My how you’ve grown!

Even with the tools of email, phone calls, skype, and gvideo, there’s nothing like face to face time.  Especially a face like Emily’s, round and squishy–appropriately nicknamed “moon face”.  Only in person could we really see how much her cheeks had grown.  Only in person could we blow on them and watch her giggle.

 

Brendon has grown, too.  His language skills have exploded since we saw him four months ago.  Between repeating everything he hears and generating his own complete sentences, the air is always filled with his little sing song voice. His speech, her cheeks, our grand kids have grown, though they are not aware of it. Neither are their parents. They’re too involved in the day to day to see it clearly.

But to us it’s obvious.  The gap since our last visit is what helps us say, “My how you’ve grown!”

In the same way you and I may not be aware of our own growth in the Lord.  We are too close to it, too immersed in the day to day.  We need people who see us less than daily–maybe weekly at church or home group–to announce what their objectivity and distance have allowed them to see, “My how you’ve grown!”

In this week’s passage, Philippians 2:19-30 Paul announces that he is sending two people to visit the Philippians, Timothy and Epaphroditus.  One purpose of Timothy’s visit is to bring news back to Paul about how they are doing.  Kind of like a grandparent, Timothy has history with them, and has the benefit of absence.  This will help him see if and how they are growing.  What answer does Paul anticipate?  Why is he confident that his expectation will not be disappointed?

Don’t hold back.

Many of you have jumped into our discussion.  It has been fun to hear what God is teaching you.  It’s also been helpful to realize that your struggles are so similar to mine.  I know it takes time–and courage–to post your thoughts.  Thank you!

But if you are one of those who talks yourself out of posting, let me encourage you to jump in and add your thoughts to the discussion. You may feel shy about sharing.  I understand.  Getting my thoughts out on paper takes some work…and sometimes they sound stupid.  But if you have seen something in the passage that no one else has mentioned, we would all love to hear it.  Remember, it’s Jesus we are sharing with each other.

Discussion question of the week:

This week we are moving to the first of our application questions: #5 How does Jesus feed my faith today? This question flows naturally out of question #4 “Where do I see Jesus here?”  Question 4 reminds me that His work always precedes my work.  His Great Work is the foundation of my good works today.  But seeing is not believing.  After I have seen him, my first “to do” is to believe what I have seen.  So question #5 could be rephrased, What would it look like if I really believed this?

Now don’t go focusing inward, on your faith.  You will know you have believed what you have seen when you start thanking him and praising him!

6 comments on “My how you’ve grown!

  1. Mireille says:

    Thank you Rondi for encouraging the ladies to participate in the blog. You are right it does take courage to put our thoughts out there for everyone to see but i must say i have seen some unexpected effects from the only 2 posts i wrote. It brought to life the verse from 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. I did confess my sins and struggles on the blog (my judgmental attitude)and in a way that only God can do, He brougth light onto that sin so much so that now i am much more aware of it, it is daily on the forefront of my mind and when i am tempted, i become immediately concious of the temptation. I am still working on resisting that temptation but i have hope that God will “purify me from all unrighteousness.

    • rondi says:

      What a wonderful benefit of fellowship– “walking in the light”– even on the internet! Thank you for spurring us on by letting us know what God is doing in you.

  2. Natalie Cooper says:

    Paul BELIEVED that Timothy and Epaphroditus would bless and encourage the Phillipians (vs 23-24). To have genuine faith in Jesus for His glory and our good. Oh how I lack in this area, my anxieties and worries rise. My unbelief that God will come through. What would my life look like if I really beleived God has all the details in my life under control? It would be wonderful peace. My constant prayer is for me to trust in God and believe His promises in EVERY detail of my life.

    • rondi says:

      That is a good prayer, Natalie, one that God has prompted and he will fulfill! He is at work in YOU, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Genuine faith pleases him, so you can be sure he is taking your prayer seriously.

      Yes, Paul anticipated a good report from Timothy, “so that I too may be cheered by news of you.” That is because he was confident of God’s work in them, “for I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion in the day of Jesus Christ.” I, too, want to grow in this confidence for myself and for others.

  3. Lissa White says:

    It is hard to get thoughts into words at times (like right now), so thank you Rondi for the encouragement. I saw Paul’s actions in these verses as a result of his faith in Jesus. vs.19 : hope in the Lord, vs. 21: seek Jesus Christ, vs. 24 trust in the Lord, and vs.27: receiving God’s mercy. And then I asked myself well what does that look like in my life? How does my knowledge of Jesus feed my faith the way that it fed Paul to keep on going, the way it did Epaphroditus and Timothy?
    And to my mind was brought up what Rondi you talked about: My how you’ve grown. I am tempted to be discouraged that really I am not growing in my faith in Him, but then, just this morning he brought to mind how months ago when my husband would choose what to lead our family devo time with (like what to read) my prideful, I am all knowing, and independent streak would rise up and I would respond like a sour, bitter lemon to his leading. And this morning he came and sat down and picked something to read and my heart was so glad that he was leading us and reading what he was (it was on believing God). And God said, “see Lissa it is in little strides that I am working on you, keep on seeking me,” and it is Him that is changing me and in that I want to hope, trust, seek and receive all that he has to give me. Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.
    The other area of my life that he feeds my faith is sin. Not to keep on sinning, but as Ken shared this weekend: the sweet promises of forgiveness that is on the other side of the mountain of confession and repentance. What a heavy hill to climb but the reward at the top of the mountain (grace) is worth the climb. Romans 5: 20 but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.
    That reminds me of a funny story. My sister Amy, when she was about 5 was hiking with my family in the Sierra Mountains. As they were on their way up the mountain she was feeling sluggish and not wanting to continue. Well they passed some people that were climbing down the mountain and stopped to talk. My parents asked how the rest of the hike was and they replied, “It is a piece of cake,” with that my sister Amy being five with a HUGE sweet tooth, raced to the top of the mountain to get that piece of cake. That is how I desire to be on the mountain of confession. Racing to the top to obtain my slice of grace and forgiveness because unlike the cake, that was not at the to of the mountain, grace and forgiveness is!
    Sorry for rambling…oh my!

    • rondi says:

      What a great story! when I was a kid, I was once invited to lunch, “dutch treat.” I was excited not just for the lunch but for the dutch treat, envisioning something buttery and sweet. How disappointing to find out, not only was there no treat, but I had to pay for my own lunch!

      Thanks for sharing how God is at work in you and how he just showed you. What an encouragement for us all!