OK, I will admit that I actually had to look that up. A convex lens is one that makes objects look larger, like a magnifying glass. Paul lived his whole life as a convex lens. He wanted people to look at him in any situation--good, bad, or ugly--and see Jesus Christ looming large. People at looking at you too. And they're looking through you at Christ. Is He bigger or smaller with you as the lens?
Catchy title, huh? But it's more than that; it's the perspective that Paul maintained. His prison experience caused *many* others to preach the gospel with more boldness. But *some* preached with wrong motives. Don't let the *some* have louder volume and more sway in your life than the *many.*
Sometimes the answer to that question is, "I'm falling apart!" But the Philippians perspective is so much better: Things aren't falling *apart.* They are falling *out* unto the furtherance of the gospel. God is not doing something to me; He is doing something in me and for me and through me. Wow!
Paul viewed the church of Philippi as a strong Gospel partner. But his view of them was not primarily from the perspective of a shared work load. He loved them! And they loved him. In fact, his concern was for their love to grow more and more. Love is our why. When the why is right, the what takes care of itself. Learn to see people through the lens of love, not through the lens of how their gifts and energy can help you.
Paul wrote Philippians while he was in prison. Ironically, he wrote to a place where he had previously been in prison! Yet the tone of the letter belies both sets of prison circumstances. It's a letter of JOY! Joy is neither contingent upon nor related to our circumstances, past or present.
What a fitting conclusion to a letter that drips with the compassion of the pastor who wrote it! Don't be content to allow your brother to wander away without lovingly reaching out. Understand your own proclivity to roam. Humbly approach the one who has. Tone down the condescension, and ramp up the compassion.
Go ahead and answer that question in your own life. I think sometimes we adopt the attitude that "whatever is going to happen is going to happen, and I really can't change any of it." But is that true? Have you adopted the notion that situations, circumstances, and people cannot be actively affected by prayer alone?
The little book of James is one of the most powerful and practical books in all the Bible. Written by the pastor of the church of Jerusalem (and half-brother of Jesus), the epistle is full of applicable truth. That's why today's episode is so important! Because of all the truths James shares, he tells us that today's is the most important! Find out why.
Has someone ever taken advantage of you? What about at the work place? Have you been overlooked or underpaid? What you do in situations like these reveals tons about your persecutive, faith, and understanding of God's seasonal workings in your life.
By almost anybody's standard, being rich is measured tangibly. How much money do I have? How many possessions have I accumulated? How many people work to fulfill my agenda? But God declares something radically different, not about what riches will become, but about what they already are!