1 Corinthians

6:17

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~Wordless Wednesday~

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The Power of Love-1 Corinthians 13

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In 1 Corinthians, chapter 13, we learn that love “does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth” (v.6).  This means believers aren’t to dwell on the harm others cause and write them off as hopeless, despicable criminals.  Love enables us to hate the evil unjustly visited upon the innocent while valuing the one who committed the act.  More simply, we hate the sin but love the sinner.

In spite of everything that seems apparent about someone who’s been driven to sinful actions, God has created him or her with the potential to be made into something good.  Outwardly, it may seem as if a difficult upbringing, poor treatment, or negative influence has corrupted a person’s morality and worldview beyond repair.  For such individuals, the capacity to love and rise above circumstances can get buried so deep that it may seem nonexistent.

God still considers the most evil and corrupt person worth saving.  How do I know this is true?  Because John 3:16-one of the very first verses we teach children-He said that whoever believes in God’s Son will have eternal life.  Many of us are guilty of thinking we deserve His love because we look good compared to those we deem unlovable.  But God doesn’t work that way.  He loves every single person, no matter how awful his or her sin may be.

God doesn’t want anyone to mistreat others; such sinful action will bring repercussions or discipline.  But the Lord does extend His care, mercy, and salvation to anybody who wants it.  He keeps no record of wrongs.  He loves without conditions.  And He wants us to love in the same way.

Commentary from In Touch Devotional magazine by Charles Stanley, May 4, 2017.

I Hope to Meet You There

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Picture this:  A city shaped like a cube that covers the United States from the Atlantic coast to the middle of Kansas, and from Texas to the Canadian border-1,400 miles long, wide, and high.  It covers about two million square miles of land; but because it’s a cube with room for about 600 “floors”, all total it has 1.2 billion square miles of living space.  That’s the city the Bible calls the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2).

Sometimes people wonder whether there will be room in heaven for all the millions of believers destined to go there.  Based on the above dimensions, it would appear so!  The New Jerusalem is not heaven-it’s a city in heaven that will serve as the “capital” of heaven.  In it are the thrones of God and the Lamb, a river of the water of life, and the tree of life:  food, water, and Jesus Christ-everything needed to live forever.  The question is not whether there will be room in the New Jerusalem for everyone-there will be-but rather, will you be there?  Jesus has invited you to join Him there.

Commentary from the Pathways Devotional by David Jeremiah, May 11.

The city is laid out as a square;

its length is as great as its breadth.

And he measured the city with the reed:

twelve thousand furlongs.

Its length, breadth, and height are equal.

Revelation 21:16

Where to Focus

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Warren Bennis, the popular management consultant, wrote in Why Leaders Can’t Lead:  “Magnanimous and/or humble people are notable for their self-possession.  They know who they are, have healthy egos, and take more pride in what they do than in who they are.  They take compliments with a grain of salt and take intelligent criticism without rancor.  Such people learn from their mistakes and don’t harp on the mistakes of others…True leaders are, by definition, both magnanimous and humble.”

Solomon, in writing the Proverbs, agreed, saying that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (Proverbs 3:34).  Humility precedes honor (Proverbs 15:33); and humility, coupled with the fear of the Lord, brings “riches, honor, and life” (Proverbs 22:4).

By humility, however, the Bible doesn’t mean a low self-image.  We aren’t to put ourselves down or nurture an inferiority complex.  We’re just to think of Jesus more often than we think of ourselves, and we’re to put the needs of others before our own.  Today, try keeping a window before your face instead of a mirror.

“Humility does not consist simply in thinking cheaply of one’s self so much as in not thinking of self at all-and of Christ more and more.”  Keith Brooks

Commentary from the Pathways Devotional, by David Jeremiah, April 24.

Warren Bennis, Why Leaders Can’t Lead (San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1989), 118

An Illustration From Nature

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In 1 Corinthians 15:36-49 Paul gives a description of resurrection bodies using an illustration from nature.  When a seed is planted in the ground it dies; decomposing, it ceases to exist in its seed form, but life comes from that seed (John 12:24).  Just as God gives a new body to that plant that rises from the dead seed, so He can give a resurrection body to a person who dies.

As there are vastly different bodies and forms in God’s created universe which are suited for all kinds of existence, so God can design a perfect body for resurrection life.

Commentary from The MacArthur Bible Commentary, by John MacArthur, 2005.

Unseen

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Have you ever visited the Grand Canyon?  Standing on the rim, peering down into that immense chasm with its vast width and dizzying depths, it’s easy to be awestruck.  There’s an overwhelming sense of majesty and downright terror that we feel while standing on the edge-especially if we’re afraid of heights.  The fear of God is like that.  It isn’t an unhealthy fear, but an overwhelming sense of sheer greatness of God himself.

Touring the Grand Canyon doesn’t diminish our sense of awe; it increases it.  In the same way, having a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ doesn’t lessen our fear of God; it enhances it.

The angels in heaven are in God’s direct presence, and their song reflects their worship,  “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

Familiarity with the Lord never leads to careless devotion.  We never “get used to” Him.  The closer we draw to our Lord, the greater He becomes in our eyes.  And that’s good because the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

Commentary from David Jeremiah’s Pathways Devotional, March 2.