Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Q-TIP (quit taking it personally)

Welcome back to A Good Bible Study! I hope you have had as wonderful a week as me - if not, we are going to change all that right now. Let's pray:

Father, we thank you for the beauty you have created in our world - it helps to offset the evil that tries to ruin the good for us. Help us to keep our eyes on You, on Your beauty, Your love for us. Help us to remember that hurting people, hurt. Give us hearts so full of love that all we can see in those who can't seem to get along with anyone, is their need for, and fear of, love. Let us be the key to unlock someone's heart to love. Help us to remember to use Q-TIP when we are tempted to quit it! In the name of Jesus, amen.

Let's dive right into chapter seven of The Love Revolution Devotional Workbook and Field Journal, by Joyce Meyer. Read 2 Corinthians 11:24-28.

Sometimes all we get for our trouble to help others is mistreatment. Has that ever happened to you?

Afterwards, are you tempted to just say, "forget you then, see if I care what happens?"

In the above passage, Paul was not boasting about what a great martyr he was, in fact, he reluctantly boasted because he needed to remind his church of his true motives in defense of the charges false teachers were spreading about him.

There he was, having been beaten with whips five times, beaten with thick sticks three times, was stoned once (usually fatal), shipwrecked three times, and once survived a day and a night alone in the sea. Due to his traveling all around to spread the Word, Paul was always in danger from robbers, other Jews who sought to silence him, from wild animal attacks, and now false teachers seeking to profit themselves by discrediting him!

Could you continue to travel and preach under these conditions? Today, I think a lot of people would tell Paul that these hardships were a sign that God was not with him, didn't support him, or was trying to punish Paul for some kind of sin.

What would people tell you if all your efforts resulted in your being beaten, hunted, almost murdered, and frequently "torn apart" in the media, today?

Paul was forced to recite all he had put up with in the pursuit of everyone else's happiness in order to demonstrate that he was not in this for money or for fame, and he really didn't care if it cost him his life, his freedom, or his health. He would not rest until everyone, even those who mistreated him, knew and believed in the love, the eternal love, of Jesus Christ.

Name one thing you believe in so strongly you would go through literally anything to promote?

Would Paul go through all that if he didn't really, truly, in his heart of hearts, know that it was not only the truth, but it was worth anything to share? Otherwise, Paul would have sold us a feel-good bill of sale that would only break your commitment at the first disappointment. Been there, felt that, how about you?

Look, God isn't going to sell you a fairy tale. He doesn't lie to us and say if we believe in Him then He will take away all pain, all disappointment, and all critical voices . . . at least not during our earthly lives. Quite the opposite, in fact.

He promises others will laugh at our expense. He guarantees there will be hardships. He assures us there will be opportunities to take the easy way out in this life, and give up the life-altering rewards in the next. But He won't pull your leg and say do this, and everything will work out the way you have always wanted and everyone will just applaud your every move.

He does promise that with or without Him, life can be very hard. And He promises to be with you, and me, when it is easy and when it is unbearable. He promises that if we let Him, He will show us the way out. Finally, He promises to fill us up with hope, love, joy, and peace no matter what is going on in our lives if we ask Him, and if we choose to believe in His willingness to do so.

He even promises that no matter what happens, if we go thought hardships because of our dedication to Him, and others don't understand, others try to stop us, or in the worst cases, we or those we love lose our lives in order to stay faithful, it will . . . be . . . worth it.

But how can we help people that are not like us, or don't even like us? Read 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 to discover how Paul was able to relate to so many different kinds of people and share the love of Jesus:

"For though I am _____ from all men, I have made myself a ________ to all, that I might win the more, and to the _____, I become as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the ______, as under the law; to those who are without law, as ________ law (not being without law toward _____, but under law towards ________), that I might win those who are ______ law, to the ______, that I might ____ the weak. I have become all things to _____ men, that I might be all means ______ some. Now I do this for the _______ sake, that I may be _______ of it with you." New King James Version

My Nelson Study Bible says this commentary about the above verse:

    ~Paul was willing to conform to the customs of other people, whether Jew or Gentile, in order to bring      them to Christ. For example, in order to relate to the Jews in Jerusalem, he made a Nazirite vow in the temple. Around those who were under the law-the Jews-Paul obeyed the (Jewish) Law (traditions.) Around those who were outside the (Jewish) Law-gentiles-Paul did not observe Jewish custom.

     Paul clarified this, in case anyone misunderstood his actions. He obeyed God's law through obedience toward Christ. This was actually a broader law than the Law of Moses (which the Jews followed;) this was the fulfillment of Christ's will. ~

Read 1 Corinthians 11:1; Romans 13:8; and Galatians 6:2.

Lord, help us to remember that our differences don't have to be a reason to separate us from one another. Help us to let go of our rules, and let only Your commandments be our law. To love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds, souls and bodies and to love one another as ourselves, for these are the greatest commandments. If we do that, we cannot help but be welcome in Your eyes and be welcoming, to all others. And when others reject our love help us to Quit Taking It Personally, and get out of the way so You can do what we cannot. In the name of Jesus we pray, amen.

Remember: Q.-T.I.P.

Love, Karen

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