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Archive for the ‘Paul’ Category

LittleBeeBefore meeting Christ, Saul (who later became the Apostle Paul) “breathed” anger and murder against Christ’s early followers.

When he had his own encounter Jesus told him an interesting fact still true today.

“I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks” – Jesus (Acts 9:5b)

The word translated, “pricks”, literally means a “stinger” — like on a bee or scorpion.

Abusing Christ’s followers is seen by God as personal assault against himself and the one really getting hurt is the abuser.

fritz

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Shake it off!

Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand…But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god. — Acts 28:3-6

The Apostle, Paul, writer of much of our New Testament, had a tough few years.

Unjustly imprisoned, shipwrecked, stranded on a remote island He was then bitten by a snake while trying to get warm. Everyone expected him to die.

His response — he just shook it off!

That’s what we have to do when things get difficult — shake it off.

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“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” — Apostle Paul (1st Corinthians 11:1)

Christ is the one we are to follow but some don’t, yet, have that connection. Some can’t “see” him and telling them to do so is ineffective.

But they do see us and some follow if not by their actions then certainly by watching our lives unfold — whether we realize it or not.

When Jesus said in his famous “Sermon on the Mount” that we are the light of the world and then added the analogy of a city on a hill (Mtt. 5:14) he meant that more people see a light than those in the light know.

I visited an uncle on his deathbed. We weren’t ever close and had never talked so I thought he knew little about me but when I walked in he said he knew I knew God and he asked me to tell him how to face eternity. He gave his life to Christ that night and sang for joy.

Embrace the calling as Paul did and follow Christ closely — little ones, and not so little, are watching.

— fritz.

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For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: – 2nd Corinthians 1:8

There is a bigger story just below the surface in Paul’s message of God’s comfort in stress!

When Paul first started his missionary journey God specifically told him NOT to go to Asia (Acts 16:6)! But eventually he went there anyway and mentions in several of his letters the personal stress and grief from Asia (2nd Timothy 1:15). Hindsight is 20/20 but this wasn’t the only time he pushed when the Holy Spirit said wait. (Acts 20:22-24, Acts 21:4).

It seems to be his way, is it ours? Should it be?

Paul was goal oriented; once set there was little stopping him. His heart was in the right place but his obedience was not always there.

Three (3) things this shows us:

  1. God’s guidance is for our benefit and we should listen more closely.
  2. Even deeply spiritual people have flaws and don’t always listen, bringing them personal grief which could have been avoided.
  3. God uses even our mis-steps to further his kingdom, to use us mightily, to grow us spiritually, and through it all his love comforts.

– fritz@langgang.com
Related Posts:
1 – Better Guidance: April 21, 2011

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[Felix] hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him.  –  Acts 24:26

A curious story – Paul was unjustly thrown in prison and brought before governor Felix, who saw no fault in him but wanted a bribe for his release.

Felix couldn’t say so, of course, but everyone knew it – that’s the way things got done.

But Paul was content to stay in that awful environment, meet with Felix and the other prisoners as often as they asked, then finally be passed on to do the same for someone else.

Why?  It doesn’t say, but I think Paul trusted that Jesus hadn’t abandoned him but was with him in that prison.  And when God is with you what difference does it make where you are. I think Paul resolved, as an act of faith, to not live for himself, even in putrid surroundings, and to not manipulate the system to get what he wanted.

Lesson: We sometimes find ourselves in unhealthy and unpleasant circumstances, not because we are outside God’s will but because we are in it, and letting some opportunities go is the right thing to do.

Sound Bite: When God is with you what difference does it make where you are!
– fritz

Related Post: Not a Prisoner of the one who Owns the Chains (May 8, 2010)

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