I Corinthians 3 Part 2–It Is Simply About Christ

As Paul was dealing with the church at Corinth, it became apparent that they would substitute anything with skin on it for true faith in God through Christ. It is difficult to simply trust God and take Him at His word.  People wanted to trust Paul, Peter, Apollos…and the list goes on. If that was not enough, they wanted to trust in their accomplishments, souls saved, meetings attended, good deeds that were done, contributions that were given.  Paul was trying to help the Corinthians and Christians in general to know–It is always Christ and Him crucified that justifies our faith, our salvation and our relationship with God.
 
In our world, little has changed. It is still difficult to walk in this life simply trusting God to lead us and to save us.  We want to help, somehow.  We want to join the right church, do the right activities and be the right people in order to justify our faith.  Paul and God say no! It is simply not about who we are, where we attend church or what achievements we have accomplished.  We are justified by our faith in Christ. It is all about who He is and what He has done.  We are saved by faith, through grace. If we will simply trust Christ, follow Him and rest in his provision, protection and preparation, then He will transform us into his image and prepare us for an eternity with Him. There is no greater gift, nor is there any easier formula.  Help me Lord to follow You!
 
God Bless You

By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.

16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.

18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”[a]20 and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”[b] 21 So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas[c] or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.

1 Corinthians 2 Part 2–Spiritual Discernment

The reason why the world does not understand the things of God is that the things of God are spiritually discerned. When we start our relationship with God, through Christ Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes and indwells our lives. When that happens, we begin to see things from a spiritual perspective and things like selflessness and sacrifice make sense.  We begin to understand that life does not revolve around our interests, but, around the interests of God.
 
The world will never see that.  The world will always see things from a temporal standpoint. Survival and personal gain will always make the most sense.  The world not only clings to that, they think those that do not seek personal gain are crazy.  They cannot see the eternal gain of following God.  That simply feels foolish.  That is why we must continue to seek God’s leadership–and not the world’s. The world will never accept the selfless direction of God. They will become enraged at the peace and purpose found in those that follow the Lord.  They will always think the church is silly or even crazy!  That is why God’s Spirit is so vital to our lives.
 
We simply need to follow the leading of God’s spirit in our lives. He will guide us, protect us, and make our lives full and meaningful.  So, even if the world thinks it is foolish, it will be an abundant, full and eternal life.
 
God Bless You

 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except for their own spirit within them? In the same way, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.[c] 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for,

“Who has known the mind of the Lord
so as to instruct him?”[d]

But we have the mind of Christ.

I Corinthians 2 Part 1–The Spirit’s Power

It is often the greatest challenge of faith to rely upon God’s spirit for direction. When Christ died, He bore our sins–a huge burden. But when He rose from the dead, the Lord not only gave us the opportunity to live again, spiritually, he also made way for the Holy Spirit of God to indwell and direct our lives. Prior to Christ’s resurrection, the Spirit was given to prophets, priests, and kings. When they were anointed by God, His Spirit would come upon them and they would be guided and directed by God’s hand. After the resurrection, The Holy Spirit became available to all that truly believed and followed the Lord.
 
We, God’s chosen,  are given the Holy Spirit to lead, comfort, guide and direct our journey.  It is an amazing thing to sense God’s direction in our lives. What is more, God desires nothing more than to reveal himself to us.  His word, fellowship, and prayer all help to reveal the Spirit’s leading in our lives. Our relationship with God is a personal one, and His Spirit works individually in each of our lives to transform us into God’s image and prepare us for an eternity with Him.  We can never underestimate the power of God as He reveals Himself to us in our daily journey with Him. We need to be sensitive to God’s leading and ask humbly for daily direction as we follow the Lord.
 
The walk with God is a spiritual one, so we must always rely upon His Holy Spirit to make it complete. Thank You, Lord, for sending your Spirit to guide and direct us. 
 
God Bless You

And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.[a] For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written:

“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”[b]
the things God has prepared for those who love him—

10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

I Corinthians 1 Part 3–Men Simply Do Not Get IT!

Throughout the generations, men have attempted time and again to show how foolish it is to trust the Lord and honor Him with our lives. Men have tried to prove that God does not exist and that God should have no part in the daily affairs of men’s lives. They have persecuted, martyred and attempted to wipe God’s name from any and everything the public may see.  Still, thousands of years and dozens of fallen kingdoms and empires later–God is still standing.  His word is still the basis of the legal system we enjoy. He is still named on every coin, and history is divided by the coming of the Savior. 
 
The reality is that men will always try to replace God with their own version of supremacy. Science, art, philosophy, wealth, entertainment or just plain old chaos–men always think that their ways are better than God’s. They see spiritual truth as foolishness. They see followers of our Lord as simpletons and crazy people. Still, God remains large and in charge. His ways are still the best and walking with Him still is the only true source of peace and purpose.  The world unnerved by our confidence and faith–because they simply can’t understand.  Truth is, that is not our problem.  We speak the truth and hope that they come to know Christ.  We are selfless and God-seekers! We know the truth and as the verse plainly states, “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:32
 
God Bless You

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”[c]

20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom,23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord

I Corinthians 1–Introduction

 Paul was a Scholar, a lawyer, an apostle and a pioneer for the church. He left the comfort of being a rising star among the Jewish leadership to become the most prolific author in the New Testament. In God’s way, the Lord took the least likely candidate for evangelism to the Gentile world and used him to not only begin the church movement but to completely change the focus of Christianity to save the world. Paul started the church at Corinth during his first missionary journey and it had taken off.  But like most churches, it had its share of growing pains and problems. Over the next several weeks we will look at the church at Corinth and see that many issues they faced, we still face today.  
 
God Bless You

Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,

To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving

I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge— God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

A Church Divided Over Leaders

10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,[a] in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas[b]”; still another, “I follow Christ.”

13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas;beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

2 Samuel 18 Part 1–The Death of Absalom and the Wages of Sin

Absolom tried every way to trap and kill his Father. He sought the counsel of the leaders he amassed Israel’s army and attempted to hunt David down. He did everything but seek God and honor God, and that cost Absalom his life.  It was an unceremonious death, really. He got caught in a tree by his hair. David’s general executed him in the tree and his men threw him in a pit and covered him with rocks. All at once, the battle was over.  Sadly, 20,000 men lost their lives in the battle–a battle that had no real merit.  David’s sin had cost him, cost his family, cost his people. What a price to pay for sin,
 
In Romans 6:23, Paul tells us, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.” We are so fortunate to be able to see God absorb the wages of our sin.  The verse is by no means a promise that we will not see the consequence of our sin.  David saw it.  But, while the consequence of our sin may devastate us and affect lives around us; God will walk through it with us, forgive us and lead us to the end of the journey! Absalom turned from God and his father to make a name–that name became a tragedy. David turned to God and humbled himself. God gave David the name of “Man after God’s own heart”. God made David the father of the lineage of our Lord and restored him as king. David was not perfect, he was simply committed to following God to the end.  Help me, Lord to also remain committed to following you to the end.
 
God Bless You
 
Remember, today is the National Day of Prayer–So pray!

David’s army marched out of the city to fight Israel, and the battle took place in the forest of Ephraim. There Israel’s troops were routed by David’s men, and the casualties that day were great—twenty thousand men. The battle spread out over the whole countryside, and the forest swallowed up more men that day than the sword.

Now Absalom happened to meet David’s men. He was riding his mule, and as the mule went under the thick branches of a large oak, Absalom’s hair got caught in the tree. He was left hanging in midair, while the mule he was riding kept on going.

10 When one of the men saw what had happened, he told Joab, “I just saw Absalom hanging in an oak tree.”

11 Joab said to the man who had told him this, “What! You saw him? Why didn’t you strike him to the ground right there? Then I would have had to give you ten shekels[b] of silver and a warrior’s belt.”

12 But the man replied, “Even if a thousand shekels[c] were weighed out into my hands, I would not lay a hand on the king’s son. In our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, ‘Protect the young man Absalom for my sake.[d]’ 13 And if I had put my life in jeopardy[e]—and nothing is hidden from the king—you would have kept your distance from me.”

14 Joab said, “I’m not going to wait like this for you.” So he took three javelins in his hand and plunged them into Absalom’s heart while Absalom was still alive in the oak tree. 15 And ten of Joab’s armor-bearers surrounded Absalom, struck him and killed him.

16 Then Joab sounded the trumpet, and the troops stopped pursuing Israel, for Joab halted them. 17 They took Absalom, threw him into a big pit in the forest and piled up a large heap of rocks over him. Meanwhile, all the Israelites fled to their homes.

2 Samuel 16–Trials Bring Out the Best and the Worst

David was fleeing for his life.  His son was out to kill him and take the kingdom. David was in deep pain and feeling very alone.  Then Jonathan’s son’s steward met David on the road.  He provided food, drink, and transportation for David and his people. David was amazed and asked Ziba, why are you doing this? Ziba replied because you needed it.  Then David asked if Mephibosheth sent him and Ziba said NO, He is in the city hoping to regain the throne for his family.  
 
David had lifted Saul’s grandson from poverty and restored him to wealth.  He let him eat at the king’s table and assigned him a personal staff. So to have Mephibosheth betray him was very sad.  So, David gave his position and possessions to Ziba, the steward. Then another of Saul’s relatives chased the group cursing and harassing David. David’s men wanted to kill him. David protected his attacker,  saying–“If God is allowing him to live then the Lord must think this is ok!
 
In difficult times, true friends and enemies are often revealed. Some we expect, others really are surprising and disheartening. We should employ David’s strategy–Bless those that are friends and allow God to deal with those that we find are our enemies.  We need not take time to be bitter or vengeful. Instead, we simply keep moving forward and allow God to complete His plan.  Then, in the end, we will be safe and will know who our true friends and allies are and we can bless them as they blessed us!
 
God Bless You

 When David had gone a short distance beyond the summit, there was Ziba, the steward of Mephibosheth, waiting to meet him. He had a string of donkeys saddled and loaded with two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred cakes of raisins, a hundred cakes of figs and a skin of wine.

The king asked Ziba, “Why have you brought these?”

Ziba answered, “The donkeys are for the king’s household to ride on, the bread and fruit are for the men to eat, and the wine is to refresh those who become exhausted in the wilderness.”

The king then asked, “Where is your master’s grandson?”

Ziba said to him, “He is staying in Jerusalem, because he thinks, ‘Today the Israelites will restore to me my grandfather’s kingdom.’”

Then the king said to Ziba, “All that belonged to Mephibosheth is now yours.”

“I humbly bow,” Ziba said. “May I find favor in your eyes, my lord the king.”

Shimei Curses David

As King David approached Bahurim, a man from the same clan as Saul’s family came out from there. His name was Shimei son of Gera, and he cursed as he came out. He pelted David and all the king’s officials with stones, though all the troops and the special guard were on David’s right and left. As he cursed, Shimei said, “Get out, get out, you murderer, you scoundrel! The Lord has repaid you for all the blood you shed in the household of Saul, in whose place you have reigned. The Lord has given the kingdom into the hands of your son Absalom. You have come to ruin because you are a murderer!”

Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut off his head.”

10 But the king said, “What does this have to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the Lord said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who can ask, ‘Why do you do this?’”

11 David then said to Abishai and all his officials, “My son, my own flesh and blood, is trying to kill me. How much more, then, this Benjamite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lordhas told him to. 12 It may be that the Lord will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today.”