Sunday, December 02, 2012

December 2, 2012 … God’s Love Transforms Us

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 337

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 1st Corinthians, Chapters 9-11 To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passages: 1st Corinthians, Chapters 15 -16 … Again, if you’re reading along here, please take the time to use the link above and read these chapters of 1st Corinthians. : [NLT] … {These passages tell us about how God’s love transforms us, … not only after the resurrection from corruptible bodies to incorruptible; but in this life a well … how our sharing the love of God with others brings about their transformation when they see God’s love in us and receive Christ’s transforming grace by faith into their own lives. It is the power of God’s resurrection being seen in the lives of true born-again Christians who have experienced God’s amazing and transforming grace.}

Highlight Passages: 1st Corinthians 15: 50-57 : [NLT] … {My fellow Christian, anytime you’re feeling as I so often do at this age, awaking to arthritic pain or burdened by the maladies of an aging/failing body, it would be therapeutic to come back and meditate on this passage in 1st Corinthians. Because one day, the doctrine Paul wrote about to Christians who were being physically/emotionally persecuted to unimaginable degrees for their faith will become reality when Christians – both dead/alive are raised and resurrected to be with Christ for eternity.}  
50 What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These perishable bodies of ours are not able to live forever. 51 But let me tell you a wonderful secret God has revealed to us. Not all of us will die, but we will all be transformed. 52 It will happen in a moment, in the blinking of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, the Christians who have died will be raised with transformed bodies. And then we who are living will be transformed so that we will never die. 53 For our perishable earthly bodies must be transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die. 54 When this happens—when our perishable earthly bodies have been transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die — then at last the Scriptures will come true: “Death is swallowed up in victory. {Isaiah 25: 8} 55 O death, where is your victory? ,,, O death, where is your sting?” {Hosea 13: 14}56 For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. 57 How we thank God, who gives us victory over sin and death through Jesus Christ our Lord!.  
Highlight Passages: 1st Corinthians 16: 13; 21-24 : [NLT] … {Paul’s final exhortation and instructions to the Corinthian Christians found in this personal words, written by the Apostle in love to fellow believers, still holds true for us and they are reminiscent, at least to me, of the departing words of Jesus in the Upper Room Discourse , which I’ve copied below in John 13: 34-35. }  
13 Be on guard. Stand true to what you believe. Be courageous. Be strong. 14 And everything you do must be done with love. … 
21 Here is my greeting, which I write with my own hand—PAUL. 22 If anyone does not love the Lord, that person is cursed. Our Lord, come! 23 May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. … 24 My love to all of you in Christ Jesus.

Reference Passage: John 13: 34-35 : [NLT] … {Jesus tells His disciples how they will be identified as Christians in a decaying and dying world.} 34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” 

My Journal for Today: My father, residing in a nursing care facility in his last few years of life was stricken with a list of maladies which caused him incredible pain and suffering, physical and emotional. When I would go to visit him, every time, he would ask me to read him the passage from the Bible I have quoted above from 1st Cor. 15: 50-57, …especially the part about our bodies being transformed from corruptible bodies to incorruptible in heaven. It gave him great comfort in his suffering to hear those words of truth; and now he is in heaven, waiting on the transformed and resurrected body which will be his when all Christians go to be with Jesus in the second coming of our Savior.

But even though these words of truth in 1st Cor. 15 are reassuring, God communicates in these two chapters of Paul’s letter to the Christians in Corinth a wonderful truth that even living in these corruptible bodies we can begin to experience the reality of God’s transforming grace in this life; and that comes when we share and receive the love of God, which we now experience as born-again Christians, sharing it with others and they receive that love/grace into their lives in faith.

Yesterday I met with a man – a brother in Christ – who was in great emotional distress, feeling a lot of long-standing pain in his life. And because of this pain he was unsure that he was even saved. Well, all I did was ask him if he trusted – in faith – what God’s Spirit has authored into the Bible; and when he responded affirmatively, I took him into Romans 10: 9-13 where God, through Paul, gives mankind His formula of salvation. And when this brother confessed to me that Jesus died for his sins and he believed, whole-heartedly, that Christ was his Lord and Savior, a sense of visible comfort and strength came over him. It was palpable; and he told me that he felt God’s love being transformed from the words of Scripture into his mind and heart. And then, together, we worked out a plan for him to move forward in his life with the assurance of not only his salvation but also how God could give him the strength to deal with all the pressures and anguish he had been feeling. And all that was wrapped up in the transforming grace any believer has from their faith-relationship with Christ.

 My friend, I hope that you’re feeling loved by God today. If you’re not, go back and read these two chapters in 1st Corinthians 15-16. Meditate on Romans 8. Take in the truth of Isaiah 41: 10; and when you do, it’s hard for me to imagine you holding on to fear or anxiety or emotional pain. God wants us to have the peace expressed in Isaiah 26: 3 and the joy of James 1: 2-3. And He wants this for all believers … NOW …. in this life, as well as even more so in the next.

Yes, it will be wonderful to have no physical or emotional pain when we’re with Jesus in glory. It will be wonderful, as a Christian, to have a new, incorruptible, pain-free body. But right now, you and me, through God’s sanctifying grace, can experience the love and joy-filling grace that comes when we really believe the truths which God has given us in these passages underlined in this last paragraph above.

I pray you’re experiencing that grace through God’s love right now.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, give others today the love You’re given me through Your Word this morning. Amen

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