Just a word of encouragement for everyone out there serving the Lord (and others) in His name…

Foot washing

Just a word of encouragement for everyone out there serving the Lord (and others…in His name) in some way tomorrow (Sunday) or any other day of the week for that matter… “Stand your ground! Don’t hold back! Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for Him is a waste of time or effort! (1 Corinthians 15:58 The Message)

Some observations about “enemies” – and a Christ-like response to them

Love your enemeiesYou’ve seen them… Cocky and arrogant as can be.  The self-made person – they don’t need God, they’ll make it on their own, thank you!  They think Christians are weak, dependent creatures – flawed, with a pre-disposed need for “a God.”   Devout Christ followers actually make them angry!  They love to poke fun at them, ridicule them, and they aren’t beyond actually persecuting them, and aren’t  beyond actually persecuting them… They think the world would be better off without them.

I thought of that kind of person today as I read these words from Psalm 52…

“Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man?  The steadfast love of God endures all the day!

…You love evil more than good and lying more than speaking what is right!

…But God.. [will act one day to vindicate His people!]

The righteous shall see and fear, and shall laugh at him saying ‘See the man who would not make God his refuge, but trusted in the abundance of his riches…!

But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God!  I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever!  I will thank you forever because you have done it!  I will wait for Your Name for it is good in the presence of the godly!” (From Psalm 52)

I don’t know about you, but I’ll depend on the truth that Psalm teaches.  It pays to serve and trust the Lord!  The wicked may assert themselves and demean and persecute those who trust in the Lord.  But one day God will act to defend and vindicate His people!  Devoted Christ followers don’t have to retaliate and take vengeance – they are free to respond to those to demean and persecute them with redemptive Christ-like love!  Apostle Paul had it right: “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them! … Beloved, never avenge yourselves but leave it to the wrath of God , for it is written, ‘Vengeance is min, I will repay says the Lord.’  So if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  (Romans 12 14, 19-21)

The purpose and adequate motivation of “Spiritual gifts” and “manifestations”

Spiritual giftsI am a Pentecostal/Charismatic Christian. I believe that “Spiritual gifts” or “manifestations of the Spirit” are for today (1 Corinthians 12:4-11) I believe God desires to display His presence and power in wonderful ways in both the gathered assembly of believers (the “Church” – the gathered congregation) and in the marketplace (see the book of Acts).

But I also believe the only adequate motivation for the exercise of Spiritual gifts is to glorify Christ and build up (“edify”) others… Try these verses on for size…”To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good… Since you are eager for manifestation of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church… What then? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.” (1 Corinthians 12:7; 14:12, 26)

So, it seems to me, here is the bottom line – the only adequate motivation for the exercise of Spiritual gifts in the church or marketplace… They are NOT primarily for personal edification or benefit (and certainly not to draw attention to one’s self), but for mutual edification and the glorifying of Christ.

As a Spirit-filled Christian and one who embraces Spiritual gifts and manifestations for today… I want to live my life and exercise Spiritual gifts in that way! Incidentally, that is why 1 Corinthians 13 (the “love chapter”) is sandwiched between 1 Corinthians 12 and 14.

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