“This is my command, be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
I’m sitting awake at 3a.m. because I am currently not feeling strong and courageous. Which is why I opened my Bible to this passage. God doesn’t just tell us to ‘be strong and courageous‘ but instead lets us know that He is with us ‘wherever’ we go. He’s not just with us just in good times. He’s not sitting idly by while we struggle. No! He is there beside us to encourage us to not give into the feelings of anxiousness and fear. Feelings often encouraged by the enemy so we become distracted in other parts of our lives. So it effects our jobs and our relationships…and causes lack of sleep.
Notice too that the scripture states that it is a command! A command to ‘be strong and courageous.’ When you look at the meaning of the word command it tells us it is; ‘to send with a command.’ Not for us to just sit and mope in the situation that has us troubled. No, we are to continue to go forth in our lives. Don’t let the enemy win!
Don’t let the enemy win!
So, what’s my dilemma? My hubby, who has worked for his township for almost 40 years is being forced out of his job. If he was a lazy man or a difficult man I might understand this. But no. It’s all about the usual political ‘cronyism’ that effects so many public sectors. Wanting to give the position to someone that knows nothing of the work that my husband does or has learned in his hard working years there. It’s hurtful and it’s sad.
It is so easy to want to be angry and even feel hate toward the people involved. Part of me really wants to feel that way. To plan ways to get back at them for causing so much pain and angst in his life. Thankfully God has changed me over the past several years. Instead, I pray for them. First, to be fully honest here, I pray that they get caught up in the snares that they are laying out for him (as David prayed to God in the Psalms). But I ask God that, through this situation, he changes their heart and brings them to Him. It is ONLY through a relationship with God that people can change.
Friends, I would deeply appreciate if you would keep my honey and I in prayer for God’s wisdom and discernment on what steps to take in his situation. For protection as well, please!
It is life situations like this that make me glad that God has encouraged me through my friends to get back into scripture. It is such a source of strength.
So, how about we begin to dig into 1 Corinthians?!
1 Corinthians 1
As I read the scripture last night I tried to start out by what my pastors say they do, though on a bit of a smaller scale. I read the scripture over several times. First I read chapter 1 through, then read it again a few times more slowly. Meditating a bit on the words that I was reading. And I look up some of the words used in the verses in a concordance-which gives a clearer understanding of the original words that were used. And so much became clearer to me!
Before actually reading the scripture though, it is good to read the information about the book of the Bible that you are reading.
Who wrote it? Who was he writing to? And why was he writing them?
The apostle Paul wrote the people or Corinth because they were arguing among themselves and their church was becoming divided. There was arguing going on and they were allowing the sinful behavior some of the people of Corinth to affect the church. Paul wrote them to encourage them and guide them to bring the church back to the way of Jesus Christ.
The following verses are the ones that stood out for me, but please…pray, read and meditate on the chapter yourself and let God speak to YOU!
In verse 5 Paul states that he thanks God for them ‘because of the Grace that was given you in Christ Jesus‘… ‘that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge.’ In every way is telling me that it is made complete/whole-God doesn’t do things for us in part but to completion. We are enriched – meaning that we are made wealthy, we are blessed! in all speech and knowledge (thought).
Following in verse 7 it states; ‘so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Not lacking in any gift is telling me that the spiritual gifts we have from God are not lacking in any way, it is not inferior to others. I know for myself, it can be all too easy to feel that way. That is a struggle I tend to have when I wonder when God will begin to use me in a public platform. I can wonder how or why he uses others and not me. Then I think back to a line in a book that reminds me that I was not made to deal with the blessings or the difficulties these ladies face. God’s timing is perfect, even if I feel it is delayed.
Verse 8 follows with; ‘who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Well, you have to know that seeing the word ‘sustain’ was a needed blessing. A well needed reminder that He takes care of us. God establishes us and makes us irreproachable (guiltless). The word establish encourages me so much. It reminds me that God goes forward before me, HE makes a path for me. I do not live life on my own but through and with HIM. And I am irreproachable-so when the enemy begins to tell me lies…I can tell him to take a hike back to where he came from!
In the next several verses Paul describes part of the issues that are going on and who let him know about the divisions. Part of the division is that their focus was on who baptized them rather than on Jesus. My favorite verse in this section is 17 which states; ‘for Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of it’s power.’ First this reminds me that our main goal is to share the ‘good news’ or gospel of Jesus. And that it is not to be done with our own words but words given to us by God through the Holy Spirit. When we do things of our own power, it is all too easy to take the credit for ourselves rather than giving it to God. And worst of all, it can turn people away from Jesus rather than toward Him.
Verses 18 and 19 describe how people who are not saved, have not given their lives to Christ, do not understand what the Bible is saying. While for believers ‘it is the power of God.‘ At first this is difficult to understand. When you read the Bible as a believer you get so much knowledge and encouragement from it. Yet, it is very difficult for non-believers to “get it.” The word that is used in verse 18 is that describes how they see the Bible is ‘folly’ or ‘silliness, absurd’ to non-believers. It makes me think of when Jesus died on Calvary and the veil tore in the temple. Believing removes the veil from our spiritual eyes so that God can speak to us through His Word.
Verses 26 through 31 are such a blessing to me with my doubts of what His will for my life is. They describe that God doesn’t use perfect, well speaking people. No, He uses ordinary, sinful people like you and me. ‘God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.’ verse 27. ‘God chose what is low and despised in the world…’ verse 28.
That is YOU and ME my friend! We can sit and think that God cannot use us because we still struggle in many aspects of our lives or the things we have done in our past. And yet that is exactly what He uses to help bring others to Him. That is why we need to share our testimony, our story with others. Show others how, even through all the things we’ve done and failed to do, God uses us and loves us unconditionally. He holds nothing back from us. He loves us and wants to bless us.
God is just so crazy awesome! I am really looking forward to going through 1 Corinthians with you. Please share your thoughts, ideas, questions etc.
Have an amazing, blessed, God filled day!
In HIS precious name, Jesus!