1 Corinthians

Respect and Reverence {1 Corinthians 11}

12:30 AM

In this chapter, Paul continues to address issues in the church of Corinth that he had heard were causing division and poor testimony.  He specifically discusses head coverings for women and the Lord's Supper, but his goal is to help Christians understand the importance of showing submission to the authority of God and proper reverence for Christ, his Son. 

“But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God."(v3). Paul lays out the hierarchy of authority God intended for believers to submit to.  God, then Christ, then man, then woman. In Bible days and all the way up to the 19th century, married women kept their hair covered as a sign of the husband being in authority over them. This is no longer a cultural norm but there is still an expectation that believers submit to authority. As women, we are to let God be sovereign over our lives and respect our husbands as the leaders of our family. 

Just today I was listening to Susie Larson speak and she made the comment "You have no authority unless you are under authority".  She went on to say that Satan tries to get us to disrespect God's authority through our unbelief and independence and how that cripples us.  But, when we get back in rank, God can empower us in our Spiritual walk. 

Paul points out that God has designated roles for men and women.  He also points out that in God's eyes, men and women both are equally valuable and interdependent. “Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.” (11-12). The roles God designed for men and women should promote love, harmony, and serve to honor Him. 

During the final 1/2 of this chapter Paul scrutinizes the behaviors of the church when they assembled together, especially when observing the Lord's Supper.  He describes a sort of free for all where reverence for what the Lord's Supper represented had been lost. Instead of focusing on self examination and what Christ gave in sacrificing his body, the supper observance had become a type of  "Happy Hour".  “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.”(27-28)
Worshiping God involves being honest with God and allowing God to purge the deepest, darkest places within us.

Even today, we have to be careful to preserve true worship for that is what we were created for...to worship the one true God.  Church is meant to be a place of social interaction but not at the expense of shutting out God. We have to be careful to show reverence to God, reverence to Christ and respect to each other as part of His body.  It's easy to become complacent and lose focus. God is not honored by our presence in a place of worship if our heart is not in a state of worship. We must be diligent to maintain a heart of worship and praise. 

1 Corinthians

Finish Strong! {1 Corinthians 10}

12:30 AM

There are those that believe, even teach that 1 Corinthians 10:13 proves that life for a believer will be wonderful! “Just follow the Lord and all your cares will disappear, for He will never give you more than you can bear!” I know that sounds very desirable and may have convinced some to follow the Lord, but that’s not at all what the verse is saying! What happens when life gets hard? What will a person think when they feel pressed on all sides, knocked down and unable to keep going? What will happen then?

I’ll bet we’ve all felt that way a time or two. Even Paul talked about it in his second letter to the Corinthians, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”(2 Corinthians 4:8-9) Yikes! I don’t see these verses being added to the recruitment pamphlet! 

It's important to note that the same word for temptation can also be used for trial and both can fit into 1 Corinthians 10:13,No [trial or] temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”

The truth is 1 Corinthians 10:13 does offer all of us hope when those trials do come and we begin to feel like we just can’t go on another step! We only need to look back to the verse to prove it! Scriptures says He will always provide us with a way of escape, so that we may endure or bear it. (1 Cor 10:13). The word for “endure” is defined as, to hold or remain firm under a load. So, to bear up under a trial or temptation does not mean that they will never come, or that it will never press you on all sides to your breaking point, but it does promise us that the Lord will provide us with a “way of escape”. We may discover however, that it comes once we realize that we can’t possibly endure another moment and we cry out to our Father for help!

There have been many times in my life when I've faced trials of some sort and managed to muddle through and survived to move on, until one year I faced such difficulties that I thought there wasn't enough strength within to keep going. I always thought of myself as the daughter striving to please everyone especially my heavenly Father, not that I was always successful, but in my mind I guess I was! But this one year, The Lord kept taking everything away; my home and moved me to a new one...my job...my church... my ministries ...my friends...my family... my children (we became empty-nesters over night)... my sense of purpose... All the while, I tried to put on a "happy-face", dawn my "rose colored glassed" and press on, until the final straw was placed and I sunk to the floor! Literally! I sat on the floor in the sitting-room where I usually met with the Lord each day and cried out to Him that I couldn't get up and keep going! All my strength had evaporated and was gone!  It was then I learned one of the most important truths we need in this life!!

When we come to the end of ourselves we'll discover that this is precisely where He wants us! Completely and utterly depending on Him!!  He desires that we,“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5). He wants us to rely on Him so completely and watch Him as He comes running to the rescue (Ezekiel 34:11-12). He tells us, "Not by [your] might nor by [your] power, but by My Spirit,' says the LORD of hosts."(Zechariah 4:6) He promised that day I would get up, but this time by HIS power and not mine! That has made all the difference in my life!!

You see, He gives us more than we can bear ourselves by design, for we would have no need for Him, nor our Savior Jesus Christ and His work on the cross, if we could do it all ourselves and if He never gave us more than we can handle on our own.

What we should be asking ourselves the next time we find ourselves facing trials or temptation, honestly everyday is, “Am I relying on the Lord’s strength or my own?” If our own, let us then remember His promises to us:
“The LORD will fight for you....” (Exodus 14:14)
"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 endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

We need to change our minds by replacing the temptation with the truths found in His word. (Romans12:1-2) And be prepared to go to battle!

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” -Ephesians 6:10-17

There is no better way to prepare for the next battle than by planting His words in your mind, (memorizing Scripture) so that His Spirit will help you recall them when needed, and finally,  “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” -Ephesians 6:18

God never promised this life would be easy, but He does promise us victory in it!! Can you remember a time when He showed up and showed off at just the right time!? I hope you'll share it with the rest of us!

1 Corinthians 9

Freedom and Discipline {1 Corinthians 9}

12:30 AM

As Christians we already look and act differently than non-Christians.  Two people on their Christian journey, look and act differently.  Paul is teaching these Corinthians and us too, that although we have a right to do whatever we want, we need to, as the old saying goes, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do”, but that does not mean that we sin to be accepted.  When your focus is on living for Christ, your rights become comparatively unimportant.

Preaching the gospel was Paul’s calling.  That may not be your calling or my calling.  Perhaps yours is hospitality or feeding the hungry, or sharing your musical talent.  We need to use our gifts to glorify God.

The Christian life involves both freedom and discipline.  The goal in Paul’s life was to glorify God and bring people to Christ.  So Paul was free from any philosophical position or material entanglements that might side track him, while he strictly disciplined himself to carry out his goal.  For Paul, both freedom and discipline were important to be used in God’s service.

Paul gave several important principles for ministry:

1)  find common ground with those you contact. 
2)  avoid a know-it-all attitude
3)  make others feel accepted
4)  be sensitive to their needs and concerns
5)  look for opportunities to tell them about Christ. 

Winning the race requires purpose and discipline.  Paul uses this illustration to explain that the Christian life takes hard work.  And if you are like me, you have discovered that the further into your relationship with Christ, the harder life becomes.  We need to work on self-denial and be prepared, by reading and studying scripture daily.  As we spend more time doing this, we become more equipped to run the race with vigor and stamina.  We cannot merely observe from the grandstand, we need to train diligently because our spiritual progress depends on it.

Self-discipline requires an honest look at our strengths and weaknesses, with emphasis on our weaknesses.  It means building the will to say no when a powerful appetite inside us screams yes.  For example, when you have self-discipline, you can
  1. Say no to friends or situations that will lead you away from Christ
  2. Say no to casual sex, saving intimacy for marriage
  3. Say no to laziness in favor of “can do” and “will do”.

Self-discipline is a long steady course in learning attitudes that do not come naturally, and channeling natural appetites toward God’s purposes.

Image result for 1 corinthians 9:22

Lord, I want to thank you for showing me my own weaknesses recently.  I want to thank you for showing me how to regain strength with You.  You Lord are my sole-source of strength.  You keep me on the straight and narrow path.  You have shown me that sin will never satisfy me or bring me peace.  You have shown me that this world will only laugh in my face.  When I give You my sins, You bring me joy.  It’s an amazing freedom that I pray everyone will enjoy!

1 Corinthians

"My Way or the Wrong Way" [1 Corinthians 8]

12:30 AM

By Lisa Moore

First Corinthians was written by Paul to the Corinth church in response to several areas in which there was confusion and division.  In chapter 8 Paul is addressing the issue of whether or not it was spiritually correct to eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols.  And in his response Paul tackles the difficult subject of how we as Christians are to balance exercising our freedom in Christ with our responsibility of restricting our freedom when it comes to edifying others.

The matter of whether or not to eat the meat may seem a trivial one to us, but to the people of Corinth it was a very important matter.  Almost all social gatherings had a religious connotation, and usually all of the meat sold in the marketplace had been sacrificed to idols in the pagan temples.  Some believers were concerned that by eating the meat they were defiling themselves or participating in idol worship.  Others who were more knowledgeable in the Gospel knew they were free to eat with no condemnation.  As 1 Timothy 4:4 tells us, "For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude."

In ancient Greek culture knowledge was everything.  The Corinthians prided themselves in all that they knew, including some members of the church.  Paul begins by explaining the difference between worldly knowledge and spiritual knowledge.  "Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge.  Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.  If anyone supposes that he knows anything he has not yet known as he ought to know; but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him.", (vs. 1-3)  Worldly knowledge can lead to arrogance and cause us to promote ourselves.  But knowledge that is led by the Spirit and expressed with godly love frees us to serve Him and His people.  

Paul then goes on to say that since as Christians they knew that, "...there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one." (v. 4),  they were free to eat the meat.  Question answered, problem solved right?  After all Paul, the founder of the church would surely be the authority on the issue.  There was his way and the wrong way.  But instead of Paul focusing on being right, he took this opportunity to teach about how as followers of Jesus we are to willingly and lovingly restrict our freedoms for the sake of others.  

Paul cautions that our behaviors can detrimentally impact those around us.  In this instance it was immature members of the church who didn't feel at liberty to eat the sacrificed meat. He warned that by seeing fellow believers partake, they would become confused, and stumble back into their old ways.  "For if someone sees you who have knowledge, dining in an idol's temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be strengthened to eat things sacrificed to idols?  For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ died.", (vs. 10-11)  

Have you ever really stopped to think about how your actions and decisions can affect fellow believers?  Have you ever been in a situation where you knew you were free in Christ to participate but declined for the benefit of another?  For example, lets say you're at a New Years Eve party.  At the strike of midnight you raise your glass of champagne ready to toast and drink.  Yet as you do, you notice a fellow Christian who struggles with alcohol watching. What do you do?  Paul tells us the right response is to set the glass down.  Better to limit our own freedom than to cause a weaker believer to sin.  It's natural for our first concern to be our needs and rights.  But if we follow the teaching of Paul, all we do will be with the view of glorifying God, edifying His people, and growing His kingdom.

We are all familiar with John 15:13 which says, "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends."  Love dictates that as followers of Jesus we want the best for all of our brothers and sisters in Christ.  But what about our prejudices, biases, opinions, rights, and political views?  We need to ask ourselves if we are willing in love to lay those down so that others can better know Jesus.   

Cherry Bars

3:00 PM

These bars were both easy and delicious. You can use any pie filling you like. For a Black Forest bar throw in some chocolate chips.

Cherry Bars

    1 Cup Butter, softened
    2 Cups Sugar
    1 Teaspoon Salt
    4 Large Eggs
    1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
    1/4 Teaspoon Almond Extract
    2 Cans (21 ounces each) Cherry Pie Filling
    1 Cup Confectioners' Sugar
    1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
    1/2 Teaspoon Almond Extract
    2 - 3 Tablespoons Milk

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in extracts. Gradually add flour.
Spread 3 cups dough into a greased 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Spread with pie filling. Drop remaining dough by teaspoonfuls over filling. Bake 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
In a small bowl, mix confectioners' sugar, extracts and enough milk to reach desired consistency; drizzle over top. 

1 Corinthians

Glory to God!

12:30 AM

Welcome to Scripture Saturday!
Today, we begin our memorization of verses found in 1 Corinthians with 6:19-20….
"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit with you, whom you have from God? You are to your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."
Here is the amplified version…
"Do you not know that your body is the temple, the very sanctuary, of the Holy Spirit Who lives with you, Whom you have received, as a Gift, from God? You are not your own. You were bought with a price, purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body."
Matthew Henry commented on these verses, and I wanted to share his wisdom….
~ Every Christian is a living temple of the living God. God dwelt in the Jewish temple, took possession of it, and resided in it, by that glorious cloud that was the token of His presence with that people. So Christ by His Spirit dwells in all true believers. The temple was devoted and consecrated to God, and set apart from every common to a holy use, to the immediate service of God. So all Christians are separated from common uses, and set apart for God and His service. They are sacred to Him—a very good argument this against all fleshly lusts, and all doctrines that give countenance to them. If we are the temples of God, we must do nothing that shall alienate ourselves from Him, or corrupt and pollute ourselves, and thereby unfit ourselves for His use; and we must hearken to no doctrine nor doctor that would seduce us to any such practices. Note, Christians are holy by profession, and should be pure and clean both in heart and conversation. We should heartily abhor, and carefully avoid, what will defile God’s temple, and prostitute what ought to be sacred to Him. ~

Have a blessed and precious day everyone!

1 Corinthians

The Blessed Knowledge of God {1 Cor. 7}

10:30 PM

By Mari Sandoval
In the previous chapter Paul writes to the Corinthians about the importance to flee from immorality. I believe we should focus on this following verse for today’s study: 12 Everything is permissible for me, but not all things are beneficial. Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything [and brought under its power, allowing it to control me].(6:12 AMP) And he continues to explain that our body is not ours anymore: It’s the Lord’s.  I like what M. Henry comments:  “The body is for the Lord; is to be an instrument of righteousness to holiness, therefore is never to be made an instrument of sin. It is an honor to the body, that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead; and it will be an honor to our bodies, that they will be raised. The hope of a resurrection to glory, should keep Christians from dishonoring their bodies by fleshly lusts. And if the soul be united to Christ by faith, the whole man is become a member of his spiritual body. ”
In our reading today Paul answers several questions regarding marriage and sexuality: Now as to the matters of which you wrote: It is good (beneficial, advantageous) for a man not to touch a woman [outside marriage].But because of [the temptation to participate in] sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.” (7:1-2)
More and more we hear of the breaking of marriages that were meant to be a commitment for life!  And not only those marriages are broken, but families are torn apart! Satan has done a great job here!
When my parents divorced, my brother and I were in our adolescence years. It was very painful! We were both to live with my mother and over the time I was convinced their marriage broke not because of anyone’s fault, but because God was not the core… the foundation of this marriage! My parents had a religion but they didn’t know God or His Precepts! When I grew older I had the opportunity to live for half a year with an extended family on my father’s side, as I was taking a job training in that city. There I saw what made a great difference in this family: they prayed and studied their Bible together. Was their marriage perfect? No, it wasn’t, but they were commited to God and to each other! I realized how badly I needed God in my life and in my family’s life! So God put a deep desire inside me and I prayed He’d grant me the opportunity to know Him and to have a family like this. I praise our Father for over the years, He answered my prayers!
There is this great resource by John Piper on today’s study. I really encourage you to read it and even take notes. ( http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/satan-uses-sexual-desire).
Here are the final words from John Piper’s message:
“Let me close by directing your attention to a passage in 1 Thessalonians 4, namely, verses 3–5. Here Paul shows the crucial difference between those governed by their passions and those who are governed by a sense of holiness and honor. "This is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from immorality; that each one of you know how to take a wife for himself in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like heathen who do not know God."
The key phrase is "who do not know God." If you ask Paul, What can I do so that I am protected from Satan's power to deceive me into sexual sin? his answer would be, Get to know God. Devote yourself to the knowledge of God. Pursue an ever-expanding vision of God…”
“In Galatians 4:8 Paul said, "Formerly when you did not know God you were in bondage to beings that by nature are no gods." Deliverance from the bondage of Satan and his forces comes through knowing God.

Or as Peter put it in his second letter (1:3, 4): "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence." The better you know the glory and excellency of God, the less power Satan will have over you. You cannot be easily deceived that Satan's way is better when you really know the way of Christ.

The only way to fight the lie of sinful pleasure is with the truth of righteous pleasure. When you come to know God fully—that "in his presence is fullness of joy and at his right hand are pleasures forevermore"—then you will have conquered Satan once for all. He is a liar and has no power over those who know God in truth.”

1 Corinthians

Seeking Counsel {1 Corinthians 6}

11:00 PM

By Becky Bramlett Austin

Paul opens this chapter with a thought provoking question for the church of Corinth. “When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints?” (v 1). Paul is obviously concerned about how this church represents Christ to the unbelieving world.  In this Greek city, judges often sat in public places to hear cases and disputes. Paul was appalled that the church did not choose to settle disputes among believers but instead, were putting their grievances against each other on display. 

There are varying opinions today about if Christians should sue others or take disputes against others to court. I think that such important steps should be taken only with careful consideration and prayer to discern God's will. I do, however wish to comment about how wonderful it has been for me personally to seek the assistance of pastors and counselors in the church. 13 years ago my husband and I were separated, living in different towns and divorce papers were sitting in the lawyers office. We had tried counseling a few times with secular counselors and I truly think it just made our circumstances more difficult to resolve.   Our pastor referred us to a Christian counselor and that made all the difference. We were able to refocus our marriage on Christ and just this year celebrated 25 years of marriage. God used that crisis in our lives to glorify Christ. Christian counseling has been invaluable to me on several other occasions as well.

It makes sense that the body of Christ should be equipped to help believers with conflicts, and relationship challenges. Paul asks a 2nd question. 

“Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!” (v3) Wow!  A glimpse into our future roles as we reign with Christ!  Very exciting I think. But even today, Christ through the Word and the Spirit imparts wisdom to us and he teaches us about doing life with each other.  If our focus is to glorify Christ, then our behavior toward each other is of great importance. 

This also is true in our intimate relationships with others. In this age of "casual sex" and immoral lifestyles on display all around us, we have to be careful just as in the days of immoral Corinth. Paul reminds us that our intimate relationships are meant to glorify and honor God. There is no such thing in God's eyes as "casual sex".  We are meant to be a temple. 

‭‭“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (v19-20)

Paul reminds us of how special we are in God's eyes.  How He takes our sinful condition and transforms us:
“..But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." (v11)
WASHED: Isaiah 1:18

"Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.

SANCTIFIED: Colossians 1:21-22
And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach--
JUSTIFIED: 2 Cor 5:21
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (KJV)
We represent God to a lost world.  The lifestyle choices we make tell the world about Christ.  How we deal with our differences and disputes also tell the world about Christ.  The world is self- seeking and focused on " my rights". As His body, the church should be well equipped to offer help and counseling. Even when faced with difficulties and injustices,  our focus should be "serving Christ, serving each other".

1 Corinthians

What Do You Do With The Leaven Among You? {1 Corinthians 5}

12:30 AM

We’ve come to a very difficult subject and chapter! But that’s the beauty of this study, for there’s no getting around it; we must face it head-on and deal with this today! What do we do with those who are in sin and unwilling to repent?

I take comfort in knowing that the young church was dealing with this issue almost from the time of it’s conception, for clearly this chapter is still very relevant today! My husband and I work in the counseling  room at our church once a month and we see more and more couples, who are opening living together and not married yet, coming to join the church these days. What are we supposed to do about that? What would you do? What do we do with believers who choose to live contrary to the Scriptures set before us?

First, it’s imperative to note that Paul is talking about a believer, for many today seem to be confused and tend to treat believers and nonbelievers alike, and that’s clearly not the case, for how would we ever be able to bring a person to Jesus if we treated them as someone who already knows the truth and chooses to rebel against it?

Secondly, it’s also important to note that in this chapter, sin is running rampant throughout the whole body and not just in this one individual. Notice, “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this?” 5:1-2 (emphasis mine)

Pride shows up many different ways; criticism, competition, stubbornness and boasting among others.The trouble with pride is it’s self-deceiving. Usually everyone else can see it in us but us. Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride leads to destruction; a proud attitude brings ruin”. Pride destroys relationships, but humility builds them up! 1 Peter 3:8, “Live in harmony, be sympathetic, love each other, have compassion, and be humble”.

Can you see why Paul needs to deal with not just this man’s sin, but the whole body’s?
How are they going to do away with the pride and grow in humility?

It happens by letting Jesus Christ begin to control our thoughts, hearts, attitudes and actions. He’s got to be a part of this. Ephesians 4:23-24 says, “Let the Spirit change your way of thinking and make you into a new person”. The basic law of relationships is this: We tend to become like the people we spend the most time with. Those who are sanctified and holy, will genuinely lead us to become holier, and those who are habitually walking in sin, can cause us to let down our guard and lean towards sinful ways. Notice what Paul is saying in 5:6-8, “Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough?  Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.  Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Matthew Henry explains what Paul is saying this way: “The Jews, after they had killed the passover, kept the feast of unleavened bread. So must we; not for seven days only, but all our days. We should die with our Saviour to sin, be planted into the likeness of his death by mortifying sin, and into the likeness of his resurrection by rising again to newness of life, and that internal and external. We must have new hearts and new lives. Note, The whole life of a Christian must be a feast of unleavened bread.”

If we want to have more humility, we need to spend time with Jesus Christ. When we spend time with Him in prayer and reading His Word and talking to him we will become more like Him. He is the epitome of humility, and as we get to know him better, we will grow in humility rather than pride. Simple as that, and hopefully we’ll become a positive influence on others.

“Be humble and give more honor to others than to yourselves …. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to”.

This MUST happen first, and then we will be ready to deal with the leaven, or sin among us. 1 Corinthians 5:13 seems rather harsh, “Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.” Cast him out of your fellowship, and avoid his conversation.”

Again let me enlist the help of Matthew Henry, “But, as to members of the church, they are within, are professedly bound by the laws and rules of Christianity, and not only liable to the judgment of God, but to the censures of those who are set over them, and the fellow-members of the same body, when they transgress those rules. Every Christian is bound to judge them unfit for communion and familiar converse. They are to be punished, by having this mark of disgrace put upon them, that they may be shamed, and, if possible, reclaimed thereby: and the more because the sins of such much more dishonour God than the sins of the openly wicked and profane can do.”

It seems harsh, but it is done in the hopes that this individual will repent and come back to walk uprightly with God once more. To continue to remain silent and thereby condoning his actions would never bring about change and could lead others and even yourself to follow their ways.

We should correct a brother or sister when you see a pattern of sin that calls his or her salvation into question. If we love our brothers and sister then we will carefully point out their sins. Remaining silent in the face of ongoing rebellion against God will not bring change. If we truly love God and others, we should want to do all we can to right their relationships with God and others. Our love for God and His people should make us zealous to speak out, to be in accountability groups where private sins can be addressed, and to build relationships where we move beyond superficial relationships and move to more deep and intimate levels were we can work to build others up and move them further along on our journey with our Savior and Lord.

Servants of Christ {I Corinthinas 4}

12:00 AM

As Christians we are constantly being watched. I have to tell you that the word Christian is not a true meaning of who we are in Christ. Lots of people today call themselves Christians and do not live out their lives in a Christ-like way. We are servants of Christ and our lives will show it.

1-So look at Apollos and me as mere servants of Christ who have been put in charge of explaining God’s mysteries. 2-Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful. 3-As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point. 4-My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide. 5-So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.

Paul and Apollos are an example to all of us. They were faithful, not worrying about what others were saying about them. The only One Who mattered to them was the Lord, Himself. He will examine them. Do you take time to ask Him to examine you in your walk with Him?

Psalm 139:24-25 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

6-Dear brothers and sisters, I have used Apollos and myself to illustrate what I’ve been saying. If you pay attention to what I have quoted from the Scriptures, you won’t be proud of one of your leaders at the expense of another. For what gives you the right to make such a judgment? 7-What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift? 8-You think you already have everything you need. You think you are already rich. You have begun to reign in God’s kingdom without us! I wish you really were reigning already, for then we would be reigning with you.

Everything that we have is given to us from God! It is all a gift from Him so that we will not boast. Pride! Watch carefully how your attitude is. Are you boastful in yourself or in Him?

9-Instead, I sometimes think God has put us apostles on display, like prisoners of war at the end of a victor’s parade, condemned to die. We have become a spectacle to the entire world—to people and angels alike. 10-Our dedication to Christ makes us look like fools, but you claim to be so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are so powerful! You are honored, but we are ridiculed. 11-Even now we go hungry and thirsty, and we don’t have enough clothes to keep warm. We are often beaten and have no home. 12-We work wearily with our own hands to earn our living. We bless those who curse us. We are patient with those who abuse us. 13-We appeal gently when evil things are said about us. Yet we are treated like the world’s garbage, like everybody’s trash— right up to the present moment. 14-I am not writing these things to shame you, but to warn you as my beloved children. 15-For even if you had ten thousand others to teach you about Christ, you have only one spiritual father. For I became your father in Christ Jesus when I preached the Good News to you. 16-So I urge you to imitate me.

To so many we look like we are insane. I have family members who think I am....and have for a long time. Just think of all the things that we go through walking with Jesus, just like Paul and Apollos.

II Tim. 2: 24-26 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants. I often use these verses when dealing with difficult people. It changes my focus towards them.

17-That’s why I have sent Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord. He will remind you of how I follow Christ Jesus, just as I teach in all the churches wherever I go. 18-Some of you have become arrogant, thinking I will not visit you again. 19-But I will come—and soon—if the Lord lets me, and then I’ll find out whether these arrogant people just give pretentious speeches or whether they really have God’s power. 20-For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power. 21-Which do you choose? Should I come with a rod to punish you, or should I come with love and a gentle spirit?

Wow some powerful words from Paul! Let's not just talk about it but let our lives show how we live out His power in our lives.

Father, We are nothing without You. Thank You for Your free gift of salvation through Jesus' shed blood on the cross. May we never be boastful in ourselves but always giving You the glory. As we go through trials help us to be relying on You and not complaining and boasting about what we are doing. May we go from Your strength to Your strength. Help us to encourage our brothers and sisters along the way and stop pointing fingers at what they are doing wrong. Just point them to You, Jesus and Your Word. It is only You Who can bring the healing and salvation that they need. May we be eager to serve You everyday of our lives. Amen
Lyn Steriti

1 Corinthians

Stuck In The Mud {1 Cor. 3}

2:16 AM

Because of its command of the trade routes between Asia and Rome, the city of Corinth was quite the melting pot.  People from around the world came to buy and sell their wares.  It was known both for its fierce competition and immorality.  Paul was very frustrated to find that the church he founded years before was still being infected by that same immoral nature of the culture.  And so he begins with, "And I brethren could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ.  I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it.  Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly.  For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?" (vs. 1-3)

I'm sure that Paul was hoping to find the faith of the church at Corinth to have matured and grown since His last visit.  He was probably looking forward to being able to share even deeper and more meaningful teachings with them.  Instead he found them still spiritually immature, full of divisions, and living for their fleshly desires.  They were what is known as a carnal Christian.

The word carnal comes from the Greek word "sarkikos" which literally means fleshly.  A carnal Christian is one who has accepted Christ as their Savior, yet still live their lives by the lust of the flesh.  Although they have received salvation, they don't have a personal relationship with The Lord.   They do not grow spiritually mature, including learning to control the desires of the flesh.  All of us have areas in our lives where we live carnally.  Strongholds whose walls need to be torn down and given to God.  We are all works in progress, and for me at least it seems as though it's one step forward and two steps back.   Even Paul himself knew the feeling of the pull of the flesh.  In Romans 7:18-19 he says, "For I know that nothing good dwells in me that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.  For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want."

The battle between the flesh and the spirit is a constant one. It takes strength and perseverance.  It's hard.  And even with the best of intentions, we fail daily.  No wonder many believers seem to get stuck in the mud.  Never moving forward, eventually becoming content with the same scenery day after day.  But Jesus made it clear that being a believer is about more than a "get out of hell free" card.  It's about growth, change, and action.  James reminds us, "If anyone is a hearer of the word and is not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was." (James 1:23-24).

  Our goal as believers is to be constantly maturing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord.  To not be content to stay where we are.  To stop spinning our wheels and move forward in our spiritual walk.  And in doing so God promises us victory.  For as Paul assures us in Philippians 1:6, "For I am confident of this very thing, that the He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus."  So how about you?  Are you content to sip on milk, or are you craving a thick juicy steak?


The Roman Road to Salvation Part 4

12:30 AM

Welcome to Scripture Saturday!
We complete our memorization (or reviewing) the verses that make up “The Roman Road.”  The verse for today is 10:13
~“For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”
Anyone and everyone who accepts Jesus’ gift, or “calls on His name,” will receive God’s salvation.
I pray that you all have hidden all these Romans Road verses in your heart…for to God be the glory and for all to know Jesus as their Savior!
Have a blessed and precious day everyone!

1 Corinthians

All that God Has prepared for Those who Love Him {1 Corinthians 2}

10:30 PM

By Mari Sandoval

As we read the first chapter of 1 Corinthians, we find Paul writing to a Church in which both Jews and Gentiles were trying to mold their old beliefs into the new Christian Church. Most of the members were Gentiles, and the apostle had to contend with the superstition of the one, and the sinful conduct of the other.  There was great disagreement among them, so Paul’s letter is reminding them that in Christ we are called to be ONE (1Corinth. 1:10-17).  In today’s chapter Paul continues: “And when I came to you, brothers and sisters, proclaiming to you the [a]testimony of God [concerning salvation through Christ],”…” And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom [using clever rhetoric], but [they were delivered] in demonstration of the [Holy] Spirit [operating through me] and of [His] power [stirring the minds of the listeners and persuading them], so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom and rhetoric of men, but on the power of God.” (2:1, 4-5)

Paul lived among the Corinthians for about a year and a half (Acts 18), and all this time he preached to them not with persuasive words, but with his testimony: a life filled with total surrender and the power of the Holy Spirit! 

This reminds me of the lives of two young men whom I love: both my sons-in-law.  They have a similar background. They both come from dysfunctional homes and their mothers had to work hard to put a plate of soup on their tables. One grew up in a very poor cottage in a country in Southern Africa, the other one in a very poor neighborhood in Southern Mexico. They both found Jesus as teenagers and knew that the only way their families would one day come to Christ’s Salvation was to become living witnesses among their families. To bring their families out of poverty was one of the desires God had set in their hearts and they HAD to hold on to His Promises and to walk in obedience. 

Most of us know this next verse by heart:
Things which the eye has not seen and the ear has not heard,
And which have not entered the heart of man,
All that God has prepared for those who love Him [who hold Him in affectionate reverence, who obey Him, and who gratefully recognize the benefits that He has bestowed].” (Vs. 9)

I like the following comment to this verse: "These words have been applied to the state of glory in a future world; but certainly they belong to the present state, and express merely the wondrous light, life, and liberty which the Gospel communicates to them that believe in the Lord Jesus Christ in that way which the Gospel itself requires." (Clarke)

Isn’t it a wonderful promise? Well, these young men worked hard in their spiritual and personal life, and even went through hardship as they continued in their Christian walk.  They both have faithfully served in their Churches and the have served and cared for their mothers and siblings!

The young African man earned his scholarship to one of the best Universities in England and has a Master’s degree and is now working for a great company in Africa. One of his siblings not only received Christ as His Savior but is now a Pastor!

The young Mexican man could not finish school due to a disease that nearly made him blind, but he became a successful carpenter and now runs his own business.  They are both excellent husbands to my daughters and awesome parents to our grand-children! Our family has been deeply blessed by their lives and their testimonies!

But at the same time I sadly realize there are still many of my extended family and friends who are still living in their natural mind!  “But the natural [unbelieving] man does not accept the things [the teachings and revelations] of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness [absurd and illogical] to him; and he is incapable of understanding them, because they are spiritually discerned and appreciated, [and he is unqualified to judge spiritual matters].” (Vs.14 AMP)

M. Henry explains the following last verses: “The spiritual man only, is the person to whom God gives the knowledge of his will. How little have any known of the mind of God by natural power! And the apostles were enabled by his Spirit to make known his mind. In the Holy Scriptures, the mind of Christ, and the mind of God in Christ, are fully made known to us. It is the great privilege of Christians, that they have the mind of Christ revealed to them by his Spirit. They experience his sanctifying power in their hearts, and bring forth good fruits in their lives.”

Yes thank you Lord! I pray this may become a reality in the lives of our loved ones, too!