Tag Archives: Paul

God Size Perspective (Part 2)

I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel,…my imprisonment is for Christ.”Philippians 1:12-13 ESV

What a perspective! Paul had a God Size Perspective.

God Size Perspective – The ability to see your greatest obstacles as God ordained opportunities

How do you view the obstacles in your life?

How do you view your greatest challenges?

How do you view the one thing you desire for your life so much, but God won’t seem to allow it to happen?

Let’s be honest with ourselves. Most of us Continue reading

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Except for these chains

When was the last time you thought to yourself – about some athlete or celebrity in legal trouble, an ex who wound up in a bad relationship, or a former boss or co-worker who lost their job – “serves ’em right, they got what was coming to them“?

You probably don’t have to dig too far into the ol’ memory banks, because we humans are a spiteful bunch. We forgive, but don’t forget, or we forgive conditionally, only after we’re compensated for whatever slights have been leveled against us.

In the book of Acts, Paul paints the picture of a different kind of forgiveness, though. One that evokes the kind of grace our Heavenly Father shows us.

Accused of the crime of… well, of being a Christian, Paul slyly uses the courtroom of King Agrippa to preach a sermon. Surprised, the King laughingly says that Paul’s confidence is so impressive it might actually convert him to Christianity. Paul responds: “I would wish to God that not only you, but all who hear me this day might become such as I am, except for these chains.”

Paul has been beaten, arrested, and dragged into court by these people, and still all he wants for them is their salvation. He doesn’t pray that God would visit their aggression back on them. He does wish to trade places, so they could see what it would feel like to be so persecuted. Instead, he prays that they would have all of the good that he’s experiences, but none of the bad.

I pray that I’d be big enough to wish the same for my transgressors and enemies. I pray that if I someday meet my gradeschool bullies again, or the girls that broke my heart in high school, or the guys that got the jobs I really wanted, or the lady that cut me off in traffic, I’ll be willing to share my love of God, but not the pains of the world.


On Character and Crises

The notion of character has been on my mind a lot lately. What makes me who I am, and such. Is it my actions or beliefs? Am I defined by my circumstances, upbringing, genetic code, or aspirations? Can I change who I am, and if so to what degree?

One of my favorite quotes, which graced the whiteboard at my desk for nearly a year is this: “Crises don’t build character, they reveal it.” In other words, you can’t depend on tough times to strengthen your resolve. You have to work hard to prepare yourself for trouble before it reaches you.

Claire over at One Passion One Devotion posted another great quote this morning that speaks to the same truth from a different perspective:

Character cannot be summoned at the moment of crisis if it has been squandered by years of compromise and rationalization. The only testing ground for the heroic is the mundane. The only preparation for that one profound decision that can change a life, or even a nation, are those hundreds of half-conscious, self-defining, seemingly insignificant decisions made in private. – Dan Coates

In his letter to the Roman church, Paul implied the same thing:

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:1-5)

I appreciate what Paul says: that character is produced by endurance. That word – endurance – implies that we do not grow all at once. Certainly, we’re often tested by emergencies – great big, scary moments after which nothing seems the same – but it’s the foundation we’ve built (or failed to build) over the weeks and months and years preceding that moment that determines how we’ll fare.

Don’t waste time. Don’t wait on tomorrow to decide to grow. Start preparing now, and rest assured that your next crisis (which will come, I guarantee) will not put you to shame.

Cheers,
D


To the Pure, All Things Are Pure

“To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.” (Titus 1:15 NIV)

It’s frustrating trying to convince a cynic of truth. Arguing that the Bible really is pure and True and not some centuries-old gimmick to a non-believer is like trying to convince the recently-dumped or soon-to-be divorced that Love is the same.

While Paul doesn’t offer any advice for clearing that hurdle, this excerpt from his letter to Titus does explain it. “To the pure, all things are pure,” he says. It’s easy to believe in love when you’re loved, in other words. Just as Christ’s honest love and sacrifice is plain as day to anyone who’s accepted them. But everyone else, whose “minds and consciences are corrupted”, projects their own wickedness on the rest of the world. It’s the same reason a crook thinks everyone’s out to get him.

This also explains why it’s so easy to get caught in a downward spiral of “spiritual funk”. One day of wallowing in self-pity and doubt, and suddenly everything around you confirms your worst suspicions. Once you’ve started doubting yourself or God or anyone/anything else, it’s hard to start believing again.


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