11/15/16 I Am More

“Those who would accuse me, claiming that they have more authority than I to be called apostles, what do they claim for themselves?  Do they call themselves Hebrews?  Israelites?  Descendants of Abraham?  Jesus’ apostles?  I am all of those things, and – if you will indulge my insanity – more.  I have worked harder, received more lashes with the whip, been imprisoned for Jesus more often, even had more attempts on my life.  Five times I have received thirty-nine lashes with the whip from the Jews – one less than the maximum allowed by Jewish law.  Three times I was beaten with rods by the Romans.  I have been stoned, shipwrecked three times, spent a night and a day stranded in the sea.  I am almost always travelling to bring Jesus’ message to new areas.  In my travels I am always in danger – of drowning in the sea, of being robbed, of being attacked by both my own countrymen and by Gentiles, of the city and the wilderness, of those who deceitfully claim to be my brothers.  I suffer from fatigue in all my hard work, sleeplessness, hunger and thirst, fasting by choice and by necessity, cold and the lack of adequate clothing.  Apart from all of this, I also have a great concern for all the churches which weighs on me at all times.  I suffer with those who suffer, feel the weakness of those who fall prey to temptation, feel the shame of those who are ashamed of their actions, am outraged for those who are taken advantage of.  So if I take pride in anything, it is those things in which I am weak.  Our God and Father of our Lord Jesus, the Messiah, the One who is blessed forever, is my witness that I speak the truth.  From the very beginning in Damascus, when I was first called by Jesus Himself to serve Him, I have been in danger.  In Damascus, the governor, under King Aretas, guarded the city with a whole garrison of soldiers, because he was looking for me to arrest me, but I escaped when some of the brothers put me in a basket and lowered me through a window down the outside of the city wall.”

 

2 Corinthians 11:22-33

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