Tag Archives: Apostle Paul

A Deeper Look at “My Father’s house”

This is a short video from EachOneHas.com.  In it, a computer programmer takes a quick, but deep, look at John 14:2.

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Coals burning coals

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m not feeling all that great.  I’ve got insomnia and headaches and blah blah blah, so the thought of not going to a church meeting is really appealing.  Last night Christians on Campus and some christians around the area had a prayer meeting.  I somehow managed to drag my nasty, stinking, dead self to the meeting, and let me tell you – I got revived.  I wasn’t jumping up and down and shouting hallelujah all over the place, but I was warmed up.  It was so good to just be around other people who were enjoying God.

I heard an illustration once that the Christian life is like a bunch of coals.  If you have a pile of coals, they’ll burn each other for hours.  But if you separate one of the coals from the pile, it will cool off pretty quickly.  That’s what happens to me when I separate myself from other Christians.

That experience last night reminded me how precious Christian meetings are.  I know a lot of Christians (some of my family members included) think it’s enough to just have a personal relationship with the Lord without attending Christian gatherings.  A personal relationship with our dear Lord and Savior is extremely important, but that’s not all there is to the Christian life.

John 20:24 says “But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.”

Seems like an odd verse right?  Well, the Bible I’m using has a fantastic footnote for this verse:

“After His resurrection the Lord came to meet with His disciples, beginning from the evening of this first day.  Thus, in the Lord’s resurrection the matter of meeting with the saints is crucial.  Mary the Magdalene met the Lord personally in the morning and obtained the blessing (vv. 16-18), but she still needed to be in the meetings with the saints in the evening to meet the Lord in a corporate way to obtain more and greater blessings (vv. 19-23).  Thomas missed the first meeting that the Lord held with the disciples after His resurrection, and he missed all the blessings as well.  However, he compensated for it by attending the second meeting (vv. 25-28).”

Can you believe that?  Mary had seen the Lord in His resurrection – something no one else was privileged to see.  She went to the tomb early and hung around until she saw Him.  She had one of the most wonderful, personal, and intimate experiences a believer could ever have with the Lord.  She met him face to face after He resurrected from the dead and before He ascended to the Father.  You’d think that would be enough to sustain her in her Christian pursuit for a while, right?  But according to the Lord, it wasn’t.  He told her to go to the brothers and meet with them.

In Hebrews 12:2 the writer (probably Paul) said he would “declare Your name to My brothers; in the midst of the church I will sing hymns of praise to You.”  In 10:25 he goes on by saying “Not abandoning our own assembling together, as the custom with some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more as you see the day drawing near.”

Wow, this was Paul.  In 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 Paul tells us that he was “caught away to the third heaven” and into “Paradise” where he “heard unspeakable words.”  This man, this same man, told us to not abandon our own assembling together.  Even though he saw things that no one living human being had ever seen and heard things that no other living human being had heard, he still made a point to attend Christian gatherings with pitiful and lowly little believers like me.

The same Paul wrote Ephesians 4:16 “Out from whom all the Body, being joined together and being knit together through every joint of the rich supply and through the operation in the measure of each one part, causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.”

Paul not only met with the other believers, he realized that he needed the other believers.  He didn’t go to meetings to fulfill some religious obligation, but he went to get joined and knit with the other members of the Body of Christ for the growth of the Body of Christ.  He even says in 1 Corinthians 12:14-22 that every member of the Body has a different function, and that even the members who appear to be weaker are necessary.  Hallelujah!  Even I’m a necessary part of the Body of Christ!

This is so good!  Don’t miss the meetings!  You receive blessings in the meetings!  You get built up with and encouraged by other Christians in the meetings!

There’s a lot more I could write on this topic (and I feel like this is all kind of scattered thanks to my lack of sleep), but I think I’ll end it here.  Maybe i’ll continue it later.

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Do you realize that Christ is in you?

I am reading through a book called the Life-Study of Colossians, and today I read a  portion on Christ being applicable in our experience that really touched me.

“In 1:27 Paul speaks of ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory.’ Do you realize that Christ is in you? The Christ who is in us is the extensive, immeasurable, unsearchable One. How marvelous that such a Christ dwells in us!”

So many times I forget what it means to say that I am a Christian.  Yes, I have been redeemed (Romans 3:24, Ephesians 1:7) and forgiven of my sins, but I also have also received Christ, who is God, into me.  This is what it means to be born again (John 3:6).

It’s always good to be reminded that I haven’t received some kind of super-human ability to follow rules or maintain an impossibly high moral standard, but I have received THE GOD OF THE UNIVERSE into me.  How cool is that?!?!

Here are some verses telling us that Christ is in us as Christians:

Colossians 1:27 – “To whom God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Romans 8:10 – “But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the spirit is life because of righteousness.”

2 Corinthians 13:5 – “Test yourselves whether you are in the faith; prove yourselves.  Or do you not realize about yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you, unless you are disapproved.”

But how do we know that Jesus Christ is God?

Romans 9:5 – “Whose are the fathers, and out of whom, as regards what is according to flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever.  Amen.”

1 John 5:20 – “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding that we might know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ.  This is the true God and eternal life.

John 20:26-28 – “And after eight days, His disciples were again within, and Thomas was with them.  Jesus came, though the doors were shut, and stood in the midst and said, Peace be to you.  Then He said to Thomas, Bring your finger here and see My hands, and bring your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.  Thomas answered and said to Him, My Lord and my God!

A question I found myself asking is “If I have received Jesus Christ into me as the ‘extensive, immeasurable, and unsearchable One’, how come I don’t experience Him as such an extensive, immeasurable, and unsearchable God?  I don’t know about you, but sometimes it just feels like God is way up in the heavens and I’m way down here on earth and there’s no contact between us.  I’m doing my thing and He’s doing His thing.

Well, I just finished the Life-Study of Joshua and a couple of sentences in that book actually answered my question.  It says “We gain Christ, experience Christ, and enjoy Christ according to what we are.  Therefore, someone who is diligent in pursuing Christ will experience a larger Christ than someone who is lazy in this matter.”

Wow.  That is really exposing.  God wants to be immeasurable to me in my experience, but I limit Him to the point that sometimes I even forget He’s there.  I want to be like Paul in Philippians chapter three who pursued toward the goal for the prize (v. 14) and stretched forward to the things that are before while forgetting the things that are behind (v. 13).  He was a real pattern in being diligent to pursue Christ.

O Lord Jesus!  Make me like Paul!  I want to be one that pursues You!  I don’t want to be lazy anymore!  I want to lay hold on You!  I want to gain You!  I want to know and experience You to the fullest extent!

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The Discipline of the Holy Spirit – Christians on Campus college meeting

This week in the meeting for college students, we talked about the discipline of the Holy Spirit.  Most of the fellowship was based on part of a chapter in the book Knowing Life and the Church by Witness Lee.

When I first read the title of our reading for the night, I was kind of scared.  Wow, discipline.  Really?  I came here tonight to get disciplined?  I should of stayed home.

But we actually had some really sweet fellowship.

Our reading starts off by saying “God’s arrangement, ordination, permission, and move in our environment are the discipline of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit rules over our environment, and He moves and arranges everything to break our person.”

Ouch.  “Break our person.”  That sounds awesome.  Sign me up…not.

Further down the page, however, Romans 8:28 is referenced.  “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  Usually, when I hear this verse, I think “Great.  All things are going to work out for good.  That means I’ll get an A on my test, none of my kids will go crazy today, all will be well.”  But actually, that’s not the context of this verse.  Romans 8 is all about freedom in the Spirit and the Christ who lives in us.  Verse 17 says “And if children, heirs also; on the one hand, heirs of God; on the other, joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him that we may also be glorified with Him.”  The verse following 8:28 says “Because those whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the Firstborn among many brothers.”  So, according to these two verses, the good that is to be worked out in verse 28 is just the gaining of more God so that we can be full-grown sons of God, and even heirs of God.

In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul tells us that he petitioned the Lord three times to remove “a thorn in the flesh” (v. 7).  This was not an actual thorn, but rather something in his environment or even a physical suffering arranged by God.  I don’t know about you, but whenever there’s something in my environment that causes me to suffer, you better believe I’m praying to have it taken away.  And you would think that Paul, someone who wrote 13 books of the New Testament, would surely be able to break through in prayer and miraculously turn a bad situation into a pleasant one.

But what was God’s reply to Paul’s thorn-removal request?  “My grace is sufficient for you” (v. 9).  Can you believe that?  God wouldn’t even take away Paul’s thorn.  PAUL’S.  I mean, wouldn’t God want to take it away so that Paul would be able to do more?  Write more?  Travel more?  Preach more?  How could Paul do all those things if he was suffering?

This is why fellowshipping with others is so wonderful.  The reading pointed out that “Our thorn (whatever it may be – family, work, roommates) will continue to pierce us, trouble us, and bother us.  This is the environment that God has created to cause us to know the Lord’s grace and to experience the Lord’s power.”  I find that the times I pray the most and rely on God the most is when I’m going through a difficult situation.  Usually, when everything is smooth sailing I forget about God and live independently from His grace.  No breaking.  No conforming.  But as soon as something pops up that gives me a hard time, I’m forced to turn to Him once again.

“If we submit ourselves to the Lord and receive this, we will meet the Lord within, and we will be blessed by having life as the power that carries us through and enables us to endure what we could not endure.”  The Lord is so sweet.  Every single person on this earth goes through difficult situations, but one thing I saw last night was that the difference between an unbeliever and a believer.  A believer has the potential to gain God and experience God’s grace and power when he is going through a difficult situation.  We don’t have to do anything!  Hallelujah!  We can just sit back and enjoy God.  We don’t have to be like the unbelievers who struggle through hard times and have to rely on their own limited strength to carry them through.  We have the almighty God who is just waiting for us to open up and call on Him so that He can be everything to us and meet our every need.  This is a real enjoyment in the Christian life.

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