Paul’s Bonds & Philippian Boon

How was it that the trials of Paul
Was a boost to the Gospel at all
How could his chains and pains
Be to all a source of spiritual gains

A conundrum that was and still is
The Philippians grew bold and brave
If Paul the Roman genius could suffer
They would give more to Him that gave

The sacrifice of one Man birthed
An explosion of the Word
Christ did thus to save the Church
Paul-to follow footsteps of the Lord

Christ the King of Heaven descended
Paul the Roman Citizen condescended
Both upended themselves for the Light
Think of a supernova-fading bright

A bed of roses is not a good foil
For a faith built on blood and toil
For us the sacrifice may not be blood
Yet for this free gift we must deny
Ourselves for the love of the Lord

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The Reasoning Of Brother Demas

Paul surely had lost his spiritual edge
Twas time for him to leave the stage
Age had made him yesterday’s sage
Demas thought-it was time to turn the page

When the anointing was still on him
Aprons taken from his saintly body
Healed all scarred at Satan’s whim
Now he abandoned Trophimus at Miletus
His prayer unable to heal an infirm buddy

This Tent-Maker turned itinerant preacher
Had failed to monetise his message
With his gift the ministry should be richer
Now he had only one cloak in his dotage

Was Paul’s mighty faith now waning?
Why was his infirmity not healed
After years of tearful pleading
His faltering faith had finally failed

This man who had seen the third heaven
Was now trapped in a stinking cell
A manacled maniac musing about death
Rejoicing in tolling of martyrdom’s bell

Brother Demas was done with this
He wanted out to make great impact
With a gospel not enfeebled by piety
A ministry better in strategy and tact

But Brother Demas failed to see
Divine strength robed in weakness
Was God’s own modus operandi
The gift is not to bless those in the harness

 

Weak Man & Mighty Letters

The Corinthians scoffed at Paul the aged
They said his letters were full of vim
Bristling with intent and elemental force
His presence was not-they remembered him
The little hook-nosed Jew with an infirmity
Eyes forever damaged by meeting Him
The Pillar of Fire-the great shining Light
What gave this man the sheer audacity
To excomunicate a believer without leniency
For he wrote and judged the man in absentia
Sentenced without a pretence of natural justice
Yet that was God’s Messenger for that age
His body was weak but not his will
Nor the anointing of the apostle still
Judge not God’s servants by appearance
Or you would be miffed at their stance
Never mind the packaging-look at the gift

The Onesimus Question

 

 

What would Paul do with Onesimus
This wanted and runaway figure
Who had recently converted to the Way
This was a conundrum that got even more
Convoluted-for this slave and thieving knave
Belonged to the uncommon Philemon
Who was the pillar of the Colossian church
If the Son of Man came to set men free
Should Onesimus not be set at liberty?
Paul must have pondered and wondered
Perhaps he could keep him as his own servant
For heaven knew he needed a helper
Yet doing that would mean expropriation
Or misappropriation without compensation
Then Paul made his great decision
This new faith would not torpedo order
Christ died not to seize the trophies of Caesar
Onesimus would return to Philemon’s rule
With a missive to us that have believed
To abide in our socio-economic niche
With the marvellous Light we have received

 

Learning from Parting-A John Mark Moment

It was in the Christian cradle of Antioch
That God assigned Paul and Barnabas
For the work they had to do was much
The two man mission was blessed by the Church
The field was fruitful for they were in God’s will
Preaching with zeal and souls were healed
With helpers like John Mark and Silas
Who were ordained to serve the cause
Yet this great missionary union would pause
John Mark soon left for a breather
While Paul and Barnabas went on working
John’s remorseful return got them talking
Paul would never work with a man
Whose flame burned with fluctuating zeal
Would he not depart again for trifling gain?
Barnabas was more forgiving and insisted
That with them John Mark was leaving
He must be part of the mission was his submission
This caused a great altercation and dissension
Neither man would yield to the other’s will
They parted-separated by their opinions
About the suitability of John Mark
Barnabas was right-John never again
Abandoned the fight for fright or right
The years proved his constancy as a warrior
Many years later as Paul lay facing execution
He invited the runaway helper to assist him
He was now useful in the Gospel’s propagation
Have you had a John Mark moment?
Has a trifling issue divided a God-given union?
If you have lost Barnabas because of John Mark
It may be impossible to restart the mission
Yet be like Paul who never condemned
Barnabas for his choice in the matter
And acknowledged the truth much later

Check Time

The Gospel that Paul preached and believed
Did not come to him by theological study
But revelation was the illumination he received
Though divinely directed he sought human landmarks
Was he on the same apostolic spiritual path?
For defying the apostolic order was a real bother
To Jerusalem he went to compare notes
Lest he had preached or believed in vain
His doctrines were same with the others
Because similar inspirations would not conflict
Here’s a lesson that would always be a blessing
Always check with the Word before you
Go overboard and outside of the Lord
Check that your experience fits the Word
Within boundaries set by apostles and prophets

 

The Sight Of The Unspeakable

One day Paul was caught up into glory
And heard things not meant for a story
He was forbidden to utter about the matter
So it took him fourteen years to even muster
Courage to give barest outline of his experience
He was in a body and yet not in his body
For in eternity he shed the toga of humanity
And this our flesh now ageing and waning
Shall be tossed aside like a garment
Once we rise above the earthly firmament
He saw and could not write for words failed
To describe the third heaven of heavens
Where Christ reigns in unapproachable Light
In the sublime clime beyond time’s realm