Paul is full of questions. Should you go to court against your neighbor? Is it possible that you are capable of judging in even a small court? Can you not as brothers in Christ decide your own lawsuits against one another? Is it not better to be cheated or wronged? These are just a few questions you will discover in this chapter. Paul was just getting started when he asked: (9) “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?” Now, unrighteous covers a lot of territory. Self-examination is encouraged for each of us. Are you ready? Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, and those who are effeminate will not inherit the kingdom of God. But wait there’s more behaviors that are pointed out. Thievery, or covetous, that’s a given already covered in the 10 Commandments. Should I keep going? Drunkards, revilers, or swindlers are excluded from the kingdom too. I had to look revilers up in the dictionary. I am sure I used to know its meaning, but my memory failed me today. A reviler is someone who is verbally abusive, criticizing in anger.
Here comes the good part. Paul reminds them that some have turned away from evil and have been washed, sanctified and justified in the name of Jesus and in the Spirit of God. How wonderful to be redeemed!
There are several other important points that Paul goes on to make in chapter 6 and they shouldn’t be missed. For instance, you can eat whatever you want, but is it healthy for you. A carton of ice cream (butter pecan) is legal to eat in one sitting, but it would not be the right thing for anyone. Paul goes on to say that the same is true in other aspects of an individual’s life. As Christians, we are to flee immorality. Joining with a prostitute makes you one with her. We are to be in one spirit with the Lord. Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you. Remember, in Christ we have been bought with a price and we are to glorify God in our body.
Questions for Reflection and Discussion
What were some of the questions Paul asked the church at Corinth?
Can you think of some life actions unacceptable to God that are not mentioned in this chapter?
What will you pray about today?
Knowing what you read today, what needs changing in your life?
If you are reading this, you have officially made it to the end of 2021, like it or not. For many, whether they have faced greater hardships or substantial joy, they are ready to see what God has in store for their next year of life. For me, the calendar is one of the few things that I can say each year that I saw through to completion. I have successfully completed the calendar 36 or so times; however, one year, if the Lord tarries, I simply won’t. Poof. My dusty remains will most likely rest in some sentimental location in the earth’s crust to wait for the return of Jesus Christ, awaiting to receive his promise alongside all those who faithful have served Him (Hebrews 11:39-40).
Conversely, with about every other element in my life, I am a terrible finisher. Currently, I have several projects going on at my home: a mostly finished deck, one mostly finished fence, one mostly unfinished fence, and a horseshoe pit that I decided to begin work on a couple of days ago. I present this as evidence that I am a terrible finisher, and this is just a single outlet of my life. This is true in pretty much every aspect, from professional work to text messages, there is always something left undone. Thank you, God for not making the Christian walk a checklist that has to be completed before I bite the big one. No matter how many “tasks” I have performed, how many prophecies I have spoken, or how much love I have shown, if I wake up the next day still sucking air, I am not finished, and that is a feeling very familiar to me.
Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time is near. Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy.” – Revelation 22:10-11
For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near.I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4: 6-8
God has us covered with grace. If He cared, like Kingdom of God-cared, about my fences, deck, or horseshoe pit, then they would already be made complete, and I could move onto the next project at hand. But we have an eternal God whose mind is set on eternal things. He doesn’t care about my home projects. Only my heart in pursuing them. He doesn’t care about my career, only my heart in pursuing it. He doesn’t care about my resolutions, text messages, or what I am leaving undone, only my heart when pursuing each of those things. His grace is already complete, so the thing He and I work on are the hearts that will find their way to the Kingdom of God, including, and most importantly to me, my own.
If 2021 is my last calendar year, I will leave behind much undone, which may resound with you because many of us are in the same boat. However, my heart is the one project that I have assuredly been working on and hope and pray that it is finished and made God complete through Christ Jesus (Col 2:10). Everything can be (and really will be) left undone, unfinished, and incomplete. I encourage us all to close out this year being finishers. Not by checking off the last couple of boxes of projects, resolutions, or bucket list items that remain, but by considering matters of the heart: your faith, your actions, and your pursuit of eternal things, so you can end this day, this year, and this life, strong.
“On the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty, “they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him.And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not. – Malachi 3:17-18
In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – Philippians 1:4-6
As we finish off our 2021 Reading plan…we are excited about beginning a new plan for SeekGrowLove for 2022. Watch for more information coming today! Sneak peak – tomorrow’s reading will be Matthew 1. We are glad to have you on this journey working on our hearts as we Seek Him, Grow Our Faith and Love Him and Others through another calendar year!
Have you ever played any memory or matching games? Our family likes to watch Braingames, where they discuss different scenarios that “trick the mind.” Some will use colors that play tricks on the brain, others will use shapes to make you think a longer line is actually shorter, still others will show you tricks to better remember something.
We tend to forget things easily, as a result we have found that it is easier to remember if we recap our tasks at the end of a conversation or email. Our family emails will usually end with a bullet point list of the main points of the email. We have even begun doing this with some of the emails we send to those outside of our family as well.
The third chapter of 2 Peter is kind of a bulleted list reminding his readers of the main points he has brought to their attention. He reminds his readers of the the importance of the words spoken by the prophets and the commandments of the Lord. This is the foremost reminder that he gives seeking for his readers to focus their lives on these. He says mockers will come and they will ask, “Is your Lord ever actually going to return?” If you have been a Christian for very long you have probably been asked a similar question, or even thought about similar questions yourself. Peter reminds us that God operates outside of our understanding of time. What seems like a long time to us is like a day to Him. He also reminds us that the apparent delay is not so much slowness as it is patiently waiting for as many as will to come to repentance and form a relationship of hope and love with our Lord.
Remembering these things should cause us to think of the kind of person we should be. We should be people that are consistently looking for opportunities to further His Kingdom work and bring others to Christ. We should be living holy and godly lives while keeping our eyes on the things of God rather than the things of this world. I will never forget the many times I have heard Dr. Joe Martin proclaiming, “ITS ALL GONNA BURN” as he talks about the earthly things he dreams of (his Toyota Tundra). We all have material possessions that we hold dear and that we dream of one day having, the fact of the matter is that ITS ALL GONNA BURN and that’s okay! When it burns at the coming day of the Lord we will receive eternal life. We will be in the presence of our LORD and His Son! We will be seeing the new heaven and new earth! There is NOTHING in this creation that can compare with how amazing that will be!
The words spoken by the prophets. (Verse 2)
The commandment of the Lord and Savior. (Verse 2)
Mockers will come with their mocking. (Verse 3)
God is patient, NOT slow. (Verses 8 & 9)
Its all gonna burn! (Verse 12 & Dr. Joe)
We are awaiting something FAR BETTER!!! (Verse 13)
Be diligent in your faith and actions. (Verse 14)
Grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord. (Verse 18)
One highlight of my year is going to South East Camp held on the mountaintops of the NC Blue Ridge. Years ago, we drove down the mountain to a center with a high ropes course. Everyone suited up with a helmet and a buddy and clipped their carabiner to the first level on the course. Now, I have some friends who are into rock climbing and would be happy to dangle off the top of a mountain just to get the adrenaline rush. However, I am not that person. As a child, I used to get weak knees going to the edge of the second floor balcony at my church. In fact, there are still some rides I refuse to go on at amusement parks, because the drop is just too much. I’ve gotten better, but I definitely am still scared of heights. Going back to our high ropes adventure, I made it through the whole course, including the more difficult parts, but then I came to the end where I needed to zip line down to the ground.
Looking down off the ledge, I could already feel a tingling in my knees and my palms getting sweaty. At that moment, I felt like turning around and going through the whole ropes course again just to make it back down to the bottom, because I felt like that was something that I could control with my body. Even though my heart was racing, I paused to take a few deep breaths, and then I stepped off the side to zoom through the air. In truth, once I picked up my feet, I felt safe and secure in my harness. The obstacle I had to overcome was one of trusting that my harness would do what it was supposed to do. I had to trust in something that I couldn’t control, but was probably the quickest and safest way down.
In Isaiah 31, we read about some trust issues that the Israelites had developed with God. They weren’t afraid of heights in this case; instead, they were afraid of the nations around them. Israel had chosen to rely on numbers of men and horses when they faced battle, and because of this, they had grown to depend on Egypt’s help. They thought that by controlling the amount of man- and horsepower they could bring to a fight they could ensure their victory. However, God reminds them that the “Egyptians are men, not God; their horses are flesh, not spirit” (Isaiah 31:3). God was so much stronger than anyone the Israelites would face, but they refused to see it. By not trusting in God, they paved the way for their own demise (v. 3).
We also have a daily choice between trusting God or trusting our own flesh. It may come in the form of choosing to be obedient to God’s command, by giving away our money or time to someone in need, or by sacrificing a desire to make room for a deeper relationship with God. In those times, we may want to trust in our own minds or bodies, because we feel like we can control those things. But, remember, God is so much more mighty than we are. We can trust him in whatever situation that we face.
~ Cayce Fletcher
Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to on Bible Gateway – Isaiah 31-34.
Genesis 8-11 is a story of great hope and promise, and also a tragedy that reminds us all of our brokenness before God. After the great flood that God brought on the earth to remove all the sinful people, He is now ready to start over with Noah and his family. God gives them the same commands that He gave to Adam and Eve: “be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.” (9:1) The story appears to have taken care of humanity’s disobedience; unfortunately, that’s not the case. Noah apparently is just as sinful as everybody else, falling into a drunken stupor, and then something suspicious happens with his son, Ham. While we don’t know exactly what happened in this scene, we do know that it was sinful, as Ham’s son is cursed because of what took place.
This story should remind us all of just how broken we truly are. Although we have been redeemed by God through Jesus’ sacrifice and have escaped from the Final Destruction through his death, we still fall short and sin against our God. (Romans 3:23) The apostle Paul tells us his own struggle with sin, by stating that “I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15) He continues and says that, although his status is “in Christ”, his body still struggles to do the right things and falls into sin (Romans 7:18-25).
If you have accepted Christ, you are now experiencing a tension within yourself: the battle between the Spirit and the flesh (see Romans 8). Although you know that you have been saved by Jesus Christ, and desire to do the right thing, your “flesh” still struggles with sin. This is a constant struggle that we will face until Jesus comes back to finally deal with sin completely, in our hearts and in the world. This is a struggle that is painful and reminds us daily that “no one is righteous” before God (see Romans 3:9-12). However, it is a blessing, since God’s Spirit is working within us to clean up the areas where we are still dirty with sin.
Today, I challenge you to be aware of the decisions that you make. Is this something that is in line with God’s Spirit, or is it something that would be considered a “deed of the flesh”? (Galatians 5:16-25) Does the action I am about to take bring life or death? Does it build others up, or does it tear them down? Is it beneficial to my faith, or is it a barrier?
As you struggle along this journey of the Christian path, I want to encourage you that the hardship is absolutely worth it in the end! God loves you and is with you through this!
“Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instructions about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. And this we will do, if God permits.” – Hebrews 6:1-3
I have three younger siblings, and have had the privilege of seeing them all grow up into some of my favorite people to be around (although we have our issues like all siblings). It is an absolute blessing to see the transformation that a person goes through in life, from infancy to adulthood. A person goes from being completely dependent on another human being, to being the one whom others depend on. Everybody sees this progress at some point in life. What is amazing, though, is how this progress is similar to what we experience in our Christian life.
When you first accept Jesus as your Savior, you are technically an “infant”, learning life all over again (see John 3:3). You are dependent on another Christian, likely the one who led you to Christ in the first place. You are not expected to know very much, but are in the process of learning and developing your faith. Eventually, the expectation is that you would become mature and able to train another “baby Christian”, just like parents eventually train their own children.
I want you to consider where you are currently as 2019 is wrapping up. Are you just now starting your Christian walk? Have you had years of experience in the Christian life and are now able to train others? Or are you somewhere in between, still developing your faith? Wherever you find yourself, it is important to remember that we are all expected to “press on to maturity”, always growing in our faith. That may look different for each of us, but we are all expected to “grow up”.
This upcoming year, what do you need to do to develop your faith further? Do you need to learn more about Jesus and the Bible? Do you need to put yourself into service to the Church? Do you need to find another Christian to train? What do you need to do?
Many blessings as you seek to grow this year!
We are preparing to grow in 2020 with a chronological Bible reading plan. Now is a great time to dowload and print your plan 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan and subscribe to SeekGrowLove.com to receive daily devotions based on each day’s Bible reading.
Why do road signs exist? Road signs are very useful for driving and directing traffic and preventing unwanted circumstances. If followed correctly the road signs are very helpful to everyday life. They stop us before we get hit by other cars in the intersection, they warn us of upcoming obstacles and they generally help us know where we are at and where we are going.
“In the United States, the 1900s also came with a call for signs to meet automobile industry growth.Drivers were easily getting lost without signs. The signs that did exist at the time were often damaged or broken. As a result, Americans were becoming aware of a need for signs.”
What do signs have to do with Revelation? Well I’m glad you asked. Actually, it’s in the very first verse of Revelation. In the NASB Rev. 1:1 says this “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bondservant John,”
The word communicated also can mean signified or to be made known. In other words God used an angel to “signify” (use signs, just like we use road signs) to communicate with John, so he could then reveal to “His bond servants” (Us/Christians) the things that have taken place, that are taking place and that will take place in the future (Revelation 1:19), during the time John was receiving this Revelation. Hence the name of the book.
So, road signs are a sort of revelation of roadways and intersections, just like the things revealed to John in Revelation, passed down to us, are like road signs to living a Christian life. What John writes in the book of Revelation must be taken seriously just like road signs we encounter every day. That is because what John says, sees, hears, feels, and smells in Revelation are warnings, and guidelines on how to correctly live one’s life as a disciple of Jesus. While at the same time revealing consequences for the unjust/ungodly, and rewards for the Righteous and Godly. Revelation exists in the form it does not to confuse its readers (although it can be confusing at times) but to simplify the life of a Christian and not get lost.
Revelation, as we will find out in further investigation, has many different signs of its own resulting in various objects, colors, shapes, smells, images, numbers, places and characters. I want you throughout this entire study of revelation (Not just my part) to write down all the different colors, numbers, images, metaphors, etc. Look them up and question what they mean. Circle/underline/write down phrases that occur more than twice and also question what they have to do with Christian discipleship. You may be surprised how interesting they can be!
In Quantam Leap, Dr. Sam Bekett was a quantum physicist. He had a scientific experiment go bad and in result became trapped in “quantum leap” traveling from various time frames throughout history. He was morphed into all body types and had to fix the situation to try to get back home. He visited the Wild West, became a high school basketball star and even was even a prisoner seated in an electric chair. Each episode had forms of humor, drama and suspense with Sam hoping each “morphing” would bring him back home.
We know that our forever home will be in God’s Kingdom. We wish and pray for the Lord’s return. Unlike Sam in this story, we will be victorious in finally seeing our Heavenly Father. It is ours. All we have to do is commit, follow, have faith, lead and serve. Pray today to follow God’s will to be done in your lives. Pray for his coming Kingdom. The ultimate leap is coming: rejoice and prepare for that day!
Psalms 38-42: Making all of our days count by living for God.
The New Year is just around the corner, and I have to say that I love each January 1st for all the possibility that it brings. When I was younger, I would pull out my journal or notebook and brainstorm the different New Year’s resolutions that I could pursue in the upcoming year. 365 days, 8760 hours, 525,600 minutes, or 31,536,000 seconds seemed like so much time waiting to be filled up with the sky only being the limit of what could be accomplished.
But, flash forward to the middle of the year (about the time of Fuel to be exact) and all the possibility seems a little less grand. The things that could fill up the New Year shrink a little more and a little more as the calendar days get a big slash through until wham, the calendar says December 31st.
Every year, as I begin to assemble my next planner and everything I want to accomplish, I always stop and think about the ways that God might use me in the upcoming year. It’s interesting that nestled between all of the psalms that we’ve been reading, we find psalm 39. In this psalm, David is struggling with sin for which he is seeking forgiveness. In the middle of his laments and prayers, we see this line in verse 4-5:
“LORD, reveal to me the end of my life and the number of my days. Let me know how short-lived I am. You, indeed, have made my days short in length and my life span as nothing in Your sight. Yes, every mortal man is only a vapor.”
Wow, what humility to pen these verses. Mortality has always been hard to come to grasp with, and death is one of, if not the, final enemy that is defeated at the end of time. That being said, what would you give if you could know how ‘short-lived’ you would be? Would you want to know? I would be hesitant to ask for knowledge, but I understand why David would want to know. If you can learn to make the most of the time you have left.
God may never reveal to us when the end of our life will be, but Moses in psalm 90:12 says a similar phrase when he asks God to “Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.”
When we are able to number our days and see how fleeting they are, we can recognize the importance of making each one count (so think about that the next time you binge watch your favorite show on Netflix). We all make choices of what we are going to pursue, so I encourage you to think about what choice you are making this year.
Each year, between the week of Christmas and New Year’s Day, we can always stop and reflect. We started this week by looking to the cross, we can begin each year recognizing that the cross and all the many gifts, blessings, and guidelines it brings with it is at the center of our life. Then, as the New Year comes to pass, we can rely on God to accomplish the work He has in store for us. By centering our lives around God, we can truly make our days count.