Did You Know?

Twenty-three men and no women have

been executed in the United States in 2017.

The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of March 9-15, 2014, is I Corinthians 6:13b-20. This week's passage confronts sexual immorality among the church at Corinth.Paul had already rebuked the church once for not only allowing, but pridefully accepting sexual immoral individuals into the congregation!A chapter later, Paul returns to the topic of sexual immorality, nor will it be the last time Paul addresses the topic.Spend some time this week meditating on, praying over, and reflecting on I Corinthians 6:13b-20.

 

The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (I Corinthians 6:13b-20, ESV)

 

What does Paul define as sexual immorality?Adultery (Exodus 20:14, 1 Corinthians 5:1).Incest (1 Corinthians 5:1).Lust (Romans 2:26).Sexual relations between the unmarried (1 Corinthians 7:2).Lasciviousness or lewdness (Galatians 5:19, 2 Corinthians 12:21).Homosexuality (Romans 2:26-27).Pornography (1 Corinthians 6:18).This list which Paul shares was not created by him, it came from the Lord.

 

The Corinth church prided themselves on being tolerant, tolerant to sin!Tolerance is a popular word today, with an ever increasing list of topics - abortion, removal of prayer, religion, sexual life and preference - of which people are told they need to be tolerant.But what is tolerance?The progressive interpretation of tolerance is acceptance.This is incorrect.Tolerance is nothing more than peaceful co-existence with an idea or people with whom you disagree.Progressive thinking, today as in Corinth, requires Christians to accept sin as the norm.As Christians, we must reject this.Although sinners, we are to live our lives in a way that honors and glorifies the Lord.Acceptance of sin never honors or glorifies the Lord.

 

To live or not to live in sin?It is a choice we all make.We know the consequences of choosing to live in sin: exchanging a few, brief years of self satisfaction for eternal punishment.Paul told the Corinthians to flee from sexual immorality and glorify God.Will you chose to live for God and glorify Him?Spend some time this week meditating on, praying over, and reflecting on I Corinthians 6:13b-20.It is something you really should consider.

 

The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of March 2 – March 8, 2014, is Psalm 27:1-6. This may be a familiar passage to some.  It is inspiring, encouraging, uplifting, and motivating.  With God what do we have to fear? Spend some time this week meditating on, praying over, and reflecting on Psalm 27:1-6.

 

The Lord is my light and my salvation;whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall.

Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.

One thing have I asked of the Lord,that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lordand to inquire in his temple.

For he will hide me in his shelterin the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;he will lift me high upon a rock.

And now my head shall be lifted upabove my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tentsacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

(Psalm 27:1-6, ESV)

 

This psalm was written by David.  We do not know when.  David had many times in his life when he was beat down, surrounded, pursued, and in trouble.  However, he never forgot that he had the Lord on his side.  Through the Lord, all things are possible (Philippians 4:13).  Are you like David?  Do you turn to the Lord and rely on His strength during your times of trouble?  Do you maintain faith that the Lord will get you through?  And do you rejoice in Him when it is over?

 

 

The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of February 23 – March 1, 2014, is Matthew 25: 14-30. The verse speaks of a master entrusting three servants with different sums of money (talents) to invest for him while away on a journey.  The two servants that were given the most invested wisely providing additional wealth for their master when he returned from his journey. The servant given the least chose to do nothing and upon his master’s return shows no gain for his master. What does this mean?

 

14 “Forit will be like a mangoing on a journey, who called his servantsand entrusted to them his property.15 To one he gave fivetalents,to another two, to another one,to each according to his ability. Then hewent away.16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more.17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more.18 But he who had received the one talent went anddug in the ground and hid his master's money.19 Nowafter a long time the master of those servants came andsettled accounts with them.20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good andfaithful servant.You have been faithful over a little;I will set you over much. Enter intothe joy of your master.’22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to bea hard man, reapingwhere you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed,25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Hereyou have what is yours.’26 But his master answered him, ‘Youwicked andslothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed?27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents.29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.30 Andcastthe worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that placethere will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ Matthew 25: 14-30(ESV)

Take some time this week to meditate on, prayer over, and reflect upon Matthew 25: 14-30. Jesus is the Master and his followers are the servants.  Have you considered that God wants you, fellow believer, to grow His Kingdom? Are you the servant who chose to do nothing? Are you the servant with one talent? Faith is about relationship with Jesus.  Develop your talent, Jesus is there to help, all you need to do is ask Him.

The Bible passage selected for meditation, prayer, and reflection for this week, the week of February 16-22, 2014, is Matthew 20:29-34.  This week's passage for consideration is the story of Jesus healing two blind beggars.  Are you a blind beggar with the Lord?  Spend some time this week meditating on, praying over, and reflecting on Matthew 20:29-34.

 

And as they went out of Jericho, a great crowd followed him. And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” And stopping, Jesus called them and said, What do you want me to do for you?” They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him. (Matthew 20:29-34, ESV)

 

During this time, Jewish society did not hold a favorable view towards beggars.  They were outcasts of society and while Old Testament law provided for the needy, respected holy men often avoided them out of fear of becoming unclean.  Of course, Jesus was not your average holy man.  In fact, He had made of habit of doing the exact opposite of the majority of holy men.  Note the title used by the two blind beggars: “Lord...Son of David!”The beggars addressed Him by His messianic title, before the crowds in Jerusalem and before Jesus taught about it.  "So the last will be first, and the first last.” (Matthew 20:16, ESV)

 

When your kids are struggling with homework, do you jump in with the solution before they ask for help?  Jesus often asked what people wanted from Him.  Not because He needed to know, but to have them verbalize their desire.  Yes, He knows what we need and what we want, always better than us, but by verbalizing our desire, we are also verbalizing our faith.  Time in prayer with our Heavenly Father is important to not only seek and understand His will in our lives, but to also place our petitions before Him.  Nothing is too small or too big for Him to handle.  Are you expecting the Lord to jump in with the solution before you even ask for help?

 

The Bible passage selected for meditation, prayer, and reflection for this week, the week of February 9-15, 2014, is Psalm 19:1-6.This week's verses describe the Lord's creation.Spend some time this week meditating on, praying over, and reflecting on Psalm 19:1-6.

 

The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

(Psalm 19:1-6, ESV)

 

This psalm was written by David, although we are unsure when.Perhaps it was while he was running from Saul and observing the wonders of the Lord's creation around him.Look out a window.What do you see?Look at the sky.God created it.He created the colors viewed during the day, the stars we see at night.Every day can serve to teach us a new wonder about the works of the Lord. As you consider the passage this week, consider your surroundings and see God's glory in them.

 

The Bible passage selected for meditation, prayer, and reflection for this week, the week of February 2-8, 2014, is Matthew 14:22-32.  Jesus, after sending the disciples ahead of Him, walked on water to reach the boat His disciples were in.  Peter takes the first steps, quite literally, to putting his complete trust in the Lord.  As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect on Matthew 14:22-32, consider what we can learn from Peter.

 

Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said,“Come.”So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand andtook hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Matthew 12:22-32 (ESV)

 

Jesus had recently been informed that John the Baptist had been executed and was attempting to find some privacy before He was surrounded by crowds.  At the beginning of this passage, He finally gets some time to spend with His Father.  Was He grieving at the loss of John, the last of the Old Testament prophets?  Fearful of His upcoming trials?  Seeking wisdom for events to come?  We do not know, but we should follow Jesus' example of always making time to spend with our Father in prayer.

 

 

When Jesus approached the boat, Peter was willing to put his complete faith in Him and walk out onto the water to meet Him.  It was a significant step, however Peter quickly became overwhelmed by the realness of the situation and started to sink, crying out for the Lord to save him.  Are you like Peter, willing to trust and then overwhelmed?  Follow Peter's example and cry out to the Lord for help.

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