Basically how we should be interacting with each other at all times. I like how chapter 2 (I’m not getting into roles here) gives ways for everyone to be in discipleship/mentor relationships. Paul has this vision in his mind for how the church was going to function. It is a self-sustaining, multiplying entity. And the best part is that through the different functioning parts glory is given to God. Because, really, that is the end goal of basically anything we do.
It’s easy to forget that everything we do is for God. All the things that we do should be to serve him. This is something that has been standing out a lot for me as I read Paul’s letters. He was completely connected to God, and everything he did related back to his relationship with God and how he was saved through Christ. It was a constant, present knowledge that he needed God in every moment, and that every moment belonged to God.
I feel like there is much to apply to our lives within the concluding thoughts of chapter 6. First off, not worrying a whole lot about people who reject the message that we bring. If we know that our message is from God, we shouldn’t worry about people arguing for the sake of having an argument. Also, not worrying about achieving riches (or popularity?) in life, but instead being content with what we need in Christ.
Paul’s challenge to Timothy is going to be written on something and stuck in a place I can see it, because it is so good. To honour Christ and live his life thus is a definite challenge, but it is the necessary step for Timothy to be taking.
“Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” – 6:11-12
If we want to teach others and impart wisdom that we have gleaned in our lives, our actions can either back us up or disqualify what we are saying. It makes sense, then, that Paul also tells Timothy to live above reproach. To continue to live his life in a way that others will see and respect means that it will be easier for him to instruct the church and continue to correct their doctrine.
This whole section (4:6-16) is also applicable for most of us today in it’s reminders to continue to live with Christ the focus and centre of what we do, especially if we are in positions of leadership. However, the only way we can persevere and do all these things and act in confidence is remembering that we have our hope set in Christ and that it doesn’t matter what others may think or say. If we lead by example, it is easier for others to follow.
And here we have my verse that I have on my blog!
I find it interesting that this letter includes comments on how we will be taken to heaven. It doesn’t seem like a huge issue to me for newer believers, but it appropriately gives us reason to continue to build each other up and strive to live for Christ in all moments. When we have eternity in mind, we look at the present things in a different light. It makes more sense to persevere through persecution, to serve Christ in all aspects possible, and to encourage others to continue on in faith. It’s also something I’ve been trying to do more of lately.
Hmm…the concept I’m picking up in Romans 11 is a little new to me, but this is how I’m understanding it. Salvation was first offered to the Jews, but due to their rejection, any Gentile can also now receive salvation. In doing so, God brings glory to himself and fulfils Israel (remembering that now we are saved by grace through faith, not following the law). I have to say … that’s pretty neat. And therefore, it makes the first bit of chapter 12 make a whole lot more sense. Knowing that we are saved by the grace of God to fulfil his kingdom, why wouldn’t you choose to offer your life as a living sacrifice? As for the rest of chapter 12, I feel like it speaks for itself pretty well. You should go read it.
This last chapter is one of reconciliation and commission. In forgiveness, Peter is sent to take care of those whom Jesus loves. It is similar to our own salvation stories. As we are saved and pulled out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of light, we too are commissioned to go and share the good news with others that we see. We aren’t supposed to worry about what all the other people are doing – God will continue to work in them as he has already planned in his great master plan. We are to do what we are called to do. Which is good, because if I start excessively worrying about other people I can barely finish what I’m doing myself.
WOOOOO! LAST ACTS ONE! I AM MAKING HEADWAY. moving on.
Paul continues to rest in knowing that God will protect him as he goes to Rome. He plods along though life looking for the moments he can share the love of Christ instead of worry or fear at what is coming. God used Paul’s life to do a lot of amazing things. Paul is a great example because he walked the walk, talked the talk, and still struggled with things (as we read in some of his letters).
I think it’s encouraging to know he still struggled. It is ok for us to struggle with things and process stuff, but we must continue to go out and live for Christ. It is really hard sometimes to do so, but in the end it is completely worth it all.
I am inspired today by how the disciples get up and get on with life. They don’t sit around discussing whether or not to actually believe this and that or whether they should be teaching A or B (well maybe they did, but if they did Luke didn’t think it important). Instead, they got together, elected another disciple, and sought out what Jesus promised them (the Holy Spirit).
Even in times when it would have been oh so easy to just focus on what exactly just happened, they move on with what needs to be done. I find myself getting distracted all the time from things I should be doing. I can’t even write a blog post without opening Facebook about 10 times, even though absolutely nothing changed from the last time I was on. The disciples instead take steps forward into the next stages of Christianity.
The point being that when we focus on God and direct our lives according to that, we end up doing a lot better. Centring life around Jesus isn’t exactly easy, but it is wholly possible. We have to continue to take steps forward instead of hanging on for dear life where we are right now.
Jesus is a pretty cool dude. I mean, he’s God’s son and all, but he displays so many emotions and traits that I just find pretty fantastic. First off, he has a great way with words (words are dear to my heart). So much so, he that the Sadducees just stop asking questions. I like to pretend that I’m good with words, but Jesus is much better.
He’s also patient. By this point in time, I would probably be yelling at the crowds “PAY TAXES TO CAESAR, GIVE YOUR LIFE TO CHRIST. DON’T YOU GUYS GET ANYTHING?” or something like that. But Jesus continues to have patience and explain things. He tells stories to let them glean the important bits and learn themselves, and he instructs them.
He is forgiving and loving. He gives Zacchaeus a chance when no one else would. I don’t know that I have that much forgiveness. But Jesus did. He extended a loving hand, and it resulted in pretty cool things.
He weeps. He cares enough for Jerusalem’s lost future that he weeps. I like that my God weeps. He feels sorrow. I think that means it’s ok that I feel sad sometimes too, as long as I continue to move forward in the light.
Overall, Jesus was a pretty cool dude. So what does that mean for me? Well for starters, I don’t have to be ashamed of him (which would in turn mean I stand UP for him in life). I also know that he is worthy of the life I have. He deserves more than I can give, but he is oh so worthy of everything I am, was, and will be.
You know, I don’t think that I really want to have the faith of a mustard seed that will move trees or mountains. I’m not really sure that I want that.
These chapters have numerous instances of people who knew how undeserving they were, and they found favour in Jesus’ sight. I think that instead of having faith to be able to move a tree, I would like to know myself enough that I can pray the prayer of the tax collector sincerely, and accept the gift given. I think I would rather have the faith of the leper who was cleansed and then came back to thank Jesus. I would rather have faith that Jesus could heal me, and then praise him in his goodness for doing so.
Why? Whenever I read passages like that, I feel like I’m inadequate. But I also sometimes feel like it makes faith a competition. I think of children on a school field: “I have enough faith to move a rock from here to here.” “Well I have enough faith to uproot a tree!” “Oh yea? Well guess what! I can move a mountain if I want to!” and so on. The power that comes with faith doesn’t appeal to me right now. What appeals to me is knowing God, drawing closer to him, and learning more about who he is. Basking in his presence and just having faith that he is working in and through me. And then being able to worship him thus.
I think that if we had that kind of faith – the kind that changed who we were – we wouldn’t worry about moving mountains or mulberry trees. Instead, we would be focused on living our lives in harmony with what God has planned for us.