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Posts Tagged ‘paul’

I have been spending a lot of time thinking about the stories of great decisions in the bible. I am sitting here shaking my head at how many people made the decision to give up life as they knew it for something completely unknown. For some, they didn’t even get to see anything that resembled what God asked them to do. Their fruit would be seen long after they had left.

Would I say yes to that? Would you?

Abraham believed God wanted to tell a story through him, so he packed up his family and all he had and left for a desolate land that only held the mirage of a dream.

Noah built a huge arc with the faith that what God wanted to say through him would come to fruition

Moses was on the run only to be asked to go back and take on Pharaoh to let thousands of his people go into freedom. He believed God was going to do something through him.

Job went through living hell, grief, abandonment, and loss for his faith. God had a story to tell through him that he would never sign up to tell for himself.

Hosea said yes to a life full of loss and betrayal from his wife all for the sake of a story being told through him.

The disciples walked away from everything known to follow and lead an unknown life.

Paul said yes to God telling His story through him. He abandoned life as he knew, and believed, it to be for the sake of God doing something with him.

Every one of our lives goes through the process of abandonment to get to a place where God wants to speak and act through us. Every one of us has to make the decision to leave something known to walk in faith towards something unknown and unpredictable.

The truth is that the life you really want will always take you down the road of abandonment. Sometimes that life is rich in pain, frustration, and question marks, but it’s still the story He is telling through you.

Abandonment is a scary word. It’s risky. It has no comforts, only hope.

It is one thing to say yes to abandon a life that needs it, but what about saying yes when it will mean hard and pain?

I can’t wrap my brain around those who said yes to God using their lives to tell a story they would never choose for themselves. Hosea’s life was just plain hard and heart wrenching. Mary said yes to potential scrutiny, shame, ridicule, and shunning. God asked to tell a story through them.

Would I? Would you?

Is your life a story God is telling that you would not choose to tell for yourself? Is He asking if you would be willing? Even if this story leads to hard and pain, would you be willing? If He wanted to tell a story through your life that was only to bear fruit after you were gone, would you do it? Are you living this way now?

Living out faith doesn’t always look like favor and bliss. It doesn’t always resemble “blessings” and good fruit. Sometimes faith looks like persevering in the midst of a sea of tears and question marks. Some stories bear the harsh contractions of waiting and being misunderstood.

Scripture says that “some people escaped the edge of the sword and some died by it,” but all are walking in faith.

Would I? Would you?

 

 

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The holiday’s always seem to stir up some emotions. With Christmas comes the sense of joy, family, nostalgia, ache for relationship and love, and a sense of togetherness. Sometimes the holiday’s can stir up old wounds, past hurts, grief, loss, and lonliness. Holiday’s bring up awareness.

Easter is different. As it stirs up emotions the purpose is different. Emotions are stirring up in me because Easter is a time of remembering that life was given for me. Easter is a time of remembering death and celebrating life.

Paul writes about this idea to some people in Galatians. Paul states that, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

I canNOT get past this verse. There is so much packed into these words. Paul recognizes that he has been redeemed from himself. Paul experienced a lot in regards to crucifying himself.

This week I am very aware of crucifixion needed in me. Experiencing death is hard. Laying down my old self does not come with out discomfort and grief. In my brokenness, I so desire for Christ to make life out of me.

The story of Jesus feeding the five thousand is always a reminder that in the breaking is where offered life comes from. God did that for me on the cross. Christ broke so that life could be had in him.

The second part of that verse talks about living by faith. That is hard for me in the midst of seeing past my brokenness to life. That is exactly where faith is needed. In this time of laying down my life that I need to believe that he loves me, tells me the truth, cherishes me, has my best interest in mind, restores and redeems me, and saves me even from myself. Acting in faith makes for the turning point in offering our brokenness.

All this is done out of love. “God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” I desire to give that same offering of love back and give him me.

My hope is that he will make life out me.

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I have been thinking about the qualities of Paul. Paul is brilliant man when it comes to knowledge of the scriptures. He experienced great success in his life. Paul also experienced a miraculous encounter with God. This encounter changed the course of his life forever. Paul’s conversation with God didn’t just change his career path, but it changed a driven man from the path of destruction to a path of grace. Paul was a man who knew grace intimately.

I read a glimpse of this understanding of grace in Acts. In this chapter, Paul is describing the evidence of Jesus as savior by talking about his lineage. At the point in the lineage where David is introduced, Paul refers back to God’s description of David, “a man after God’s own heart, who will do all my will.

If you remember David’s story, it includes adultery and murder. Yet David is known to be a man after God’s own heart, who did God’s will.

Author Mike Bickle comments about this description in Acts this way, “what about all the failures and set backs (of David)? They were edited out by the grace of God.”

Paul understood the promise made to David, “my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him.” Paul was a man who knew the weight of being a sinner. He also knew the weight of a faithful and grace filled God. Both David and Paul were transformed by the wonder’s of God’s heart.

I am understanding more and more how faithful and gracious our God is. I so crave being transformed by the wonder’s of God’s heart.

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Hope

Hope is a small word that packs a huge punch. Hope plays a larger role in my life than I have been aware of.

For the past couple of weeks I have found myself to be easily frustrated, quick to be unedited in my words, and easily discouraged. This is not a fun place to sit in or experience. As I have thought about it, hope, or a lack of hope, seems to be at the root of my issues.

I have found that hope is a catalyst to standing firm when all else fails and falls away. Hope can keep one from falling away.

Proverbs states, “hope deferred makes the heart sick.” It really does. When we put hope on hold discouragement is not far off. When I stop hoping in something I have placed pressure on myself to make something happen. I have definitely failed at most things when choosing this mentality.

Job states it so well as he wrestles with his own stubbornness, “Why do I put myself in jeoprady and take my life in my hands?”

So many things are rooted in hope: joy, strength, endurance, and perseverance. Hebrews describes “faith is being sure of what I hope for and certain of what I do not see.” My faith has everything to do with how I hope. And my lack of faith has everything to do with how I choose to rely on what is seen.

Paul talks about hope being attributed to the development of character in the time of experienced suffering.

Hope takes me out of myself and fixes my eyes on the one greater then myself; the one who promises plans for me. Hope gives breath and strength to your dreams and desires. Hope builds character, faith, and dependence on God. Hope is powerful.

Paul also states, “for in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

I have not been waiting patiently in my hope. I have grown in discouragement and frustration. I desire to fix my hope on him.It is time to hope again.

Take one million….and action…

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