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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Verses 7-9: “Even things without life, whether flute or harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how will it be known what is piped or played? For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle? So likewise you, unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air.”

Set the time machine of your memories back to 1974-1981: do you remember a game show called “Name That Tune”? Hosted by Tom Kennedy, this game show offered a musical twist to its questions. (Now the show is actually older than this and had a handful of different hosts, but I remember this one specifically.) Contestants had to name musical pieces through a series of rounds and games, but I remember the Bid-a-note challenge: this was between two contestants and had as its clues a spoken Jeopardy-like hint. Based on the hint, the two finalists would bid down how many piano notes of the answer they needed in order to guess the song. The starting bid was seven notes, but contestants could bid down to one note, at which the other contestant would challenge them to “name that tune”. (Now granted, if they stated they could name it in one note, chances are they knew the answer from the clue, not the notes!) In most cases, the contestant winning the bid would have to recognize the song from several notes…just enough notes to hopefully name that tune.

Did you ever go somewhere and didn’t know what people were saying? The obvious example is to travel to a foreign country and not know the native language. If you were in that situation, you had to have an interpreter: one who knew what was being said and could tell you what it means. Paul here is advising the Corinthians that while it’s good to have the gift of speaking in tongues, he urged them to pray to ask for the gift of understanding/translation as well, whether personally or for someone to be there to interpret. Non-Christians would see someone speaking in tongues and conclude they had a gift, but to Christians in church who heard only the tongue being spoken, it was useless unless someone stood up to interpret. (Look up the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:27-39 for a good example!)

While the gift of tongues is not commonly heard today, Christians still need to tell others about Jesus. Sometimes they need to give their testimony without “churchy” words. Because, believe it or not, there are still those who seek to know who Jesus is, and we have to tell them in a way they’ll understand. Sometimes, we may need to do it in more than one note!

Something to think about!

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Verse 13: “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

My wife and I have shared many Valentine’s cards over the years, but this year’s one from her is priceless, if just for the “old married” truisms that are found in it. This comes from the Connections collection by Hallmark. See if some of them resonate with your marriage:

STUFF ONLY BORING OLD MARRIED PEOPLE LIKE US UNDERSTAND
• That Friday night is actually the PERFECT TIME to go grocery shopping.
• That no one else can drive you crazy quite like the person you LOVE most in the world.
• That it’s wonderful to have someone you can always LEAN ON…and possibly fall asleep on.
• That it’s hard to beat waking up beside the person who’s given you so many of the BEST DAYS OF YOUR LIFE.
• That “DATE NIGHT”, although a nice idea, bears little resemblance to an actual date.
• That the TEN-THOUSANDTH KISS in its own quiet way is just as sweet as the first.
• That “FOR BETTER OR WORSE” really means “for better or worse”.
• That LOVE takes work. And time. A lifetime, to be exact.

Paul is sharing with the Corinthians the perfect exposition on agape love…the same love that Jesus loves us with, and the same love that we as Christians should share with the world. If we all did that…I think it would make a world of difference!

Something to think about.

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Verses 22b: “”…I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”

Little Bird loved to sing, especially Christmas carols. During December, she would greet the members of the church (whose bell tower her nest resided in) with carol after carol as soon as the sun rose. Most all the members appreciated Little Bird’s carols. She not only sang to put people in the Christmas spirit, but did it as her way of worshipping the Creator, especially at this time of year. Not too long after the Christmas season started, Frankie the owl swooped by after his nightly rounds to chat with her.

He made Little Bird aware of an older man who lived across from the church. This older man lived alone, had to work 6 days a week, and was only able to sleep late on Sundays. Frankie also knew the man didn’t know the Creator in a personal way. His sleep was being disturbed by Little Bird’s early singing, and Frankie was concerned this might drive him further away from wanting to know the Creator in a personal way.

Little Bird was crestfallen. As much as she loved to sing, she certainly didn’t want to keep anyone from knowing Christ in a personal way. But her very nature was to sing; after all, she was a songbird. Frankie provided wise counsel: “Why don’t you just start later in the morning when the man wakes up? You can still sing, just not so early.”

So Little Bird did the unusual thing for a songbird to do; she didn’t sing before mid-morning from then on. She would perch on a branch outside the man’s window and keep watch while he slept. When he would awake, she would chirp a few notes quietly to see the man’s reaction. In most cases, having gotten the sleep he needed, he would smile and “tweet” back to Little Bird. She then would begin singing her Christmas carols happily.

Paul is continuing his message to the Corinthians by stating that even though he is a free man and has certain rights, he gives up those rights to reach people for Christ. “…to the Jews, I became as a Jew…to those under the law, as under the law…to the weak I became as weak…” Paul was sensitive to the audiences that he might reach for Christ, and thus would accommodate his audience (without compromising Christ’s law…let me reiterate what Paul stressed here), in order to reach them, not push them away by his behavior or clinging to his cultural norms.

How about you, Christian? Aren’t there audiences you can reach today outside of the church building? How about co-workers? How about your neighbors? How about those who you engage in hobbies or sports with? Our God wants to build relationships with them too…it just might mean you reach out in a way that you’re not accustomed to.

Something to think about.

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Verses 8-9: “But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse. But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.”

When she was a teenager, my wife had a principle that might seem strange to some. She would not go to the movies, even if there was one she wanted to see. She would wait for that movie to come out on video so she could see only that movie at her house. As a Christian, she was cognizant of the fact that someone seeing her go to a multi-screen theater might wonder if she was seeing a G-rated film or something rated worse. Even though she was confident in her salvation, she didn’t want to give the appearance that she watched movies that she shouldn’t, lest it hurt her witness to others. That’s a principle she’s kept to this day.

Paul here is cautioning the Corinthian church about eating food served at pagan temples (these temples also doubled as centers of civic activity). He explained that technically it didn’t matter, since idols were non-entities and there was only one true God. However, he cautioned the flock not to become “stumbling blocks” to weaker or new Christians, who might not fully reconcile what they saw with what they were told. Paul even concludes the chapter stating that he would never eat meat again if it caused his brother to stumble in their walk. As always, we Christians need to remember…we might be the only Jesus some people see today, so therefore let Jesus shine through your walk.

Something to think about.

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Verses 18-20: “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

I went to a military academy for high school. As a cadet officer, I worked in the office of the active-duty enlisted sergeants who were assigned as instructors at the academy. In working with them and talking with them, I learned a good many things, not the least of which was “don’t get into trouble”. We had one cadet, though, whose name was Jose; the sergeants liked him, despite his many times of breaking academy rules. One of them told me one day why Jose getting into trouble was different from other cadets getting into trouble. “It’s because he only gets himself in trouble, ” Sarge said. “He doesn’t pin the blame on anyone else, he doesn’t get others in trouble with him. The knucklehead only gets himself in trouble. Now, he’ll serve his punishment and pay his dues…and he’ll still go right back and do something bone-headed and get himself in trouble again. But he never drags anyone down with him.”

Paul hear states that “every sin that a man does is outside the body”…except for sexual immorality, which involves contaminating the body that Jesus bought “with a price”. When you buy something, you own it…it is yours! When we ask Jesus into our hearts, we surrender ourselves to His Lordship…soul, mind, and body. Why then would you do something to the body that belongs to someone else? Bad enough that you may damage your own possession, but damage something that is not yours?

Paul encourages the church to “glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s”. We might be the only witness for Christ that a lost person may see; don’t damage the impression you would leave on them.

Something to think about.

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Verse 7: “Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another,. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated?”

In our society, we’re taught and trained to win. Compete as hard as you can, show no weakness, go for the win. But the following story at this Reader’s Digest link is a heart-warming story about a football team that chose to give up a victory because it was the right thing to do. Read this story for yourself at https://www.rd.com/true-stories/inspiring/football-team-loses-on-purpose/ .

Why would Paul encourage the brethren at Corinth to just accept the wrong and not take their brother to court? Because it was the right thing to do. Defeating a fellow Christian and church member in a lawsuit wouldn’t further the church’s witness in the community. It would only hurt it. It was better, in Paul’s advice, to just accept the wrong, to let themselves be cheated, than to bring dishonor to the name of Jesus Christ. Remember, the world is watching. Sometimes, you have to “take one for the team” to ultimately win.

Something to think about.

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Verse 16: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”

What does it mean to treat your body, to treat yourself, as a temple of God?

Well, for instance, how convincing is it to watch a physical fitness instructional show, and the “expert” who is supposed to have been doing the exercise all this time…doesn’t look like the exercises did them any good? (Now, I’m not talking about other people behind the instructor who are beginners or intermediates…but you expect the expert to look like that all the physical fitness works!)

In the Scooby-Doo episode “Spooky Space Kook”, the gang was at an abandoned airfield, looking for the outer-space ghost. Shaggy peered into a window of a building that the ghost’s footprints led into. When Fred and Velma asked what he saw in the window, Shaggy said, “Doesn’t matter anyway…the windows are too dirty to see into.”

You’ve often heard me quote that sometimes, “we are the only Jesus some people see”. Being a temple of God, the Lord can’t shine through us without “clean windows”. We are changed by Jesus coming into our lives…do we show it? Unless we let Him “clean the windows” from the inside, He can’t shine through to let everyone see Him in us. (My thanks to my wife for providing that analogy!)

So, are you living for Jesus today? Do others see a temple…or an old building with dirty windows?

Something to think about.

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