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Paul’s Glory

Paul's Glory

“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing?
It is not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ
at His coming? For you are our glory and joy”
– 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 –

Paul’s great hope was to be united with the saved of all times and share eternity with them. His heart was filled with this hope. He rejoiced in these believers that he dreamed of presenting to the Lord on the final day, as treasures rescued from the war of sin. Those faithful before the throne and before the King would be his glory.

A detail, which is not minor, enhances this story: Paul’s joy and that of Christ are joined together. Isaiah 53:11 says that one day Jesus will see the fruit of the affliction of His soul and be satisfied. Both the Bread of Life and the distributor of bread are complete in the salvation of the people.

This desire of the apostle to visit his converts would strengthen his faith and commitment to the truth, and give him more courage to face persecution. How much encouragement was produced in those believers to know that they were the hope, the crown, the joy, and the glory of the apostle.

In those days there were two recognized types of crowns. One was the royal crown, symbol of authority and majesty. Another was an Olympic crown, a symbol of victory and celebration that was awarded to the victors in the games held by the ancient Greeks in the city of Olympia. This second crown consisted of a crown and laurel branches.

Paul does not refer here to the crown of righteousness that the Lord will give at His cominig but to the wreath of victory. Paul’s crown is a wreath of laurel for the victory of his converts.

“We are permitted to unite with Him in the great work of redemption and to be sharers with Him in the riches which His death and suffering have won” (Thoughts from the Mount of Blessings, pp. 89-90). “The evidence of his apostleship is written upon the hearts of those converted, and is witnessed to by their renewed lives. Christ is formed within, the hope of glory” (The Acts of the Apostles, p. 328).

If our wreath of glory is the honor of saving people for Jesus,
soon the Lord will change the perishable and fragile laurel
for the everlasting and eternal crown.

"I Will Be Watching"

“I Will Be Watching”

“As you know how we exhorted, and comforted,
and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children”
– 1 Thessalonians 2:11 –

With the faithfulness of an administrator, Paul knows that the message is God’s property. It doesn’t belong to him, it has been entrusted to him on loan. That is why he defends, protects, and makes proper use of it. It is not money to guard or a treasure to hide, it is necessary to invest the capital, to produce, and to make it grow.

Paul knows he does not own it; he is an administrator. He knows he is accountable. They treated him as a mercenary and thought he wanted to make money from that message, but he is certain before God and men to be a faithful administrator of all of God’s message.

Paul was a spiritual father to the believers and a good father cares, sustains, and exemplifies. Paul lived a holy life, righteous, integrated, irrepressible, always close to people. He exhorted, encouraged, and comforted. Spiritual childeren need an example to follow rather than a dissertation to listen to.

In 1 Thessalonians 2:7, Paul says that he had tenderness for the people and cared for them just as a mother does her children. Paul did not leave them in care of others. The same one who preached to them continued to pray for them, and now writes to them, visits them, and devotes his time and energy. He was loving, patient, and persevering.

This is a story of a mother that was a fighter. She left Italy at the age of fourteen, escaping war, and made her way in life, without any studies, without knowing the language, but knowing God. At the factory where she worked, the would give her cookies at lunchtime. Instead of eating them, she brought them home for her children. Her children have seen her work even helping her husband building their house.

Now, let’s dwell on the following. She would take her eldest son by the hand every day to his school, that was about seven blocks from their home. She did it until one day when she helped her son cross the street, placed him on the sidewalk that went straight to school, and with no other streets to cross, she said: “Go ahead on your own. I’ll be watching.”

And so it went. The child walked on his own knowing that he was doing so under the watchful eye of his mother. Every time the kid turned his head, there she was, accompanying him with her gaze…

With the faithfulness of an administrator,
the protection of a father, and the love of a mother,
let us walk to eternity under the watchful eye of God.

It Is Necessary That I Go

“It Is Necessary That I Go”

“For you yourselves know, brethren,
that our coming to you was not in vain”
– 1 Thessalonians 2:1 –

The preaching in Thessalonica occurred shortly after Paul and Silas were physically mistreated in Philippi. The punishment had been unfair. Moreover, Paul was a Roman citizen and, as such, should not have been punished.

That is why he says that they had boldness and trust in God by proclaiming the gospel there. Despite the challenge of preaching, the apostle was so interested in pleasing God, that he fulfilled the mission by taking little regard of others’ opinion of himself. This does not mean that Paul did not respect people’s feelings. What he means is that his goal was not to please men and conquer them by being cunning, rather to have God’s approval and to bring people closer to the Master. Hence, he did not flatter people, he did not seek praise from people. His business was to present the gospel of God. 

Paul also writes that he proposed to earn his livelihood, so that the gospel would be preached free of charge. With that, no one would have reason to accuse the apostle of preaching for personal gain, for he worked not to be a burden on his congregations.

The fact that Paul emphasizes the relevance of the Word of God as an essential element of the preaching and transformation of people deserves to be highlighted. Paul was rekindled by the Word of God. Being a preacher of the Word requires a correct ethical stance, for preaching occurs not only because of the content presented, but also because of the demonstrated posture.

It is said that while Paul boldly proclaimed the gospel in the synagogue of Thessalonica, rays of light were poured out. “Paul was a believer in the second coming of Christ; so clearly and forcibly did he present the truths concerning this event, that upon the minds of many who heard there was made an impression which never wore away” (The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 228-229).

Paul was daring and his mission was above his function. God was above the human being. The Word was above his word. His fellow man came before him. The iron chains that bound his feet were the forestate of the gold crown that would adorn his head.

Lettie Cowman says that a good Roman soldier was the one who,
after receiving a superior’s order that implied danger, replied:
“It is necessary that I go,
not that I live.”

Converted Christians

Converted Christians

“Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, to the church of Thessalonians
in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you
and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”
– 1 Thessalonians 1:1 –

Thessalonica was the capital of Macedonia. It was located on the peninsula of the Thermaic Gulf. The Via Egnatia that linked the East and Rome, passed through Thessalonica. The favorable location and the excellent port made it a commercial and tourist center of great importance. For that reason, it had a large concentration of Jews and a synagogue.

In chapter 1, Paul shows concern with the Thessalonians through thanksgiving and prayer, expressing certainty about the sincerity of faith and conversion of the Thessalonians.

Paul mentions Silvanus, who is Silas himself, his mission and prison companion, and Timothy, who is a friend and young evangelist.

The apostle is affectionate with the brothers and sisters, and emphasizes their active faith, dedication, and firmness in hope in Christ. An important aspect is that the Thessalonians have become imitators of Paul, to the point of receiving the Word willingly, even in the face of suffering. And because of this confident and cheerful stance, the Thessalonians became examples with reference to the firmness with which they accepted Christianity and the zeal with which they received the teachings.

Thus, they became an example to others after conversion, which highlights the high quality of their Christian witness. The abandoned a life of idolatry, as they were sincerely and wholly converted to God, putting all their hope in Christ.

True conversion is one that leads us to abandon every evil path, every wrong teaching, and leads us to a life of centralized conviction in the Word of God. Converted Christians are so impactful that their good example influences other people.

It may be that some may not be able to indicate the exact timing and place of their conversion, nor explain the circumstances by which they were brought to that time and place, but their testimony will be clearly demonstrated.

“A change will be seen inthe character, the habits, the pursuits.
The contrast will be clear and decided between what they have been
and what they are. The character is revealed, not by occasional good deeds
and occasional misdeeds, but by the tendency of the habitual words and acts”
(Steps to Chirst, pp. 57-58).

Therefore today, “before the sun goes down, think of an act that leads to someone
else’s conversion and execute it with all your might” (Spurgeon).

Paul's Team

Paul’s Team

“This salutation by my own hand – Paul.
Remember my chains. Grace be with you. Amen”
– Colossians 4:18 –

From verses 7 to 18 of Colossians 4, the apostle mentions ten people on his team:

  1. Tychicus: He treats him as a fellow servant and puts him on his own level. He was the bearer of the letter and a personal message from  the apostle.
  2. Onesimus: He was a runaway slave from Colossus, converted in Rome, but Paul considers him a beloved and faithful brother.
  3. Aristarchus: Always beside Paul in his most difficult moments. Collaborator and a slave of his own free will.
  4. Mark: He was secretary to Paul and Barnabas on the first missionary journey, but abandoned them halfway when they needed him most. Paul forgave him, included him again in the mission, and recommended him. Paul did with Mark the same thing God does with us (see Acts 12:25; 15:36-39; 2 Tim. 4:11; Phil. 24).
  5. Jesus, called Justus: It is the only mention of him in the Bible. What would they say about us if they had sum us up in three words?
  6. Epaphras: He was one who never forgot about the Colossians. He was the leader of a district, who prayed and worked for the churches.
  7. Luke: He was a beloved physician, the author of the Gospel by the same name and the book of Acts. He had given up his lucrative career to attend, comfort, care for, and strengthen Paul in order to fulfill the mission.
  8. Demas: He was a faithful brother, but who did not remain faithful; he abandoned the apostle and the Lord because of his love for the world.
  9. Nymphas: A faithful, dedicated, and missionary sister who offered herself to the cause of the gospel, she and her resources. The small church of Laodicea was started in her house.
  10. Archippus: Philemon and Nymphas had opened their houses to establish the church, and Archippus was a leader in the church that operated in Philemon’s house. In its early days, the home and the church were the same thing and should remain so. The family is the first church.

As we can see, Paul has a team of various people. There was a fugitive slave to a medical writer. A place for each one and each one had their talents.

As a great disciple, Paul integrated and traines everyone
for the mission with the visionof a prophet, the mind of a scholar,

the heart of an evangelist, the discipline of a soldier,
the faithfulness of a friend, and the love of a father.



“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt,
that you may know how you ought to answer each one”
– Colossians 4:6 –

Beyond the abuse of the consumption of salt and how detirmental it can be to our health, we cannot deny its benefits. Sea salt has numerous virtues for our health, as it provides minerals, provides the necessary magnesium, regulates blood sugar levels, and determines the water of our body.

Sodium chloride is essential in order to produce some acids that allow us to digest proteins and enzymes, regulates the balanced functioning of the brain, increases and improves the immune system, and consequently, resistance against infections. Baths in water with sea salt improve circulation, promote the healing of skin diseases, and moisturize the skin.

Why did Paul say that our words must be graceful, seasoned, and convenient? It is clear that there are ways of saying things, which we can invalidate or validate truthful content in the way we express it.

On the other hand, Jesus Himself showed us that salt (which gives a pleasant taste to food) is the symbol of God’s children, whose life and testimony must be full of flavor and be attractive. The believer is the salt of the earth. There is nothing more bland, tasteless, and fatal than Christians without influence, whose lives do not bring relief and their words are empty of meaning.

Just as salt stops things from going bad and at the same time produces the need for water; the believer is a brake on corruption and produces thirst, leading people to turn to Jesus, the Source of Living Water.

Paul encouraged that the way for Christians to speak be “seasoned with salt,” a metaphor that meant a healthy and engaging attitude. When the Christian opens his mouth, pleasant, fruitful, and uplifting words should flow out. Such was the importance of salt that for many centuries it came to serve as currency.

When we utter meaningless and silly words we encourage others to indulge in the same kind of conversation… The only words that should come from our lips should be pure, unmeaning words… Every word you speak is as a seed that will germinate and produce either good or bad fruit” (The Faith I Live By, p. 236).

Only from a life seasoned by the constant presence of Christ
can seasoned counsel and words come forth.

The Art of Making the Most of Our Time

The Art of Making the Most of Our Time

“Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time”
– Colossians 4:5 –

In 1987, American Airlines took a particular step: it put one less olive in the salads it served on board each of its flights. With that it managed to save forty thousand dollars per year.

In all areas of life, we create, search, and make the most out of every opportunity to take advantage of and make business more sustainable. So how much more relevant it is to do it on missionary levels, where both lives are at stake, the one who needs to receive as well as the one who has to share.

The term “take advantage” comes from the field of administration and finance. It means “using, profiting, applying, dedicating, achieving, getting, producing, being fruitful, accruing, and benefiting.”

These meanings have given rise to expressions such as “feathering one’s own nest.” These artifacts are used to grind grains and an can be moved thanks to the action of water, among other factors. That type of mill needs water to be directed toward it in order to make it work.

Meanwhile, when a person does good business, it is said that the person “makes hay while the sun shines.” There is also a popular expression in Spanish that alludes to doing the August plowing, referring to the harvesting of cereals, olives, grapes, and other fruits from the countryside during the most fruitful season and by extension, to the benefits that are obtained from the sale of a good harvest.

For Paul, to walk wisely means living in such a way that nothing hinders the proclamation of the gospel. For him, taking advantage of the time to seize opportunities to preach.

We need to be attentive to the opportunities given to us in order to present the message for this time:

Let them be quick to seize opportunities to speak to people. Accompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit, let them meet the people with the message borne by John the Baptist: “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The word of God is to be presented with clearness and power, that those who have ears to hear, may hear the truth. Thus the gospel of present truth will be placed in the way of those who know it not, and will be accepted by not a few, and carried by them to their own homes in all parts of the earth” (Colporteur Ministry, p. 40).

Let us take advantage of this time of opportunity
to do what we have to do!

Dont’ be discouraged, be blessed!



“But above all things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also
you were called in one body; and be thankful”
– Colossians 3:14-15 –

Love is the grace that crowns everything, it is a rich garment that covers and gives brilliance and worth to all other virtues. For the Hebrews, a ligament or bond indicates something that united, binds, and is cohesive.

“Without the belt of love all other virtues are useless, that is, they hang from the body, dangerously loose, about to fall,” E.F. Scott said. “Love is the motivating power of faith, it is the supreme Christian grace, that is why love does to one’s neighbor only that which is good,” said F. Bruce. It is this love that unites, that binds, that enhances, that gives value to all the virtues in one person, the same love that binds us to other people, in the same bodyof believers.

In the letters of Philippians and Corinthians, Paul refers to peace as a guardian, or a protection. When love and bitterness contend for supremacy, peace is the arbiter to define struggle and resolve the conflict; both internal as well as external conflicts or in the individual with themselves or in their relationship with others.

Being at peace with oneself is the fruit of the relationship of communion with God, of living in God and with God. Being at peace with others is the fruit of the horizontal relationship. Rules by peace, to live and live together.

As Christians we live in peace and in gratitude. Philo, writing about the early Christians, says that they often spent the night singing hymns and psalms of gratitude. Pliny, sending a report about the early Christians to the Emperor Trajan, wrote: “They gather at dawn to sing hymns to Christ as God.” Gratitude is born in the recognition of who I am and who the othr is.

“Begin to thank the Lord for your home and your pleasant surroundings,
and the many temporal blessings He gives you. By returning thanks
to the Lord for His goodness, you can do something for the One
who has done everything for you. Contemplate the depths
of the compassion that the Saviour felt for you.
For you He gave His life, suffering the cruel death of the cross”
(This Day with God, p. 45).

Thistle and Nettle or White Rose?

Thistle and Nettle or White Rose?

“Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another”
– Colossians 3:13 –

Being a support means giving encouragement, a foundation on which others can build and grow. Paul said in today’s text that we must bear with one another. This is not only a task of mutual building, but also a duty that we have as Christians.

God’s forgiveness for us inspires and commits us to forgive others. We have received such great forgiveness, so how can we not forgive those who offend us? The way, the quantity, the depth with which we forgive establishes the sincerity of our request to the Lord: Forgive us as we forgive our debtors. Forgiveness is the bridge that we ourselves have to cross to attain God’s forgiveness.

“It is most difficult, even for those who claim to be followers of Jesus, to forgive as Christ forgives us. The true spirit of forgiveness is so little practiced, and so many interpretations are placed upon Christ’s requirement, that its force and beauty are lost sight of. We have very uncertain views of the great mercy and loving-kindness of God. He is full of compassion and forgiveness, and freely pardons when we truly repent and confess our sins” (That I May Know Him, p. 180).

Cuban politician and writer José Martí published the poem entitled “Growing a White Rose” in Versos Sencillos [Simple Verses] (New York, 1891). It emphasized the value of true love and friendship.

“I grow a white rose,
in June as in January,
for the sincere friend
who gives me his honest hand.
And for the cruel one who rips out
the heart with which I live,
I do not grow thistle or nettle,
I grow the white rose.”

It is easy to give a white rose to the one who lives by giving us white roses; the hard part is giving a white rose to the one who lives by filling us with nettles. The first can be a transaction or commercial exchange; the second is transformational. Only the presence of Christ in one’s life makes it possible.

Life is too short to live with enmity. Therefore, write the name or names of those from whom you are estranged for some reason on a piece of paper and pray for this or these people.

Then, if possible, make a call or send a message to this or these person(s).

Grow a white rose! May the Lord bless you…

Verb and Adverb

Verb and Adverb

“Put on tender mercies, kindness,
humility, meekness, longsuffering”
– Colossians 3:12 –

The basis of Christianity is relationship. Religion is community, communion with God and communion with our neighbor. Living and living together. Communion and relationship.

When Paul wrote this, the suffering of animals and that of the sick was not taken into account. The sick and wounded were allowed to die; nothing mattered. The way they treated the mentally ill or the disabled was completely discriminatory and ruthless. Women were simply objects. Elders had no place in society. The apostle challenged all to have mercy, kindness, consideration, and endearing affection.

It is also challenged them to cultivate goodness. This is pure Christianity. Falvius Josephus used the word when describing Isaac’s habit of making wells as he looked for water and then gave them to others to take advantage of and enjoy. It is one thing to find water and another thing to make wells for others.

In addition, he asked for humility. It was not anout being considered less as a person or of subservience. Humility is based on the sense of creature. The human being is a creature of the Creator God. We can feel nothing but humility before Him. Considering that we are all creatures and dependents of the Creator, we must express humility before others because we are all needy and dependent children, as well. There is no room for arrogance.

On the other hand, He requests meekness. This is a particular feature that strangely combines firmness with sweetness. The person is controlled because God controls him. “Meekness is the absence of self-justification, the opposite of aggression. It is a sweet, kind equanimity. Our Savior was the perfect example of true meekness” (SDA Bible Commentary).

Finally, he advised having longsuffering, patience. Just thinking about the patient way God has treated us makes us comitted to being more patient with others.

Gerson, a noted fourteenth-century French theologian used to say that God takes adverbs more than verbs into account in our lives. What did he mean by this? It is simple. Verbs indicate action, and adverbs point to how we perform it.

God does not only look at action;
He also looks at what motivates us to do it.

What motivates you today? Be blessed…