Posts tagged ‘1 Corinthians’

February 21, 2014

843 Acres: God Moves in a Mysterious Way

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Job 21 (txt | aud, 2:50 min)
1 Cor 8 (txt | aud, 1:39 min)
Highlighted: Job 21

Mysterious: There are some things that we may never understand in this age. Why does God make orphans of young children while many of us have two parents still living? Why are some women who long for children unable to get pregnant while other women who desperately don’t want kids getting pregnant? Why are some Christians violently persecuted for their faith while others live in freedom?

Confusing: Knowing his own righteousness, Job looks around at the prosperity of the wicked and asks, “Why do the wicked live, reach old age, and grow mighty in power? … They spend their days in prosperity, and in peace they go down to [the grave]. They say to God, ‘Depart from us! We do not desire the knowledge of your ways.’” [1] Yes, he agrees with his friends in theory—that “the exulting of the wicked is short”—but he fails to see how this plays out in reality: “Have you not asked those who travel the roads, and do you not accept their testimony that the evil man is spared in the day of calamity, that he is rescued in the day of wrath? … How then will you comfort me with empty nothings? There is nothing left of your answers but falsehood.” [2]

When we see Jesus on the cross, however, we see how difficult it is to assess the Lord’s mysterious ways. Jesus was mocked and murdered. Evil won in the short-run. Yet Jesus was the only perfectly obedient Son. He secured the victory of His people for eternity when he conquered death and rose from the grave.

Worship/Prayer (audio):

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sov’reign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flow’r.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

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M’Cheyne Weekend Readings

Saturday, February 22: Job 22 (txt | aud, 2:42 min) & 1 Cor 9 (txt | aud, 3:34 min)
Sunday, February 23: Job 23 (txt | aud, 1:33 min) & 1 Cor 10 (txt | aud, 3:42 min)

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Footnotes

[1] Job 21:7, 13-14 ESV | [2] Job 21:29-30, 34 ESV

February 20, 2014

843 Acres #TBT: From Mourning to Dancing

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Job 20 (txt | aud, 2:46 min)
1 Cor 7 (txt | aud, 5:24 min)

Zophar: Job 20:29

Believing that Job suffered greatly because he sinned greatly, Zophar reminded Job of the fate of the wicked: 

This is the wicked man’s portion from God, the heritage decreed for him by God.

Yet we know that Zophar was mistaken. [1] We also know, however, that we sometimes suffer for no known, specific reason, too. What is our hope in these mysterious times?

Henri Nouwen: Turn My Mourning Into Dancing: Finding Hope in Hard Times (an excerpt)

We also like easy victories: growth without crisis, healing without pains, the resurrection without the cross … No wonder our communities seem organized to keep suffering at a distance: People are buried in ways that shroud death with euphemism and ornate furnishings. Institutions hide away the mentally ill and criminal offenders in a continuing denial that they belong to the human family. Even our daily customs lead us to cloak our feelings and speak politely through clenched teeth and prevent honest, healing confrontation. Friendships become superficial and temporary.

The way of Jesus looks very different. While Jesus brought great comfort and came with kind words and a healing touch, he did not come to take all our pains away … Instead, Christ invites us to remain in touch with the many sufferings of every day and to taste the beginning of hope and new life right there, where we live amid our hurts and pains and brokenness. By observing his life, his followers discover that when all of the crowd’s “Hosannas” had fallen silent, when disciples and friends had left him, and after Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” then it was that the Son of Man rose from death. Then he broke through the chains of death and became Savior. That is the patient way, slowly leading me from the easy triumph to the hard victory.

I am less likely to deny my suffering when I learn how God uses it to mold me and draw me closer to him. I will be less likely to see my pains as interruptions to my plans and more able to see them as the means for God to make me ready to receive him. I let Christ live near my hurts and distractions. I remember an old priest who one day said to me, “I have always been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted; then I realized that the interruptions were my work.” The unpleasant things, the hard moments, the unexpected setbacks carry more potential than we usually realize. For the movement from Palm Sunday to Easter takes us from the easy victory to the hard victory offered by the God who waits to purify us by his patient, carrying hand.

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Footnotes

[1] See Job 1.

February 19, 2014

843 Acres: Is God a Friend or an Enemy?

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Job 19 (txt | aud, 2:58 min)
1 Cor 6 (txt | aud, 2:36 min)
Highlighted: Job 19

Lonely: Although Job has lost his family, wealth, and health, what makes his suffering so unbearable is his loneliness. Everyone around him believes that God has it out for him. So they’d rather stay away in case a freak accident happens. In a sad speech, Job laments, “ … those who knew me are wholly estranged from me. My relatives have failed me, my close friends have forgotten me. The guests in my house and my maidservants count me as a stranger; I have become a foreigner in their eyes. I call to my servant, but he gives me no answer; I must plead with him with my mouth for mercy. My breath is strange to my wife, and I am a stench to the children of my own mother. Even young children despise me; when I rise they talk against me, and those whom I loved have turned against me.” [1]

Abandoned: Job laments that God has abandoned him, too: “Behold, I cry out, ‘Violence!’ but I am not answered; I call for help, but there is no justice.” [2] His cause has been forgotten; justice has been temporarily denied. How do we handle this? Do we harden our hearts? Do we become increasingly skeptical or bitter?

Hope: Yet Job still turns to God: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God.” [3] Reverend John Lin says that Job faces a problem—he “needs a kinsman-redeemer who is God and who will also stand up against God.” Who is this person? Jesus, our “older brother and kinsman-redeemer, who stands as God before God on our behalf so that in our flesh we shall see God.

Prayer: Lord, Jesus was abandoned in his suffering so that we would know your presence in ours. Today, when we call out for help and justice, we can lift up our eyes to the cross and see that he himself is our advocate and mediator, who covers our shame in the presence of your justice. May we lean on him so that we may see you. Amen.

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Footnotes

[1] Job 19:13-19 ESV | [2] Job 19:7 ESV | [3] Job 19:23-24 ESV

February 18, 2014

843 Acres Tweetable Tuesdays: Sexual Immorality

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Job 18 (txt | aud, 1:55 min)
1 Cor 5 (txt | aud, 1:50 min)
Highlighted: 1 Cor 5:1

Discerning Brokenness

“… there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife.” #1Cor5

“You shall not commit adultery.” But I say everyone who looks at a woman w/lustful intent has committed adultery in his heart. #Matt5

Among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality or any kind of impurity … bc these are improper for God’s holy people. #Eph5

Imagining Redemption

The monstrosity of premarital sex is that it isolates one type union (sexual) from all other types, which together make up a total union. [1]

“Sex inside a covenant is a sacrament—an external symbol of an invisible reality.” @timkellernyc

Sex is an instinct that produces an institution; it is positive, not negative; noble, not base; creative, not destructive. #Chesterton [2] 

Praying ACTS

Lord, We #adore you for making sex a beautiful and pleasurable physical act that celebrates the wholeness and vulnerability of marriage.

Yet we #confess that we’ve been sexually impure in thought + deed. For you call us to sexual purity, which is broader than we often think.

Therefore, admitting our sins, we #thank you for Christ, who is our atoning sacrifice and our bridegroom in the ultimate union before you.

Cause us to hold one another’s bodies as precious in your sight. Keep us from lustful temptation. Guard our eyes and hearts. #supplication

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Footnotes

[1] This is somewhat of a paraphrase of C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity, who writes, “The monstrosity of sexual intercourse outside of marriage is that those who indulge in it are trying to isolate one kind of union (the sexual) from all the other kinds of union which were intended to go along with it and make up the total union.” | [2] This is somewhat of a paraphrase of G.K. Chesterton in G.K.’s Weekly (January 29, 1928.) “Sex is an instinct that produces an institution; and it is positive and not negative, noble and not base, creative and not destructive, because it produces this institution. That institution is the family; a small state or commonwealth which has hundreds of aspects, when it is once started, that are not sexual at all. It includes worship, justice, festivity, decoration, instruction, comradeship, repose. Sex is the gate of that house; and romantic and imaginative people naturally like looking through a gateway. But the house is very much larger than the gate. There are indeed a certain number of people who like to hang about the gate and never get any further.”

February 17, 2014

843 Acres: Our Paradox in Suffering

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Job 16-17 (txt | aud, 3:35 min)
1 Cor 4 (txt | aud, 2:55 min)
Highlighted: Job 16

Friends: In the second round of conversation between Job and his friends, the tension grows. Eliphaz is even more convinced than ever that Job has done something sinful to deserve his suffering, but he still can’t find any obvious sin in Job’s life. So he starts to criticize Job’s response to his suffering: “Your own mouth condemns you, not mine.” [1] Then he presumptively questions him: “What do you know that we do not know? What insights do you have that we do not have?” [2]

Job: But Job does know something that they don’t. He knows that there’s no secret sin in his life. So he cries out to God, “Surely, God, you have worn me out … All was well with me, but he shattered me.” [3] Yet after blaming God, he then turns to God for help: “Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God.” [4]

Paradox: This is odd. Usually, when someone hurts us, we turn to someone else for help. Here, though, Job turns to God, the very one whom he says has caused his pain. Elsewhere, in Hosea, we read, “Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn us, that he may heal us … After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him.” [5] As we now know, there came a man, Jesus, who suffered innocently by the intentional will of the Father. When he turned to God for help, he was forsaken. Yet God raised him up on the third day that, in Christ, we might never be forsaken, that we may live before him.

Prayer: Lord, We confess that, when we feel that you have injured us, we want to run away from you, not to you. Yet what hope do we have besides you? This is our paradox. Your Word, however, tells us that you “delight” in those who fear you and hope in your steadfast love. [6] Therefore, we lift our eyes to the cross to see that ultimate and final suffering is life apart from you. Then turn our eyes to the empty tomb to see that, in Christ, we have hope and safety to live in you. Amen.

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FAQs

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 ____________________________________  

Footnotes

[1] Job 15:6 NIV | [2] Job 15:9 NIV | [3] Job 16:7, 12 NIV | [4] Job 16:19-21 NIV | [5] Hosea 6:1-2 ESV | [6] Psalm 147:11 ESV

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