“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
Philippians 4:13 (KJV)
How are you? Today’s verse is one that many people have heard or read and know quite well. With that being said, one would think that the message in Philippians 4:13 would seem pretty straightforward. However, in my research, that doesn’t seem to be the case. There are differing views as to what the verse really means.
I guess that some people use Philippians 4:13 as encouragement to make large leaps and bounds and to claim success in whatever they have in mind to do. However, others look at Philippians 4:13 as encouragement that God will give us strength to get through the hardships and rough times in life. How do you look at the words in Philippians 4:13?
St. Paul was writing this letter to the Philippians from jail. So, his circumstances were probably those of hardship, discomfort, loneliness, and even misery. Even though he was going through difficulty, he was telling the Philippians that he could do all things because Jesus was there for him and would give him strength. St. Paul knew he could endure anything with the strength that Jesus would give him. So, does that mean we have to be in dire straights in order for these words to apply?
I think Philippians 4:13, like most of God’s Word, is less about the circumstance and more about our heart and frame of mind. I think the most important thing to remember is that we need Jesus. Too many times, we want to take more credit than we deserve. We like to claim we are “self-made”. However, this doesn’t give the credit to God, where it is due. We can’t do things without God’s help. We wouldn’t even be alive without God. So, no, I don’t think we need to be in dire straights or in some sort of hardship to consider Philippians 4:13 as words of encouragement.
Although, I don’t think that we need to be going through hardship to find value and comfort in Philippians 4:13, I also don’t feel that we can use Philippians 4:13 as a free for all and to expect God to give us anything we want. I think our heart and mind, still has to be with God. What we want still has to align with God’s will. I believe we still have to come to God with a humble heart instead of feeling entitled. Like I said, I believe that the importance lies in our heart, mind, and attitude instead of in our circumstances.
Philippians 4:13 also implies that whatever we want or need, might not be easy to get. We wouldn’t need to be strengthened, if it wasn’t going to be difficult at times. This might not mean hardships, like sickness or imprisonment. It might mean that we are called to step outside of our comfort zone to do something in order to do what God has called us to do. It might mean that we need to work hard and have patience, even if we feel that we would rather relax and give up. It may also mean that we have to give beyond what we think our means might be financially, physically, emotionally, or even spiritually.
The comfort comes in knowing that whatever we are called to do, go through, or endure, God will strengthen us. He is with us. Jesus has been through similar. He was our ultimate role model. The Holy Spirit will remind us of God’s Word and how we will be strengthened. We just need to believe and listen to the Holy Spirit. We need to heed God’s Word. We need to rely on God and trust that He will strengthen us and help us through.
Even though it may seem like we are called to endure, go through, and give more than we can handle, we can take comfort in the words in Philippians 4:13. Christ will strengthen us and help us endure what we are called to do.
This is so encouraging! I praise God that He loves us and gives us this comfort! Now, if we can just remember it when we need strength. If only we can remember to rely on Him instead of giving up or trying our own solutions.
Oh Lord, thank you for your love and comfort. Thank you for assuring us that you will help us through as long as we rely on you. Thank you for letting us know that things might be difficult, but if you call us to do it and we rely on you, that you will be there to strengthen us. Help us to rely on you. Help us not to use our own strength and will, but yours instead. Help us to trust in you instead of finding our own solutions or giving up. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Reflective questions for Philippians 4:13 (KJV):
*What does Philippians 4:13 mean to me?
*What is God telling me through Philippians 4:13?
*Can I just claim any success no matter what with the words in Philippians
*How can I better heed the words in Philippians 4:13?
If you enjoyed the message in this week's post, you may find this other post interesting as well.
Now, it is your turn.
I am thankful that you are here. I pray that God is blessing you through the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations. If you find it value in it, please share it with others, so God can bless them through it as well. Thank you.
If you feel led, please feel free to comment your thoughts, understandings, and feelings regarding God's Word or this post. Also, feel free to share your prayer requests and ideas about future topics as well. If you don't feel comfortable commenting below, please feel free to contact me.
Also, if you haven't done so already, please feel free to sign up below to receive the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations and other faith content in your inbox. Thank you. God bless.
“In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.”
Psalms 15:4 (KJV)
How are you? Today, we continue our journey in reflecting upon Psalms 15. If you haven’t done so already, you can read the previous posts to the Psalms 15 Series by DUO Inspirations by clicking the following links:
Let us remember that the words in Psalms 15:4 are part of the answers that King David have for his own questions he asked in Psalms 15:1 (KJV), which were “Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill?”
Now, with this in mind, let’s look at the first part of Psalms 15:4 (KJV), “In whose eyes a vile person is contemned…”. I think it is kind of human nature to dislike evil and cruel people, or at least their actions. For example, we may feel a sickening feeling or heart break for pets and victims who have been abused in some way. In turn, we may feel a contempt or hardness in our hearts about people who could do such things. I think when the “evil” involves violence it is easier for us to hold contempt in our hearts for the evildoer.
Yet, do we hold that same contempt in our hearts for evildoers, if the “evil” doesn’t contain violence? For example, idol worshipping is evil. It is totally wrong and against God’s will. God alone is the only one to be worshipped. So, do we hold contempt in our hearts for those who worship idols? Or, do we instead have a nonchalant, “live and let live” type attitude? Do we invite idol worshippers to our parties, to join us in business, or into our families, “as long as they don’t push their beliefs on us”?
We, as a society, seemed to be in a rut as far as NOT holding contempt in our hearts for immoral and evil actions done by others. It seems more commonplace to let everyone fit in, instead of standing up for your own beliefs. It seems more commonplace to enable people to feel entitled, instead of teaching them natural cause and effect of things.
Lessons such as, if you want to eat, you have to work, are going by the wayside. I am not talking about suffering the feeble, the elderly, the widows, and the little children to work when they aren’t able. I am not talking about people who choose to be housekeepers, stay at home parents, homeschool parents, and other jobs that society doesn’t always look upon as being jobs. I am not even talking about just the entitlement of food without earning it. It just seems that there is quite a bit of entitlement in this world that is enabled instead of discouraged or condemned.
It makes sense that if we are called to hold contempt in our hearts for doing bad, then we are called to also honor those who do what is right in the eyes of the Lord. Yes, we are called to honor those who “fear the Lord.” Again, I don’t believe that “fear” in this case means to be afraid of God in that we are afraid that God might do something mean to us. I believe it is a fear as in a reverent and respect for God’s holiness and His ability to give us natural consequences that we deserve and grace that we don’t deserve.
Just as it seems easy to hold contempt for the evil and violent people of the world, so it may seem easy to honor those who are good, loving, godly people. Yet, again, I am not so sure it is that easy. It may not be as prevalent as we may think. I am reminded of children being called “goody two shoes” or “teacher’s pet” in school for doing good or not following the mischief of the crowd.
We might think that oh, “kids will be kids” or “kids can be so cruel sometimes”. However, I believe that kids are not born this way. They are taught or conditioned to be cruel in a world that is full of cruelty. I don’t mean that kids are totally innocent and their behavior should be overlooked. I am just saying that I think if they were conditioned or treated to be kind always, than they would be less likely to be cruel and more likely to continue with “what they know and have seen” with that same level of kindness.
Even some adults, maybe because they learned it as children, talk about “do-gooders” as if doing good things was a bad thing. Instead of being honored as being God fearing, people who do good things are mocked as being bad.
The last part of Psalms 15:4 (KJV) reads, “He that sweareth his own hurt, and changeth not.” In my research, I have found many places, which state that this means to keep your promises, no matter how uncomfortable or inconvenient it is for you. These resources seem to speak of this in a general sense. However, I am not sure if it means in a general sense or a specific sense.
Maybe it is the teacher in me, but it seems that if this statement is part of the same verse as the rest, it might be relating to the same topic. It might be reinforcing the fact that we are called to disdain the cruel and empower or honor the godly. Maybe we are called to swear not to enable the evil; swear not to befriend and be nonchalant about ungodly actions, so that we will not slowly learn the evil ways of the evil. After all, it is when we are passive and nonchalant about the sinful ways of others or ourselves, that we slowly condition ourselves to be more sinful. For example, if we don’t speak out and distance ourselves from those who act as if they are entitled, then we may soon start to act with that same entitlement. Maybe it is calling us to be godly no matter how much we are hurt, mocked, or threatened.
Thank you for your Holy Word. Thank you for teaching us the way to you. Give us understanding when we are confused about your Word or anything else. Give us the strength to disdain the ungodly as well as empower and honor the godly, no matter how difficult it may seem. Help us to keep our word and to be godly, no matter the consequences given us by the world. Help us not to be nonchalant and slip into the ways of the evil. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Reflective questions for Psalms 15:4 (KJV):
*What does Psalms 15:4 mean to me?
*What does “fear of the Lord” mean to me?
*What does “He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not” mean to
*Do I heed the words in Psalms 15:4?
*What do I need to do to better heed the words in Psalms 15:4?
Now, it is your turn.
As always, I encourage you to read the Word of God yourself. Don’t take my word of my reflection as your own. Pray and ask God to give you your own understanding. For example, the last sentence in Psalms 15:4 could mean that in a general sense, we need to keep our word no matter how uncomfortable or inconvenient it may be. Or, it could mean something else. Sometimes, God's Word is meant to speak one message to one person and another to the next. Sometimes, the meaning is meant to be the same to all. That is between you and God.
I welcome you to leave a comment anytime that you feel called. It is good to learn and fellowship with fellow believers. I look forward to your thoughts, prayer requests, comments, suggestions, or questions. Feel free to comment below or contact me. If you feel called to share the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations with others, please do that as well. I believe that it is good to encourage others to read and understand God's Word. I try to do that through the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations.
If you haven't already done so, you may also want to consider signing up below to receive the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations and other faith content in your inbox. It makes it easier, so you don't have to remember to click and look for the blog each week. The link it give to you each week by email.
“But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”
1 John 3:17 (KJV)
How are you? I am touched by the words in 1 John 3:17. What about you? If we all thought about these words and prayed about these words, and acted upon these words, the world would be a better place.
As Christians, we try to do what is right. We may go to church, worship God and speak His name. We may pray not only for ourselves, but for others as well. Yet, is that all we are called to do?
We are asked a very good question in 1 John 3:17 (KJV), “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” With the “old time” words and way of saying things, this verse, like many others in the Bible, may be difficult to understand. However, it is basically saying, “If we are rich or have more than we need and see someone in need, but don’t share, how can we say that we have God’s love in us?” Or, we can also change that to, “How can we say we are Christians, followers of Jesus, and believers, if we don’t share out of our extra wealth with those in need?”
Let’s think about that question a minute. Pray about it. If we are truly following Jesus, how can we not share what we have with others? Jesus was always having compassion on others, healing them, encouraging them, and giving the good news to them. Shouldn’t we do the same, if we are able? Isn’t that what “following” means? Is that what it means to be Christian?
I think part of our issue in not heeding the words in 1 John 3:17 is that we interchange the words “need” and “want” too much in our society. We talk about “needing” things that we really “want”. We might say something like, “I need to get some chips for the picnic.” Well, that isn’t quite the truth. The truth is that we “want” to get some chips for the picnic. We might say, “I need a new car.” Well, that isn’t quite the truth either. Even if we feel we need a vehicle, the truth is closer to, “I need something to get me to and from work or the grocery store. But, I really want it to be a new car.” Our society says “need” too often when “want” is really the meaning.
With our nonchalant use of the word “need”, how can we really tell when someone needs something or not? More to the point, how can we tell if we have more than we need, if we always say we need something when we don’t? I think this badly, overused, misrepresented use of the word “need” has made us numb to the real needs of the world; of ours and of others.
I think if we learn to use the word “want” when we really mean “want” and use “need” when we really mean “need”, God will be more likely to open our hearts to have the compassion we should for others. Even if we have never had a real “need”, we may start to understand that there are people who do and our compassion will tug at us until we do something about it.
It is then that we can realize that we have a closet bulging with more clothes than we actually where, when there are others who barely have clothes on their backs and don’t even have a closet. Maybe then, we will share.
In preparing for this post and reading 1 John 3:17, it tugged at my heart some. I hope that God continues the tug at my heart. I pray that He continues to convict me with this verse, until I am moved to a depth so deep that His loves comes pouring through me. I pray the same for you as well, if you aren’t there already.
Thank you for sending your only Son, Jesus, to be our Savior and our ultimate role model. Oh, Lord, help us to know the difference between “needs” and “wants”. Touch our hearts, so they are opened to the needs of others and your compassion can flow through us. Help us to have compassion on those in need, not only in word and prayer, but also in action. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Reflective questions for 1 John 3:17 (KJV):
*What does 1 John 3:17 mean to me?
*Do I use the word “need” when I really mean “want”?
*Do I think that the needs and wants confusion numbs us?
*What message is God giving me through this verse?
*What can I do to better heed the words in 1 John 3:17?
*Do I have any excess that I can give to those in need?
Now, it is your turn.
What are your thoughts? Do you use "need" when you mean "want"? Why don't you think we give as much as we can to those in need? How do you think we call ourselves Christians and don't give to those in need? (I know some do give.) I would like to hear from you. Please, comment below to give us all something about which to think and pray. Thank you.
I am so glad that you are here. I appreciate your support and kindness. I hope you are finding value in the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations. If you are finding value, please share the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations with your friends, family, and church. Thank you.
Also, if you haven't already done so, please consider signing up below to receive the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations and other faith content in your inbox. Thank you.
“Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:”
Colossians 2:16 (KJV)
How are you today? Last week, I asked you to ponder the words in Jeremiah 10:3-4 and relate them to the tradition of decorating trees for Christmas. This week, I would like to ponder the words in Colossians 2:16. These too, have to do with celebrating.
Taken alone and out of context, Colossians 2:16 can be misinterpreted. It could sound like we can do anything we want to and we shouldn’t let anyone tell us differently. That sounds pretty snobby and self-righteous. Yet, that isn’t quite what Colossians 2:16 means. It doesn’t say that we can have a free for all and do anything we want.
If we take this verse in perspective, it is saying that since we have died to ourselves and have followed Jesus, don’t let anyone judge the things we do. When we are acting in Christian ways, it may seem uncool, silly, strange, or foreign to the world. It might not make sense to others.
What we eat, drink, do, celebrate, observe and how we do it might be different than those of others. Yet, it doesn’t mean we are doing it wrong. If we are following Jesus and doing the will of God, then we don’t have to do things as others do, not even as other Christians.
Unfortunately, people have a tendency to judge others. Although, this is a task better left for God. Sadly, this is true of believers and nonbelievers alike.
Nonbelievers may judge, because they don’t know God and His will for us. They may not know the Bible and what we are called to do. They may judge us out of anger or ignorance. Nonbelievers may try to “groom us” to follow more worldly practices. In my humble opinion, this can be seen in things like businesses being open on Sundays, encouraging people to work and shop on a day that is meant to be set aside for rest and spiritual rejuvenation or political correctness that says it isn’t right for us to say, “Merry Christmas” to others, to pray in school with a moment of silence, or any other number of things that it isn’t politically correct to say or do. (Am I judging here?)
Even other Christians sometimes judge the way we do things. Some Christian religions have different practices than others, and everyone tends to believe that they have the right way and only way to do things.
Yet, just because things are different, doesn’t mean they are wrong. Let’s look at something as simple as eating a peanut. Peanuts are a great source of many nutrients and can be very healthy for you. However, if you are allergic to peanuts, they can be very dangerous. The eating of peanuts are “right” for some and “wrong” for some. We are not to judge others or let people talk us into or out of doing what we believe is right for us.
The same is true in spiritual things. In spiritual things, whatever helps us to stay focused on God and whatever is God’s will for us, is what we should do. That is why we are to look to God for answers and let God be our judge, not people. We are called not to cave under peer pressure and not to let people sway us from our beliefs. If we think someone brings up a “good point” about what we are doing and we find ourselves questioning our actions, we are called to look to God through prayer, fasting, and reading the Bible for answers.
Thank you for giving us your Word, as words to live by. Help us to hold strong in our faith and beliefs as we follow Jesus. Help us to not be turned away or conflicted in our beliefs by worldly practices and judgment of others. Help us to focus only on you, Lord, in the things that we do. If we are uncertain in what we do, think, feel, or say, help us to turn to you through prayer, fasting, and reading your Word. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Reflective questions for Colossians 2:16 (KJV):
*What does Colossians 2:16 mean to me?
*What are some things where people tend to judge me, but I am doing right
*Do I judge others?
*What are some things that are right for some people but wrong for others?
*What were some of things for which Jesus and his apostles were judged?
*Do I cave in or let others sway the way I believe, act, think, speak, or
*How can I better heed the words in Colossians 2:16?
Now, it is your turn.
I look forward to hearing your views. Please, leave a comment below or feel free to contact me. Thank you for being here. I appreciate your support. If you find value in the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, please share it with a friend, family member, or even your church family. I appreciate it.
Also, if you haven't already, please consider signing up to get the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations and other faith content in your inbox. Just check the "faith" box (and any other interest) as you sign up. Thank you.
Note: I will also be changing the site for DUO Inspirations a bit soon. Please, feel free to check it out in order to get the before and after feel.
This is Jodi. I am so glad you are here! I am a Christian and life-long learner. I enjoy sharing and encouraging others. I pray you are blessed by this blog. Thank you for being here.