Monday Morning Cover to Cover.............God is among you I Cor 14:24. He has provided for you to stand up under all you're going through I Cor 10:13
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU REPENTED? A friend asked me that question. Said he had put the question on one of his exams when he was teaching Bible. Am I really free in the place where I am this very day? We may think we are free but then someone shows up in our day and steals our peace. And do we repent no matter whether big or small sins. Sometimes we are not as free as we think we are. A teenager said to me this week that it was boring hearing about the love of God one more time---she wanted to hear something else. Maybe I misread her but it seems so arrogant to me. She had no idea how she came across. Have we lost our marvel over God’s love for us no matter what we do? What place in our heart do our thoughts and actions and attitudes come from. It’s not about cleaning up our behavior. It’s all about repenting and returning. This verse lingers with me from the chronological readings this week. God has done I Cor 10:13 - He has provided ways for each of us to stand up under all we’ve been through. We can look “spiritual” on the outside but what does that count for? It’s all about our hearts, isn’t it? We are so grateful to Him this Thanksgiving week for freedom. I loved reading I Cor 9:1 “Am I not free?” I am finding freedom in Him like I have never had. I am more free than ever! It’s freedom first, then love. Can’t move to love if we are not free from that person and their responses. Awesome work HE is doing in all of us. Faithful is He Who has called us and He is doing it! And if He is not working in your life, you need to ask yourself some hard questions. Here are 7 questions that linger with me from reading the chronological Bible this week. Pick one question and read that paragraph and leave a comment about what your mighty awesome God is saying to you.
1. When was the last time I repented?
2. Is God really among us?
3. What if I have faith that moves mountains?
4. What rules my heart this moment?
5. How do you deal with weakness and fear as you walk through your days?
6. Wonder how God is revealing to you what He has for you?
7. What would Jesus look like if He was living in your circumstances?
IS GOD REALLY AMONG US?
I Cor 14:24 – if someone walks into our midst, are they convinced that they are a sinner when they bump up against us? Now, if they bump up against our sin, how do we repent and show them a heart alive to God? Are the secrets of their heart laid bare so that they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming “God is really among you!” What is happening among us? If it is God, then we’ll know it cause we can’t conjure up the power of God. But we can do I Cor 14:1 “hold firmly to the Word.”
WHAT IF I HAVE FAITH THAT MOVES MOUNTAINS?
What if I give all I possess to the poor? But I live distant, distressed, disgusted, discouraged.
If I don’t have love for those God has brought into my life, I gain nothing. I am nothing.
If I have a successful ministry but really don’t love people enough to talk with them and walk with them whether they are right or wrong, I gain nothing from my passionate ministry.
If I have awesome kids but love them only when they do the things I approve of, that’s not love.
If I have great faith but withhold my love from one person even for very good reasons, what’s that about? I gain nothing. We think of love in terms of our behavior and then our definitions of love are so shallow.
WHAT RULES MY HEART THIS MOMENT?
Does God’s Love really rule my heart this day? Just look at what comes out of your thoughts, your mouths, your heart. Disgusted thoughts about others? Distant actions that communicate you don’t care. I Cor 6:12 says: “I will not be mastered by anything.” Not even the judgmental thoughts we harbor. Something rules our hearts more than the love of God if our thought life shows our ambition, our obsessions.
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH WEAKNESS AND FEAR AS YOU WALK THROUGH YOUR DAYS?
I Cor 2:3,4 has meant so much to me over these past years cause I feel that I live in weakness and fear. Paul said that is where he was coming from “I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” Oh, that’s what I long for. Not longing for the perfect wise words to say. Not longing to persuade people. But longing for the power of the Spirit of my God. That means I need to let Him work and trust Him and not try to make it happen.
WONDER HOW GOD IS REVEALING TO YOU WHAT HE HAS FOR YOU?
I Cor 2:9“No eye has seen,no ear has heard,no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” I have so struggled my whole life with believing that I’m not loved, not cared for. I've kept friends "in court" trying to prove I am not loved rather than seeing what God has done and how they have responded to God. And how I want to respond to God to move in loving others regardless of their responses to me. I’ve walked into a Love that I cannot lose in the past couple of years through suffering. I’m thinking differently these days. Embracing truth and remaining there and trusting like I haven’t before.
WHAT WOULD JESUS LOOK LIKE IF HE WAS LIVING IN YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES?
A couple of years ago, I couldn’t physically stand up I was so depressed. Doesn’t matter what got me there, the real question is why did I crater? How did I get to the place that I wasn’t able to function when I perceived a tragedy hit? Not the place of trust where my beautiful God wants me to live. So this verse speaks to me: 2 Thes 2:15, 16 “Stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. You know I cannot even stand firm without God’s help. What would Jesus look like if He was living in your circumstances? “May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” And, yes, it was God Himself who strengthened me and I couldn’t be any more grateful. And I continue every day to grow and make shifts I could never do on my own.
My prayer for you this Thanksgiving week is 2 Thessalonians 3:16 - “Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” Wonder what that peace looks like in your life, in my life?