Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Runner's Bible Study: Can we Really do all things through Christ who strengthens us?

Great achievements demand great performances. Great performances demand exceptional spiritual, emotional and physical power and endurance.
Before tough races and tough workouts we runners (and other athletes) often recite Philippians 4:13 proclaiming, “I can do all things through Him (Christ) who strengthens me.”
The starter's gun explodes, echoing across the landscape, the sound waves ricocheting off buildings like freshly hit pool balls bouncing around the table. Our well tuned bodies' transform potential energy into kinetic energy as we quickly disappear into the landscape. The race is on! 
We surge into the remote, untamed frontier of human performance innately knowing that success mandates pushing ourselves beyond the unexplored limits of physical, spiritual and emotional ability.
Doubt and exhaustion dart through this wilderness like a ravenous bear emerging from hibernation, waiting to pounce on the emotionally weak and underprepared.
Does proclaiming (Phil 4:13) with enough faith/belief (Matthew 21:22) enable us to name and claim any pace for the entire race?
 “But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.
I can do all things through Him (Christ) who strengthens me. (Phil 4:13)
Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction. You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs. Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account. But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:10–19, NASB95)

Does the context of this scripture (Ph. 4:10-19) support using verse 13 as a stand-alone motivational one-liner?
Does this verse empower any Christian to do whatever we want, whenever we want, wherever we want and however we want to do something?
What is the Holy Spirit (2 Ti 3:16)—through Paul—saying to the Philippians?
Did God provide Paul's needs despite Paul's financial status?
How did Paul respond to the emotional, financial and spiritual challenges>
Let’s examine how we may apply this passage to our lives today.
What is the context of this scripture (Phil 4:13)?

Audience:       Philippi

Financial Condition Paul's Supporters: Poor (2 Co 8:1, 2)

Nationality:    Greeks

Paul’s Locale: Roman Prison

Purpose of this letter:
  • What “all things” did Paul do since his conversion to Christianity (Acts 9)?
    1. First Missionary Journey
      1. Paphos (Acts 13:6-12)
      2. Lystra (Acts 14:8-19)
        1. Did the stones thrown by the Jews harm Paul (Acts 14:19)?
        2. Did Paul survive the stoning?
        3. How does Paul respond to the being stoned, dragged and "left for dead."
    2. Second Missionary Journey
    1. Asia (Acts 16:6)
    2. Bithynia (Acts 16:7)
    3. Troas (Acts 16:9-11)
    c. In Rome?

  • How did Paul approach challenges?
    1. Does he have a pity party?
    2. Does Paul continue to serve God and share the gospel of Christ?
  • Does Paul use the “name it, claim it” philosophy advocated by the Prosperity Gospel to alleviate his problems?
  • Or does Paul acknowledge that God allows challenges for God's glory?
  • What is the purpose / motive in doing “all things”?
  • Does Paul seek self-glorification, publicity through his ministry?
    Does Paul consider enduring "all things" to spread the gospel worth it to serve and glorify God? 
  • How do we appropriately apply this to our Running?
  • Can we run any pace in any run or race that we desire?
    Is every run and /or race amazing if our faith and belief are sufficient?
    Does God empower us to endure the all circumstances when we are in Christ, seeking the Father's will?
    What direction does Paul, Luke, Silas and Timothy sail from Troas to Macedonia?
    How does this compare to the typical direction of prevailing winds?
    How long does it take them to sail from Troas to Macedonia, and how long does it late take to sail from Macedonia to Troas?
    When considering the comparison of both the time of travel and the travel direction in relation to the prevailing wind, how do these factors reveal God's power (i.e. being in Christ)?
  • How do we appropriately apply this to the rest of our life?
  • Does this passage guarantee "success" for Christians?
    Does God's word and Paul's example teach us that when we walk with Christ, seeking the Father's will, that we can enjoy a peace-filled heart while enduring whatever challenges arise? 
  • How do we position ourselves to reside and operate in or “through Him/Christ”?
    1. Matthew 7:21
    2. Matthew 22:37-39
    3. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
    4. Galatians 5:16,18,22-23,24-25
  •  Does the Bible provide standards to display our failing to operate in or "through Him/Christ?
    1. Galatians 5:17,19,20-21,26

When you run and live in Christ, your physical, emotional, financial, relational and spiritual (Eph 6:12) may continue to challenge you beyond previously known limits. Your brain, reasoning, physical and financial senses may beg for relief. Yet, your heart will simultaneously experience the internal peace that surpasses all human logic and understanding.

Keep running in Christ, He will provide and sustain us for our every assignment within His will.

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, 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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:4–7, NASB95)
Running on Faith Ministry Inc. passionately focuses on Discipleship and Evangelism with runners. You are welcome to join Running on Faith Ministry in serving God through evangelism and discipleship of runners either as a Runner or through your Prayer and Financial Support.

While waiting for the Elite Runner shuttle to pick us at the airport, these Kenyans graciously agree to take their picture with my nephew's "Flat Stanley". We later enjoyed powerful discussions of  Family, Farming, Fishing and Running and the Gospel of  Jesus Christ.
We prayerfully, joyfully and gratefully desire that you diligently pray like Solomon (a) for a hearing heart (1 Kings 3:9), responding to God's desire placed on your heart.
Award Winning Speaker, Certified Trainer and Dallas Theological Seminary graduate, Rick E. Meyer illustrates Biblical truth and love as the foundation of enduring success in business, academics, athletics and all relationships. During his uplifting presentations, Rick connects these truths to creating success in our daily lives, sending listeners away with the ability to imagine greatness while encouraging them to trust God in Christ.

(a) "Solomon requested a discerning heart (lit., "a hearing heart") tuned to the voice of God so he could lead Israel according to God's desires of how to lead the nation."

Thomas L. Constable, "1 Kings," ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 494.

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