VOLUME XV • Number 5 • December 2013
Philippians 1:1-11 (NRSV) Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 I thank my God every time I remember you, 4 constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, 5 because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. 7 It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 8 For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus. 9 And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight 10 to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, 11 having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.
This year’s observations will reflect on Paul’s Letter to the Philippians – the Happy Epistle. There are challenges in every ministry. But the joys outweigh the burdens. Paul has been visited by Epaphroditus, a Philippian who brought gifts for Paul, got sick, healed, and was returning. Paul writes from prison, not a very high calling for this famous apostle, maybe in Rome, Caesarea or Ephesus. His joy is elevated by knowing that his Gospel work is bearing fruit. Remember, this is where Paul was imprisoned and beaten and where the jailor comes to faith, along with his household. Did the ministry continue? YES!
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” What majestic words! “Grace” is undeserved love. “Peace” with God is eternal in scope. God is not just the almighty but the “father.” “Lord” is the way the Jews referred to God in Greek. “Jesus” is the one who came into flesh, to be one of us. The “Christ” comes to be messiah, restoring God’s kingdom. Talk about Christmas presents! They are all around the tree, ready to be unwrapped. Not “What do you want?” but “Look what you have!”
People can be lonely in a crowd. Much of the social media is about poking in on what someone else is doing, keeping up with their lives. Here Paul reminds the Philippians of what they all share in common. Sharing eternal life already now provides the greatest celebration, as we give glory and praise to God through our Lord, the majestic one! Celebrate the Christmas blessings! We are under construction by God for eternal life.
Walking the Emmaus Road with the Risen Lord,
Pastor Thomas Trapp
Past Newsletter Articles
On the Offense, On the DefenseGod's Word or Human Babble?Doing Your Exercises?How's the Family?About Those Who Have Died?Sleepwalking, Daydreaming, and Really LivingHoly Ramblings!Round Two!The Lord's Day - What does this mean?Hold Fast to the Traditions!Do Not Be Weary in Doing What Is Right!
By Faith Alone - Faith without Works Is Dead - Which Is It?
An Eye on the Future! An Eye on the Present!
What's It All About?!
Cursed and Blessed
Spirit, Son, Father!
Faith Working Through Love
Weary in well-doing?
A New Creation!
Getting Started, Again!
What's in a Name?
What Is a Gospel? What Is the Gospel?
Being About the Work of the Lord
How Unfair of God!
Sin and Grace
Have You Been Healed?
Where Is the Problem?
Search the Scriptures!
Who Is This Man?
Promises, Not Vows!
On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand!
The Church - in Christ
The Eyes of Your Heart Enlightened!
So Then.... So What?
It’s a Mystery!
Praise God – the Whole Year Through!
Hardhearted-Tenderhearted! Daily Heart Surgery Needed!
Jesus Says: Do as I Have Done!
Subject to None, Subject to All
Daily Living in Community
Finally! The Fulness of Time!
They Glorified God because of Me!
Important to Whom?
Christ Lives in Me!
Justified by Faith, not Works!
Are you in my Will?
Until We Grow Up? (We ARE Grown Up - IN CHRIST!)
What Was Paul's Problem?
On the One Hand, On the Other Hand!
Faith Working Through Love!
Works and Fruits
A New Creation!
What"s the News?
As Newborn Babies!
New Rock-Solid Foundation, Guaranteed by the Word
New Way to Work and Serve!
A New Way to Be Husband and Wife
New Community Guidance
Grace and Peace!
For the Joy!
One Grave Is Empty!
Luther’s Explanation of the Apostles’ Creed
The Triune God and God’s Family at Emmaus
Who Is My Neighbor?
The Lord Is My Shepherd!
Evangelism and Education
Redeemed, Restored, Forgiven
Shepherd to Lost Sheep (Jesus to Us)
Being a Mission Outpost!
Jesus Has Questions!
How Could This Good Man Die? Why Did He Die?
Not With Gold or Silver
I've Been Working on the Railroad
Being Spiritual vs. Being Christian
What You See and What You Get!
The Lord of Hosts is With Us
In God’s Hands
A Blessed New year
One Body of Believers! Gathered by the Spirit!
I Do Not Have Any Problems!
Our Savior and Our Lord!
Easter and The Church
Extreme Makeovers-House Edition
What has God done for me lately?
Fail to Plan or Plan to Fail!
Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the Ends of the Earth
The End of Time
Come Lord Jesus