According to a long-held Christian tradition, the apostle Paul was beheaded and buried in Rome around AD 67. In 2009, scientists conducted carbon dating tests on what many believe to be his remains. While these tests on the bone fragments confirmed that they date from the first or second century, positive identification remains in question. But no matter where Paul’s bones rest, his heart lives on through his letters in the New Testament.
While imprisoned for about four years in Rome, Paul wrote letters to the followers of Jesus about his purpose in life. These are now Books in the Bible; they are Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. We, living almost 2,000 years later, are fortunate to have these letters to teach us the inspiring truths of God. We are the beneficiaries of Paul’s spiritual wisdom fashioned in the trial of personal suffering. These four letters are among the most hopeful and encouraging that Paul wrote. They help us understand how we can find joy in our trials and peace in our lives. Today, I want to look at some verses in Philippians. In Philippians 1:20-21 Paul spoke of his “…earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
As we read Paul’s words today, they challenge us to examine our own hearts. Are we as passionate as he was about Jesus Christ? Is it our goal to honor Him in our everyday life?
Galatians 1:15-16a, But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach…
He knew me first, I didn’t really find Him. The Lord revealed Himself in me, and now I serve Him in the ordinary ways of life out of devotion to Him. “To serve God is the deliberate love-gift of a nature that has heard the call of God” Oswald Chambers/15
Long after we’re gone, those who knew us will remember our hearts. May we, like Paul, create a legacy of hope and encouragement centered on Jesus Christ.
Lord, I would serve You day by day,
Doing Your will, let come what may;
Keep my heart faithful, strong and true,
Always to trust and honor You. –Hess
Romans 2:11, For there is no partiality with God.
So let it be so with us! Let us make others better (all others) with a kind word…teaching them…relieve them if we can. Be good to others when ever possible. And remember “with God, nothing is impossible.”
We are Christ’s “Letters of Recommendation” to all who read our lives. God has been writing the chapters of our lives since before we were born. Our lives should leave a legacy of service.