Stand Firm and Give – 6-7-22

“Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love.” 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of First Corinthians chapter 16 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Collection for the Saints

16 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. And when I come, whomever you approve by your letters I will send to bear your gift to Jerusalem. But if it is fitting that I go also, they will go with me.

Personal Plans

Now I will come to you when I pass through Macedonia (for I am passing through Macedonia). And it may be that I will remain, or even spend the winter with you, that you may send me on my journey, wherever I go. For I do not wish to see you now on the way; but I hope to stay a while with you, if the Lord permits.

But I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost. For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.

10 And if Timothy comes, see that he may be with you without fear; for he does the work of the Lord, as I also do. 11 Therefore let no one despise him. But send him on his journey in peace, that he may come to me; for I am waiting for him with the brethren.

12 Now concerning our brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to come to you with the brethren, but he was quite unwilling to come at this time; however, he will come when he has a convenient time.

Final Exhortations

13 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done with love.

15 I urge you, brethren—you know the household of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints— 16 that you also submit to such, and to everyone who works and labors with us.

17 I am glad about the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, for what was lacking on your part they supplied. 18 For they refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge such men.

Greetings and a Solemn Farewell

19 The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. 20 All the brethren greet you.

Greet one another with a holy kiss.

21 The salutation with my own hand—Paul’s.

22 If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be [a]accursed. O[b] Lord, come!

23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. 24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Footnotes

  1. 1 Corinthians 16:22 Gr. anathema
  2. 1 Corinthians 16:22 Aram. Marana tha; possibly Maran atha, Our Lord has come

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Acts 4:12- “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

And after starting this week with such a hard word – today we read a shorter chapter and conclude the first letter to the church in Corinth.

When we were studying Acts we saw that the 12 disciples lived in a “all things in common” socialistic environment on the road with Jesus and it worked. So in Jerusalem after Jesus ascended to heaven, they gave it a try. To their surprise it doesn’t work on a larger scale and quickly the believers in Jerusalem were bankrupt. The early church then modeled the temple system, since it was a God given system. This is the system of bring in the tithes, offerings and firstfruits.  And now the home base church in Jerusalem needed a special offering because the people were now poor. At least they were able to launch out quite a few missionaries before they became poor.

So we start today’s reading with Paul organizing a special collection for the church in Jerusalem.

Paul was able to support an entire team out on the road for 3 missionary journeys. Luke was his private doctor who traveled with him. Paul also had the means to pay for attorneys at court. The only time Paul struggled was when he was separated from his team, meaning someone in the team carried the money. But then Paul went to work. Paul also never took up and offering to pay his way. People are rightfully leery about prosperity teachings – but Paul is a walking example of having everything he needed. So are Jesus and the Disciples. Having to collect money for Jerusalem’s church is a rare oddity in the Bible of a believer being needy. And of course we see someone directed by God to meet the need.
This collection would be a slow process, but the individuals in the church in Jerusalem were working and just barely getting by.  

Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.”

First day of the week – Paul was not saying believer now met on Sundays. As discussed previously they met almost daily with their main event, so to speak, on Saturdays and modeled after the synagogues. The reason Paul says to collect on Sundays is simply because it is Pay Day in the Roman world. And before the money gets spent, lost or stolen, Paul says to give God what it his.  
And when Paul says there will be no collection when he comes, it is because it should have already been collected.

And when I come, whomever you approve by your letters I will send to bear your gift to Jerusalem. But if it is fitting that I go also, they will go with me.
Who handles the money? Not Paul. He is wise. But also, he does not seem to micromanage the ministry. Whoever is chosen to do the job, does the job.

Now I will come to you when I pass through Macedonia (for I am passing through Macedonia). And it may be that I will remain, or even spend the winter with you, that you may send me on my journey, wherever I go. For I do not wish to see you now on the way; but I hope to stay a while with you, if the Lord permits.”
Earlier letter show more of Paul’s plans then later letters. And often times Paul’s plans were interrupted and not able to come through as he wanted. I personally think this is why Paul stopped offering so much detail.
Paul was super hard on this church and now we see he wants to winter there. Let me suggest that, because he personally built that church, he loves them very much. It is in love that he is so hard on them hoping for more for them – and it is in that love he longs to spend more time with them.

But I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost.”
Side Note: My friend, Pastor Lorraine, gave a message the other day about Pentecost, aka Feast of Harvest. I have already written up my first thing on this holiday, this year (which I did not do in previous years). And since I have heard a few more. And in our reading we had it come up a few times before the weekend and after the weekend. This year seems to be very important.
I heard a Jewish man speak of it and explain that the feast of Firstfruits is about giving in gratitude. But not just to God – but to bless others as unto God. I suppose it we are to be effective and kick off a revival – a giving heart would be the way to do it. You cannot out give God.

For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.”
Ephesus – with the beast and many adversaries. Paul is making plans, but He knows that these thngs could take longer.

10 And if Timothy comes, see that he may be with you without fear; for he does the work of the Lord, as I also do. 11 Therefore let no one despise him. But send him on his journey in peace, that he may come to me; for I am waiting for him with the brethren.
12 Now concerning our brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to come to you with the brethren, but he was quite unwilling to come at this time; however, he will come when he has a convenient time.”

Knowing he can’t be everywhere – He has parts of his team out doing certain things and being in other places. Very smart. If this ministry ever grows that big I pray God gives me a Timothy. Apollos seems to be doing his own thing, or maybe I am reading that wrong. None the less I will pray for lots of Timothys!

13 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.”
Watch. This one word began as a theme in Jeremiah and continued through the days of Ezra. Even Jesus told his disciples to be watchmen. What are we watching for? We will know when it is of God and when it isn’t pray for more discernment. Did anyone notice the shift that happened this weekend? Or was it just me? Since I have noticed more and more pastors under fire being accused of being false prophets. I have friends who are now preaching at the ReAwaken America Tour and there is another Christian organization attacking them. I saw an article attacking Flashpoint and all affiliated ministries under the parent company. And I saw a man who they say is a prophet get accused. And so on and so forth. Even in my local community I see a rise is attacks lobbed at the pastors.
So we should watch. We know the accuser is the devil himself. So we need to wait and see if any of these accusations pan out.  But it is the season of the firstfruits, when they separate the wheat from the tares and count the barley. There has been a whole lot of shaking – the tares will fall, the wheat will stand fast!

Stand fast in the faith – Do we remember the battle in the Old Testament when God made His people get dressed for Battle, show up, and stand. The enemy became confused and killed themselves. And the people of God casually walked in and took the spoils. The battle is still the Lords – but we have to stand.
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13 NKJV
See, having done all stand. Do not run away. Do not bow to the enemy. Do not give up. Don’t go right or left. Just stand. As everything is shaking around us. Just stand. Don’t even worry about what you should do or worry for your children. Just stand, the rest belongs to God.

Be Brave, Be Strong – time for some cross references:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NKJV
“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deut. 31:6 NKJV
When it was finally time for the Israelites to go into the promise land – it was time to be strong and courageous.
“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’” Isaiah 41:10
And he said, “O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!”
So when he spoke to me I was strengthened, and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.” Daniel 10:9 NKJV
Then also in Ephesians, James and John…
I think when we look at all the places when people were being tried, were in the storm, and/or were going through it – God encourages with this verse and then says He’ll take care of it.

Modern application – just stand. Now is a short season if just stand – do not get off course. If you were told to go in a directions then let your stand be to stubbornly stay the course. There is a lot of shaking going on – so don’t fall. And do not participate if the fall of other. Grab ahold of them and see if you can help them stand in this time.

14 Let all that you do be done with love.”
I have always loved this verse! What is super fun is, it is on my business cards. Many of you know I am an artist and I make leather accessories for a living and a struggle, lol. On my cards I wrote: Hand made with love and then referenced this verse! It is a subtle way of letting people know where I stand without preaching or teaching or getting into it all. God told me to do that here and over there just sell. But it is so hard for me not to minister to people there too.

15 I urge you, brethren—you know the household of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints— 16 that you also submit to such, and to everyone who works and labors with us.17 I am glad about the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, for what was lacking on your part they supplied. 18 For they refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge such men.”
And now the formal ending and acknowledgements begin. Formal letter writing in the first century. But it is also good to note that we are to acknowledge such men. Give credit, help, support, gratitude, and so on. A practice we should continue.

19 The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. 20 All the brethren greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss.
21 The salutation with my own hand—Paul’s.”

Does anyone know why Paul wrote this verse? Most scrolls were written, and at the end a scribe would say they wrote it on behalf of. And if it was not written by a scribe, as this one was not, then the scroll would have been rolled, sealed and by the seal the author would put his name to show who wrote it and who it was from. Paul broke with tradition by signing it where a scribe would have. That is because by this time, false, forged letter were circulating saying they were from Paul. But they did not sound like Paul nor did they have the corrections like Paul.

I was just praying for more discernment as I feel some things aren’t what they say and these poor baby Christians were dealing with forged letters! They used to copy Paul’s letters and circulate them. Now the very original letter had to be circulated. (It is believed they made a copy for themselves to keep and reread.) It must have been hard to discern a letter – but then when you think about it, there are A.I. and programed autobots on the internet trying to interact with people. They are getting so good, you might never know you’ve conversed with one. We need so much more discernment.

22 If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. O Lord, come!”
Wow, Paul is placing a curse on those who do not love the Lord. Remember the other day when I say we need to go back to our first loves – I hope you did before you read this curse. But no joke, that is a great way to separate the wheat from the tares real quick – those who love Jesus shall be blessed and those who do not shall be cursed.
The end of 2019, I read the end of this verse, “Maranatha!” And I began declaring it as a part of my good byes. I mean, that is what we want – if it was good enough for Paul 2000 years ago, then why not?! Well, I got an earful from Christians, who were subsequently surprised that Paul signed off this way. These formal endings are always the most interesting, but look at the cool stuff we find mixed in with ‘everyone sends their love’.

23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. 24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Grace be with you and my love. What an awesome prayer. I do not pray for grace upon everyone as often as I should. Where do we get all the grace that we need and the extra measure? PRAYERS! For prayers from each other!

And that concludes First Corinthians. Tomorrow we jump right to the second letter – so come back for another powerful book and study.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

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