The Test of Ministerial Integrity

Paul gives a list of characteristics for ministerial integrity.  These can be summarized under two categories:

  1. Willingness to endure opposition
  2. The maintaining of godly virtues

If you are a servant of Christ, do these characteristics describe you?

Today’s reading:  2 Corinthians 6:3-10:18

My selection:

We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry,  but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities,  beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger…

2 Corinthians 6:3-5

For more reflections on this passage, see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Longing for Heaven

Paul teaches us that it is normal to be longing for the glories of our heavenly home.  They stand in contrast to this present earthly one.  The eternal replaces the temporary.  The permanent replaces the destructible.  Clothing replaces nakedness.  Joy replaces groaning.  Meanwhile, we have work to do here proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Today’s reading:  2 Corinthians 1:12-6:2

My selection:

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling,  if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. 2 Corinthians 5:1-3

For more reflections on this passage, see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

 

Does Prayer Matter?

Are you convinced that your prayer for others is a vital and essential means through which God blesses and helps them?  See how Paul would answer that question in today’s reading.

Today’s reading:  1 Corinthians 15:12-2 Corinthians 1:11

My selection:

You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.  2 Corinthians 1:11

For more reflections on this passage, see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Waiting for World Unity

The desire for unity is not misguided, but, according to the Bible, it must be done for God’s glory resulting in the worship of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Today’s reading:  1 Corinthians 12:12-15:11

My selection: 

 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.  For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.  For the body does not consist of one member but of many.

1 Corinthians 12:12-14

For more reflections on this passage, see my previous blog post or  the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

 

Why We Need the Old Testament

The Old Testament is less frequently read and preached than the New.  In today’s reading, Paul tells us why those thirty nine books from Genesis to Malachi were given and why we still need them.

Today’s reading:  1 Corinthians 10:1-12:11

My selection: 

Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.  Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.  No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

1 Corinthians 10:11-13

Don’t neglect the means of grace including the Old Testament.

For more reflections on this passage, see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Contentment without Complacency

Mary and I call our little homestead in the Blue Ridge Mountains “Thistle Dew Farm” – it’s not heaven but this’ll do for now.   Contentment without complacency is our motto. The selection from today’s reading speaks to our need to learn to be at rest where God has put us.  The truth is we won’t experience all the joys of heaven until we enter our eternal home.  Meanwhile, we are called to serve zealously but contentedly.   The words of Anna L. Waring’s 1850 hymn[1] are fitting here:

Father, I know that all my life
Is portioned out for me,
And the changes that are sure to come
I do not fear to see;
But I ask Thee for a present mind
Intent on pleasing Thee.

So I ask Thee for daily strength,
To none that ask denied,
And a mind to blend with outward life
While keeping at Thy side;
Content to fill a little space,
If Thou be glorified.

There are briers besetting every path
That call for patient care;
There is a cross in every lot,
And an earnest need for prayer;
But a lowly heart that leans on Thee
Is happy anywhere.

In a service which Thy will appoints
There are no bonds for me;
For my inmost heart is taught “the truth”
That makes Thy children “free.”
And a life of self renouncing love
Is a life of liberty.

Today’s reading:  1 Corinthians 7:1-9:27

My selection: Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. 1 Corinthians 7:17

For more reflections on this passage, see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days.

[1] For the full text and music go to http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/f/a/fatiknow.htm

Rock Stars and Spiritual Leaders

Spiritual leaders are not rock stars.  They should not be treated as such and, if they are, they should be like Paul and discourage that kind of crass display of immaturity.

Today’s reading:

1 Corinthians 2:6-6:20

My selection:

But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.  I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready,  for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?  For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?

1 Corinthians 3:1-4

For more reflections on this passage, see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Preaching Christ Crucified

Paul saw through the phony excuses of those who refused to believe and stuck to preaching Christ crucified.  Can we do better than that?

Today’s reading:

Romans 15:14-1 Corinthians 2:5

My selection:

For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom,  but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,  but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.  1 Corinthians 1:22-24

For more reflections on this passage, see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Overwhelmed by God

Have you been overwhelmed by God?

Can you imagine how the Apostle Paul felt as he wrote his letter to the Roman church and pondered the grandeur of the eternal Deity?  Of course, his epistle was more than a mere letter between friends.  The Apostle was given the task of transmitting God’s word.  Even so, as he wrote, he experienced what other true believers also sense as we reflect on the glory of the Holy One.  He was overwhelmed by God. Human pen or tongue cannot adequately describe His majesty, but as we pray and worship Him we are compelled to try.

Today’s reading:

Romans 11:11-15:13

My selection:

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

 “For who has known the mind of the Lord,
    or who has been his counselor?”
“Or who has given a gift to him
    that he might be repaid?”

 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Romans 11:33-36

For more reflections on this passage, see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

The Freedom of Glory

Romans 8 has been called the greatest chapter in the Bible.  Paul describes the freedom we have through the glory God given us in Christ.  Take time to ponder it now.

Today’s reading:

Romans 8:18-11:10

My selection:

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  Romans 8:20-21

For more reflections on this passage, see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.