Consider one another with love…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

I Corinthians   8:1-13

Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God. Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.” For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”— yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.  Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

This is love in action, when I consider my brother above my own desires.  We may find some actions are not an offense to us, but they are to another.  And that offense can cause the other to turn away from a relationship with God.  Paul is saying; out of love for one another, we would choose, then, to avoid that action.  This is not putting a burden upon us to follow some code written by mankind, but rather asking that we consider one another with love.

Follow your gifting…act driven by love…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

I Corinthians 7

Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband.  For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. Now as a concession, not a command, I say this.  I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion. To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife. To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace. For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

When we enter into an intimate relationship with another, we give ourselves to them.  Just as it is when we enter into a relationship with the Lord, we give ourselves to Him.  It is not to be taken lightly.  Two shall become one.  When there is separation there is pain.  If we hold to the command to love our God and love our neighbor, we would avoid causing harm or pain to another.  So above all love God and love our neighbor; love covers a multitude of sins, love looks to the best for the other, love is not selfish, love is driven by the Spirit of God.  Love is God and God is love.  Love should be the driving force in our lives; seen by those closest to us and all who cross our paths.

To whom do we belong?…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

I Corinthians 6:12-20

  “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.  Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.”  But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.  Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Verse 12 – our freedom is never a reason to hinder another’s walk with the Lord.  If we find ourselves in a place where we are leading, looked up to, discipling, in any way responsible to encourage and edify others in Christ then we are to temper our freedom with the building of the kingdom of God.  Our life is outwardly focused on Christ and others, not inwardly focused on ourselves.  This is what makes us stand out from the rest of mankind; this is a type of caring, concern for one another and love that is not seen in the world of the unbeliever.

To whom do we belong?  With acceptance of the teachings of Christ, with acceptance of the sacrifice of Christ comes a joining to Christ and the beginning of a relationship not unlike the relationship between two in love.  Acceptance of Christ’s teachings means turning from others much like when entering a marriage contract one turns from all others, promising to be true to the one loved.  So now our view of ownership of our own bodies and self changes.  We do not belong to our self; we belong to God.  We do not do as we want; we do as he wants.  We do not live by our flesh; we live by our spirit joined with Him.  This shows up in our actions, speech and thought.  We now would not do anything that brings harm either to another or ourselves.  For now we live in love and caring, one for another.  Blessed be the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

A study of Proverbs continued…The Issue of Life part 3 reblogged…

THE ISSUE OF LIFE–part 3

July 23, 2013 — Dale Hill

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Pondering the Principles of Proverbs

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” (Pro. 4:23 NLT)

In Part 1 we learned that your heart determines your life, which basically means that YOU determine your life. I say that, because it is up to you to guard your heart.

In Part 2, we  learned that evil actions are preceded by evil thoughts. If that is the case, then it is necessary to learn how to control our thoughts.

How is that possible? Thoughts just seem to zip in and out of my head with complete randomness. I can be going along minding my own business, not thinking about anything in particular, and BAM! Out of nowhere a thought pops up—sometimes good; sometimes not so good.

Read more…

A study of Proverbs – The Issue of Life part 2 reblogged…

A link to the original post: http://practicalbibleteaching.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/the-issue-of-life-part-2/

THE ISSUE OF LIFE–part 2

July 21, 2013 — Dale Hill

Pondering the Principles of Proverbs

FALLING ASLEEP ON DUTY

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” (Pro. 4:23 NLT)

In Part 1 we learned that your heart determines your life, which basically means that YOU determine your life. I say that, because it is up to you to guard your heart.

If you guard it, you have control.

If you do not guard it, you do not have control over your life, but are at the effect of anything and every thing that comes along.

Read more…

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Correcting our allegiance…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

I Corinthians 6:1-11

  When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers! Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Essentially what is asked here is where do we place our trust and allegiance?  We are given guidelines that set before us the way in which we shall live.  Do we get the impression that we are in training for what is yet to come?  Where do we go to be trained as an electrician?  To electricians or those who know about electricity?  So where do we go to be trained as believers set apart from the rest of mankind?  To other believers who have the evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in their lives, to the Word of God, and to the Lord we follow?  Can we begin to see that upon receiving Christ and his message of deliverance we have only begun to embark on an adventure that encompasses eternity?  From our spiritual birth we must continue to grow and develop in him.  So the focus is away from this world in matters dealing with one another.  We bring our differences among ourselves to those who are believers, who understand the changes we are going through.  We bring them to those who can act in love and compassion first, drawn from the understanding given through the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.

Who do we judge?…and when?…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

I Corinthians 5:1-21

 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus,  you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.  I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.  But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

“…God judges those outside….” How many of us when reading this passage skipped this part and went straight to purging the evil one…?  That is what we hear from among Christian brethren,  a clamor to purge the evil from the land meaning of course the heathen, not anyone in our number.  (yes, that was meant to be sarcastic)  The question is: at what point did the Christian world begin to judge those outside the fellowship?  There is much accusation of Christian believers sharing in this guilt.  Paul holds  a believing fellowship to high standards citing the spread of anti-God actions to others in the fellowship is much like yeast that will cause the whole loaf to rise.  But it stops there.  This holding one another to the standards set forth in the Word does not extend beyond the fellowship for that is the jurisdiction of God.  The Holy Spirit convicts and judges those outside a believing fellowship.  We are not set up as God’s policemen.  We are to protect and build up one another, however.  We do not adopt the standards of the world around us; when this is done the salt has lost its flavor.  We are to encourage one another in love and when those among us cannot rise to the standards set in the Scripture(note: not set by members of the fellowship) then and only then are we to “Purge the evil person from among you.”

Credit for what?…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

I Corinthians 4:1-21

 This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.   Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God. I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.

For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! And would that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you! For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men.

We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things. I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you, then, be imitators of me. That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church. Some are arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?

We may take credit for nothing more than following the lead of the Spirit.

“…regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. …”

All that we are has been given to us by God.  All we accomplish is enabled by him.  Scripture  states “Who can know the mind of God,” and “who is man that you (God) visit him?”…  We, therefore, are in error when we boast to be able to do that which was from God.  Can we judge others when we can’t truly even judge ourselves?  “The Lord judges…”  and praise will come from him, the only true praise for he knows all; our hearts, our thoughts…  We would do better to praise him for our abilities and thank  him for them.

“… each one will receive his commendation from God….”  “…not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another….” 

These thoughts and comments deal  with an attitude of the heart.  They deal  with the foothold of personal conceit that can lead to a stronghold of selfish pride that keeps us from hearing the Lord for our focus shifts inward rather than toward Him.

“…the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power….”

If Paul came to visit us would he find a lot of talk or the demonstrated power of God?

The foundation is Christ and Christ alone…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

I Corinthians 3:1-23

But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.

I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready,

for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?

For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each.

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.

So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.

He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.

For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.

According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it.

For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.

If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.

If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.

 For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,”

and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.”

So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours,  whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

Sermons have been written, presented and given on individual verses and statements drawn from this  text.  Overall, it seems we can only give credit to God and his work.  We do what we are given to do by the Spirit within us but it is not our doing–the outcome is his doing.

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

…So let no one boast in men. …you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s….

We can rejoice that we have understanding given to us by the Spirit.  We can rejoice that we have Christ and that we are Christ’s.    Let us grow up in the Lord, in our relationship with Him.  Then it can be said of us that we have moved beyond the need for milk and have come to a place where we can grow on the meat of the gospel; we demonstrate maturity and avoid strife, squabbling and division.  When we argue and fight is it not out of personal pride?  If our focus is on Christ then Christ alone is what matters.

…fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it…. you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?…

Let go of self and take hold of Christ.

…Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise….

Change…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

I Corinthians 2:6-16

Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away.

 But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.

None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

 But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.

For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.

Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.

And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.

 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

A believer has received the Spirit and can gain knowledge and understanding from the Scripture that is hidden and seems foolish to the non-believer.  This is another type of separation; believer from non-believer.  When Christ and his message of love and freedom are received, a change begins to take place that is done by the Spirit at work in the believer.  This change brings the ability to read and understand the Word of God as the Spirit gives the understanding.  We begin to change from a ‘natural’ person to a ‘spiritual’ person.  The Word of God comes alive to us.  Blessed be the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.