2 Corinthians

Forgiveness... A Stronghold Against Satan {2Corinthians 2}

1:30 AM

In a previous visit to Corinth, known as the "painful visit",  Paul's authority had been openly challenged by a member of the Corinthian church.  Disheartened by the lack of defense for him by fellow church members, Paul returned to Ephesus.  There he wrote what is called the "severe letter" insisting the church turn away from their sinful actions and the offending brother be disciplined.  To Paul's joy, a majority of the Corinthian Christians responded by repenting of their rebellion against him and punishing the committer of the offense. Deciding that the time was still not right for another visit,  Paul instead writes this second letter explaining his reasons for his change in travel plans, his desire to spare the church more distress, and the important role of forgiveness in discipline.

Paul begins by saying, "But I determined this for my own sake, that I would not come to you in sorrow again. For if I cause you sorrow, who then makes me glad but the one whom I made sorrowful?" (vs. 1:2)  Paul was still feeling the sting of disappointment and rejection. His last visit was plagued with conflict and he didn't want to take the chance of damaging further his relationship with the Corinthian church. He thought it best to send a letter to pour out his heart and test the waters for a future trip.  Sometimes in strained relationships it's better to take a step back. Often times putting our thoughts and feelings in a letter instead of directly confronting the situation can help soften the rough patches and prevent the deterioration of a relationship.  

Now Paul moves on to the discipline of the one who had publicly rebelled against him. The church had done what Paul had asked and punished the offender, perhaps even too harshly. And so Paul tells them that although the punishment was correct, now was the time for forgiveness. "Sufficient for such a one is this punishment which was inflicted by the majority, so that on the contrary, you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. Wherefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him." (vs. 6:8)  As Christians it's important to remember that discipline is meant for restoration and renewal, not retribution and rejection.  Never is the goal of discipline to beat someone down so emotionally and spiritually that their spirits become broken leaving them full of despair and hopelessness.  Always discipline must be tempered with love and followed by forgiveness.

Paul understood the stronghold forgiveness provides against the schemes of Satan. "But one whom you forgive anything, I forgive also; for indeed what I have forgiven , if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ, so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes." (vs. 10:11)   The devil has many tricks in his bag of deception and unforgiveness is one of them.  He reminds us of the many ways a person has wronged us. How they should be made to feel guilt and shame. But by casting aside the lies of the enemy and choosing to forgive, we prevent bitterness from taking hold and festering in our spirits.  Bitterness only builds a wall between our hearts and God, and gives Satan a foothold in our lives.  And worst of all, it can cause us to exhibit behavior that might lead others away from God.

In Hebrews 12:15 we are told, "See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it may be defiled."  As followers of Jesus we are to show the grace of God to all we meet.  We are His ambassadors in the world.  And as Paul tells us in verse 15 we are, "...a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing." Our lives should be such a testimony of the love and grace of Jesus that it is a light to those who would receive it, and condemnation to those who would reject it.  Ephesians 5:2 says that Christ loved us so much that He became a substitute for us and gave Himself up, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  Because of His sacrifice we are the aroma of Christ to God.  An aroma we should wear proudly, lovingly, and obediently.  So today ask yourself this....what fragrance are you wearing?


Apple Galette

2:00 PM

Easy and delicious, this galette was a light alternative to apple pie. Great served with a dusting of powdered sugar or a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Apple Galette

1 single pie crust 
1/2 cup sugar
4 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 egg beaten and mixed with 1 tbsp. water
3-4 cups thinly sliced, peeled apples (3 to 4 medium)
1 tsp. sugar
2 tbsp. chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Roll out crust and place on paper in center of baking sheet.  In a large bowl combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Gently stir in apples.  Spoon apple mixture onto center of crust, spreading to within 2 inches of edge.  Fold crust edge over filling to form 2-inch border, pleating crust as necessary.  Dot with two tablespoons of unsalted butter if desired.  Brush crust edge with egg water mixture and sprinkle with sugar.  Cover crust with foil and bake 15 minutes.  Remove foil, sprinkle with pecans and bake 5-15 minutes longer, or u till crust is golden brown and apples are tender.

1 Corinthians

Self-less Love…a Priority for Every Christian

12:30 AM

Welcome to Scripture Saturday!

Today, we complete our memorization of verses found in 1 Corinthians with 13:7-8a...

"Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

Paul describes how love acts…Love is not talk; it is action."

~Love bears all things…In this verse I like to think of the word “bear” to mean:  protect by covering.  Love protects others. Love doesn’t broadcast the problems of others, it doesn’t put down another. This love defends others in truth.
~Love believes all things…this does not mean to be gullible, but it means that love is not suspicious and doubting of others’ character or motives.

~Love hopes all things…it rests on the promises of God.  He is working all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.  Love always hopes.

~Love endures all things…enduring = sustaining…holding up under trial, persevering through difficulties.  It means that love hangs in there.  It is a positive spirit that sticks it out through tough times.

That’s how love acts.  It is self-less, directed to another person or persons. Is it difficult?  Yes…this love that I described is perfect and only God is perfect.  This is how God loves. And we should strive to love as God loves…

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” (1 John 4:7)

Now reread our memory verse and replace “love” with “Christ”…
(Christ) bears all things, (Christ) believes all things, (Christ) hopes all things, (Christ) endures all things. (Christ) never ends.

Have a blessed and precious day everyone!

2 Corinthians

The God of Comfort {2 Corinthians 1}

1:38 AM

By Angie Benjamin

This second letter from Paul to the believers in Corinth, is a very personal letter. Paul sends this letter to thank and encourage those who have been faithful to him as well as he shares some personal insights and struggles to encourage people in the church.

One of the biggest topics in this letter is that the believer is a new creation in Christ Jesus, we are also made the righteousness of God, meaning that we are in a right standing with God. Our past sins have been washed away and have no longer the power to influence us anymore. God trades our sins for a new heart as we continually renew our minds.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. - 2 Cor. 3-5

Times of suffering and trials are a part of everyone’s life. It’s something that we cannot avoid.
At some point we’ll all experience disappointment, hurt, mistreat….the loss of something or someone and failure.

But there is hope. Because God wants to comfort when you need it.

God in many instances uses people to comfort us, but people can only do a certain amount for us. Even those people who are extremely close to us cannot give us everything we need. It’s unfair for us to expect others to do for us only what God can. When our expectations are in the wrong place we’re in for disappointment.

No comfort is as good as God’s. The Holy Spirit is actually called “the comforter” (John 14:26). His various names describe His character and what He wants to do for His children. God offers His comfort if we only ask, if we’re only willing to receive His help.

So today, whether God uses a person to comfort you or He Himself comforts you by the Holy Spirit, remember who He is…remember Him as you comforter, ask and receive his comfort whenever you need it.

Be blessed x

1 Corinthians 16

Do All In Love [ 1 Corinthians 16 ]

12:30 AM

This is the final chapter in 1 Corinthians and Paul closes this book with a letter of encouragement and endearment to the church of Corinth.  Included are some timeless principles that we can apply. 

Sharing Our Prosperity:  Paul encourages the members of this church to consistently give some of the resources God has blessed them with to be sent to the saints in Jerusalem. “On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come.” (v2)  God wants us to realize that all we have comes from Him.  When He prospers us, we have opportunity to pass that blessing on as a cheerfully offered gift toward the Lord's work.  "As every man purposeth in his heart, so let him give, not grudgingly or out of compulsion; for God loveth the cheerful giver. (2 Cor.  9:7)"

Spending Time With Others: There are resources of money and provisions that can be collected and given to God's ministry, but another important investment we can make is spending valuable time with others. Paul was a busy man but he made it a priority to spend time forming relationships with others which is a true discipleship ministry. “For I do not want to see you now just in passing. I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits." (v7) He also expected to gain from these relationships and I think we can always gain from spending time with each other in the Lord.  “and perhaps I will stay with you or even spend the winter, so that you may help me on my journey, wherever I go.” (v6) It is a beautiful relationship when people can  mutually benefit one another. 

Welcoming and Supporting Others:  Throughout this letter Paul mentions others visiting this group of believers.  He wants this church to reflect the love of Christ in how they welcome those who visit. He encourages them to be supportive, non-judgmental, and to put others "at ease". It can be awkward and uncomfortable for others to visit a church.  It can mean so much when we offer more than a casual, brief handshake or smile of greeting.  " To put someone at ease" means we make genuine connection. 

Remain In Christ:  “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” (v13-14). Paul exhorts this church to be vigilant, strong and faithful.  What's wonderful, I think, is that the warrior image he paints for us includes a very important character quality...sacrificial love.  What a difference it would make if we could do all (including the mundane, difficult, unpleasant, and seemingly unrewarding tasks) with Christ's love. 

I hope that reading this letter to the church of Corinth has  inspired you to give of your resources and talents,  to invest time and genuine interest in others through discipleship, to extend comfort and hospitality that welcomes others into God's family, and to focus on being a channel and example of Christ's love in all that you do. 

1 Corinthians

Be Steadfast ... {1 Corinthians 15}

12:30 AM

    Paul grabbed my attention on the very first verse of chapter 15! “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.-15:1. Is it really necessary to be reminded of something we should already know? You-bet-IT-is!

I remember one Sunday as a new Christian, sitting next to a much maturer Christian women that I highly respected, in a ladies’ Sunday School class. The class was being taught by the pastor’s wife, and it seemed like fireworks were going off in my head!! I just sat there and “oohed” and “aahed” over every little truth she expounded upon! Until all of a sudden I happened to look over at the women sitting next to me, who I assumed had probably heard all of this before, and wondered if she was bored with all that was being said. After all, it was all new to me and very exciting at the moment, but one day would it all become “boring? And since inquisitive minds need to know, I leaned over and asked her at that very minute, and I’ve never forgotten her response!

Sue was also committed to meeting with me every Thursday morning for one year and allowed me to ask her any questions I had about this new Christian life. She taught me all the basic beliefs every Christian should know, but best of all, she helped create in me a hunger to know more! Her answer actually started me on a journey I’m still on today! She said, “Never! God’s Word is always new and fresh; alive and never boring, which is why I love to meet with new believers, because I never grow tired of the basic doctrinal beliefs! In fact, I find I need to be constantly reminded of them myself in order to stay grounded in my own faith.”

That sealed my fate! I too would focus on building a solid foundation for other believers to stand on, all the while always grounding my own faith as well. And I have to add that  I’ve discovered over the past 30+ years since then, that Sue was absolutely right! And Paul knew it too! Just look how he chose to close the chapter,

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your work is not in vain in the Lord.”- 1 Corinthians 15:58

We’ve got to have a solid foundation in order to be able to stand firm or steadfast, which is why Paul felt it necessary to remind the Corinthians and us, “of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.” (15:1)

Steadfast means "to be firmly fixed in place or determined". Paul explains this a bit better in his letter to the Colossians - “You must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly [be steadfast] in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News.” Colossians 1:23

Do you know of anyone who has “drifted away” from the truth of the Gospel today?

What should we do to stand firm or be steadfast in this life? What should we do if we don't want to be, “tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching” (Ephesians 4:14) or “deceived by the serpent”. (2 Corinthians 11:3)?

We’ve got to get into the Word and make sure those we know and love are getting into it too! Paul explained it to Timothy this way,  “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” (1 Timothy 2:15). We need to not only read it, but live it. Jesus told us,. “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings.” John 8:31

Immovable” or “steady”-(1 Corinthians 15:58b) is a lot like being steadfast, although immovable means, “one is not capable of being sidetracked (emotionally or physically) from their purpose”! Think about that for a moment, for this has huge implications for Christians!  Paul’s desire was for the Corinthians to be unmoved by the false teachers of that day, but what about today? What does it look like to be immovable/standing strong in our lives today? How can we hold fast to the teachings of Jesus when it seems like everyone is doing their own thing and going their own way and we’re called out as bigots or worse because of our stand on God’s Word?

  His Word is here to help us with this and these are just a few suggestions it offers:

  • Be in Constant Prayer- (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18): Prayer fills us and fuels us with all that’s necessary to stand firm in our beliefs. It helps and protects during the trials of life! Twelve times in the Scripture Jesus went off to prayer in times of conflict and when simply seeking wisdom!
  • Rejoice! -(1Thessalonians 5:16) : Remember an attitude of joy comes from a strong faith, for we trust in the One who is always in control!
  • “Take heart, because I (Jesus) have overcome the world.” John 16:33
  • Be “filled” (Ephesians 5:18) and “walk by the Spirit” (Galatians 4:30) “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing … singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:16

“Always abounding in the work of the Lord” – 1 Corinthians 15:58c. Paul is quick to point out  here that when the believer is steadfast and immovable success in the Lord’s work was sure to follow them. Abound actually means “to overflow or be abundant”. Paul wants us to soar, “knowing that your work is not in vain in the Lord.” -1 Corinthians 15:58d

As Christians we are all called to be missionaries wherever we’re located; communicating the gospel of Jesus Christ! And Scripture promises us that if we’ll abound and  “... not grow weary of doing good... in due season” we will succeed! (Galatians 6:9) Paul not only wants to remind all of us of simple, basic, doctrinal truth, he wants all of us to live out this Christian life in a strong, steady and successful way!

I know I may be just “preaching to the choir” here. I’m sure all of you who are reading this today can say, “I’m in God’s Word each day! I’m praying, seeking to be filled and walking in the Spirit daily, abounding in the Lord’s work!” And to that I would say, “Hallelujah! But are you also helping others to do the same?”

Christ’s church is shrinking today. I believe we need Paul’s exhortations now more than ever it seems.

1 Corinthians

Intelligibility and Order in Worship

12:30 AM

1 Corinthians 14

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

We have to remember as we read this chapter, that the Corinthian church was struggling with conflict.  And we need to remember that what we read in the previous chapters, still holds true – the gifts we have been given, are meant to build the Church, not tear it apart.

We should never try to force someone to use a gift they were never given.  Nor should we feel unworthy because we have not been given a more desirable gift.  We are many parts, as Paul reminded us in 12:7-11.  “All of these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”  (1 Cor. 12:11, emphasis mine).

We also need to remember that we are unified and diversified members of the body of Christ. 

1 Corinthians 14:13-17New International Version (NIV)
13 For this reason the one who speaks in a tongue should pray that they may interpret what they say. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 15 So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding. 16 Otherwise when you are praising God in the Spirit, how can someone else, who is now put in the position of an inquirer,[a] say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since they do not know what you are saying? 17 You are giving thanks well enough, but no one else is edified.

Paul has spent a great deal of time teaching about speaking in tongues in this chapter and the best way I can explain it after doing some digging, is like this; you cannot go into a small or large group of people and begin using Morse Code and expect the people there to understand it.  Speaking in tongues is a one-way language between you and God.  It’s a supernatural communication between you and God.

 Image result for 1 corinthians 14:12

Paul then addresses the order of worship.  It’s really comes down to being respectful.  Just like verse 33 says, “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace – as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.”

In the Corinthian culture, women were not allowed to confront men in public.  Apparently some of the women who had become Christians thought that their Christian freedom gave them the right to question the men in public worship.  This was causing division in the church.  We may be offended to read verses 34-35, but as I studied this chapter, Paul was using the ancient Greek verb laleo, which means, “to talk, question, argue, profess or chatter.”  Alan Redpath puts it this way, “It has nothing to do with prophecy or prayer; it’s not public speaking as such.”

In Jewish synagogues, men and women sat separately, so imagine how disruptive it would be if a woman called out from across the room to address her husband.  Paul is reminding women to discuss the matter alone at home with their husbands. 

God is a God of order and peace, and He wants order when the Church comes together.  When the gifts of the Spirit are given an unscriptural focus, it discredits the true work of the Holy Spirit, and often leads people to deny the gifts because they see unbiblical excess.  However, the order should always be the order of the living, not the dead!  Some have cultivated an atmosphere of gloom and depression; “But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.” (v. 40)

“Why, brethren, true praise sets the heart ringing its bells, and hanging out its streamers.  Never hang your flag at half-mast when you praise God; no, run up every color, let every banner wave in the breeze, and let all the powers and passions of your spirit exult and rejoice in God your Savior.  They rejoiced.  We are most horribly afraid of being too happy.  Some Christians think cheerfulness a very dangerous folly, if not a ruinous vice.”  (Charles Spurgeon)

1 Corinthians

The Qualities of Love [1 Corinthians 13]

12:30 AM

1 Corinthians 13 is one of best known passages in the Bible on the subject of love.  It's read at countless weddings, including my own.  But weddings and romance weren't on Paul's mind in this teaching.  On his mind was a church full of division, whose focus was on the gifts of the spirit instead of the fruit of the spirit....love.

It dismayed Paul to find the members of the church displaying actions that were far from loving.  They were selfish, impatient, quick to take each other to court, and arguing over which spiritual gift was the greatest.  And so he begins by stressing that although gifts are indeed important, they are nothing if not used with love.  "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging symbol.  If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  And if I give away all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.", (vs. 1-3)  Love should always be the motivation for using our gifts.  Not out of love for ourselves or our own self importance, but out of love for others.  And more importantly, out of love for our Lord.

Paul goes on to give the most beautiful description of what pure and selfless love looks like.  "Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly, it does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." (vs. 4-6)   Every day society bombards us with false ideas of what love is.  It makes us think that love just happens to us.  That we have no control.  We've all heard the expression "the heart wants what the heart wants", or heard someone described as "hopelessly in love".  But the Bible teaches completely the opposite.  Love is a choice we make, something we can control, and the fruit of a spirit filled life.  

The fruit of love is what we as believers should always strive for.  A true agape love as taught and perfectly exampled by Jesus.  I love this definition.  "Agape love is a selfless and unconditional commitment to imperfect people.  A love for the utterly unworthy, and a love which proceeds from a God who is love.  It's a love lavished upon others without a thought of whether they are worthy to receive it or not. It proceeds from the nature of the lover, rather than from any merit in the beloved." (Grace Notes)  This is the love that Jesus gave so willingly to us with His sacrificial death on the Cross, and the same love He calls us to reflect.

Verse 13 says, "But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love."  Paul ends by saying that yes we are to have faith in the Lord.  For Hebrews 11:6 tells us it's needed to please God. "And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him."  And yes we are to have hope.  "For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially believers." (1Tim. 4:10)  But the greatest of all is love.  "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love." ( 1 John 4:7-8)  

"While we are to live in faith and hope, our most important dwelling place is God's love.  Without making His love our ultimate dwelling, we cannot fully live in faith and hope.  We should refuse to take a step or a breath without remaining keenly sensitive to the greatest of these, our Father's love."...Dr. Charles Stanley

Lisa Moore

Warm Bacon Bread

2:03 PM

This dip was cheesy bacon goodness!  I took the tops of the bread, diced them into cubes, tossed them with a little olive oil, wrapped them in foil, and toasted them in the oven.  So good!

Warm Bacon Cheese Spread

1 round loaf (1 pound) sourdough bread
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1-1/2 cups (12 ounces) sour cream
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3/4 pound sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup chopped green onions
Assorted crackers

Cut the top fourth off the loaf of bread; carefully hollow out the bottom, leaving a 1-in. shell. Cut the removed bread and top of loaf into cubes; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add the sour cream, cheddar cheese and Worcestershire sauce until blended; stir in bacon and onions. 

Spoon into bread shell. Wrap in a piece of heavy-duty foil (about 24x17 in.). Bake at 325° for 1 hour or until heated through. Serve with crackers and reserved bread cubes. 

1 Corinthians

“Small Things With Great Love.”

12:30 AM

Welcome to Scripture Saturday!

Today, we continue our memorization of verses found in 1 Corinthians with 10:31….

"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."
This verse gives meaning to our lives.  What we do with our day-to-day lives is not as important as if we do all things for the glory of God.  If we are really, truly living for God, then everything that we do should be for Him. This doesn’t mean that we are to spend every minute of our day at worship service, or reading the bible.  We can make every little thing that we do do in our day as a prayer to God…if we do it with love and with the mind of a servant.  No matter how trivial or ordinary our actions through our day are, they can be all done for the glory of God.
Mother Teresa said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”  Even the simplest of things can be done with great love if it is done for our Lord.
My prayer…”Dear Lord, help me give You glory in all that I do today!”

Have a blessed and precious day everyone!

1 Corinthians

Spiritual Unity { I Corinthians 12}

12:30 AM

This chapter is rich in the Spirit and it would take hours to expound on everything here.
I am going to focus on members of one body.

3-Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
I John 4:1-3
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.

As members of one body we need to be aware of the false prophets and do not believe everything you hear.  Get into God's Word and see for yourselves.

Vs. 4-5 Now there are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Holy Spirit who is the source of them all.  There are different kinds of service in the church, but it is the same Lord we are serving.  There are different ways God works in our lives, but it is the same God who does the work through all of us.

11-But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.
These gifts are not something we choose but the Spirit gives them to us.  He chooses as He wills for each of us

12-For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.
13-For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
14-For the body is not one member, but many.

 We are not alone.  We are members of one body.  For everyone not just for some.

18- God made our bodies with many parts, and He has put each part just where He wants it.
19-What a strange thing a body would be if it had only one part!  20-Yes, there are many parts but only one body.

22-In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary.
23-And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen,
24-while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity.
25-This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other.
26-If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.
27-All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.

We are all members on one body in Him.  Not something that we orchestrated but it is all from Him.  Some of us are weaker than others but that does not mean we are any less than others.  God views them as actually the most necessary and should be protected.  We all have our place in Him.  When one of us suffers we all feel the effects of it.

So I encourage you today to be content in where God has you.  Do not look to be more than He made you to be. We are all members of one body in Christ.  We are here to serve Him and not ourselves.

Romans 12 is all about being members of one body and expounds on how we are to live it out in our lives. I have turned it into a prayer and I have and still do pray it often.

Father by Your mercy help me to present myself as a living and holy sacrifice acceptable to You God which is my spiritual service of worship.  To not be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of my mind, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.  That I would not think more highly of myself than I ought to think but to think so as to have sound judgment as you have give to me my measure of faith.
We are many members of one body in Christ, let me exercise the gifts you have given me.  Let me love be without hypocrisy to hate what is evil and to cling to what is good.  To be devoted to one another in brotherly love giving preference to one another in honor, not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit serving you Lord.  To rejoice in hope, persevere in tribulation, devoted to prayer.  Contributing to the needs of the saints and practicing hospitality.  Bless those who persecute me to bless and curse not.  Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.  To be of the same mind toward on another and not be haughty in mind, but to associate with the lowly. To not be wise in my own estimation and not to pay back evil for evil to anyone.  To respect what is right is in the sight of all me.  To be at peace with all.  To never take revenge myself but leave room for Your wrath, because it is written Vengeance is Mine, I will repay says the Lord.  If my enemy is hungry let me feed him, if he is thirsty, to give him a drink and in so doing, burning coals will be heaped upon his head.  Help me Lord to not be overcome by evil but to overcome evil with good.  Amen!

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!