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First Pres Joliet

A Daily Devotional from our faith community @ firstpresjoliet.org

Month

June 2018

Authority

1 Chronicles 25-27
Pslam 78:1-24
1 Corinthians 11

I will go on a limb here and say that no one likes submitting to another person.

Let’s have some real talk.

 

1 Corinthians 11:3-16 talks immensely about women and their role in the church. The amount of research I have about women in the church comes from reading the Bible, reading Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge, following Ezer Rising on Facebook, and talking to women of faith that I admire greatly. That being said, I am still learning and forming my boundaries in terms of my role as a woman in ministry.

However, what I want to draw attention to in the Corinthians passage is that we were created to be a team and that we are ALL under the authority of Christ Jesus who is under the authority of God.

Think about that when you are being called to submission.

Jesus Christ, son of God, had an earthly mother and father that He obeyed. Jesus Christ went to the Cross, for us, under the authority of God.

When we have a leader we don’t want to follow I want us to pray for that leader, ask for God to direct us, then I want us to submit where and when we are supposed to. I want us to submit to God’s will when He is calling us to do the hard things (love an enemy, donate our paycheck, pray for a government official we disagree with). Lastly, I want us to consider 1 Corinthians 11:31-32 and keep a watchful eye on ourselves.

So, brothers and sisters, where is God called calling you to be submissive and obedient to Him?

Many Blessings,
Karissa

PS: Reading the AMP version of 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 was helpful in processing the passage.

 

Adjusting Your Focus

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1 Chronicles 19-21; Psalm 77; 1 Corinthians 9

1 Chronicles 19-21

The Ammonites, who were once allies of Israel and David, have changed alliances after the death of King Nahash. The Ammonites harass some of David’s messengers and completely embarrass them. There is some back and forth between Israel and the Ammonites, which ultimately results in David’s army annihilating the Ammonites and the Aramaeans. Later, David falls victim to the influence of Satan, which brings a reprimand from God. David takes full responsibility for his mistake and pleas with God to spare the innocent Israelites from the plague sent by God. David makes a burnt offering to God, and God brings an end to the plague.

Psalms 77

The psalmist is struggling in his faith. He is trying hard to focus his mind on God, but without much success. But then he shifts his focus from God in the present to all of the things that God done in the past. When he makes this shift, he rediscovers the power and might of God and how He led Moses and the Israelites to freedom.

1 Corinthians 9

Paul talks about the benefits he should be able to reap as an apostle, but he chooses to not take advantage of those benefits. He isn’t in the business of preaching the Gospel for the money and recognition. Paul preached to all sorts of different people. And depending on who he was preaching to, he changed his teaching style to meet the needs of the people to whom he was preaching. Like runners in a race have to work hard training, an apostle must work hard at his craft. But unlike a runner, whose reward doesn’t last long, the reward for being a hard-working apostle will last forever.

Reflection

I think I relate well to the psalmist. He is talking about how the more he tries to meditate and focus on God, the further away God seems to be. It’s kind of like when you are trying to come up with an idea for an art project, or a DIY home project, or maybe an entry for a certain blog. So before winter, one of the casement windows (windows that crank out) at our house stopped closing correctly. But at the time, it was cold and dreary out, and I was focused on a new baby in the house. When spring came, I tried to refocus my attention on fixing the window. I was thinking it was a crank handle that needed to be replaced, but I was having trouble finding what I thought was the correct part. I spend hours online looking at pictures of window parts, and made phone calls to a window company. But nothing seemed to be working. I purchased a part at Menards thinking it was what I needed, but then when I got home, the more I looked at it, the more I doubted my purchase.

So just this past week, I went to Menards to return what I thought was the wrong part. I was at my wit’s end. On my way into the store, I said a quick prayer that THIS TIME, I would find the part I needed inside this massive store. But while standing in line waiting my turn at customer service, I pulled the part out of the bag one last time to look at it. And it was right then and there, standing in line, at a time when I least expected it, in that last look at the part, that I realized I actually had the correct part the whole time. But it was one of those things that the more I tried to think about it and research about it, the further away I got from the solution. I had too much doubt in my ability.

I think we probably do that with God too. It’s not that I am encouraging anyone to not focus on God. But sometimes when we work too hard to summon God to meet our needs, what we really end up doing is focusing on ourselves and not as much on God. And therefore, as hard as we think we are trying to find God, we are getting further and further away. But if we refocus our attention on just who God is and what He has done for us (by this I mean all of humanity, as well as us individually), we will be more successful at finding God. It takes the focus off of our demands of God and shifts the focus to God’s amazing love for us. And then, right there in the customer service line at Menards (or some other random location or time), you might hear God’s response to your request.

Sunday Reflection: God as Living Water

Here’s a passage for you to reflect on today:  John 4:1-26

With it being so hot outside, it is very easy for one to be thirsty.  Most of us know the feeling of “Ahhhh”…you know, more of an emotion to a refreshing drink of water on a hot day.  Jesus, in a way, creates an “Ahhhh” moment in our passage.  He knew the importance of water for human survival offering a drink of water not only refreshing, but life giving with a supply that is unending.

Living Water…sounds like a corporate brand doesn’t it?  Living Water…reaching a need far deeper than everyday thirst; touching the part of us that wakes up in the wee hours of the night worried or lonely.  Living Water…that can wash away the parts of us that feel unclean and threaten to keep us isolated forever.  Take a drink and know the “Ahhhh” of life!!


Readings for the Upcoming Week

6/18/18 1 Chronicles 19-21 Psalm 77 1 Corinthians 9 Matt
6/19/18 1 Chronicles 22-24 Job 18 1 Corinthians 10 Bo
6/20/18 1 Chronicles 25-27 Psalm 78:1-24 1 Corinthians 11 Karissa
6/21/18 1 Chronicles 28-29 Job 19 1 Corinthians 12 Dale
6/22/18 2 Chronicles 1-3 Psalm 78:25-48 1 Corinthians 13 Tari
6/23/18 2 Chronicles 4-6 Job 20 1 Corinthians 14 Craig R.

Ark Transport

1 Chronicles 13-15     Psalm 76     1 Corinthians 7

Review:  Israel, led by David, wheel the Ark of God from the house of Abinadab (13:1-8)…Uzza is struck dead for steading the Ark on the cart (13:9-14)…David’s palace is built by constructors from Tyre (14:1-2)…Israel defeats the Philistines (14:8-17)…David prepares to bring the Ark to Jerusalem (15:1-15)…Music will accompany the procession of the Ark (15:16-24)…All of Israel parade the Ark from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David within Jerusalem (15:25-29).

Analysis:  It is striking that David gains democratic approval or popular consensus (13:1-6) to transport the Ark to Jerusalem…Recall for Israel, the Ark is the very presence of God…The facts surrounding Uzza’s demise center on how the Ark is to be moved (see above) and not touched by human hands (Num. 4:1-15)…Disobey the LORD at your peril, in them days…The Chronicler stresses the role of the Levites in the care taking of the Ark (15:5-24)..The allegory of this history is a reminder that worship is to be organized, not ad hoc…Music is an integral part of a worship service by way of voice, instrument, and percussion (15:16-24)…Worship music is to be done by those skilled in the art (15:22, cp.1 Chronicles 25:1-7)…In both the New & Old Testament, well-performed music played a role in public worship.  It was a Spirit-driven (Eph. 5:18-19) joyous praise of God by His people (Ps. 40:3).

In good hands!

Today, our guest blogger is Don Barnes!!

Today’s Passages (all 1 link):  1 Chronicles 10-12, Job 16, 1 Corinthians 6

Welcome to Flag Day and my first blog.  I am thinking that this would be easy but who knows.

I knew of the fight with the Philistines and the Israelites  but Sauls head hanging made it seem real severe. David  became King which was what everyone wanted.  He was told he would shepherd the people and become their ruler. Their joy was bolstered by flour,
fig cakes,raisin cakes, wine cattle and sheep. He also had many,many people supporting him.
The story was very different in Job 16 when he felt threatened by Satan whom he thought God was on his side.  Job never gave up faith that what he was doing was right.

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God. You were bought at
a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

It seems to me that we know what is right and must keep striving to do what is right.
We are in good hands.

There’s a cross…

Today’s Reading (all 1 Link):  1 Chronicles 7-9; Psalm 75; 1 Corinthians 5

While I would love to spend a great deal of time detailing the many genealogical lists…I won’t (and I heard the great sigh from all the people).  Seriously, understanding the book of 1 Chronicles is helped by knowing how it is written – 4 sections:  Ch 1-9 on the reign of David, and Ch 10-29 on the reign of Solomon.  There is great parallel found in Samuel and Kings.  And that is just about all I will say about our first reading.

I’m going to go a little out of order today and write briefly on 1 Cor 5 – a passage where Paul calls the church to live into who they really are by being able to distinguish right from wrong.  Before anyone jumps to conclusions here the issue Paul is addressing is sexual immorality, specifically, incest by a member of the Corinthian Church – one believed to be one in high standing in the Church.  This isn’t gossip or innuendo as the chapter begins, “It is actually reported”.  Roman law provided for banishment from the Roman colony of the individuals involved if…IF, the issue were brought to a Roman court.  Paul is writing about the apparent indifference of the Church regarding the matter involving one of its own.  And I also know that has overall unity of the church in mind…unity in Christ Jesus.

In Psalm 75 we find a community prayer of thanksgiving for God’s wondrous deeds and leaves the issue of divine judgment in God’s hands and on his own timetable. This psalm celebrates anticipated victory. The psalmist recognized that God will establish judgment at the appointed time, and that the judgment will destroy the wicked and exalt the righteous. On the basis of this he warned those who did not know God to submit to God who alone can deliver.

Devotional Thought:  As I looked upon all of today’s passages a thought came to my mind, actually, some lyrics from an old song by Point of Grace…”The Great Divide”:

There’s a bridge to cross the great divide
A way was made to reach the other side
The mercy of the father, cost his son His life
His love is deep, his love is wide
There’s a cross to bridge the great divide.

Friends…I don’t know God’s timetable…but, I am confident that he uses you and I as he sees fit, to bridge many a divide…if we believe grace is something more than we say at meal time…if we believe it is God’s grace that transforms us to be his agents in a world with great divide.  Did you know that in a great many of Paul’s letters he ends with these words…“the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you”.  Amen

 

Hints of Eliphaz

1 Chronicles 4-6
Job 15
1 Corinthians 4

Some of you may know that my family is broken. My father’s side has many nonbelievers who struggle with chemical abuse while living in poverty stricken neighborhoods. These family members have been known to be rude and in return I find myself arrogant in my faith and socio-economic status. “I’m happy I’m not like those people,” I think.

So what does all of this have to do with today’s reading?

In Job 15 Eliphaz, Job’s supposed friend, accuses him of not fearing God. Why was this torment happening to Job to begin with? Because God knew that nothing could sway Job’s devotion to Him and Satan wanted to prove otherwise. Eliphaz is speaking what he believes to be right, but his very own words condemn the nature of man. In this sense, we can begin to see righteous arrogance take over what were once good intentions (comforting a friend, hoping to show Jesus to lost family members).

Then, we have Paul’s message in 1 Corinthians 4:

Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.

1 Corinthians 4:5

What were my motives in judging those in my family? Was I fearful for their salvation? No. I was judging them because I was angry at them for treating me poorly. I deemed my lifestyle better.

And my heart aches over this.

Paul continues to say, ” For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” (1 Cor. 4:).

I am blessed by my life. I am blessed to have a grandmother who welcomed my mom back when things went sour with my dad, I am blessed to have a mother who fought for a better life for my sister and I, I am blessed to have been chosen by God in the first place. The things I find myself being arrogant over are not things I’ve earned. So who I am to boast about them?

I will share that the last time this happened I caught myself (hours later) and felt that ache and guilt. I confessed to Jesus what I’d done (holding onto the promise of 1 John 1:9) and then praised God for His goodness–this definitely brightened my mood.

Why do I share all of this with you? Because I truly believe it relates to these passages. I believe this experience brings Paul’s warnings to life. I believe this experience and my application of the verses helps remind us that the Bible is relevant.

Lastly, I share this with you because I think it is important that everyone know that I struggle just as much as everyone else. I am honored that I can walk alongside this church family on our journey of faith.

Many Blessings,
Karissa

 

 

Leadership and the Church

Psalm 74   1 Chronicles 1-3  1 Corinthians 3

Leadership is one of the most talked about things these days. The lack of leadership or great leadership, the struggle and the small victories of a leader are making the rounds in the media. Leadership is key to the culture of a company.  Just recently CEO of Starbucks announced that he will hand over his position to focus on others projects and that raised a few concerns with all the Starbucks fans. I am sure the coffee will be just as strong and your cappuccino will be just as sweet. But the idea of a change of leadership causes anxiety.

The church is no different and not exempt from anxiety and strife. Paul addresses the church in Corinth, with some very strong words, basically telling them to stop acting like children and understand the heart of God regarding the Gospel. I had laid the foundation but someone else will build upon it, someone else will plant and someone else will harvest. And with all that, there is no need for division and strife. Because the call we are called too is so much bigger than one person.

We all are working together in the same vineyard, and that should bring us joy. So today I want to encourage you to pray for spirit lead leadership and unity in the church. Pray for churches across the land to cling to the heart of Jesus for their vision and ministry, pray that each one of us can step out in faith and plant the seed of God’s forgiveness and grace in this world.

Be Blessed,

Bo M.

Sunday Reflection: God as Center

In the world of Church, there is a common phrase used by many…Christ-centered life.  Our mission statement says we are servants of Jesus Christ.  We have servant values that hang on the walls of our sanctuary (Spirit-filled, Empathy, Renewal, Visibly seeking out, All-together, Nearing God, Teaching, Submission).  All good things…right?But, Christ-centered is always easier to talk about than live…isn’t it?  I was reading a blog post by Paul Tripp who got me thinking this would be a good source for today’s reflection post – he poses the question about how we live our lives in relation to Jesus.  So, today, as you think about this common phrase ask yourself the following questions in relation to living a Christ-centered life:

  1. Is Jesus the source of everything you are…all day, every day?
  2. Is there room for Jesus in your Christianity (meaning, does the person of Jesus define your faith or is it squeezed out by tradition, sentimentality, pride, etc.)?
  3. In everything you do, does Jesus always get the glory?
  4. Is Jesus your hope both for today and eternity?

Tough questions…and I, for one, have a lot of work to do.  But these questions, cause me to stop and think…blessings to you today as you ponder them as well.


This Coming Week’s Readings:

6/11/18 1 Chronicles 1-3 Psalm 74 1 Corinthians 3 Bo
6/12/18 1 Chronicles 4-6 Job 15 1 Corinthians 4 Karissa
6/13/18 1 Chronicles 7-9 Psalm 75 1 Corinthians 5 Dale
6/14/18 1 Chronicles 10-12 Job 16 1 Corinthians 6 Don B.
6/15/18 1 Chronicles 13-15 Psalm 76 1 Corinthians 7 Craig R.
6/16/18 1 Chronicles 16-18 Job 17 1 Corinthians 8 Karl

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