Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2 Corinthians 12:9

2 Corinthians 12:9 - But God said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

By nature we are complainers. Our complaining stems from our selfish nature. In our selfishness we think that everything should go as we think it should, and when it doesn't we complain. When we get saved and turn our lives over to God this selfish nature does not just disappear. It takes work to get past it.
We still want life to be easy and anytime something does not go our way it can be a struggle not to complain. As we draw closer to God our selfish desires begin to leave, but it takes awhile.
Often times we look inside ourselves and see areas where we struggle or face temptation. In an effort to make our lives easier we pray that God will take the temptation or struggle. “Lord, help me not to struggle in that area,” we might say.
It is not wrong to want to overcome a struggle, but we need to remember that Jesus never told us that life would be easy. So often we are asking God to make life easy for us when really He just wants us to come to Him and be totally reliant on Him.
Don’t misunderstand me, I am in no way saying that we shouldn't pray to God for help to face temptation. Paul prayed that prayer and as we look at this verse we see him getting an answer that we usually don’t want to hear, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
God is telling us that He has already given us what we need to make it through our situation. It’s already been done. Really that’s good news, but if that is the case why is this ‘thing’ still a problem? I've asked myself that question many times over the years.
Here’s my thoughts on the matter. Most of the time when we are asking God to help us in a situation we are still thinking we can take the lead as we go through it. We are asking for God’s help when really we need to be surrendering that area to Him completely. The problem lies in the fact that we do not want to let it go.
If God’s power is made perfect in weakness then that means in order for His power to be made perfect in us then those ‘things’ are still our weaknesses. Paul doesn't pray that God turns his weaknesses to strengths. Instead he says that he will boast in his weaknesses, because only through them can Christ’s power rest on him.
If we want God’s strength to shine through us we must first admit we are weak and then surrender ourselves to God. Then we must trust Him to carry us through whatever we face. Only then can His power be made perfect in us.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2 Corinthians 11:30

2 Corinthians 11:30 - If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.

It is only when we are weak that we can truly be made strong. Paul tells us that the only thing he will boast about is his weakness. What we must understand is that Christ cannot work in our lives until we admit we are weak. If we don’t think we need help we will never ask for it. And Jesus will never come into our life until we ask Him.
This applies to our life as a whole, but also to each individual area. Sometimes we ask Him to come into our life because we see that we need salvation, but then we keep certain things from Him. For some reason we think that we have certain things under control (or just aren’t ready to give them up) so we don’t surrender those areas to Him.
We must understand that even in our strongest moment we are still weaker than God’s weakest moment. If we really look at our life we will see there are not any areas that we can handle on our own and we need His help. Until we admit that we will never truly be strong. That is why Paul says, “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.”
Paul understood that in His own ability everything he did showed weakness and he needed help. When he brought light to his weakness it allowed God’s power and glory to shine through him all the more.
For us we must stop thinking that we can do things on our own and give all we are to God. It is only when we surrender to Him that His power can shine through us..

Monday, December 29, 2014

2 Corinthians 10:5

2 Corinthians 10:5 - We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

In this verse we see Paul addressing our thought life. Everybody has a secret thought life that only they know about. In our minds we have all entertained thoughts that have not been glorifying to God. Whether it be unforgiveness, fear, lust, we have all had something.
This is the area of our minds that we have ‘quarantined’ off and are ashamed is even there. But here’s the clincher, Jesus told us that if we think it then we are guilty of doing it. If in your mind you have hated someone, then you are guilty killing that person. Or if you have thoughts of lust toward someone then you are guilty of adultery.
I could go on and make examples of all sorts of things that we are guilty of in our thought life, but I won’t. You know your area of struggle and you know you need to fix it. This verse holds the key.
We are told to “take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” What we must remember is that just because a thought enters our head it is not sin. A thought becomes sin by what you do with it. That is why we must take every thought captive. Any that do not line up with Christ must be thrown out, do not entertain them.
One of the best ways to get your thought life under control is to control what goes in there. You must fill your mind with thoughts that are pleasing to God. In this world it is inevitable that you see things that encourage sin, make sure you are counteracting that with things of God. Read the Word, pray and make sure every thought is obedient to Jesus.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

2 Corinthians 9:10

2 Corinthians 9:10 - Now He who supplies see to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.

God desires us to be generous. All through Proverbs we see verses about how we are to help others and share what we have with those in need. Jesus whole life screamed generosity, which extended all the way to Him giving up His life for us, and we are supposed to live by His example. Now Paul is talking to the church in Corinth about giving and being generous.
Notice in this verse Paul references to different aspects of us receiving from God. First we see that God provides seed to the sower and then we see that ‘bread’ is provided for food. There are a couple of things that I want you to see here.
First, understand that God gives everyone see to sow. There are things in your life that God has given you so that you can bless others. We all have these things, whether it be money, gifts, talents or something else.
Notice also that Paul mentions that God provides bread for food. God is going to give you what you need to live. That is always reassuring, but what I want you to see is that these two things are separate. God takes care of our needs and gives us seed to sow.
It is easy to get these two things confused. I have been in a place where I would say, “I don’t even have enough for myself, how can I give to others?” In looking at this verse we see that God is giving us ‘bread for food,’ in other words He is providing for our needs, but He is not telling us to give this away. We are to ‘eat’ it.
What we are to give away is the seed. It is an entirely different thing. And it doesn't have to be much. Whatever God gives you to sow, sow it. Then it can grow as God determines it to grow.
Think about it this way: If you have one seed to start with, what good will it do to eat it? Not much, it wouldn't even count as a snack and wouldn't be worth mentioning. But what if you planted it? That one seed could turn into thousands.
In looking at this illustration of seeds we can see that it doesn't matter what we start with, what matters is that we start. Sow your seed. Give to someone in need. Start small and before you know it you will be able to give more.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

2 Corinthians 8:7

2 Corinthians 8:7 - But just as you excel in everything - in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your Love for us - see that you also excel in the grace of giving.

“See that you also excel in the grace of giving.” This is very important for us to take hold of, but so easily forgotten. It is our nature to be selfish and thinking of others does not come naturally. As we can see from this verse those in Corinth were doing well working on their walk with God, but they were forgetting about their ministry to each other.
This happens with us as well. We will try so hard to work on aligning our lives with God and making sure these other things are in order that we forget about people. Jesus gave us the command to Love God and Love people. By doing this He said that we would be fulfilling all of the law and the prophets.
So, it is important that we excel in all these things: in faith, in speech, in knowledge and earnestness, but we must also remember to Love others through the grace of giving. Giving is a big part of Loving people. We give of ourselves, our time and our possessions. By giving to them we are telling them that we value them more than what we gave up.
There are always people to help, just look around. It won’t take long to find someone that needs something that you can give. God put you there for a reason, bless them. Proverbs tells us to be generous and refresh others.
So in this season of giving don’t let getting become your focus. The old saying, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” is true, but you won’t see it until you give.
Even though Christmas is technically past it is not too late. Find a person or a family and do something for them. Do it for someone who won’t expect it and won’t be able to return the favor. Giving to those who cannot repay you is especially rewarding. I challenge you, don’t end this year without blessing someone.

Friday, December 26, 2014

2 Corinthians 7:1

2 Corinthians 7:1 - Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

God has promised us so much. He Loves us and wants the best for us. We are His children and He will do whatever He can to help us succeed, but we must make the choice to receive the help. As parents we understand that there comes a point in every child’s life when they have to start making their own decisions. We still want to help them, but now it becomes their choice whether they will receive that help.
Often times we are too stubborn. We get to a certain point and we feel like we need to ‘make it’ on our own. Even if we are struggling we find ourselves refusing help when we really need it. Too often that is how it becomes with us and God. We feel like we need to achieve righteous living on our own. In our struggle to do things on our own we inevitably fail and end up falling back into sin.
This verse speaks of us purifying ourselves from everything that contaminates us. If we want to live right with God this is something we must do. We make the mistake, however, in thinking that we can do this in our own ability. It is only with God, through Jesus, that we can achieve this.
Just like our kids have a choice, we also have a choice to make.  God wants to help you, but He will not force you to live for Him. You must surrender yourself to Him and allow Him to work through you to perfect holiness in your life.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

2 Corinthians 6:1-2

2 Corinthians 6:1-2 - As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For He says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

God showers His grace on us everyday. Do not let it be for nothing. God gives His grace to us so that we can be found worthy to live for Him.
We are His workers, which obviously means that He has work for us to do. What does He have for us? First and foremost we are to reflect His glory in all that we do. That is an overall goal for us, but the specifics are more personal.
As far as the work God has for you on a day to day basis it depends on you. We all have different lives and different people that we are put here to influence for Him. What we must understand, though, is that we have no time to wait.
Once we have received our salvation we know we are OK, but what about those around us? What are you doing to have a positive influence on the people in your life? It is time that we start fulfilling the plan God has for us.
For many of us I think we put off working for God thinking that ‘someday’ He will use us for His glory. Well, I want to tell you that ‘someday’ has come! “Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”
We are walking in God’s favor everyday and must spread the message of salvation. There is no time to waste. Do not receive God’s grace in vain. Make the most of everyday and every opportunity. Let your life and actions reflect God’s glory as you minister Love to those around you.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

2 Corinthians 5:17

2 Corinthians 5:17 - Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

“Who am I?” We all come to a point in our lives when we ask ourselves this question. Sometimes the question comes after we have gone through a hardship, other times it comes as a result of reaching our goals and finding them empty.
Most of us have been raised to think of who we are in relation to what we do. We base our identity on our job or hobby, or something else that is temporary. Then we lose either lose that thing or finally realize that whatever it was, it does not hold the value that we thought it did.
It does not have to be this way. You are more than the job you possess, or the things you do. God values you as you are, no matter what it is you do. And when you come to Him, He will give you a value beyond what you could ever give yourself.
As Paul explains here, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” Whoever you thought you were is no longer important or relevant. You are now a new creation, created in Christ.
When you find your identity in Christ it will change your life and the way you look at the world. For one, your identity will be based on a Loving, eternal God. He will never change or fade away.
This will change the way you look at your work as well. Instead of basing your identity on what you do you will base what you do on your identity. Now your actions will be in regard to an eternal mindset; you will look at your action based on how they will affect eternity.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

2 Corinthians 4:18

2 Corinthians 4:18 - So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

God has been talking to me a lot lately about having an eternal perspective. That is what this verse is talking about as well. There are so many things in our lives that want to steal our time. So many of us are guilty of living from one moment to the next and not budgeting our time as we should. When we do this we end up spending most of our time satisfying our own selfish wants and not doing what God has called us to.
If we are not careful every free moment we have is filled up with things that have no lasting significance such as TV, video games, phones or something like that. Eventually we hit a point where we ask ourselves what it is all worth, and wonder if we have done anything that has lasting significance.
As we look at this verse we see Paul making the statement, “We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.” He then explains that we do this because what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
How many can honestly say that their focus is completely on the unseen? I try, but more often than not I find myself focusing on the temporary things of this life. To follow this statement we have to transform our way of thinking and figure out what is eternal.
Really, it’s not all that hard to figure out what our focus should be on. Jesus answers that question when He says, “Love God and Love people, in this you will fulfill all the law and commandments.” God is of course eternal, and people are eternal.
If we re-focus our life so that God is our primary focus with people as number two we will be working towards an eternal perspective. This is how we will make a difference that will last. Really, nothing else matters. All the other stuff in our lives should be a means to this end and not our goal.

Monday, December 22, 2014

2 Corinthians 3:18

2 Corinthians 3:18 - And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Do you Love God? Have you accepted Christ in your life and do you live by His example? If you answered yes then the truth in this verse is for you. You are a reflection of the glory of God; you are being transformed into His likeness.
Our number one goal on this earth should be to reflect God’s glory. That is why in the beginning we were created in His image, so that we would reflect His glory. We were created to be like God. Sure, we messed up and let sin come into the world and into our lives. Sin stained the perfect image that God had created us to be, but now things are returning to their original state. At least with you and me.
See, Christ came and took our sin, and now as we draw closer to Him, we are becoming more like Him. Then, as we grow more like Jesus we reflect God’s glory more and more.
Do you feel like your life does not reflect God as it should? Then you are in a good place. If you actually thought you had arrived, then you would have a lot more work to do.
When you come to the knowledge that you are not perfect yet, it shows you are ready to start or well on your way. They say that knowing you have a problem is the first step to solving it.
When you acknowledge that you do not reflect God’s glory as much as you should, then you are in the perfect place for God to start working in your life. When you get down to it, the only thing we can do anyway is seek God. Seek God and let Him transform you into His likeness.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

2 Corinthians 2:14

2 Corinthians 2:14 - But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him.

We have so much to be thankful for. Sometimes it is really easy to lose sight of those things. As life gets hard and we get overwhelmed with all the busyness we forget all that God has done.
I know that life as a Christian is not easy. There are times that standing up for what is right is harder than anything else you will have to do. When you are in one of these moments it is hard to see beyond it and be thankful, I know this. But I also know that during these times it perhaps the most important time to give thanks. It’s not about being thankful that you are in a hard time, but that God is leading you through it.
That is one of the great things about being found in Christ. When you give your life to Him you are born into His life. From that moment on you are never alone. God is always with you. Through every trial and hardship He will lead the way. And as we can see from this verse, He is not just leading you to get through. God always leads us in triumphal procession. We are triumphant. Even before we have actually made it through the trial we know that we will triumph over it.
Now that is something to be thankful for. Follow God and you will always triumph over your hardship. And as you do triumph, God will show others through you that knowing Him is amazing. They will see your thankfulness in the hardship and then your triumph over it and will want to know what, or rather who you know. God will use your hardship to bring others to know Him.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

2 Corinthians 1:20

2 Corinthians 1:20 - For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through Him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.

What has God promised you? All throughout His word we see promises that He gives to those who do His will. He promises life, health, prosperity and the list goes on. Like any good father wants the best for his children, God wants the best for you.
If you believe the Bible, then this verse is a confirmation to you that all God has said will come to pass. And what is our part in this? We must speak the ‘Amen’ through Christ to glorify God.
Amen means ‘so be it’ or in other words, “let it be done as you said it would.” That is why we end our prayers with it, and that is why we are to say it in response to the promises God gives us. We are saying ‘Amen’ to acknowledge our faith in the promise.
Another thing that we need to understand about the promises of God is how they come to us. It is only through Jesus Christ that we can receive what God has freely given. As He gave His life for us we must also give our lives to Him. He is the Way, the only way. Through Him and through faith in Him we are able to come before God.
Jesus took our old lives and all our sin and washed us so that we can stand before God. Now, as long as you keep Him as the focal point of your life you will receive all that He has promised to you. It starts with forgiveness and eternal life and gets better as you draw close to Him.

Friday, December 19, 2014

1 Corinthians 16:13-14

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 - Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in Love.

In our bible study the other day we discussed how every man desires significance. What differs is the way we go after that significance. Some seek it through self-fulfillment. They want the best cars, the biggest homes, and the best position at work. In their search for significance they go after money and power.
When that is your goal, even if you obtain it, your significance will not be lasting. As Patrick Morley says, “If what I do is only for my self-gratification and pleasure, then I will never derive a lasting sense of purpose and meaning from it.”
If we try to get our worth and significance from things, just like those things, it is temporary. When those things are gone so is our sense of purpose. Significance is really not about seeking your own wants and needs, it is more about seeking to meet the needs of others, and doing this through God.
This chapter went on to tell the story of Martin Luther. Now here is a man who made a significant difference in the lives of many people., including ourselves. He wasn't satisfied with the way ‘religion’ was practiced in his day and he wanted to serve God. Luther is a man who lived out this verse; he is a man who truly reached significance.
As we continued on in our book we were asked the question, “In order for you to be one of this generations leading men as Martin Luther was, what would you have to change?” I think this verse sums up the reality of how we need to live if we want to make a significant difference for God in the lives of those around us.
We must guard against temptation and sin as we are standing firm in God’s truth. Be uncompromising and be courageous. Don’t be afraid to do what is right, even if no one else is with you. That is all Martin Luther did. He stood up for his faith and for God when no one else would. And then finally, everything you do needs to be based in Love. Let Love be your motivator. Love God and Love people and let your actions reflect that Love.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

1 Corinthians 15:56-57

1 Corinthians 15:56-57 - The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

In our lives we can see things two different ways. We can see all the negative or we can see all the positive. There is both in our lives, but one will always seem to dominate based on our view.
It is so easy to focus on all the negative. I’ve been there many times asking myself the question, “What else could possibly go wrong?” No matter what you do, nothing seems to be working out and you start to get discouraged. You begin looking at yourself and your circumstances and you begin feeling sorry for yourself. All of a sudden it seems life sucks.
For many this is regarding current events, but some are still held up on the past experiences. They can’t let them go, saying things like, “You don’t know what I've been through.” And it’s true, I don’t know what they have been through. But I've seen my share of negative circumstances.
There was a time as a child when I was padlocked in my room with black plastic on the windows to block the light and nothing to comfort me except the cold bare floor. When I was let out, it was only long enough to receive a beating with a mallet or 2X4 and then I was returned to my prison.
I've seen hard times, but thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord! That is the key to a positive life. If you are experiencing something negative, acknowledge that it is happening, but then recognize the victory that you have through Christ. You have victory.
Don’t get held up on the negative, but embrace the positive. If you change your outlook on your situation you will change the way you respond to it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

1 Corinthians 14:1

1 Corinthians 14:1 - Follow the way of Love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy.

As we discussed in 1 Corinthians 13, without Love all we do is for nothing. Our life with Christ begins with Love, “For God so Loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” (John 3:16) And again in 1 John we read, “We Love because He first Loved us.” God’s Love makes everything worthwhile, but Paul tells us not to stop there.
Paul tells us that we must, “Follow the way of Love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts.” On their own spiritual gifts have no value; they are nothing. If they do not have the right motive behind them they are both useless to you and those around you. When spiritual gifts are based in Love, however, they have great value. Paul says to eagerly desire them, especially prophecy.
Why does Paul single out prophecy? What significance does it have over the other gifts? I think we often misunderstand the word prophecy. We are taught of prophecy as being a foretelling of events, but that is not entirely true. Prophecy is a life-giving word to those who hear it. It can be telling of future events, but is not limited to it. And when it does foretell of what is to come it is still meant to bring life to the hearer.
Prophecy, when done out of Love, is a powerful tool that God has given us. We ought to desire this. Sometimes it comes as just an encouraging word to someone. It doesn't have to be much, maybe just a scripture or a couple positive words, but it can change the life of the one to whom it is given. Really, the reason prophecy is so important is that it speaks to the heart of a man, who he really is, and when done in Love it brings life. It ministers to his spiritual and emotional needs.
So, to echo Paul, follow the way of Love and eagerly desire the gifts of God. When Love is our foundation all of these gifts will be used to help others and not for selfish gain. Love is the key; Love makes it all matter.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

This is Love. 1 Corinthians 13

This is Love
1 Corinthians 13

What is Love?
Some say Love is an emotion, like a potion
To cause a notion of devotion
To another.
Or maybe a feeling
On which you float up to the ceiling
Or to clouds up in the air
But is that really fair?
We all know that feelings fade
Could that really be how Love is made?
Does that mean the Love is gone
when the feeling go away?
Is that why Love doesn't last in this day and age?
There’s got to be another way, I pray.
Let’s see what God’s Word has to say
“And now I will show you the most excellent way”
If I speak in ways that everyone understands
In the tongues of angels and man
But don’t have Love,
It’s like I’m just banging on a can.
If I prophesy 
and there is is nothing I don’t understand,
and my faith can move mountains
or any other kind of land,
If I give all I have to the poor
and surrender my body to burn
But have not Love
It is nothing and that’s all I earn.
So now, here it is
a definition to learn:
Love is patient and it is kind.
With it envy, boasting and pride
you will not find.
It is not self-seeking.
There’s no anger or record-keeping.
Love hates evil and takes joy in what is true
Protecting, trusting hoping and persevering
are 4 more things that Love will always do.
What it comes down to 
is that in all the worlds ails.
No matter what may come, 
Love never fails
You want a perfect picture of Love? Picture this:
Jesus on the cross nails through His open fists
Blood flowing down His face
as He took all of our shame and disgrace
He took our place.
Jesus gave up everything,
if only to bring
Salvation to you and me.
When I think of Love
This is the picture I see.
And a God whose Love shows through this event.
Through Christ, His Son, who was heaven sent.
Love brings us back to our King
and gives us everything.
When all else is gone and fades away

 God’s Love will still remain.

Monday, December 15, 2014

1 Corinthians 12:4-6

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 - There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.

We all have our own method of doing things. There are so many talents in the world that we cannot count them all. I may be good at one thing, while you excel at another. When you and I look at the same job we may see a different way of getting it done, based on our talents. That’s ok. It doesn’t matter what method is used, what matter is whether or not God is in it.
When we are living for God, He is going to speak to us differently. Based on the talents He has given us we will serve Him differently. You may sing, I might set up chairs; they are different things, but both are equally important if you are doing it for God. There are many ways that we can serve God; the important thing is that we are working in our giftings.
When we work together in the gifting that we have been given God is glorified. It is important to serve God with your talents. One way to do that is by serving others. When you help others, God is glorified through that as well.
Helping and serving others is much like what we were talking about with serving God. It will look different based on your talents and giftings. For example, say you and I see a family that is in need. They are going through a lot in their life and don’t have a lot of extra time. You may see that as an opportunity to cook them a meal and help them out that way. I may look at the same situation and see that their lawn needs mowed and do that for them.
Are either one of these acts of service any better than the other? No, both are needed; both are an opportunity to glorify God. We have both operated in our talents and met the need of a hurting family. Think about it this way, would it do any good for me to cook a meal for this family if I can’t cook? No, of course not. It would have been done with a good motive, but it would be impractical because no one would eat the meal I provided. In the end no needs would have been met.
That is why it so important to operate in your giftings. Then, when you serve one another it is both with a good motive and it is practical. It meets the need and glorifies God.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

1 Corinthians 11:28

1 Corinthians 11:28 - A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.

Jesus told us that we are to, “Do this in remembrance of me.” When He spoke those words He was referring to the time when He shared the bread and wine with His disciples.
After they had eaten their last Passover together Jesus took the bread, broke it and passed it around the table. He told them that it represented His body which would be broken for them. After the bread, He took the cup and passed it to His disciples  telling them that it was His blood that would be poured out for them.
When they all finished He told them, and us, that we need to do this to remember Him. Keep in mind, though, that God is more concerned with the heart behind your actions than the actions themselves. If you are partaking of the bread and cup just because you are instructed to then it will do you no good.
Paul tells us that we must first examine ourselves. Look at your heart. Why are  you wanting to join into this ceremony? Don’t just take it to take it. Reflect on what it represents. Look for the meaning behind the action.
Every time that you have the opportunity to take the bread and cup use it as a chance to remember that Christ died for you. Examine your heart and if there is any sin that you have not confessed and repented of, take care of it. Bring it before God and allow Christ’s blood to cleanse you and purify you.
Then take the bread and cup as a celebration of what Christ has already done for you. Because of Christ’s sacrifice we are cleansed, purified and made righteous. Never take that for granted.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

1 Corinthians 10:13

1 Corinthians 10:13 - No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

First we need to realize that temptation is not sin. Just because you are tempted does not mean you are living in sin. Remember, even Jesus was tempted and we know He did not sin. Temptation only becomes sin when give into it.
I think that many of us have beat ourselves up because a thought has come into our mind, and we think it is sin. Then we end up sinning because we did not take that thought captive. Paul says we need to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.
Another problem that we all have to face when dealing with temptation is thinking that we are alone. I can guarantee that you are not. This verse confirms it. As it says, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.” Any and every temptation that you have faced or are currently facing has been faced by millions before you.
One of the devils goals is to divide us and split us away from each other. If he can trick you into thinking that you are alone in your temptation then he is halfway to his goal, and you will take care of the rest. So don’t think you are alone in your struggle. You are not.
“And God is Faithful.” He knows what you can handle and will not let you be tempted beyond that. So every time that you are tempted, know that God already knows that you can resist it. He has faith in you. Beyond that, He has also given you a way out. In every temptation, God has provided you with an escape, you just have to use it.
To sum it all up remember temptation is not sin, every temptation is common, God doesn't allow you to be tempted beyond your ability to resist, and He will always provide a way out. If you do that you are set, you can resist any temptation. God is rooting for you and knows that you can succeed.

Friday, December 12, 2014

1 Corinthians 9:24

1 Corinthians 9:24 - Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way to get the prize.

Have you ever run in a race before? Officially I've only run one race. A couple of years ago I agreed to run an obstacle race called the Warrior Dash with my uncle and cousins. As far as winning the race I didn't have a chance. This was the first race I had ever run  and my preparation for it was rather pathetic. I had done a little bit of jogging and I played basketball. So winning the race was out of the question, my only goal was to finish and survive.
Upon arriving at the start of the race you could tell who was there to actually compete. They were the ones who had prepared ahead of time and were fit and ready to go. If you are wanting to have a chance at winning a race you have to prepare for it. In my race I didn't come prepared to win. I didn't train or condition myself to run. I barely made it to the finish line.
Paul compares our life to a race. He then tells us that we must run the race to get the prize. We need to focus and train so that we will be able to overcome every obstacle. Training is important, but once you are running the race it is too late to train. At that point the most important thing is to focus on the prize.
Too many times we get on the right path, but then we see something off on the sidelines and we get distracted. We take our eyes off the goal and then we lose progress. Keep your eyes on the prize. If you keep your focus on where you want to be you will not get stuck in the obstacles that come up. Just like when I ran my race, the obstacles will slow you down, but they will not stop you.
It is time to figure out what race you are running. What is your goal? Once you have that, focus on it and run in a way to take hold of it.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

1 Corinthians 8:13

1 Corinthians 8:13 - Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.

Paul uses the example of food to make a point about how we should act towards our brothers and sisters in Christ. He says that if his eating meat causes others to fall he will never eat meat again. The well being of others was more important to him than taking care of his own wants.
We are selfish by nature and it is natural to want to enjoy the pleasures of life. Enjoying these things is not wrong, but when it is at the expense of those around you it becomes a problem.
Jesus commanded us to Love one another. To Love someone is to want the best for them. If we are not taking into consideration those around us when we choose to do something then we are not truly Loving them.
Paul speaks of the freedom that we have in Christ. He says, “All things are permissible for me,” which is true, but we must think about what is beneficial. Of course this applies to us, as we discussed in 1 Corinthians 6:12, but we must also take into consideration those around us. If what we are doing is making someone stumble then we better rethink what we are doing.
Every action has a consequence. It is time to start thinking about the things that come from our actions. How are they affecting us and how are they affecting those around us? If your actions are not creating a positive reaction then you need to change the actions.
As I mentioned earlier, this is not a natural way for us to think. We are used to looking out only for ourselves, but now we must also take into consideration the well-being of others. Make sure that the things you do have a positive impact on those around you.