PHASES- #1, an Introduction to the Christian life

            Welcome to the Christian life!

stoning_of_st_stephen1625oil_on_oak_panelmusee_des_beaux-arts_lyons“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church”–Tertullian

       In the first few centuries, Christianity grew quickly. By AD100, it had become mostly Gentile and had begun to break from its Jewish origins. By 200, the faith had permeated most regions of the Roman Empire, though Christians were mostly in the larger urban areas (Gaul, Lyons, Carthage, Rome). By 325, an estimated 7 million were Christians with as many as 2 million killed for the faith.”http://www3.dbu.edu/mitchell/anceint_christian_martyrdom.htm

The Martyrdom of Stephen, (only 36 at the time of his death) spurred many “Christ Followers” to deeper understanding of the cost of their salvation. Is this what you’ve sighed up for?

Throughout these next few months I will set forth the various Phases of the Christian life, as I see them. Granted, there are many more, or fewer; this is only one early 21st Century writers perspective. Enjoy.

Here is my list of the Phases of the Christian life we will explore.

1.      Deliverence 6.      Discouragement
2.      Delight 7.      Decisions
3.      Discipleship 8.      Dedication
4.      Distraction 9.      Deliverence (again)
5.      Disillusion 10.  Delight

For now, let’s start with the admission that if everything in your life of faith is static, solid, and unchanging, you are not growing in your newfound faith. You are pretending or hiding or deceiving yourself. The Christian life is not a static, once-for-all-time thing. It is a fluid work of art in constant flux.

Get used to it.

Much love,

Gary

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Zaphenath-paneah

gary, davis, pharaoh, clueless, Christianity, egypt, Joseph, israelWhat’s in a name? For most of us it is our key identifier. It is who we are known by: it is our moniker, our recognized personage. But what if that were to change? What if we were given another name, one that is more appropriate in another culture, totally different from our own? What then? Who would we become? How would our new name make us different? Would others see us differently?

Joseph, son of Jacob, had such a name change. His older brothers hated him because of the love his father had for him. So they sold him to a passing caravan and told their fathers he was dead. But God had other plans for Joseph.

Through positions of power, years of imprisonment, and reinstatement to the 2nd highest standing in Egypt. He came to this rank at just 30 years of age. To honor his new station in leadership Pharaoh gave him a new name— Zaphenath-Paneah, the God Who Speaks and He Lives. He ruled over Egypt under Pharaoh for 7 years of plenty and prepared for 7 the years of famine to follow.

It was in this time that his brothers came to him to buy food for their families in Canaan…, the same brothers that had years before sold him into slavery. But his countenance and elevated Egyptian attire were so unalike the brother they had known that they did not recognize him. [Look it up— Genesis 38-46]

Question— what would it take to change your countenance? A change in position? An incredible promotion? A totally different name? Adding Dr. or Sir as prefixes to your name? Or would you remain the same ol’ Joe?

Hopefully, our life experiences and positional changes, whether positive or negative, have an effect on us. We all live in context with those around us. Their perceptions of us do matter. They should affect us. Do you know the way other people see you? What they think of you? Actually, do their opinions of you matter to you? They should. If they do not, you have a problem.

Take a test. Find a friend who knows you and ask them how you come across; not just to them, but to the people they know who do not have quite such a favorable opinion of you. You buy the coffee.

Honor God, honor people.., make a difference,

Gary

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