Boast in your weaknesses.

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)

Sometimes you need to go to the book itself when you’re given a verse to read for the day. So I did, and read what led up to this statement by Paul to the Corinthians.

I like Paul because he’s not afraid to talk about his own failings, although he keeps his main failing, the ‘thorn’ in his flesh a secret, he still admits he has one. So what does the verse mean?

I look at myself as an example. I have Fibromyalgia which is also known as Chronic Pain. I have Chronic Fatigue, migraines that are always present, with variance in intensity, light and sound sensitivity, a sleep disorder, as well as spinal problems and other health issues. Why do I even look at those weaknesses in delight? Or perhaps the insults I’ve received at times?

Because with the help of God, those weaknesses, insults, and persecutions didn’t stop me from doing something I’ve dreamed of for decades. In fact, because of those weaknesses I may  have accomplished my goal of becoming a published author.

I took what life gave me and worked with it. I didn’t say that because my life isn’t the norm, that I couldn’t accomplish something. Even today I don’t know when I will sleep, when I will be awake. Sometimes I sleep three hours out of 48 and I will turn that into something useful in writing. What better way to describe sleep deprivation than being in it?

Anyone can brag about something they’ve done. But boasting about a weakness is something else. Overcoming hardships to be normal or even being extraordinary is something to talk about, but it’s mainly something to look to and realize help was given along the way. God directed me to write a book, or a few really. Within three months of an accident that changed my life forever, I’d written a book that I am about to shop to agents. I shouldn’t have been writing anything, but I had this need inside of me to challenge myself to accomplish something I’d never done before, write a romance novel. So it turned out to be a coming of age novel more than a romance. I still did it.

Having that helping hand to guide me, to support me, to lift me up when I fall backwards, is something that I know I can rely on and makes me more fearless in what I do. I am not afraid of weaknesses or failures. I use them.

Much Respect

Ronovan

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Faith of Inclusion.

1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—

Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 3)

Some people don’t like the Apostle Paul. He’s too liberal, to revolutionary. Paul’s my favorite and I’m pretty conservative about a lot of things. Then again, I’m pretty common sense about a lot of things as well.

Did you know that the early Christians didn’t see themselves as a new religion? As far as they were concerned they were Jews. They were Jews who believed the Messiah had come. Honestly, you can’t get much more Jewish than believing in a Messiah. That’s not a Gentile thing.

Paul sort of forced the hand of other Apostles. He went outside the box and started in on the Gentiles, the non-Jews. He did as Jesus did and reached out and spoke to non-Jews. Surprised at that? Think about the Samaritan woman at the well, the Roman Centurion.

One thing I like about Christianity is the inclusion factor. I know, another surprise for some. For Christians who follow the Christ path and the Bible, we see how we are all sinners, we all do things way beneath deserving of Heaven, Salvation, and anything else to do with Jesus and God. Even after accepting Jesus, God knows we will still do wrong things but He still made the sacrifice.

“Oh, but He knew Jesus would be resurrected!”

Have you ever felt the sting of a whip? Let’s say you have, now magnify that by millions. Each lash of the whip carries with it the punishment of millions. Imagine the agony. Imagine what goes through the mind during all of that. I personally would be like, “Did I sign up for this?”

Paul did a wonderful thing by reaching out to us. He didn’t say that if you do this and then stop you’ll be kicked out or killed. He also didn’t say it would be an easy job. A lot of us Christians talk about how difficult it is to be a Christian. We talk about following teachings that are so not in line with the ‘cool’ way of doing things. I’m good with that, no problems. Being cool is only a thing I’m trying to be as opposed to being burning forever. What is most difficult about being a Christian is failing every day and knowing God sees it. Living with that, knowing I disappointed Him and Jesus. Lot of guilt there, not so much I’ll hide in my room and flog myself until my skin bleeds. No repeat of the Scarlett Letter here, even if I were a preacher.

I’ve learned to let go of a lot of the guilt and live a carefree life in many ways. It occurred to me, okay it occurs to me every time I start feeling guilty, that God knew even before He sent Jesus that I would fail. No, I’m not cheering when I fail, but in those dark moments, I grab hold of that thought and it pulls me up.

Inclusion. God included me in His decision making from the very beginning. I’ve been included in His thoughts from the beginning. I’m included in His plan.



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In God’s Sight.

13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Romans 2)

Some might find it odd that Romans is one of my favorite books of the Bible, what with it being so controversial at times. It’s only controversial because of the way people take verses out of context and how a letter has been divided into chapters. Maybe I’m being a bit repetitive with my whole dividing books into chapters thing, but I think it’s worth saying, and saying often.

This verse is the one that came up today for me to study and I thought I would share it with you. Let’s look at all of it, and this is Paul speaking to the early church in Rome.

12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

A lot of people ‘hear’ the words of the Bible. Many people even sit in church two or three times a week hearing the Word of the Lord, yet walk out to the parking lot and immediately do the opposite of what they had just said Amen to.

Some of you may have heard that if a person claims to be a Christian they need to do things called works to show they are Christian. I’m not that flavor of Christian. I do believe you need to show in your way of life that a change has come over you, that you are no longer a person that things a certain way is okay to act. What I’m talking about here is living like what Jesus said we should.

A Gentile is a non-Jew. God reaches people around the world through various means, even dreams. He reaches people through their heart. When you see someone being ill treated, even in a minor way, and it tugs at your heart, that’s the goodness of God that’s written into your DNA. We all have that code to unlock.

It’s a shame when professed Christians do things completely opposite of Christ. I share from time to time good words here on my blog. I like to encourage people. I like to give hope. I like to inspire. I like to show a side of Christianity that is nonjudgmental. The only person I can judge is another Christian when I see them doing something against the Word of God, and even then it’s only to say, “Hey, brother, maybe you should take a step back and think about what you’re doing.” I’ve done lots of things in my life, thus I know I’m far from perfect. That lack of perfection gives me the ability and inclination to speak out at times to others to say, “I changed. If I did all of these things with a decision, so can you.”

The world doesn’t become a better place when you become a Christian or if you decide to simply use the words of the Bible as a guide to a good way of living. Actually you see the world with a different pair of eyes. That new world is far worse than you ever knew. You see the problems, you see answers, but you know people think your solutions are just Jesus Freak brainwashing.

A lady from another country commented on a recent post about how her own faith leads to thinking much like my own, and words much like that of the Bible. Gentiles are given God’s words and will in so many ways. Who knows, maybe He spoke to someone and said, “Put this down, tell your people this.” I am not above saying God won’t use anything good to do his will.

Do good. Do what Jesus says. You can’t go wrong. Even Gandhi loved the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew Chapter 5.

Casting Crowns has a great song about how people in a church don’t really do what they are hearing.


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Not a Martyr. Not a Hero.

I wasn’t planning on posting anything about a certain issue here in the U.S. but I will now. A clerk in the state of Kentucky refused to give out marriage licenses to same gender couples, stating it was against her religion. From my understanding she was then told specifically by the courts not to interfere with her employees passing the licenses out.

As a Christian I am to follow the law of the land as long as it does not keep me from following the Word of God.

Apparently the court actually gave the woman a way out. Although she was the head clerk and in charge and was supposed to sign the licenses, they said she didn’t have to. She simply needed to stay out of the way and not issue them herself.

She chose instead to do something a Christian is not to do. She forced HER Christian beliefs onto others, other workers. I say HER because her understanding apparently differs from mine.

She is not a hero or martyr for Christianity. That’s my opinion. She chose to make herself an example. The government where she lived could have fired her. Not a Martyr or HeroBut instead it was arranged for her to work around the law.

Every Christian has their own interpretation of what Christianity is. Even non-Christians have different opinions. But his is mine. I believe what I believe and I don’t force it on anyone. Each persons beliefs, relationship with God or not, is their own PERSONAL thing. By doing what this woman did she actually did exactly what the Bible said would happen, she gave people cause to speak against her and against Christianity.

I wanted to say something. I have. I’m done.

Added 18:23 EDT 9/13/2015

Reading some of the comments, I believe there are a few misunderstanding what is being said here. I am for her right to stand up for her beliefs in regards to what she does with her OWN job. But when she stands in the way of the court order that stated to allow her subordinates to issue licenses, that is when she forced her belief onto others. She in effect was making them do what her belief stated. Although some of them are Christians as well.

For those who are thinking I must be a liberal politics leaning person, I’m not. I am conservative. But what I truly am is Jesus led. Someone asked what would Jesus do in this case. Jesus would tell his opinion and then move on. He would not stand in the way of a couples personal decision to follow the law of the land OR be with whomever they chose to.

 

 

 

 

 

Much Respect-Much Love

Ronovan



Ron_LWIRonovan is an author, and blogger who shares his life as an amnesiac and Chronic Pain sufferer though his blog RonovanWrites.WordPress.com. His love of poetry, authors and community through his online world has lead to a growing Weekly Haiku Challenge and the creation of a site dedicated to book reviews, interviews and author resources known as LitWorldInterviews.WordPress.com.

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A spark enflames. My Sunday Thought for Today.

“4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell”.-John 3:4-6

This passage is one that is used often about what trouble our words can cause. This is the message given most often from the pulpit about these words.

ron_ballgame_blackandwhiteAs we all know, I am a bit different. I look at this and say “So with my words I can spread a fire of encouragement and love.”

Some see my words of encouragement  and even my “Much Respect & Love” as a means to another end. They think I am after something. Of course I am. I want to encourage people. I don’t use those words unless I mean them. I respect everyone until they give me a reason not to. I love everyone regardless. Yeah, I know, “Ooooo, the Christian loves everyone, even the murderers.” Well, yeah. I’ve written about that before. I love God’s creation, I just don’t love what the creation does . . . and it went on from there to explain more but I’m not getting into that today. But I don’t throw the L word around much. For one thing I know people take it the wrong way.

Well, I’ll tell you this. Call me different. I got no problem with it. Don’t judge me just because you have experiences with others. And finally . . .

Use your words to start a fire. Spark encouragement everywhere. Spark love everywhere. Spark friendship everywhere. Spark trust everywhere.

 

Much Respect and Love

Ronovan

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