Flip or Flop, Flippable or UnFlappable?
Personal note: I have arrived in North Carolina to help my very 'expectant' daughter Amy, granddaughter Alyssa (almost 2) and Bennett (4) and Eric; twin boys are coming in about six weeks!
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I will do the best I can in getting these briefings out the next couple months.
Speaking of Peter who was unstoppable, how about this next guy?
Consider his early life-he was born to a strict Pharisee father, trained as a "Hebrew of the Hebrews". . . from Tarsus, a city that teemed with commerce and power, young Saul was accustomed to observing the ways of Roman soldiers, as well as business men who came and went through his city. Since all young Jewish men were expected to learn a trade, Saul learned the trade of tent-making, the principal trade of Tarsus. However, it became clear early on that Saul's keen mind and serious disposition suited him well for training as a rabbi. The 'college' to train young men for the ministry was in Jerusalem, so about age 13, Saul began his studies under Rabbi Gamaliel. Saul was very well-versed in Old Testament Scriptures, because of his rigorous study with Gamaliel. Clearly, Paul was an articulate communicator, as evidenced by his writing of 13 New Testament books, outlining freedom in Christ.
But it was his indomitable spirit that ought scream the loudest to you and me.
No matter what came at him, the man did not quit.
It all started when Jesus stepped into his path while he was traveling to Damascus to arrest and prosecute 'Christians'. He was immediately convinced that Jesus was indeed the Messiah of whom he read in the Old Testament scriptures. His passion turned then to telling others of Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for even his sins, no matter what it cost him-even when his life was threatened.
On the other hand, there's me -- call me crazy, but I'm not fond of physical pain, particularly when I can help it! Now it is one thing when I willfully push through a strenuous workout; when I have a tooth drilled, that is another . . . but both are by choice and for personal health gain, right? I'm no rocket scientist, but at a young age when I learned, 'if I do this thing____ and it hurts, I don't do that thing anymore!' So what in the world was wrong with Paul?
People proudly drive beautiful, expensive cars, brag about big business deals and boast of big bank accounts and 401-Ks, right? Yet Paul boasted about something very different. He writes about his lineage, "What anyone else dares to boast about-I am speaking as a fool-I also dare to boast about. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham's descendants? So am I." His ancestry had been critically important to Paul!
Then Paul 'boasts' about serving the cause of Christ; note, this is a totally different thing! One might say he was upside down in his thinking. He writes, "Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked . . . If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying." from 2 Corinthians 11
Who doesn't run from the things that cause him such great physical harm? Instead, he runs toward it to take the gospel to those who did not know! He counts his life nothing in trade for telling others about Jesus.
Who brags about how many times they have been severely beaten or repeatedly jailed-particularly a religious person? Only one who would give his all for the One who gave his ALL for him.
Silly terminology - but I neither want to flip or flop, nor do I want to be flippable - I want to be unflappable when it comes to living my life for God. Yes, like Paul, I want to have an indomitable spirit when it comes to loving God, loving others and pointing them toward him!
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