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Tag Archives: love

Peter and John before the Council

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognized them as companions of Jesus. When they saw the man who had been cured standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition. So they ordered them to leave the council while they discussed the matter with one another. They said, “What will we do with them? For it is obvious to all who live in Jerusalem that a notable sign has been done through them; we cannot deny it. But to keep it from spreading further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.” So they called them and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in God’s sight to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; for we cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard.” After threatening them again, they let them go, finding no way to punish them because of the people, for all of them praised God for what had happened. For the man on whom this sign of healing had been performed was more than forty years old. (Acts 4:13-22, NRSV)

Peter and John healed a man and now the high council wonders what to do. They can not deny the miracle because so many have seen it and they can not do anything to Peter and John because everyone saw the miracle and knows it was done through them by Jesus. So what can they do?

They order them to be silent and to no longer share the news of Jesus. And of course, Peter and John cannot do that. They, as we, must share what we have been given with the world. Do you share the news of Jesus with the world?

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Pressing toward the Goal

Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us then who are mature be of the same mind; and if you think differently about anything, this too God will reveal to you. Only let us hold fast to what we have attained. Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved. (Philippians 3:12-4:1, NRSV)

Paul continues here telling the Philippians to not worry about the past. To not let past hang-ups or faults get in the way of what God is doing in your life.

You see we have to press forward. We can not stay stuck on the muck and mire we find our selves in but we have to press on towards the goal and the upward call of Jesus. For if we stay we wind up like the enemies of the cross whose god is their belly, feeding their desires and needs now. But God has called us to a higher understanding and calls us to walk with Him and to press forward sharing His love, grace, and mercy everywhere we go.

So press on and know that He is with you giving you strength.

 

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Timothy and Epaphroditus

Do all things without murmuring and arguing, so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine like stars in the world. It is by your holding fast to the word of life that I can boast on the day of Christ that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. But even if I am being poured out as a libation over the sacrifice and the offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you— and in the same way you also must be glad and rejoice with me. I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I may be cheered by news of you. I have no one like him who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. All of them are seeking their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But Timothy’s worth you know, how like a son with a father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. I hope therefore to send him as soon as I see how things go with me; and I trust in the Lord that I will also come soon. Still, I think it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus—my brother and co-worker and fellow soldier, your messenger and minister to my need; for he has been longing for all of you, and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. He was indeed so ill that he nearly died. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, so that I would not have one sorrow after another. I am the more eager to send him, therefore, in order that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. Welcome him then in the Lord with all joy, and honor such people, because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to make up for those services that you could not give me. (Philippians 2:14-30, NRSV)

Have you ever had someone talk you up in a way that made you uncomfortable?

I wonder what Timothy and Epaphroditus thought about what Paul wrote. Did they like it? Did it make them a little concerned at how others might look at them? Did it make them go, “now I’m really not all that…”

But Paul was impressed by and proud of the fellow servants these 2 were and he lifted them up so that others might see them, not to give them glory but to show how we can live in the love that Christ has for all of us. Showing that love to others and helping them as Christ calls us to.

Timothy, Epaphroditus, and Paul gave of themselves so that others would see Christ.

Do we do the same?

 

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Partnership in the Gospel

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance. It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be put to shame in any way, but that by my speaking with all boldness, Christ will be exalted now as always in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which I prefer. I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in faith, so that I may share abundantly in your boasting in Christ Jesus when I come to you again. Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel, and are in no way intimidated by your opponents. For them this is evidence of their destruction, but of your salvation. And this is God’s doing. For he has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well—since you are having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I still have. (Philippians 1:18b-30, NRSV)

What would you say if I told you that some scholars think that Paul was contemplating suicide here? is really the

This part, ” I do not know which I prefer. I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you.” Paul is talking about wanting to depart to be with Chris because that is really the place we as Christians should want to be. But Paul knows that the Philippians and others need him here to help them grow as disciples. Actually, this is good news for all of us. Aren’t there times you wish you weren’t where you are? And this is Paul. Paul knows that Christ needs him where He put him. We all have a part to play, and all of those parts are important.

So live your life as Christ called you to and be a beacon of His hope in the world.

 

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Partnership in the Gospel

Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God. I want you to know, beloved that what has happened to me has actually helped to spread the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to everyone else that my imprisonment is for Christ; and most of the brothers and sisters, having been made confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, dare to speak the word with greater boldness and without fear. Some proclaim Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from goodwill. These proclaim Christ out of love, knowing that I have been put here for the defense of the gospel; the others proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but intending to increase my suffering in my imprisonment. What does it matter? Just this, that Christ is proclaimed in every way, whether out of false motives or true; and in that I rejoice. (Philippians 1:1-18a, NRSV)

Who is the you in the above opening? And is it you singular or you plural? And does that make a difference?

Well to answer those questions we should really start with the last. Yes, it does make a difference if it is Y’all or all Y’all.

So which is it Y’all or all Y’all?

It is hard to tell in English, however, in Greek, it is super clear. It is all Y’all. The letter is not written to the leader of the church in Philippi but is written to the whole congregation. Because one person is not responsible for transmitting the gospel, we are all. It is a partnership we all take part in.

So know your part in the mission is important, as important as anyone else’s.

 

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Paul Preaches in Rome

After they had set a day to meet with him, they came to him at his lodgings in great numbers. From morning until evening he explained the matter to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the law of Moses and from the prophets.Some were convinced by what he had said, while others refused to believe. So they disagreed with each other; and as they were leaving, Paul made one further statement: “The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your ancestors through the prophet Isaiah, ‘Go to this people and say, You will indeed listen, but never understand, and you will indeed look, but never perceive. For this people’s heart has grown dull, and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; so that they might not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and understand with their heart and turn— and I would heal them.’ Let it be known to you then that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.” He lived there two whole years at his own expense and welcomed all who came to him, (Acts 28:23-30, NRSV)

Why do some hear and not hear, listen and really don’t get the message?

Sometimes we feel like we need to make everyone understand how much God loves them. But see here in this reading, Paul, one of the greatest evangelists in history didn’t convince everyone after he spoke to them all day. Making people believe is not our job. We are to go and share our story which shares the love of God.

So don’t feel like you have to make anyone believe.  You just need to share your story and show people how God is active in your life and can be in theirs.

 

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The Plot to Kill Paul

In the morning the Jews joined in a conspiracy and bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. There were more than forty who joined in this conspiracy. They went to the chief priests and elders and said, “We have strictly bound ourselves by an oath to taste no food until we have killed Paul. Now then, you and the council must notify the tribune to bring him down to you, on the pretext that you want to make a more thorough examination of his case. And we are ready to do away with him before he arrives.” Now the son of Paul’s sister heard about the ambush; so he went and gained entrance to the barracks and told Paul. Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the tribune, for he has something to report to him.” So he took him, brought him to the tribune, and said, “The prisoner Paul called me and asked me to bring this young man to you; he has something to tell you.” The tribune took him by the hand, drew him aside privately, and asked, “What is it that you have to report to me?” He answered, “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the council tomorrow, as though they were going to inquire more thoroughly into his case. But do not be persuaded by them, for more than forty of their men are lying in ambush for him. They have bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink until they kill him. They are ready now and are waiting for your consent.” So the tribune dismissed the young man, ordering him, “Tell no one that you have informed me of this.” (Acts 23:12-22, NRSV)

How can these people say they follow a loving God if they vow to not eat or drink until they have killed someone?

What kind of religion causes people to want to kill others simply because they are different from them?

And Paul used to be one of them. It seems that would make them want to listen more because he was the one who was going around rounding up followers of the way so if he is now a part of the way I would want to know why not get rid of him.

So how do we react to those who are different?

Are we open and able to listen, or do we move quickly to get rid of all those who are different?

 

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