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Archive for April, 2020

Verses 2-3: “You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.”

We need to give thought to what kind of legacy we show to others. Have you ever heard of Howard Odell? Chances are, unless you are a die-hard University of Washington fan, you probably don’t know him. Odell was the head football coach of the Huskies from 1948 to 1952. Among one of his assistants he had at the time was Don Coryell, who later went on to fame in the NFL of the San Diego Chargers. Coryell once had an assistant there named Ray Perkins. Perkins later coached the New York Giants and had two assistants of note: Bill Parcells, who succeeded him as head coach, and Bill Belichick, who served under Perkins and Parcells. Now you’re probably recognizing some names; if not, please read on. Belichick is the current longtime head coach of the New England Patriots and had an assistant who later went on to lead not one but two different college football teams to win the national championship. I think even the most casual football fan recognizes his name: Nick Saban.

What a coaching tree that is, rooted in a man named Howard Odell. Other famous coaches have similar trees: Nick Saban himself, Bear Bryant, Tom Landry, Bill Walsh, just to name a few.

What about the legacy of a man named Edward Kimball? Try this on for thought:
Sunday School teacher Edward Kimball helped lead Dwight L. Moody to Christ;
J. Wilbur Chapman was converted at a Dwight L. Moody evangelistic meeting;
Billy Sunday was converted at a Chapman meeting;
Mordecai Ham was converted at Billy Sunday meeting;
and Billy Graham was converted at a Ham meeting.

And yes, we mean THAT Billy Graham! That list was sourced from https://sermons.faithlife.com/sermons/84109-from-moody-to-graham

Paul here is commenting on the false prophets who upset the Corinthian church; among some of the things they tried to do to justify their reputation was to produce false letters of recommendation. Paul is stating here that he never needed such letters, because the Corinthian converts “are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.”

Think about the legacy you’re leaving. Are you sowing seeds today that will help produce a harvest for Christ?

Something to think about.

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Verse 16: “To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things?”

In Holman New Testament Commentary I and II Corinthians (copyright 2000 by Broadman & Holman Publishers) on page 312, the author, Richard L. Pratt, Jr., shared a story:

“I have a good friend who is a dentist. He once told me: “When a patient has a toothache, I’m his best friend. But when he has no pain and I tell him we have to drill, I’m his worst enemy.” Dentists inflict pain to help us avoid pain. That makes them people to avoid, but it also makes them people to whom we run for help.”

Even though that was a life application from the previous chapter, I thought about the application to today’s verse. To those who have rejected the Gospel of Christ, other Christians, to them, are detested (“aroma of death”). However, to those who have become saved by the grace of Jesus through that same Gospel, fellow Christians are welcomed (“aroma of life”). You know, when we bathe routinely, it’s not uncommon to use perfume, aftershave, or deodorant to smell better or to keep smelling better. We, as human beings, want to be welcomed by others.

My wife and I both snore in our sleep (don’t tell her I told you! :-)). And we have both woken each other up with our snoring! When she had to stay overnight in the hospital after some surgery, I slept on the fold-out couch bed in the room. As you guess, I didn’t fall asleep easily; I listened out to see how my wife was resting. Finally, I heard it…she was snoring! A sound that I used to hate when I’d have to wake her to make her stop was at that moment, as sweet as birdsong to me…it meant she was sleeping ok.

How’s your aroma, today, Christian?

Something to think about.

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Verses 3-4: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulations, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

A recent story on national news described the goal of a 7-year-old named Zohaib Begg in Virginia. Seems the young child grew to respect and to love nurses and doctors when he spent some years in the hospital when he was younger. So when the coronavirus pandemic hit and Zohaib saw all the needs of the medical community, he made it his goal to supply them with shower caps, gloves, and masks that he collected from hotels. The young man actually marshalled the resources of hotels and such to send more than 6,000 caps, masks, and gloves to hospitals. You can read the full story here at https://abcnews.go.com/US/year-donates-6000-masks-gloves-caps-hotels-hospital/story?id=69948357 .

Zohaib was comforted by nurses and doctors, and then later passed on that comfort and aid to other nurses and doctors. Paul here is reminding the Corinthian church that God is to be praised for being the “God of all comfort” in their lives. Part of that blessing is to pass on comfort in His Name to others in trouble. Especially during such stressful times, take a moment and see how God would want you to comfort somebody. It may not be a monumental effort like this young boy did; it may be to help one person instead. But to paraphrase what Jesus stated in Matthew 25 “if you have done unto the least of my brethren, you have done it unto me.”

Something to think about.

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Verse 14: “Let all that you do be done with love.”

We are truly living in strange times in 2020. The coronavirus pandemic has altered our daily lives like few things have in many decades. But amongst all the worry and dark times, there are some signs to see and to have hope in. Let me share one with you that happened to me.

I work for a company that now has me working remotely from home. I had to contact my internet service provider to talk about a change in my hotspot allowance I had noticed (it had gone up!). With their local offices closed, I had to stay online for about 20 minutes waiting to “chat” with a technician. After I connected with a woman who answered all my questions about how my hotspot allowance had expanded (the ISP was doing this as a way of helping most folks having to work on computer from home) and that it didn’t cost me any extra on my bill, she was about to disconnect our conversation when God encouraged me to ask her quickly, “How are y’all doing right now in all this?”

She at first replied with the usual “it’s been hectic and we’re doing the best we can”. We talked a couple minutes more, and I thanked her, telling her she had been most helpful. Though they were words on a screen to me, I could tell that it really hit home in a good way for her. I could almost hear her emotions, thanking me for my patience and my calm demeanor and my encouragement. I’ve worked with customer service people before and I know that the delay wasn’t her fault; they had been swarmed since the outbreak with callers, some of them hostile. But, at this moment, I genuinely wanted to let her know that we’ll be okay, and that things will get better…we’ll make it through. Somehow, I had the feeling that Jesus had me on that conversation with this particular person at the right time. She just needed to know…that someone cared.

Paul closes 1 Corinthians with many last blessings and requests, but he reminds the church to “let all that you do be done with love.”

Today, and tomorrow, and the day after, show Jesus’s love to someone. We all need that love right now!

Something to think about.

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