2Cor 2 “Will you Forgive?”
Forgiveness seems to be one of the hardest steps we are called to take. Why is that? Is it pride? Is it because we want the offender to feel the pain we are feeling? We often reject taking this step and in fact we feed on the reasons why we don’t have to. Beloved this only leads to a root of bitterness. But Paul uses the word “charizomai” which means to freely forgive as Christ has forgiven you. Imagine with me if Christ had withheld forgiveness from Peter the denier. Christ not only forgave Peter but restored him with full authority. If Christ could forgive why can’t you and I? In our pride do we think we are greater than Christ?
What is the consequence of withholding forgiveness? First and foremost if you do not forgive others, your Father in heaven will not forgive you. [Mat 6:15] Secondly, a lack of forgiveness leads to a root of bitterness. Thirdly, we open the door to the work of the enemy. We must not be ignorant of his schemes to defraud through lies, deceit, pride, and yes afflictions. “Satan has many plans to deceive, and knows how to make a bad use of our mistakes.” [M. Henry]
Jesus said, he who is without sin cast the first stone. He meant to acknowledge we too have sins and are in need of forgiveness. We are no different than the one who injured us. Jesus forgave Peter and the woman caught in adultery; you and I. Can we do less?
A favorite fast food restaurant serves “McNuggets” as tidbits of chicken morsels that children really enjoy. The book of Proverbs serves up “God–nuggets” of wisdom for us to feed on each day. Chapter 22 gives us wisdom regarding one’s reputation, one’s wise counsel regarding the raising of children; wise counsel regarding how one is to respond to those who are poor. They are intertwined like beautiful jewels.
“A good name is to be chosen rather than great wealth, good favor more than silver or gold.” Money and riches can disappear in an instant and is only good in this life. On the opposite side, integrity is a key component that one has now and carries into the grave with them.
The world would tell us children only need more education, more of this and more of that yet the Word of God tells us otherwise. Feed them “God-Nuggets” as you train them the way they should go, and when they are old they will not turn from it.
Jesus said “seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” What “God-Nugget” will you feed on today?
1Cor 15 The Power of the Resurrection
The Resurrection is the key to the life of our Savior who lived, died, and rose again. Without it, there is no hope, no future and no reason to believe. It is because of His death that he became a life-giving spirit that is given to all who believe. It is because of that death, burial and resurrection that one day we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in the moment, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet. This mortality will put on immortality for the Master Tailor is in the business of sewing us into the beautiful tapestry of the image of Jesus Christ. We are being conformed to His image and it is because of this we can sing with the choirs of heaven. And it is because of that truth Paul could say to the Corinthians who were concerned:
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! So then, dear brothers and sisters, be firm. Do not be moved! Always be outstanding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
Jesus is no longer “on” the cross. He has become victorious “over” the cross and He is our anchor for our souls. A
Ps 105 “God’s Flash Drive”
One of the ways in today’s world that we can save and retrieve data to be used later is a flash drive for our computer. You can have it easily retrievable or encrypt it. God’s Word is like a flash drive that you can insert into your computer, retrieve the data and read it. It is readily available for anyone seeking and pondering Him. His flash drive contains words of wisdom; instructions for life, words of reproof, words of correction, and the training manual for righteousness. David didn’t have a flash drive nor a computer but he has left us what would be on it if he did and the marvelous treasure is that we can open it and read it as if we were reading it. It was his “flash drive” of how to praise God.
David’s Flash Drive data a.k.a. Psalm 105: “T-T-S-S”
- T = Thanks! 1 Pray and give thanks to the Lord; Call on his name; Sing to him. May God be on our lips first.
- T= Tell! Tell ourselves to recall all He has done for us. Share with another about what God has done in your life or keep a journal of what God has brought about.
- S= Sing! Sing to him! Make music to him! What hymn or praise song comes to mind as you are reading this post?
- S= Seek! Seek the Lord and rejoice, seek his strength, seek him continually.
So what’s on your flash drive?
Preacher religion is alive and well in the world. We could name names of those men and women who others follow and proclaim they are “the best;” Just like in Corinth they say with their best snooty voice: “I belong to Paul and you don’t. ” Snootiness was alive and well in Corinth and it is today. This is not sin but carnality or immaturity which is evidenced in attitudes and behavior.
Like the Corinthians we are called, chosen, sanctified and saints; therefore we should be humble. Instead we often are snooty acting like unbelievers—-not called, chosen saints of God. The proof is in the pudding; divisions, quarrels and strife as well as elevating men above Christ.
Paul sets out to challenge them to grow up and quit depending on others to feed them because they have the mind of Christ! Paul now asks them and us as well, why are you still acting like little children and like unregenerate people instead of born again saints of God! I want to feed you meat but your infantile behavior leaves me no choice but to continue to provide you only baby food. Paul pinpointed the problem which was snootiness! They were puffed up and forgetting their calling! They were not discerning with their renewed mind of Christ.
This is an ‘ouch’ to us as well. How often do we tilt our noses with an air of snootiness rather than a humility of spirit.
Do your palms begin to sweat, your mind runs amuck when you are faced with “witnessing?” Many find that even though their love for the Master is great, their boldness before others is weak. Fear not, you are not alone! Listen to what Paul says: “I did not come with superior eloquence or wisdom as I proclaimed the testimony of God..” Further he says that he was weak, fearful and trembled.
So how do we overcome these feelings when we love Jesus but find that our excuses outweigh our obedience? This is what Paul did: He counted on the Holy Spirit’s power which reminds us of Zech 4:6 “Not by strength and not by power, but by my Spirit,” When we employ that strategy we find that our words do not come from us but from Him. It is God’s work to open the hearts of men.
The Holy Spirit is the power behind our words and emotions.” He will prove the world wrong concerning sin and righteousness and judgment – concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;” [Jn 16] Trust the Holy Spirit to go before you and He will prepare the hearts. We are the feet of clay to be used by Holy Spirit.
Some days we feel rather insignificant in our walk with Jesus. On days like that we need to take a moment and walk through 1Corinthians 1 to see who we are in God’s eyes.
Paul begins by saying he is “called to be an apostle.” The word call in Greek means invited, thus Paul was invited by Christ to be an apostle. Here’s a question for you to ponder: What has God called to you to be? Try putting your name in that sentence.
“I am called to be…(fill in the blank).
As you ponder that answer it should cause each of us to stop and consider from where we have come and where we are headed. Our calling means we have a sure footing as we trod this world until we reach eternity. It should stop us to consider how significant we are that God has invited us to join his fellowship of believers. Think about the circumstances of your call…Not many were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were born to a privileged position. [vs 26] But you were called, that is invited to this privilege.
Recently I was asked this question: What would you see God calling you to if you knew without a shadow of doubt that you would not fail? The answer should be this; if I am called then I can be sure of this very thing, that the one who began a good work in [me] will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. [Phi 1:6]
It was by God’s grace that we are given this privilege and we cannot boast for it is all of God’s work and none of ourselves. If we want to boast, boast in this: God called “me” and He is in the work of “perfecting” me in the path he has already foreordained in eternity past.
And that is why you and I are significant!
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We have heard it said over and over and over: you are judging and that is wrong. Now to be sure there are times when we are to judge and to judge righteously when we discern error. However, in this chapter Paul over and over and over is trying to get our attention that when we judge or criticize another’s spiritual walk we have crossed the no-man’s zone of hypocrisy.
Paul asks “who are you to judge the servant of another?” and “why do you judge your brother?” And in the context of this discussion Paul is referring to three non-essentials of food, days and drink. Not one of these will keep us from heaven’s door but alone or together they may cause a brother/sister to stumble in their walk with Jesus. The problem is us not them. We have this urge to change others rather than accepting them as they are. Instead of a gentle quiet spirit we become a gonging cymbal as we beat our drum of “no, no, no” to those who may not be at the same maturity level as us all the while forgetting two essentials:
- We all will stand before God to give an accounting
- We will give an account of every idle word we have spoken
What we need to remember is that God looks not on the outward man as we do but on his heart. Let’s let God do the judging and we do the accepting lest we scar hearts God has already healed.