Sunday, February 28, 2016

Submit, God Wants To Use All Of Us.

1st Corinthians 12:14-15

“For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, 'because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,' that would not make it any less a part of the body.”

We can all be guilty of saying we have no place, or feeling useless when we see another do well.

It's easy for me to fall into this, when I see others with musical skills or talents I greatly desire to be at their level. But in doing so I completely miss out on worship, and I completely ignore the gifts God has given me. What good does that do? Nothing. It is like I am saying that I have no place in the body because I don't have the gift I want. Thank God that I am wrong in thinking that way. It is quite comforting to know that when I don't feel I measure up God says I'm just using the wrong tape measure.

It says at the end of the chapter “but earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.” What are the higher gifts, the top 3 are apostleship, prophecy and teaching. Wouldn't you love to have the gift of teaching or prophecy? And still there is a more excellent way. Can you guess what it is?

This leads into the next chapter 1st Corinthians 13, known by many as the love chapter. Here we see the purpose for the spiritual gifts each one of us has.

Whatever gifting we have is of no importance without love, for love is “the fulfilling of the law” and love is the only thing that lasts.

Here is my point, whether you are a hand a foot or a mouth does not matter unless you love.

Whatever gifts you have, submit to God when He calls you to use them. Chances are He wants to show someone love through them.

Here is another thing to take into mind. You will likely come across someone who rubs you wrong. Whether they have a different personality type that bothers you, or don't dress in the same style, or they smell funny. Whatever it may be at some point God wants to use them to show love. And he may want to use them to encourage, or rebuke, or teach you. Will you say to them “I have no need of you.”? It's one thing when we feel because of our gifts that we don't belong. It's another thing when we make others feel that they don't belong. This is where we again fall into our theme for the week of mutual submission and adaptability. If we don't submit to our brothers and sisters in Christ we may majorly miss out on a way God wants to bless us through them.

Use the gifts entrusted to me to love others, and submit to brothers and sister in Christ when they encourage, rebuke or teach me.

Tonight before bed I will pray with my room mates to encourage them and show love.

Servant Of All.

1st Corinthians 9:19

“For though I am free from all,

I have made myself a servant to all,

that I might win more of them.”

“For though I am free from all”

Paul has no problem with what others may think of him, because he knows only God's opinion matters. I think this is what he means when he says he is free from all. Up to this point he has been speaking about how a pastor or missionary has every right to ask for compensation for the work they are doing. But Paul worked to provide for himself. He knew he had every right to ask compensation for living expenses while he stayed among the Corinthians, but he wished to bring them the gospel free of charge. Here is a valuable lesson, even though he had every right he would not make use of it. Instead he became a servant of all that he might win more.


I am free from what other may think of me, I know where I stand in Christ. But here's the thing I can pervert that by making it an excuse to be rude. Or unintentionally turn people off to the gospel by it. There is a healthy balance. In Paul's case he avoided the appearance of a swindler and false teacher by paying his own expenses instead of asking the Corinthians whom he was preaching to for support.

This opened the door even wider to share the gospel.

How I can I do that? I am here because of gracious support from others. I can be faithful in my studies for one, and seeking to serve and show Christ's love for two. For three I can be avoid unnecessary spending. I have been a bit carefree up to this point as far as that is concerned. Not crazy but I've been a bit overly snacky.

Therefore my practical application for this coming week is that I will not buy any snacks until Saturday the 5th of March. The only exception being if the class or woman’s study goes out together for a meal, that I would otherwise miss.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Be A Jonathan.

Ecclesiastes 4:12

“And though a man might prevail

against one who is alone,

two will withstand him-

a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

The phrase “no man is an island” comes to mind as I read this verse.
I have noticed something about abusers, they tend to isolate their victims to keep them from getting help. I have noticed depression and anxiety cause a person to isolate themselves. Whatever the reason is, isolation is a dangerous thing.

Isolation says I can handle it myself. Isolation says no one will understand. Isolation says to feel ashamed. Isolation says your not worth being cared for. These are lies from the enemy. If we try to fight things alone we will likely lose. Each one of us needs accountability, and encouragement. Whether you are fighting sin, depression, or anxieties, you need support. First and foremost we all have Jesus, I think of the song What A Friend We Have In Jesus “Oh what peace we often forfeit, oh what needless pain we bare, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”
But also we need those trusted siblings in Christ who we can pour out our hearts to.

Remember what I said about abusers? I think they take lessons from the devil. One of satan and his followers favorite things to do is isolate God's children. It's so much easier for him to destroy someone who is alone. Any way that the devil or his followers can divide the church he will. It's so much easier for him to cause a division and watch us fight to the death or destroy ourselves than to try and attack us as a group.

As our verse says you might prevail alone but not always, try to have someone beside you in a fight, or even better have two! Find those trustworthy brothers and sisters in the Lord. Pray without ceasing to the Friend that is always there. And rely on your family in Christ, confide in them, and seek counsel. Now to fall into our theme submit to them, do not, I repeat do not get into petty arguments, do not gossip, do not sow discord. Be mold-able, and looking to the interest of others. We are in a battle, we need to stand together, intertwined like a cord, so that we cannot be pulled apart.

Be honest, be real, be raw, and be there.

I think everyone in our group has done phenomenally in this, but beware of getting comfortable. This is a sad fact but everything I'm saying I need to hear first and apply first. The more I get to know people the more likely I am to hide my struggles, for multiple reasons, I don't want people to worry, I don't want to be a burden, I feel ashamed, it's not that big a deal I can handle it by myself. The list goes on, any excuse to keep others from knowing what's really going on.

But all these thoughts are lies and distractions, I have gotten used to keeping others from seeing the center of my heart by showing them the things that may be troubling me a little but not the source.

I've gotten used to doing things alone, working alone, etc. This is good in a lot of ways, it's good to be independent, it's helped me in working at summer camps, YMCA after school programs, and retail, when we are constantly understaffed. But it leaves me a bit wrecked. I get so busy and tired, and I don't carve out that time with God I need. I get caught up in working for God, instead of worshiping to Him. We need fellowship. In Hebrews 10 it says “do not give up the meeting together of the brethren.” God places people in our lives for a reason, certainly use wisdom in whom you confide in. And if you ask advice let it be from another believer. You have heard the verse “be not unequally yoked.” That is not referring to married couples so much as friendships or business partnerships. Of course if we are not to be unequally yoked in friendship, then we should certainly not be unequally yoked in marriage.

All right time to try and rain in all the thoughts. Stand with your siblings in Christ, be a friend to them, let them be a friend to you, stand together in every trial, bare each others burdens, weep with each other, laugh with each other, do life together. Be as Jonathan to David, humble, encouraging, honorable, honest, knit your souls together. Love one another as Christ loved you.


Stand together in the Spirit and in Love.



I will work to stay vulnerable with my sisters in Christ today, and I will look for ways to be more encouraging.

That By All Means

1st Corinthians 9:22

“To the weak I became weak,

that I might win the weak.

I have become all things to all people,

that by all means I might save some”

For me to imagine the heart behind this verse is to see a heart radically raw and full of love for God first, others second, and self last. If we understand the gospel as it truly is we would cry aloud with Paul “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” Verse 16. To have a knowledge of the one thing that saves and keep it to yourself is a suffocating feeling. Each one of us has family that is not saved, each one of us have dear friends who do not know Christ, and each of us has felt the pain of a brother or sister walking away from God. When I see the suffering sin reaps in the life of unbelieving friends and keep the gospel hidden in my heart, I feel woe, I feel the deep burning in my heart. I want to share the Gospel but I wonder if they are ready to hear it. Ashamedly I say that many times I have held back when I should have spoken. Woe is me! A coward and nothing better. I pray I become more bold. Still I struggle. I need to stop looking at what might go wrong and remember what may go right. I need to trust God to do the work in the heart and simply speak truth to others in love.

In this verse I see not only a heart willing to share the gospel but also a heart sensitive to the views of others, Yes the gospel is offensive to some because of what it reveals in their life, but for heavens sake we should not be if we can avoid it! Paul had every freedom in Christ to do as he pleased, yet he sacrificed self in order that he might save some.

To each culture I must also submit myself in full respect of others, so long as it is not sin, though I am free to eat how I want, speak how I wish, yet if I offend apart from the gospel what good is it? None!

If I have to sweat in heavy pants, or wear a skirt, or wear a head covering to be culturally sensitive that I may not offend according to this verse I aught to. If I must get out of my comfort zone and greet people I will.
And why, That by any and all means I might save some. Heaven help me if by wearing shorts I hinder a person from receiving the gospel. Heaven help me if by my crude speech a person is offended and sees only me and not the gospel. Heaven help me if I in any way offend by my own sin or liberty and the gospel is not received because it came from my lips.
Heaven help me because this is a battle for souls. Not only that but heaven help me if by my own interest I divide the church of God and therefore distract from the work God wishes to do.
And the saddest part is I will mess up, but even when I mess up I must keep striving. “A Christian isn't someone who does the right thing, it's someone who does the right thing after doing the wrong thing.” No matter how we fall, just get back up.


Be sensitive to the beliefs of others without compromising the gospel. And submit to other believers without sin. That by all means I may save some.


Tonight I will keep my speech clean of course jokes.

Called To Freedom.

Galatians 5:13

“For you were called to freedom, brothers.

Only do not use your freedom

as an opportunity for the flesh,

but through love serve one another.”


In verse 1 of this chapter is an interesting sentence “For freedom Christ has set us free.” And it stood out to me because I have heard it in a song, but now seeing it on a page in the bible I realized I had no idea what it meant. I pondered for a moment or two before understanding. We have all been set free, but we don't necessarily walk in that freedom. We have all been set free from works of flesh, which can also mean legalism. We have been set free to walk in righteousness through faith in love. I have heard it said that “freedom is not being able to do what one wants to do, but being able to do what one aught to do.” About this I would love to say more but I would be repeating my IBS on Romans 16:6.

But through love serve one another, here is the secret, love. In verse 14 it says “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, 'You shall love you neighbor as yourself.'”

For love does no wrong to a neighbor therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. In 1st Corinthians 13:5 it says, “(love) does not insist on it's own way.” To love is to be in mutual submission, in same verse it says love is “not rude”. Therefore love is culturally sensitive, and adaptable to every situation.

What will happen if we do not love, and if we insist on our own way. “But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed.” verse 15. One thought comes to mind when I read this, a two headed snake devouring itself. Snakes eat other snakes something I remember clearly when I was into learning about animals as a child. Not that I have heard of a two headed snake mistakenly eating itself, still, to me it seems a perfect picture of Christians who constantly bicker and disagree. The image of a snake also displays it well because sometimes when you see people fight like this you wonder if they were ever saved in the first place, or if by deception they have come into the church to simply stir up strife and dissension. To divide what God has brought together. It's a terrible thing to see brother against brother, sister against sister. It's a terrible thing to see a church fall apart, like the ruins that once were a place of worship now broken to pieces, they can still be used. However a huge mark is left on each person. God can restore, but heavens sake if we can avoid Him needing to let us try.

So love is the fulfilling of the law, but how do we even do this. Look at verse 16 “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”
But God.
Only by His holy Spirit in us may we hope to live in love and harmony with one another.


Walk in the Spirit, and in so doing be humble and gentle in speech, and adapt to new cultural customs.


I have asked for more of God's Spirit today. And I will try to be sure to greet every bible college student and Guatemalan on property today.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Heart Behind Leadership.

Hebrews 3:17

“Obey your leaders and submit to them,

for they are keeping watch over your souls,

as those who will have to give an account.

Let them do this with joy and not with groaning,

for that would be of no advantage to you.”

Here is one of the closing instructions in the letter to the Hebrews. If you will it is like when a speaker stands before and says I'm almost out of time but here are some very important things I want you to know.

Obey and submit to spiritual leaders. How many of you have had a youth pastor or pastor that really cared about keeping watch over your souls? I loved the way my youth pastors expounded the word of God, it was simple and easy to understand, but the parts that were not they had trouble answering. Don't get wrong they didn't pull answers out of nowhere but when they explained the different doctrines on the subject it wasn't very comforting nor did I have the ability at that time to discern what may or may not be true. Again I think they cared but were just young in the Lord and still learning to work in ministry.

In the middle of high school my parents had us switch churches. The church I grew up in had a lot of pastoral changes recently and they felt it had changed enough in staff and theology that it was time to leave. This was very difficult for me, being the introvert I was, I had only in the last year or so made any real connections. Two of my siblings rebelled and stayed at the church we were attending before because they wanted to stay and minister to the friends they had there. They had seen a lot of other teens run off to college and leave them, they didn't want to do that to anyone else. I prayed about it, and felt God was calling to honor my parents, I told my small group of friends that I would be transitioning to a new church, let them know that I cared a lot about them but felt God was asking me to be obedient in this area of my life.

We switched to the church that I now attend, a Calvary Chapel in southern WA. After the first Sunday there I think I had learned more in sermon than I had anywhere else in my life. The style of preaching was so different from the topical studies we had done at my last church, being fearful at the time about my salvation I wanted to speak with the pastor after church, and that's something else that was different. This pastor invited anyone who had questions or needed prayer to come talk with him, I had heard this a few times at my old church but he was so genuine in his preaching I felt totally comfortable speaking with him. I spoke with him for a long while, about the things going through my mind. The church was renting a high school facility at the time so he had to go and help put things away, but had his wife speak with me and console and comfort me on many subjects.

Here is what I'm getting at, and why I am sharing all of this. These spiritual leaders cared, They cared very deeply about the condition of my soul, and they took time to show it. I think the youth pastor I had at my last church cared too, but there many more people and it was more difficult for them to show it.

Here I also have a deep sense of the leadership caring. However whether I see it clearly as I do here, and at my home church, or I don't see it as clearly as I did at my first church, spiritual leaders care for the souls of those in their flock. Pastors also must suffer a stricter judgment at the throne of God. All this to say, God has put them over us for a reason, and we aught to obey them for these reasons, so long as they are not asking us to sin.

Are there false teachers? Yes

Do they care for their flocks? No

But God has given us through His Word ways to see whether they be false or in the Faith and says clearly we are not to listen to false teachers. God does not ask us to blindly trust man, nor does He give us loopholes to ignore the instruments may use to bring us to repentance.

And I think when we see this clearly we find ourselves, hopefully being a joy to those put over us. There is nothing that brings joy to a shepherd like seeing his flock grow strong and healthy.

There is nothing that brings joy to a pastor like seeing the congregation grow in discernment and spiritual maturity. There is nothing that makes a pastors heart break more than seeing someone walk away from the faith.

They care about us, because God cares for them and us, obey them, God knows what He's doing by putting them there.


Obey those in leadership over you.


Today I will raise my hand every time leadership asks us to pray.


Ephesians 6:1

“Children, obey your parents in the LORD, for this is right.”

Colossians 3:20

“Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the LORD.”

To be honest I have been pretty obedient to my parents, I would often be the kid who said, “Guys we shouldn't do this we'll get in trouble.” Does that mean I was never disobedient to my parents of course not. I just tended to be a lot more sneaky about it. For instance I was home schooled, so I would often lie about having done my school work for the day. This was not good in many ways, and even though I know I am intelligent there's now a part of me that feels quite insecure because I am not as knowledgeable in many areas as other people. I can't help but think of Ephesians 6:2-3 “Honor your Father and Mother (This is the first commandment with promise) That it may go well with and that you live long in the land.”

“That it may go well with you.” Here's the thing about parents, they usually ask you to do something because they want you to have a good life. They care about you. Parents are a gift from God to help counsel and guide as you grow older, when you have a problem they are a listening ear. When you get hurt they bandage you up. When you rebel they discipline you, and yes this is a blessing too. “Spare the rod and spoil the child” is a quote I know well. In America we can really see the evidence of this quote. And again I say usually, usually parents care, and I know mine do, but I also know that there are parents lacking in natural affection. The abusers, who manipulate, and use. These are the exceptions. So let me quote verse 4 of Ephesians 6 “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

And in Colossians 3:21 “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” Does anyone have the amplified on them to read Colossians 3:21? I love the way it is put in that version.

Child abuse is prevalent in many forms I have worked with kids for years and at one of these jobs I was startled a bit to see some of the non physical forms of abuse, like extreme ignoring. Never giving praise to a child or affirming them. I think that is what unfortunately is more likely to happen in a christian home than some other forms of abuse. It's not likely on purpose we try to make sure that children don't become proud so we withhold comments of praise. And we don't want to encourage bad behavior by giving attention to that, so what happens? A child ends up feeling starved for attention and acts out. Then we are forced to do something about it, that's the rebellious side of the spectrum. Then you have the other side, the people pleasing children, the ones trying to please their parents. But if a parent is overly strict the child will come to the point of feeling discouraged, so much so that they are crushed and simply give up on trying to please anyone or having any direction in life at all.

That is what it looks like to provoke a child.

There is always a balance, yes lets as children do everything we can to honor our parents. But if your parents never noticed you or are giving you a verbal beating all the time because they are frustrated with something else, may I encourage you, God is your father and He loves you deeply. Do not give up or be discouraged.

Read from psalm 27


Honer your parents. But do not become discouraged when they provoke you, instead be patient and talk things out with them.


I will speak positively about my parents, and I will make it a priority to call them on Sunday to show them love.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Sin Is A Cruel Taskmaster

Romans 6:16

“Do you not know

if you present yourselves

to anyone as obedient slaves,

you are slaves

of the one whom you obey,

either of sin,

which leads to death,

or of obedience,

which leads to righteousness?”

Who am I serving right now? As I sit on my bed and try to do homework, all I can think about is getting a snack, or taking a nap. I also think about other homework that has to get done.

So the honest answer is often times I serve self, I do what's best for me instead of others. But myself or sin is a cruel task master, because no matter how much I give it, it's not enough. An hour or two after eating I'm hungry again. When I awake in the morning the sleep never seems like it's enough. Things are comfortable but I always want more. These things in themselves are not sin but can turn into sins. And what about things we know are sins, when I'm weak, tired, hungry and lonely they pop up. The temptation pulls at me, but giving in leaves me feeling worse than before. Sin is a cruel task master.

This verse has had a lead up, as Paul explains the bounty of God's grace he knows his listeners may be thinking that they could continue in any sin. Maybe they even think that they ought to sin more, why not God's grace covers it? I love the Old King James Version response to this kind of Thinking “God Forbid.” or as it says in verse 1-2 in the ESV “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” To think of grace as being a means to practice sin without consequence is to misunderstand the very nature of grace! The grace of God is not only to forgive, it is also to renew. It is a death of the old man and the birth of the new. To obey grace is to rest in God and have faith in Him, but through that naturally comes a change of heart by His Holy Spirit. The conflict comes because we are still wearing this mortal flesh and we must reckon it dead daily, because it desires comfort and to misuse the very things God created for our joy! Our flesh wants nothing more then to be on the throne in our hearts. It wars with the Spirit and the Spirit with it. This in new Christians especially ends up looking very inconsistent on the outside. It often brings one to a feeling of condemnation, and defeat.

But look at the verses 17-18 “But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves to sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.”

So obedience comes from the heart, so many times I can be obedient outwardly but inside my heart is hard and stubborn. Think of the pharisees they were obedient to the letter of the law, but not the Spirit, this hardness of heart led to them killing the very Son Of the God whom they supposedly served!

Obedience of the heart looks like this, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” Romans 7:15 “Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but that sin dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of the mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” Romans 7:20-25

Now a heart of obedience will work outwardly, because there is life through the Spirit in us, so if we do good it is no longer us But Christ living in us, and if we sin it is no longer us but sin that lives in us. And as we walk more in fellowship with God there will be more of an outworking of His Holy Spirit in our lives.

And we are set free by this, that though we fail daily the truth is God sees us as righteous because we believe in His son. It sets us free to rely on Him for all we need, and as we walk in the Spirit we do not gratify the desires of the flesh.

And what does look like in it's entirety? Love.
“Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” Romans 13:10
Sin is a cruel taskmaster, thank Jesus by His grace and Holy Spirit I don't have to obey it anymore.

Rely on God's grace and walk in the Spirit.

tomorrow morning I will carve out time to spend with Him in prayer and worship by getting up at 5:30 instead of sleeping in till 6:30.

An Attitude Of Faith And Obedience

Acts 5:29-32

“But Peter and the apostles answered,
'We must obey God rather than men.

The God of our fathers raised Jesus,
whom you killed by hanging Him on a tree.

God exalted Him
at His right hand
as Leader and Savior,
to give repentance
to Israel
and forgiveness of sins.

And we are
witnesses to these things,
and so is the Holy Spirit,
Whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

The scene is set, the apostles were locked up the night before, an angel came and freed them in the night. The soldiers and the sadducees were perplexed to find them gone since everything was locked up tight. The apostles and Peter were brought before them to be held on trial, but not by force, and why not by force? I would think they'd be enraged with jealousy, and would not care how the apostles were brought. However in verse 26 we find the answer. “For they were afraid of being stoned by the people.”

Here we see polar opposites. Over and over again, the pharisees and sadducees are known for two things at least the ones that did not follow Jesus (some of them ended up doing that like Paul.) They were known for being jealous of others, and fearful of man.

The apostles were known for loving others and fearing or obeying God rather than men.

Here we find a very important point in obeying God, if we don't have the right attitude toward Him, we will not obey Him. So what is the attitude of the apostles towards God in this verse? An attitude of Faith.

This attitude is indicated by their reply to the sadducees. First they express Faith in God's power over the physical realm in that God Raised Jesus from the dead. Next power in the spiritual realm because the Father exalted Him at His right hand. Next they express Faith in the Father's passing of authority to Jesus as Leader and Savior. Now we see them express faith in Jesus power to save, by the giving repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.

And now we come in our verse to the why behind their faith. “And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, Whom God has given to those who obey Him” First we see they believe because they are witnesses, they witnessed Jesus as the risen LORD, they witnessed Him ascend up into heaven, Steven saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God just before he was martyred. And also because the Holy Spirit bears witness about this. I am not sure what exactly this means, I think it could mean a few things. For one the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus when he was baptized by John. For another the Holy Spirit comes along side and convicts the hearts of people that they may come to repentance and belief on Jesus Christ, or perhaps they are referring to the supernatural abilities to heal to speak in other languages, to do signs and miracles displayed by those who by faith obeyed Christ and received the Holy Spirit. All would be a testimony to the fact that the Holy Spirit bears witness I think, again I'm just not sure.

“Whom He has given to those who obey him.”

Here is another attitude or knowing, I'm not sure how to put it, but another reason for their obedience and possibly the most important, that is if I understand right. A knowledge of The presence of God in their life. When we see God as present, and are aware of Him, it drastically changes how we view each situation and how we act in it. And God is present, He lives in each and every believer. He comes along side to convict the world, etc.

Now I have a question for each of us to answer, how have you witnessed the power of God in your own life? These are questions we must answer if indeed we are to obey Him.

God has shown me many times that He is outside time and my comprehension of it, that He coordinates all the event of the earth and universe, and that that through Jesus death and resurrection He is more than able to redeem me from my sins. To get back what has been lost in my foolishness and rebellion. To restore. Not only in my life but the lives of those around me.

How are we being more aware of His presence?

By making certain I have devotions in the morning has definitely helped. Keeping an attitude of worship certainly has helped, because it shifts my focus back to God and His presence and power. It is really a moment by moment choice, and it can be quite difficult with everything pulling for my attention. The verse “Pray without ceasing comes to mind.” Another way has simply been being surrounded by all of you. Each one of you witnesses to God's faithfulness and power, is an encouraging reminder of His presence. I am truly grateful for each one of you, and the ways you keep me accountable.


Have an attitude of faith in God, and be more aware of His presence, through this obedience comes naturally. There must be both to balance, for if I am aware of God's presence but not his power I will still be fearful of man to some extent. If I am aware of God's power but not His presence, then I shall fear man because I would not know God is beside me. I must be aware of both, to live in faith and obedience.

How? Tonight before bed I will pray with my room mates that God would make me more sensitive to His spirit, and aware of Him.


Hebrews 5:8

“Although He was a Son,

He learned



what He suffered.”

Jesus the one to whom this is referring was perfect in every way. And He was obedient in everything. He learned in that, He continued being obedient, from the beginning till the end. And He learned it through what He suffered at the cross.

Why is we learn so much through suffering? It would be very nice I think if we could learn through comfort. But the answer is simple, when you run it can be tiring and uncomfortable, make you feel all gross and sweaty, but your muscles become stronger from it. When you try to touch your toes you feel the dull ache as your body is stretched, but it's the only way to make your body more limber, and protect it from injury.

I am not big on suffering, in fact I very much dislike it. I dislike even the smallest discomfort of feeling embarrassed. When it's time to get up in the morning I gently hit the wall with my knuckles and groan, the inner struggle is very real. Confronting with a spirit to restore a brother is incredibly difficult, I don't like confrontation. Asking for help is another place I struggle in. These are all incredibly minor ways to suffer, yet I struggle with them a lot.

Yet Jesus went through all these things quite often. He was mocked, He stayed up late and woke early to get time alone with His father. He was not shy in confronting another about sin. He asked His disciples to stay up and watch with Him in the Garden, not so much that He needed them to, nor did they do very well at it. My point is He was not afraid to ask people to do things.

But what will happen if I am obedient in these areas?

If I am unafraid of embarrassment I will share the gospel more boldly, and praise God more radically.

If I get up earlier, I will have more time for devotions and prayer, and therefore have a much better day.

If I confront others gently, I may be an instrument for God to bring them to repentance.

If I ask for help, I will be able to work with others in a way pleasing to God, instead of trying to do it all myself and getting discouraged.


A bit of discomfort is good for growth, be obedient even when it's uncomfortable.


Today I woke up early to make sure I still got devotions and had time to do this IBS.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Don't Stop Short.

Psalm 17:15

“As for me,

I shall behold

your Face

in righteousness;


I awake,

I shall be satisfied

with your likeness.”

Before I dig into this verse I want to look back to verse 14 which says,

“From men by your hand,


from men of the world

whose portion is in this life.

You fill their womb with treasure,

they are satisfied with children,

and they leave their abundance

to their infants.”

Whose portion is in this life.... they are satisfied with children.

They stopped short. There is so much good in this life, in abundant times and in hard. Children are a blessing, and leaving them something when you pass on is wonderful. But is that really all there is?

No as I said they stopped short. They were satisfied with the things of the world and this life. They were satisfied with the things of the physical realm. Am I stopping short? Am I simply happy with food and drink, with treasure and living out the dream of someday being married and having kids? As much as I desire those things, they are empty without God. I can be well fed, but miserable. Surrounded by friends, but feeling more alone than ever. Jesus was in a tight knit group, well fed, then faced ultimate rejection, and went hungry, and in every circumstance His strength came from God. There are multiple accounts of Him spending time alone with His Father. He was satisfied by that time with His Father.

I am well fed but often feel unsatisfied. I am surrounded by people, but often feel lonely. Am I stopping short? God has more for me than food and clothing, He has communion with His Spirit in prayer and worship for me. He has more than to keep my classmates at an arms length, He would have me form healthy and lasting relationships.

Then the Psalmist says he will be satisfied by the LORD's likeness. He will be satisfied with nothing else than to see God's face.

Even so we should not be satisfied until we see His marvelous face.


Don't stop short of what God has for me.


Tomorrow I will get up at six thirty even though it's my day to sleep in and I will seek God's face by having a longer devotion.

Even In The Good Times.

Philippians 4:11

“Not that I am speaking

of being in need, for I have

learned in whatever situation

I am to be content.”

Many times I hear the word content, and I think that's what we need to be when we are making do, but Paul here goes on to say in every circumstance, including abounding or in abundance. It's funny that we become discontent when we have more than what we need. And I think it's easier when we are in times of abundance to be discontent. Take a look at America, we have had so much abundance and yet we are never content. Out of this much evil comes. Look at the workplace, the dog eat dog mentality, the slander of coworkers to get ahead, but back to what I was saying. Many times in the old testement Israel fell into sin during times of abundance, God even warned them to be careful of this, yet it happened. The reason it seems that this happens is when physical needs are met and things are good we don't go to God because we have what we want. How sad. I am guilty of this, when things are tough I make time to go pray and worship. I seek strength in God. However when things are going good I forget sometimes to go spend time with Him. This is also so sad because of how much I am missing by not going to Him! How much rich praise I can give Him for the good. How wonderful the fellowship un-strained by the thought of need. Here is a paradox, to be content in God, is to be discontent with the world, even during times of abundance. Are those times good? Yes, but keep in mind the One providing every breath. Even when life is good, it's not life without Him. And how do we be content in every situation including abundant time? In verse 13 we find our answer, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”


Remember God in the good times, and be thankful.


Today I will find time to enjoy being in His presence.

How Can We Not Be?

Hebrews 13:5

“Keep your life free

from love of money,

and be content with what you have,

for He has said,

'I will never leave you

nor forsake you.'”

This is the closing chapter of Hebrews, and amongst the closing instructions the author makes sure to mention for his readers to be content.

So I have looked at how we can be content a lot this week, now I look at it from another angle. How can we not be?

Has ever there been a greater love story? Has ever there been a more intimate and triumphant romance?

Have hearts ever been knit as close as the Church and her Bridegroom?

How can we not be content when we have a Love Who has given Himself fully for us and to us? Who has promised to be with us through thick and thin?

The good news of the gospel is not only salvation from hell, although that is a massively wonderful thing, the gospel also means salvation from separation from God. The gospel means having The Holy Spirit dwell inside our hearts. The gospel means never being alone.

Alone, that word, it is honestly one of my greatest fears. Being completely alone, because I would have to face my thoughts, my never ending downward spiral of thoughts.

And worse than anything else, more fearful than anything else would be to be alone without God.

Because even when I don't have people God can calm my mind and my heart.

This verse is hope, it's freedom, I am so thankful that God is honest and faithful, I sure as heck don't deserve it. I know what I've done and so does He. I know the ways I fail daily, and yet He has not given up. May I never be content with anything other than God, and may I never forget that He is forever with me.


Remember God is close.


Tonight during team building I will pray when I get frustrated or feel overwhelmed.

Dry Wells

Luke 3:14



asked him,

'And we, what shall we do?'

And he said to them,

'Do not

extort money from


by threats or by false accusation,

and be content with your wages.'”

“they also asked” I find it wonderful that they asked, they desired to know what was good to do. Then John says “do not” we can sum up all he says in do not do evil. But he doesn't just leave it at that he tells them how. “be content with your wages.” a heart of discontentment is one full of desire, the problem is when we try to fulfill those desires the wrong way. For the tax collectors and soldiers it was money and the comfort it can buy, But whatever they had was not enough because here they were listening to a man named John asking what they should do. I definitely have done this, and the sad part is, how easy it is to just return to those things, and even sadder to find that it leaves me feeling emptier than before. The only thing that gives contentment is God's love. That is the only way to find satisfaction because it is the only thing that does not run out, that we cannot find the end of. God is infinite so it is with His love.


stop returning to those dry wells and go to God and let Him cover me with His love.


Today when I am tempted, I will quote to myself a verse or song that reminds me of His love for me.

I want Him

1st Timothy 6:6-8

“Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world and, we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.”

At the beginning of Ignite I always tried to get these IBS things done asap, and sadly would even sometimes do them instead of devotions, God has changed me in that sense. And as I trust Him, He shows me daily what He wants to. I keep laughing when I sit down to do these last minute, because I realize just how exact and spot on something He had showed me that morning in devotions or through a speaker that day fits with the verse we are doing. Like today when Jordan spoke.

This scripture is a sidestep from a warning that Paul was giving Timothy about false teachers. Teachers who are only teaching to get recognition. Teachers who are causing strife constantly, arguing about things that don't matter, slandering, craving controversy even! Can you say Trolls?

That seems to be the heart they teach with, and why? Because they imagine “that godliness is a means of gain.” But then our verse seems to contradict this by saying there is “great gain in godliness.” However the two do not contradict. It is like Paul after saying “imagining that godliness is a means of gain,” that is they imagined that godliness was a means of worldly gain, then expands on the thought and says there is a gain in godliness. But it is not worldly gain that he is speaking of, because someone who is living in godliness has contentment as a by product of their focus. They are not focused on gaining wealth, or recognition from men, they are focused on recognition of God, and heavenly treasure. They are concerned with knowing the Creator who holds all things in His hands, instead of holding all things in their own hands. They are concerned with pleasing God rather then seeking pleasure.

I'll be totally honest I have been these people, when someone leaves a trolling comment online I crave to disagree and try to crush their argument. At home I craved to find a better job. I struggled to leave for Ignite. Some moments I was truly excited I was going here, other moments I was terrified. I knew I would be changed here and again sometimes the thought was awesome sometimes it was scary. Why was it scary? Because I had gotten comfortable, and good at wearing the mask around my non christian friends and siblings. Why was it awesome? Because I was so tired of living half in the world and half in God. I was hard hearted and stubborn when I left home, so why did I keep pushing to come? Because I felt myself slipping away from God, slowly walking away, becoming again the coward I had always been. I came because I wanted to know the passion of knowing God and His love that had first made me want to share the gospel with anyone who would listen.

I came because God has not given up on me. I came because I wanted to walk close with Him, closer than ever before.

God is life. Knowing Him is truly living, knowing Him is only possible because of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Anything else is a distraction, and leads to death.

I came because I want to really live, I want to know the wonder of God again, I want to get lost in Him.

I want Him.


Seek to know God more.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Faith By His Faithfulness.

Hebrews 6:12

“So that you may not be sluggish,
but imitators of those who
through faith and patience
inherit the promises.”

To look at this verse in context we would really need to go back to chapter five as it has taken a sidestep to strengthen the main theme of the book, Christ as our high priest.

However we are low on time so I will sum up the part that has often concerned me. Chapter 6:4-6 “For it is impossible, in the case of of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding Him up to contempt.” This fallen away business has often terrified me, especially since in the verse it sounds as though it is speaking to those who have been sealed with or have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The fear of somehow sinning to the point of not being saved anymore is something I have often struggled with. It brings up thoughts like, “What if I have finally overstepped the line, what if there is not grace enough for me?” All of you already know of this struggle.

But this section is more speaking to someone who has grown up in the church shared in experiences where the Holy Spirit is present, has heard the gospel, and refuses to believe on Christ as their savior repetitively. at least If I'm making sense of it this the way I should. So then it is lack of faith that condemns, lack of trusting Jesus as the only and full sacrifice for sins. And then it leads into Our scripture and I would like to include verse 10 and 11 as well for better context.

“For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for His name in serving the saints as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end. So that you may not be sluggish,

but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

Now We see that a person of faith has a defining characteristic, Love for God and it is shown in outward action in this case towards the saints. The writer desires that that the Hebrews continues with the same earnestness in this Love, Why? To have the full assurance of hope until the end, and are not sluggish. How is this to be accomplished? Through Faith and patience. How do we have faith and patience? Now we follow the course of this scripture lets read Hebrews 6 verses 17 through 20. By this we see that we can have Faith based on the character of God, and his promises. It's amazing to me how a quick glance at scripture can quickly give the wrong impression one of fear, when that scripture is in fact meant to lead one to a stronger faith, and it's by this Faith and Patience we endure until the end, with expectation of the glorious promises of God.


Continue in faith because of God's faithfulness.


Today I will write down 3 ways God's been faithful in my life.

Great and Precious Promises.

Psalm 16:8

“I have set
the LORD
before me;
because He is at
my right hand
I shall not be shaken.”

This last week I have been broken, I have been crushed. I have isolated myself. I have wanted to be a part of the group, but kept quiet. You already know this to some extent because I shared part of it with you earlier. I really have always taken verses of finding strength in God to mean that I should not need to share with anyone else my anxieties or pain. That all I need is found in Him. And I do believe that God alone is enough, so I felt a certain guilt at desiring friendships, and bonding closely with others, combined with the fear of eventually being rejected, I Isolated myself. This last week I have had a gnawing doubt, that somehow I have lost the calling to be here, that somehow I had been disqualified. Not just in being here but also in my relationship with God. I thought more on it, and I remembered a thought I used to often encourage myself with. God went to the trouble of dying for me, I don't think He'll give up that easy. In a sense I set God before me. There's a verse that confirms this Romans 8:33-34 “Who shall bring any Charge against God's elect? It is God who Justifies. Who is to Condemn? Christ Jesus is the one Who died – more than that, who was raised- who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” I followed that thought about being here. Why would God take so much trouble in bringing me here if He thought I wasn't ready, if He wasn't going to do something with me. The doubts will keep coming into my mind, But God's steadfast character Holds me. I was feeling really crummy Tuesday night, I wanted to be with people but at the same time I didn't feel I could be. So I went out to the meeting tent, and there I prayed, cried, and sang to God. A song came to mind it's called by your side. And the chorus goes, “I'll be by your side, whenever you fall, in the dead of night whenever you call, and please don't fight these hands that are holding you. Cause my hands are holding you.” God brought that song to mind, every time I sang the chorus I felt him sitting next to me. I also brought up my loneliness to Him, I told Him I was sorry for wanting friendships so badly, for not making Him my everything. I asked Him if it was ok for me to seek those friendships, I asked that if it was He would make it apparent. And the last two days He has been. He keeps bringing up the verse it is not good for man to be alone.

But taking that time to draw near to Him, and remember His great and precious promises, which He helped me remember because I had nearly forgotten them. By remembering He is beside me I am able to persevere.


Be more aware of God and His steadfast love for me and others.


Today I will worship Him somewhere alone. Who would like to keep me accountable.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Giving up.

Colossians 1:11

“may you
be strengthened
with all power,
according to
His glorious might,
for all
endurance and patience
with joy.”

I have often tried to endure in my own power. I set my jaw, put on a bold face, push through. This can only last so long though. And I soon break, at home it was easier, I had gotten comfortable. I have good friends and like everyone else my family is not perfect, but I love them and they love me. I was able to hold that bold face for months or even years. And that is how I became hardened.

When I got here I heard everyone telling the interns they would be broken. I kinda doubted that would happen to me and I had an odd feeling of not wanting to be broken, but still sort of knowing I needed to be. The first break happened I think Thursday of week 2, and I thought ok this is good, I've gotten it over with, now I can move forward. I wonder If God laughed at those thoughts. Then two days later I felt crushed, ok this is good I thought, at least I'm not hardened any more. This has continued. The softer I become the easier I am hurt. And I often feel like I can handle it.

This morning or last night, I'm not sure which, felt like rock bottom, I poured out in prayer my heart to God. I felt overwhelmed about today, about kids club, IBS, homework. Stupid right, and to be honest I love the homework we are getting. I love doing IBS, I love having the outlet to write. I just feel the time crunch, and that's scary.

God lovingly reminded me this morning after pouring out my heart. “It's not about you.”

You see I got caught up in the trap again, thinking I had to find a way to cope, and not fall apart. At home I coped with friends and family, staying so busy with that meant no time to fall apart. Now I'm busy, but it's different, I now have to face everything I was pushing down.

God says I can fall apart, I can rant, I can cry. God told me “to give up.” To give up caring how I look, to give up holding it all together, To give up trying to do it in my own strength. He's been telling me this all along, but now that I am breaking I'm finally willing to receive it.

If enduring is not giving up, then here lies the paradox, God calling me to give up in order to endure.

As the verse says we are strengthened with all power according to His glorious might.

He is still breaking me. Part of me wants to fight and run from it, but luckily I feel too broken and crushed to do that. And oddly enough this process is actually a relief, I'm tired of trying to hold it all together. It's nice, joyful even to stop striving and come to Him simply giving Him my worries and handing them up to Him.


To let go of the control I want and enduring in my own strength, no more hiding my feelings and acting like everything is ok.

Fix Your Eyes On Jesus Or You Will Be Shipwrecked.

Luke 21:19

“By your,
you will
your lives.”

Surrounding this verse Jesus is talking about the last times. He has just finished telling the disciples of all the unrest that will be in the physical world, natural disasters, and in the political world, wars and famine. He says they will be brought before all manner of authorities and it will be an opportunity to bear witness. He told them to settle it in their minds not to prepare a defense when this happens, but that He would give them a mouth and wisdom, and a wisdom that none of their enemies would be able to withstand or contradict. Then Jesus tells them a shockingly painful truth, He tells the disciples their closest friends and family, would betray them, even putting some of them to death. Next He says that His disciples will be hated by all for His name's sake.

It has been said “Faithless is he who turns back when the road darkens.” How many of us would be able to sit there and listen to Jesus? Maybe we'd think you don't really mean that, that won't happen. And if we did believe Him, how many of us would be like, ok Jesus, that's nice but too much for me to handle so see you later. Would I do that? Have I already been that faithless friend? To be honest I would say every time I have resisted the Holy Spirit drawing me towards someone to speak with or comfort them, is a time that I was faithless.

And I must apologize to all of you because I have often shied away from talking with many of you when I felt myself being drawn by God to say something. Even something so small as how are you today?

We have talked a lot about fear this week, and that has been the reason I often hold back from saying things. Fear of bothering a person, fear of being a distraction to what God is doing, fear of failing, fear of God's anger, fear, fear, fear. Yes, I said I have been delivered from a lot of fear, but there are as I also said little fears that still crop up in my life. I must squelch these quickly or else they become bigger. Pastor G has brought up that perfect love cast out fear. As I remember God's love for me I am able to toss out the constant fear of stepping on God's toes. As I look at God's love my fear of failure becomes pail in comparison. When I think of God's love I stop worrying about bothering the person and start wishing to encourage them. So fixing my eyes on Jesus, on His love, on His victory, on Him, is key.

Because when I set my mind on my self, I see only my shortcomings, my lack of love, losses. And that leaves me in a place, a pit that I cannot escape with out some outside force. Which thankfully God has been. This is all important to our theme this week, because fear can dissuade us from persevering.

Lets look back at the text the verse directly proceeding our verse of the day says “But not a hair of your head will perish.” Jesus just got done laying out the persecution they would undergo, and that some of them would be put to death. What on earth does this text mean? It would almost seem a direct contradiction.

There are two conclusions I can draw from this, first is that a man is bulletproof until God takes Him home, second as I view it in context with the verse of today, I would conclude it is speaking to the spiritual man.

“By your endurance” How does one endure? What does it look like? I spoke of perseverance, which is seemingly synonymous with endurance. When I think of enduring, I mostly think of enduring pain. To take hit after hit, to be jarred, beaten, or mocked over and over, isolated, without going mad or giving up. Jesus endured, and the apostles endured, and we must endure. I also think enduring must have a goal, or end. Why would would someone endure repetitive pain, unless there was a reason for it. An athlete endures the pains of training to receive a prize. Now to what end does Jesus say we endure? To gain our lives. I believe this speaks to spiritual lives, and not in whether or not we gain or lose salvation (although this is possible) so much as to the joyful and abundant life we have in Him. As we endure trials and temptations, as we persevere and set our eyes on Jesus, a marvelous change happens in us. And an abundant, and joyful life follows. “so we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” 2nd Corinthians 4:16-17

Not to mention Further down in our text in verse 28 it says when these things happen “Straighten up and raise your heads” Pay attention, Why “because your redemption is drawing near.”

Your Redemption is drawing near! How wonderful! How beautiful!

When Jesus endured the cross it was for the joy set before Him. When we endure it is for the same reason, the joy set before us is life in Christ, and hope of Eternity in Heaven with Him.


Take eyes off self, and place on Jesus.


Today I will Worship Jesus or pray to Him when I am faltering, I will pick someone specific to keep me accountable.

Forgeting What Lies Behind.

Colossians 1:9

“And so,
from the day
we heard,
we have not ceased to pray for you,
Asking that you may be
with the knowledge of His will
all spiritual wisdom
and understanding.”

It is always Refreshing to me to read a letter that opens with thanksgiving for it's Readers. That is what has lead up to our verse, and having seen friends and family come and go in their relationship with Christ, I see the need to persevere in prayer, in the same way as Paul and Timothy pray for the believers in Colossae. This weeks theme is perseverance, which is to continue on in the face of challenges, to endure till the end. In a sense not allowing one's focus to be pulled away from the goal. Though I see the need, persevering in prayer is incredibly difficult for me. I zone out, revisit past conversations and events, and get lost in and stressed out about them, this is not just during prayer even as I try to write this I zone out and begin living in something that happened yesterday.

But here is Paul who from the day that he and Timothy heard have not ceased praying for them! There is a focus in that prayer. And as I put myself into Paul's shoes or try at least, I can imagine the excitement and thanksgiving he would feel at hearing of the Colossian church's faith and Love. In the same way I have felt excitement at someone coming to belief in Christ and seeing them grow up in God. And the desire I would have for them to continue in faith and Love. I would want them to know, I mean really know God's desire (will) for their lives. A knowledge which could only come through wisdom and understanding given By God's Holy Spirit, because most of all I would want them to endure till the end. I would want them to persevere in their walk with God.

How shall I who cannot persevere in my prayer time in any way affect others to persevere in their walk with God? Sunday morning I was praying, and as usual I could not focus, I was thinking about a conversation from the day before and having anxiety about it. In the middle of my thoughts I asked God, what do you want me to do? The answer blew me away.

“I want you to stop worrying about yesterday.”

Now This was going deeper than the single conversation from the day before. It was going to all the little mistakes I made and was dwelling on each day instead of praying. These things that I was allowing to separate me from God. The noise in my head and heart when trying to pray become almost unbearable. Part of me was scared to accept this answer, after all if I don't worry how will I get the motivation to do anything about these quote unquote problems. Then the message on Sunday from pastor Luis was about belief, and holding fast till the end to our faith and our boasting in the hope we have in Jesus Christ. Holding fast till the end, sounds a lot like persevering doesn't it? And as I read chapter 9 of on being a servant the closing Scripture is Philippians 3:12-14 which read “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but that I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

There is much beauty in this Scripture to pull from, but what hit me like a ton of bricks was the line Forgetting what lies Behind. This is essential as I have found out. I need to let God's grace cover yesterday, and forget what lies behind in order to strive towards the goal, in order to persevere. I must forget who I was and remember who I am in Christ. I must not be jealous of those who seem to make more progress then me or try to keep ahead of anyone else in my walk with Christ. When running a race you must not look back to see how your rivals are doing you slow down and lose time, you must not look at your rivals in front of you and become disheartened, you must not let mistakes from earlier in the race distract you, you must focus on the goal.

My Goal in prayer is to draw closer to God, and to hear his heart for those around me, and pray in accordance to His will.


To pray without becoming distracted.


Today I wrote out my prayers, and this helped me to confess sins in a way they didn't stay inside of me, it helped me express my desires to God and feel closer to Him. It helped me shew away the thoughts of yesterday and worship Him today. I will try this again tomorrow.

Wisdom By God's Grace

2nd Corinthians 1:12

“For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.”

“For our boast is this” What was Paul and Timothy boasting about. Their missions? Speaking in tongues? Suffering Persecution? Quite simply no, because those things, great as they might be, are nothing if your conscience is troubled. Their boasting was that they behaved with simplicity, no masks, and with godly sincerity.

What is sincerity anyways? Without wax is the most common way of explaining it, being that sometime in the old days a cheap craftsmen would use wax to fill the cracks in his pottery and then sell it, so without wax would be an honest pot if you will. However I recently have heard another way of describing that makes it easier to wrap my brain around. Sincerity is aiming for the mark. If sin is missing the mark and to transgress is purposely missing, then sincerity is honestly trying to attain the mark.

Anyways lets get back to Paul and Timothy.

Next we see that part of their boasting is due to the fact that they did not use earthly wisdom. What is earthly wisdom? I would imagine salesmen tactics and manipulation, or changing the gospel so it is easier to accept. This is worldly wisdom and though outwardly it appears to get results, at the end of the day souls are left confused about the gospel.


Some of the most beautiful sentences in the bible start with, “but” but what? You may ask.

But God. Or to quote our verse “but by the grace of God,” By God's grace Paul and Timothy behaved with simplicity and godly sincerity, by God's grace they have a clear conscience,


This weeks theme is wisdom. And here we see that earthly wisdom is no match for the grace of God.
How beautiful.

“and supremely so toward you.” This part is confusing to me, did Paul mean that they had extra helping of grace when speaking to the Corinthian church, or that they took extra care in showing the sincerity. I cannot be sure. And I am ok with that, I'll keep thinking about it and letting it marinate.


when I would like to use worldly wisdom or manipulate with my words, I should instead bow my head, and ask for grace, and speak with simplicity and sincerity.