Category Archives: 1 Corinthians

I live for “likes” and “retweets”

How about sharing the glory!

Does everything have to be about me?

Even Paul, who is often pegged as arrogant, gets his part, and God’s part, right in today’s verses.

God deserves ALL the glory.

How much am I giving Him?

Am I willing to minimize myself to a workable piece of clay in the Potter’s hands?

“You’ll remember, friends, that when I first came to you to let you in on God’s masterstroke, I didn’t try to impress you with polished speeches and the latest philosophy. I deliberately kept it plain and simple: first Jesus and who he is; then Jesus and what he did – Jesus crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2: 1-2 (The Message)

If something is presented in a complicated way, many of the listeners/readers will tune it out.

My sister & brother-in-law are weavers. And very good at it. Occasionally, they will give an explanation on Facebook of something specific they are doing in their weaving process. The words they use are English, but what they mean in the ways they use them, sail quickly past me.

There, however, may be weavers out there who would hang on their every word. I am just not one of them.

Paul super simplifies things for non-believers. He nutshells his message to them into two topics: Jesus Christ is God’s Son, and Jesus Christ died on a cross.

When those two topics are understood, he can then go into specifics.

Paul sees the simplistic approach as important. Why? Because God can work with it.

Paul notes several verses later that his downgraded style draws folks away from celebrating him and towards God instead: “But the Message came through anyway. God’s Spirit and God’s power did it, which made it clear that your life of faith is a response to God’s power, not to some fancy mental or emotional footwork by me or anyone else.” Verses 4-5

I think that my task in doing these devotionals is, with God’s help, to make them as simple to understand as possible. If someone, after reading an entry, comes away with “me” instead of “God” then I have wasted my time.

To Him be all the glory!


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If your Jesus risen?

“If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.  And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”  1 Corinthians 15:13-14.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading; Judges 8, Psalm 42, and 1 Corinthians 15.

If you’re not believing this, then you are not a true believer.

The resurrection of Jesus is crucial in the true believer’s story.

We say that our sins are forgiven, but are they?

We say that Jesus took them to death but was that punishment enough?

If Jesus stayed dead, we have no future.  The grave is the end.  All the promises of Jesus, about the next life, are bogus.  How could He save us from the consequences of our sins if He couldn’t save Himself?

But He was raised from the dead by God!  There is an Easter.  If all we had was Good Friday, it would need to be called; The Last Friday.

But it is not the end.  God accepted what Jesus did as enough to remove the sin consequences that we deserve and brought Him back to life.

The promises of an eternal after-life are still valid.  They’re going to happen.  Hallelujah!

“Lord, You have indeed conquered the grave.  You took away the consequences we deserved by dying in our places.  What a Savior!”

No resurrection?  No after-life.

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Temptation protection

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.  And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”  1 Corinthians 10:13.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Joshua 21-22, Psalm 47, and 1 Corinthians 10.

Today as I read this verse I finally connected it to my past.

Before, I would generally find it to be a comfort for the life ahead of me: There may come temptations, but God is willing to be there with me.

I looked back at my life and recalled situations in which something very wrong could have happened if I had done one thing rather than another.  I realized that God had spared me.  He had prevented me from doing something I shouldn’t do.

How had that happened?  People have been praying for me my entire life.  Some I know, some I don’t even know.  But God heard them and kept me from succumbing to a temptation in certain instances.

There is Scripture telling me emphatically that my strength must come from Him.  I am NOT able to get things right apart from Him.  I must never assume that I’m strong and that there is no temptation that I can’t handle.  I am weak and susceptible to everything that comes down the pike!

I need to be close to Him every second.  There is no “free” time for the believer.  My full trust must be in Him or I will be vulnerable to temptations.

“Lord, You are a great God.  Thank You for sparing me from surrendering to serious temptation in my past.  You protected me.  O how I thank You now for it!  I fortify myself with You now.  Protect me from temptation I beg.  I love You, Lord.”

Temptation is neverending BUT God, praise be to Him, is also.


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I had to do it

“For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, I am compelled to preach.  Woe to me, if I do not preach the gospel!”  1 Corinthians 9:16.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Joshua 18-20 and 1 Corinthians 9.

Paul preached because he believed that it was what God wanted him to do.

God had given him the drive and ability to preach.  Paul couldn’t take any credit for any of it.

I believe that God has things for His followers to do.  If we get a sense of what He wants, then He will give us the determination and ability to serve Him well.

What does He want me doing?  How do I find out?  I cannot make rash assumptions.  I am not going to be a player in the NBA.  Why?  I’m old and I’m 5’7”!

I believe that we start by rightly representing Him WHEREVER we are.  The mission field is not something we have to GO to.  It’s in our midst.  Our wife.  Our neighbor. Our children.

We must desire, with all our hearts, to please Him.  If I have the right attitude, I am certain that He will give me more than enough opportunities to do things He wants done.

“Lord, have Your Way with me.  I cling to You.  I love You for all You have given me.  Forgive me for seeking recognition for work done.  Enable me to serve silently.  To serve because I’m serving You.  I owe You everything.  I love You, Lord.”

Paul couldn’t keep quiet.  Do we “quietly” follow Him?


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What I think may be better kept to myself

“Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.”  1 Corinthians 8:9.

How will what I do affect others?

Do I care or do I just “tell it like it is?”

This verse warns against acting without interacting with God.

In a day in which I start tight with God, I will be most likely to know when to hold and when to fold.

Unattached to Him, I will speak the truth BUT not in His Love.  Damage will be done needlessly.

Does this mean that sin shouldn’t be confronted?  Certainly not, but it must be confronted with His Words and in His timing.  That’s not an easy thing to do and this gets us right back to needing a non-stop tightness with Him.

Everyone we know very well has faults.  They also have good qualities.  We need to be as mindful of their good qualities as we are of their faults.  A non-stop critic has few listeners.

“Lord, take every part of me over right now.  Fill me with You, Your Words and Your Thoughts.  Help me to see others as You see them.  Help me to love others as You have loved me.  I beg for Your Words this day.  I want to rightly represent You.  Guide me in that direction, I beg.”

Said anything you regretted lately?  Been there, done that!


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If He wasn’t raised I won’t be either

“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.  Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.  If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” 1 Corinthians 15:17-19.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading; Psalm 149, and 1 Corinthians 15-16.

Christ was raised from the dead.

That is part of the foundation of what I believe.

If my sins weren’t taken care of then I am unworthy of an after-life with God.  I’ll be going to the other place!

But Christ was raised and my sins lost their eternal consequences.  I have a new life and I have the assurance of an after-life with a holy God.

The after-life is the key to trusting God.  Granted I crave to be filled with Him here but the ultimate prize is the life after this life.  This life is a mere drop in the bucket compared to eternity.

The resurrection is a part of our beliefs that we cannot concede anything on.  It is essential.

Those who claim to be believers and doubt the resurrection are not true believers.  It had to happen or our faith is futile.  Thank God it did happen!

“Lord, I thank You that You rose from the dead and made me clean in the process.  I can face death without fear because I know that I am right with You.  Thank You, Lord.”

The resurrection cleared away my sin problem.

St. Lucia

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Worthless noise

“I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” 1 Corinthians 13:1.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Job 39-40, and 1 Corinthians 13-14.

You read through 1 Corinthians 13 and think about the various gifts.

I, however, chose to attach myself to the very beginning of the chapter because the rest of the chapter falls flat without starting with love.

It is real clear: I must love as God loved me.  There is no substitute for it.

I can impress one and all with my assorted gifts, but they are worthless.  “I did this, Lord.”  “I never knew you!”

The heathens worshiped with gongs and cymbals but all they were doing was making noise.  If I am not loving as God defines love, my “noise” goes worthless.

I cannot be comfortable with God unless I am loving others.  Because I have His Spirit, I am very much tuned into my sinful behavior.  When my attachment to Him is loose, I have trouble confronting unloving behavior at once.  It drags along, and I find myself gaining more and more separation from Him.  Finally, I reach a point where the dam breaks and I admit my sinfulness to God and to others.  Restoration to Him follows and love for Him and others returns.

“Lord, thank You for pricking my conscience today.  I thank You for Your forgiveness.  I love You, Father.  Saturate me with Your Love so that there is a Godly overflow.  Give me those divine appointments today.  I love You, Father.”

I was real “noisy” recently.  God opened my heart to His displeasure with it.


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What is my purpose in what I do?

“For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.”  1 Corinthians 10:33.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Psalm 122, and 1 Corinthians 9-11.

I must be heading in the same direction as Paul is.

Paul was willing to adjust his behavior if it interfered with his ability to save people from an eternity apart from God.

How does this work out in my life?

I need to be able to establish common ground with the folks I witness to.  My initial approach with someone cannot be with blazing six guns.  They need not see me as someone to get away from.  The hearer should know that I am also a listener.

I need to be willing to end a witnessing effort before things go where I wanted them to go.  A person may not be ready to go further.  God MUST prepare the heart of the hearer.  I am out there planting seeds in lives.  Not every pitcher is a starter.  Some are middle relievers.  Others are closers.  I need to be ready to pitch in every situation.

I need to have a variety of approaches in my repertoire.  One size will NOT suit all hearers.  I want to learn where the hearer is spiritually and then react appropriately from that location.  Preparation is essential.  I am currently reading “The Holiness of God,” by RC Sproul.  Pertinent for this discussion are his insights on God being just and merciful.  Highly recommended.

“Lord, alter me so that I can aid in getting people saved from eternal condemnation.  Saturate me with Your Wisdom as I witness.  I am cowardly and ill-prepared for such an important task.  Remove my fears.  Give me insights I need.  You are my God.  I love You, Father.”

I must do everything I can to save folks from eternal damnation.



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In the world

In the world

“I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people – not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters.  In that case you would have to leave this world.” 1 Corinthians 5:9-10.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading; Job 34, and 1 Corinthians 4-6.

I cannot become a spiritual recluse.

How easy it is to mingle with believers.  They have so much in common with me.

I sit in Bible study on Tuesday mornings and find the fellowship (It’s a men’s Bible study!) terrific.

Paul is “telling” me that there is life beyond Bible study and it will involve being with ungodly folks.

At first glance, such interactions might appear dangerous.  I might be tempted by them.  I could do things in their company that would displease God.

However, I must mingle with the godless in God’s Strength.  I have something eternal that they need.  I cannot witness from my downstairs study.  I have to leave the room.

“Lord, forgive me for isolating myself from the godless in my midst.  Many of them are nice people but they either haven’t heard the Gospel or they need it explained to them.  I ask for divine appointments this day with them.  I absolutely must have Your Words in every conversation.  Give them to me, I beg.  I love You, Lord.”

The godless deserve the opportunity to hear from the Godly.  Their blood is on our hands until we do it.


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I was scared

“I came to you in weakness and with great fear and trembling.  My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” 1 Corinthians 2:3-5.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading; Job 33, and 1 Corinthians 1-3.

A favorable impression of speaker is often a lesser impressive of their message.

Paul wants his readers to know that his presentation to them was not high quality………and this was a good thing.  Why?  It took his readers away from the presenter and narrowed them in on what he said.

Paul knew that God’s Spirit was with him.  Paul let God’s Spirit empower his words.

Paul’s ineptitude as a speaker would direct folks to his God-driven words.  The listener would come away remembering what he said rather than the less-than-the-best way he said it.

I need to know that when I represent God relying on my own verbal cleverness I will get my reward for that but nothing more.  “Wasn’t he impressive.”  “He was very interesting to listen to.”  Missing?  God’s Spirit.

God knows exactly what each of us need.  I can offer you money, but you may need sympathy.  God has the “right” message.  I must have His Words to strike the right note within each person.

I must be disappointed by those who praise my verbal skills.  I must redirect them to Him and yank myself away from importance.

“Lord, forgive me for ever thinking I’ve read/studied enough to fly without You.  Oh, I’ll fly alright!  My starts, middles, and finishes must ALL be done in Your Strength.  I beg for Your Words in my travels today.  Prick my conscience when I am messing this up.  I need You every second.  Help me, I pray.”

I must crave for a vocabulary filled with God’s appropriate Words.

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