Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Verse 11: “Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.”

These are some of Paul’s final wishes for his congregation in Corinth. They seem like simple requests, but very powerful ones. The NIV translation states “Strive for full restoration, encourage one another”. He wanted his children to be complete in Christ. Good words to sign off a letter with, don’t you think?

And this brings our Back to Corinth series to an end. After a brief respite, please join me as we see what the Holy Bible says about contentment, something especially needed in this current time. The series will be called “Can’t Get No Satisfaction”…see you soon, and I’ll explain the title. 🙂

Have a blessed day in the Lord!

Read Full Post »

Verse 9: “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

In an old Justice League of America issue, #34, “The Deadly Dreams of Doctor Destiny”, Dr. Destiny was attacking members of the Justice League through dreams that he would later materialize into real life…with deadly differences. In Superman’s dream, the Man of Steel was attempting to stop a rampaging stone warrior statue come to life. A pair of glasses snapped onto his face out of nowhere…glasses, that he discovered, removed his weakness to Kryptonite! At first happy, he was dismayed later when the giant defended himself with a gold coating and attacked Superman with fire. Now Superman had the weaknesses of Green Lantern (yellow) and the Martian Manhunter (fire)! Recovering his wits in time to figure out a way to defeat the giant in his dreams, he awoke in his bed, wryly observing that he’d gladly have a weakness to Kryptonite than trade for the weaknesses of anything yellow or fire!

Paul here is reflecting on his pleas to the Lord to remove “the thorn in his side”, and God had said no, and even more, replied that His grace was sufficient for him. Ever notice how we’re not surprised to see a feat of strength by a strong person, or some incredible achievement by someone very talented…but we remark on how miraculous it is to see such achievements done by someone unlikely? That’s God in action. He told Paul that “His strength was made perfect in weakness.” That way, credit is given to God for the miracle than to the vessel it was accomplished through.

Our music minister at church sang a beautiful solo today entitled “Gratitude” (arranged by Heather Sorenson, composed by Nichole Nordeman); in it, the author prays for needs, but remembers to thank God for what He gives, even when the answer is no to the prayed for need. Christian, remember to thank God in all things, and thank Him that His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses!

Something to think about!

Read Full Post »

Verses 13-15: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.”

I used to watch the old TV series called Kolchak: The Night Stalker. For a TV show back in the 1970s, there were sure some episodes that could scare you very well. I always enjoyed the premise that Carl Kolchak (brilliantly played by Darren McGavin), the dogged investigative reporter (who could easily annoy any police captain) was the only one to believe that a monster was behind the crime…and eventually was the only one to dispose of the monster, thus ruining his story on the crime. There was one episode, “Horror in the Heights”, that pitted Kolchak against a Hindu monster, a Rakshasa; this creature ate human flesh, but appeared to its victims as the illusion of someone they trusted. Carl, being cynical, was able to see through the illusion enough to kill the creature with blessed cross-bolts fired from a crossbow (think silver bullets here).

Evil doesn’t always look like evil; how would the devil ever get close to you if he appeared monstrous? As Paul stated above, Satan can transform himself to look like an angel of light. His followers can do the same. But much like using litmus paper to tell the difference between acid and base, the litmus test for false prophets will always be their works. We must always be on the lookout for those who would lead non-Christians and even some Christians astray, especially in these challenging times. What is the standard by which we can tell the truth? Simple: the Word of Jesus Christ the Lord…His Holy Bible.

Something to think about!

Read Full Post »

Verses 4-6: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.”

At the beginning of the movie Iron Man, Tony Stark is about to demonstrate his latest missile code-named Jericho. He introduces it in his speech, including the famous quote, “They say that the best weapon is the one you never have to fire. I respectfully disagree. I prefer the weapon you only have to fire once. That’s how Dad did it, that’s how America does it, and it’s worked out pretty well so far.” It’s ironic that he named this destructive weapon after Jericho, the ancient city in Canaan feared for its incredible fortress like walls…walls which were brought down by God as Joshua followed His leading in having the Israelites take the Promised Land.

However, Paul here goes a step further. He tells the church not to put your trust in weapons of war or of defenses of man, but in the mighty power of God! In the comics once, the Justice League and Justice Society argued about who needed to deliver a doomsday weapon against a giant cosmic hand gripped around Earth. They all acknowledged it would be hard to survive the explosion. Superman, stated he should be the one, since he was invulnerable…until Dr. Fate mildly shocked him with a small bolt of magic. Both Green Lanterns argued they should go, until Green Arrow produced a yellow, wooden arrow, combining both their weaknesses. You see, no matter how strong or seemingly invincible mortal man proclaims to be, he cannot face the power of Satan…that is, not without the power of God, Whose power always triumphs over evil.

Remember the old bumper sticker, “God is my co-pilot”? Friend, give Him the wheel and let Him be the driver!

Something to think about!

Read Full Post »

Verses 6-7: “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”

My wife and I give to our church through other means than money. We buy and donate hard to get items for our church, such as items for the food closet. We had made a recent delivery during lunch, and were walking back to our truck, when my wife exclaimed, “The tithe! We forgot to give the check!” At which, we wheeled around on our heels, went back in the office, I did my unpatented Lt. Columbo impression “oh, just one more thing”, and we gave our tithe check. You see, we enjoy being able to give back to God through our local church.

Paul is reminding the church here that God loves a cheerful giver. Have you ever received a “gift” that really wasn’t heartfelt? (ever been forced to give an apology? Wasn’t very sincere, was it?) But in this case, we should be glad to give back to God, Who has given us so much. Just check out verse 15: “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” That gift is eternal salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ.

It’s impossible to out-give God…but enjoy it when you’re giving!

Something to think about!

Read Full Post »

Verses 10-12: “And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have. For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.”

Our Carpenters for Christ mission trips of recent have been able to go home early, as the work was completed early. This year was different, however. We (as the mission group) stayed the full two weeks. True, the majority of the major work was done in the first week, but due to varying circumstances, responsibilities, and reasons, we had members of the team leave early for home. Even members of the host church had to go back to jobs after the first week. During the second week, only a small handful of the team remained, working on touch-up work and framing. By the end of the week, the team was down to about 5 people…but we had finished the mission God had laid before us, and we left feeling like the job was complete.

Paul here is speaking on the sensitive subject of financial giving to support the church. Money can be a touchy subject, but Paul approached it with God-led authority on its importance. That is true of any giving we give to support God’s church. Whether it is money or, in the Carpenters’ case, time and work, we need to finish what we do to the best of our ability and under the direction of the Lord.

Leonardo da Vinci, the famous Italian polymath, was very famous for all his works and inventions. However, “da Vinci was notorious for never finishing his work. His wide range of interests often distracted him and his perfectionism discouraged him from declaring a painting officially finished. Often accused of being a helpless procrastinator, the problem wasn’t that da Vinci wouldn’t start works, it was that he was constantly starting works and neglecting to finish the ones he had already begun. ”
https://www.walksofitaly.com/blog/art-culture/leonardo-da-vinci-surprising-facts#:~:text=Da%20Vinci%20was%20notorious%20for%20never%20finishing%20his%20work.&text=The%20first%20of%20which%20was,the%20artist%20never%20officially%20finished.

Let it not be said of you, O Christian, that we never finish what the Lord has tasked us to do. We need to try. We might fail to finish, but never let it be from a lack of trying or a lack of determination. When Jesus’s work was done on the cross, remember what He said: “It is finished.” And to echo that, remember what Paul said in Philippians 1:6: “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;” https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians%201%3A6&version=NKJV

Something to think about.

Read Full Post »

Verse 11: “For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.”

“Don’t get in trouble!” “Don’t do that, it’ll hurt!” We’ve heard those phrases before; now how about these:

“Get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of America.” That quote was from the late Rep. John Lewis from atop the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL on March 1, 2020. https://www.al.com/news/2020/07/get-in-good-trouble-famous-quotes-from-the-late-john-lewis.html . He was speaking of the type of trouble one would encounter confronting injustice, but not backing away from the confrontation. I thought about that phrase when I read the Holman New Testament Commentary on I & II Corinthians on 2 Cor. 7. It, too, made reference to a story about visiting people in the hospital and the term “good pain”…that when suffering “temporary agony that leads to the discovery and eradication of a disease is really a blessing.” (pg. 385 of the above book).

You wouldn’t normally associate “trouble” and “pain” with the adjective “good”. Likewise, you would think that someone who had been reprimanded wouldn’t feel better about the experience. But here, Paul is complimenting the Corinthian church for repenting and learning from their past sin and the sorrow that was caused. Paul even listed the benefits gained in verse 11 from the lesson they had learned. Therefore, the reprimand produced good fruit in the church.

When I used to officiate football, I learned some things correctly, but in my zeal to know more, I talked more that I listened. I had a veteran referee on a long “away game” have a talk with me about it. Yes, what he said stung my pride, but he was right. I learned from it, and became a better official because of it. I also came to value his wisdom very much in officiating matters, so that I would use him as a barometer to make sure I was learning correctly.

How about you, Christian? Do you learn from God’s correction? Remember, He does it because He loves us, and wants us to grow in Him.

Something to think about.

Read Full Post »

Verses 11-12: “O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections.”

In the 1965 Pink Panther cartoon, Pink Ice, the Panther is running a diamond mine in South Africa. However, all his diamonds continue to be stolen by rival mine owners, Devereaux and Hoskins. When the bumbling duo attempts to get rid of the Panther, he uses good ol’ fashioned cartoon tricks to ultimately make them distrust each other and have them at each other’s throats, all the while taking their diamonds in return. This was one of those rare Pink Panther cartoons where the Panther actually spoke (the voices of the Panther, Devereaux, and Hoskins were provided by the legendary voice actor, Rich Little.)

Though very humorous to watch how the Panther gets Devereaux and Hoskins to begin sniping at each other and eventually antagonize each other, there are people today and back in Biblical times who would set people against each other. This happened in the case of Paul and the Corinthian church; false prophets had filled the church with lies about Paul, and the church didn’t return the affection back to Paul that he had honestly and openly shown them. Paul correctly admonishes them, telling them that they are their own worst enemy; that Paul and his company of missionaries are not restricting them, but they are hurting themselves.

How many times have we allowed our own misconceptions or groundless beliefs about something to get in the way of the Lord’s work? We need to listen to the truth from Jesus Christ, He who is the Truth. Think how much the church could do today if all its members were united in following God, and not trying to add a comma where God put a period?

Something to think about.

Read Full Post »

Verse 7: “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

I can think of several analogies that this verse brings to mind, such as the scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, when Indy has to make the “leap of faith” across a large chasm to save his father. I think of an old, dear friend of my wife and mine, who, although physically blind, can see better through her walk of faith than you and me. How about the scene from The Empire Strikes Back, when Luke fails to lift his massive X-wing fighter out of the swamp using the Force, sees Yoda do it when he failed, and says to him, “I don’t believe it”…and Yoda replies, “That is why you failed.”

But today, I think this is a good verse to claim when confronted by the world-wide pandemic we’re living in. Experts come on TV daily with predictions and charts over where hotspots will wane or where “the curve flattens out”. Governors talk about when it will be safe to resume certain activities and not others, all hoping to restart their economies without risking a resurgent outbreak of the coronavirus infections. Just like some things in our lives, we can’t see what the future holds with great certainty.

But I know Who holds the future, and it is faith in Jesus Christ to bring us through. We’ll get through this…through Him.

Something to think about.

Read Full Post »

Verse 7: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.”

Dr. Otto Octavius, aka Doctor Octopus, was always one of my favorite Spider-Man villains. Otto was slightly overweight, was not in very good shape, and had to wear glasses; however, he commanded a set of robotic arms that allowed him to go toe-to-toe with Marvel super-heroes like Spider-man and Mister Fantastic. Though he was a brilliant scientist and unparalleled expert in radiation (that fact admitted by Reed Richards with no shame), his weakness was that his human body couldn’t stand the abuse he’d take in a fight if his adversary made it through the defense of his robotic tentacles. His great power (the incredible robot-arm harness) was grafted to a frail body that was very human.

Paul is explaining to the Corinthian church about the light of God in his life as well as their fellow Christians. The power of God, used by disciples in acts of healing, was not of them though. Paul wanted to stress that having God’s power in his life didn’t turn him superhuman; he was all but subject to the frailties of the human body and its weaknesses. Paul wanted to make sure they knew that this treasure, the light of God through Jesus Christ our Savior, was from God and not themselves. He compared the human body to an earthen vessel….temporary…common…and subject to breaking.

That way, as he stated, “the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.”

Something to think about.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »