2 Corinthians 2:9-17 One of my favorite things to do when I was a child was to lick the bowl after my mother made homemade fudge or lace cookies. I savored the flavor as I first used a spoon to scoop the leftover batter, and then I would use my tongue to make sure I had not missed one morsel. I savored the flavor.
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Job 23:1-27:23 As a mother of three growing boys and a husband who all love to eat, I spent most of my time in the kitchen cooking for this hungry brood. One of my favorite scriptures in the Bible is found in Psalm 86, where a verse reads, "He delivered my hands from the pots." I have been standing on this promise for years, but I find myself still cooking.
Proverbs 22:2-4 Yesterday we shared how the major thing that stands in the way of our doing all things with love is pride. Today we look at the benefits of humility. Jesus was the perfect example of humility. We are told in the Scriptures that He humbled Himself and became a servant. He emptied Himself of everything but love. God is love. He issues the invitation to every one to come to Him and learn meekness and lowliness of heart. Truly I believe Jesus is the only one who can help us learn all about humility. There have been many wonderful books written on humility. But none of those books will change us unless we are willing to sit at the feet of the Great Teacher who can instruct us perfectly in meekness and lowliness of heart.
1 Corinthians 16:1-24 Paul exhorts in his letter to the Corinthians that everything we do be done in love. What a great idea! Actually this is not an idea at all. It is a commandment. Jesus summed up the whole law in two commandments—love the Lord your God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself. If love were our motivation in everything we did, our lives would be blessed.
Job 12:1-15:35 Throughout our lives there is one goal God has for us. His goal is that we become totally dependent upon Him. There is also one goal Satan has for us as we live our lives on earth. His goal is that we become totally independent. Interdependency is God's heart for us. Independence is Satan's plan for us.
Job 8:1-11:20 Job in this passage cries out for a daysman to stand between him and God. He was crying out for a mediator between God and himself. Job did not know that God's plan from the beginning of the earth was to provide such a daysman. Jesus Christ, who would be our intercessor and our redeemer, is now our daysman or mediator who stands on our behalf before God. Later as we read the Book of Job, we see how God revealed His plan to Job, and Job finally knew he had a redeemer—one who could buy back everything he had lost, one who could redeem his very own soul from destruction.
1 Corinthians 14:18-40 As Paul was giving instructions to the church about how their services were to be conducted, he exhorted the church to let everything be done to edify. How different our lives would be if the motivation of our relationships with others was always to edify them—to build up one another in love. Our conversations would be seasoned with grace, and we would never be condescending, judgmental or critical in our words to others. We would esteem one another higher than ourselves, and we would ever be on the alert to serve and support one another in love.
Psalm 37:12-28 We have talked a lot about the blessings that come to those who have been made righteous through Jesus Christ and who abide daily in Him and His Word. I did a study once on the multitude of blessings that actually overtake those who fear the Lord and who walk uprightly with Him. Of course, the blessings to the righteous do not guarantee they will not experience troubles. In fact, the Word of God says we will be persecuted for righteousness' sake, and yet even with this will come a blessing. The Word also says many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord Himself delivers them out of them all. We have to remember that the end of every trial in a righteous person's life will develop something better in our lives than before. Our readings for the rest of this month in Job certainly prove this to be true.
1 Corinthians 12:27-13:13 Most people are familiar with this passage of Scripture. It is often used in wedding ceremonies and often referred to as the "Love Chapter." Chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians has much to say about love, but because of its familiarity we often miss the rich depth of this passage. After reading this passage one day, I asked the Lord a simple question that I have always wondered about. I asked Him why faith, hope and love last forever. In response to my question, I heard with my spiritual ears the following: "Faith, hope and love last forever because they are the eternal soul of Jesus Christ. Your soul consists of mind, emotion and will. Jesus also had a soul, but His soul was without sin. He had no lusts, even though He felt what it was like for you to be tempted. He was touched with the feelings of all of your weaknesses. His mind, however, was filled with faith; His emotions were anchored by hope, and His will was controlled by love."
Psalm 36:1-12 The reason people do not trust God is because they do not have a complete view of His character. To trust anyone we must know that this person speaks truthfully, has no guile and has our best interest at heart. The Psalm and Proverb readings today express so beautifully God's character. In Psalm 36:1-12 we see these attributes of God's character listed:
Psalm 35:17-28 Many years ago I did a study on the tongue of the righteous and the tongue of the wicked. This study revealed to me the power of the tongue and led me to write a book called The Tongue—a Mighty Weapon. Whenever I give talks to others, I like to speak about the power of our words and what God created our tongues to do. There is a psalm that says, "He that orders his conversation aright glorifies the Lord." (See Psalm 50:23.) Our tongues were made to glorify the Lord, to praise Him, to worship Him, to encourage and edify others, and to share the gospel with them.
Nehemiah 12:27-13:31 Have you ever been in a home where the garbage has not been emptied for days, the dishes are stacked a mile high, and bed sheets have not been changed for months? When my son was on drugs and living with two other boys in a rental house, I went to visit him. No one answered the door, but the door was opened, so I thought maybe Ray was sleeping. I opened the door, and what faced me was unbelievable. It was just like the home I described above. When I discovered no one was home, I set about to straighten things out as best as I could. After two hours of work and a spray of room deodorizer, the house was in much better order.
1 Corinthians 10:15-11:2 Many today are wearing a bracelet with the initials W.W.J.D? This stands for, "What would Jesus do?" My older sister was impressed with a family who counseled their children to ask "What would Jesus do?" when they were wrestling with whether to do something or not. The answer to the question "What would Jesus do?" is always the same. The answer is, "Jesus would always do what would bring glory to His heavenly Father."
Psalm 34:1-10 What a thrill it is for us to watch our grandchildren as they begin to crawl first, and then pull themselves up to a standing position. Shortly thereafter they begin to take their first steps. Sometimes, however, in their efforts to pull themselves up to the standing position, their legs get tangled and they cannot move. Someone has to come to their rescue and position them once again so they can hold on and stand up.
Nehemiah 7:61-9:21 In today's passage we learn the importance of the joy of the Lord. Nehemiah says, "For the joy of the Lord is your strength" (Neh. 8:10). We saw this fact demonstrated in a dramatic way when we attended the first Jewish festival that was held in St. Petersburg, Russia. This festival was designed to reach out to the Jewish people. The music artists shared not only their music, but also their personal testimonies of how they came to know Jesus as their Messiah. The first evening as people gathered into the auditorium, I studied each face. The people seemed expressionless, almost without any emotion, and I did not see one smile. Then the music began.
Psalm 33:1-11 In a world that is falling apart, we need a place of security. Earlier we spoke of such a place—the pavilion in the presence of the Lord where we can hide from the strife of tongues. If you have ever experienced an earthquake or a tornado, you have an understanding of how your life depends upon where you place yourself. If you are in an earthquake, you are to brace yourself in a doorway. If you are in a tornado, you are to go to your basement or storm cellar.
Psalm 32:1-11 Each day I live I come to appreciate the cross and what happened on that dreadful, but victorious day over two thousand years ago. I am a blessed person for no other reason than the blood of Jesus that was poured out for me to cover my sins. David had not yet seen the crucified and resurrected Lord in the flesh, but I believe he saw Him in the spirit. David understood the power of forgiveness of transgressions, the covering of sins and the pardoning of iniquity. He says, "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit" (vv. 1-2).
Psalm 31:19-24 Nothing can wound more than the accusations of others, especially if a friend accuses you. David had this experience. What causes a critical, judgmental spirit? The root cause is pride. When we are hurt by others, it is a sign that we have pride in our hearts. When we hurt and wound others with our words, we are also guilty of pride.
1 Corinthians 6:1-20 We continue to meditate on judging others. First we learned not to judge anything before the time. Yesterday we saw where Paul judged the sin of a fornicator in the body and exhorted the body at Corinth to break fellowship with him until he repented. Today's passage states an amazing fact about our ability to judge: "Do you not that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?" (v. 3).
1 Corinthians 5:1-13 Yesterday we talked about judging nothing before the time. However, we see in this passage that Paul definitely makes a judgment. Remember we said we could judge people's actions, but we do not have the ability to judge their motivations. Only God knows the hearts of men. The judgment Paul makes in this passage is against the sin of fornication. This is the only sin that is a sin against one's own body. Listen to what Paul says about this. "I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: yet not altogether the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person" (vv. 9-13, KJV).
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