Tag Archives: 1 Corinthians

2 Kings 20; Isaiah 38-40; Psalm 68; 1 Corinthians 11

29The Lord gives strength to those who are tired.

He gives more power to those who are weak…

31But the people who trust the Lord will become strong again.

They will be able to rise up as an eagle in the sky.

They will run without needing rest.

They will walk without becoming tired.

Isaiah 40:29-31

I. AM. EXHAUSTED.

My roles as solo mama to three under the age of six, house cleaner for my own home (well, I’m trying) and for three others, sole breadwinner, daughter, friend, leader, studier of the Word…and on top of that never sleeping for more than 3-4 hours straight due to kids having nightmares or the insomnia brought on by thinking about my ever-growing to do list, has made me truly understand what it means to be sleep deprived.

And yet, I can’t stop. I can barely slow down; though there are days that I force myself, because I can’t afford to get benched by illness, and the cleanliness of my house suffers or we have cereal for dinner for the third night in a row. As much as I’ve pared down and said “No” to as much as possible, just the basics of life completely take it out of me…and unfortunately, there are way too many things left that if I don’t do them, they don’t get done.

I am desperate for strength and power. I am desperate to walk and run and rise up like the eagle. I am desperate to thrive and not just (barely) survive. I am desperate to live. I am desperate for God.

2Hezekiah turned toward the wall and prayed to the Lord. He said, 3“Lord, please remember that I have always obeyed you. I have given myself completely to you. I have done what you said was right.” And Hezekiah cried loudly. 2 Kings 20:2-3

Hezekiah’s situation was different; he was literally on his death bed. He was desperate. And so, he cried out to Jesus, he cried loudly, unashamed. God heard his cry, honored his faithfulness, and restored his health.

To survive this season, all seasons of my life, it is so important to call on Jesus. Every day. Every moment. It is necessary to seek His presence, His, strength, His grace, His mercy. I can’t do it on my own.

3But those who do right should be glad.

They should rejoice before God.

They should be happy and glad.

4Sing to God. Sing praises to his name.

Prepare the way for him

who rides through the desert.

His name is the Lord.

Rejoice before him. Psalm 68: 3-4

When I take the focus off myself, my struggles and difficulties, my needs, and put the focus back on God’s goodness, I am immediately refreshed. When I praise Him through song, lifting His name to the heavens, I am strengthened, because I am reminded that He never leaver nor forsakes me. When I rejoice, I am encouraged in the ways He provides for my needs in the midst of my struggles, my fatigue, my overwhelm, and He meets me where ever I am.

Yesappa, Thank You for hearing me and being bigger that my circumstances. Thank You for meeting me where I am, despite my fatigue and my overstretched to do list. Thank You for Your strength and Your rest. Thank You for healing my body, my mind, my heart when I cry out to You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie

 

International Children’s Bible, Copyright © 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a Division of Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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Isaiah 23-25; 1 Corinthians 3

Isaiah’s world is being torn apart by ruthless men. The surrounding nations are about to implode. Torture, suffering and terror  swirl around him. How does he respond?

“O Lord,  you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things planned long ago.” Isaiah 25:1

Is this wishful thinking? Oblivion to the circumstances around him? No, it is rock solid reality. Isaiah has a clear understanding of the truth.

What about me? When life seemingly spins out of control and sorrow and fear threaten to take over, what do I hold onto?

“But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work.  If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.” I Corinthians 3:12-15

Lord, by your grace,  may who I am, what I do and what I say be grounded in the truth of your sovereignty and goodness. Forgive me when I have stubbornly held onto some stubborn, false narrative.  I trust you to be a kind surgeon and remove the malignant lies that have kept me from living in the reality of who You are. I rest in your faithfulness and look to You with hope for the future.  Amen

Klueh

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Isaiah 17-19; Psalm 62; 1 Corinthians 1

18The teaching about the cross seems foolish to those who are lost. But to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19It is written in the Scriptures:

“I will cause the wise men to lose their wisdom.

I will make the wise men unable to understand.” Isaiah 29:14

20Where is the wise person? Where is the educated person? Where is the philosopher of our times? God has made the wisdom of the world foolish. 21The world did not know God through its own wisdom. So God chose to use the message that sounds foolish to save those who believe it. 22The Jews ask for miracles as proofs. The Greeks want wisdom. 23But we preach Christ on the cross. This is a big problem to the Jews. And it seems foolish to the non-Jews. 24But Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God to those people God has called—Jews and Greeks. 25Even the foolishness of God is wiser than men. Even the weakness of God is stronger than men.

26Brothers, look at what you were when God called you. Not many of you were wise in the way the world judges wisdom. Not many of you had great influence. Not many of you came from important families. 27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. He chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28And he chose what the world thinks is not important. He chose what the world hates and thinks is nothing. He chose these to destroy what the world thinks is important. 29God did this so that no man can brag before him. 30It is God who has made you part of Christ Jesus. Christ has become wisdom for us from God. Christ is the reason we are right with God and have freedom from sin; Christ is the reason we are holy. 31So, as the Scripture says, “If a person brags, he should brag only about the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 (ICB)

The Cross.

The symbol believers look toward for redemption. The knowledge that God’s Son, come to earth in the form of man, willingly laid Himself down as a sacrificial Lamb, so that all mankind could be saved for eternity.

In one of my ministry school classes, we were encouraged to really study the Cross, to be CSI as it were-to get intimate with the bloody crime scene of our Savior’s death; to truly understand the lengths that Jesus went to because He loves us SO much.

My favorite biblical movie to date is The Passion of the Christ. It’s my favorite because the graphic portrayal of what happened that day over 2000 years ago. For the first time I truly understood the anguish, the pain, the suffering that Jesus chose to experience for me. The childhood pictures of a pristine Christ with a crown of thorns around His curly locks, nails in His very white hands and feet, and a thin line of blood in His side blinding me to the horrors of that day fell like shackles off the eyes of my heart.

The Cross…foolishness.

In no other religion, that I have studied, do the ‘gods’ sacrifice themselves for their people. In many of those religions, the ‘gods’ actually require the people to do heinous things to their own bodies. Things like walking across fire, leaving the feet with third degree burns, or putting metal hooks in the skin and pulling their god’s chariot through the village.

And, yet, Christ did what made no sense to the wisdom of man. He laid Himself down, humbled Himself, as low as a man could go, into death, a thief’s punishment, so that upon His resurrection, everyone could be restored into right relationship with God.

Nothing I can do makes me right with God, only Jesus revives my connection to Him. It doesn’t matter how hard I try to be sin-free, only my Savior makes me blameless before the Father. No matter how righteous I act, only Christ makes me holy. Only He redeems my life and makes it truly worthy.

Yesappa, Thank You for the foolishness of the Cross.

 

Blessings, Julie

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Isaiah 41-44; 1 Corinthians 12

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6

I compare myself to others way more than is good for me. I do it for the everyday things, with my body type, how much I weigh, what I am wearing, how my hair and make-up (or lack of it) looks, etc. I do it with my possessions; is my car good enough? Is my house clean enough? Is my phone nice enough? I even do it with my kids – are they acting better or worse than the other kids around?

I have realized that sometimes I also compare gifting and talents; and rather than strengthening the areas that come natural for me, I focus more on what I wish I had.

I’m not sure why I waste my time in the comparison trap, maybe a subconscious desire to be better or maybe the enemy whispering in my ear that I am not good enough. Either way, I usually end up feeling horrible about myself, because inevitably I evaluate my worst when I am looking at someone else’s best; and I will never measure up in that equation.

The truth is that I need to change my focus completely. I need to turn away from thoughts of what I have or don’t have and how I compare to others; and I need to shift back to keeping my eyes on the source of everything. I need to put the emphasis back on God, my Creator, the One who made me as I am for a purpose in His plan.

“But you are my witnesses, O Israel!” says the lord.

“You are my servant.

You have been chosen to know me, believe in me,

and understand that I alone am God.

There is no other God—

there never has been, and there never will be.

I, yes I, am the lord,

and there is no other Savior…

“From eternity to eternity I am God.

No one can snatch anyone out of my hand.

No one can undo what I have done.”

The lord’s Promise of Victory. Isaiah 43:10-11; 13

I have been chosen to know God and to know that He is the Only Living God. I have been chosen to be in relationship with Him just as I am. I do not need to look to the right or to the left to see how I match up with someone else; I need to look straight into the Father’s eyes and see myself as He sees me.

I have called you back from the ends of the earth,

saying, ‘You are my servant.’

For I have chosen you

and will not throw you away.

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.

Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you.

I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:9-10

I don’t need to be discouraged by what I think is lacking in my abilities, I need to trust that God loves me with an everlasting love, that He determined the who, what, when, where, why, and how of my destiny and I am perfect and well equipped for my call on this earth. I need to have faith that He will strengthen me in my weakness and that he will uphold me as I walk the path set before me. He has made me a testimony to His goodness and glory.

Yesappa, Thank You for choosing me for such a time as this. Thank You for always being there for me. Thank you for loving me perfectly. Help me keep my focus on You and not what surrounds me. Help me remember that You are my source and You will provide everything I need to walk in Your will. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Isaiah 20-22; 1 Corinthians 2

When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.

Yet when I am among mature believers, I do speak with words of wisdom, but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to this world or to the rulers of this world, who are soon forgotten. No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began. 1 Corinthians 2:1-7

A friend of mine recently expressed that she felt she was the “least qualified” to minister to someone to receive healing.

Though I completely understand that sentiment, especially when around spiritual power-houses, and often feel like that myself, my immediate reaction was to rise up (inside) and say “that’s not true!”

As humans, we often get ourselves mixed up in the comparison trap – I look at you and instantly see how awesome you are. Then I look at myself, and even though I have some great qualities, I know the deep dark secrets lurking in my heart, and start believing that I will never measure up. I forget that you have some less than perfect things in your life too. I compare the best of you, to the worst of me and then deem that to be truth.

But the truth is that the same wonderful, powerful, glorious Spirit is in all of us who believe in the resurrected power of Jesus. He chose you AND he chose me, regardless of my weaknesses (maybe even because of them).

It doesn’t matter that you may have prayed for thousands of people, that you have witnessed many people healed, that you have been on the {foreign} mission field for most of your adult life, that you are active in your community spreading God’s love to your neighbors, that you care for your children as a stay at home parent, etc.; we are all the most qualified when we say “yes” to God’s call, regardless of what that commission is.

God chooses me, not because I have it all together – because let me tell you before you figure it out on your own – I most certainly don’t. God chooses me because I am the perfect person for the job. I am the most qualified, to touch the heart of that particular person in that particular moment for that particular purpose…and because I am willing. I am perfectly qualified because Christ, living inside me, makes me perfectly qualified.

God isn’t expecting me to be well studied in Theology or have tons of practice in Biblical counseling or have years of ministry experience under my belt. God is expecting me to have a relationship with Him, to “rely on the power of the Holy Spirit”; He is expecting me to trust the simplicity of His Message.

I can’t put trust in my own words or wisdom. I need to fully trust in the power of God so that others will do the same. I need to follow Jesus, modelling His actions as revealed in the Word, so that others can follow Him. I need to be confident in the wisdom of Holy Spirit expecting His Rhema Word to fill my mouth with plain words that will reveal the mystery of God to those who are ready to hear.

Though I do have a “spiritual resume”, the reality is that my only qualification is God in me.

Yesappa, Thank You for choosing me in my weakness to accomplish Your purposes on earth. Thank You for equipping me with everything I need to make me the most qualified for Your call on my life. Help me walk with You, trust You, and rely on Your power for each mission You set my feet toward, so that everyone I encounter recognizes You rather than seeing me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Proverbs 9, 10; 1 Corinthians 15:1-32

For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 1 Corinthians 15:9-10

I think one of the reasons I love the Bible so much is that every time I pick it up, I am reminded that God chooses people based on their hearts and their belief and trust in Him, rather than their accomplishments or perfection. I am encouraged by the hundreds of stories of men and women who were human, who had insecurities, who failed, who struggled with sin and with faith, and were still used mightily by God.

Paul was a murderer; he actively persecuted Christians, simply because they believed Jesus was the Messiah. And yet God hand-picked Paul, came to Him in an open vision that left him blinded, healed him miraculously, and then used him to build the foundations of the church.

An Indian missionary that I worked closely with, before she was taken to Glory, was like Paul in many ways. Ambika was the Hindu priestess in her low caste village; she was revered by the people. She persecuted the villagers who began to believe in Jesus when they heard the Gospel.

One day, her husband left her because she had not borne him any children. Around the same time, she was involved in an accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down. She was unable to afford a wheel chair, so in order to move around she was forced to drag her body around with her arms. Then her cow was stolen and she lost her primary source of income.

The people decided that her gods were punishing her for hidden sins and one by one they abandoned her, rejecting her so the misfortune wouldn’t ‘rub off’ on them. My husband and his brother were the only two who would talk to her, offer her help, and share with her the grace of Jesus. She was very mistrusting, not understanding why they kept showing her love. Eventually, she broke down and opened her heart to what God had planned for her; God completely healed her body and she became a missionary to the villages in her area.

When I came to know her, even in her old age, she was unstoppable. She would tell me all the time, ‘I spent so long fighting God, trying to turn people away from His mercy and forgiveness. If I can’t go to at least one village each day, I feel like I can’t live anymore. ‘

Like Paul, like Ambika, I know my unworthiness. I know the failings of my past and the struggles of my present. I know what sins I have committed, and yet Christ still chose me. He still called me to work for His Kingdom and to share the Good News. He moves in me and through me to convey His Truth, His love, His grace. He is in me, and I am in Him.

Yesappa, Thank You again. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Psalm 142, 143, 144; 1 Corinthians 10:14-33

With my voice I cry out to the Lord;

with my voice I plead for mercy to the Lord.

I pour out my complaint before him;

I tell my trouble before him…

I cry to you, O Lord;

I say, “You are my refuge,

my portion in the land of the living.”

Attend to my cry,

for I am brought very low!

Deliver me from my persecutors,

for they are too strong for me! Psalm 142:1-2; 5-6

My struggles bring me low, mentally and emotionally. They often feel overwhelming, especially when they seem to be never-ending. Though they are nothing like David’s circumstances were, in exile, hiding out from his enemy in caves in the wilderness, my struggles still are demoralizing and frustrating.

I personally don’t think that God puts tribulation in my path, but I do believe that He uses the struggles of my life to teach me, draw out negative character traits, and help me grow as a person and as a believer. I also am certain that He uses them to show me more of who He is, more of His faithfulness.

Sometimes it takes me a while to get over myself and my disappointment at the circumstances of my life. Sometimes it takes me a bit to realize that the enemy is trying to convince me to believe his lies. But largely, I have come to learn that in the midst of a battle I have a choice to be overcome by the situation or to trust in Jesus.

Hear my prayer, O Lord;

give ear to my pleas for mercy!

In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness!

Enter not into judgment with your servant,

for no one living is righteous before you…

I stretch out my hands to you;

my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah

Answer me quickly, O Lord!

My spirit fails!

Hide not your face from me,

lest I be like those who go down to the pit.

Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love,

for in you I trust.

Make me know the way I should go,

for to you I lift up my soul. Psalm 143 1-2; 6-8

He really is bigger than any of my problems. He can handle my emotions. He can handle my anger, my desperation, my hopelessness. He just wants me to be honest and to call out to Him. He wants me to come to Him in my weakness, when my spirit is failing and I am feeling deserted. He wants me to lean into His love and be carried by His goodness. He wants me to stop looking at my surroundings; and instead, He wants me raise my hands to Him in worship, lift my voice in praise, and focus my eyes on His face.

Blessed be the Lord, my rock,

who trains my hands for war,

and my fingers for battle;

he is my steadfast love and my fortress,

my stronghold and my deliverer,

my shield and he in whom I take refuge,

who subdues peoples under me. Psalm 144:1-2

When I look back at past trials in my life, I can see that His hand has guided me, that He has taught me valuable lessons. I can see that He has been my rock and my stronghold of protection. I can see that He has never left me alone, but has helped me move through the crazy mazes of life with skill and with wisdom.

Yesappa, Blessed be Your name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie (writing from the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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