Seeing Glory

2 Corinthians 3: Seeing Clearly

silhouette of mountain and birds
Photo by Kunal Baroth on Pexels.com

“But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18, NASB

For 4000 years the gospel remained veiled behind promises, laws, symbols, and prophecies. At times, the chosen people looked into a world blanketed in a fog wondering when the glory of the Lord would appear. Where was God—When Egypt enslaved them? When their babies were murdered? When their bellies were empty? When armies surrounded them? When they were led away from their homes?

He was always their but hidden behind a veil of unbelief.

“But their minds were hardened;

for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant

the same veil remains unlifted,

because it is removed in Christ.”

2 Corinthians 3:14

A song from my teen years comes to mind as I read this—“I Can See Clearly Now,” written by Johnny Nash. If you want to hear it google it by title. I like the version sung by Jimmy Cliff. It’s not a religious song but its poetic message describes what happens when the veil of unbelief is lifted in Christ.  We become the person seeing clearly God’s image and—

“being transformed into the same image from glory to glory…”

This transformation begins when the veil of unbelief gives way to saving faith. In that moment, the glory of God opens our blinded spiritual eyes to the glory of Jesus Christ in us.

“Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come …

Put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth …

But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, that you may proclaim the exellencies of him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light …

Let your light shine before men in such a way

that they may see your good works,

and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

(2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 4:24;1 Peter 2:9; Matthew 5:16;NASB)

This is the glory of Christ we bear now. Each step of transformation takes us closer to the final image of Christ which will be fully realized when we see Him.

  • “Beloved, now are we the sons of God and it doth not yet appear what we shall be : but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is …
  • As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly …
  • For our conversation[citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working where by he is able even to subdue all things unto himself …
  • Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed,
  • And all flesh will see it together;
  • For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” (1 John 3:2; 1 Corinthians 15:49; Philippians 3:20,21;Isaiah 40:5; KJV)

Israel’s unbelief became our salvation. But our salvation has become Israel’s and all the world’s hope. For, in God’s wisdom, He has chosen us to bear the light of His glory to all as we are transformed from glory to glory into the image of Christ. Christ came bearing the glory of the Father. Christ in us continues that work through us—His chosen vessels.

For Thought: What runs through your mind when you read you are chosen of God to bear His glory, His light into a dark world?

Our Prayer: Heavenly Father, by your power and wisdom, you have made us vessels of honor for your glory. May we remember each day you have made us in your likeness of righteousness, holiness, and truth. May we walk in the newness of life you have given us and proclaim your name to your glory. That others may see your glory, and the veil of unbelief be lifted from their eyes.

The Glory of the Lord

2 Corinthians 3: The Glory of the Lord

photo of pine trees covered by fog
Photo by Trace Hudson on Pexels.com

The early morning fog veiled the view from her window. The sun hid behind the gray curtain. It mirrored the heartache of the young woman’s soul. Why did it have to be this way? A tear slid down her cheek. She shut her eyes. Where are you, God? All who have suffered life’s hard challenges can identify with the young woman. What keeps us going forward? This week’s scripture holds our hope, our strength to continue.

This Week’s Scripture:

“But we all,

with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror

the glory of the Lord,

are being transformed into the same image

from glory to glory,

just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”

2 Corinthians 3:18, NASB

A hint of light filtered through the young woman’s closed eyes. She glanced towards the morning sky. The sun had risen above the treetops lifting the fog and chasing away the mist. Surrounded by wispy gray clouds a blue lake illuminated the sun’s brightness, it’s glory ignited hope in her heart.

For Thought: Where do you look for hope when life’s hard challenges overwhelm you?

Our Prayer:  Heavenly Father, we have seen your glory, your beauty, your goodness in the face of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. When pushed to the limit, help us remember to look to you who are limitless in glory, power, and strength and know you are working your glory in us and through us.

What’s Your Answer?

2 Corinthians Overview, Cont’d: What’s Your Answer?blogmistake-1966448__340

“Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!

Or do you not recognize this about yourselves,

that Jesus Christ is in you—unless in deed you fail the test?”

2 Corinthians 13:5(NASB95)

In Monday’s post, “Test Time!” the question posed for thought concerned what kind of questions you would expect on this test. One question I would ask is, “What does this test cover?” My beliefs? My works? My heart? Or all of the above?

It has to cover more than simple belief for we are told—

“You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.” James 2:19

John’s Gospel uses the word believe over 100 times, which is close to half the times it’s used in the New Testament.* Believing is a vital component in knowing Jesus Christ is in us. Yet, we all can agree the demons are definitely not in Christ nor is He in them. So, what in believing is needed to bring us into the assurance we are in Christ and Christ is in us?

  • “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord,
  • and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead,

you shall be saved,

  • for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness,
  • and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” Romans 10:9,10.

Yes, the demons even confessed Jesus to be the Holy One, but not their Lord. They knew and know the facts concerning Jesus, but they are not saved. For their heart, their allegiance is not to Him. Believing with the heart results in righteousness. They are far from righteous.

“He(God the Father) made Him who knew no sin(Jesus Christ)

to be sin on our behalf,

that we might become

the righteousness of God in Him.”

(2 Corinthians 5:21, words in parenthesis added by author for clarification)

And from our heart comes the conviction of truth that leads to salvation.

“for if we live, we live for the Lord,

or if we die, we die for the Lord;

therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.

For to this end Christ died and lived again,

that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.”

Romans 14:8-9.

The demons remain and will remain devoid of what it takes for salvation. For salvation lies in a new heart. One which has been raised from death to life.

“But God, being rich in mercy,

because of His great love with which He loved us,

even when we were dead in our transgressions,

made us alive together with Christ

(by grace you have been saved),

and raised us up with Him,

and seated us with Him in the heavenly places,

in Christ Jesus …”

Ephesians 2:4-6

A heart made pure.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8;

  • “Beloved, now we are children of God,
  • and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be.
  • We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him,
  • because we shall see Him just as He is.

And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him

purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

1 John 3:2,3.

How can we know we are in Christ? John writes—

“Little children,

let us not love with word or with tongue,

but in deed and truth.

We shall know by this that we are of the truth,

and shall assure our heart before Him.”

1 John 3:18,19

Returning to the beginning of this post, what is your answer to the question “What does this test cover?” My beliefs? My works? My heart? Or all of the above?  My answer—all of the above with the heart being at the core and summed up in Matthew’s gospel when he writes—

“Jesus said unto him,

THOU SHALT LOVE THE LORD THY GOD

WITH ALL THY HEART,

AND WITH ALL THY SOUL,

AND WITH ALL THY MIND …

THOU SHALT LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR AS THYSELF.”

 (Matthew 22:37,39b; KJV)

For Thought: Who owns your heart? The word prove/examine is a word requiring evidence. What’s your evidence?

Our Prayer: Heavenly Father, how great is your love for us that you would give us your Son to die in our place. May we never lose sight of the love that bought our salvation. No matter what the day brings help us remember the cross proves your love, the resurrection proves your faithfulness. May our works be such as comes from a pure heart of  love for you. Amen.


*Source: “A Study of Believing and Love in John’s Gospel” by Patrick Sullivan, found at https://collected.jcu.edu

Rejoicing!

1 Corinthians Conclusion: Rejoicing in the Lord!bloggratitude-1201944_960_720

“And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it;

or one member be honoured,

all the members rejoice with it.”

1 Corinthians 12:26

On this last post from my 1 Corinthians study, you are invited to rejoice with me, because my heavenly Father has honored me with a great opportunity. I didn’t feel free to share it fully until the reality began to be real. This week has been that time.

A couple of weeks ago I checked my email not expecting the thing I hoped for. It was too soon. But there is was. Only opening it would reveal whether my hope would be fulfilled. Before taking that step, I prayed to praise the Lord no matter the answer I received.

A verse I had on my answering machine comes to mind as I write this.

“Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4. Following the verse, I finished the message with, “even when you get this answering machine instead of Tom or Donna.” Now, was my time to live up to the same challenge and trust God with what waited.

I opened it and received the following invitation.

“Dear Donna,

Elk Lake Publishing, Inc. is pleased to offer you a contract for The Nazarene’s Price.”

I was honored to accept this offer as it was my first choice for a publisher for my first novel. I had to smile with joyful tears filling my eyes when I saw the Publisher & Editor in Chief, Deb Haggerty sign it with, “Counting it all joy.”

It’s easy for us to look around this world and get caught up in all that’s wrong, all the hurt, and sickness and get discouraged. We may wonder, what is there to rejoice in? My rejoicing may seem a small thing, but for me, God has honored my desire. My story, set in the New Testament age, is on the road to publication. I hope when it reaches the destination, God uses it to encourage others to believe—

“Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,

and that believing

ye might have life through his name.”

John 20:31b

That’s when full rejoicing begins, and the angels in heaven rejoice with us. Two things I will ask of you:

  1. Rejoice with me and
  2. pray for God to use this for His glory.

For You: What reason do you have to rejoice in the Lord this week? Won’t you share with us in the comments so we can rejoice with you? If you find yourself sorrowing—share that with us, and we will pray for you to be comforted, and a time of rejoicing fill your heart.


If you would like to visit my author page on the Elk Lake Publishing site you can find it by going to http://ElkLakePublishingInc.com. Visit the Author Page and scroll down to Donna K. Stearns. Click on my name and you should find me. Thank you, and have a blessed weekend rejoicing in the Lord.

Done In Love

1 Corinthians 16: Let It Be Done In Loveblog shield

“Be on the alert,

stand firm in the faith,

act like men,

be strong.

Let all that you do be done in love.”

(16:13,14, NASB*)

“Mom? Mom, I need you to wake up.” Mom raised her head, patted my cheek, and smiled. “I’m sorry to wake you but it’s time for your medicine.” I lifted her head enough for her to take her meds.

She smiled again, and lifted her hand to my cheek one last time. “I love you, baby.”

Those were her last true words of endearment to me before she walked with the Lord to her eternal home. They warmed my heart for Mom had dementia and died a couple weeks later. Last words can leave unforgettable marks on a person’s life.

In the last chapter of 1 Corinthians Paul sums up the whole of his letter to a church wrestling with itself and the world. He knew when all else might be forgotten, the last words of his first letter would be remembered as he summed up the letter in so few words.

“Be on the alert … Concerning—

1.Divisions in the body of Christ/the church;

“Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

  • that you all agree,
  • and there be no divisions among you,
  • but you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.” (1:10)

2. Sin in the body of Christ;

“Or do you not know

  • that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?
  • Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, or the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
  • And such were some of you;
  • but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God …
  • you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” (6:9-11,20)

3. Traditions ruling the body of Christ;

  • “You were bought with a price;
  • do not become slaves of men …
  • take care lest this liberty of yours somehow become a stumbling block to the weak …
  • Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim;
  • I box in such a way, as not beating the air;
  • but I buffet my body and make it my slave,
  • lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified
  • … each one is given the manifestation of the spirit for the common good …
  • If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal …
  • Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, especially prophecy …
  • let all things be done properly and in an orderly manner.” (7:23; 8:9;9:26,27; 12:7; 13:1; 14:1,40)

4. And the hope of the body of Christ.

  • “If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
  • But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.
  • For since by a man came death,
  • by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.
  • For as in Adam all die,
  • so also in Christ all shall be made alive … 
  • Behold I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep,
  • but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet;
  • for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable,
  • and we shall be changed …
  • then will come about the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’ …
  • Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,
  • knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” (15:19-22; 51-52,54b, 58)

Paul’s exhortation to the believers:

“Be on the alert,

stand firm in the faith,

act like men, be strong.

Let all that you do be done in love.”

(16;13,14)

Paul’s warning to the unbelieving:

“If anyone does not love the Lord,

let him be accursed.

Maranatha.**” (22)

Paul’s and my blessing and acknowledgment to you:

“The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.

My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.”

(23,24)

Mom’s last words to me left me a memory of her love, and another reason to look for the Lord’s return—knowing I’ll see her again, as she said, “riding on her white horse with Jesus.”***


For thought: What last words would you want to leave for those you love?

Today’s Scripture Reading: Revelation 22:10-15. Are you among the blessed looking for the Lord’s return or the cursed living outside of the Lord’s blessing?

Our Prayer: May we live with our hearts fixed on things eternal, looking for and working toward your kingdom coming.


*All scripture is taken from the NASB. **Maranatha—O Lord come! ***Mom wrote in her journal, if she should die before the Lord’s return she would be among the saints on white horses when He did return.

Where’s Your Mind Set?

1 Corinthians 10: Where’s Your Mind Set?

“Now these things happened as examples for us;

that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved.

And do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, ‘THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND STOOD UP TO PLAY.’

Nor let us act immorally, as some of the did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day.

Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents.” 1 Corinthians 10:6-9, NASB

What a party they had! The noise reached the ears of Moses and Joshua as they came down the mountain. But the volume didn’t stop there. It reached the ears of heaven. The people set their minds against the God who had delivered them from slavery, only to make themselves slaves to a god made by their hands—a god made from the bounty the Egyptians received as they left their land. How quickly they forgot the goodness of God toward them.

After delivering them from Egypt,

  • He made a way to escape through the Red Sea;
  • He provided water when they thirsted,
  • manna when they hungered,
  • and strengthened them in battle.
  • His presence walked with them in the cloud.

But they wanted to play god.

When our minds are turned from God, they turn to another god. This is idolatry. Americans are good at playing this game. No matter what, don’t take away our playtime. Let us make our own rules and play our immoral games. We have become our own gods. Heaven help us.

The world, not just the United States, is filled with those who want to rule not only their lives, but all lives. It’s nothing new. The ideology came when Satan tempted Eve and said she could be like God. As the population multiplied so did the number of gods. In truth, any who have set their minds against the one true God have become idolaters—worshippers of false gods.

Paul reminded the Corinthians of the end for those who chose to set their minds against God.

“Nevertheless, with most of them,

God was not well-pleased;

for they were laid low in the wilderness …

and twenty-three thousand fell in one day …

some… were destroyed by the serpents …

some were destroyed by the destroyer.”

(taken from 10:5-10)

When we choose to set our minds against God, death follows. God told Adam so in the garden, and He tells us.

“For the wages of sin is death …” Romans 6:23.

But God has not left us without hope. Nor did He leave Israel without hope. The people spoke against God and Moses. The Lord sent fiery serpents among the people and many died. The people cried out confessing their sin. The Lord heard and made a way to save them. He told Moses—

“Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard;

and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten,

when he looks at it, he shall live.”

Numbers 21:8

Moses did. Those who suffered bites and looked to the bronze standard, lived. I wonder how many refused to look to God’s way? I believe some refused. For such is the nature of those who set their minds against Him, and we see it in John’s gospel when he writes—

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,

even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;

that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life.”

John 3:14,15

Paul tells us all these things were written for our example. The question remains—will we learn from these examples or die in our sin. Our heavenly Father has offered us life through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son. Will we call out to Him and be saved? Or will we keep our minds set against Him?


For Thought: The Israelites saw God’s goodness and turned away. Why do people find it easy to set their minds against the One who loves them and gave himself for them?

Today’s Scripture: 2 Corinthians 10:3-5: A spiritual battle began in the Garden of Eden and continues to be fought. According to these verses, where is the battle field? And how do we win the victory?

Our Prayer: Father, you are God there is none other in heaven or on earth. You fill our lives with your goodness. Help us to set our minds on you and to bring our thoughts captive in obedience to you.

Leavened? Unleavened?

1 Corinthians 5 Leavened or Unleavened:

bread-1696166__340“Your boasting is not good.

Do you not know

that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?” (5:6)

The aroma fills the house with its promise of something good. The stomach growls. The smell tempts the tongue with almost a taste. Homemade bread, risen to perfection and baked to a golden brown, lathered with butter, not the fake stuff, invites the hungry to feast and fills the mind with a memory revisited anytime the fragrance fills the air. Leaven, or yeast in our current English language, makes the bread rise, filling it with volume and lightness that melts in our mouths. This homemade bread is a temptress.

The yeast in bread continues to grow as long as allowed. It steals what it needs from the dough to cause the rising action. Eventually, it grows throughout the dough adding some flavor but mostly air and its own fermentation. Such is sin.

In scripture, leaven is likened to the sin growing in the natural spirit we are born with.* The more we feed it the more it grows until it takes over our thoughts, actions, words, our hearts, and minds. It shouldn’t be ignored but in the spiritual sense, needs purged. The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church concerning their ignoring the sin in their body of believers. Not only, was the sin/leaven growing in the one sinning but it was beginning to rise in the body as a whole.

“Clean out the old leaven,

that you may be a new lump,

just as you are in fact unleavened.

For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.

Let us therefore celebrate the feast,

not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness,

but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

(5:7,8)

The purging needed to begin with the whole before it could be addressed in the one. It would need to be handled with the hope and purpose of restoring the whole to an unhindered fellowship with God and each other. Sin is a contagious disease which we do not avoid as we should. It’s not like other diseases that instantly bring bad symptoms. It appeals to us as the aroma of fresh baked bread. It pleases our human senses. But it does its work internally in our hearts, minds, and spirits. Piece by piece growing its destruction and weakness in us as it slowly fills us with its curse-so slowly, we don’t recognize it until its left its mark on our lives. Its cure is found in the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth-a heart sincere in repentance and a mind filled with truth, a heart that receives forgiveness-

“in order

that no advantage be taken of us by Satan;

for we are not ignorant of his schemes.”

2 Corinthians 2:11

For Thought: How long has it been since you asked the Lord to reveal any ‘leaven’ hidden in your heart? Mind? Or spirit?

Today’s Reading: 2 Corinthians 2:5-11; What do these verses say about restoring fellowship with an erring brother/sister in Christ? What should be our attitude?

Our Prayer: Father, you have given us Jesus Christ. By his death and resurrection you have purged the old leaven of malice and wickedness from us. May we join together, remembering we are one in Christ Jesus, and celebrate for He has filled us with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. May we celebrate his life in us and give you praise.


*Only on a few occasions is it used in a positive sense.(Leviticus 23:17; Matthew 13:33; Luke 13:21) And I hope you will join me Monday for a game of “Knowing”. Have a blessed weekend.

(1 Corinthians 5:6; all scripture quotations from this series in Corinthians are taken from the NASB unless otherwise state.)

Coming Together With One Message

Chapter 2 of 1 Corinthians reveals the one message that binds followers of Christ together. IMG_0621

“And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God.

For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

And I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling.

And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,

that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, NASB

The young inexperienced, untrained, preacher wanted to run and hide. His calling was from God. He hadn’t sought this task. To speak in front of others gave him lock jaw. What would he say to the familiar faces staring back at him expecting some profound word from the Lord? How or where would he begin? He ran to the senior pastor before services began.

“I don’t know what to say. God’s not given me a message.”

The wizened older man laid his hand on the young preacher’s bible. “You have a whole Bible.” The older minister patted the bible. “Preach it.”

There was no place to run.

The young preacher stood in good company. The second chapter of Corinthians opens telling us Paul experienced trembling fear when he went to the Corinthian church. He didn’t consider himself an eloquent speaker. He feared, though he knew the power of God went before him. The bottom line – he still went and God used him in his weakness so the Corinthians’ “faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.”

Not all of us are called to be preachers, evangelists, or pastors. But all of us are called to be witnesses of the gospel of Christ, beginning with what we know.

“For I determined to know nothing among you

except Jesus Christ,

and Him crucified.” 2:2

Later in the fifteenth chapter Paul gives us a crash course on the gospel of Christ.

“Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you,

  • which also you received,
  • in which also you stand,
  • by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received,

  • that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
  • and that He was buried,
  • and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,” (1-4)

Some find sharing Christ with others the same terrifying experience the young preacher felt. Some will wait until the opportunity arises and walk timidly. Others’ first words begin with, “Do you know Jesus loves you?” Sharing the gospel isn’t about our different personalities. It is about the wisdom and power of God in us to enable us to complete the task He has called us to. In the book of Acts, Luke shares Jesus’ words to his followers –

“but you shall receive power

when the Holy Spirit has come upon you,

and you shall be My witnesses …” 1:8

The young preacher did what the older minister advised. If I remember correctly, he began at the beginning – Genesis 1:1, proceeded to John 1:1, and ended with a verse in Revelation. I’m guessing it was 22:20 in hope it would be fulfilled before he had to stand before the congregation. It says –

“He who testifies to these things says,

‘Yes, I am coming quickly.’

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”

It took the young man about seven minutes to complete. Over the forty-five years he has been preaching, you would never guess he stood trembling in fear that day. He has learned God is faithful, and it’s only by His power and wisdom the word accomplishes what He sends it to do. His messages have more content, but the theme remains the same. He, like Paul, determined a long time ago,

“to know nothing among you

except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.”

For Thought: Someone told you about Jesus. Who will you tell?

Today’s Reading: 1Corinthians 2:9-16, with attention given to 9,10,16. The gospel of Christ laid veiled in the Old Testament until revealed by his first coming. What do 1 Corinthians 2:1-4 and 15:1-4 reveal about the gospel? How might this knowledge encourage you as you witness to others?

A Prayer for You: Father, You have revealed your plan for all in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Give us understanding, wisdom, and knowledge to share it in your power and wisdom, that others will see truth and be saved. As come together with one message, may we go out in your power to share it in word and deed.

Building A Healthy Body

sandwich-451403_1280Are you a sandwich kind of person or a give-me-a-full-meal person? Several years ago as a young bride, I desired to fix my husband a full meal for supper. I worked hard fixing him his meat, potatoes, at least one other vegetable, and bread. Southern sweet ice tea finished it off. After a few weeks, I began to wonder why go to all the trouble – except for the tea of course. Tom would come in from work, take whatever meat I cooked, and put it between two slices of bread. He liked his sandwich with a lot of meat, and he liked it plain – no lettuce, tomato, pickles, or condiments. Me? I like a hot meal at least once a day. And my sandwich needs it all-a little meat and all the fixings.

Today’s blog begins a new series born out of my precept bible study on 1 Corinthians. The first letter the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians is like a good sandwich with all the fixings. If eaten separately from the whole, some of it is hard to swallow. But when put together it provides the nutrition needed to build and maintain a healthy body of Christ – the church.

Actually, Ephesians 4:1-3 gives us a good overview of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. I’m using the NASB because I study using it.

“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord,

  • entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,
  • with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love,
  • being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

This passage parallels Paul’s description of the body of Christ in chapter 3 of 1 Corinthians when he refers to us as –

“God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.” 3:9

He then exhorts us to –

“let each man be careful how he builds upon it.

For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid,

which is Jesus Christ.”

3:10b,11.

 These verses provide the meat of Paul’s letter. It is sandwiched between instructions for building a healthy body as it provides the necessary tools to accomplish the end goal – the promise of completion and final victory.

  • “So that ye come behind in no gift, waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall also confirm you unto the end,
  • that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1:7-9, KJV

“But thanks be to God

who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

15:57

Then after filling this sandwich with instructions concerning the divisions in the church, the immorality in the church, and their questions, Paul puts the final piece of bread on the sandwich. It tastes like the passage in Ephesians we used in the beginning.

  • “Be on the alert,
  • stand firm in the faith,
  • act like men,
  • be strong.
  • Let all that you do be done in love.”16:13,14

Through the next few weeks we will examine the meat of the sandwich chapter by chapter. We will hear Paul’s instructions to this unhealthy church and the church today – not to point a finger at others – but to take a close look at our own lives in hopes of building a healthy body to the glory of Christ.

Is love of God and others behind all you do?

What are you willing to do to build up the church of Jesus Christ?