Quick Note – 2 Corinthians 8:18-21 – Having an Accountability Partner

2 Corinthians 8:18-21 – “18 With him we are sending the brother who is famous among all the churches for his preaching of the gospel. 19 And not only that, but he has been appointed by the churches to travel with us as we carry out this act of grace that is being ministered by us, for the glory of the Lord himself and to show our good will. 20 We take this course so that no one should blame us about this generous gift that is being administered by us, 21 for we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of man.”

It is said that Billy Graham would never go into an elevator with a woman alone, because he wanted to make sure that nobody could ever accuse him of doing anything scandalous.  It has also been said that he would not enter a hotel room without first having somebody check the room to make sure that nobody was there for that same reason.  He did everything in his power to ensure that his witness for Christ could never be tarnished by a slanderous allegation, for he did not want anybody to defame the name of Christ.  Even if it meant that he had to go out of his way, he would do so to uphold and protect the name of Christ.  Interestingly, these two ways that he went about protecting his witness required another person’s help.  By having a second witness around, he could make sure that his testimony would always be corroborated by another, and there could be no doubt about his honesty.  In a way, that second witness was like an accountability partner (although not to keep Billy accountable but his testimony).

In his second letter to the Corinthian church, Paul also mentioned a similar “accountability partner” who accompanied him as he collected funds for the needy in Jerusalem (“this act of grace that is being ministered by us”) and who was to go with Titus to the Corinthian church for a collection as well.  This Christian brother was not only a blessing because he preached the Gospel in all the churches, but he also became a steward of this monetary love gift to the Jerusalem church.  Paul mentioned in vs. 20-21 that they took this course of having an extra person that was not part of their usual group on this “act of grace” so that they could not be blamed about this generous gift.  He wanted to make sure that nobody could ever accuse him of stealing money, so he did what would be honorable in the sight of the Lord and of man – he found an “accountability partner.”  Paul was not worried that he would be tempted to take the money, but he wanted this accountability so that his testimony could never be doubted.  He wanted to protect the name of Christ by any means necessary.

I personally have never really had an accountability partner, because I never felt “a need to have one.”  I always thought that having an accountability partner was a sign of weakness and an inability to have self-control.  I thought that since I wasn’t struggling with pornography or drugs or alcohol or any of those addictive things, then I didn’t need one.  But I didn’t realize that the reason why I didn’t have one was simply because of my pride; I was so afraid that if I faltered and someone caught me, I would be looked upon as an unrighteous religious hypocrite and would lose my “esteem” in that person’s sight.  So in order to avoid having to confess my sins and struggles to anyone, I did not seek out an accountability partner.  But as I grew in my relationship with the Lord, I realized just how important it is to have this partner in my Christian walk (Currently, I consider you, the readers, as accountability partners, for what I share with you, I must live out and am accountable to you to do so).  Today’s passage has only reinforced this truth.  First, an accountability partner provides accountability for sin.  It is very hard to commit sin, when you know you need to confess it to someone and are constantly held accountable for it.  Haven’t you noticed that when you sin intentionally, you try to make sure nobody sees you do it?  It is difficult to sin when you know you will be caught and that there will be immediate consequences.  Second, an accountability partner provides accountability for your witness.  As with Billy Graham and Paul, having this partner to watch your back ensures that nobody can tarnish your testimony with a rash and wicked word.  You will always have someone to support your character, your actions, and your witness.  Lastly, an accountability partner provides accountability for your spiritual growth as a Christian.  Having another person you confide in, who is also growing in the Lord, will encourage you to build a closer relationship to Christ as well.  The Bible says that “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17).  So constantly hearing about a fellow Christian growing in Christ will definitely encourage you to do so as well.  As Christians, we need to work together to guard the name of Christ from any form of slander, ridicule, or contempt.  We need to be each other’s accountability partners, calling each other out when there is sin, backing each other up when there is slander, and encouraging each other to spiritually grow everyday.  Whether you are looking for an accountability partner to keep you from sin, to guard your witness, or to encourage you to grow in Christ, find one today.

Quick Note – Psalm 132:1-5 – Don’t Wait

Psalm 132:1-5 – “Remember, O LORD, in David’s favor, all the hardships he endured, how he swore to the LORD and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob, ‘I will not enter my house or get into my bed, I will not give sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids, until I find a place for the LORD, a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.’”

Recently, I have tried to post only once a week or every two weeks, because I have been quite busy applying to medical school and taking classes and working.  It’s a really busy schedule, so I have tried to give a little bit of time to everything.  But I couldn’t help but post this up now, due to the content of what I am trying to share with you today.  After you read the rest of the post, it will become clear to you that I needed to write this right away, because if I didn’t I would be in danger of being called a hypocrite and not doing what I preach. 

Surely, all of us have procrastinated at something at one point in our life or another.  We have procrastinated with our homework at school, waiting until the last minute to write up our term paper.  We have procrastinated with a project at work, waiting just a few hours before the presentation to prepare slides and/or a speech.  We have procrastinated with chores at home, waiting until the laundry or dishes pile up before we begin to clean them.  And if we are honest with ourselves, we have procrastinated with what God has called us to do in our spiritual lives, waiting “for the right time” before doing God’s work.  Our passage today highlights the heart of David, when he desired to build a Temple for the LORD God.  It says that David vowed, “I will not enter my house, or get into my bed, I will not give sleep to my eyes, or slumber to my eyelids, until I find a place for the LORD, a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”  David would not rest, until he found a place to build a Temple for the LORD.  It is amazing how much he loved the Lord and wanted to serve and please Him!  He would not wait.  He would not tarry.  He would not procrastinate.  When it came to the Lord’s work, he was ready and willing to do it right away.  We all know that the Lord eventually told him that he would not build the house but his son Solomon would, but nonetheless, we can see the heart of David clearly here – fully devoted to the Lord, unwilling to waste another day.

As Christians, when God has called us to do something for Him, we should not rest, we should not tarry, we should not wait to do it.  We must get up and do it immediately.  We must not let the sun go down on the day before we do the work He has called us to do.  Of course, this doesn’t mean things that take planning and wise counsel.  But this is for things where the Spirit of the Lord has moved in your heart to work.  For example, when you are urged by the Spirit to speak to your co-worker about Christ, don’t wait until tomorrow; do it today.  Or when you are convicted by the Lord to call a past friend and share some encouraging words, don’t wait until tomorrow; do it today.  Or when you have been asked by God to reconcile a broken relationship, don’t wait until tomorrow; do it today.  Most importantly, if He has asked you to turn and give your life to Him, either for salvation at first or for His work later, don’t wait until tomorrow; do it today.  Don’t let your eyes have sleep or your body rest until you do what He has called you to do.  He moved me to share this passage with you tonight.  What is He moving you to do today? 

Quick Note – Psalm 132:1-5 – Don’t Wait

Psalm 132:1-5 – “Remember, O LORD, in David’s favor, all the hardships he endured, how he swore to the LORD and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob, ‘I will not enter my house or get into my bed, I will not give sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids, until I find a place for the LORD, a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.’”

Recently, I have tried to post only once a week or every two weeks, because I have been quite busy applying to medical school and taking classes and working.  It’s a really busy schedule, so I have tried to give a little bit of time to everything.  But I couldn’t help but post this up now, due to the content of what I am trying to share with you today.  After you read the rest of the post, it will become clear to you that I needed to write this right away, because if I didn’t I would be in danger of being called a hypocrite and not doing what I preach. 

Surely, all of us have procrastinated at something at one point in our life or another.  We have procrastinated with our homework at school, waiting until the last minute to write up our term paper.  We have procrastinated with a project at work, waiting just a few hours before the presentation to prepare slides and/or a speech.  We have procrastinated with chores at home, waiting until the laundry or dishes pile up before we begin to clean them.  And if we are honest with ourselves, we have procrastinated with what God has called us to do in our spiritual lives, waiting “for the right time” before doing God’s work.  Our passage today highlights the heart of David, when he desired to build a Temple for the LORD God.  It says that David vowed, “I will not enter my house, or get into my bed, I will not give sleep to my eyes, or slumber to my eyelids, until I find a place for the LORD, a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”  David would not rest, until he found a place to build a Temple for the LORD.  It is amazing how much he loved the Lord and wanted to serve and please Him!  He would not wait.  He would not tarry.  He would not procrastinate.  When it came to the Lord’s work, he was ready and willing to do it right away.  We all know that the Lord eventually told him that he would not build the house but his son Solomon would, but nonetheless, we can see the heart of David clearly here – fully devoted to the Lord, unwilling to waste another day.

As Christians, when God has called us to do something for Him, we should not rest, we should not tarry, we should not wait to do it.  We must get up and do it immediately.  We must not let the sun go down on the day before we do the work He has called us to do.  Of course, this doesn’t mean things that take planning and wise counsel.  But this is for things where the Spirit of the Lord has moved in your heart to work.  For example, when you are urged by the Spirit to speak to your co-worker about Christ, don’t wait until tomorrow; do it today.  Or when you are convicted by the Lord to call a past friend and share some encouraging words, don’t wait until tomorrow; do it today.  Or when you have been asked by God to reconcile a broken relationship, don’t wait until tomorrow; do it today.  Most importantly, if He has asked you to turn and give your life to Him, either for salvation at first or for His work later, don’t wait until tomorrow; do it today.  Don’t let your eyes have sleep or your body rest until you do what He has called you to do.  He moved me to share this passage with you tonight.  What is He moving you to do today? 

Quick Note – Psalm 112:7-8 – No Fear

Psalm 112:7-8 – “He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.  His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.”

One of the reasons why people hate visiting the doctor’s office is fear.  They aren’t afraid of the doctor himself or the various procedures he does, but they are afraid of hearing him say the words, “[Insert your name here], you may want to sit down.  Your test results came in, and we have some disheartening news, you have [insert sickness].”  Those words are devastating for both the patient and the patient’s family.  I remember, just a year ago, my mom went to the doctor to have some skin moles checked for the possibility of cancer.  Some of them looked suspicious so the doctor took some biopsy samples and told her he would give her a call in a week or so about the results.  While we were on vacation in Alaska, she was called by the doctor and received some unwelcome news – she had early-stage melanoma in one of her moles.  We couldn’t believe what we just heard, and the rest of our vacation was a little tough, because the bad news continued to linger in our minds.  I personally was afraid.  I was scared for my mom and the possibility of losing her.  I was worried.  Thankfully, when we returned, we found out that the biopsy took out most of it, and she was able to remove the rest of it quickly without the need for any other procedure.  But the news itself brought fear and worry into my life. 

Psalm 112 in its entirety describes some of the blessings which are experienced by the man who fears the Lord and finds great delight in His commands.  He is blessed with children (vs. 2), wealth and riches (vs. 3), enduring righteousness (vs.3), and light in the darkness (vs.4).  One of these blessings is described in our passage today, “He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.  His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.”  The man who fears the Lord and finds great delight in His commands is blessed with steadfastness and confidence in the midst of turmoil and bad news.  When most people are fearful of receiving bad news or faltering during the trial, he is without fear, for he knows where He has placed his trust – in the LORD God of the universe who will deliver in His time.  There is no doubt.  There is no wavering.  There is no second-guessing.  There is only a complete trust in the Lord.  As Christians, we must develop this same type of faith, for we have the same God who is all-powerful, all-loving, and all-willing to do what is best for us.  Romans 8:32 states, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”  How can we ever worry or think that the God who loved us so much that He gave His only Son for us would not give us deliverance from trouble?  We can definitely stand firm on Him – our Rock and our Redeemer.  This does not mean that bad news should be ignored or treated as imaginary, for bad news is still bad news.  But it means that even in the midst of this news, there is no fear, for there is a complete trust in a faithful God.  If we truly fear God and delight in His commands, we will not fear the possibility of bad news, for we will know that all things, including bad news, will work together for good for them that love God (Romans 8:28).  We will delight in the Lord using our lives for His glory.  We need not falter or fear troubling news, for we can trust our faithful God. 

Quick Note – Psalm 112:7-8 – No Fear

Psalm 112:7-8 – “He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.  His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.”

One of the reasons why people hate visiting the doctor’s office is fear.  They aren’t afraid of the doctor himself or the various procedures he does, but they are afraid of hearing him say the words, “[Insert your name here], you may want to sit down.  Your test results came in, and we have some disheartening news, you have [insert sickness].”  Those words are devastating for both the patient and the patient’s family.  I remember, just a year ago, my mom went to the doctor to have some skin moles checked for the possibility of cancer.  Some of them looked suspicious so the doctor took some biopsy samples and told her he would give her a call in a week or so about the results.  While we were on vacation in Alaska, she was called by the doctor and received some unwelcome news – she had early-stage melanoma in one of her moles.  We couldn’t believe what we just heard, and the rest of our vacation was a little tough, because the bad news continued to linger in our minds.  I personally was afraid.  I was scared for my mom and the possibility of losing her.  I was worried.  Thankfully, when we returned, we found out that the biopsy took out most of it, and she was able to remove the rest of it quickly without the need for any other procedure.  But the news itself brought fear and worry into my life. 

Psalm 112 in its entirety describes some of the blessings which are experienced by the man who fears the Lord and finds great delight in His commands.  He is blessed with children (vs. 2), wealth and riches (vs. 3), enduring righteousness (vs.3), and light in the darkness (vs.4).  One of these blessings is described in our passage today, “He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.  His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.”  The man who fears the Lord and finds great delight in His commands is blessed with steadfastness and confidence in the midst of turmoil and bad news.  When most people are fearful of receiving bad news or faltering during the trial, he is without fear, for he knows where He has placed his trust – in the LORD God of the universe who will deliver in His time.  There is no doubt.  There is no wavering.  There is no second-guessing.  There is only a complete trust in the Lord.  As Christians, we must develop this same type of faith, for we have the same God who is all-powerful, all-loving, and all-willing to do what is best for us.  Romans 8:32 states, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”  How can we ever worry or think that the God who loved us so much that He gave His only Son for us would not give us deliverance from trouble?  We can definitely stand firm on Him – our Rock and our Redeemer.  This does not mean that bad news should be ignored or treated as imaginary, for bad news is still bad news.  But it means that even in the midst of this news, there is no fear, for there is a complete trust in a faithful God.  If we truly fear God and delight in His commands, we will not fear the possibility of bad news, for we will know that all things, including bad news, will work together for good for them that love God (Romans 8:28).  We will delight in the Lord using our lives for His glory.  We need not falter or fear troubling news, for we can trust our faithful God. 

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