Posts tagged ‘1 Corinthians’

February 28, 2014

843 Acres: On Pitying Entrepreneurs (and Christians)

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Job 29 (txt | aud, 2:07 min)
1 Cor 15 (txt | aud, 6:48 min)
Highlighted: 1 Cor 15:19

Entrepreneurs: Entrepreneurs sacrifice a lot to accomplish a greater goal. Many leave successful careers in well-established companies, steady incomes and bonuses, and large staffs that take care of all the incidentals of running a business. As a result, entrepreneurs usually live modestly—spending their money and time more strategically and deliberately than they did before. Of course, in their minds, all the sacrifices are worth it because they have a goal in mind—to make their startup successful. They think, “It won’t always be this way. I’ll sow the sacrifices now so that I’ll reap the benefits later.”

Christians: Like entrepreneurs, Christians don’t live for today, but for tomorrow. Our goal is great—to make much of Christ in the only life that we have. We live modestly because we know that our treasure is in heaven, and we spend our time strategically because we know that our lives are precious and short. We think, “It won’t always be this way. We’ll sow sacrifices now so that we’ll reap rewards later.”

Success: In both cases, however, there’s a harsh reality—that the worth of our sacrifice depends on the reality of our success. As Paul wrote, “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” Entrepreneurs and Christians alike pour out blood, sweat, and tears into realizing their goal. Yet their ventures cannot be based solely on passion; they must be based on truth. If the startup venture fails, then we pity the entrepreneur. If the biblical portrayal of Jesus isn’t true, then we pity the Christian. Why? Because both of them sacrificed so much for nothing.

Prayer: Lord, Many generations have gone before us and have been commended for their faith—yet none of them received what had been promised. Together with them, we live by faith that looks to the life that is to come. Although we cannot yet see it with our eyes, we thank you for Jesus, who came to live on earth, who bled and died in his mortality, and who rose again for hundreds to bear witness to his resurrection. Therefore, let us give ourselves to risk and sacrifice for the sake of the gospel. For our best life is later, not now. Amen.

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M’Cheyne Weekend Readings

Saturday, March 1: Job 30 (txt | aud, 2:54 min) & 1 Cor 16 (txt | aud, 2:22 min)
Sunday, March 2: Job 31 (txt | aud, 3:59 min) & 2 Cor 1 (txt | aud, 3:28 min)

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February 27, 2014

843 Acres #TBT: The Wisdom of God

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Job 28 (txt | aud, 2:37 min)
1 Cor 14 (txt | aud, 4:37 min)

Job. Job 28: 12, 23, 28

But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? … God understands the way to it, and he knows its place … And he said to man, “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.”

A.W. Tozer. The Knowledge of the Holy.

In the Holy Scriptures, wisdom, when used of God and good men, always carries a strong moral connotation. It is conceived as being pure, loving, and good. Wisdom that is mere shrewdness is often attributed to evil men, but such wisdom is treacherous and false. These two kinds of wisdom are in perpetual conflict. Indeed, when seen from the lofty peak of Sinai or Calvary, the whole history of the world is discovered to be but a contest between the wisdom of God and the cunning of Satan and fallen men. The outcome of the contest is not in doubt. The imperfect must fall before the perfect at last. God has warned that He will take the wise in their own craftiness and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

Wisdom, among other things, is the ability to devise perfect ends and to achieve those ends by the most perfect means. It sees the end from the beginning, so there can be no need to guess or conjecture. Wisdom sees everything in focus, each in proper relation to all, and is thus able to work toward predestined goals with flawless precision.

All God’s acts are done in perfect wisdom, first for His own glory, and then for the highest good of the greatest number for the longest time. And all His acts are as pure as they are wise, and as good as they are wise and pure. Not only could His acts not be better done: a better way to do them could not be imagined. An infinitely wise God must work in a manner not to be improved upon by finite creatures.

O Lord, how manifold are Thy works! In wisdom hast Thou made them all. The earth is full of Thy riches!

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February 26, 2014

843 Acres: Imagination in the Overlap of the Ages

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Job 27 (txt | aud, 2:13 min)
1 Cor 13 (txt | aud, 2:00 min)
Highlighted: 1 Cor 13:12

At the age of 6, the Little Prince abandons “a magnificent career as an artist” when the adults around him misunderstand his drawings. “Grown-ups never understand anything themselves,” he laments, “and it is exhausting for children to have to provide explanations over and over again.”

The Little Prince is right. As we age, we lose the ability to imagine. In fact, brain-imaging studies suggest that imagination loss is linked to memory loss. As Harvard researcher Donna Rose Addis explains, “Our theory of how one puts together a future event is that … you take bits of information from past events and you kind of recombine those and integrate them into some new scenario that hasn’t happened before.” In other words, we struggle to imagine because we struggle to remember …

Like the prophets, we live in an age where many things—but not all things—have been revealed. We have seen the glory of the Father in Christ Jesus, but the fullness of redemption has not yet been revealed. Some theologians call this “the overlap of the ages” or “the already but not yet.”

Again, here, our ability to remember affects our ability to imagine. For example, if we frequently remember that we were once “separated from Christ” with “no hope and without God in the world” [1], then it becomes easy to imagine that there is no one beyond his grace and redemption. He died for us when we hated him. Is anyone beyond this salvation?

In this age, when we are not yet made perfect, imagination is integral to all of our relationships. John writes, “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared” [2], and Paul says, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully.” [3]

In The Meaning of Marriage, Tim and Kathy Keller write, “If you don’t see your mate’s deep flaws and weaknesses and dependencies, you’re not even in the game. But if you don’t get excited about the person your spouse has already grown into and will become, you aren’t tapping into the power of marriage as spiritual friendship. The goal is to see something absolutely ravishing that God is making the beloved. You see even now flashes of glory. You want to help your spouse become the person God wants him or her to be.”

Note: This excerpt was taken from an article written by Bethany Jenkins and originally published: here.

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Footnotes

[1] Ephesians 1:12 | [2] 1 John 3:2 | [3] 1 Corinthians 13:12

February 25, 2014

843 Acres Tweetable Tuesdays: Honoring the Weak

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Job 25-26 (txt | aud, 1:53 min)
1 Cor 12 (txt | aud, 3:24 min)

Discerning Brokenness

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 1 Cor 11 #elitism

If you honor a rich man, not a poor one, at your meeting, “have you not then made distinctions among yourselves?” Jms 2 #favoritism

Screwtape identifies elitist humanity’s tendency of ingrained habit of belittling anything that concerns the great mass of fellow man. #CSL

Imagining Redemption

The body does not consist of one member but of many … The parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable. 1 Cor 12

But God has so composed the body, giving great honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body. 1 Cor 12

If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 1 Cor 12

Praying ACTS

Lord, we #adore you for hating elitism and favoritism for, in light of your glory, we are the weak. And Jesus humbled himself for us.

Yet we #confess that the habit of belittling others is ingrained in us. We often look at those ahead of us, but rarely look at those behind.

We give #thanks to Jesus, who offered his body to unite us. Even he – the Lord of Lords – humbled himself to suffer and rejoice with us.

Make us hate our sin of comparison and favoritism. Open our hearts to love humility, honoring the weak as indispensable. Amen. #supplication

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February 24, 2014

843 Acres: Communion as a Cultural Challenge

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Job 24 (txt | aud, 2:48 min)
1 Cor 11 (txt | aud, 3:46 min)
Highlighted: 1 Cor 11:26

Challenge: Reverend Peter Leithart, when asked to identify “the biggest cultural challenge facing American Evangelicals” didn’t offer any of the many hot button topics we might expect. Instead, he said that the biggest cultural challenge is not “out there” in culture, but “internal” to Evangelicalism. He said that it is “the persistent marginalization of the Eucharist in Evangelical church life, piety, and political engagement.” [1]

Eucharist: Here, in 1 Corinthians 11, Paul talks about the Lord’s Supper. He laments that, although the Christians in Corinth are meeting physically for the meal, their hearts are full of division. Then he gives them instructions and reminds them, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” [2]

Proclamation: Leithart continues, “The church is called to keep our Lord Jesus, his death and resurrection, as the focal point of worship, witness, service, and mission. How do we protect ourselves from darting off after each fresh fad? Jesus didn’t think Christ-centered preaching would be enough. He left his church not only with a gospel to preach, but rites of water, bread, and wine to practice. It’s difficult to forget Christ and his cross when we proclaim his death in the breaking of bread at the climax of every week’s worship. When the Sign seals the Word, the church becomes a communion of martyrs ready to bear the cross because they have consumed the cross. Sharing the Supper forges us into a corporate body that participates in Christ through the Spirit. By the Spirit, we become what we receive: “We are one body because we partake of one loaf.” [3]

Prayer: Lord, We confess that we have taken communion lightly. We have eaten of the bread and drunk of the wine when we have had dissentious hearts that are angry with one another. As a result, by our disunity we have failed to proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Forgive us, Lord, and cause us to seek reconciliation before we approach the table this Sunday. May we worship at the table as much as we do the pulpit. Amen.

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Footnotes

[1] Peter Leithart. “Do This.” First Things. December 2013. | [2] 1 Corinthians 11:26 ESV | [3] 1 Corinthians 10:16-17

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