Posted in Devotions

The Gospel is No Secret–2 Corinthians 4 part 1

The Good news of Salvation was never intended to be a secret.  God made it clear.  We cannot be good enough to get to God; BUT, he loved us so much that he came to us on our terms and gave his all to restore that which had been taken by sin.

 It is not a mystery because he wants to have the relationship with us.  Those who are unable to see it, struggle because surrender is the hardest task to take on.  We do not mind doing Christianity, because we can check that off.  But walking in a life that requires us to follow not control—is too hard and takes too long.  That is why many folks refuse or can’t see the freedom God offers.  It is a simple but difficult life.  Help me to reveal to others what you have revealed to me.

 God Bless You

 1 Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[a] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

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Bye Mom–Psalm 23

I am going to miss my mom.  Today my mom and dad are reunited in Heaven.  She told my brother a couple of weeks ago that she could see him in his Navy Uniform waving for her to come join him.  Well now she has.  I have shared through the years my understanding of God’s Love.  I have tried to express it in terms of a parental love.  I learned about that from My Mom and Dad–who were compelled to adopt a couple of abandoned kids and raise them with a bunch of love a few spankings and a desire to know that we were why they were here.  My Mom was always strong, wise and gracious.  She was a model of character and kindness.  She made everyone feel welcome.  I love her and am going to miss her.

God loves us the same—as our adopted father, he chose us and could never disown us.  He loves us with all that is in Him.  I grasp the concept easily because it was modeled to me all the days of my youth.  Bye Mama, I am sure gonna miss you!  See you later!

God Bless You

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever.

Posted in Devotions

Pay it Forward–2 Corinthians 1 part 1

Pay it forward.  That is the idea that when you receive a gift or blessing, you then express your gratefulness by blessing another person.  So many times, there is no great way to thank those who have been kind and gracious.  But if you allow the things you have received the kindness you have been shown and the lessons of dependence and reliance to be shared with others, then you will bless the people who have blessed you.  In addition, when you pour your life in to others, you truly bless God with your selfless focus.  We maintain an attitude of empathy and seek ways to assist those who need assistance.  God then blesses and comforts us. 

I am blessed to have great friends that have paid it forward to me.  Help me, Lord to look for ways to comfort, bless and encourage others you put in my path.

 God Bless You

 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

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Stand Firm and Be Strong–1Corinthians 16

In the end, it is how we treat others and how we present ourselves regarding our faith that matters.  We are to be people of fellowship and encouragement—not self-seeking but looking for ways to build up the family.  In addition, we are to be on our guard.  Not only looking for the enemy’s attacks, but also looking for areas in our lives that we are vulnerable to attack and to sin.  We can’t lose hope, nor can we lose heart.  We press forward toward the goal of becoming like Christ.  It is a constant temptation to give up.  There will always be those that demand that we give in.  We simply have to trust in the Lord. We have to seek his face.  When we do, no matter the cost, no matter the struggle—He is with us and will meet our needs.  Help me, Lord to follow you closely and stand firm in your love.

 God Bless You

I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. 8 But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, 9 because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me. 10 When Timothy comes, see to it that he has nothing to fear while he is with you, for he is carrying on the work of the Lord, just as I am. 11 No one, then, should treat him with contempt. Send him on his way in peace so that he may return to me. I am expecting him along with the brothers. 12 Now about our brother Apollos: I strongly urged him to go to you with the brothers. He was quite unwilling to go now, but he will go when he has the opportunity.

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

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LORD and Savior–I Corinthians 15 part 2

There is no question, Jesus’s death and resurrection gave him power and dominion over everything.  He defeated the enemy, he defeated death and he paid the price for our salvation.  In Philippians 2 it says, “…Every knee shall bow in Heaven, on earth and under the earth.  And every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory and praise of God, the Father.” He has earned the distinction of not only being Savior, but of being Lord.  When we submit to his authority and leadership, he then can bless us and free us from life’s traps and entanglements.  We simply have to believe he is Lord.  Help me, Lord to live as if you are in fact in charge!

 God Bless You

 20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.

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The Gospel–What a Love Story: I Corinthians 15 part 1

The Gospel—the Good News is what we live for.  Paul sums it up beautifully—Christ died, was raised on the third day!  He was seen raised from the dead by well over 500 folks. The fact he died and rose from the dead would be hard to argue.  But why he did it is the heart of the good news.  Christ sacrificed his life so that we could have a restored relationship with God.

 We need to grasp how badly God wants the relationship with us.  Enough to sacrifice his own son.  More critically, is how great a gift eternal life truly is.  He wants to share eternity with us.  It is very personal, very real and very much directed to you and me.  God is not faceless, careless or impersonal—He loves us and wants us to confidently press on through the Journey he has set before us.  Help me Lord to follow you with the same passion you showed for me. 

God Bless You

 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. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

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I Corinthians 14–The true nature of gifts

We are given spiritual gifts as a part of the body of Christ. In God’s mind, the nature of the gift is not nearly so important as the use of the gift for the edification of others.  Speaking in tongues and prophecy are very noticeable gifts. Romans 12 lists several more.  What ever the gift, if you lose focus on why you received it, it becomes an obstacle rather than a tool.  Paul stresses that we are not to chase the gifts, but the Giver.  As a part of a body of believers, we need to be others centered.  If our spiritual gifts cause you to be self-centered rather than Christ-centered, then you have missed the point and blessing of having the gift. 

 Jesus said it best, ”Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and  all these things will  be added to you.”  Seek the giver—use the gift for His Glory!

 God Bless You

1 Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. 2 For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. 3 But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. 4 Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church. 5 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.

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God Never Fails-I Corinthians 13 part 3

What it should say is, “God Never Fails”  The best news in the “Love” chapter of the Bible is that the author and perfector of our faith sees, knows and does all things.  It is not something we must do, it is something he always does.  If we remember that we are new creations when we surrender to him, then we will understand that our devotion plus his spirit makes us complete.

We can only catch a glimpse of the eternal perspective he longs for us to maintain.  When we operate from that place—there is less pressure, less need to rush and less ego involved.  We have the privilege of watching God do what he does best—execute his plan in our lives.  We only need look as far as his word to understand–this is a lifetime journey and those that finish well will be greatly rewarded for their faith.  From where we are, Eternity seems blurry, overwelming and a long ways away.  Truth is that we live in eternity each day.  The trick is to live FOR eternity and not simply IN eternity. 

Help me, Lord, to seek you with my life and listen to your directions for my journey!

God Bless You

 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

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Love’s attributes–I Corinthians 13 part 2

The attributes of our lives that best identify our ability and desire to love others are the ones that take the focus off of us and put it directly upon the Lord.   Once we come to a place in our lives where we become truly selfless, then we can begin to grasp the amazing qualities of Love.  Accepting God as our heavenly father allows us parents to grasp the enormity of unconditional love.  We get why Love is patient, it is kind.  Which of us would not grab up our kids and patiently love upon them.  We would show kindness and grace well past any point of self-sacrifice.  We would not boast, be proud or rude. Amazingly, as we are created in his image, we would always seek to protect, to trust, to hope and to persevere. 

 In our lives and especially in our walk with God, we incorporate the attributes of love not only with God, but also with the people we deal with on a daily basis.  As we do, we can better understand God’s love for us and better represent him to others.  Help me, Lord to display your attributes of Love in my daily life.

 God Bless You

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails.

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What Love is not—1 Corinthians 13 part 1

It is so easy to replace love with duty. We think if we are saying the right things, if we know the right doctrine, or if we are making a big enough sacrifice, we are showing love.  Truth is that we can speak and sing like an angelic choir, we can be twice as smart as Einstein and twice as wise as Solomon, we can give away all our stuff and our very lives—and still miss the point that Love is what matters.

God has always, does and will always want our hearts.  Our actions are secondary.  If we surrender to him and seek him, the actions will follow.  If we try to earn or maintain favor through behavior, we will always feel inadequate and the feelings will be accurate. Don’t try to earn Gods Love or his Salvation.  Just Love him and allow him to love you back.  Help me, Lord to love and surrender.

God Bless You

1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.