God never ceases to amaze me! Last night I read through the last chapter of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. I’m thinking, it’s just his typical greetings to and from people as well as letting them know that he’s sending Timothy… blah, blah, blah. Then in the YouVersion free bible app, I had 2 verses highlighted…
13 Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. 14 And do everything with love.1 Corinthians 16:13 NLT
Then I go read a new study plan in the app called, “Hidden Forces in Fasting” as I’m preparing to fast and pray as America gets closer to Election Day. Lo and behold, verse 13 was one of the scripture readings.
Whenever that happens, it’s a sign from God to PAY ATTENTION! He’s telling me, this is important! Stop and think about this! Consequently, it hit me that I should just focus today’s blog and podcast on just this 2 verses. The rest of this chapter, though it helps us understand Paul, his mission, and the people he encountered back then, is good, but not critical.
So let’s break apart this powerful passage….
Be on Guard
25 “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; 26 men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”Luke 21:25-28 NLT (bold emphasis mine)
Let’s see, distress of nations – check. The sea and waves roaring — at this time, Tropical Storm Zeta is heading to the northern Gulf Coast — Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle — an area that’s been hit by what? 5 hurricanes and storms – check? The suicide rate in America is the highest ever – check.
Stand Firm in the Faith
Building on a Solid Foundation
46 “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? 47 I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. 48 It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. 49 But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house right on the ground, without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”Luke 6:46-48 NLT
Be Courageous and Strong
When we really study the Bible — the Word of God — we become greatly prepared to fight back when we hear false teachings. That’s why Paul illustrates the Word of God as the “sword of the Spirit” in Ephesians 6. It’s the only offensive weapon in the Armor of God.
We are constantly being attacked by Satan and his lies, demons and “fiery darts”. Paul warns us — not to scare us — but to make sure we’re prepared…
Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.Ephesians 6:10-17 NLT
Do Everything with Love
This is the hardest part. We covered this a couple of posts ago. We in America are heading at a rapid speed into uncertain times. Even people around the world are watching and are concerned about who wins the presidential election. Check out this video from Behold Israel…
The reason I’m praying and fasting from now until November 3, is not to pray for any one candidate, but for peace in America once Election Day is over. The Holy Spirit has put that burden on my heart.
I am sure that God knows who will win, so why pray? Can we change providence? I don’t know. I am praying to the Holy Spirit that’s in the hearts of all born-again Christians to convict them and vote for pro-life candidates. I hope that they pray and ask for God’s guidance as to who they should select to run their country, state, city or town. We are not voting for pastors, we are voting for people who will control how we live, the taxes we pay, our schools and how we handle crisis and problems that will undoubtedly arise. Are they qualified for the job?
What Paul is saying in verse 14, is that no matter what, respect a person’s choice and opinion with love. That’s all. Is that so hard to do?
Paul signs this letter in his own hand. (That means he had a secretary or a scribe that wrote the bulk of it.)
22 If anyone does not love the Lord, that person is cursed. Our Lord, come! [Maranatha!]1 Corinthians 16:22 NLT