Posts Tagged ‘First Epistle to the Corinthians’

They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. (John 17:16 )

Heaven

We live here, we walk here, we eat and drink here, but may we never call it home. The ground beneath our feet and sky above our heads are the scenery we enjoy momentarily, but they will pass away (Matthew 24:35). Our family is more than people with the same last name (Mark 3:35), as believers we are united by blood, literally the shed blood of Jesus the risen Savior. We, the family, walk as sojourners (1 Peter 2:11), as travelers, loving and serving the people around us, all the while remembering we will one day be home. A home that has been prepared for us (John 14:3), where we will live in ever increasing joy.

Our lips will never again say, “It was fun while it lasted”, as the smile fades from our face. In our home there is no sorrow, there is no disease, there is no end to joy (Revelation 21:4). In our home our treasure does not fail, there is no thief to steal, no moneybag to grow old (Luke 12:33). In your heart, and in your head, where is your treasure and your home? For “there will your heart will be also” (Luke 12:34).

Where is your home?

John 7:37-38 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

Frozen Niagara Falls

An estimated 500,000 tons of water go over Niagara Falls every minute. On March 29, 1948, the falls suddenly stopped. Those who lived near enough heard the overwhelming silence, and immediately they thought it was a sign – the end of the world had come! However, after thirty hours had passed – the flow of water resumed.

What happened? Heavy winds had set the ice fields of Lake Erie in motion and tons of ice had jammed the Niagara River entrance near Buffalo. The ice blocked the flow of water until finally, there was a shift in the blockage and the river began flowing again.

The river had stopped flowing because of ice.

If we really want the flow of God’s love, peace, joy, and anointing in our lives – we cannot allow our hearts to become like ice. If we do, His life-giving current will stop.

Let the Lord search your heart for those areas where the ice has built up and needs to thaw out. He will show you where they are if you ask. Our hearts should be burning for Him, so let the river flow…. once again.

Steve Austad is a professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center and he argues that someone alive today will live to be 150 years old. He believes that advances in nutrition and medicine will make this dream of his a reality.  Fellow gerontologist S. Jay Olshansky disagrees with Austad’s premise and argues that there are simply too many risk factors that pile up by the time a person is 115 years old. “Our body design, although beautiful to behold, miraculous in design and astonishing in its complexity, was never intended to be operated in the laboratory of extended life,” Olshansky said. So in the year 2000, the two doctors placed a bet. Each put up $150 which  Olshansky invested in a fund. The winnings will be handed out in the year 2150. If there is a 150-year-old alive on earth – someone of sound mind and body – Austad’s descendants will get the pot. If there isn’t a 150-year old person alive on earth, then Olshansky’s descendants will win.  Olshansky has calculated that the initial $300 should grow to $1 billion thanks to his shrewd, but secret, investments.

The bottom line is that no matter how much money we have, no matter how much we try, we cannot put death off. What we can do to prepare, and to ease the sting of it is to grow closer to the Lord every day. When we do this, we don’t fear death as much. We know that soon we will be in the arms of the Lord, and in that thought, we find solace. The same principle applies to those loved ones we have lost. Let me add that even though we know that someone we love is going to meet the Lord, it’s OK to grieve and to miss them, Jesus did. The closer we grow to Jesus in life, the closer get to Him in death.

No matter how man tries to extend our lives, we will eventually die and appear before Jesus. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that after death we will see our Savior’s face and live with Him forever.

“He whose head is in heaven need not fear to put his foot in the grave.” – Matthew Henry

God’s Word: “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” – 1 Corinthians 15:22

“Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” – Hebrews 9:27

In January 2013, the Barna Group released a research study chronicling “Temptations and America’s Favorite Sins.” The study, based on 1,021 online interviews among adults over the age of 18 in each of the 50 United States, also studied differences in temptations based on gender, generation and religion. Some temptations that researchers considered “old temptations,” 60 percent of Americans admit to being tempted to procrastinate and worry, 55 percent say they are tempted to overeat, 44 percent claim a temptation to spend too much money, and 41 percent own up to being tempted by laziness. Researchers placed sins driven by technology in the category of “new temptations,” calculating that 44 percent of Americans are tempted to spend too much time on media, while 11 percent admit a temptation to “go off” on someone via text or email, according to the study. “For most American adults, the things they’ll admit to being tempted by are related to work and productivity — but some of the age-old deadly sins show up too,” the researchers wrote. “Though, perhaps unsurprisingly, the more serious the temptation, the fewer people admit to struggling with it.”

In Christ we can live a better life than what temptation promises. Today in prayer, praise the Lord that in this life, we can always face temptation with Jesus and in His power overcome it.

“Temptation is not meant to make us fail; it is meant to confront us with a situation out of which we emerge stronger than we are.” – William Barclay

God’s Word: “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And 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 stand up under it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin.” – Hebrews 4:15

Don’t people always say “God will never give us more than we can handle” ? Yes, they certainly do. However, that is a worldly belief, not a biblical one.

There is nowhere in the Bible where God says He won’t give us more than we can handle.

The confusion most likely originates from 1 Corinthians 10:31 which says,No 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.” (NIV) But this verse mentions temptations, not burdens.

In this verse, Paul is saying that we will never be ‘tempted’ beyond what we can stand up against in God’s strength, not that we will never feel burdened beyond what we can handle.

In fact, the past few years I’ve wondered if God was giving me more than I could handle, and I’ve felt very burdened. I think all of us feel like that at times.  But with so many concerns pulling at my heart and so many different people and medical situations needing my attention, it’s been hard to wonder when I would break from all the loads I was carrying!  Not only because my time has been pressed, but my heart has been pressed as well.

But a few weeks ago, when thinking about why there seemed to be so many burdens to carry, I started noticing that I was getting more and more hungry for more and more of God. As if exerting so much energy carrying my burdens had made me hungry, hungry for God.

As a result, I’ve been waking up in the mornings, and the very first thing that keeps coming to mind is a desire to pray.  I can’t help but pick up my devotion book and read through it before I do anything else, because I want to see if God has a nugget for me that morning.  Maybe an answer to prayer or wisdom for the day. I’ve also been having a hard time turning off my Christian radio station, just in case God wants to speak to me through song.

All too often, we think we don’t have time for God, and we begin to rely on our own strength and wisdom to handle life’s problems, gradually creating a chasm between us and God, and eventually plummeting us into a desperate state of despair.  Instead of actively expecting God to step into our situations, we passively try to shoulder all the burdens, and eventually begin to feel weak and overwhelmed. We forget to seek God out in the big and the small situations.

We may even find ourselves questioning God about all that He is allowing us to endure, and wondering if just maybe He did give us more than we could handle. Friend, the truth is, He probably has. The old saying that says He won’t do that is merely a myth.

All throughout the Bible we read of regular people who were handed seemingly impossible burdens to bear but instead of trying to handle life on their own, they drew closer to God, fully relying on Him for direction and deliverance. We read in scripture of how God gave each individual more they could handle on their own and then filled them with strength and capability every step of the way.

Just like the characters in scripture, God longs for us to depend on Him when we are feeling overwhelmed with life and burdened by more than we can handle. He wants us to spend time with Him so we can be filled with what we need to get through each day.

In Matthew 19:26 Jesus said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

When our load seems too heavy to carry, it might be that God is not only waiting for us to recognize that we can’t handle it on our own, but also hoping that our desperation will build our spiritual appetite so much so that we wake up starving every morning.

No matter what life hands us, just know that God will never give us more than HE can handle. We can’t do it all, but He can.

And that is a fact.

howWhen we use the word “jealous,” we use it in a sense of being envious of someone who has something we do not have. This kind of jealousy is a sin and is not characteristic of a Christian; rather, it shows that we are still being controlled by our own desires (1 Corinthians 3:3). Galatians 5:26 says, “Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”

The Bible tells us that we are to have the perfect kind of love that God has for us. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). The more we focus on ourselves and our own desires, the less we are able to focus on God. When we harden our hearts to the truth, we cannot turn to Jesus and allow Him to heal us (Matthew 13:15). But when we allow the Holy Spirit to control us, He will produce in us the fruit of our salvation, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Being jealous indicates that we are not satisfied with what God has given us. The Bible tells us to be content with what we have, for God will never fail or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). In order to combat jealousy, we need to become more like Jesus and less like ourselves. We can get to know Him through Bible study, prayer, and fellowship with mature believers. As we learn how to serve others instead of ourselves, our hearts will begin to change. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).

Here it is folks….I’m not going to put my own spin on what the Bible says about homosexuality, it’s very clear. And no, I’ not a hater, just a follower.

 

1 Corinthians 6:9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,

 

Leviticus 20:13 If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.

 

1 Timothy 1:10 The sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,

 

Romans 1:26-28 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

 

Leviticus 18:22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.

 

1 Corinthians 7:2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.

 

Romans 1:32 Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

 

Jude 1:7 Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

 

Mark 10:6-9 But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

 

Genesis 19:1-38 The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth and said, “My lords, please turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night and wash your feet. Then you may rise up early and go on your way.” They said, “No; we will spend the night in the town square.” But he pressed them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house. And he made them a feast and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.” …

 

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. 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.

 

1 Corinthians 6:10-11 Nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. 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.

 

Judges 19:22 As they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, worthless fellows, surrounded the house, beating on the door. And they said to the old man, the master of the house, “Bring out the man who came into your house, that we may know him.”