Meekness? Who wants that?


The word meek is not a word that is en vogue today.  Most people don’t know what it means and if they did know what it meant they still wouldn’t be interested in any attempt at being meek.  For the Christian this is an exceptional word and one of the biggest evidences of saving faith we have.  It is so important that Jesus used this in His teaching on the Sermon on the Mount.  It is one of the first qualities that enters into the life of a believer after salvation.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.  – Matthew 5:5

Whatever comes to your mind when you think about meekness is probably not what it actually means and the most important thing to understand is that meekness is not weakness.  It does not mean mousy, or shy.  It does not mean cowardly or withdrawn.  It does not indicate a lack of desire to engage people.  Actually quite the opposite.

πραΰς praÿs, apparently a primary word; mild, i.e. (by implication) humble:—meek.

“The term sometimes was used to describe a soothing medicine or a soft breeze.  It was used of colts and other animals whose naturally wild spirits were broken by a trainer so that they could do useful work.” – MacArthur New Testament Commentaries

This is not an admirable quality by an unbelieving world.  In this world we are expected to be aggressive, assertive and take charge kind of men or women.  The only way to get ahead is to attack.  But here Jesus says, “No!”  Be mild, be humble, be meek.

Matthew 11:29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle (meek) and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Meekness comes from a lowly heart.  A low moral opinion of oneself.  Not thinking too highly of yourself.  This is the exact opposite of what the world desires in a person.  This is the exact opposite of what we want in ourselves.  We want to be noticed.  We want to be acknowledged for our greatness and our accomplishments.  We desire our fair share of notoriety.

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  – Ephesians 4:1-3

I don’t know about you but that is not easy is it?  I mean is that natural for you because it’s not for me…  There is only one way to meekness and that is through the power of the Spirit.

There is also another side to meekness.  Which does not appear weak.  It is a level of boldness that comes through the empowerment of the Spirit as well.  Jesus was lowly and gentle and Jesus was bold.  Jesus was confrontational.  Jesus was sarcastic and sometimes seemingly rude.  Jesus is our perfect model and left us a perfect example to follow.

John MacArthur in his commentary says this:

“Meekness does not connote weakness.  The word was used in much extrabiblical literature to refer to the breaking of an animal.  Meekness means power put under control.  A person without meekness is “like a city that is broke into and without walls” (Prov. 25:28).  “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city” (Prov. 16:32).  An unbroken colt is useless; medicine that is too strong will harm rather than cure; a wind out of control destroys.  Emotion out of control also destroys, and has no place in God’s kingdom.  Meekness uses its resources appropriately.”  (MacArthur New Testament Commentaries)

Meekness is an essential quality for the Christian.  It doesn’t come naturally and it doesn’t come easily.  It is imparted to the believer in regeneration but it is a skill that requires refinement.  It is a way to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.  We need to develop the qualities that God says He gives us in salvation to bring Him glory.  Let him who stole no longer steal… (Ephesians 4:28)  It is an evidence of saving faith that should grow as the believer grows in holiness.

Put off the old man that grows corrupt and put on the new man, be renewed in the spirit of your mind…  Ephesians 4:22-24

When we have been redeemed by the blood of Christ, we develop meekness and are submissive to the call to proclaim His name.  This often takes us to places that require boldness.  It demands a level of confrontation that many are uncomfortable with.  The Christian and the unbeliever can be uncomfortable.  The Lord demands it and it is indicative of saving faith.

Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.  – Matthew 5:11

Most won’t sign up for this.  Most that profess Christ won’t desire persecution.  They won’t seek this type of meekness.   This is hard.  This is narrow and restrictive, this is often viewed as judgmental.

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled.  And they realized that they had been with Jesus. – Acts 4:13

Can this be said of you?  Can this be said of me?

Will you be accused of being meek and there be enough evidence to convict you?   May the Lord grow us in His grace to be meek and to be bold that His name might receive the glory for which we were saved.



Evangelism and the Church – Part 2 – Practically Speaking


“Preach abroad….It is the cooping yourselves up in rooms that has dampened the work of God, which never was and never will be carried out to any purpose without going into the highways and hedges and compelling men and women to come in.” – Jonathan Edwards

Let’s suppose I’ve convinced you in my last post that evangelism is biblical and it is something that Christians should do.  Let’s suppose, in some small way, I’ve encouraged you or your church to consider an attempt at evangelism outside the church walls.  Many will ask how do I do this?  I mean practically what does this look like?

First of all I want to begin with the confessions of a coward.  I didn’t start out with a burning passion to evangelize the lost in the way that God would have me do it.  I wanted to tell people about Christ, but to go out and do some of the things that I thought about when I really thought what it meant to be an evangelist was just not something I thought I’d ever do.  When I became a Christian evangelism was encouraged in our church and then a providential thing occurred.  Our Pastor was preaching through Romans and Chapter 10 was a watershed moment when it all became very clear.

For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”  How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?  And how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach unless they are sent?  As it is written:  “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” – Romans 10:13-15

Do you see what Paul is saying here?

He is saying that unless someone gives the gospel to the lost they can’t be saved.  This is a remarkable statement and no matter how great of an example you are in your own personal holiness and character unless you actually speak the gospel to someone they won’t be saved.  So how can this be done?  We saw last time some of the methodology Jesus, His Disciples and the Apostle Paul utilized.  We can do many of these today and in no way is this a comprehensive list but this should give ideas for implementing evangelism into your life.

I must also briefly mention that Paul tells us that we should be sent.  We won’t explore this deeply in this article, but in short it is important to have the support and the oversight of a local church.  Many will do evangelism without it and I won’t go so far as to say it is sinful, but when we have the local church sending us there is a great deal of accountability and protection for the evangelist.

On to our list and this is in no particular order.

Sign Evangelism

Have a good sign made with a clear gospel message.  Something as simple as “Repent & Believe on Christ”.  There are many great biblical texts that will proclaim the gospel message to those that pass by.  Stand at a busy intersection holding the sign and offer a tract if it’s possible.  You will reach more people in an hour than most professing Christians would dare reach in a lifetime.

Walk the Streets

This is one of my favorite forms of evangelism.  If you go with one or two others and walk around your downtown area on a weekend evening or anytime there is traffic you can engage people on the street.  Pass tracts as you go and try to have gospel conversations.  Ask them questions like “do you have any thoughts about what will happen after you die?”  You will amazed how many doors this will open.

Bus Station Ministry

Another favorite place to have discussions.  I live in Iowa and it’s cold here in the winter so many people wait inside the bus station during these months.  Sitting down with people and passing them a tract and seeking a conversation is a great form of ministry.  There are many with time to talk and often a willingness to talk.

Jail Ministry

I’ve never done this, but have a friend that has encouraged me to do so.  You may have to get cleared by the jail first in order to be admitted but they generally have no hesitation to have the prisoner’s being given a Christian message.  Make sure you have bibles to take with you.  This may be an opportunity for an up and coming preacher to have an opportunity to preach.


I believe gospel tracts to be one of the most efficient and expedient ways to get the gospel into the hands of many people.  One of the favorite ways to do this is to attend events where there are lots of people.  It can be a baseball game or a concert.  Standing on the street corner and passing  the good news to anyone that walks past.  You will need to learn to deal with rejection.  There is no need to take this personally, get used to it.  It is part of ministry.  A well written gospel tract will go places that you wouldn’t imagine.  Recently I had a woman send our church a message from Texas.  She had received a tract and was wondering if she could get more to pass out herself.

Open Air Preaching

I believe open air preaching to be one of the finest and purest forms of evangelism biblically speaking.   God has used this form of evangelism throughout the entirety of the Bible.  This requires a boldness and a love for people.  I also believe that an open air preacher should be vetted and approved by the Elders of the local church.  There are many rogue street preachers that do not preach an accurate message with love and compassion for the souls that hear.   When good open air preaching is accompanied by others that pass out tracts the preacher will have support and questions can be answered.  The open air preacher in many cases will naturally draw curiosity because of the unusualness of this in our culture.  This can be done on college campuses, sporting events, concerts or any place that numbers of people gather.  Regardless of where the preacher goes it is important that the message be clear and the gospel properly explained.

Abortion Ministry

Certainly one of the most difficult ministries.  This involves knowing what happens and how to combat the lies that will be told at these places.  There are many good resources online that can help if someone has an interest and I believe having the Elders of the church assist in getting an abortion ministry started is critical.  Having pre-abortion packets, gospel tracts and an open air preacher are all helpful resources.  Above all put on love and compassion for the souls that you will minister to.


I hope this is helpful, this list is in no way exhaustive.  The message of hope and salvation in Christ is a message that must be proclaimed.  If you are a believer it is an imperative and it is indicative of your relationship with Christ.  The Lord did not mince words on this topic.




Evangelism and the Church – Part 1


For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. – 1 Corinthians 1:17

How will the modern church fulfill the command of the Lord Jesus Christ to go into the world and preach the gospel?  That’s almost too obvious of a verse to post initially, and most know this verse from memory, yet I just wonder how churches today do it?  Well, I think I know how they do it, but I wonder what they think about how they are doing it…

Evangelism is possibly one of the most intimidating and overwhelming things to do for any believer, especially if they weren’t saved in a somewhat radical fashion.  I’ve known many that were saved and you couldn’t stop them from talking about Christ to everyone they encountered, but let’s be honest, that’s not most of us.  I want to look at a few things that I hope will be helpful if you have honest intentions and desires to actually evangelize those around you.

What exactly is evangelism?

I think most of us have thoughts when we hear the word evangelism, it might bring up images of some lunatic on a box yelling at people. Perhaps that is a form of evangelism depending on the accuracy of the message .but the simplicity of the word is actually quite interesting.  It simply means “good news”.  εὐαγγέλιον euangélion – a good message, i.e. the gospel.

Matthew 4:23 And He went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. 

Here we see a good description of the gospel.  Jesus taught in the synagogues and proclaimed the gospel of the kingdom.  We see this as a normal pattern of the Lord’s ministry.  Going into a town, engaging the Jews in the synagogue, preaching on the streets and then healing the people.

And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere. – Luke 9:6 [1]

We see this pattern established again and again throughout the New Testament. We see it from John the Baptist, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Apostles.  This is the primary pattern employed for spreading the gospel.  There is no way around this if you are to read the Biblical accounts with honesty.

“Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.”  And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach. – Acts 5:20-21

Why the gospel?  What is the significance of the gospel?

Paul tells us something pretty significant about the gospel in his opening remarks in Romans.  He tells us that there really is no other message than the gospel.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” – Romans 1:16-17

One thing we see is that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation.  I guess that’s a good enough reason, but yet we also see that it reveals the righteousness of God.  A clear and concise gospel presentation needs to present the righteousness of God.  If that is lacking the message is not complete.  Paul gives us a very long discourse on the sinfulness of man, letting us know that all will give account and all are without excuse.

What are we to conclude about all of this?  God, in His wisdom, has chosen a very “foolish” way to save people.  He counseled within Himself before time began that it was the plan to draw a people to Himself through the preaching of the gospel to save those who believe.  This is what God has ordained and we need to pay attention.  Primarily, we need to be obedient.

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  – 1 Corinthians 1:18

Any Christian that is honest about the topic can see the simple way in which the gospel was spread. They may ask if this is the way we should do it today.  Should we seek a different, more pragmatic approach to what God has already ordained?

If this methodology is true and biblical what do we do about it?  If we realize this to be the model that Christ has shown I believe we are only left with one question…  when will you go?

I admit there is fear…

I admit there are questions…

I admit there is much trepidation…

I admit there is the unknown…

But how can it be avoided?  Brothers and sister, we must “Go”…  it is a command.

Next time I’ll outline some biblical methods of evangelism and hope that it helps us overcome our fear and love of self and we can be used by God in the building of His kingdom.



[1] The gift of healing was to establish the divinity of Christ and to affirm the message of the Apostles to the world.  The narrative is not a prescriptive for us today and if it were we would have people doing as Jesus did and going and healing every disease and affliction among the people as the Matthew 4:23 verse states.


εὐαγγέλιον – And God Ordained Encounters


And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear… – 1 Peter 3:13-15

I haven’t written a post in a while but I felt compelled to share good news today.   The verse above is one of the most well known “evangelism” verses, however most only quote the second half. They sort of forget about the suffering and the threats and troubles that come along with evangelism.   I’ve been engaged in street evangelism and open air proclamation of the gospel for over a year now and my knowledge and boldness grows each time I got out. Disclaimer: this article is not about me.

I write today to encourage Christians. Those that have truly been bought by the blood of Christ. Some of you might evangelize. Some of you might evangelize a little, and some of you may not at all. But I want to encourage you today. I want to tell you what God has done. I want to give you hope that your efforts, no matter how small, are never in vain. The simple act of passing a gospel tract to someone can change their life for all eternity. I will quote my friend Tony Miano and we should never use the four letter word “only”. I “only” passed out tracts. No, if you passed out a tract, you presented the gospel to someone and that is a significant event. That is to the praise of His glory, and should never be minimized.

Today, is Thursday and it’s normally Emma Goldman day. It’s a wretched place that systematically kills babies.    I could go into a long why we didn’t go to EG today, but the bottom line is that God had another plan. It was decided we (Donnie, Roy & me) would meet at the church at 11 and walk the streets of downtown Davenport for a couple hours, passing out tracts and attempting to engage people in gospel conversations. That was our plan. As we pulled up to a snowy sidewalk I asked the guys to pray. I was particularly moved to seek the Lord’s guidance today that He would arrange our encounters and that we would practice 1 Timothy 2:24-25. That we would be gentle and compassionate.

Encounter 1. Demon possessed Vietnam Veteran. No more than 30 seconds after getting out of the truck I attempted to hand a man a tract and he began yelling and cursing at me.   The three of us attempted to reason with him but he was having none of it. He claimed to be a Catholic, showed us his crucifix and repeated a prayer that he says each day, and though his lips may honor the Lord, his heart was far from him. Especially as he repeatedly used the Lord’s name in a vulgar manner. We walked away humbled and dismayed at the anger in this man and prayed the Lord would be merciful to his soul.

Encounter 2. Alan. We moved up to 4th St. and walked past the Scott County Courthouse and one man got semi-angry with brother Roy as he attempted to give him the gospel and then I saw Alan and asked him if I could give him some good news. He refused. I turned and said to him, “sir may I ask you, what would happen if you died today, do you know where you will spend eternity?” He turned and said to me “No, I do not know.” Quick rabbit trail: friends, never let an immediate “no” discourage you. Always ask a follow up question if you can, you will be surprised at how one question can change things. I like to ask if they know what happens when they die, or if they have been born again.

Alan, listened intently as I presented the law and the gospel to him and urged him to repent of his sins and place his faith in Christ. He never took his eyes off of me and he seemed genuinely moved by the encounter. I asked if he had a church home and invited him to join us this weekend.

Encounter 3. Neicey. We turned left from the courthouse and headed toward the river front and walked past a short black woman in a huge orange coat. The hood was pulled up and under the big puffy coat she was bundled up even more. I could hardly see her face. Donnie handed her a tract and I believe she declined the initial offering. Donnie pressed the issue and asked her if she knew where she was headed after death. Without hesitation she said “Hell”.   Not in a prideful way, but in an almost sheepish way. I asked her if she knows what hell is like? She said, no, but I expect you are going to tell me. I described hell as the bible describes it. Utter darkness, no relief from the torment, eternal conscious suffering, with nothing good there. I said God provides us with goodness here on earth even if we don’t believe in Him, and just then the sun came out and warmed us and I said, see how He just provided His grace to us?

She began to describe that she couldn’t be forgiven because she was a murderer and had actually spent time in prison for killing someone and that this morning she had prayed and asked God if it was possible she could be forgiven and that He would send someone to tell her. She said she expected it would come from being in a church, but would have never expected three men on the street to show her the way of salvation. I described to her that Paul was a murderer and read to her from the book of Acts how he consented to the death of Stephen and while still breathing out his murderous threats the Lord Jesus Christ reached down and saved him. We told her the law is a tutor to bring a sinner to the grace of God and that she needed to repent and turn to Christ. She began weeping.

The conversation continued for some time and we all pleaded with her to trust in Christ and we asked her to join us in church to hear the preaching of the word, to enjoy the fellowship of the saints. I encouraged her to open her bible to Psalm 51 and read about David the murderer and adulterer and to cry out to God for His mercy and forgiveness.  As we prayed for her and then walked away the three of us were nearly speechless considering the goodness of God, His providence and an encounter that we will not soon forget.

We had several more encounters throughout our time and as we walked back toward the truck I attempted to hand some tracts to some people that were dressed fairly nice. They looked very clean, very nice and as I asked them to take a tract they politely declined. I pressed them. “Do you know what will happen to you when you die?” “No thank you” was their reply. I said, I hope you’ll consider that question today.

How about you? Will you consider that question today?

“A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ But they all with one according began to make excuses…

Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind,’…

Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.'” – Luke 14:16-24

Will you come in? Will you dine with Him? Will you understand that you are blind, maimed and poor? Very few understand their condition.

If you are a Christian will you tell others that they might be saved?



The Terrors of Hell – Part 2


This morning I was on my way home from Starbucks and heard a man on the radio discussing Jesus standing at the door of our hearts and He wanted us to let Him in.  To this man’s credit, it was being used as a poor method of evangelism, and it was said, “Did you notice there is no handle on the outside of the door, the handle is on the inside and you must open it up.”

Friends that is NOT biblically accurate, nor is it good evangelism!

The path to salvation is to understand you are DEAD in your sins and trespasses (Ephesians 2:1); you are without hope and headed toward hell.  The wide road of modern day evangelism has a poor effeminate Jesus sitting around with His head in His hands, just gently hoping you will make a decision for Him.

Today we are going to look at what awaits those that do not turn from their sin, fall to their face and beg for mercy and repentance.  This may seem cruel or harsh to some, but this is biblical and repeating a prayer and incantation of a method is not only inaccurate, it is damning.

Some may read this today and mock the idea of hell and just as in the days of the Puritans preaching on hell was unpopular.  It’s unpopular, because man loves the darkness and he desires to live in blissful ignorance, rather than face the reality of his eternal soul.  Let’s look at some teaching about hell from the Puritans.  All quotations come from A Puritan Theology (2012 – Beeke & Jones)

Is There a Hell?

[John] Bunyan call attention to Luke 16:23, “And in hell [the rich man] lift up his eyes, being in torments.” From this phrase he concludes that “there is a hell for souls to be tormented in when this life is ended…after he was dead and buried.”

He denies that Christ uses the word figuratively to represent the grave or some concept of torment “in this life.”  He then warns those who make a “mock” of preachers who tell them of hell that they will “find such an hell after this life is ended, that thou wilt not get out of again for ever and ever.” [1]

This is not something to be mocked, as so many do.  We all must consider this reality if there is hope for salvation, and Believers must continue to live in holiness, to make their call and election sure (1 Peter 1:10).

Why Must There Be a Hell?

First, “because of the filthy nature of sin,” as sin against an infinite God, necessitating proportionate punishment in the world to come.  Second, because Christ did not satisfy the justice of God for the wicked, who must therefore bear the wrath of God themselves in hell.  Third, the terrors of conscience that afflict the wicked in their dying days “demonstrate that there is a time of torments to be endured.”[2]

When you consider the price the Lord Jesus Christ paid on the cross, that He endured the wrath of God and drank it down fully, you must realize there is a cost to sin.  No matter what you think of your sin, or how small you believe your sin might be, God views it as vile and nasty, and His justice demands payment.  The “good news” is only for those that understand this statement.  The question today is “do I understand?”

What is Hell?

This place in which “the bodies and souls of wicked men are tormented” can be described by the following characteristics from Scripture: unquenchable fire, never extinguished (Luke 3:17); a furnace of fire (Matt, 13:42), recalling Nebuchadnezzar’s furnace (Dan. 3:21-22), where only the godly were not affected; a lake of fire (Rev. 19:20),  with an abundance of torments as the plentiful waters of a lake; eternal fire (Jude 7), with everlasting torment; outer darkness (Matt. 22:13), where we are “deprived of the light of God’s countenance”; the blackness of forever (Jude 13), as a place of terror that ought to cause men to tremble now; chains of darkness (2 Peter 2:4), referring to its binding nature and the impossibility of escape; the damnation of hell (Matt. 23:33), from which none will escape; this place of torment (Luke 16:28), a “dreadful expression” for what takes place there; the wrath to come (1 Thess. 1:10), as the wrath of God expressed there; prison (1 Peter 3:19), referring to the way the pre-incarnate Christ, through the ministry of Noah, preached to men who are now imprisoned in hell; Tophet (Isa 30:33), referring to the fire of the god Molech, into which children were cast as sacrifices and from which shrieking and howling were heard; the bottomless pit (Rev. 9:1), “out of which you shall never come”, the second death (Rev 2:11); destruction (Matt. 7:13); everlasting punishment (Matt. 25:46); and corruption (Gal. 6:8), as the reaped for “sowing to the flesh.”[3]


I have literally been squirming in my seat as I quote this writing and consider the Scripture that has been referenced.  This doctrine is forever and “Hell has No Exits” (Leonard Ravenhill).  If you are a non-believer please consider this today.   Hell is not a place where you will play cards with your friends.  Hell is devoid of “anything” you can ever take pleasure in.

The torment will never end.  It will go on forever and ever and ever…  Does that scare you, because it should?  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10).

I beg with you today if you are a Believer to consider who in your family or your friends doesn’t understand this?  You might be their only hope.  Tell them today about this terrifying doctrine.  Urge them to repent and be reconciled to Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).

Part 3 we will discuss “Is God is Just in Damning Men Eternally?”



[1] John Bunyan, The Miscellaneous Works of John Bunyan, ed. Roger Sharrock (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1976-94), 1:246-47, 261, 266, 267.

[2] Love, Heaven’s Glory, Hell’s Terror (1671), 226-227

[3] Love, Heaven’s Glory, Hell’s Terror (1671), 230-34.

Joy in tribulation


Today is December 31st, the last day of 2012.  I am writing this morning from a local Starbucks.  It’s something I do on occasion as I enjoy getting up early and heading to the coffee shop to read my bible and write.  I’m always hopeful for a chance to share the gospel if the opportunity avails itself.  It’s sometimes interesting to see people look at you as you’re reading a bible.  One man said to me “I didn’t think anyone read that anymore”.

I was in a Starbucks in Cincinnati a couple months ago and the place was loaded with people working on computers doing whatever it is they were doing, probably blogging, they all looked so cool.  I’ll admit I’m not one of the cool people sitting in Starbucks.  I work on a three plus year old ThinkPad, not a Mac Book Pro or an Ipad, I like the utilitarian look of my ThinkPad.  I think it fits my personality.  I also don’t have a cool paraph or don’t sign off my emails with “cheers”.  I like being different in a very normal sort of way.  My desire is to be very workmanlike.  I think if I played professional football I’d be an offensive lineman, of course that would be impossible at five foot eleven and a hundred and eighty five pounds, but that’s how I envision myself.

One area I desire to stand out and be different is in the area of evangelism.  I desire to share God’s Word and have people consider me different.  Not for my own recognition but for God’s Glory which brings me to the point of this post.  Ephesians 3:13 Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. 

This past Saturday we discussed this verse at our mens bible study.  The question was posed to each man if they were suffering tribulation.  Each man gave testimony about tribulation in his life and when this was done we looked at Paul’s tribulations.

2 Corinthians 11:23-28 Are they ministers of Christ? – I speak as a fool – I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often.  From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.  Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness – besides the other things, what comes upon my daily: my deep concern for all the churches.

As I considered this throughout the rest of the weekend I came to realize how completely normal I am.  I say this to my shame.  On occasion I may suffer some reproach, I might even actually have someone upset with me.  Sometimes that might be a family member or someone I care about.  Sometimes it’s a stranger when they are challenged with the reality of God.  As we went through all of Paul’s tribulations one by one I realized that Paul never became discouraged in any of these tribulations, in fact he was joyful.

I want this to really sink in for a moment.  He was beaten and then he picked himself up and went to the next town where it was likely it happened again and then again and again.  It can be very intimidating when someone reviles you and is upset with you, but not to Paul.  He just kept going back for more.  How small we are today.  How weak that we can’t speak up when we know we should.  How self focused we are when we say things like, “well that was Paul”.  Don’t forget Paul says imitate me as I imitate Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).  Or my favorite, “he’s too heavenly minded to be any earthly good”.  Maybe in reality your too earthly minded to be any heavenly good.  See this great article if you say that, then repent and stop saying it.  Heavenly  minded

In all of Paul’s tribulations he was joyful and he tells us to not to lose heart why?  It’s for our glory; our glory and the glory of the King that suffered and is worthy of our suffering.  As a new year is approaching many will make resolutions.  If you call yourself a Believer, I propose you make it a goal to suffer more for Christ this year.  If you’ve never experienced any sort of tribulation for Christ’s sake, you need to examine yourself to see if you are really in the faith.  You might not be saved, or at best you are in rebellion to God.  2 Timothy 3:12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

I pray 2013 is the year that God make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory… (Romans 9:23)