So Jesus said to those who believed in him, “If you obey my teaching, you are really my disciples; you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
John 8:31-32 (GNT): The Truth Will Set You Free
Have you experienced those moments when you pray and hope to know God’s truth in a given situation? In John 8:31-32, Christ gives us the answer. He is the truth, and we can know his truth through his word and teaching. If as faithful disciples we obey his teaching, we will know his truth. We are freed, therefore, from our questioning worry and more able to lean on the power of Christ’s truth working in us.
Monday, April 20, 2015
1 Corinthians 13 (NIV): Faith, Hope, and Love
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing . . . And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Love is the root of all Christian faith; it is the foundation of our hope in Christ. As John points out in 1 John 4:7, “Let us love one another because love comes from God.” Love, then, according to not only Paul in this famous passage, but John as well, is the manifestation of God in us. The Holy Spirit, therefore, is the wellspring of God’s love in our hearts; it is the “living water” Jesus mentions to the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:11-13. Love is the driving force and physical expression of our faith. As we serve others this week, let us call on the love of God to well-up in our hearts with the right response, a response that showers faith, hope and love on others.
Monday, April 13, 2015
2 Corinthians 12: 7b-10 (NRSV): Our Weakness is His Strength
Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.
Many times, our weaknesses cause us irritation, and with the despairing cry of Paul, we pray for God’s deliverance. But life is not that easy. As people faithful in Christ, we sometimes wonder why God has permitted our pain. Here, Paul gives us the answer: Jesus Christ’s “power is made perfect in [our] weakness.” We must, however, honestly proclaim our weaknesses so “that the power of Christ may dwell in [us].” Can we “boast all the more gladly of [our] weaknesses” and be “content with weaknesses … for the sake of Christ”? That, friends, is the challenge. Through faith and God's grace, it is a challenge we can accomplish. Paul's closing words resonate with reality. When we are weak, battered, exhausted, and at our wit's end, Christ is strongest in us. Jesus wants us to always rely on him, especially in our trying times.
Friday, April 10, 2015
1 Corinthians 10:13 (GNT) -- Overcoming the Test of Temptation
Every test that you have experienced is the kind that normally comes to people. But God keeps his promise, and he will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test, he will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out.
Reassurance is a blessing. Christ is always there for us in every moment of temptation, in every test. Remember the disciples in the boat as they struggled against the storm (Mark 4:35-41)? Jesus, although asleep, was in the boat with them testing their faith. Any time we feel temptation, whether it is a beckoning basket of Easter candy or desiring to defensively lash out at someone, remember Paul’s words to the church of Corinth, “...He will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out.”