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01 September - 2 Kings 6; Lamentations 2; 1 Corinthians 15


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Posted 01 September 2007 - 10:03 AM

First Portion

2 Kings 6


6:1 The sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “See now, the place where we dwell before you is too small for us. 6:2 Please let us go to the Jordan, and every man take a beam from there, and let us make us a place there, where we may dwell.”

He answered, “Go!”

6:3 One said, “Please be pleased to go with your servants.”

He answered, “I will go.” 6:4 So he went with them. When they came to the Jordan, they cut down wood. 6:5 But as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water. Then he cried, and said, “Alas, my master! For it was borrowed.”

6:6 The man of God asked, “Where did it fall?” He showed him the place. He cut down a stick, threw it in there, and made the iron float. 6:7 He said, “Take it.” So he put out his hand and took it.

6:8 Now the king of Syria was warring against Israel; and he took counsel with his servants, saying, “My camp will be in such and such a place.”

6:9 The man of God sent to the king of Israel, saying, “Beware that you not pass such a place; for the Syrians are coming down there.” 6:10 The king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of; and he saved himself there, not once nor twice. 6:11 The heart of the king of Syria was very troubled about this. He called his servants, and said to them, “Won’t you show me which of us is for the king of Israel?”

6:12 One of his servants said, “No, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.”

6:13 He said, “Go and see where he is, that I may send and get him.”

It was told him, saying, “Behold, he is in Dothan.”

6:14 Therefore he sent horses, chariots, and a great army there. They came by night, and surrounded the city. 6:15 When the servant of the man of God had risen early, and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was around the city. His servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?”

6:16 He answered, “Don’t be afraid; for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 6:17 Elisha prayed, and said, “Yahweh, please open his eyes, that he may see.” Yahweh opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire around Elisha. 6:18 When they came down to him, Elisha prayed to Yahweh, and said, “Please strike this people with blindness.”

He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha. 6:19 Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, neither is this the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.” He led them to Samaria. 6:20 It happened, when they had come into Samaria, that Elisha said, “Yahweh, open the eyes of these men, that they may see.”

Yahweh opened their eyes, and they saw; and behold, they were in the midst of Samaria. 6:21 The king of Israel said to Elisha, when he saw them, “My father, shall I strike them? Shall I strike them?”

6:22 He answered, “You shall not strike them. Would you strike those whom you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master.”

6:23 He prepared great feast for them. When they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. The bands of Syria stopped raiding the land of Israel.

6:24 It happened after this, that Benhadad king of Syria gathered all his army, and went up and besieged Samaria. 6:25 There was a great famine in Samaria. Behold, they besieged it, until a donkey’s head was sold for eighty pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a kab of dove’s dung for five pieces of silver. 6:26 As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried to him, saying, “Help, my lord, O king!”

6:27 He said, “If Yahweh doesn’t help you, from where could I help you? From of the threshing floor, or from the winepress?” 6:28 The king said to her, “What ails you?”

She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.’ 6:29 So we boiled my son, and ate him: and I said to her on the next day, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him;’ and she has hidden her son.”

6:30 It happened, when the king heard the words of the woman, that he tore his clothes (now he was passing by on the wall); and the people looked, and behold, he had sackcloth underneath on his flesh. 6:31 Then he said, “God do so to me, and more also, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat shall stay on him this day.”

6:32 But Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. Then the king sent a man from before him; but before the messenger came to him, he said to the elders, “Do you see how this son of a murderer has sent to take away my head? Behold, when the messenger comes, shut the door, and hold the door shut against him. Isn’t the sound of his master’s feet behind him?”

6:33 While he was still talking with them, behold, the messenger came down to him. Then he said, “Behold, this evil is from Yahweh. Why should I wait for Yahweh any longer?”

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Posted 01 September 2007 - 10:04 AM

Second Portion

Lamentations 2


2:1 How has the Lord covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud in his anger!
He has cast down from heaven to the earth the beauty of Israel,
And hasn’t remembered his footstool in the day of his anger.
2:2 The Lord has swallowed up all the habitations of Jacob, and has not pitied:
He has thrown down in his wrath the strongholds of the daughter of Judah;
He has brought them down to the ground; he has profaned the kingdom and its princes.
2:3 He has cut off in fierce anger all the horn of Israel;
He has drawn back his right hand from before the enemy:
He has burned up Jacob like a flaming fire, which devours all around.
2:4 He has bent his bow like an enemy, he has stood with his right hand as an adversary,
Has killed all that were pleasant to the eye:
In the tent of the daughter of Zion he has poured out his wrath like fire.
2:5 The Lord has become as an enemy, he has swallowed up Israel;
He has swallowed up all her palaces, he has destroyed his strongholds;
He has multiplied in the daughter of Judah mourning and lamentation.
2:6 He has violently taken away his tabernacle, as if it were of a garden; he has destroyed his place of assembly:
Yahweh has caused solemn assembly and Sabbath to be forgotten in Zion,
Has despised in the indignation of his anger the king and the priest.
2:7 The Lord has cast off his altar, he has abhorred his sanctuary;
He has given up into the hand of the enemy the walls of her palaces:
They have made a noise in the house of Yahweh, as in the day of a solemn assembly.
2:8 Yahweh has purposed to destroy the wall of the daughter of Zion;
He has stretched out the line, he has not withdrawn his hand from destroying;
He has made the rampart and wall to lament; they languish together.
2:9 Her gates are sunk into the ground; he has destroyed and broken her bars:
Her king and her princes are among the nations where the law is not;
Yes, her prophets find no vision from Yahweh.
2:10 The elders of the daughter of Zion sit on the ground, they keep silence;
They have cast up dust on their heads; they have clothed themselves with sackcloth:
The virgins of Jerusalem hang down their heads to the ground.
2:11 My eyes do fail with tears, my heart is troubled;
My liver is poured on the earth, because of the destruction of the daughter of my people,
Because the young children and the infants swoon in the streets of the city.
2:12 They tell their mothers, Where is grain and wine?
When they swoon as the wounded in the streets of the city,
When their soul is poured out into their mothers’ bosom.
2:13 What shall I testify to you? what shall I liken to you, daughter of Jerusalem?
What shall I compare to you, that I may comfort you, virgin daughter of Zion?
For your breach is great like the sea: who can heal you?
2:14 Your prophets have seen for you false and foolish visions;
They have not uncovered your iniquity, to bring back your captivity,
but have seen for you false oracles and causes of banishment.
2:15 All that pass by clap their hands at you.
They hiss and wag their head at the daughter of Jerusalem, saying,
Is this the city that men called The perfection of beauty, The joy of the whole earth?
2:16 All your enemies have opened their mouth wide against you;
They hiss and gnash the teeth; they say, We have swallowed her up;
Certainly this is the day that we looked for; we have found, we have seen it.
2:17 Yahweh has done that which he purposed; he has fulfilled his word that he commanded in the days of old;
He has thrown down, and has not pitied:
He has caused the enemy to rejoice over you; he has exalted the horn of your adversaries.
2:18 Their heart cried to the Lord:
wall of the daughter of Zion, let tears run down like a river day and night;
Give yourself no respite; don’t let the apple of your eye cease.
2:19 Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the watches;
Pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord:
Lift up your hands toward him for the life of your young children, that faint for hunger at the head of every street.
2:20 Look, Yahweh, and see to whom you have done thus!
Shall the women eat their fruit, the children that are dandled in the hands?
Shall the priest and the prophet be killed in the sanctuary of the Lord?
2:21 The youth and the old man lie on the ground in the streets;
My virgins and my young men are fallen by the sword:
You have killed them in the day of your anger; you have slaughtered, and not pitied.
2:22 You have called, as in the day of a solemn assembly, my terrors on every side;
There was none that escaped or remained in the day of Yahweh’s anger:
Those that I have dandled and brought up has my enemy consumed.

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Posted 01 September 2007 - 10:07 AM

Third Portion

1 Corinthians 15


15:1 Now I declare to you, brothers, the Good News which I preached to you, which also you received, in which you also stand, 15:2 by which also you are saved, if you hold firmly the word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 15:3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 15:4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 15:5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 15:6 Then he appeared to over five hundred brothers at once, most of whom remain until now, but some have also fallen asleep. 15:7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 15:8 and last of all, as to the child born at the wrong time, he appeared to me also. 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, who is not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the assembly of God. 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am. His grace which was bestowed on me was not futile, but I worked more than all of them; yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 15:11 Whether then it is I or they, so we preach, and so you believed.

15:12 Now if Christ is preached, that he has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 15:13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, neither has Christ been raised. 15:14 If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith also is in vain. 15:15 Yes, we are found false witnesses of God, because we testified about God that he raised up Christ, whom he didn’t raise up, if it is so that the dead are not raised. 15:16 For if the dead aren’t raised, neither has Christ been raised. 15:17 If Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins. 15:18 Then they also who are fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 15:19 If we have only hoped in Christ in this life, we are of all men most pitiable.

15:20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead. He became the first fruits of those who are asleep. 15:21 For since death came by man, the resurrection of the dead also came by man. 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. 15:23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then those who are Christ’s, at his coming. 15:24 Then the end comes, when he will deliver up the Kingdom to God, even the Father; when he will have abolished all rule and all authority and power. 15:25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 15:26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death. 15:27 For, “He put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when he says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that he is excepted who subjected all things to him. 15:28 When all things have been subjected to him, then the Son will also himself be subjected to him who subjected all things to him, that God may be all in all. 15:29 Or else what will they do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead aren’t raised at all, why then are they baptized for the dead? 15:30 Why do we also stand in jeopardy every hour? 15:31 I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 15:32 If I fought with animals at Ephesus for human purposes, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised, then “let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 15:33 Don’t be deceived! “Evil companionships corrupt good morals.” 15:34 Wake up righteously, and don’t sin, for some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame. 15:35 But someone will say, “How are the dead raised?” and, “With what kind of body do they come?” 15:36 You foolish one, that which you yourself sow is not made alive unless it dies. 15:37 That which you sow, you don’t sow the body that will be, but a bare grain, maybe of wheat, or of some other kind. 15:38 But God gives it a body even as it pleased him, and to each seed a body of its own. 15:39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds. 15:40 There are also celestial bodies, and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial differs from that of the terrestrial. 15:41 There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. 15:42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption. 15:43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 15:44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body and there is also a spiritual body.

15:45 So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.”* The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 15:46 However that which is spiritual isn’t first, but that which is natural, then that which is spiritual. 15:47 The first man is of the earth, made of dust. The second man is the Lord from heaven. 15:48 As is the one made of dust, such are those who are also made of dust; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 15:49 As we have borne the image of those made of dust, let’s also bear the image of the heavenly. 15:50 Now I say this, brothers, that flesh and blood can’t inherit the Kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption.

15:51 Behold, I tell you a mystery. We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 15:52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed. 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 15:54 But when this corruptible will have put on incorruption, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then what is written will happen:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
15:55 “Death, where is your sting?
Hades, where is your victory?”

15:56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 15:57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 11:40 AM

01 September 2008

2 Kings 6
Lamentations 2
1 Corinthians 15

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 01:37 PM

01 September 2009

2 Kings 6
Lamentations 2
1 Corinthians 15

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 03:37 AM

01 September 2010

2 Kings 6
Lamentations 2
1 Corinthians 15

"UNLESS YOU BELIEVED IN VAIN"

What do you believe? Some might respond, ‘Believe about what?’ This is a question that could be widely asked today? Answers are confusing. However, because so many have convinced themselves that they are no more than the highest form of animal that has evolved, many choose not to think too far into the future, it all looks so bleak.

When I was young the Russian leader, the communist Krushchev – an atheist as were all such Russians – jeered at westerners for believing in “a pie in the sky”! And he was justified! The Bible’s real message is totally different and the substance of it is in today’s reading, 1 Corinthians 15. Note carefully how Paul begins this chapter.

“Now I would remind you brothers (and sisters – footnote) of the gospel I preached to you. which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you – unless you believed in vain.” [1 Corinthians 15:1-2]

Paul then re-iterates what he preached. It centred on the certainty of the resurrection to occur when Jesus returns (1 Corinthians 15:21,22) He says that if there is no resurrection, the dead stay dead “and your faith is in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:12-14). When Jesus returns there will be a renewal of life for all who have died believing in the gospel message – and they will then have a wonderful spiritual body (1 Corinthians 15:44-49)

But in Corinth, the prevailing Greek belief was in an immortal soul or spirit. The Greeks were ridiculing the Christian hope and saying “there is no resurrection of the dead” [1 Corinthians 15:12], it is not needed as we are going immediately into a spirit existence. It is tragic that this false belief was to be adopted by much of the church in the centuries that followed. Paul warned of this happening (2 Timothy 4:3,4) and stressed his personal hope and expectation was that “there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord … will award me on that Day” because “I have kept the faith” [2 Timothy 4:7,8] If we do not keep this faith, our belief is in vain!

Today many have no hope in an existence beyond this life; others have a false faith, based on human philosophy, in a spirit existence after death. Let us not be among those who “believed in vain” – or among those who give up on believing in God’s word and live only for the here and now. The hopelessness of life without God becomes plainer every day. Look up and read the last verse in today’s chapter.
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Posted 01 September 2011 - 07:15 AM

01 September 2011

2 Kings 6
Lamentations 2
1 Corinthians 15

"HIS GRACE TOWARD ME WAS NOT IN VAIN"

Today we read one of the most meaningful chapters in the Bible 1 Corinthians 15. Many verses “jumped out” for our meditation. The one we have chosen to really reflect upon is 1 Corinthians 15:10. Paul laments on his unworthiness, but then says, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.”

We hear the word grace used a lot in Christian circles. There are popular hymns about “amazing grace” and how the Lord has “saved a wretch like me.” Bible readers above all people appreciate “the wonder of his grace.” But we reflected thoughtfully on the example of Paul and his utter commitment of service to his Lord to see that “his grace toward me was not in vain.”

No one can earn salvation! But in accepting “his grace” what kind of motivation does it create in our hearts? Can it be that for all too many in these “last days” that his grace is taken for granted and it fails to motivate them to live really committed lives as Paul did? Let us realize that commitment shows up in all the small things of life that we do (or don’t do) every day. Paul urged his companions in this. We will soon read in 2 Corinthians 8 how he “urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. But as you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you – see that you excel in this act of grace also.” [2 Corinthians 8:6,7]

Our acceptance of the grace of God should change us - as it did Paul, to show grace toward others in every situation so that his grace toward us is “not in vain.” If we have previously been a “wretch” – this change should be extremely evident. The challenge for most of us is in the many “small things” we do every day. Recall yesterdays reading in 2 Kings 5 of Naaman being angry he had not been asked to do some great thing to be cured of his leprosy. His grace toward us is not in vain if we daily do the small things in his service.
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Posted 01 September 2012 - 10:59 AM

01 September 2012

2 Kings 6
Lamentations 2
1 Corinthians 15

"HIS GRACE TOWARD ME WAS NOT IN VAIN"

Paul expresses himself from his heart in the above words. After his astonishing encounter with Christ on the Damascus Rd he was overwhelmed by a sense of utter appreciation – followed by total commitment in the service of Christ for the rest of his life.

Our oft quoted chapter in Corinthians today [1 Corinthians 15] – must be read slowly, meaningfully, letting the emotion of Paul’s message sink deeply into our minds. If there is no hope of resurrection then it cannot be true that Christ was raised “and if Christ be not raised your faith is futile.” [1 Corinthians 15:17]

All around them in Corinth, in this vibrant worldly Greek city, people were sure they had ‘immortal souls’ and that the body was of no value, many found it impossible to accept the teaching of the resurrection of the body [1 Corinthians 15:12], - the same had happened in Athens [Acts 17:32]. Today, all around us most humanly ‘inspired’ intellectuals scoff at belief in a Creator! This human message is now being expressed in an ever greater spirit of conviction! Is it affecting us? Is it undermining our convictions?

We need to apply our minds, both to the clear facts of the Bible and also the lessons of secular history, seeing the great upheaval in belief and conviction 1950 years ago as testified in secular sources as well as in the Bible – and declare with Paul with all our hearts, “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by man came death, by man has come also the resurrection of the dead.” [1 Corinthians 15:20-21] and true faithful believers like Paul will one day “bear the image of the man from heaven.” [1 Corinthians 15:49].

Indeed, in the final days “we shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed … at the last trumpet. For the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.” [1 Corinthians 15:51-52] Because Paul is totally concentrating on the reality of the resurrection he does not mention there is also a judgement, but he does elsewhere. (e.g. Romans 2:16; 14:10) Our chapter concludes with a challenging message beginning with the significant word THEREFORE!

“Therefore, my beloved brothers (and sisters), be steadfast, immovable, always abounding the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain.” Paul proved that “his grace toward me was not in vain.” [1 Corinthians 15:10] Let us do the same.
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Posted 01 September 2013 - 03:27 AM

01 September 2013

2 Kings 6
Lamentations 2
1 Corinthians 15

"HIS GRACE TOWARD ME WAS NOT IN VAIN"

Today we read one of the most meaningful chapters in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 15. Many verses “jump out” inviting our meditation. The one we have chosen to really reflect upon is 1 Corinthians 15:10. Paul laments on his unworthiness, but then says, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God.”

We hear the word grace used a lot in Christian circles. There are popular hymns about “amazing grace” and how the Lord has “saved a wretch like me.” Careful Bible readers more than anyone else appreciate “the wonder of his grace.” But we need to thoughtfully reflect on the example of Paul and his utter commitment of service to his Lord to see that “his grace toward me was not in vain.”

No one can earn salvation so that they deserve it! We must ask ourselves in accepting “his grace” - ‘What kind of motivation is this creating in my heart? Can it be that for all too many in these “last days” that his grace is taken for granted and it fails to motivate them to live really committed lives, failing to follow the example of Paul?

Let us realize that our commitment is really seen in all the small things we do (or don’t do) every day. Paul urged his companions in this. We will soon read in 2 Corinthians 8 how he “urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace.” That “act of grace” was in “taking part in the relief of the saints” who were in “extreme poverty” [2 Corinthians 8:2,4] Paul tells the Corinthians, “… you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you – see that you excel in this act of grace also.” [2 Corinthians 8:6,7]

Our acceptance of the grace of God should change us - as it did Paul, to show grace toward others in every situation so that our Lord’s grace toward us is “not in vain.” If we have previously been a “wretch” – this change should be extremely evident.

The challenge for most of us is in the many “small things” we do every day. Recall yesterday’s reading in 2 Kings of Naaman being angry he had not been asked to do some great thing to be cured of his leprosy. His grace toward us is not in vain if we constantly do many small things in his service.
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Posted 01 September 2014 - 11:21 AM

01 September 2014
 
2 Kings 6
Lamentations 2
1 Corinthians 15   
 
“OF FIRST IMPORTANCE”  
            
Possibly the most heart moving chapter for us in Scripture is today’s 15th chapter in 1st Corinthians – of course, that depends on how ‘alive’ our heart is!  Paul writes on the absolute certainty that the resurrection of Christ really happened.  It is the foundation of “the gospel in which you stand and by which you are being saved.” [1 Corinthians 15:1-2]  He reminds these former idol-worshippers that “I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins … that he was raised the third day …” [1 Corinthians 15:3-4]   
            
This gave real meaning to their lives, as it does to ours. We can say that if we have real conviction of this event, that conviction becomes the ‘engine’ of the ‘thought processes’ that transform the way we see the meaning of life.  How well that ‘engine’ is functioning is evidenced by the priorities we have in daily and weekly life. 
            
The people of Corinth had formerly been idol worshippers, they had believed they had a ‘soul’ that was immortal that it was a blessing when it escaped from their body at death to then lead some sort of immortal existence!   There are still some relatively primitive people today who believe this, but far more significant at the moment is the Islamic conviction, from the Qur’an, that the souls of martyrs go directly to paradise – a conviction that is surely a significant factor in the minds of those who commit the atrocities we are witnessing in the world at the moment.
            
Paul goes on to list the witnesses that Christ rose from the dead; on one occasion “he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive” [1 Corinthians 15:6]  We reflect the thinking of the Roman Centurions –  their thinking was effectively challenged through their contact with Jesus, at least some were convinced of his divine powers, see Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 3:3-6. A Centurion and others with him saw “what took place (at the crucifixion) and they were filled with awe and said, "Truly this was the Son of God!" [Matthew 27:54]
            
Then of course Acts 10 has the account of the conversion of the Roman Centurion Cornelius – and many with him.  Surely the impact of these experiences was the reason why there were so many followers of Christ in Rome in A.D. 63 whom the emperor Nero sought to put to death, according to Roman historians, e.g. Tacitus, circa AD 110.  They saw the events of Calvary as “of first importance” – it transformed their thinking, as it did all those who had witnessed him alive after his resurrection – creating the conviction of their own hope of resurrection!  
            
Those alive at his return, and surely that includes some (many?) alive today who truly believe these things are “of first importance” and are baptised, they, says Paul, “shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet … and put on immortality.” [1 Corinthians 15:51,53] All with this conviction of belief and expectation, will, as Paul expresses it at the end of this chapter, “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord …”  
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Posted 01 September 2015 - 10:43 AM

01 September 2015
 
2 Kings 6
Lamentations 2
1 Corinthians 15  
 
"HIS GRACE TOWARD ME WAS NOT IN VAIN"
                                                                                            
Today we read one of the most meaningful chapters in the Bible - 1 Corinthians 15. Many verses “jumped out” for our meditation. The one we have chosen to really reflect upon is 1 Corinthians 15:10.  Paul laments on his unworthiness, but then says, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain.  On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” 
            
We hear the word grace used a lot in Christian circles.  There are popular hymns about “amazing grace” and how the Lord has “saved a wretch like me.” Bible readers above all people appreciate “the wonder of his grace.”  But we reflected thoughtfully on the example of Paul and his utter commitment of service to his Lord to see that “his grace toward me was not in vain.” 
            
No one can earn salvation!  But in accepting “his grace” what kind of motivation results in our hearts?  Can it be that for all too many in these “last days” that his grace is taken for granted and it fails to motivate them to live really committed lives as Paul did? Let us realize that commitment shows up in all the small things of life that we do (or don’t do) every day.  
            
Paul urged his companions in this.  We will soon read in 2 Corinthians 8 how he “urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace.  But as you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you – see that you excel in this act of grace also.” [2 Corinthians 8:6-7]  
            
Our acceptance of the grace of God should change us – as it did Paul, to show grace toward others in every situation so that his grace toward us is “not in vain.”   If we have previously been a “wretch” – this change should be extremely evident.  The challenge for most of us is in the many “small things” we do every day. Recall yesterday’s reading in 2 Kings of Naaman being angry he had not been asked to do some great thing to be cured of his leprosy.  His grace toward us is not in vain if we daily do the small things in his service. 
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- DC


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Posted 11 September 2016 - 03:24 AM

01 September 2016
 
2 Kings 6
Lamentations 2
1 Corinthians 15  
 
“BUT THANKS BE TO GOD WHO …” 
 
One of the most challenging, stirring and inspiring chapters in the Bible is Paul’s 15th ­ in his 1st letter to the Corinthians. We have chosen 3 different adjectives, which Paul uses, which reflect the differing but special kinds of reactions  its 56 verses inspire in our minds.
 
The greatest and most inspiring reaction maybe the one near the end where Paul quotes from Isaiah 25:8 "... then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" [1 Corinthians 15:54-55),
 
For most people today death is not a victory - but a defeat!   Paul says, "The sting of death is sin" [1 Corinthians 15:56] and our world appears to be almost totally full of people who will feel this sting - in an everlasting sense.
 
But how wonderfully triumphant are we if we can truly give "thanks to God" because “he gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." [1 Corinthians 15:57]   Let us make every effort to be fully genuine believers who feel in our hearts (not just our minds) that this "victory" is ours in prospect, that we have truly committed our lives to God!  And in doing this let us embrace in our minds and hearts today (and every day) the last verse.
 
"Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain." 
 
Let us sense  ever more clearly that the time is getting ever nearer when, as we read in 1 Corinthians 15:52, "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed."   
 
How far beyond our present comprehension is this!  How great will be our "thanks to God" and our Lord Jesus, for the "victory" that will be ours!  “He gives” it ­ it is a reward for our faithfulness, despite our imperfections, which, prayerfully, are diminishing as we become more “steadfast” and “immovable.” We reflect back on 1 Corinthians 2 of this letter of Paul's and his inspiring words, " ... no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him" [1 Corinthians 2:9]  
 
Let us live each day, in ways which show we “love him.” At that time our "thanks ... to God" and his Son will know no bounds.  
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- DC 


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Posted 01 September 2017 - 03:54 AM

01 September 2017
 
2 Kings 6
Lamentations 2
1 Corinthians 15  
 
"HOLD FAST TO THE WORD I PREACHED TO YOU"
 
What do you believe? Some might respond, ‘Believe about what?’ This is a question that could be widely asked today? Answers are confusing. However, because so many have convinced themselves that they are no more than the highest form of animal that has evolved, many choose not to think too far into the future, it all looks so bleak.
 
When I was young the Russian leader, the communist Krushchev – an atheist as were all such Russians – jeered at westerners for believing in “a pie in the sky”! And he was justified! The Bible’s real message is totally different and the substance of it is in today’s reading, 1 Corinthians 15. Note carefully how Paul begins this chapter.
 
“Now I would remind you brothers (and sisters – footnote) of the gospel I preached to you. which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you – unless you believed in vain.” [1 Corinthians 15:1-2]
 
Paul then re-iterates what he preached. It centred on the certainty of the resurrection to occur when Jesus returns [1 Corinthians 15:21-22] He says that if there is no resurrection, the dead stay dead “and your faith is in vain” [1 Corinthians 15:12-14]. When Jesus returns there will be a renewal of life for all who have died believing in the gospel message – and they will then have a wonderful spiritual body [1 Corinthians 15:44-49]
 
But in Corinth, the prevailing Greek belief was in an immortal soul or spirit. The Greeks were ridiculing the Christian hope and saying “there is no resurrection of the dead” [1 Corinthians 15:12], it is not needed as we are going immediately into a spirit existence. It is tragic that this false belief was to be adopted by much of the church in the centuries that followed. Paul warned of this happening [2 Timothy 4:3-4] and stressed his personal hope and expectation was that “there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord … will award me on that Day” because “I have kept the faith” [2 Timothy 4:7-8] If we do not keep this faith, our belief is in vain!
 
Today many have no hope in an existence beyond this life; others have a false faith, based on human philosophy, in a spirit existence after death. Let us not be among those who “believed in vain” – or among those who give up on believing in God’s word and live only for the here and now. The hopelessness of life without God becomes plainer every day. Look up and read the last verse in today’s chapter. [1 Corinthians 15:58].
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- DC 





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