Tag Archives: Paul

Quoted from a coffee cup

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 ESV

I have seen the above verse on coffee cups, t-shirts, bumper stickers, key chains, pretty much anywhere you can stick a verse, I’ve seen this one. It’s a great verse. It inspires you to strive forward, to keep pushing, to go for gold! But is that what Paul really intended when he wrote it? If we look at the verses just before, Paul is talking about being content instead of personal achievement.

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13 ESV

Paul is saying because of the strength that God has given him (and us too!) he can face any circumstance, good or bad, and be content. Keep in mind, Paul was in prison when he wrote this letter. He wasn’t on a mountain top, staring at a beautiful sunset, he was in jail! To me, that statement is way more powerful than, “You can do it!” It says that no matter what you are going through, God is with us through it all. He may not bring us out of the storm like we want, but He will bring us through it and He will be by our side every step of the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When in Rome

“For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes…” Romans 1:16 NLT

Romans is probably my favorite book in the bible. It’s written by Paul (who just so happens to be my favorite apostle) and is full of awesome verses. Reading through Romans there are certain verses that seem to stand out to me at this point in my life. I couldn’t make it through the first paragraph without having to stop and thank God for His love and grace.

Romans 1:5 says, “Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey Him, bringing glory to His name.” For me, a verse like this is a call to action. We have been called and chosen by God to spread the Good News. We have the privilege and authority to tell everyone, everywhere about what God has done in our lives through Jesus Christ. I think too many of us get caught up in the whole, “what is God’s will for my life?” question, that we fail to realize how simple it really is. Paul put it pretty plainly (say that five times fast) in the first chapter of Romans when he said, “…whom [God] I serve with all my heart by telling others the Good News about His son.” Romans 1:9 NLT. That’s it. You don’t have to be a preacher standing in a pulpit to spread the Good News. For me, this blog is a way to get God’s word out. Writing is something that has just always come pretty natural to me. When I got saved I just started writing about how God’s word had inspired me. The great thing about blogging and being able to post online, is that I don’t have to stand in front of anybody! Maybe your thing is public speaking and being in front of a crowd is where you feel right at home. Use that gift to spread the Good News! We all have a calling, a purpose according to God’s will. Someone recently told me, “if you can find what you are passionate about, then you can find your ministry.” I had a friend of mine that actually used online gaming as a sort of ministry. We would jump in a lobby and just start randomly talking about God. It was interesting to see where some of those conversations would lead. They weren’t always pleasant conversations, we were met with plenty of ridicule and harsh words, but it was awesome to be able to use something like video games as a tool to reach people far from God. Who knows, maybe one of the guys we talked to was curious enough to crack open a bible and see what all the fuss was about. What about you? What are you passionate about? What’s YOUR ministry?

B.I.B.L.E. (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth)

“For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people.” Titus 2:11 NLT

The book of Titus is a short one, but a really good one. While I was reading it, something just kind of popped in my head, we spend so much time pushing people to “get saved” that we often forget to teach what we should do after. Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing people truly give their lives to God, that’s the main reason we’re all here isn’t it? To become “fishers of men”. But I don’t think we spend enough time teaching what we should do after. I heard the preacher say something that stuck in my head a little while back, “Salvation isn’t the finish line, it’s the starting line.” After we accept God as our savior, that’s when our journey truly begins. Paul says in Titus 2:11-14 NLT, “For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with self-control, right conduct, and devotion to God, while we look forward to that wonderful event when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave His life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us His very own people, totally committed to doing what is right.” Being totally committed to doing what is right. I’ll admit, I struggle from time to time with certain sins, we all do. Some of us have things we battle with on a daily basis, be it drugs, alcohol, lust, or envy, we all have our struggles. We’re only human, right? Paul wrote a few verses in the book of Titus that tells us of our “human nature” and God’s unending mercy. Titus 3:3-8 NLT, “Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled by others and became slaves to many wicked desires and evil pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy. We hated others, and they hated us.” I think whether we want to admit it or not, this verse describes most of us at some point or another. It’s easy to get misled in this evil world we live in. I know all too well the destructive nature of living a life of sin can have on you. But what Paul writes next is truly inspiring. “But then God our Savior showed us His kindness and love. He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins and gave us a new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us because of what Jesus Christ our Savior did. He declared us not guilty because of His great kindness. And now we know that we will inherit eternal life. These things I have told you are true. I want you to insist on them so that everyone who trusts in God will be careful to do good deeds all the time. These things are good and beneficial for everyone.” Once we decide to give our lives over to God, the best thing for us to do is to really dig into the word of God. Read the gospels, what better way to find out what Jesus was all about than to read how He lived His life. Instead of just modeling our lives off the past examples of Christians, we should focus on the life of Christ Himself. We need to get this cookie cutter image of how a Christian looks and acts out of our heads and really read the bible for ourselves and pray that God would show you the way. “Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.” Titus 2:6-8 NKJV.

Blowing on Coals

“No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,” Philippians 3:13 NLT.

Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. It’s funny how certain bible verses come across your life at just the right time. Some people may say it’s coincidence, but I have had waaaaay too many “coincidences” to believe that. I believe it’s God helping me through issues in my life. One of my struggles has been really letting go of some of the things that I have done in my life. I know God has forgiven me, and I know that most of the people that I have hurt along the way have forgiven me. But I am really struggling with forgiving myself. I started reading Philippians because of the verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” Philippians 4:13. But if I were to be completely honest, there are so many other verses in this book that really impact me. 3:13 is one of those verses. It’s been six months since I gave my life over to God. I can’t even begin to count all the blessings in my life. Yet my fire has died down, my inferno has turned into a pile of coals. When I first received Christ, I couldn’t put my bible down. I was reading and studying and blogging about God everyday. I just couldn’t get enough! Lately it seems that I have been finding every excuse not to spend time with God. It’s not that my faith is wavering, or I’m starting to question God or anything like that. It’s more so of a priority issue. I can always seem to find the time to play video games or watch a movie, but not to sit down and read the bible or spend some quiet time in prayer. Maybe one of the reasons I like Paul so much is because he really puts it out there. He wrote a lot of these books while being imprisoned in Rome, literally in chains because of his faith! Yet, while being locked up, he still managed to write verses like Philippians 4:4 NKJV, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” That’s awesome! Verse 13 in chapter 3 of the book of Philippians really put things into perspective for me. It doesn’t matter where you have been, what matters is where you are going. I have to stop dwelling on the past, all I can do is learn from those mistakes and move forward. That goes for the recent past as well. “No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.” Philippians 3:13-14 NLT. Thank you Paul, for blowing on the coals of my faith. For poking the fire, for taking a stand for Christ even when it meant your own personal freedom and safety were at risk. I pray that I could be as bold for Jesus today as Paul was in his day.

A lesson In Humility

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4 NKJV.

I couldn’t have found a better verse for my life right now. It’s funny, when I write these blogs I always pray that they could help someone out there that may stubble across them and be struggling with something. Or for those of you that do follow them, a verse or phrase that could shine a little light in your life and brighten your day. It seems that lately though, God has been using my own blogs to help me through issues. Chapter 2 in the book of Philippians is a very humbling read. Paul says in verse 5, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,” that’s the official “W.W.J.D.” message. In all seriousness though think about how the world would be today if everyone thought as Jesus did. Imagine the change that would take place in our homes, at work, at school, or even in the political offices. It’s not always easy to think with a “Christ-like” mentality though, I’m pretty sure Jesus Christ would not have been as excited as I am about double xp weekends. Chapter 2 was a real gut check. Verse 14 says, “Do all things without complaining and disputing,”. All things? There are a lot of things I can do without complaining, but one thing I really and truly despise, is shopping for home decorations. Maybe it’s because my wife doesn’t let me turn our living room into the batcave, or maybe it’s because it doesn’t take me 4 hours to pick out a lamp. Regardless the reason, I will seriously find every excuse I can possible can to avoid going to places such as The Old Time Pottery Barn. Now if Paul, who happened to be imprisoned in Rome at the time, can tell us to “do all things without complaining” while he was in shackles and chains, I could probably go look at some mirrors for a few hours without saying too much. Right after Paul tells us not to be a Debbie-Downer, he continues in verse 15, “that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,”. Our world was crooked and perverse then, and it’s crooked and perverse now. We as Christians, must shine God’s light on this dark world. Paul describes his brother, Epaphroditus, as a fellow worker, a fellow soldier. That’s the mentality I try to have when I think about my duty as a Christian, the same as Paul’s, a soldier of Christ in His holy army. We fight a battle everyday on this earth. There are dark forces working against us, not trying to sway our beliefs, but to eliminate them all together. Organizations such as the Freedom From Religion group, are doing everything they can to eradicate God in every sense of the word. I’m pretty sure Jesus Christ took a stand for what He believed in when He chased the money changers out of the temple. We can’t just sit back and shake our head when there are groups actively trying to erase God from our lives, and in many cases, succeeding. I pray that we would all start to seek things which are of God, instead of our own selfish desires.

Pray For Me

I think it’s safe to say that most people know Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Even if you don’t know very much about the bible, you have probably seen that verse on a t-shirt, bumper sticker, or wrist band. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to knock the verse. I think it’s a very powerful and meaningful verse, and it just so happens to be written by one of my all time favorite people in the bible, the apostle Paul. Having just finished the book of Luke, I’ve been trying to find a good place to pick back up. I really wanted to read about David, but something kept telling me to keep searching. I happened to find a wristband with Philippians 4:13 on it and I thought to myself, hmmm, all the times I have heard this verse or even prayed and said this verse, I have never really read the book of Philippians. Before I go any further, I want to get something off my chest. Lately, I have been feeling pretty far from God. That raging inferno of passion I had for Jesus has turned into a nice, quiet, cozy, gas log fireplace type of fire. I don’t want to have a nice, quiet, cozy, campfire of passion for God. I want to be raging out of control for God. A fire so intense that it can’t help but be spread to everyone that I come in contact with. Well, needless to say I have been feeling kind of down about the fact that I have sort of drifted off from my daily devotions and prayers. Before I opened my bible today, I prayed that God would give me a message. That He would lay something on my heart that I could put into words to move someone out there that might be reading my blog. I wasn’t expecting to be the one that God moved. When I opened my bible case today, a bracelet fell out. That bracelet had Philippians 4:13 written on it. Being that I hadn’t read it yet, I decided to start from the beginning so could really get the meaning behind the verse. Once I started reading I felt like God Himself were talking to me directly through Paul’s message. “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9-11 NKJV. For some reason this message really hit home for me. Like Paul himself were praying directly for me. If I could ask one thing of my readers, it would be to pray for me. To send out a prayer for “that blogger guy”, that those prayers would fan my flames for Jesus. “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ,” Philippians 1:6 NKJV.

Guilty As Charged

Telling God you don’t believe in hell, is like telling a judge you don’t believe in jail. I can’t remember where I heard or read that at, but it’s one of the best analogies I’ve ever heard for faith. God and a judge, hell and prison, they are almost the same thing, one is just on a more eternal level. You get convicted of a crime and no matter how much you tell yourself, or the judge, that you don’t believe in jail, you’re still going to go. It’s the same thing with God. I hear people say they don’t believe in God all the time, but no matter how much you don’t believe, one day EVERYONE will stand before Him. 2 Corinthians 5:10 NKJV, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” One day we will stand before God, in all His glory, and have to answer for everything we have ever done on this earth. For some of us out there, this is a little scary. The good news is that we don’t have to let our past define our future. We don’t have to keep living a certain way just because that’s the way we always have. Once you truly give your life to God, you are born again. You are a new creation in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 is one of my favorite verses in the bible, it says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” Every bad thing, no matter how terrible, is washed away in the eyes of God. I know the guilt of certain things may still weigh on your heart, but take comfort knowing that once you start walking the straight and narrow path to salvation, whatever roads you previously walked down no longer matter. I know some people out there are the type that need hard evidence, they need proof of His existence. I don’t have any hidden answers. For me, my faith came from a feeling like God Himself were talking to me. I felt Him move in my heart. It was a feeling too big to ignore. I felt God calling me and instead of brushing that feeling off like I had done so many times before, I answered. I know some people will read that and say, “What? He “moved” you?” Think about the love you have for your mother, you can’t “prove” that you love your mother, can you? You may say that you can see your mother, but in 2000 plus years will anybody “believe” she existed? Verse 7 says, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” That one short verse says a lot. Faith in God, faith in Jesus Christ, faith that there is a heaven and also a hell. We must walk in faith. Whether you believe it or not, the truth is that Jesus Christ died for you. He died for your sins. He died in the most brutal way so that you may have ever lasting life. 2 Corinthians 15 NKJV, “and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” Before I was truly saved, I lived entirely for myself. I smoked, I drank, I cussed, I chased women, I did drugs, I did just about everything the bible says not to do. But once I truly gave my life to God, I was washed clean. I was born again. I am a new creation in Christ. I truly am a changed man. I hear people say that the Christian “lifestyle” is boring. The truth is that being a Christian isn’t boring, you just see the world through new eyes. You no longer have the desire to live for yourself. I’m not saying I look down on anyone that isn’t saved, no true Christian should. It’s our duty, our purpose as Christians to spread the word of God. 2 Corinthians 20 NKJV, “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” It’s not too late to give your life to God. Jesus loves you no matter what you’ve done. He would gladly welcome you with open arms, all you have to do is ask.