Greet Apelles, whose fidelity to Christ has stood the test. Romans 16:10
In the last chapter of his letter to the Romans, Paul listed people who have helped or encouraged him and gives them all a kind of epitaph.
Ampliatus is “my dear friend in the Lord”. Urbanus is a “fellow worker in Christ”.
Three women are commended for “working hard for the Lord”. But the one that stood out for me was Apelles. We don’t anything more about him. We don’t know whether there was one “test” or several. We don’t know whether he was great preacher, effective evangelist or someone who stacked the chairs after the service, so to speak.
When Paul thought of Apelles, the first thing he thought was “a man who is faithful to Christ”. The phrase suggests longevity, faithfulness over a period of years, a lifetime perhaps.
In our world some people seem to be blessed with a lot more obvious talent than others. And our celebrity-obsessed society gravitates towards the visible, prominent leader types. There are many accolades that this world can give – whether sporting success or prominence in politics or business. None of them is bad.
For Paul the bigger question is has your fidelity to Christ stood the test of richness or poverty of success or failure? Stuart Weir
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. 2 Thessalonians 3:16
In the modern world we have so much compared to previous generations – travel, gadgets, opportunities and stress! Modern life has so many things that we rely on that can break down. At the time I am writing this my internet is down. Although I have lived much of my life without internet, being offline for 5 minutes seems like a crisis!
In our sporting life there are great opportunities but also great uncertainly – funding, sponsors, selection, disappointment with our own performance, fitness, training regimes, injury, planning the campaign etc
In the midst of their difficult circumstances Paul prays for the Thessalonians to have “peace at all times”. When I ask athletes what I should pray for, “peace” is the most common answer. Paul’s statement is much more than “Good luck”, “Have a blessed day” or whatever other platitude can be offered. Paul knows that God is the only real source of peace – in fact he calls God “The Lord of peace”. The blessing Paul gives to the Thessalonians is rather global. It is peace “at all times and in every way”.
This morning I was praying for a friend whose husband has terminal cancer. Her prayer request was: “Pray for us to have peace and joy no matter how we’re feeling or what the future might hold”.
Whatever issue you are facing today, claim God’s universal and comprehensive peace. Stuart Weir
As we consider our New Years resolutions, be encouraged by the following!!
One of my favorite stories is about two men, both Italian sculptors and contemporaries: Donatello and Michelangelo. One day, Donatello received delivery of a huge block of marble. After examining it carefully, Donatello rejected the marble because it was too flawed and cracked for him to use.
Rather than struggle back to the quarry, the quick-thinking haulers decided to deliver it down the street to Michelangelo. After all, he had a flaw, too. He was known to be a little absent-minded. He might not realize that he had not ordered a three-ton block of marble.
When Michelangelo inspected the marble, he saw the crack and flaws. But he also saw the block as a challenge to his artistic skills. It became a personal challenge he could not pass up. He accepted the block of marble that Donatello had already rejected as too flawed and too cracked.
Michelangelo proceeded to carve from that seemingly useless block of marble the statue of “David”, considered to be the world’s greatest art treasure.…
We/all of us are ‘cracked’ and ‘flawed’ in one way or another. Instead of discarding the whole wild lot of us, mercy and grace took a look and said, “I can use that.”
We are in Wisconsin this New Years eve. Thanks to each of you for reading and passing on my weekly blogpost. Have a great 2018!
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind..Psalm 107: 8 There are so many things that we can say about God’s love. That it is unfailing is one of the best. In the world of sport there is constant change. Great champions have days when they fail. Even at elite level, most people lose as often as they win. To have something (or someone) who is unchanging and unfailing is a great encouragement. The Hebrew word is hesed, a word that Bible translators have often found difficult to translate satisfactorily. I discovered that hesed even has its own website, hesed.com. It offers the following definition: “the consistent, ever-faithful, relentless, constantly-pursuing, lavish, extravagant, unrestrained, furious love of our Father God!” Sometimes we feel undeserving of God’s love (we are!). Sometimes we think we have to work hard, be especially “good”, to earn God’s love (we don’t). The words of the definition quoted above speak of a God with love bursting out, a God wanting to share his love. In our world we often suffer from insecurity, needing to feel that others like us or are impressed with us. If we grasp how much and how unconditionally God loves us, we are set free from the need to prove ourselves. As sportspeople we are set free to compete, train and do life for his glory. Stuart Weir