Order in the Church

1 Corinthians 14

June 15

“for God is not a God of confusion, but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints,” 1 Corinthians 14:33 NASB

In our house, we narrate the dog’s thoughts.  Somebody will see Zippers make a funny expression and they’ll say “She’s like: “Umm guys I’d like to go to the park too.  Is that okay? Or if not, I guess I’ll just stay here.” Then somebody else will chime in… “No, Zippers is like I really like to ride in the car…” and it goes on like that for a while.  Then somebody will miss-hear what one of the previous dog interpreters said and will ask “Did you just say, ‘She said she wants to use a fork too?’” And everyone will bust out laughing.   It’s not quite the same as speaking in tongues or sharing a revelation of prophecy, but it helps me imagine what it may be like to be in a church where more than one person is trying to do those things at once.  With a family of six people plus a big dog, when everybody wants to talk at once, it gets a little overwhelming. 

We have grown accustomed to our kids’ speech patterns and can usually understand what they are saying.  For quite a while EmmaGrace could only say “ahhhhhh” with subtly different inflections to indicate if she was asking a question or affirming that she wanted milk to drink.  As she got a little older she would tell you her favorite color was “lello”- which most people can probably figure out by context.  But if she was just pointing out something that was yellow, you might need an interpreter. 

When Weston was smaller he drooled more than our English Mastiff.  So much so that he earned the nick names “Puddles” and “Weston the wet one”.  When he spoke with a mouth full of slobber he sounded a lot like Sylvester from the Bugs Bunny Cartoons.  When we make smoothies, they are “poovees” to him.  When he had a little tummy bug, he told my mom that he had “buffered in the hall way.”  That needed a little interpretation.  (It’s the word that rhymes with scarf and when kids did it in school the janitor had to get those funny smelling wood chips). 

Carter is all about airplanes.  So he loves to talk in acronyms that he learned in his ground school for pilot training.  From time to time he talks about MSL, VNO or VNE.  I went to most of the classes with him but my 40 year old brain has less RAM (Random Access Memory) than his does.  So I can get MSL- Mean Sea Level.  I can remember that VNE is one that varies from plane to plane but basically it is the speed at which your wings will probably fall off if you continue to accelerate or hit any kind of turbulence. It is the Velocity to Never Exceed.  Sometimes I have to ask him though “What does VNO stand for again?  Oh yeah, velocity of normal operation.”

Communication is a two way street.  When speaking we have to use words that the audience can understand.  We also have to listen to the person that is speaking.  I fear I am developing the multigenerational genetic gift of hearing loss, so sometimes I wish life had closed captioning. 

1 Corinthians 14 tells us that these unique abilities to receive and deliver messages from God are pretty cool but they really only work if we have some order in the church.  We can’t have everybody talking at once. 

-Brian Froehlich

Application questions:

  1. Paul seems to assume that the Corinthian church will have more than one person at a time that wants to speak in a tongue or deliver a prophetic word.  It is almost like how he assumed they would be practicing communion.  Are these gifts practiced in your church today?
  2. If not, should they be?
  3. If so, are they practiced as directed by Paul in this chapter?

In This Moment – Our Relationships

Proverbs 27

Proverbs 27 1 NIV

How often do you think about tomorrow? What is it that you think of? Are you hoping for certain things to happen, praying for a specific outcome? Are you dreaming of what might be?

The implication from James 3:13-14 and 4:13-15 as well as Matthew 6:34 is that tomorrow is promised to no one. Ecclesiastes 9:11 tells us that time and chance happen to everyone. With billions of people each doing their own thing for their own reasons it is easy to see how true that last statement is. So we truly cannot boast about tomorrow for we do not even know if it will come to us and if it does, what it will bring.

We are to prepare for tomorrow, but not presume it. When we dream of tomorrow we may find ourselves imagining our own plans being better than God’s. Additionally, thinking to the future is more often than not the primary source of our anxieties. So again I say, prepare for tomorrow but always trust in our incredible God’s will. If He has called you to Him it is to succeed in His will, not to fail in it.

Of the 27 verses of the 27th Proverb, 16 deal directly with relationships (2-6, 9-11, 13-18, 21-22). It is telling of the importance of relationships to our amazing God. He places the greatest emphasis on our relationship with Him and one another all through the Scriptures.

The three points on relationships that this chapter of proverbs focuses on is a humble heart, the sting of honesty, and the destructiveness of things left hidden.

If there is something that you are really good at you are probably accustomed to receiving praise for it. While there is nothing inherently wrong with that we need to remember not to let it go to our head. If you let it, it can inflate our ego. A brilliant writer receives critical acclaim but it is likely that their talent was developed and nurtured by their parents, numerous teachers, and peers. The passion to do what they do is fueled by hundreds of authors that have come before them. Likewise a superstar athlete has family, teachers, coaches, trainers, teammates and even their competition to thank for honing their abilities. As you can see there is nothing that we do that we could honestly boast about. Everything we do and are capable of comes from others guiding us and believing in us. Ultimately this is all traced back to our LORD and Creator. In His image we are strong and creative. We are intelligent and powerful because of Him.

The second point made in this proverb deals with the pain of honesty and how good it can be for us. It can hurt when someone tells you, “You sing horribly!” Well, not so much for me because I already know that. But you get the picture. When someone tells you in such a point blank manner or preferably in a more caring way a truth that you need to hear that is for your benefit. Sometimes it is an honest remark about something we said or how we acted that we know was not right. We need to be called out from time to time over our words and actions. This is what the Bible calls a rebuke, a correction of what we do and say.

One of the honest expressions this passage speaks of is anger. Anger can be cruel, to the one who is angry as well as the one at which the anger is directed. But a sudden outburst of anger may allow us to clear the air. It can move us into a place of reconciliation and forgiveness so that healing can begin. The point is that open and honest communication is not always nice and polite. Sometimes it is not possible to be honest in a demure, quiet way. There are times when honesty hurts. Actually, most of the time honesty hurts. But can we truly grow and mature if everyone around us is sugar-coating and shielding us from the reality of a situation?

The third and final point I took from this proverb goes hand-in-hand with honest communication, burying things away. I mentioned the point of anger and the author continues by asking the rhetorical question, “Who can stand before jealousy?” Jealousy, envy, and the like are like smoldering embers. The heat is held inside, never dying down and ready in an instant to ignite at the first opportunity. They are not easily vented or burned out. While anger may subside soon after being released, jealousy and envy grow stronger the longer they are held. They feed off of our relationships, slowly burning them away to nothing. Be careful of what you hold inside for this is the very reason we have the expression, burning bridges.

There is so much more within this wonderful passage that we could have covered. The significance of being in this moment and trusting God for what may come as well as the importance of relationships is what really stuck out to me. So remember, not only do we owe God but many others for all that we are capable of. Honesty hurts but, when coupled with compassion, is helpful. And finally, be careful what you hold hidden inside for it can destroy your relationships and do great harm to you as well. We were created to be in relationship with God. Our Savior, Jesus, spoke of how vital our relationships are. He simplified the incredibly convoluted system of 613 laws that man had in place to two – love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself. The heart of these is relationships. Never forget that.

To be continued…

Jeff Ransom

What Do You Hate in Life?

Proverbs 6 17-19

I was reading in Proverbs about the things that God hates, this got me thinking about the things I hate. Towards the top of the list were things like people chewing with their mouth open, people who leave the toilet seat up and running out of TV shows to watch on netflix, just to name a few.

Let’s take a look at God’s list.

 

There are six things the Lord hates,

   seven that are detestable to him:

17         haughty eyes,

       a lying tongue,

       hands that shed innocent blood,

18         a heart that devises wicked schemes,

       feet that are quick to rush into evil,

19         a false witness who pours out lies

       and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

Proverbs 6:16-19

Wow, my list suddenly seems very trivial. After reading this it got me thinking about my husband. In a relationship we communicate the things we love and the things we hate and out of respect and love for that person we do our best to please them. I appreciate my husband for caring about what I love but also for not doing the things I hate, like chewing with his mouth open.

 

In the same way, I appreciate that God clearly communicates to me the things He hates. Because of this I can do my best to please Him by loving the things He loves and hating the things He hates.

 

-Elleigh Dylewski (with help from Zack)

Genuine Prayer

1 John 5

1 John 5_15

 

Hello, my friends!

Isn’t it strange to think this greeting that was written at 8:30am on the 31st of January got to you sometime today – or even later?

That is how communication works between people sometimes: it takes time, it’s not immediate, but it’s likely to reach you eventually. Some people won’t even receive my special salutation, because they did not read the devotion today. And that’s ok.

In fact, if I yelled as loud as I could right now, you will still not be able to hear me.

HELLO, MY FRIENDS!!

Did you hear me? No? Shocking. You’re human, therefore you could not. Let me try something else…

Hi, God.

Guess what? He heard me. You know what is even better? He can hear you too. Our prayers don’t take time to reach Him. They are delivered immediately, and they will never be lost in the mail. God hears you.

Therefore, when you pray, pray genuinely.  Don’t hold back. You can trust that God is listening. God loves you so dearly that He wants you to pour out your heart to Him. He wants to hear all about your day, the ups and downs, concerns, visions, everything. Lay it all at His feet, because He can take it. To top it all off, He never gets tired of listening.

To be honest, sometimes it feels like God can’t hear our prayers. Sometimes it feels like God isn’t present in our lives. Sometimes it feels like God won’t care about us, let alone what our deepest desires are. But those are just feelings. God does hear. He is present. And He certainly cares.

Therefore, pray genuinely – even when if feels like God can’t hear you, even when life is perfect, and even when everything seems to be falling apart. People may not always be there for you, and they certainly won’t always hear you. But God will always hear your prayers. So pray like you mean it.

– Madison Cisler

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