August 20, 2019

BIBLE READING: I Corinthians 14

19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.

I love the principle that the apostle Paul teaches in this chapter. I am not going to even get into the whole “tongues” issue and debate. That would just take too long to discuss. What I do want to point out is a wonderful principal and the basis of what Paul is teaching. While Paul was discussing the subject of speaking in unknown tongues, Paul shares the truth that each of us need to take to heart:

“I had rather speak five words with my understanding…….. than ten thousand words in and unknown tongue”.

Paul says that it would be better to use less words and have a person understand the truth, than to use many impressive words, and the person not learn a thing. Having grown up in church my entire life, and almost being in church every night of my life, I have heard many preachers over the years. I have heard many that used impressive, lengthy words as they bored to death and confused those who were listening. But I have heard many preachers that may not have been the most educated or deep, but who taught God‘s Word with simplicity and made it so understandable. Those are the preachers not only that I remember, but that impacted my life.

Now if anybody knows me, they know that I love to dig into God‘s Word. It excites me, but I always strive to somehow make understandable what can be confusing. To make simple what can be complicated. I’m not the best at that, and I am trying my hardest to get better, but I would rather use fewer words and have people understand more, than to use more words, and people to understand less.

Sometimes you may think that you cannot witness to others because you don’t have all the answers, and you don’t know everything about biblical subjects, and you don’t want to appear to be dumb, uneducated or unprepared. May I say with the average person, that is not an issue. All they desire is for someone to help them understand the Bible, not to arrogantly beat them over the head with it. Paul was an educated man, but he knew that people would only learn what they are able to understand.

August 19, 2019

BIBLE READING: I Corinthians 13

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

“THESE THREE”
Paul teaches that these three things should abide in the life of believers. They are all important. “Faith” is extremely important. We are saved by grace through faith. “Hope” is also essential in our lives. It literally means confidence in. Hope is the product of faith. I have hope because I believe, or have faith in God’s Word, and the promises God has made in His Word. A lack of faith produces an absence of hope. So why is “charity”, or love, the “greatest”?

Let me put it this way:

1. WITHOUT FAITH, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE GOD

2. WITHOUT HOPE, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO TRUST GOD

3. WITHOUT LOVE, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO REPRESENT GOD

Let me put it another way:

1. FAITH IS EVIDENCED IN THE HEART

2. HOPE IS EVIDENCED IN THE HEAD

3. LOVE IS EVIDENCED IN THE HANDS

Love reaches out to others. I can have faith but not reach others. I can have hope but not reach others. But if I have love, there is no way I will not reach others. “For God so love”. “We Love Him because He first loved us”. Throughout this entire chapter, we see that all the wonderful traits we could have in our life will mean nothing if we don’t show the love of God. This chapter shares all the things that will show up in our lives if we have the love of God in our hearts. Yes, truly, “The greatest of these is charity”.

August 16, 2019

BIBLE READING: I Corinthians 12

4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

1. WE ALL HAVE DIFFERENT GIFTS, BUT THEY WERE GIVEN TO US BY THE SAME HOLY SPIRIT (4)
We discussed this not long ago in another devotional. God has given each of us gifts that come to fruition in our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit of God. In other words, God has given each of us gifts, but for those gifts to be the most useful and powerful, we must be filled with the Spirit of God and dependent upon Him.

2. GOD WILL USE THOSE GIFTS DIFFERENTLY IN EACH OF OUR LIVES (5)
Paul here uses the word “administrations”. This simply refers to the administering of the gifts we were given. That means that some of us might have the same spiritual gifts, but God will use that differently in each of us. My spiritual gift may be teaching and preaching, and another person might have that same gift, but it does not mean that God’s going to use those gifts the exact same way in both of our lives. Some preachers preach one-way, other preachers have a totally different style. Some pastors pastor large churches, some pastors pastor small churches. They might have the same spiritual gift, but God uses it differently in an individual’s life. And the reason for the difference is to fulfill God’s purposes and will.

3. THE GIFTS THAT GOD GAVE AND USES IN OUR LIVES WILL BE USED
DIFFERENTLY AT DIFFERENT TIMES (6)
This simply means that God will use your spiritual gifts differently each day of your life. Let me illustrate it with myself. My spiritual gift is teaching and preaching. There will be some services when I use this gift that it seems as if nothing happens. Then there will be some services that I use this gift, and it seems that God works greatly. But I have found many times where I thought God had worked mightily, He really did not. And then there are times where it felt like God did nothing, and I found out later that He used it mightily. You and I will never be able to see or know the affect or influence of our spiritual gift any given day. We simply must use our gifts for the Lord and let Him worry about the results. He’s the one that “operates” the use of our gifts.

4. THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL ONLY MANIFEST HIMSELF TO ACCOMPLISH GOD’S PURPOSES, OR TO GLORIFY GOD’S NAME (7)
The Holy Spirit does not magnify Himself so that people will talk about you and your gifts. Our gifts were not given for us to glorify ourselves, or to take the credit for what the Holy Spirit accomplishes. Our gifts were given for God to use for the profit of others, and to glorify His name.

August 15, 2019

BIBLE READING: I Corinthians 11

3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

I did not make the system, God did. I did not make the message; I am just the messenger. This passage gives us God’s system of alignment. This is how God says everything must be lined up, for things to work correctly. If a car is out of alignment, it doesn’t matter how nice the engine, how fancy the interior, or expensive the paint job, the car will not drive correctly. We have families now that have big homes, expensive cars, every toy imaginable, and every piece of technology that they come out with. And yet the family is not running correctly. They have everything, and they don’t know why they are miserable. It is because things are out of alignment.

This is how God said that authority was to be aligned in our lives:

1. GOD IS THE HEAD OF CHRIST
2. CHRIST IS THE HEAD OF THE MAN
3. MAN IS THE HEAD OF THE WOMAN
4. PARENTS ARE THE HEAD OF THE CHILDREN

I think it is important to notice that this verse does not use the term “over”, but “of”. It does not mean a dictatorship of authority. It is a line of responsibility, and accountability. It is a protection. Whoever is the head of something must direct it, protect it, and make sure they do not neglect it.

So many times, a husband will come to me in counseling and complain because he says that the wife will not submit to him. But so often you find that that man is not living in a way that is submitted to Christ. The problem with their family is not just that the wife is out of line, it is that the husband got out of line first. If anything gets out of line, it doesn’t drive right.

Do you find that your family or marriage is not driving correctly? It does not matter how many things you have, what matters is how you have aligned things. I encourage you today fathers and husbands, are you aligned under Christ. Why should your wife submit to you, and why should your children submit to you and your wife, if you are already out of alignment? Talk about this as a family. Discuss it with your husband or wife. Understand that your children know when things are not aligned right. It’s frustrating for them, and that will come out in disobedience, disrespect, and misbehavior. They are just mimicking what they have seen mom do to dad, and dad do to Christ. It might be time to go into the shop and get an alignment.

August 14, 2019

BIBLE READING: I Corinthians 10

12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

We have all used this verse so often. It is a fantastic verse. Just about the time you think you have arrived you realize you haven’t. Just about the time you think you are strong you realize you are weak. Just about the time you think you can do it on your own, you realize that you cannot.

I’ve always found it interesting about this verse that it never says that the person implied in this verse ever actually stood on their own. The verse does not say “let him that standeth, and think that he standeth, take heed lest he fall”. You see the entire time it was just an allusion to the person. They thought they were standing on their own, when they were never really standing at all. They just thought they were.

You see, we do not stand on our own for a good while, and then if we don’t start depending upon God, we’re going to fall. The principal here is that we can’t stand at all without the Lord. We begin to fall the moment that we first try to stand on our own. We never actually make it all the way up. This is what God is teaching. You just think you’re standing on your own. You just think that you’re OK. But without the Lord, we’ve already started falling.

“TAKE HEED”
So, because of all this we have one job. We are supposed to “take heed”. That means we’re supposed to always keep this on our mind. We’re supposed to remember this in every situation that we face. It is a constant awareness that we need the Lord to strengthen us in every area of our life. Without Him, we are already on our way down.

August 13, 2019

BIBLE READING: I Corinthians 9

24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

“SO RUN”
Paul had a black and white perspective on things. He was always kind, and yet straightforward. Paul observes that this life is like a race. We are running against competing forces. He illustrates this by comparing it to his modern-day sporting events. He insinuates that there is a prize to win and there are others trying to keep you from that prize. We are not saved to stroll through life just to smell roses, watch sunsets, and sip on coffee. (Although I do enjoy sipping on good coffee). We are in a race, and Paul almost like a coach in a pregame speech says, “so run”.

Paul says in verse 25 that those who are working hard or striving to win must learn self-discipline. That is what the word temperate means. He says that individuals that are disciplining their body to earn something as meaningless as a trophy, should motivate us who are trying to obtain something so much greater than a trophy. We have to constantly fight our flesh in order to run the race for Christ that we are to run.

“SO FIGHT”
In verse 26, Paul teaches there is not just a race to run, but there is a battle to “fight”.
Like a boxer who is training punches the air, Paul says we are not that fortunate. We are fighting real, evil forces. It is going to be a fight Paul says, “so fight”.

Paul makes it clear in this entire passage that if you’re going to “run”, and if you’re going to “fight”, it is going to be a battle against your own body, your own flesh. It is a daily struggle. I encourage you today, Satan is going to fight you, “so fight”.