DATE WRITTEN: Monday, 2020-05-18
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL
BIBLE REFERENCE: 1 Corinthians 11:17-19
TRANSLATION: English Standard Version (ESV)
BIBLE TEXT: 17 But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. 18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part,[e] 19 for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized
OBSERVATION: It is reported from various survey experts that there is little difference in the number of divorces, and abortions among God’s church, as in the world. WHAT??? Could this record possibly be right? Why? How could this be? Paul found that his church members argued and had cliques among themselves, just like the world itself has. But as we meditate on these verses today, let’s concentrate on the reason Paul found for this.
APPLICATION: Paul said that if it was not that factions arose in the church, how else might we know that sincere children of God exists. Wow! What a thought! But as I meditated on this, unfortunately I came across other actions that tend to flush out the real vs the pretend Christians. Ever notice how things like gossip, favoritism, prejudices and a strong desire for leadership, is just as prevalent in the church today as we might find at our workplaces, social clubs or elsewhere in the world? So even though we see Paul’s explanation for this, I wonder what you, my readers and my friends might think of the problem? Having been actively involved in church work for many years, I know first hand that there are so many things that affect the progress of God’s church, but I never looked at it quite like Paul described. Let’s look at a few challenges that seem to hinder the work of the Lord in His ministry, and see what would happen if God’s children would truly be loyal to their King and be His warriors in prayer and in growth as a Christian. Paul mentioned cliques, and unfortunately these are just as prevalent today. But what if a child of God stood up to the group and refused to continue in the group unless he was able to include whoever he wanted to, or what if that Christian felt open to correction by a member of the clique for what was said, or inferred about another church member? What about gossip? Wouldn’t it be awesome if someone told you news about someone else and you asked them to join you as you met with that person to discuss the matter? Another popular challenge of Christians is to place their pastors and church leaders under a microscope instead of acknowledging them as a fellow human being and praying diligently for them and the role they are called to fulfill for the Master. The results of our prayers are always evident. When someone complains about the job done by a pastor or teacher, I believe you will find it interesting if you ask them how did they pray for the pastor before he taught or preached. I have found that most times people will neglect praying for the glory of God to shine through their pastor as he brings the Word at church that day, yet they complain when they get nothing from the sermon. Is that not what they prayed for – nothing? Friends, I realize that none of us are perfect, nor can we expect perfection here on earth, but I wonder how often God looks on us and stands proud of His child who stood firm in their faith and trusted God for the challenges at hand instead of complaining or whining about it. I had a situation once in life where someone stopped me in my tracks from talking about a team of employees, and told me that these employees were saying the same things about me. That had a lasting impression on me, and has helped me many times when tempted to go along with slander, or whining or complaining or spreading lies. I believe that it is time for God’s children to stand firm for the One in whom they believe. Let Jesus be Lord of all – every situation, or not Lord at all. We represent an awesome God. Let’s not misrepresent Him, or what He stands for.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I pray that we might stop long enough today to think through our relationship with You. I’m sure that we will quickly humble ourselves before You as we recognize our downfalls and our shortcomings. Lord, it seems like we are weak in so many areas of our lives, and we realize that we could only gain the needed strength from You. In much †he same way as we tend to judge others, they are also watching us under a microscope. Lord, I truly want them to see You in me – in every action and every word that I speak. I pray that You will see Your children who are serious about their relationship with You shine through in every aspect of life. Please help us not to be a stumbling block to anyone looking for Jesus. We need You precious Lord, please be our guide and our deliverer in every aspect of life today. AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Sebring, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would encourage you to visit my home church, Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!