1 Corinthians 9. Forum Discussion

Forgiving ourselves

1 Corinthians 9. Forum Discussion

“Steadfast and determined.”

These are two words that come to mind when we look at Paul and the amazing life that he led. Like many of us, Paul’s journey ended up quite different from where it began.

In his early years, Paul was a persecutor of Christians, “Ravishing the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, and putting them in prison.” – Acts 8:3

His conversion to Christianity would occur while he was traveling on the road to Damascus to persecute Christians. Acts 9:36 records the event for us. “Suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do.” – Acts 9:3-6

After his amazing experience on the road to Damascus, Paul began preaching and teaching about Jesus. Acts 9:20-22 says, “And immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”  All those hearing him continued to be amazed, and were saying, “Is this not he who in Jerusalem destroyed those who called on this name, and who had come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?”  But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ.”

Paul would then undertake three separate missionary journeys. He would establish and build up churches. Acts 16:5 says, “So the churches were being strengthened in the faith, and were increasing in number daily.”

Paul was imprisoned on multiple occasions and spent years behind bars because of his faith. He was severely beaten, and most historical accounts say that he was ultimately beheaded.

Paul was a tentmaker by trade, and he would set up shops as he traveled to preach and teach about Jesus. His vocation would help him to pay for a lot of his journey, but Paul recognized the need to take care of the physical needs of those serving the Lord.

  • “Who at any time serves as a soldier at his own expense?” – 1 Corinthians 9:7
  • “Who plants a vineyard and does not eat the fruit of it?” – 1 Corinthians 9:7
  • “Or who tends a flock and does not use the milk of the flock?” – 1 Corinthians 9:7
  • “For it is written in the Law of Moses, ‘You shall not muzzle the ox while it is threshing.’” – 1 Corinthians 9:9

On this subject Jesus said, “The laborer is worthy of his wages.” – Luke 10:7

Despite all that he accomplished, Paul said of himself, “For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.  But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.” – 1 Corinthians 15:9-11

There are two main takeaways from today’s lesson:

  1. Paul had done things in his life that he was not proud of, even ashamed of. He was a man that persecuted the very people that he would one day work tirelessly to bring to Christ. Paul’s example should inspire us to know that no matter what we have done in the past, if we repent, God is ready to forgive us. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” It is time to free ourselves of the guilt and shame we hold on to for things we have done in our past. It is time to repent, look forward, and ask God what his plan is for us.
  2. Whatever journey our faith takes us on, we too are going to face struggles. “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” – 2 Timothy 3:12. If we stay steadfast and determined to love the Lord, God will reveal His plan for us, just as He did for Paul on the road to Damascus.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ” – Jeremiah 29:11 

Thank you for joining us today. Please join us again tomorrow as we look at 1 Corinthians 10 and how God wants us to learn from those that have gone before us. May God’s blessings be upon you until then. Amen

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Virtual Bible Study

Why is forgiveness so important?

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Drexel Deal
Virtual Bible Study

We must know in our hearts that we are worthy of God’s forgiveness and love. In spite of our many mistakes and blunders Jesus said;
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am [fgentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11 28 & 29 NKJV.

I once lived a very violent life, it led to me losing my sight after being shot four times in a foil arm robbery. Yet, many years after the lost of my sight I somewhat felt that I was unworthy of forgiveness. It got to a point where things were so bad, that I wished I had died on the night I lost my sight. Little did I know The Almighty God had plans for my life; as found in Jeremiah 29: 11;
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” NKJV.

Today, in spite of my disability I’m the author of the riveting book entitled: ‘The fight of my life is wrapped up in my father.’ It is the study of the negative aftermath of absentee fathers in The Bahamas. I am also a former Toast Master of the year here in The Bahamas. In 2006 I was also recognized in the University of The Bahamas President’s Scholars Report, as a high achiever for my studies in effective writing and human resource management. The former assistant Commissioner of The Royal Bahamas Police Force Hulan Hanna, who discovered me and push for my story to go public; during a radio interview he stated the following,
“Drexel’s story is wonderful, fascinating and one that resonates with young people.”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtOMP7dF2s0

There are so many written and video testimonies about my work and impact on the lives of young people. Like Ms. Natasha Lewis a teacher at L. N. Coakley High School in Exuma who stated:
“Our young people are face with so many turmoil’s and so many pressures, that their teachers and parents don’t understand: but Drexel did an awesome job explaining that.”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tfavw50SNek

Therefore, I know what it is to feel unworthy of God’s forgiveness and love because of prior mistakes. I know what it feels like to want to give up on life because of those prior mistakes. However, I also know what it feels like to be forgiven of those mistakes and blunders by a loving God. So, today I stand on the Words of Jesus found in John 8: 36;
“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” NKJV.

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