1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Who inherits the Kingdom of God?

Not thieves, nor swindlers, slanderers nor the sexually immoral, not sinners of any kind.  These shall not -indeed, cannot- enter the Kingdom of God. This is a problem, because in one way or another, according to the Bible I’m guilty, and so are you.

One of the reasons these things (in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11) are deal-breakers that block our entrance into the Kingdom is that when Scripture speaks of them, it’s not so much highlighting behaviors as much as an essence of being. These outward actions are indicators of an inward nature that is so much in opposition to the holy character of God that it may not even be in proximity to Him.  It isn’t about any specific deeds or sins, it’s a core identity that will keep you out of the Kingdom.  It’s not what you do, it’s who you are, and without Jesus, neither I nor you are in any way a “good person” by God’s standards.

How amazing, then, that those who are “in Christ” are completely new creations, able to leave our old identities behind and embrace a new one as children of God, citizens of the Kingdom!  We are transformed from the core of our being into new people with a new identity and a ticket to a greater destiny.

The incredible thing, too, is that this isn’t a ticket we work for or earn.  Quite the opposite: Jesus paid our way.

(SEE ALSO: 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 2 Corinthians 5:17)

Measure of Hearing

Ever feel like you’re not “getting anything” out of sermons/messages? Ever feel like you’re not being “filled” at church?

“And He said to them, ‘Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you.” -Mark 4:24

I am struck that while this passage certainly applies to what we do in regards to action (as other Scriptures bear out), Jesus says here specifically to “Pay attention to what you hear.

A person paying attention to God’s words and diligently seeking wisdom and discernment will certainly be rewarded by God with insight proportional to their attentiveness, understanding proportional to their desire to learn and grow “in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18). The measure of hearing and understanding is directly based on the measure of listening.

With what “measure” do YOU listen?

Wineskins

Which is better, old or new?

Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.” -Matthew 9:17

How easy it is in our “newer-is-better” consumer culture to discard the old in favor of the new…but Jesus doesn’t do that.  Jesus finds value in both the seasoned and the start-up, the trendy and the traditional.

Don’t be so quick to embrace the shine of the present that you miss the substance of the past, and don’t let the comfort of the familiar keep you from the fresh wine of a brand new day.

Faithfulness

In 2 Chronicles 24, Jehoida the priest serves God faithfully, lives 130 years, and is buried with the great honor in the royal cemetery, “among the kings.”

Joash the king, by contrast, starts strong but finishes poorly, abandoning his once-faithful worship of Yahweh to worship pagan gods instead.

The result?  He is assassinated by his own officials and buried in Jerusalem, “but not in the royal cemetery”.

Don’t just start strong.  Finish well, for the ones God rewards the greatest are those who were the most faithful to Him.

Scripture Notes: Psalm 27

Fear in relationships comes from a lack of trust in the other. Fear in life comes from a lack of trust in its author.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation – so why should I be afraid?  The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?” -Psalm 27:1 (NLT)
– – – – – – – – – –
“The one thing I ask of the Lord – the thing I seek most – is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in His temple.” -Psalm 27:4

The greatest joy in life is found in practicing the presence of God.

This, too, is the greatest promise of the life to come, as “God Himself will be WITH them…” -Revelation 21:3b

Justice and Love: Psalm 7

“I will thank the Lord because He is just; I will sing praise to the name of the Lord most high.” -Psalm 7:17

Meditating on this passage recently, here are a few thoughts that came to mind.

– Love without choice is not love, but slavery. Choice without consequences is not choice, but an illusion. Consequences out of scope with their cause, are either pointless gestures or miscarriages of justice.
– Love is not love without the potential for hate. Forgiveness is meaningless without the possibility of damnation. They each of them exist as a function of their opposites.
– God’s love brings comfort and rest. His justice brings security and gratefulness that His love actually means something.
– Because of this, I say God’s justice is just as lovely as His love.

Scripture Notes: Numbers 7

“But he gave none of the wagons or oxen to the Kohathite division, since they were required to carry the sacred objects of the tabernacle on their shoulders.” -Numbers 7:9

God gives His children the things they need to carry out the tasks He has given them.  Often, He will graciously withhold superfluous (“extra”, “unnecessary”) things because they would only get in the way and serve as a distraction from the goal.

Be at peace, O my soul, with the blessings the Lord HAS given you, and do not fret about the ones He hasn’t yet.

Faith and Trust

I am struck by the way the New Living Translation renders Numbers 20:12…

“Because you did not trust me enough to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel…”

Somehow in the midst of crisis, Moses and Aaron’s response was to use God’s PRINCIPLES, but neglect His POWER. They took what He said, but applied it in their own strength instead of relying on His.

How hard it can be to not only trust God’s WORDS, but also the WAYS He chooses to work them out. It often seems far easier to use my own principle and plans, because it makes me feel I have more control.

Be careful of that temptation. Faith is not just about what we BELIEVE. It’s also about what we SURRENDER.

Just Right for You

God is not in the business of just generic, one-size-fits-all blessings.

“It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a helper who is just right for him.” -Genesis 2:18 (NLT)

What strikes me here is that God’s provision for Adam isn’t generic, it’s personal.  God knows his child personally and loves and blesses him in the same way.

I love this!  It reminds me of some of the things Jesus says in the Gospels:

Read moreJust Right for You

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