Philippians Chapter 4–What Stands Out

I’ve come to the end of my lectio divina study of the book of Philippians, and here’s what stands out for me in the last chapter.

“…. my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and my crown ….”  Phil. 4:1

When our children were young my husband used to tell them, “people are more important than things.”  In other words, we should never sacrifice our relationships with others in order to attain some temporal item or reward.  I also remember James Dobson saying in a talk that when his father died, he did not mourn for the way his dad had provided for him materially;  he missed and remembered the things they had done together, like fishing.

In this verse, Paul is expressing his love for the Christians of Philippi.  This is what gives him joy, this is what makes his life meaningful.  I believe when we come before God, and are judged (which we all will be), He will not be especially interested in the goals we have reached, the pious acts we can tote up, or the dollars we have donated.  What will be important is how we have shown love to others.  Have we served people sacrificially?  Have we invested time in their well-being and spiritual growth?  Have we helped them and listened to them in times of need?  Have we prayed for them even (especially) when they are difficult?  Have we been the face of Christ to others?

The book of Matthew tells us:

…. store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Matt. 6:20-21

Paul’s treasure was the people he loved and served.  What is your treasure?  It’s worth thinking about.

Two Quotes on the Sacrificial Life

Going along with my post for yesterday, I found these quotes about sacrificial living.  Will you be ready to give completely when the opportunity to sacrifice for Christ arises?  This is something we all need to ponder.

“We too, in our own way, have often an impression that we are keeping all the commandments sufficiently and inheriting the eternal life.  One day a tremendous duty opens before us, and we are aghast at its hardness.  What shall we do?  What shall we answer?  Is Christ deserving of everything from us, or only of part?  It is a tremendous test which all cannot stand.

Anthony W. Thorold


“A great necessity is a great opportunity.  Nothing is really lost by a life of sacrifice;  everything is lost by failure to obey God’s call.  The opportunities of generously serving Jesus Christ are few;  perhaps not more than one in a lifetime.  They come, they do not return.  What we do upon a great occasion will probably depend upon what we already are;  what we are will be the result of previous years of self-discipline under the grace of Christ, or of the absence of it.”

Henry Parry Liddon

Photo by Rodolfo Clix on

The Christian Atheist by Craig Groeschel–Book Review

If you pick up this book thinking that Craig Groeschel is writing about those other people, well — WRONG.  It’s aimed at most of us, people who call themselves Christian.  People who may even go to church, serve in ministry and contribute regularly.

According to Pastor Groeschel, you may be a Christian Atheist when:

  • You believe in God, but don’t really know Him
  • You believe in God, but are ashamed of your past
  •  You believe in God, but aren’t sure He loves you
  •  You believe in God, but not in prayer
  •  You believe in God, but don’t think He’s fair
  •  You believe in God, but won’t forgive
  •  You believe in God, but don’t think you can change
  •  You believe in God, but still worry all the time
  •  You believe in God, but pursue happiness at any cost
  •  You believe in God, but trust more in money
  •  You believe in God, but don’t share your faith
  •  You believe in God, but not in His church

If you’re anything like me, you’ll recognize yourself in at least some of the categories.  It boils down to saying you are a Christian while not living like one (at least in certain areas of your life).

As you can imagine, the book was quite challenging ( a good choice for Lent when we are meant to be examining ourselves in light of the sacrifice of Christ).                                                                                                                                                      I agreed with most of what Pastor Groeschel has to say, with the exception of some issues in the section on prayer.  He says that the way we live (our righteousness) and the depth of our faith is “one factor that makes a difference” in whether our prayers are heard and answered.  He does qualify that with:

“That doesn’t mean that if you’re mostly righteous, God must do everything you ask him to do exactly as you say.  It also doesn’t mean that if you are a total mess, God will never answer your prayers.”

So it’s a bit unclear.  I can see that the more righteous one is, the more their prayers will line up with God’s will, and therefore, more likely to be answered positively.  However, as my pastor husband would say, this is a slippery slope.  In praying we form a relationship with God, we don’t influence Him.  The only prayer that will never fail is “thy will be done.” (see The Prayer that Never Fails).

VERDICT:  4 STARS.  Worth reading and pondering

For a book on a similar topic visit this link:

Sick of Me – Book Review

Sick of Me by Whitney Capps–Book Review #2