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1 Corinthians

Post  James on Sun Jan 19, 2014 7:27 am

The beginning of chapter one begins with Paul reminding the church in Corinth that strength is guaranteed from God. As we try to fight the good fight, God holds us as His children and he knows our hearts. He knows our true desires and intentions. With that being said, Jesus himself went through it all. He knows the pains that we undergo and the struggles that we fall under. And He is FOREVER faithful! Paul also wishes that they remain as one body in Christ without any conflicts. And he uses the example of Christ, how much integrity He truly had as His decisions were firm and one. He let His yes be yes and no be no, and we should do the same also. We should be able to put all the small details aside as we come together for one great purpose. Paul continues by talking about how God is on another dimension. Always a step ahead of us, anticipating and knowing well before we do. Yet, personally, I'm so guilty of trying to figure out EVERYTHING about God. Some things aren't even important, and I'm trying to demand an answer from God? Acknowledging this really challenges me. Do I even trust God enough to progress my relationship with Him? These barriers need to be broken for me if I truly do want to take it to the next level.

8-9: He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God,who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.
17: For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel - not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
25: For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.
27: But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
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Re: 1 Corinthians

Post  James on Mon Jan 20, 2014 2:10 am

In chapter two, Paul talks about the power given to us by the Holy Spirit. He shares that understanding God is only done through the Spirit, as "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him." Simply, we can't grasp the concept of God except to experience it ourselves. It's like a different language, it takes devoted time to learn and it's something that's obviously not done overnight. But without knowing the Spirit, you wouldn't know God. You wouldn't understand His grace, His everlasting and unfailing love, and especially, reasoning. It'd just be walking blindly without actually looking while we're given the opportunity to open our eyes. Basically just like the son, nobody comes to the Father except through the Spirit as well. However, having the same mindset as Christ would mean drastic changes in our daily lives. This is the life that we've all chosen to follow. What holds me back the most is that we'll never achieve perfection. That's the cold hard truth. I usually think, "Why does God put us in situations where we'll never be perfect? Why does God SO damn patient with us? Does He never give up?" I keep asking myself the same questions over and over when I know the answer for myself. The main reason why I think God does this is because so that we'll never be content. And also that we'll never be enough, but He wants to show His grace through Christ so that we might be saved. I want to keep on striving for glory, so that I myself could shun Satan with Christ carrying me along the way. I want that power so badly.

4-5: My message and my preaching were not wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.
11-13: In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.
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Re: 1 Corinthians

Post  James on Mon Jan 20, 2014 2:14 pm

Chapter 3. In verse 2, it contains a simple yet powerful analogy regarding milk and solid food. Paul stated that because there were divisions within the church, they clearly weren't ready for the solid food. Although he did give them milk, they weren't even ready for that either. I think that milk was used to regard infants while solid food represented adulthood within our faith. The foundation wasn't there, it wasn't enough for them to progress even with milk. Hebrews 5:11-12 says
"We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of Godís word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!"
Sometimes we take more than we can handle, as we try to bite off more than what we can chew. We need this self-acknowledgement time to time to keep us in line, making sure that our foundation is built upon Christ. God will test our foundations with fire, and see which will truly stand.
All in all, this chapter was an excellent reminder to ensure that my foundation is built upon Christ as we may forget while we're so caught up within our everyday and spiritual lives. We forget what we need to stand on, as we try to keep pushing for more. How could we run when we stumble when we walk? For me to achieve that next level with God, I need to ensure 100% that I'm standing firmly in Christ.

2-3: I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is a jealousy and quarrelling among you, are you not worldly?
11: For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
16: Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple.
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Re: 1 Corinthians

Post  James on Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:57 am

Chapter 4 starts with Paul speaking about how we're all entrusted "with the secret things of God." And as we're given trust, we must prove faithful. And Paul specifically mentions that it isn't by our standard's, but God's. Its so simple, but sometimes we ignore this and dismiss it as nothing. I know I'm guilty of this myself. And through God's judgement He will see the lukewarm and the faithful; seeing if their hearts were for Him, for the reputation of man, or even for themselves. He advises us not to judge so quickly as nobody would give a worse punishment than God himself. And so what if they're forgiven by God? Do we not seek forgiveness ourselves? What makes US so righteous? Paul continues by stating that we should have nothing to be proud of, as it seems so minimal compared to God's grace. The amount that He gives us makes whatever we give Him worthless. This is so important because we have NOTHING we could possibly boast about. Even our faith, is it perfect? How do we compare to God? Obviously Paul doesn't mention this so that we'd feel ashamed, but to truly understand the logic behind humbling ourselves. He encourages his brothers and sisters to imitate him. With this, we should obviously keep in mind that he isn't perfect. I'm more than sure that Paul wasn't trying to boast but to acknowledge the things he has done. He speaks about how he is so "weak" while the Corinth church is "strong." How he is a fool for Christ, but they are so wise in Christ. I thought that Paul was trying to illustrate how HARD his walk of faith is. Although we may have it hard, but if we actually stopped to realize how hard it must've been for the disciples, it seems like nothing. Obviously its wrong to compare as problems are still problems, but they've come a long way and it's definitely something to acknowledge. He doesn't complain or cry about how hard it has been for him, and I ADORE that. It's so easy to throw in the towel but Paul keeps trucking through it. "To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless." Paul DEFINITELY wasn't trying to boast rather asking the Corinth church if they're ready for the same suffering that is to come. And for us as a praise team. Are we ready to tackle on even harder challenges that God gives us? Something I definitely need to keep reminding myself. Am I in or out? God knows our hearts. If we're not gonna do it whole heartedly, why do it at all? Why waste God's time? We should stop teasing God and even ourselves.

5: Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts.
10: We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored!
13: Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.
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Re: 1 Corinthians

Post  James on Thu Jan 30, 2014 4:46 am

Chapter 5. Corinth is notoriously known for indulging in sexual affairs and Paul speaks to the church about their mentality.
He realized that a wife cheated on her husband for his stepson. And at that time, since gender equality wasn't exactly in the picture, men would obviously take the fault for following through with these actions. Paul also realizes that the people within Corinth are proud of their sexual immorality. In addition, this must mean that their view of sin would be thrown off, resulting in separation with God for not acknowledging such things themselves. This is the conviction we must all strive for. We have to pray so that we'll feel AWFUL taking part in sin. I remember when I used to struggle with stealing in my early years of high school. After realizing that this is actually wrong (which took a pretty long time), I've allowed God to enter my heart to drive me away. Kinda like asking Him to change your mentality towards sin, asking for a new heart while having our eyes open to new things. And after I had done this, I've stolen again but it's not the same. The conviction makes me feel uneasy, but in such a supernatural way. The restlessness led me to God, making sure I had a clean slate as soon as possible. I loved this and I seek it now for the willingness to take it to the next level. I want to understand Him, seek out any decisions from His point of view, and know the reasoning behind EVERYTHING. I get caught up in this and I don't do it for the right intentions. I've learned right from wrong so many times but if its not practical, what good is it? If I did know the answer, how would this change my actions? Would I EVEN change them? Or do I just want to be on the same level of God for the wrong purposes?

2: And you are proud! Shouldn't you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this?

I want a new mentality, where I feel ashamed in a way that I know that I've done wrong. But obviously never to drive me away. If I don't know where I screwed up, I NEED to hear God's voice to trace my steps and see where I've fallen short.
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Re: 1 Corinthians

Post  James on Wed Feb 05, 2014 12:04 am

Been really spiritually low these past few weeks, I have no excuse but can't exactly find the reason for it.

Chapter 6 discusses about the pride within the church in Corinth. Paul sees their pride and tells us to turn the other cheek. The fact that they had lawsuits against each other was a sign of dispute and also a sign of people wanting more from one another. Rather than taking care and loving on another, the people in Corinth were so focused on materialistic things that they've turned away from God. Rather than allowing themselves to be wronged, they do wrong to their brothers willingly. The second half of this chapter talks about sexual immortality. And he speaks about how sex was made for two people to be united together. As our body is a holy temple, sharing the body that God has given us with a prostitute is allowing it to go to waste. The price was paid for each and everyone of us so that we could endure everlasting life - not for selfish desires.

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Re: 1 Corinthians

Post  James on Thu Feb 06, 2014 12:30 am

Chapter 7 speaks about marriage and how it is a divine institution. It brings man and woman together in the name of God, with Christ in the centre of their relationship. Apostle Paul encourages us not to divorce as it ends those ties that we've made with our partner. Also, the vows would mean nothing if they were to be broken during times of struggle within the relationship. Also, its interesting how Paul values marriage. He sees the sexual sin that Corinth goes through and advises them not to marry so that they wouldn't regret their decision. Before reading this, I thought that marriages bring people together, as it would allow for both parties to give their bodies up for each other. I thought, wouldn't they become more devoted to one another? If they are our husband or wife, wouldn't we be able to keep a promise? But after reading this, I'm convinced that it's often best not to marry to allow ourselves to become devoted. It's the other way around. Preparing ourselves allows us to make more conscious decisions because our actions don't just go towards that person, but to God as well. Furthermore, this may correlate to us, as teenagers. Maybe going into a relationship wouldn't be the most wise while we're so vulnerable to sexual sin. After reading this chapter, I felt like God was trying to remind me not to chew off more than I could bite. In the past, I've struggled with spending time with my significant other. If I'm not ready to give her my time, why would I date? Also, if I couldn't handle the temptation, would sexual immortality lead to a stronger relationship with God?

4: The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.
19: Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God's commands is what counts.
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Re: 1 Corinthians

Post  James on Mon Feb 10, 2014 9:13 am

Chapter 8 speaks about how idols were still being worshipped within Corinth. And many people have offered their food to those certain Gods. Paul begins by telling the Christians within Corinth that knowledge puffs up, while love builds up. Then he reminds them that idol-ism is wrong. He then leads this concept to those who struggle. Although certain people may truly know that our God is the only God, many were struggling with this within Corinth. And some Christians felt like it was right to eat the food that was sacrificed. This was extremely insensitive. Paul talks about how we shouldn't let our free will discourage those that are weak in their faith. Because if a pagan worshipper did see a Christian eating the sacrificed food, the effects would be tremendous. Rather than taking the time to love one another, many Christians were "puffed" up by knowledge. They wanted to seem superior over one another by God's standards, without even considering the hearts of one another. Rather than building each other, they competed who could be the "best" Christian. If they had not been like this, I'm more than sure the number of pagan worshippers within Corinth would've declined. When someone does wrong, we have to show them what their heading for. But love ALWAYS comes before knowledge, even comes as the greatest commandment. Rather than seeing the faults in everyone, we have to make sure that we see their hearts first. Isn't this the same way which God sees us? He doesn't nitpick and bring up sin that we've committed rather ask us to come to Him so that He could express His love for us. So that we may be influenced to change, so we can obtain the true desire to walk with God.

1: Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.
9: Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol's temple, won't he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols?
13: Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.
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Re: 1 Corinthians

Post  James on Tue Feb 11, 2014 11:58 pm

Chapter 9 is probably my favourite so for from 1 Corinthians.
You can really feel Paul's frustration while writing this letter for the church in Corinth. But also, this feels like holy anger as it was something that he wanted to clarify - something he just had to get off his chest. He beings off the chapter trying to appeal as an Apostle as members within the Corinth church questioned his genuine apostleship. He showed his rights living as an Apostle and explained that he wasn't doing this for his own benefit, but surely for God's kingdom. Paul gives multiple examples but my favourite is within verse 7. "Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its grapes?" Much like a farmer, you would allow your body to consume the crops that you've grown. But Paul explains how he has these rights and still does NOT make use of them. In verse 11, he continues that if he supports the church, shouldn't he be supported as well? This is a right that pastors receive, as they are provided with their pay. Just like a soldier serving within the military, they receive government support - if it be financial or medical. As the military belongs to essentially the government, that soldier would be rewarded. But Paul progresses his letter by stating that he preached the gospel without charge, so that they could not say that they paid him for it. Although these rights are available to Paul, he refuses to accept them to prove himself and ESPECIALLY to God that he is sincere and genuine.

I know schools always challenge us with this question - Would you still go to your job if you weren't paid? Were you going to work for the money or for your passion? In Paul's position, he speaks about how he LOVES to spread the gospel, that he couldn't care less about if he got paid or not. In verse 19, he speaks about how even though he is "free and belong to no man" he humbles himself down to a slave, to win their hearts to Christ. In order to reflect God's character he humbles himself so that non-believers could see what Christianity was made of. Rather than hypocritical preachers, Paul has deemed himself as a worthy disciple of Christ as he was trying to appeal to the Corinth church. In verse 24, he continues to speak about races, as only one runner gets the prize. He encourages us to "run in such a way as to get the prize".

11: If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you?
15: And I am not writing this in the hope that you will do such things for me. I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of this boast.
19: Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.
26-27: Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

This chapter portrays AMAZING humility. But I see this as something that we may struggle with. Receiving the consent from others what we're doing a good job. Sometimes we want to hear it from others while disregarding the opinion in which God has for us. Paul was NOT perfect. He wasn't God in the flesh. Although he MAY have struggled with this, he's not alone. Personally, I know for myself that I struggle with this constantly, desiring the approval of others.
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Re: 1 Corinthians

Post  James on Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:40 pm

Chapter 10 provides excellent examples from the past to demonstrate God's wrath. From sending venomous snakes to the people of Israel to Sodom and Gomorrah, Paul warns us to make sure that we are truly glorifying God. He also states that God will never give us a temptation that we can't defeat. There will always be a way that will be provided, so that we could keep progressing. From my perspective, I feel that God allows these things to happen. The suffering that we may feel or the hardships that we encounter, I'm confident to say that this is something that God allows. It still throws me off completely though. I still feel frustration, misery, hopelessness even though I know that in the back of my mind that it's from God. This is something I definitely want to change. Instead of acting on my feelings, I want to stretch myself in any opportunity God gives me. And if choose not to, God will always remain faithful. That's the beauty of His grace, always waiting around the corner for us. Paul also reminds us that we can't drink from both "cups", which resembles acceptance of each master. In verse 23 is always something that many pastors/teachers relate to as it's so important while concerning God's approach for our freedom. Having the fact that everything is ALLOWED, but not everything is APPROVED is a BEAUTIFUL thing. Given the freedom to choose between what is wrong and what is right, this is a privilege that we're given. Although it may seem like a "right", it's something given to us through God's grace. Verse 28 clarifies things for me. When I was younger, I always had this close friend of mine which used to steal candy from the nearby store. And he'd never get caught. He always offered to share, and I'd always want to accept. And I did. This verse states that when things aren't worthy in God's eyes, then don't take part in any of it. For your own sake and the other person's. We shouldn't cause anyone to fall away from God, Christian or non-Christian. Especially for those who declare themselves a brother or sister under God's glory, we have to ensure that we are lifting each other up.

12: So if you think that you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
17: Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.
21: You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of the demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons.
23: "Everything is permissible" - but not everything is beneficial.
31: So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
32: Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks, or the church of God.
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Re: 1 Corinthians

Post  James on Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:20 am

Chapter 11 was alittle confusing at first, but I think I got a hold of the context.

Basically at the time when Paul wrote this letter, many men uncovered their heads in worship to signify respect and to show submission to Christ. As the term "head" refers to the idea of authority, uncovered heads in worship meant that they respected God's authority and allowed Him to be the authority in their lives. My bible sends me to Ephesians 1:21-22, displaying how God appointed Christ to be the head of the church. In my opinion, this shows humbleness and the process of "laying down our crowns". This breaks down our pride so that we could worship and revere God for who He is while bringing ourselves down completely to show honour and respect. This challenged me, as this is still relevant today. It doesn't necessarily need to be a physical sign, but how do I show respect for God while worshipping? These men, showed how important it was to uncover your head during worship and what do I do in terms of honour? As Sam asked us how many of us prayed before coming to church, that could be an excellent way to get ourselves ready and to show God our true intentions during worship. When it comes to practice, shouldn't it be perfected so that I wouldn't need to focus on my sheet music while I'm on stage? Through devotion and prayer, shouldn't I be welcoming the Holy Spirit into our ministry? There are certain things that we could all improve on to show our respect to God during worship.

Currently, the biggest thing that prevents me from worshipping God is trying to feel if others are being sincere. Sometimes I get so caught up in viewing others that I fall short myself. And that's so wrong of me. There are certain times where it doesn't feel right and I could feel how empty people could be while they're mindlessly clapping their hands. Should this be my concern? Definitely. But there's no use in judging them and not doing anything about it. Praying on their behalf, or just even looking out for them, I could use this doubt to good use. And if I can't, maybe it's time to put it aside and focus on myself with God.

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Re: 1 Corinthians

Post  James on Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:36 am

Chapter twelve speaks about different spiritual gifts that we may adopt given by the Holy Spirit. Although God chooses on who gets what, each and every gift given is the work of the same spirit. As we progress in our walk with God, we have to realize what we're given by God and how we could use that to the best of our abilities. Like a game of poker, we don't decide on what cards we get, rather we choose what we make of it. Paul continues the chapter by speaking about how the body of Christ is one unit. He makes sure to tell the Corinthians because he knew that there were divisions within the church. What it means to be a body is basically feeling the same as our brothers and sisters at a certain given time. Through seasons of growth, we all grow. Through seasons of despair, we all suffer. And even through seasons of happiness, we all take part in being happy. Although our skills and gifts that we receive may be different, we're all considered servants in the eyes of God. If that is our true intention, how could we ever feel jealous of what another brother or sister may have? He continues to speak about the church, as there are certain "divisions" that must be kept. God APPOINTS the members and they are given special authority, enabled by the Holy Spirit to contribute significantly. Not everyone is a pastor, not everyone is an apostle, but we must remember that Paul tells us that the weaker parts of the body are INDISPENSABLE. We are still one, and how dare we remove someone from the church?

It's inevitable that God has plans for everyone. Although some plans may SEEM greater than others, it still gives everyone the opportunity to honour God and to glorify Him. And as long as that is our intention, we will succeed. There WILL be times where we fall but there WILL be times where we will overcome. Whenever it may seem like the road is steep, maybe its a sign from God that He wants us to be dependant on Him - not on our strength alone. Although excited, there are so many things that I'm personally afraid of. Such as commitment or when my passion burns out. But there's really no need to worry about tomorrow, as tomorrow will worry about itself.

11: All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
22: On the contrary, these parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honourable we treat with special honour.
26: If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.
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