It’s within reach …

As I peck on the keyboard for this post it is raining and thundering. Rain pattering on the roof is a calming sound. It always makes me smile. If you listen closely, rain never sounds quite the same way twice. It is a wonder each time.

Reading through Philippians is new each time as well. With each read, and re-read, there is something new to discover and apply. God’s Word is that way. It is a living and active Word (Hebrews 4:12). In Philippians chapter four you will find that truth re-affirmed.

In the final chapter of Philippians you will be encouraged, helped, and offered hope. See if you can spot where each those elements emerge. To aid you, here is an outline that divides the chapter into its main parts:

Each Christian should be:

  • Seeking unity in Christ: verses 1-5
  • Knowing peace in Christ: verses 6-9
  • Growing in strength in Christ: verses 10-13
  • Receiving provision from Christ: verses 14-20

This chapter has top-notch memory verses that offer blue-ribbon insight for daily living. Among them are:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

As you stroll trough the aisles of chapter four you will discover an abundance of truths ready to be taken in, pored over, and acted upon.

In the post on Tuesday, we will unpack some key verses in the chapter and begin applying what this great chapter shows us.

On a different note, as this is the last chapter in Philippians, and a new month begins soon, do you have suggestions as to what we might study together in March? We can study another short book in March, or spread a longer one over March and April. Please post your thoughts in the comment section and let’s find another book to walk through together.

I’m going to log off and listen to the rain now …

Small salads and gluten free muffins — Proverbs 15 (sort of)


If you are up-to-date through today — and Bravo if you are — you will get a break. Yesterday’s post was a long one. This one will be more succinct. Today, we will zoom in on two topics that are emphasized in Proverbs 15.


But first, a memory verse alert! Here is a nice one to tuck into your noggin:

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1


Now, let’s revisit the format from yesterday that highlights a verse and attempts to summarize and apply it in one sentence (“Brevity is the soul of wit,” said ole Billy Shakespeare).



  • Verse 6 –  How you earn it is more than important than how much you earn. The ungodly might make a killing, but it might feel like a killing, too. What the ungodly gain can often be tiresome and troublesome.
  • Verse 16 – Having Christ can bring contentment in little; having much can result in much trouble. In fact, with more wealth comes more worries.
  • Verse 17 – It’s better have a small salad with loved ones than a high class meal with the hateful.



  • Verse 12 – Scoffers have no taste for correction, and avoid the wise like gluten-free muffins. Scoffers harbor disdain for the ones who correct and advise them, and will walk a long way around the wise. Why? You know, it’s pride, again. They cannot bear being wrong or found out as foolish. You might want to skip ahead and read Proverbs 16:18. It will cast a 400 lumen LED light on this idea.
  • Verse 22 – Godly counsel helps avoid missteps and misfortune.
  • Verse 28 – The wise have deliberate, principled responses; the ungodly are a gushing fountain of foolishness. 


It should come as no surprise that this chapter pairs up possessions/contentment and growth. They are joined at the heart, your heart. If you are content with God’s allotment in your life, you will be better equipped to grow closer to Him. If you are discontent, expect distance between you and Him.

As contentment increases, so does your joy in Christ. As your joy in Christ grows, your contentment will as well. You see how it works. It turns the other way too. Be careful. You can have possessions and gain, but do not let them have you.


Time and place

“And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place.” Acts 17:26

The long-held, oft-rekindled day dream was assassinated suddenly and viciously, sniper-style. One simple half-verse from Acts 17:26 did the deed. This portion of a verse that was mentioned in a Sunday sermon, in passing nonetheless, exposed the daydream, and then dispatched it.

Let’s rewind a few decades to set the context. All boys want to be heroes, often in some other era or locale. I was no exception. Eventually, all boys become men — at least in the chronological sense. So, even into my forties a smidgen of this type of daydreaming had remained. The idea of living in and thriving through yonder times of greater simplicity and civility were enticing, yet unreal.

At times, the Bible had curbed this occasional daydreaming. But the lack of a specific verse, or at least the impact of one, had made it possible to return to my intermittent daydreaming of things being different: a different time, different place, different role in life, etc. As best that I can tell, these occasional spells of a discontented mind and spirit are a universal symptom of a fully-baked-in sinful nature. It runs in my family; it runs in yours too.

This went on for years, waxing and waning parallel to my wanting and whining. Then, for no reason — at least not one of mine! — this auxiliary verse in a sermon blind-sided me. As I began to read and re-read the verse, the pastor’s voice garbled, and then faded as the spiritual spotlight narrowed onto the verse. Then, the hands of honest examination and conviction had my long term malady firmly in grasp, and asphyxiated within seconds.

Note the phrase in Acts 17:26, “having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place…” Dang. This spoke with clarity and precision. No nuance or clemency present there.

The truth here is clear. God has designed each life for a place in time, and for time in a place. His purpose is for me to be here, now. And in the now, I am to be here. The dream of living in a time (more simple) or place (more natural and less civilized), or both, can be a camouflaged shirking of my current Kingdom purpose and responsibility. The real danger for us — not just a road sign warning — is that in longing for a different station in life we will focus on “what if” instead of “what is.” “If” versus “is” can be a distracting duel at best, paralyzing at worst.

After struggling against this spiritual current in Acts 17:26 for a minute or so, I gave up, repented, and the merciful floatation device of grace was cast my way. I took on a lot of water in that short struggle. The water-logging was good for me, and still is.

Do not suppose that I am suggesting that imagination — or fanciful thinking — is wrong, or sinful. Or, that daydreaming is sinful. Joy and imagination are important to my life, and should be so long as they do not scale the fences of Scripture and scurry into momentary longing for something other than God’s design.

As I thought on these things that afternoon, another verse came to mind: “Aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and work with your own hands, as we commanded you…”   1 Thessalonians 4:11.

Well, that does it. A solid one-two gut punch from Acts 17 and 1 Thessalonians 4:11. Paul’s words to the Thessalonians add some specificity to those in Acts 17:26. We are to aspire to lead a quiet/simple life (wait, that fits with my daydreams), mind our own business/affairs (that destroys the daydreams), and work with our own hands where we are (that buries the daydreams and firmly packs down the soil). Thanks, Paul, apostle of truth and terseness; you are correct, again.

The next time that my boy-headed thoughts trot off into another era to pretend to be bigger, better, or more with less, I will remember that I was divinely inserted into this time and place for the King. He has decided for me about this place in time, and time in this place.