Today’s devotion comes from 1 Corinthians 1:12-14.

“For our proud confidence is this:  the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you.  For we write nothing else to you than what you read and understand, and I hope you will understand until the end;  just as you also partially did understand us, that we are your reason to be proud as you also are ours, in the day of our Lord Jesus.”  1 Corinthians 1:12-14.

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Paul said the following about what some of the Corinthians said about himself.  “For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive and his speech contemptible.”  Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when absent, such persons we are also in deed when present.”  2 Corinthians 10:10-11.

“But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”  1 Timothy 1:5.

In today’s Scripture, Paul said:  “… in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world …”  Verse 12.

We should be sincere as Paul:  “we are in word by letters when absent, such persons we are also in deed when present.”  But, it is too tempting and too easy to deceive others.

We should be holy as Paul.  It is easy to be holy when writing, but when we leave the desk, it is too tempting and too easy to get encumbered and entangled in sin.

In summary, we should be a good example like Paul.  “For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.  You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers;  just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.”  1 Thessalonians 2:9-12.

“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ;  having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”  Philippians 1:9-11.

The following Scriptures fill out our desires. 

“Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things.”  Hebrews 13:18.

“having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.  In view of this, I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men.”  Acts 24:15-16.

But, even though we believe “there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked” and also try to “do my best”, we need help.  

Despite all the good reasons to be sincere, holy, and otherwise conduct ourselves honorably in all things, Paul recognized in today’s Scripture that we needed more than “fleshly wisdom”, we need help.  We need God and “the grace of God”.

“I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.  God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”  1 Corinthians 1:4-9.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.  …”  Ephesians 1:3-4.

“… Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing;  but that she would be holy and blameless.”  Ephesians 5:25-27.

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever.  Amen.”  Jude 1:24-25.

Today’s devotion comes from 2 Corinthians 1:8-11.

“For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life;  indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead;  who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope.  And He will yet deliver us, you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many.”  2 Corinthians 1:8-11.

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“And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”  Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.  Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake;  for when I am weak, then I am strong.”  2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;  we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed;  perplexed, but not despairing;  persecuted, but not forsaken;  struck down, but not destroyed;  always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.  For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.  So death works in us, but life in you.

But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I BELIEVED, THEREFORE I SPOKE,” we also believe, therefore we also speak, knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you.  For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.  For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen;  for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”  2 Corinthians 4:7-18.

“And what more shall I say?  For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.  Women received back their dead by resurrection;  and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection;  and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment.  They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword;  they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.

And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.”  Hebrews 11:32-40.

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  For by it the men of old gained approval.”  Hebrews 11:1-2.

“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”  Hebrews 11:6.

“For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;  but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.  But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”  1 Corinthians 1:26-30.

Today’s devotion comes from 2 Corinthians 1:1-7.

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

To the church of God which is at Corinth with all the saints who are throughout Achaia:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.  But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation;  or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer;  and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.”  2 Corinthians 1:1-7.

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“This is my comfort in my affliction,
That Your word has revived me.”  Psalm 119:50.

“Then you will say on that day,
“I will give thanks to You, O LORD;
For although You were angry with me,
Your anger is turned away,
And You comfort me.
2 “Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
For the LORD God is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation.”  Isaiah 12:1-2.

No one likes to go though sufferings, but God comforts us and gives us blessings.  Here are some of the blessings.  

First, God gives us sufficient grace to patiently endure the sufferings and otherwise also exhibits His power within us.  “And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”  Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”  2 Corinthians 12:9.

Second, our tribulation builds perseverance, proven character, and hope within us.  “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;  and perseverance, proven character;  and proven character, hope;  and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”  Romans 5:3-5.

Third, our sufferings helps us to understand others and to be empathetic to their sufferings, and our sufferings helps us to comfort and encourage others who are going through the same sufferings.  Verse 6.

Fourth, our sufferings lead us to salvation.  “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”  Romans 8:16-17.  “For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope;  for who hopes for what he already sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.”  Romans 8:24-25.

Fifth, God turns our sufferings into joy.  “Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice;  you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy.  Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come;  but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world.  Therefore you too have grief now;  but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.”  John 16:20-22.  “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”  Romans 8:18.

“Shout for joy, O heavens!  And rejoice, O earth!
Break forth into joyful shouting, O mountains!
For the LORD has comforted His people
And will have compassion on His afflicted.”  Isaiah 49:13.

“Indeed, the LORD will comfort Zion;
He will comfort all her waste places.
And her wilderness He will make like Eden,
And her desert like the garden of the LORD;
Joy and gladness will be found in her,
Thanksgiving and sound of a melody.”  Isaiah 51:3.

“I, even I, am He who comforts you.  …”  Isaiah 51:12.

“10 “Be joyful with Jerusalem and rejoice for her, all you who love her;
Be exceedingly glad with her, all you who mourn over her,
11 That you may nurse and be satisfied with her comforting breasts,
That you may suck and be delighted with her bountiful bosom.”
12 For thus says the LORD, “Behold, I extend peace to her like a river,
And the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;
And you will be nursed, you will be carried on the hip and fondled on the knees.
13 “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you;
And you will be comforted in Jerusalem.”
14 Then you will see this, and your heart will be glad,
And your bones will flourish like the new grass;
And the hand of the LORD will be made known to His servants,
But He will be indignant toward His enemies.”  Isaiah 66:10-14.

“13 “Then the virgin will rejoice in the dance,
And the young men and the old, together,
For I will turn their mourning into joy
And will comfort them and give them joy for their sorrow.
14 “I will fill the soul of the priests with abundance,
And My people will be satisfied with My goodness,” declares the LORD.”  Jeremiah 31:10-14.

“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.”  2 Thessalonians 2:16-17.

Today’s devotion is a special devotion based on the calls for justice.  Some call for justice based on the death of George Floyd, and others call for justice based on the riots, burning, and looting.

“He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?  Micah 6:8.

“Hate evil, love good,
And establish justice in the gate!
Perhaps the LORD God of hosts
May be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.”  Amos 5:15.

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God has told us what is good, but we are proud and have exalted man.  We need to be humbled;  we need to be reminded of the nature of man.

“9 What then?  Are we better than they?  Not at all;  for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin;  10 as it is written,

“There is none righteous, not even one;
11 There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God;
12 All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
There is none who does good,
There is not even one.”
13 “Their throat is an open grave,
With their tongues they keep deceiving,”
“The poison of asps is under their lips”;
14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness”;
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood,
16 Destruction and misery are in their paths,
17 And the path of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”  Romans 3:9-18.

“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.  Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.”  Ephesians 2:1-3.

Reformed Doctrine summarizes these Scriptures and other similar Scriptures of man’s natural condition as “Total Depravity”, the “T” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.

And yet, so many in our society think that man is good and seem perplexed about the racism and all other kinds of hatred of man against man.  Some call for justice based on the death of George Floyd, and others call for justice based on the riots, burning, and looting.  So many in our society only want justice that serves themselves and their own interests whether it be their person or their property.  So many in society only cry to man for justice as if man wanted justice for all and as if man could provide justice for all.

Cry loudly, do not hold back;
Raise your voice like a trumpet,
And declare to My people their transgression
And to the house of Jacob their sins.
2 “Yet they seek Me day by day and delight to know My ways,
As a nation that has done righteousness
And has not forsaken the ordinance of their God.
They ask Me for just decisions,
They delight in the nearness of God.
3 ‘Why have we fasted and You do not see?
Why have we humbled ourselves and You do not notice?’
Behold, on the day of your fast you find your desire,
And drive hard all your workers.
4 “Behold, you fast for contention and strife and to strike with a wicked fist.
You do not fast like you do today to make your voice heard on high.
5 “Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it for bowing one’s head like a reed
And for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed?
Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the LORD?
“Is this not the fast which I choose,
To loosen the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the bands of the yoke,
And to let the oppressed go free
And break every yoke?
7 “Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry
And bring the homeless poor into the house;
When you see the naked, to cover him;
And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
8 “Then your light will break out like the dawn,
And your recovery will speedily spring forth;
And your righteousness will go before you;
The glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
9 “Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you remove the yoke from your midst,
The pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness,
10 And if you give yourself to the hungry
And satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
Then your light will rise in darkness
And your gloom will become like midday.
11 “And the LORD will continually guide you,
And satisfy your desire in scorched places,
And give strength to your bones;
And you will be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.
12 “Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins;
You will raise up the age-old foundations;
And you will be called the repairer of the breach,
The restorer of the streets in which to dwell.”  Isaiah 58:1-12.

But, there is hope!

Seek the LORD,
All you humble of the earth
Who have carried out His ordinances;
Seek righteousness, seek humility.
Perhaps you will be hidden
In the day of the Lord’s anger.”  Zephaniah 2:3.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  Matthew 6:33.

“Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches;  but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth;  for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD.”  Jeremiah 9:23-24.

“The Rock!  His work is perfect,
For all His ways are just;
A God of faithfulness and without injustice,
Righteous and upright is He.”  Deuteronomy 32:4.

“For the LORD loves justice
And does not forsake His godly ones;
They are preserved forever,
But the descendants of the wicked will be cut off.”  Psalm 37:28.

“Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities.  For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.  Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God;  and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.  For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil.  Do you want to have no fear of authority?  Do what is good and you will have praise from the same;  for it is a minister of God to you for good.  But if you do what is evil, be afraid;  for it does not bear the sword for nothing;  for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.”  Romans 13:1-4.

Now He (Jesus) was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, saying, “In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man.  There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me legal protection from my opponent.’  For a while he was unwilling;  but afterward he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.’”  And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge *said;  now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them?  I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly.  However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”  Luke 18:1-8.

“9 “Remember the former things long past,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things which have not been done,
Saying, ‘My purpose will be established,
And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;
11 Calling a bird of prey from the east,
The man of My purpose from a far country.
Truly I have spoken;  truly I will bring it to pass.
I have planned it, surely I will do it.”  Isaiah 46:9-11.

We are instruments of God to exercise lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth in all that we do.  

“Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness;  but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.”  Romans 6:11-13.

God will specifically guide you and work in you as to what you should do in order to “do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God”.  Micah 6:8.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:10.

“for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”  Philippians 2:13.

“6 For the LORD gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
8 Guarding the paths of justice,
And He preserves the way of His godly ones.
Then you will discern righteousness and justice
And equity and every good course.”  Proverbs 2:6-9.

“The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom,
And his tongue speaks justice.”  Psalm 37:30.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.  Be of the same mind toward one another;  do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly.  Do not be wise in your own estimation.  Never pay back evil for evil to anyone.  Respect what is right in the sight of all men.  If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”  Romans 12:15-18.

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 1:6.

And, God can even use the wicked for His purpose.

“For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.”  Romans 9:17.

“4 The LORD has made everything for its own purpose,
Even the wicked for the day of evil.
5 Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD;
Assuredly, he will not be unpunished.”  Proverbs 16:4-5.

God demonstrates His justice by shattering His enemies and sending them to hell.

“6 “Your right hand, O LORD, is majestic in power,
Your right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy.
7 “And in the greatness of Your excellence You overthrow those who rise up against You;
You send forth Your burning anger, and it consumes them as chaff.”  Exodus 15:6-7.

“But I will warn you whom to fear:  fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell;  yes, I tell you, fear Him!”  Luke 12:5.

“10 Now therefore, O kings, show discernment;
Take warning, O judges of the earth.
11 Worship the LORD with reverence
And rejoice with trembling.
12 Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way,
For His wrath may soon be kindled.
How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!”  Psalm 2:10-12.

The LORD has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.”  Psalm 103:19.

“The LORD reigns, let the peoples tremble;
He is enthroned above the cherubim, let the earth shake!
2 The LORD is great in Zion,
And He is exalted above all the peoples.
3 Let them praise Your great and awesome name;
Holy is He.
The strength of the King loves justice;
You have established equity;
You have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob.
5 Exalt the LORD our God
And worship at His footstool;
Holy is He.”  Psalm 99:1-5.

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Corinthians 16:15-24.

“Now I urge you, brethren (you know the household of Stephanas, that they were the first fruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves for ministry to the saints), that you also be in subjection to such men and to everyone who helps in the work and labors.  I rejoice over the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, because they have supplied what was lacking on your part.  For they have refreshed my spirit and yours.  Therefore acknowledge such men.

The churches of Asia greet you.  Aquila and Prisca greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.  All the brethren greet you.  Greet one another with a holy kiss.

The greeting is in my own hand—Paul.  If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed.  Maranatha.  The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.  My love be with you all in Christ Jesus.  Amen.”  1 Corinthians 16:15-24.

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“But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work.  Live in peace with one another.”  1 Thessalonians 5:12-13.

“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account.  Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.

Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things.  And I urge you all the more to do this, so that I may be restored to you the sooner.

Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever.  Amen.”  Hebrews 13:17-21.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | May 31, 2020

“Let all that you do be done in love.”

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Corinthians 16:10-14.

“Now if Timothy comes, see that he is with you without cause to be afraid, for he is doing the Lord’s work, as I also am.  So let no one despise him.  But send him on his way in peace, so that he may come to me;  for I expect him with the brethren.

But concerning Apollos our brother, I encouraged him greatly to come to you with the brethren;  and it was not at all his desire to come now, but he will come when he has opportunity.

Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.  Let all that you do be done in love.”  1 Corinthians 16:10-14.

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In today’s Scripture, we see examples of love.

But, instead of relying on our own images of love, let us first remember how Scripture defines love.

“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous;  love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly;  it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;  bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”  1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

“There is no fear in love;  but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”  1 John 4:18.

In verse 10, when we love, then we will not fear.  We will be like Timothy “without cause to be afraid” for we are doing the Lord’s work.

In verse 11, when we love, then we will not be jealous of others and will not despise others.  We will allow others to go their way in peace.

In verse 12, when we love, then we will be patient.  Even though we may want something to occur (like some wanted Apollos to visit them), we will patiently wait for the opportunity for it to occur.

In verse 13, when we love, then we will be strong and stand firm in the faith.  We will rejoice in the truth.  We will bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things.

“Love never fails;  …”  1 Corinthians 13:8.

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Corinthians 16:1-9.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Corinthians+16&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“But I will come to you after I go through Macedonia, for I am going through Macedonia;  and perhaps I will stay with you, or even spend the winter, so that you may send me on my way wherever I may go.  For I do not wish to see you now just in passing;  for I hope to remain with you for some time, if the Lord permits.  But I will remain in Ephesus until Pentecost;  for a wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.”  1 Corinthians 16:1-9.

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We make all kinds of different promises by which we intend to provide for us an “out” so that we can do what we want at the last minute.  These promises are really “yes or no”.

We may expressly hedge our promise by saying “if the Lord permits” or “God-willing”.  Although we can be sincere and righteously use such expressions according to Scripture, we need to be careful that we do not take the Lord’s name in vain which we will do if we secretly in our hearts really mean “if I permit it” or “if I am willing”.

We may not disclose our true intentions.  We may not disclose what will be the basis for our final decision in our promise.

In summary, we may be deceitful and just say something that will please the recipient of the promise.

“9 “The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?
10 “I, the LORD, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give to each man according to his ways,
According to the results of his deeds.”  Jeremiah 17:9-10.

But, what is worse than our deceit in our own promises is how we handle God’s promises.

We may attempt to provide God an “out” by interpreting God’s promises as only being fulfilled in heaven.  By our preaching and teaching, we undermine God’s promises and lead others to only trust God to fulfill His promises in heaven.

Paul defended his own intention in the next chapter.

“In this confidence I intended at first to come to you, so that you might twice receive a blessing;  that is, to pass your way into Macedonia, and again from Macedonia to come to you, and by you to be helped on my journey to Judea.  Therefore, I was not vacillating when I intended to do this, was I?  Or what I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, so that with me there will be yes, yes and no, no at the same time?”  2 Corinthians 1:15-17.

But, much more importantly, Paul immediately followed his personal defense with a focus on God, God’s promises, and God’s faithfulness. 

“But as God is faithful, our word to you is not yes and no.  For the Son of God, Christ Jesus, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silvanus and Timothy—was not yes and no, but is yes in Him.  For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes;  therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.  Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.”  2 Corinthians 1:18-22.

We see God’s promises throughout Scripture.  Most importantly, eternal life and everything pertaining to life and godliness are based on God’s promises.  But, God promises so much more.  God promises earthly blessings that are fulfilled during our life here on earth. 

“Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed;  all came to pass.”  Joshua 21:45.

“Every word of God is tested;
He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.”  Proverbs 30:5.

What if Abraham attempted to provide God an “out” and interpreted God’s promise as only fulfilled in heaven?  Would he thereby become weak in faith?  Would he thereby be wavering in unbelief?  Would such a faith be credited to him as righteousness?  What does Scripture state?  

“Without becoming weak in faith he (Abraham) contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb;  yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.  Therefore IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.”  Romans 4:19-21.

“For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “I WILL SURELY BLESS YOU AND I WILL SURELY MULTIPLY YOU.”  And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise.  For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute.  In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.”  Hebrews 6:13-18.

“11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
The LORD gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
12 O LORD of hosts,
How blessed is the man who trusts in You!”  Psalm 84:11-12.

“4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”  Psalm 23:4-6.

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;  seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.  For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”  2 Peter 1:2-4.

“But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.”  2 Peter 3:13.

“This is the promise which He Himself made to us:  eternal life.”  1 John 2:25.

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Corinthians 15:54-58.

“But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY.  O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY?  O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?”  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law;  but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”  1 Corinthians 15:54-58.

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“6 The LORD of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain;
A banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow,
And refined, aged wine.
7 And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples,
Even the veil which is stretched over all nations.
8 He will swallow up death for all time,
And the Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces,
And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth;
For the LORD has spoken.
9 And it will be said in that day,
“Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us.
This is the LORD for whom we have waited;
Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.”  Isaiah 25:6-9.

The “Therefore” reason why we can “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” is that God “gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Verses 57-58.

And yet, other doctrine ignores the “Therefore” in verse 58, preferring to focus on man rather than God, preferring that man attempt to “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” through his own sense of duty, his own wisdom, his own alleged free-will, and his own strength.  

But, Reformed Doctrine rejoices in the “Therefore”, focusing on God and the victory that God “gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:10.

“for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”  Philippians 2:13.

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”  Philippians 4:13.

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 1:6.

“For You, O LORD, have made me glad by what You have done,
I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands.”  Psalm 92:4.

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.”  2 Corinthians 2:14.

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Corinthians 15:50-53.

“Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God;  nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.  Behold, I tell you a mystery;  we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet;  for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.  For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.”  1 Corinthians 15:50-53.

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“Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.”  1 Corinthians 15:49.

We may imagine slender older people slowly walking around in Heaven in robes (in length from neck to ankle to hide their bodies).  But, a truer image would be of vibrant young, beautiful athletic bodies with great strength, health, and vitality.  They are not ashamed nor shy of their bodies.  “There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another.”  1 Corinthians 15:40.

“For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked.  For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life.”   2 Corinthians 5:1-4.

Let us remember the example of Abraham and others and likewise have faith and do good;  “to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life;”  Romans 2:7.

“By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.  By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise;  for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”  Hebrews 11:8-10.

“Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.”  2 Corinthians 5:5.

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;  who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.”  Philippians 3:20-21.

“Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.”  1 Thessalonians 5:24.

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Corinthians 15:35-49.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Corinthians+15&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“So also is the resurrection of the dead.  It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body;  it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory;  it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;  it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.  If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.  So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.”  The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.  However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural;  then the spiritual.  The first man is from the earth, earthy;  the second man is from heaven.  As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy;  and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly.  Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.”  1 Corinthians 15:42-49.

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“For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;  and these whom He predestined, He also called;  and these whom He called, He also justified;  and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”  Romans 8:29-30.

“Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.”  Verse 49.

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”  2 Corinthians 3:18.

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”  John 3:6.

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;  who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.”  Philippians 3:20-21.

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