Thursday, 20 February 2014

TFTD - 20 February 2014 - Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings

Exodus 31; 32
Psalms 89
1 Corinthians 1; 2

Exodus 31:
"And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship"

We read of the purpose of the spirit (Heb ruach = breath) of God, in wisdom, understanding and knowledge, TO BRING FORTH works (manner of workmanship) to the glory of the LORD.

When we think of the breath (spirit) of God, and wisdom, understanding and knowledge. Our minds are taken straight to words about Christ:

"And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of The Lord" (Isai 11)

With workmanship for the tabernacle, and the Lord Jesus Christ, we are reminded of our position:

"For we are HIS WORKMANSHIP, created in Christ Jesus UNTO good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them...And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit"

"GOD IS FAITHFUL"

We have an overflow of challenging thoughts in our readings today. Paul's words particularly arrested our attention. "I appeal to you brothers by the name of our Lord that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment" [1 Corinthians 1:10-11]. This is an essential factor among those who follow Christ, but the believers in Corinth were in disarray because they were following leaders. Paul is stressing that the only way believers can be united is to follow Christ, and to do that they should aim to possess the "mind of Christ" [1 Corinthians 2:16] as Paul had.

"God is faithful," writes Paul, "by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord" [1 Corinthians 1:9] God is faithful to believers - and expects faithfulness in response. The failure to do this is the tragedy we read of today in Exodus 32, a very great tragedy after they had been given so much evidence of the Divine presence. There are many examples of how, after evidence of divine presence and power has been given that God puts people to the test to see if they are faithful.

Paul writes about the challenge of "the cross" [1 Corinthians 1:18] The message of "the cross is folly to those who are perishing" What they could not understand they tried to ignore, Yet they were attracted by the dynamics of the Christian movement and the fact that they "are not lacking in any spiritual gift" [1 Corinthians 1:7]. So many in Corinth wanted the experiences the church offered but were unwilling to put their minds to understand that Paul "preached Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and folly to the Gentiles" [1 Corinthians 1:23] As a result the believers in Corinth were far from UNITED.

God had an objective in all this testing; Paul puts it this way, "God chose what is low and despised in the world … so that no human being might boast in the presence of God." [1 Corinthians 1:28-29] Where there is boasting and human ego, believers will never be united. So often, those seeking leadership, or looking for leaders to follow, are elevating men: this attitude destroys unity, a unity that should be based, not on human wisdom, but on the wisdom that is from above. What does the word wisdom mean to us? There is no mystery about it. The Greek word for wisdom, Sophia, means more or less the same as in English.

There is a total lack of good wisdom in the world today and 'believers' have also been influenced by this, as a result we have so many churches and divisions among believers. And in the world around us, the lack of wisdom has led to all kinds of follies as the News Bulletins illustrate every day. This subject flows into tomorrows readings so we will comment further then.
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- DC


Thought for the Day

20 February 2014

"Our faith in God provides us with motivation to go on to do more good works, as we are instructed in the scriptures. Faith and works come together and link hands ... They walk together in harmony in a life that is to be pleasing to God, just as they did in Jesus. And now, as we think again about his example, we marvel both at his unquenchable faith in his Father, and at the zest with which he went about doing his Father’s business. Both were absolutely right; they were always completely in balance."

- Mark Vincent
This is the Work of God (1993)

“Where is the one who is wise?”

(February 20)

Today we began reading Paul’s letters to the Corinthians. Corinth was a centre of Greek learning and Greek wisdom. Winning converts was a challenge –a quite different kind of challenge to winning converts among the Jews. Today’s world with its atheism and humanism is yet another kind of challenge –yet there are parallels –and what Paul wrote applies just as much. “The word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God”(1:18) –this applies in every situation. The meaning of the cross, once grasped, creates the power of thought to change lives!
The sacrifice of Christ is senseless in the minds of those who are not seeking real spirituality in their outlook on life. In verse 19 Paul quotes God’s words through Isaiah (29:14) “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart”. Human wisdom has been thwarted by God, in every age and every culture, the 21st Century is not going to be any different.
Paul asks, “Where is the one who is wise?”and then makes the point, “Since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through (its’) wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but…”And what a vital ‘but’that little word is! butto those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God”(verse 24).
What wisdom we can read in Matthew’s gospel of the teaching of Christ –what a challenge to practice what he taught, as recorded in chapters 5 to 7 –generally called ‘The Sermon on the Mount.’No human author could have invented Christ as a fictional character and put such teaching in his mouth. Those who are “called”show their ‘calling’by whole heartedly responding to such teaching.
Paul tells the Corinthians “I decided to know nothing among you exceptJesus Christ and him crucified”(2:2). He then makes the point, “among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age …but we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory”(verses 6-8). The Old Testament is the repository of such wisdom.
Let us search out –more and more –the “wisdom of God”and develop more and more a genuine love for God, Paul says, “it is written, ‘…no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him’”(verse 9). True wisdom is the outcome of a genuine love for God; may we be filled with wisdom –and daily feed on “the wisdom of God”.