God’s Purpose in the Forefront

TLP

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.

Philippians 2:14-18

As we continue in this letter, Paul is still talking about being “worthy of the gospel” in a context of our need to find humility as Jesus did.  We shouldn’t be too surprised that he has found his way into grumbling and arguing.  Those two things probably don’t come out of humility…

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Review of Final Mission: Zion – A World War 2 Thriller by Chuck Driskell

Final Mission: Zion - A World War 2 ThrillerFinal Mission: Zion – A World War 2 Thriller by Chuck Driskell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a powerful story of the resilience of the human spirit during times of atrocity and how ultimately our choices define us. Neil Reuter is an American who fought during the Great War and has since been employed by the War Department to carry out assassinations of enemies of the state. He has recently lost his wife, Emilee, and his unborn child to murder. Grieving and wondering what the point is of his wayward life, he receives a letter from his best friend and war buddy, Jakey. To make matters worse, Jakey has been killed overseas. Jakey entrusts Neil with an important mission: of transporting dozens of Jewish childish and their caretakers to Palestine and safety from Europe.

It’s 1938, and the Nazis are gaining power by the day, and war looms on the horizon. Neil accepts the mission, believing it will give him a purpose and something worthwhile to do, but getting to the children will prove a huge challenge. What plays out is a masterfully crafted story of survival, espionage, battle of wills, and a race against the powers that wish to stop Neil, including crazed and corrupt War Department leader Preston Lord and SS leader Anton Aying, two men who are guilty of horrific crimes.

In the midst of Neil’s journey, he encounters more death, more hatred, but also romance and hope. The further I got into the story, to more the thrill of the tale swept me into its pages. I couldn’t stop reading. But it wasn’t only needing to know what happens next that got to me. Many of the characters came alive. I wept with them. I cheered with them. Also for them. This story may be fiction, but its basis is on fact. Not so long ago in our history, events like this occurred, and those who endured those days are to be remembered, honored, and admired…and never forgotten.

It’s clear that the author has a clear grasp of history and military knowledge. What’s clearer is that often during the most harrowing of circumstances, such of World War II, some of the best stories of courage and dignity shine. Chuck Driskell knows how to weave such a tale.

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Rhyming Is Tough

Learn Fun Facts

As a farmer was going to plough,
He met a man driving a cough;
They had words which led to a rough,
And the farmer was struck on his brough.

One day when the weather was rough,
An old lady went for some snough,
Which she thoughtlessly placed in her mough,
And it got scattered, all over her cough.

While a baker was kneading his dough,
A weight fell down on his tough,
When he suddenly exclaimed ough!
Because it had hurt him sough.

There was a hole in the hedge to get through,
It was made by no one knew whough;
In getting through a boy lost his shough,
And was quite at a loss what to dough.

A poor old man had a bad cough,
To a doctor he straight went ough,
The doctor did nothing but scough,
And said it was all fancy, his cough.

— Anon…

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Keeping Things in Context

Amen and amen.

TLP

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

Philippians 2:12-13

“Fear and trembling”?

Thank you for asking!

Over the centuries, there have been some preachers and some commentators who have a field day with these verses. What they often do is to quote them something like this: “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, lest…”

Do you see a problem? When you read the verses and compare them with the “quote” is something missing? Was something added? By the way, don’t forget you must deal with the “therefore” that is the first word in verse 12.  What does it refer to?  It refers to 2:1-11; are these verses…

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Our Role Model

TLP

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Philippians 2:1-4

You will notice that this passage begins with the word “therefore” and as we know, this word is used when one is drawing a conclusion from what had come just before. In this case, you’ll recall that Paul has been exhorting the Philippians to behave in a manner that is “worthy of the Gospel”. If we are going to behave in this way, the way Jesus Himself…

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Give Them a Sign

TLP

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel  without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.

Philippians 1:27-30

Paul winds up the first chapter of this letter with an exhortation to stand firm in unity, come what may.  You might notice that this is…

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Thoughts and Reflections

TLP

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. 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. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and…

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