Wednesday, September 30, 2009

October 1, Thursday Devotion

1 Corinthians 14:37-40

37 If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command. 38 If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored. 39 Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

Quick Notes

Structure helps us achieve more than what we can do on our own. By grace, the sum is indeed more than its parts with proper structure.

Quick Questions

Are you willing to structure your life in a way that God will use you?

Quick Prayer

O Lord, give me the strength to follow the pat you have provided. Amen.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

September 30, Wednesday Devotion

1 Corinthians 14:34-36

34 women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. 36 Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached?

Quick Notes

Some interpret this passage as a command against women being in teaching/preaching/pastoral roles. Unfortunately, that negates Paul's writings that women are seen as equal through the eyes of Christ. This follows the passage that people need to be able to understand what is being said in services. Instead of disrupting the service, they should ask at home as to not take away others from listening well.

Quick Questions

Have you ever been distracted while trying to listen to someone speak? Have you ever been the one who distracts?

Quick Prayer

Lord Jesus, may your grace flow through whoever I am listening to that I might be edified. Amen.

Monday, September 28, 2009

September 29, Tuesday Devotion

1 Corinthians 14:26-33

26 What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28 If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God.

29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30 And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31 For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.

As in all the congregations of the saints,

Quick Notes

There is a saying that goes, "There is a place for everything and everything for a place." When we live disordered lives, it leads to brokenness all around. God created out of order and it is through order that the majesty creation comes in full view. I do not mean by order a very tight structure that squeezes the life out of something, but order that allows for a magnificent play that brings out the best because of everyone being on the same page.

Quick Questions

Is your life one of order or chaos?

Quick Prayer

Lord, thank you for your order. Let it help me be a great witness for you. Amen.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

September 28, Monday Devotion

1 Corinthians 14:20-25

20 Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults. 21 In the Law it is written:

Through men of strange tongues and through the lips of foreigners I will speak to this people, but even then they will not listen to me,” says the Lord. 22 Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is for believers, not for unbelievers. 23 So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and some who do not understand or some unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind? 24 But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, 25 and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”

Quick Notes

We are responsible for how the gospel is communicated. Though God's grace is bigger than ourselves, that does not excuse us from being lazy in communicating the gospel well.

Quick Questions

How do you communicate the gospel?
Quick Prayer

Jesus, communicate your love and grace through me. Amen.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

September 27, Sunday Devotion

1 Corinthians 14:13-19

13 For this reason anyone who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 15 So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind. 16 If you are praising God with your spirit, how can one who finds himself among those who do not understand say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying? 17 You may be giving thanks well enough, but the other man is not edified. 18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.

Quick Notes

This issue above can apply to other things as well, such as blessings. Most of those who read this have been blessed abundantly, and thankfully so. The problem is that we take so much joy in the blessings we have received that we forget to bless others as well. We concentrate on what we've received that we forget to give.

Quick Questions

In a group, do you try to keep the focus on yourself or others? When you talk about how you've been blessed, has it been to edify others?

Quick Prayer

Almighty God, you have given me much more than I have ever deserved. Let me give as abundantly as I have received. Amen.

Friday, September 25, 2009

September 26, Saturday Devotion

1 Corinthians 14:1b-12

and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. 2 For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit. 3 But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. 4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. 5 I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified.

6 Now, brothers, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction? 7 Even in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the flute or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes? 8 Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle? 9 So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air. 10 Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning. 11 If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and he is a foreigner to me. 12 So it is with you. Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church.

Quick Notes

Sometimes we can make people feel inferior to us by using language games that is not what I will call common speak. Some of us can speak the Christian language while others can speak the language of engineering or of sales and marketing. Those on the outside of these areas rarely have any idea what sanctification or nuclear fission or something in sales that I don't know really mean. It is our responsibility to preach Christ in words and action that people on the outside can understand.

Quick Questions

What languages do you speak that limit others interactions with you?

Quick Prayer

Christ Jesus, let me be like you to reach whomever I can. Amen.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

September 25, Friday Devotion

1 Corinthians 14:1a

14 Follow the way of love

Quick Notes

This is a short passage today. Love has been exemplified completely in Christ Jesus. Follow his way.

Quick Questions

Are you willing to follow the way of Jesus? Are you willing to follow the pattern of self-giving love?

Quick Prayer

O God, help me to love like you. Amen.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

September 24, Thursday Devotion

1 Corinthians 13:8-13

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Quick Notes

Love never fails. What an amazing concept. What an amazing truth. Where everything else will cease, love continues on and perfects. Love is a much better motivator than fear and that is exactly what God does through Christ. He loves us from our sins to become what we were created to be in his image.

Quick Questions

Do you believe that love never fails? Why or why not? Can you give an example?

Quick Prayer

O Lord, thank you for not failing to love me even in my failures. Amen.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

September 23, Wednesday Devotion

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Quick Notes

Wow, this kind of love is different than what we are usually talking about in today's world. The Greek word for love is described in a self-giving way. When we give of ourselves, the things mentioned above happen naturally.

Quick Questions

Is this the kind of love you want?

Quick Prayer

Lord Jesus, let me be self-giving in all ways. Amen.

Monday, September 21, 2009

September 22, Tuesday Devotion

1 Corinthians 13:1-3

13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Quick Notes

Several songs say that love is really the most important thing... and they are right. God has revealed Himself as love in flesh. Jesus being God himself did not use his "Godliness" as the measure of how he should be judged. Love was that connection. That is our standard.

Quick Questions

Have you ever looked at things where love is a secondary issue? Why or why not?

Quick Prayer

Lord, may I learn to love like you. Amen.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

September 21, Monday Devotion

1 Corinthians 12:27-31

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way.

Quick Notes

There are a lot of things to say about this passage, but what stands out is to desire the greater gifts. What this means is that we should never be satisfied where we are in life. We always need to be striving to find more ways to share the gospel. That is our desire - to grow in grace and peace.

Quick Questions

How do you strive and desire the greater gifts?
Quick Prayer

Jesus, give me the strength to share you by any way possible. Amen.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

September 20, Sunday Devotion

1 Corinthians 12:14-26

14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Quick Notes

It is interesting how much of our lives we spend telling everyone that we do not need them while secretly hoping they do not listen to us. Some of us have unique things to bring and therefore are fragile while others of us are strong because of our not-so-unique abilities. But no matter what, we need each other. We need to cry together and we need to laugh together.

Quick Questions

When is the last time you told someone you did not need them? Did you need them?

Quick Prayer

Almighty God, thank you for creating me as a piece of the puzzle of humanity. Amen.

September 19, Saturday Devotion

1 Corinthians 12:12-13

12 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

Quick Notes

This is so important. Together, the body of Christ, the church universal, all of us - we make up the imago dei (image of God). It is together, as one, that we are able to become what we were created to be.

Quick Questions

Which part of the body do you think you are?

Quick Prayer

Christ Jesus, thank you for letting me dwell in you. Amen.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

September 18, Friday Devotion

1 Corinthians 12:4-11

4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

Quick Notes

Quick paraphrase of above paragraph: We are all different, but together God makes us the church.

Quick Questions

Are you exactly the same of anyone you know? Exactly?

Quick Prayer

O God, thank you for your grace that moves our differences into something that glorifies you. Amen.

September 17, Thursday Devotion

1 Corinthians 12:1-3

12 Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. 2 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3 Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

Quick Notes

There are several people who can say, "Jesus is Lord." The thing is that not everyone who says it is speaking by the Spirit of God. In medieval times, several crusaders said, "Jesus is Lord" while they smite the infidel; yet this is not from the Spirit of God. No one can claim that Jesus is Lord of their life except by grace which comes by the power of the Holy Spirit. When we say, "Jesus is Lord", we are confessing aloud a servitude of our whole being - body, mind, and soul.

Quick Questions

What do you mean when you say, "Jesus is Lord?" Do you mean anything by it? Do you ever say it? Why or why not?

Quick Prayer

O Lord, be lord of my life in Jesus' name, Amen.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

September 16, Wednesday Devotion

1 Corinthians 11:17-34

17 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. 20 When you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, 21 for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. 22 Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? Certainly not! 23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. 32 When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world. 33 So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other. 34 If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment. And when I come I will give further directions.

Quick Notes

The problem of Corinth is a problem we have today. We rarely do things for the community for the sake of the community. We do things for the community for our own benefit. We take more than we need and we don't share. We are encouraged to look after each other, not ourselves.

Quick Questions

How many things that you do are for others as opposed to yourself?

Quick Prayer

Lord Jesus, teach me your ways that your Kingdom may come and your will be done. Amen.

Monday, September 14, 2009

September 15, Tuesday Devotion

1 Corinthians 11:2-16

2 I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you. 3 Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. 5 And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is just as though her head were shaved. 6 If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head. 7 A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. 8 For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; 9 neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10 For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head.

11 In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. 12 For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God. 13 Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, 15 but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering. 16 If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice—nor do the churches of God.

Quick Notes

A lot of what Paul says here does not make sense outside of the culture where the Corinthian Christians lived. The things they are encouraged not to do are things that would make them mirror the world. We get ourselves caught up in world type stuff and realize that we are separate to the world.

Quick Questions

What are some things in this world that you embrace? Does the message of Christ confirm or contradict this? Why or why not?

Quick Prayer

Lord, help me to be an example of your love no matter where I am. Amen.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

September 14, Monday Devotion

1 Corinthians 10:23-11:1

23 Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive. 24 Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. 25 Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, 26 for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” 27 If some unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. 28 But if anyone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the man who told you and for conscience’ sake— 29 the other man’s conscience, I mean, not yours. For why should my freedom be judged by another’s conscience? 30 If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for? 31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33 even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. 11 1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

Quick Notes

Most of our lives, we learn how to not respond, "You can't tell me what to do." Few of us like others telling us what they think we should do, because we are our own person. Yet, as Christians, we are not our own, but God's. Sure, we can do what we want, but sometimes that causes more harm to the community at large, and therefore the Kingdom of God. Paul says to follow him as he follows Christ. That is the ideal for us. To follow to be like Christ.

Quick Questions

Could other people say that they could follow your example as you follow the example of Christ? Why or why not?
Quick Prayer

Jesus, I want to follow you. Send me others to help lead the way. Amen.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

September 13, Sunday Devotion

1 Corinthians 10:14-22

14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf. 18 Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? 19 Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. 22 Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

Quick Notes

Flee from idolatry... that is a weird request. What exactly constitutes an idol? Well, it is anything that we put our hope in symbolically rather than Christ. Anything that we trust to bring us through the hard times that is not Christ is idolatry.

Quick Questions

Is there anything you put your trust in above Christ?

Quick Prayerrust

Almighty God, continue to teach me to trust in you. Amen.

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 12, Saturday Devotion

1 Corinthians 10:1-13

10 For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.

6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry.” 8 We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. 9 We should not test the Lord, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.

11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

Quick Notes

Temptation is an interesting thing. No matter how faithful you are, you will always be tempted. The question is what you will do when temptation comes. Paul says there is always a way out of temptation. It is partly our responsibility to find that way out.

Quick Questions

When temptation comes, will you give into it or find ways to get away from it?

Quick Prayer

Christ Jesus, let me flee temptation and run to you. Amen.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

September 11, Friday Devotion

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Quick Notes

For most of us, serving others does not come easily. We have to discipline ourselves or beat our bodies to develop the kind of habits necessary to truly serve others. Again, it is out of our freedom that we choose to chain ourselves to the needs of others.

Quick Questions

Do you discipline yourself to prepare for life or do you allow life to discipline you? Which seems to honor what Paul is saying?

Quick Prayer

O God, you are my inspiration for serving others. Give me the strength and the will to do so. Amen.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

September 10, Thursday Devotion

1 Corinthians 9:19-23

19 Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

Quick Notes

In Christ, we are free. But because we are followers of Christ, we give up our freedom to spread the gospel to others. Freedom leads to freeing ourselves from freedom for the purpose of service to those that are not yet free so they might share in our freedom. It might sound confusing, but think of it that we are saved from death and because of our graciousness, we choose to be slaves to the One who saved us.

Quick Questions

Do you use your freedom to become a slave?

Quick Prayer

O Lord, thank you for freeing me from brokenness. I choose to become a slave to you. Amen.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

September 9, Wednesday Devotion

1 Corinthians 9:15-18

15 But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing this in the hope that you will do such things for me. I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of this boast. 16 Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me. 18 What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make use of my rights in preaching it.

Quick Notes

Though it is the church's responsibility to take care of our pastors and clergy, those who are called to preach should not require payment for their services. Serving God is the reward. As all of us are called to spread the gospel. We are to do it for the joy of the Lord.

Quick Questions

Do you ever feel like you deserve credit for doing God's work?

Quick Prayer

Lord Jesus, may your grace be enough to preach your word. Amen.

Monday, September 7, 2009

September 8, Tuesday Devotion

1 Corinthians 9:3-14

3 This is my defense to those who sit in judgment on me. 4 Don’t we have the right to food and drink? 5 Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas? 6 Or is it only I and Barnabas who must work for a living?

7 Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk? 8 Do I say this merely from a human point of view? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing? 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Is it about oxen that God is concerned? 10 Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he? Yes, this was written for us, because when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. 11 If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? 12 If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more?

But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ. 13 Don’t you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? 14 In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.

Quick Notes

Is is common to expect things for nothing, or at least for a greatly reduced price. We go to stores refusing to pay too much for something we need while accepting the stuff we want at a not-so-great deal. There is a mentality out there that anyone can do a pastor's job, so there is no reason to pay them too much. Of course, no one really wants the pastor's job but many times that is not too important. Paul is saying that if there is a fellow person who is care taking your soul, you should play a part in taking care of them.

Quick Questions

How often do you show appreciation to your pastor? Do you just say something or give something as well?

Quick Prayer

Lord, let me give to those who need by your grace. Amen.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

September 7, Monday Devotion

1 Corinthians 9:1-2

9 Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the result of my work in the Lord? 2 Even though I may not be an apostle to others, surely I am to you! For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

Quick Notes

These two verses can seem a bit disjointed when taken alone, but this is the beginning of a plea for the Corinthians to really think about what Paul is telling them. Even though Paul was formative for the church there, he still has to persuade them.

Quick Questions

Do you ever feel like you have to persuade others just to get them to listen to you? How does that make you feel?
Quick Prayer

Jesus, may your grace be sufficient for me. Amen.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

September 6, Sunday Devotion

1 Corinthians 8:7-13

7 But not everyone knows this. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat such food they think of it as having been sacrificed to an idol, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. 8 But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.

9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, won’t he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols? 11 So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. 12 When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.

Quick Notes

This passage is about how we view sin. We live in a culture where sin is individual and privatized -- between me and Jesus. But the reality is that sin affects all those around us. In fact, when we break relationships by choosing to enact our freedom... we are sinning. There is also a reverse to this. If we are mature believers but get on to others because they enact their freedom more than others, we are also causing the weak among us to stumble. It is not just between me and Jesus, but we, together, and Jesus.

Quick Questions
When you sin, do you think it affects those around you? Why or why not?

Quick Prayer

Almighty God, let me follow the example of Jesus. Amen.

Friday, September 4, 2009

September 5, Saturday Devotion

1 Corinthians 8:1-6

8 Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2 The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. 3 But the man who loves God is known by God. 4 So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one. 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

Quick Notes

There are things in this world that we sometimes associate with evil when there is nothing actually evil about those things. We believe, with Paul, that all things come from God and that is who we live for. We do not need to be scared of things because of the thing itself. If it is not a master to you, and does not cause our weaker believers to stumble, there is nothing inherently wrong with it.

Quick Questions

What are some things that you have been told are evil? Does that description fit with what Paul is saying here? Why or why not?

Quick Prayer

Christ Jesus, Lord, through you may we continue to live. Amen.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

September 4, Friday Devotion

1 Corinthians 7:39-40

39 A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord. 40 In my judgment, she is happier if she stays as she is—and I think that I too have the Spirit of God.

Quick Notes

Marriage may be approved by God, but it is a man-made institution. Death makes marriage void and the whole dilemma of single vs. married starts over again.

Quick Questions

What kind of things need to die in your life for you to be free to serve God?

Quick Prayer

O God, may you continue to fill me up with your love. Amen.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

September 3, Thursday Devotion

1 Corinthians 7:36-38

36 If anyone thinks he is acting improperly toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if she is getting along in years and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married. 37 But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind not to marry the virgin—this man also does the right thing. 38 So then, he who marries the virgin does right, but he who does not marry her does even better.

Quick Notes

If you have been reading this devotion over the past several days, you will notice the fact that Paul seems to be kicking a dead horse. That being said, sometimes we need to be told over and over and over in different ways before we actually understand something. If you marry, God loves you and you can serve. If you stay single, God loves you and you can serve.

Quick Questions

How do you think you can hear these words best?

Quick Prayer

O Lord, thank you for giving me several reminders on how to better follow you. Amen.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

September 2, Wednesday Devotion

1 Corinthians 7:29-35

29 What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none; 30 those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; 31 those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.

32 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34 and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.

Quick Notes

It may seem a bit like harping, but Paul wants for us to understand that married people have more responsibilities than unmarried. Being married means you are to please your spouse while also trying to be concerned with things of the Lord. Single people are only concerned with things from the Lord. So whatever you choose, choose wisely.

Quick Questions

Is it worth being concerned with pleasing a spouse in addition to being concerned with the things of the Lord? Why or why not?

Quick Prayer

Lord Jesus, may my choices be pleasing to you. Amen.