Friday, March 11, 2016

Maximize the Moment

Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3:12-14
From the inspirational words of Paul from this week there may be many who would say, “I know Paul learned how to maximize the moment. I see how he labored more often, was more productive, and got better results than the other apostles did. But I have so many problems in my life I don’t know if I can overcome to serve God.” Good news!  So did Paul.  He had what appeared to be rather serious limitations.
Paul had a history.  He persecuted the church of God publicly.  He arrested believers and testified against them.  His reputation was well known for wreaking havoc in the early church.  Even after his conversion to Christ, he was originally rejected by the other apostles because they were afraid of him due to his history and dark past. His friends were few, his enemies were many and suffering was his lot.  Yet, he was successful in running the Christian race.
His presentation was weak. Paul was not a great speaker and referred to his speech as rude, uncouth, unpolished; not smooth or eloquent.  His appearance was weak, as were his eyes.  He really did not measure up to the other apostles in appearance nor in presentation in the physical sense.  However, Paul had a great message of truth, in spite of a weak delivery!  Peter was more robust, and Apollos was more eloquent; but Paul was very effective.
In First and Second Corinthians, Paul attempted to justify his being called an apostle. He was not one of the original twelve.  He describes himself as "one born out of due season."  He was not in the company of Jesus during his earthly ministry and did not witness the miracles of Jesus.  Yet, his ministry was more successful than some who accompanied Jesus daily.  Paul expanded the kingdom of God.  Not only did he establish more churches, but also he wrote two-thirds of the New Testament books.
In 2 Corinthians 11:5, Paul defends his ministry by saying, for I consider myself not in the least inferior to the most eminent apostles.  Paul labored as a debtor to Christ. He was overcome with love and appreciation that Christ had called him and was using him in His service.  
As you look throughout the Bible, you will find it is full of the stories of real people who had flaws and shortcomings.  God knew we could not be perfect because we are human and wanted us to know that we are still valuable to Him and His kingdom.  Even with our past sins and mistakes God can still use us.  Sometimes we are more valuable with our scars and weathered look – like an old antique.  Sometimes the scars we carry may make another person with a similar past see that God can love them in spite of where they have been.  Not only can He still love us, scars and all, but He can USE us!
Today as you look at the whole of your life, don’t discount your past; for in it is the story of the salvation of God.

Scripture to Claim:
From Paul about his calling as an apostle: For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. 1 Corinthians 15:9-10

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