Archive for : August, 2019

8/31/19: 2 Corin. 4:13-5:10; Psalm 44:9-26; Proverbs 22:13

I have a bit of a technical background and at work when I am presented a new idea or a challenge the first thing I will do is examine the details & “look for the data.”  I trust what I can see.

This process usually works pretty well for making earthly decisions.  But for answers of an eternal nature Paul’s penned words express a totally different reality:

2 Corinthians 417 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 5For we live by faith, not by sight.

What a marvelous aspect of faith — at times we must throw away our “data” and just reach-out in faith knowing that the Lord’s will carries us.

8/30/19: 2 Corin. 4:1-12; Psalm 44:1-8; Proverbs 22:10-12

2 Corinthians 4But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 

So, what are these “jars of clay” & why is this expression used?  Coffman explains it well:

The thought of this verse is that God entrusted the gospel to people who had none of the trappings of earthly power and honor, in order that the great success of the gospel would not be accredited to its messengers as men, but unto the eternal God who inspired them

 

8/29/19: 2 Corinthians 3:1-18; Psalm 43:1-5; Proverbs 22:8-9

The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to pen some of the most insightful and beautiful wordings I have ever read.  And today as I read 2 Corinthians 3 I read such a passage:

2 Corinthians 3:  You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

Even tablets of stone can be broken or erased, but the “tablets of our hearts” are indestructible until we are called to spend eternity in the presence of the Lord.

 

 

8/28/19: 2 Corinthians 2:12-17; Psalm 42:1-11; Proverbs 22:7

In the passage from 2 Corinthians we see a stark reality of the gift of salvation:

2 Corinthians 2: 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task?

Never forget that our mission is to spread the Gospel.  The hearer is then responsible for their actions.

 

8/27/19: 2 Corinthians 1:12-2:11; Psalm 41:1-13; Proverbs 22:5-6

Proverbs 22: 6 Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.

A very, very short but often quoted passage.  I think the Enduring Word Bible commentary amplifies the meaning quite well, providing guidance to parents and also comfort:

 

a. Train up a child in the way he should go: Children need training. The job of the parent is not to simply let them grow up in any particular way, but to train them, and that in the way he should go. The sense of the Hebrew the way he should go speaks of the child’s individual way and inclination. It speaks of discerning a child’s strengths and weaknesses and parenting in a way that takes those into account.

b. When he is old he will not depart from it: This is a wonderful principle that the Holy Spirit may quicken to a promise for parents troubled over their adult children. When a child is trained in the proper way, though they may depart for a season (and a long season), in principle they will return and not depart from it.

8/26/19: 2 Corin. 1:1-11; Psalm 40:11-17; Proverbs 22:2-4

In 2 Corinthians we see Paul, again, share a way in which believers can “edify” one another through their experience with  similar situations:

2 Corinthians: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

While we certainly do not seek nor desire situations where we need to be comforted those time of trouble can be used to serve God if you are willing.  For you are now uniquely gifted to be able to reach-out to others who are undergoing similar experiences.     

 

8/25/19: 1 Corin. 16:1-24; Psalm 40:1-10; Proverbs 22:1

1 Corinthians 16: 13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.14 Do everything in love.

Wow!  When I read these two verses I am struck by how they apply universally to all believers and across all time.  The commands are as valid now as in Corinth and will be valid until the Lord’s return.

8/24/19: 1 Corin. 15:29-58; Psalm 39:1-13; Proverbs 21:30-31

With good reason verses from Corinthians 15:42-58 are often quoted at the death of a beloved brother or sister in Christ.  And, personally, I can find no greater comfort, no greater solace, no greater hope than the images captured here.  While we surely feel sorrow at the death of a believer the described promise here is a shaft of light penetrating the sorrow.

And as I read today I was reminded of those evenings we have all probably had when we stand in an open area and look upward at the glory of God in the night sky — and are, indeed, brought to our knees by His creation:

1 Corinthians 15: 40 There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. 41 The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor. 

42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.

8/23/19: 1 Corin. 15:1-28; Psalm 38:1-22; Proverbs 21:28-29

On several days my comments have mentioned the “weaknesses” of the church in Corinth.  But today — a very positive inspired word from Paul regarding this church:

1 Corinthians 15: 1. Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.

No church is perfect, yet we are all blessed if we can do as the church in Corinth did and stand firm in the gospel!

8/22/19: 1 Corinthians 14:18-40; Psalm 37:30-40; Proverbs 21:27

Just as we saw the Corinthian church disorganized and failing to recognize the importance of the Lord’s supper we now see them now entering into a very disorderly time of worship.

1 Corinthians 1426 What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.

And we see Paul repeat the point that he made when addressing speaking in tongues.   All that we do in worship is to “build-up” one another & help one another maintain an attitude of reverence.

A challenge — the next time you enter into worship check your attitude and your actions. Are you respectful to the members of the body who desire a moment of silence?  Are you respectful to the evangelist who is bringing  the Word of God?  Is your mind centered on the Lord or on “catching-up” with the latest church news?

8/21/19: 1 Corinthians 14:1-17; Psalm 37:12-29; Proverbs 21:25-26

As I read Paul’s inspired instruction on the gift of “prophecy and tongues” the overriding mission that appeared to me is, as follows:

1 Corinthians 14:  Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church. I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues,unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified.

12 So it is with you. Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.

I am sure  that you see the mission Paul continually highlights is to not be concerned about how your gifts can be used to your purpose but how they can be sued to edify, build up and encourage the rest of the body of believers.

8/20/19 – 1 Corinthians 12:27-13:13; Psalm 37:1-11; Proverbs 21:23-24

Like me I am sure you have looked around you at times and thought “How can such an evil person be so wealthy and enjoying live so much?”  That thought came to mind today in our reading.  And David pens a beautiful “word picture” that helps me understand two concepts.

Psalm 37: Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither like green plants they will soon die away.

What spoke to me was the word “wither.”  When referencing a plant the word means  to become dry and shriveled; wilt, become limp, droop, fade.  And none of this happens immediately – “withering” occurs over a period of time.  Concept 1 — So, my mission is to remain faithful and patient for I know that the Lord’s will for the “successful evil” contingent will be fulfilled!

And the other concept  — during this same time period what am I doing to try to help the “evil” person see the reality of their actions and the promise of eternal life they can have?

8/19/19: 1 Corinthians 12:1-26; Psalm 36:1-12; Proverbs 21:21-22

1 Corinthians 12 is one of the most inspired writings on the Lord’s plans for the inner workings and unity of the church.  And inspired by the Holy Spirit Paul centers on two elements:

1)  We are all uniquely gifted.  There is no one who does not have at least one gift received from the Holy Spirit

1 Corinthians 12:  There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

 

2) While some gifts may be more “publicly” visible no gift is more important than the other ones.  What is critical is that in unity we use the gifts in for the good of the entire body.

1 Corinthians 12: 24.b But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it,25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

8/18/19: 1 Corinthians 11:17-28; Psalm 35:17-28; Proverbs 21:19-20

In 1 Corinthians 11:17-22 wee see Paul address the faults of the Corinthian church when they came together for a common meal (like a “pot luck”) and then entered directly into partaking the Lord’s supper.  Coffman describes their faults during this common meal in the paragraph shown at the bottom of the page.

Members of the church then carried with them the attitude of drunkenness and gluttony into their time of communion.  And then we see Paul inspired by the Holy Spirit provide directives to the Corinthian church that remain and will always be applicable to our time of communion today:

1 Corinthians 11: 27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup.

A challenge — the next time you come together with the body to join in the communion service just take 15 seconds to reflect “what is my attitude?”

 

From CoffmanAn analysis of such disorders shows that:

1. The various groups did not eat at the same time.2. Each group ate its own provisions, instead of sharing in the “one bread” .

3. Some ate too plentifully; some ate nothing at all, for there was nothing left.

4. Some were “drunken”; and there is no need to soften the meaning of this.

5. The corruption of the Lord’s Supper by such practices was complete; and, according to Farrar, “This abuse led to the separation of the Agape from the Holy Communion, and to the ultimate discontinuation of the former.

 

 

 

8/17/19 – 1 Corin. 11:1-16; Psalm 35:1-16; Proverbs 21:17-18

1 Corinthians 11: But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as having her head shaved. For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head.

So, are women scriptural required to enter into a worship service with their head covered?  These verses have caused some confusion within the church, mainly because we live in a different time period and culture.  In Corinth references to a woman’s hair cut short were references to the way prostitutes wore their hair and Paul’s reference to a shaved head was the punishment due an adulteress.

Commentator William Barclay offers the following point:   It would be quite wrong to make this passage of universal application; it was intensely relevant to the church of Corinth but it has nothing to do with whether or not women should wear hats in church at the present day. 

 

 

 

8/16/19 – 1 Corin. 10:14-33; Psalm 34:11-22; Proverbs 21:14-16

In writing procedures on how to operate a piece of equipment or giving instruction on how to complete a task a primary goal is to be as brief and direct as possible.

1 Corinthians 10:  31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God—33 even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

Paul certainly met this goal in these passages …

8/15/19: 1 Corin. 9:19-10:13; Psalm 34:1-10; Proverbs 21:13

1 Corinthians 10:  They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food  and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.  Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did

As I read today’s passage from 1 Corinthians I was reminded of the Bible class we are having — “Genesis Genealogies.”  That class is based on the words of Moses to the Israelites tight before the crossed into Canaan.  And like Paul he tells them — look to the past and learn!

Deuteronomy 32Remember the days of old;  consider the generations long past.  Ask your father and he will tell you,  your elders, and they will explain to you.

 

 

8/14/19: 1 Corin. 9:1-18; Psalm 33:12-22; Proverbs 21:11-12

In reading 1 Corinthians one facet we need to keep in mind is that Paul is answering questions from the church at Corinth or is responding to allegations against him.  In these verses he is responding to being charged with not being a “true” apostle.

The accusation was that Paul did not walk with Jesus for three years as the others had done and that Paul had “supported himself” instead of receiving support from the church as other apostles had been doing.

So, as we read through these verses let’s keep this point in mind.

 

8/13/19: 1 Corin. 8:1-13; Psalm 33:1-11; Proverbs 21:8-10

We have seen Paul discuss the concept of eating food offered to idols several times. And each time he has
acknowledged that there is nothing ungodly about doing so. BUT it could lead another person into temptation and sin.  What I think he adds in these verses is his personal commitment to protect the “weaker” brother:

1 Corinthians 8: So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.

Do you see Paul’s commitment? He will never eat meat again if it causes a believer to fall into sin. Paul is willing to change his lifestyle than to cause someone to stumble.

What an example! Are we willing to do the same …

8/12/19: 1 Corin. 7:25-40; Psalm 32:1-11; Proverbs 21:5-7

Psalm 32: 

Blessed is the one
    whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
    whose sin the Lord does not count against them
    and in whose spirit is no deceit.

If these verses sound familiar it is because a few weeks ago we read the same words in chapter 4 of Paul’s letter to the Romans.

I find it inspiring that roughly 1,000 years before Paul David (the author of the Psalm) captured the reality that we cannot be truly “blessed” by what we do but only through the actions and grace of God.