Tag Archives: Paul

Alive in the Living Room

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:11

It’s dead but it’s in the living room.

It was staring at me yet it’s dead – an elk head. With eyes wide open and horns outstretched, the animal’s neck occupies the living room where I’m talking about Romans 6:11, “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

History tells us this elk was alive, then it was dead, then it looks like it’s alive but it is really dead. Thanks to the work of a seasoned taxidermist. So when it was alive, it went to being dead and stayed dead though it looks like alive.

Paul points to this taxidermy lesson –> dead to sin, alive in Christ.

You were dead and into sin, but when Jesus gave his life and died on the cross for you, you receive life and became dead to sin. Like the elk, you become dead…to sin. Unlike this elk, you don’t stay in death and you don’t look like alive, you are really alive…in Christ.

So each time you stare at that mirror, know that you are dead – to sin. Remember that you are alive – in Christ.

You are alive in the living room.

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Changed

And I was unknown personally to the churches of Judea that are in Christ; they only kept hearing that “the one who once was persecuting us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” So they glorified God because of me. Galatians 1:22-24

They glorified God because of me.

Read that again, “They glorified God because of me.”

When I first read these verses, it seems to me that people praised God because of the eloquence and clarity of preaching Paul was delivering each time he stood up. Isn’t this familiar among us? We get in trance when we hear a gifted speaker. When the preacher’s words thunders into our hearts we thank God. We exalt God’s name when we witness how God bestows his grace for a man or a woman to deliver his message in such a powerful way. For his preachers, gifted pastors, inspiring speakers, we have glorified God. They glorified God because of Max Lucado. They glorified God because of Joel Osteen. They glorified God because of Bo Sanchez and so on. And this is not wrong.

But this is not the reason why Paul blurted, “They glorified God because of me.”

Look at the people’s description of him, “the one who once was persecuting us is now preaching the faith he once destroyed.” There’s still an element of Paul’s preaching. Yet the core significance of this group of words is that there was a change in Paul’s life. Something in him changed…the one who was persecuting us is now preaching the faith he once destroyed…They glorified God not because of his preaching, but because Paul was changed.  There was an archetype directional shift in him. 180 degrees.

So in turn, Paul was writing to the Galatians to focus on the important part of preaching – being changed for God. No gift of preaching, no authority of speaking or any other skill for ministry will ever overshadow the power of a life changed by God.

A changed life gives us a reason to glorify God.

Your changed life gives people a reason to glorify God.

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More Than Words

For our gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the holy Spirit and (with) much conviction. 1 Thessalonians 1:5

Words are all around. You can read intelligent words from bookstores. Let’s not go far away, from your bookshelves. Words which inform and give you new insights.

Words are passed around. Find your cellphone and you’ll find enlightening messages from a friend.

Words are liked around. You click like when your Facebook friend cites those wonderful words of a great author.

You realize the inspiration coming from those words may live by, but not for long. They may stay with you for a day, if better, for a week or month. Are you ready for this test? Do you remember the words of your friend’s status which you liked on his Facebook wall? Have the words from that famous author faded from your heart?

The Gospel is not like this.

It comes to us, and when it comes to us, it comes to us more than words. It comes in the power of God’s Spirit. With conviction, it is relayed to us. God’s words are not mere words alone. His words do not come to us as words alone. God’s words are him. Has power. Has his holy Spirit. Has conviction.  We hear him and we are never the same, not only for a day, not only for a week or for a month. We are never the same for our lifetime and beyond.

His words are more than words.

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Funding God

My God will fully supply whatever you need, in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

She changes the station.

This is what a friend does when the listener funded Christian radio station starts their fund drive on the air. For about a good two weeks, the deejays are calling out for listeners to pledge their financial support to uphold the radio operations for the coming six months. They employ a lot of strategies just for listeners to make the call or go to their website to get financial help. So, instead of all Christian pop songs playing, you hear the deejays how much is still needed to cover local stations throughout the United States.

I understand her. It’s sometimes annoying to hear someone asking persistently for something. Especially if you want music but they ask for money. These are two different things, right?

How blessed are we! God doesn’t change stations when he hear our pleas and intercessions. Paul says, “My God will fully supply whatever you need, in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” God provides for our needs. Daily or long term resources in order for us to live for his glory, for his kingdom, God supplies. Each time you have a fund drive for your life to prosper or for your ministry to go on, he hears you. He does not get tired of your voice calling out for him to give, for him to provide. You don’t need to strategics for him to give, as long as you need it, he will supply it.  Your prayers for your needs and others needs are pure music to his hears. No matter what you need, in accord with his riches and glory in Christ, you will receive it.

Whatever you need, he gives. Whenever you need it, he meets. Wherever you need it, he shows up. You will not get short. You will not lack in anything. God will supply fully and complete.

He is our funding God.

 

 

 

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Fhey It Forward

But Ananias replied, “Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man, what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to imprison all who call upon your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and Israelites, and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name.” So Ananias went and entered the house. Acts 9:13-17a

Being in a community of single professionals, leadership transition was an important matter since the lives of the members are in transition. They get married. They move from one job to another. The are transferred from one branch of their company to another. Most of the time, its the time for the current leader to step down so someone may take his or her place.

So many who are in position or who are responsible in collaborating to choose the next leader among a pool act like Ananiases. They debate the bad sides of the potential leaders. Just like Ananias, they tell about their past not so good experiences with the next would be leaders. They speak of the weaknesses of the people being considered to step up and lead the flock.

You may have undergone this route, Fhey. Brothers and sisters have scrutinized you. Lingkod members may have screened your personality. Leaders may have argued with one another that you maybe the one or not the one. Or you yourself has put yourself through this. You looked at your past sins, why be the branch moderator? You reminded of yourself about your character loopholes, why choose to lead? You are comfortable where you are, so why shake the house? Come to think of it, Paul might have thought this way, why lead the church I used to persecute, why build the church I used to destroy?

Ananias’ realization is this — he is not the one choosing who will be the one but God. This is God’s plan, not Ananias’ and not Paul’s. Ananias responded and Paul responded. God chooses who are the instruments, the instruments make themselves available for God’s work.

The people who chose you to be their moderator did not really choose you. You did not, too. God did. No matter what your past is, he chose you. No matter what your personality is, God chose you. You grew in the community satisfied being on the background but God chose you to take the front line. You are afraid your skills may not be enough but God chose you. You responded to his call and become one with his plan. You make yourself available for his kingdom. God does not look at your skills, he does not evaluate by your preferences, God chose you because he has a plan for you to become his powerful instrument.

Allow the Ananiases to pray for you. Let them lay their hands on you to strengthen you and to remove the scales blocking your vision. Ananias did that to Paul. One of Paul’s strong verse is this, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14. This was Paul’s direction ever since Damascus. Press on. Give your all to the call. Eyes on the goal. Loving lavishly and serving selflessly.

You can do this for God will empower you. Just always remember one thing, Fhey It Forward.


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Born of the Spirit

“The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

A  fisherman, rugged physically and more rugged vocally became the shepherd of God’s church. He had no plans  doing so. He was dependent on the lakes who became dependent on God. He catches fish and stays throughout the night for them before bringing the light to men he was fishing. Never thought he would walk only to fall and be saved by his Lord on the same lake where he sailed all his life. Never thought he would stand up before men speaking as God’s witness. Nobody knew he would become like this. Nobody knew where this comes from, and where it goes.

An adulterer, as she was identified. She was all alone, Jesus came to her rescue. She received mercy, he gave it. She followed him until death. Until at the tomb. She was one of the firsts who saw him risen. A sinner becoming God’s messenger of resurrection. A once hopeless one becoming a vessel of hope. The God whom she thought was a gardener is the same God who planted and nourished the seed of faith for her to live a new life. And she lived it. Nobody knew she would become like this. Nobody knew where this comes from, and where it goes.

A persecutor becomes the persecuted. He is Paul who was Saul. He was looking for the followers not to commune with them but to inflict pain until death. However, God was also looking for him. At once, he looked at his Lord, things changed, his heart changed. Paul’s direction turned around. The destroyer of churches is now a builder churches. The biggest enemy of the faith pushes faith to the faithless. He was beacon even when in prison. Toiled as a tent maker to serve the Maker yet his influence was more powerful than when he was in power persecuting the church. Nobody knew he would become like this. Nobody knew where this comes from, and where it goes.

All were born of the Spirit.

Dreaming of a life like theirs? Wake up and end your dream now. Let the dream become a reality. Jesus opened the door for you, “everyone who is born of the Spirit….” Its not exclusive. The casting is not final. You can be one of the everyone.

Be born of God’s Spirit.

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Witnesses

You are witnesses of these things. Luke 24:48

The witness died.

I read this from a newspaper’s headline. He saw what happened in a murder. He saw who was murdered and who did the murder. When he volunteered to testify plus a couple of days, he was murdered, too. The witness is now dead.

The disciples took this route. Jesus declared they were witnesses. They saw what happened. They saw multitudes healed. They saw thousands satisfied and fed. The saw him walk on earth and on water. They live with him. They ate with him. They saw him dead. They saw him risen. They did not only witness one event, they saw a lot. Jesus emphasized, “…these things.” They lived to be witnesses and suffered to death rather than deny the things they saw, rather than denounced their faith.

Nowadays, some of his witnesses might take the same road. They can be killed because they live as his witnesses. These modern day disciples may take the step to the grave for their stand in their faith. But not all.

Yet all of  his witnesses, like you, are called to die to oneself. Die so others may live. Die from pride. Die from selfishness. Die from compromising. Die from nonchalance. Die from fear of ridicule in declaring his kingship. Die from keeping the light within the confines of comfort. Die from declaring monopoly of God and his grace.

Like the disciples, you have seen a lot. Miracles. Blessings. Healing. Providence. Opened closed doors. Changed lives. His grace available daily. Dare to trek the direction to be his witnesses. Step forward, march on to proclaim what he has done, he is doing and he will do.

Jesus was crucified, died and was buried. He is risen and is alive. You are witnesses of these things. Take the stand.

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