Archive for October, 2009

Short Hiatus…

I’ll be taking a short hiatus for the next 3 weeks to do some study and preparation on the next Bible devotional that I’d like to share with you. Around mid-November, be on the lookout for the next post on this blog: a short study on the armor of God!

Have a blessed day!


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verse 14: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.”

When I was a young Christian, I admit that I was a little confused by the Trinity of God. God exists in 3 persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. He has existed as one God in three Persons from the beginning (which often shoots down claims that when Jesus was “born” on Earth to Mary, that that was when Jesus came into existence. Jesus was around way before that!) As I’ve heard it counseled to others by preachers, some folks get really caught up in the 3-in-1 aspect of God and lose focus on the true point: that He is God.

I want to share an analogy that worked for me in better understanding this mystery. A preacher put it this way in a sermon. Take the number 1. If you add 1 + 1 + 1, the result is 3. If you multiply 1 X 1 X 1, the result is 1. God is 3 persons in 1 existence. To my fragile mortal mind, it’s incredible; it’s something I continue to marvel at. God is amazing!

Thanks for joining me in this study of Corinthians. It’s my prayer that God has used me to share some insights in His Word that have helped you in some way. Stay tuned to the next blog entry for information on the next study.

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verse 8: “For we can do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth.”

Remember disagreements that you’ve had with your parents? Trying to change a parent’s mind on something can result in all sorts of tactics. They may range from pleading and begging to arguing outright to the “silent treatment” to threats of “I’ll never speak to you again” to promises to bartering tactics that a barrister would be proud of! Yet, when it’s a point that is important to the safety and growth of a child, the good parent normally doesn’t budge on their decision, no matter what the child does.

That’s the way it is with the Truth; Jesus Christ is the Son of God, God the Son. He came to earth, lived a perfect sinless life, and became the ultimate sacrifice for us on the cross! He died and was buried, and God raised Him on the third day! Because He lives, if you just accept Him as Lord and Savior into your heart, we become recipients of the promise of eternal life with Him in Heaven.

Many things have been said to discredit the Truth; many things have been done trying to cover it up or squelch the Good News. But nothing can be done against the Truth. For the Truth? That’s easy…”go and make disciple makers”!

Have a blessed day!

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verse 4: “For indeed He was crucified because of weakness, yet He lives because of the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, yet we shall live with Him because of the power of God directed toward you.”

Think on these statements:

“He was crucified because of weakness”…Jesus took all the sins of the world, our sins, upon Him on that cross. Do you think for one second He couldn’t have come down from that cross and said “Forget it!”??? He could have…but that’s how much He loved and loves us.

“yet He lives because of the power of God”….yes, Jesus died on that cross, the perfect sacrifice. Yes, God raised Him back to life. It’s because He lives that we have the promise of eternal life in Heaven.

He was not weak, as we see weakness. He willingly became weak by taking on the sins of the world. When we become weak to Him…when we throw away all the pride and ego and sin that we, as humans live in, and submit to His authority….then we are living in the power of God.

Let me be clear: submission is not weakness, as we define weakness. To our proud, independent, haughty minds, submission may seem like weakness. But it’s God way, not your way! The best decision you can ever make is to strongly submit to God and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. Now you’re talking about power-living!

Have a blessed day!

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verse 14: “Here for this third time I am ready to come to you, and I will not be a burden to you; for I do not seek what is yours, but you; for children are not responsible to save up for their parents, but parents for their children.”

Paul here is reminding the Corinthians that he does not and has not been a burden to them; this was part of his “defense” against his accusers in the Corinthian church. He used the analogy that children are not responsible for saving up for parents, but parents are for children.

I felt God draw me to this verse, I believe, because of this analogy. We live in a world today, in which children sometimes have to care for invalid or aging parents. Now that is okay; family should look after family. But Paul is referring to the natural legacy that parents provide to children…not just financial but the inheritance of life lived in faith to God. I’ve worked with kids in our church that get saved before their parents do. Parents are to be the leaders in their homes, and that means spiritually as well. It is the order God intended when he created parents and children; that parents teach and lead their children.

If you are a parent, are you being a spiritual leader in your own home today?

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verse 11: “I have become foolish; you yourselves compelled me. Actually I should have been commended by you, for in no respect was I inferior to the most eminent apostles, even though I am a nobody.”

A nobody? We’re talking about Paul here, the greatest missionary the world has ever seen! Here is a man who has traveled all over the known world at the time, preaching the gospel and starting churches. Here is a man who suffered hardships that would’ve discouraged most men. His journeys read much like some adventure heroes in modern literature.

Yet, he considered himself a nobody for the cause of Christ. Several times in Scripture, he had to deflect honor or even worship of himself to say, “Let me tell you of Him who you should direct your praise and worship!” He was speaking outlandishly here to the Corinthians, to deflect the attacks of these self-styled “super-apostles” in Corinth. He actually had to say, “instead of downplaying my apostleship, you should’ve been commending me!”

My wife had a good point after reading this verse. She’s reminded of some churches who should be commending and supporting their pastors; instead, they often snipe and undercut the pastor’s authority and leadership. I hope and pray that, if you have a God-fearing, Christ-preaching pastor in your church, you are commending him and supporting him.

Have a blessed day!

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verse 10: “Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

You know, when I was younger, I was fairly fast (though not a speedster)…but today, my 14-year-old son can outrace me (don’t tell him that!) 🙂

I used to consider myself pretty strong…till I tried to clean our dryer vent tunnel with a snake and T-shirt combination, and it got stuck, and I couldn’t pull it out!

I was valedictorian of my high school class and made all A’s…but now I know folks younger than me who are a lot smarter and intelligent than me.

I prided myself on my memory…until I worked concession stands for my son’s high school band and couldn’t keep up with complicated food orders!

I weigh more than I should….I wear bifocals…I don’t have stamina like I used to…and the list goes on.

You might think these statements are all age-related…but some of them aren’t. I have weaknesses. Christ uses our weaknesses to minister, when we will let go and let Him do His work. You might not believe you could tell someone the good news, but let God take the wheel, and you’ll be surprised at how you deliver the message. You might not think you can serve…but just report for duty, and be amazed and what God can accomplish through you. Then, as Paul said, you can be “well content with weaknesses…for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Have a blessed day!

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verses 7-9: “And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me – to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”

Of all the super-feats that Superman did in the comic books, TV, and movies, I always thought one in particular was different. It was the feat in which Superman would take a lump of coal in his hands, apply “super-pressure”, and turn the old rock into a precious diamond. It was explained to the comic fan that Superman was “applying in a few seconds the geological pressure of thousands of years”. So, how come he could do that, but when I try to apply pressure to a lump of coal, all I get are fragments of coal? 🙂

That’s about the closest I can come to drawing an analogy of God’s “power perfected in weakness”. Though mankind thinks that the biggest, the strongest, the richest, the smartest are the ones who can do most anything, there are situations where we cannot do squat! This is where you “let go, and let God”! Paul could have easily been conceited over his missionary achievements, but God kept him humble, and Paul acknowledged that.

I know God has blessed me mightily in many areas of my life, and I try every day to thank Him for that. When people thank me or compliment me on achievements, I try to make sure that I give the glory to God, for His grace is sufficient for me. Like the old hymn says, “I am weak, but Thou art strong”.

Have a blessed day!

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verse 30: “If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness.”

“We’re Number 1”! How many times have we seen or heard this chant on many a sports event broadcast? What always struck me funny was this: I expect to see it from those few teams and fans who, according to the polls, are ranked no. 1 or near no. 1. I expect to see it from teams and fans who are ranked no. 1 or near no. 1 in their conference or division. But I always chuckle when I get to see that game between two “cellar-dwellers” and you see the fans frantically waving the big foam finger no. 1. I guess the school is number 1 in their hearts…

Paul here is not bragging about being number 1. Even though he was the greatest missionary the world has ever known, what was his “bragging cry”? “I am the chiefest of sinners”. We, as Christians, are nothing without Christ. I always marvel at how God brings the mighty down to nothing, no matter how big the individual or nation. What should be our “bragging cry” today? It should be that I am nothing without Christ. As a friend of mine from college once said, “the world will probably say that’s a crutch…and we should say, He’s not a crutch, He’s my Rock!”

Have a blessed day!

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verses 13-14: “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”

My oldest son’s high school that he attends has as their mascot, the Red Devils. Of course, when you see drawings of the mascot, it’s of the pitchfork-wielding, horn-headed, red devil. There are still folks today that think that that is what Satan appears as….a red devil. Now, if you saw a monster that looked like a monster heading your way, you’d be sure to steer clear of it. But what about the monster that doesn’t look like a monster? Unless you are on your guard, you won’t recognize it as a monster until it’s too late.

Satan is the prince of liars…he’ll appear to be a friend, until it’s too late. When you go fishing, do you pull out the meanest looking hook in the world to catch the fish, throw it in the water and expect the fish to bite it? No….you put bait on it, something that looks good to the fish, something attractive and tasty-looking. That bait is what covers the danger of the hook. Be aware that Satan has his hooks out every day, hoping to catch you unawares.

Better to be a fisher of men, as Christ wants us to be, catching and rescuing those in the net who are floundering through this life (no pun intended). Take your direction from the Master Fisherman today.

Have a blessed day!

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