Guide Indescribable Joy: Discovering the Principles of Joy from Pauls Letter to the Philippians

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Do you have the mind of Christ? So, here it is once again. These Expectations represent our goals in life and how we expect life to turn out through the good times and the bad. These Assumptions come from how our mind has been built by God through our parents, through our upbringing, and through the circumstances in life. In the past two sermons I gave you some illustrations from wanting success in life, marriage, and child-raising.

If your Expectation is that the world owes you for the pain you have suffered in your past, you are in for a lot of Frustrations in life. This false Expectation is based on the false Assumption that life is perfect, that human beings are inherently good, that hurts can be rectified in this life, and that if you are hurt, you are entitled to special privileges. You have to abandon the volcano model for the tree planted by rivers of water. Here is what I have found: Joy is a feeling of deep happiness based on biblical truths. Furthermore, it is not depended on our circumstances.

It had depleted. It was leaking. What caused it to leak? Why did Paul restate this in 4 ways? Because the Philippians were either divided or on their way to being divided. Listen very carefully — Nothing will deplete your joy in the Christian life faster than division in your life, your marriage, your family, and your church. Where do divisions come from? It is an unhealthy, evil, and destructive normal.

It takes one divisive person to start something and before you know it, the whole body is infected with a spirit of division. How do you counteract such a divisive mind? He asked if there was anyone left and a servant of Saul by the name of Ziba informed him that Jonathan had a son by the name of Mephibosheth who was lame in his feet. David had him brought and told him not to fear and that he will give him all the inheritance of his grandfather Saul. Then he told Ziba that he is to serve Mephibosheth the way he served Saul. All sounds great.

David had to run for his life and Mephibosheth could not accompany him because of his handicap and sent Ziba to help David fight against Absalom. Ziba met David and told David that he has come to help even though his master Mephibosheth has pledged his allegiance to Absalom. David told Ziba that in that case, all that belongs to Mephibosheth is now his. The battle is over, Absalom dies and David is victorious. Mephibosheth comes to congratulate David and David asks him why he did not go with him. What did David do next? Did he put Ziba on trial?

Did he return Mephibosheth his property? This is what happens when you allow a divisive person to speak into your life. What needs to happen is that your assumptions have to be replaced by biblical truths. Do you have a divisive mind? Do you know someone who does? Pray for them. In our western society, we call Envy the Green-Eyed Monster because green is a color associated with sickness. What you need is the mind of Christ. What you need is the replacing of your false assumptions with biblical truth and principles. Onlythatin every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.

Are you struggling with doubts and resentment? How do you feel when someone in your field or age group or social circle, even at church, starts advancing? Are you happy or are you resentful? They can be our personal goals in life or how we expect things to turn out through circumstances. I gave you some examples last time from the subject of material success and marriage.

Not only will they disappoint you but they will destroy their life as well. They will go through life thinking that they are the center of the universe and expect you to defend and bail them out. Where did this expectation come from? It came from false assumptions. These assumptions can come from a myriad of places.

What has to change are your assumptions. Unfortunately, human nature is prone to sin and evil. Although some were preaching for the right reasons, some were for an ulterior motive. Barabbas or Jesus? Are we any less than Paul? Are we not going through similar suffering? The other day some of the Roman soldiers roughed us up too.

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Furthermore, they were also trying to send word to Paul that they were winning more souls than him. Why did Paul go into all this detail about the brethren in the Lord who were preaching out of envy and selfish ambition? Because the same behavior was being displayed among the Philippian believers. Apparently, the Philippians had the same assumptions. Paul was exposing their sin in a roundabout way.

Do you struggle with envy? You have children who seem average or sick but then there are other families that have healthy children and great performers. Why do I have a weight problem, height problem? We often feel like God is so unfair in giving looks. The only way you can handle envy is by replacing your false assumptions with biblical truths.

Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. Are you a victim of envy? One way God deals with envy is that He crucifies the one being envied. If I were God, I would crucify the one who is envying — right? Not really. Chief Priests — you have a problem with Jesus, I will crucify him. How do you beat Envy? Become grateful to God. Become an encourager to others.

Some people are afraid of snakes, spiders, heights, enclosed spaces, lightning, public speaking, needles, water, etc. Some of these fears are understandable and even healthy but then there is a kind of fear that actually becomes a roadblock to having the mind of Christ. What you need is the replacing of your false assumptions about life and future with biblical truth and principles.

Are you paralyzed or have you fled? Caution is seeing a warning sign and slowing down and steering carefully around the hurdle. Fear is pulling over and cancelling the trip. Many Christians have pulled over and cancelled their trip. Some have even turned back. Is that you?

Background: Before we dive into our message, let me explain as simply as possible how we work as human beings. To give you an example: You see a person who is driven to succeed. He wants to be rich. Nothing wrong with being rich. Lots of godly people in the Bible were rich. Unfortunately, the market crashes or health goes bad and he does not achieve what he wanted. The result is anxiety, stress, anger, addiction, relationship problems, etc. They know their expectations are wrong but they feel helpless. The real problem is not their expectations but their assumptions.

If they grew up learning that if you want to please dad or mom, you have to be rich, then their assumption is that not being rich is failing to please dad or mom. Or, if they wrongly learned that money will make them happy, then they are now sad because they are not. There are other examples marriage, work, spiritual life but the diagram is the same.

A Joy Unexpected - Philippians 1:1 - Skip Heitzig

What has to change is our assumptions. Context: Paul wrote to the Philippians about the mind of Christ because they had some false assumptions which were leading to false expectations with frustrations. One such was fear. They had a fearful mind. In Classical Greek it was used to describe a horse getting spooked in battle.

It would get startled by loud noises or shrieks and it would bolt through the battlefield, stampeding anyone in his path. The Philippians were terrified of their opponents and they were ready to cut and run. The Philippians were operating under certain false assumptions. Some of these assumptions were coming from their past lives, which we can only speculate about. These false assumptions came with wrong expectations.

Recently, some more of their expectations had been dashed. They had been keeping up with what was happening to Paul, their founder. Paul was in Roman custody when he wrote this letter. The mob at the instigation of the corrupt religious leaders had tried to kill Paul but fortunately he was taken into custody by the Romans. After several years of waiting in prison, Paul was finally transferred to Rome to stand trial before Caesar.

All this news must have gotten out to the churches and destroyed their morale. Their leader was in prison and waiting for his execution. The Philippians were no different, especially since Paul had founded the church.

Joel Dison (Author of Indescribable Joy)

Having these expectations dashed must have led to some frustrations. If you read between the lines, they had plenty of issues: fear, anxiety, disunity, selfishness, conceit, etc. So, what did Paul say to them? How could Paul be so bold in the face of execution while the Philippians were terrified by their adversaries? Because Paul had the mind of Christ. He is listing them all along:. Do you have the mind of Paul which was like the mind of Christ or do you have the mind of the Philippians filled with false assumptions?

Published in the newspaper Daily Dispatch, Henderson on October 14, Evidently, it touched a nerve and God used it to meet a real need. Thank you for all the words of appreciation!

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Does that mean that for each of those incidents we have to go through the same process of praying for 20 days until we are free of the toxin? Toxic people and minor toxic encounters are two different things. The first are individuals who perpetually cause us to feel miserable and the second are chance happenings that inject just enough toxin in us to ruin our spirit.

Let me explain below.

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Or, how about the big one: You put a post on Facebook that you think should go viral and only 3 people like it…What do you do next? Each of those encounters have the potential to initiate an unhealthy conversation within you. Sooner or later they spill over on to the unsuspecting individuals in your lives. In other words, your quest for justice will not rest until someone is convicted, sentenced, or punished. Since you cannot prosecute the original perpetrators, you will substitute those innocent, weak, and docile individuals in your life.

Your kids, your husband, your wife, your church family, your neighbor, and your best friend will pay for a crime they did not commit. What is the solution? First, recognize when your spiritual equilibrium has been disturbed. In other words, acknowledge the gnawing feeling that some wrong may have been committed against you. Second, immediately take charge of your internal conversation. There will be casualties. Third, refrain from judging the motives of others.

Fourth, pray for that individual. Nothing will neutralize hate and anger faster than sincere prayer. Fifth, practice the lost art of the unsent angry letter. He never sent most of them. Published in the newspaper Daily Dispatch, Henderson on August 19, It was a perfect end to a busy week. I had accomplished everything on my agenda, which is rare. Now it was time to head home and catch up on some well-needed family time. If truth be told, it was a rather miserable weekend.

Have you ever been a victim of a toxic person? Let me share with you how to handle them:. First, recognize them for who they are. Toxic people come in all types. Most of these designations are self-explanatory except for maybe the Dementor and the Twisted. The former are the kind who suck the life out of the room by their negativity and pessimism and the latter are out to hurt you, make you feel bad, or get something from you. Next, always be prepared to face toxic people. They might be in the family, neighborhood, workplace, or social organizations even church!

Instead, learn their behavior patterns and establish the appropriate emotional boundaries in your mind. Also, avoid any toxic song, show, movie, book, or event in your life. Such things only add unnecessary toxicity to your life. What if the damage has been done? Many years ago I allowed a toxic person to steal my joy. God in his mercy sent a mature person into my life who immediately recognized my distress. Pray for the next 20 days for physical, spiritual, and financial blessing in their life.

Be aware that the first time you pray that it will be impossible to mouth those words. Eventually, it will become easier and easier. Then, there will come a day when you will pray and actually find yourself praying sincerely as if for a friend. The toxin has cleared out of your system. It actually worked! Ultimately, sin is the toxin and only the grace of God through Jesus Christ can heal your life.

Give it a try today. Published in the newspaper Daily Dispatch, Henderson on June 24, Summer is here. Those who can are taking every opportunity to get away to the lake, beach, mountains, or some place other than home. But will they truly rest? Many complain on returning that they need a vacation to recuperate from their vacation! Then there are those who are staying home and getting caught up on all the unfinished projects. No rest for the weary.

I confess that I fall into the latter category. I enjoy work! It energizes me. It bothers me to see able-bodied people being lazy. So who is better? The ones who get away or the ones who keep going? Neither, because both are still failing to rest. In the Book of Genesis he set the pattern for us. After creating the world and everything in it in six days, he rested on the seventh day, and even blessed and sanctified it as a Day of Rest. The culprit is our world of hyper-connectivity.

What I am suggesting is taking breaks from our statuses and stories and allowing our minds to rest. Constantly checking and scrolling through updates is just disguised labor. Just like Jesus and his disciples were constantly bombarded by people coming and going, we too have people dropping in every moment, albeit behind a touch screen. So, whether you get away or stay home, truly rest.

But then put it away. Take the time to connect with the loved ones near you, especially the young. In the absence of genuine, fun, and meaningful interactions with the adults in their lives, they have defaulted to poor but enticing substitutes. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Are you not of more value than they?

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. Bridge: Would you agree that worry is the result of unguided thoughts? Think about it — what happens to children who are left to themselves without proper guidance and discipline? They become monsters. So also our thoughts, if they are left to themselves without proper facts and supervision, they become monsters. Only Christ. To get to the heart of worry, we have to change what we fundamentally think about our relationship with God.

Question: What do you believe about God? Do you believe that He cares for your needs? Do you believe that He is a good Father who cares for His children? Do you believe He is a sovereign God who has the best in store for us?

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Background: When Jesus made that statement, He was not advocating some vagrant life, with no responsibilities. Neither was He suggesting some monastic life, all detached and otherworldly. Instead, He was teaching His listeners how to have the proper perspective on the daily necessities of life.

Most of them were the common people from first century Palestine. For food, they had to depend on the rainfall and even if they had adequate rainfall, insects, locusts, and wild fire could destroy their crops. For water, they had to rely on wells and springs but what if there was a drought? For clothes, the poor people generally wore woolen garments. At the most they would have one change of clothing but what if there was a fire? By the way, this is how most of the world still lives at this very moment, just day to day. Jesus was not telling them not to plan for their lives. The only way He could rid himself of this paralyzing anxiety is by casting it on God.

We could substitute that word here. Question: Are you burdened about your life? Are you living under this paralyzed anxiety? Is there going to be another financial crisis? Will we lose our jobs, our homes? Will we be able to meet our daily needs? We human beings were created for things far greater. We were created in the image of God and with the ability to relate with Him.

We were given the gift to create new things and solve problems and improve our standard of life. Application: What do you think about your life?

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Do you look beyond your daily necessities? Have you? Are you living this life of paralyzed anxiety? Background: Here Jesus appeals to nature to make a very important point. These were unclean birds but God cares for them too. By the way, one of the best cures for anxiety and worry is nature. People think that rest and relaxation is watching TV or going shopping or working in the yard or playing golf. True rest is when you actually sleep and true relaxation is when you stop all activity and allow your body to return to zero.

Spending time in nature will do that for you more than anything else. Listen to verse 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? Again, the point is that if God cares for the less desirable and less worthy things in creation, will He not care for the crown of His creation? This may be hard for some of us to understand.

I love animals and we need to treat them with kindness and compassion. Having said that, there is a world of difference between animals and us. This article is to help give a biblical framework for asking for money. My prayer is that it will inspire millions of believers—lay and clergy—to begin the exciting journey of fundraising. It may be easier to print this out and read it. For a cleaner printed copy, download a PDF version here. As far as I'm concerned, this is a work in progress. Feel free to email me your thoughts at marc fundraisingcoach.

They are craftsmen in all the work and artistic designers. What an amazingly successful capital campaign! Has your organization had to restrain people from bringing more? May we all have this problem. He faithfully detailed the needed gifts and the ways that those gifts were to be used. This fundraising drive came after the golden calf debacle. This seems to have made the giving open to more people.

Those who were willing, they say, brought what was required. This is good. But those whose heart stirred them were more generous giving more than their obligation. This was the better way. The sages also criticize the leaders being mentioned later in this section. They make up for this in Numbers 7. In fact, this story is amazingly God-centered.

God is present in every step of the process:. When asked by a leader obeying God, the people responded with more than enough to finish the work. It also clearly shows that God is intimately involved with every step in the solicitation. Who else wants to contribute to the Lord today? You have dominion and exalt yourself as the ruler of all. You possess strength and might to magnify and give strength to all.

Indeed, everything comes from you, and we have simply given back to you what is yours. With pure motives I contribute all this; and now I look with joy as your people who have gathered here contribute to you.

Praise and thanksgiving is a natural result of willing giving. I believe this story shows a godly way to use an individual donor as an example for others to follow. David clearly uses his position as an example for the other leaders to follow 1 Chron Otherwise you have no reward with your Father in heaven. I tell you the truth, they have their reward. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.

How can we reconcile these two passages of Scripture? This section is the beginning of Jesus correcting the three major practices of the life of the Pharisees: almsgiving, prayer, and fasting. Although Jesus repeatedly commends the practice of tithing, he never says to do it privately.

In fact he had his disciples watch people publicly give their gifts at the Temple and praised the gift of the old woman. In this passage, Jesus is teaching a lesson familiar in rabbinic teaching: giving should never be done at the expense of the recipient. That way the recipients of alms could retain their dignity. God has no patience for that. Once again, God is the source and recipient of all giving. Rather than trying to garner praise, David gives the praise to God and leads the people in praising God. Not only did he leverage his position to influence the leaders, he is also setting the example of an older generation fundraising on the behalf of a younger generation 1 Chron Then all the Israelites returned to their own homes in their cities.

They brought a tenth of everything, which added up to a huge amount. They brought them and placed them in many heaps. For the Lord has blessed his people, and this large amount remains. When this was done, they brought in the contributions, tithes, and consecrated items that had been offered. Konaniah, a Levite, was in charge of all this, assisted by his brother Shimei. He did what the Lord his God considered good and right and faithful.

Again we see a leader leading! Did you notice the same themes being repeated in this story? People freely giving. More than enough coming in. This went on for four months! So much came in that they had to build storehouses to keep it all! What if, like Hezekiah, they publicly announced their financial commitment in front of the congregation? It so happened that in the month of Kislev, in the twentieth year, I was in Susa the citadel.

The wall of Jerusalem lies breached, and its gates have been burned. I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. I am confessing the sins of the Israelites that we have committed against you—both I myself and my family have sinned. Grant your servant success today and show compassion to me in the presence of this man.

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What can this be other than sadness of heart? Why would I not be dejected in appearance when the city with the graves of my ancestors lies desolate and its gates destroyed by fire? The king had sent with me officers of the army and horsemen. When I had been there for three days, I got up during the night, along with a few men who were with me.

But I did not tell anyone what my God was putting on my heart to do for Jerusalem. There were no animals with me, except for the one I was riding. Then I turned and came to the Valley Gate, and so returned. Come on! Are you rebelling against the king? We his servants will start the rebuilding. But you have no just or ancient right in Jerusalem. As in all the stories so far, God is involved in the entire process: preparation, solicitation, successful response, and successful completion.

Here, for the first time, we see fasting as a way of preparing for a solicitation.