One Judge Several Contests 1 Corinthians 4 part 1

As in most areas of life, God knows when we judge ourselves and others, we are working with limited knowledge and information.  In my world, it is easy to grant myself a pass for bad attitudes or wrong choices.  I meant well, or, I did not mean to act that way…Still, God has all the info on us and others.  He not only knows the amazing things we do, but, he knows why we do them. Paul did most things right as a Pharisee–but for the wrong motive. In Chapter 13, the first 3 verses scream that motive is as critical as activity.

 If we look at folks and realize they have a back story and baggage we no nothing about, then it could cause us to reserve judgment and simply look for ways to encourage bless and serve them.  It could also allow us to look at our own lives honestly and with a desire to seek him in our attitudes and choices.  It is too easy to allow the enemy and circumstance to cloud or color our thought and judgment.  It is equally simple to hide behind a smile or mask and fool the world into believing all is good and we are perfect.  God says do not judge others and do not hide behind your own rationalizations and intentions.  Simply follow, pray and seek him each day—then allow him to do the judging. While the concept is relatively simple, it is extremely difficult to carry out.  Help me Lord to submit, listen , follow and reserve judgment of myself and others.

God Bless You

 1 So look at Apollos and me as mere servants of Christ who have been put in charge of explaining God’s mysteries. 2 Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful. 3 As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point. 4 My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide.

5 So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.

Master Building–I Corinthians 3

Does it matter how we spend our after we begin our journey with God? Absolutely!!! Our focus and attitudes in life as God’s Kid is the building on top of our foundation of eternal life.  We are saved by grace, but still are called to set our hearts and minds on eternal things.(Colossians 3:1-2).  It is really critical that our life as a child of God resembles the selfless and passionate pursuit of Him.  As we seek him and become like him, not only are we blessed on earth but we are building an amazing treasure in Heaven.  If, as his kids, we focus on building an earthly kingdom—we, will find that our heart reflects a stronger desire to be on earth.  We will miss countless blessings here and a bounty when we join him for eternity.  Help me Lord to live with an eternal perspective.

God Bless You

10 Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ. 12 Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. 13 But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. 14 If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. 15 But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.

Speaking the Language

Speaking a foreign language was never a gift for me.  I always avoided it in HS, trudged through it in college and have endured the cultural change that demands it in life now.  Truth is, it is so much easier to read the subtitles.  They are so nicely translated so that I can get the gist of conversations based on the kindness of a translator.  In the spiritual realm, as a citizen of heaven, I have the luxury of understanding the language of heaven.  When I started my journey with Christ, God’s spirit became my spirit.  That spirit allows me to call him dad!  (Hebrews 6).  I can see things from God’s point of view and respond to his direction and leadership with understanding and confidence.  People without the Lord in their lives think the God talk and behavior is foolish and senseless.  The language is foreign, and the behavior is not consistent with the culture we live in.

 

We are blessed to be able to understand and follow God’s lead in our lives.  His direction provides freedom in a world of chaos.  It is incumbent on us to be the ambassadors and translators of his word and direction.  Through us those who seek him can find him.  We therefore must practice the language and culture of our land.  Help me Lord to follow your culture and speak your language.

 

God Bless You

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared
for those who love him.”

10 But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. 11 No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. 12 And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.

13 When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. 14 But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. 15 Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others. 16 For,

“Who can know the LORD’s thoughts?
Who knows enough to teach him?”

But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.

A Simple but Difficult Message

God’s message is simple—surrender your burdens, sinful desires, the things that entrap you and follow me.  If you do, you will be blessed, free and have eternal life.  While the message is simple, it is also extremely difficult.  We do not surrender with ease.  We have been raised to be independent and as we have heard the term so much it is in our mind synonymous with freedom.  In the spiritual world, that is not the case.  Independence from God most often leads to slavery to the world.  We become owned by the things we think we can control.  God simply calls us to quit attempting to do this life independent of him and start to move in his power and leadership.

 Help me Lord to embrace your simple message. Help me, Lord to follow you.

 1 When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. 2 For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. 4 And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. 5 I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.

6 Yet when I am among mature believers, I do speak with words of wisdom, but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to this world or to the rulers of this world, who are soon forgotten. 7 No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began.

A House Divided-1 Corinthians 1 part 2

A house divided cannot stand. A Family at odds with itself is neutralized from having influence. When will we as a family of believers remember that our war is with a world culture that wants to see the church obliterated. The world believes the world would be so much happier, if the followers of Christ would simply disappear. The sad news is that part of the reason is our own infighting. The obvious conflicts between denominations and branches of churches are bad enough, but, even within different local fellowships people are at each other’s throats over huge issues like critique of music, carpet or even volunteer leadership.

Truth is this has happened since the first century—It never honors God. If we remember we are families—and while the little dysfunctions within our congregations (while sometimes hurtful, but mostly just annoying), can be a reason to vent, cry or pray–they should never be a reason to leave or quit. Staff aren’t perfect, every message won’t be the sermon on the mount, volunteers will be cranky and sometimes undependable. but, as Christ’s followers we are called and must be the safe haven for our other imperfect family members. God calls us to love them, pray for them but stick by them! If you go to Church this week–look for all the dysfunctional family members and pray for them…oh by the way stop in the rest room and face the mirror! I know I will!!!!!!!!!!

God Bless You

I Corinnthians 1

10 I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. 11 For some members of Chloe’s household have told me about your quarrels, my dear brothers and sisters. 12 Some of you are saying, “I am a follower of Paul.” Others are saying, “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Peter,” or “I follow only Christ.”

13 Has Christ been divided into factions? Was I, Paul, crucified for you? Were any of you baptized in the name of Paul? Of course not! 14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 for now no one can say they were baptized in my name. 16 (Oh yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas, but I don’t remember baptizing anyone else.) 17 For Christ didn’t send me to baptize, but to preach the Good News—and not with clever speech, for fear that the cross of Christ would lose its power.

Paul, the Mentor

Paul was an amazing author and mentor.  He contributed so much to the early church.  Our understanding of fellowship with our Lord are due largely to his discipleship of the early church.  Paul wanted his disciples to understand that they were provided with everything necessary to humbly walk in fellowship with God and to be free from the world and sin’s hold on their lives.  

Nearly 2000 years later, God still provides the necessary gifts to allow us to walk in freedom and victory.  His spirit will give us the direction, comfort and strength to meet every challenge set before us.  We simply need to trust he is God and we are not.  Thanks Lord for your provision and grace.  Please allow me to walk humbly in it.

 God Bless You

1 This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Sosthenes.

2 I am writing to God’s church in Corinth, to you who have been called by God to be his own holy people. He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus, just as he did for all people everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.

3 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

4 I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus. 5 Through him, God has enriched your church in every way—with all of your eloquent words and all of your knowledge. 6 This confirms that what I told you about Christ is true. 7 Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8 He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 9 God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Remember God While You are Young

Solomon concludes Ecclesiastes with one main thought.  Remember God while you are young because your respect for Him is all that will remain. All the things we do or accomplish, all the efforts we generate to manufacture a certain outcome—all the planning, effort and accumulation will fade as does youth.  In the end, it will all seem meaningless.  Focus upon Him and keep an eternal perspective.  That is what will remain, that is all that is meaningful.

God Bless You

 7 Light is sweet,
and it pleases the eyes to see the sun.
8 However many years anyone may live,
let them enjoy them all.
But let them remember the days of darkness,
for there will be many.
Everything to come is meaningless…

Ecclesiastes 12

Remember your Creator
in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come
and the years approach when you will say,
“I find no pleasure in them”—
2 before the sun and the light
and the moon and the stars grow dark,
and the clouds return after the rain;
3 when the keepers of the house tremble,
and the strong men stoop…

13 Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.