SCRIPTURE FROM: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (TPT)
TEXT: 4 Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. 5 Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. 6 Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. 7 Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up.
OBSERVATION: No doubt Paul had to clear up some misunderstanding about this action, and about this word that people often use so loosely – Love. I believe that God foreknew that His children today would need to be very clear about this word also, so He had Paul include it in our Book of Instruction – the Bible. Let’s meditate on this today and see where God might lead us, as He speaks to us through His Word….
APPLICATION: We are told throughout the Bible, that ‘God is love’, so anytime we think of this action or this word, we should think of how this might help us be a little more perfect in our love for each other. In the verses above, we are reminded by Paul that if we want to live our lives like our Father – consistently expressing love from the very depths of our heart, then there are some attributes that will be evident in us. Have you ever been praised for being incredibly patient; or gentle; or consistently kind to everyone; or so happy for others when blessings come their way; or one who deflects praise and self importance and therefore never brags about self achievements; not one who looks for ways to shame and disrespect others in an effort to make self shine above everything else; not irritable or quick to take offense; Joyfully celebrates honesty, but will not reflect delight in what is wrong; and because love always believes in and wants the best for others, it is considered a safe place for others to relax in and enjoy. Love never gives up, and I therefore pray that no one reading my blog today will ever give up, but always seek the attributes of ‘Love’ – the love of Jesus! In these verses, try replacing the word ‘Love’ with your name in the Scripture today, and see if there are any phrases, or attributes that you need to quickly kneel before the Master and seek His face on. I believe there is nothing more that He would delight in, than to help us walk upright and in His image, but He wants to know that we want that, so ask Him dear friends!
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, we know that You can blow us away today with the many inadequacies You see in us, compared to Your message through Paul that we looked at today. Please forgive us precious Lord, and give us the strength and boldness to redirect our determination and, instead be determined to be more like You every day. In a world of stress and hatred, we pray that Your love will shine through us consistently, until You call us home to glory. AMEN!
SCRIPTURE FROM: 1 Corinthians 12:6-7 (TLB)
TEXT: 6 There are many ways in which God works in our lives, but it is the same God who does the work in and through all of us who are his. 7 The Holy Spirit displays God’s power through each of us as a means of helping the entire church.
OBSERVATION: I believe in these verses Paul intended to help the church to know the importance of drawing close to God so that He could draw close to them and use them for the enrichment of each other. This speaks volumes to the church today, because when we go off doing our own thing it might only benefit our small circle of friends, however when we allow the Holy Spirit to direct us into action and showing love one to another, we will see the church (God’s body of believers) enriched, blessed and uplifted. How do you feel like you’re doing in this, friends?
APPLICATION: If we were to sit down and evaluate how we are doing individually, I believe that Satan will automatically drive our thoughts possibly towards the pastor and what he could be doing differently, or more of. Satan might also drive us towards all that we’ve heard about other leaders in the church, or even members that we’ve always looked up to. You know what I mean, it’s everyone else’s fault – except yours. Really, friends? Do we really believe that there are any here that are perfect, like Jesus Christ was? Paul took a moment to express to the church that it is only because of the grace of God, and the power of God, working in and through us (the church) that anything could be accomplished for Him. Oh that we would never be so bold and/or stupid enough to study God’s Word, or teach His Word to others or preach His Word, without the full cooperation and help of the Holy Spirit. We are His instruments, and therefore He uses us to speak to His children, so that their hearts may be drawn to Jesus. That whole encounter is a ‘Jesus thing’ that we never want to mess up. May we all be faithful and true, so that we may be used of God to spread the gospel in all walks of life, so that Jesus might tug on the hearts of all who are touched by Him.
PRAYER: Thank You Lord Jesus for touching my heart, thank You for making me whole. Please give my believing readers and I, the boldness and determination to reach out to all those that we will come into contact with today, and as we merely brush up alongside these individuals, I pray that You will penetrate their hearts and draw them unto Yourself. Oh that they will see Jesus today, and come to know Him personally and intimately as their Savior and Lord. Today may be the day that many will come to know You as Lord, but I also realize that today may be the day that You call many home to Yourself. May Your perfect will be done dear Lord, AMEN!
SCRIPTURE FROM: Job 33:15-19 (GNT)
TEXT: 15 At night when people are asleep,
God speaks in dreams and visions.
16 He makes them listen to what he says,
and they are frightened at his warnings.
17 God speaks to make them stop their sinning
and to save them from becoming proud.
18 He will not let them be destroyed;
he saves them from death itself.
19 God corrects us by sending sickness
and filling our bodies with pain.
OBSERVATION: Like many of us, Job was feeling down trodden, and like God may not be on his side throughout this ordeal of total loss. In fact, Job shared that he felt God had removed Himself from him. Now because everything gave the appearance that Job could have ‘thrown in the towel’ at any given moment, a few friends who felt they could help Job, came with words of advice. Fortunately, these words of advice are also helpful to us today, so we will look into a time of meditation about the ways that God speaks to us.
APPLICATION: When we are in the middle of despair, it is challenging for us to talk to God and seek the positive He is trying to achieve through our despair. When we are praying for the next big thing in our life, it is extremely challenging to think positive about that, when suddenly things start going wrong, or at least totally opposite to what we had envisioned. Job was a very godly man, but he was still very much human just like us. Granted, he was stronger than most of us, because when his wife had about as much as she could take, she suggested to Job that he should just curse God and move on with his life. However, there were friends who came along, perhaps accountability partners, and tried to help Job face this crisis in his life with a view on God. Friends, when we are praying in one direction asking for a specific thing to happen or take place for us, don’t we tend to brush off the other answers or direction that we obviously receive from God as our ‘not hearing from God’? Shouldn’t we stop at times and accept the answer as ‘No’, instead of pressing on with begging God because we feel like obviously God is silent on our request? I heard a pastor say at one time that he felt called by God to our church, and he felt obligated to remain there until he felt the call to go elsewhere, not because he got a better offer from the church down the road. Often we pray because of a better offer Satan is prodding us along with, but when we ask God for His direction, it means that we know that the answer could be ‘Yes’, but it could be a challenging ‘No’ also. Oh that God would teach His children to not come before Him to ratify their decision, but instead to seek His perfect will for their life, and seek His direction on how to accomplish His will in a way pleasing to Him. Job’s friend, Elihu, gave Job and us, an excellent reminder of some of the ways that God might choose to speak to us. Are you listening friend? And are you ready and willing to obey the Master wholeheartedly, regardless of anything else that may happen all around you? Let’s seek God with all our heart, and be willing to obey Him with all our mind, soul and being.
PRAYER: Oh that more of us will pray as young Samuel once prayed, ‘Speak Lord, for thy servant heareth’. For many of us pray to You oh Lord, and we tell You what we want and how we want it, and unless You knock us up alongside our head, we walk away assuming that we have Your blessing on our newest project that we came up with. Lord, if we are truly going to listen to You, I feel like we need to come before You like empty vessels waiting to be filled and directed by You. Please Lord, teach us to pray aright. Help us to come before You with no personal agendas and listen carefully to what You would have us to say, to do, to be, and to reflect in the eyes and minds of others. Your will is what we desire Lord, please teach us how to accomplish that. AMEN!
SCRIPTURE FROM: 1 Corinthians 10:30-33 (TLB)
TEXT: 30 If I can thank God for the food and enjoy it, why let someone spoil everything just because he thinks I am wrong? 31 Well, I’ll tell you why. It is because you must do everything for the glory of God, even your eating and drinking. 32 So don’t be a stumbling block to anyone, whether they are Jews or Gentiles or Christians. 33 That is the plan I follow, too. I try to please everyone in everything I do, not doing what I like or what is best for me but what is best for them, so that they may be saved.
OBSERVATION: Paul had to teach the Corinthian church that they needed to get their eyes off self, and think about what God would have them do in order to reach the hearts of others. This is still very applicable today, for individually we look for the best churches to attend and where our needs, wants and wishes may be met. These verses reminds us that there are many more important reasons to look for….
APPLICATION: I heard a pastor say that living the Christian life is challenging because it is totally opposite of what the world expects. So reading these verses, we might ask ourselves how can we possibly follow Christ in our everyday life, yet please those we come into contact with, who may have no desire to know Him. Paul teaches us to always keep the ultimate goal in mind – that they may know Christ. Would you be willing to set time aside today to think about how you might change some of your actions and/or reactions, so that others may learn to trust you and the message of Jesus Christ that you aim to share with them? This is a bit tougher than we might imagine, because at a very early age we are taught to: stay away from people who are known for causing trouble; or people that don’t like your friends; but instead act like you are taught at home. Don’t speak like others, but like one who has been redeemed by the blood of Jesus. Please don’t get me wrong, I truly believe that these things will happen from time to time, but when your mind is on the ultimate goal of seeing your friends, or neighbors, or neighborhoods won to the Lord, then your approach on each of the things mentioned will be much more compassionate and loving – even with total strangers. I believe that the key lesson here today is that we get our eyes off self, and off the bad guys and girls in our neighborhood, and instead look at them as gems desired by God. Seeing a total change in one’s life and character is of so much joy to us and to our Lord, that it could totally force us to overlook the bad and/or the evil when they are unawares of God’s perfect love. We are ambassadors for Christ, not selfish for all the ways we could be blessed.
PRAYER: Thank You Lord Jesus for saving my soul. Thank You for also touching the hearts and lives of my readers. Lord, I pray that You would use these words today to draw us even closer to You, so that we may be of some heavenly good to those that we come into contact with. May they not only see Jesus in us, but may they also feel the tug of Jesus upon their heart
SCRIPTURE FROM: 1 Corinthians 10:13 (TLB)
TEXT: 13 But remember this—the wrong desires that come into your life aren’t anything new and different. Many others have faced exactly the same problems before you. And no temptation is irresistible. You can trust God to keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it, for he has promised this and will do what he says. He will show you how to escape temptation’s power so that you can bear up patiently against it.
OBSERVATION: Paul wanted his parishioners to know that there is nothing wrong with them, just because they sometimes felt like temptations may not have disappeared since they listened to him and accepted Jesus as their Savior. He wanted them to know that others have faced the same challenge before them, however there is help for the problem. I feel like since we are burdened with the same challenge today, we should meditate on this and seek God’s face and direction for our personal lives…..
APPLICATION: I’m sure that like me, you sometimes feel like Satan must pour out more of his power on Christians than anyone. For we hear about so many pastors and Bible teachers who are tempted into public sin. We hear about so many failed marriages, and there seems to be little difference if that marriage consists of pagans, or believers in Jesus Christ. So what’s the secret? Well, Paul reminded us that there is One who is greater than us, and all of our challenges and temptations. He has already proven Himself in multitudes of ways, and because we know Him and know of His awesome power, we can confidentially trust Him and go to Him for the strength and wisdom needed to overcome the temptation that is knocking! Friends, we know that the Master loves us, and that He cares for us. We know that He has gone to prepare a place for us where there will be no more sin, nor temptation, for we will be in the presence of our Savior and His Father, God Almighty – forever! So knowing that He can supply our every need, including temptation, and knowing that there’s much better things ahead for us, may I ask what might be holding you back from these wonderful blessings? Will you not seek, so that you can find that peace in knowing Jesus as Lord? He cares for you my friend!
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I believe that we have learned from this verse in Corinthians, that we will face temptation, no matter what worldly title we might carry here on earth. However, we have also learned that You have the power to not only handle all of our problems, but that You are also capable of helping us steer away from temptation and the downfall that often follows that weakness. Please help us to always keep our eyes fixed on You, and have our minds made up that we will serve you until the end of life as we know it here on earth. Lord, how we look forward to being at Your feet in glory for ever and for ever, AMEN!