__________ August 24, 2016 ___________

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—- CHAPTER NINE —-

This one hit home with me on a LOT of different levels.  I learned a lot, here… so bear with me, as I talk too much and tell/show you what this chapter has to say to me.  And maybe you’ll have something to add about what it says to you, too?

Am I am not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord?  If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.  Mine answer to them that do examine me is this:  vs 1-3

Paul is giving his ‘credentials’ to prove who/what he is.  He’s a servant of the Lord.  He’s an apostle.  And his proof is those whose lives he has touched for the Lord.  His proof is his writings, his teaching, his helping others.  He has evidence in his life of action showing him working out his faith.  It’s not just lip-service.  I have to ask myself, “When people look at my life, do they see proof of my faith?  Do they see my actions, my writings, my observances *prove* what I claim to believe?  Is it more than just lip-service?”  This is something we should all ask ourselves.  Do we LIVE out the obedience we claim to have to the Father?

Have we not power to eat and to drink?  Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?  Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working?  vs 4-6

We are FREE in Christ.  “He who the Son sets free is free, indeed”.  “Ye shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free.”  Verse one here says we are FREE.  We have the power to eat/drink what we like (although last chapter we explained why we temper some of our rights where food is concerned).  It doesn’t negate the fact that we’re FREE.  Freedom means the right to choose.  I got into this issue this week, with someone who wants to strip me of my freedoms.  It’s a blessing, having the right to choose.

Interesting to note: Believers have the power to marry, according to this section of scripture… just as the brothers of Messiah and Cephas (the apostle Peter) married.  Peter is considered the ‘first pope’ by the catholic church… but they’re not allowed to be married.  Isn’t that irony?  And utterly unscriptural?!

Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?  vs 7

THIS is interesting, too!  I had a conversation about half a year ago with my penpal.  We’d built a beautiful menorah, and were considering making and selling more of them.  Brian has the program saved on his machine, and the wood wouldn’t be hard to procure to do it.  It’s a little time consuming and requires some supplies, but we thought about selling them as another side income.  At the same time, I was telling my penpal about how I would never charge for anything I write here at the blog – whether Biblical studies or lapbooks for school.  It was a ministry to me – to share what I create and think and do for His glory, for others.    Anyhow, I’ve seen what happens to prophets who teach eschatology and ask for money.  It’s WRONG. 

My penpal said that we couldn’t sell menorahs, because it’d be ‘making a profit off God’.  I had trouble, because then what is right to sell, and what isn’t?  I was confused, and more than a little wavering.  And I couldn’t argue with his assertion… until now.  Look at the above verse.  Paul says soldiers are paid physical money for physical combat.  Farmers get a tangible income for their physical pains in the field and for the crop.  Shepherds get a tangible nourishment from their physical efforts in caring for the flock.  What is done physically, that we tangibly put supplies and work into… these things warrant a tangible, physical (monetary) income.

Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?  vs. 8-9

This isn’t just Paul’s opinion on things, either.  It’s Torah/Law, too!  The verse he’s quoting is Deuteronomy 25:4.  The Lord says that it’s okay to make a physical/tangible profit for physical/tangible items and work.  And that makes sense to me.

— HOWEVER!!  —

Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.  If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?  If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.  vs 10-12

This is talking about spiritual things.  Preaching.  Teaching.  Prophesying.  Helping with our knowledge and/or revelation.  We do NOT make a physical/tangible profit on these things.  Our reward for spiritual edification and divine obedience is spiritual in nature.  Yehovah gives us what we earn with our faithfulness.  THIS is why I can’t/won’t ever ask for donations or charge for anything written here.  I had this part right.  Hope sewn earns spiritual reward, only.

Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?  Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.  vs. 13-14

Having said?  PASTORS SHOULD NOT be paid for their position I’ve always held this view, and so has Paul.  He was a tent-maker and did other manual labor-ish work while preaching across the then-known world.  He never was paid for his work as a teacher, preacher, apostle, or missionary.  And I firmly believe that pastors should hold jobs in addition to their spiritual servant obedience.  Things are seriously, seriously wrong in the church as people know it.  And I’m not saying there aren’t people out there that believe that way – my friend John is a minister who works weekdays at the bus station.  That’s the way that it’s supposed to be.  ‘Pastor’ is not a full-time, paid position.  It’s not even a part-time paid position.  It’s wrong.

Interestingly?  I’ve never seen a pastor punished by God for it.  Likely because close to all of ’em not true believers/Christ-followers, anyhow.  They’re certainly not Torah-obedient.  But time and again, I have seen prophets held to a different standard.  Likely because we’re under a far different mandate, and it’s straight from Him… so it’s more dire.  Every true prophet I’ve ever seen try to make money on the information they’re given?  (And I’ve only known five.)  The four who tried making money off things were struck with horrible diseases and even found swift deaths.  What is sewn spiritual does not reap physical reward.  Period.

But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.  For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!  For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.  vs 15-17

So then, if a pastor isn’t getting paid, why would he bother pastoring?  For the real reason a pastor is called to ministry – because Yehovah compels him to preach!  It has nothing to do with being provided for or paid.  It’s a willing thing – something they are to do because they love the Lord and wish to do His will.  That’s what all of the spiritual gifts are about.  We do what He calls us to do, for Him, not for us.  If someone’s about the money or attention their getting being in front of a crowd, or about the power and prestige of the postition?  They’re the WRONG man/woman for the job.

Something went wrong along the way with the church.  I suspect it’s been a problem since before the time of Martin Luther.  And my personal opinion is that all stipends and salaries for ministers and pastoral positions stop NOW.  We’d find out pretty durn quick who was there because of a love of the Lord and a compelling need to do His will, wouldn’t we?!

What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.  For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.  vs 18-19

You remember that verse, ‘Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and dust doth corrupt, but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven’?  It’s not just a pretty little platitude.  That’s what believers are to do.  Especially their leaders.  Our reward is to be procured from the Throne, when our time here is over.  Delayed gratification of an astounding kind!

And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;  To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.  To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.  And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.  vs. 20-23

THIS…!!!!  I have been reading thru the entire blog of a homeschool ‘gypsy’ (<< lives a transient life out of a bus with four children).  When she started, she was a christian immersed from birth (like me).  Then she came out of churchianity (like me).  Then she started keeping the feasts (like me).  Then she rejected ALL of it, and went the hippie love-peace-karma route (NOT like me).  She started doing things that I was balking at – she got a nose piercing and dreds… to reflect her ‘authentic’ self.  I had issues with it – it didn’t seem about being authentic as much as it seemed an attention grab and/or an agenda.  As she went along, she swung around from being a christian judging the gays, divorced, alternative, unbelievers… to being ‘open’ and judging the conservative, christian, closed up people.  I know why this happened, because I’m experiencing the same things: once you leave christianity, you are treated like shit.  No, seriously, it’s true.  How DARE you!  They don’t love you regardless of your choices, they ostracize the snot out of you.  I get why she went the polar opposite way – acceptance is such a blessing… but I wonder at how weak a person has to be to forsake Truth for human acceptance.  Anyhow, I have to admit something:  I feel like if we met?  This woman would judge ME, because I don’t kum-ba-ya with drug-dealers and share lunch in the back alleys or live off-grid and vegan.  I’m struggling with all of what I’m feeling/reading… and it’s a huge growing experience.

In light of this whole thing I’m vicariously (still!) living thru her life choices and changes, I have to say… there’s some new meaning to these three verses for me.  Who am I?  Am I accessible to everyone?  I’ll be honest with you – I’ve become pretty closed off, over the years.  Mostly from hurts by others.  I don’t find people to be lovely – I find them to be backstabbing, close-minded, hurtful, controlling, manipulative, angry and lashing out, and selfish.  I’m not like Paul.  I’m not all things to all men… and I’m a little ashamed of it.

This is partially why I’ve made everything public on this blog, again.  It’s why comments are open, again.  (<<Although I reserve the right to not even read/delete-on-sight negativity).  I just… prefer to be transparent, as a person.  I prefer to put myself out there.  And while a part of me says “don’t do it – they’ll hurt you!”, I know Paul is right.  I’m supposed to be more than I am, right now.

Will probably be writing a LOT more about this, over the next few months.  For now, let’s just keep it to this one question:  Are you exclusive?  Would you tell a mother who doesn’t vaccinate that she should be medicated for her choices, that she’s a parent who deserves to be reported to CPS?  Would you judge a homosexual couple on the street?  Would you turn your gaze away from a homeless person?  Are you able to relate to people outside of your circumstances?  Wow… I’m feeling particularly challenged in my life, by this.

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.  And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.  I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:  But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.  vs 24-27

Everyone who’s ever been in a church knows this fun little analogy.  But think about this:  if life is a race, and we’re to ‘strive for mastery’ by being ‘temperate in all things’… what does that MEAN?  That the key to winning at life is to find balance?  ‘Temperate’ means relating to something thru moderation.  All things in moderation.  Have you heard that before?  How do we apply that to our lives?  This is more of what I was just saying.  Are we able to find that middle ground?  Are we able to ‘bring ourselves to subjection’ and the place where we’re ‘all things to all men’?

I feel like there’s so much I have to do, to consider, to possibly change about myself… just based on this one chapter of the Bible!

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