Philippians on Friday – Integrity: Who’s Watching?

Thanks for joining me again for our Philippians on Friday devotion.  In this verse in chapter two, Paul writes about something that is so needful in our society:  Integrity!

12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence…

Integrity: noun – in·teg·ri·ty \in-ˈte-grə-tē\: firm adherence to a code of moral values; possession of firm principles.

When I think of integrity, I think of a person who is the same regardless of their circumstances or whom they are around. Their morals are constant – they don’t shift depending on their environment.

PhilippiansPaul was commending the Philippians for their integrity. He acknowledged that their character was the same whether he was with them or not. They were obedient to the Word of God and the instruction of Paul whether he was watching them or was far away in a Roman prison cell.

Many people are not like that. They are obedient when being watched but act quite differently when no one is looking. A person of integrity follows a pre-determined set of values regardless of who is watching.

I distinctly remember a situation a number of years ago in which a fellow Christian encouraged me to do something that would not have been pleasing to God. I’ll never forget his words, “No one will ever find out!”   Looking back, I’m glad I told him that whether or not anyone would find out had no bearing on my actions.

I’ve sure made my share of mistakes and certainly have room to grow in integrity, but I always try to do the right things regardless of who is watching or if my actions will ever be found out. Let us all strive for integrity. Let us live holy lives regardless of who is looking. Let us do our best to do what’s right in all situations.

It is a common misconception that morality can be compartmentalized. Some think that what you do in your private life is nobody’s business and shouldn’t have any bearing on your public life. That notion goes against the essence of integrity.

Have those whose behavior changes depending on who is watching forgotten that God is always watching? Nothing is hidden from Him. Others may not see what we do in private, but God sees.

In public or in private, while alone or in the company of others, at home or on vacation, whether our actions will be found out or not – let us firmly adhere to a lifestyle pleasing to God.

A characteristic of spiritual maturity is doing the right things even when our Philippiansspiritual leaders aren’t holding our hands! The pastor can’t always be with us. Our parents will not always nudge us in the right direction. Part of growing up in the faith is learning to do the right things whether or not some authority figure is looking over our shoulder.

It seems like Paul is sensing that he may never again see the Philippians. He realizes how important it is for the Philippians to live a godly lifestyle, even if he is to never be with them again. They had to take personal ownership of the morals Paul had taught them. They had to develop their own beliefs and convictions that they would embrace even without Paul’s oversight.

Have those whose behavior changes depending on who is watching forgotten that God is always watching?

Likewise, we each need our own morals – not just mom and dad’s. We need our own convictions and boundaries – not just the church’s. I’ve heard people respond to the question, “Why do you do such and such?” with “Well, it’s what my church believes.” While it may be admirable and necessary to embrace the teachings of our church, we need to take ownership of those teachings. They need to be what I believe! Integrity is weakened when our beliefs and morals are those of our parents, church, or spiritual leaders and not also our own!

Integrity is a quality in short supply in our world. Situational ethics and relativism work against a person holding fast to an absolute set of morals or beliefs. May our lives of integrity and character shine brightly in this dark world.

~Matthew Ball

Leadership & Ministry Training: “The Desert Test”

LeadershipThe following is a clip from our Ministry and Leadership Training at Faith Apostolic Church.  Pastor Ball is teaching a series called “Passing the Tests.”  In this segment he discusses the “Desert Test,” which is about the wilderness experience that every leader will fac.  If we can pass the “desert test,” God will entrust more spiritual authority to us.  But we must prove that we can remain steady and consistent, even through spiritually dry seasons.

Faith Apostolic Church provides training on Saturday mornings geared to helping people develop their leadership and ministry skills.  In addition to instruction by Pastor Matthew Ball and Pastor Josh Wilson, these events include guest instructors from a variety of ministry backgrounds.  For more information on upcoming events visit www.faithapostolic.us or check out the Faith Apostolic Church FaceBook page: Faith Aposotlic Church Carmel/Sheridan.

Philippians on Friday: Every Knee Will Bow!

Thanks for joining me again for our Fridays in Philippians. Last time we discussed the preeminence of the Name of Jesus. Paul reminded the Philippians that the Name of Jesus was a name higher than all others. In verse 10 and 11, Paul expounds on that thought:

10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

philippiansEvery knee will bow to the Name of Jesus. To bow the knee means to submit or surrender. When you bow the knee to Jesus you are acknowledging that He is Lord. You are submitting to His authority.

Certainly we, as Christians, willingly bow our knee in worship to Him. We profess that He is our Lord and God. But Paul is saying that every knee will bow to Name of Jesus. Everything must submit to His Name. Remember that His Name is higher than all others. Everything must acquiesce to the Name that is above all others.

Paul lists things in three specific places that must submit to the Name of Jesus:

Things in Heaven

Things in heaven must submit to the Name of Jesus.

Psalm 148:2–5:

Praise ye him, all his angels:

Praise ye him, all his hosts.

Praise ye him, sun and moon:

Praise him, all ye stars of light.

Praise him, ye heavens of heavens,

And ye waters that be above the heavens.

Let them praise the name of the Lord:

For he commanded, and they were created.

Sun and stars, moons and meteors all will testify to the power of the Creator. Angelic beings in the heavens rest not day and night crying “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts, the whole earth is full of His Glory! (Isaiah 6:3)” The patriarchs and saints who have passed over to that heavenly shore must have, upon their arrival, bowed their knees in holy adoration.

Things in heaven all acknowledge that Jesus is Lord.

Things in the Earth

Everything in the earth will bow the knee to Jesus. Presidents and kings, sultansPhilippians and czars will all surrendered to Him. If not now, then certainly when they stand before him on that final day. Every skeptic, scoffer, and cynic will, one day, confess that He is Lord.

Not only people, but all “things” in the earth must acquiesce to the Name of Jesus. Sickness and disease must bow to Him. Storms and trials are all subject to His Lordship.

When you pray, remember what Paul told the Philippians: Everything must submit to the Name that is higher than all others:

“Cancer, you must submit to the Name of Jesus.”

“Depression and anxiety, you must bend your knee to the Name of Jesus.”

“Mountain, you must bow to Jesus. Be cast into the sea!”

Whatever you may be facing, remember that everything in earth must bow to the Name of Jesus. Though this earth is cursed and it systems contrary to Christ, none are exempt from surrendering to the Will, Purpose, and Name of Jesus.

Things Under the Earth

What’s under the earth? – the departed. However, even death will not preclude its occupants from acknowledging that Jesus is Lord. One day the earth will cast forth her dead. All will be resurrected to stand before their Creator and bow their knees to Jesus.

Whatever you may be facing, remember that everything in the earth must bow to the Name of Jesus. 

Hell is under the earth.   The demonic realm is under the earth. Remember that satan and his hoards are subject to the Name of Jesus. When Jesus told the devils to go, they had no choice. When Jesus cast the demons out of the man in Gadera, they had to surrender to His authority.

If the enemy is tormenting or hindering you, remember, even hell is subject to the Name of Jesus. The devils believe in Him and tremble at His Name.

Everything is subject to the Name of Jesus: Things in heaven, things in the earth, and things under the earth. What that means is anything and everything that you face in life must all bow in submission to Jesus!

Until our next Friday in Philippians,

~Matthew Ball

Haiti Medical Missions

Check out our video documentary from our April 4-8, 2016, medical missions trip to Petite Goâve, Haiti:

I want to thank Dr. David Bose, and nurse practitioners, Amber Lang and Evelyn Nwosu who headed up our team of medical volunteers.  We took a total of 14 people to Haiti for 4 days, including several RNs and LPNs.  We did a two-medical clinic in Petite Goâve and a one-day clinic at a school of 225 students that is located high up in the mountain village of Blaise.

We are grateful to Wilner Louissaint, the host pastor of the church in Petite Goâve and the principal of the school in Blaise.  We are also thankful for Rev. Peter Gray, the regional field supervisor for Latin America/Caribbean for the Assemblies of the Lord Jesus Christ.

If you would like to get involved in missions work in Haiti, please contact me.  We will be taking various groups to do medical clinics as well as construction work on our headquarters facility in Petite Goâve.  If you would like to contribute financially to this cause you can do so here: https://worldmissions.aljc.org

Philippians on Friday: The Name of Jesus!

Thanks for joining me today for our Philippians on Friday devotion. We have come in our study to one of the most cherished verses in the entire book of Philippians!

Phil 2:9 – Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a Name which is above every name: KJV

PhilippiansMany years ago, a woman in China went to see a missionary doctor and heard him share the Gospel. She walked miles back to her home, and somewhere along the way, she prayed to be saved. Then she re-traced her steps all the way back to the mission station and asked the doctor,

“Please, tell me His Name. He has saved me, but I cannot remember His Name. Tell me His Name again.”

The story inspired George Bennard to write the words of this classic hymn:

Oh, tell me His Name again,

And sing me that sweet refrain

Of Him who in love,

Came down from above

To die on the Cross of shame.

The story my heart has stirred,

The sweetest I ever heard.

It banishes fear, it brings hope and cheer.

Oh, tell me His Name again.

What a lovely name – Name of Jesus! It is a Name above every name. It is the only Name in which there is salvation:

Acts 4:12 (KJV) – 12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

There is power in the Name of Jesus:

  • power over sickness
  • power over disease
  • power over the devil
  • power over sin
  • power to walk in victory
  • power to fulfill God’s Will

Paul told the Philippians that it was a Name “above every name.” That means if man can give something a name, then the Name of Jesus is higher because “Jesus” is a “Name which is above every name.” We might say it like this:

The Name of Jesus is higher than anything that has been named.

At some point in history some physicians examined a person with some type of tumor or growth. They tested the growth or looked at its cells under a microscope and said, “We’ll call this cancer.”

I’m not sure where and when, but I’m certain at some point in time, a psychologist or psychiatrist observed certain behaviors and said, “We’ll call this depression” or “We’ll call this anxiety.

I’m not sure if it was a thug on the street or a scientist in a lab, but somewhere, someone said, we’ll name this cocaine.  Or perhaps they said, “We’ll call this heroin.” or, “We will call this crystal meth.”

Your mountain or giant may be bigger than you, but it is not bigger than Him!

We could go on and on with every vice, sickness, or infirmity that has ever plagued the human race and determine that someone, somewhere named it!

But Paul told the Philippians that the Name of Jesus is higher than anything that has ever been named. If it has been given a name – the Name of Jesus is superior.

Jesus is greater than depression, anxiety, or anger. He is greater than diabetes, heart disease, or cancer. His Name is higher than crack or heroin. His Name is higher than any demonic spirit that may torment you or try to hinder the plan of God.

Jesus is greater than anything you are facing. Your mountain or giant may be bigger than you, but it is not bigger than Him!

Speak His Name. Call on His Name. Pray in His Name. Plead His Name. Speak to your mountain “in Jesus’ Name” and command it to be cast into the sea. Rebuke the giant that you’re facing “in the Name of Jesus” and it must flee.

Resist the enemy “in the Name of Jesus.” It is a Name that is greater than any other name!

~Matthew Ball