December 17, 2012 – Lessons from Philippians

It’s hard to compress 4 chapters of Philippians in one post. When I took this class with Precept Ministries, it took 16 weeks.

May I mention how I love that class? It was a Precept Upon Precept (PUP) format that digs deeper and requires an hour a day of homework. It’s been over for months now but it is the one class that has stayed with me the longest. Maybe because instead of relying on commentaries and what other experts think, I had to slow down and find things out for myself. It was just the Holy Spirit and me. 

And you know what? It was the most enjoyable ride. He was more than capable. Boy, did we have an adventure. He took me to many turns and tunnels. We looked into original languages, we met with Zodhiates and his dictionary. He illuminated verses that I thought I already knew but He took me to a deeper understanding. It was amazing! He also did a lot of reproving and correcting as you can see from the excerpts of my notes below:


June 2012

The first assignment was to read the whole book several times and mark the writer, recipient and key words. Get this, the word that kept popping up was “REJOICE” – that’s my word for 2012! And to think Paul wrote this while he was in prison.


So in the book it asked, “Are you in a prison?” It may not be a physical prison but one of health, or a relationship, or any other thing. Then I thought, how do we find joy? Do we just pretend that everything is fine and fake it til we feel it kinda thing? Well, as I read and marked on Day 2, I also noticed that Paul mentions Jesus Christ in every other verse. Maybe that’s his secret. To keep his mind and conversation focused on Jesus alone instead of his imprisonment (I think he mentioned imprisonment only 3 or 4 times). 


July 10, 2012

We talked about Chapter 1 and how Paul’s main goal was to preach the gospel. How do we preach the gospel to a sinful world? From what I remember someone commented that we are not to be happy about sin but we need to draw the sinner in first (and to do so in love) so they will *get* the message of the gospel. 


August 16, 2012

Lord has been teaching me a lot about humility – the emptying of self and giving up my rights and expectations. I tell ya, this Philippians class is kicking my behind in more ways than one.


August 23, 2012

I was almost in tears during class as God opened up things to me. We discussed Philippians 2:12-14. You know, the working out of our salvation with fear and trembling and to do everything without grumbling and complaining? We dug deep into the Greek that you can almost see the light bulb above my head. It really makes a difference because you get so many more nuggets and the verses just come alive! For instance, that phrase “fear and trembling” I always pictured us cowering before an angry God and it really didn’t seem right, you know? So first of all, the teacher showed us that the phrase before that “work out your salvation” – the word “salvation” is a noun, accusative, singular, feminine. (Yeah, my eyes used to glaze over this, too but now I’m eager to learn more) Singular form indicating only one, so, Paul is talking about only one salvation. It’s the salvation we had when we said yes to Jesus.

“Work out your salvation” doesn’t mean you work for your salvation because that one is a done deal. Work out is the sanctification process, how we live out our salvation, how it shows in our words and actions. This is when the lightbulb moment hit, we have been saved from the penalty of sin when we accepted Jesus as our Savior (salvation in the past tense), now we are being saved from the power of sin as I obey and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit (salvation in the present tense) and in the future, we will be saved from the presence of sin (salvation in the future tense). 

With fear and trembling” ~ 
fear (G5401)  =  reverence “a deep and reverential sense of accountability to God or Christ
trembling (G5156) = “one who distrusts his ability to complete all requirements but religiously does his utmost to fulfill his duty.” 

“For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”  God at work. In us. 

God is the one working in us, to give us the energy and the strength to carry on. Our job is to have a reverential sense of accountability to God and to rely on Him instead of ourselves. How many times have we talked ourselves out of God’s will because we didn’t think we could do something He asked us to do? This verse shows me that even when it is beyond my ability, I just need to keep pressing on and God will fill in the rest. In our weakness we rely on His strength.

Don’t you just love it? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have the time to dissect verses like these everyday? I wish I could share everything with you but it would take the whole day! 

September 2012
“Forgetting what lies behind and taking hold of what is before.” Philippians 3:13 The teacher asked what are we holding on in our hands and in our hearts that prevents us from knowing Jesus? Because really, no material thing on earth matters in eternity. I was convicted of that. I thought of an idol that I had let go a long time ago but God’s Word revealed I was still clinging to it.  

October 2, 2012
We discussed Philippians 4:4-8 There’s a family who takes the class together and they are all full of wisdom even the young lady (perfect daughter in law material). The teacher shared something she saw posted “When we worry we believe more in our problems than in God’s promises.” The young lady shared that in her studies the phrase “Be anxious for nothing” – she discovered that “nothing” is not just a thing but also a person. So it can be read, be anxious for nobody. That hit me because I have a tendency to do that. Then the Dad shared that we should spend time being silent and worshiping God. It shifts our focus from our inability to God’s ability. The mom also shared a lot of good things but I wasn’t able to write her name down next to it. (I take notes as the class is going so I have to write fast). Anyway, we need to keep our mind stayed/leaned on/dwelling on Christ. If we remember God’s power and His authority, our worries will be reduced to it’s proper perspective.

Then we read related Scriptures and the one that hit home was 1 Peter 5:6-7 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. It’s one sentence. And I wondered why does He want us to humble ourselves before casting our cares to Him? Then it came to me, when we worry, we are putting ourselves above God thinking we can solve this problem on our own without His help. That is exalting ourselves and God knows it! So He said to humble and acknowledge that we need Him first. I love that He reveals that to me as the class was going on. I love God’s word, don’t you?

[Reading from Blue Letter Bible – Chronological Plan]




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