Monday, May 7, 2018

Day 125~ 1 Cor. 13-14~ Ladies, we need to submit!

Ok, if you are a lady, did you find it difficult to read, “As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches for they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says.” (14:34)
What about 3 verses later?  Paul says, “If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that these things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord.” (14:37)
So, women should keep silent and that is a command of the Lord! 😳
Well, I’ve written about this before.  You gotta remember to take all writings into account before thinking Paul is prohibiting women from talking altogether.  As you may remember, he allowed women to pray and prophesy corporately (11:5, 13).  Therefore, his instructions in all these verses has to do with proper decorum. 

It’s interesting to me that he even needed to address the issue.  You would think that the culture of the time insisted on women being submissive.  Yet, they sound very similar to us today.  Women wanted to take over the speaking roles, just as we want to do today! 
I think that women have struggled with this issue since Eve ate the forbidden fruit.  One of the consequences, or punishments, of that original sin was, “Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.” (Gen 3:16 ESV)

My Bible commentary to that verse says, “These words from the Lord indicate that there will be an ongoing struggle between the woman and the man for leadership in the marriage relationship.  The leadership role of the husband and the complementary relationship between husband and wife that were ordained by God before the fall have now been deeply damaged and distorted by sin.” 😒

Paul addresses this marital issue at greater length later in Eph. 5:22, pointing Christians back to the type of relationship God intended for husbands and wives prior to the fall.

So, reading Paul’s words here in 1 Cor.- they are not words we should disregard as being irrelevant to today’s social norms.  On the contrary, we as Christian ladies, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us, can strive to have the relationship with our husbands that God originally designed.  

And yes, ladies, that means to submit to his authority! 😜 Lord, help me with that!

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Day 124~ 1 Cor. 11-12~ For the common good.

Well, I understand the Amish a little better after reading Paul’s letter to the Corinthians!  They “shun members to shame the wayward member into returning to the church”, which follows Pauls’ teaching in chapter 5.  They also ware head coverings like we just read about in chapter 11.
All I can say about chapter 11 is, I’m glad I have hair that acts as my covering (11:15). So, I don’t think I need to worry about wearing a bonnet.  I’m not quit ready to become Amish. Haha!

The verse that stood out to me was 12:7, “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” (12:7)

I just thought that was something interesting to ponder.  People may have talents or interests, maybe even gifts of the Holy Spirit…. “but if it’s only for a man’s own benefit it would cease to be a manifestation” (as per Ellicott’s Commentary)  No man has a spiritual gift for himself. The Spirt uses the gifts to make himself known.  
I like that!  
It takes the focus off of what “special gift” the person may have, and puts all the focus on how the Spirit will be made known by that gift.
What a good gauge, to ask yourself, to temper any pride that may come from a gift!  

“How is the Spirit being made known by this gift?”

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Day 123~ 1 Cor. 9 & 10- The end of the ages is now!

 These two chapters speak of the freedoms we have in Christ. Yet, we may want to bridle those freedoms for the sake of nonbelievers. That is the overt teaching, but I caught a phrase Paul used that intrigued me. One that had nothing to do with the topic Paul was addressing.

“Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.” (10:11)
Wait....what?.....Paul calls the age in which the Corinthian Christians are living “the end of the age”. Isn’t that interesting? But....what does that mean? Oh boy, it seems like I
open a new can of worms everyday when I’m reading. 😜
This obviously got me to do a little more research on what exactly the “end of the ages” entails. I found some other very interesting verses that define that talk of the ‘end of the age’.

“He has appeared once for all at the end of the age to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.” (Heb. 9:26) (That verse may imply the end of the Jewish age.)

“And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, ...” (Acts 2:16-17-Peter is describing what happened at Pentecost.) (So, that verse would imply that the time we are in now, is the last days)
So, it can be interpreted that when Jesus said, “It is finished” (his work on the cross), the end of one era, the Jewish Age, was now over, and the last era, the “age of grace” (as some scholars call it) is in place until his second coming. So we are in the last era, the “end of the ages”. From the time of Christ on this planet, to his second coming, comprises the “last days” and that era will end with a ‘sorting out’ (Matt 24) . ...... Isn’t that interesting? The ‘last days’ or ‘the end of the ages’ is not a future ‘era’ that we haven’t gotten to
yet,’s now. 😳

Friday, May 4, 2018

Day 122~ 1 Cor. 7 & 8 ~ Known by God

“But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.” (8:3) 

That verse really jumped out at me today because I found it helps me to understand other verses in the Bible!  

For example, isn’t Matt. 7:22-23 a little confusing when you read it by itself?
“On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord did we not prophesy in your name…?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness’ .”
After today’s reading, the above verse can be written like this, “And then will I declare to them, ‘You never loved me; depart from me…”

Likewise, take a look at Gal. 4:9, “But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again…?”
That can be read like, “But now that you love God, how can you turn back..?”.

Wouldn’t you agree?
Maybe that is why Jesus made such a point with Peter in John 21.  He really made Peter think about his answer.  “Do you love me?” (vs15-17)  

When we love God, He “knows” us.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Day 121~ 1 Cor.5-6 -Please stop calling yourself a Christian!

You know what?!?  I have decided, I don’t like chapter 5!  😳 I couldn't write my thoughts about the reading, first thing in the morning like I normally do. I have been chewing on todays reading a lot longer than usual.  I’ve spent time reading several commentaries on 5:11 in particular.  Everybody agrees with Paul!  I even went back to what I wrote about it last year ~ Day 49~ May 18, 2017.  I made a good point back then and I am still in a quandary today! 

I am a rule follower.  If I am told to do something, especially by God, I will do it!  So, this chapter kind’a upsets me because I don’t know what to do with it! 

It’s interesting to me that although we all sin in different ways, Paul singles out 5 behaviors that are obvious to the unbelieving world to be “sin”.  Even nonbelievers have a “gauge” so to speak, that they use to say, “You are just as bad as me.” 
The 4 behaviors involve:
1.) Sex (immoral-all types of sexual activity outside marriage) 
2.) Money/Possessions- “covetous”= seeking more than belongs to him/ “extortioner” =takes advantage of another property.
3.) The tongue- “the reviler” is a person who uses abusive language against someone.
4.) Drugs- “drunkard”-an intemperate person who cannot control himself. 

One commentary read, “The church of Christ must be utterly distinctive in our behavior in these areas.  If any one of us do not seek to remain distinctive in any of these areas, then Pauls’ command is clear- they must be put away from among ourselves.” 

Well….I have a friend who clearly states she is a Christian.  Yet, she is actively and on-going-ly engaging in one of the 4 behaviors listed above. She has also clearly stated she will not stop the behavior.
According to the reading, what am I supposed to do?…..
What I would like to say to her is, “Can you please stop calling yourself a Christian so that I can keep hanging out with you?”
I haven’t done that….yet….what would you do?…….

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Day 120~ 1 Co. 3-4~ We are in a secret club!πŸ˜‰

"But I brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.” (3:1)

Spiritual people are taught differently?…..well, yeah…Paul says so in 2:13, we are “taught by the spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual”. Hmmmm…sounds kind’a exciting…like we are in a secret club!

I don’t know exactly how the sprite teaches us differently, but I can relate to Paul when he says he could not “address you as spiritual people”.
Don’t you find you can talk with a fellow Christian easily about spiritual matters?  They just get it.
I experienced that yesterday.  I was doing a scan on a pregnant gal (remember, I work at the Pregnancy Resource Center).  Because her dating and my measurements didn’t match, I was concerned about the viability of the pregnancy.  It was just too early to tell what was going to happen.  During the course of the visit I found out that her and her husband were devote Christians who desperately wanted this baby.  At the end of the appointment, I asked if I could pray with them.  It is so wildly different to pray with fellow believers!!  I could “address them as spiritual people” as Paul mentioned.  Our prayer was like 3 children going before their father, trusting his will to be done and knowing of his great love for us~ something this couple could rest in during this time of waiting and wondering. 
In contrast, I have asked to pray with “people of the flesh” (like 3:1).  They allow me to do so, (non-Christians rarely turn down prayer when they are in crisis), but it is clear that they are treading in new territory.  They don’t understand the love God has for them and they don’t have trust (yet!).  For these people, we at the PRC feel like we are either “planting” or “watering” (vs 8), and we pray that God gives “the growth” (vs. 6).

So, we may be in a secret club, but it’s one that we are trying to get everyone to join, right!?! We want the Spirit to dwell in everyone, least any should be destroyed! (vs. 16-17)😳

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Day 119 ~1 Cor. 1-2

In our culture today, education is being promoted as the answer to everything!  “If you get a college degree you will be successful in life.”  When I went back to school recently to continue my education in the medical field, I heard the current catch phrase now is, “evidence based practice”.  Everything a nurse does now, needs to be rooted in some study that proves the treatment is the best practice.  Education, education, education!  It’s the buzz word of our time.  You hear it in politics and religion as well.  You better get a degree in theology before you dare present the gospel to another person, right?

So, as you can imagine, I was smiling as I was reading the first part of Paul's letter to the Corinthians.  “When I came to you..I did not proclaim to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom.” (2:1)  I love Paul’s explanation as to why he talked simply.  

“For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, least the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.”  (1 Cor. 1:17)
“So that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” (2:4)   
I love that!

God’s word is powerful all by it’s self.  We don’t need a degree in theology to understand it.  We don’t need “three points and a poem” to understand it. God’s word is really quite simple: He had a salvation plan from the beginning (that was the mystery), it was revealed in His perfect timing. The ‘mystery’ was Jesus and what he did on the cross.  Your eternal destiny depends on whether you believe in him (live for him by faith) or not.  That’s it. That simple. That powerful.

We have a lot of gifted preachers in America today!  But the message Paul sent to the Corinthians is just as applicable to us today!  Our lives need to be centered on the gospel not on the preacher we feel delivers the best sermon.  Education is good, but it is not the key to understanding Jesus. God’s word alone is the key.  It’s powerful by it’s self.  
Don’t you love that you are reading something so powerful every day?! I do!!!

Go for God’s power, not a preacher’s.