1 Corinthians 15:58 So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and steady, always enthusiastic about the Lord’s work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. There are a lot of times when I feel like the things I do are useless and don’t seem to make a difference. But this verse is encouraging because it says that nothing I do for God is ever useless. I guess an example of this would be the experiences I had a long time ago in college. I’m not sure if I did them for God or if, rather, they were done to me to be used by God. But, whatever the case, they were not useless experiences because God can, and has, used them to touch other people’s lives. He has been faithful to turn death into life. Also, just because I can’t fix a situation doesn’t mean that it was worthless. I’m not meant to fix every situation. That’s not my role. That’s God’s role, if He chooses t fix it. Not doing something because I feel like I can’t fix it is a bad excuse. Nothing I do, if God is at the helm, is useless. It also says to be enthusiastic about God’s work. Sometimes I find myself mentally moaning about the perception of something I should do because I think it’ll be a lot of work, or it seems like something I don’t want to do. An example, sometimes I dread working with people less fortunate than me because I feel awkward or afraid, and I don’t know what to say or do. But, I should welcome these opportunities and dive in enthusiastically. To hold back is pride and fear, and neither of those are things I want to work further into my life. It’s easy to be enthusiastic about the stuff I want to do, but it’s being enthusiastic about the other things that helps me to grow and lets God work more good stuff into my life.
1 Corinthians 14: 1-3 Let love be your highest goal, but also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives, especially the gift of prophecy. For if your gift is the ability to speak in tongues, you will be talking to God but not to people, since they won’t be able to understand you. You will be speaking by the power of the Spirit, but it will all be mysterious. But one who prophesies is helping others grow in the Lord, encouraging and comforting them. I’ve found that the gift of speaking in tongues is either greatly sought after or greatly despised. To some degree, it seems much more common than the gift of prophecy. I’ve only known a handful of prophets, but I’ve met many people who speak in tongues. The verses make an interesting distinction between the two gifts. Speaking in tongues is speaking to God, but it doesn’t necessarily edify or help others in the church. But prophecy can be helpful, encouraging, and comforting. This is very true. I have a dear friend who has the gift of prophecy, and her words have encouraged me countless times when I was struggling and frustrated. In a sense it’s a little confusing sometimes, if the prophecy comes in the form of a vision, but it’s also very soothing to be reminded in a physical sense that God’s it worked out. I think the gift of prophecy would be an amazing gift to have, but I’d imagine a prophet would need lots of courage. I tend to think of prophecy as always encouraging, but I’m sure there are times when God sends a message that is less welcome to the recipient. That would be a bit scary to deliver. Think back to some of the prophets in the Bible, like Elijah and Elisha. Boy, people were so happy about their messages that they almost got killed on a regular basis! Thankfully, I don’t think the dangers are quite so extreme today, but it could still be an act of faith to speak a message that is not wanted. But, to those of us who don’t have these amazing gifts, like prophecy, there is love. And Paul says that this is greater than any gift. Yeah for us! Love is something everyone can do and everyone has access to. It’s not something that we have to be given (although God pours it on us continually) and it’s something that we can easily do for others (small acts of love and kindness aren’t that difficult). So, while I think it would be amazing to be able to prophecy, Paul says that my highest goal should be to love others. And that’s something I can do today with the people I have around me… starting with my classroom full of students.
1 Corinthians 11:6 Yes, if she refuses to wear a head covering, she should cut off all her hair. And since it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut or her head shaved, then she should wear a covering. Really? Is it a custom or a law? Somehow I don’t think God is upset when women worship or pray without something over our head. I don’t know. It’s like my other questions about how we pick and choose what things to obey or follow in the Bible. It makes my head spin… and today, with my stomach spinning, other spinning isn’t good. Ugh.
1 Corinthians 10:31 Whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, you must do all for the glory of God. I’m starting a new semester today at my job. And because we’re on block scheduling, one of my classes will be completely new and the other two will be a little mixed up with new students. It’s always a little nerve-wracking walking in on that first day of class to discover what those students will be like. Last semester my kids were, for the most part, great. I had a good time teaching them. I’m hoping and praying the same for this semester. Sometimes it’s really hard to remember to do things that glorify God when I get frustrated with my students. There are a lot of times when I don’t show God’s love very well. And especially with my students, many of whom come from families where they don’t see their parents much or don’t have a parent to live with, I may be the only person who cares about them during the day. That’s sad and scary, especially when I get irritated and am short with them. So, as I start this new day with new students (mostly), I’m praying that God would give me a supernatural love for my students, exceptional patience, and joy in the students that I have this semester. I’m also praying that I would truly be “Jesus with skin on” for my students and show them the love that Jesus showed me. … And if you’re a praying person, would you mind praying that, too?
I wanted to post the sermon at my church (Discovery Church) that Jon Tyson “preached” yesterday. It was AWESOME! It was all about grace and how we’ve misinterpreted it, how the church has become known for its hate and intolerance instead of love, and how it’s not by faith that we’re saved but by grace. If I were to try and explain it, I would ruin it. So, I’ll post the link to Discovery’s media page for now, and I’ll post the link to the sermon when they get it up there. Plus, Jon Tyson’s from Australia so he’s got an awesome accent! :) Second, there’s a guy who leads worship at Discovery that sang a song he wrote and it’s AWESOME! Take a peek: The song’s called Saturate. I hope it spreads because it’s beautiful. Yesterday at church (yesterday was an awesome service!) our pastor (David Loveless) reminded us of the importance of speaking with God and relating to Him and praying to Him from different positions. He has us all kneel down and pray that way for a moment. It was a great reminder that simply kneeling before God has a way of focusing me and humbling me and allowing me to press into His presence more than if I’m sitting on my couch or bed or standing in the kitchen (and certainly more than if I’m chasing my little ones). He spoke briefly about how the Bible talks about praising God with our hands raised, or on our knees or faces, or with instruments, or with our voices, silently and out loud. And each of these methods brings something different to that moment. It was very cool. My amazing husband, John, went to an awesome men’s event at Discovery Church this past Saturday called the Better Man Event. He has a great time and met some wonderful guys (one of whom just appeared and disappeared but made a pretty deep impact on John). So, last night John actually came into our room as I was getting ready to go to bed and invited me to pray with him!!! It was SO cool! :) I was so proud of him and thankful for his courage in taking the initiative. Yeah God! And then he went to up his character points to 60 since the Mass Effect 2 game comes out Monday at midnight (and he found out that the main character, not only has the same first name as he does – John Sheppard, but they also share the same birthday, so that upped the awesomeness of the game for him a little more)… Children’s laughter. There aren’t too many things more awesome than children’s laughter. John was throwing Gavin and Kai last night and rough-housing with them right before we put them to bed (yeah, way to calm them down before bed, right?), and they were screaming and laughing and it was beautiful! No wonder Jesus said, let the little children come to me… I can totally see Him scooping one of them up and tossing them into the air as they screamed with delight. Cool pictures.
Due to craziness with sick children last night, may I direct your (and my) attention to Skip Moen (again) and an interesting commentary on tithing and keeping things in context? It’s very interesting. And now, without further ado, Skip Moen’s Prophetic Profits. See you tomorrow!
1 Corinthians 6:12 You may say, “I am allowed to do anything.” But I reply, “Not everything is good for you.” And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. This sounds like something that my little ones would say, “I can do anything I want!” And we say things like that, too, especially because we have the forgiveness of Christ. I think that I’ve used that excuse as a rationalization once or twice. But Paul makes it clear that, even if I’m allowed to do anything, not everything is good for me to be doing and indulging every whim can make me a slave to that want or desire. Some things, like pornography and drugs, are obviously like this. A little of “anything I want” often leads to an inability to say “no” later. But, it’s the more subtle things that I have to watch out for – buying things that I want, but don’t need, or eating when I’m bored instead of hungry. Those are things that catch me up sometimes. And, yes, there is grace when I make mistakes, but it would be nice to not need that grace quite as often! I’m definitely a work in progress!