Friday, August 22, 2014

Perils of Paul - part four - Hold tightly to the pattern

2 Timothy 1
            Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, for the sake of the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,
            To Timothy, my beloved child:
Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
Thanksgiving and Encouragement
            I am grateful to God—whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did—when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day.  Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy.  I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you.  For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands;  for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.

            Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God,  who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.  For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him. Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.  Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.

Perils of Paul - Part Three - All the Prisoners’ Chains Came Loose

Acts 16:16-40
            Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling.  She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.”  She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.
            When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities.  They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar  by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”
            The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods.  After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully.  When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
            About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.  Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.  The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped.  But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”
            The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas.  He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
            They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”  Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.  At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized.  The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.
            When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: “Release those men.”  The jailer told Paul, “The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace.”
            But Paul said to the officers: “They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.”

            The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed.  They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city.  After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and sisters and encouraged them. Then they left.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Perils of Paul Part Two - How Beautiful Are The Feet

Romans 10
            Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3 Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.4 Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
            5 Moses writes this about the righteousness that is by the law: “The person who does these things will live by them.” 6 But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
            14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. 18 But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did:  “Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”
            19 Again I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says, “I will make you envious by those who are not a nation; I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.”
            20 And Isaiah boldly says, “I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.”

            21 But concerning Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Small Changes, Big Differences: Part Four, Actions

This series was inspired by the series on's YouTube channel.  This message, however, is not the same as you find on their channel.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Small Things, Big Differences - One of Four

This is not all original material.  It is based on Life Church's video series of the same name:

Thursday, June 12, 2014

“The Word’s Words”

Message:  “The Word’s Words”
This message title is my attempt at a play on words … literally.  John’s Gospel refers to Jesus as the living Word of God.  As I began thinking of all the recorded words of Jesus, I wondered, “Which is the most important word that Jesus spoke?”  My personal favorite is from John 13:34 “A new commandment I give you: love one another as I have loved you.”

Many Bibles highlight the words he spoke by printing them in red.  Thumb through your Bible and you’ll realize how few of his words we actually have.  You could easily read all of them aloud in far less than an hour. 
I know it’s possible because it did it while studying for this message.
The first words that Jesus spoke triggered a memory from my own life.  Maybe you can also relate.

The first recorded words that Jesus spoke were to his parents.
It was required that the devout Jewish men make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem every year for Passover, which is a week long festival.  The city filled to overflowing as the pilgrims arrived.  The roads leading to the city were crowded with men and young boys and the occasional complete family.  Children ran and played with relatives and strangers of their same age group.  The travelers were in such large numbers that it was fairly safe from highway robbers.
After the week long celebration the roads would fill with crowds leaving the city.  Again they traveled in large groups with people dropping out of the caravan as they arrived at their own towns and cities.  For Jesus’ family it was about a three day journey to return to Nazareth.  At some point along the journey it was discovered that Jesus was not with them.

If you have ever misplaced a child in a store or a park or even at a family gathering, you can understand the range of emotions that flood over you.

When my eldest son was around four years old, we went to the Iowa State Fair.  We had been there for quite a while when we stopped to rest in the area called the Children’s Forest.  Arik’s little legs were tired from all the walking and I was tired from all the carrying.  We had brought a toy wagon along but left it in the car.  So, I decided that it was time to go and fetch it.

Upon my return, my wife asked, “Where is Arik?”  To which I replied, “I don’t know.  He stayed with you.”  She said, “No, he went with you.”

Panic!  That seems like such a calm word compared to the emotion that filled me.  There were about a quarter of a million people on the fairgrounds … and one lost four year old.  What to do?  What to do?

Retrace my steps in hope of finding him.
Originally I had gone down the hill and around the Agricultural Building.  This time I went inside.  Inside were hundreds of people milling around to look at all the displays.  I went up the stairs to the mezzanine so that I could get a better view.  Scanning the crowd below, I saw a young woman with my son sitting astride her shoulders.  I yelled his name.  But the din of the crowd drowned out my voice.  I bolted down the stairs only to discover that they had moved from where I’d seen them.  Now however, I was looking above the crowd instead of down a knee level for my son.  I soon spotted them again and made my way to them.  Arik saw me and yelled, “Daddy!”  The girls saw me and lowered him from her shoulders.

The girl explained that she had noticed him looking as though he were searching for someone.  He wasn’t crying but she asked if he was lost.  “My daddy is lost,” he told her.   I thanked her and I thanked God for sending someone to watch over him. 

As my heart rate slowed and the adrenalin that had been coursing through my system, began to decay, my legs nearly gave out on me.

I’m sure that Jesus’ parent were going through the same range of emotions until they found him at the temple.  He was sitting there calmly discussing with the temple teachers.  Asking and answering theological questions.  When his parents voiced their concerns, he dismissed them by saying, “Did you not know that I’d be in my Father’s house and about his business?”  

Upon that simple statement, all of Jesus ministry was built.  For approximately three years he traveled the countryside teaching, preaching, healing and pointing the way toward the Kingdom of God.  He was about His Father’s business. 

Three years of his earthly ministry boiled down to about 3-4 dozen short parables, short sermons, explanations and commands.

So well told were these stories that most of us (who have been in church for more that a couple of years) will remember most of them from just a few words.  Do you remember?
Weeds among the wheat
The pearl of great price
The unmerciful servant
Laborers in the vineyard
Invitation to the banquet
Wise and foolish bridesmaids
The servants and the talents
The two debtors
The good Samaritan
The Rich fool (or the Rich young ruler)
The waiting servants
The barren fig tree
The lost coin
The lost sheep
The prodigal son
The house on the rock
The lamb under a bushel basket
The mustard seed.
These are only a few of the many stories that Jesus told that got his listeners (then and now) to really think about the point that he was making.

How about the sermon on the mount where Jesus gives the list of blessings that we call the beatitudes?  Remember?
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus had the ability to say more in fewer words than any preacher I’ve ever heard.
I almost … almost gave the shortest sermon ever one Memorial Day when the pastor turned the service over to me.  I was really tempted to just say,  “Be kind to one another.  Now go outside and play.”

Perhaps the words that Jesus spoke from the cross were the most important simply because they cost him so much to say aloud.  As cruel as the crucifixion on the cross was, perhaps the cruelest is the way most people died.  It wasn’t from blood loss from their wounds.  It was from asphyxia.  They suffocated.  Did you know that?
In order for Jesus to speak He would have had to pull himself up with nails through His flesh.  What were his concerns as he hung there?

  1. Forgiveness:  Luke 23:34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.”
  2. Salvation:  Luke 23:43 Jesus said to him, “I can guarantee this truth: Today you will be with me in paradise.”
  3. Relationship:  John 19:26-27  Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing there. He said to his mother, “Look, here’s your son!”  Then he said to the disciple, “Look, here’s your mother!”  From that time on she lived with that disciple in his home.
  4. Abandonment:  Matthew 27:46  About three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
  5. Distress:  John 19:28-29 After this, when Jesus knew that everything had now been finished, he said, “I’m thirsty.” He said this so that Scripture could finally be concluded.  A jar filled with vinegar was there. So the soldiers put a sponge soaked in the vinegar on a hyssop stick and held it to his mouth. 
  6. Triumph: John 19:30 After Jesus had taken the vinegar, he said, It is finished!”
  7. Reunion: Luke 23:46 Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.” After he said this, he died.

These are traditional have been known as the “Seven Last Words”.

However, as they say in the infomercials, “But wait a minute.  There’s more!”

The book of “Acts” begins with: “The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen.
(Here the author is talking about the Gospel of Luke which he had written earlier than the book of “the Acts of the Apostles”)

To these He also presented Himself alive, after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God. And gathering them together,

After His death came His Resurrection.  After the resurrection, we know that he spoke with Mary in the garden when she mistook him for the caretaker. 
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Road to Emmaus
We know that he spoke with several apostles as he walked along the road to Emmaus.  “They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him.
17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
19 “What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”
25 He said to them, How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

We know that Jesus appeared to the gathered Disciples  … twice
Jesus Appears to His Disciples
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you! 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Jesus Appears to Thomas
24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.
28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Later he lead his followers to the hills outside the city where He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

Here Jesus was telling His followers about the great gift they were about to receive.  And what do they do?
They start asking questions that are completely off the track that Jesus is setting them on.
And so when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority;
I can almost hear the exasperation in His voice, can’t you?  He once again tells them, “but you shall receive po.wer when the Holy Spirit has come upon you;
Many times before His death he has told his followers that God would be with them in a new way.  That they would be in God and God would be in them.  He has now told them twice again.
Have you ever heard that from your parents?  “Don’t make me tell you again.”  Have you said that to your children?  And yet Jesus repeats himself once again.  And then He tells them what to do with that new indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.  
Matthew records it this way: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was departing, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them; and they also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven”
In other words, Get yer hands outta yer pockets an’ git ta work!

So what did I learn in studying all these words? 
The first words and the last words were connected.
The first words were about His being about the Father’s business. 
The last words were about us being about the Father’s business.
The duty remains the same only the cast of characters changes from generation to generation.

The hymn writer, Philip P. Bliss, captured it very well when he wrote,
“Christ, the blessed One gives to all.
Sinner, list to the loving call,
All so freely given,
Wooing us to heaven.
Sweetly echo the gospel call,
Offer pardon and peace to all.
Jesus, only Saviour
Sanctify forever.

Father, let us share those Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life, as Jesus commanded.  Amen.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Parable of the Pencil

Lessons that I’ve learned from a pencil about being a Christian.

1. A brand new pencil in an attractive wrapper is not working.
            Christians all dressed up, but not sharing the good news, are not working.
2. A pencil has 3 layers: paint, wood, and graphite
            People have 3 layers: body, soul (self), and spirit (God part).
3. It is a number two pencil.
            I am not number one.
4. Before it can be used, a pencil must be sharpened.
            Before a Christian can be used they must be sharpened.
5. sharpening grinds away the paint and wood to expose the graphite.
            Becoming a Christian grinds away your thoughts of body and soul (self) to expose the spirit which is the             God part of them.
6. Even the best pencil needs to be re-sharpened now and again.
            Even the best Christian needs to be re-sharpened now and again.
7. The pencil is not the message.
            The Christian is not the message.
8. The purpose of a pencil is to write messages.
            The purpose of a Christian is to reveal God’s message.    
9. A pencil may write many messages in many ways.
            A Christian my share their story about God in many ways.
10. There are lots of different writing instruments with different uses.
            There are many kinds of Christians, each with their own type of service.

All Bible verses quoted are from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.

Being Boastful:
2 Corinthians 11:22-23a    Saint Paul’s words “Are they Hebrews?  So am I.  Are they Israelites?  So am I.  Are they Abraham’s descendents?  So am I. Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this) I am more.”
And from Philippians 3:4-6 though I myself have reasons for such confidence.  If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.

About being refreshed:
Psalms 23:1-3  The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.  He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.  He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Jeremiah 31:25 The Lord speaks through the prophet:  I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.
Proverbs 11:25 A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

Biblical characters with influence that have a short story:
John 4:25-30 The woman (Samaritan woman at the well) said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”  Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”  Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”   Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people,  “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?”  They came out of the town and made their way toward him.

Luke 2:17 When they (the shepherds at Christ’s birth) had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed and what the shepherd said to them.

A variety of ways to serve:
Romans 12:4-5  For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

The hardships and the reward
2 Corinthians 11:23b-12:10   NIV Saint Paul explaining the trials he went through.
I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.  Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.  Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea,  I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers.  I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.  Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.  Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.  The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying. In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me.  But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands.
I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord.  I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— was caught upto paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.  I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses.  Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say,  or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Philippians 3:7-11 Saint Paul’s words
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ  and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.  I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,  and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

A Christian’s purpose:
Luke 21:15  For I will give you words and wisdom

Amos 7:14-15 Then Amos answered Amaziah, “I am no prophet, nor a prophet’s son; but I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees, and the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ NRSV translation

Eccles 12:13 The end of the matter; all has been heard.  Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

Luke 10:2 (Jesus) answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. … Love yur neighbor as yourself.

John 14:15 If you love me keep my commandments.

Mark 16:15 He (Jesus) said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

About the eraser:
Matthew 6:14-15  (Christ’s words) For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Luke 6:37b Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
Matthew 6:12 And forgive us our debts,  as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And, of course, Ti’s teaching that there is one eraser, after which all other are modeled, which can erase all mistakes.
John 3:17  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
Luke 23:34 Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do.
And in the letter to the Hebrews it is written:
Hebrews 9:28  Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

John 14:3 (Christ’s words )And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also
may be where I am.

Our true nature:
Genesis 2:7  Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.
Genesis1:26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image.”

Psalm 23 which explains it all.

King James Version (KJV)
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.  Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.