Posts Tagged ‘Chains’


Colossians 4:2-6, 18
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone… I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.

Back in ’77, my Granddad (Dad’s) passed away, then in April ’99, my father-in-law passed away (2 days after my son’s birth) and then in November 2003, I lost my Dad (The day before his 55th birthday) and in a couple months, my Mom’s Dad passed away too. This left me without a physical Dad to look up to and that was when my dependance on God the Father became total. This year, father’s day was the day I remembered each of my Dads and most importantly, the one Dad I will never lose who means the world to me and who loves me so much that He gave up what was most special to Him to bring me closer to Him. Today’s passage does not remind us of father’s day and you must wonder why I mentioned my Dads in this post?

In the life of Jesus and the apostles, the one thing that marked them was their reliance on God being their father. Everything they did was after praying to God the Father for His wisdom, leading, correction, anointing, or direction. Paul reminds us as followers of Christ that we are to be devoted to prayer and live a life evidencing the grace that saved us. The start and sustenance of our faith is God the Father who made all things possible so that we might be created and brought into communion with Him through the shedding of His son’s blood for our unrighteousness. Without our Father in Heaven and His son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in our lives, we would not exist and our lives would be meaningless. I pray that today each of us will remember our Father in Heaven and celebrate Him as we celebrate the lives of our Dads. I pray for us Dads that we will pray for God’s leading in our lives to be Fathers like He is and that we will live to serve our families as Christ lived to serve His church, us.

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy

Psalm 103:13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him

 

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Philippians 1:12-14, 19-21
Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly… for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

At our Bible study last Sunday, we learnt about the issue of complaining. The Israelites complained about how they missed their cucumbers and leeks back in Egypt and so God gave them so much manna and quail that they were repulsed by it. I fear that as a human, I will always be a complainer, a moaner and when asked what I want, I will always ask for things I desire. When we seek God, we are always asking and demanding and the focus is always ‘I’. Why is Paul’s motivation so different from ours and are we expected to be as insane as he was for Christ?

Paul talks about suffering as a blessing as did Jesus. Without suffering Jesus would not accomplish the greatest sacrifice of all and so also without suffering we cannot surpass the greatest challenge in our lives, US. We are instinctively selfish and care only about ourselves and our wants/needs/desires. However, when we are saved by the grace of God, we no longer belong to ourselves but to Him who saved us from death and destruction. We owe our lives to Him. In order for us to become like Him, we need to shed ourselves and that can only be achieved through total submission to Jesus Christ. That submission will cost us dearly but the reward is eternal. Are you in it for the here and now or are you in it for eternity? We cannot have the best of both worlds because Jesus reminds us that we cannot serve 2 gods at one time.

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me


Acts 26:24-25, 28-29
At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.” “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable… Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?” Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”

As Paul presented his own defense to King Agrippa, we see once again how Paul continues to speak the truth in gentle love. However, King Agrippa is quick to realize that Paul is not just speaking in his own defense but that he is giving his listeners reason to believe in his God. In his eyes, Agrippa wondered if Paul has lost his mind in his new realization and therefore acted like a driven lunatic in sharing this new found truth. What was the point of all this we might wonder?

When I look back at the many years Paul was on trial, the one trend that is clear is how God used Paul to share the good news with people who otherwise would never care to give a ear to such a message. Paul’s ministry was focussed on serving Christ to the Gentiles in far away lands and the same man was now standing trial before governors, rulers and people in authority in Caesarea who may never have had the opportunity to be transformed by the truth of Jesus. I am reminded again today that we are called to wear Christ on our person every moment because God will use us to shine his light and love to the lost.

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy


Acts 16:25-31
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

As we continue to journey with the disciples in their travels with the gospel from Jerusalem now to Turkey, we see the Holy Spirit working in powerful ways in the lives of people of different tribes and tongues. No longer is gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ restricted to Jews but also to the rest of the world. In today’s passage, there is a twist. The last time Paul was jailed, an angel of God whisked him away to safety but this time around, he and Silas did not move from their cell even though the jail doors were flung open by the earthquake. What caused them to stay back and why would the Lord use such trying circumstances in their lives to affect the jailer and his family’s life?

Note that Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God. Even though they were just stripped and beaten, their response was not moaning to God but praising God, an act of total foolishness or an act of faith because they could see beyond the physical beating. The jailer’s heart was hardened due to his job where he dealt with the worst of men. God chose to reach him in the place where he was least likely to believe and only because God loved him. Paul and Silas knew their lives were not their own anymore because they had offered it to God for his glory. What pain we face in life is nothing in comparison to the pain God went through when he sacrificed his own son Jesus Christ to save us from sin and an eternity with satan. Lets stop looking at the difficulties in our lives and crying about it, instead, lets offer praise to God for what he can achieve when we are broken for his light to shine through us.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

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