Browsing the archives for the Paul tag.


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Acts 27-28: Is It God or Is It Us?

Acts, Calvinism, Christian Living, Glorifying God, God, grace, humility, providence

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Acts 21-22: Have Better Relationships Today

Acts, Christian Living, Communication, Relationships

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I Thessalonians 1-2: How to Be Salt and Light

Evangelism, I Thessalonians, preaching, Relationships, Teaching, Working for God
Wordle of First Thessalonians chapters one and two from the English Standard Version

1 Thessalonians 1-2 (ESV) by Wordle*

Today’s reading is 1 Thessalonians 1:1-2:20.

“So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us” (1 Thessalonians 2: 8).

This is what being the salt of the earth and light of the world is all about (cf. Matthew 5:13-16). Being the salt of the earth means investing ourselves in the lives of others around us. Being the light of the world means inviting them with the gospel message. I think Paul’s success might be that his desire to share the gospel with others came from a genuine care for them. He didn’t simply see others as a check off on his personal evangelism chart. (Hmmm, let’s see, yes, I met my quota of 5 invitations this week.) He didn’t just desire to preach to someone, he wanted to give himself to them. That means even if they didn’t accept the gospel, he still cared about them. However, because the gospel was part of who he was, it entailed teaching them.

That is the key I have to learn. Make the gospel so much a part of me and care so much about people that I can’t help but bring the two together. Then I’ll be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Then I’ll invest and invite.

Keep the faith and keep reading,

ELC

PS. What struck you in today’s reading? To add your input click the following link: Post a comment.

PPS. By the way, this probably stuck out to me because it fits so nicely with my recent sermon: Be Salt and Light-Invest and Invite.

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I Corinthians 2-3: Quit Competing with Others; Let God be the Best

Christian Living, Confidence, Contentment, Glorifying God, humility, I Corinthians, Relationships

1 Corinthians 2-3 (ESV) by Wordle

Today’s reading is 1 Corinthians 2:1-3:23.

“What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth” (I Corinthians 3:5-7).

It must be providence. We seem to get back to this chapter at just the time I need it most. How easily we preachers can compete. If someone has a different style, we want to prove that ours is better and they are making all kinds of mistakes. Maybe I shouldn’t say “we,” but should just say “I.”

But this isn’t just about preachers. And in my preaching is not the only place I do this. What about on the job? What about in parenting? What about in school? How often are we caught up in competitions to prove we are better. If anyone does anything differently, has a different personality, has a different approach or viewpoint, we immediately try to figure out why they are wrong and their way is bad. (Don’t misunderstand, I’m not trying to say everything in the world is okay.) It is like we are caught up in this competition and the only way we will feel good about ourselves is if we can convince everyone else in the world that we are the best.

Paul had a different foundation. He wasn’t trying to be the best. He wasn’t in competition with Apollos. If Apollos had some success that Paul didn’t, Paul wasn’t deflated. If Apollos had some failure that Paul didn’t, Paul wasn’t elated. Paul understood that the real power in all of this was God. God has the right to use each of us as He sees fit. Praise God if He provides a victory through someone else. Praise God if He provides one through me. Praise God that He shows us our weaknesses so we can grow. Praise God for the opportunities, resources and abilities He has given to each one. We need to look past the various blessings God has given to each one of us as if they are an indication of how great we are and instead simply look to the blessing giver as the great one. We need to be thankful that He has blessed us and let us be part of His plan.

Today, I’m going to quit worrying about competing and proving I’m the best at whatever. Instead, I want to look to God and glorify Him because He is the best.

Keep the faith and keep reading,

ELC

PS. What struck you in today’s reading? Click here to add your input.

PPS. Check out this video by One Time Blind. It took me watching it a few times to actually finally get the point. But I think it is spot on. Enjoy!

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*Today’s illustration was generated by the creative tool at Wordle.net. You can find all my wordles here.

 

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Acts 27-28: The #1 Power for Spreading the Gospel

Acts, Evangelism, relying on God, Working for God

Acts 27-28 (ESV) by Wordle*

Today’s reading is Acts 27:1-28:31.

“And when we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier that guarded him” (Acts 28:16).

From one capital to another. The gospel started in Jerusalem, the capital of a backwater district of malcontents that were always causing the Romans problems. By the end of Acts it is in Rome. By the time Paul got there, Christ had already arrived. There were brethren there to visit him and uplift him.

I can’t help but think if God could do that with the gospel in the Middle East and Europe, He can do that with the Gospel here in Brownsburg, Indiana. He can do that with the gospel wherever you are. Why did this happen? Sure, Paul was a great preacher and a world traveler. But the real power behind this success was God.

Today, I need to remember that the Gospel can have success, not because I’m the messenger. The Gospel can have success because God is the power behind it. I need to rely on Him today and let Him be the leader that gets the Gospel spread where I live. I’m just His servant, doing what He says, going where He sends.

Keep the faith and keep reading,

ELC

PS. What struck you in today’s reading? You can add your input by clicking here.

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*Today’s illustration was generated by the creative tool at Wordle.net. You can find all my wordles here.

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Acts 21-22: Are We Ready to Die for Jesus?

Acts, Christian Living, Evangelism, Faith, persecution, perseverance, Sacrifice

Acts 21-22 (ESV) by Wordle*

Today’s reading is Acts 21:1-22:30.

“Then Paul answered ‘What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God’” (Acts 21:13).

There’s a challenge for us. Are we ready to die for Jesus? Are we ready to carry the message of the gospel to someone and they kill us for it? I like to think yes. But then I have to ask, am I ready to be hated, disliked, rejected for Jesus? Am I ready to be thought a fool for Jesus? Am I ready to be made fun of for Jesus? Am I ready to be given sidelong glances for Jesus? Am I ready to be given the cold-shoulder for Jesus? Am I ready to be avoided for Jesus?

Am I ready to put forth the time, effort, and money it takes to go to others with the gospel of the grace of God? Am I ready to give up a night with my family? Am I ready to give up my favorite tv show? Am I ready to give up the football game? Am I ready to give up some of my gadgets? Am I ready to give up some of my retirement investments?

Hmmm. Maybe I need to think a little harder before I think I’m ready to be imprisoned or die for the name of the Lord Jesus.

Keep the faith and keep reading,

ELC

PS. What struck you in today’s reading? You can add your input by clicking here.

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*Today’s illustration was generated by the creative tool at Wordle.net. You can find all my wordles here.

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II Corinthians 6-7: I’m Not What Everyone Else Thinks of Me

Christian Living, Comfort, Confidence, Encouragement, Faith, II Corinthians, relying on God, trusting God, Victory in Jesus

Today’s reading is 2 Corinthians 6:1-7:16.

“…We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything” (2 Corinthians 6:8-10).

What great contrasts. People accused Paul of being an imposter, belittled him as unknown, threatened him with death and punishment, pitied him as sorrowful, mocked him as poor and having nothing. Yet, in reality he was a true apostle of God; he was well known to God and God’s people; he was alive and not killed; he was full of rejoicing in Christ; he was blessed with spiritual riches and in Christ possessed everything he wanted and needed.

I take comfort in knowing I am not what the world thinks of me. I am not what false brethren think of me. I am not what anyone thinks of me. I am only what God thinks of me. When I am in Christ, God think very much of me. I can take comfort today knowing that the world me see me as poor, powerless, penniless, and pitiful. In Christ I am rich, influential, wealthy, and to be envied. Of course, this is not because of me, but because of Jesus.

I don’t have to be concerned what the world thinks. I’m doing okay for myself because I’m in Jesus Christ.

Keep the faith and keep reading,

ELC

PS. What struck you in today’s reading?

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II Corinthians 4-5: Looking Forward to a Heavenly Building

Confidence, Death, eternal life, II Corinthians

Today’s reading is 2 Corinthians 4:1-5:21.

“For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling” (2 Corinthians 5:1-2).

So often I’m filled with fear about my physical future. My mom died at 35 because of heart issues. My dad died at 49 because of pancreatic cancer. My father-in-law died at about 60 because of mesothelioma. With that kind of stuff going on around me I can easily begin to think, I’m next. My body can be easily ravaged by disease. Within the past two months, I’ve heard of two young people, children of brethren I know killed in car wrecks. As a friend of mine says, we are only seperated from death by a thin yellow line.

But Paul says I have no need to fear. Why? Because I won’t die? No. Because if this earthly tent is destroyed, I have a much better house prepared for me. No, this isn’t talking about a mansion over the hilltop in heaven (a scripturally suspect idea). This is talking about the body God has prepared for my eternity. I don’t fully understand what it is going to be. But I do get that what I have now is only a tent, but what I’ll have then is a house, a heavenly dwelling.

Sure, there are things that bother me about dying, like no more time with my family. But I look forward to eternity with them. What is there to fear, I have a house to look forward to once this tent is destroyed.

Keep the faith and keep reading,

ELC

PS. What struck you in today’s reading?

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I Corinthians 12-13: I’m Right Where God Wants Me

Christian Living, Comfort, Confidence, I Corinthians, The Church

Today’s reading is 1 Corinthians 12:1-13:13.

“But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose” (1 Corinthians 12:18).

This is great to know. The nose is exactly where God wanted the nose. The hands are exactly where God wanted the hands. The eyes exactly where God wanted them. So to the feet, the knees, the elbows, the head, the ears, the neck, etc. God designed our bodies and put everything exactly where He wanted them.

But Paul isn’t really talking about bodies is he? No. He’s actually talking about congregations. How easy it is to get bogged down because I think someone else does something better than me. How easy it is to think I don’t really belong. Not so. I don’t have to despair that I’m useless in Christ’s church. God has placed me in the body exactly where He wants me. There is something I’m uniquely suited to do within this body that is necessary and important.

I can have joy today knowing God has me where He wants me to accomplish something that I can do. He is not interested in me accomplishing what I can’t. He is not interested in me accomplishing what you can do (necessarily). He has put me here to accomplish what He has made me to do. Instead of quiting, giving up, or despairing because of comparisons, I can glorify God by doing what I can and knowing God has me here to do just that.

Praise God for His confidence in me.

Keep the faith and keep reading,

ELC

PS. What struck you in today’s reading?

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I Corinthians 2-3: I Can Quit Competing because God Causes the Growth

Glorifying God, God, I Corinthians, Relationships, relying on God, Teaching, Working for God

Today’s reading is 1 Corinthians 2:1-3:23.

“What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor” (1 Corinthians 3:5-8).

I needed to hear that. How easy it is as a preacher to get caught up in competing with other preachers, especially if we have worked with the same congregation at some time. We each may want to be the favored. We may get upset if someone likes another preacher better. We may get jealous based on the results of each man’s labor. But we are all just servants. We are each doing our own work. And the work we are doing is what the Lord has given opportunity for.

Paul laid a foundation. Apollos was building on it. But neither of them were better than the other because neither of them could actually cause growth anyway. Only God causes growth. Instead of competing with other workers in the vineyard, today I must simply pursue the opportunities God has given me. That’s my job. His job is growth and I’ll leave that up to Him.

Why compete? God is the one who does the hard work. I’ll just pray for opportunities to glorify him today in my life and in the life of my fellow workers.

Keep the faith and keep reading,

ELC

PS. What struck you in today’s reading?

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