Posted on  Fri, May 25, 2012 at 7:57 a.m. (EST) & 5:27 p.m. (IST),  MAY 2012 Edition

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"Christ  Our Understanding Redeemer Always Guides Eternally! (C.O.U.R.A.G.E)"

Ramesh C. Reddy
Publisher

SCRIPTURE:
"I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or death." (Philippians 1:20, NIV)

Approach Question:
When are you afraid to share the Gospel with others?

Observations:
I asked myself, what does Paul not want?
Paul's expectation and hope is that he will in no way be ashamed.

I asked myself what does Paul want?
Paul's expectation and hope is to have sufficient courage.
Paul wants Christ to be exalted in his body now as always whether by life or death.

Interpretation:
I asked myself the significance of Paul's statements?
It becomes that much more significant when I realize that Paul is chained and a prisoner. He does not want him being in chains or being a prisoner to ever make him ashamed! Wow! In his chains too, he wants to have sufficient courage to know Christ and make Christ known! Praise the Lord! Amen!

I asked myself, what does 'in no way ashamed' refer to?
What came to my mind is,
'in no way be ashamed' could refer to the Gospel of Christ that Paul has been talking about a lot. His expectation and hope is that whatever he is facing, he could stand up to the Gospel. No matter what others think of the Gospel, Paul does not want to be ashamed of the Gospel. Paul never wants to lay the blame on God or the Gospel for what he is faced with and does not want to be ashamed of the Gospel. He knows the Gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

I asked myself, what does 'now as always' refer to?
What came to my mind is,
'now as always' could refer to Paul being a prisoner as opposed to being free and preaching the Gospel. Yet, in both circumstances, Paul's expectation and hope is that  he will have sufficient courage so that "Christ will be exalted in his body whether by life or by death" Paul has his mind focused on Christ rather than allowing his current circumstances to shift his focus from the Lord. Either way whether he is allowed to live or die, he wants Christ to be exalted and lets the Philippians know that he needs sufficient courage for that to happen.

Paul knew what the Gospel stood for and its power to save Jew and Gentile. He also knew that believing in the Gospel will transform lives not only for him but all the Philippians who experience the power of the Gospel, so he wants to have sufficient courage to continue to have Christ exalted in His body, knowing he is in hostile territory where belief in the Gospel alone could have him killed. Yet, he did not let persecution stop him from being courageous for the Gospel

Implications:
I asked myself what are the implications for my own life?
I need to call upon the Lord's help so that I will never be ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ whatever is happening around me. Help me Jesus. I want to have sufficient courage too in my life no matter what is happening around me to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I thank the Lord Jesus for giving me that opportunity in many of the classes I have taken and pray for more opportunities that I will never be ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ but proclaim it whenever I have the opportunity for my courage comes from the Lord of Heaven and Earth!

HOW GOSPEL GIVES ME TESTIMONY REGARDING C.O.U.R.A.G.E:
When I first became a follower of Christ, from being a Hindu years ago, it was in 7th grade. Jesus gave me the courage to take out a religious ad in the Valentine's Day edition. It said,  "JESUS LOVES YOU, JESUS LOVES ME. IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT JESUS, WATCH WPCB, CHANNEL 40" Little did I ever expect that I will also receive a booklet from IVP, which was the best booklet that I ever read on Inductive Bible Study, which I would come to use 10 years later with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. How God ordains things even years ahead! Praise the Lord! I thank Jesus for giving me courage in my classes to proclaim the glory of the Risen Lord who will forever be the Lamb upon the Throne. 

That moment of evangelism in 7th grade began God's journey in my life to engage my middle school, my high school, and my college in all its ethnic diversity with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There have been times I have been fearful of what others would think of me and even say to me but I thank the Lord Jesus for giving me sufficient courage to live for Him and proclaim Him. I ask for your prayers that I continue to do that :)

My favorite way of proclaiming the Gospel is through poetry, Bible verses, devotionals, Pittsburgh Standard, Facebook, and  especially creating study questions for classes I take. I then  post them online, in the EDUCATION section of the paper with Bible verses embedded in them. So, when people come to check out the sample study questions, they are blessed by God's Word and also are provided a study guide to prepare for their exams. It's been so successful that students want me to take other classes with them. I praise the Lord.

As the saying goes, 'courage is not the absence of fear but amidst the fear'. I have been ridiculed, made fun of, put down, etc because of my faith in Jesus Christ.

I have been afraid multiple times but I have asked Jesus to help me in my classes to write about Jesus, talk about Jesus, and proclaim the Word of God through Word and deed as Jesus gives me the strength and ability even beyond the classes. I praise the Lord for opportunities! I pray that I will never be ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am so thankful I can rest in the Lord Jesus Christ for help.

I learned the purpose of today's devotional for me is to know the importance of having sufficient courage for Christ, which will keep us from being ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but also live our lives in such a way that Christ will be exalted in our bodies whether in life or death

I ask you now dear friend, where do you need to have C.O.U.R.A.G.E in life?
Dear friend, there are many areas of our lives that we need courage but the most important area of all is being a follower of Christ. Being a follower of Christ will not be easy in this generation. No way! There is so much humanism, existentialism, atheism, and all the negative 'isms' that battle for your attention and make you vulnerable. You could be facing a lot that there can be a temptation to be ashamed of the Gospel.

If your instructors teach you something different from what you have known to be the Truth all your life, and you start believing them, you can have a temptation to be ashamed of the Gospel?

 If you have grown in a family where Christ was constantly preached and you brought that experience with you to college but you hear people say this is the millennium and the Bible is outdated, you can be tempted to be ashamed of the gospel?

If things are going haywire in your life but you expected the Gospel of Christ to give you a smooth ride in life, you can be tempted to be ashamed of the gospel?

If your friends ridicule you for what you believe, and you put more emphasis on what others think about you or what your circumstances show, you can be tempted to be ashamed of the Gospel?

If you are standing up to the political wrongness of your leaders decisions and others ridicule you saying that the Bible is outdated and we should not bring God's standards into politics, you can be tempted to stay silent and be ashamed of God's Word that has power to proclaim the Gospel?

As Pastor Ed always told me that the Gospel is not just about Jesus dying for our sin and coming back to life to save us but it should address all facets of our life, which for me also includes politics.

The Gospel cannot really be advanced if we fearfully stay silent agreeing with what the politicians do whether it deals with gay marriage, abortion, euthanasia, etc. It takes courage to speak out for Christ in all areas and we need His help.

Apostle Paul spoke out against the leaders of his day and was even imprisoned. That is called being a dissident from the status quo but it has to be done with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and God's Word in mind.  Leaders were afraid that to Jesus if people run, leaders profits will be none and they will be done. But, Jesus is the Way even to this day!

I want to do the same and not remain silent whatever area it is in You may have experienced all these situations or maybe some of them but whatever situation you are faced with, please do not be ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God for the Salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile!

I love how my loving wife Chandra took opportunities to share tracks with others while she was in the bus to proclaim Christ fearlessly. Then, she would talk to them about Jesus. My mommy would do the same looking for every opportunity she gets. Thank you Lord Jesus!

The Apostle Paul could have succumbed to the chains of his slavery but He saw His slavery to Christ and not the chains. So, even though from outside appearance things seemed to be going wrong, he faith and joy were in Christ and he never wanted to be ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to proclaim and advance it. Thank you Jesus!

I know when things go wrong in our lives sometimes it is so easy to blame God and be upset with the Gospel. I know I have done that. Father God forgive me! This usually happens when we take our mind of Christ and our mind is focused on the problems we face.
 
The devil knows each of our weaknesses to the 'T' and he is going to try to exploit those weaknesses to make us falter. No matter what Paul was facing he wanted Christ to be exalted in his body and that should be our aim too. It is not just when things just go our way do we need to turn to Christ but always.

I know it is not easy when we are facing pain and sorrow. The pain and sorrow can engulf us to the point that we may just want to give up, drink our problems away, or hit the bed to sleep our problems away (I have done that so many times), but the solution is not in those methods. Jesus knows what we face and will be with us through the trials and tribulations.

When we realize that we are so loved, so special, and so precious to Jesus, we can face whatever comes our way, knowing even when we are disciplined, God will bring us through. I also believe when we ask God forgiveness for the wrongs we have done and have truly repented of what we have done, there are so many times His mercy upon our lives overshadows the consequences we might have faced. Please dwell on Christ rather than the circumstances in your life! We can have courage knowing Christ our understanding Redeemer always guides us! Amen!

When we understand the magnitude of what Jesus Christ went through for us by shedding His precious blood on the cross to save us and redeem us, we should count it as a privilege to suffer for Christ and make Him known. I know this is still a new concept in the United States and Western World because we have been given it easy but look at your brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering all over the world for the Gospel, some being brutally raped, killed, etc but their hope is in Christ, the Risen Lord and what He stands for. They get their strength and courage from Jesus Christ, their Redeemer. We too as Paul did should always pray for sufficient courage to make the Gospel known to our friends, co-workers, etc without letting fear stop us. It's easier said than done but Jesus will give us the strength as He sees our availability for Him. Praise the Lord!

When you show courage in acknowledging Christ as your Lord and Personal Savior before your friends, family, foes, etc, Christ will take care of your fears and just as Paul said, "I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or death.", you can come to say that! Praise the Lord!

Leave the results in the Lord's precious Hands.

I want to share with you a story about a student who defied a professor to make his faith known. I don't know if it is a true story or not but the principle of courage stands out: It was a Philosophy class and the professor was an adamant atheist. The first day of class, he challenged and dared anyone to speak the name of Jesus or God in his class. He said, "If God exists, let me throw this chalk on the floor and it will not break." One student in the back of 300 stood up and said, "I believe in God". He ridiculed the student and was about to throw the chalk down when it slipped from his hands and rolled down his pants and rolled away. Now this student had the opportunity to share God with others even as the professor was baffled.

Friend, to have courage and share Christ with others, we need to have Christ in our lives first. You have to think beyond your friends peer pressure, family's peer pressure, etc and do what is right. The right thing to do is realize what sinners we are who are in need of a Savior. Jesus came to be that Savior for you and me. That is so exciting to know but God will not force His way into our lives but waits for us to come to Him as He provided the Ultimate price on the Cross of Calvary to redeem you and me. It did not end there but Jesus Christ came back to life to save you and me. It is His blood that cleanses us from all unrighteousness. You can experience that love and depend on Him for courage now and forever more!

He will also give you courage to face the situations that come in your life and you can have Him walk by your side always now and forever more and that is exciting and comforting to know! Praise the Lord!

Come as you are to Christ and let Him take care of you. May you know that Christ our understanding Redeemer always guides Eternally! Amen!

"Christ Our Understanding Redeemer Always Guides Eternally!" (C.O.U.R.A.G.E)/"Where do you need to have C.O.U.R.A.G.E. in life?"

PRAYER:
Dear Lord we come to you right now. We thank you how much you love us and care for us. We thank you that you know every circumstance we face, every pain and sorrow that engulfs us, every disappointment that comes our way. You know the times we just want to give up but you come to give us courage to go on. Yes, you do! Thank you so much Jesus. Thank you that you have called us by name, we are yours,  we are special in your sight and you call us precious in your sight. Thank you so much Jesus. We come to you to give us strength to bear through every hardship we face. We can come to you because you are Lord and there is no other. Please Lord let us never be ashamed of your Gospel but have sufficient courage to proclaim it. I thank you Jesus. I pray for everyone who is hurting and confused. I pray for those who feel like they have lost direction in their life. I pray that you will come and fill them with your loving Spirit and power, guiding them every step of the way. Thank you so much Jesus! Please forgive us our sins and wipe our slates clean. I thank you Lord for doing that even when our sins are red as crimson and washing us white as freshly fallen snow. Thank you for being so patient with us and forgiving us so many times even to the point your mercy overshadows the discipline we deserved to face. We give ourselves to you and ask you to be in control of our lives transforming us by Your grace, as we have confessed that we have sinned. I thank you Jesus for being our Lord and Personal Savior, for living in us, and hearing all our prayers. I thank you for being our understanding Redeemer always guiding us which gives us courage. In Your Name we pray Jesus, thanking you and praising you for everything! Amen!

May the Lord Jesus guide you in His love leading you! Amen!

No matter what you feel in your heart, know that Jesus has come in and resides with you! You are not alone! To make your walk strong with the Lord, spend time in prayer talking to Him as you would to a friend. You donít need special words to talk to the Lord. Spend time in His Word reading Psalms and turniLOVINGg them into prayer. Next allow God to heal you and speak to you through the Gospel of John or Gospel of Mark before moving on to other Books of the Bible! Slowly, let the Lord show you to which Scriptures He wants you to go to next. It is also important to be part of a body of believers to help you grow in the faith. Find a Bible believing church that preaches the Word of God from Genesis to Revelation proclaiming Jesus Christ our crucified and risen Lord who brings us hope, healing, and help by His grace alone!

Feel free to email me at reddy4hisglory2004@yahoo.com if you want to meet to study the Bible, pray with, talk about Spiritual issues or whatever is on your mind! My number is 412-641-9426

"This is my work and I can do it only because Christ's mighty energy is at work within me." (Colossians 1:29, TLB)

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2012 DEVOTIONALS:

 "Who do you C.A.L.L often in life?"By Ramesh C. Reddy (May 24, 12, 8:32 a.m.)

Philippians 1:19: "What reason do you have to R.E.J.O.I.C.E in life?"By Ramesh C. Reddy (May 22, 12, 8:21 a.m.)

Philippians 1:15-18: "How are your M.O.T.I.V.E.S in life?"By Ramesh C. Reddy (May 22, 12, 8:21 a.m.)

Philippians 1:13-14:"What have your C.H.A.I.N.S done to others in your life?"By Ramesh C. Reddy (May 21, 12, 9:04 a.m.)

Philippians 1:12:  "How can you feel so S.P.E.C.I.A.L when things are going so wrong in your life?"By Ramesh C. Reddy (May 18, 12, 8:20 a.m.)

Philippians 1:9-11: "What is your L.O.V.I.N.G response in life based on?"By Ramesh C. Reddy (May 18, 12, 8:20 a.m.)

Philippians 1:8:   "How can your A.F.F.E.C.T.I.O.N grow towards others in life?"By Ramesh C. Reddy (May 17, 12, 6:32 a.m.)

Philippians 1:7: "Why cannot you be saved by G.R.A.C.E. alone?"By Ramesh C. Reddy (May 16, 12, 9:55 a.m.)

Philippians 1:6: "Where are you C.O.N.F.I.D.E.N.T in?"By Ramesh C. Reddy (May 15, 12, 10:54 a.m.)

Philippians 1:3-6: "How can you attain a P.A.R.T.N.E.R.S.H.I.P in the Gospel?" By Ramesh C. Reddy (May 14, 12, 08:38 a.m.)

Philippians 1:3: "How will others R.E.A.C.T towards God when they remember you?" (May 11, 12, 09:53 a.m.) By Ramesh C. Reddy

Philippians 1:1-2: "When do you B.L.E.S.S others in life?" (May 09, 12, 7:30 a.m.) By Ramesh C. Reddy

Philippians 1:1: "Why bother to let others T.R.A.I.N you when you are already a leader?" (May 10, 12, 9:01 a.m.) By Ramesh C. Reddy

Philippians 1:1: "Why should you believe you are H.O.L.Y instead of being a sinner?" (May 08, 12, 8:05 a.m.) By Ramesh C. Reddy

Philippians 1:1: Who will you be a S.L.A.V.E to in life? (May 07, 12, 7:06 a.m.) By Ramesh C. Reddy

 

 
   
 

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