This week my English students in our home school co-op will study the book of Philippians for their literature lesson, a little break from the novels, short stories, and poems we've been doing already this year. I wish I could be there in class with them today, but I'm home with a sore throat and didn't want to share my germies. So I sent in the homework packets for them for my fellow Dawn to distribute.
Being sick is no fun, especially when I have to miss out on my students and teaching that I love so much. And going through the stresses of life is pretty challenging, too, whether it is health, finances, family conflicts, a hectic schedule, bad habits, other assorted personal inadequacies, or whatever else happens to be jerking my heart strings at the moment.
But I thought back to the co-op assignment and pondered. Then, as I flipped through my journal this morning, I rediscovered a section I wrote a few years ago listing favorite passages from Philippians. I realize anew that one of the messages of Philippians is taking what comes and making the best of it, rejoicing always, still seeking to serve in the midst of chaos, thinking on the noble and excellent.
So today I'm home, catching up on laundry and dishes, and now sitting down to meditate on this excellent epistle. I hope you don't mind if I do my ruminating at the keyboard so I can catch it as it comes. I'll even throw in a few of the learning activities I'm providing for my students. Maybe you'd like to do them yourself or share them with your children.
Favorite Passages from Philippians
1: 3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus …
1:9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
1:20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
1:27a Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ... 29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him...
2:1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
2:14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16 as you hold out the word of life…
3:7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.
|See: A Little Lenten Liturgy|
10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
3:16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
4:11b I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus... 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
(Joy is a repeated theme in Philippians, appearing at least 11 times! Where else can you find JOY in the Bible? You can do a search at www.BibleGateway.com. The joy decorations photos I included in this post on Philippians are borrowed from one I wrote yesterday: Weekend Gratitude: Welcoming Touches. Thank you, Judy, for the inspiration!)
I sang two of these verses (3:10-11) today, a little ditty I made up when I was in high school... Do you ever set Scripture to music? It's a wonderful way to remember and to sink it into your own heart!
Philippians 1: Prayer Activity
The Apostle Paul prayed daily for the Philippian church, as he did for all of the other churches in his care. Verses 9-11 show us what he prayed for them, and teaches us how we can pray for others according to God’s will. Copy these verses on an index card and put it in your Bible or tape them on a wall so that you can pray for others with Scripture. Then look up Colossians 1:9-12 and 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 and see how they are a lot alike.
Philippians 2: SPACE Study
SPACE: Sin, Promise, Attitude, Command, Example
Read the chapter and look for the following:
Sins to avoid: Write the four specific words and then briefly tell what each means.
Promises to claim: These include the five good things that God is doing in us now, as well as a promise for the future.
Attitudes to change:
1. Replace PRIDE with __________________.
2. Replace SELFISHNESS with ____________________.
3. Replace APATHY with ____________________.
Commands to obey: Look for nine, some very clear instructions and others implied.
Example to follow: Four people in this chapter -- Jesus, Paul, Timothy and Epaphroditus -- set powerful examples for us. What good character and attitudes should we imitate from each of their lives?
Philippians 3: ABC Activity
Write the letters A - Z down the side of a page. Then find words from Philippians 3 which start with each letter of the alphabet, like attain for the letter A. Make these significant, meaningful words whenever possible. There are none for Q, V, or X, at least in the version I was using, so for these letters, choose a word that reminds you of an idea in Philippians 3.
Philippians 4: Read, Reflect & Respond
You can use this form to help you: Read, Reflect & Respond Bible Note Page
READ Philippians 4 slowly and
carefully. Then read it out loud. Then read it again in another version, if possible. Copy words, phrases, or whole verses that are important to you.
REFLECT on what the chapter means. Think about it, make lists, outline it, define words, cross-reference to other passages. Pray that God will open your eyes to the truth.
RESPOND by copying down key verses and writing down how you can apply them in your own life. Pray, think big, be real, tell someone, just do it!
Philippians 4: Word Search
Philippians 4:8 tells us to think about good things, so I have put all of the good things from the whole chapter into this word search. This should remind us to always been on the hunt for the good things in our lives – and be thankful to God for giving them to us! (I used www.PuzzleMaker.com to create this puzzle.)
Think About These Things
E V W G X T N C K Z C O J H Q S U N G T
C R Q C E R G O C H R I S T B P C J N W
I F K F C C J N I P Y F L G K J Q A I G
F A B K Q W A C R T J O W O O I R F V T
I O N C O M M E N D A B L E V G H P I T
R E C I O J E R P B R C N S A E I L G M
C P L E A S I N G E E N I R X H L S S E
A N V F D K Y A Y Q P T F L S S T Y K X
S S E N E L B A N O S A E R P R H I N C
J O J P P S R E G Z P H E Q E P C H A E
A U F T U P L I W R D N C N Z O U Y H L
E C S F R F F T A F T C G R N K J S T L
Y C C T E T F I D R E T R T U T O W S E
B W N E D R S Z A K H H E E S H U O U N
L I R A P E I P E E S N U B O W C R S C
E Y O J D T E N N L T R E L O R D T E E
P Q C C B N A X G X T G J W L J X H J B
S W P B A W U B Y F M B A H L W U Y P V
O D B W D V G B L R P X V Y J O K R X T
G D R A U G O H A E E L B A R O N O H A
Words to find: ABUNDANCE / ACCEPTABLE / CHRIST / CHURCH / COMMENDABLE / CONCERN / CONTENT /EXCELLENCE / FRAGRANT / GIFT / GOSPEL / GUARD / HONORABLE / JESUS / JOY / JUST / LORD / LOVELY / OFFERING / PARTNERSHIP / PEACE / PLEASING / PRAISE / PRAYER / PURE / REASONABLENESS / REJOICE / SACRIFICE / STRENGTHEN / SUPPLICATION / THANKSGIVING / TRUE / WORTHY