Do Everything in Love

Scripture: “Do everything in love.”  1 Corinthians 16:14 NIV

Observation: Paul ends this letter to the Corinthians with the instruction to love.

Application: In closing the first letter to the Corinthians Paul gives what I believe to be the crux of Jesus’ message, love and love in all thing.  We are to love in all situations.  When our tax burden is light and when it is heavy; when our cars are running fine and when they are broke down.  We are to love others more than ourselves.  This doesn’t mean huggy-bear and kissy-face love.  It means hardcore, sometimes “tell-it-like-it-is” and it may hurt, love.  It’s doing for others more than ourselves, love.  It’s caring for other’s welfare even when they aren’t very lovable.  It means praying for our enemies, teaching our children in the ways of the Lord and providing for the needy in our area.  It’s giving of our spare time so that someone else can go have a relaxing time, or spending our time and talent ensuring our home church keeps running.  It’s conducting hospital and nursing home visits.  It’s serving on boards, sharing our years of pastoral wisdom with total strangers, or doing whatever is necessary to help fund that Missionary who shared their financial needs during last week’s service.  But most importantly–it’s doing any and all of this because you love Jesus and you want to make him smile.  “Do everything in love” and do it because you love the Lord.

Prayer: Father, thank you for all that you give to me and my family. Help me to always remember everything that you do for me because you love me. Help me to love others just like you love me. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen


Is it Clear?

The following blog entry is compliments of Pastor Leon Hiebert, Community Care Pastor of Generations Church

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 14:40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

Observation: This is the last verse in chapter 14, the subject being the times when Christians gather; today we call it a “church service” or “mass.”  Although Paul deals with several specific issues, the over-riding theme is that things should be done in a way that people can understand.   God desires that people be strengthened in their faith and encouraged to live appropriately.   They must be able to  understand.

Application: When I am writing a letter, or a report, or a book, I need to consider how the readers will best understand.   When I sing a song I need to make sure the listeners can understand.  When I live my life, I need to make sure that those around me understand the priorities and purpose God has given me.  What is God saying through me?  Is that message clear to others?  I need to be careful that my actions do not negate my message.

Prayer: Lord, help me to talk and act in ways that make You easily seen and understood. Amen.

Special and Unique

Scripture: There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.  1 Corinthians 12:4,5 NIV

Observation: Paul is discussing the interdependence of the different parts of the church body.

Application: We are the body of Christ, the church.  Our obligation does not start and stop at the door of the church building.  Our senior or lead pastor does bring a word of truth to us and see to our spiritual health but he alone cannot minister to the entire community by himself.  He needs willing members to go with him to reach out and minister outside of the building.  Our elders and deacons may have plans to paint a room, host an outreach in the gym, or start a new Sunday school class but they need painters, and volunteers, and teachers.  We as the church have a responsibility to each other and our community to use our time, tools, and talents to serve. We don’t all have the same abilities but we do have the same Spirit and Lord, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.”  1 Corinthians 12:4,5 NIV

Prayer: Lord, thank you for making each of us unique with special gifts and abilities. Help us to find them and to use them to glorify you. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen


Knowledge vs Love

Scripture: We know that we all possess knowledge.  Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.  But the man who loves God is known by God. I Corinthians 8:1b-3

Observation: Paul is teaching the Corinth church the importance of loving the Lord.  He is teaching them that being a believer is about the relationship they have with their Heavenly Father and not necessarily how much “God” knowledge they have.   “If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.” I Corinthians 13:1-7  The Message

Application: I  know many  very intelligent people, sadly that intelligence is keeping them from understanding and believing in Jesus Christ. They let scientific stories blind them to the truth of creation and our Heaven Father’s wish for a relationship with them.  Even more sad are believers I know who have bible smarts, have served in their church, given their tithe faithfully and yet their heart is cold and hard.  They are in church every Sunday wearing appropriate clothing and they know the words to every hymn, (puffed up).  Unfortunately they are missing the best part of being a believer and that is loving the Lord with all their heart through worship, hearing his word spoken in new and refreshing ways and ministering to those in need.  Love is everything to the Lord.  Our relationship with him and others should show that love (build up).  Only then will we stand before our Lord and he will acknowledge us as his children.

Prayer: Lord, I want with all my heart to be set apart from this world.   I want to be found by you as a child who spent  their life loving you. I pray that my relationship with you will be an example of your love.  Lord I ask that you show me if I have even the smallest area of disobedience in my life.  Refine me Lord and let me know and love you in an intimate way.  Amen