We are moving: www.seekingourgod.com

We have some exciting news. our site is officially moving to www.seekingourgod.com. This site and its history will remain open. It will cost too much to have this redirected, so this post will be the last on this site. All new posts will be on the new site.

Over the past few weeks, we have become aware that there have been some inappropriate ads running on this site. Because this is a free wordpress.org blog, I do not have control over what is shown or not shown. Moving to a new site, we hope to have more control or allowance of what is displayed.

Also, many of you have made comments or asked us questions and we have never been alerted to those comments/questions. For never responding, we apologize. We just never knew you were reaching out to us.

Moving to a new site also allows us to move into our new format which will be a podcast. we will still post the transcript on the new site but will focus more on the podcasting aspects. Also, I am still working through my old papers and files to post and share with others, so look for those too.

So please go to the new site and subscribe. Also, look for two of my soon-to-be-released books at Amazon: “God, Fatherhood, and Male Postpartum Depression” and my children’s book, “The Alphabet of the Gospel.”

April 22 – Philippians 4:4-8 Virus Devotional

APRIL 24 – PHILIPPIANS 4: 4-8

REJOICE IN THE LORD

If anybody had an excuse for worrying, it was the Apostle Paul. His beloved Christian friends at Philippi were disagreeing with one another, and he was not there to help them. We have no idea what Euodia and Syntyche were disputing about, but whatever it was, it was bringing division into the church. Paul does not write, “Pray about it!” He is too wise to do that. He uses three different words to describe “right praying”: prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving. “Right praying” involves all three.

Whenever we find ourselves worrying, our first action ought to be to get alone with God and worship Him. Adoration is what is needed. We must see the greatness and majesty of God! We must realize that He is big enough to solve our problems. Too often we rush into His presence and hastily tell Him our needs when we ought to approach His throne calmly and in deepest reverence. The first step in “right praying” is adoration. The second is supplication, an earnest sharing of our needs and problems. After adoration and supplication comes appreciation, giving thanks to God (see Eph. 5:20; Col. 3:15–17).

We are prone to pray about the “big things” in life and forget to pray about the so-called “little things”—until they grow and become big things! Talking to God about everything that concerns us and Him is the first step toward victory over worry. The result is that the “peace of God” guards the heart and the mind.

Peace involves the heart and the mind. “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace,

Because he trusts in You” (Isa. 26:3). Wrong thinking leads to wrong feeling, and before long the heart and mind are pulled apart and we are strangled by worry. We must realize those thoughts are real and powerful, even though they cannot be seen, weighed, or measured. We must bring “into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). Continue reading

Quarantine Devotional – April 23 Psalm 19

APRIL 23 – PSALM 19

GOD’S LAW IS PERFECT

Today, we continue our series by focusing on God. Psalm 19 is a classic psalm about the beauty, majesty, glory, and perfection of the Lord. There is so much information about God in this psalm. The psalmist gives us a great model of how we can praise God and remember who He is and what He has done. It shows us that the Bible and Christianity is not just a series of rules or laws, but is a life-giving, fruit-bearing, and restoring life. A relationship with God is vital and restores us and refreshes us. It helps us in our daily lives as well as endure this long marathon, especially during prolonged trials and tribulations.

We have looked at Psalm 19 before in discussing Hebrew parallelism, but this time we will focus on meditating on God.

1 The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
Day to day pours forth speech,
And night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words;
Their voice is not heard.
Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their utterances to the end of the world.
In them He has placed a tent for the sun,
Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber;
It rejoices as a strong man to run his course.
Its rising is from [one end of the heavens,
And its circuit to the other end of them;
And there is nothing hidden from its heat.

The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.
10 They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them Your servant is warned;
In keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults.
13 Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins;
Let them not rule over me;
Then I will be blameless,
And I shall be acquitted of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.


Key Takeaways:

  • All of creation including the heavens reveals God’s glory and majesty
  • The Law was not a burden to believers who were trying to please God with their lives. For David, keeping God’s statutes, which warned him of the dangers of folly and sin, brought reward.
  • God is our Redeemer who purchased

Continue reading

THE MEANING OF “INTERPRETATION” IN 2 PETER 1:20

This post focuses whether 2 Peter 1:20 refers to the origination of prophecy or to its interpretation. This was a short two–page paper addressing this issue. Much more could be said on this topic, but this is just an introduction to the issue. Both sides have very valid arguments but this is my viewpoint on the matter

 


 

Second Peter 1:20, along with 2 Timothy 3:14-17, are two important passages affirming the divine inspiration of the Bible. However, the meaning of 2 Peter 1:20 is highly debated. The argument centers on the meaning of “interpretation” and whether Peter focused on the origin of prophecy or its interpretation. Both sides will be examined, and the context, grammar, and language will show that the origin viewpoint is the best option for 2 Peter 1:20.

 

Continue reading

April 22 – Philippians 3:17-21 Virus Devotional

APRIL 22 – PHILIPPIANS 3:17-21

HOPE IN GOD ALONE

Today, we are reminded that our hope is in God alone. Many in this world are led by their appetites and desires for things, materials, and possessions. They focus on the earthy things and the things that do not matter. All of this is especially convicting for me as someone who struggles with self-control and discipline, especially when it comes to food. In this passage, Paul again called on his readers to follow his own example and not that of the Judaizers.

17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Key Takeaways:

  • Paul says: “Follow my example of living, not the example of those who walk after the world.”
  • Righteousness cannot be gained by our works; it is found only by faith in Christ. Therefore, forsake all things, just to know him; and press toward the goal of spiritual maturity, keeping in view the goal of your eternal home in heaven.

Continue reading

Covid-19 Quarantine Devotional – April 20 Philippians 2:12-15

APRIL 20 – PHILIPPIANS 2:12-15

LIGHTS IN THE WORLD

Continuing our reading plan, we stay in Philippians 2 by looking at verses 12-15. In this section today, Paul returns to the exhortations which he began earlier in verses 2-4. Verses 14-15 (and 16) give specific instructions on how to work out God’s “good purpose” (v. 13) concerning daily Christian living. Paul had shown them in 1:27-2:13 the kind of attitude and actions they were to follow. They were to demonstrate in their corporate and individual life this kind of conduct that would prove worthy of the great calling that God has given them. He uses all things to emphasize the inclusiveness of this command.

12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing; 15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world (NASB)


Key Takeaways: Continue reading

Covid-19 Quarantine Devotional – April 17 Philippians 2:1-11

APRIL 17 – PHILIPPIANS 2:1-11

“HUMILITY THAT SAVES”

Today, we focus on the attitude of Christ. We look at how Christ modeled everything right and good and how he set a perfect example for us to follow. Paul describes the power of Christ as well as how we, as believers, are to be united as the body of Christ. this section shows the power of attitude and how we are to examine ourselves and our motives. the section finishes with the exaltation of Christ and how He is glorified.

1 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Attitude of Christ
    • No better example of humiliation and a selfless attitude for believers to follow could possibly be given than that of Christ.
  • Humility and self-examination
    • The honest self-examination that Paul was calling for leads to true humility. This enables a person to hold others above himself or herself, to value people over material possessions or personal plans.
    • We should be “like-minded” (v. 2) and live humbly before their God and each other
  • The name of Jesus
    • His “name” is not merely a title; it refers to His person and to His position of dignity and honor.

 


CONTEXT:

The first section of this passage can be considered as Jesus’ attitude is what the believer is to share and strive for (2:1–18). This passage is a continuation of the exhortation begun in 1:27–30. The entire section (1:27–2:18) states what Paul called the saints at Philippi to do. It includes the famous kenōsis or self-emptying passage (2:5–11), in which the Son of God Himself is set forth as the One whose attitude the believer should share. Due to the amount of writing that has occurred on kenosis and that this topic is about a devotional, not a theological study, we will not dive deep into this aspect. We will focus mainly on the attitude of Jesus and how we should share it and model it.

The Philippians’ biggest battle was not with their external circumstances but with those internal attitudes that destroy unity. Paul had demonstrated his own refusal to let external circumstances control his attitudes (Phil 1:12-18)

DEEPER EXPOSITION:

Note: Due to the length of this passage and how much could be written on each verse, I am going to try to keep it at a high level with a few interesting points. We will see how I actually do.

Verse 1: In 1:27 Paul had written about living the Christian life in harmony with the message on which it is based. He followed that message with a call to show forth spiritual unity. This unity is possible because of the reality of the four qualities mentioned in 2:1. The “if” clauses, being translations of first-class conditions in Greek, speak of certainties. So in this passage “if” may be translated “since.”[1] Paul wrote here about realities, not questionable things. Paul appealed on the basis of (a) encouragement from being united with Christ … (b) comfort from His love … (c) fellowship with the Spirit … (d) tenderness and compassion.

“Encouragement” is from a Greek word related to the one Christ used in referring to the Holy Spirit as “the Counselor” (John 14:16; “Comforter,” KJV). It may also be translated “exhortation” in the sense of either rebuke or comfort. Since each believer had received this work of the Spirit, Paul used it as a basis to appeal for their spiritual unity.

Also, they each had “comfort from His [God’s] love.” God’s love in people’s hearts produces spiritual unity in their lives.

“Fellowship with the Spirit” is a result of the Spirit’s permanent indwelling ministry (cf. 1 Cor. 6:19). This may refer, however, to the fellowship that comes from the Holy Spirit, just as encouragement comes from Christ and comfort comes from love.

Paul also spoke of “tenderness (splanchna; cf. Phile. 7, 20) and compassion.” One of the Spirit’s ministries is to produce within each believer a concern and love for other members of God’s family. This may be received or rejected by a believer, but the Spirit’s work is a reality and is a basis for spiritual unity.

Verse 2: in this verse, Paul sets forth a fourfold appeal, an appeal that expresses one major idea-that is the unity of the church. Based on what was presented in verse 1, Paul exhorted his readers to show in practical ways the unity which was theirs in Christ. Their expression of that spiritual unity would make his joy complete. Corresponding to the four realities in verse 1 are four specific ways in which their spiritual unity would be realized. They would be like-minded, have the same love, be one in spirit (sympsychoi), and be one in purpose. The words Paul uses to indicate one in purpose (also translated as one mind) are virtually identical to the words translated “like-minded” earlier in the verse. Paul was strongly emphasizing the unity that should exist between believers and how they must single-mindedly strive together to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Verses 3-4: Here Paul attempts to correct any misunderstandings that may arise from what he said earlier in the letter about some preaching out of selfish motives (1:15-16). He was concerned that someone might think he was condoning selfish ambition, so long as the gospel was being preached. Paul gave further exhortations, also based on the declaration of the fourfold reality expressed in verse 1. The terms the apostle used reveal an underlying problem in the church at Philippi. The situation Paul addressed evidently was prompted by self-centeredness among certain Christians.

Nothing was to be done out of selfish ambition (v. 3). The same word (eritheian) appears in 1:17 to describe the attitude of those who opposed Paul. Without question, such behavior is of the flesh and not the Spirit (cf. Gal. 5:20, which uses the same word). Empty (or vain) conceit, meaning “empty glory,” was probably the root cause of their selfish ambition.

The two negatives are followed by a positive exhortation: in humility consider others better than yourselves. But, a word of contrast introduces these words. Humility before God and man is a virtue every child of God needs to strive for. A spirit of pride in human relations indicates a lack of humility before God. Paul exhorted the Philippians to consider others before themselves (cf. 1 Peter 5:5–6). In the Greek, the word found in the phrase “lowliness of mind” (ταπεινοφροσύν, tapeinophrosynē), suggests a deep sense of humility. Although the pagan writers used the word negatively, in effect to mean abjectness or groveling, Paul did not. What Paul was calling for was an honest evaluation of one’s own nature. Such an evaluation should always lead to a glorification of Christ. For without Him, we can do nothing (Jn 15:5). The honest self-examination that Paul was calling for leads to true humility. This enables a person to hold others above himself or herself, to value people over material possessions or personal plans.

Paul explained how humility can be expressed (Phil. 2:4). Instead of concentrating on self, each believer should be concerned for the interests of others in the household of faith (cf. Rom. 12:10). Preoccupation with oneself is sin.

The “submissive mind” does not mean that the believer is at the beck and call of everybody else or that he is a “religious doormat” for everybody to use! Some people try to purchase friends and maintain church unity by “giving in” to everybody else’s whims and wishes. This is not what Paul is suggesting at all. The Scripture puts it perfectly: “ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Cor. 4:5). If we have the single mind of Philippians 1, then we will have no problem with the submissive mind of Philippians 2.

Paul gives us four examples of the submissive mind: Jesus Christ (Phil. 2:1–11), Paul himself (Phil. 2:12–18), Timothy (Phil. 2:19–24), and Epaphroditus (Phil. 2:25–30). Of course, the great Example is Jesus, and Paul begins with Him. Jesus Christ illustrates the four characteristics of the person with the submissive mind

Verse 5: verses 5-8 present one of the most significant statements in all of Scripture on the nature of the Incarnation, the fact that God became man. Also, through this wonderful description of Christ, Paul vividly illustrates the principle of humility (vv. 3-4). In contrast to the many people today who seek upward mobility, Jesus was, in a sense, downwardly mobile, moving from a position of ultimate power to utter powerlessness. In making this transition, He set the best possible example of servant-leadership (Matt 20:25-28; Jn 13:2-17). However, Paul paints a different portrait of Jesus in Colossians.

Believers are exhorted to have the same attitude—selfless humility—Christ exhibited in His humiliation and condescension. All godly action begins with the renewing of the mind. Right thinking produces right actions. Our actions are the fruit of our deepest thoughts.

Verses 6-8: The word translated nature (morphē Strongs #3444)[2] in verses 6 and 7 is a crucial term in this passage. This word (trans. “form” in the KJV and nasb) stresses the inner essence or reality of that with which it is associated (cf. Mark 16:12). Christ Jesus, Paul said, is of the very essence (morphē) of God, and in His incarnation, He embraced perfect humanity. His complete and absolute deity is here carefully stressed by the apostle. The Savior’s claim to deity infuriated the Jewish leaders (John 5:18) and caused them to accuse Him of blasphemy (John 10:33).

Though possessing full deity (John 1:14; Col. 2:9), Christ did not consider His equality with God (Phil. 2:6) as something to be grasped or held onto. In other words, Christ did not hesitate to set aside His self-willed use of deity when He became a man. As God, He had all the rights of deity, and yet during His incarnate state, He surrendered His right to manifest Himself visibly as the God of all splendor and glory.

Christ’s humiliation included His making Himself nothing, taking the very nature (morphē) of a servant, and being made in human likeness (v. 7). These statements indicate that Christ became a man, a true human being. The words “made Himself nothing” are, literally, “He emptied Himself.” “Emptied,” from the Greek kenoō, points to the divesting of His self-interests, but not of His deity. “The very nature of a servant” certainly points to His lowly and humble position, His willingness to obey the Father, and serve others. He became a man, a true human being. “Likeness” suggests similarity but difference. Though His humanity was genuine, He was different from all other humans in that He was sinless (Heb. 4:15).

Thus it is seen that Christ, while retaining the essence of God, was also human. In His incarnation, He was fully God and fully man at the same time. He was God manifest in human flesh (John 1:14).

Some have wrongly taught that the phrase, being found in appearance as a man (Phil. 2:8), means that He only looked human. But this contradicts verse 7. “Appearance” is the Greek schēmati, meaning an outer appearance that may be temporary. This contrasts with morphē (“very nature”) in verses 6 and 7, which speaks of an outer appearance that reveals permanent inner quality.

These verses in Philippians take us to eternity past. “Form of God” has nothing to do with shape or size. God is Spirit (John 4:24), and as such is not to be thought of in human terms. When the Bible refers to “the eyes of the Lord” or “the hand of the Lord,” it is not claiming that God has a human shape. Rather, it is using human terms to describe divine attributes (the characteristics of God) and activities. The word “form” means “the outward expression of the inward nature.” This means that in eternity past, Jesus Christ was God. In fact, Paul states that He was “equal with God.” Other verses such as John 1:1–4; Colossians 1:15; and Hebrews 1:1–3 also state that Jesus Christ is God.

Certainly, as God, Jesus Christ did not need anything! He had all the glory and praise of heaven. With the Father and the Spirit, He reigned over the universe. But Philippians 2:6 states an amazing fact: He did not consider His equality with God as “something selfishly to be held on to.” Jesus did not think of Himself; He thought of others. His outlook (or attitude) was that of unselfish concern for others. This is “the mind of Christ,” an attitude that says, “I cannot keep my privileges for myself, I must use them for others; and to do this, I will gladly lay them aside and pay whatever price is necessary.”

The condescension of Christ included not only His birth—the Incarnation in which He became the God-Man—but also His death. And it was the cruelest and despicable form of death—even death on a cross! (v. 8) This form of capital punishment was limited to non-Romans and the worst criminals.

No better example of humiliation and a selfless attitude for believers to follow could possibly be given than that of Christ. With this example before them, the saints at Philippi should be “like-minded” (v. 2) and live humbly before their God and each other.

Verse 9: note the contrast between Jesus’ placing Himself in a debased state (v. 8) with God the Father’s elevation of Jesus to a highly exalted status. God the Father is the subject in these verses, whereas in verses 6–8 God the Son was the subject. Christ’s obedience was followed by the Father’s exaltation of Him to the place of highest honor. God exalted and honored the One men despised and rejected.

Christ’s exaltation and His receiving a name that is above every name was the answer to His high-priestly prayer (John 17:5). The exaltation refers to His resurrection, ascension, and glorification at the Father’s right hand (Acts 2:33; Heb. 1:3). His “name” is not merely a title; it refers to His person and to His position of dignity and honor.

Men had done their worst to the Saviour, but God exalted Him and honored Him. Men gave Him names of ridicule and slander, but the Father gave Him a glorious name! Just as in His humiliation He was given the name “Jesus” (Matt. 1:21), so in His exaltation He was given the name “Lord” (Phil. 2:11; see Acts 2:32–36). He arose from the dead and then returned in victory to heaven, ascending to the Father’s throne.

Verse 10: In keeping with Christ’s exaltation and high name … every knee will one day bow and acknowledge Him for who He really is. Paul stressed the same truth in his letter to the Romans (Rom. 14:11). Both instances reflect Isaiah’s prophecy (Isa. 45:23) of the singular greatness of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The extent of Christ’s sovereign authority is delineated in the threefold phrase, in heaven and on earth and under the earth. No intelligent being—whether angels and saints in heaven; people living on the earth; or Satan, demons, and the unsaved in hell—in all of God’s universe will escape. All will bow either willingly or they will be made to do so.

Verse 11: What all will confess is that Jesus Christ is Lord. Looking back at the phrase, “and given Him the name which is above every name” (v. 9), Paul is referring to the OT passage speaking of the divine name of Yahweh (LORD).  This, the earliest Christian creed, meant that Jesus Christ is Yahweh-God. One day all will be made to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is all He claimed to be—very God of very God. Unfortunately, for many it will be too late for the salvation of their souls. The exalted place the Savior now occupies and the universal bowing in the future in acknowledgment of His lordship is all to the glory of God the Father. The term Paul uses when he says “confess,” is a strong, intensive verb, which means agree with or say the same thing. Essentially, Paul is saying that everyone will unanimously affirm what God the Father has already stated: that Jesus Christ is Lord.


FOOTNOTES:

[1] Robert P. Lightener, “Philippians,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, eds. John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1985), 653.

[2] The Greek word for form was generally used to express the way in which a thing exists and appears according to what it is in itself. Thus, the expression form of God may be correctly understood as the essential nature and character of God. To say, therefore, that Christ existed in the form of God is to say that apart from His human nature Christ possesses all the characteristics and qualities belonging to God because He is, in fact, God.

Covid-19 Quarantine Devotional – April 16 Psalm 9:9-10

April 16, 2020

PSALM 9:9-10 GOD IS OUR STRONGHOLD

Today’s devotional is a quick reminder about who God is, especially during times of trouble. We are attacked often during these trials to trust ourselves, others, or other means, but this psalm speaks to the value of trusting God.

The Lord also will be a stronghold for the oppressed,
A stronghold in times of trouble;
10 And those who know Your name will put their trust in You,
For You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.

KEY TAKEAWAYS: Continue reading