Posts from the ‘“Thots” (small thoughts)’ Category

THOTS Small Thoughts: “Heads I win, Tails you lose?”

Would you put this head, with this body?    

What did the apostle Paul have to say of himself?

For I think God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are distinguished, but we are without honour. To this present hour, we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated and are homeless, and we toil working with our own hands. When we are reviled we bless, when we are persecuted we endure, when we are slandered we try to conciliate. We have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things until now. (1 Cor 4:11-13)

All dressed up and nowhere to go?

Or,

All beaten up and the world is my parish?

Is it time to re-ad-dress our priorities, and do the things that really matter?

As Paul goes on to record, in the very next verse:

“I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children….

Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me.”

Be the head….not the tail.

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THOTS Small Thoughts: How do you solve a problem like “Sophia”?

Who then is “Sophia”?

Sophia, in this instance is not a “Who” but a “What”.

“Sophia” is the Greek word used in the following address by the apostle Paul.

For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness (SOPHIA) of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void. (1 Cor 1:17)

“Sophia” then is the Greek word translated “cleverness” or “wisdom”, and refers to that philosophical Greek eloquence of speech with wisdom of words and discourse that are sure to please!

But Paul would have none of that.

Nor must we!

We must not lean on our own understanding, but we must rely on preaching the “foolishness of the cross”.

If we do rely on “Sophia”, Paul tells us very clearly that the cross of Christ is made void, emptied of its power, and made of no effect!!!

Do we want a powerless gospel?!

Of course not.

Then we must preach Christ with the unction of the Holy Spirit and with words of truth, clearly presenting the cross in its fullness and ‘affrontedness’. That way, there is a demonstration of the Spirit and power, and people’s faith then rests not on man’s wisdom, but on the power of God!

How do you solve a problem like Sophia?

Preach the uncompromising cross of Jesus Christ!

Paul met Sophia…

Paul won out.

 

 

THOTS Small Thoughts: Of Means or an End?

God is faithful, through whom you were called INTO fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Cor 1:9)

Is FELLOWSHIP therefore, a “MEANS” or an “END”?

That is to say, is it a “means” to something else, or an “end” in itself, of its own accord?

If we are called INTO fellowship or UNTO the fellowship, then it is an END and not a means.

And if it is an END of itself, how important is that!

We can say, we have arrived! There is no more need or searching to do anything else!

Other than that which takes us to that END.

What then can be said of other “Christian activity”, that we do and have?

Can you identify from what you do and are involved in, whether it is a MEANS or an END?

What of preaching and of teaching the gospel? A means or an end?

What of the gifts and the power of the Holy Spirit? A means or an end?

What of pews and placards and podiums and programmes and power points and party hats? A means or an end, or something else?

What of love?

What of salvation?

What of the glory of God?

What are we reaching toward?

What are we reaching for and aiming to attain?

Anything that is a justifiable MEANS should be taking each one of us and all of us to that glorious END!

Otherwise, why do it?! For what gain? To what end?

Is it not, as Paul describes the calling UNTO the fellowship of our Lord Jesus Christ?

And that, forever?

After all, what is left, after all is said and done?

Are we experiencing NOW, that eternal life and fellowship with His Son?

That we may know Him and He us?

And sup.

Consider then whatever it is that you do, and decide whether it is a means or an end.

It will help determine what is of importance and what is of highest value and of greatest pre-eminance.

It will help decide where effort and energy and expense should be placed and upon what.

And it will help to decide where our fragile time is given.

And on what, or upon whom, it is spent.

May it be upon Him and for Him, who is the Alpha and the Omega,

The beginning and THE END.

He who says what he means and means what He says.

He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Not a dead END.

THOTS Small Thoughts: The Place to Be

Paul’s letters (and Revelation) were written to a peculiar and called out people, of a particular PLACE:

To all who are beloved of God in ROME

To the church of God which is at CORINTH

With all the saints who are throughout ACHAIA

To the churches of GALATIA

To the saints who are at EPHESUS

To all the saints who are in Christ Jesus who are in PHILIPPI

To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at COLOSSAE

To the church of the THESSALONIANS

John to the seven churches that are in ASIA

There is a belonging not only to JESUS the person, but a binding to a place, a purpose, and a pursuit.

A place of residence. A purpose to “be” all that He has newly made us to be. And a pursuit of Him amongst the brethren, in love.

It is about seeing His kingdom come. That is, His kingly-DOMAIN come! Here and now and in the future.

And His kingdom is about a person, a place and a power.

Where the Person of Jesus Christ is King.  Letting Him reign in/of/at/that geographical place where YOU reside. And letting the kingly power of God be being demonstrated, upon which our faith rests.

…with all who in every PLACE call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ...1 Corinthians 1:2

So, let His kingdom come and His will be done,

On EARTH (in Rome, at Corinth, throughout Achaia, of Galatia, at Ephesus, in Philippi, at Colossae, of the Thessalonians, in Asia, and at your place of ________________ too!).

As it is in HEAVEN.

Amen and Amen.

THOTS Small Thoughts: Paul’s Powerful Prayers to Pray

After just 3 weeks of preaching Christ in Thessalonica, and having to leave due to intense opposition, a group of believers continued to meet after the apostle Paul had left.

Consider Paul’s prayers, together with those of Silas and Timothy for this fledgling ekklesia left to each other and to the grace of God.

From PAUL’S FIRST LETTER to the THESSALONIANS:

(A spoken blessing) Grace to you and peace. (1 Thess 1:1)

We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers. (1 Thess 1:2)

For this reason, we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God…you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you, who believe. (1 Thess 2:13)

But we brethren, having been taken away from you for a short while-in person, not in spirit-… (1 Thess 2:17)

For what thanks can we render to God for you in return for all the joy with which we rejoice before our God on your account, as we night and day keep praying most earnestly that we may see your face and may complete what is lacking in your faith. (1 Thess 3: 9-10)

Now may God our Father Himself and Jesus our Lord direct our way to you, and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another and for all people…so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints. (1 Thess 3: 11)

Pray without ceasing. (1 Thess 5: 16)

In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thess 5: 18)

(A spoken blessing) Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thess 5: 23)

Brethren, pray for us. (1 Thess 5: 25)

(A spoken blessing) The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. (1 Thess 5:28)

And from PAUL’S SECOND LETTER to the THESSALONIANS:

Grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thess 1: 1)

We ought always to give thanks to God for you brethren as is fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater. (2 Thess 1: 3)

To this end we pray for you always that our God will count you worthy of our calling and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thess 1: 11-12)

But we should always give thanks to God for you brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. (2 Thess 2: 13)

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word. (2 Thess 2: 16, 17)

Finally brethren pray for us, that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you, and that we will be rescued from perverse and evil men. (2 Thes 3: 1-2)

May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ. (2 Thess 3: 5)

(A spoken blessing) Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. (2 Thess 3: 16, 18)

The common themes for the saints were: grace, peace, love, thanks, prayer without ceasing, holiness, sanctification, goodness, worthiness, steadfastness, comfort and strength of heart.

For Paul (and other apostles and workers): that the word would spread rapidly and be glorified. That they would be rescued from perverse and evil men. That there way would be directed by God.

Let us not forget the power in the spoken blessing.

So now, go and pray powerfully Paul’s way, and speak blessing to and over people, not just “Bless you”, but in specific terms.

And see what God will do!

THOTS Small Thoughts: Comfort one another with these words

1 Thessalonians 4:13-17

But we do not want you to be uninformed brethren about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep, for the Lord Himself will descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

Be informed. Be at peace.

 

THOTS Small Thoughts: Assumptions

COMPLETE the following sentence by selecting the correct word from the list below.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, so that He might rescue us from______________

A. The devil.

B. Hell.

C. My husband’s cooking.

D. None of the above.

 

 

 

The answer is D. For the correct answer go to Galatians 1:4