Category: 1st and 2nd Corinthians

“Be strong, don’t give up!”

Scripture reading for April 25:  2 Chronicles 13-16

“Listen to me, Asa and all of Judah and Benjamin.  The Lord is with you when you are with Him.  If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.” 2 Chronicles 15:2

“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” 2 Chronicles 15:7

God is good at warning and encouraging!  King Asa started out right and did right in the eyes of the Lord.  He proceeded to remove idols from the land and commanded God’s people to seek the Lord and obey His laws.  He rebuilt the fortified cities and the land enjoyed peace under his godly rule.  When an attack came from Zerah the Cushite, Asa called out to the Lord for help and God answered him. (2 Chronicles 14:11)  King Asa had a great victory and was walking close to the Lord.

God saw something inside of this king that He addressed.  He encouraged Asa by the prophetic ministry of Azariah, son of Oded.  He encouraged this victorious king to keep on seeking the Lord.  He reminded him to stay with the Lord.  He warned him and his followers that if they forsook the Lord, they would find themselves out there on their own and in trouble.  He ended the prophetic message with encouragement. He told King Asa to be strong and not give up.  God would reward him for his work.   Prophesy is always to build up, not to tear down.  (1 Corinthians 14:3)

Asa was humble and teachable at the time of this earlier word, but later Asa went on his own to Damascus and enlisted the Syrian King Ben-Hadad with monies from the Temple treasuries.  Again the Lord sent a prophet to warn and correct Asa.  Hanani came to him and told him he had done a foolish thing and would now be at war.  Asa became angry with the seer and imprisoned him.  He mistreated some of the Lord’s people as well.  He got a disease in his feet, but refused to seek the Lord and only went to doctors.  As a result, he died.  He had started out right, but failed to heed the word of the Lord!

Are you listening to the prophetic word of Scripture for daily guidance? Does warning or encouragement from the Lord helps you stay on track? Be strong and courageous and your work will be rewarded!

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“The half has not been told!”

Scripture reading for April 23: 2 Chronicles 6-9

Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived other than Jesus Christ.  Solomon got his wisdom by asking for it! (James 1:5)  God appeared to him early in his rule and asked him what he needed.  Solomon asked for wisdom to rule God’s people and knowledge.  (2 Chronicles 1:7-10) God granted him his request and  gave him fame and fortune as well.  Solomon became well-known for his wisdom and for the wealth that God had lavished on him.

The Queen of Sheba was a foreign dignitary of Solomon’s time who had heard reports of Solomon’s wisdom and wealth.  She traveled great distance to see for herself. Her recorded remark was “not even half the greatness of your wisdom was told me”.  (2 Chronicles 9:6)    Even though a pagan, she praised Solomon’s God for delighting in him and placing him on the throne.  She noted that the Lord loved His people and appointed Solomon as king to uphold them and rule them for God!  She had great understanding herself as she stood in Solomon’s presence.  It appears that this wisdom rubs off! The Queen of Sheba also lavished gifts of gold and spices on Solomon.  She gave him over 25 tons of gold by our measure!  A king who is full of wisdom deserves great honor and recognition!

Solomon has a distant grandson, Jesus Christ, who was also filled with wisdom from God.  Luke records that He grew in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man. (Luke 2:51)  Paul records that in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  (Colossians 2:2-3)  This same Jesus has been made unto us wisdom from God.  (1st Corinthians 1:30)  If we need wisdom, we can simply ask God and He will give us liberally!  (James 1:5)  We have record of Jesus’ unequaled wisdom, yet the half has not been told!

As the Queen of Sheba gave lavish gifts to Solomon, so we are to honor Jesus Christ and give our tithes and lives to Him Who is worthy!  We are to tell of the riches of His glorious Kingdom and publish His fame and wisdom for all who will listen!  We bring Him the precious “gold” of our faith and the “spices” of prayer and worship.  All nations will worship Him of Whom “the half has not been told”!

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God loves cheerful givers!

Scripture reading for April 20: 1 Chronicles 28-29

“Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion,  for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things, at all times, having all you that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2nd Corinthians 9:7-8

Preachers are sometimes pushy or manipulative in asking the people to give.  There are so many needs and money is often a limiting factor in the work of the church, at least in our minds.    The love of money keeps many from giving and holds back God’s blessing in the people as well.  This area is a touchy area for many because of the various abuses and the strongholds of idolatry to money and materialism.

In 1st Chronicles 29, King David sets forth what he is personally giving to fund the vision he has been given of building the temple of the Lord.  He sets the example of personal dedication by first giving sacrificially himself.  David gives of his personal treasure 188 tons of gold, 375 tons of silver, 675 tons of bronze and 3,750 tons of iron.  This would be vast fortune by today’s values!  From this position of personal dedication, he challenges his other leaders to willingly give as well.

The leaders catch the spirit of generosity that King David had modeled.  They also contribute “willingly and wholeheartedly” to the Lord.  (1st Chronicles 29:6-9)  David rejoices with a psalm of praise to the Lord!  He praises God for His greatness and power.  He attributed everything that he had to God’s grace! (1st Chronicles 29:11-12)  God alone is to be praised!

Is it hard for you to hear preaching or teaching on tithing or giving to God’s work? Are there any hindrances to giving in your own life? How would God describe your attitude towards giving?

David prayed for the people: “And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to You.  O, Lord, God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, keep this desire in the hearts of Your people forever and keep their hearts loyal to You.” (1st Chronicles 29:17-18)   

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Sunday rest: God watches all!

Dear friends,

With wars and rumors of war very much alive in our world and on the news, we must remember that God is on His Throne and He watches over all mankind and rules without fear or fretting. He knows everything, the evil and the good. He is perfectly just and will punish the evil and protect and reward those righteous by faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.

As we rest and reflect on the reading of the past week, I am again reminded that God has His eyes on His Word and He watches His people! Our Father is omniscient, which is a fancy way to say that He knows everything, past, present and future. Nothing is hidden from His sight or understanding. Everything that exists, is there because of His Word, which He faithfully watches over. He is sustaining our world by His Word. No Word of God has ever failed. Heaven and earth will pass away, but His Word will never pass away. Nothing is impossible with God when it comes to fulfilling His Word.

He also watches over the sons of man, looking for those whose hearts are fully committed to Him and who by faith trust His Word and act accordingly. “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless towards Him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9) God promises ‘strong support’ for those trusting Him by faith. Without faith, it is impossible to please Him.

In 2nd Kings, we found leaders who ‘did right’ in the eyes of the Lord and those ‘who did evil’ in the eyes of the Lord. Both examples are written down as reminders for God’s people of all nations and cultures and times. Paul warned the church through Scripture, “Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did.” (1 Corinthians 10:6) We all have the capacity to walk by faith through hearing and receiving God’s Word. We also have capacity to walk in disobedience and evil through following our flesh and the temptations of our enemy, Satan. Let’s keep our eyes on our Lord and His unfailing Word in our walk this week! Remember, God’s eyes are on you! In His Love, Pastor John

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Asking for wisdom!

Scripture Reading for April 2: 1st Kings1-4

1 Kings 3:3 “Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father, only he sacrificed and made offerings at the high places.” . . vs. 5-6 “At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.” And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before You in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you.” . .vs 9 “Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern Your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this Your great people?”

Newly crowned King Solomon had an encounter with the Lord.  He had gone to Gibeon to sacrifice to the Lord and that day offered a thousand burnt offerings!  Extravagant worship marked the life of this newly anointed king!  That night as Solomon lay asleep, the Lord appeared to him  in a dream and said: “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” (1st Kings 3:4-5)  Solomon first thanked the Lord for his kindness to his father David in placing him on the throne.  Then he confessed his need for God’s help in ruling His people, asking for a discerning heart and wisdom to rule wisely.  (1st Kings 3:7-9)

This pleased the Lord!  Solomon was granted what he asked for and also given by grace what he did not ask for!  God gave him riches and honor so that there would be no equal among kings of that time. (1st Kings 3:10-14)  Jesus Christ has been made to us wisdom from God! (1st Corinthians 1:30)  We are told that if we lack wisdom, we can ask God for it and He will give us liberally! James 1:5-7) Praise the Lord!

In considering Solomon’s walk with the Lord, how would God say that you felt toward Him? How might God describe your walk with Him? How are you at asking God for what you want or need?

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Eyes gouged out?

Scripture reading for March 12: Judges 13-16

The story of Samson is a mix of the supernatural power and anointing of God and the lowest of our carnal nature.  Samson was born by supernatural intervention to a couple who was childless.  His parents carefully listened to the instructions of an angel and raised this boy as a Nazarite, one set apart to God.  (Numbers 6:1-21) God’s Spirit began to stir Samson early in his life.  God was going to use him to deliver the Israelites from forty years of bondage to the Philistines.  This bondage was a result of Israel breaking her covenant relationship with God through idolatry and immorality. (Judges 13:1)

As Samson grew, he was attracted to a Philistine woman in the town of Timnah.  He asked his parents to get her for him.  The Bible states that this was from the Lord, although his parents did not understand and sought to direct him to get a bride from his own people. (Judges 14:3-4)   This is difficult to understand because God specifically warns us not to intermarry with those outside the faith. (2 Corinthians 6:14) In this instance, God used Samson’s carnal tendencies to accomplish His purposes in defeating the enemies of His people.  It is not meant to be an example to follow!

Samson’s marriage to this woman never happened.  She was given to one of his friends in the bridal company!  His anger and impulsiveness moved him to get even.  God used this, but how much better to follow the Lord by prayer and listening to His instructions!  Samson impulsively ate honey out of a lion’s carcass, a violation of the Nazarite vow.  I believe this was a metaphor of his attraction to prostitutes and carnal women.  How like Israel was Sampson in his unfaithfulness to covenant and God’s Word! Through yielding to temptation, he had his eyes gouged out!  

Samson was in captivity, both of his eyes gouged out and mocked at a gathering of Philistine officials.  Sampson regained his spiritual sight and his first recorded prayer asks for God’s help. “O Sovereign Lord, remember me.  O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” (Judges 16:28) God faithfully answered the cry of this man and used him to do His will. Even though sin had blinded him physically, God restored his life-purpose and answered!

Why did Samson, under a Nazarite vow, desire to have a pagan for his wife? Why did God tell the Israelites (and believers) not to marry unbelievers? What do we learn about God’s grace through Sampson?

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“Mighty Warrior!”

Scripture reading for March 9: Judges 6-8

Poor self-image and discouraging self-talk are common symptoms of a life out of touch with the Lord.  It is easy to focus on our lack or blame the way we are made.  We magnify our weaknesses, see only the flaws, and are quick to blame them on someone else.  Sometimes, we simply rehearse them over and over and stew in negativity.  Gideon was such a man during the days of the Judges.  But the God we serve loves to use the weak and flawed and make them into mighty warriors!

For seven years the Israelites had been under attack by the Midianites.  They cried out to God for help and He sent them a prophet.  The prophet reminded them of God’s mighty power in delivering them from Egypt and His warning not to worship the gods of the Amorites.  Their hearts were cold!

God then sent His angel to Gideon.  We find Gideon hiding in a wine press, threshing grain.  The angel’s first words to Gideon: “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior!”  (Judges 6:12)  Gideon’s first response was not one of faith.  He believed that the Lord had abandoned them.  This messenger sent Gideon on a mission to deliver Israel–in the strength he had.  (Judges 6:14)  Gideon again protested that his clan was the weakest in Manasseh and that he was the weakest of all! 

The angel had told him to use the strength he had–little or great!  God would be with him and that would make all the difference in the world.  God sees each person as special and has a job that they can do.  He specializes in taking weak people and infusing them with His strength.  When they choose to believe His Word, nothing shall be impossible to them!  (1st Corinthians 1:25-29)

As Gideon prepared to deliver Israel, he gathered an army together.  God reduced it from 32,000 to 300!  God took away their weapons and gave them torches and pitchers!  He told them to break the pitchers, wave the torches, and shout!   He obeyed and in the strength he had, delivered Israel from the Midianites!  (Judges 7:13-20)

Are you or have you suffered from a negative self-image? How did that affect you life and ability to live joyfully? Declare a promise from God over your life today. “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior!”

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Sunday rest and reflection 2024

Dear friends,

Leviticus really makes you appreciate what we have today because of Jesus Christ!  I know I would have had a hard time bringing all those animals to offer for my sins.  It’s hard to admit sin privately before the Lord.  I can’t imagine having to confess my sins to the priest and then offer an animal that would die right in front of my own eyes!  Sin might become detestable after a few times!  Maybe that was God’s intent!

Being a priest would have been difficult and very messy!  Killing animals daily and sprinkling blood and washing and lifting dead carcasses up before the Lord would have been gruesome work.  Going into the Tent of Meeting knowing that you might die yourself would also not be exciting.  I am sure that Aaron had his moments too.  He lost two sons who went into that Tent, probably under the influence of alcohol.  Can you imagine his thoughts each year as he had to go in with the blood of a bull for himself and his family and then the blood of a goat for the whole nation?  He had to go in alone and by faith make the acceptable sacrifice. 

We have it easy today!  Jesus has done it all!  He is our high priest and intercedes for us.  He sacrificed his own body and blood for our “atonement” covering of our sins.  Our sins are taken away and our consciences are cleansed!  It is finished!  He did not have to sacrifice for Himself, like Aaron, because He was without sin.  He ever lives to make intercession for us!  Take time and reflect on this past week’s reading and thank Jesus for fulfilling all the law!  Ask Him to make you holy, as He is holy.  By faith, claim His righteousness.  True Christianity brings rest and true joy!  God bless you and have a great sabbath rest!

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!  . . .”God made him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2nd Corinthians 5: 17, 21.

God loves F.A.T. people!

Scripture reading for February 10: Numbers 1-4

Numbers shows that  God cared about each person and family group.  He wanted the leaders to know how many they had to help with the work and protection of the nation.  God used His people and knows each one by name!  He knows even the hairs on their heads.  He knows the purpose and jobs that He has designed and gifted them to do.  It doesn’t matter so much what you do, as long as you are (F)faithful, (A)available, and (T)teachable!

The book of Numbers is so named because of all the counting and lists. Moses recorded that there were 603,550 men twenty years old or more that could serve in the army and fight from eleven of the tribes.  (Numbers 1:46) The only tribe excluded from the duty to fight was Levi.  The Levites belonged to God and were set apart to serve Him in the Tabernacle.  (Numbers 3:5-7)

There were three clans of Levi. The Gershonites clans were given the care of the tent curtains and coverings.   God assigned the Kohathites to be in charge of the sanctuary.  (Numbers 3:27-32) He assigned the Merarite clans  to carry the poles of the tabernacle. (Numbers 3:33-37)  The Levites were to serve Aaron and his sons. (Numbers 3:11-13)  He had redeemed them by the blood of the Passover Lamb!  All these men were called by God to do a specific job and to do it as unto the Lord. 

God is looking for faithful and available workers.  They must be teachable and humble enough to obey orders.  When He finds these workers, He shows Himself strong on their behalf.  They are blessed and God’s love and protection covers their homes and families.  It is not how much you do, or what kind of talent and position that makes you special to the Lord.  He blesses all “F.A.T.” people!

Do you find it hard to commit to membership in a church? Are you willing to commit to a church leader to be part of a team of ministers placed by the Lord? Are you faithful, available and teachable?

1st Corinthians 12:18– “But in fact, God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, exactly as He wanted them to be.” Isaiah 6:8–“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”  and I said, “Here am I.  Send me!”

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Faithfulness brings mercy!

Scripture reading for September 11th: 1st Timothy 1, Psalm 31, Proverbs 26

1st Timothy 1:12-17 “I thank Him Who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because He judged me faithful, appointing me to His service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display His perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in Him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”

Paul begins his letter to his young ‘son’ in the faith by sharing about how he received Christ’s mercy, Paul considered himself the ‘foremost’ of sinners, because he persecuted God’s people and even had some murdered out of zeal for the law and ignorance of faith and grace. He was worthy of great punishment and rejection by God. But through Christ Jesus, Paul received grace and an appointment into God’s service. He came to realize that it was Christ’s primary mission to save sinners, even ones as bad as he was! Christ used the miraculous change in Paul’s life as an example to others and as a display of God’s perfect patience. All Paul could do, along with us, was worship the King of the Ages Who lives forever and ever! God’s faithfulness and patience brought Paul into His family and us who believe as well!

Psalm 31:3-5 “For You are my Rock and my Fortress; and for Your Name’s sake You lead me and guide me; you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for You are my Refuge. Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your amazing patience with me and the grace You have shown to all sinners throughout history. It is Your love and faithfulness that have brought me to a place of repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. You have delivered me from pride and flattery as well as lying and violence. You are my King Eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God. You are worthy of honor and glory forever!

Proverbs 26:28 “A lying tongue hates its victims, and a flattering mouth works ruin.”

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