Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.
2 Corinthians 11:23-31
What a week! I spent most of this week at the hospital. When I finally found time to write on my blog the service was down. Did I also mention that my normal internet system crashed on my computer? I am now using a provider that I am not very familiar with. Finally, this has been one of those weeks when the Bible theorists have me going bonkers. Who are these theorists? They are those people who always have a theory about what they think the Bible says even though they have no visible fruit of a believer, or they are those who make judgments about others without really understanding what they are talking about. Ever run across one? I have met several this week. Having been an educator for years, I have found it is important to always stay teachable, and I have also found that the more I think I know about God and His word, the more I realize that He and His word are beyond my grasp to fully understand this side of glory. Always stay humble and teachable!
The first theorist I ran in to was telling me how he does not need to go to church and fellowship with others. He added that the verse that says to "forsake not the assembling of yourselves together" may not mean what it appears to mean. Remember the fruit thing? Make sure that if you think like this that you have the fruit of the Spirit visible in your life. How can you develop in these graces if you are shut off from others?
The next genius that I ran into told me that Jesus was not the only way to heaven. He faithfully attends church as a means of being a better person, and that Jesus came to better mankind by giving a good set of rules to live by. Howbeit, if you are a good Muslim or Hindu (despite Jesus' own testimony that He is the only way) you will make it to heaven. Be careful of this brand of heretic! There seems to be more and more of them nowadays. What they don't seem to understand is that the truths of God have to be outside of their own frameworks and making. It is not their "truth" that counts but His. God is an immutable God therefore His truth is just as immutable. It changes you not vice versa! You can't make His word say what you wish, but you take it as it is or you don't take it at all.
The last one made me very angry! He was one of those prosperity people that seemed to believe that those suffering overseas were doing so because of a lack of faith in the power of God to give them an abundant life. He went on and on about how you should prosper as your soul prospers and how you should never have a pain not immediately healed or care not immediately met here in this world. Tell that to thousands of Chinese Christians who work underground sharing the message of the cross--a message that has some suffering at the very core! Tell that to the Egyptian Christians who are being shot or raped in the streets. Tell that to the martyrs and saints in various countries around the world who share the message while shedding their blood. Tell that to Paul! He suffered severely for the testimony of Jesus Christ. His abundance was in God's power operating in his life to do a work for heaven and not in the abundance of this world's trash. Didn't Jesus say something about laying up treasures in places where moth and dust can't corrupt and thieves can't break through and steal?
Jesus and Paul were rescuers. They both understood that sharing truth to those drowning in sin sometimes is risky just as saving one from drowning in the sea is risky. Yet, Jesus saw us worth the risk for some gracious reason I have yet to find (don't you ever wonder who you were that He would love you enough to die for you on the cross?) and Paul saw the message of Jesus Christ as worth the risk of forsaking all to share! I wish I could dwell here some more, but I don't have the space. Take a few hours and prayerfully read 1 & 2 Corinthians and compile a list of things that this apostle laid aside for the furtherance of the gospel. The souls of men, women, and children were of much more value to Him than the trinkets of this current age! While you are reading that I guess I need to go back and prayerfully read through Galatians 5 again. I also need to talk to Him about the fruit of patience again! (Insert smile here). It seems that this trying week has reminded me of just how much I need Jesus always! God Bless