Thursday, March 7, 2019

1 Cor. 3-5~ Day 66~ Three chapters today!

I think chapter 5 is really hard to read and hard to implement when necessary.  "Don't you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough?  Get rid of the old yeast..." (5:6-7)

Welllll... a little yeast won't spread over to me! It's not my job to get rid of the yeast!  Only pastors should do that!  If we got rid of all bad yeast, there would be no bread!! Let's just try to keep the peace.  Who am I to judge if the yeast is bad or not?.......
Be've had those thoughts!  I think most would agree Paul is asking the church to do something really hard!!

While reading today, I got  a new perspective.  I focus too much on the hard act of getting rid of the bad yeast when in reality the focus should be on the latter part of verse 7,  "so that you may be a new unleavened batch -as you really are......unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." (verse 7 and end of 8).  I was thinking...instead of focusing on the hard part, focus on the end goal!!
We want to be known as a people who have sincerity and truth.  That's the goal!

When one has a clear picture of what they are aiming for, than keeping away from things that hinder that goal becomes easier!
Like Paul says, "keep your eye on the goal" (Phil 3:14), referring to eternal life, we can also keep our eye on the goal of sincerity and truth, achievable in this life!

With that in mind, "getting rid of the old yeast" isn't so hard!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

1 Corinthians 1-2~ Day 65~Without the Spirit, it seems foolish..

Yesterday I got the opportunity to share the full gospel with a gal who came into the center where I work.  I asked her if I could "share some spiritual things" with her.  She said yes and admitted she knew nothing of God or Jesus.  She grew up in a home void of anything spiritual, but filled with alcohol abuse and neglect.
So, I launched into the topic from the beginning "God created the heavens, the earth and YOU!"  I explained the word "sin" (remember, she knew nothing) and how it separates us from God.  I also explained how Christ brings us back into a right relationship with God.

While I was speaking and looking at her face, I could practically hear her thoughts, "This story sounds like fiction!" So, I talked about faith and true belief in this true story and the power of God.  Ultimately, she confessed she was not ready to believe, full heartedly, in what I was telling her.

I couldn't help think of her today when I read, "The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come form the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit." (1 Cor. 2:14)

BUT, I have hope for this girl!!  God is drawing her to himself!  He has had her come to our center twice!  Each time, we have shared a little bit more with her!!  I take heart in John 6:44, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day."  That verse does not refer to just a select few that God draws!!  Jesus clarifies in John 12:32, "And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." The act of dying on the cross for each individual....that fact alone..draws people to Jesus.  First, though, people need to hear that Jesus did that!! (Romans 10:14)

So, now this young lady is being drawn, she has heard.....Lord, please prepare her heart with good soil so that the seeds planted can grow.  Let the Holy Spirit give her understanding!! Amen!!

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Romans 15-16~ Day 64~Old Testament has a lot more for us than we think!

Just the other day I was thinking about Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."

It's hard not to have that one memorized!  It's on every Christian plaque, poster, mug, graduation card  and blanket!  I was wondering if we have gone too far with that verse because, in deed, God was saying it to the Israelites.  The verse is actually written in a letter from Jeremiah to the "serving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon" (Jer. 29:1).

The Lord was saying, through Jeremiah, that he was going to bring the exiles back to Jerusalem at the end of 70 years,  and he had this plan for them. So, why do we use that promise today?  What makes us think that the verse originally meant for the exiles can be applied to us?

Because of what Paul said to the Romans in our reading today, that's why!!!
"For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope." (Romans 15:4)

"Everything written in the past" would be everything in the Old Testament!  Yes!  WE can apply those words to our lives and get encouragement from them!  So, go ahead and enjoy your mug that may have Jeremiah written on it!

Hmm....I'm thinking God may be prompting me to go back and read the Old Testament again!  😬
Why wouldn't I want to, though?  I can learn endurance, get encouragement and have hope!!!  Who wouldn't want that?!?!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Romans 12-14~ Day 63~ Christian living

We come to a transition in Paul's letter.  He goes from deep theological points to guidelines on how to live as a Christian among those who are not saved.

Since I was quite wordy on part two of yesterday's blog, I thought I would be brief today.  That might be appreciated by those of you I may have messed up and found yourself reading 4 chapters today, like I did!! 😛

So, what stood out to you in today's reading of "Christian living"?

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Romans 9-11~ More thoughts on Day 62 😁

Confession here! I misplaced my reading plan for a few days and just hoped we were still reading 2 chapters a day.  Sure enough we weren't! 😝
So,  just thought I would post some bonus thoughts on the reading and get myself caught up!

"It does not depend on human effort, but on God's mercy." (Romans 9:16) That simple verse stood out to me today.  Following Christ is a matter of truly believing in Jesus (a belief that shows like a grateful servant) and then professing that faith to others (10:9).

Simple!! But there is an entity that works overtime to complicate and confuse everyone.  You've heard me say this before, Satan teaches the exact opposite on every single Godly principle!  His goal is to complicate things! "When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." (John 8:44)

I think Paul spent some time trying to clarify 9:16 because his mixed audience of Jew and Gentile Christians may have been grappling with some Jewish superiority teaching or simply addressing some lies of Satan that are still dealt with today.

Human effort, or doing, can be many things.  Paul illustrates these "efforts" in different ways and shows that they don't affect who God shows his mercy.  It's not your birth order, it doesn't matter if you were born first, entitled to the blessing that come with that position.  He used the twin story to illustrate that point (9:10-13).  It doesn't matter if you have a strong enough will, it's God's mercy that is displayed when even the weakest chose to accept His righteousness by faith (9:30). Your heritage doesn't matter (10:20), the way you were brought up doesn't matter (except that your parents may have been the one's to share the Word with you-10:17), the way you act doesn't matter *,.....the bottom can't earn God's mercy, your salvation.

(*Side note for clarification: Righteous acts prior to salvation are like fifty rags to Gd (Isaiah 64:6), but righteous acts after salvation are a by-product of gratitude felt from receiving his mercy- not a required response.  Satan will do his best to get that concept mixed up in peoples minds!)

Once the concept of "mercy" is understood and believed, there will never be a time again that you would listen to Satan's whispers, "God won't forgive my sin, it was a bad one." "I'm not good enough". "If I try hard enough, God will let me in", "I'm good for the most part.", "I'm a Christian because my parents were and they baptized me."  Nope.  So, just rest in His mercy and share the good news with others!!!

Romans 7-8~ Day 62~ God is working for our good!!

It seems I have been quoting Romans 8:28 quite a bit lately!  It's a great verse to memorize because there is so much hope contained in the words, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

But.....the hope is only there for "those who love him".  You can't flippantly throw that verse out to someone who doesn't know or love Jesus. The promise isn't for everything to turn out good in this life time.  The hope is the good that will come in the next lifetime, for those who believe.
Yes, God can also turn things out so that the believer is blessed in this lifetime as well, but the ultimate "good" is our "adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies." (8:23)  That's it!  That's what we groan for inwardly and "wait eagerly" for.

Again, it's a great verse to share with a fellow believer who is going through a hard time.  It gives the reminder that this life isn't what "it" is all about.  This world is temporary, the hard time is temporary, and the picture is bigger than what we can see from here.  We are going to be made perfect; to live with Christ forever.   God is working for our good!!  What a great reminder and what great encouragement!!

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Romans 6-8~ Day 61~ Pattern of teaching 💃🏻

So what stood out to you in the reading?

This verse stood out to me today, "But thanks be to God that though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance (6:17).
..."the pattern of teaching" learn a pattern and then it comes naturally from the heart.   I like that!
I thought of the cup song when I read that!  Once you learn the pattern to the cup song, it comes so naturally, you can do it without thinking. But, it first takes learning the steps and then practicing it!

Paul says that's what these Roman believers did. The pattern to learn is the same pattern the first Christians did in Acts 2:42, "Be devoted to the apostles teaching, fellowship, communion and prayer." That is what we are to do.

Yes, we are slaves to righteousness as believers and know what is right, without even thinking, but sometimes we mess up.  The beauty I find in the above verse is that the Holy Spirit has put the "pattern" into our heart so well, that after we stumble and repent, we know the pattern to step back into.  A true believer, with a life saving faith, may trip out of the pattern, but will step right back into the pattern of right living because of the true heart change.
One who stays in a pattern of sin needs to do an honest heart check-where is your allegiance?  Did you ever learn the pattern of teaching, to obey it from your heart?

Just FYI about the cup song, I want to learn to do this!! My kids can do it!  Look how good everybody in this clip can do this!! I'm jealous!! Leave it to me to spiritualize cup patterns!  😂
4 min video:  Anna Kendrick- Cups