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Friday, November 13, 2015
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"A Manner Worthy"
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"Whatever 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 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you" (Philippians 1:27,28).
Warren Wiersbe tells the story: "A church member told his pastor, 'We have some neighbors who believe a false gospel. Do you have some literature I can give them?' The pastor opened his Bible to 2 Corinthians 3:2, 'You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men.' He said, 'The best literature in the world is no substitute for your own life. Let them see Christ in your behavior and this will open up opportunities to share Christ’s Gospel with them.'"
"Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ." I memorized this verse many years ago. I suggest reading the verse in the first person, "Whatever happens, I will conduct myself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ." In personal application I see it as a challenge to resolve in my heart that I will stay faithful to Christ, seeking to conduct my life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.
Today I am especially drawn to the phrase, "Whatever happens...". I have always considered the "whatever" to mean whatever happens to me (Stephen Weber or any reader of the passage.) That is, whether I am having a good day or a bad day, whether things are going well or I'm going down a rough road; whatever happens to me I am to conduct myself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.
Now this is certainly a valid outlook in life and I will continue to see the passage this way, yet as I consider the contextual interpretation, I consider another intention that Paul likely had.
Just prior to this verse Paul had written concerning his own realization that he would continue to live for Christ or he might die for Him (martyrdom). When Paul originally wrote this passage I believe he was instructing the Christians at Philippi, "Whatever happens to me (Paul) you are to conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ."
He goes on to write, "Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence..." Now, what really intrigues me is that Paul had every intention of seeing the Philippian believers if it was God's will that he remain alive.
However it was also his firm expectation that, should this not be the case, I will "only hear about you in my absence." The "absence" in this context would be his departure to be with the Lord (his death). This is similar to his statement in 2 Corinthians 5:8, "We are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord."
He is confident that if that were the case (his being with the Lord) he would still hear the good report that the Philippians were "standing firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you."
Our service for the Lord Jesus Christ has eternal consequences. When we, in our divinely appointed time, are absent from the body and at home with the Lord, we will see the ongoing results of our ministry, just like Paul. Let us stay faithful and seek to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we praise You and give thanks for the freedoms we enjoy and most especially the freedom to worship You. But we know that there are many regions in our world where Christians are persecuted and suffer martyrdom at the hands of those who are enemies of the cross. We lift them up to You in prayer and ask that You will give them supernatural strength and unyielding resolve to stand up for You in the face of evil surroundings and conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the gospel. May they not return evil for evil, but rather good for evil. Though wicked men may destroy the flesh, they cannot rob the soul of inner peace and the uncompromising determination to "stand firm unto the end." Sustain those who have endured the painful loss of loved ones as well as those whose family members are being held captive and are presently enduring persecution. May You be glorified in the midst of these horribly adverse circumstances and may souls be saved for the kingdom. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
It was a BIG DAY at Darrenkamp's Grocery yesterday where samples were plentiful enough to make a whole meal. Our friend, Mary Ann Miller along with daughter-in-law, Kelly, handed out samples of Sadie's Salads products their family distributes in local grocery stores. Ester was there not just to work as a bagger but also enjoyed the festive spirit that reverberated all throughout the store, plus a few goodies to eat as well!
Driving back from a chaplain visit in Willow Street early this morning we passed a farm stand along Rt 741 with four wagons loaded with broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower fresh from the nearby fields.
When the wagon is backing in right before your eyes you know it's fresh!
How about an extra large head of cauliflower, fresh as it can be for $1.00!
This morning we were also blessed to visit a few minutes with Bunny and Peg, longtime friends we first met in New England over 15 years ago. They moved down here to Lancaster County several years ago. Bunny serves as lead chaplain for Transport For Christ, a ministry to truck drivers. They are great encouragers who always brighten anyone's day who sees them. Nearing 50 years of marriage they proudly showed us a photo of their first great grand-daughter. They are examples of Christ changing lives, coming to faith in Christ in their thirties, with Bunny being an angry alcoholic in his pre-conversion state (in their own words)
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"The Servant Song" Video Maranatha Praise Singers
"What Salvation's Done For Me" Video Booth Brothers
Next Tuesday, November 17, we will be travelling down to Washington DC for a screening of a powerful new film at the Capitol theater. 3801 Lancaster: American Tragedy concerns the hellishness of the abortion industry which is increasingly coming to light, although the side of darkness and evil just seems to get more and more resistant to any light or truth on this modern day abomination. Local readers may be able to join us. See here. A trailer is here.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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