Lessons from Lent: Day 25

18 Mar

creation swap lessons from lent coffee cup Kelly Sikkema 22940

An Explanation of Lessons from Lent

In the next 40 days (16 now because you have already accomplished twenty-four), the weeks leading up to Easter, the posts on Glimpsed Glory will be different. I am reading through the New Testament during this time and I am hoping the Holy Spirit will lead me to a fresh revelation each and every day. I’m going into it with a prayerful heart and an expectant spirit but I will fully confess to you that my soul feels sluggish.

I have been in a place of exhaustion over these last months. My mind has been clouded, my body has ached and insomnia has been my companion since late December. The enemy has been and is still whispering in my ear that my Jesus has forgotten me . . . that He has finally tired of my imperfections and left me behind.

I’m not giving in to it! I am going to fight the good fight of faith and follow the example of my Nehemiah Man. I am going to stand firm in my faith because if I do not, I will not stand at all. I’m praising God for bringing me to a place of emptiness so that I can look to Him to fill my cup.

I’m coming before the Lord and I’m asking Him to do a new thing in me. To rouse my heart to His side and to draw me near in real and tangible ways. To plow through the fog that has settled over me in the form of health issues, physical stress, and emotional upheaval and lay a level path before me. I’m entering the throne room and I’m humbly reminding Him that He has invited me to come in my time of need. O Lord – be near to me. Love me where I am. Take me where I need to be.

creation swap love me one flower 206081_Flower_Background

That’s the cry of my heart Sweet Sister and I’m thinking that if I am in this place that perhaps you are too. It might be that different life situations have brought us here but here we are. If that’s the case, I want you to know that you are not alone and that you have a faith sister to walk through it with. We can do this together – you and I. It’s why God gave us to one another. We can join our hearts and we can offer up the next 40 days to the Beautiful One and trust Him to do the beautiful thing in us.

So here’s what I’ll do. I’ll post the daily reading on the blog (except for Sundays) and if you read the Scriptures not only will you have read through the entire New Testament by Easter but God promises that He’ll show you deep and unsearchable things you do not know. He promises that His word is alive and active and will transform your heart. I could use some transformation. What about you?

At the end of the daily passage, I’m going to share my “Lesson from Lent” – nothing long or drawn out just something that God uses to speak straight to my heart from the Scripture that day. I’m putting it at the end because if your time runs short on a particular day – I want you to skip reading my words, not His.

I’m hoping that you’ll start your own running record of what God is showing you. Maybe you’ll even be moved to leave a comment so your Sisters can glean from what you’re learning. No matter how you choose to keep track of all He shares with you . . . treasure it up in your heart Sweet One, meditate on it, mull it over, consider the whisper of the Lover of your soul. The God of the Universe is the only Voice we need to revive our tired souls. So, let’s you and I lean in close, pray for ears to hear and hearts to respond. Let’s dig in to the riches He has given us and prepare to be amazed by what He will reveal to our expectant hearts. O Sister, let’s boldly ask Him for a lesson from Lent and then brace ourselves for a glimpse of Glory!

Day Twenty-five

March 18, 2015 ~~ 1 Corinthians 1-8

Amplified Bible

Footnotes: I’ve left the footnotes in place if you would like to track down sources in word study and language. Please follow the link to each chapter and scroll to the bottom of the passage.

1 Corinthians 1

Paul, summoned by the will and purpose of God to be an apostle (special messenger) of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes, To the church (assembly) of God which is in Corinth, to those consecrated and purified and made holy in Christ Jesus, [who are] selected and called to be saints (God’s people), together with all those who in any place call upon and give honor to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: Grace (favor and spiritual blessing) be to you and [heart] peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I thank my God at all times for you because of the grace (the favor and spiritual blessing) of God which was bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, [So] that in Him in every respect you were enriched, in full power and readiness of speech [to speak of your faith] and complete knowledge and illumination [to give you full insight into its meaning]. In this way [our] witnessing concerning Christ (the Messiah) was so confirmed and established and made sure in you That you are not [consciously] falling behind or lacking in any special spiritual endowment or Christian grace [[a]the reception of which is due to the power of divine grace operating in your souls by the Holy Spirit], while you wait and watch [constantly living in hope] for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and [His] being made visible to all. And He will establish you to the end [keep you steadfast, give you strength, and guarantee your vindication; He will be your warrant against all accusation or indictment so that you will be] guiltless and irreproachable in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah).

God is faithful (reliable, trustworthy, and therefore ever true to His promise, and He can be depended on); by Him you were called into companionship and participation with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 10 But I urge and entreat you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in perfect harmony and full agreement in what you say, and that there be no dissensions or factions or divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in your common understanding and in your opinions and judgments. 11 For it has been made clear to me, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions and wrangling and factions among you.

12 What I mean is this, that each one of you [either] says, I belong to Paul, or I belong to Apollos, or I belong to Cephas (Peter), or I belong to Christ. 13 Is Christ (the Messiah) divided into parts? Was Paul crucified on behalf of you? Or were you baptized into the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 Lest anyone should say that I baptized in my own name. 16 [Yes] I did baptize the household of Stephanas also. More than these, I do not remember that I baptized anyone.

17 For Christ (the Messiah) sent me out not to baptize but [to evangelize by] preaching the glad tidings (the Gospel), and that not with verbal eloquence, lest the cross of Christ should be deprived of force and emptied of its power and rendered vain (fruitless, void of value, and of no effect). 18 For the story and message of the cross is sheer absurdity and folly to those who are perishing and on their way to perdition, but to us who are being saved it is the [manifestation of] the power of God. 19 For it is written, I will baffle and render useless and destroy the learning of the learned and the philosophy of the philosophers and the cleverness of the clever and the discernment of the discerning; I will frustrate and nullify [them] and bring [them] to nothing.

20 Where is the wise man (the philosopher)? Where is the scribe (the scholar)? Where is the investigator (the logician, the debater) of this present time and age? Has not God shown up the nonsense and the folly of this world’s wisdom? 21 For when the world with all its earthly wisdom failed to perceive and recognize and know God by means of its own philosophy, God in His wisdom was pleased through the foolishness of preaching [salvation, procured by Christ and to be had through Him], to save those who believed (who clung to and trusted in and relied on Him).

22 For while Jews [demandingly] ask for signs and miracles and Greeks pursue philosophy and wisdom, 23 We preach Christ (the Messiah) crucified, [preaching which] to the Jews is a scandal and an offensive stumbling block [that springs a snare or trap], and to the Gentiles it is absurd and utterly unphilosophical nonsense. 24 But to those who are called, whether Jew or Greek (Gentile), Christ [is] the Power of God and the Wisdom of God.

25 [This is] because the foolish thing [that has its source in] God is wiser than men, and the weak thing [that springs] from God is stronger than men. 26 For [simply] consider your own call, brethren; not many [of you were considered to be] wise according to human estimates and standards, not many influential and powerful, not many of high and noble birth. 27 [No] for God selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is foolish to put the wise to shame, and what the world calls weak to put the strong to shame. 28 And God also selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is lowborn and insignificant and branded and treated with contempt, even the things that are nothing, that He might depose and bring to nothing the things that are, 29 So that no mortal man should [have pretense for glorying and] boast in the presence of God.

30 But it is from Him that you have your life in Christ Jesus, Whom God made our Wisdom from God, [revealed to us a knowledge of the divine plan of salvation previously hidden, manifesting itself as] our Righteousness [thus making us upright and putting us in right standing with God], and our Consecration [making us pure and holy], and our Redemption [providing our ransom from eternal penalty for sin].

31 So then, as it is written, Let him who boasts and proudly rejoices and glories, boast and proudly rejoice and glory in the Lord.

1 Corinthians 2

As for myself, brethren, when I came to you, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony and evidence or [a]mystery and secret of God [concerning what He has done through Christ for the salvation of men] in lofty words of eloquence or human philosophy and wisdom; For I resolved to know nothing (to be acquainted with nothing, to make a display of the knowledge of nothing, and to be conscious of nothing) among you except Jesus Christ (the Messiah) and Him crucified. And I was in ([b]passed into a state of) weakness and fear (dread) and great trembling [[c]after I had come] among you. And my language and my message were not set forth in persuasive (enticing and plausible) words of wisdom, but they were in demonstration of the [Holy] Spirit and power [[d]a proof by the Spirit and power of God, operating on me and stirring in the minds of my hearers the most holy emotions and thus persuading them], So that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men (human philosophy), but in the power of God.

Yet when we are among the full-grown (spiritually mature Christians who are ripe in understanding), we do impart a [higher] wisdom (the knowledge of the divine plan previously hidden); but it is indeed not a wisdom of this present age or of this world nor of the leaders and rulers of this age, who are being brought to nothing and are doomed to pass away. But rather what we are setting forth is a wisdom of God once hidden [from the human understanding] and now revealed to us by God—[that wisdom] which God devised and decreed before the ages for our glorification [to lift us into the glory of His presence]. None of the rulers of this age or world perceived and recognized and understood this, for if they had, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory.

But, on the contrary, as the Scripture says, What eye has not seen and ear has not heard and has not entered into the heart of man, [all that] God has prepared (made and keeps ready) for those who love Him [[e]who hold Him in affectionate reverence, promptly obeying Him and gratefully recognizing the benefits He has bestowed]. 10 Yet to us God has unveiled and revealed them by and through His Spirit, for the [Holy] Spirit searches diligently, exploring and examining everything, even sounding the profound and bottomless things of God [the [f]divine counsels and things hidden and beyond man’s scrutiny]. 11 For what person perceives (knows and understands) what passes through a man’s thoughts except the man’s own spirit within him? Just so no one discerns (comes to know and comprehend) the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.

12 Now we have not received the spirit [that belongs to] the world, but the [Holy] Spirit Who is from God, [given to us] that we might realize and comprehend and appreciate the gifts [of divine favor and blessing so freely and lavishly] bestowed on us by God. 13 And we are setting these truths forth in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the [Holy] Spirit, combining and interpreting spiritual truths with spiritual language [to those who possess the Holy Spirit].

14 But the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them [of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them] because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated.

15 But the spiritual man tries all things [he [g]examines, investigates, inquires into, questions, and discerns all things], yet is himself to be put on trial and judged by no one [he can read the meaning of everything, but no one can properly discern or appraise or get an insight into him]. 16 For who has known or understood the mind (the counsels and purposes) of the Lord so as to guide and instruct Him and give Him knowledge? But we have the mind of Christ (the Messiah) and do hold the thoughts (feelings and purposes) of His heart.

1 Corinthians 3

However, brethren, I could not talk to you as to spiritual [men], but as to nonspiritual [men of the flesh, in whom the carnal nature predominates], as to mere infants [in the new life] in Christ [[a]unable to talk yet!] I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not yet strong enough [to be ready for it]; but even yet you are not strong enough [to be ready for it],

For you are still [unspiritual, having the nature] of the flesh [under the control of ordinary impulses]. For as long as [there are] envying and jealousy and wrangling and factions among you, are you not unspiritual and of the flesh, behaving yourselves after a human standard and like mere (unchanged) men? For when one says, I belong to Paul, and another, I belong to Apollos, are you not [proving yourselves] ordinary (unchanged) men?

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Ministering servants [not heads of parties] through whom you believed, even as the Lord appointed to each his task: I planted, Apollos watered, but God [all the while] was making it grow and [He] gave the increase. So neither he who plants is anything nor he who waters, but [only] God Who makes it grow and become greater.

He who plants and he who waters are equal (one in aim, of the same importance and esteem), yet each shall receive his own reward (wages), according to his own labor. For we are fellow workmen (joint promoters, laborers together) with and for God; you are God’s [b]garden and vineyard and field under cultivation, [you are] God’s building.

10 According to the grace (the special endowment for my task) of God bestowed on me, like a skillful architect and master builder I laid [the] foundation, and now another [man] is building upon it. But let each [man] be careful how he builds upon it, 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is [already] laid, which is Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

12 But if anyone builds upon the Foundation, whether it be with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 The work of each [one] will become [plainly, openly] known (shown for what it is); for the day [of Christ] will disclose and declare it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test and critically appraise the character and worth of the work each person has done. 14 If the work which any person has built on this Foundation [any product of his efforts whatever] survives [this test], he will get his reward. 15 But if any person’s work is burned up [under the test], he will suffer the loss [of it all, losing his reward], though he himself will be saved, but only as [one who has passed] through fire.

16 Do you not discern and understand that you [the whole church at Corinth] are God’s temple (His sanctuary), and that God’s Spirit has His permanent dwelling in you [to be at home in you, [c]collectively as a church and also individually]? 17 If anyone [d]does hurt to God’s temple or corrupts it [[e]with false doctrines] or destroys it, God will [f]do hurt to him and bring him to the corruption of death and destroy him. For the temple of God is holy (sacred to Him) and that [temple] you [[g]the believing church and its individual believers] are.

18 Let no person deceive himself. If anyone among you supposes that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool [let him discard his worldly discernment and recognize himself as dull, stupid, and foolish, without true learning and scholarship], that he may become [really] wise. 19 For this world’s wisdom is foolishness (absurdity and stupidity) with God, for it is written, He lays hold of the wise in their [own] craftiness; 20 And again, The Lord knows the thoughts and reasonings of the [humanly] wise and recognizes how futile they are.

21 So let no one exult proudly concerning men [boasting of having this or that man as a leader], for all things are yours, 22 Whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas (Peter), or the universe or life or death, or the immediate and [h]threatening present or the [subsequent and uncertain] future—all are yours, 23 And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

1 Corinthians 4

So then, let us [apostles] be looked upon as ministering servants of Christ and stewards (trustees) of the mysteries (the secret purposes) of God. Moreover, it is [essentially] required of stewards that a man should be found faithful [proving himself worthy of trust].

But [as for me personally] it matters very little to me that I should be put on trial by you [on this point], and that you or any other human tribunal should investigate and question and cross-question me. I do not even put myself on trial and judge myself. I am not conscious of anything against myself, and I feel blameless; but I am not vindicated and acquitted before God on that account. It is the Lord [Himself] Who examines and judges me.

So do not make any hasty or premature judgments before the time when the Lord comes [again], for He will both bring to light the secret things that are [now hidden] in darkness and disclose and expose the [secret] aims (motives and purposes) of hearts. Then every man will receive his [due] commendation from God.

Now I have applied all this [about parties and factions] to myself and Apollos for your sakes, brethren, so that from what I have said of us [as illustrations], you may learn [to think of men in accordance with Scripture and] not to go beyond that which is written, that none of you may be puffed up and inflated with pride and boast in favor of one [minister and teacher] against another. For who separates you from the others [as a faction leader]? [Who makes you superior and sets you apart from another, giving you the preeminence?] What have you that was not given to you? If then you received it [from someone], why do you boast as if you had not received [but had gained it by your own efforts]? [[a]You behave as if] you are already filled and think you have enough [you are full and content, feeling no need of anything more]! Already you have become rich [in spiritual gifts and graces]! [Without any counsel or instruction from us, in your conceit], you have ascended your thrones and come into your kingdom without including us! And would that it were true and that you did reign, so that we might be sharing the kingdom with you!

For it seems to me that God has made an exhibit of us apostles, exposing us to view last [of all, like men in a triumphal procession who are] sentenced to death [and displayed at the end of the line]. For we have become a spectacle to the world [a show in the world’s amphitheater] with both men and angels [as spectators]. 10 We are [looked upon as] fools on account of Christ and for His sake, but you are [supposedly] so amazingly wise and prudent in Christ! We are weak, but you are [so very] strong! You are highly esteemed, but we are in disrepute and contempt!

11 To this hour we have gone both hungry and thirsty; we [[b]habitually] wear but one undergarment [and shiver in the cold]; we are roughly knocked about and wander around homeless. 12 And we still toil unto weariness [for our living], working hard with our own hands. When men revile us [[c]wound us with an accursed sting], we bless them. When we are persecuted, we take it patiently and endure it. 13 When we are slandered and defamed, we [try to] answer softly and bring comfort. We have been made and are now the rubbish and filth of the world [the offscouring of all things, the scum of the earth]. 14 I do not write this to shame you, but to warn and counsel you as my beloved children.

15 After all, though you should have ten thousand teachers (guides to direct you) in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the glad tidings (the Gospel). 16 So I urge and implore you, be imitators of me.

17 For this very cause I sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and trustworthy child in the Lord, who will recall to your minds my methods of proceeding and course of conduct and way of life in Christ, such as I teach everywhere in each of the churches. 18 Some of you have become conceited and arrogant and pretentious, counting on my not coming to you.

19 But I will come to you [and] shortly, if the Lord is willing, and then I will perceive and understand not what the talk of these puffed up and arrogant spirits amount to, but their force ([d]the moral power and excellence of soul they really possess). 20 For the kingdom of God consists of and is based on not talk but power ([e]moral power and excellence of soul).

21 Now which do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod of correction, or with love and in a spirit of gentleness?

1 Corinthians 5

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, impurity of a sort that is condemned and does not occur even among the heathen; for a man has [his own] father’s wife. And you are proud and arrogant! And you ought rather to mourn (bow in sorrow and in shame) until the person who has done this [shameful] thing is removed from your fellowship and your midst! As for my attitude, though I am absent [from you] in body, I am present in spirit, and I have already decided and passed judgment, as if actually present, In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, on the man who has committed such a deed. When you and my own spirit are met together with the power of our Lord Jesus, You are to deliver this man over to Satan [a]for physical discipline [to destroy carnal lusts which prompted him to incest], that [his] spirit may [yet] be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

[About the condition of your church] your boasting is not good [indeed, it is most unseemly and entirely out of place]. Do you not know that [just] a little leaven will ferment the whole lump [of dough]? Purge (clean out) the old leaven that you may be fresh (new) dough, still uncontaminated [as you are], for Christ, our Passover [Lamb], has been sacrificed.

Therefore, let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with leaven of vice and malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened [bread] of purity (nobility, honor) and sincerity and [unadulterated] truth.

I wrote you in my [previous] letter not to associate [closely and habitually] with unchaste (impure) people— 10 Not [meaning of course that you must] altogether shun the immoral people of this world, or the greedy graspers and cheats and thieves or idolaters, since otherwise you would need to get out of the world and human society altogether!

11 But now I write to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of [Christian] brother if he is known to be guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater [whose soul is devoted to any object that usurps the place of God], or is a person with a foul tongue [railing, abusing, reviling, slandering], or is a drunkard or a swindler or a robber. [No] you must not so much as eat with such a person.

12 What [business] of mine is it and what right have I to judge outsiders? Is it not those inside [the church] upon whom you are to pass disciplinary judgment [passing censuring sentence on them as the facts require]? 13 God alone sits in judgment on those who are outside. Drive out that wicked one from among you [expel him from your church].

1 Corinthians 6

Does any of you dare, when he has a matter of complaint against another [brother], to go to law before unrighteous men [men neither upright nor right with God, laying it before them] instead of before the saints (the people of God)? Do you not know that the saints (the believers) will [one day] judge and govern the world? And if the world [itself] is to be judged and ruled by you, are you unworthy and incompetent to try [such petty matters] of the smallest courts of justice? Do you not know also that we [Christians] are to judge the [very] angels and pronounce opinion between right and wrong [for them]? How much more then [as to] matters pertaining to this world and of this life only!

If then you do have such cases of everyday life to decide, why do you appoint [as judges to lay them before] those who [from the standpoint] of the church count for least and are without standing? I say this to move you to shame. Can it be that there really is not one man among you who [in action is governed by piety and integrity and] is wise and competent enough to decide [the private grievances, disputes, and quarrels] between members of the brotherhood, But brother goes to law against brother, and that before [Gentile judges who are] unbelievers [without faith or trust in the Gospel of Christ]?

Why, the very fact of your having lawsuits with one another at all is a defect (a defeat, an evidence of positive moral loss for you). Why not rather let yourselves suffer wrong and be deprived of what is your due? Why not rather be cheated (defrauded and robbed)? But [instead it is you] yourselves who wrong and defraud, and that even your own brethren [by so treating them]!

Do you not know that the unrighteous and the wrongdoers will not inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived (misled): neither the impure and immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor those who participate in homosexuality, 10 Nor cheats (swindlers and thieves), nor greedy graspers, nor drunkards, nor foulmouthed revilers and slanderers, nor extortioners and robbers will inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God.

11 And such some of you were [once]. But you were washed clean (purified by a complete atonement for sin and made free from the guilt of sin), and you were consecrated (set apart, hallowed), and you were justified [pronounced righteous, by trusting] in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the [Holy] Spirit of our God.

12 Everything is permissible (allowable and lawful) for me; but not all things are helpful (good for me to do, expedient and profitable when considered with other things). Everything is lawful for me, but I will not become the slave of anything or be brought under its power.

13 Food [is intended] for the stomach and the stomach for food, but God will finally end [the functions of] both and bring them to nothing. The body is not intended for sexual immorality, but [is intended] for the Lord, and the Lord [is intended] for the body [[a]to save, sanctify, and raise it again]. 14 And God both raised the Lord to life and will also raise us up by His power.

15 Do you not see and know that your bodies are members (bodily parts) of Christ (the Messiah)? Am I therefore to take the parts of Christ and make [them] parts of a prostitute? Never! Never! 16 Or do you not know and realize that when a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? The two, it is written, shall become one flesh. 17 But the person who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him.

18 Shun immorality and all sexual looseness [flee from impurity in thought, word, or deed]. Any other sin which a man commits is one outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.

19 Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, 20 You were bought with a price [purchased with a [b]preciousness and paid for, [c]made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body.

1 Corinthians 7

Now as to the matters of which you wrote me. It is well [and by that I mean advantageous, expedient, profitable, and wholesome] for a man not to touch a woman [to cohabit with her] but to remain unmarried. But because of the temptation to impurity and to avoid immorality, let each [man] have his own wife and let each [woman] have her own husband.

The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights (goodwill, kindness, and what is due her as his wife), and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have [exclusive] authority and control over her own body, but the husband [has his rights]; likewise also the husband does not have [exclusive] authority and control over his body, but the wife [has her rights]. Do not refuse and deprive and defraud each other [of your due marital rights], except perhaps by mutual consent for a time, so that you may devote yourselves unhindered to prayer. But afterwards resume marital relations, lest Satan tempt you [to sin] through your lack of restraint of sexual desire.

But I am saying this more as a matter of permission and concession, not as a command or regulation. I wish that all men were like I myself am [in this matter of self-control]. But each has his own special gift from God, one of this kind and one of another.

But to the unmarried people and to the widows, I declare that it is well (good, advantageous, expedient, and wholesome) for them to remain [single] even as I do. But if they have not self-control (restraint of their passions), they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame [with passion and tortured continually with ungratified desire].

10 But to the married people I give charge—not I but the Lord—that the wife is not to separate from her husband. 11 But if she does [separate from and divorce him], let her remain single or else be reconciled to her husband. And [I charge] the husband [also] that he should not put away or divorce his wife.

12 To the rest I declare—I, not the Lord [for Jesus did not discuss this]—that if any brother has a wife who does not believe [in Christ] and she consents to live with him, he should not leave or divorce her. 13 And if any woman has an unbelieving husband and he consents to live with her, she should not leave or divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is set apart (separated, withdrawn from heathen contamination, and affiliated with the Christian people) by union with his consecrated (set-apart) wife, and the unbelieving wife is set apart and separated through union with her consecrated husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean (unblessed heathen, [a]outside the Christian covenant), but as it is they are [b]prepared for God [pure and clean].

15 But if the unbelieving partner [actually] leaves, let him do so; in such [cases the remaining] brother or sister is not morally bound. But God has called us to peace. 16 For, wife, how can you be sure of converting and saving your husband? Husband, how can you be sure of converting and saving your wife? 17 Only, let each one [seek to conduct himself and regulate his affairs so as to] lead the life which the Lord has allotted and imparted to him and to which God has invited and summoned him. This is my order in all the churches.

18 Was anyone at the time of his summons [from God] already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the evidence of circumcision. Was anyone at the time [God] called him uncircumcised? Let him not be circumcised. 19 For circumcision is nothing and counts for nothing, neither does uncircumcision, but [what counts is] keeping the commandments of God. 20 Everyone should remain after God calls him in the station or condition of life in which the summons found him.

21 Were you a slave when you were called? Do not let that trouble you. But if you are able to gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity. 22 For he who as a slave was summoned in [to union with] the Lord is a freedman of the Lord, just so he who was free when he was called is a bond servant of Christ (the Messiah). 23 You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for by Christ]; then do not yield yourselves up to become [in your own estimation] slaves to men [but consider yourselves slaves to Christ]. 24 So, brethren, in whatever station or state or condition of life each one was when he was called, there let him continue with and close to God.

25 Now concerning the virgins (the marriageable [c]maidens) I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion and advice as one who by the Lord’s mercy is rendered trustworthy and faithful. 26 I think then, because of the impending distress [that is even now setting in], it is well (expedient, profitable, and wholesome) for a person to remain as he or she is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife.

28 But if you do marry, you do not sin [in doing so], and if a virgin marries, she does not sin [in doing so]. Yet those who marry will have physical and earthly troubles, and I would like to spare you that.

29 I mean, brethren, the appointed time has been [d]winding down and it has grown very short. From now on, let even those who have wives be as if they had none, 30 And those who weep and mourn as though they were not weeping and mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they did not possess anything, 31 And those who deal with this world [[e]overusing the enjoyments of this life] as though they were not absorbed by it and as if they had no dealings with it. For the outward form of this world (the present world order) is passing away.

32 My desire is to have you free from all anxiety and distressing care. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord; 33 But the married man is anxious about worldly matters—how he may please his wife—34 And he is drawn in diverging directions [his interests are divided and he is distracted from his devotion to God]. And the unmarried woman or girl is concerned and anxious about the matters of the Lord, how to be wholly separated and set apart in body and spirit; but the married woman has her cares [centered] in earthly affairs—how she may please her husband.35 Now I say this for your own welfare and profit, not to put [a halter of] restraint upon you, but to promote what is seemly and in good order and to secure your undistracted and undivided devotion to the Lord.

36 But if any man thinks that he is not acting properly toward and in regard to his virgin [that he is preparing disgrace for her or incurring reproach], in case she is passing the bloom of her youth and if there is need for it, let him do what to him seems right; he does not sin; let them marry. 37 But whoever is firmly established in his heart [strong in mind and purpose], not being forced by necessity but having control over his own will and desire, and has resolved this in his heart to keep his own virginity, he is doing well.

38 So also then, he [the father] who gives his virgin (his daughter) in marriage does well, and he [the father] who does not give [her] in marriage does better. 39 A wife is bound to her husband by law as long as he lives. If the husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she will, only [provided that he too is] in the Lord. 40 But in my opinion [a widow] is happier (more blessed and [f]to be envied) if she does not remarry. And also I think I have the Spirit of God.

1 Corinthians 8

Now about food offered to idols: of course we know that all of us possess knowledge [concerning these matters. Yet mere] knowledge causes people to be puffed up (to bear themselves loftily and be proud), but love (affection and goodwill and benevolence) edifies and builds up and encourages one to grow [to his full stature].

If anyone imagines that he has come to know and understand much [of divine things, without love], he does not yet perceive and recognize and understand as strongly and clearly, nor has he become as intimately acquainted with anything as he ought or as is necessary. But if one loves God truly [[a]with affectionate reverence, prompt obedience, and grateful recognition of His blessing], he is known by God [[b]recognized as worthy of His intimacy and love, and he is owned by Him].

In this matter, then, of eating food offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing (has no real existence) and that there is no God but one. For although there may be so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many of them, both of gods and of lords and masters,

Yet for us there is [only] one God, the Father, Who is the Source of all things and for Whom we [have life], and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through and by Whom are all things and through and by Whom we [ourselves exist].

Nevertheless, not all [believers] possess this knowledge. But some, through being all their lives until now accustomed to [thinking of] idols [as real and living], still consider the food [offered to an idol] as that sacrificed to an [actual] god; and their weak consciences become defiled and injured if they eat [it].

Now food [itself] will not cause our acceptance by God nor commend us to Him. Eating [food offered to idols] gives us no advantage; neither do we come short or become any worse if we do not eat [it].

Only be careful that this power of choice (this permission and liberty to do as you please) which is yours, does not [somehow] become a hindrance (cause of stumbling) to the weak or overscrupulous [giving them an impulse to sin]. 10 For suppose someone sees you, a man having knowledge [of God, with an intelligent view of this subject and] reclining at table in an idol’s temple, might he not be encouraged and emboldened [to violate his own conscientious scruples] if he is weak and uncertain, and eat what [to him] is for the purpose of idol worship? 11 And so by your enlightenment (your knowledge of spiritual things), this weak man is ruined (is lost and perishes)—the brother for whom Christ (the Messiah) died!

12 And when you sin against your brethren in this way, wounding and damaging their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if [my eating a] food is a cause of my brother’s falling or of hindering [his spiritual advancement], I will not eat [such] flesh forever, lest I cause my brother to be tripped up and fall and to be offended.

With one voice, the Sisters lift the “Amen”

#lessonsfromlent

The undercurrent of this letter to the Corinthians is still flowing beneath the surface of the body of Christ. It’s not hard to see social snobbery, one-upmanship, and cliques all over these opening chapters of 1 Corinthians and it makes me wonder how hard one has to look to find those same ills rearing their ugly heads among the Body today. How many times does Paul note that a spirit of division, exclusivity, and contentious wrangling has gained a foothold? Even the discourse on marriage and food seems to address a debate between one group and another.

Nothing suffocates life in the Spirit faster than factions.

Nothing silences the heartbeat of Jesus more quickly than the voice of arrogance.

Nothing stands in direct opposition to God as fiercely as pride.

And Sister, opposing God is not a place we want to find ourselves.

Pride wears a lot of faces and damages a lot of souls. We all struggle with it and very rarely have I seen someone come to Christ and have instant humility toward their brothers and sisters. They have a humble heart where Jesus is concerned or they could never have admitted their need for Him. But to see that humility manifest toward others . . . it takes a while.

I’ve been walking in faith with zeal for a number of years and I am still challenged to surrender my own opinions on things. I am still challenged when my heart has been hurt to have a spirit of humility and in love consider others more than myself. I am still challenged to tell a sweet sister that she is lingering to close to the flame of sin and is about to get burned. I’m called to do all those things and God will equip me to do them, but just giving voice to an opinion to hear myself talk serves no one. God’s Word says it clearer, says it better, and certainly says it more concisely than I ever could. So my opinion isn’t that important. And, while I don’t want to offend you, neither is yours.

We get so caught up in the side issues that the salvation issues, the reaching beyond our walls, cannot be accomplished. Too often we spend our time debating one another on areas that don’t transform lives while the dead and bleeding are on the doorstep taking in every word. And in our dispensation of time, the technology age, we can spread that division as far the worldwide web will carry it. And we make the love of Christ a mockery because we backbite one another in His Name in full view of the entire planet.

Paul’s words should pierce our hearts and sound warning bells for us. The divisive actions of the Corinthians are still alive and well today–they live in us. God warned Cain that sin was crouching at the door and desired to master him–that hasn’t changed. I’m certain I have caused discord in the body and participated in contentious wrangling. I’m sure that there have been times when I wounded others. And I know my reticence to giving my heart fully to the Body, participating in full throttle obedience, after suffering real and imagined offenses has its roots in arrogance.  And all of this has to be reflective of some part of me that doesn’t believe Christ is going to take care of me among His people. Isn’t that so much honesty?

What about you Sweet Sister? Have you been wounded by some contentious wrangling? Have you offended someone with your arrogance? Have you chosen a side and joined a faction?

Are you afraid that Jesus won’t take care of your heart among His people?

See, it always comes down to what we believe of Him. Rather we acknowledge it or not, what we believe will always dictate how we behave.

If I take Christ at His Word and I believe without a doubt that my identity is secure in Him then I do not have to shout my opinion to find significance. I don’t need to push my agenda to be secure. And I will be willing to be rejected by man because I am fully accepted by Him.

Now the word is clear that there will be wolves among the sheep, false teachers looking to lead people astray, and matters of real doctrine that need to be addressed in truth and love, but the small cracks in the foundation—the arguments between one sister and another, one family and another, one ministry and another . . . those are the things that have the potential to bring it crumbling down around our ears. Those are the unwise actions, deeds, and words that set our house upon the sand . . .all the while ignoring the Rock.

They erode our witness from the inside out. Not only do we damage one another but a watching world is given every justification to point with disdain and say, “they’re just like us.” Lessons from Lent: Day 23 celebrated the diversity of the personalities that God chooses and works through. I really threw some confetti in the air thanking Him that He welcomes everyone. Praising Him that His perfect will includes the imperfect. But in all of our imperfection, He wants us united in our love of Jesus and of one purpose as we spread His glory to the nations through the power of the Holy Spirit. God desires to see a Spirit of unity among us – members of one body being directed by the Head, Jesus.

Unity does not mean uniformity. God wants our personalities, our quirks and our oddities to mix it up with one another in such a way that He is well pleased and His glory shines to a watching neighborhood, city, and indeed, a watching world. We can’t be ministers of reconciliation until we’ve reconciled with one another. It lacks credibility.

The finger pointers of the world are right, in our flesh we’re just like everybody else . . .but in the Spirit . . .we’re set apart by God to live a different life. To live a life of love toward one another—not because they are the same as us but because they have the same Lord we do. They’re surrendered to the same Spirit as we are. We leave contentious wrangling behind. We offer love in return for offense and we be at peace so much as it up to us. Rather than fight one another as the world might do, we link arms in our quirkiness, in our oddities, in our Spirit-filled, God-given unity and we fight the good fight of faith.

blog post sisters

Linked arms win the battle . . .#lessonsfromlent

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: