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Bible Pathways - Dec. 5, 2010


Read Philippians 1


Expressions of Christlike love. In lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves (Phil. 2:3). We are encouraged to: Rejoice. . . . by prayer . . . with thanksgiving . . . and with the peace of God (4:1-8).

Near the city of Philippi, Paul went to a place of prayer by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made. Among others, he met Lydia, a businesswoman from Thyatira, who was saved along with a few others. The Apostle Paul founded the first Christian church in Europe at Philippi. It was here that Paul and Silas were scourged and put in prison for preaching the Gospel (Acts 16:13-24). At a later date, as a missionary prisoner at Rome, Paul wrote this letter (which we know as the Book of Philippians) to the new converts.

Paul's imprisonment gave him the opportunity to share the Good News about Jesus with the elite guard of the Roman Empire. There was a change of guard three or four times a day, which was a great opportunity to tell many about Jesus the Messiah, who was foretold in the Hebrew Scriptures. He wrote: The things which happened unto me have fallen (turned) out rather unto the furtherance of the Gospel; So that my bonds in Christ are manifest (known) in all the palace (military headquarters), and in all other places (Phil. 1:12-13).

Paul encouraged the church to hold forth the Word of Life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain (2:16). Our occupation in life may be in politics, the military, business, education, manual labor, or homemaking, but our primary concern should always be that we live our lives and share the Gospel so that we have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

We all have a natural desire for physical comforts, security, and material things. However, our first consideration and loyalty should be to Christ. There is a storehouse of spiritual wealth and peace in Him that surpasses all earthly possessions.

Paul had renounced a prominent religious and political career in Jerusalem for a life of unceasing hardship and persecution that was destined to end in a violent death by the enemies of Christ. Knowing what the future held, he said: According to my earnest expectation and my hope . . . Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (1:20-21). We too should be able to say with Paul: I count all things but loss for the excellency (superiority) of the knowledge of (a personal relationship with) Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung (worthless rubbish), that I may win (approval of) Christ (Phil. 3:8).

Thought for Today:

Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God (Ps. 146:5).

Cross References:

For Phil. 2:7: See Is. 42:1.

Word Studies:

1:7 meet right; 1:8 my record by witness; bowels affections; 1:14 waxing confident faining confidence; 1:22 wot know; 1:23 in a strait betwixt two hard pressed between the two; 1:28 an evident token of perdition evidence of impending destruction; 2:3 vainglory boasting, empty conceit; 2:22 the proof of him his trials have proven his sincerity; 3:1 not grievous I never get tired of telling you; 3:2 dogs sudaizers, antagonists, legalists; 3:20 conversation citizenship; 4:6 Be careful for nothing won't be anxious; don't worry; 4:14 communicate with express your concern, share; 4:18 I have all I am fully satisfied; 4:22 chiefly especially.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Government Official: Rep. Rodney Alexander (LA) • Country: Liberia (3 million) in West Africa • Major languages: English and more than 20 local languages of the Niger-Congo language group • Religious freedom • 41% ancestor worship and witchcraft; 21% Muslim; 13% Protestant; 2% Roman Catholic • Prayer Suggestion: Give praise to God that His Word will stand forever (Is. 40:8).

Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Corinthians 7:14

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