Shine Like Stars

Philippians 2:12 – 30
There’s a big red bag that was purchase for a specific purpose. It contained a 1st aid kit, yellow gloves, a couple of potato peelers and two spare aprons. The other day that bag was emptied out, the aprons put into the laundry – even though they hadn’t been used.

Sadness hit while folding the freshly dried aprons. The red bag had stayed full, in the hope and expectation that things would return to normal sooner than later. Six months have passed. The bag is no longer needed, the last Wednesday community dinner was served on March 11th. That last dinner neither Ed nor Lloyd, or any of the other long time helpers, had any idea that this would be the last time to serve food to hungry people and those simply desiring a welcoming community and someone to talk with.

We have no idea when life will resume what used to be normal. But we take great comfort and peace knowing that God knows all things. And His love is everlasting!

While the Apostle Paul sat in prison there were most likely many moments when doubt would start to assail him, and discouragement threaten to drown him. Instead he chose to focus on the reality of Jesus Christ and to rejoice and praise Him. Perhaps is was during a time of despair that he focused on the immeasurable work of Jesus Christ on the cross, suffering and dying for us that caused him to write this amazing letter of hope, encouragement and love!

Paul had just finished writing of Jesus’ obedience and willingness to die for our sins, and the reality that He is reigning in heaven where one day every single one of us will bow and worship Him that he reminds the Philippians, and all believers forward in time of the importance of our obedience!

12 “So then, my dear friends, my beloved friends” Paul has deep affection for the Philipppian community of believers. He connected with them on a heart level through the unifying relationship, worship and love of Jesus.

“Work out your salvation with fear and trembling”
Salvation is from the Latin “Salve” an ointment for healing and preservation  “Healed and preserved!”
Fear and trembling was an idiomatic expression for a humble frame of mind. Out of reverence and knowing that we are dependent on God.

13 God doesn’t take away our free will! He is at work enabling us to:
1) Desire to grow and mature in Him:
We have to desire God’s good purpose in my life.
2) Work out His good purpose
: We have to do our part in working: putting aside ourselves.

14  No Grumbling, no arguing (in the sense of litigation) so we may:

15) Blameless, innocent :  Simplicity of character. No fault. No corruption in this crooked and perverse generation which is a result of moral and intellectual distortion!
Shine like stars!! Look at the sky. Have you ever seen the night sky in a desert?
Hold fast. Hold on to the message of LIFE! Shine in this dark world for Jesus!

16) Hold firmly to the message of Life Hold on, don’t let go of God’s good news, the Gospel of Jesus Christ which will result in eternity with God.

17) Poured out like a sacrificial offering.
Paul experienced anxiety, hardship, beatings, false accusations which landed him in jail. Yet he kept his eyes on Jesus

19 – 30 Paul understands the Philippians’ need to see Epaphroditus and Timothy.  Paul understands what it’s like to be anxious about those we love. God created us for relationship, with Him and with each other.  We need each other to encourage, support and lift each other up. We need each other to help us live victorious lives as Christians, blameless and with simplicity of character so the world will see the Light of Jesus, the Hope of the World, the One who knows our future.