Archive for February, 2015

One Body, Different Parts

But all these things worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.  For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.  For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.  For the body is not one member, but many. 

I Corinthians 12:11-14

We all can easily understand that, in every human body (or even animal body for that matter), there are many different parts that all do different things.  It is the same in the “body of Christ.”  As Christians, we are all members of the body of Christ.  But, just like in any body, all of the members do slightly different things.  A body made up of only noses would not be a useful body.  A church made up of only pastors would not be a useful church.

What we have to realize and remember is that all of the things we have been given to do are important.  The body has no unimportant jobs, and the body of Christ has no unimportant jobs.  The person who does the preaching is important.  The person who teaches a children’s lesson is important.  The person who vacuums the floor is important.  The person who prays is important.  Every member of the body is important in the body of Christ.

It’s easy to look at other people who might be doing more “glamorous” things and be envious.  but we should not be that way.  God made each of us for a specific purpose.  We need to find that purpose and do it, with His help, to the best of our ability.

 

Spiritual Gifts

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.  Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.  Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.  Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.  And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.  And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

I Corinthians 1:1-6

This is a passage about spiritual gifts.  We all have spiritual gifts.  God has given all of us things to do.  He has given all of us talents and abilities.  This passage tells us that not all of those gifts, talents and abilities are the same.

We run into problems when we either refuse to use our gifts or when we compare our gifts to the gifts of another person.  There are people to whom God has given great abilities, but they never use them for His glory.  That is a sad situation.  Whatever God has given us to do, we should do it to His glory.  Whatever gift God has given us, we should use it for Him.

But we should also understand that not everyone has the same gift that we do.  When we start to want the gifts and abilities that God has given to others, we can easily become envious and bitter.  When we expect others to have the same gifts and talents that we have been given, we can easily become smug and arrogant.  Neither of those approaches is good.

We need to do the best with what God has given us and we need to help and encourage others to do the best with what God has given them!

What To Say About Jesus

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.  Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.  Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

I Corinthians 12:1-3

In this passage, Paul gives us an interesting test.  “Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.”

There are two things in this verse that Paul tells us that we need to understand.  First, we need to understand that “No man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed.”  Nobody who is being led by the Spirit of God is going to call Jesus accursed.  As Christians, we would likely feel very terrible about saying anything that bad about Jesus.  (At least I hope we would!)

Second, we need to understand that “no man can say that Jesus is Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.”  There are not a lot of people who are able to say that “Jesus is Lord.”  If we are able to say that, it is because the Spirit of God allows us to do it.

The whole question of being led by the spirit or not being led by the spirit is a simple case of “what do we do with Jesus?”  That is really the most important question in all of life – what do we do with Jesus?  What do we think about Him?  What do we say about Him?  What do we believe about Him?  The answer to those questions will tell us where we are in life.

 

Showers of Blessings (Hymn)

Showers of Blessings
Fanny Crosby

Here in Thy Name we are gathered,
Come and revive us, O Lord;
“There shall be showers of blessing,”
Thou hast declared in Thy Word.

Refrain

Oh, graciously hear us,
Graciously hear us, we pray:
Pour from Thy windows upon us
Showers of blessing today.

Oh! that the showers of blessing,
Now on our souls may descend,
While at the footstool of mercy
Pleading Thy promise we bend!

Refrain

“There shall be showers of blessing,”
Promise that never can fail;
Thou wilt regard our petition;
Surely our faith will prevail.

Refrain

Showers of blessing, we need them,
Showers of blessing from Thee;
Showers of blessing, oh, grant them,
Thine all the glory shall be.

Refrain

We do truly need “showers of blessings.”  Before coming across these lyrics, I was not familiar with this hymn.  I was actually looking for a different hymn of the same name.  But this is a good hymn that reminds us where blessings come from and how to get them.  My dad likes to say “Don’t ask God to bless what you do; find out what God blesses and do it.”  We need and want the blessing of God on our lives.   We need to do those things that He is going to bless!

Psalm Saturday 8d

O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!  who hast set thy glory above the heavens.  Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.  When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him?  and the son of man, that thou visitest him?  For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.

Psalm 8:1-5

“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the sons of man, that thou visitest him?”

Those are interesting questions.  I do not know what the creator of the universe is mindful of me.  I am just a weak, frail human.  I am sinful and evil.  I often don’t do the things I know I should do and I often do the things I know I shouldn’t do.  But God is still mindful of me.  He knows me and He helps me.  This passage even says that He visits us.  He came down to “visit” mankind in the flesh around two thousand years ago.  He still visits us day by day to help and comfort us.  Why does God love us?  I don’t know, but I am thankful for it!

Followers of Paul?

Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.  Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.

I Corinthians 11:1-2

Over and over again in the Scriptures, we are warned against following men.  We see over and over again the folly in this approach.  Men are weak, frail, and sinful.  They make mistakes, they make them often, and they seem to make them at the worst possible times.  But here we see Paul telling the Corinthians to “Be ye followers of me…”  What is the difference?  There is one very key difference.  Paul says “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”

Paul only wants people to follow him as he is following Christ.  It is the same for all men, whether they are pastors, teachers, evangelists, or just good people.  We can (and should) follow them, but only as they follow Christ.  If and when they ever stop following Christ, we need to immediately stop following them.

The problems arise when we keep following men after they stop following the Lord.  Many, many Christians have been led astray over the years by blindly following people and not following Christ.

I don’t mean to say that we should question everything our pastors and teachers tell us, but I do mean to say that we need to be vigilant.  We need to make sure that we are ultimately following the Lord.  That is our responsibility and that is something for which we will answer.

 

The Profit of Many

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink; or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.  Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: Even as I please all men in all things, not seeing mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

I Corinthians 10:31-33

We as Christians need to take a good, long look at the last verse in this passage.  “Even as I please all men in all things, not seeing mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.”  There is a lot of truth and wisdom in those words.

The world tells us to live for ourselves.  “If it feels good, do it.”  The world and the flesh tell us to put our own happiness above all else.  But that is not the way the Bible and the Lord would have us to do things.

We are told here to put our profit in the back of our minds, and put the profit of others in the front.  Sometimes there are things that we might want to do, but they are not right.  Sometimes there are things that we might want to do, but they are not going to help anyone.  We need to make sure that we are living our lives for the “profit of many” and not just our own profit.

The reason we do this is “that they may be saved.”  We have a higher purpose in our lives.  We have something greater than “what feels good at the moment.”  We have the salvation of the souls of others on the line.  It is important.  It is a worthy cause, to give ourselves to the Lord first and others second.  Are we doing it?

 

What to Do?

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink; or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.  Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: Even as I please all men in all things, not seeing mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

I Corinthians 10:31-33

This passage gives us a great summary of what we need to do in questionable situations.  It also gives us a motivation for acting and living correctly.

We need to do “all to the glory of God.”  Whatever we do, we need to glorify God in it and through it.  Can we do that?  There are some things that we might do that don’t bring glory to God in any way.  We need to rethink those things.

We need to be careful to “give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God.”  We need to watch what effect our actions have on others.  We need to be careful that we are not offending people who Jesus loves and died to save.  If someone is offended by Jesus Himself, there is nothing we can do about that.  But we need to be careful to not offend people with our opinions and our actions.

Paul said in the last verse that “…I please all men in all things, not seeing mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.”  There is an old saying that says “You can’t please everybody.”  While that is true, Paul says here that he is going to try to please everybody – because he wants to see them saved.  Is that our focus and motivation?  What causes us to make the decisions that we do?  We need to live for the Lord and for others!

Everything Is The Lord’s

Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake:  For the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.

I Corinthians 10:25-26

The thought of verse 26 struck me today : “… the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.”  Everything ultimately belongs to Him.  Everything is His.  As humans, we like to try to divide everything into categories like “mines, yours, theirs, etc.  But everything that is mine is the Lord’s.  Everything that is yours is the Lord’s.  Everything, no matter who we might think “owns” it, belongs to the Lord.  It is all His.

What are we going to do with that information?  We should use it to understand that God can answer our prayers and meet our  needs.  If we have a bill that needs paid or a need that needs met, God is well able to meet it.  He owns everything.

We can also use it to lessen our attachment to things.  Yes, we all like to have things.  We all like to buy things, even things that we really don’t need.  But when we think that all of those things are ultimately the Lord’s things, they might not have as powerful of a hold on us as they do.  He will give us what we need and make sure that we have it when we need it.  We don’t have to scratch and scrape and claw our way to getting as many things and as much stuff as humanely possible.

We can also use it to give ourselves great contentment.  It makes life a little easier when you know the person who is in charge.  When you know that everything is owned by your Father, it makes things much, much simpler.  What a wonderful Saviour!

 

Mine or Yours

Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth.

I Corinthians 10:24

There are times, as Christians, that we can accept many things.  We can try to do right.  We can try to love others.  We can try to be a witness for the Lord.  We can try to read our Bibles.  We can try to pray.  We can try to be a good example wherever we go.  We can try to do all of those things, and more.  But sometimes, when it comes to our wallets, we tend to hold back a little.  We tend to be a little stingy with our “wealth.”

This verse gives us a “hard saying.”  “Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth.”

We are programmed from our youth to work hard and earn all that we can.  We enjoy working, and making money, and supporting ourselves.  It is a good thing to work hard.  It is a good thing to earn money and it is a good thing to support ourselves.  But I think that sometimes we can get carried away with it.  Sometimes we can make these things the focus of our lives.  This passage tells us to care more about the wealth of others than our own wealth.  That is hard to do!

Usually, we get this backwards.  We can about the wealth of others only when we feel that we have plenty of wealth for ourselves.  Once we have a million dollars, we allow ourselves to give our struggling neighbor one hundred dollars.  That is the opposite of how it should be.

Really, it just comes down to caring more for others than for ourselves.  And the area of money is usually a tricky one.  How are we doing today?  Do we love others more than ourselves?  Or are we always and only “seeking our own?”