Wednesday, October 13, 2004

When the world seems to be dragging me down I take great comfort in the writings of Paul. Paul was the author of many of the books of the New Testament and his letters to the churches offer much insight into the type of man he was. He was a "Man on Fire" for God and was unwavering in his pursuit of become Christlike and turning others into strong Believers.

Paul had struggles and pains to overcome, writing many times from prison, but the whole time giving praise to God that he was able to suffer for Christ. He was beaten both physically and mentally for his faith and yet he still went on, only to be martyred in his later life for his beliefs.

The degree of his faith makes me ashamed that I even dare call myself a Believer. Often times when faced with adversity I crumble under the pressure, but the important thing is that I pick myself up again and keep on going. In our lives we will continue to face trials and tribulations, and it is important how we react to them, but what is more important is that we do not concede defeat. The world may win some battles, but we need to win the war.

In my reading last night I came across a passage written by Paul to the the church in Corinth and I wanted to share it with you. It shows the love that Paul has through Christ, but it also shows the toughness and character of Paul. In the following verses Paul is describing to the believers in Corinth the hard life the Apostles must face in order to show them how good they have it. We should do well to heed these verses ourselves and be thankful for all we have. On the same note to do what we can to grow stronger and model our lives after the lives of the Apostles.

"Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have become kings - and that without us! (The riches and kingdom Paul is refering to is riches and kings through the saving grace of Christ, not literal riches and kingdoms.) How I wish that you really had become kings so that we might be kings with you! For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men! We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hand. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.
I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children. Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.
Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you. But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have, For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle spirit?" (I Cor 4:8-21)

It's amazing how strong Paul is in reprimanding the church. He knew that there was wrong-doing going on within the church at Corinth and he handled it with a iron fist. Just because we are Believers and trying to do God's good work doesnt mean we have to be weak when we do it. Just as Paul said,"For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power."
We need to be loving and kind to all but not afraid to be powerful as well. It is the Spirit of God that lives in us and through his Spirit we are made powerful for His name sake, for the strengthening of ourselves and others.

God Bless

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