Monthly Archives: November 2013

November 30

I Corinthians 15:35-16:24; Acts 20:1-6; 2 Corinthians 1:1-2:4

So often when people go through hard times some well-meaning person says, “God never gives us more than we can handle”. I don’t believe that is a true statement. And I believe Paul will back me up on that.

Read 2 Corinthians 1:8-11. Paul felt the sentence of death. He was so depressed he despaired even of life. “But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead”. 

I believe God “gives us” just a little more than we can handle on our own so that we learn to trust him and depend on him. Paul continues to say with confidence, “(God) has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us”.

Are you going through a difficulty? Is your heart broken? Do you despair of life? Have you done everything you know how to fix it? Good. Now you can learn how much you can depend on God. You are in a position where you can realize how faithful, how strong, how compassionate is your Savior.

I believe Scripture promises when you turn it over to God, when you seek his face, he will lift you up. There is a line to a song that says, “When you come to the place where he’s all you have, you’ll find he’s all you need”.

Amen.

Dear God, I pray that we who are going through circumstances that seem to be breaking us, will seek your face. May we set aside the problem and draw close to you. May our relationship with you become more important than a solution to the problem. We are weak. We are helpless. We are broken. Lord, lift us up. In Jesus’ name.

November 29

I Corinthians 14:1-15:34

Much of the Gospel is based on the reality that God raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus died, was buried, rose again after three drays, and appeared to hundreds of people as the risen Savior. That is the truth. It’s exactly what happened. 

Jesus defeated death and, because of that, death no longer holds the same sting it once had. Even in the death of a loved one, we have hope. And our hope is built on Jesus, who once was dead, and who lives today.

We celebrated Thanksgiving without Dad and Geoff again yesterday. For the second year we felt the hole left in this family gathering. There was laughter and love, great food, and silly games. We cheered my great-niece on as she took a few wobbly steps. We are a family who truly loves being together.

But Dad and Geoff were missed. Even as I was very aware that these two precious men weren’t with us yesterday, I could picture them with Jesus. They are able to look Jesus in the eye and give their thanks. Death did not end their lives. They are truly living today.

That is our hope, our assurance in Christ. When a person gives their heart to the Lord, death becomes a door into a glorious eternity with God. We will see our loved ones again. I am so thankful that they new the Savior and, in doing so, gave us the greatest gift they could give us. That is the ability to rest, knowing they are with the Lord. That’s something to be truly thankful for!

Father, thank you for defeating death. We no longer fear dying when we know you as Savior. What is beyond the veil is unimaginably wonderful. I’m glad Dad and Geoff are with you and that we have the promise to see them again, to worship you right beside them. Mom is there. Grandpa and Grandma, Aunts and Uncles who loved you during this lifetime. Oh, that everyone reading this blog today would have the same assurance, the same hope. May Moms and Dads, brothers and sisters, friends, give their loved ones this precious hope by giving their hearts to you.

November28

I Corinthians 11:2-13:13

I Corinthians 13 is probably one of the most known chapters of the Bible along with Genesis 1 and Luke 2. Did someone read the Love Chapter at your wedding? These verses have inspired song writers and challenged newly weds. But is there something in here for all of us on this Thanksgiving Day, 2013? I’m glad you asked.

Jesus told us the second greatest commandment, after loving God, is loving our neighbor. Scripture tells us people will know we are Christians by our love. And I Corinthians 13 tells us what that love looks like. As you read the traits of love in verses 4-8, do you see yourself as you consider your relationship with your neighbors, co-workers, and family members?

Read these verses carefully and don’t gloss over the traits you know you lack. It’s not a test God is grading on a curve. Godly love is demonstrated when all the boxes are checked.

Are you having problems in your marriage? Read verses 4-8 and ask yourself if this is the love you have for your spouse. Resist the temptation to see if your spouse measures up with the love he or she has for you. Remember, love is not self-seeking. Are you really patient when the top isn’t put back on the toothpaste? Are you kind even though that biting comment is on the tip of your tongue? Do you find yourself competing with your spouse, jealous if your spouse gets recognition? I am pretty sure more marital problems could be solved if couples would demonstrate the love described in these verses toward each other.

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States and at the top of my list of things I am most thankful for is the heritage left by my parents and grandparents, people who loved the Lord and demonstrated that love according to I Corinthians 13. I am so thankful for my four sisters – Peggy, Kathy, Nancy, and Sally. I am blessed because these amazing women are my sisters, my friends. Their love to me is described in the verses we read today. I am thankful for nieces and nephews who have brought such joy to me and my whole family. For great-nieces and nephews who have stolen my heart. I am thankful for health, for having everything I need.

And I am most thankful for Jesus. I am a sinner saved by his grace. I am a child of the Creator, the God of the Universe. And I have the assurance that my eternity will be spent in his Presence! My prayer today is that I will demonstrate my love for him by living according to the verses I read today in I Corinthians 13.

May God bless you today. And may you look to God, the giver of all good things, with a truly thankful heart.

November 27

I Corinthians 8:1-11:1

Paul said he became all things to all men so that by all possible means he might win some to the Savior. He said to the Jews he became a Jew, to those under the law he became like one under the law, to the weak he became weak. Yet the Bible clearly tells us to be holy as God is holy, to come out from among them and be separate, to flee temptation.

I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive.

Paul is talking about investing himself in the lives of unsaved people. He worked with them, ate with them, showed interest in them. And in his relationship with them he did not compromise his relationship with Jesus.

You don’t need to sin in order to befriend a sinner. But if your friend likes to fish, become a fisherman. If your friend plays tennis, get a tennis racket. If your friend is an Ohio State fan (go Bucks! Beat Michigan!) get out the nachos and invite them to watch the game in your man cave.

If you demonstrate you care about this person, if you show them how important they are to you, they will no doubt be more open to hearing you when you want to talk about your Savior.

Paul could have said it like this: I became a scrapbooker in order to win my scrapbooking friend. Or I became a bowler, a gardner, a golfer, a baker…

Who has God laid on your heart today? Find out what interests them. Then join them. Remember, we are to be out there winning lost souls to the Savior. One friend at a time.

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that when you nudge us toward a friend, we will obey you wholeheartedly. Help us to be invested in their eternal souls. May we put aside our comfort and show how much we care by becoming truly interested in what interests them. May we become all things to them in order to win them by all possible means. Even if that means trying something new and scary.

November 26

I Corinthians 5-7

I know Paul appears to be anti-marriage and has been accused of being a woman-hater. But I don’t see that. Paul is frantically trying to win lost souls. He is consumed with this mission and devotes every waking minute to sharing the Gospel. And he wishes everyone was like him.

Years ago when my sisters and friends were changing diapers, sitting at their kitchen tables helping with math homework, going to soccer games and dance lessons, I was not. During that time I took on responsibilities at church – teaching Sunday School, coaching our quiz team, singing in the choir, playing the organ, serving on the board, typing the bulletin. I did not have a husband waiting dinner or children to care for.

Now I am not telling you this to hear how wonderful it was that I did all that. It is at it should be. My sisters and friends were not wrong for devoting their energies toward their families. I wish more young people today would make their children and spouses more of a priority. (see Paul’s advice to married couples in 7:1-7)

But to those of us who are not married or who are married without children, we need to pick up the slack. We need to make God’s work our baby, our focus. It’s not to say moms and dads shouldn’t be actively involved in the ministry of their churches. But let’s face it. Some of us just have more time and we fill that time up with the things that are the most important to us. Where does Christ fit in your busy schedule?

Paul said the time is short. There is work to be done, souls that need saving. We who can should be focused and busy sharing Jesus. Just like Paul.

Father, I pray for married couples and parents today. May they depend on you for the strength to meet the challenges living with others affords. I pray they will choose to be faithful to each other, to make their families a priority, and to be quick to share you with neighbors and friends as you give opportunity. I pray for unmarried people. May we take the times others use for raising children to doing as much for your kingdom as we can. I pray we all will make you our priority and, like Paul, devote every waking minute to sharing the Gospel.

November 25

I Corinthians 1-4

Paul spends a lot of time talking about wisdom here in these chapters. The intellectuals of the day may have put themselves above the message of faith and the apostle, who spoke their language, called them out on it.

1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing.

Paul quoted Isaiah 29:4 where it says God will frustrate the intelligence of the intelligent.

Where is the wise man?… Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?”

Paul, who was probably as smart and as schooled as any of the people he was writing to said he put aside everything except Jesus Christ, the crucified Savior so that their faith would be based on Jesus alone and not on Paul’s wisdom. 
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.” (3:19)

i don’t care how smart you think you are. You may have an IQ that rivals Einstein or you may have studied philosophy with the greatest thinkers of our time. My prayer, however, is that you won’t talk yourself out of a relationship with your Savior.

You may sit and imagine how you would have done things differently if you were God. But you aren’t God. You may question a God who allows evil, sickness, wars, famine. But you don’t know the mind of God and you never will this side of eternity. 

Don’t listen to the foolishness of men who deny God’s existence when the evidence is so apparent that not only does he exist, but his creation is beyond anything you could come up with on your own.

Do you doubt? Do you have questions? Have you read the Bible with an open mind? Put away the commentaries and the textbooks and just read God’s Word. Ask him to reveal himself to you and I promise you he will.

Dear God, I pray for those who read this blog today and are still unsure of the Truth. Open minds and hearts today, Lord, and may each one put away their foolishness and submit to your godship. Thank you for your Word, for Jesus and his sacrifice on our behalf. May we all bow before you, confess our sin and our helplessness, and allow you to pour your grace on each one. I pray for intelligent, thinking people today who still need the Savior.

November 24

II Thessalonians 2&3; Acts 18:18-19:41

Who is the man of lawlessness? I guess I am one who is less interested in guessing his identity and more interested in looking at the setting around which the lawless one will be revealed. I want Christians to recognize the signs and, instead of chalking off another box, get out there and do something to stop it. I think that’s what Paul was trying to do.

Paul tells us a rebellion will occur. Satan will perform counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders. Every sort of evil will deceive people who refuse to love the truth. They will have powerful delusions, believe the lie, and delight in wickedness.

Check your local listings.

Actually, Paul is describing life on planet earth since the beginning of time. Satan has always been a liar. People have always delighted in sin. But our modern world plasters it all over the big screen for all to see for the price of a ticket. And what that has done is made blatant sin seem exciting, desirable, even normal. 

I know the fire is out of control. But are we just going to sit back and watch our world burn? What kind of world are we leaving for our children when we are gone? 

I don’t know. Maybe we should let the companies that advertise during TV shows that promote sin know that we aren’t buying their products any more. Maybe we should write our lawmaker and tell them we aren’t voting for them as long as they support ungodly legislation. No doubt we should be talking to our children about what they are seeing. And no doubt we should hold our pastors and teachers accountable in preaching the truth of Scripture.

One thing we need to understand. We can’t expect sinners to act like Christians or to value the same things we value. If we want our world to change for the better, we need to be diligent about winning lost souls. The system won’t change until the people within the system repent.

Father, I pray that your children will grasp the urgency. Forgive our silence. Forgive us for wanting to give up. Forgive us for taking part in the sin by watching the shows, buying the products, laughing at the jokes, and not looking for opportunities to share you with people who so desperately need you. God, I don’t want to be a part of Satan’s work by my lack of action. I want to be a part of the solution, a warrior in your army, your voice to lost souls. I pray that the man of lawlessness won’t be able to be identified in our lifetime because we who know you are faithful to do the work you have for us to do.