My posts come from my personal daily scripture readings and a part of my personal accountability. If we are going to grow as followers of Christ, we must be in the Word! If you miss these a few days, something has kept me from it; but if they're gone for too many days, call me on the carpet. We need to hold one another accountable. Join me on this journey as our lives are to Reflect the Image-and Jesus IS the image. Peace, Carla Sunberg
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Learning the Secret of Love
Phil. 4:10 I rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned for me, but had no opportunity to show it. 11 Not that I am referring to being in need; for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. 14 In any case, it was kind of you to share my distress.
Phil. 4:15 You Philippians indeed know that in the early days of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you alone. 16 For even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me help for my needs more than once. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the profit that accumulates to your account. 18 I have been paid in full and have more than enough; I am fully satisfied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. 19 And my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
The Apostle Paul was writing to the church in Philippi and wanted them to know that he had learned much about life. He was very grateful for their love and their concern for him and he knew that they weren’t able to take care of him in every situation. That was okay, because he had learned the secret of living well through God’s holy love. He had become content because it was not the things of the world which would sustain him, but rather, God’s strength. At the same time he did not discount the empathy which had arisen from these people.
Paul affirmed the church and thanked them for their generosity. He graciously received what they offered for he knew that this would be a blessing to them as well. As they gave to Paul they would also learn the secret of living in holy love and have hearts filled with the satisfaction that can only come from God.
Today my husband and I have the privilege of celebrating thirty-five years of marriage. It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long and I am very grateful for the man with whom I have been able to journey throughout life. I love you, Chuck!
A very hot day in Russia at GUM. Celebrating life together.
We have spent the last two weeks back in Russia, the very place where we spent thirteen very formative years of our lives, and where we raised our daughters. We were amazed at how our Russian came back to us and we were able to communicate. This was a different kind of a trip for us because we were helping to host a group from Nazarene Theological Seminary and we were on a guided tour. Often the guides would ask us why we spoke Russian and when we told them we had lived there in the 90’s they all responded, “Oh, those were difficult days.” Economically they were exceedingly difficult days but they taught us to live into the words of Paul and contentment became a part of our lives. The focus wasn’t on things, but on relationships, both with God and with others. We learned a little secret in the midst of economic crisis and it was a gift.
In thirty-five years of marriage we have also discovered that every day isn’t a honeymoon. We’ve had our ups and downs and our moments of frustration but in the good times and the difficult, we have chosen to love to another another. This is the secret we have learned; that love is a choice that we live into and therefore we are able to live in beautiful contentment. In this way marriage, itself, can become a fragrant offering, poured out as a sacrifice “acceptable and pleasing to God.”
There is nothing extraordinarily fancy planned for this day. We will unpack our bags and do laundry, pay bills and get caught up with life, but we will do it together. After thirty-five years of marriage, I simply love being in the same space with my husband, sharing and doing life together. Today I am grateful for learning a little secret called love. Thanks be to God.
Lord, thank you for revealing yourself through love found in marriage. Amen.
Rom. 6:22 But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Two sides of life are presented here in great contrast. One is a life of sin and enslavement to evil. The other side of life is freedom which provides the advantage of sanctification (or holiness as some translate the word) that leads to eternal life. The options here are a life of sin, slavery and death; or freedom, holiness and eternal life.
The advantage of holiness or sanctification is the benefit of the life of freedom. Jesus died so that we might be made holy like him and this is something that is offered as a “fruit” or “advantage” right now. The end is eternal life — but the living of life is that it can be lived out in holiness.
The next verse is really just an affirmation of the verse 22. Sin will lead …
Scripture: Rev. 3:14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the origin of God’s creation: Rev. 3:15 “I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.’ You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich; and white robes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen; and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. 19 I reprove and discipline those whom I love. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. 20 Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me. 21 To the one who conquers I will give a plac…
Galatians 4:19 My little children, for whom I am again in the pain of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, 20 I wish I were present with you now and could change my tone, for I am perplexed about you. Observation:
Paul’s deep love for his spiritual children in Galatia becomes evident in this passage. With very pastoral tones his heart grieves that these children have not pursued their very basic need, and that is for Christ to be formed in them. All else becomes a distraction to the desire that they become Christlike disciples. His heart aches at the loss of his children, those that had already been conceived but failed to thrive. Chrysostom refers to the loss of these children as spiritual miscarriages, and those for whom Paul is again, willing to travail in labor. Paul is perplexed by the Galatians’ attitude and is at a loss for words to understand what they have done; the result is a broken heart. Application:
Many churches have cute catchphrases and mission statement…