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Posts Tagged ‘Apostle Paul’

What would others say your words seem to be seasoned with?

Think about before you try to answer. Don’t just try to squeeze yourself into the textbook Sunday school answer. Think about what others would say about your words.

How do you come off to other folks? Is it like your words are seasoned with grace? Or, is it like you sound almost a if you forgot that you yourself have been saved by grace and forgiveness mixed and blended with the lovingkindness of God?

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A Goal of Graciousness

Paul’s words to the believers in Colosse seem straightforward and stern: “Let your speech always be gracious. . .”

Let’s just focus on that for a moment.

Could you imagine the number of insults that would incrementally decrease as a result of maintaining a goal of graciousness?

Can you picture how many souls would turn to us and ask about God if we as Christians just focused on our “speech always be(ing) gracious?”

The wonder is not what would happen if we did set graciousness as our goal. The wonder is why we do not set gracious speech as our goal time and time again.

To Whom Much Grace is Given…

I know that is a poor paraphrase, but walk with me for a moment on this one.

What if we just identified what we have been given much of in order to fulfill the requirement in turn? In other words, what if we looked at it deeper when we read this portion of Luke 12:48? What if it was about much LOVE or much FORGIVENESS? We cannot take Christianity as a robotic religion when He has endowed us with free will and His Spirit, the Helper, to quicken us in response to His urging and imploring us to be different and live differently. We have to accept that God desires us to meditate on His Word day and night.

If nothing else, we can set a course for change. We can determine within ourselves to make the change and seek to keep gracious speech as the gateway to offering grace to others as we go to and fro. In our various settings, whether in line at the coffee shop or at the table in the board room, we can choose to speak to others with much grace as we keep in mind that it was with much grace that God sacrificed His only begotten son for our salvation.

Speak with grace today and every day.

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11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. – Philippians 4:11-13 (NKJV)

Learning to become content is not easy.

Christians have a real hard time with it because they have to somehow find a balance between this world system and the Word of the Lord.  Many Christians have accepted Christ as Lord and Savior, yet they find themselves at the mercy of the world’s temptations and enticements.  The desirable things of the world some to lure Christians down a dark pathway of rampant consumerism and debt that comes at the high cost for keeping up with the Joneses.

 

Consumer economics says that America has it backwards.  Our savings rate is almost nonexistent, but we are constantly measuring consumer confidence as an index of American corporate profitability.  Our educational system is steadily falling behind the rest of the developed world.  However, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard & Poor’s 500 Index continue to serve as the benchmarks by which we measure mutual fund performance and the overall performance of stocks.  

I like the way Dave Ramsey poses it to callers to his weekly radio broadcast who have gotten themselves up to their eyeballs in debt and don’t feel that they need to make drastic changes.  Like so many of us within American society, they just haven’t started hurting bad enough yet to regulate themselves to PB&J sandwiches and tuna fish with crackers.

We can become content when we learn to live within our means.  Live on less than you make and you can save something on a regular basis, not just for emergencies and rainy days.

  • Consider how much you need for retirement.
  • Identify additional insurance needs like long term disability coverage
  • Do you have an estate plan?
  • Do you have a will?
  • Could you handle a job loss for 3 months? 6 months? How about over a year?

To become content, we have to learn how to live a simple and quiet life.  Paul shared such wisdom with the Thessalonians in his first letter to them: “. . . But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more;  that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you,  that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing” (1 Th. 4:10-12)

Becoming content with what you have is enough to get you scrutinized by your neighbors and family as cheap, not just frugal.  They will consider you some kind of coupon freak or bargain hunter.

You just keep saving.

People will say that you are ruining your own lives, even the lives of your children.  They will say that you will never reach the American dream.

Accept none of their gibberish.  Keep on saving.

Keep Benjamin Franklin’s money wisdom in mind: “Content makes poor men rich, discontent makes rich men poor.”

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I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. So, as much as is in me, I  am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.- Romans 1:14-16

Paul spoke plainly.  The Book of Romans is one of those epistles where Paul lays the foundation for a firm faith in the everlasting covenant offered to the believer through Jesus the Christ.  He shared the immense and extensive benefits afforded to the believer in and follower of Christ.  But also includes the worker’s mission, ministry and message.

The worker has a mission.

As a messenger of Christ, Paul was certain and assured of his mission.  He was to share the message with the Jews first, then he carried it to the Gentiles. 

His mission affirmed that he had no reason to be ashamed of his calling and its work.

The worker had a ministry.

Paul’s ministry went beyond merely preaching.  In Antioch, he and Barnabas stayed on for an extended period of time and taught the people.  He wrote extensively to the believers abroad, encouraging and edifying them through his epistles.  He spread the Good News throughout Asia Minor, Greece and other regions on his missionary journeys.

He let his ministry keep him from working with any degree of shame.

The worker had a message.

We cannot deliver our message if we feel shame about it.  We must be convinced of its relevance and necessity in order to extend the reach of the Word into all if the earth.  No hidden doubts can remain covered when others listen to us and watch us.  Our doubts will emerge somehow and at some point. 

We should be able to say like Paul that we are “not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.”

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