A Close Examination

2 Corinthians 13

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Have you ever heard of the Viceroy butterfly? These winged insects look almost exactly like the beautiful Monarch butterfly. To the untrained eye it would be very difficult to tell the two apart. To tell the two specimens apart, one would have to examine them closely.

In this section of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he urges them to examine themselves. He wants them to consider where they are placing their faith and if they are truly living for Christ.

The monarch is poisonous to some predators. By masquerading as the Monarch, the Viceroy can allude and fool its predators. However, underneath the façade, it is not a true Monarch. In fact, it is not potent at all. Within its heart, the Viceroy is nothing like the Monarch

If we listened to Paul and took a step back to examine ourselves, what would we find? Are we masquerading as a follower of Christ or are we the real deal? Are we the Viceroy butterfly or are we the Monarch?

As we examine ourselves and aim for a life where our actions and our heart profess our faith, remember the words in verse 4. “For indeed he was crucified because of his weakness, yet he lives because the power of God. For we also are weak in him, yet we will live with him because of the power of God directed toward you.”

-Hannah Deane

Application Questions

  1. How can you tell if one’s faith is real or phony? What characteristics does real faith have? What characteristics does phony faith have?
  2. What do you see when you examine yourself?
  3. Are there areas where you want your faith to grow deeper and more genuine? What steps will help you grow in that direction? Are you willing to do them?

(Tomorrow we will begin a 3 week look at some of the highlights of the Old Testament books of Poetry: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon. After that, mid-July to August, we will read Mark, one chapter a day, and then return to Paul’s letters. Lots of good stuff ahead! Keep Seeking God and His Will in His Word! SeekGrowLove)

My Show Horse

2 Corinthians 10

Monday, June 27, 2022

I remember back in high school I showed a horse in 4-H at the county fair. The show I was in was all about the looks of the horse and convincing the judge that my horse was the very best in the arena. The goal was to gain the approval of the judge.

So, I got my horse, who had little show experience, all cleaned up. I shined up my dusty saddle. I donned my very best western shirt. I was ready to boast my horse in front of the judge. Even if my horse wasn’t the most experienced or the most expensive, I had to get the judge to believe that he was. I had to get the judge to believe my horse was something that he wasn’t.

However, my horse decided that day that he wasn’t quite willing to cooperate. He was not having it and we very nearly cleared the fence. It is safe to say I did not convince the judge and all my “boasting” was in vain.

I feel like life is often like this. We find ourselves in circumstances where we try to prove our worth based on what we think others want. Like I was trying to convince the judge that my horse was the best show horse, we try to convince others that we are something that we are not.  

In this section of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he tells them that what he is in the letters is also who he is in person (v.11). He is not trying to shine up the saddle to convince someone of who he is- his actions speak for who he is in his letters and in person.

He also tells the Corinthians that when we commend ourselves, we are not approved. When I tried to commend myself and the horse I was riding in front of the judge, it did not go so well.

When our goal becomes the approval of humans rather than the approval of God our focus becomes warped, and we lose sight of what truly matters. However, when our goal becomes the approval of God, we become commendable by God. And then rather than boasting in our own power, which always falls short, we can boast in the LORD and His everlasting power.

-Hannah Deane

Application Questions

  1. Can you think of a time when you tried to convince others you were someone you were not? Did it work? What were the consequences?
  2. In what ways (or what areas of your life) do you seek the approval of men rather than the approval of God? What are the dangers of continuing in this pattern? How can you remember to be most concerned with how God is judging you, not what people think of you?
  3. How will you practice boasting in the LORD and His everlasting power, today?

Saturday – June 25th, 2022

2 Corinthians 8

Tithes. It’s an uncomfortable topic. People get uncomfortable when you talk about money in general, and when you say they should give away their money, sometimes they can get downright feisty. If you are under 18, the idea of tithing is just that moment in church where they play an instrumental song and some people reach in their purse or wallet to discreetly turn in a folded bill. You may even participate with some money that your parents have given you. After 18 though – when you’re in charge of paying bills and then taking care of other living beings (whether that’s a dog, a child, or a plant), that’s when tithing can get overlooked. I know it does in my case. 

2 Corinthians 8, today’s reading, is all about giving which is just another word for tithing. Tithing was a word that originated in England in the Middle Ages to describe the custom of giving 10% of income to the church to support it during that time. Paul talks about this, but he doesn’t focus on the legalistic requirement of giving 10% to ‘do your duty.’ Instead, Paul frames this giving to support the ministry of the apostles, the ministry of spreading the gospel, as an opportunity, a privilege. He says, “For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people” (2 Cor. 8:3-4). To participate in the ministry of the gospel whether through actually traveling from place-to-place or supporting via funds was a good thing. It wasn’t a duty that they should begrudgingly do. Later in the letter to Corinthians, Paul goes on to say,  “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7). Tithing is very much about our attitude. Are we cheerfully giving this offering to support the ministry of God? Or are we doing it only for the appearance of ‘doing the right Christian things’? 

When you think about giving of your time or money, how much should you give? Paul says this: “And here is my judgment about what is best for you in this matter. Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means.  For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.” In this, Paul again is pointing to the importance of attitude when considering how much time or money to give. He wanted the Corinthians to continue with the same desire, regardless of how much they actually gave. He also pointed out that if the desire to give is there, God doesn’t look at how big the gift is. He looks at how much is given in comparison to how much that person has. You can read more about this in the parable of the widow and the two coins in Mark 12:41-44. 

Ultimately, our tithes and offerings are a display of our trust in God. They harken back to the sabbath rest of the ancient Israelites in the desert. By giving God a portion of our time or our money, we trust that God will do great things with it in the world, and we trust that God will make sure that we are taken care of with what we have left. Now, ‘taken care of’ does not mean that we will get rich off of tithing. (That’s the false prosperity gospel.) Taken care of means that we will have clothes on our backs and food in our bellies (Matt. 6:25-34). Our tithes and offerings can also fix our relationship with money. Instead of holding it tightly and greedily, by giving our money away – we are reinforcing that it is not an idol in our lives. Our attitude towards money changes. 

What can you give back to God today? 

~ Cayce Fletcher

Questions for Application: 

  1. Do you normally tithe? How does giving look for you? 
  2. Can tithing be more than just money? (For example, time serving at a church camp or participating in the worship band.)
  3. What is your relationship with money? How do you think that relationship affects your relationship with God?

Friday – June 24th, 2022

2 Corinthians 7

I recently attended a great Young Adult Getaway hosted by the Church of God General Conference. Around 60 (somewhat) young adults got together and had a great time fellowshipping with one another, learning about God, and worshipping God together. The theme for the weekend was “Find Your People” based on a book by Jennie Allen. Especially after living through the social changes brought about by social media and the pandemic, we probably can all relate to feeling both more socially connected and socially isolated than ever before. I can spend hours scrolling to see the engagement and pregnancy announcements from people I went to high school with (that I haven’t seen or spoken to in years), but I don’t feel like I have time to deeply connect with my present-day family and friends. The getaway focused on how we can connect with people – which is an essential yet often overlooked part of the Christian faith. 

While we were there, I spoke about one uncomfortable aspect of connecting with others in a Christian context: holding others accountable. When we first become a Christian, we may think that our fellowship with others is all based on the love we show each other… which is actually true. But, early on in our walk with Christ, our idea of love is based on what we see in movies and TV shows. Love supports each other no matter what. It speaks encouragement (only) and never criticism. It does not judge. Love never makes the other person feel bad. So, we think, based on this understanding of love, that our Christian relationships should follow the same blueprint, but this is not the case. 

Our understanding of what love is changes when we become a Christian. Jesus did say, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). But, at the same time our idea of love has changed. John later says in 1 John 4: 10-12, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” Love becomes much more about self sacrifice than mindless tolerance, much more about spurring each other on than accepting where we are currently at. 

Paul recognizes this. As I’ve read through his letters, a common Pauline trait has stood out to me; he is a master at accountability. In his letters, he is constantly calling his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to higher standards and encouraging them to hold fast to the standard set before them in Christ. This is especially true in his letters to the Corinthians. In today’s reading,  we see Paul continue to do this. He tells them, “Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” (v. 1). But, he doesn’t say this because he dislikes the Corinthians in any way. Instead he tells them later on, “I do not say this to condemn you; I have said before that you have such a place in our hearts that we would live or die with you. I have spoken to you with great frankness; I take great pride in you.” (v. 3-4a). Paul deeply cares about the Corinthian church, which is why it is so important to him that they live right in the eyes of God. 

We also are called to live right and hold others accountable. How are you spurring others on to love and good deeds (Heb. 10:24) today? 

~ Cayce Fletcher

Questions for Application: 

  1. Do you feel more connected or more isolated when you think about your everyday life? Who are ‘your people’ that you live close by that can spur you on in the faith? 
  2. Have you ever experienced accountability (whether it was you holding someone accountable or someone else holding you accountable)? What was that experience like? 
  3. How does accountability strengthen our Christian walk? 

Thursday – June 23rd, 2022

2 Corinthians 6

One of the major themes of the Bible is God making a broken people holy. Holiness is a characteristic of God; in fact, God is repeatedly called the “Holy One of Israel” throughout scripture. But, what is holiness? “The Hebrew word for “holiness” is qōdes, a word that highlights the realm of the sacred in contrast to everything common and profane.” (See here for more info.) Holiness describes what is sacred or set apart. God is the ultimate holy one, and he sets the bar for what is holy or sacred. We can determine if something is holy by comparing it to the standard that God has set for us. 

Unfortunately, after the fall, we were not a holy people anymore. We would die if we were in the presence of God because of this fact. God’s ministry of reconciliation which we read about yesterday is all about God bringing us back into relationship with him. God cannot lessen his holiness, but he can redeem us and make us more holy. This is what the whole Bible is about. God making his chosen people holy. In the Old Testament, God made his people holy through sacrifices and the law. The law could not completely redeem us though. So, in the New Testament, the new covenant was establish in which God was making us holy – reconciling us to himself – through Christ. We are saved through this reconciliation (2 Cor. 6:2). 

At the end of the chapter we read today, we see some important warnings that Paul gave to the Corinthians encouraging them to remain holy. In verses 16-18, it says, 

“As God has said:

“I will live with them

    and walk among them,

and I will be their God,

    and they will be my people.”

Therefore,

“Come out from them

    and be separate,

says the Lord.

Touch no unclean thing,

    and I will receive you.”

And,

“I will be a Father to you,

    and you will be my sons and daughters,

says the Lord Almighty.”

We are called to be set apart, called to be holy. Our lifestyles should reflect that. This requires discipline and an awareness of our habits. Are we living in a way that shows we are set apart? Or are we living just like the world? When we live a holy life, we have the promise of a deep and personal relationship with God. He will walk among us. He will be a Father to us. That promise is worth all the sacrifices that we make. 

~ Cayce Fletcher

Questions for Application: 

  1. When you read the word ‘holiness’, what kind of feelings does it stir in you? Do you think that become holy is a worthwhile pursuit?  
  2. What does a holy lifestyle look like? 
  3. One characteristic of being holy described in this chapter is in verse 14: “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.” What do you think this verse means? Why is this important in our pursuit of holiness? 

Wednesday – June 22nd, 2022

2 Corinthians 5

Most of our lives are spent trying to make sure that we are doing all we can to live bigger and better. We spend years in school so that we can get a good job and make good money. Then, we can buy a nice house/car (which we may sell later on to get a bigger and better house/car). We accumulate lots of stuff that we can eventually pass on to our kids – which may not actually want any of it. It seems kind of pointless when you describe it this way, but this is truly what we talk about when we say we are pursuing the American Dream. It’s a materialistic pursuit of wealth and things… that ultimately prove meaningless when held against the gospel of Christ. 

Though the concerns of the Romans and Jews were different than what we worry about today, we still see the distractions that can come from the pursuit of things other than God. These idols could be wealth (and Rome had its own version of the American Dream), but it could also be power, status, or a legalistic self-righteousness. All of these idols are forms of the old self that should have been put to death with Christ. 

In 2 Cor. 5:14-15, Paul says, “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” This is such a counter-cultural statement. We are not living for ourselves anymore. We are not trying to pursue lives that are bigger and better according to the world’s standards. We have “died” to that pursuit and are raised again. We no longer live for ourselves but instead we live for Christ. 

This is what it means to be a new creation. In verse 17, it says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” When we are raised with Christ, our concerns change to the concerns of Christ. What is the concern of Christ? Verses 18-19 say, “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” We are being reconciled to God so that we can become the righteousness of God. Praise God! We have been made new! 

~ Cayce Fletcher

Questions for Application: 

  1. What are some of the things that you spend time pursuing? What are things that distract you from God? 
  2. Do you believe that these distractions are idols? 
  3. If you are a believer, you are a new creation in Christ. Do you live in a way that shows that you are a new creation? How? 

Tuesday – June 21st, 2022

2 Corinthians 4

Growing up, I loved to run in races. I never had the fastest time, but I loved the sense of community that came from everyone pursuing the same goal: finish the run. Even though I don’t run as much as I used to, I still see the power of pursuing a unified goal in my family, my job, my church, and my community. We encourage one another to set our eyes on the more important things even when we may not feel like doing so on our own. 

In today’s reading, Paul continues to give a defense of his ministry. He tells the Corinthian church, “Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God” (2 Cor. 4:2). Paul speaks plainly about the gospel and does not try to manipulate or somehow warp the message of the cross to be more pleasing to others. Even so, this message is so winsome that it wins people over anyway. 

This being said, just because the message itself is convincing and life-changing, it doesn’t mean that Paul became rich and famous, living a life of ease. His life was difficult and the only thing that kept him going was the reminder of his purpose and his commitment to reaching his goals. During Paul’s ministry which started with him being blind for three days, he was almost stoned to death, bitten by a snake, shipwrecked, and kept under house arrest. He left for Rome towards the end of his life knowing that he was going to be killed there. A martyr, he was beheaded by the Roman emperor Nero. Despite the difficulties of his life, he recognized that the message that he was speaking was too important to keep hidden. In 2 Corinthians 4:16-17, he says, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” The troubles that he faced did not destroy him. Instead, they renewed him day by day because Paul recognized that through his troubles the gospel was being spread even more effectively! 

So, how can we grow to have the same mentality as Paul? In verse 18, he says, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” Just like a runner in the race, we have to keep our eyes set on the finish line. We need to keep our mind set on the eternal. If we do that, the distractions of the present day start to fade away. What are your eyes fixed on? Live life in light of eternity. 

~ Cayce Fletcher

Questions for Application: 

  1. What do you say the goal, mission, or purpose of your life is? 
  2. Are you facing difficulties that keep you from reaching this goal? 
  3. How might these difficulties be renewing you day by day? What could be some of the lessons or benefits from these difficulties?

Monday – June 20th, 2022

2 Corinthians 3

As a middle school teacher, I have an ‘in’ for knowing what’s currently trending whether it’s the Visco girls and HydroFlasks of a few years ago or the devious licks of the past year. Because of TikTok and Instagram, these trends spread like wildfire among my students, and they tend to burn out just as quickly. Quick-moving trends aren’t new either. I remember silly bands and Hollister jackets from my middle school days almost 15 years ago. The common theme with these fads and trends is that they spread like crazy and then are soon forgotten. Facebook was just beginning to grow in popularity when I was younger, so it may seem strange that such fads existed. But, as everyone can tell you, this is just part of humanity and culture. We tend to jump on things that are popular and want to be a part of them. Because of this, we sacrifice time and money accumulating junk and doing some pretty stupid stuff just so that we feel like we are part of the crowd. 

In today’s reading, Paul is addressing the Corinthians and pointing out reasons why the Corinthians should trust his apostleship (or authority about the gospel). He is encouraging the Corinthians to rely on the Spirit to be transformed into the image of Christ. Paul knows the power of this transforming Spirit from his own experience and so speaks with boldness to the Corinthians (v.12). As he describes the difference between the law and the new covenant of Christ, he points to how Moses communicated with God compared to how we are able to through Christ. When Moses talked with God in the wilderness, his face would shine (Ex. 34:35). The Israelites were so terrified of this that they begged Moses to wear a veil when he returned. With the new covenant, the veil was torn (Matt. 27:51), and through Christ, we can see the glory of God. 

In verses 17-18, Paul says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” A poet, William Blake, said, “We become what we behold.” When I think of the trends and fads I see in culture, I think of people who are beholding (or seeing) so many things around them that they feel like they need to buy or participate in. Watching the culture around them makes them want to become more like the culture around them. Pretty soon, they are stealing bathroom vanities because they saw it on TikTok (a true story that happened at my school). We don’t want to become more like the world, but if all we are beholding comes from the world, what can we expect? We need to spend more time beholding God by spending time in prayer and his word. Only then can we be ‘transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.’ 

~ Cayce Fletcher

Questions for Application: 

  1. What is a trend or fad that you see in culture? Is it something you find beneficial to society or detrimental to society? 
  2. What do you behold daily? How is what you are beholding affecting the way that you live? 
  3. What does it mean to be ‘transformed into the same image [of Christ] from one degree of glory to another’? What would a person who was in the image of Christ look like? 

Sunday – June 19th, 2022

2 Corinthians 2

Growing up around a group of girls, I’ve definitely had my fair share of girl drama. You know the kind: Side eyes, lack of confrontation, passive aggressive comments, and lots of gossip. Basically, this drama is the basis for the movie Mean Girls and a lot of hurt and pain in young girls everywhere. Most of these conflicts were caused by a simple misunderstanding that snowballed into a big ol’ mess. But, in every instance, the only way that we were able to get over the issues and become friends again was to truly forgive each other. That forgiveness generally required one person to repent of what they had been doing – gossiping about someone else, for instance – and then another person to acknowledge their repentance and move on. We read about a similar, but more serious, situation in 2 Corinthians today.  

2 Corinthians is a letter written from a place of vulnerability as Paul defends his mission and apostleship to some who thought the grace he showed to them was a sign of weakness. The fourth letter written to the Corinthian church (see more info here), it is a letter filled with the personal pains and testimony of Paul. 

Today’s reading begins with Paul referencing a letter (lost in history) where he addressed some concerns that he had with the Corinthian church. Most of the issues that Paul is discussing in verses 5-11 are most likely about the man in 1 Corinthians 5 who was living immorally with his father’s wife (his stepmom). Pretty gross, right? In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul tells the church that they should not associate with this man anymore because he claimed to be a believer but was acting in a way that was totally opposite from that. By 2 Corinthians 2, the man had apparently repented, but the Corinthian church was refusing to associate with him still. In verses 7-8, Paul says, “Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.” After he had repented, Paul encouraged the people in the church to welcome the sinner back into their community. 

Even though the man had committed a serious sin, Paul recognizes what’s at stake in this conflict. In verses 10-11, he goes on to say, “Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” Paul encourages them to forgive the man not just for the man’s sake, so he would be welcomed back into the family of God. He also encourages them to forgive so that ‘Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.’ When we deal with conflict in the church, we are not just working through the conflict for our own benefit. We are working to maintain the witness and effectiveness of the church. Conflict in the church is part of the spiritual battles that we face in this life (Eph. 6:10-11, 2 Cor. 10:4-5, James 4:7). When we work through our conflict towards forgiveness and unity with people who have truly repented from sin, we are working against Satan’s schemes. He comes to kill and destroy (John 10:10) and to cause divisions among believers. But, we can take heart and stand against it through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

~ Cayce Fletcher

Questions for Application: 

  1. When was the last time you faced a conflict? Did you try to resolve that conflict with the other person? How? 
  2. What is the meaning of true forgiveness? How should forgiveness characterize how we interact with our friends and family as believers in Jesus? 
  3. Are there situations where we should be hesitant to forgive? Look up the following verses to read more about forgiveness: Eph. 4:32, Matt. 6:14-15, Luke 17:3-4, Mark 11:25. 

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The Love Chapter

1 Corinthians 13

June 14

“Now these three remain: faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love.”

“They” call 1 Corinthians 13 “the love chapter”.  It’s quoted from at most weddings.  So what is it talking about?  I don’t think it is a coincidence that Paul discusses love and speaking in tongues (a gift involving the ability to speak unique languages), in the same chapter.  Love is difficult to put into words.

In my work as a Funeral Director and Deputy Coroner, I am often at a loss for words.  I frequently have opportunity to speak with families when there is nothing to say.  Nothing that should be said, anyway.  That certainly doesn’t stop some people from trying.  I’ve heard people say all kinds of stuff to try to comfort the grieving.  Most of it, frankly, has no basis in scripture or reality.  Sometimes I wish I had a platitude and cliché bingo card I could pull out of my pocket and shout “BINGO!”.  About the only right thing to do in that situation is nothing at all. 

My father-in-law is a pastor and has served as Chaplain for a local fire department for a number of years and he recently commented during a sermon about how in most situations when the fire department is needed, if the crew showed up and just stood there people would say “Don’t just stand there, DO SOMETHING!” But when it comes to the work of a fire chaplain, the best approach is “Don’t do something, JUST STAND THERE!”  I liked that line.  I have stolen it and shared it with coworkers several times.  When a person has lost everything they don’t need a preacher, they need a presence.  To be able to just be present, is a gift.  (Do you see what I did there?).

As Christians, being confronted with a sudden and unexpected death is like being the pilot in charge of an airplane when the engines stall.  All that is really left at that point is faith, hope and love.  What words of comfort can you give when you know that a person did not have faith in Jesus Christ?  What chapter of systematic theology will you turn to for the family who has no hope in The coming Kingdom?

I said before, our dog is named Zippers due to her urge to chew on our coat zippers.  If we named our children using that method, one of my sons might have been named “Whacko”.  He has always liked to “whack” things with sticks.  When he was two years old we bought him a Sesame Street drum set for Christmas.

It was a pretty cool toy.  It came with a little stool to sit on.  It had a pedal for the bass drum.  It is hard to see in this picture, but there was even a tiny metal cymbal.  Man, did he love to whack that thing!

I honestly don’t know what ever happened to that drum set but I have a feeling it found its way to “a better place”.  The place where all the noisy toys end up.  You know the toys I’m talking about- the Jack in the boxes, the little microphones with the spring inside that toddlers yell…I mean sing into, the Fisher Price Pop “Corn Poppers” that aunts and uncles buy for their nephews as revenge for the year you wrapped up too many candy canes… We’ve all had noisy toys like that.             

Those noisy toys are exactly what I picture when I read 1 Corinthians Chapter 13.  To paraphrase, Paul says all of those gifts of the spirit we just talked about in the last chapter are great.  I’d really like for you to have ‘em, but in the end all that really matters is faith, hope and love.  Of those three qualities, if you only have room for one, choose love because when the rubber hits the road, what people need to know is that God loves them more than anyone has ever loved them.  All the rest is just noise.

-Brian Froehlich

Application questions:

  1. What is the noisiest toy you had as a child?
  2. What is the “noisiest” thing in your life right now?
  3. Have you ever had a friend who was just silently present with you when you needed them?