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James 1:2, Romans 12:12, 2 Timothy 4:5

Paul’s righteous behavior is an example for everyone, though easier for Christians to grasp.  He experienced a lot of hardship, but what made him stand out was his response.  If others were exposed to the degree of hardship he faced, many would have buckled by grumbling and giving up.

What was Paul’s response to hardship?  In Romans 12:12, he wrote, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

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Acts 22:3, 23:12-35, Acts 24

Many people have heard of Paul and how he suffered while spreading the Gospel.  His Christian mission is spelled out in the letters he wrote in the Bible.  He became a famous traveling missionary because of Jesus.

What do we know about Paul’s personal life?  In Acts 22:3, he said he was “born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city.”  He was raised in Jerusalem and had a sister (Acts 23:16).  His sister had a son, giving Paul a nephew.

I believe the Lord sent Paul’s nephew to help him.  Paul’s nephew was in the right place at the right time to hear the bad plot that over 40 enemies made an oath to not drink or eat “until they had killed Paul.”  Paul’s nephew was able to tell him what he heard, which led to Paul’s rescue.  The nephew’s actions showed he loved Uncle Paul.

I wonder what happened to the 40+ men that didn’t love Paul, the men that made the oath not to drink or eat until they murdered Paul.  I lost track of the time that passed after they made that oath, but it would have been at least two years and eight days.  My husband and I think they gave up.

 

Matthew 25:37, Galatians 6:2

My Christian husband and I have two kids, Emily and Ethan, who are both saved.  They are blessed to have two Christian grandpas.

My dad loves plants and regularly feeds the hungry.  In Matthew 25:37, Jesus spoke well of those that feed the hungry.

My father-in-law loves Sudoku and has carried burdens of others.  In Galatians 6:2 Paul instructs believers to “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Let’s celebrate the Christian influences of dads and grandpas today.  Happy Father’s Day!

John 12:12-19

Mark 11:1-11

I hope that someday in Heaven, the scene is recreated of Jesus going into Jerusalem on an unridden colt surrounded by a crowd wielding palm branches and shouting, “Hosanna!”  As you read this account you can feel the excitement.  I wonder if the new colt tossed its head in reaction to the frenzied crowd.

As I went shopping this afternoon for palm branches, I wasn’t feeling the world’s excitement.  I went to three different stores and although there were plenty of pink rabbit planters and neon-colored polka dot plastic eggs for Easter, there were no palm branches.  I came home empty-handed except for a bag of popcorn that looked good.  I was surprised since Palm Sunday is this upcoming Sunday and Easter is the week after that.

As I got in the car, I turned on a Christian radio station and heard the words of Sidewalk Prophets’ song, “Help Me Find It.”   I had to smile.

Acts 16:37, 2 Timothy 2:9

Since St. Patrick’s Day will soon be here, I’m reblogging my St. Patrick post from 3/17/11:

On St. Patrick’s Day, some people think about pots of gold, pointy-shoed leprechauns and/or green beer.  I think about St. Patrick.

Dictionary of Christian Biography says about St. Patrick:

“…the son of a Roman official who was also a deacon (Patrick’s grandfather was a priest), he was captured by pirates and taken to Ireland at the age of sixteen.  He made his way back to Britain and trained for the ministry.  At some point he went as ‘Bishop in Ireland’ (his own phrase), and there spent his life evangelizing…”

All About American Holidays says about St. Patrick,

“…during the forty years that the saint worked ‘with apostolic zeal’ in Ireland, he preached to countless persons in many places, baptized thousands of converts, established churches, schools, and at least one college, and consecrated two others.

In 433, after landing near Wicklow, St. Patrick was almost stoned to death, but nothing could diminish his missionary fervor.  Still he begged the pagans to hear him.  In trying to explain the difficult matter of the ‘Trinity in Unity,’ he realized that the people could not understand so he picked a trefoil or shamrock (this small white clover grows abundantly in Ireland and was employed by the Druids to cure diseases) and used its leaves to illustrate his meaning.

St. Patrick told his hearers that the three leaves of the shamrock represented the three members of the Trinity, that the stem was symbolic of the Godhead, and of the Three-in-One.  And as one source has reported, he asked, ‘Is it not as possible for the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as for these leaves to grow upon a single stalk?’  Thus the saint explained and convinced his listeners of this truth.”

Wikipedia says:

“Patrick’s position as a foreigner in Ireland was not an easy one. His refusal to accept gifts from kings placed him outside the normal ties of kinship, fosterage and affinity. Legally he was without protection, and he says that he was on one occasion beaten, robbed of all he had, and put in chains, perhaps awaiting execution.[29]”

In the Bible, Paul was a Roman citizen and was beaten and put in chains.  It’s interesting to note the similarities between St. Patrick and Paul.  What a good example of Christian bravery both men are for us!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 

Revelation 21:4

Recently, a special uncle passed away.  As I read his obituary, I realized one word was used frequently, the word, “was.”  It’s such a small word, but with a big meaning.  It immediately communicates past tense.  His life on Earth is over.  Family, including myself, cried because of the loss.

Thankfully, my uncle was a Christian, so it’s not “game over.”  He is in Heaven now, a place with no more crying or death.  When my son, Ethan, heard the news of his Christian uncle dying, he was happy for him.  He said, “It’s like you fall asleep and wake up in an amazing dream that lasts forever.”

Luke 18:1-8

Since the holidays are upon us, by now you’ve probably seen at least one costumed Santa.  My family saw one on a chair receiving little kids for photo ops.  Except for a crying little boy that seemed to be scared of Santa, other kids probably told Santa what toys they wanted for Christmas.  I heard another Santa in a store ask a cashier what she wanted for Christmas.  She asked for a day off, something that the costumed Santa didn’t pretend to give.

How would you have answered that Santa?  Maybe you want a day off.  Well, because of Christmas, the Christian celebration of Jesus coming into the world as a baby, most Americans have Christmas off.  And if you’re a student, you might have quite a few days off.  Or maybe you desire healing, something you wouldn’t try to ask Santa for.

You can ask God for healing.  He is able to provide healing.  If you’ve been asking Him for healing, keep praying and asking Him like the persistent widow in Jesus’ parable.  She kept asking a judge for justice.  He eventually granted her justice.  If you keep asking God for healing, He can grant you the gift of healing.

 

Ephesians 6:20, Philippians 1:13, Colossians 4:3, Philemon 1:13, 2 Timothy 1:16

Do you find it a chore to write a letter?  Paul wrote 13 letters and five of them were from prison.  He wrote even though he was in chains.  I think that the weight of the chains would have made writing difficult for Paul.

If you do a quick online search regarding letters Paul wrote from prison, you’ll soon see that only Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon are mentioned, not 2 Timothy.  But according to my NIV Bible under, “Title and Background,” when 2 Timothy was written, “…he was again imprisoned in Rome under Emperor Nero about 66-67.  He was languishing in a cold dungeon, chained like a common criminal.  Paul knew that his work was done and that his life was nearly at an end.”

Chances are you’re not in chains.  Is there some Christian good you can do by sending off some handwritten snail mail to someone soon?

 

Matthew 10:33

In the past two weeks, I saw three men wearing Christian clothes.  The first man shook hands with a cop at a community event while wearing a shirt that said, “Jesus Freak.”  The second man chatted with others at a festival while wearing a shirt with Reese’s colors and design that said “Jesus.”  The third man put groceries on a conveyor belt at a natural food store while wearing a shirt that said, “Messiah.”

Jesus said that if someone disowns Him, He will disown them before God.  The word “will” is a promise.  Jesus takes promises seriously.

The men that wore Christian clothes publicly showed their love for Jesus by acknowledging Him.  I don’t know about you, but shopping for Christian clothes is sounding pretty good to me right now.

John 8:12

I found out this past week that our nearby, elderly neighbor passed away.  She was an outgoing Christian and we’ll miss her.  Her address is no longer on our street.  Her house is dark inside.  But we take comfort in knowing that where she lives now, there is no darkness.  What’s her address?  She lives in Heaven in light with the light of this world, Jesus.

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