Tag Archives: 1 Corinthians 2

Will the plan change if I ask God first

Text: 1 Corinthians 2:10

When the Apostle Paul addressed the church of Corinth in this Epistle it was during a time that one could liken to the state of America. Corinth was overflowing with denominational politics and doctrinal differences and they were living in one of the most prosperous cities of that time. They prided themselves on lavish living and tolerance of new ideas… hmmmm, sounds oddly familiar doesn’t it. They were surrounded by multiple pagan religions and their faith was being challenged.

Paul was teaching spiritually immature Christians who were apt to go with whatever way the wind blew.

I can understand why it was so hard to stay focused. I have a bit of a problem with that myself in my Attention Deficit Disordered world. The world around is screaming continuously for us to look at it. And it seems, if you take your eyes off of God for a second, Satan has you for a day. There is way too much truth in that statement for me not to feel convicted.

So how does one stay focused in this haphazard world?

But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

1 Corinthians 2:10

Verse 9 preceding our journaling verse reads:  But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

I love the Lord. I can place a period at the end of that sentence with confidence, only because I know that He loves me more, and knows that I am flawed. I believe that God has amazing things in store for me and yet the concept is still hard for me to grasp because I lose focus and do not allow the Spirit to linger in the caverns of my soul.

19th Century Evangelist D.L. Moody has often been credited with the quote: “The world has yet to see what God can do with a man fully consecrated to him. By God’s help, I aim to be that man.”

In fact, Moody did not originate that quote. Henry Varley, a British revivalist did. Varley recalled that in 1873 Moody asked him to recount words they had spoken in private conversation a year earlier, just before Moody’s return to the United States. Varley provides this account (as recorded in Paul Gericke’s Crucial Experiences in the Life of D.L. Moody).

***
During the afternoon of the day of conference Mr. Moody asked me to join him in the vestry of the Baptist Church. We were alone, and he recalled the night’s meeting at 0Willow Park and our converse the following morning.

“Do you remember your words?” he said.

I replied, “I well remember our interview, but I do not recall any special utterance.”

“Don’t you remember saying, ‘Moody, the world has yet to see what God will do with a man fully consecrated to him?’ ”

“Not the actual sentence,” I replied.

“Ah,” said Mr. Moody, “those were the words sent to my soul, through you, from the Living God. As I crossed the wide Atlantic, the boards of the deck of the vessel were engraved with them, and when I reached Chicago, the very paving stones seemed marked with ‘Moody, the world has yet to see what God will do with a man fully consecrated to him.’ Under the power of those words I have come back to England, and I felt that I must not let more time pass until I let you know how God had used your words to my inmost soul.”

***

Those words also pierce my soul. Although more out of guilt than that of the convictions of D.L. Moody. Those words directed Moody’s ministry and encouraged him into the depths of his soul. Two men committed to Christ in such a way that the Spirit showed them the “deep things of God.”

I have to ask myself, what are the deep things of God that He desires to show me? and my answer is “the future.” There’s a chosen path, and then there are the detours that occur when I get my sights off of him and onto the world. We, like the Corinthians are surrounded by distractions.

A social media post that I read yesterday bothered me all day. It was one posted by a person of entitlement who had “gotten above their raisin” as the old adage goes. They were glad to leave our rural area and get back to what they thought was civilization. My thought this morning is “the civilized world is not our friend.” The educated rhetoric seldom focuses on the cause of Christ, unless of course it prospers their way or makes them appear righteous.

We’ve changed very little, likely worsened since the days of Paul’s address to Corinth. So I asked myself again, “How does one stay focused?” If when I look, read, buy, or do, I allow the Spirit to search the intent of the heart where God dwells, and I ask myself, how does this action or purpose serve God? Will my course of action and direction change from my choice if I allow God to control the outcome? Good question…

Things that are separate are sometimes together

chick ministry

Having worked in the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ for several years now I feel that I have a few tee shirts in my closet of the places I have been and the troubles I have seen to allow my opinion to be notable. (perhaps only Post-It ® note worthy) but noteworthy none the less. I have had to take stands over the course of my 19 years in the ministry that were not always popular and on very rare occasions, alone. And when I say alone, there would have probably been many who would have stood with me, if they had known that I was taking a stand. But sometimes in the case of leadership you take an inward stand because the outward conflict would do more harm than good to the cause of Christ if the issue never comes to a resolution.

I know that’s a vague statement, but stay with me and I’ll get this bus to the drop off point.

If you are a part of a congregation of believers where there are more than two, there is likely a separation in the church of ideology. Theology should be agreed upon, but our ideas are just that… “our” ideas. And they often collide like bumper cars in an amusement park, except without the laughter. It’s just human nature. The problem with that is as saved people we’re not supposed to be natural.

1 Corinthians 2:14

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Now I get that we cannot get rid of that natural man that wars against the spiritual man within us but if the natural man or woman wins, at some point in that battle, we’ve stopped listening to the Spirit of God. So what are we to do as leaders in the church when our ideas don’t line up with others in the church and we believe we’re right? When things that are separate, are together. What then?  I’m pretty sure I’m right when I say we should talk to the One Who’s never wrong. God.

In Romans 1:1 apostle Paul said that he was …separated unto the gospel of God.

Separated from what? From the world and natural man to the spiritual. He no longer considered himself to be a part of this this world, yet that’s where he was, and it was his job to share the gospel. As believers, whether or not you’ve been called into the ministry you have still been called to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. So you too have been separated like Paul, unto the gospel. That automatically, like it or not, puts you on a different playing field in life. You are held to a higher accountability than the world around you.

Romans 1:5-6

By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:

Now if you’ve been called into actual ministry work, your field just got higher still.

Romans 1:9-13

For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you. For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.

Paul desired to preach in Rome, but God had other plans, he was let hitherto. Paul knew through the Spirit of God that he was not to go to Rome, even though that was his desire. And so it is when we get ideas of our own that we want one thing and God wants another. For certain God has only one plan. Paul was in tune spiritually enough to know what it was. So what if there are people in the church with two ideas? It is for certain that only one of them is the one God wants, because God’s not in division. And if there’s division, someone’s wrong. When that’s happened, and it has, I’ve had to step out of the way. Sometimes I had to bite my tongue off. But I had to trust that God’s will would be accomplished. It’s hard to be separate when we’re together. When we don’t agree with someone in our midst. Paul reminded his friends that even though they were not together physically, they had one thing in common. Mutual faith.

Did some people get upset because they didn’t get their way? Possibly. But those in mutual faith, stayed put and waited for God to work out His amazing plan. God’s plan is always amazing, ours may seem amazing, but if God’s not in it, it will end in disaster. Mutual faith is remembering that we’re not here to please us. We’re here to please God.

Pondering Eternity

chick eternityI once heard that eternity can be understood by shutting yourself into a very small room and then imagining the remainder of the universe outside your door, and that’s only the beginning. Eternity is something we give little thought to in the day to days of life until something or someone causes us to ponder and desire to have a taste ourselves. The internet is filled with $1.99 wisdom on the subject and Satan and his doomsday tribe would love for you to buy it; ideas like reincarnation, soul sleep, deep self, or the end of existence. Because it brings you face to face with the reality of the means of passing to eternity most people don’t dwell much on the notion until life or death forces them to.

In my small world I’ve been dealing with it a little more than usual lately. A good friend’s funeral is tomorrow where I’ll say goodbye to his earthly body. A local family lost a child yesterday, a friend of some of my Sunday School students. It causes questions from the young and old alike as to why God would allow that to happen. How do we explain it to a child who barely understands the death of an older person but now has to cope with the loss of someone their own age? How do we explain it to us? It’s tragedy, plain and simple. But in pondering those why’s I have been dwelling more on the where. There is no peace in the loss of someone we love, but there’s a bountiful supply in understanding God’s plan of reunion.

When David lost his son as told in 2 Samuel 12 he told his servants in verses  22-23 “While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” David had not read the $1.99 internet wisdom. He had only read the Word of God, the truth on all matters of life. The truth on life and death is that this is not the end… this is the middle, and the end never ends… oh glory!!! That causes my heart to leap with joy when I think about all those people that I have loved and had to say goodbye to. There is coming a day when we shall reunite for all eternity and there will be no more farewells, only “Stop by again!” Open ended invitations of lovin’ on each other.

Today, I don’t want to think about what I lost, I want to think about what they found.

They found what God Prepared

1 Corinthians 2:9 ~ But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

They found a Place Designed just for them

And not just any place, but a mansion!

John 14:2 ~ In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

They found Paradise (Better than any postcard scene)

Luke 23:43 ~ And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.

They found the Power Company! The source of all.

Revelation 21:21-25

And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.  And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.  And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.

And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.

That is worthy of pondering. But before we get there we have to ask ourselves one question, “Just as the thief on the cross seen paradise by accepting Christ’s death as payment for his sin, have you done so likewise? Don’t miss your reunion day. Jesus told us “John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

That is the key that unlocks your story…