So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God.
Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.
I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself.
My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.
Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.
Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, "Do not go beyond what is written." Then you will not take pride in one man over against another.
For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?
Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have become kings--and that without us! How I wish that you really had become kings so that we might be kings with you!
For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men.
We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored!
To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless.
We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it;
when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.
I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children.
Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.
Therefore I urge you to imitate me.
For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.
Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you.
But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.
What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle spirit?
Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word."
Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah:
"Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan.
You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there."
So he did what the LORD had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there.
The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.
Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land.
Then the word of the LORD came to him:
"Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food."
So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, "Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?"
As she was going to get it, he called, "And bring me, please, a piece of bread."
"As surely as the LORD your God lives," she replied, "I don't have any bread--only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it--and die."
Elijah said to her, "Don't be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son.
For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD gives rain on the land.' "
She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family.
For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the LORD spoken by Elijah.
Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing.
She said to Elijah, "What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?"
"Give me your son," Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed.
Then he cried out to the LORD, "O LORD my God, have you brought tragedy also upon this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?"
Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried to the LORD, "O LORD my God, let this boy's life return to him!"
The LORD heard Elijah's cry, and the boy's life returned to him, and he lived.
Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, "Look, your son is alive!"
Then the woman said to Elijah, "Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD from your mouth is the truth."
The words of Amos, one of the shepherds of Tekoa--what he saw concerning Israel two years before the earthquake, when Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam son of Jehoash was king of Israel.
He said: "The LORD roars from Zion and thunders from Jerusalem; the pastures of the shepherds dry up, and the top of Carmel withers."
This is what the LORD says: "For three sins of Damascus, even for four, I will not turn back [my wrath]. Because she threshed Gilead with sledges having iron teeth,
I will send fire upon the house of Hazael that will consume the fortresses of Ben-Hadad.
I will break down the gate of Damascus; I will destroy the king who is in the Valley of Aven and the one who holds the scepter in Beth Eden. The people of Aram will go into exile to Kir," says the LORD.
This is what the LORD says: "For three sins of Gaza, even for four, I will not turn back [my wrath]. Because she took captive whole communities and sold them to Edom,
I will send fire upon the walls of Gaza that will consume her fortresses.
I will destroy the king of Ashdod and the one who holds the scepter in Ashkelon. I will turn my hand against Ekron, till the last of the Philistines is dead," says the Sovereign LORD.
This is what the LORD says: "For three sins of Tyre, even for four, I will not turn back [my wrath]. Because she sold whole communities of captives to Edom, disregarding a treaty of brotherhood,
I will send fire upon the walls of Tyre that will consume her fortresses."
This is what the LORD says: "For three sins of Edom, even for four, I will not turn back [my wrath]. Because he pursued his brother with a sword, stifling all compassion, because his anger raged continually and his fury flamed unchecked,
I will send fire upon Teman that will consume the fortresses of Bozrah."
This is what the LORD says: "For three sins of Ammon, even for four, I will not turn back [my wrath]. Because he ripped open the pregnant women of Gilead in order to extend his borders,
I will set fire to the walls of Rabbah that will consume her fortresses amid war cries on the day of battle, amid violent winds on a stormy day.
Her king will go into exile, he and his officials together," says the LORD.