Saturday, September 23, 2006

1 Corinthians 13:4 - 7 (NLT)

4. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5.or rude.
It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

You've may have seen or heard this passage a thousand times or not. But do we stop and think when Jesus tells us to "love one another" that this is what He's talking about? Or when we say that we "love" somebody that this is what love really is? Not the popularized version that is prevalent in the world today, which mostly means "I'm hot for you!" or some such romanticized notion. This biblical definition, if adhered to, would prevent a lot of the divorces that are occurring in our society.

This is an excellent list to put before yourself every day and in every situation. Ask yourself the questions,

Am I being:



And not:






Holding a grudge

Rejoicing about injustice

But instead:

Rejoicing whenever truth wins out.

Never giving up (on the other person)

Never losing faith (in God)

Always hopeful

Enduring through every circumstance

Love God….Love one another…There's the rules, now go to work!

1 Corinthians 13:4 - 7 (TMSG) 4. Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, Doesn't have a swelled head, 5. Doesn't force itself on others, Isn't always "me first," Doesn't fly off the handle, Doesn't keep score of the sins of others, 6. Doesn't revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, 7. Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Acts 2:42 - 47 (NLT) 42. All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. 43. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. 46. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— 47. all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.

1. They devoted themselves to (continued in):
• Doctrine/teaching (learning the bible)
• Fellowship (koinonia: partnership with Christ)
• Communion: literally “breaking of bread” – Lord’s Supper
• Prayer

2. EVERY soul FEARED (God)
3. ALL were together and had ALL things in common
4. WORSHIPED each day
5. Had the Lord’s Supper in each others homes
6. Shared meals

IF NO UNITY – NO (positive) WITNESS!
Notice that verse one does not say “some of the believers.”
It does not say:
all of those aged 40-80
all of those who only like older hymns
all of those who wear suits & dresses
all of those employed full time
all of those with college degrees
all of those who are of European descent

We then have to ask ourselves, “What are we doing to embrace these differences?” Are we making young people feel comfortable? Are we doing some of the music that they like?

“WE” TAKES WORK! (Eph 4:3)
• Hebrews 3:13 (NLT) You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.
• 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NLT) So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.
• Galatians 6:1 (NLT) Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path.
• Galatians 6:7 - 10 (NLT) 7. Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. 8. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. 9. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. 10. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.

Together we can win the world for Christ with Him as our head. Love each other. Ignore stupid differences. Build bridges, not islands. ...and the greatest of these is Love.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

1 Corinthians 10:31 - 33 (NASB) Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32. Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; 33. just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved.

…do all to the glory of God.

Glory according to “” means great honor, praise, adoration, thanksgiving, majestic beauty, splendor, perfect happiness and enjoyment.

Does everything that you do (and think and say, etc.) bring honor to God? Does it cause people to praise Him? To adore Him? You get my drift. If we would ask ourselves that question before we spoke a harsh word to someone we probably wouldn’t speak it!

Just try this today. Run everything through this filter: Is what I’m about to do going to bring glory (see above definition) to God? If it won’t, skip it!

Now that isn’t an excuse to say, well I won’t go to Math class because I don’t think that will bring much glory to God. Not true. God will be happy (see definition again) that you are doing what you are supposed to be doing!

Church, this should be our filter for everything that goes on in the church building and that we initiate outside her walls. Does it bring glory to God? Is my attitude contributing to God’s glory?

Notice Paul ends this paragraph with the reason for the church’s existence – “so that they may be saved.” That will bring glory to God! If we all filter everything we do through this question of bringing God glory then people will WANT to be part of the church. They will WANT to be saved.

…do all to the glory of God.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

1 Corinthians 10:23 - 30 (NASB) 23. All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. 24. Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor. 25. Eat anything that is sold in the meat market without asking questions for conscience’ sake; 26. for the earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains. 27. If one of the unbelievers invites you and you want to go, eat anything that is set before you without asking questions for conscience’ sake. 28. But if anyone says to you, “This is meat sacrificed to idols,” do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for conscience’ sake; 29. I mean not your own conscience, but the other man’s; for why is my freedom judged by another’s conscience? 30. If I partake with thankfulness, why am I slandered concerning that for which I give thanks?

1 Corinthians 10:23 - 30 (TMSG)
23. Looking at it one way, you could say, “Anything goes. Because of God’s immense generosity and grace, we don’t have to dissect and scrutinize every action to see if it will pass muster.” But the point is not to just get by. 24. We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well. 25. With that as a base to work from, common sense can take you the rest of the way. Eat anything sold at the butcher shop, for instance; you don’t have to run an “idolatry test” on every item. 26. “The earth,” after all, “is God’s, and everything in it.” That “everything” certainly includes the leg of lamb in the butcher shop. 27. If a nonbeliever invites you to dinner and you feel like going, go ahead and enjoy yourself; eat everything placed before you. It would be both bad manners and bad spirituality to cross-examine your host on the ethical purity of each course as it is served. 28. On the other hand, if he goes out of his way to tell you that this or that was sacrificed to god or goddess so-and-so, you should pass. Even though you may be indifferent as to where it came from, he isn’t, and you don’t want to send mixed messages to him about who you are worshiping. 29. But, except for these special cases, I’m not going to walk around on eggshells worrying about what small-minded people might say; I’m going to stride free and easy, knowing what our large-minded Master has already said. 30. If I eat what is served to me, grateful to God for what is on the table, how can I worry about what someone will say? I thanked God for it and he blessed it!

One of the biggest barriers we have in this world is OURSELVES!! I want this, I want that. I like this, I like that. Give me this, give me that. We tend to be just a tad self-centered. But, Paul is telling us that is not to be the Christian mindset.

In verse 24 he tells us, “Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor.” In the book of Philippians, chapter 2 and verse 3 (NASB) he says,
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.”

We are to love our neighbors as ourselves (Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 22:39). We need to pray for help in this department because it is so unnatural! And remember, God, can do what is impossible for us. He can change our hearts.

When we begin thinking in this way, about the other person’s best interests, our churches will be places of peace without strife and jealousy. Then we can go forward in the Lord’s name, spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ as His pure, unblemished bride.

Let this be our prayer: Lord, make me more like you. Help me to think about what is best for the other person and not just myself. I want to do your will while I am here on this earth. I want to please you in everything that I do and say. AMEN

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

1 Corinthians 10:14 - 22 (NASB) 14. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 15. I speak as to wise men; you judge what I say. 16. Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ? 17. Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread. 18. Look at the nation Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices sharers in the altar? 19. What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20. No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons. 21. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 22. Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? We are not stronger than He, are we?

If we knowingly do something that many people believe supports a particular religious belief and that belief is not in the ONE TRUE GOD, then are we not wrong for doing it? Take for example the crazy things people forward in their email.

* If you do not forward this to at least 10 people then you don’t really love God

* If you do not forward this in 7 seconds bad things will happen

* If you forward this in the next 7 seconds you will have good luck all day long

You all know what I’m talking about! When you forward these messages, does that not say to the recipient on the other end that you believe them? “That’s silly,” you say. Well let me tell you there are many people who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and do believe in “luck” and “superstition.” Don’t feed that false belief. They will think you share the same beliefs by your participation. If you really feel the content of one of these messages is worth forwarding then delete the “superstitious” part.

1 Corinthians 10:19 - 22 (NLT) 19. What am I trying to say? Am I saying that food offered to idols has some significance, or that idols are real gods? 20. No, not at all. I am saying that these sacrifices are offered to demons, not to God. And I don’t want you to participate with demons. 21. You cannot drink from the cup of the Lord and from the cup of demons, too. You cannot eat at the Lord’s Table and at the table of demons, too. 22. What? Do we dare to rouse the Lord’s jealousy? Do you think we are stronger than he is?

Monday, September 18, 2006

1 Corinthians 10:13 (KJV) There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT) The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

Sometimes we think we’re all alone facing these difficult choices in life. But God’s Word says that we are definitely NOT ALONE!

Hebrews 2:18 (NASB) For since He Himself (Jesus) was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.

He is HERE for us. His Word is ALWAYS available for wise counsel. Though these things are true we must:
take the time to listen.
take the time to read His Word.

This doesn’t just hold true for individuals, it holds true for the local body of believers as well. They may be tempted to go down a road that God doesn’t want them to just because it looks glamorous. It could be the temptation to build a new building and going into debt outside of God’s timing. It could be the temptation to water down the Word of God or take the cross off of the outside of the building in order to attract new people. But God will show the church the way out of that temptation IF they are looking; IF they are listening and seeking God’s counsel through the Word and through prayer. The scripture says in Proverbs 8:17 (NASB) “I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me.” (Deuteronomy 4:29, 1 Chronicles 28:9, 2 Chronicles 15:2, Matthew 6:33)

Tempted? Seek God! ONLY He has the answer…

Hebrews 4:14 - 16 (NASB) 14. Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

1 Corinthians 10:7 - 12 (TMSG) 7. And we must not turn our religion into a circus as they did—“First the people partied, then they threw a dance.” 8. We must not be sexually promiscuous—they paid for that, remember, with twenty-three thousand deaths in one day! 9. We must never try to get Christ to serve us instead of us serving him; they tried it, and God launched an epidemic of poisonous snakes. 10. We must be careful not to stir up discontent; discontent destroyed them. 11. These are all warning markers—danger!—in our history books, written down so that we don’t repeat their mistakes. Our positions in the story are parallel—they at the beginning, we at the end—and we are just as capable of messing it up as they were. 12. Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence.

The focus of “religion” is not to be parties or dances – it is to be JESUS CHRIST.

Now, substitute the word “church” for the word religion and read that sentence.
Try substituting your name for the word religion and read it again.

Paul is simply letting us know that Christ is the center of all things and we need to treat Him that way. But we are a stubborn people and despite all that our ancestors went through (vs. 8 – 10) we don’t seem to learn! Do we really think that we can get away with doing it our own way and escape the consequences if they did not?

Some of you call yourselves Christian and are sexually promiscuous; having sexual relations outside of marriage.

Some of you call yourselves Christian and still try to get Christ to “do things for you” with no regard to what He wants you to do for Him.

Some of you call yourselves Christian and you are stirring up discontent in the body of Christ by gossiping about your brothers and sisters.

Those of you that can say, “I’m not doing any of those things” Paul cautions not to become too cocky about that because you could easily slip just as others have. We can have NO confidence in the flesh but only in Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer.

Trust Him. Love Him. Help each other. Love each other.