by Ramona Cook
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There had been many confrontational moments between the two ladies seated at the table. It didn't seem appropriate since this was a Bible Study, but some personalities are made of differing components, and past exposure to Biblical facts play into what we know, or think we know.
It was clear that both individuals were trying to abate conflict, but the situation kept arising.
There was a moment of exposure of the problem when Stacy, one of the debaters said that, "Intense people are just difficult to be around."
The light flipped on for me. The other of the two, Sandra, was very intense. She was not offensive, but a clinger to the Scriptures; and don't try to tweak it make it excuse the ungodly activities of the day!
I began to think of "Intense Persons" of the Bible. There are quite a few, and not many of them were well received. Those intense persons were however, real motivators and world changers.
There was Jeremiah, for one, with the message that no one wanted to hear, but he could not stop saying it because God required him to say it.
The First Testament is likewise replete with reports of such persons.
Without doubt the Apostle Paul is the winner for being the "Most Intense Person of the New Testament." He stirred conflict everywhere he went; but his message and deeds were God's assignment to him. Look at the accomplishments he effected for untold millions the world over, and it continues to include us today.
Paul was every bit as intense as a zealot for the Jewish religious cause as he perceived the new Way gaining in momentum.
Paul's focus of intensity changed as he was inspired and informed by his encounter with Jesus.
The magnitude of his assignment was given to him by the Lord, and Paul was faithful in the keeping thereof, although his list of seemingly insurmountable problems were continuous.
Paul writes in I Corinthians 4: 9 - 13, "For I think that God has set forth us apostles to be last, as it were, appointed unto death; for we are made spectacles to the world, and to angels, and to men."
Paul continues the list of insults, then ends this portion of text with this summation: "Yes, we are the off scouring of things unto this day...however, God has also given us authority." I Cor. 4: 18- 21.
In II Corinthians 10: 8, Paul says, "For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord has given us for your edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed:" then in Chapter 11, Paul tells the Corinthian Church why he is so jealous to guard them from the deceiver.
It was because of those Jews, perhaps who were believers, but could not leave their Jewish practices of Law behind; instead they insisted that the newly converted pagans practice them also; which laws Jesus did not give to them, nor did the Church Fathers at Jerusalem impose upon them.
Therefore, Paul engages in some information to the Church with some comparisons of status between him and his Jewish counterparts, writing a little horn tooting of himself.
Read I Corinthians 11: 22- I Corinthians 12: 12:
Paul says to us that he has paid a price in being faithful to his commission given by Jesus to him. He has with his faithful endurance earned the right to execute the authority God gives to those who obey His commands.
Paul was intense, 10 to the umteenth power. Why? Because he had had an encounter with Jesus and was zealous to please God; and since the devil was opposing the message of Jesus which Paul was devoted to making known, he had to be intense. Those who encountered Paul were challenged and informed.
Had Paul been any other way, or had the prophets been any other way, we would not have the information about God and His salvation for mankind as we have it today.
All of these men had and Intense Vision.
Is it possible, I wonder, for you and for me to name a vision which we see before us, collectively, or as an individual?
"Without a vision, the people perish."
God is the giver of visions; let us each one, ask Him for our own particular Intense Vision.
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