Posts by Brandon Tipsword
The apostle Paul had a great passion to share the gospel with the world. In his endeavors to do so he realized that the great treasure that he wanted to share was held within a weak vessel, his body. He wanted everyone to know that the power he had to serve did not come from himself, but from God.
We live in a world that loves competition. When you run a race in track you run to get first place beating all others. If you are in sales you want to be the leader of your company with the most sales. The thing with competition is that there are winners and losers. I believe one of the reasons that Paul was used by God in such a mighty way was not because he desired to have the most followers, but because he viewed himself to be in first place of all sinners.
Trusting and obeying God is always the best plan. Too often we rely upon our own wisdom or our feelings in making decisions. However, neither our wisdom nor our feelings are good guides. It is God’s will for us to trust Him and let Him be our guide. Even when we do not understand.
The world teaches to be proud of ourselves, to boast about our accomplishments. The truth is that before a holy God no one has anything to boast about. However, if you are in Christ you do have something to glory in, someone rather. In spite of our wretchedness Jesus was willing to die on a cross for our sins. That my friend, is something to tell the world about.
I believe this verse would describes the danger of most secular college campuses in America when it comes to spiritual matters. I remember spending an hour in my college philosophy class discussing “How do you know a tree is a tree?” What a waste of time; and money for that matter.
Our culture has placed a great emphasis of late on identity. So people have gone about labeling themselves in a way they desire to be identified. I first remember hearing the concept of self-branding when I was in college. The philosophy teaches that you are a brand and you need to market yourself to the world. Little did I know that some 20 years later with the advent of social media how that philosophy would grip a generation.
Man does not have much if anything to boast about in himself. I certainly do not. However, those that know Jesus have a lot to boast about. Not about themselves, but about the one that loves them and saved them. There is a song we sing often in church who’s refrain goes:
Scripture teaches us that we are a whole person. Our spiritual life effects our physical life. Each and everyday we come across people that are hurting spiritually. Harold Vaughan once preached a message entitled, “The Ministry of Encouragement.” What a great ministry! We should all be encouragers. When you encourage someone it is like given someone a dose of spiritual medicine for their soul. Each day we should ask ourselves, “Who can I encourage today?”
Have you ever wandered how can you possibly continue? Have you ever found yourself running out of strength to run the race before you? Have you ever been faced with incredibly difficult circumstances of life that make you want to throw in the towel? Well join the club! However, when you are at that point you must realize that you are on the cusp of having the power of Christ upon you. So when you get to the point where you say, “I cannot go on anymore I am out of strength” you are almost there, but not quite. You must then go on to admit your weakness and accept God’s grace to give you strength. Then you can say, “I can do all thing through Christ that strengtheneth me.”
When I read this verse I am reminded to make sure my heart is in my service to the Lord. God does not want us to serve Him begrudgingly, but with genuine desire and reverence. Half-hearted service to the Lord is not pleasing to God; neither is service done to please men. It is a good practice to check our hearts from time to time.