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Posts tagged ‘Paul’

Love in action this year…


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing…And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
-1 Corinthians 13:2,13

It’s love that’s going to carry us through 2014. And, it’s love in action that will help bring others closer to God during this new year.

Paul is the apostle of love. As he shared the message of the love that we ought to have for one another, he emphasized that it is paramount, the most important thing, the thing that transcends every moral code, higher than any claim that anyone makes. Nothing that the different denominations, groups, and religious sects claim matters if they don’t have love. Without love, nothing matters.

One of the most insightful things that Paul shares with us about love is that love is not an emotion. Love is an action. Love is what you do. People may say, “Oh, I get this feeling of love in my heart and I nurture it. Then, if it blossoms enough, I will love someone in action.” However, that’s not the way at all.

I remember talking with a woman who was a volunteer for New Hope, our 24-hour phone and online counseling ministry. She said, “You know, one of the hardest things about working for New Hope is, as I end the call, when I have to say, ‘God loves you and so do I.’ I don’t really know this person, so how can I say ‘and so do I’? Right? I don’t know the person from Adam.”

What she expressed is what many of us think about love, that love is an emotion that you feel for someone after you get to know him or her. If you get to know a person who’s charming enough, perhaps good looking enough, or funny enough, then you will love them. That is, until the moment they are no longer charming, funny, or attractive to you in some manner. Therefore, that love then becomes only a reaction to a person’s performance.

That’s not what love is. Love is an action.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to express love to others as you express love to me – with no expectations and no conditions. Let my love toward others be an act of worship toward you. Amen.

Devotion: How would you describe the differences between emotional love and love in action?

Looking for a Fresh New Start?.


Are you looking for change, a fresh new start? Isn’t it wonderful to know as you begin this New Year that you have God‘s Spirit with you, His Spirit carrying you, leading you, and guiding you? Do you realize that this New Year can be a year in which you can serve God with a fresh new excitement? As you’re walking with Him and being obedient to Him, you will feel the sense of His pleasure in your life.

Pleasure doesn’t come in the pursuit of happiness, but in the pursuit of holiness. Far too many miss God’s divine plan for their lives as they’re bent on pursuing all the things in this world, hoping to find some sense of joy.

As you set new goals, new priorities for the days ahead, check out where God is in your plans, in your decision-making. What’s on your calendar for today, this week, this month, this year that will make any difference for the Kingdom?

Oh, Beloved, wouldn’t you like to know that at the end of your life…not to mention the end of this day, the end of this year…you could declare, as the apostle Paul did, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7)?

Wouldn’t you like to be assured that you could experience all the difficult situations Paul faced and say in total sincerity and truth, without one drop of egotism, Follow me, be an imitator of me, even as I am of Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:1; Philippians 3:17)? Can you imagine having such confidence?

How can you stand with such confidence as Paul did when you’re wrestling today with all the uncertainties of life, all the struggles, all the challenges that seem to keep coming your way? My friend, no matter what changes are occurring with your job, in your family, in our nation, there is only one stabilizing factor upon which you can rest: your God. He is the immovable Rock. You can hide in Him.

One thing will always remain: God. And because He is immutable-unchanging-He will always be the same, and He will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). He is always there with arms opened wide, your everlasting Father God. With this New Year, cling to the fact that He will never change.

Are you troubled, is fear lurking in the shadows of your consciousness? Do you feel insecure about anything at all? Run to your protector, the One who stands waiting for you to come bury yourself in the security of all He is.

Remember, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe” (Proverbs 18:10). In this New Year, where will you run? Will it be to food, alcohol, drugs, shopping, another man? When the hounds of trouble, worry, and fear pursue you; when the dogs of temptation, corruption, and evil seek to overtake you; when your energy is spent; when weakness saps you; when you feel you cannot run any longer, where do you turn? Who is your refuge?

If you desire a fresh new start, determine He will be the One you will run to. Run to Him and bury yourself in the security of all He is.

The goal of Paul’s life was “that I may know Him” (Philippians 3:10). What goals do you have this year? Do you make New Year’s resolutions but never keep them? I pray the goal of your life will be as Paul’s that “you know Him.”

What’s going to keep you from knowing Christ? What’s keeping you from going deeper in His Word? There’s so much to learn in the Word of God, and yet we want all these frivolous other things around us, instead of paying the price to spend time studying the Bible.

What is it that keeps you from paying the price? Is it the love of things? Is it the demand of things? Start keeping a running log for the next few days and look at how much time you’re spending in the Word of God. I’m not talking about reading and having your three minutes a day. But I’m talking about getting to know the Word of God, studying it precept upon precept; Truth upon Truth.

Start today, keep a log and record your study time. Keep a pad beside your bed or keep it by a chair or wherever you’re going to study. Write down how much time you’ve spent each day for a week and then check yourself and add up that time. Then add up the number of hours in the day and subtract how many hours you need to sleep. And then look at the hours that you have left. What portion of your day do you give to the Lord?

What portion of your time does He have? How much television are you watching? How much time to sports are you devoting? What are you doing with your time? Stop and evaluate it, because someday, Beloved, you’re going to give an account to the One that said we are to redeem the time.

We’re not to let things control our life; rather we are to control the things in our life. We must redeem the time.

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).

O Beloved, get on your knees this week, start this New Year right. Ask God to show you what you need to change to spend more time with Him. He has given you a fresh new start!

Kay Arthur
Host, Precepts For Life
Co-CEO, Precept Ministries International

A new year to be driven by love…


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
-Ephesians 4:2

A while back, I was in Greece following the footsteps of the Apostle Paul, and we finished the trip in Athens on a hill near the Areopagus where you can see the Parthenon and the Acropolis in the background, and all the white buildings. There, I preached a sermon called “Paul: The Apostle of Love.”

And that’s exactly who Paul was. Paul was an apostle of love. Many people read Paul’s writings and they think he was strict or stern because of some of the language he uses. But truly, when you read Paul’s letters and read Paul’s story, the message that comes across over and over again is the grace and love of God towards us and the grace and love of God we ought to show towards one another. It is the same message that Jesus had – the love of God and the love of your neighbor.

This was what Paul was driven by: He was driven by the love of God that was shown to him in the cross of Jesus Christ. Paul believed that if God gave Jesus for Paul, then God loves Paul as much as He loves Jesus. And if that’s true, it also means that God loves you as much as God loves Jesus.

In 2014, let’s put sharing God’s love with others at the top of our lists of “things to do.”

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you so much for your unending love and for showing your love to me through your Son, Jesus Christ. Without your love, I would be lost. Help me to share that same love with everyone I meet. Amen.

Devotion: How do you show God’s love to others?

Being transformed by trust…


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“For in Him we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.'”
-Acts 17:28

When the Apostle Paul traveled throughout Athens preaching the message of the love of God, he would say, “For in Him we live and move and have our being.” Paul would say to them, “I worship a God who is not any of these things: He can’t be found in marble. He can’t be found in gold and He can’t be found in vain philosophy. But He stands here right now and He calls us His offspring.” In Acts 17, he says, “My friends, you’ve made this way too complicated. You’re God’s kids. He’s alive. He wants you. He loves you and he calls you to serve him.”

If you read enough of Paul and the words of Jesus, you get the idea that almost all of our problems in this world come from one problem: We just do not know how to receive the love and grace of God. Paul seems to hit on this theme repeatedly in all of his letters – that all of the sin, mistakes, problems, hurt, and evil in the world comes back to this one problem: People do not know – in our heads, hearts, and bones – the truth and the depth of the love of God.

I see this image of Paul anguishing in the knowledge of what could be if people could just trust in Christ. Today, w e, too, may trust in the cross of Christ, in the resurrection, in a God who loves us, who believes in us, who wants to lift us up, transform us, and carry us into his kingdom of faith, hope, and love.

Prayer: Dear Lord, your kingdom is where I want to live. Love me, lift me up, and transform me into the person you want me to be today. Amen.

Devotion: How has God in your life transformed the way you live today?

Loving one another…


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal…And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
-1 Corinthians 13:1,13

Paul wrote one of the greatest texts in western literature, 1 Corinthians 13, about what it means to love one another. Written for all, it was first read by the Christians in Corinth, a fabulously wealthy city where anybody – former slaves or freeborn persons, people who had nothing – could go there, start businesses as merchants, and become extremely wealthy. It was a place of commerce, business, and trade. Corinth was the place that you could go to and make all your dreams come true. Because of that, Corinth was quite a competitive place – in business, sports, etc.

Paul saw that this competitive spirit was working its way into the church of Corinth when he spots two types of people:

1. The super apostle. These were people who said, “Don’t listen to Paul. Listen to me. I am so spiritual that I can do miracles, speak in unknown tongues, and do other amazing things. Don’t listen to those silly guys from Jerusalem. I am much more spiritual than they are.”

2. The legalist. These were people who said, “If you want to be a Christian, you have to follow the rules about the clothes you wear, the food you eat, and guys, you have to get circumcised. If you really want to live in the kingdom of God, you have to follow these rigid rules.”

First Corinthians 13 is primarily written to those types of people. Paul says it’s not about being super spiritual and it’s not about soul-killing legalism and religiosity. It’s simply about loving one another. That is the call to moral good.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to discover and overcome any legalistic or super religious ways, especially those that get in the way of showing your grace through love to others. Amen.

Devotion: Are you a super apostle? A legalist? Now that you’ve read the descriptions of both, how will you revise your behavior so you can be more loving towards others?

Rep. Peter King: Rand Paul ‘Disgraced His Office’ With Clapper Attacks.


Image: Rep. Peter King: Rand Paul 'Disgraced His Office' With Clapper Attacks

By Todd Beamon

New York Rep. Peter King on Thursday ripped into Sen. Rand Paul for his attack on Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, charging that his fellow Republican “disgraced his office — and he owes General Clapper an apology immediately.”

“That is absolutely disgraceful to compare General Clapper with a traitor,” King, who confirmed to Newsmax in July that he was considering a bid for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, told Wolf Blitzer on CNN.

Editor’s Note: Seniors Scoop Up Unclaimed $20,500 Checks? (See if You qualify) 

He was referring to Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency subcontractor who leaked information about the government’s vast electronic surveillance programs.Paul told Blitzer on Wednesday that Clapper posed a greater threat to the nation’s security than Snowden.

“For Senator Paul to compare that patriot, General Clapper, with someone like Snowden — who is a traitor, who has put American lives at risk — Senator Paul should be ashamed of himself,” King said. “It’s an absolute disgrace.”

Paul, who represents Kentucky, said in his interview that Clapper’s testimony to Congress in March — in which he said that the NSA “not wittingly” collected data on millions of Americans — amounted to “lying.”

Clapper later called the statement “clearly erroneous” and apologized to Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Paul told Blitzer on Wednesday that Clapper’s testimony was “probably more injurious to our intelligence capabilities than anything Snowden did.

“Clapper has damaged the credibility of the entire intelligence apparatus — and I’m not sure what to believe anymore when they come to Congress,” Paul said.

In his attack on Paul, King said that Clapper had been put “in an impossible position” in the committee’s public session, since the member who posed the question, Democratic Sen. Rob Wyden of Oregon, had obtained more specific information in a classified meeting.

“He knew that General Clapper could not give the full answer because it would let our enemies know what we were doing,” King told CNN. “The question was wrong. General Clapper gave the best answer he could.”

King, a former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, also said that he opposed a letter released on Wednesday by seven House Republicans calling for the Justice Department to begin a criminal investigation of whether Clapper had lied to Congress at the March hearing.

The letter, King said, came from “the isolationist wing of the party,” likening it to “radical left-wing Democrats of the 1960s.”

“These are people who are apologizing for America,” the senator said. “That is not the Republican tradition. That is not the tradition of Ronald Reagan. That is not a Republican position.”

King lodged into his rant against Paul as he attacked a report released on Wednesday by a presidential advisory committee that recommended the NSA be limited in how it seizes Americans’ telephone and Internet records without court approval.

“This commission is caving in to political correctness,” King told Blitzer. “The fact is no Americans have had their rights violated. No American citizens’ calls are being listened to unless they’re in contact with terrorists. No one’s name is on file, no one’s address is on file. This is a totally phony issue.”

The interview began with King endorsing the bipartisan legislation introduced by 26 senators that would tighten sanctions on Iran if it violates the nuclear deal reached with world powers last month or lets the accord expire without a long term agreement.

The senators, 13 Republicans and Democrats each, defied President Barack Obama in putting forth the sanctions bill and drew a veto threat.

“If Iran is serious about the agreement, they should have no problems with the sanctions,” King said. “The sanctions only kick in if they don’t comply with the agreement.

“The president should want these sanctions as a weapon to hold over the Iranians,” he added. “The president is making a very serious mistake in threatening to veto this bill.”

Editor’s Note: Seniors Scoop Up Unclaimed $20,500 Checks? (See if You qualify)

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Sen. Rand Paul Votes Against Budget Deal, Says Sequester Better.


Sen. Rand Paul voted against the Ryan-Murray bipartisan budget deal on Wednesday, partly because he says current law is better than that legislation.

Current law includes budget caps from the 2011 sequester, and the new agreement gives relief to those.

“I think this is a step backwards for the country,” Paul told CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” after Wednesday’s 64-36 vote to pass the bill.

The House approved the bill last week, and it now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.

Blitzer asked whether it wasn’t good that the bill prevents another government shutdown for the next two years, but Paul called that a “false choice.” There are more alternatives, he said, than the budget deal or a shutdown.

“A shutdown’s not good, but I’m worried about the future of the country,” Paul said. “I’m worried about a $17 trillion debt, and I’m worried about the fact that we’re borrowing $1 million every minute.”

Paul also opposed the bill because it cuts retirement benefits to current military veterans under age 62 – including combat-wounded veterans. Paul was among a group of Republican senators who wanted an amendment to restore those benefits.

Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, one of the deal’s architects along with Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, has said cutting benefits to wounded vets was a mistake that will be corrected after the law is passed.

“Right now, there’s not much collegiality going on. It’s a poisonous atmosphere where the majority is just shoving things down the throat of the minority,” Paul said. “And because of it, we can’t fix legislation like this.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Greg Richter

A Three-Point Plan for Effective Discipling.


Melissa Kruger, Author, Women’s Ministry Director

A Three-Point Plan for Effective DisciplingYears ago, my friend Elizabeth came to me with a question.  A young lady in her church asked if she would be her mentor.   The young lady picked an excellent choice, because Elizabeth is a wise, spiritually mature, Godly woman.  However, as Elizabeth was discussing this request, she turned to me with a bit of apprehension and asked, “What exactly does she want me to do with her?”Elizabeth faced the same perplexing question any mentor faces.  Many believers have never experienced the blessing of a spiritual mentor in their own life.   Without an example to follow, it can be intimidating to agree to mentor a younger believer. Elizabeth wanted to be a positive influence and provide spiritual encouragement in this young lady’s life.  However, she didn’t have a vision for what to do in their time together.

I have enjoyed the blessing of mentoring many ladies, and for each, the specifics of our time together varied based on individual or group dynamics.  While a single article can’t provide an exhaustive manual on how to mentor, I do hope to provide a basic direction for those who want to invest in the lives of others, but don’t know where to begin.

Generally, well-balanced discipleship consists of encouraging three relational facets of a younger believer’s walk with God:  the person’s relationship with God, the church, and the world. Each month it is helpful to try to steer the conversation towards a different area, so that you are faithful to encourage and build up the entire believer.  If you only talk about a person’s relationship with God, you may meet for months before you realize he is struggling in his marriage.  If you only talk about parenting, you may miss out on the opportunity to discuss her potential for evangelism with her new neighbor. These three categories will naturally overlap, but it is helpful to concentrate on a different emphasis each time you meet.

Relationship with God

One of the most important areas to discuss with the person you are mentoring is his or her relationship with God.  Rather than just asking behavioral questions (e.g. “Are you reading your Bible every day?”), I find it more insightful to ask questions that probe the younger believer’s affections, (e.g. “Over the past month, what is one passage of the Bible that God has used in your life?  Why was it so impactful for you?”).  For prayer, you could spend your time together looking at different prayers in the Bible and ask the younger believer how she would like to grow in her prayer life.  During these times, feel free to share how God is impacting and growing your own faith.  Observing and reflecting upon your relationship with God in the midst of struggles and victories will help a younger believer develop a vision for a more mature walk with God.

Relationship with God’s People

Encouraging a younger believer’s relationship with God’s people encompasses a number of different areas.  Obviously, topics regarding church attendance, service, fellowship opportunities and spiritual gifts would be items to discuss with the person you are mentoring.  It is also the category for which to include topics like marriage, parenting or the person’s relationship with his or her parents.  Asking open-ended questions such as, “Is there anyone in your life you struggle to forgive? Why?” can lead you to understand and get to know the person you are mentoring in a deeper way.

Relationship with the World

Understanding how the person you are mentoring relates to the world is also an important category to discuss on a regular basis.  One person may spend her time so consumed with worldliness (working excessive hours for monetary gain, shopping, watching TV, enjoying recreations) that it affects both her relationship with God and her relationship with the church.  Another person may avoid the world altogether and miss opportunities to share his faith.  Helping a younger believer develop a heart for missions, service to the poor and evangelism affords them the opportunity to learn how to be in the world, but not to become like the world.

While every mentoring relationship will be different, these three areas are important to reflect upon in different meetings with those you mentor.  In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul instructs, “Be very careful, then how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:15-16).  Our goal is to live wisely and encourage others on the journey of faith to do the same.  As one part is strengthened and encouraged, the entire body benefits.   I encourage you: don’t wait!   Start today, building the church by building up God’s people.  You will be blessed as you enjoy the pleasure of being a blessing.
Melissa Kruger serves as Women’s Ministry Coordinator at Uptown Church in Charlotte, North Carolina and is the author of The Envy of Eve: Finding Contentment in a Covetous World (Christian Focus, 2012). Her husband Mike is the president of Reformed Theological Seminary, and they have three children. You can follow her on Twitter @MelissaBKruger.

8 Reasons the Apostle Paul Would Want Churches to be Multiethnic.


What does your church look like culturally?

What does your church look like culturally? (Lightstock)

The apostle Paul did not go into a Greco-Roman city and plant a church for the Jews and then a church for Gentiles (non-Jews), because that would have been out of step with the gospel he loved, lived and proclaimed (Gal. 2:11-21).

Paul relentlessly believed the power of the gospel could create a new kind of humanity that was an altogether new ethnic group called the church. The church would be a community where racism, classism and sexism would be defeated by gospel love (Gal. 3:24-28).

The apostle Paul was so committed to the glory of God through the local church that eventually He was imprisoned and killed for planting Jewish and Gentile (multiethnic) churches throughout the Greco-Roman world.

“And he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ Up to this word they listened to him. Then they raised their voices and said, ‘Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live’” (Acts 22:21-22, ESV).

The following are eight reasons why Paul would want local churches to be multiethnic whenever possible:

Soteriological (Doctrine of Salvation)

  • “For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility” (Eph. 2:14-16).
  • According to Ephesians 2, in Christ, Jewish and Gentile (African, Asian, Arab, Greek, etc.) congregations in Ephesus were “one new man” (v. 15), reconciled to God and each other. This new humanity was birthed through the cross (v. 16). In addition, they were members of God’s household (v. 19), God’s temple (v. 21) and God’s dwelling place (v. 22).

Christological and Missiological

  • “For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles—assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (Eph. 3:1-6).
  • The apostle Paul was on mission to reach Jews and Gentiles and incorporate them into one local body because the gospel demanded it.

Gospel

  • “Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,  and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things” (Eph. 3:7-9).
  • Apparently, the apostle Paul believed the gospel of God’s grace not only caused people to love Jesus, but to also love each other in such away they formed “one new man,” in spite of the first-century Greco-Roman culture that said they should hate each other.

Theological and Eccesiological (Doctrine of the Church)

  • “So that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him” (Eph. 3:10-12).
  • As the ethnically multicolored congregations in Ephesus read Paul’s letter, they learned the church is composed of a variety of colored people (manifold). And this unifying display alerted the rulers and authorities that is the angelic and demonic world that Jesus had indeed won.
  • Peter T. O’Brien, in his commentary on the letter to the Ephesians, says, “In our present context, however, this variegated wisdom has particular reference to God’s richly diverse ways of working which led to a multiracial, multicultural community being united as fellow-members in the body of Christ.”

Sacrificial

  • “So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory” (Eph. 3:13).
  • The apostle Paul suffered greatly to see God’s new society, comprised of multiethnic, socio-economically diverse people formed on Planet Earth.
  • “From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.” (Gal. 6:17).
  • I personally have suffered greatly, planting and leading a multiethnic church. It’s hard work. But it’s gospel.

Eschatological (Ultimate Destiny of the Church)

“And they sang a new song, saying,

“’Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.’

“Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice,

“’Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing’” (Rev. 5:9-12).

The eternal church will be multiethnic. There will be no white church, black church, Latino church or Asian church. There will only be Jesus’ multiethnic church. If this is the future, let’s pray for it today.

Derwin L. Gray is the founding and lead pastor of Transformation Church, a multiethnic, multigenerational, mission-shaped community that loves God completely (Upward), themselves correctly (Inward) and their neighbors compassionately (Outward) in Indian Land, S.C., just south of Charlotte, N.C. Transformation Church was recently recognized as one of the fastest-growing churches in America for 2010 by Outreach Magazine.

For the original article, visit pastors.com.

Written by Derwin Gray

{ Day 350 }.


For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart. For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. 2 Corinthians 5:12-13, KJV

Paul was challenging the mentality of some who were looking on outward things and not properly discerning the heart of a certain matter at hand. What could this matter have been? The next verse tells us. Paul reveals that this controversy centered around two different general states of being that he and other believers were experiencing periodically. This first mode he called being “beside ourselves.” The only other time that this Greek word is used in the New Testament is when the people of Nazareth accused Jesus of being mad. We get our English word ecstatic from a Latin word that means “being outside oneself.” Paul seems to be referring to what are classically understood as ecstatic spiritual experiences and phenomena. He was exhorting the Corinthian believers to not stumble over this genuine holy activity that didn’t appear dignified or even always rational. Instead he challenged them to glory—that is, to rejoice greatly—that such visitations were occurring among them and releasing greater passion in their hearts for God. Visible joy upon believers is possibly the best advertisement for the gospel.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Spirit, reveal Yourself to me through whatever method You choose. Make me willing to be “beside myself” with the joy of Your presence. Release greater power and passion in my heart for Christ, and let others see Your love in my life.

We are to serve the Lord with gladness.

By MIKE BICKLE.

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