.” each word describes the type of snow. We use “powder”, “wet”, “heavy” etc in conjunction with the word ‘snow’ to gtry to get across the meaning of what we are trying to say.

Most foreign languages avoid this difficulty by having specific words for differing meanings.

Such is the case here with Jesus asking Peter if he loved Him. There are two different words used for “love.” Peter’s responses use two different words for “know.” And Jesus used two different words in telling Peter to care for the flock of God, as well as making the distinction between lambs and sheep.

Many have written about the different words for “love” used here: agape and phileo. Agape is the word for unconditional committed love regardless of circumstances or anything else. It is a decision. Phileo is the word for brotherly love, and is dependent upon the good feelings one has for another. Those feelings can change, and so the phileo quality might change.

Up until his last response given with intense emotion, Peter used the word ‘oida’ which means to perceive or to recognize based on information attained. Then he said emphatically, “You know that I love you!” There, he uses the word ‘ginosko,’ which means to come to an experiential understanding.

“Lord, you have knowledge of all things. You know by your own experience how much I love You!” But, Peter would not go the extra step of proclaiming his undying love for the Lord by using the word agape. Peter had only responded with the word ‘phileo’ even when the Lord had asked for ‘agape.’ Finally, when Jesus used Peter’s level of love, he responded with emotion and said, “That’s the best I can do!!”

Was Peter remembering his betrayal? Did he remember how he had boasted of his full commitment, only to find himself a coward?

Jesus, the Master, was unrelenting in His pursuit of Peter’s knowledge of his own heart.

He is unrelenting in His pursuit of your heart. He wants it without reservation; but with full knowledge of the truth. No false humility. No false claims of greatness.

Be real.

NOTE: This is the last week for the Blogged Bible Study. Be sure to check out the other writers. And stay tuned to the various blogs of the different writers. Some are going to be doing different things that may prove interesting and beneficial for our walk with the Lord. I am looking to the Lord for my part in this.

A Critique of Critics

Difficult times in the natural usually precede a spiritual awakening. We are in difficult times now, and the signs of an awakening are visible.

Recent reports show that church attendance is up across all age, gender, and socio-economic groups.

There is also turmoil within the ranks of the Church itself. There is controversy (as there has always been) about new methods and terminologies and experiences.

I have watched with interest the various changes over the past 50 years. I was a part of the change within the Catholic Church and the Second Vatican Council. I witnessed the awakening now called the Charismatic Renewal. I’ve listened to the fights among evangelicals that renewal engendered. I’ve watched the various ‘revivals’ since then that have proven less than real and brought reproach upon the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. I’ve seen the New Age Spirituality make its inroads into the pulpits of Christian Churches.

The Emerging Church Movement has been characterized as buying into all that is New Age.

I have read the critiques of the leaders and the works of some  of the leaders.

The Prosperity Gospel and the Word of Faith people have been criticized and challenged by Congress.

I have read the critiques of the leaders and the works of some  of the leaders.

Why the controversy? Why the heat? Why are there some who seem to have nothing better to do than to “warn us of the dangers?”

Yes, as one who is called to leadership in the Body I understand the necessity of understanding the perilous times in which we live. I understand the mandate to take heed to myself and to the flock of God. I understand that there will be false prophets and teachers who will secretly slip in and deceive the flock. I truly know and understand these things.

I also know that there are few (if any) who are called as a leader of the entire Body of Christ. (The Pope doesn’t even claim that privilege!)

Is that what we should be doing? It is, if it is your calling.

But, what is lacking, what is causing so much falsity to arise is more to be addressed than the falseness itself.

Jesus said that if we would continue in His word then we would know the truth and the truth would make us free.

Why is there not more of the Word being proclaimed? Why are new believers not being encouraged to get into the Word? Why do people find the modern church irrelevant?

Because the Church leaders continue to look to the world for the solution as to why the world is not enamored with the Church. We ask them why they are not coming, and then we try to do something based on those findings. That is about like asking a four-year-old why they won’t eat their peas and they say they want candy; so we give them candy. They still won’t eat their peas, and the cycle continues. Ridiculous!!

Until we return to the two basic fundamentals of church growth, we will never see another revival as great as those before 1950.

The two fundamentals are mentioned in the Acts and are the two things that got the most votes on my Opinion survey on this blog: prayer and preaching. (Acts 2:42) Notice that fellowship and communion are also mentioned. (More on that at a later time.)

There are many among the critics of the various movements who are strong to call for a strict adherence to the Word. They pick on every little word that people write on the various blogs and challenge their overall orthodoxy. This is not the kind of preaching that I am talking about. The letter kills, but the spirit gives life.

There must be life behind the words that are spoken or written.

Truth is not imparted mind to mind. Truth is imparted life to life.

And it is the truth, the presence of truth, the reality of truth being lived out that will once again draw people into the Church.

Jesus said He is the truth. He said that if He is lifted up, He will draw all men to Himself.

Oh!! There is so much here I want to write more and more! There is such a dearth of hearing the word of God. (Amos 8:11) There are many who are highly skilled at finding three points for every one of their three points in their three-pointed sermon. It makes for a great outline, and leaves the hearer filled with admiration at such oratorical skill. Yet few come to Jesus.

No, dear reader. Skilled sermonizing, music services, outreach programs, light shows, nor any other thing will ever replace the simplicity of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Let those who preach begin with that magnificent centerpiece and expound and explain in simple terms what it means to follow Jesus.

That kind of preaching will not fill our churches with the multitudes; but it will fill our churches with those who are looking for what it means to follow the Master.

Back At It!

Thanks for staying with this.

We are back from our trip. It was basically uneventful, except for the the night we were getting into town. Freezing rain began to settle into SW MO, which made driving rather difficult. We were getting there just after dark, so the bridges were freezing. Made it without incident.

Then came the hard work of trying to load heavy tools onto an ice-covered trailer bed. What fun! I’m pushing, but only my feet were moving. I was essentially dancing with a five-foot tall drill press. Made for some interesting video, that, thankfully, we didn’t get.

Now, we are back in PA. The trailer is unloaded, and the borrowed vehicle is returned. Our daughter-in-law let us use her Ford Expedition for the week. It was great for the trip and is a workhorse.

Timber, our dog, enjoyed the long hours on the road. She travels well. She is always excited to get out and check out the new smells at every stop. She gets out of the car and immediately sticks her nose to the ground and takes off. Doesn’t even look up to see other dogs.

Hopefully, I can get back into taking care of the blog. I have the Blogged Bible Study for this week, which is John 21. It will be the last post for that study. I was blessed to be a part of that group of people who have such a heart for the Lord. I am still a part, still visit their blogs as I was doing before I was invited to share, and they are still connected. We just won’t be doing a disciplined study at this time.

Many are trying to get me to be an active part of FaceBook, but as of yet, I cannot see the value in it. I have a profile up, and have ‘friends’ who have linked. But, it appears to me that the goal is to get more ‘friends’ than anyone else. There doesn’t seem to be any real purpose to the “social networking” sites. I can post the same entries on this blog that I can post on FaceBook. Maybe someone reading this can enlighten me further.