Be alert, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong. Do everything in love.
~1 Corinthians 16:1-2, CSB
You’ve got to love your enemies. They are the ones who point out your faults.
I read the bible for more than one reason but many times when I read, I am searching for guidance, confidence and comfort. I don’t worry about much but from time to time I get anxious and it drives me nuts. I hate being anxious about anything, it robs you of life’s enjoyment. As we discussed in a previous blog, anxiety comes when we are lacking in faith. Any time we assume responsibility for something that God has not assigned us, we begin to worry. So I prayed before I went to bed. I confessed my problem and assured the LORD that I wanted to honor HIM by trusting HIM completely. I went to sleep without worrying but I woke up at 4:30 and it was on my mind. I began praying there in bed and then I got up and went to my study in the house and began reading the bible. When I got to I Corinthians 16:1-2, I knew this was for me. I needed Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthians. We have three Bees with one STAND and one DO. Be alert…be courageous…be strong and stand firm in the faith and do everything in love.
The Greek word translated ‘alert’ means to be awake, watchful, to give strict attention to, be cautious, active, to take heed lest through carelessness some destructive calamity suddenly overtakes you. I’ve been in the ministry fifty years and I know how the devil works. He works through the children of disobedience. Anyone in your church is is not committed to the LORDSHIP of Jesus Christ is going to be a problem. I have no doubt about it: the hidden agenda is the greatest hindrance to KINGDOM work. I am not the one to judge between the tares and wheat but I know one, the devil will use a stubborn self-willed person that is determined to have their way. So I think I am alert but probably lacking in the other four. The term ‘be courageous’ literally means to ‘act like a man’. The opposite of courage is discourage. Some believe that discouragement is the chief tool in the devils workshop. No one can survive in the ministry if they do not learn to detect the true source of discouragement. When someone makes a disparaging remark that discourages you, it is coming from the devil himself. The person who made the remark is not the devil; if that were true, you could put a bead on his forehead and take him/her out of the picture. Fighting the devil is not that simple: he is the spirit behind the remark and you can’t get a bead on a spirit. The term ‘Be strong’ means to exercise your strength so that it becomes stronger. I hate to use bad language but this is a ‘gym’ term. It implies strength conditioning. But again, the devil is not flesh and blood and we will not defeat him with muscle. We have to work out in bible study, prayer and meditation.
You probably know where I am going: the very last one is my weakness. I will confront, I will by His grace stand firm in the faith but my problem is loving the ones who are causing the contention. This morning I felt God saying, “Trust Me and love the people in question.” We have to remember that these folks who complain constantly; who undermine, back-stab and sabotage don’t actually know what they are doing. They are like the hate filled Jews at the cross, they think they are doing God a service. Matter of fact, most of them are proud of themselves. David cursed his enemies and in some cases, he did more than curse but Jesus taught us a better way. We are to pray for our enemies and love them. Jesus did both from the cross, “Father forgive them, they do not know what they are doing.”
- There were 700 people at the Guy Penrod concert and I did not see a single person I knew but June got a text on the way home: someone heard me. It was a crowd of old folks and I reckon they were tired; I was the only one saying “Amen.” The cat can sing but he does need a haircut, bad. As a rule, I do not like talking singers but this guy is an exception to the rule. Earl Jacobs says, “The only thing worse than a singer who tries to preach is a preacher who tries to sing.” Earl is probably right. I think I’d rather hear a preacher trying to sing. Most songs don’t last an hour.
- Like Fall in the mornings, amen! I love the cooler weather. Athens has been getting rain. The yards I cut there were growing like crazy. The only good thing about dry weather is the grass stops growing so fast.
- Today is football Friday.