Today’s Devotional – April 4th (Apostle Paul’s Fun & Recreation)

By admin On April 3rd, 2014

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Click credit links below each pic, for licensing names/details/tags/etc.. Most pics cropped/reduced in size

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“Complete List of Daily Devotionals”                                                                                                       

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Daily Devotional, Year 1- April 4

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PAUL’S FUN & RECREATION

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“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

Philippians 1:21

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Have you, O Christian, ever felt overwhelmed with the Christian life? Have you ever felt that you needed something from this world to help you escape the Christian warfare?

.http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Offering_a_toast_with_sparkling_wine_flutes.jpg

Maybe you thought that you needed a glass of wine, so that you can unwind?

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Or maybe a secular novel, or TV show?

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Maybe you thought of taking up some hobby?

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Or maybe a night on the town?

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Offering a toast with sparkling wine flutes – cropped image – Wikimedia – Share-alike license

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PAUL’S ENCOURAGEMENT 

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So, just what does Scripture say about all this?…http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:PaulT.jpg

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“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless,  and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,” Philippians 3:7, 8

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So, is Paul being a little extreme and severe? After all, society tells us not to take our religion too seriously! You might say that Paul is what society calls ‘a religious fanatic’!

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Well, shouldn’t we live a life more like the people of this world, with worldly aspirations and pleasures? (see Jeremiah 45:5)

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Painting: Paul the Apostle-Artist-Valentin de Boulogne or Nicolas Tournier- circa 1500s

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FIRE IS NEVER SATISFIED!

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The fact is, a Christian will never be satisfied with just a little worldly fun (see Ecclesiastes https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cheers!_(3162940696).jpg1:8).

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There will always be a clamoring and a fire burning within, for more and more of this world!

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Listen… “There are…things that are never satisfied…a fire that will never say, ‘It is enough'”. Proverbs 30:15, 16 (condensed).

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Yes, the desires for the things of the world are like a raging fire, that burns to the depths of the human soul.

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Painting: Paul the Apostle-Artist-Valentin de Boulogne or Nicolas Tournier- circa 1500s

Hands Toasting Drinks – Cheers! cropped image – Wikimedia – Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

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PAUL’S FUN & RECREATION

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But how dihttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:PaulT.jpgd Paul enjoy himself? How did Paul unwind?

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Did Paul ever just go do secular things to get some “R & R”? After all, Paul was not under the letter of the law! All things are lawful! Right?

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But Paul had a whole different attitude about the things that brought him fun.

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Just listen… “According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:20, 21.

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Here was Paul’s “fun”! To become Christ-like was Paul’s great joy: to walk along the dusty roads, and sing, pray and meditate on God’s Word; to go into a synagogue or forum, and begin to preach the Gospel; to go into this or that city, and work day and night in behalf of the church in that city; and yes, even to suffer for the Name of Jesus!

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These kinds of activities were Paul’s joy and recreation.

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Painting: Paul the Apostle-Artist-Valentin de Boulogne or Nicolas Tournier- circa 1500s

Paul Preaching in Athens (Raphael, 1515) – Wikipedia – US public domain

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THE JOYS OF HEAVEN

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To those who are the Elect of God, there’s no need for the amusements of the world, in order to be fulfilled…

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:US_Navy_100326-N-4774B-066_Chaplain_Lt._Jason_Gregory_reads_bible_verses_on_the_weather_deck_aboard_the_guided-missile_cruiser_USS_Bunker_Hill_(CG_52).jpg.

Listen… “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of Salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” Psalm 61:10.

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Does this verse sound like the Christian life is a total bore?

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On the contrary, God gives the Christian more joy in prayer, Bible study, and witnessing than from all the hobbies and entertainments of the world (see Luke 14:33).

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And the Holy Spirit in-dwelling the Believer can give great joy to that Christian in ways that the world just cannot understand!

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US Navy – Chaplain Lt. Jason Gregory reads Bible on weather deck – Wikimedia – US Govt. Public Domain

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TO READ PART 2, CLICK HERE…DECEMBER 1 (Apostle Paul’s Fun & Recreation, Part 2: How Should I Unwind?)

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TODAY’S PRAYER…

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“Dear Lord, Fill me with Thy Holy Spirit, that I may also have joy in all matters of Heaven…

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READ MORE…

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To explore deeper into this subject, please read… “Running The Christian Race (Part 3, Sensual Music)” or you can also read… “Running The Christian Race (Part 1: Paul & John: Our Role Models)”

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THE END

.Soldiers of the Cross - Armor-Up!

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TODAY’S FEATURED HEAVENLY SIGN

Info & pics of constellations on this site from Wikipedia & International Astronomical Union (click here)

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A HEAVENLY HOBBY

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Starry_Night_at_La_Silla.jpg

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“Lift up your eyes on high, and behold Who hath created these things; that brings out their host by number: He calls them all by names by the greatness of His might, for that He is strong in power; not one faileth.” Isaiah 40:26

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ABOVE PICTURE – Starry Night at La Silla – cropped  and altered image – Wikimedia – Share-Alike license

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The above verse is a plea from God to look up at the Heavens and behold Who has created these http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:New_york_times_square-terabass.jpgthings.

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In this busy work-a-day world, there are many very interesting things which can occupy one’s time and energy: hobbies, and careers, and entertainments and http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Shoppers_on_Dundas,_near_Yonge.jpgworries, and habits, to name just a few.

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But as the child of God devotes his or her life to God, there should be a jealous guarding of one’s own heart… “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23.

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The Christian wants nothing to get in the way of running that Christian Race.

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New York Times Square – terabass – cropped image – Wikipedia – Share-alike License

Shoppers in Toronto – cropped image – Wikimedia – share-alike license

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“AND WHEN YE SEE THESE THINGS…

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LOOK UP, LIFT UP YOUR HEAD”

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But having said this, there is one hobby which every ‘Noble Berean’ may take up, which only compliments the pursuit of the heavenly Prize.

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Yes, Signs Of Heaven becomes a wonderfully rewarding hobby which, unlike many less meaningful hobbies, pays off with rich, heavenly rewards. Everlasting rewards!

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And unlike the person in this photo with equipment, all you need is fairly good vision, and a dark, starry night.

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And once a person really gets to know these heavenly messengers, it will become very apparent that the message connected with these signs is truly a message to be heeded.

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Thus will the Christian be able to share this message with others. And there are perhaps many nuances and hidden biblical truths to these signs which have yet to be discovered.

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Astronomy Amateur – cropped image – Wikipedia – share-alike license

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.summer w/woman & doves

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“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;” Luke 21:25

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ABOVE CHART: Summer Constellations with Doves (Sagittarius) & Woman (Ursa Major)

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FIRST FIND ORION & 7 STARS

.Orion Constellation

The very first step in finding these many constellations, should be to find the two main constellations: Orion, and the 7 Stars (aka, The Big Dipper).

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These two constellations represent Christ (Orion), and His Chur7 stars as Crossch (7 Stars).

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And just as these are the easiest constellations to find, so too, the first place to begin studying the Bible is the Four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John).

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These four books present Christ and His Church, when He walked the earth, just as Orion and the 7 Stars represent Christ and His Church, as seen up in the heavens.

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Then, once you are comfortable finding these two constellations, you can begin to locate the next closest constellations, and so on.

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ABOVE PICTURE: Orion the Soldier and the Revelation 12 Dragon (Hyades & Pleiades, etc.) – winter constellations – www.signsofheaven.org – not for commercial use

ABOVE PICTURE – 7 Stars Constellation as the Cross (aka Big Dipper) – winter – signsofheaven.org – not for commercial uses

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ANOTHER HEAVENLY HOBBY: PRAYER-WALKS

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Now if you’re fortunate enough to be able to go on nightly walks, and you live in an area where you can safely view the stars, here is another Heavenly Hobby which Signs Of Heaven endorses…

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Why not combine star-watching with prayer, as you walk? What a great way to draw closer to God!

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It cannot be over-stressed, just how wonderful it is to walk under the dark canopy of Heaven, while lifting up one’s heart to our Heavenly Father! There is a closeness to God that cannot be described with words!

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(And even if you cannot safely do this, you can always do such prayer-walks in the daytime, in a safe place, such as a mall, which is every bit as effective, prayer-wise.

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And for those who are in confinement, one can view these starry signs on the Internet, or simply listen to Scripture on audio.

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Either way, all such may enjoy God’s richest blessings at this very time in which God is pouring out all Heaven’s treasures upon anyone willing to forsake all, and follow Jesus!)

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Starry Night at La Silla – cropped and latered image – Wikipedia – share-alike license

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THRICE-DAILY PRAYERS

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Marines_at_Prayer_by_Alex_Raymond.jpg.

Now of course, the Bible commands us to, “pray without ceasing“. The Christian is to constantly talk with our Heavenly Father throughout the day.

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But the Bible also holds up the godly life of Daniel, who, when captive in Babylon, still set aside three times daily, in which he knelt for special prayer.

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And furthermore the Bible also says… “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice.” Psalm 55:17.

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Even those who are bed-fast or in a prison cell can begin to imitate Daniel in this way. And if one is fortunate to be able to walk, then this thrice-daily prayer regimen can be combined with three walks daily and even nightly.

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Marines at Prayer by Alex Raymond – Wikimedia – public domain

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READ MORE…

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To explore deeper into this subject, please read… “Signs Of Heaven”

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TOMORROW:

“April 5th (Following Jesus!)”

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20+ MINUTE AUDIO STUDY IN JEREMIAH 

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ALL‘NOBLE BEREANS’ (open-minded seekers of Bible truth) ARE ENCOURAGED TO BEGIN FOLLOWING THIS 650+ AUDIO BIBLE STUDY THROUGH THE BOOK OF JEREMIAH EACH DAY ON THIS DAILY DEVOTIONAL.

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THIS STUDY #94 IS PRESENTED BY THE LATE HAROLD CAMPING, FORMER CEO OF FAMILY RADIO…

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above picture: Prophet Jeremiah – www.christianimagesource.org – Public Domain

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