Tag Archives: Apostle Paul

Product Review: Romans

Rose Publishing has produced a PowerPoint presentation on the Book of Romans. The PowerPoint contains a menu for ease of navigating the different topics. It provides historical information including classifying the challenges within the culture and environment during that era. The background of Apostle Paul, the writer of the epistle, is explored including his conversion to Christianity. Additionally, there are maps to trace the Apostle Paul’s journeys as he traveled to preach the Gospel. Furthermore, this presentation includes discussion questions, worksheets, and handouts.

The Apostle Paul had a three-fold purpose for writing this epistle: missionary, pastoral, and atonement. Throughout the Book of Romans, Paul wrote the epistle using colloquialisms that the audience in Rome would be familiar with such as slavery. Subsequently, the themes of this epistle addressed redemption/ransom, atonement, and justification using slavery colloquialisms would be ideal since many of the citizens were enslaved. Paul endeavored to promote the message that salvations was available to both the Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews). It also explores God’s righteousness, God’s right to judge and save, along with the power of the Gospel.

I thoroughly enjoyed this PowerPoint presentation. It is the perfect teaching tool for leaders to use in Bible Study or Sunday School. It covers the Book of Romans very well and highlights themes in a functional and fundamental manner. I would definitely recommend this to spiritual leaders or lay persons interested in studying the Book of Romans.

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The Job Series: What Type of Encourager are You?

“A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” (Proverbs 17:17, KJV) Unlike “fair weather” friends, our true friends support us during good and bad times. At the end of Chapter Two, Job’s three friends – Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, heard of Job’s hardships and went visit Job to provide comfort. For seven days they sat with Job in silence empathizing with Job’s pain.

In Chapter Three, Job breaks the silence by cursing the day he was born. It was evident that Job was depressed. He suffered great losses. He had an estranged wife, deceased children, and lost his source of income. Now, his health is failing. When most of Job’s friends and family had forsaken him Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar where there to give him support. (Job 19:14) Another one of Job’s friends, Elihu, is also present during the time of these discussions. After Job’s speech in Chapter Three, Job and friends have three rounds of discussions. During the discussions we learn that Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar are horrible encouragers.

When we are being tested by trials, who are members of our support system and what type of support do they offer? Do they offer you godly advice, pray with you, and help keep you grounded? Or do they offer poor guidance, encourage bad behavior, and make empty promises of support? In the case of Job, all of his friends had great intentions but their ignorance regarding his plight led them to rebuke Job at a time where he needed to be uplift.

The Apostle Paul offers an “Encourager’s Checklist” in I Thessalonians 5:11-23. When we set out to encourage, we should be respectful and not judgmental. We should promote harmony, not discord, as well as avoid every kind of evil, and resist retaliation. We need to remind the injured party that God is in control. We need to pray continually, be prepared to listen, and follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Lastly, during this time of conversation and connection with God, we need to remember to be patient and reassuring during this process.

In Colossians Chapter One, the Apostle Paul offers four points regarding prayer for one another. One, we should be thankful for their faith and changed lives. Two, we should ask God to provide them with clarity and deep spiritual understanding. Three, we pray for God to help our Brother or Sister in Christ to live their lives for Him. Four, we should seek God and ask to continually be filled with joy, strength, peace, and thankfulness.

Are we good encouragers that offer godly counsel, compassion, and prayer? Or do we encourage bad behaviors? Do we offer someone a shot a whiskey, revenge tactics, or other advice that will not address their problem but satisfy the desires of their carnal nature? What type of encouragers are we?

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church Massacre

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;  Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” (II Corinthians 1:3-4, KJV)

My prayers and condolences go out to the congregation, families, and friends impacted by the shooting which took place at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Nine people including the pastor lost their lives as a result of this shooting. Although the suspect in the killings, Dylann Roof, has been apprehended, the pain of this shooting is felt throughout the Universal Church.

I would encourage all to pray not only for the victims love ones and congregation but to pray for the suspect. We, being the Church, must forgive his actions. Though we grieve, we must also forgive. This is not to say that he should not suffer the consequences for his actions. Regardless to his motives for performing this slaying, redemption is still available to him. Before becoming an Apostle Saul murdered hundreds of Christians until he reached the road of Damascus. He was given a new name, Paul, and would be the writer of fourteen out of twenty-seven books in the Bible.

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church is historical for their work in civil rights and being active in their community. The “Charleston Nine” are now martyrs of the faith. They spent their final hour studying the Scriptures, praying, and worshipping God not knowing that this would be their last opportunity to do so. For them, death has no sting and the grave has no victory. (1 Corinthians 15:54-56) They have ran their race and kept the faith. The names and ages of the “Charleston Nine” are listed below.

Cynthia Herd (54)

Suzy Jackson (87)

Ethel Lee Lance (70)

Reverend Doctor Depayne Middleton (49)

Pastor Clementa Pinckney(41)

Tywanza Sanders (26)

Reverend Doctor Daniel L. Simmons, Senior (74)

Reverend. Sharonda Singleton (45)

Myra Thompson (59)

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39, KJV)

Being Living Sacrifices

Examining Romans 12:1-2, the Apostle Paul addresses the Body of Christ regarding true and proper worship. He encourages the Believer to consider God’s compassion and blessings toward us. For this reason, we should offer God something very precious – ourselves. Being a living sacrifice means to present our daily lives as an offering to God. We must reverence God in all that we do. Actively seeking God by keeping our minds focused on Him and His Word allows us to be transformed. We are called not to conform to the traditions and ideologies of the world but to live according to God’s will and purpose. With God to guide us we are empowered and equipped as God’s perfect will for our lives unfolds.

The Apostle Paul states “to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” Loyal devotion is what we should desire to give for His mercy toward us. For our sacrifice to be pleasing to God we must present our offering according to God’s standards. Our attitude and the way we present ourselves before God is vital. This is perfectly illustrated in Genesis 4:3-5 as it recounts the offerings of Cain and Abel. This was the first act of worship after man’s fall. Abel presented before the Lord the “fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock.” Cain, on the other hand, offered yield from his farm. Abel’s sacrifice received God’s approval and was pleasing to God. However, Cain did not receive the favor of God. Why?

Hebrews 11:4 (NIV) says, “By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.” Abel presented an offering of atonement acknowledging that he was a sinner deserving death but hoping for mercy through his sacrifice. Abel’s offering was through an act of faith and being a true worshipper. Cain presented an offering of acknowledgement and thanksgiving. Cain did not submit an offering as an act of faith but from the force of education or natural conscience. When we read further, we learn that although God rebuked Cain’s offering Cain was given another opportunity to present an offering.

There were two key causes to the rebuke and rejection of Cain’s offering. Cain was disconnected from God -lacking a true relationship. Cain did not have the right attitude in his worship. Proverbs 21:27 (NIV) says, “The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable — how much more so when brought with evil intent!” Cain’s reaction to God’s rebuke would indicate that Cain’s attitude was wrong from the start. When Cain’s sacrifice was rejected by God, Cain sulked and became angry. Cain’s sin was not in his sulking or anger. Cain had a choice to correct his attitude in presenting offerings to God. Yet, he chooses to take out his anger on Abel in murder. One of the most important lessons we can learned from Cain’s life is to present our offerings by faith, with the proper approach, and in reverence to God.

We are no longer bound to the old sacrificial system because Jesus paid for all of our sins on the cross. Yet, the requirements for presenting our offerings have not changed. We must worship God according to what He commands in His Word. God alone is worthy of our worship; therefore, He should be our focus when we worship. Like Cain, God gives us the opportunity to reevaluate ourselves. Do we desire to worship God for the right reasons? Do we present our offerings by faith or out of tradition? Are we the true worshippers that God seeks?