1 Corinthians Chapter 11–What Stands Out

As I’ve continued my devotional reading of 1 Corinthians, this is the phrase that stood out for me in Chapter 11:

“...all things are from God” 1 Corinthians 11:12b

As Martin Luther liked to put it, “this is most certainly true,” but how often do we stop to think about it? Everything we have is a gracious gift from God — our spouse, our families, our friends, our home. In addition, we owe everything we are to God. Psalm 139 tells us:

“For you (God) created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13

God gave us the abilities, the talents, and the personality that make us the person we are. Gratitude should be our overwhelming response. Even when difficult things happen, God allows them and uses them for our good and the good of others.

“And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

Whatever is going on in our lives, we can be assured that God has a good purpose. He loves us, He blesses us, He uses us to bless others. It’s hard to give thanks for suffering, but this is comforting and consoling.

“For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.” 1 Timothy 4:4

For the things that are ours, we should give thanks. When troubles come, we should pray and wait to see God’s plan at work. Nothing is random. We’re in His hands. We can trust Him.

For more about God’s plan see:

Your Dream. God’s Plan. by Tiffany Smiling — Book Review

Everything According To God’s Plan & Timing

Taking Care of God’s Stuff

Identity Crisis

These days it seems like many people are suffering from an identity crisis. We are told that we can be anything we want to be — we can even choose our own gender! This simply isn’t realistic. The Bible says:

“For you (God) formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Psalm 139: 13-16

God created each of us with talents and also with limitations. He also has a plan for us, a plan that involves others. We are not just individuals; we are an integral part of the whole of history. Our identity is wrapped up in our union with the One who created us, who saved us, and who sustains us.

For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.” Galatians 3:26

As the adopted children of God we are:

“…heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” Romans 8:17

Don’t try to make yourself up — that’s bound to end in disappointment. Instead, accept your God given role as His child. His plan for you is will never fail.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2

For more about God’s plan see:

Your Dream. God’s Plan. by Tiffany Smiling — Book Review

Everything According To God’s Plan & Timing

When God Says go by Elizabeth Laing Thompson–Book Review

Which Shape Should I Be? by Paula Kennedy–Book Review

This sturdy board book helps toddlers recognize and match 9 shapes:  circle, triangle, square, rectangle, oval, star, heart, diamond and crescent.  Filled with bright colors and using familiar items, it will appeal to youngsters and their parents.

It ends with a reminder that God chose the best “shape” for each of us.  We are all different, but equally loved by our Creator.

“I will praise you because I have been remarkably and wondrously made.” Psalm 139:14

VERDICT:  I give this book 4 stars.  It is nothing out of the ordinary, but is well made and attractive.  I’m definitely saving my copy for our granddaughter, Hailey!

If you would like to purchase this book follow the link below:

Which Shape Should I Be?

 

The Lutheran Ladies received a free copy of this book in return for an honest and fair review – Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR Part

Hello Hailey!!!

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” Jeremiah 1:5a

The birth of our second granddaughter, Hailey has been scheduled for today.  So far, Kate’s pregnancy has been completely normal, and I’m trusting that mother and baby will do just fine.  I’m understandably excited, and part of that excitement is the anticipation of getting to know a whole new person…. someone who is part of me, and of my entire family.  Will she be tall like her cousin, Katelyn?  Will she have a dimple like her mother?  Will she love to read, as I do, or will she prefer to play golf (like her dad)?  Will she be a girly-girl or a tomboy?  Will she grow up to be a teacher, or a writer, or a real estate agent?  All these things are still mine to discover.  Right now, Hailey is a blank slate to me, brand new to my world.

However, Hailey is not new to God.  He knows her already, every speck of her, down to the smallest cell.  Before Hailey existed God already had a plan for her.  There are things she needs to do for Him, things that will affect not only her family, but the entire family of God.  How awesome is that?

Sometimes, as parents (and grandparents) we forget that ultimately our child belongs to God.  We think that we can shape our descendants and mold them into the people we hope they will be.  Too often, it is our own image we want to see in them, not God’s.  So my prayer for Hailey this morning is that she will just be Hailey … the Hailey God  already created and already knows– the person who fits perfectly into His plans. That will be good enough for me.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well”  Psalm 139:14

P.S.  Will post a picture of the new arrival as soon as I get one.

Searched and Known

This is from a sermon on repentance delivered by my husband and reprinted with his permission.

You have searched me, LORD, and you know me.  Psalm 139:1

 The 139th psalm is one of the best known parts of the Psalter.  It is a psalm of thanks and praise to God and it contains memorable passages that lots of us carry around in our heads.  The psalmist says, for example, that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.  And indeed that is, as Luther would have put it, most certainly true.  Our bodies are composed of billions of cells and trillions of molecules, they function so very perfectly that they must have been designed by One who is greater than any man or any creation of man.  Our eyes blink so they can stay moist.  Our brains take electricity and turn it into thoughts.  Our teeth are designed for biting and chewing a wide variety of foods, unlike most animals.  We are without any doubt fearfully and wonderfully made by One who saw us when we were intricately woven in our mother’s wombs.

 But the phrase I want to focus on this morning is in the very first verse, “O Lord, you have searched me and known me.”  Searched me and known me.

 God has searched you out.  He has not only made you, but He has paid attention to every detail of your life.  He knows not only who you are, but He knows what you are.  Jesus tells us God knows even the number of hairs on our heads.  The psalmist goes through the many ways we might try to avoid the God who knows everything about us: if you go to sleep He knows not only that but what your dreams are; He knows all the words you will say when you speak next; His presence surrounds you.  Not even in death can we escape Him—He is in heaven and, He is also in hell.  There is nowhere that we can go that God is not present.  He knows our movements and He knows our motives  Death can’t hide us from God, distance can’t hide us from God, darkness cannot hide us from God.  He is ever present and ever vigilant in the ways of His creation.

I rather think this is one of the reasons so many people want nothing to do with God—they can’t hide anything from Him so they think if they ignore Him, if they deny His existence, if they pretend they are without divine constraint, they can do whatever they want without impunity.  I’ve told this story before so bear with me if you remember it.  But I knew a fellow who was a member of the Frederick City police department.  He told me that he noticed some teenagers sitting in front of a closed warehouse one day and went over to see what they were doing.  They saw him coming and then wouldn’t look at him, as if their refusal to recognize him meant that he wasn’t really there.  That is what unbelievers do with respect to God.  As R. C. Sproul says, atheists aren’t people who don’t believe in God, they’re people who just don’t like Him.

 But don’t we often behave as if God doesn’t see what we’re doing, hear what we’re saying, know what we’re thinking?  We go right along in our lives sinning away thinking that God isn’t paying attention.  We think we’re going to get away with something with God because the guy who lives next door or the spouse who sleeps next to you doesn’t know about it.  Yet the psalmist here tells us that God has searched us and known us—and that means in every single moment of our lives, from conception to death.

to be continued ….

 

A Change of Scenery

Well, my husband and I just got back from vacation in South Carolina.  After Lent, Holy Week and Easter, a Pastor is ready for some R and R.  We got to visit with our daughter who lives there, and mainly it was a week of sleeping in a bit, reading, watching TV and eating out.  Most of those things we could just as easily do at home.  However, a change in location seems to take your mind off of the everyday and give your brain a chance to reset and refocus.

As we were driving home, I noticed how many vehicles from other states I saw on the highway.  I saw cars and trucks, semis and vans.  They were from Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Indiana, New York, New Jersey, Texas, Massachusetts, Maine, Quebec and more.  They were carrying bikes and motorcycles, boats and luggage, even a carnival ride!  A lot of Americans seem to be looking for a change of scenery.  Some of them are probably moving, some are working, some are running away or running to something, and others are probably just vacationing like we were.

Isn’t it good to know that no matter where we go or how hard we run there is Someone who always goes with us?  We have a God who “tabernacles” or “tents” among us.  Listen to these words from Psalm 139:

“Where shall I go from your Spirit?

Or where shall I flee from your presence?

If I ascend to heaven, you are there!

If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!

If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.”

Tonight I’m giving thanks for the God who is always with me (and you) no matter how far we go.  Happy Traveling!