Alumni Bible Study

A Bible study initially set up for alumni of the Senior Sunday School Class at the First United Methodist Church of Lufkin, Texas. It is our hope and our prayer that this study touches the hearts of those who participate and helps spread the love and grace of Our Lord and God. All who want to learn more about God are welcome

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Location: lufkin, Texas, United States

I am a Christian family man, Lay Pastor and writer from Deep East Texas. I love life, and I enjoy working with young people. I have published two books; "A Small Mind Among Tall Trees" and "God If You Are Not Too Busy, Can You Give Me a Hand". If you want to obtain a copy drop me an e-mail or go to or barnesand . I have been a salesman, cowman and athlete in my past. I still have a strong sense of humor and am not afraid to use it.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Susanna 15-27

Relax, Read and Reflect

Prayer-Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us to learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

15 And it fell out, as they watched a fit time, she went in as before with two maids only, and she was desirous to wash herself in the garden: for it was hot.
16 And there was no body there save the two elders, that had hid themselves, and watched her.
17 Then she said to her maids, Bring me oil and washing balls, and shut the garden doors, that I may wash me.
18 And they did as she bade them, and shut the garden doors, and went out themselves at privy doors to fetch the things that she had commanded them: but they saw not the elders, because they were hid.
19 Now when the maids were gone forth, the two elders rose up, and ran unto her, saying,
20 Behold, the garden doors are shut, that no man can see us, and we are in love with thee; therefore consent unto us, and lie with us.
21 If thou wilt not, we will bear witness against thee, that a young man was with thee: and therefore thou didst send away thy maids from thee.
22 Then Susanna sighed, and said, I am straitened on every side: for if I do this thing, it is death unto me: and if I do it not I cannot escape your hands.
23 It is better for me to fall into your hands, and not do it, than to sin in the sight of the Lord.
24 With that Susanna cried with a loud voice: and the two elders cried out against her.
25 Then ran the one, and opened the garden door.
26 So when the servants of the house heard the cry in the garden, they rushed in at the privy door, to see what was done unto her.
27 But when the elders had declared their matter, the servants were greatly ashamed: for there was never such a report made of Susanna.

The plot begins to thicken. First, the two bad elders, (double meaning,) decide they need to spy on poor Susanna. They become peeping Tom’s. After the people left, the beautiful Susanna decides she needs to bathe, and does so in the garden. She sends away her servants, (modesty is a virtue,) and believes she is alone in her garden. Of course the elders are hiding in the bushes and are checking her out.
They decide to take in a step further, (they are dirty old elders,) and come out to confront Susanna. They make her an offer she can’t refuse. If she will let them have sex with her, they won’t tell the people she has had an affair. Stay with me, she was not having an affair, but if she did, (with two old leches,) the elders would not tell on her. Twisted, but the elders knew the people would believe them. Why would they lie?
Susanna was caught between a rock and a hard place. She was virtuous and put her faith in God, and refused their lame come on. She cried out, the elders cried out, and the servants rushed in. Who will the people believe? Tune in tomorrow- same time, same space.
Payer- Lord, protect us from evil. Help us remember that You are the truth, and the truth is what makes us free. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Susanna 1-14

Relax, Read and Reflect.

Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen

1 There dwelt a man in Babylon, called Joacim:
2 And he took a wife, whose name was Susanna, the daughter of Chelcias, a very fair woman, and one that feared the Lord.
3 Her parents also were righteous, and taught their daughter according to the law of Moses.
4 Now Joacim was a great rich man, and had a fair garden joining unto his house: and to him resorted the Jews; because he was more honorable than all others.
5 The same year were appointed two of the ancients of the people to be judges, such as the Lord spake of, that wickedness came from Babylon from ancient judges, who seemed to govern the people.
6 These kept much at Joacim's house: and all that had any suits in law came unto them.
7 Now when the people departed away at noon, Susanna went into her husband's garden to walk.
8 And the two elders saw her going in every day, and walking; so that their lust was inflamed toward her.
9 And they perverted their own mind, and turned away their eyes, that they might not look unto heaven, nor remember just judgments.
10 And albeit they both were wounded with her love, yet durst not one shew another his grief.
11 For they were ashamed to declare their lust, that they desired to have to do with her.
12 Yet they watched diligently from day to day to see her.
13 And the one said to the other, Let us now go home: for it is dinner time.
14 So when they were gone out, they parted the one from the other, and turning back again they came to the same place; and after that they had asked one another the cause, they acknowledged their lust: then appointed they a time both together, when they might find her alone.

We will do something different, (suddenly I am all about change.) We will study part of the Apocrypha. Don’t bother looking for these books in your bibles, they are probably not there, unless you are old school catholic. I even had a difficult time finding downloadable versions for this blog, ( doesn’t have a version with Apocrypha. )
These books come from the Greek teachings, not Hebrew. They are also, obviously, excluded from the protestant bible. Because of this, many people are not familiar and possibly even afraid of these books. This is silly. I am not using these as gospel but they do help teach lessons. Also, as Christians we need to know as much as we can about our bible and the texts that it comes from. I guarantee non believers will read these books and if you are not familiar, you may
look foolish in public eyes.
We will start with the Book of Susanna. This is a great melodrama! My father wanted to write a play based on this book so bad he could taste it. I agree with Dad-this book is low hanging fruit.
It takes place in Babylon during the time of the Jewish exile. Daniel is a major player in this story if that helps you place the time. Susanna is a beautiful and virtuous woman from a well off Jewish family. Her Husband is a man of respect. The elders of the community would gather in his gardens to do business, and obviously to check out his wife.
Two elders became more than a little moved by Susanna’s beauty, they became lustful. They were overwhelmed by this lust and made a plan to come back to her house after work and act on their desires.
I know- you are saying that this belongs on the romance racks in the drugstore, not in the Bible. Maybe, but the two evil elders are false prophets, and they appear in Jeremiah. Also, this little soap opera of ancient times is a good mirror of life even today. We still have lust in our hearts and it can often overcome us. It is proper and right that we, as adults, be able to look at this and apply the lessons that God makes.

Tomorrow- evil plans from evil men!

Prayer, Lord, protect from the evil in the world. Even if it is in our own body. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Philippians 4:15-23

Relax, Read and Reflect

Prayer-Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

15Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. 17Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. 18I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
20To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Final Greetings
21Greet all the saints in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me send greetings. 22All the saints send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar's household.
23The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen

Paul ends his message with praise. He praises the church at Philippi. He is quick to remind them how much he loves them and why. They supported him when no one else did, and continue to support him-both emotional and financially. He isn’t looking for payment, his account has been paid in full and more. The thanks he gives is followed by assurance that their generosity will be answered by God.
Remember, Paul is in jail during this time. He hopes to get out, but does not know what his future is. During times of uncertainty we all can become more cautious and withdrawn. We are now facing some real economic issues. Should we stop doing what we have done in the past because of fear of the uncertain future? Or, should we be like Paul, thanking for the gifts of the past and being confident the future has great things for us and out church.

Prayer- Lord, Help us remain confident as a church, even in uncertain times. We know we can do all things through You, because You give us that strength. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Philippians 4:8-14

Relax, Read and Reflect

Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Thanks for Their Gifts
10I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
14Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.

All things come from God. And through God, all thing are possible. Paul continues to strengthen and encourage the church. Even if he can not be there to personally touch them, he can still touch them by words, and the promise that he is with them in spirit. Paul would have enjoyed being the pastor at Philippi, but he understood that God wanted him to do other things.
Do we, as a church, sometimes doubt our effect on our world? Sometimes we feel insignificant and don’t think what we do matters. What we do, individually as well as collectively, is what God does here on earth. We are His hands and feet. Never underestimate what you can do, with God who strengthens you.

Prayer- Lord, give me strength, give me courage. Use me to do Your will. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Philippians 4:4-7

Relax, Read and Reflect

Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Sometimes we get a group of verses that do not require much commentary. Today is one of those days. Paul is encouraging and motivating the church at Philippi. These four verses pretty well get right to the "lick log."
Sometimes we try to make things complicated. It may be our human instinct to make things legalistic, or a belief that anything great has to be complicated. A Christian life can be very simple, these verses prove that.
I want to make a challenge. If anyone has had a deep conversation with another Christian or a non believer about what it takes to live with God, and you were looking for verses to help-send these to that person.

Prayer- Lord, we do rejoice in you. Give us the peace and understanding that comes from our faith in You. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Philippians 4:1-3

Relax, Read and Reflect.

Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Philippians 4
1Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!
2I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. 3Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow,[
a] help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Paul closes his letter with exhortations. He is trying to motivate as he closes. I doing this he gets personal. Two women of the church are sideways, and he pleads with them to start agreeing in the Lord. Do this still happen today?
Unfortunately we as humans tend to disagree about things. I need to repeat that last statement; we disagree about things. We need to be in total agreement about the Lord. When we do get cross with each other, we need to remember we are arguing about things. While it may be important to us what color the carpet is in the sanctuary, God really does not care. Be passionate about the gospel, for the rest be compassionate. That’s the way God wants it.
A sidebar here: Yesterdays devotion I talked about symbols at a children’s sermon.
I need to clarify that the children gave the answer that God carried the flag, not the presenter. The presenter, (a high school sophomore,) skillfully turned the answer to a more appropriate one, soldiers, police, fireman. She was not inferring that God carried the flag. In fact, she did a better job of explaining than I did.
Prayer- Lord, Help us get along. Help us remember that things are not important. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Philippians 3:17-21

Relax, Read and Reflect

Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

17Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. 18For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. 20But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Paul is still re-enforcing the fact that we follow a higher power. In verse 18 he uses the word "many". Is this many Christians ? Or, is this just a generic phrase for all people? It can be both.
We are all citizens of heaven. We may be Romans, Philippians or Americans, but our final allegiance is to God. During yesterdays children’s sermon at church a very dicey point was made. The presenter had various symbols for the kids to identify, a flag, a cross etc. When she brought out the American flag she asked "who carries this symbol?" The answer was God. God does not carry and American flag any more than he would carry an Iraqis flag or Russian. He is above every nation.
Do we, as Americans, understand that we are citizens of heaven? Or are we convinced our country is heaven? Is our God our stomach?

Prayer- Lord, Thank you for giving us all the advantages we enjoy in life. Help us to be a better community of faith by reminding us we belong to the great power- You! Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Philippians 3:12-16

Relax, Read and Reflect

Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Pressing on Toward the Goal
12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
15All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

Paul exhorts the church, (that’s us,) to continue towards our goal. We want what Christ has for us. Even though righteousness we are part of God’s kingdom, that does not relieve us from continuing to work towards our goals.
Yes, we are saved because of what Christ did, not because of anything we did. Part of the deal is that we need to spread the gospel and love each other. If we accept the love of Christ but do not show it or spread it, we are behaving like spoiled little children. If we want to be mature christians, we have to act like them.

Prayer- Lord, keep us making positive strides towards You. We want and seek the prize, and we want others to take it as well. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Philippians 3:7-11

Relax, Read and Reflect.
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

7But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Even though Paul was on the fast track to religious success, he dumped everything to follow Jesus. He walked away from certain glory and power on earth, and considered those things trash. The greatest thing, the highest goal for Paul was a relationship with Christ. By knowing Christ, Paul feels we also know the suffering he felt. We also feel the resurrection in our daily lives.
Is this a fair trade? Is it fine to trade the rewards of the earth for the rewards of the heart? Paul thought it was, and so does God.

Prayer- Lord, Help us remember our priorities as we go through life. Flesh is fine, but glory is forever. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Philippians 3:4-6

Relax, Read and Reflect

Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

4though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.

This is a continuation from yesterdays lesson. It is not often that a verse picks up in mid sentence, but this one did. Paul is telling the church not to have faith in the flesh. Today he tells them that if anyone had the right to have faith in religious deeds and rank-it was him. Remember, he was a jew’s jew. He had done everything right and was a mover in the Temple at Jerusalem.
Even though he had done everything correctly, it was still by faith that he is saved. Nothing he did compared to what Christ did for us. Sometimes all of us feel the same way. We think we are tearing up the world by doing stuff. The stuff we do, (including this blog,) is just stuff. We do not get to Jesus by our flesh. We get to Jesus by admitting that he did the work and we accept it.

Prayer- Lord, Even though we do great things in Your honor, help us remember daily that a relationship with You only comes through our hearts. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Philippians 3:1-3

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

No Confidence in the Flesh
1Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.
2Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh. 3For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh—

Paul continues to warn against false prophets. There must have been a big problem with false teaching in the early church. Have things changed? His main point here is put no confidence in the person teaching, put confidence in Jesus.
When I see big congregations that worship their minister, I get a little nervous. Especially when that minister is preaching financial prosperity through the church. I am not condemning these guys, but I am being safe around them.

Prayer- Lord, Give us the wisdom to see evil. Keep us from false prophets and help us stay pure in Your word. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Philippians 2:25-30

Relax, Read and Reflect.
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Philippians 2:25-30 (New International Version)
25But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. 26For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. 27Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. 28Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. 29Welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor men like him, 30because he almost died for the work of Christ, risking his life to make up for the help you could not give me.

Epaphroditus (I will refer to him as Epi from now on,) was a part of this church who visited Paul in prison. While visiting Epi became very sick. Paul thinks that because he lived, God had big plans for him. He is sending him home and telling his friends that Epi is now special.

Are we special? Do we all have a set plan that God has for us to follow? Yes. I can look at my own life and see how God has worked to help me. I can also look at things that at the time were obstacles that now I know were ways God diverted me to better trails. This is one way God works through us. He worked through Epi, he will work through you.

Prayer- Lord, Help us to remember to be patient. We want to be your servants, but sometimes we want to do the guiding as well. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Philippians 2:19-24

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

19I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. 21For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. 23I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. 24And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon.

Paul understands that the church in Philippi will need care. That is why he is sending his young protegee Timothy to visit with them. People tend to look out for their interests first, but Paul says that Timothy puts the interests of Jesus before his own. Can there be a better recommendation than that? Paul still feels his problems will work out and he can visit Philippi himself. Just in case he is sending the best person he can to propel the gospel.
What would people say about you? Where are your priorities? Do you put your interests first? Or are you like Timothy? What actions are you doing to show the world that Jesus is first in your life?
Prayer-Lord, Help us keep You first in our life. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Philippians 2:14-18

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Philippians 2:14-18 (New International Version)
14Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15so 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 16as you hold out[
a] the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. 17But 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. 18So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.

What good does is do to complain? Does anyone really want to hear? God has put us on earth to be a shining example of real life. Leave the bickering to those who don’t know God, that way we know who to love.
When we live a life of peace, we are not as likely to be bogged down by the world. It’s not always easy to live the life God wants us to live. Every day we live in harmony with our brothers and sisters is a day we can be proud of, because that is an example to others.
Paul knows he may be executed. That is a sacrifice he is willing to make as long as his friends can live a life with Jesus because of his actions. Are we willing to do the same?
Prayer- Lord, help us get along with each other. Help us shine like the stars. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Phillippians 2:12-13

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Philippians 2:12-13 (New International Version)
Shining as Stars
12Therefore, 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, 13for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose

Paul tells us here that we need to follow God always. This is how The Message puts it.

Rejoicing Together
12-13What I'm getting at, friends, is that you should simply keep on doing what you've done from the beginning. When I was living among you, you lived in responsive obedience. Now that I'm separated from you, keep it up. Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God's energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.

The is joy in perseverance. That fear and trembling in the first translation, that can be said as humbly with constant dependence on God’s help. Although, being honest, I do like the phrasing "Better yet, redouble your efforts." Just because the preacher is not around, we should still live Godly lives, right? Actually, we need to increase our efforts when we are outside the church buildings. Real energy from real works comes from the world, because that’s where God stays.

Prayer- Lord, Give us the strength and fortitude to increase our works when others are not around, because we know you are always with us. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Philippians 2:9-11

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Philippians 2:9-11 (New International Version)
9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

This is still part of the humbleness of being a Christian. Yesterday we talked about being a servant, in the example of Christ. Today Paul sets Jesus in that glorious place. He is the one to be exalted. Wait! Didn’t we say we should all be servants yesterday but today we say Christ is above us?
No. Christ is great. If we aim to be like Christ-we will aim for greatness. Will we ever be Christ? No, but we can be a servant as he is and we can help praise His name and kingdom. We do this through humility, and the example of Christ.

Prayer- Lord, You are great and You are Lord. Help us lift up Your kingdom here on earth after the example of Your Son-Jesus. Go-Fight-Win. Amen

Monday, March 09, 2009

Phillippians 2:5-8

Relax, Read and Reflect

Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7but made himself nothing, taking the very nature[
b] of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!

We should all be servants. Christ himself was a servant, and he is God! Paul is very clear about this, and it is this attitude that makes us one with Christ.
What does that mean. Do we need to clean peoples houses or cook their food? Is this what it means to be a servant? Actually- yes. That is exactly what is means. We should be helping out each other so we can live in a better world. We all know that mission work is very uplifting. Remember how hard many of you worked during UMARMY? The wild thing is, that was the most fun we had. That’s what it means to have a servants heart.

Prayer- Lord help us to be a servant like Jesus. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Philippians 2:1-4

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Philippians 2:1-4 (New International Version)
Philippians 2
Imitating Christ's Humility
1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

I have verses 3 and 4 highlighted in my bible. That means that sometime in the past I felt they were very important, they are. If we are to be one church-one body, we should take care of one another. By lifting up each other, we are lifting up ourselves. When we show and share Christ’s love, we ourselves are being loved. That is very cool.
One of the benefits of daily, (or close to daily,) study of the Bible is you run across things you have already read, like today. Since I thought these verses were important then, I paid careful attention to them now. Guess what? This was exactly what I needed to hear from God today.
Prayer- Lord, Help us be as one. Help us lift up others in humility so that we can all experience your love. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Philippians 1:27-30

Relax-Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

27Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel 28without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. 29For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, 30since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.

If we are to do God’s work here, then we need to always conduct ourselves in a matter worthy of Christ. We must always be consistent, and consistently Christlike. Not only in our deeds, but how we persevere. Christians must be brave, because we will have struggles. The way we face those struggles is the way we show salvation.
No one really likes to struggle or to suffer. Even Christ wrestled with this. If we meet the problems the world give the church with courage and determination, we win.

Prayer- Lord give us the courage to live in a matter worthy of Christ. We want to do this because we love You. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Philippians 1:22-26

Relax, Read and Reflect.
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Philippians 1:22-26 (New International Version)
22If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.

Today’s verses are ones that it is helpful to look at a paraphrase.

22-26As long as I'm alive in this body, there is good work for me to do. If I had to choose right now, I hardly know which I'd choose. Hard choice! The desire to break camp here and be with Christ is powerful. Some days I can think of nothing better. But most days, because of what you are going through, I am sure that it's better for me to stick it out here. So I plan to be around awhile, companion to you as your growth and joy in this life of trusting God continues. You can start looking forward to a great reunion when I come visit you again. We'll be praising Christ, enjoying each other.
This comes from "The Message" and helps us understand. For Paul, living with Christ is the ultimate goal. So if he dies-he wins. However, if he dies he can no longer help his young churches. He feels Christ has given him the task to help, and even though that means a difficult earthly life, this is what he needs to do. Therefore, he tells the church at Philippi that he plans, or desires, to be around for a long time.
We also understand that heaven is a wonderful place and have this as our final goal. God has plans for us. Even though those plans may cause us short term pain and long term work we need to fulfill all we can while we live. As the old time trail riding cowboys used to say, "you can sleep during the winter." Our winter is eternity.

Prayer- Lord, gives us strength to do the tasks you want us to do here. We want badly to hang out with you. Remind us that by fellowship and ministry on earth-that is what we are doing. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Philippians 1:19-21

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.[
] 20I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Paul understands that salvation comes from Christ. He also suggests that salvation or deliverance can not come from us alone. It comes from prayers and through the Holy Spirit. Because of that, the burden of living Christlike lives is shared. He looks forward to being put to the test because his friends are praying for him and the Spirit is with him, because of that he will not be ashamed.
So often we feel like we are in this fight alone. We believe in God and the Spirit, we know we have friends but we do not call on their help. Maybe it is because we are afraid that even with prayers to help us we will still fail. Maybe it is because we are afraid we will succeed. What ever the reason we feel that we must live this life alone.
We are not alone! Christ is always with us. If Christ is always with us, shouldn’t we live as Christ lived? Read verse 21 again. As we prepare to celebrate our victory over death shouldn’t live like we are alive?
Prayer- Lord, help us to remember that you are always with us. We are never alone. Remind us that life is Christ. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Philippians 1:15-18

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open our hearts and open our minds and help us learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

15It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.[

] 18But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.

Even Paul had problems with jealousy. Some people were suspicious of Paul and his ministry, even some of the fellow Christians. Christians are people. People are not perfect. Even the best of you have flaws in your personality. Even loving Christians can get envious. I am a very competitive person, and sometimes this spills over into ministry. When we have a successful event. I tend to take praise. If not, I can make excuses.
Paul cuts right to the core and says "So What?" The important thing is that Christ is being preached. People hear the Word and lives are being changed. This is what makes us happy.
As we go through this season of Lent, let’s all try to put aside our petty differences and jealousies and remember what is important. Christ Loves us and we should love each other. The rest is just stuff.
Prayer- Lord, help us remember that we all have a part of Your ministry. Give us the wisdom to see it in others, and the patience to love ourselves. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.