Posts filed under 'Ungratefulness'
If you’re a member of the upper class, then good things happen to you. You get to go to the most exclusive schools. You get to meet the most important people. You get to marry someone of equally important status and with similar wealth. You get to live in a nice house, with a high level of security so that you don’t have to spend any time worrying about the riff-raff that lives outside your gate. You get to drive a luxurious car, and you have servants who continually treat you with deference and dignity, respecting your importance. Everyone values what you say…
The Revelation to John — Chapter 18
18:1 After this, I saw another angel who had great authority, coming down from heaven. The earth was lit up by his radiance. 18:2 He shouted with a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great. She has become a home for demons, a headquarters for unclean spirits, and sordid and despicable birds! 18:3 All the nations have drunk the angry wine of her immorality, the kings of the earth have slept with her, and the world’s merchants have grown rich from her extravagant luxury.”
18:4 I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins, and you will not receive her plagues, 18:5 because her sins have stacked up all the way to heaven, and God is fully aware of her evil actions. 18:6 Do to her what she did to others, and pay her back double for her actions. Mix for her a drink twice as strong as she mixed for others. 18:7 Give her the same amount of torment and grief as she gave herself splendour and luxury. She tells herself, ‘I am a queen, not a widow, and will never experience grief.’
18:8 “So all her troubles will come in one day: death, grief, and famine. She will be burned with fire, because the Lord God who judges her is powerful. 18:9 The kings of the earth, who slept with her and shared her luxury, will weep and wail over her, when they see the smoke of her burning. 18:10 They will stand at a distance because of fear of her agony, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! Your judgment has come in one hour.’
18:11 “The world’s merchants will weep and mourn over her, because no one buys their merchandise any more, 18:12 merchandise of gold, silver, precious stones, pearls, fine linen, purple, silk, scarlet, perfumed wood, and things made from ivory, precious wood, brass, iron, and marble, 18:13 and cinnamon, incense, perfume, frankincense, wine, olive oil, flour, wheat, sheep, horses, chariots, and people’s bodies and souls. 18:14 The things which you most longed for have been lost to you. Your luxuries and indulgences have vanished from you, and you will find them no more.
18:15 “The merchants who sold these things, and were made rich by her, will stand at a distance because of fear of her agony, weeping and mourning, 18:16 saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, dressed in fine linen, purple, and scarlet, and decorated with gold and precious stones and pearls! 18:17 In an hour such great riches have been ruined.’ Ships’ captains, and passengers, and sailors, and people who make their living from the sea, will stand at a distance, 18:18 and shout out as they watch the smoke of her burning, ‘Is any city like the great city?’ 18:19 They will throw dust on their heads, and shout, while weeping and mourning, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, whose great wealth made everyone who had ships on the sea rich! In one hour she is ruined. 18:20 Rejoice over her, O heaven, believers, apostles, and prophets, because God has given judgment for you against her.’”
18:21 A powerful angel picked up a rock as big as a large millstone and hurled it into the sea, saying, “Babylon, the great city, will be overthrown with this sort of violence, never to be found again. 18:22 The sounds of harpists, musicians, flautists, and trumpeters will never again be heard in you. No tradesman will ever again conduct business in you. The sound of a mill will never again be heard in you. 18:23 The light of a lamp will never again shine in you. The voices of bridegroom and bride will never again be heard in you. Your merchants were the celebrities of the world, and all the nations were taken in by your magic. 18:24 The blood of prophets and believers, and everyone who has been murdered on the earth, has been found in you.”
June 13th, 2007
A satellite navigation system is an almost-perfect way of working out how to get there. But computer systems are only as good as the information which gets programmed into them, and in a very small percentage of cases they have the wrong data. You hear stories of people who blindly follow the instructions of the satellite navigation system and start driving the wrong way down a one-way freeway. You can imagine the thoughts going through their head: â€œThose silly road workers have put the wrong signs up saying WRONG WAY GO BACK!â€ Then they’re thinking to themselves, â€œLook at these dangerous drivers driving the wrong way towards me.â€
The Revelation to John — Chapter 16
16:1 I heard a loud voice from the temple, telling the seven angels, â€œGo and pour out the seven bowls of Godâ€™s anger on the earth!â€ 16:2 The first angel went, and poured out his bowl onto the earth, and painful and malignant sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast, and who worshipped his image. 16:3 The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became blood like that of a dead person. Every living thing in the sea died.
16:4 The third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. 16:5 I heard the angel of the waters saying, â€œYou are righteous in carrying out this judgment, O Holy One, who are and who were. 16:6 They poured out the blood of the believers and the prophets, so you have given them blood to drink. They deserve this.â€ 16:7 I heard the altar saying, â€œYes, Lord God, the Almighty, true and righteous are your judgments.â€
16:8 The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and this caused it to burn people with fire. 16:9 People were burnt by the great heat, and cursed God who had control over these plagues. They didnâ€™t repent or give him glory. 16:10 The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and darkness descended over his kingdom. The people bit their tongues in agony, 16:11 and they cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores. They didnâ€™t repent of what they were doing.
16:12 The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates. Its water was dried up, to make a road for the kings from the east. 16:13 I saw three unclean spirits resembling frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 16:14 They are spirits of demons, performing miracles, which go to all the kings in the world, to bring them together for war on the great day of God, the Almighty.
16:15 â€œSee, I am coming like a thief. Blessed are those who stay awake, and keep their clothes on, so that they donâ€™t have to be embarrassed by walking around naked.â€ 16:16 The kings assembled in the place which is called Armageddon in Hebrew.
16:17 The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air. A loud voice shouted from the temple of heaven, from the throne, â€œIt has happened!â€ 16:18 Lightning, noises, and thunder followed, and there was a huge earthquake, the largest and most powerful earthquake since people have existed on the earth. 16:19 The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. So God dealt with Babylon the great, giving her the cup filled with the wine of his fierce anger. 16:20 The islands ran away, and the mountains couldnâ€™t be found. 16:21 Huge hailstones, weighing about thirty kilograms, fell from the sky onto people. People cursed God for the plague of the hail, because the plague was so severe.
June 11th, 2007
Eliminating poverty in a person’s life requires a lifestyle change, not just a change in the amount of money in the pocket. The person needs to have an ongoing means of generating enough money to stay out of poverty. The person needs to have adequate protection against that money being stolen by bandits or siphoned off in bribes by corrupt officials. The person needs to have access to adequate medical care to ensure that the money is not lost through medical expenses. The person needs to have sufficient motivation to work hard to keep earning money. A lot of conditions all need to change at the same time in order for a person to stop living in poverty…
The Revelation to John — Chapter 9
9:1 The fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star from the sky which had fallen to the earth. The key to the shaft of the abyss was given to it. 9:2 It opened the shaft of the abyss, and smoke billowed out of the pit, like smoke from a burning furnace. The sun and the air turned dark because of the smoke from the pit. 9:3 Locusts came out of the smoke onto the earth, and they were given power to sting like scorpions. 9:4 They were instructed not to damage the grass on the earth or any plant or tree. They were to attack only those people who did not have God’s seal on their foreheads. 9:5 They were to torture them for five months, but not to kill them. Their torture was like the agony induced when a scorpion stings someone.
9:6 In those days people will look for death, but will not be able to find it. They will want to die, but death will elude them. 9:7 The locusts looked like horses ready for war. On their heads were something like golden crowns, and their faces were like people’s faces. 9:8 They had hair like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. 9:9 They had body armour resembling iron breastplates. The sound of their wings was like the noise of a lot of chariots and horses charging in to battle. 9:10 They had tails and stings like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to hurt people for five months. 9:11 The king which rules over them is the angel of the abyss. His name in Hebrew is “Abaddon,” and his name in Greek is “Apollyon.” 9:12 The first woe has finished, but two more woes are coming after this.
9:13 The sixth angel blew his trumpet. I heard a voice from the horns of the golden altar in front of God, 9:14 saying to the sixth angel who held the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are imprisoned at the great river Euphrates!”
9:15 The four angels were released. They had been prepared for that hour and day and month and year, to kill one third of all humans. 9:16 The number of mounted horsemen was two hundred million. I heard the number. 9:17 In my vision I saw that the horses and their riders had breastplates of fiery red, dark blue, and yellow. The horses’ heads were like lions’ heads, and fire, smoke, and sulphur came out of their mouths. 9:18 One third of humanity was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke, and sulphur, which came out of their mouths. 9:19 The power of the horses was in their mouths, and in their tails. Their tails resembled snakes, with heads which they used to inflict damage.
9:20 The rest of humanity, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the things that they were doing. They kept worshipping demons, and idols made from gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which cannot see, and cannot hear, and cannot walk. 9:21 They did not repent of their murdering, or witchcraft, or sexual immorality, or stealing.
June 4th, 2007
What kind of plan are you working on for getting into heaven? Most people are working on the pay-as-you-go plan. The outright atheists and the Hitlers of this world won’t make it in, but if God is good and forgiving like people say he is, then he’d have to let us in. It’s important not to be too fanatical, just maintain moderation and a middle path in everything. Go to church sometimes, say some prayers, be truthful most of the time, occasionally give money away to charity, and you’ll be in like Flynn. So it might come as a great surprise to most people that, according to today’s reading, God will vomit out of his mouth people who are lukewarm and neither hot or cold…
The Revelation to John — Chapter 3
3:1 “Write this to the angel of the church in Sardis: ‘He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars says these things:
“‘I know what you are doing, and that you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 3:2 Watch out, and strengthen what is left, which is almost dead, because I have not found any completed action of yours before my God. 3:3 Remember what you received and heard. Obey it, and repent. If you do not watch out, I will come like a thief, and you will not know what time I will come to you. 3:4 Nevertheless a few of you in Sardis have not dirtied their clothes. They will walk with me dressed in white, because they are worthy. 3:5 Anyone who prevails will be dressed in white clothes, and I will not blot that person’s name out of the book of life. I will acknowledge that person’s name to my Father, and his angels. 3:6 Whoever has an ear should hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
3:7 “Write this to the angel of the church in Philadelphia: ‘He who is holy, he who is true, he who has the key of David, he who opens so that no one can shut, and who shuts so that no one can open, says these things:
3:8 “‘I know what you are doing. I have placed an open door, which no one can shut, in front of you. You have little power, but have obeyed my message, and have not denied that you believe in me. 3:9 I will make the members of the synagogue of Satan, those who claim to be Jews, but are not because they are lying — I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and they will know that I love you. 3:10 You obeyed my instructions to persevere, so I will protect you from the time of trial, which will come on the whole world, to test those who live on the earth. 3:11 I am coming swiftly! Stay true to what you believe, so that no one takes your crown. 3:12 I will make anyone who prevails a pillar in the temple of my God, and that person will never have to leave it again. I will write on that person the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God, and my own new name. 3:13 Whoever has an ear should hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
3:14 “Write this to the angel of the church in Laodicea: ‘The Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Head of God’s creation, says these things:
3:15 “‘I know what you are doing, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot. 3:16 Because you are lukewarm, and neither hot or cold, I will vomit you out of my mouth. 3:17 Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and do not need anything else,” and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked, 3:18 I advise you to buy from me gold refined by fire, to make you rich, and white clothes to wear, so that you can cover up your embarrassing nakedness, and eye drops to put in your eyes, to make you see. 3:19 I correct and train everyone that I love, so do your best, and repent. 3:20 See, I am standing at the door and knocking. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and eat with you, and you with me. 3:21 I will give anyone who prevails the right to sit down with me on my throne, just as I prevailed, and sat down with my Father on his throne. 3:22 Whoever has an ear should hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
May 29th, 2007
There’s nothing quite like first love. Apart from, maybe, second love, third love, fourth love, and all the other loves. But the rumours say that first love is the deepest, and so do the romance novels. Many people never recover from the feeling that first takes your breath away. The first time your heart beat faster and your face flushed and your mind was filled with that dizzy sensation. There are other sorts of love, like parent-and-child love and respect-love and even puppy-dog-love, but these other types of love aren’t as powerful or memorable or life-changing as first love…
The Revelation to John — Chapter 2
2:1 “Write this to the angel of the church in Ephesus: ‘He who holds the seven stars in his right hand, and walks amongst the seven golden lampstands says these things:
2:2 “‘I know the things you do, and your hard work and perseverance, and that you will not tolerate evil people, and have investigated those people who pretended to be apostles, but were not, and found them to be liars. 2:3 You have persevered and endured for my sake, without getting tired. 2:4 But I criticise you for this: you left your first love. 2:5 Remember what you have fallen from, and turn back and do the things you first did. If you do not repent, I will come to you and move your lampstand out of its place. 2:6 But I commend you for this: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 2:7 Whoever has an ear should hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches. I will let anyone who prevails eat from the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.’
2:8 “Write this to the angel of the church in Smyrna: ‘The first and the last, who was dead, but has come to life, says these things:
2:9 “‘I know your sufferings and poverty, although you are rich, and the insults of people who claim to be Jews, but are not, being a synagogue of Satan. 2:10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil is about to throw some of you into prison, to test you, and you will be tortured for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. 2:11 Whoever has an ear should hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Anyone who prevails will not be harmed by the second death.’
2:12 “Write this to the angel of the church in Pergamum: ‘He who has the sharp two-edged sword says these things:
2:13 “‘I know where you live, where Satan’s throne is. You are loyal to me, and did not abandon your faith in me when my faithful witness Antipas was killed amongst you, where Satan lives. 2:14 But I criticise you for this: some of you follow the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak how to make the people of Israel stumble, by eating things sacrificed to idols and indulging in sexual immorality. 2:15 Some of you also follow the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 2:16 Repent, or else I will come swiftly to fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 2:17 Whoever has an ear should hear what the Spirit says to the churches. I will give some hidden manna to anyone who prevails, and I will give a white stone, with a new name written on the stone, which no one knows but the person who receives it.’
2:18 “Write this to the angel of the church in Thyatira: ‘The Son of God, who has eyes like flaming fire, and feet like polished brass, says these things:
2:19 “‘I know the things you do, your love, faith, service, and perseverance, and that you are doing more now than you have done before. 2:20 But I criticise you for this: you tolerate that woman, Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. She teaches and entices my servants to commit sexual immorality, and to eat things sacrificed to idols. 2:21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 2:22 I will throw her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her will be afflicted, unless they repent of what she does. 2:23 I will kill her children, and all the churches will know that I am the one who searches minds and hearts. I will repay each of you according to your actions. 2:24 To the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not agree with her teaching, who have not studied what some people call “the deep secrets of Satan,” to you I say that I am not putting any other burden on you. 2:25 Stay true to what you believe until I come. 2:26 I will give authority over the nations to anyone who prevails and keeps doing the things I command. 2:27 That person will rule them with an iron rod, shattering them like clay pots, just as I received authority from my Father. 2:28 I will also give that person the morning star. 2:29 Whoever has an ear should hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”
May 28th, 2007
It’s easy to think up problems with someone else’s plan, particularly if you’re naturally pessimistic. It’s easy to see all the things which could go wrong, and it’s easy to spot possible character flaws in other people which might cause you to question their motives. With a little bit of practice, anyone can become a seasoned skeptic. The only problem is that, by concentrating on critiquing the immediately verifiable facts, the skeptics are missing the big picture. The train is out of control and will soon be hurtling into some disastrous oblivion unless someone does something about it…
Peter’s Second Letter — Chapter 3
3:1 Dear friends, this is the second letter that I have written to you, to provoke you to think seriously by reminding you 3:2 to think about the messages spoken by the holy prophets in times past, and the instructions of our Lord and Saviour communicated through the apostles. 3:3 Most importantly, understand that in the last days cynics will come, doing whatever pleases themselves, 3:4 and saying, “Where is the second coming that he promised? Since the time when our ancestors died, everything has continued as it has from the beginning of creation.” 3:5 They deliberately ignore the fact that the heavens were created long ago by the voice of God, and the earth was made from the water and surrounded by water. 3:6 Then the world was flooded by water, and destroyed. 3:7 The present heavens and the earth are destined by the same voice of God for fire, which is being kept for the day of judgment and the destruction of ungodly people.
3:8 Do not ignore this one thing, friends: for the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 3:9 The Lord is not slow to keep his promises, as some people think of slowness. He is patient with us, not wanting anyone to be destroyed. He wants everyone to come to repentance. 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. The heavens will disappear with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved in intense heat. The earth and everything done in it will be revealed. 3:11 Since everything will be destroyed like this, what kind of people should you be? You should live holy and godly lifestyles, 3:12 awaiting and looking forward to the coming of the day of God, which will cause the heavens to be vaporised by fire, and the elements to melt in the intense heat. 3:13 We are waiting for the new heaven and the new earth which he has promised, where righteousness lives.
3:14 Dear friends, while you wait for these things, do all you can to ensure that you will be found faultless, pure, and living peacefully. 3:15 Think of the Lord’s patience as meaning salvation, just as our dear brother Paul wisely wrote to you, 3:16 talking about these things as he does in all of his letters. Some of the things he says are hard to understand, and ignorant and indecisive people ruin themselves by twisting the meaning, as they do to the other Scriptures. 3:17 You have been warned in advance, dear friends, so be careful to avoid being led astray by the errors of the cynics, losing your own balance. 3:18 Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and forever.
May 18th, 2007
It’s something that people in the south eastern parts of Australia are very familiar with: the bushfire season. It usually runs through January and February, our hottest summer months, but sometimes it starts earlier and finishes later. Vegetation grows extensively in Spring, then when Summer comes it dries out, so that by mid-summer all it needs is one match or one carelessly discarded cigarette to set an inferno ablaze. When the fires come, you have to decide whether to fight or run. Either way, it’s not a battle that you can win. It’s just a matter of trying to minimise and control the devastation…
The Letter from James — Chapter 3
3:1 Not many of you should become teachers, friends, because we teachers will be judged more critically. 3:2 We all make a lot of mistakes. Anyone who does not make mistakes in speaking is a mature person, able to control the whole body as well. 3:3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can direct their whole body. 3:4 In the case of ships, they can be guided by a small rudder wherever the helmsman wants to go, in spite of their large size and the strong winds. 3:5 The tongue is small, but makes great boasts. A little fire sets a large forest ablaze. 3:6 The tongue is a fire, a world of evil amongst our other body parts, contaminating the whole body, and setting on fire the course of a person’s life with flames from hell. 3:7 All types of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures can be tamed and have been tamed by humans, 3:8 but no human is able to tame the tongue. It is an unpredictable evil, full of deadly poison. 3:9 We use it to bless our God and Father, and we use it to curse people who have been made in the image of God. 3:10 Out of the same mouth comes blessing and cursing. Friends, it should not be like this. 3:11 Does a spring produce both fresh water and bitter water from the same opening? 3:12 Can a fig tree, friends, produce olives, or a can a grapevine produce figs? No, and a salty source will not produce fresh water.
3:13 Who amongst you is wise and understanding? Show by your good attitude that your actions are done with humility acquired from wisdom. 3:14 If you have bitter jealousy and selfishness in your heart, do not be proud of it and deny the truth. 3:15 These things are not wisdom coming from above. They are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. 3:16 Wherever jealousy and selfishness are present, there are clashes and all sorts of evil pursuits. 3:17 Wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also conciliatory, kind, obedient, full of mercy and the results of good deeds, unprejudiced, and genuine. 3:18 Peacemakers who plant seeds of peace produce a harvest of righteousness.
May 8th, 2007
Skepticism is both good and bad. It’s a good thing not to believe everything that you hear. It’s important to be able to understand that investments which promise astoundingly high rates of return might not be all that they’re made out to be, and cars which use water as their only fuel might not be as effective as their inventor claims. Herbal medicines advertised in your emails might not perform exactly as advertised, and people from Nigeria who offer you a million dollars for helping them to transfer money into your bank account might not have your best interests at heart. So it’s good to be skeptical, but you can take it too far…
The Letter to the Hebrews — Chapter 3
3:1 Holy friends, partners in a heavenly calling, think about how Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our faith, 3:2 was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was also faithful with God’s family. 3:3 He is considered worthy of more glory than Moses, because someone who builds a house has more honour than the house. 3:4 Every house is built by someone, but the builder of everything is God.
3:5 On the one hand, Moses was faithful as a servant over all God’s family as a demonstration of what would be said in the future, 3:6 and on the other hand Christ is faithful as a Son over God’s family. We are his family, if we maintain our confidence and boldness in our hope. 3:7 As the Holy Spirit says, “Today if you hear his voice, 3:8 do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion in the time of testing in the wilderness, 3:9 when your ancestors tested me and saw the things that I did for forty years. 3:10 I was angry with that generation and said, ‘They always get sidetracked in their hearts, and they have not understood my ways.’ 3:11 In my anger I swore, They will never enter my rest.’”
3:12 Watch out, friends, in case anyone amongst you develops a sinful unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 3:13 Encourage each other day by day, while there still is a “today”, to make sure that none of you become calloused by the deceitfulness of sin. 3:14 We have become partners of Christ, if we maintain until the end the confidence which we had in the beginning.
3:15 It says, “Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion.” 3:16 Who was it that rebelled when they heard? Was it not everyone Moses led out of Egypt? 3:17 Who was God angry with for forty years? Was it not the people who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 3:18 Who did he swear would never enter his rest, but those who were disobedient? 3:19 We see that they could not enter because of unbelief.
April 25th, 2007
In today’s reading, Paul was attempting to defend his claim to authority. You might look at his claims and say that he is probably not worth listening to because he is not a good speaker and complains too much. But if you examine his claims through the filter of Jesus’s words and actions you might reach a different conclusion. Were the things which Paul said and taught consistent with what Jesus said and taught? Yes, they were. Was Paul’s way of life consistent with his teachings? Yes, it was. Was Paul demanding that people do things he himself wasn’t prepared to do? No, he wasn’t.
Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians — Chapter 10
10:1 I, Paul, appeal to you by the humility and gentleness of Christ, I who in your presence am humble, but am bold towards you when I am absent. 10:2 Please ensure that when I am present, I do not have to show boldness by daring to oppose those who think that we are living in a worldly manner. 10:3 Although we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 10:4 The weapons of our war are not worldly weapons. They have God’s power to overthrow strongholds, destroy arguments 10:5 and every obstacle that presumes to rise up against the knowledge of God, and bring every thought into captivity and obedience to Christ. 10:6 We are ready to punish all disobedience, once your obedience is complete.
10:7 Look at the obvious facts. If you have convinced yourself that you are Christ’s, remind yourself that, just as you belong to Christ, so do we. 10:8 Even if I exaggerate our authority, which the Lord gave us to encourage you and not to tear you down, I am not embarrassed about it. 10:9 I do not want to appear to be trying to frighten you with my letters. 10:10 They say, “His letters are severe and weighty, but in person he is weak, and what he says is worthless.” 10:11 Such people should be aware that what we say in our letters when we are absent will be what we do when we are present. 10:12 We are not bold enough to classify or compare ourselves with some people who think highly of themselves. There is nothing clever in the way they measure themselves by their own standards, and compare themselves with themselves. 10:13 We will not make unlimited claims. We will keep within the boundaries which God set for us, which extend as far as you. 10:14 By extending to you we are not claiming more than we are entitled to, because we came all the way to you with the Good News of Christ. 10:15 We do not overstep our mark by making claims about other people’s work. What we hope is that as your faith grows, our sphere of influence amongst you will expand considerably, 10:16 so that we can preach the Good News in the regions beyond you. We do not want to make claims about what has happened in someone else’s sphere of influence. 10:17 “Someone who boasts should boast in the Lord.” 10:18 It is not the person who thinks highly of himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord thinks highly of.
March 8th, 2007
Some Christians happily tell other people about the importance of serving others, living with integrity, avoiding evil and doing good, but they go straight ahead and dishonour God by doing something that exposes their preaching as hypocrisy. Maybe they steal or cheat or help themselves at someone else’s expense. It should come as no surprise that such conduct is not pleasing to God. In today’s reading, Paul said that “People who eat and drink without honouring the Lord’s body eat and drink judgment on themselves.” If you’re in church pretending to be pious but you’re really being selfish and greedy and oppressing others, then God is not going to be happy about that.
Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians — Chapter 11
11:1 Follow my example, just as I follow the example of Christ. 11:2 I commend you for remembering me in all things, and continuing the practices, just as I handed them on to you. 11:3 I want you to understand that Christ is the leader of every man, and man is the leader of woman, and the leader of Christ is God. 11:4 Any man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonours his head. 11:5 But any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled dishonours her head, just as if her head was shaved. 11:6 If a woman is not veiled, her hair should be cut off. If it is embarrassing for a woman to have her hair cut off or be shaved, she should be veiled. 11:7 A man should not have his head covered, because he is the image and glory of God, but the woman is the glory of the man. 11:8 Man does not come from woman. Woman comes from man. 11:9 Man was not created for woman. Woman was created for man. 11:10 So a woman should have authority over her head, because of the angels.
11:11 Woman is not independent of man, and man is not independent of woman, in the Lord. 11:12 Just as woman came from man, so a man also comes through a woman; but all things come from God. 11:13 Judge for yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God unveiled? 11:14 Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair it dishonours him, 11:15 but if a woman has long hair, it is a distinction for her, because long hair is given to her for a covering. 11:16 If anyone wants to argue, we have no other custom than this, and neither do God’s churches.
11:17 In the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. 11:18 Firstly, I hear that divisions exist among you when you meet as a church, and I partly believe it. 11:19 There have to be factions among you so that it will be clear who amongst you are genuine. 11:20 When you meet together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you are eating. 11:21 As you eat, each of you eats own supper first. One person goes hungry, and another is drunk. 11:22 Do you not have houses to eat and to drink in? Or do you despise God’s church, and embarrass people who have nothing? What can I say to you? Should I praise you? I do not praise you for this.
11:23 I handed on to you what I received from the Lord. The Lord Jesus on the night on which he was betrayed took bread. 11:24 When he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “Take and eat. This is my body, which is broken for you. Do this in memory of me.” 11:25 In the same way he took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this whenever you drink, in memory of me.” 11:26 Whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you confess the Lord’s death until he comes. 11:27 Anyone who eats this bread or drinks the Lord’s cup in a way unworthy of the Lord will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord. 11:28 You should examine yourself, and then eat the bread and drink from the cup. 11:29 People who eat and drink without honouring the Lord’s body eat and drink judgment on themselves. 11:30 This is why many among you are weak and sickly, and a number have died. 11:31 If we examined ourselves properly, we would not be judged. 11:32 But when we are judged we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned with the world. 11:33 So, friends, when you come together to eat, wait for each other. 11:34 If you are hungry you should eat at home, so that when you come together you will not bring condemnation on yourselves. I will give instructions about the other matters whenever I come.
February 21st, 2007