Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Do not despise the Lord's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.
Discipline means "to teach and to train." Discipline sounds negative to many people, because some disciplinarians are not at all loving; indeed, they are the exact opposite. God, however, is the source of all love. He does not punish us because he enjoys inflicting pain (as some would have you believe), but because he is deeply concerned about our developement and well-being. He knows that in order to become morally strong and good, we must first learn the difference between right and wrong. His loving discipline enables us to do that. It's difficult to know that God has been disciplining us until we look back on the situation later. Not every calamity comes directly from God, of course. But if we rebel against God and refuse to repent when God has identified some sin in our lives, He may use conviction, crisis, or unfortunate experience to bring us back to Him. Sometimes, however, difficult times come even when there is no flagrant sin in our lives. Then, as it was with Job, our response should be patience, integrity, and confidence that God will show us what to do.
God Bless you,
Monday, September 20, 2010
Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.
1 Corinthians 1:20-25
Many Jews considered the Good News of Jesus Christ to be foolish, because they thought the Messiah would be conquering king accompanied by signs and miracles. Jesus had not restored David's throne as they expected. Besides, he was executed as a criminal, and how could a criminal be a savior? Greeks, too, considered the gospel foolish: they did not believe in the bodily resurrection; they did not see in Jesus the powerful characteristics of the mythological gods; and they thought no reputable person would be crucified. To them, death was defeat, not victory.
The Good News of Jesus Christ still sounds foolish to many. Our society worships power, influence, and wealth. Jesus came as a humble, poor servant, and he offers his kingdom to those who have faith, not to those who do all kinds of good deeds to try to earn his gifts. This looks foolish to the world, but Christ is our power, the only way we can be saved. Knowing Christ personally is the greatest wisdom anyone could have.
God bless you,
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight.
People tend to admire four qualities in other people: wisdom, power (strength), kindness, and riches. But God puts a higher priority on knowing Him personally and living a life that reflects his justice and righteousness. What do you want people to admire most about you? It's a simple question that only you can answer. The answer to that question reveals the priorities in your life. God has declared you are his priority. He knows you better than you know yourself, he can count the hairs on your head as he can count the stars in the sky, he has cast your sin and guilt away from you as far as the East is from the West. God gives graciously to all who ask. God gives graciously because it is his nature to do so. He loves us, not because of anything that we have done, simply because of who he is. If you live your life truly devoted to God, his gifts become yours, and his nature, his peace, his hope are what people will admire most about you.
God Bless you,
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
And he made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment-to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
God was not intentionally keeping his plan a secret ("the mystery of his will"), but his plan for the world could not be fully understood until Christ rose from the dead. His purpose for sending Christ was to unite Jews and Gentiles in one body with Christ as the head. Many people still do not understand God's plan; but when the time is right ("when the times will have reached their fulfillment"), he will bring us together to be with him forever. Then everyone will understand. On that day, all people will bow to Jesus as Lord, either because they love him or because they fear his power.
God Bless you,
Thursday, September 9, 2010
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
To love others was not a new commandment, but to love others as much as Christ loved others was revolutionary. Now we are to love others based on Jesus' sacrificial love for us. Such love will not only bring unbelievers to Christ; it will also keep believers strong and united in a world hostile to God. Jesus was a living example of God's love, as we are to be living examples of Jesus' love. Jesus says that our Christlike love will show we are his disciples. Do people see petty bickering, jealousy, and division in your church? Or do they know you are Jesus' followers by your love for one another? Love is more than simply warm feeling; it is an attitude that reveals itself in action. How can we love others as Jesus loves us? By helping when it's not convenient, but giving when it hurts, by devoting energy to others' welfare rather than our own, by absorbing hurts from others without complaining or fighting back. This kind of love is hard to do. That is why people notice when you do it and know that you are empowered by a supernatural source; empowered by God Himself.
God Bless you,