Archive for the ‘1 Corinthians’ Category

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.

Just live life and love it

August 10th, 2015 by Maureen

The foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans…1 Cor. 1:25a

In 1957 Alan Saunders coined the phrase: “Life  is what happens while you’re busy making plans.” If God had hired a marketing team I doubt His redemption story would have included: born in a manger, died on a cross, never wrote anything down. When Jesus said to preach the good news I’m not sure He set up measurable objectives for 2015 involving J-cubes, YouTube, and VBS attendance. God’s simple, “foolish” plan trumps our savvy, smart plans. Doing a life we love with people we know and love has the greatest potential for revealing a personal, transforming, redemptive Christ to those who need to know Him.

Lord, I feel like my life has been stuck in the planning phase for awhile. I need to get busy living. Help me with that.

Now is always the right time

July 17th, 2015 by Maureen

At just the right time I heard you, and in a day of salvation I helped you. Behold, now is the right time. I Cor. 6:2

There is never a time that God is not saving us from something. Sometimes we pray to be spared heartache but instead He saves us from hopelessness in the midst of the heartache. Sometimes we pray to be spared from trouble but he saves us from shame in the midst of the trouble. Our earthly lives may still be vulnerable to the evils that happen because we walk this earth, but He delivers us from the spiritual marks that evil leaves. Instead His salvation leaves a mark on whatever we experience in every single moment.

Lord, help us see Your salvation in the hard moments and feel the sweetness of Your eternal arms when we hurt.

 

The love that connects us lasts longer than the issues that divide us

July 16th, 2015 by Maureen

Love will last forever. What we know is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the picture. When what is complete comes, the partial will be set aside. 1 Cor. 13:8b-9

Not one of us has all the answers. Each of us makes decisions, takes positions, and responds to other’s decisions and positions with partial knowledge. Even though we disagree with someone about lots of things, that person may drop an amazing truth that fills in a gap in our own knowledge. Maybe we need to spend more time listening for truth rather than error. Maybe we need to enjoy one another more and trust God to sort out the gaps in our mutually partial knowledge.

Lord, thank you for knowledge and truth and for all who speak it.

 

Love never fails even when reason and words do

July 6th, 2015 by Maureen

I will distinguish between the words of those who are puffed up, and their power. For the kingdom is not in word, but power. I Cor. 4:18-19

Faith is not simply intellectual agreement with a set of ideas and explanations regarding God and what we think He wants. Faith is the substance of hope and relies on invisible evidence that goes beyond theology or doctrine, valuable and worthwhile as the pursuit of understanding may be. Sometimes reason fails. Sometimes words fail. Love never fails. That’s why the Word became flesh and saved us out of love. Reason would probably dictate He chunk the whole thing and just start over. Instead the power of His grace overpowered evil in order to preserve those He already loved.

Lord, I believe because You love me.

That last toothless enemy

June 14th, 2015 by Maureen

The last enemy of 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 it 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 have a perspective that deprives death of any real influence in our lives.

Pressure’s off

May 12th, 2015 by Maureen

Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.1 Cor. 15:59

We can put so much pressure on ourselves to “do God’s work.” We second guess ourselves when things don’t work out the way we expect. Was it all in vain? Did we fail God in some way? Could our poor performance cost human souls? Is God displeased with us? This places a lot of misplaced power and pressure on our human performance. Christ has already done the big Work and sent His Holy Spirit to convict, convince, and reveal Himself to those who have not yet recognized what He has done for them. He is responsible for the work and the results. Our work is simply joyful response to what He has already done for us and in us.

Lord, help me to be less results-oriented and more trust- and joy- oriented in the work I do because of You.

Spiritual child development

April 13th, 2015 by Maureen

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I reasoned like a child. But when I grew up I set aside childish ways. I Cor. 13:11

Most theories of child development include ideas that describe children as ego-centric concrete thinkers who focus on what they can do, see, and touch. Children find security in rules, measurement, routine, and structure. While we discard the childish concepts we cling to like spiritual security blankets, we remain child-like in our wonder, trust and dependence on our Father. Freedom and security in this spiritually mature relationship with our Father comes from considering abstract ideas like love, seeking unique personal identity in Him, responding to His Holy Spirit, and discovering the unselfish unity of being part of His body.

Lord, help me to put aside childish faith but always have child-like faith.

 

Love is the oxygen of our home planet

April 12th, 2015 by Maureen

but when that which is complete [or perfect] comes, that which is partial shall be set aside. I Cor. 13:10

This mysterious pronouncement is right in the middle of a passage about the preeminence of love – and it would be hard to argue that this world breathes love. Could it be that utter, complete, perfect love is the pure oxygen that will fill our lungs and course through our veins in the place Christ prepares for us. Could it be that much that we revere in our Christian lives – including our sincere but imperfect religious practices, exegesis, and theology – is simply intended to act as an oxygen mask to be discarded when we are able to breathe nothing but the pure love of His kingdom.

Lord, let love be the most completed thing about me.

Is anybody in their right mind?

April 6th, 2015 by Maureen

The spiritual person discerns all things and is not subject to anyone’s scrutiny. Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to advise Him? But we have the mind of Christ. I Cor. 2:15-16

Seriously Paul, saying this has the potential for abuse of power and general organizational mayhem, especially if you take away scrutiny. Can we align our minds with His through intellectual pursuit? Can His mind be discovered through application of what we think He said? Is the mind of Christ something we must apprehend or something we already have? However we choose to interpret it, is there ever a time when our spirits, our intellects, our emotions, our attitudes, our relationships, our actions, and our responses to all life’s events are completely in synch with God?

Holy Spirit, I don’t know how to take this, but help me to respond to You, to other people, to life’s events and challenges, and to my self with love, grace, and truth that originates with You and emanates from You.

A look in the mirror

October 28th, 2014 by Maureen

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. I Cor. 13:12

A reflection only reveals how we look at one particular moment in time. Some reflections capture an expression or attitude that really communicates what’s under the surface, some are less instructive. When we look into our soul’s mirror we sometimes see a beautiful clear reflection of Christ, but sometimes the image is a little foggy or distorted, which probably has more to do with our own focus and vision than with His proximity. No quick glimpse in a mirror, no snapshot of an eternal relationship, can communicate everything. He is always there.

Lord, help me get past the distractions in my life to see Your clear reflection in the mirror of my soul.

Measuring motive

August 16th, 2014 by Maureen

So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. I Cor. 13:3

We are a result-oriented culture and we are used to evaluating the results of other people’s behaviors. Maybe that’s why it’s easier to talk about obedience than it is to talk about love. We can apply a rubric to obedience but not to love. The desire to respond to life with loving motives rather than simply performing in ways that can be perceived as loving forces introspection and dependence on the love of Christ Himself.

Lord, when I look within I realize that at my best I have mixed motives. Help me stay connected to Your love so that Your motives become my own.

 

Mine, all mine

August 13th, 2014 by Maureen

So don’t boast about following a particular human leader. For everything belongs to you— whether Paul or Apollos or Peter,  or the world, or life and death, or the present and the future. All are yours and you belong to Christ, and Christ is God’s. I Cor. 3:21-23

The depth and width and breadth and height of God’s love, of His mind, and of His kingdom is vast and wondrous. We limit our relationship with the infinite Christ and make His kingdom small when we limit our perspective to the understandings of a few human beings. He sent His Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth. This should excite us rather than frighten us.

Lord, take me higher up and further in.

Communication basics

July 27th, 2014 by Maureen

I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. I Cor. 2:2

Being right or smart or creative is irrelevant if what we have to say does not in some way communicate the transforming grace and restorative love of Jesus. It’s okay if it takes some explaining, it’s good to go deep, but at some point we need to connect the dots for the people we are communicating with so that it’s clear that the lens through which we communicate is Jesus; the motive, redemptive; and the tone, reconciling.

Jesus, reveal Yourself in all I say, hear, see and read.

 

Wherever you go, there you are

May 30th, 2014 by Maureen

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. I Cor. 5:17

Having new selves is more than a simple passage or ascension. We do not become older, wiser, more prudent and improved souls. Instead, the fingerprints of the Lord are imprinted into the wet clay of our new spirits. The echo of the Father’s “It is good,” sets the rhythm of our spiritual heartbeats. We are new and it is this same new person that we are now that we are wherever we go.

Lord, reconcile me to this new self.

 

Mother love is fierce

May 10th, 2014 by Maureen

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. I Cor. 13:7

This describes mother love pretty well. There is no sacrifice too big, no burden too heavy for a mother to bear for the well being of her child. Mothers invest countless hours, miles, dollars and applause to support children’s dreams. Mothers always root for their kids and want the best for them. Mothers forgive a lot. They endure messes, rabbit trails, and even poor decisions. There is nothing a kid can do that will cause a mom to stop loving her child.

Some of us may not have had a mom who was able to, or knew how to, manifest mother love in these ways. Forgive her. Call her tomorrow anyway (if you still can).  Love your kids fiercely. Mother love is a reflection of the fierce love God has for each.

Lord, thank You for loving me this  fiercely.

God’s secrets revealed

April 6th, 2014 by Maureen

and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him. But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets.  I Cor 2:9b-10

If we human beings are complex, imagine how deep and complex our Creator must be. Yet He doesn’t hide or make it hard for us to discover Him. Instead He wants to be known and sends His Spirit to live in each of us when we believe so that He can keep revealing more and more of His beautiful personality to us and through us.

I want to know You more.

 

A preamble for disagreements

April 2nd, 2014 by Maureen

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. I Cor.13:12

Having considered all the information available within all possible contexts and nuances that may apply, having applied responsible processes of scholarship and reason, admitting to and accounting for my personal agendas and prejudices, recognizing that reasonable minds and sincere hearts might disagree with me, and after spiritually open prayer and seeking, here is what I think…

Lord, help me to be humble and gracious in disagreements.

Risky love

February 15th, 2014 by Maureen

If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.  I Cor. 13:2

Wielding knowledge and faith can make us feel powerful and certain (and sometimes prideful) while love brings vulnerable uncertainty when we care deeply for those who may not affirm or accept what we know or believe. Love can make us look, and sometimes feel, foolish, naive, wasteful, exposed, and even compromising. Yet love is the cause of Christ. No wonder we are nothing without it.

Lord, help me love others. All others.

Love remains

February 1st, 2014 by Maureen

…Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged… I Cor 13:5-6

God’s so loved us that He brings us into a relationship with Him that frees us from past wrongs and the demands of the law. We are not sinners in the hands of an irritable God but beloved, known, and accepted members of His family. Our reflections of His great, forever love has more lasting, convincing, life-changing impact on our world than anything our  knowledge or actions alone can accomplish.

Lord, let Your fearless love motivate me.