Category Archives: 1 Corinthians

Isaiah 56-59; Psalm 70; 1 Corinthians 16

I cannot remember the first day I loved the name of Jesus. It is amazing how much I love His name today. I wish I could remember that day.

And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord
minister to Him, love the name of Yahweh
and become His servants,
all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it
and who hold firmly to My covenant— Isaiah 56:6 HCSB

There is something about loving the name of God which basically means to love God. In a concrete way, loving means to obey. Loving the name of God means I love and imitate His character. That is how I and others know I am in love with Him. So there is the emotional love and the action love. Action comes in the territory of serving and is reflected in my whole life and with my whole being. It means that loving Him reflects on me keeping His law.

All of this is for one reason – so when foreigners show up in the temple because they are motivated by love for God, they will stand out from the one who have come with a deceitful motive.

It is why Jesus prayed for us to be one – under Him, our Saviour – bond together in the bond of love and peace. It is only when I walk away from God’s love does my own love grow cold. It is amazing – it is either this or I am persecuted for my love.

God, deliver me.
Hurry to help me, Lord! – Psalm 70:1 HCSB

I need God because how else will I be able to love my enemies, to do good to those that hate me and to pray for those who persecute me.

Be alert, stand firm in the faith, act like a man, be strong. Your every action must be done with love. If anyone does not love the Lord, a curse be on him. Marana tha that is, Lord, come. – 1 Corinthians 16: 13-14,22 HCSB

While the church is open to everyone, the church does not consist of everyone. The mark of a follower of Jesus is based on their love for Jesus – not affiliation or family ties. Therefore it is my choice that I make – I chose to love.

Father, I want those who see me to see Jesus in me. While I struggle for the words, I pray that my actions will be not leave doubt. I need You Lord – there is nothing I can do on my own without You. I expect You to show up and give me wisdom and to guide me in all my relationships. It is the only way that anyone will see You in me. As You taught us to pray, I ask you to not lead me into temptation but to deliver me from evil. May Your Kingdom rule in my heart and in my life so that I may love like You. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Isaiah 49-52; Psalm 69; 1 Corinthians 14

God’s got this.

Save me, O God!
    For the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in deep mire,
    where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters,
    and the flood sweeps over me.
I am weary with my crying out;
    my throat is parched.
My eyes grow dim
    with waiting for my God.

Psalm 69:1-3 ESV

Whether the muck threatens our own life and mental health or those of a friend, God offers timeless encouragement with the reminder that He is present and hears our cries.

When the humble see it they will be glad;
    you who seek God, let your hearts revive.

Psalm 69:32 ESV

Pity parties pull us into ourselves. If I keep looking at myself, my shortcomings, my circumstances, I miss the hope He gives. The psalmist reminds me to seek God. Not looking at the problem or even searching for possible outcomes, but seeking Him. His glory, His praise. Worship. My selfishness draws me toward self-preservation. Worship draws me to His presence.

Paul Tripp points out the need for this perspective in parenting also, while convicting me of my own need for greater worship and selflessness.

What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.

I Corinthians 14:15 ESV

Mind, heart, and soul, must recognize the place God has in our lives and in our challenges. Placing him first keeps everything else in line.

Who among you fears the Lord
    and obeys the voice of his servant?
Let him who walks in darkness
    and has no light
trust in the name of the Lord
    and rely on his God.

Isaiah 50:10 ESV

The following verse here (Isaiah 50:11) talks of someone who makes their own light instead of trusting God as verse 10 guides us to. We are so quick to solve the problem in the immediate rather than praying first, trusting first. This message of, “God first, God only, God always,” will speak life to us and those around us.

One thought that is continually pounded home in I Corinthians 14 is that we should strive to build each other up, to encourage one another. We might know the good news, but we need to keep hearing it, speaking it into our own lives and building up those around us with it.

everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
    they shall obtain gladness and joy,
    and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Isaiah 51:11b ESV

How beautiful upon the mountains
    are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
    who publishes salvation,
    who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”

For you shall not go out in haste,

    and you shall not go in flight,

for the Lord will go before you,

    and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.

Isaiah 52:7, 12 ESV

God is there. God is here. He’s got this. Whatever fills today and tomorrow and the next day. Whatever threatens my life or my family members’ lives, or my neighbor’s lives. He’s got it covered. We don’t need to rush around like crazy people trying to find the answer, to figure it out. We need to seek Him first. He will go before us and behind us and work it out in His way, in His time.

Lord God, help my first response, my gut reaction to be to run to You. First and always may You be the answer to all I’m trying to figure out. Instead of my worrying through it on my own, lift my eyes to You and Your plan. Not earthly resolution, but eternal glory. Not a strictly emotional response or only a logical one, but one that melds mind and spirit as You created me to function, a unified, complex being to bring You worship. In Jesus name, amen.

Erin (6intow)

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Isaiah 33-35; 1 Corinthians 6

I am amazed today how I see so many struggle with love and justice. It seems like the two cannot get married and stay married. I was with a group of young adults, basketball players trying to make it into a league that will get them as close to the NBA as possible. I meet them once every three months or so as a spiritual advisor and encourager. As I finished up I knew I had hit a raw nerve when the coach introduced the Bible as a book of rules, contradicting my entire message which was based on God’s love.

It must have been real hard for the prophets to share this message. They only had the law and they did not have the new covenant of grace introduced by Jesus. Still, the character of God has remained the same, so they focused on that.

The wilderness and the dry land will be glad;
the desert will rejoice and blossom like a rose.[q][r]
It will blossom abundantly
and will also rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,
the splendor of Carmel and Sharon.
They will see the glory of the Lord,
the splendor of our God and the redeemed of the Lord will return
and come to Zion with singing,
crowned with unending joy.
Joy and gladness will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee. – Isaiah 35:1-2,10 HCSB

The disposition of God’s heart is joy and gladness. I think God is troubled about those things that hinder love. When I look at His judgments, I see Him removing everything that hinders love. That is why He intervenes in judgment – He is zealous to fill the earth with love, humility and righteousness.

But anyone joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. – 1 Corinthians 6:17 HCSB

This is why I think that I pursue such a union with Jesus. There is nothing more I need. When I am discipling others, this becomes a stumbling stone because they want more from me and all I have is Jesus. I try to show them how precious it is to fall in love with Jesus more and more. To seek out His beauty, to delight in Him. to joy in Him and to worship Him. I ask them to train their heart to make the choice to love Jesus more than any thing or any one.

This hymn might be helpful describing what it is like to be the bride of Jesus. It is a meditation on what that would be.

Father, thank You for revealing Your joy and gladness to me in the midst of calling me to love You with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit who sustains me and calls me to make a choice everyday to love You. Your love is sustaining me and I love You for this. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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2 Samuel 3; 1 Corinthians 14; Ezekiel 12; Psalm 51

I loved learning about what it means to pray with my spirit and at the same time how precious it is to pray with my mind. It is not about one or the other being more important or more powerful – to neglect either one would make no use of the extraordinary gift of the Spirit given to me.

What should I do, then? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray also with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will sing also with my mind. – 1 Corinthians 14:15 GNT

I will pray with my spirit for without the help of the Holy Spirit my prayer cannot come out with faith, fervency, freedom and boldnesss – in an extraordinary manner. I will pray with my mind because I need to know the object of prayer and how the Holy Spirit has influenced my ask so that, by faith, and in relationship, I know the will of God and in the end my soul, as well as those of others, are refreshed.

The key that I have found when I pray is confession, no different than what David expressed in Psalm 51. In fact, it has largely shaped my own prayer life. It is how I come before God in honesty and humilty, resting in His love and mercy that I have in Christ.

Father, I come, as I usually do, to acknowledge the steps I have taken to break our relationship. I know those steps stop me from loving You and to stop being faithful. I come as I am to ask for Your forgiveness. I miss, above everything else, the presence of Your Holy Spirit in my life. Sometimes I fear I have lost Him forever and yet each time, Your forgiveness has set me free and has once again restored not only our relationship but has filled me again with Your presence. Your Holy Spirit has become my sign that Your promise of eternal life is indeed one that You are determined to keep for me. Maybe that is why He is so precious to me. I love that King David was so aware of Him in his life for David has left with me some powerful expressions of pain when it comes to sin. He has also provided incredible glimpses of Your mercy and grace and now, through Jesus, those have become readily available when I come before You on bended knee. Thank You for giving me life in the kingdom of God.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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2 Samuel 2; 1 Cor. 13; Ezekiel 11; Psalms 50

“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.  Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless.  But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete , and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.  Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.  All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.  Three things will last forever-faith, hope, and love-and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:7-13 NLT

When I tell my kids I love them I want them to know that my love for them doesn’t change based on their actions.  I begin to see that that is how God loves me.  I don’t have to earn his love. When I realize the depths of God’s love for me, I am free to love others. Even people that I don’t agree with.  Oh, how Satan would want to steal my faith and hope away so that I become angry and bitter.

Is there anything hindering me from loving others well?

“Therefore, tell the exiles, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Although I have scattered you in the countries of the world, I will be a sanctuary to you during your time of exile.  I, the Sovereign Lord, will gather you back from the nations where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel once again.’ “When the people return to their homeland, they will remove every trace of their vile images and detestable idols.  And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them.  I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart, so they will obey my decrees and regulations.  Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God.” Ezekiel 11:16-20 NLT

Is unity my goal?

“Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High.  Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.  But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me.  If you keep to my path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God” Psalms 50:14&15,23 NLT

Dear Father, thank you that you are a God of restoration. Thank you for hearing my prayers when I call out to you. I praise you for who you are.  You are my refuge. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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