Archive for the ‘1 Corinthians’ Category


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.

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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


1 Corinthians 12:4-7, 12-13, 27
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good… For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit… Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.

Paul writes much about gifts of the Holy Spirit in this chapter and I recommend you read it well to understand it. The Bible tells us that we are filled with the Holy Spirit when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit is at work in us transforming us from inside out to make us like Jesus and empowers us to serve God in many ways. Different believers have different gifts that collectively serve God and Paul weeds out the confusion regarding this gifting because in our paradigm, we think each one should have the same gifts and don’t appreciate the variety that adds up to glorifying God collectively.

Yesterday we reflected on communion which is a symbol of the body and blood of Jesus. In 1 Cor. 10:17, Paul reminds us that ‘Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread‘. We are all different in our cultures, colors, languages, etc. but we all are bound in love by Jesus that makes us family. Similarly in our gifting, we are all differently gifted but collectively serve God to glorify Him alone. No one of us is greater or lesser because of our gifting and also Jesus reminds us in Luke 9:48 that whoever is the least among us is the greatest. Let us seek our spiritual gifts from God to use it for His glory and lets work together to build His kingdom.

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy


1 Corinthians 11:23-26
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

For years, I grew up in Churches where at communion time, I heard this passage of scripture being read out and I knew it by heart. I was told I had to be old enough (A requirement at the Church I attended) to consume it and I couldn’t wait to grow up because I would then be ‘included’. I clearly remember the day I was confirmed and given my first holy communion. It was such a wonderful feeling to be considered a part of ‘them’ that took the communion, not because I understood why I was consuming it. Years later, God met me at the crossroads of my life and gave me a new meaning to life and a relationship that opened my eyes! What is the significance to this ritual of communion?

Back in the time when God gave the Israelites the Ten Commandments, they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as peace offerings to the Lord. Moses then read out the covenant and when the people of Israel agreed to obey it, he took the blood of the bulls and sprinkled it on the people to confirm the covenant. The people of Israel were now bound by law and as hard as they tried, they were never able to meet the covenant. In Christ’s death, we have the new covenant which ended the need for any more sacrifices and efforts of man to meet God’s covenant. We now have a means to be connected with God through Jesus’ sacrifice and in acceptance of Jesus as our Lord and saviour, we are now one body and we all partake of His body through the communion.

2 Cor. 3:5-6 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. I pray you will find new meaning in communing with the Lord and serving him because of His sacrifice that set us free.

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy


1 Corinthians 10:12-13, 21-22, 31-33
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. 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 stand up under it… You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he?… So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

Today’s chapter is power-packed in that it is so pregnant with meaning that I wish I could use it to write out several devotionals but instead I chose parts that make a sense of the whole. Paul seems to be using the word caution all through this chapter and I hope you can also get a sense of it by reading the chapter. First he warns that we should not become idolaters, then about not sharing God with the God’s of this world and finally to be aware of our actions keeping our final goal in mind.

As I continue to walk with the Lord, one of my many battles I face is that I think I know and therefore I do. In our human minds, we like to take control of things and in the same manner, we like to believe we know something because of the length of time we have been associated or exposed to it. However, Paul warns us not to take the Lord for granted.
Temptation is real and while we are given only as much as we can take, we can fall into it if we don’t run away from its lure. Let’s constantly reflect our spiritual walk in the mirror of the cross and let’s not forget that it cost our Lord His own blood to buy us our eternal freedom!

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy