Archive for the ‘1 Corinthians’ Category

Erase. Delete. Forget-about-it.

September 24th, 2017 by Maureen

Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of wrongs. I Cor. 13:5b

We get to choose how much harder we are going to let the past make the present and future. We can choose to live suspicious, angry, hurt, and offended, keeping record of wrongs. Or not.
If we are forever remembering ways we’ve been hurt and the people who hurt us it is harder to trust the love of God or to trust the love of the people in our lives now. If we are constantly focused on our own guilt and failures it’s harder to embrace who we are now, to enjoy relationships with others, and to experience God’s acceptance of us and delight in us.
Is there benefit in examining the past and dealing with damaging patterns? Without a doubt.
Does keeping no record of wrongs mean we ignore injustice or abuse? Not at all.
Does giving a clean slate come with a risk that we will be hurt again? Absolutely.
The existence of wrongs brings complications, causes hurt, and creates tension. Wrongs make hard places on the journey we walk together. Holding onto wrongs is like pouring jagged rocks over all the soft places so that all of it is hard.
Jesus offers us the easy yoke and light burden to walking with clean slates in His love and grace and bringing that same slate-cleaning love and grace into our relationships with ourselves and others.

Lord, thank You for loving me with love that keeps no record of wrongs; I need to borrow Your eraser.

Life and death situation

May 18th, 2017 by Maureen

The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 1 Cor. 15:26

Nobody gets out of life alive and nobody escapes the pain of loss that death creates. That we still die does not indicate Jesus failed to defeat death with His resurrection. The Greek word “katargeō,” usually translated “destroyed,” also means “to deprive of force, influence, or power” and “to be severed from.” Jesus pulled all death’s teeth so that the best death can do is gum at us. Jesus severed us from the fear and finality of separation that give death it’s influence over our hearts and minds. Instead His force, influence, and power allow us to experience life, love, and hope even in the face of death.

Lord, as much as it hurts to be separated by death, help us to experience hope that deprives death of teeth.

Big words for bigger experiences

April 10th, 2017 by Maureen

But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.” I Cor. 1:30-31 NKJ

Wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption are big beautiful words that express the results of Christ’s death and resurrection. We become what we cannot be because of Christ. Every moment that we experience His transforming presence is a celebration of Easter.

Lord help me to venture deeper into your wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption.

What is church supposed to be anyway?

April 9th, 2017 by Maureen

When you gather for worship, each one of you be prepared with something that will be useful for all: Share a psalm, provide information, tell a story, lead a prayer, provide an insight… Take your turn, no one person taking over. Then each speaker gets a chance to say something special from God, and you all learn from each other.  I Cor. 1:26-32

Sound like Paul had a hard time reigning in all the active participants at worship gathering. The implication is that once church services were made up of active participants and active listeners. The real problem seems to have been competition because everyone was clamoring to share. Of course, if could be that that many just wanted to perform. Active listening seems to be a continuing issue for the human race. So now it seems we have designated performers and passive or distracted listeners? This “sage-on-the-stage” approach certainly controls the chaos, but offers little space for the active involvement that Paul describes.

Lord, I don’t know the answers but I ask for your insight, from wherever you send it.

Deep dive revelation

March 26th, 2017 by Maureen

Eye has not seen, hear has not heard, nor the heart of man ever imagined, what God did prepare for those loving Him –but to us did God reveal this through His Spirit, for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God… 1 Cor. 2:9-10

God is like a vast ocean that is our home. We already dwell in Him but we tend toward the shallow shore where the facts float on the surface, where studies, processes, and programs are as predictable as tides, and we can understand and explain our beliefs about Him. Sometimes, though, in our searching moments of reflection and wonder God’s Spirit takes us on a deep dive past our own senses and imaginations. God has prepared vast and deep experiences in Himself for us to explore His love, to adventure in His truth, and to see and hear His beauty.

Lord, reveal more of Your depths to me.

It’s beyond me

March 6th, 2017 by Maureen

What eye did not see, and ear did not hear, and what did not come up in the human heart – what God did prepare for those loving Him. 1 Cor. 2:9

Nobody expected Jesus’ story to play out the way it did. So many were unwilling to embrace the unexpected and inconceivable and insisted on sticking to the story they thought God would tell instead of the one He actually was telling. It’s possible that God may invite us into stories we could never have imagined. Entering those stories will always lead us to higher, wider, longer, and deeper experiences in God’s love for us.

Lord, help me to accept wonder as a viable option to my explanations and expectations. Take me beyond what I think I know and understand right now.

Stop waiting around for a better eternity

February 18th, 2017 by Maureen

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1:Cor. 2:9

As we experience God’s love for us and recognize His very Self in us, with us, and for us, we can step over the threshold of forever. If we restrict our thinking about our eternal forever-ness to some future existence, we might ignore the unimaginable glimpses of eternity that we exist in right now. Sure, God is holding back some great surprises for later, but being loved by God and living in His presence provides us with the potential to imagine the unimagined wonders and experience the lovingly prepared delights that He has laid out for us in our lives right now.

Thank you Lord for this every unfolding present forever You’ve lovingly prepared for me.

I want to sing you a love song

February 14th, 2017 by Maureen

Whether I speak in human, or even angelic, languages, but do not communicate love? My voice becomes like clanging brass or a crashing cymbal. I Cor. 13:1

Love is communicated in more than the words we say or services we render, it’s also communicated in how, when, where, and why we speak. Love is communicated in our vocal tone, inflection, and timing; in our facial expressions, posture, and proximity. Love is unseen and unspoken force, the agenda and the intentions that give our loving expressions meaning and purpose. This force is not an abstract idea or energy, it’s God Who is Personal and relational. God did not “so love the world” without so loving each of us as specific, individual entities. The atonal clanging of good intentions becomes melody, harmony, and rhythm when we accept, enjoy, and celebrate the “otherness” of the other person in each relationship.

Lord, thank you for authentic, melodious love.

Hey, true believers, love to all of you!

January 21st, 2017 by Maureen

And now these three remain, faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor. 13:13

Today some true believers are rejoicing because they hope this new presidential administration will infuse society with their vision. Others are mourning or protesting because they are losing hope for their visions, also based in deeply held beliefs. Liberty is a beautiful belief that informed the founding of this country. Our citizens have the liberty to disagree and voice our opinions by powerful and effective means. Without love, though, liberty becomes less beautiful and peaceful. Without love, expressions of our beliefs and hopes so easily become angry, graceless, mean-spirited rhetoric. Without love, fear informs our decisions. Without love, we label and judge and see each other primarily through the lenses of our differences. Love believes the best of others, wants the best for others and communicates even disagreement with others from that position.

Lord, show me how to love everyone in the midst of all this fear and conflict.

A clean slate mentality

January 5th, 2017 by Maureen

[Love] is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. I Cor. 13:5b

Often January is the time we are most engaged in a “clean slate” mentality. We can use the New Year as to let go of old wounds and past conflicts and view others with the same clean slate Christ views us. When someone irritates us there is a tendency for old memories of that person’s past offenses to surface. We can use those to justify prolonged and escalated irritation with that person. One aspect of the transforming power of Jesus’ reconciling love is that we can learn to toss the wrongs that others commit against us into His sea of forgetfulness. Discarding past baggage in a relationship helps us deal more justly and mercifully with the current, specific conflict of the moment. A clean slate also gives those involved a relationship the greater chance to embrace change rather than to continue to play out assigned roles of The Annoyed and the Irritant.

Lord, thank you for erasing the record of my wrongs, I need to borrow Your eraser.

Everything is dust in the wind

November 6th, 2016 by Maureen

God chose the foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose the insignificant, the contemptible, even chose what is considered nothing to reduce to nothing things that exist, so that we take no personal pride in any of this face to face with God. 1 Cor. 27-29

God doesn’t need the best and brightest, the luckiest, richest, or best connected person to cause change or bring about good. In fact, our best, most researched, most sensitive, most considered, most logical ideas and accomplishments are sometimes challenged by small, unpredictable, and almost silly factors. This happens in football, elections, finance, and all sorts of endeavors that humans try to control through human prowess and power. Everything we use to define influence , to assign worth, or to assure security are dust in the wind. And that’s okay because God is the wind.

Lord, help me to rely on Who You are rather than relying on how smart, powerful, influential (or despairing of how dumb, weak, and insignificant) I think I am.

In trust and wonder

October 20th, 2016 by Maureen

Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! I Cor. 13:9

Through scholarship, observation, experimentation, logic, and perception we seek to understand ourselves and the world around us. We proceed based on what we think we know, and the more sure we are, the greater our confidence in our own decisions. The disconnects and contradictions reveal the inadequacies in our systems and the enormity, complexity, and completeness of God’s. It is in what we do not fully grasp and what we cannot fully explain that we experience wonder of Him. It is in what we cannot predict or control that we experience trust in Him.

Lord, increase my trust, my understanding, and my wonder.

Enduring through every circumstance

October 7th, 2016 by Maureen

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Cor 13:7

Survival and endurance are not the same things. When we see no realistic expectation of change or success, it seems reasonable to go into survival mode and focus on damage control, managing the circumstances and the emotional fallout connected with them, rather than submitting ourselves to the possible disappointments of full on hope. But Christ, beyond all reason and without reservation, chose the seeming hopelessness of death to redeem humans so that even if when we give up, lose faith, expect failure, and accept defeat, His victory applies to our circumstances. His love for us equips our hearts to choose the seeming uncertainty of hope so that we endure rather than merely survive.

Lord, help me to discard my stingy, reasoned love for Your hopeful, enduring love.

Choosing endurance over mere survival

October 4th, 2016 by Maureen

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. I Cor 13:7

Survival and endurance are not the same. When we see no realistic expectation of change or success, it seems reasonable to go into survival mode and focus on damage control, managing the circumstances and the emotional fallout connected with them, rather than submitting ourselves to the possible disappointments of full on hope. But Christ, beyond all reason and without reservation, chose the seeming hopelessness of death to redeem humans so that even if when we give up, lose faith, expect failure, and accept defeat, His victory applies to our circumstances. His love for us equips our hearts to choose the seeming uncertainty of hope so that we endure rather than merely survive.

Lord, help me to discard my stingy, reasoned love for Your hopeful, enduring love.

You-nique

June 22nd, 2016 by Maureen

God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. I Cor. 12:6

It makes sense that an infinite God with infinite resources and infinite creativity might not do the same thing the same way in every individual’s life. The way Christ manifests Himself in each of us is different and sometimes unpredictable. We shouldn’t expect others to be clones of ourselves. We can learn the most from the people who have a different perspective from our own. Enjoy the unexpected in one another.

Thank you Lord for all these unique people around me.

Easter words

March 24th, 2016 by Maureen

But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.” I Cor. 1:30-31 NKJ

Wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption are big beautiful words that express the results of Christ’s death and resurrection. We become what we cannot be because of Christ. Every moment that we experience His transforming presence is a celebration of Easter.

Lord help me to venture deeper into your wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption.

It doesn’t take a smart person to know what love is

February 14th, 2016 by Maureen

I gain nothing unless I love others. Love is kind and patient, never jealous, boastful, arrogant, or rude. Love isn’t self-absorbed or easily upset. It doesn’t keep a record of wrongs or celebrate injusticeLove delights in truth not in lies or things that cause pain. Love accepts and endures. It’s is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting. Love never fails! I Cor. 13:3b-8

 

Love manifests a fearless beauty, intelligence, and appeal that cannot be bought, earned, or attained. Love isn’t something we have to express, it’s something we get to express. Most of the time when we don’t express love it’s because we are afraid and feel the need to protect ourselves from hurt. Or because of pride – being perceived as “romantic” or “vulnerable” doesn’t jive with the image we want people to have of us. But love is the truest and most powerful and ancient manifestation of God’s image in His creation. It need not be studied, analyzed and dissected. We know what love is because He loves us. Choosing to be full participants in His love helps us remain whole even when love results in hurt, as it sometimes does.

Lord, help me to love fearlessly, freely, fiercely.

You can’t pollute the sea of forgetfulness

December 27th, 2015 by Maureen

[Love]  is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. I Cor. 13:5b

Christmas is a memory. 2015 is about to be a memory. Many of us use these final days of the year to reflect. Past offenses seem to surface so that we can justify prolonged and escalated irritation with someone. Past failures and incomplete projects almost seem to taunt us. Our default setting seems to be to hold grudges and carry around our old wounds, past conflicts, and we consider our past failures. One aspect of the transforming power of Jesus’ reconciling love is that we can learn to toss all this garbage into His sea of forgetfulness. His love and grace dissolves it.

Lord, thank you for the freedom that comes with renewal.

Random thoughts about Paul

October 10th, 2015 by Maureen

My words were not delivered with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of Spirit and of power, so your faith would not be based on the wisdom of men but on the power of God. I Cor. 2:4-5

Ever consider the fact that Paul didn’t have the New Testament to preach from? When he spoke to Gentiles he was speaking to a group of people who didn’t consider the Old Testament sacred. So Paul, whose words are now revered as immutably sacred, responded to the people and situations he encountered with letters and sermons based on truth God’s Holy Spirit revealed to him. I wonder what he would think about his letters being used as law thousands of years later.

Holy Spirit, lead me into all truth.

Some people are like cool breezy Saturdays

September 12th, 2015 by Maureen

They have been a breath of fresh air for me as I know they are for you, so respect and honor those like them. 1 Cor. 16:18

Certain people in our lives are like the cool, refreshing breeze that blew into town last night. Their happiness, generosity, contentment, compassion, and confidence has a calming yet energizing effect on those around them.  Because they seek good, they see good, and because they see good they communicate good ideas and bring good vibes with them. Without reservation, these people love and enjoy God, other people, and life itself.

Lord, I want to be one of those cool, breezy Saturday people.