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Ten men and no women have been

executed in the United States in 2017.

The Bible passage for mediation, prayer, and reflection, for the week of April 5-11, 2015, is 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a.  This passage is familiar to nearly everyone.  It is frequently read at weddings, vow renewals, and marriage celebrations.  This week, this passage holds special significance.  On April 5, 2015, we celebrate Resurrection Sunday, Easter.  It is the day that we celebrate Jesus’ defeat of death, and our salvation.  As you read this passage, remember the pain and torture that was inflicted on our Savior.  Remember His suffering.  Remember His willingness to die.

 

Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.  It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].  It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.  Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].  Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].  (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, AMP)

 

Why?  Why would Jesus, the perfect, sinless man, be willing to put Himself through such torture, such pain, such suffering for people who will never stop sinning?  The answer is found in this week’s passage: Love.  He loves you beyond anything you can imagine.  His love for you is perfect.  Because of His love for you, He was willing to endure the pain, the torture, the suffering.  Because of His love for you, He is willing show you patience, to forgive you time and again.  His love for you will endure, no matter your actions.  As you mediate on, pray over, and reflect upon this week’s verse, take heart and rejoice!  Jesus Loves You!

The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of March 29 - April 3, 2015, is Psalm 40:1-3.  This psalm, like so many, was written by David.  Many scholars believe that David wrote this psalm while he was on the run from his son, Absalom, who sought to overthrow David.

 

I waited patiently and expectantly for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry.

He drew me up out of a horrible pit [a pit of tumult and of destruction], out of the miry clay (froth and slime), and set my feet upon a rock, steadying my steps and establishing my goings.

And He has put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many shall see and fear (revere and worship) and put their trust and confident reliance in the Lord.  (Psalm 40:1-3, AMP)

 

Has there been a time in your life, perhaps recently, when you felt like David?  Stuck in a pit of despair?  Perhaps things were not going smoothly at work.  Perhaps you were struggling with a personal issue.  Perhaps you were struggling spiritually.  Perhaps you still are.  God does not operate on our timetable.  Sometimes we must be patient and wait for His timing, for His response.  He is using our time of trouble to teach us a lesson and make us stronger.  As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this week’s verse consider your attitude during times of difficulty.  Continue to pray and have faith in the Lord.  He has heard you!

The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of March 22-28, 2015, is Jeremiah 1:4-10.  This passage records Jeremiah’s calling by the Lord.  As you read this week’s passage, study Jeremiah’s reaction to his calling.  Have you ever acted in a similar manner?

 

Then the word of the Lord came to me [Jeremiah], saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you; [and] I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”  Then said I, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am only a youth.”  But the Lord said to me, “Say not, I am only a youth; for you shall go to all to whom I shall send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.  Be not afraid of them [their faces], for I am with you to deliver you,” says the Lord.  Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me, “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.  See, I have this day appointed you to the oversight of the nations and of the kingdoms to root out and pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”  (Jeremiah 1:4-10, AMP)

 

Jeremiah’s reaction is one shared by many prophets and individuals whom the Lord has called into His service: believing they are unfit to serve.  Moses was scared of public speaking.  Joshua needed frequent assurance and encouragement.  Saul, after prophesying with prophets, felt unqualified and inadequate and attempted to hide!  Solomon sought wisdom above all else, perhaps feeling he was too young to become king.  Do you feel inadequate, unqualified, unsure, and/or scared for the purpose the Lord has called you?  Take comfort!  You are in good company.

 

God has called us all to serve Him in some manner.  Very few approach the task with no reservations.  As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this weeks verse, consider what task the Lord has set before you.  What excuse are you using to evade serving?

The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of March 15-21, 2015, is Mark 4:30-34.  Have you ever heard someone describe something technical and think, or even say, “Just speak plainly!”  That is exactly what Jesus is doing in this passage!  Speaking plainly, through a parable.

 

And He said, With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use to illustrate and explain it?  It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all seeds upon the earth; Yet after it is sown, it grows up and becomes the greatest of all garden herbs and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air are able to make nests and dwell in its shade.  With many such parables [Jesus] spoke the Word to them, as they were able to hear and to comprehend and understand.  He did not tell them anything without a parable; but privately to His disciples (those who were peculiarly His own) He explained everything [fully].  (Mark 4:30-34, AMP)

 

What must it have been like, learning that the feet of Jesus?  Being part of the intimate conversations that He had with His disciples?  Through the recordings in the New Testament, we are offered a glimpse of that experience.  Jesus spoke in parables, stories that were easy to understand, yet required meditation, prayer, and reflection to grasp the full teaching.  This week’s passage shows that the kingdom of God may start out small, tiny even, yet will grow to become the largest and greatest of all the seeds planted in the garden.  What a kingdom of which we are a part!  As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this weeks verse, consider your part in God’s kingdom.

The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of March 8-14, 2015, 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.

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