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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Blessing...Birthday...Philippians

*This post is not really as long as it looks so keep reading (the length is due to the fact that I posted the book of Philippians on this post...hehehe...some people have told me they see how long the post is and if it's too long they don't read....so...just wanted to warn ya!*

You know - you guys just bless my heart! Sometimes one of the things I struggle with personally while here is that I feel like we're forgotten - I know that's not the truth but it's what the enemy tries to attack me with. I sometimes feel like "Everyone is on the other side of the world - living their lives...and they've forgotten about us...no one is even reading about what's going on...we're all alone..." (being transparent here...don't get mad now...)

I know that is not the truth!!! And even more importantly - even if everyone did forget about us and what God is doing here...we're not here for man...we're here because of God. If we never got e-mails and our counter at the bottom of our blog page read "5" we should and will keep our eyes focused on what God has set us to do here and not be discouraged in anyway. I said all that to say I was just so blessed when I got back from going away - I had e-mails from people I hadn't heard from in a long time and some e-mails from people saying they were waiting to hear how things went (Love ya Joan!)....it just blesses me soo much to know that we're not alone and that you are reading.

LOL...John never struggles with this...lol...why do I? I think it has something to do with being a woman...you know, women can be so meladramatic...(spelling?) but never the less...I know the truth and I will never feel upset or alone - no matter who is reading because my eyes are set on Him! I wanted to let everyone know that John has been so blessed by the birthday e-cards and the birthday e-mails! He said "I never got this many birthday wishes when I was living in the states!" He's feeling much better and today is his BIRTHDAY so he's gonna get treated like royalty!!!

Speaking of which - the king and his princes' are hungry...LOL...so I need to make this quick...hahaha. I won't have a moment to reply to e-mails today and tomorrow is our team meeting day which consumes almost all day (prayer, worship, fellowship and preparing for the coming week) from about 11-5pm...then at night the team is throwing John and Katherine a birthday party at a restaurant here (Katherine's b-day was yesterday)....so....tomorrow is out for having time to reply to e-mails...

So, if you've e-mailed...give me a little bit more time k? And...I also can't wait to share about my trip away...it was an incredible time! OH...and I can't wait to tell you how God has supplied our needs to us once again - down to the dollar!! It's amazing...when we have a need and there's almost nothing in the bank...the exact amount that we have to have comes in!!! Thank you GOD and thank you again for reading....

Steph

PS - the book of Philipians is soo good - havne't read it in a long while and when I re read it I was just so blessed....I'm gonna post it below so you can read it if you want...

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THE BOOK OF PHILIPPIANS

Greetings from Paul 1This letter is from Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus.
It is written to all of God's people in Philippi, who believe in Christ Jesus, and to the elders[a] and deacons.
2May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

3Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. 4I always pray for you, and I make my requests with a heart full of joy 5because you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. 6And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again.

7It is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a very special place in my heart. We have shared together the blessings of God, both when I was in prison and when I was out, defending the truth and telling others the Good News. 8God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus.

9I pray that your love for each other will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in your knowledge and understanding. 10For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until Christ returns. 11May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation[b]--those good things that are produced in your life by Jesus Christ--for this will bring much glory and praise to God.

Pauls Joy That Christ Is Preached 12And I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters,[c] that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. 13For everyone here, including all the soldiers in the palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. 14And because of my imprisonment, many of the Christians[d] here have gained confidence and become more bold in telling others about Christ.

15Some are preaching out of jealousy and rivalry. But others preach about Christ with pure motives. 16They preach because they love me, for they know the Lord brought me here to defend the Good News. 17Those others do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me.

18But whether or not their motives are pure, the fact remains that the message about Christ is being preached, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice. 19For I know that as you pray for me and as the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me, this will all turn out for my deliverance.

Pauls Life for Christ 20For I live in eager expectation and hope that I will never do anything that causes me shame, but that I will always be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past, and that my life will always honor Christ, whether I live or I die. 21For to me, living is for Christ, and dying is even better. 22Yet if I live, that means fruitful service for Christ. I really don't know which is better. 23I'm torn between two desires: Sometimes I want to live, and sometimes I long to go and be with Christ. That would be far better for me, 24but it is better for you that I live.

25I am convinced of this, so I will continue with you so that you will grow and experience the joy of your faith. 26Then when I return to you, you will have even more reason to boast about what Christ Jesus has done for me.

Live as Citizens of Heaven 27But whatever happens to me, you must live in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ, as citizens of heaven. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing side by side, fighting together for the Good News. 28Don't be intimidated by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself.

29For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. 30We are in this fight together. You have seen me suffer for him in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of this great struggle.

Philippians 2
Unity through Humility 1Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and sympathetic? 2Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one heart and purpose.

3Don't be selfish; don't live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. 4Don't think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing.

Christs Humility and Exaltation 5Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. 6Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. 7He made himself nothing;[e] he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form.[f] 8And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal's death on a cross. 9Because of this, God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name that is above every other name, 10so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Shine Brightly for Christ 12Dearest friends, you were always so careful to follow my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away you must be even more careful to put into action God's saving work in your lives, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him.

14In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing, 15so that no one can speak a word of blame against you. You are to live clean, innocent lives as children of God in a dark world full of crooked and perverse people. Let your lives shine brightly before them. 16Hold tightly to the word of life, so that when Christ returns, I will be proud that I did not lose the race and that my work was not useless. 17But even if my life is to be poured out like a drink offering to complete the sacrifice of your faithful service (that is, if I am to die for you), I will rejoice, and I want to share my joy with all of you. 18And you should be happy about this and rejoice with me.

Paul Commends Timothy 19If the Lord Jesus is willing, I hope to send Timothy to you soon. Then when he comes back, he can cheer me up by telling me how you are getting along. 20I have no one else like Timothy, who genuinely cares about your welfare. 21All the others care only for themselves and not for what matters to Jesus Christ.

22But you know how Timothy has proved himself. Like a son with his father, he has helped me in preaching the Good News. 23I hope to send him to you just as soon as I find out what is going to happen to me here. 24And I have confidence from the Lord that I myself will come to see you soon.

Paul Commends Epaphroditus 25Meanwhile, I thought I should send Epaphroditus back to you. He is a true brother, a faithful worker, and a courageous soldier. And he was your messenger to help me in my need. 26Now I am sending him home again, for he has been longing to see you, and he was very distressed that you heard he was ill. 27And he surely was ill; in fact, he almost died. But God had mercy on him--and also on me, so that I would not have such unbearable sorrow.

28So I am all the more anxious to send him back to you, for I know you will be glad to see him, and that will lighten all my cares. 29Welcome him with Christian love[g] and with great joy, and be sure to honor people like him. 30For he risked his life for the work of Christ, and he was at the point of death while trying to do for me the things you couldn't do because you were far away.

Philippians 3
The Priceless Gain of Knowing Christ 1Whatever happens, dear brothers and sisters,[h] may the Lord give you joy. I never get tired of telling you this. I am doing this for your own good.

2Watch out for those dogs, those wicked men and their evil deeds, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved. 3For we who worship God in the Spirit[i] are the only ones who are truly circumcised. We put no confidence in human effort. Instead, we boast about what Christ Jesus has done for us.

4Yet I could have confidence in myself if anyone could. If others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more! 5For I was circumcised when I was eight days old, having been born into a pure-blooded Jewish family that is a branch of the tribe of Benjamin. So I am a real Jew if there ever was one! What's more, I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. 6And zealous? Yes, in fact, I harshly persecuted the church. And I obeyed the Jewish law so carefully that I was never accused of any fault.

7I once thought all these things were so very important, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. 8Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ 9and become one with him. I no longer count on my own goodness or my ability to obey God's law, but I trust Christ to save me. For God's way of making us right with himself depends on faith.

10As a result, I can really know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I can learn what it means to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11so that, somehow, I can experience the resurrection from the dead!

Pressing toward the Goal 12I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection! But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be. 13No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be,[j] but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.[k]

15I hope all of you who are mature Christians will agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. 16But we must be sure to obey the truth we have learned already.

17Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. 18For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. 19Their future is eternal destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and all they think about is this life here on earth.

20But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. 21He will take these weak mortal bodies of ours and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same mighty power that he will use to conquer everything, everywhere.

Philippians 4 1 Dear brothers and sisters,[l] I love you and long to see you, for you are my joy and the reward for my work. So please stay true to the Lord, my dear friends.

Pauls Final Thoughts 2And now I want to plead with those two women, Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. 3And I ask you, my true teammate,[m] to help these women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. And they worked with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life.

4Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again--rejoice! 5Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.

6Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

8And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and heard from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you.

Pauls Thanks for Their Gifts 10How grateful I am, and how I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but for a while you didn't have the chance to help me. 11Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. 12I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need. 14But even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty.

15As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I brought you the Good News and then traveled on from Macedonia. No other church did this. 16Even when I was in Thessalonica you sent help more than once. 17I don't say this because I want a gift from you. What I want is for you to receive a well-earned reward because of your kindness.

18At the moment I have all I need--more than I need! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable to God and pleases him. 19And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. 20Now glory be to God our Father forever and ever. Amen.

Pauls Final Greetings 21Give my greetings to all the Christians there. The brothers who are with me here send you their greetings. 22And all the other Christians send their greetings, too, especially those who work in Caesar's palace.

23May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

2 comments:

Kristie said...

Hey, I still feel like we are on parallel universes. I feel the same way about being forgotten. But I also know it's not true. I am looking forward to reading about your trip. You are very blessed, and let me tell you why? because you have a team of woman in which to have those special times with!!! We are alone here (no FIRE). Well, anyway, be blessed,and know that "the Austins" in N.Africa are caring/praying for you.

BungerFamily said...

Happy Birthday John wish you were here!!