Today’s reading is 2 Corinthians 10.
We are in a kingdom. Our king is Jesus. He is opposed to all other kings. The battle is on for domination of the world. However, our kingdom is different. We do not wage war according to the flesh. Sadly, this has been overlooked throughout the centuries. Perhaps the worst of these oversights was the Crusades. Then there were the holy wars during the Reformation years. Of course, there was the Inquisition. But is it any different today when churches mount political campaigns and try to mobilize social justice marches and movements to get the world to act like Christians are supposed to act? These may use voting booths instead of military offensives and sit ins instead of bombing raids, but they are still weapons of the flesh. We bring the gospel. Then we live by the gospel, holding those in Christ’s kingdom accountable to the gospel, and let the kingdoms of the world see what that looks like. These are our weapons. They worked in the first couple of centuries of Christianity. Let’s pick them up again.
Tomorrow’s reading is 2 Corinthians 11.
Continue reading “The Weapons of Our Warfare”
Today’s reading is 1 Corinthians 15.
We are in the Lord. The Lord is saving us. The Lord is giving us victory. Do you know what that means? That means our labor is useful. That means our work matters. For some reason, some people have the idea that being saved by grace means what we do doesn’t matter. Not true. Being saved by grace is the only thing that makes our work matter. Because the Lord is working, my work matters. If He weren’t working, my work wouldn’t matter at all. If I am not working, then the Lord’s work is vain. But as Paul says, God’s grace was not vain toward him because he worked. And as he also said, because the Lord is giving us victory, our work in Him is not in vain. Today, let’s get to work in the Lord. That will not be in vain.
Tomorrow’s reading is 1 Corinthians 16.
Continue reading “Our Labor is Useful”
Today’s reading is 1 Corinthians 12.
Okay, wait a minute. Paul says, “No one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says, ‘Jesus is accursed!'” And yet, Paul, speaking in the Spirit of God, just said those very words. What’s up with that? His point is not that someone in God’s Spirit can’t even utter those words in any context. His point is people who abide in God and His Spirit know Jesus is Lord. Anyone who truly denies Jesus’s lordship is separate from God. No matter how spiritual they seem, no matter how nice they are, no matter what good works they do, they are not in God and God’s Spirit is not within them. In like manner, his point about those who say, “Jesus is Lord” is not that people separate from God are physically unable to say those words in any situational context or that they are unable to fake it. Neither is he saying that anyone who makes this claim is automatically right with God just by saying these words. His point is everyone who sincerely and truly confesses and surrenders to the lordship of Jesus has the same Holy Spirit we do. They may not have the same gifts, abilities, opportunities, and resources as we do. They may be at a different level of spiritual maturity. They may have a completely different ethnic background, skin color, gender, national history, language, socio-economic class, but they are filled by the same Spirit. Since we have the same Spirit, let us work together in the same Body, remembering we are not only members of that same Body but members of one another.
Monday’s reading is 1 Corinthians 13.
Continue reading ““Jesus is Lord!””
Today’s reading is 1 Corinthians 6.
God did not give us bodies so we could be involved in sexual immorality. Expanding that point, we recognize God didn’t give us our bodies so we could do whatever we pleased with them. Rather, He gave us bodies so we could serve Him with them. The body is for the Lord. But also note that the Lord is for the body. In other words, any restrictions or requirements God gives us are actually for our benefit. After all, our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Whatever God tells us to do with those bodies will be for our good because that is also for God’s good. Further, what God tells us is for His good will be for ours as well. He is glorified in our bodies not by putting us down or diminishing our bodies, but by lifting us up in our bodies. Therefore, let’s be excited to glorify God in our bodies. That will be best not only for God, but for us as well.
Tomorrow’s reading is 1 Corinthians 7.
Continue reading “The Body is for the Lord”
Today’s reading is Philippians 4.
We finally find out why Paul has written more than just a thank you note to the Philippians. There are sisters in the congregation at odds. He doesn’t explain what the conflict is. He doesn’t address who was right and who was wrong. He simply instructs them to agree in the Lord and calls on his “true companion” to help them do so. His reminder that they had once labored side by side with him in the gospel ties back to his initial exhortation in Philippians 1:27, that they all strive side by side for the faith of the gospel. Let’s face it. When people get together as we do in congregations, feelings eventually get hurt. Toes get stepped on. Conflicts arise. This entire letter has been written to explain how to deal with that. Paul’s answer? Everyone be of one mind. Everyone develop the mind of Jesus Christ who left the glories of heaven and endured the shame of the cross for us. That is what Euodia and Syntyche needed to do. That is what everyone who was siding up behind one or the other of them needed to do. It is what we need to do. Praise God for Jesus and His holy mind.
Tomorrow’s reading is Colossians 1.
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Today’s reading is Romans 14.
No doubt, there are a lot of confusing things about what Paul says in Romans 14. No doubt, there are plenty of disagreements surrounding it. I can’t answer all those. But surely one thing is certain. However I live, however I behave, however I speak, however I act, however I conduct myself, it is to be unto the Lord. I have been saved by the Lord. I have bowed the knee in allegiance to my Savior and King, Jesus Christ. My choices today are not based on my tastes, preferences, likes, and dislikes. My choices today are made in order to honor Jesus, my King. Live to the Lord today, that way you can die to the Lord tomorrow. Whether in life or in death, you are the Lord’s.
Tomorrow’s reading is Romans 15.
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Today’s reading is Acts 11.
Why did a great many believe and turn to the Lord in Antioch? Because the hand of the Lord was with them. If we want a great many to believe and turn to the Lord today, what do we need? The hand of the Lord to be with us. Yes, we need plans for sharing the gospel, but apart from the Lord’s hand, our plans are useless. I’ve recently become aware that the two counties my home congregation draws from have together over 1 million people who claim to be nothing religiously. That represents two-thirds of those counties. Two out of every three people I meet where I live claim to be nothing religiously. What a field for harvest! But what good will we do among that number (or among the numbers of people who claim religion, but a false one) without the Lord’s hand? Let’s spend time today praying for the Lord’s hand to be with us.
Monday’s reading is Acts 12.
Continue reading “The Hand of the Lord”