God sometimes allows something to happen, to put us in the position to be ready for the next step. Paul’s willingness to trust and accept even the really hard steps God took him through, the church at Philippi was establish—the only church Paul consistently received help from throughout his career.
This week, I’m starting a new series from the Hebrew Bible (what many refer to as the “Old Testament”). I’ve long been fascinated with the poetry, imagery, and intensity of the prophets, and especially intrigued with the minor prophets–maybe because the only place I ever heard teaching on all twelve books was in the Bible study I used to be a part of.
ya gotta hand it to Paul and his crew. They did not skip a beat. Puzzled looks changed to pleased smiles instantly, and they sat right down to worship with these God-fearing women. The women, apparently, didn’t skip a beat, either. They welcome these four men into their gathering
even with a vision from God, to not exactly know what’s going to come next. I may think I have every detail of the plan nailed down; but, with the Lord, that is rarely going to be the case. Where would faith fit in, in a scheme like that? Typically, God is going to give us enough to go on, and at each step—if we’re willing to take those steps of faith—God will give us more.
Anytime you or I try to relate to God through performance, we have forgotten the Gospel. But you and I are to do everything out of love, out of compassion, out of a humble desire to sacrifice our own comforts in order to build each other up. If you and I believe in Jesus Christ and love the brethren, we will try not do things that offend.
In Ephesians 5, Paul wrote about the “Sword of the Spirit,” saying it was the word of God. The author Hebrews said this sword was living and active, sharper than any actual sword. There are times when iron must sharpen iron
The bulk of Paul’s teaching was not about redressing wrongs and rebuking sinners. Instead, Paul talked about the vital necessity of protecting unity, building community, and caring for each other with such love, brothers and sisters in the Lord would rather absorb the cost for another than stand on their own rights.