Wednesday, April 30, 2014

2 Corinthians 5:18-19

2 Corinthians 5:18-19 – All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: That God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And He committed to us the message of reconciliation.

We have been given the ministry of reconciliation. Reconciliation is “the restoration of friendly relation.” So when we see here that we have been reconciled to God we understand what that means. We were enemies of God, living in sin, but then Christ came along. He came to earth, died and was resurrected, all to restore our good relationship with the Father. Because of Christ we are once again friends of God.
I say it again: we have been given the ministry of reconciliation. Now to keep it straight, we in no way are the ones doing the reconciling. That was and is Jesus. He already did it. No more work has to be done. Our ministry lies in spreading the news. We must tell others what Christ has already accomplished.
Now we see here that God wants to bring the whole world back onto good terms with Him. In Christ, God counts no sin against the one who committed it and He wants all men to come to the knowledge of Him through Christ. That is His desire and that is the message we have been given. It is now our responsibility to tell others this news; the message of reconciliation.
This ministry is not specific to anyone, we all have it and it is our responsibility to share the message with everyone we come in contact with. Help them to come to know Jesus, the reconciler. God has called you to do this every day; in your workplace, your school, or wherever else you may find yourself. People are dying and we must share with them the story of Jesus. We must show them the Love and take part in the ministry that God has called us to.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

2 Corinthians 4:6

2 Corinthians 4:6 – For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus.

God spoke into the darkness and said, “Let there be light.” Now He speaks into the darkness of men’s hearts with the same words. In this fallen world we are born into darkness, but Christ is the light of God. When we come to know Him we are made new and take on that same light. So now we are different.
Our hearts were corrupt and evil (Jeremiah 17:9), with no room for God. But then we accepted Christ into our hearts and as David prayed, “Create in me a pure heart (Psalm 51:10),” our hearts were also made new.  So, in Christ, we are a new creation; we have been purified and made righteous and God has set His light in us. Now we shine as Christ shined.
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world (John 8:12),” and now that is true for us as well. As God shines His light in our hearts we receive the light that is the knowledge of the glory of God. When we have this knowledge, which is Christ, we come to know Him and become a reflection of Him. That is how you see the light of God in each other. We become a reflection of Him and Christ is seen in us.
So, as God says, “Let light shine out of darkness,” so also we must shine in this dark world. Do not hide your light; do not let it fade. Rather, let your light shine before all men so that the world may see and give praise to God. You are the light that shines in this dark world.

Monday, April 28, 2014

2 Corinthians 3:17-18

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 – Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 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.

We all have something in our life that has held us back, whether it is fear, sin, or just lack of confidence. Whatever it is we all desire to be free from it. We desire to be able to serve God with no hindrances. In the Spirit we can have that freedom, and as long as we have accepted Christ we already have the Spirit.
Just because we have the Spirit doesn't mean we are free, though. The freedom is there, waiting for us, but we have to receive it. It is time for us to let go of everything and give it all to Christ. He has set us free and it is up to us to take hold of that freedom. As we do we will see our lives transform. Maybe not all at once, but it will happen.
We were created in the image and glory of God, and as we serve Him we reflect His glory to those around us. This becomes more evident in our lives as we let the Spirit take over and do His work in us. Then, as the Spirit works in us we will see our lives begin to look more like Christ’s. He was and is our example. Jesus life was a reflection of the Father and we also, ought to reflect God in all we do.
So whatever the obstacle; whatever has been holding you back, let go in Jesus name and live in the freedom of the Spirit. Let the Spirit transform you back into the image and glory of God. Then live your life to reflect His glory as you give Him all the glory for all you do. It is not yours and you are nothing without Him, but through Him we can do all things. I pray that you live every moment of your life for Him as you continually give Him the glory.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

2 Corinthians 2:14-14

2 Corinthians 2:14-15 – 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. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.

You smell like Jesus. That is an interesting statement, but think about what it means. Think about how smells relate in your mind. Smells are attached to memories. Think about that time when you got a whiff of something and it instantly took you to a different place. All of a sudden you lost in an image of Grandma’s house as a little child. Or maybe it’s not Grandma’s, but whatever it is brings a feeling of nostalgia over you. And it is a good feeling.
Now take a look at this verse, “For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” When God looks down from heaven and He sees all the sin and all those who have turned their backs on Him it saddens Him. His heart breaks because He Loves each and every one of them. Then He smells something. This smell is sweet to Him and it brings a smile to His face, because it reminds Him of His Son Jesus. What He smells is you; you are the one who reminds Him of Jesus.
If you have Christ in your life you have been covered by His blood. When God looks at you He sees perfection, because He sees His Son Jesus in you. And through God we spread everywhere this fragrance, this knowledge of Jesus. We are the image of Jesus to those who are perishing. Let Christ shine through you.

Saturday, April 26, 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.

God’s promises are always true. If He says it, believe it. There are so many things in life that we can’t count on and that let us down, but God is not one of them.
There are a couple of different ways that you can receive promises from God. Most common are the promises from His Word. The bible is full of promises that apply to all who belong to Him such as health, wholeness and prosperity. These are just a couple of the things that we see, but there is so much more. I encourage you to get into the Word and find out what God has promised you as His child.
We are children of God once we receive Christ in our lives and that changes everything for us. As you are reading the Word take note of any of it that applies to God’s children or His church, because that includes you.  If God has said it then His answer is “Yes” and you can just speak the Amen in confirmation of what you know He is doing for you.
Another way that you could receive a promise from God is through prayer. As you are praying He may speak to you and tell something that He will do in your life. Be careful here though, because there are many voices in your head and you want to verify that you heard the Spirit. First, God will never contradict His Word, so make sure it lines up with that. Also, when God gives you a promise He will confirm it through multiple sources or ways. Be sensitive to what He tells you and know that it will happen.
So, as you read of God’s promises in the Word, or He speaks to your heart make sure that you hold onto those promises. Always trust that God will never back out on what He has said. His answer is always “Yes”. And so we speak the “Amen” as we give God the glory for what He is doing.

Friday, April 25, 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 closing his first letter to the Corinthians Paul gives us a summary of how to live a successful life. We have already given our lives to Christ and received salvation; now it is a matter of living it.
          “Be on your guard,” he says, but what do we guard from. Proverbs tells us, “Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23).” Christ has made our hearts new and now we must protect it from being corrupted again. Our life flows from our heart, so guard it and protect it from evil.
          “Stand firm in the faith,” is his next statement. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this not of ourselves, it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8).” Our salvation comes by faith and all the blessings of God are received through faith. So stand firm in what you believe and don’t let doubt or unbelief move you.
          “Be men of courage.” We all strive to be courageous, but we must realize that courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is standing up in the face of fear and knowing that our God is bigger than whatever obstacle is in your way. If you weren't a little bit scared it wouldn't be courage.
          “Be strong.” This next statement seems so simple, but let’s look a little deeper, Where do we find our strength? “Be strong in the Lord and the power of His might (Ephesians 6:10),” and the “Joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10).” We also see that Paul rejoices in his weakness, because that is where God gives him strength (2 Corinthians 12:9). Our strength comes from God, so be strong in the Lord (Ephesians 6:10).

          “Do everything in Love.” This statement wraps it all up and ties everything together. Jesus told us to Love God and Love people. He said that sums up the law and the prophets (Matthew 22:37-40). God looks to the heart, so if all you do is out of Love, even if you mess up it’ll be ok, because God will see your motive. So above all else I stress to you: walk in Love. Love is the fulfillment of all things. Let the Love of God flow through you.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

1 Corinthians 15:58

1 Corinthians 15:58 - Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

         Life gets busy. There is always something going on. Sometimes it can be overwhelming. We have our spouse, our kids and then there’s our work life and any extra-curricular activities that we’ve added on. It often seems that there is no time for anything else. And then Paul tells us, “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord.” After all that is already going on in my life how can I add more?
         It is time to renew our mind to this passage of scripture so we can truly understand what we are instructed to do here. What is the ‘work of the Lord’? That is the first question we must address. Often, we think this to be one of the five-fold ministry roles (teacher, preacher, evangelist, prophet, or apostle). While those are people that do the work of the Lord they are not the only ones this applies to.
         We must realize that there is an order to our life and ministry, and most of all realize that every area of our life is ministry. Now let me explain what I mean. I am not saying that you need to give up things in your life to go and minister to people. It’s more about your mindset and how you view your life. I’ve often felt that “if I could just make it through this week I will make it to Sunday and can minister at church.” While that is not entirely wrong it is missing the heart of God for your life.
         God’s desire is that you don’t just make it through your life, but that you show His Love and make the most of all you do. As I was saying, there is an order to our ministry and all our life is ministry. First and foremost you must tend to your personal relationship with God. This has nothing to others, it is about you and God. That is your first ministry.
         Next, if you have them, is your spouse and children. Your spouse is your second order of ministry and must not be neglected. Then, third on the list are your kids. If you have them it is your responsibility to teach them and train them in the Lord. After that comes extended family, friends and then ministry to others and your ministry in your workplace.
         We must live every area of our life for the Lord. As we begin to take on this new view we will stop looking to just ‘get through life’, and start looking to how we can let God use us in every situation to bring Him glory.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

1 Corinthians 14:12

1 Corinthians 14:12 – So it is with you. Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church.

We all want to have spiritual gifts. God has blessed us with His Spirit and we know that the Spirit manifests itself on each of us in different ways at different times. Our desire is to experience this manifestation. In the last couple of chapters (1 Corinthians 12-13), we have seen Paul talking about different manifestations of the Spirit; different gifts, if you will.
In chapter 12 he talks about how we all have gifts and they are all different. He tells us that we must each use our gifts so that the church will operate as the body of Christ, and if one member is not using their gift the whole body suffers. Then in chapter 13 Paul speaks of Love. He tells us how Love is the most important thing. Without Love all the gifts and manifestations of the Spirit are useless. All things must be done in Love.
Now, as we read in this chapter Paul compares two specific gifts. He talks about tongues and prophecy. Speaking in tongues is good because it edifies and builds up your spirit within you. When you speak in tongues you are speaking to God and only god can understand you.  Prophecy, on the other hand, is for edifying and building up others. When you prophecy you are receiving a word directly from God to speak to someone.
When you are in a group it is better that you prophecy, because tongues is not beneficial to those around you, unless there is someone to interpret. In this verse we see that we are to “excel in gifts that build up the church.” It should be our desire when we are with others to help them in whatever way we can.
When the Spirit manifests itself on you it is not only for your benefit, but for the benefit of others as well.  Do all that you can to share all that God has given you. Eagerly desire the gifts of the Spirit, but try to excel in the ones you can use to strengthen one another.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

1 Corinthians 13:13

1 Corinthians 13:13 – And now these three remain: faith, hope, and Love. But the greatest of these is Love. Love is the fulfillment of all things. When God created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them, it was because of Love. Then God created man and woman and He Loved them. Love was in the beginning and Love will be there in the end because God is Love. Now when man was first created he would walk hand in hand with God. There was no sin, no pain, no hurt; all was perfect. Faith and hope had not yet entered the world, because there was nothing better than the life that man already had. After man turned from God sin entered the world. With sin came all the bad things and the broken lives we have today. Now we have a need for hope and faith. See, Love is still here, but we cannot walk hand in hand with God in our fallen state, so we receive His Love through faith. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we cannot see. When man fell, sin became a part of us, but God gave us something to hope for. He says that one day we will be made perfect once again and enter back into true fellowship with Him. We see this promise through Christ and all that He did for us. When we look at Christ we look through eyes of faith, with eager anticipation of the day when we will be made perfect in Him. For now, though, we have hope in Jesus and receive the promises of God through faith. Once that day comes hope and faith will no longer be needed and Love is all that will remain. God’s Love for you and your Love for Him, as life will be perfect once again.  

Monday, April 21, 2014

1 Corinthians 12:12

1 Corinthians 12:12 - The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.

Throughout scripture we see the church compared to a body. In fact we are told that the church is the body of Christ. He is the head and we all make up the rest of the parts. Paul is talking again here about how this is true.
In comparison, let’s take a look at our bodies. We all have different parts. We have hands, feet, legs, arms, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and the list goes on. There are many parts, but each was created for it’s own specific purpose. An eye cannot do the the job of a foot, or the ear the job of an arm. Each was designed for a specific purpose to carry out it’s own unique job. And each one’s job comes natural to it. You don’t have to tell an eye how to see or an ear how to hear.
If there is one part of the body that is not performing it’s designated function, that body is disabled. Think of a blind man, or someone whose legs do not work. They are considered crippled because the body does not work the way it is supposed too.
Now think about this concept in the terms of the body of Christ. It works exactly the same. Each member was designed for a specific purpose. They have a talent or ability that comes natural to them; something that they were designed to do. If each member is using their “gift” as God intends, the body will function and flow smoothly. But if any one member is not using their talent to help the body they are not just hurting themselves; they are hurting the whole body. That body would be considered disabled or crippled.
It is God’s desire that each person use their natural gifts to help and strengthen the body of Christ. Then the church will then be unified and function as a whole.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

1 Corinthians 11:23-25

1 Corinthians 11:23-25 – For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, “This is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

“Do this in remembrance of me.” It is always important to remember where we come from. Without the sacrifice that Jesus made we would all be lost. There would be no hope and no future.
Jesus came to earth to fix what we messed up. Now that He has, we are made new in Him. It is important for us to reflect on what He did, but when we do we must be sure our heart is in the right place. In verse 28 Paul says, “A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.” Just like anything else, God looks at your heart. Why are you doing this? What is the reason behind your partaking of the bread and cup?
One reason we do it is that Jesus told us to, but it must not stop there. We must have the right attitude. It is not for our enjoyment, it is to bring glory to God. That is why we remember. It is a reflection of God’s Love for us. That is why Jesus went to the cross; that is why the sacrifice was made.
So, when you take the bread and drink of the cup, make sure your heart is right. Then reflect on the meaning behind what you are doing. In eating the bread you are remembering and joining with Christ as part of His body. With the cup we remember the new covenant that we have with God. The old is gone and the new is here

Saturday, April 19, 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.

We all face temptation, we all have struggles and we have all fallen into sin at one time or another. One of the devils tricks is to try and make you feel alone. If he can get you to believe you are alone in your struggle, that no one else has gone through what you are going through, he has already won. All the enemy has are lies and if we start falling for them we begin to lose the strength we have in Christ.
If the enemy gets you to believe that no one would understand what you are going through then you will cut yourself off from others. His plan is to divide and conquer. The Bible says that he roams around like a roaring lion; seeking those he can devour (1 Peter 5:8). Lions prey on the one who have strayed from the herd. Our enemy knows that we have strength in numbers and once we get in unity with other believers he will not be able to touch us.
So this verse is a reminder to us that there is no struggle, no temptation and no sin that is not common. Satan cannot create anything; he can only pervert what God has already created. He is using the same tricks he used in the garden as he is using today. We’re all hit with the same lies and deception.
So whatever you are going through remember that you are not alone. There are others going through the exact same thing. And besides that we know that God is with us. He is always with us; protecting and watching over us. God knows what you can handle and we have this promise that tells us He will not allow more to come our way that what we can bear.
When you are facing something know this: God knows you can overcome it. And on top of that, He has already given you a way out. If your focus is on Him you will not only see that you can overcome, but you will also see the way out that God has already provided.

Friday, April 18, 2014

1 Corinthians 9:22

1 Corinthians 9:22 – To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.

Paul had made up his mind. He was sold out for Christ. His life meant nothing to except to win as many as possible to Jesus. “I have become all things to all men so that by all means I might save some.” He had it figured out.
For so many years the church has had certain qualifications to be a Christian. Don’t get me wrong, there are standards that as Christians we should live by, but it is an attitude of the heart and not an appearance in the natural. We are to Love God and Love people. Instead we have spent years trying to conform non-believers to act like us; to dress a certain way, to act a certain way, all before they could come to church.
On top of that we would expect non-believers to come to us instead of going to them. If we look at Jesus life we see He did teach in the temple courts, but He spent most of His time with the people. It didn't matter who they were or where they came from, Jesus wanted to spend time with them. So much so that He was accused of “eating with tax collectors and sinners.” Jesus didn't care about His reputation. Now in all this Jesus never sinned, but that never stopped Him from going to where the sinners were. Here we see Paul continuing in this spirit of Love when he says, “I have become all things to all men.”
Friends, I implore you, the time for waiting is over. Don’t expect the lost to come to you, but get out there and go to them. Spend time with these people and Love on them. Find ways to hang out with them. If you truly Love the lost you will be more concerned with their eternity than your social standing.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

1 Corinthians 8:2-3

1 Corinthians 8:2-3 – The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. But the man who Loves God is known by God.

         Paul kind of bursts our bubbles here.  All those things that you think you know, you don’t really know, or at least in the way we should know. Here’s the thing. Paul’s not trying to tell us that we are all stupid. I think the message that he is trying to portray is more about where we find our identity.
         It is easy for us as we learn things and gain knowledge to trust in that knowledge. Whatever it is, we may have just learned it or we may have been studying it for years. Either way, we put our trust in that and call it truth. Don’t take this the wrong way. Knowledge is good. God’s Word says to get knowledge and understanding, but all we learn should come out of our Love for God.
         Loving God is the most important thing. “We Love because He first Loved us (1 John 4:19)” So we have to receive His Love first, but then we need to return that Love. Paul reminds us here that “the man who Loves God is known by God.” Of course God knows you. He knew you and called you before you were born; but this knowledge, when Paul says “is known by God,” he is talking about something different.
         Paul is referring her to a relationship; it is personal. God Loves you and when you return that Love you enter into a personal relationship with the Almighty God. There’s nothing better in the entire world. No amount of knowledge can compare. All of a sudden you go from being a Christian to being Loved by God. It’s all in how you see yourself.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

1 Corinthians 7:17

1 Corinthians 7:17 – Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him. This is the rule I lay down for the churches.

God has called each one of us to live for Him. He has a specific assignment for all of us. Sometimes I think we spend too much time waiting to hear from God and not enough time acting on what He has already told us. Don’t get me wrong, we all need to hear from God and should be setting aside time to listen to Him, but don’t sit doing nothing while you wait.
We want to see God’s plan for our life, so we sit back and do nothing because He has not revealed it to us yet.  Or rather we have only seen part of it, and instead of acting on what we know, we do nothing. Most of the time God will let His plan unfold before you while you are already serving Him.
Having trouble figuring out where to start? Paul spends most of this chapter talking about doing the same thing you were doing before you were saved. Obviously he doesn’t mean to keep sinning, but to keep using the talents and abilities that you used before salvation. You see, God has placed certain things inside of you before you were born.  Now you just have to reapply those talents to bring glory to God.
I think this is why Paul says here that “each one should retain the place in life that that the Lord assigned to him.” There are things that you are good at and enjoy doing. Just because you are saved doesn’t mean that you give them up, it means you now use them for the Lord. Find a place where you can put them to use for God.
Too many of us have wasted time doing nothing while we try to figure out God’s plan for our lives. It is time to just start serving. Take what you like to do and do it for God. As you do you will see God directing your path. If you are in motion it is easier for God to guide you.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

1 Corinthians 6:12

1 Corinthians 6:12 - “Everything is permissible for me” - but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me” - but I will not be mastered by anything.

What is right and wrong? This is a question that we have all asked ourselves. As a Christian what is ok for me to do? Obviously there are some things that are clear as Jesus told us to Love God and Love people. In doing this He told us we would be fulfilling all of the law and the prophets. But what about that other stuff? What about those things that do not harm you or others? There are things like drinking, smoking, and watching movies that have been at the front of these conversations in the church for years.
Paul answers the question here. “Everything is permissible for me.” Paul says that all things are ok, but then he takes it a step further. He says, “Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is beneficial” then continues, “Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.”
As we ask the question, “Is it ok to do this?” Paul turns it back on us and says, “Sure, it is ok, but will it benefit you?” Basically Paul is telling us to stop arguing amongst each other and make a decision for ourselves.
It is no longer a question of whether you can or cannot do something, but why are you doing it. Will something good come as a result of your actions? That is what we must ask ourselves when we are contemplating doing something. It comes down to a heart attitude. Even though your actions make look pure God looks at the heart; the motives behind the actions (Proverbs 16:2).
We must weigh the consequences of our actions, not only in our own lives, but also in the lives of those around us. If our actions cause another to stumble then it is sin. If there is a question in your mind whether something is good or not you probably already have the answer. Meaning that if it is not clearly beneficial it is probably worth avoiding.

Monday, April 14, 2014

1 Corinthians 5:6

1 Corinthians 5:6 - Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a batch without yeast - as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

In Jewish culture the Passover meal was prepared without yeast. So the bread and everything else that would normally have it would be prepared without it. During this time the yeast represented sin, and removing it signified removing sin from your life.
Now, as Paul is talking in this passage he is comparing the church to a batch of dough. He reminds us that our Passover lamb, Jesus, has already been crucified and it is time to get the “yeast” out of the church. He is not talking about the people of the world (vs. 10), but those who know better.
Paul wants us to be careful of the people that call themselves Christians, but are still living a life of sin. They are willingly doing evil and trying to bring others down as well. Paul said not to associate with these kind of people. In fact, he goes as far as saying to get rid of them. They already know better and should be trying to live right, but refuse to.
Since these people will not change they are poisoning the whole body of Christ. Just as a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough, so these people will bring sin into the whole body of Christ. See, Christ, in His sacrifice, has already cleansed us of all our sin. Now it is our responsibility to keep the sin out. Love people but be careful of those who say they are Christians, but act like the world.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

1 Corinthians 4:5

1 Corinthians 4:5 - Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.

It is not our position on this earth to judge anyone. There will be a day when the Lord comes and everything is brought to light, but until then we must walk in Love towards everyone. “Love God and Love people,” Jesus told us. That is our command and how we are to live.
We must look past what people do and Love them for who they are. God doesn’t look at the actions, He looks at the heart behind the actions. In Proverbs we see, “All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord (Proverbs 16:2).”
It always comes down to the heart; why you are doing what you are doing. As we see here in Paul’s message to the church there will be a day when everything done in darkness will be brought to light. This goes for all actions; good and bad. In that day God will also expose the motives of our hearts.
Then comes the good part. God will give praise to all those whose motives are pure. It is important that we do what is right, not because we have to, but because we want to. We must do things out of Love.
If we act in Love, our actions will reflect it and God will reward it. So I challenge you as I challenge myself: Love God and Love people and let your thoughts and actions come out of that Love.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

1 Corinthians 3:11

1 Corinthians 3:11 - For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.

“For we are God’s fellow workers,” Paul says as he explains our role in the body of Christ. We all have a job to do. God has called us to work with Him. Our end goal is the same. Paul talks about how we are all working toward the same end, but we all have a different part in the “building” process. He said that he, by the grace of God, laid the foundation, then someone else is building on it. So they are working for the same outcome, but they each have their own unique role in the process.
Paul is using the example of constructing a building, but however you want to look at it we are all working toward the same goal. We are working toward that day when we will be brought into the glory of God and we want to take as many people with us as possible.
While here on earth we want to see others come into the Kingdom of God and join us as fellow builders. “But each one should be careful how he builds,” Paul warns us. Do not work on your own. Work according to what Christ has already done. Any foundation laid, other than Christ, will not hold up. It will fail.
Jesus is the only foundation. He is the truth we stand on and the embodiment of all we preach. No matter what stage of the “building” process you come in on you are working with the same foundation. If it has not been laid yet (the unsaved), we start with that; laying the foundation of Christ. For those who already know Him, we build on the foundation with the Truth of the Word of God. It is time to join together in our quest and unify as workers with a common goal. Let’s work as one as we expand the kingdom of God.

Friday, April 11, 2014

1 Corinthians 2:12

1 Corinthians 2:12 - We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.

          God has given us so much. He has shown us grace and mercy, and through Jesus we have been taken from death to life. And not only that He has given us power and authority, He has blessed us with health and wellness and He provides for all of our needs. The list goes on and on.
          Earlier in this chapter Paul quotes Isaiah saying, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who Love Him.” Then in verse 10 He goes on to say, “but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit.”
          As we read this we see that the things of God were a mystery, but that has changed. Christ came and now we have God’s Spirit in us. God’s Spirit, of course, knows the mind of God and the will of God.
          Through His Spirit, God opens our eyes to these mysteries. We no longer have to wonder or guess about what God has prepared for us. Since we have the Spirit we have direct access to God and we can see into His heart. We can see that God has nothing but Love for us, as a father Loves his children, since we are His children.
          Those of us who are parents can see this love relationship a little clearer. As parents we know that we want the best for our children. We want to see them blessed and successful in all that they do, and we will help them in whatever way we can. God is no different. He wants the best for you and will help you achieve it. Surrender your heart and mind to God and let His Spirit open your eyes to all He has given you.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

1 Corinthians 1:10

1 Corinthians 1:10 - I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.

As Paul begins his first letter to the saints in Corinth he confronts them about division. Now Paul hadn't visited Corinth in a while, but news of these division had traveled to him. There were some saying “I follow Paul,” and others, “I follow Apollos.” They were dividing themselves based on who they had received the message of Christ from. Needless to say this got Paul a little fired up. I can’t imagine what Paul would say if he saw the body of Christ today.
We have divided ourselves in so many ways. There are more denominations than I can even count. It wasn't always like this, but as time has progressed we keep adding more divisions, mostly based on trivial opinions. Now, in the city where I live there’s a church on practically every corner. There are Pentecostals, Baptists, Christians, Episcopalians, Assemblies of God, Lutheran and the list goes on. We've even gone as far as creating a denomination called “Non-denominational.”
Imagine if all denominations and believers worked together for the kingdom of God. There would be so much power behind that unity. As it is we barely even socialize among ourselves. This church over here is having an event, but we can’t go to it because that is not our “body”. It makes me sad.
As Paul asked those in Corinth I ask you now, “Is Christ divided?” Of course not! So why do we divide His body. We are the body of Christ and His desire is that we be perfectly united in mind and thought. It is time to stop letting all the little things get in our way and unite in Christ Jesus.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Romans 16:25-26

Romans 16:25-26 - Now to Him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey Him.

As we look at this passage we see Paul closing out his letter to the Roman church. In doing so he wants to bring focus and attention back to God and give Him all the glory. It is interesting to see how he words it and the message he conveys.
He begins, “Now to Him,” referring to God, “who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ.” Paul is referring to all that he has spoken to them and how God will use his words and the Proclamation of Jesus to establish them in their lives.
God is using the testimony of Paul and the story of Jesus to build a foundation for the Romans to live on. Now Paul continues by explaining the story of Christ; how He was the mystery that had been hidden for ages past, but now has been revealed to us. It was by God’s command that the mystery was revealed because He desires that all nations come to know Him.
God gives this revelation of Christ through the scriptures. He spoke through the prophets and so the mystery was hidden in scripture until Jesus came and brought it to light. Jesus is the fulfillment of all the scriptures and the prophecies.
Now God wants to use scripture and the proclamation of Jesus to establish you. Through the Word of God we find a foundation on which we believe in Him. That foundation is Jesus and all that He did for us. With Christ as our foundation we use the Word to build our lives around Him and obedience comes from the Love the we have from God.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Romans 15:13

Romans 15:13 - May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Our God is a God of hope. He gives us something something to look forward to. That is what hope is after all; something we are looking forward to. We live in a fallen world. There is pain and sadness all around us. Things can and will be hard, but our God is bigger than that.
God gives us something to look toward, beyond the struggles of life. He never promises an easy carefree life. You will face struggles and hard times, but He will provide a way through. Always look to Him, because He has the answers. God will not only give you what you need to get through your current struggle, He gives you something to look forward to when you get out of it.
We have the hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ. Put your faith in Him and you can rest assured that you have abundant life waiting for you. Jesus is also where our joy and peace come from. We are to be joyful always (1 Thessalonians 5:16), but without the hope of a better future it is hard to have joy in our present situation.
So then, Paul prays that our hope overflows out of us by the power of the Holy Spirit. How does our hope overflow? It overflows due to the joy and the peace. When we have that hope it brings joy to our faces and puts peace in our hearts. It will show in the way you carry yourself and people will see it.
Others will see that no matter what comes our way we put our trust in God and He gives us joy and peace. Then it will show in our countenance and we won’t even have to say anything for it to spread. People will see it and want to share in it. You will have opportunity to share about your hope that you won’t expect. Put your trust in God and let His joy and peace be evident in your life.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Romans 14:13

Romans 14:13 - Therefore let us stop passing judgement on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brothers way.

In this chapter Paul speaks of the differences of people’s faith and what it allows them to do. He talks about how for one man it is ok to eat something, say meat for example, but for another man it is not. In these examples it is not the meat itself that is any different, but it is the heart and what each man believes.
Paul says that if in your heart you do not consider something bad, then it is not, but if in your heart you consider it bad, then for you it is sin. It all comes down to a heart attitude. Paul even goes as far as saying that if you have a question in your mind whether something is right or wrong then for you it is sin; stay away from it.
So each person must decide for himself what is right and wrong. You have the Holy Spirit inside of you. Let the Spirit guide you into all Truth, because God judges the heart. Make sure your heart is right in everything you do.
Then comes the next part. “Stop passing judgement on one another.” Just because you are convicted of something and do not do it, does not mean that same conviction is for everyone else. Let each person, with the Holy Spirit inside them, make a decision for themselves what is right and wrong.
This being said, we must also be careful. People are watching you. They will see what you are doing. It may not be a sin for you, but it could be for them. If they do something that they feel is wrong because they were watching you, it will come back on you. We are to avoid all appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22). If you truly Love others you will not do anything that could cause them to stumble.