What’s That?

1Corinthians 14: What’s That?

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“Pursue love,

yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts,

but especially that you may prophesy.” (14:1)

“I’m sorry. Could you repeat that?”

The telemarketer tried a second time. Yes, I know. I should have ended the call, but I felt bad for the soft-spoken, quick-speaking, foreign-accented woman. It wasn’t her fault I couldn’t make out her words.

“I’m sorry, but I still can’t understand what you are asking. Could you, please, slow down.”

She did. It didn’t work. Her accent was too heavy for me to make out. She tried a third time. I needed an interpreter.

The Corinthian church had a similar problem when speaking in tongues brought confusion into the congregation. If too many spoke at once or no interpreter was present, the words were meaningless to the hearers.

“For one who speaks in a tongue

does not speak to men, but to God:

for no one understands,

but in his spirit he speaks mysteries.

(Verse 2, NASB*)

Paul did not forbid speaking in an unknown tongue—one not known by the speaker. He laid out instructions on using the gift properly and in order in the church. As he, also did for using the gift of prophesy in the church.

“Therefore, my brethren,

desire earnestly to prophesy,

and do not forbid to speak in tongues.

But let all things be done

properly and in an orderly manner.”

(Verses 39,40)

Paul begins this chapter saying prophesy is a gift to desire. In verse 3, he tells why.

“But the one who prophesies speaks to men

for edification

and exhortation

and consolation.”

Prophecy brings edification through speaking in the wisdom and knowledge of God by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Prophecy brings understanding to the hearers. It is that “aha” moment when it all makes sense, and the hearer grows in the knowledge, wisdom, and spiritual understanding of God and his message. How many times have you read a passage or heard a message on a familiar passage and suddenly it takes on a living meaning in your heart. That is the spirit of prophecy that edifies or produces growth.

Prophecy, the spoken word in a language the hearer knows, exhorts or urges the hearer to pursue an action resulting in the hearer’s growth.

“Hello?” Another phone call.

“Little Johnny, came home from camp today, saying you told him he couldn’t go to heaven unless he was a Christian. Is that true?”

“Yes, I remember saying that to our group.”

“So, you don’t believe a Baptist can go to heaven?”

The light came on. I had used a term little Johnny misunderstood. I learned a valuable lesson. It’s important to speak in a language the audience understands. Johnny left that day discouraged through hearing a message he didn’t understand. As a teacher or speaker of the word the message should urge our hearers in growth.

Prophecy, speaking God’s message, brings consolation or comfort to those who suffer from grief and other trials of life. It encourages the hearers to persevere and strengthens their resolve to wait for the Lord to perform his good work in their lives.

When my dad died suddenly, the Holy Spirit spoke such a word to me. “I am with you. Your dad is with me. You are not that far apart—just out of sight.” I’ve used those same words several times to bring comfort to others.

To end, we go back to the beginning. Whether it’s prophecy, speaking in tongues or any other gift—

“Pursue love…” For without it, we are—“a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”(13:1)


For Thought: What spiritual gift/s has the Holy Spirit given you? How are you using them?

Scripture Reading for Today: 1 Corinthians 14:9-12: What are the spiritual gifts given for?

Our Prayer: Father, you have given us all we stand in need of to share your word with others. You have gifted each of us according to your purpose, for the building up of your church, and for your glory. Thank you for providing all we need to do the work of ministry you have called us to. May we be faithful stewards and speak your word with understanding, in truth, and in love.


*All scripture is quoted from the NASB.

Here Come the Judges, Part 3

WHEN THERE IS NOTHING TO SAY, SAY NOTHING.

th2 “He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit. Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.” Prov. 17:27,28.

Almost Nothing

Tola’s life is summed up in two verses of Judges 10:2-3. He arose, defended, dwelt, judged, died, and was buried. The story not told says,

“Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.” Heb.11:33.

A Few Words for Believers

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Eph. 2:10.

A Little More

 Jair, his name means, May Jehovah Shine Forth. He judged Israel twenty two years, “And he had thirty sons that rode on thirty ass colts, and they had thirty cities…” Judges 10:4.

“Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD,  that delighteth greatly in his commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed. Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endureth for ever.” Ps. 11:1-3.

More Words for Believers

“Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” Heb. 13:12-16.

Yet a Little More

Jephthah, his name means, God Will Set Free. Not only did the Lord use him to set free Israel from her enemies, but also to set him free from his past. He was disinherited by his half-brothers and had to flee for his life, until Israel needed his help. He spoke with wisdom when the elders sought for his aid.

“And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, If ye bring me home again to fight against the children of Ammon, and the LORD deliver them before me, shall I be your head?” Judges 11:9.

The elders agreed and he rose to lead them to victory when the Spirit of the LORD came upon him. But in rashness or lack of trust in the Lord, I don’t know, but he made a vow to the Lord. He was victorious but it cost him his daughter.

“Be not rash with thy mouth and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.” Ecc.5:2.

A Few More Words for Believers

“But the tongue can no man tame; it i.s an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethern, these things ought not so to be…James 3:8-10; If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth; that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ: to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”1Peter 4:11.

The Final Word

“O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” Matt. 12:34-37.

What do your words say about your heart?

 

 

 

What Would You Say?

“Only the LORD had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day.” Deut. 10:15.

Deuteronomy, a book of remembrance, review, and renewal, contains Moses’ farewell messages to the new generation literally sitting on the edge of the Promised Land. It is an end of wandering, and a beginning of entering the Lord’s abundance, a remembering the past so as not to repeat it and a hope for the future, a review of what the Lord required of them, and a renewal of a covenant broken by their parents. The time had come.blog Jordan

“And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spake unto the children of Israel, according unto all that the LORD had given him in commandment unto them…On this side Jordan, in the land of Moab, began Moses to declare this law, saying, Ye have dwelt long enough in this mount: Turn you…take your journey, and go…” Deut. 1:3,5-7a. Is it your turn, your time to quit wandering and start living? Our Father God shows you how and empowers you to do so. The decision is yours. It’s time to turn from the world, take your journey with Him and go forward.

Unlike Numbers, which spanned forty aimless years, Deuteronomy covers a period of approximately one month, similar to the time of Leviticus. The audience in Deuteronomy, the congregation of a new generation, differs from Leviticus’ priestly audience. Deuteronomy is for the congregation, us.

In Deuteronomy, Moses, the Lord’s called savior of Israel, the priestly intercessor for the wayward children, the leader of a new nation and the prophet of God to a new generation, finishes the work of the Lord. Now it’s time for him to go.

  • “Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt,”(Ex. 3:11).
  • “Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.”(Lev. 20:7).
  • “Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.” (Num. 14:19).
  • “These be the words which Moses spake unto all Israel on this side Jordan in the wilderness…And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee…” (Deut. 1:1;30:1). “So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD…And the children of Israel wept for Moses…thirty days…” (Deut. 34:5,8).

 “And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after;” Heb. 3:5. When do you find it hardest to be faithful? Will you hear the words, “…Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”  Matt. 25:21.

For You:

  • What would your last words be to the generation following you?
  • Moses’ epitaph reads faithful. What do you want your epitaph to read?

Personal Request: Our friends received news in the night of their son’s going home to be with the Lord. He has entered into the joy of the Lord. Even as we rejoice in hope, our hearts are broken for their pain in a life that to us was cut short. Whatever word of the Lord you would like to say to the next generation, don’t wait to say them, and please, would you pray for our friends and their family. Thank you.