2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
Power made perfect in weakness. What a backwards thought. Just yesterday I was having a conversation with my mom about allowing myself to be weak. Recognizing that where I am most vulnerable is where the Lord can show his great strength. I’ve been a Christian my whole life, well – since I was 5 anyway. However, most of my adulthood has been spent trying to do it on my own might, instead of relying on God. Part of the problem is that I’ve been very richly blessed. I know, to have such “problems”, right? Really though. God has poured out blessings in heaps and mounds on me. I frequently have struggled with pride in my heart because of it. Like somehow my talents are my own doing, not gifts from the Lord. Continue reading
2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
So many times I have heard this passage, usually talking about monetary blessings, physical, tangible things. Which is all great. I totally believe that God wants to pour out blessings into our lives. Today however, this verse touched me at my weakest place, a place of great need in my life. Today, the promise that I will have all that I need, to do whatever God asks of me (good work) is especially welcome news. Cause I’m struggling. I’m trudging thru the same issue I’ve been actively fighting for the past 5 years. Continue reading
2 Corinthians 2:14-16 But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task?
This passage holds new meaning for me as I read it today. A few months ago, I heard a sermon that gave me new insight into what this verse is really talking about, with the back story of what a triumphal procession looked like when these verses were written.
See, every person Paul wrote this letter to would have seen processions by Roman soldiers as they came back from war. These processions were cause for great celebration in the streets, the priests would walk, carrying burning incense that would fill the streets with heavy perfume. There would be flower petals thrown on the triumphant soldiers as they passed displaying the spoils of war. As the chariots and sandaled feet crushed the petals, they would add to the pungent aroma in the air. The smell would overwhelm everyone in the area, it would have been familiar, pleasing and instantly recognizable for the joyous occasion it heralded. Continue reading
1 Corinthians 7:34 …An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband.
So. True. How often do I find myself going twelve different directions in a vain attempt to get it all done? I want my house to be clean, I need to workout, Madison wants to play polly-pockets, Donovan wants to point out every “fruck” (truck) in a 30 yard radius of his body, dinner needs to be made, the laundry is now so wrinkled it really should be thrown back in the dryer, I should probably at least run a brush thru my hair so Zack recognizes me when he gets home and try to save some energy for actually being a wife…and on, and on, and on. Where does my devotion to the Lord fit in? Continue reading
1 Corinthians 4:3-5 I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4 My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.
I love love love having people in my life who I can turn to and simply say “I don’t know how to handle this”. I love it even more when those people (thanks Pastor Phil) point me right back to God’s word.
Somehow I managed to miss these verses yesterday…and they were part of my devotional reading. Go figure. I’m totally human. Now that I’ve had them pointed out to me, I feel so much better. My pastor encouraged me to trust in Christ’s righteousness instead of trying to prove my own. To not allow the way others see me, to warp how I know I’m viewed by God. So, I’m going to. I will make a conscious choice to have faith in the Lord’s acceptance, regardless of the rejection of man. I will take things to the Lord with an open, honest desire to search myself for areas I need to change. And then simply rest in what He shows me, knowing that His is the only opinion that matters. Whew. I feel such peace right now. It’s incredible. What a powerful thing it is to know who my judge is. Not other people, not myself – only God. I just need to remember that.
1 Corinthians 5:11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.
So, I understand the couple of verses before this – where Paul is basically saying that non-Christians are going to behave as such. And that those of us living a life following after Christ should not expect anything more. That to remove yourself from the company of such people is not right. That it basically defeats the entire purpose of reaching the unsaved in the world. Ok. Got it.
Verse eleven has me totally confused however. After reading this passage, I’ve decided that it is at least partly to blame for some treatment I’ve received from Christian “brothers and sisters”. As much as I don’t believe I’m any of these things, certain people think I belong amongst this list. So, what am I supposed to do? Huh? How am I to respond when I’m treated like there is justification for dissociations just like this verse describes? “Don’t associate with these people. Don’t even eat with them.” Continue reading
1 Corinthians 3:3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?
Ouch. Zing! Just in case any of us thought we were obeying all the little Bible rules and are therefore somehow better than the next guy…guess what? You’re not. I’m not. None of us are.
In this installment (number 37 by my count) of God’s lesson entitled “Everybody Stinks”, I read today in 1 Corinthians about people quarrelling, fighting and generally being divided over who’s following the right rules. The people of Corinth were taking issue with each other over which church leader their neighbors were following – who was better. Like somehow it actually mattered – that it was a big enough deal for them to be separated because of it. And Paul sets them straight, without any sugar-coating. I think I would have liked Paul.
Mark 11:31-33 They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 32 But if we say, ‘Of human origin’ …” (They feared the people, for everyone held that John really was a prophet.) 33 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
It’s interesting to me how often a group of very educated people can’t come up with a simple answer to a basic question. Election day was yesterday and whatever side of the aisle you fall on, we can all probably agree that politicians in general use way too many words to ultimately not say very much of substance. Trying to please everyone, quite often leads to what I like to call mamby-pamby speech. Basically, not taking a hard stand on anything for fear that it will turn people off. Continue reading
Mark 6:8-9 These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. 9Wear sandals but not an extra tunic.
Jesus was sending his disciples out to preach repentance. They were going to heal the sick and drive out demons, but they were not to take with them money, food or a change of clothes. Why?
It’s amazing how much I depend on God when I’ve reached the end of my rope. When I have nothing on the journey to sustain me, it’s much easier to turn to the Lord to fill my needs. Obviously I’m making some assumptions here, but if the disciples had been given several weeks of spending money for hotels, a carry-on of clean tunics and enough groceries to last their trip – do you think they would have been in a place of reliance on God? Continue reading
Mark 2:21 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse.
Seriously?! I know I say this all the time, but GOD IS AMAZING!!
Ok. A little background for those of you who were not at my friend Emily’s baby shower on Tuesday. After the delicious food and the oooohing and ahhhhing over the adorable baby girl stuff, we were discussing sewing. Earlier this year, I learned how to sew. A few awesome ladies in my church taught me how one afternoon. Pretty much the first thing they told me was that after you bring home your cloth, you have to wash all your fabric and then iron it. Before you ever get to sew anything, comes the initial wash and iron. I was sharing this information with my girlfriends who (rightly so) were very turned off of “sewing” because of the labor intensive wash/iron before ever getting to use a needle. “But” I explained, “It’s totally necessary to do that because otherwise, you’ll sew new fabric together and when you wash it the first time it will shrink and your seams will all come apart.”
So I say again — seriously? I mean, just re-read that verse from Mark. How perfect is God? Wow. Continue reading