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Friday, October 12, 2007

In God, there is no coincidence

So I'd love to tell you that I am such a "student of the Word" that I look ahead at what our pastor will be teaching about before the actual service that he teaches on it. I'd love to say that...but I can't. It is a sincere desire to be able to say that someday though, but for now, I confess that reading ahead in the whatever book we are covering in church is usually not something I do. (DO NOT be mislead though in thinking that means I don't read the Bible, I just usually focus on other books since our Pastor so rightly divides God's Word. Nor should your Sunday morning exposure to the Bible be all you get for the week.)
So I posted my blog yesterday, and then later went to church for our midweek teaching. We are in 2 Corinthians chapter 12, and last night's lesson started with verse 11. It reads:
I have become foolish; you yourselves compelled me. Actually, I should have been commended by YOU, for in no respect was I inferior to the most eminent apostles, even though I am a nobody."
If you are lacking background, let me fill you in. This is a letter Paul is writing in response to some missive he has received from the Corinthian church. It seems there have been some "apostles" who have come to Corinth, a church that Paul planted, and made accusations about Paul not being as real an apostle as they are, and generally trying to undermine his credibility. Paul responds in a manner most uncomfortable for him by reminding them of his history and the very real afflictions he has endured on behalf of the Gospel. This "boasting" of his credentials is what Paul is referring to as foolishness, and the fact that they have been swayed by these other "apostles" is why he says they have compelled him to it. Even in his boasting though, he prefers to boast of his own inequities saying in chapter 11 verse 9-10:
And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. " Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore, I am well content with weakness, with insults, with distress, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
(Those verses were Sunday's message, and so timely as my friend Marie's husband has now been in the hospital for over a week, and it's so comforting to know that as James says, we should rejoice in our trails because they not only perfect our faith, but our weakness in those circumstances allows God's strength to shine through.)

So back to last night. I tend to be okay with the face value interpretation of scripture. Paul here says he considers boasting foolishness, but he is doing it because that seems to be the kind of thing they want to hear and is a "language they understand". Then he says, really, if anyone is doing the commending, it should be them since he has clearly shown himself worthy in their presence of all the skills they think him lacking being that we find out in verse 12 that he has performed constantly "signs and wonders and miracles" in their presence.

But go back for a minute. This is where I am so blessed to be under the teaching of a patient God and a wise pastor that God works through. It comes in the IMPLIED stuff that I normally skip over. That's the spiritual "meat" I still need others to cut up for me. Here, Paul says THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN COMMENDING HIM. We should commend other believers. It's not just "okay", it's what God wants us to do. We should blow their horns for them. We should defend them if they are being wronged by someone else...maligned in speech or in deed. No one should have to boast of their own accomplishments, we should do it for them. And they should boast of their weaknesses. In that way, everyone is both weak (by their own admission and therefore usable by Christ and allowing Him to take the glory when that weakness is overcome) and strong (in what their example means to others and the ways they glorify God by serving others, and in drawing their strength from Christ in whom we can do all things).
Wow. Really? We should commend each other? Isn't that what I just blogged about? And without even hearing this teaching first. And how did it happen that way? GOD! I take no credit for anything intelligent that comes from my lips (or fingers, as the case may be), although the foolishness is probably all mine, LOL. But there are so many times that I have learned to listen to that still soft voice that tells me, "I don't care what you thought you were going to write about, this is what I have to say through you." Over the years, I have literally sat at the computer to type one thing, and ended up with something totally different. I started yesterday's blog out saying it felt like I was tooting my own horn because it DID feel that way, and I'm not comfortable doing that, but I just knew that was the message God had for me to type. In the end it's not about me at all, it's about obedience to the ENTIRE counsel of God's Word, and obedience to His very real whispers/shouts/shoulder taps/shaking you out of bed moments (right Aunt Fanny?) in your life.

So really...go, brag about someone, boast about someone, encourage someone, bless someone. Send someone an e-mail before this day is over letting them know how much they mean to you and how much you appreciate them. Forget Random acts of Kindness...make this deliberate and watch how God works in their life and yours.
obm
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1 comment:

Clunn Family said...

Yet again, aptly said. Having come off of the park fiasco, I am glad to find a scripture that I can hold on to...Hi s Grace is sufficient for me! His power perfected in my weakness! I am weak and HE is strong. I truly DO have more defects of character than I know or am willing to admit! Lord forgive me and be made strong in my ALL of my numerous weaknesses!