Category Archives: Strength

Consider Paul

Where are you today, as you “walk the walk” and “talk the talk” and act accordingly…living the life of one who has given themselves to The Lord?

Where are your thoughts while you take heed to the Holy Ghost…following His guidance….playing out the role decided for you by The Lord….which was determined before the world was even created?

Do you feel physically alone as you study the scriptures….doing the bidding of God as you observe your friends, family, “church” affiliates dropping like flies in their haste to get away from you? (Often with hateful words accompanying their departure from your life…)

Are you living in an area where there is not one Christian with whom you can meet face to face…maybe understanding how Elijah felt when sitting in his cave, fearing that he was the only one left on earth who trusted in God? **1Kings 19**

Consider our Apostle, Paul. Think about his life after the fateful moment on the road to Damascus, when he ….saw The Light. Up close and personal.

He was known as Saul, and was a masterful, zealous, driven prosecutor of the Christians, as well as a hater of Christ Jesus. He was well supported by the Sanhedrin, well funded in his activities, well thought of for his mental capabilities because his education was received at the feet of the best Rabbi known at that time…he was honored for his dedication to his goal of wiping out the Christians and caused many to perish in that he testified against them. He held the coats of those who stoned Phillip to death. He was a man who was moving ahead in the world of Jewish Orthodoxy…a mover and a shaker. A driven man.

Then, he met the living Savior whom he had been persecuting with such a passion. Who asked him point blank just “why” was he doing this? Saul responded by finally recognizing Him and calling him “my Lord”….his life as he knew it was gone. His name as he knew it was gone.

He was now Paul. His powerful friends as he knew them…were gone, and were now his avowed enemies, once he began preaching the gospel to anyone who would listen.

They tried to kill him. They no longer trusted him. The Christian flock did not trust him….after all, he had been their sworn enemy. The Christian leaders did not know him, for he did not go to them in order to learn about his new Master. He instead, went off into the desert wilderness for three years where he was personally taught by The Lord Himself. Not only learning…but “un-learning” what he thought he knew about the bible. (Am wondering if his tale of visiting the third heaven **2 Corinthians 12** doesn’t describe that time, or part of that three year period….when he absorbed the truth…studying The Word….with The Word, who is Jesus Christ.) ¬†**John 1:1**

Paul was set apart. He was anointed. He had been selected for his “job” before the foundation of the earth. He received the gospel message after he left Judaism. Of all the Apostles, his title was given him AFTER Jesus’ death and resurrection. Where there were 12 original Apostles reaching out to the Jews…working together and comparing notes, so to speak….Paul was alone as he reached out to the heathen. To us. To those who were far away from God, and to whom God was reaching out through Paul. (We did not find Him…He found us.)

Consider his afflictions. Having to watch over his shoulder in order to avoid the latest attempt on his life. (Often orchestrated by his fellow Jews, who followed him everywhere in order to stir up the people and have them turn on him.)
“Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Besides those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?” **2 Corinthians 11**

He was stoned and carried out of the city, considered dead. He was flayed and beaten often. He was without food; without water, without rest. He was in “the deep” for a night and a day. His “flesh had no rest” being troubled on all sides …”without were fightings, within were fears.” **2 Corinthians 7:5**

This man Paul was alone when he was appointed as our Apostle. Our guide in this age. The man who wrote a Spirit -breathed manual for us in his Epistles…often in prison, shackled to a guard….yet never giving up no matter how isolated and separated from any other believer he was. (How many of those guards also become part of the Church as they spent their days, chained to the Apostle…hearing his every word. Four different men each day…)

He teaches us that The Lord is always with us. To never let our hope slip away. To study and be wise with God’s wisdom as we learn and grow and fit into the place in which we are destined to function along with every single other member of the August Body…whose Head is the Living Son of God; our Saviour…Christ Jesus.

Just as was Paul….we too, are neither here nor there. Strangers in a strange land; already positioned spiritually in our home above. Bound to earth by our mortal bodies. Supernaturally surviving in an alien and often hostile place.

Consider Paul. His circumstances, endured with thanksgiving and joy as he so zealously carried out God’s plan for his life. We are commanded to follow Paul’s example, even as he himself followed Christ. It is not merely a suggestion, for we will be judged at the Bema seat by how well we followed our command. How well we read our manual, as set down in Paul’s inspired Epistles. God’s words by way of the Holy Spirit, through Paul’s pen.

Know that you…that we….are never alone. Every face surrounding us may be against us, but The Lord is with us. Of whom should we be afraid? We must exhort each other. Provide support for each other. Our fellows in Christ might never be seen by us until the day we are called up. They may be miles away from us. Reached by email and prayers and invisible to us, yet ¬†joined together because we have the same calling. From the same Father.

Keep the faith. Keep the inner joy and love for one another. Keep studying and growing as you become more like our Savior every day. Never alone…already a part of the real church. “The Church, the Body of Christ.” The one that isn’t visible. The one mandated before the world was created. The one that you and I were singled out to be part of in HIM. (Through no merit of our own.)

Stand firm. Rest in His strength and the hope of His soon arrival for us in the clouds. Our armor is defensive armor. To protect us as we battle the spiritual fight…standing in place. Holding fast. No retreating. The Word….is our strength and our singular offense when the adversary strikes. Our…weapon of choice. Sharpened by the Holy Spirit. Honed by The Lord Himself, who is waiting for the “all clear” from His Father…the moment when He steps into the clouds and claims His own.

Us.

(When the hope of our salvation is realized…I wonder if we will hear our names called out, or if we will hear just…”Come up here!”)

Either way, am waiting, eager and ready for the big fly-up. Hope that you are too; I think we will know each other, just as we will know Him…for we will see Him as He is.

Maranatha…

Louise

“Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evildoer, even unto bonds; but the Word of God is not bound. Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sake ; that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” **2 Timothy 9, 10**

 

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Instructions

From who do we receive our knowledge about how The Lord wishes to be reached in this Age of Grace? Do we care? Are we concerned?

In the Old Testament, there were extremely strict laws about how one was to worship in the Temple. Those laws were disclosed to the prophets; the leaders of the Jews, to Moses….with those who chose to disobey the rules immediately being put to death by God Himself.

Today, our bodies are the Temple of God. The old Temple has been destroyed, as it was prophesied.

And ..there is a way that He wants us to approach Him, just as He had guidelines for those in the past.

The rules are not set out in the same manner…but through a chosen minister set apart for us today.

An example given us so that we do not err as we follow His path… while our bodies are here on earth. The example is… of Paul’s life, while he followed Christ.

(The religion I followed, until “seeing the light”…taught me to “try” and walk as Jesus did.
I cannot walk as Jesus did…no matter how hard I work at it, for Jesus was an Orthodox Jewish Man-God while here on earth. He was sent to Israel. He followed the Law, as His Father told Him to do. Yet my religion overlooked this important fact, and I blindly tried to follow the instruction…which leads to deep sorrow, failure, guilt, constantly seeking forgiveness….all the things that Christ Jesus died on the cross for….as He gives this gift of grace to us Gentiles….only AFTER Israel spurned Him…rejected Him….crucified Him….not recognizing their Savior at His manifestation. We have salvation…the moment we believe. Belief plus nothing. We have been given everything we need. God lives within us! How many others have been in, are in… this same predicament each and every day? Not recognizing these basic truths?)

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John relate His story while He was on earth. While He was reaching out to His chosen people, Israel. While He was offering them the kingdom, if only they would know who He was.

They do not teach us about The Secret…The Mystery…that Gentiles would be brought into the Royal Family. They did not know about it. (This plan was kept secret by God through the ages….and finally revealed in ONE Apostle. Paul. Who describes himself as the biggest sinner who ever lived.)

We cannot follow their instruction. Gentiles…are not…Orthodox Jews.

And so we see Paul.

One man.
(Israel benefited from having not only Christ Jesus in person, but also the 12 Apostles.)

After Jesus’ death and resurrection…God anointed one man to go to the Gentiles. To ALL men, and preach the Good News of His Gospel. (Never forget that the original 12 were forbidden to go to anyone BUT Israel.)

The Apostle Paul.

In Acts 22:14-15, Paul is chosen by God to “know His will.” He was chosen to “see the Just One.” (Thus satisfying the decree that an Apostle MUST have actually seen Jesus Christ.

Paul…is chosen “to hear the voice of His mouth.” (Imagination fails,when contemplating the three years that Paul spent in the desert…unlearning all he knew of Jewish tradition and religion…learning the precepts of The One that he previously denied!

He learned the Gospel from the very Mouth of God.

And then…he was appointed “to be a witness unto ALL men of what you have seen and heard.”

His former religious zeal…was transformed into a passion for Christ Jesus, about whom he immediately stepped out and preached. (Through “the simplicity that is in Christ.”)

Paul was told then to “depart for I will send thee far hence into the Gentiles.”

How very plain. Yet, how complicated man makes this gospel.

(This writer never, never discussed religion. Perhaps minimally, the scriptures.
Yet, after a series of complex surgeries…I awoke in recovery and could only say to every person who entered my space..”did you know that the Apostle Paul is our apostle in this Age of Grace?”
Can you imagine the looks I received? The reactions noted? I could not stop saying these words. Some docs, some nurses agreed and said so. Several nurses took their breaks sitting with me, their bibles in their hands. They carried their bibles to work with them! Who would have known!

Others …ran for the hills. A person came in from the chapel services, and told me that “it is only your opinion” about Paul. This, in self righteous tones…advising me to enroll in a bible study course at the University so that I could learn the truth.
Good advice for one in very poor condition, lying in a hospital bed…trying to recover from major surgery…and who asked for a chaplain. I pray that she will have a change of heart…)

But from that day onward, this aging woman is directed to continue saying those words. Only the Holy Spirit could cause this action, for it comes from..my very core.

We are not bound by those strict laws of the past. Our inner love for our neighbor…has supplanted external fences and boundaries, for we are bound by love. Charity. This love covers the Law. So says Jesus.

Read the Epistles… asking for your/our in-dwelling Holy Spirit’s wisdom and lead. (We are in this together.)

Prepare to “delete” many past understandings from your memory bank.

Let the Apostle Paul show you how to walk…how to follow, even as he “follows Christ Jesus.”

We are commanded to do so.

And will be judged at the Bema Seat…not for our sins, for they have been/are/will be forgiven…but for our acts on earth.

Were they carried out for God’s glory? Or…for our own prestige and rewards on earth?

Prepare yourself. There will be some who receive rewards, and others who watch their mis-directed deeds disappear, in the flames of judgement. When the truth of our actions is exposed for what it was.

We all fall short of His Glory. But there is still time to follow the example that God gives us, through Paul.

Use that time wisely.

Maranatha…
Louise Hudson

Vipers in the Woodpile

image “And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand.” Acts 28:3 Just as we go through our daily lives….stoking the fires that keep us warm, tending to daily tasks, fueling the strength needed in order to meet the demands of each day….out comes the viper to strike us when we are the most vulnerable. Reaching out, unthinkingly, to perform an act that provides comfort for us and for those in our care…we get bitten.

What has “bitten” you, fellow in Christ? Is it Cancer? Or perhaps an even more debilitating illness? (Yes, there are diagnoses that are more catastrophic than Cancer. But they are not as well known, and so, not in public awareness.)

Have you been struck with the loss of a job? The loss of a loved one? (The loss of a loved one does not have to be through death…many of us have watched our families leave us because of our belief in the Living God.)

The list goes on and on, for the viper takes many forms. It afflicts us. It assails us. It attacks our already decaying physical bodies. It sinks it’s teeth into our thinking, and injects the poison which produces evil thoughts…when our guard is down. (Are you “addicted?” No…you are…”afflicted!”)

2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. 4:8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 4:9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 4:10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

Only by leaning fully upon the strong arm of our Lord can we manifest the strength to “shake it off” just like Paul did…(as an aside…this is yet another euphemism that comes from the scriptures!) … as we read about this telling example written down for us.

By remaining steadfast (in Paul’s case; continuing to tend to the fire, in the midst of the rain, the cold, being a prisoner, enduring a ship-wreck, being surrounded by “barbarians” ) as he resolutely feeds the fire despite the “discomfort” of being….”snake-bit” he shows us that we too, can serve as a witness to those who surround us.

Act 28:4 And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. 28:5 And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm.

He went on to heal many who were ill on that Island of Malta as he spread the good news of The Gospel…fulfilling God’s purpose for him in those less-than-ideal circumstances.

There is never….a perfect scenario for carrying out the plan which is in place for those of us who have elected to move closer to our Lord and Savior. As our bodies become more debilitated, so do our spirits grow stronger in Him. They are in the process of becoming “like Him” as we walk….The Walk.

The world sees our illnesses as “punishment” but we who are in Christ know…that the obvious visible physical decay is but the sign that our Potter is busy with molding a stronger, invisible part of us which will endure forever…when we see our heritage come to fruition in living eternally with The Living God. His purpose is being carried out while our bodies diminish…our example, like that of Paul…providing the unbelieving world with a glimpse of the Very God Who lives within us.

Never give up.

Yield..only to Him.

Keep your focus on Christ Jesus. Let His arms carry you. He is carrying all of us with awesome power that will result in… His glory! And that, dear friend…is what we were originally made for, way back in the Garden of Eden.

Maranatha….

Louise
(This is written by a woman who has experienced the “Big C” firsthand; and who cared for her husband, in their home…until he was claimed by the ravages of the same disease. Brave…she is not. Every little strength comes from above…straight from The Source…of all life.)