Tag Archives: Paul

Parting Words From The WORD . . . Handling The WORD

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

 

As writers and speakers, it is our responsibility to learn, to prepare, and to be the best we can at whatever God has called us to be. At a time when good words are often twisted by wolves, we need to be sure that what we say is what He means.

Do we use verses out of context in order to prove a point?

Do we use good truths to rationalize poor choices?

This week’s verse is a good reminder that as we’re studying how to handle the writing of words, it is even more imperative that we learn how to correctly handle The WORD.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

 I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

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Parting Words From The WORD…Are We Capable of a Good Work?

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

We walk a fine line in this me, me, me world of self esteem. Yes, we must have confidence in who we are and what we’re able to do. After receiving Christ as our Savior, we must not wallow in the guilt of the past, but hold onto the value He placed on us through His death on the cross.

But at the same time, we often see self-absorption and self-proclamation, even among Christians. Where is the line?

After all, in Philippians, Paul tells Timothy (and us) that we are capable of a “good work.” Are we?

In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:4-6

The key is this: Who we are depending on for that good work? After all, we’re gifted to do certain things. Is that grounds for pride?

I do believe we can have confidence as Christian creatives. But unlike the world who focuses on the power of self, we have a powerful Cornerstone…and it isn’t us.

Our confidence doesn’t come through our abilities to complete our calling. It comes through our recognizing Who has supplied what we need to complete it.

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

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Parting Words From The WORD…What Does My Conduct Say?

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Several years ago, God convicted me of some things that, to this day, I must continually check my spirit about. I’m not talking about those things that are overtly apparent to the world, but those secret things that others aren’t always aware of. If I’m not walking in the Spirit and listening to His voice, those secret sins can sneak in before I know it.

As a Christian, it’s easy to guard my mouth against foul language…because that’s not something embedded into my spirit. I don’t worry that I’ll rob a bank…because that’s just not something I’m likely to do. I’m not too concerned that I’ll abuse a kid or commit murder or steal my neighbor’s car.

No, the things I have to monitor in life are my thoughts and attitude. Do I hear an amen?

Let’s face it, life isn’t fair, and if I’m not careful, my fleshly woman can stand up and take over, to the point I want everyone to know just how unfair things are.

  • She’s best friends with the judge. No wonder she got that award.
  • Look at them talking. I bet they’re saying bad things about me.
  • Why didn’t I get an invitation to that party?
  • Doesn’t he realize all the stuff I do for him?

Yep, I stand here before you, confessing that, left to my own devices, I can be petty and picky and find the worse in everything. Don’t believe me? Just ask those closest to me, those who have to put up with my insecurities and frailties.

But praise God, there’s hope. Praise God I’m NOT left to my own devices. Praise God , because of the Holy Spirit, I’m NOT facing these conflicts alone.

In Philippians, Paul is talking to the church body about a lot of things, much of it centered around the issues of trials, suffering, and the unfairness of life. In Philippians 1, he says:

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Philippians 1:27a

  • Overlooked by the judging committee? Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.
  • Left out of conversation and suspecting you’re the subject? Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.
  • Left out of the party? Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.
  • Feeling unappreciated? Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.

Whatever happens, I pray I’ll conduct myself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ…because He is the source of my worth.

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

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Parting Words From The WORD…Need Joy, Peace, and Hope?

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

 

Joy, peace, and hope. Three words that can sometimes feel elusive and unattainable. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

I love reading Paul’s letter to the church at Rome. In Romans, he taught about salvation, grace, righteousness, and how to relate to one another as Christians. I’ve read through and studied this book many times through the years. But today, as I was reading in Romans, I read this verse and saw some things I’d never noticed before.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 (NIV)

Here are the new insights I found today:

  1. Paul’s not asking that we’d simply be filled with joy and peace, but that we’d be filled with ALL joy and peace. Every bit of it.
  2. When and how do we get all this joy and peace? As we’re trusting in Him. Not when we’re working hard enough or giving enough money or doing enough for others, but AS we trust in Him.
  3. And when we trust in Him, we not only get ALL joy and peace, but we also get so much hope that it’s overflowing!
  4. That hope comes by the power of the Holy Spirit. Again, not because of any works we’ve done, but only because we’re given it by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Joy and peace…all. Hope…overflowing.

And I receive them AS…not before or after or when, but as…I trust in Him.

I’m trusting Him today for joy, peace, and hope in your life and mine.

Vonda

 

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Parting Words From The WORD…What is Your God-Given Goal for 2015?

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

As we begin 2015 and consider what God would have us do in the next twelve months, let’s turn to God’s Word for His direction.

My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:2-3

Paul wrote his heart’s desire 2000 years ago, but his goal then should be our goal today. What will I–what will you–do to help others know Christ and be encouraged and united in love?

As always, but especially as we begin this new year’s journey together, I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts.

Vonda

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Parting Words From The WORD…Our Words or His Power?

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

The message of Jesus is simple–so simple that even a child can understand. And yet, we so often wrestle with finding words that will elevate us in the eyes of our listeners.

Of course, I’m not saying we shouldn’t speak clearly and visually, but we certainly don’t need to make the Gospel and our words to describe it more complicated than it is.

Jesus is God’s Son.
We are sinners.
We can’t be good enough to get to heaven on our own.

We need a Savior.
That Savior is Jesus.

He is the sacrifice for our sin.
He took the punishment we deserve.
We believe it.
We accept the gift He offers.
And we are clean.
End of story.

Simple words, clearly spoken, and powerfully demonstrated, just as Paul described.

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
1 Corinthians 2:4-5

May we always rest in the power of His words.

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

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Parting Words From The WORD…

Photo courtesy of ChristianPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of ChristianPhotos.net

This time of year it’s likely that you’ve either already set goals or are considering which goals you should set. The Bible is clear that we should look ahead, make plans, work hard, and then trust His control over our lives in our goal-setting.

And although goals for earthly success are certainly reasonable and acceptable, there’s more to goal-setting than simply pursuing a bigger business, more writing opportunities, and seeing our names on the best-seller list.

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Parting Words From The WORD…

Photo courtesy of ChristianPhotos.net

I currently have several friends who have stopped treatment for serious illness and are now facing one of two truths: they will either experience a miraculous healing from God, or if not, they’ll soon face Him in eternity.

That–and the fact that I’m 62 and my dad died at 63–has caused me to think about my legacy. After all, whether I die next week, next year, or within the next 40 years, at some point it’s assured that I will die and leave this earth.

Please know I’m not being morbid at all. As one who loves the Lord and knows what eternity holds for me, I can actually look forward to being with Him. But I’m simply wondering what I’ll leave when I leave…and I’m not talking about stuff.

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Parting Words From The WORD…

Photo courtesy of ChristianPhotos.net

 

Peace.

We want it. We need it. But often, we don’t have it.

Why not?

Conflict in families, conflict at work, conflict in our churches and our country…Living with all these conflicts stand in the way of peace.

So how do we overcome them? Paul gave his advice as he closed his second letter to the church at Corinth.

Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11

In my Vonda paraphrase, I believe Paul is saying:

  • Aim for perfection in all we do as we seek to represent Christ.
  • Listen to Paul’s appeal to the church live a life that honors the Lord, even in the midst of suffering.
  • Be in unity and of one mind in Christ.
  • And be determined, committed to live in peace with one another.

If we follow Paul’s instruction, he reminds us–as he often did in his letters–that the God of love and peace will be with us.

Peace. It’s attainable, regardless of the conflict, regardless of the circumstances. It’s attainable because our God is abundant in peace and wants to share it with us.

Our peace is found only in Him.

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

(Photo courtesy of ChristianPhotos.net)

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Parting Words From The WORD…

Photo courtesy of ChristianPhotos.net

I recently had another heart-to-heart conversation sharing the plan of salvation with a family member. No matter how many different ways I tried to explain it, my lost relative couldn’t accept the basic tenant–the “A” in the ABCs–of salvation:

Admit.

Admit that you’re a sinner. Admit that you need a savior.

My family member repeatedly told me how good he was. He bragged that he talked to “the man upstairs” and God were “tight.”

The concept of guilt was beyond him. He’s good, so he sees no need for a savior.

And yet the Apostle Paul, writer of much of the New Testament, the man who experienced a personal encounter with God on the road to Damascus, the missionary who fulfilled the Great Commission to go and teach…THAT Paul said:

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst. 1 Timothy 1:15 (NIV)

But praise God, the message of salvation doesn’t end there. Paul also penned these words, given to him by the Holy Spirit:

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2 (NIV)

Yes, the words that condemn us in 1 Timothy 1:15 are the very words that free us in Romans 8:1-2: The acknowledgement that we are sinners, sinners who need a Savior in order to be set free from the law of sin and death.

And it’s free to you and me.

Yes, it’s an amazing grace.

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

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