"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." It's a statement popularized by the Father of Communism, Karl Marx, but it could just as easily be a summary of Paul's writing in II Corinthians 8!
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Sunday, July 27, 2014
In the ancient world, perhaps nothing symbolized the supernatural might of the Lord more than a natural storm. The people would witness flashing lightning bolts, shattering thunder, and destructive winds. Although the science of meteorology was beyond them, they knew that an awesome storm represented just a smattering of God's power. In Psalm 29, David reflects on the majesty of the Lord revealed through such a storm, how His "voice" unleashed amazing devastation. Today we may better understand the natural forces behind such events, but the created order still reveals a supreme God who stands powerfully above and apart from creation.
Friday, July 25, 2014
How does the New Covenant relate to the Old? In II Corinthians 3, Paul describes the Covenant of Law through Moses as "engraved in letters on stone," "fading glory," "veiled," and "condemns man." This is in contrast to the Covenant of Grace through Christ which is "written with the Spirit on tablets of human hearts," "surpassing glory," "unveiled," and "brings righteousness." In Paul's view, the Old Covenant has glory, but it is a temporary and passing glory. The glory of the New Covenant exceeds it in every way, for it is greater and eternal. Glory!!
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Monday, July 21, 2014
Saturday, July 19, 2014
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Sandwiched between chapters on spiritual gifts, I Corinthians 13 gleams like a jewel. Its words on love have inspired and encouraged many. Its verses have appeared on numerous plaques and been read at countless weddings. Yet perhaps one of the best ways to understand the Bible's "love chapter" is to consider it in context - as a part of Paul's teaching on spiritual gifts.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
What a difference between Christianity and paganism! Paul begins this chapter by reminding the Corinthians that they used to follow mute, ineffective and impotent idols. But now these false gods are contrasted with the living, moving, breathing Holy Spirit who works in the lives of believers by gifting them with special abilities for the good of the body.
Monday, July 14, 2014
Paul is concerned for the quality of the Corinthians' faith and their daily living. After all, we have a stark example from Israel's history that it matters how we live and worship. What should be the standard for living out our faith?
Sunday, July 13, 2014
Confidence is defined as "the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust." The roots of the word confidence (con + fidere) mean "with faith" or "with trust." This accurately describes David's position toward God in Psalm 27.
Thursday, July 10, 2014
In this chapter, we get a good look at the extent of Paul's sacrifices and his calling. Paul declares to the Corinthians that he is a genuine apostle, but he also wants it known that he engages in gospel ministry with no salary drawn from his proclamation. We get a look inside Paul's head as he discloses his thinking with striking transparency. Paul has chosen to make this sacrifice because of the ability it gives him to present the gospel without any charge of profiteering. He is so committed to the saving of souls that he will do anything, say anything, become anything - and even serve without anything. He is sold out, to the point of Olympic-level dedication to his calling. This is Paul's heart. Paul's sacrificial commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ is beyond reproach.
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
I Corinthians 7 is a very practical chapter, full of Paul's convictions and advice regarding marriage, divorce and other relationship statuses. Summing it up would be the phrase: Be content to remain as you are. If you're married, don't seek a divorce (that's God's will). If you're single, don't seek to be married (that's Paul suggestion). Whatever state you were in when you became a Christian - slave or free - be satisfied with remaining that way. Yet these prescriptions don't carry the weight of a command, but sound more like a philosophical viewpoint. The important thing, says Paul, is to be heaven-minded as much as possible, remembering that earthly realities are but temporary and transitory things.
Sunday, July 6, 2014
One of Jesus's oft-quoted statements is, "Judge not lest ye be judged." (At least, it seems to get quoted to Christians a lot!) How does this co-exist with Paul's stern exhortation in I Corinthians 5? "Is it not those who are inside (the Church) that you are to judge?"
Truth be told, I sometimes have a little problem with Psalms like #26. Didn't Jesus encourage us to be humble in our prayers and offer confessions for our sins? In Psalm 26, however, David gives us a model that basically says, "Look at me, God! I'm holy! I'm righteous! Take care of me, Lord, because I'm one of the good ones!"
Thursday, July 3, 2014
In I Corinthians 4, Paul interacts directly with the Corinthians, examining their situation and his own. For their part, he says, they are like his children and should acknowledge that they have received everything they have from others. As far as Paul and the other apostles, however, he considers their state to be hard-pressed. They have suffered being esteemed as fools in the sight of the wisdom of the world, they have endured hunger and thirst and poverty and brutal treatment, and they are regarded as the "scum of the earth." Paul has not said these things to shame the Corinthians, but to challenge them - to leave the easy path and do the hard things for Christ. Paul encourages them to act in the knowledge that he will be coming to visit them...very soon.
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Continuing his thoughts about wisdom and foolishness, Paul makes a breathtaking claim in the second chapter: Christians have access to the deep things of God, through the Spirit that searches all things, even God Himself! Through God's own Spirit, which also inhabits us, we have the mind of Christ. What a concept! So much for foolishness by the world's standard. I will take the mind of Christ any day!