Saturday, February 13, 2016

How did Paul keep the faith?

Good morning my sisters-

Have you ever wondered how Paul kept the faith?  I do.  He was beaten, jailed, persecuted by his very own people and yet every letter showed strength, not in himself, but in Jesus. The more I have read the more I have been in awe over the power of his faith and for his knack for being abundantly forgiving.  Like most, we all have trouble forgiving especially when people are cruel.  But Paul never faltered.  He taught the Gospel with verve and intention.  He knew that God was with him, beside him and before him and that when he was done, He would be in heaven.

Reading his letters is like looking into the heart of a lion.  I'm sure he felt despair, anxiety and maybe even fear but through prayer and petition, he shed those worldly things for Godly thoughts.  His shield was his pen and he was determined to leave a legacy even in the face of iron bars and chains.  He writes in 2 Timothy 2 that no one came to defend him.  Out of all the people he walked with and brought to Christ no one stood up for him.  And here's what really gets me, he understands and forgives.  As I read the whole chapter this morning it made me really think about forgiveness and human nature.  It's not easy to forgive anyone that's gone against you, especially if it's in a false manner.  People want to defend themselves and get angry when they feel they've been done wrong and yet, Paul just wanted to forgive.  Maybe his capacity of forgiveness was so great because Christ forgave him.  Maybe it's because he sat on  a road blind and Christ brought someone to his side.  Maybe it's because He had experienced such forgiveness himself, he just had the overwhelming capacity to forgive.  No matter how he was able to forgive, the point is he did and he continued to minister to the loveless through his writings and teachings and on February 13, 2016, he's still ministering to all of us.

I think what caught my eye today was how he truly believed in all circumstances Jesus was with him.  In chains, sitting on a cold floor, he wanted parchment to write.  He wanted to leave a legacy of the Gospel while he was in pain, discomfort and probably horrid conditions.  His sole thought was not for the shower he couldn't take or the toilet that wasn't available, it was to spread the word so that we would know the impact Jesus made on his life.  Do you see the unbelievable beauty of that picture?

God further revealed through the  word to me that fear and worry are not of him.  I think most of us have faced a time of fear and worry.  You have to think that Paul would have been sitting on that floor full of it, right?  And yet, I didn't get that at all.  I read the calmness and conviction in his words.  I read a direction that was met on the road of walking with Jesus.  I felt the power of his faith and the impact Jesus' forgiveness had made on his life.  No where in 2 Timothy 2 did he complain about his circumstances.  Instead he left us all with something to aspire to.  He left us with peace that goes beyond all understanding and in his words we hear forgiveness.  If I had a paint brush in my hands today, I would paint a bird going across the setting sun, singing to the heavens and worshipping God in all His glory.  That's what the letter Paul wrote reminds me of.  It reminds me that even in horrible circumstances a human man with human feelings, forgave, loved and proclaimed the name of Jesus Christ.

Fear and worry are not of God but loving your enemies, praying for those that don't know better, speaking the word of God and believing that Jesus is with you, for you and all around you, is the most important lesson we can learn from Paul.  We are running a race but most of us are chasing after all the wrong things.  We want power but aren't willing to be servants.  We want money but we're not willing to sow it once it's given.  We want people to love us always, without the need to forgive our enemies but most of all we want God's mercy when we don't even take ten minutes a day to be with Him.

I admire Paul and love to read his letters.  They remind me that I'm not here for me.  I'm really here to be with Jesus and to fulfill my purpose for Him.  That's really it.  My hope is that as we all look for Jesus in the scriptures that we will find Him, not in the package we desire but in the package He is and will always be.  The Israelites tried to put God in a box and failed.  The Pharisees tried to squash Jesus' ministry by killing Him and Satan continues to attack the defenseless.  But I have hope.  You know why?  Because Paul killed thousands of Christians and throughout his journey, was made blind to see.  His journey was to proclaim the name of Jesus and 2000 years later, we still are.  It's time we all got Supernatural with God and took off the cloak of knowing what the future holds.  You can't fix your problems alone.  You can't buy peace on earth.  You can't stay strong in the face of adversity without Jesus Christ and you definitely can't fight Satan without being in the Word of God.  This world keeps us so busy that we don't take time for the one thing that will propel us to success.  Jesus is what we need every morning and every night.  We need to breathe Him in just like we do air.  And when we do, we will see a change, maybe not in others but in ourselves.  If we want to run the race to the end, then we must fuel up on the Word of God! So, as I write this I'm challenging you to take more time each day to praise our Lord, to read His word and to meditate on it.  Life is busy but without the fuel Jesus provides, you will crash and burn.  To be a woman in today's world is immensely difficult.  The demands that are being placed on our lives today are more than in any other time in history.  We've gained our right to be in the armed forces, to be CEOs, business owners, career minded people but we've lost something to.  We've lost the ability to rest and to have our men lead us.  We've lost time with our children and we've lost time to be at Jesus' feet.  Our lives are around seeking everything that God did not intend for us.  So, before the roller coaster of life hits, let's sit at the feet of Jesus.  His time is more valuable, don't you think?

As always, my prayer is on you my sisters.  I am praying that through our faithfulness our sons and husbands will find Jesus in a powerful way.  I'm praying that the lost, confused, angry and hurt will one day sit at the feet of Jesus.  I'm praying for Syria, Africa, China, Russia and every country in the world.  I'm praying for our leaders to have wisdom and for those that follow Jesus to pray with intention and to live a life full of the peace that was given on the cross.  Most of all, I'm praying that we will take our eyes off the world and put them in the realm of the supernatural.  I'm praying for a heart like David's, for wisdom like Solomon, for faith like Abraham and Sara and for dedication and forgiveness like Paul.  I'm praying that God would save those that love Him and through His word men and women all over the world will find Him!  Lastly, I'm praying for a Holy experience and the kind of dedication, perseverance, and profound trust that each of us needs to walk in the world.  WE ARE NOT ALONE!

Please read 2 Timothy 2 today and find comfort in an earthly man who believed in a Savior!

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