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Showing posts from August 21, 2016

Farewell

I remember dropping a child off at church to catch the bus to summer camp or leaving home on a business trip and making short statements to my kids. Statements like: "be good," "don't get into trouble," "obey," "don't spend all your money on candy," and "be kind and loving." All of these were a part of my farewell and were charges to conduct. They were actions that were possible but not necessarily happening at that moment. Paul in finishing his first letter to the Corinthians had a few farewell statements for them as well. It is worth noting that all of these are in the command mode, like he is desirous of them starting these actions and continuing to do them from the moment they hear about them from him. Four of them are related to their faith and the last is related to their love. Each one can be reviewed with its opposites in mind. (1 Corinthians 15:13-14) First he said, "be watchful." He meant, keep your eyes open,…

The Challenge

Are you so busy with life that you have forgotten the basics concerning being a believer? Is everything moving so fast that you cannot catch up?  At the end of a chapter on resurrection and resurrected bodies, the stuff of our future, Paul takes a moment to challenge the Corinthian church with the basics in the present. He says, "Stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58) He says, it is imperative for a believer to stand firm, to not be confused by the waves that sweep into their life and splash against their commitments and beliefs. It is imperative that nothing move them from what they believe and that they continue to move forward. The key here for all, whether a lay person or a full-time worker in the church, is to always give yourself fully to God's work. God deserves and expects the best, and a labor on behalf of Him that is at 100%. There is a g…

Resurrection?

Paul as an apostle traveled all over the then known world. From Israel to Spain he had been involved in the birthing of many churches. He had trained many leaders and mentored many who worked alongside him. He was faithful, persistent, loving, sometimes adamant, and confrontational when necessary. He had heard that some had said, "There is no resurrection of the dead." (1 Corinthians 15:12b) That frustrated Paul because he knew how essential the resurrection was to the gospel story and to faith that grows out of belief in Christ's resurrection. So Paul shared what it would be like if this were true. He said, if true, then "not even Christ has been raised." (15:13) This would contradict the whole story of Christ's life and purpose on earth. It would invalidate those apostles and 500 others who said they saw him after he was raised. It would lessen the power of God that He could not even raise His own Son from the grave. He said, if true, then Paul's &qu…

Lot's Lesson

Lot chose the plain of the Jordan, after a discussion with Abraham about separating for more space for their flocks, because it looked "like the garden of the Lord."(Genesis 13:10) He saw promise and provision in the green of nature but was also drawn by the allure of the cities of the plain. He went down and established himself only later to be taken captive during a raid by warring tribes. He was rescued by his uncle, Abraham, but went right back to the decadence of Sodom. However, the time came when the "outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah [was] so great and their sin so grievous" (Genesis 18:20) that the Lord came down to see if the truth was as bad as the outcry. He already knew but was extending grace. God decided to destroy these cities but before He did He sent angels masquerading as men to Lot in the city. More grace extended. After a perilous night where town people sought to exploit the visitors and where Lot offered his two daughters to be abused, dawn a…

Givers

Righteous people "give without sparing." (Proverbs 21:26) It is in their nature to be like God who gave without sparing even His only Son. They recognize that all they have has been given to them and that none of it belongs to them. So, they give. Now note that I did not say rich people give without sparing. Yes, there are some that are rich and righteous but this statement refers to anyone who is righteous without identifying their financial state in life. Righteous people give by sharing God's truth to believer and unbeliever. They are concerned and care about those that come in contact with them and so they share who God is and what He has done. Righteous people give of their time in serving others. They do not wait to be served or think service is below them; instead they serve to help others and fill the needs of their community. Finally, righteous people give financially to causes that help others, to a church that has blessed them, and they do it without grumbl…