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Posts Tagged ‘1 Corinthians 3’


Proverbs 26Foolishness

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Hals: Jester With a Lute

Written on January 20, 2010 and posted today as a Favorite . . .

Drinking violence, tying a stone in a sling, cutting off our own feet: these are all actions we can easily see as foolish.

Seizing a dog by the ears is the same as meddling in an argument not our own.   Gossip descends to our inmost parts.  These are sayings we have heard and believe.

Fervent lips with an evil heart are a freezing glaze on earthenware.  This is an image that might escape us.

We fall into our own pits.  The rocks we hurl come hurling back at us.  These are consequences we might not anticipate . . . yet they are results that we might foresee as students of the Word.

In Numbers, Balaam curses his donkey for making a fool of him (Numbers 22).  Samson bemoans the fact that Delilah makes him a fool (Judges 16).  Saul admits he acted foolishly (1 Samuel 26).   These are all stories we have heard.

The Psalmist writes that a fool says there is no God (Psalms 14 and 53).  The wisdom books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes have too many sayings on fools to enumerate here.  We can recite the clever sayings from heart.

Isaiah (32:6), Jeremiah (17:11), and Hosea (9:7) describe foolish ways as ones which lead us away from God.  They warn us away from falling to our own pride.

In Matthew (5:22) and Luke (12:20) Jesus tells us that we are fools when we forget that God may call on us at any moment for an accounting.   We repeat his words to others.

Paul tells the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 3 and 2 Corinthians 11:1) that he will become foolish in the eyes of the world in order to become wise in God’s.  We find it difficult to live a life of inversion.

Scripture gives us able tools to see foolishness in ourselves and in others; yet we continue to ignore the lessons open to us each day.  When we persist in our own foolish behavior we fool no one but ourselves.

Just this morning a friend and I were discussing how we humans can be so imprudent so consistently.  We fuss over the sawdust in another’s eyes while refusing to remove the plank from our own.  (Matthew 7:3 and Luke 6:41)  Only God has the solution to this predicament . . . it is foolish to turn away from this saving force.

And so we might pray . . . Dear Lord, keep us from the world’s foolishness . . . imbue us with your wisdom . . . guide us in your ways . . . for these are the ways which heal and restore.  We ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen. 


A re-post from February 2, 2012.

Image from: http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/~wbc/Gowing/Gowing.html

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Nehemiah 5: Praying with Nehemiah

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

We, like Nehemiah, can rebuild the ruin we see around us when we rely on God. Some of us make large, visible changes for good in our culture; but most of us make small, incremental changes that we think invisible. Yet, in the mind of God our actions are essential to the moving forward of God’s plan. Our prayers are also essential, as Nehemiah shows us.

St. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 3We are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.  By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation   as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it.  But each one should be careful how he builds.  For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.  If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is,   because the Day will bring it to light.  It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work.  If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.  If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.  Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?  If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.  Do not deceive yourselves.  If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise.  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.  As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness” and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”  So then, no more boasting about men!  All things are yours whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future — all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.

What do we do when enormous hurdles block our way forward, we can remind ourselves and others of our true calling. We can pray unceasingly, and we can build kingdom wherever we are planted, for we are God’s builders. We can be wise as St. Paul recommends, and be fools for Christ as Nehemiah was, building as directed by his creator, giving without thought of recompense, hoping for the goodness of the promise, and loving those among and with whom we dwell – even our enemies.

And so we pray.

Nehemiah lives in a world rife with conflict . . . yet he remains loyal to God and the faithful.

Nehemiah lives as a target for the gossip and machinations of his numerous enemies . . . yet he maintains his integrity.

Nehemiah lives among people who refuse to live by the terms of the covenant they have heard, witnessed, and sworn to uphold . . . yet he remains sincere and authentic.

Let us put aside the cares of this world and build God’s kingdom today, for we are God’s co-workers in the kingdom.

Amen.

Adapted from a reflection written on December 23, 2007.

For more about Nehemiah and how his prayer-life affected his work-life, click on the image above to visit the “Bible in a Year Blog” or go to: https://oneyeardevotional.wordpress.com/2014/05/30/powerful-prayer-nehemiah-1/ 

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Ezekiel 37: From Dry Bones to Restoration – Part VIfoundation-277x156

Sunday, September 20, 2015

How do we begin to build a strong foundation that will withstand the storms of life and be our constant restoration? Paul’s letter to the people of Corinth show us the way.

Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 3:10-11)

What do we do once the foundation is laid? Can we expect the difficult part of our work to be complete? Paul tells the Corinthians and he tells us.

1 cor 3-1As long as you grab for what makes you feel good or makes you look important, are you really much different than a babe at the breast, content only when everything’s going your way? (1 Corinthians 3:1-4)

How do we make certain we are doing the correct work? Paul tells the Corinthians and he tells us that we must look to God for our assignments.

We each carried out our servant assignment. I [Paul] planted the seed, Apollos watered the plants, but God made you grow. It’s not the one who plants or the one who waters who is at the center of this process but God, who makes things grow. Planting and watering are menial servant jobs at minimum wages. What makes them worth doing is the God we are serving. You happen to be God’s field in which we are working. (1 Corinthians 3:5-9)

What is the great reward we expect to have? Paul tells the Corinthians and he tells us that we are each living stones in God’s living temple.

1cor3-16-17-temple-of-god-holy-building-1024x575You are God’s house. Using the gift God gave me as a good architect, I designed blueprints; Apollos is putting up the walls. Let each carpenter who comes on the job take care to build on the foundation! Remember, there is only one foundation, the one already laid: Jesus Christ. Take particular care in picking out your building materials. Eventually there is going to be an inspection. If you use cheap or inferior materials, you’ll be found out. (1 Corinthians 3:9-15)

Can we expect to find peace if we hide from the potential God has placed in us? Paul tells the Corinthians and he tells us that the reward may seem like a punishment, but then God’s world is always about inversions.

 Don’t fool yourself. Don’t think that you can be wise merely by being up-to-date with the times. Be God’s fool—that’s the path to true wisdom. What the world calls smart, God calls stupid. (1 Corinthians 3:18-20)

lord is spiritWhat will our reward look like after our travail? Paul tells the Corinthians and he tells us that our reward will be greater than any other we will know. Our reward is our life in Christ.

I don’t want to hear any of you bragging about yourself or anyone else. Everything is already yours as a gift—Paul, Apollos, Peter, the world, life, death, the present, the future—all of it is yours, and you are privileged to be in union with Christ, who is in union with God. (1 Corinthians 3:21-23)

Spend time with these verses today and compare varying versions. When we spend time with God in this way, God’s wisdom seeps into our bones. Christ’s peace settles into our hearts. And the Spirit binds us to God forever, bringing us restoration.

Tomorrow, words from the master builder, Jesus.

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