|"We are the work of God's hand!"|
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.
Philippians Chapter 3
1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe.
As I understand it, the Apostle Paul dictated letters from prison and had someone else write on pottery and send them to Churches. On one of his letters he wrote how large the letters were in his own handwriting. Timothy and others must've helped him do the lettering. What's really cool about using pottery is archaeologists found them and in God's vast wisdom and knowledge we have the Bible today. I believe Paul is saying the pottery is safe for people because the Romans were stalking about trying to kill Christians. There was also a branch of Christians who were insisting circumcision was required to be a Christian. Not true. It's practiced in America for health reasons in small babies. Which to me shows yet again how God's laws are always practical and healthy. But Paul is adamant that circumcision is not required to become a Christian just faith.
2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, 4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
I believe mutilation is circumcision. It's good to be a girl! Yikes!
Here's the story of how Paul came to know Jesus:
1 Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.As I read this I am so grateful for God's forgiveness and His ability to change our lives!
3 As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “ Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”
5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?”
Then the Lord said, “ I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads."
(Acts 9:1-5 NKJV)
7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Paul was quite a man. He was a highly educated Jew taught by the leading teacher, "Gamaliel." Actually he was both Roman and Jew receiving dual citizenship. This was very uncommon. He must've come from a wealthy family. Personally, I don't think Paul has any reason to believe he won't rise to be with Jesus in the sky by rapture. Verse 11 tells me he is still humble. To think 1,975 years later we are still inspired by his writings. Thanks be to God. He always picks the right folks to share His message.
12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Even from prison with poor vision he pushes himself on to be ready when Jesus comes for him. Many of us need the reassurance that the past is behind us. We must trust in God's forgiveness, Jesus' sacrifice. Fear and guilt are terrible walls that can stop us in our tracks. I like to memorize Bible verses personally. This has always been a favorite of mine for so many circumstances: leading business meetings, painting, health problems and marriage. I recite it when I need some extra faith. These verses stack up in our hearts and bring strength and peace. I challenge anyone to look at the little Bible chapters and find gems like this one:
17 The Lord your God in your midst,Please share verses in comments so we can all see what you find.
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.
(Zephaniah 3:16-17 NKJV)
15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. 16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.
This is another reminder to listen to others and not be so proud we're a clashing gong or a clanging cymbal. I love these words from the Apostle Paul.
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.Hate it when I accidentally say something unkind. It feels terrible doesn't it? So glad God forgives.
(1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NKJV)
17 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. 18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. 20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.
One day we'll sit at a table with the Apostle Paul. I hope he will tell us stories. Maybe he'll join me for some painting at the River of Life.
(Philippians 3:1-21 NKJV)
Love this song- Matt Maher, "Because He lives (link)"