1 Corinthians 12:27-13:13 Most people are familiar with this passage of Scripture. It is often used in wedding ceremonies and often referred to as the "Love Chapter." Chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians has much to say about love, but because of its familiarity we often miss the rich depth of this passage. After reading this passage one day, I asked the Lord a simple question that I have always wondered about. I asked Him why faith, hope and love last forever. In response to my question, I heard with my spiritual ears the following: "Faith, hope and love last forever because they are the eternal soul of Jesus Christ. Your soul consists of mind, emotion and will. Jesus also had a soul, but His soul was without sin. He had no lusts, even though He felt what it was like for you to be tempted. He was touched with the feelings of all of your weaknesses. His mind, however, was filled with faith; His emotions were anchored by hope, and His will was controlled by love."
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Psalm 36:1-12 The reason people do not trust God is because they do not have a complete view of His character. To trust anyone we must know that this person speaks truthfully, has no guile and has our best interest at heart. The Psalm and Proverb readings today express so beautifully God's character. In Psalm 36:1-12 we see these attributes of God's character listed:
Psalm 35:17-28 Many years ago I did a study on the tongue of the righteous and the tongue of the wicked. This study revealed to me the power of the tongue and led me to write a book called The Tongue—a Mighty Weapon. Whenever I give talks to others, I like to speak about the power of our words and what God created our tongues to do. There is a psalm that says, "He that orders his conversation aright glorifies the Lord." (See Psalm 50:23.) Our tongues were made to glorify the Lord, to praise Him, to worship Him, to encourage and edify others, and to share the gospel with them.
Nehemiah 12:27-13:31 Have you ever been in a home where the garbage has not been emptied for days, the dishes are stacked a mile high, and bed sheets have not been changed for months? When my son was on drugs and living with two other boys in a rental house, I went to visit him. No one answered the door, but the door was opened, so I thought maybe Ray was sleeping. I opened the door, and what faced me was unbelievable. It was just like the home I described above. When I discovered no one was home, I set about to straighten things out as best as I could. After two hours of work and a spray of room deodorizer, the house was in much better order.
1 Corinthians 10:15-11:2 Many today are wearing a bracelet with the initials W.W.J.D? This stands for, "What would Jesus do?" My older sister was impressed with a family who counseled their children to ask "What would Jesus do?" when they were wrestling with whether to do something or not. The answer to the question "What would Jesus do?" is always the same. The answer is, "Jesus would always do what would bring glory to His heavenly Father."
Psalm 34:1-10 What a thrill it is for us to watch our grandchildren as they begin to crawl first, and then pull themselves up to a standing position. Shortly thereafter they begin to take their first steps. Sometimes, however, in their efforts to pull themselves up to the standing position, their legs get tangled and they cannot move. Someone has to come to their rescue and position them once again so they can hold on and stand up.
Nehemiah 7:61-9:21 In today's passage we learn the importance of the joy of the Lord. Nehemiah says, "For the joy of the Lord is your strength" (Neh. 8:10). We saw this fact demonstrated in a dramatic way when we attended the first Jewish festival that was held in St. Petersburg, Russia. This festival was designed to reach out to the Jewish people. The music artists shared not only their music, but also their personal testimonies of how they came to know Jesus as their Messiah. The first evening as people gathered into the auditorium, I studied each face. The people seemed expressionless, almost without any emotion, and I did not see one smile. Then the music began.
Psalm 33:1-11 In a world that is falling apart, we need a place of security. Earlier we spoke of such a place—the pavilion in the presence of the Lord where we can hide from the strife of tongues. If you have ever experienced an earthquake or a tornado, you have an understanding of how your life depends upon where you place yourself. If you are in an earthquake, you are to brace yourself in a doorway. If you are in a tornado, you are to go to your basement or storm cellar.
Psalm 32:1-11 Each day I live I come to appreciate the cross and what happened on that dreadful, but victorious day over two thousand years ago. I am a blessed person for no other reason than the blood of Jesus that was poured out for me to cover my sins. David had not yet seen the crucified and resurrected Lord in the flesh, but I believe he saw Him in the spirit. David understood the power of forgiveness of transgressions, the covering of sins and the pardoning of iniquity. He says, "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit" (vv. 1-2).
Psalm 31:19-24 Nothing can wound more than the accusations of others, especially if a friend accuses you. David had this experience. What causes a critical, judgmental spirit? The root cause is pride. When we are hurt by others, it is a sign that we have pride in our hearts. When we hurt and wound others with our words, we are also guilty of pride.
1 Corinthians 6:1-20 We continue to meditate on judging others. First we learned not to judge anything before the time. Yesterday we saw where Paul judged the sin of a fornicator in the body and exhorted the body at Corinth to break fellowship with him until he repented. Today's passage states an amazing fact about our ability to judge: "Do you not that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?" (v. 3).
1 Corinthians 5:1-13 Yesterday we talked about judging nothing before the time. However, we see in this passage that Paul definitely makes a judgment. Remember we said we could judge people's actions, but we do not have the ability to judge their motivations. Only God knows the hearts of men. The judgment Paul makes in this passage is against the sin of fornication. This is the only sin that is a sin against one's own body. Listen to what Paul says about this. "I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: yet not altogether the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person" (vv. 9-13, KJV).
1 Corinthians 3:5-23 My husband and I have only built one house in our lifetime. We lived in an apartment close by to the sight of the home we were building, and one of our joys was to check almost daily on the progress of our new home. We had the privilege of choosing the carpet, the other flooring, paint, wallpaper, lighting fixtures and many other things for our new home.
1 Corinthians 2:6-3:4 One of my most favorite times of the year is Christmas. The preparations for this time give me great excitement. I usually begin early during the spring sales to buy winter clothes as gifts for our family that includes three sons and their wives, our grandchildren, a Russian son and Chinese daughter, and now another daughter named Misha. I diligently search for gifts they will enjoy, and I can't wait until Christmas day when they open their gifts. Sometimes we give trips to the children, and they love this.
1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5 When we went to Russia to be intercessors for a music festival in St. Petersburg, we heard many testimonies of Jewish people. As they shared how their lives had been changed when they received Yeshua (Jesus), these testimonies all had a common theme. I do not recall hearing one testimony that did not include some type of sign that God used to reveal His Son Jesus to them as their Messiah. In our reading today we see Paul's insight into those with whom he was sharing the good news. He says,"For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God" (1 Cor. 1:22-24).
1 Corinthians 1:1-17 Is it possible to live a blameless life? As I meditated on our New Testament reading today, the verse that gave me great hope was, "Who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ" (v. 8).
Proverbs 20:19 Tattletell! Tattletell!" Remember yelling this phrase at your sisters or brothers when they told your parents about something you did? It is sad to say, but many of us have never outgrown the tattletell stage. We are still telling on people to others.
2 Chronicles 32:1-33:13 For years my husband and I did not have daily prayer together. In fact, we had been married twenty-five years before we started praying together daily. Of course, we did pray for things as they came up, but usually we had our own quiet time with God individually. During those years, however, I had a very special prayer partner. Her name was Zira, our precious little dog. Every morning she would crawl up in my lap and sit quietly as I prayed to the Lord. I often opened my eyes slightly to see what she was doing. Every time I did this, I saw Zira looking up to heaven. I believe Zira could see my angels watching over me. I am convinced that small infants and animals are able to see into the spirit realm. God gives a few of His saints this ability, but in His mercy He usually chooses not to reveal to us what is all around us in the spirit realm. We probably would be frightened if we had this ability.
2 Chronicles 30:1-31:21 God has made us kings and priests unto God (Rev. 1:6). Because we are kings and priests, it is helpful to look into the Old Testament to see what the early priests did. We need to know how they ministered to the people and exactly what their office as priest required. The good news is that we can be even more effective as priests than the priests of the early days. We now have a high priest, Jesus Christ, who through His blood shed on the cross has given us boldness to enter into the holy of holies to find grace whenever we have a need.
Romans 14:1-23 The lordship of Jesus Christ is clearly stated in two of our readings today. Psalm 24 declares the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof. Many, however, will never acknowledge the lordship of Jesus Christ. Paul tells us in our Romans passage that there will be a day when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. There will be a day of judgment in which everyone will have to give an account of how they lived their lives on earth. On that day Jesus, the just judge, will reveal the hearts of men. Who am I then to judge my brother today? This is the question Paul addresses in this passage. He says, "Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fail in our brother's way" (v. 13).
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