Archive for April, 2010


2 Corinthians 3:6, 15-18 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life… Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

My hair stands on end when I read each new chapter in this letter of Paul because of how clearly the wisdom of God is shown to us through it. Paul was but a broken person transformed by the Holy Spirit that spoke God’s words through him and I hope we do not worship Paul but rather worship the one Paul glorified, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. As you read this passage above, I hope you ask the questions, what is this letter that kills and what freedom do we actually gain?

The Israelites were give the 10 commandments by God and it was impossible for anyone then and even today to fulfill these commandments and meet God’s basic requirement for righteousness because of our carnal sinful nature. This law was given new life through Christ because through His death, we now have a secure hope of being found righteous in God’s eyes and are not held back by trying to fulfill the law. We are filled with the Holy Spirit when we turn to the Lord and are freed from the captivity of sin, being now transformed by the Holy Spirit into the likeness of Jesus Christ so that we can live forever in His presence glorifying Him with our all. We are purposed to showcase God’s glory in us to give hope to the lost and to transform humanity from the captivity of sin to an eternal freedom in Christ!

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy

Galatians 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.


2 Corinthians 2:14-17  But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task? Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.

When I read the words ‘triumphal procession in Christ’, I wondered what it must mean. I’ve dwelt on it for 2 days and looked at the historical context. What in me would cause God to want to show me in his victory parade? The catch words were ‘in Christ’. It is through Christ’s sacrifice that we are washed in His blood and therefore found acceptable in God’s sight. Then my mind wandered to the next phrase, ‘the fragrance of the knowledge of him’ and my mind was reeling again. What’s with Paul using such adjectives that make us think?

When we have a really positive experience, we cannot stop telling others about it. In Christ, we don’t just have a positive experience but a life-changing one and how much more joyous can that be? This knowledge is what we spread and the fragrance of Christ is sweet to the seeking soul and bitter to the ones who chose otherwise. It’s the greatest gift of eternal life to some and a bunch of ‘old wife tales’ to others. It is the difference between life and death and to those who celebrate the victory, it is sweet but to the rest, it is offensive. Are you the aroma of Christ to the world?

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy

Ezekiel 20:41 “As a soothing aroma I will accept you when I bring you out from the peoples and gather you from the lands where you are scattered; and I will prove Myself holy among you in the sight of the nations.”


2 Corinthians 1:3-5 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

Today we study the 150th chapter in our journey across the Bible and the start of the 2nd letter from Paul to the Corinthian church. Paul gets right to it again and I struggled with what to write on as there is so much meat in this one chapter alone. What struck me was the description of God that Paul used and I dwelt on it for long. He refers to God as the father of Jesus, the father of compassion and the God of comfort. We know that God is the father of Jesus Christ but what is the relevance to calling God the father of compassion and God of comfort? Also, why should we receive the sufferings of Christ?

In the Old Testament, there are references to God as the God of Abraham, Jacob, etc. and these denote God’s covenant-relation to them and their seed. God of Jesus was the covenant-relation to the Mediator and his spiritual seed. God of comfort is used because God is quintessentially the God of tender mercies and he delights in showing mercy (Mic. 7:18). If we like the apostles don’t undergo tribulations, what joy are we to share with those who don’t know Christ and the joy of life everlasting with Him in Heaven? Sufferings abound in our lives when we serve Jesus Christ and with that we receive the comfort of God’s mercies when we glorify Him. Through our sufferings we can speak joyfully of God’s goodness and mercies and share what God has done for our souls.

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy

2 Cor. 1:21,22 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.


1 Corinthians 16:13-14
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.

As we draw to the end of another chapter in the Bible, Paul encourages the Corinthian church and us through these 5 simple statements focussed on faith. As humans, we operate with our 5 senses. Anything outside this paradigm is nonsense and therefore unacceptable. Faith is is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Heb. 11:1). Faith is something most people brush away or even laugh at but it exists, much like gravity does. Paul writes to us to stand firm in our faith because he realizes that if our faith is not based on the foundation of Christ, we can easily drift away just like the seeds that fell on the rocky soil.

My faith walk has been a bumpy one and I praise God for it. I realize that as I continue to walk with the Lord, my sinful self is wearing away but very slowly because the Lord is weeding things out by helping me realize my mistakes and then cleansing me of them. It’s not an instantaneous transformation but a lifetime of change and I appreciate it more because it keeps me seeking Him more and more. When I first accepted the Lord, I was an infant (spiritually) and today I feel like a 10 year old and like a dear friend reminded me yesterday, what is our faith if we are not constantly questioning, seeking, answering and experiencing God in reality. Our faith is not a set of actions that results in satisfying God but it is a relationship that takes a lifetime to learn from and helps us enjoy eternity with God transformed in His image.

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy

Galatians 5:1 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.


1 Corinthians 15:56-58
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Another action packed chapter and I was wondering what I would write until I reached the end where Paul sums up the chapter so well. I encourage you to read and savor this chapter to understand it in its entirety. Paul wrote about the resurrection of Christ, the resurrection of the dead and the resurrection of the body and asks the basic question, what is it we believe and what is the eventual gain of our faith, one that we cannot see but firmly believe in?

In Adam we were given form and in his fall we are faced with the reality of death. In Christ we have the way to be alive again and Jesus is the first born of all creation because He is the great I AM. He was with God before creation and shall be around forever. We have a choice to believe in this amazing truth and live joyfully or live in rejection of this truth and know that our days are few and live hopelessly. If we believe, lets give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord because our labor will bear fruit in Jesus through his Holy Spirit that resides and works in us.

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy

1 John 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world– our faith.


1 Corinthians 14:1-4, 39-40
Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit. But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church… Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

With our feet based on a foundation of love, Paul encourages us to eagerly desire spiritual gifts. He clearly explains that the gift of prophecy is of more value than the gift of tongues because of the basic fact that it edifies the church rather than self and our goal is to love others as God loves us. Rather than getting into which gifts, what they are and how to use them, God’s direction to me from today’s chapter was the whys of spiritual gifts. Why are we given spiritual gifts?

Our spiritual gifts are given to us to edify the church through the working of the Holy Spirit in us. We are reminded in 1 Peter 4:10 ‘Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.’ Again in 1 Cor. 12:7 we are reminded that these gifts are for the common good. We now know that God has given all believers spiritual gifts, that we should desire them and when they are given to us that we should use them to serve Him to the world. Paul also reminds us about using these gifts in an orderly and fitting way because they are from God and God is orderly, not chaotic.

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy


1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 13
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away… And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

As a Christian, my yardstick for spiritual growth was the level of knowledge I had of God’s word, it’s intricacies, complexities, correctness, etc. Studying God’s word was done with a purpose of getting it technically right in order to understand and apply it in my life. It seems Paul was not writing just to the Corinthian Church but also to the likes of people like me, people lost in the technicalities rather than the essence of God’s message for us. I was often encouraged to seek spiritual gifts to enhance my walk with the Lord and I’ve spent significant prayer time asking God for them and less on praying for those in need of God around me. What is God saying to us today?

God’s primary purpose in sending His son Jesus into the world was to save us sinners from hell and to restore us into a right and meaningful relationship with Him. The motive was love, the sacrifice was love, the communication was in love, the blessing was in love and the entire gospel revolves around God’s eternal and amazing love. Paul reminds us that we are called to love one another and to love the lost like God loves us because the message is love and God wants us to serve him with our hearts, not with our technical prowess. Lets love God with our all and share God’s love with all.

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy