Friday 31 March, 2017

1 Corinthians 4:14-21

14 I am not writing this to shame you. You are my dear children, and I want to warn you. 15 Suppose you had 10,000 believers in Christ watching over you. You still wouldn’t have many fathers. I became your father by serving Christ Jesus and telling you the good news. 16 So I’m asking you to follow my example. 17 That’s the reason I have sent Timothy to you. He is like a son to me, and I love him. He is faithful in serving the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in serving Christ Jesus. And that agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church. 18 Some of you have become proud. You act as if I weren’t coming to you. 19 But I will come very soon, if that’s what the Lord wants. Then I will find out how those proud people are talking. I will also find out what power they have. 20 The kingdom of God is not a matter of talk. It is a matter of power. 21 Which do you want? Should I come to you to correct and punish you? Or should I come in love and with a gentle spirit?

Whether we are aware of it or not, all of us imitate someone, or more accurately, we will imitate a series of different people over the course of our lives. Most of us start out imitating our parents and then later we will choose other role models that come along in life.

It’s important who you choose to imitate, and here we read the Apostle Paul urging the Corinthian church to imitate him. It’s a fairly bold statement to ask someone to imitate you! It made me ask myself the question, who am I imitating, and who is potentially imitating me?

Towards the end of this passage, Paul makes the statement “the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power”. To me, this indicates that the people that I am imitating, should be people who do not merely “talk the talk” but also live a life of demonstrating the power of God’s Spirit at work through them.

Now there’s a challenge – may I too, be a person of power, not just talk!

Written by Shelley Witt

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Thursday 30 March, 2017

1 Corinthians 4:6-13

6 Brothers and sisters, I have used myself and Apollos as examples to help you. You can learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Don’t go beyond what is written.” Then you won’t be proud that you follow one of us instead of the other. 7 Who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you brag as though you did not? 8 You already have everything you want, don’t you? Have you already become rich? Have you already begun to rule? And did you do that without us? I wish that you really had begun to rule. Then we could also rule with you! 9 It seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of a parade. We are like people sentenced to die in front of a crowd. We have been made a show for the whole creation to see. Angels and people are staring at us. 10 We are fools for Christ. But you are so wise in Christ! We are weak. But you are so strong! You are honored. But we are looked down on! 11 Up to this very hour we are hungry and thirsty. We are dressed in rags. We are being treated badly. We have no homes. 12 We work hard with our own hands. When others curse us, we bless them. When we are attacked, we put up with it. 13 When others say bad things about us, we answer with kind words. We have become the world’s garbage. We are everybody’s trash, right up to this moment.

Paul is addressing the problem of rivalry within the Corinthian church, with different teachers claiming their wisdom and skill makes them better.  What he’s been saying about Apollos is simply for the sake of illustration; he and Apollos and Cephas have no quarrel.  The problem lies between the warring factions in Corinth.  He wants them to think through what he has said about his relationship with Apollos, which he has described purely as an example, and apply it all to their own situation.  Paul has put together biblical themes like ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise’, ‘The one who boasts must boast in the Lord’, ‘He catches the wise in their craftiness’.  Paul draws them together to say: scripture itself forbids you to get ‘puffed up’.  The most obvious argument against boasting is that every gift, talent and skill we possess is from God.

Paul calls for a different way.  When people insult, offer blessings; when they persecute, bear it patiently; when people tell lies, speak gently and kindly in return.  This is the way a person who believes in God behaves, not in boasting but in humility.

When you’re tempted to ‘big-note’ yourself remember Paul and how he writes to the Corinthians here!

Father, may humility be the mark in our lives!

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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Wednesday 29 March, 2017

1 Corinthians 4:1-5

4 So here is how you should think of us. We serve Christ. We are trusted with the mysteries God has shown us. 2 Those who have been given a trust must prove that they are faithful. 3 I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court. I don’t even judge myself. 4 I don’t feel I have done anything wrong. But that doesn’t mean I’m not guilty. The Lord judges me. 5 So don’t judge anything before the appointed time. Wait until the Lord returns. He will bring to light what is hidden in the dark. He will show the real reasons why people do what they do. At that time each person will receive their praise from God.

I am to be a servant and a guide and my character needs to be reliable and well versed in The Word.

Today it is easy to measure ourselves as the world measures people. To be enamoured by the ‘celebrity status’, famous for writing books or what we have done, television followings, etc.  ‘Success’ is often seen as numbers, friends or followers, categories of ‘normal person or ‘celebrity figure’, etc..

I wonder if sometimes we get caught up in the same waves of deeming our ‘value’ as the way the world deems us valuable. It has made me reflect not to despise small beginnings, to just keep going, that our final effectiveness and results are not fully seen until judgement day, that life is built in the small things.

Great foundations build great structures.  Foundations are rarely seen.  We are called to build people and foundations that will last beyond our lifetime. One day we all will be judged, on WHY and HOW we did things.  Our inner motives, purposes and prayers will be laid bare.

Let us ‘walk humbly with our God’ – may my journey be to Love Him and to Love Others.

Lord help me to be the best person I can be.  My desire is that I fulfill all that you have created me to be.  Help me and give me the words and actions to shape others’ lives so that they will become all that you have purposed for them.

Written by Ps. Sue Botta

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Tuesday 28 March, 2017

1 Corinthians 3:16-23

16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple? Don’t you know that God’s Spirit lives among you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. God’s temple is holy. And you all together are that temple. 18 Don’t fool yourselves. Suppose some of you think you are wise by the standards of the world. Then you should become “fools” so that you can become wise. 19 The wisdom of this world is foolish in God’s eyes. It is written, “God catches wise people in their own evil plans.” (Job 5:13) 20 It is also written, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of wise people don’t amount to anything.” (Psalm 94:11) 21 So no more bragging about human leaders! All things are yours. 22 That means Paul or Apollos or Peter or the world or life or death or the present or the future. All are yours. 23 You are joined to Christ and belong to him. And Christ is joined to God.

Paul is concerned about divisions in the Corinthian church – 1:11-12. Corinth was an important Greek city, where the culture placed a great deal of importance on philosophy, teaching and wisdom. Following this tradition the believers were aligning themselves to particular teachers of the gospel, which was fracturing the immature church. Paul is on the alert for worldly wisdom seeping into this new church, and reminds the believers that the gospel is foolishness to the world (see 1:18-25).

Paul is intent on protecting the church. He likens us to God’s temple (“you yourselves are God’s temple” v 16). Traditionally the temple was the dwelling place of God with his people (1 Kings 8:10), and was the focus of religious life. Paul says now we are God’s temple, and God is dwelling in us by His Spirit, which unifies us. No wonder Paul says “No one will get by with vandalising God’s temple, you can be sure of that” (The Message version).

What should be our response? The word God has given me is cherish. We are to love the church, cherish our unity. To me this looks like speaking against factions, upholding and honouring our leaders, serving others and being accountable in all parts of my life to the church. Selfish acts of the individual can bring the whole church into disrepute. We cherish our church when we keep Christ at the centre, lifting him up, worshipping him alone.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your Holy Spirit living in us. Grow godly wisdom in me, Father. I worship you. Protect your church from destruction and mediocrity, and work powerfully in us to be your witnesses. Amen.

Written by Claire Moore

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Monday 27 March, 2017

1 Corinthians 3:10-15

In our lives many different types of voices have the potential to contribute to our discipleship journey. From the types of preaching that we listen to, to our daily Bible study, to podcasts, television, to the conversation we had after church last week – these are a few simple examples from the multitude of possible influences that can build and shape our Christian lives.

Paul is acutely aware that numerous influences other than him have been contributing shoddy workmanship to the Corinthian Church in his absence – these contributions are like poor quality, low strength, flammable construction materials (wood, hay, straw v12). He warns them with a simple criteria for considering the worth of any teaching (and teachers) they receive (see v13-15).

Paul calls us to attention. What types of spiritual influences do you encounter and how do they integrate into your spiritual ‘building’? Are the influences light weight? Vapid? Populist? Shallow? Self-focused? Or, are the influences we permit to prevail in our lives high quality like precious stones, gold, silver? Are these influences consistent with Jesus our foundation?

Jesus, help me to recognise the good stuff that will make my life of discipleship like a high value, beautifully designed building. Strong, fire resistant, carefully crafted. Thank you for being the master craftsman. Amen.

Written by Sam Stewart

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Sunday 26 March, 2017

1 Corinthians 3:5-9

5 After all, what is Apollos? And what is Paul? We are only people who serve. We helped you to believe. The Lord has given each of us our own work to do. 6 I planted the seed. Apollos watered it. But God has been making it grow. 7 So the one who plants is not important. The one who waters is not important. It is God who makes things grow. He is the important one. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have the same purpose. The Lord will give each of them a reward for their work. 9 We work together to serve God. You are like God’s field. You are like his building.

I am so glad I do not work alone. Every day I have reason to be thankful for my colleagues. They share their creativity, resources, wisdom, perspective and encouragement freely and often help me to laugh and find the fun amidst the business. They ask after my health, check in to see how I am managing life, and share their stories with me. My co-workers are a huge part of why I enjoy my job and it is so satisfying to be on purpose together.

God calls me His co-worker. He doesn’t need me as such, but He chose a salvation plan that involves me. God is relational and He enjoys saving, restoring, creating, beautifying, redeeming and resurrecting right alongside me. God doesn’t tolerate me as an annoying junior worker He is burdened with. Oh no! I am the beloved child He is training up in the family business. Wow!

Thank you God for calling me your co-worker. Help me to relate to you in the same rich way I relate to and enjoy my colleagues. I want to enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done, and know that we did it together. Teach me how to live like this. Amen.

Written by Bethany Waugh

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Saturday 25 March, 2017

1 Corinthians 3:1-4

Spiritual Infancy is good – in a way. It means I’m a child of God. To stay that way, though, is not good.

Our babies and kids are cute most of the time but we wouldn’t want them to stay that way forever. We want them grow and mature.

Paul introduces a pretty simple test here about whether I’m a spiritual infant and controlled by my sinful nature – am I “jealous” and do I “quarrel”. ie – What is my response when things don’t go my way? Do I whinge and complain? How do react when I’m in the wrong? Do I man up and say sorry or do I argue my case? When God doesn’t do what I want Him to do, do I throw a tantrum and let my faith crumble? Or do I get to my knees in prayer, seek him with all I’ve got, praise Him for what he has done and cling to his promises above all else?

Its time to grow up.

Lord, please remind me that when I want to react badly and whinge that it’s time to grow up and trust you.  Amen

Written by Boudy van Noppen

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Friday 24 March, 2017

1 Corinthians 2:14-16

14 The person without the Spirit doesn’t accept the things that come from the Spirit of God. These things are foolish to them. They can’t understand them. In fact, such things can’t be understood without the Spirit’s help. 15 The person who has the Spirit can judge all things. But no human being can judge those who have the Spirit. It is written, 16 “Who can ever know what is in the Lord’s mind? Can anyone ever teach him?” (Isaiah 40:13) But we have the mind of Christ.

God is spirit. Those that want to understand and relate to God also need to be spiritual. No point trying to understand the things of God with the natural mind. It just won’t make sense. As Christians our spirits come alive to God through Jesus Christ. Our spirit is then able to communicate with God’s spirit. Jesus knows what God’s spirit is doing and we have Christ’s spirit within us. The spiritual realm has been opened to us through Jesus – we can get insight into what is going on!

Often I find myself getting frustrated and disappointed that those around me just don’t see the God I know and love. A God who longs to reach out love, heal and forgive. This passage of Scripture reminds me why they just don’t get it! It clearly says they will see the ways of God as foolish. It encourages me to pray for revelation and not to carry the criticisms of those that are yet to understand God at a spiritual level.

Dear God, thank you that we have the mind of Christ. What a privilege it is to know what you are thinking and doing! We pray that by your grace others will have this same connection through your son, Jesus. Amen.

Written by Ainslie Woods

2 replies
  1. Claire Moore says:

    It is so amazing to have the spirit who opens up the things of God ( like his character, will) directly to us. We don’t have to have it shown to us by an intermediary. I love your point about communication spirit to spirit. That’s why prayer is so powerful, not just a kind of talisman.

  2. Kim says:

    Thanks Ainslie, I need to remember daily that I do have the mind of Christ & his spirit does want to reveal things to me. Lord, help me today ask your spirit for guidance & words of wisdom to get me through all the things that need to be done. Amen

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Thursday 23 March, 2017

1 Corinthians 2:6-13

6 The words we speak to those who have grown in the faith are wise. Our words are different from the wisdom of this world. Our words are different from those of the rulers of this world. These rulers are becoming less and less powerful. 7 No, we announce God’s wisdom. His wisdom is a mystery that has been hidden. But before time began, God planned that his wisdom would bring us heavenly glory. 8 None of the rulers of this world understood God’s wisdom. If they had, they would not have nailed the Lord of glory to the cross. 9 It is written that “no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human mind has known.” (Isaiah 64:4) God has prepared these things for those who love him. 10 God has shown these things to us through his Spirit. The Spirit understands all things. He understands even the deep things of God. 11 Who can know the thoughts of another person? Only a person’s own spirit can know them. In the same way, only the Spirit of God knows God’s thoughts. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world. We have received the Spirit who is from God. The Spirit helps us understand what God has freely given us. 13 That is what we speak about. We don’t use words taught to us by people. We use words taught to us by the Holy Spirit. We use the words taught by the Spirit to explain spiritual truths.

Have you ever felt like you are missing something or forgotten something? You check off a list in your head, count thru everything but you just can’t put your finger on it. It is a most uncomfortable feeling, and you might have to carry on regardless.  Paul is telling us this is how the world lives – thinking they have it all together but always missing the point.

There are so many things in life that I don’t understand, but I am encouraged in this passage that through the Holy Spirit I have access to the heart and mind of God. That doesn’t mean I will know all things, but it means I can trust God to lead and guide me in the best possible way.

Father God thank you for your grace and mercy to me. Thank you for your Spirit in my life. Help me to walk in your wisdom not the world’s thinking. Help me to trust you with all the moments of my life. In Jesus name Amen.

Written by Christine Knight

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Wednesday 22 March, 2017

1 Corinthians 2:1-5

2 And this was the way it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I didn’t come with fancy words or human wisdom. I preached to you the truth about God’s love. 2 My goal while I was with you was to talk about only one thing. And that was Jesus Christ and his death on the cross. 3 When I came to you, I was weak and very afraid and trembling all over. 4 I didn’t preach my message with clever and compelling words. Instead, my preaching showed the Holy Spirit’s power. 5 This was so that your faith would be based on God’s power. Your faith would not be based on human wisdom.

This passage gives me a mutual sense of conviction and relief! Reading it makes me think of how many times I have worried about trying to sound intelligent or eloquent or deeply spiritual when I have spoken the message of God, both in larger group settings and also in smaller, everyday conversations. I want to be more like Paul, relying not on my own wisdom but on the mighty power of God, in all that I do.

It is foolish to think that it is my wisdom or way of speaking that will win people to Jesus. It’s also a relief to realise this, and put my faith in God’s power and not my own ability. It doesn’t matter if I am not the most eloquent or the most intelligent. These are good things to be, but without the power of God behind them, they are not capable of bringing the life and freedom that is found in Jesus to others. How wonderful and freeing this truth is! God just needs me to be available and willing, and He will, in His miraculous power, do the rest.

Thank you God that we don’t need to rely on ourselves, rather we can rely on your power and Spirit to enable our speaking, conversations and interactions with others. May our faith be found in you alone!

Written by Madelaine Tarasenko

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