Book Review for “Philippians: Pursuing Spiritual Maturity”- Bible Study



I was given a copy of “Philippians: Pursuing Spiritual Maturity” by the author, Gregory Brown, in exchange for an honest review. Though our doctrinal beliefs may be a tad different, I sure enjoyed this book. I think as a whole the Christian church desperately needs to grow up, and this book is a great tool to facilitate that. It is written so that it can be used in several ways. First it can be used as a study guide for a group, a teachers guide and lesson plan, and as an individual bible study.

The book takes a close look at Pauls’ writings to the church of Philippi and gives great examples of what spiritual maturity should look like.
This isn’t an easy read to just breeze through. You will need to take your time, ponder the questions, read the scriptures and pray about what you are reading. I personally think it would make a great group bible study and will be using some of the lessons in my own small group. I have been a school teacher, and am currently teaching adults and can appreciate a well laid out study guide.

I give it four stars. I can recommend for all any denomination, and for ages 16 and up (though I think it is more geared for adults).

Search the Scriptures


John 5:39 “Search the scriptures for in them ye think you have eternal life: but they are they which testify of me.”

Jesus told the religious leader of his day that in their searching of the scriptures they had missed the main point-finding him. Learning who He is, what He does, His will and purpose for our lives, His blessings and His love.

“The Greek word for search signifies a strict, close, diligent, curious search, such as men make when they are seeking gold, or hunters demonstrate when they are earnestly pursuing game. We must not rest content with having given a superficial reading to a chapter or two, but with the candle of the Spirit, we must deliberately seek out the hidden meaning on the Word…No man who merely skims the Book of God can profit thereby; we must dig and mine until we obtain the hidden treasure.” Charles Spurgeon-“Evening by Evening”

Think of those scavenger hunts as a child. How I loved those! You received your first clue-that led to the next-that led to the next. The treasure was never close at hand, or easily obtained. You had to figure out the next location from a few simple words. Sometimes the clues got harder as you went along. Most of the fun was in the searching out the meaning of the clues and the next location-but always at the end there was treasure.

If searching scripture or studying scripture (as opposed to just reading) is new to you and you don’t know how to start, you have several options. You can purchase a bible study or find one online that will take you through the process of study on a specific topic. I advise you to start with either who you are in Christ or who He is. Another option is to join, or start a bible study with a good teacher who will lead you in your study. There are also many good study Bibles available with cross references and study guides that you can tackle on your own. As you grow in this you will be able to study the things that God is laying on your heart, with the Holy Spirits leading you through the hunt with clues and promises of treasure.

Is “Just Enough” Enough?


We have decided, my husband and I, to downsize and simplify our lives. We are determined to live with less and to have more time to enjoy this life that has been given to us. We are content with what we have and where we are, knowing that God is bringing change into our lives. We are passing through one season onto another. I have been sorting through years worth of accumulation, donating, selling, trashing and giving away some stuff. I also have been doing some research and study, along with my prayers and conversations with God about it all. During this time I picked up a book about downsizing written by a Christian. Right away I got into the book. The author voices some of the same concerns that we had had about life being too busy and about things more than people. Then somewhere past halfway he says that God gives us “just enough”, giving the Manna in the wilderness as an example. That’s where he lost me.
Sure I know about the Manna. God gave them just enough, left overs rotted and got worms, He warned them, but they had to test it themselves. God tells us to be content in whatever state we are in, true (Phil 4:11). But what did Jesus show us by His example? Was he preaching the message of “just enough?” No, He said, “ The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” (John 10:10 Amp). He fed thousands, twice. One time they gathered up seven baskets of left-overs and another time twelve baskets. “ When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.” (John 6:12-13). Another time He called to His fisherman-disciples asking if they had caught any fish. At their answer of “no,” He instructed them to cast in the net one last time, to their astonishment there were so many fish, more than a normal nights catch, that it almost sank the boat! Now that doesn’t sound like “just enough” to me.
I would have been “enough” for Christ to die for a few, but He died for all. It would have been enough to just get us back from the Kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of His Father, but He didn’t stop there. Not only are we forgiven our sins He has redeemed us from the curse, given us health and life, given us all authority in heaven and earth, given us His Word, His Holy Spirit, I could go on like this for hours, but for the sake of the length of this blog I’ll stop here. He gave extravagantly, wondrously more than enough and promises that He wants to even give us “more than we could ask or think.” Jesus never wanted us to live day by day, that was never even God’s intention for the Children of Israel in the wilderness. He was taking them to the promised land, flowing with goodness. It was their stubbornness and lack of faith that got them to the dessert with Manna for breakfast, lunch and dinner. His desire for us is “MORE.”
Why does He provide more than enough? So we can share. Isn’t that what the gospel is all about? Sharing? I am sure that the author of that book wasn’t saying for us to be selfish, in fact part of the reason he gives for downsizing is to help others and spend more time working on relationships than running. I agree, we have gotten too busy, work, school, study groups, PTA meetings, Bible studies, ball practice, dance class, the gym, grocery shopping, picking up kids from the daycare, etc, etc, etc. But…we can’t limit God because of our messed up priorities. We choose how we spend our time. We choose what has our attention. He asks us to choose Him first. Then He promises to give us more than enough so that we can share it with others. “Freely you have received, freely give.”
So right now do you have “just enough” or maybe not even that much? Look at your priorities, look at your choices. Are you giving to God of your time, money and resources? Or are you like so many of us who have been caught up in life here on earth and just trying to get by? Sometimes we get just enough because of our stubbornness and lack of faith, but remember that isn’t His will for us. His will is and always has been, and forever will be to give us everything He has. Period.