Posts filed under 'Searching'
If you really believe that love is just a chemical reaction, a primal instinct developed over millions of years as part of the evolutionary process of the survival of the fittest, then once you’ve experienced bedroom intimacy in all its starkness, that’s all there is. But if you believe that there is a God who created us and who loves each person deeply and intimately, and if you believe that we can only truly learn to live when we learn to love other people deeply in the way that God first loved us, then you can experience a depth of love that is unimaginable to other people…
John’s First Letter — Chapter 3
3:1 You can see what sort of love the Father has given to us, letting us be called children of God, and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is because it did not know him. 3:2 Friends, we are God’s children now, although it is not yet apparent what we will become. But we know that when Christ appears we will be like him, because we will see him just as he is. 3:3 People who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. 3:4 Everyone who sins also breaks the law. Sin is law-breaking. 3:5 You know that he came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him. 3:6 Whoever remains in him does not sin. Whoever sins has not seen him, and does not know him.
3:7 Children, do not let anyone lead you astray. People who act rightly are righteous, just as he is righteous. 3:8 People who sin belong to the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The Son of God came to destroy what the devil has done. 3:9 People who are children of God do not commit sin, because God’s seed remains in them. They cannot sin, because they are children of God. 3:10 This is how the children of God are revealed, and the children of the devil. People who do not act rightly, and people who do not love their fellow believers, do not belong to God. 3:11 You have heard this message right from the beginning: we must love each other.
3:12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one, and killed his brother. Why did he kill him? Because the things he did were evil, and the things his brother did were good. 3:13 Do not be surprised, my friends, if the world hates you. 3:14 We know that we have switched from death to life, because we love our fellow believers. People who do not love remain dead. 3:15 Whoever hates a fellow believer is a murderer, and you know that murderers do not have eternal life living in them.
3:16 We have known love, because he laid down his life for us. We should lay down our lives for our fellow believers. 3:17 How can the love of God be inside people who have plenty, but close their hearts against a fellow believer whom they can see is in need? 3:18 My children, let us not just love in words, or with our tongues, but with our actions and in truth. 3:19 By doing this we know that we are genuine, and can be confident in the presence of God, 3:20 even if we feel guilty, because God is greater than our emotions, and knows everything.
3:21 Friends, if our conscience is clear, we can be confident towards God, 3:22 and we receive anything that we ask from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 3:23 His commandment is to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love each other, just as he instructed us. 3:24 People who obey his commandments live in him, and he lives in them. We know that he lives in us, because of the Spirit which he gave us.
May 21st, 2007
No-one wants to be a nobody, and everyone wants to be a somebody. It’s better to be at the top of the tree than at the bottom of the tree. I’ve tried both ends of the tree in my firm, as well as the branches in between, and the top is better! But it’s hard to recognise when you’ve changed from being a nobody into being a somebody. When you’re at the bottom of the tree you can look up at a higher branch and tell yourself that you’ll be a somebody when you get to that branch, but when you get there you don’t feel any different; you’re still wondering how much higher you need to climb in order to become a somebody…
Peter’s First Letter — Chapter 2
2:1 Get rid of all malevolence, deception, hypocrisy, envy, and abuse. 2:2 Like newborn babies, thirst for the pure spiritual milk, to help you grow to salvation, 2:3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. 2:4 Come to him, a living stone, rejected by people but chosen by God and precious. 2:5 You are also living stones, built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 2:6 Scripture says, “I am placing in Zion a cornerstone which is chosen and precious. Anyone who believes in him will not be embarrassed.”
2:7 You who believe regard the stone as precious, but for those who do not believe, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner,” 2:8 and, “A stone that makes people stumble and a rock which trips them up.” They trip up by disobeying the message, which is what they were predestined to do. 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own possession, so that you can tell people about the goodness of God who called you from darkness into his marvellous light. 2:10 In the past you were nobody, but now you are God’s people. In the past you were shown no mercy, but now you have received mercy.
2:11 Dear friends, I urge you as foreigners and strangers, to stay away from sinful cravings, which fight against the soul. 2:12 Live exemplary lives amongst unbelievers, so that even when they say that you are doing wrong, they can observe your good deeds and glorify God on the day of judgement. 2:13 Be obedient to every human authority for the Lord’s sake, including the ruling emperor, 2:14 and governors, who are appointed by him to punish lawbreakers and to reward people who do the right thing. 2:15 God wants you to silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing what is right. 2:16 Live freely, without using your freedom as a cover for wickedness, remembering that you are slaves of God.
2:17 Honour all people. Love the family of believers. Respect God. Honour the emperor. 2:18 Slaves, submit to your masters with respect, not only to the ones who are good and considerate, but also to those who are ruthless. 2:19 It is a credit to someone who endures pain, suffering unfairly for the sake of a godly conscience. 2:20 What credit do you deserve for enduring a beating patiently if you have done wrong? But if you patiently endure suffering for doing what is right, you earn credit with God.
2:21 You were called to do this, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving an example for you to follow in his footsteps, 2:22 “He did not sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” 2:23 When he was insulted, he returned no insults. When he suffered, he made no threats. He left things in the hands of the one who judges fairly. 2:24 He himself carried our sins on his body on the tree. As a result, we have died to sins and come alive to righteousness. You were healed by his wounds. 2:25 You were going astray like sheep, but have now returned to the shepherd and protector of your souls.
May 12th, 2007
There’s an innate sense of it in everybody. Out there, somewhere, there’s an answer to the mysteries of life. The clues are written in the stars, in the breathtakingly vast expanse of the universe. They’re written in the breathtakingly complex structure of the DNA of the simplest life form. They’re written in the breathtakingly small size of atoms and sub-atomic particles. They’re written in the breathtaking beauty of the sunset and flowers and mountains and animals. But what do the clues mean? How can you piece them together to make sense of it all? What is the overarching story of the universe, and how do we fit into that story?
Peter’s First Letter — Chapter 1
1:1 From Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the chosen ones who are living as foreigners dispersed throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 1:2 known by God the Father before time began, and made holy by the Spirit to become obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood. May you overflow with grace and peace.
1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In his great mercy he has given us new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 1:4 to an inheritance that never decays or gets contaminated or fades away, reserved in Heaven for you. 1:5 You are protected through faith by the power of God until the salvation which is ready to be revealed at the end of time. 1:6 You will truly celebrate, even if now for a little while you have been suffering many hardships, 1:7 to prove that your faith, which is more precious than gold that can be destroyed even though it is refined by fire, will bring praise and glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1:8 You have not seen him but you love him. Although you still do not see him, you believe and celebrate with indescribable and glorious joy, 1:9 receiving salvation of your souls, which is the result of your faith. 1:10 The prophets searched for and investigated this salvation, prophesying the grace that would come to you, 1:11 trying to discover the time and events that the Spirit of Christ which was in them was revealing to them, when predicting the sufferings of Christ, and the ensuing glories. 1:12 It was revealed to them that it was for your benefit and not theirs that they were speaking about these things, which have now been explained to you by the people who told you the Good News by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels want to see these things.
1:13 Get your minds ready, be level-headed, and put all your hope in the grace that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1:14 As obedient children, do not keep following the desires you used to have when you were ignorant. 1:15 Be holy in everything you do, just like the holy one who called you, 1:16 because it is written, “You must be holy because I am holy.” 1:17 If you believe in the Father who judges each person’s work impartially, spend your time living as foreigners on earth in reverent fear of him, 1:18 knowing that you were redeemed from the useless way of life handed down from your ancestors, not with things that can be destroyed such as silver or gold, 1:19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a faultless and pure lamb, 1:20 who was predestined before the creation of the world, but was revealed at the end of time for your sake. 1:21 Through him you are believers in God, who raised him from the dead, and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
1:22 You have purified your souls by obeying the truth, resulting in genuine love for your fellow believers, so have heartfelt love for each other. 1:23 You have been born again, not from a bloodline which is mortal, but from an indestructible bloodline, through the word of God which lives and remains forever. 1:24 “All flesh is like grass, and all human glory like the flower in the field. The grass withers, and its flower wilts; 1:25 but the Lord’s word endures forever.” This is the Good News which was explained to you.
May 11th, 2007
Some truths are matter-of-opinion truths. For example, there is no correct answer to the question, “What is the best flavour of icecream?” At any given time, a majority of people may have a particular preference, but it’s something that can change. On the other hand some truths are only-one-answer truths. For example, either humans are causing global warming or they’re not. This has nothing to do with what your opinion is. Your opinion can’t affect scientific reality. If humans are causing global warming and your opinion is that they’re not, then your opinion is wrong. In such circumstances, all opinions can’t be equally valid…
Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy — Chapter 4
4:1 In the presence of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead, and in the light of his appearing and his Kingdom, I tell you to 4:2 preach the message. Be ready when the time is right and when the time is not right. Warn, rebuke and encourage, with great patience in your teaching. 4:3 The time will come when people will not tolerate good teaching. Following their own desires, they will bring together for themselves teachers who will say what they want to hear. 4:4 They will stop listening to truth, and start listening to fiction. 4:5 You must remain sensible in everything, enduring hardships, doing the work of an evangelist, and completing your ministry.
4:6 I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time has come for me to leave. 4:7 I have fought the good fight. I have reached the end of the road. I have kept the faith. 4:8 Now the crown of righteousness is waiting for me. The Lord, the righteous judge, will give it to me on the judgment day, and not just to me, but also to everyone who has yearned for his return. 4:9 Try hard to visit me soon, 4:10 because Demas loves the present world too much and has left me, going to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. 4:11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful in my work. 4:12 I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. 4:13 Bring the coat that I left in Troas with Carpus when you come, and the scrolls, especially the parchments. 4:14 Alexander the coppersmith has done me a lot of damage. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. 4:15 You should also watch out for him, because he vigorously opposed our message.
4:16 At the first hearing of my case, no-one came to help me. Everyone deserted me. May it not be counted against them. 4:17 But the Lord stood by me, and gave me strength so that the message could be fully proclaimed through me, and all the Gentiles could hear it. I was rescued from the mouth of the lion. 4:18 The Lord will keep rescuing me from all evil, and will keep me safe for his heavenly Kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
4:19 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, and the family of Onesiphorus. 4:20 Erastus stayed in Corinth, and Trophimus was unwell when I left him in Miletus. 4:21 Try to come before winter. Eubulus greets you, as do Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the believers. 4:22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.
April 18th, 2007
When you’re caught up in a stressful lifestyle, it becomes hard to imagine any reality beyond. The purpose of life seems to be to get the work done so that you can keep your clients or customers or boss off your back, so that you can take enough money home to keep your family off your back, so that you can buy the stuff that you see in advertisements so that you can keep the advertisers off your back. But what if there’s more to life than the daily struggles to meet deadline and quell panics? What if there really is a kind of wisdom that was known in ancient times that could unlock the secrets of happiness and fulfilment and purpose and meaning?
Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy — Chapter 3
3:1 Be aware that in the last days, dangerous times will arrive. 3:2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, egotistical, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3:3 unloving, unforgiving, insulting, undisciplined, savage, haters of good, 3:4 traitors, irresponsible, conceited, and lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. 3:5 They will show an appearance of godliness, while denying its power. Steer clear of these people. 3:6 Some of them sneak into houses and entrap gullible women who are overloaded with sins and swayed by cravings of various kinds, 3:7 always learning but never able to come to understand the truth. 3:8 These men oppose the truth in the same way that Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses. They have twisted minds, and their faith has no value. 3:9 But they will go no further, because their stupidity will be obvious to everyone, as happened with Jannes and Jambres.
3:10 But you have observed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, and perseverance, 3:11 and the persecutions and misfortunes that happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra. I endured those persecutions, and the Lord rescued me out of all of them. 3:12 Yes, everyone who wants to live a godly life trusting in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 3:13 Evil people and cheats will grow increasingly worse, deceiving and being deceived. 3:14 But you must keep going with the things which you have learnt and become convinced about, knowing who you have learned them from. 3:15 From infancy, you have known the holy writings which can give you wisdom to receive salvation through believing in Christ Jesus. 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, warning, correcting, and instructing people in righteousness, 3:17 so that followers of God can be competent, equipped for every good work.
April 17th, 2007
It’s strange that something which has a great capacity to bring pleasure also has a great capacity to bring hurt and trauma and pain. So many lives are ruined by rape and incest and all forms of sexual abuse. Something intended for the most intimate situations can go horribly wrong when taken outside of those settings. Like every other aspect of human existence, God designed sexuality as something good, something to be enjoyed in the proper context. But like many other human functions, it can be manipulated and abused to produce evil rather than good.
Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians — Chapter 4
4:1 Finally, friends, we beg and urge you in the Lord Jesus to live more and more according to the lifestyle which we showed you and which pleases God, as you are doing already. 4:2 You will recall the instructions we gave you in the name of the Lord Jesus. 4:3 God’s will is for you to become holy, staying away from sexual immorality. 4:4 Each of you should know how to treat your own body in a holy and honourable way, 4:5 not indulging in unbridled passions like Gentiles who do not know God. 4:6 No one should take advantage of or exploit a fellow-believer in such matters, because the Lord punishes such wrongs, as we have previously told you and warned you. 4:7 God called us not for impurity but for holiness. 4:8 Anyone who rejects this does not reject human authority, but God, the one who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
4:9 You do not need anyone to write to you about brotherly love, because you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. 4:10 You show this love towards all the believers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, friends, to go even further. 4:11 Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, and to look after your own business, and to work with your own hands, just as we instructed you to do, 4:12 so that you can relate to outsiders in a helpful manner, and not be dependent on anyone.
4:13 Friends, we do not want you to be ignorant about people who have died, so that you do not grieve like other people who have no hope. 4:14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and God will bring with him those people who have died in Jesus. 4:15 We can tell you on the Lord’s authority that those of us who remain alive when the Lord comes will not go before those who have died. 4:16 The Lord himself will descend from heaven when the signal is given by the archangel’s voice and God’s trumpet. The dead in Christ will rise first, 4:17 then those of us who remain alive will be taken up together with them into the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. So we will be with the Lord forever. 4:18 Encourage each other with these words.
April 4th, 2007
At various stages in life you have to give up old habits and start new ones. It doesn’t just happen when changing schools. It happens whenever your change jobs or move houses or get married or stop being married or have kids or retire. When any of these life changes occur, in a sense you have to die to your old way of life and get reborn into your new way of life. For example, when you leave school and go to university, you have to learn to stop relying on teachers to motivate you to study, and instead learn to motivate yourself. The change is even more significant when you become a follower of Jesus.
Paul’s Letter to the Colossians — Chapter 3
3:1 You have been raised with Christ, so search for things which are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God. 3:2 Think about things which are above, not things which are on earth. 3:3 You died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 3:4 When Christ, our life, is revealed, then you will also be revealed with him in glory. 3:5 So kill those parts of you which are earthly: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idol worship. 3:6 The anger of God is coming because of these things. 3:7 You used to do these things when they were part of your lifestyle, 3:8 but now get rid of them all: anger, bad temper, hostility, slander, and abusive language. 3:9 Do not lie to each other, now that you have removed the old self with its habits, 3:10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its Creator. 3:11 There is no difference between Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian and Scythian, slave and free person. Christ is all, and in all.
3:12 As God’s chosen people, holy and beloved, dress yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, courtesy and perseverance. 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive each other, if anyone has a complaint against anyone else. Just as Christ forgave you, forgive each other.
3:14 Most importantly, live a life of love, which is the perfect connection. 3:15 Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, because you were called to peace in one body. Be thankful. 3:16 Let the message of Christ permeate your lives, and teach and instruct each other with all your wisdom with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with gratitude to the Lord in your hearts.
3:17 Whatever you say or do should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. 3:18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as this is proper in the Lord. 3:19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be bitter towards them. 3:20 Children, obey your parents in everything, because this pleases the Lord. 3:21 Fathers, do not antagonise your children, so that they will not be discouraged.
3:22 Slaves, always obey your earthly masters, not just when they are watching you, like people pleasers, but wholeheartedly, out of reverence for God. 3:23 Work heartily at whatever you do, as if you were working for the Lord, and not for people. 3:24 Understand that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ. 3:25 Someone who does wrong will be repaid for the wrong that has been done, and there is no favouritism.
March 30th, 2007
Most people decide that questions of philosophy are just too difficult to answer. There are too many competing opinions, and so most people just don’t bother to look into it. But, as Socrates said, the unexamined life is not worth living. If you haven’t thought about why you exist, how can you know what you should be doing with your life? How can you make sure that when you get to the end of your life you haven’t wasted it? If you haven’t worked out an answer to the question of what is the meaning of life, then you have simply accepted the default answer, which is that there is no meaning.
Paul’s Letter to the Colossians — Chapter 2
2:1 I want you to know how hard I am working for you, and for the people in Laodicea, and for everyone who has not yet met me. 2:2 I do it so that their hearts can be encouraged and they can be united in love and gain all the riches of fully knowing Christ, the mystery of God, 2:3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 2:4 I say this to stop anyone misleading you with specious arguments. 2:5 Although I am physically absent, I am with you in the spirit, glad to see how well you are living and how solid your faith in Christ is.
2:6 Keep following Christ Jesus the Lord in the way you have received him. 2:7 Put your foundations in him and be built up in him and established in the faith just as you have been taught, and be generous with your gratitude. 2:8 Be careful not to let anyone rob you through philosophy and empty pretence based on human traditions and worldly powers, and not on Christ. 2:9 Every aspect of God lives in Christ’s body, 2:10 and you become complete in him. He is the head of every ruler and authority. 2:11 You were circumcised in him with a circumcision made without hands, removing the sinful nature through the circumcision of Christ. 2:12 You were buried with him in baptism, and you were raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. 2:13 You were dead in your sins and uncircumcised flesh, but he made you alive together with him, forgiving us for all our sins, 2:14 wiping out the record of accusations against us. He has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 2:15 He has overthrown the rulers and the authorities. He has publicly exposed them and triumphed over them by the cross.
2:16 No-one should condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for observing or failing to observe particular feast days or new moons or Sabbath days. 2:17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but Christ is real. 2:18 Do not let anyone steal your prize with false humility and angel worship, delving into visions, and being arrogant with worldly thoughts. 2:19 Such people are disconnected from Christ, who is the head from which the whole body is supported and held together with joints and ligaments, and grows through God’s power. 2:20 You died with Christ to worldly powers. So why do you live as if you have to obey rules such as, 2:21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch?” 2:22 These rules are human regulations about things which are gone when we use them. 2:23 They look like wisdom with their self-imposed piety and humility, and asceticism, but they are of no value against self-indulgence.
March 29th, 2007
Paul said, “The Good News is bearing fruit and growing throughout the world, just as it has with you since the day you heard and truly understood the grace of God.” It’s all about faith and hope and love. Faith involves deciding to trust in God, but it’s not blind faith; it’s a faith based on all the available evidence. Hope is what God gives you, a hope that there really is a meaning and purpose in life and that who you are and what you do does have significance. Love is how you relate to God and other people, no longer seeing others as objects to be used for your purposes, but seeing yourself as a servant of others.
Paul’s Letter to the Colossians — Chapter 1
1:1 From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 1:2 to the believers and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ at Colossae. Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1:3 Whenever we pray for you we thank God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1:4 We have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and the love which you have for all the believers, 1:5 because of the hope which is kept for you in heaven, which you first heard about in the message of the truth, the Good News 1:6 which has come to you. The Good News is bearing fruit and growing throughout the world, just as it has with you since the day you heard and truly understood the grace of God. 1:7 You learned this from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, 1:8 and he also told us about your love in the Spirit. 1:9 This is why, since the day we first heard about you, we have not stopped praying and making requests for you to understand fully God’s will with spiritual wisdom and insight, 1:10 for you to live lives worthy of the Lord, and please him always by doing good things and growing to know God better. 1:11 We pray that you will be made strong by his glorious power, to endure and persevere with joy, 1:12 giving thanks to the Father for letting us have a part of the inheritance of the believers who are in the light. 1:13 He rescued us from the power of darkness, and brought us into the Kingdom of the Son he loves. 1:14 In him we have our redemption, the forgiveness of our sins. 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 1:16 All things were created by him, in the heavens and on the earth, visible and invisible things, thrones and dominions and principalities and powers. Everything has been created through him, and for him. 1:17 He existed before anything, and everything is held together by him. 1:18 He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he is the most important of anyone. 1:19 God was pleased to live fully in him, 1:20 and to reconcile everything, including things on earth and things in heaven, to himself through him, making peace through the blood of his cross.
1:21 You used to be distant from God, enemies in your minds because of your evil actions, 1:22 but he has now reconciled you by his death in a human body, so that you can be holy and faultless and blameless when you stand in his presence, 1:23 if you continue in the faith, firm and steadfast and unmoved from the hope of the Good News which you heard, which is being proclaimed to all creation under heaven. I, Paul, was made a servant of this Good News.
1:24 I am glad to suffer for your sake, and to continue in my own body what remains of Christ’s sufferings for his body, the church. 1:25 I became a servant of the church according to God’s plan for me to explain the message of God to you. 1:26 It is a mystery which has been hidden throughout the ages and generations, but has now been revealed to his people. 1:27 God wanted to let them know the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is that Christ lives in you, the hope of glory. 1:28 We proclaim him, warning and teaching everyone with all our wisdom, so that we will be able to show that every one of them is mature in Christ Jesus. 1:29 I work hard for this with all of his power which works through me.
March 28th, 2007
In today’s reading, Paul said, “We are treated like frauds, but we are genuine.” Ultimately that’s an issue which you have to decide for yourself. Is Paul a fraud, or is he genuine? Is Jesus a fraud, or is he genuine? How does the evidence stack up? Is it more likely that God exists or that God doesn’t exist? If God might exist, is the Christian view of God the right one, bearing in mind that all the contradictory views cannot be correct? Did the way Jesus lived his life reflect the values that he preached? Do the same values help you make sense of your own life?
Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians — Chapter 6
6:1 As we work together, we urge you not to receive the grace of God for no purpose. 6:2 He says, “At an acceptable time I listened to you. On a day of salvation I helped you.” The acceptable time is now. The day of salvation has arrived. 6:3 We avoid putting any obstacle in people’s way, so that our service cannot be blamed. 6:4 In everything we show ourselves to be servants of God, through great endurance, difficulties, hardships, distresses, 6:5 beatings, imprisonments, riots, hard work, sleepless nights, and hunger; 6:6 through purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, sincere love, 6:7 the message of truth, and the power of God; with the armour of righteousness on the right side and on the left, 6:8 through glory and dishonour, slander and praise. We are treated as frauds, but we are genuine; 6:9 as unknown, but we are well known; as dying, but we live; as punished, but we are not killed; 6:10 as grieving, yet we are always rejoicing; as poor, yet we make many rich; as having nothing, yet we possess everything.
6:11 We are speaking openly with you, friends from Corinth. We have a big place for you in our hearts. 6:12 We are holding nothing back from you, but you are constrained in your love. 6:13 In return — I speak as if to my children — you should also open your hearts.
6:14 Don’t be unequally yoked with unbelievers. What do righteousness and wickedness have in common? What friendship is there between light and darkness? 6:15 What agreement does Christ have with the devil? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 6:16 What agreement does a temple of God have with idols? You are a temple of the living God. God said, “I will live in them, and walk amongst them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” 6:17 So, “Come out from among them, and be separate,” says the Lord. “Touch nothing which is unclean, and I will welcome you. 6:18 I will be a Father to you. You will be sons and daughters to me,” says the Lord Almighty.
March 4th, 2007