2478.) Psalm 121

October 31, 2018

P121 hills

Psalm 121   (ESV)

My Help Comes from the Lord

This is the second of the series of Psalms titled, A Song of Ascents. As a song sung by travelers, this is particular relevant for its trust in God through the journey.

“David Livingstone, the famous missionary and explorer of the continent of Africa, read Psalm 121 and Psalm 135, which praises God for his sovereign rule over all things, as he worshiped with his father and sister before setting out for Africa in 1840. His mother-in-law, Mrs. Moffat, wrote him at Linyardi that Psalm 121 was always in her mind as she thought about and prayed for him.”

–James Montgomery Boice

I have read that it is traditional for some Jews to place a copy of Psalm 121 in the labor and delivery room to promote an easy labor by asking God for mercy. As well, it is placed on the baby’s carriage and in the baby’s room to protect the child and surround the child in learning about all that is holy.

A Song of Ascents.

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
    From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.

The point is wonderful. The singer understood that they didn’t need to arrive at Jerusalem before they were under God’s protective care. He would watch over them on the journey. God is just as present in the journey as in the destination.

–David Guzik

P121 help

from This Day with the Master,
by Dennis F. Kinlaw


The greatest value of Psalm 121 lies not in a praise of nature but in its presentation of the contrast between nature and grace. The psalmist does not decry nature; he just knows its limitations and proclaims that there is no salvation in the natural world. Salvation comes only from above and beyond the creation. The hills represent nature at its best but the best the earth has to offer is not big enough or good enough to rescue us from ourselves.

The answer to our need is neither within us nor within our world. It rests in the transcendent One from beyond the confines of the universe. When he comes, he brings supernatural resources to meet our natural needs. In this psalm the writer paints the background for the manger in Bethlehem where the eternal One broke into time and space, became a human person, and brought redemption to the world.

For those who can see, the need for this truth is apparent in every area of life. Modern people have tried every earthly source to solve their problems:  government, education, economics, social sciences, psychology, and psychoanalysis. We have expected somewhere within us or within our world to find the key, the solution that we seek. Thousands of years ago there was a man, wiser than we, who saw the sterility of our vain efforts. He decided that help for humans comes only from Yahweh, who created and rules over all the factors and all the processes in which we place our hopes. Our only true hope and our only sure help is in the God who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
    the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
    he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time forth and forevermore.

Six times in this short psalm the Hebrew word shamar (translated keeps and preserve) is used. 

“The Divine Being represents himself as a watchman, who takes care of the city and its inhabitants during the night-watches; and who is never overtaken with slumbering or sleepiness.”

–Adam Clarke

Spurgeon told a story that went something like this:  A poor woman, as the Eastern story has it, came to the Sultan one day, and asked compensation for the loss of some property. ‘How did you lose it?’ said the monarch. ‘I fell asleep,’ was the reply, ‘and a robber entered my dwelling.’ ‘Why did you fall asleep?’ … ‘I fell asleep because I believed that you were awake.’ The Sultan was so much delighted with the answer of the woman, that he ordered her loss to be made up.”

–David Guzik



HERE  is the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir and Psalm 121, “My Help.” What marvelous encouragement for us as we go through our day today!


Images courtesy of:
I lift up my eyes.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/3a51f-psalm1211-2.jpg
My help comes from the Lord.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/d0f58-prayer6.gif
The Lord is your keeper.   http://s3.amazonaws.com/versesproject/verses/174/986/psalm-121-5-6_ipad_original.jpg?2015

2477.) Psalm 120

October 30, 2018
They are for war -- I am for peace!

They are for war — I am for peace! — painting by Benn.

Psalm 120   (ESV)

Deliver Me, O Lord

A Song of Ascents.

Song of Ascents is a title given to fifteen of the Psalms, 120–134, that each starts with the ascription Shir Hama’aloth (meaning “Song of Ascent”).

Many scholars believe these psalms were sung by the worshipers as they ascended up the road to Jerusalem to attend the three pilgrim festivals  (Deuteronomy 16:16 lists the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Booths), or by the priests as they ascended the fifteen steps to minister at the Temple in Jerusalem.

They were well suited for being sung, by their poetic form and the sentiments they express. “They are characterized by brevity, by a key-word, by repetition …. More than half of them are cheerful, and all of them hopeful.”


“We shall consider them as songs sung by those pilgrims who went up to Jerusalem to worship. These songs of desire, and hope, and approach are appropriate for the pilgrims’ use as they go up to worship” (G. Campbell Morgan). It is likely that Jesus sang these songs on His many journeys to Jerusalem from Galilee.

In my distress I called to the Lord,
    and he answered me.

The writer remembered God’s past faithfulness in his present need. “Devout hearts argue that what Jehovah has done once He will do again. Since His mercy endureth forever, He will not weary of bestowing, nor will former gifts exhaust His stores. Men say, ‘I have given so often that I can give no more’; God says, ‘I have given, therefore I will give.’”

–Alexander Maclaren

Deliver me, O Lord,
    from lying lips,
    from a deceitful tongue.

What shall be given to you,
    and what more shall be done to you,
    you deceitful tongue?
A warrior’s sharp arrows,
    with glowing coals of the broom tree!

“The liar, wounding though his weapons are, will be destroyed with far more potent shafts than lies: God’s arrows of truth and coals of judgment.”

–Derek Kidner

Woe to me, that I sojourn in Meshech,
    that I dwell among the tents of Kedar!

“These two peoples were located so far apart geographically that they can only be taken here as a general term for the heathen. No one person could have lived among both. They are examples of warlike tribes, among whom the singers of Psalm 120 had no true home.”

–James Boice

Too long have I had my dwelling
    among those who hate peace.
I am for peace,
    but when I speak, they are for war!



HERE  is a Scripture song — Psalm 120 put to music by Esther Mui.


Images courtesy of:
Benn (Benejou Rabinowicz, 1905–89).    http://payload.cargocollective.com/1/2/88505/1542531/07-Benn-%28Benejou-Rabinowicz–1905-89%29–Psalm-120-7_900.jpg
lying lips.   https://www.pinterest.com/pin/567594359263879166/
John 16:33.   https://www.hearthymn.com/bible-verse-of-the-day-john-16-33.html

2476.) Psalm 76

October 29, 2018

Psalm 46:9-10 (NIV)  He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.  He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Psalm 76 (NKJV)

To the Chief Musician. On stringed instruments.
A Psalm of Asaph. A Song.

“Like many of the fighting psalms, this too has been a favorite of Christians during religious warfare. For example, Psalm 76 was sung in thanksgiving services marking the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588.”

–James Montgomery Boice

1 In Judah God is known; His name is great in Israel.
2 In Salem also is His tabernacle,

Salem was an ancient name for Jerusalem.

And His dwelling place in Zion.
3 There He broke the arrows of the bow,
The shield and sword of battle.  Selah 

Jerusalem became the center of Israel when David conquered the city and brought peace to the city of peace (2 Samuel 5:6-10).

 4 You are more glorious and excellent
Than the mountains of prey.

5 The stouthearted were plundered;
They have sunk into their sleep;
And none of the mighty men have found the use of their hands.
6 At Your rebuke, O God of Jacob,
Both the chariot and horse were cast into a dead sleep.

Exodus 15:1 (NIV)

Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD:

   “I will sing to the LORD,
   for he is highly exalted.
Both horse and driver
   he has hurled into the sea.

7 You, Yourself, are to be feared;
And who may stand in Your presence
When once You are angry?
8 You caused judgment to be heard from heaven;
The earth feared and was still,
9 When God arose to judgment,
To deliver all the oppressed of the earth.  Selah  

Psalm 9:8 (NIV)

 He rules the world in righteousness
   and judges the peoples with equity.

10 Surely the wrath of man shall praise You;
With the remainder of wrath You shall gird Yourself.

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

Ps. 76:4 (Septuagint) — Thou dost wonderfully shine forth from the everlasting mountains.

Ps. 76:10 (Septuagint) — For the inward thought of man shall give thanks to Thee, and the memorial of his inward thought shall keep a feast to Thee.

There is nothing in all creation, and so nothing even in you and me, that can discourage the Lord the Conqueror. Because He does wonderfully shine forth, therefore our inward thoughts can give thanks and keep a feast to Him.

There are caterpillars with skins so transparent that we can see the green of the leaves they have been feeding on, their “inward thoughts.” Suppose our minds had transparent skins so that our thoughts could be seen, what would be seen? Self-loving thoughts? Self-pitying thoughts? Lazy thoughts about our work? Unkind thoughts about others?Would these be seen?

Or would our happy thoughts be seen keeping a feast to God? Think of it — all our big thoughts and little thoughts, like big children and little at a birthday party, keeping a feast, singing and praising and being glad because of our loving God!

11 Make vows to the LORD your God, and pay them;
Let all who are around Him bring presents to Him who ought to be feared.
12 He shall cut off the spirit of princes;
He is awesome to the kings of the earth.



“Joy to the World!”  Isaac Watts wrote this famous hymn in 1719, basing the text on Psalm 98. I think the piece deserves wider play than just the Christmas season! As we have read now in Psalm 76 and as Watts wrote in his poem, the Lord comes to judge the world and to receive honor and to rule with grace and blessing and peace.  HERE  is John Rutter’s Handel-esque arrangement, with the Cambridge Singers.

Joy to the world! the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and angels sing,
And heaven and angels sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and angels sing.

Joy to the world! the Saviour reigns;
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.


New King James Version (NKJV)   Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Images courtesy of:
broken shield.   http://melpyke.com/imgsize.asp?tn=8256_399488&x=250
Ps. 76:4.  http://x65.xanga.com/613e067b03034275365379/z219468092.jpg
Red Sea.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/egyptians2bdrown2bto2bthe2bred2bsea2b-2b2bgoogle2bsearch.jpg
birthday party.  http://www.great-birthday-party-ideas.com/image-files/kids-party-ideas.jpg

2475.) 1 Corinthians 16

October 26, 2018

1 Corinthians 16   (NIV)

The Collection for the Lord’s People

1 Now about the collection for the Lord’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do.

Paul is referring to a collection he was gathering for the saints in Jerusalem. In several other passages it speaks of this effort among many different churches to help the poor Christians in Jerusalem (Acts 11:27-30, 24:17, Romans 15: 26, 2 Corinthians 8:13, 9:9-12).

As I have given orders to the churches of Galatia: Paul mentioned his heart for the poor Christians in Jerusalem in Galatians 2:9-10. “The business of relieving the poor members of the church is a moral duty, a sacrifice with which God is well pleased, Philippians 4:18; our faith must work by this love” (Poole).

Why was the church in Jerusalem so needy? There may be many reasons. We know they supported a large number of widows (Acts 6:1-6) and were in the midst of famine (Acts 11:27-30).

Generally, Christians have excelled in these efforts of practical ministry. For example, why do you think the Red Cross is named the Red Cross? It started as a Christian organization.

–David Guzik

2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.

We shouldn’t fear giving generously.

Proverbs 11:24 is a great commentary on this idea: There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty. No one thinks a farmer is “wasting” grain when he scatters it as seed; the more he plants, the more he will harvest.

And Psalm 112:5 says, Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely.

3 Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem. 4If it seems advisable for me to go also, they will accompany me.

Personal Requests

5 After I go through Macedonia, I will come to you—for I will be going through Macedonia. 6 Perhaps I will stay with you for a while, or even spend the winter, so that you can help me on my journey, wherever I go. 7 For I do not want to see you now and make only a passing visit; I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits.

“I know the fascination of having a programme, and having everything in order, and knowing where we are going; but let us leave room, at any rate, for the interference of God.”

–G. Campbell Morgan

8 But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, 9because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me. 10 When Timothy comes, see to it that he has nothing to fear while he is with you, for he is carrying on the work of the Lord, just as I am. 11 No one, then, should treat him with contempt. Send him on his way in peace so that he may return to me. I am expecting him along with the brothers.

1 Timothy 4:12 (ESV)

Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

12 Now about our brother Apollos: I strongly urged him to go to you with the brothers. He was quite unwilling to go now, but he will go when he has the opportunity.

13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.

“The terms in this verse are all military: Watch ye, watch, and be continually on your guard, lest you be surprised by your enemies . . . Stand fast in the faith – Keep in your ranks; do not be disorderly; be determined to keep your ranks unbroken; keep close together . . . Quit yourselves like men – When you are attacked, do not flinch; maintain your ground; resist; press forward; strike home; keep compact; conquer . . . Be strong – If one company or division be opposed by too great a force of the enemy, strengthen that division, and maintain your position . . . summon up all your courage, sustain each other; fear not, for fear will enervate you.”

–Adam Clarke

14 Do everything in love.

15 You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the Lord’s people. I urge you, brothers and sisters, 16 to submit to such people and to everyone who joins in the work and labors at it. 17 I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived, because they have supplied what was lacking from you. 18 For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition.

Paul holds up the family of Stephanas, who have taken as their particular responsibility, their piece of Christian service, the task of the service of the saints. They did not assume a place of leadership or prominence, but one of lowly service. That is the Christian way, and Paul commends it to the church at large.

–Leon Morris

Final Greetings

19 The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house. 20All the brothers and sisters here send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss. 21 I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand.

22 If anyone does not love the Lord, let that person be cursed! Come, Lord!

23 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.

24 My love to all of you in Christ Jesus. Amen.



Decades of living have taught me it is much easier to be a Corinthian than a Christian. Were it not for grace . . .  were it not for the love of God . . . were it not for the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ . . . I would be truly without hope.

But the grace of the Lord Jesus and the love of God are with me! And I have been buried and raised with Christ! So the question, “Who Am I?” has a wonderful answer:   Praise God, I am Yours.

HERE  is Casting Crowns and “Who Am I.”


New International Version (NIV)    Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Do everything in love.   http://wallpaper4god.com/wallpapers/1-corinthians-1614_5666_1024x768.jpg
God loves the cheerful giver.   http://texanonline.net/archives/5572/
To Do list.   http://www.itsthedishes.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/to-do-list.png
Be on guard . . .    http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ktbobquT5h1qzlgb3o1_r3_500.jpg

2474.) 1 Corinthians 15:35-58

October 25, 2018

1 Corinthians 15:35-58   (NIV)

The Resurrection Body

“To die will be an awfully great adventure.”

–Peter Pan (J. M. Barrie)

35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” 36 How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38 But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. 39 Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. 41The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor. 42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.

Let every man and woman count himself immortal. Let him catch the revelation of Jesus in his resurrection. Let him say not merely, “Christ is risen,” but “I shall rise.” 

–Phillips Brooks

If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.

The Watergate cover-up reveals the true nature of humanity. Even political zealots at the pinnacle of power will, in the crunch, save their own necks, even at the expense of the ones they profess to serve so loyally. But the apostles could not deny Jesus because they had seen Him face to face, and they knew He had risen from the dead. No, you can take it from an expert in cover-ups — I’ve lived through Watergate — that nothing less than a resurrected Christ could have caused those men to maintain to their dying whispers that Jesus is alive and is Lord. Two thousand years later, nothing less than the power of the risen Christ could inspire Christians around the world to remain faithful — despite prison, torture, and death.

–Charles (Chuck) Colson

50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

“Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won’t stay there.” 

–Clarence W. Hall

55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

We live and die; Christ died and lived! 

–John Stott

58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

The king of Egypt who tried to do most for his people, and utterly failed, was the last of his dynasty (the 18th dynasty). He died in 1350 B.C. cursed by his people, and his palace was abandoned and the records of his reign were flung on a rubbish heap and left there as worthless.

Hundreds of years later this old rubbish heap was found. When the records were read, much that had been laughed at in the Bible as “impossible” was proved to be true, for there were allusions to those very things in these records.

So God used a “failure” to help to do one of the greatest things that can be done—establish faith in His Book. That king, Akh Naten, was His servant, and He never wastes the lives of His servants. Their very failures are gathered up and used.

Even when we feel we have failed, God writes Not in vain over everything we have tried to do in His name.


“If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.”

–Emily Dickinson



Here is some advice you haven’t asked for! Whenever you feel anxious or fearful about death, come back here, to 1 Corinthians 15, and to Handel’s music put to these words of St. Paul — and put your heart and mind to rest. Death is the final enemy, but YOU HAVE THE VICTORY through Jesus Christ!

HERE  Alastair Miles sings from Handel’s Messiah:   “Behold, I tell you a mystery” and “The trumpet shall sound.” Crispian Steele-Perkins is the trumpet soloist.  Stephen Cleobury conducts the Brandenburg Consort.


New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
1 Corinthians 15:42.  http://www.4catholiceducators.com/graphics/1Corinthians15_42.jpg
Chuck Colson.    https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/88749735/charles-wendell-colson#view-photo=58736309
Akhnaten.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2018/10/57cd2-akhnaten.jpg
robin.  http://www.d.umn.edu/cla/faculty/troufs/anthfood/images/robin%27s_nest.jpeg

2473.) 1 Corinthians 15:1-34

October 24, 2018

On the third day he rose again from the dead . . .

1 Corinthians 15   (NIV)

The Resurrection of Christ

1 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

Suggesting a married Jesus is one thing, but questioning the Resurrection undermines the very heart of Christian belief.

–Dan Brown

3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

Because of the reference to the third day, and because in Matthew 12:40 Jesus refers to three days and three nights, some have thought it necessary for Jesus to spend at least 72 hours in the grave. This upsets most chronologies of the death and resurrection of Jesus, and is unnecessary, being unaware of the use of ancient figures of speech. Eleazar ben Azariah (around the year 100 a.d.) said: “A day and a night make a whole day, and a portion of a whole day is reckoned as a whole day.” This demonstrates how in Jesus’ day, the phrase three days and three nights did not necessarily mean a 72-hour period, but a period including at least the portions of three days and three nights.

–David Guzik

5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

In Paul’s list of appearances of the Risen Lord two are specially interesting.

There is the appearance to Peter. In the earliest account of the Resurrection story, the word of the messenger in the empty tomb is, “Go, tell his disciples and Peter” (Mark 16:7). In Luke 24:34 the disciples say, “The Lord has risen indeed and has appeared to Simon.” It is an amazing thing that one of the first appearances of the Risen Lord was to the disciple who had denied him. There is all the wonder of the love and grace of Jesus Christ here. Peter had wronged Jesus and then had wept his heart out; and the one desire of this amazing Jesus was to comfort him in the pain of his disloyalty. Love can go no further than to think more of the heartbreak of the man who wronged it than of the hurt that it itself has received.

There is the appearance to James. Without doubt this James is the brother of our Lord. It is quite clear from the gospel narrative that Jesus’ own family did not understand him and were even actively hostile to him. Mark 3:21 tells us that they actually sought to restrain him because they believed him to be mad. John 7:5 tells us that his brothers did not believe in him. Perhaps James’ contempt turned into wondering admiration so that when the end came, he was torn with remorse for the way in which he had treated his brother. Here once again we have the amazing grace and love of Christ. He came to bring peace to the troubled soul of one who had called him mad and who had been his opponent.

It is one of the most heart-moving things in all the story of Jesus that two of his first appearances, after he rose from the tomb, were to men who had hurt him and were sorry for it. Jesus meets the penitent heart far more than halfway.

–William Barclay

9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.

The Resurrection of the Dead

“Everything depends on our retaining a firm hold on this doctrine in particular; for if this one totters and no longer counts, all the others will lose their value and validity.”

 –Martin Luther

12 But IF it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 IF there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And IF Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.

“If Jesus rose, then this gospel is what is professes to be; if He rose not from the dead, then it is all deceit and delusion.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For IF the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And IF Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19IF only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

There is no IF about it!  Look at what rests on the resurrection:

The divinity of Jesus rests on the resurrection of Jesus (Romans 1:4).

The sovereignty of Jesus rests on the resurrection of Jesus (Romans 14:9).

Our justification rests on the resurrection of Jesus (Romans 4:25).

Our regeneration rests on the resurrection of Jesus (1 Peter 1:3).

Our ultimate resurrection rests on the resurrection of Jesus (Romans 8:11).

–David Guzik

20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.

In Ephesians 1:10, Paul reveals God’s eternal purpose in history: that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth – in Him. Paul wrote of the “gathering together” of all things in Jesus, or of the “summing up” of all things in Him. Here, in 1 Corinthians, he looks forward to the time when all things are resolved in Jesus Christ and He presents it all to God the Father, giving glory to the God who authored this eternal plan of the ages.

25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.

Here, Paul refers to God the Son’s desire to glorify God the Father through all eternity. Importantly, each person of the Trinity desires to glorify another person of the Trinity. The Son glorifies the Father (John 17:4), the Father glorifies the Son (John 17:5), and the Holy Spirit glorifies the Son (John 16:14). This aspect of the nature of God is something God wants us to walk in, having a concern for the glory of others, and not our own (Philippians 2:3-4).

–David Guzik

29 Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them?

Here is another verse that has caused much consternation. Many interpretations have been presented — that Paul is speaking of a pagan custom, that some Corinthian Christians were being baptized for friends or relatives who had already died, that “baptism” here actually refers to martyrdom . . . I leave it to you to wrestle with this!

30 And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour? 31 I face death every day—yes, just as surely as I boast about you in Christ Jesus our Lord. 32 If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus with no more than human hopes, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised,

“Let us eat and drink,
for tomorrow we die.”

33 Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 34 Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame.

To say that there is no resurrection is not a sign of superior knowledge; it is a sign of utter ignorance of God. 

–William Barclay



HERE  is “Hear the Bells Ringing!” sung by a group called Second Chapter of Acts. “He is risen! Alleluia!”


New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
empty tomb.   http://www.shonias.com/happy-resurrection-sunday/
He has risen!   https://joannawillis.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/hehasrisen_lg.jpg
the risen Christ.  http://www.turnbacktogod.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/jesus-christ-risen-0603.jpg

2472.) 1 Corinthians 14:26-40

October 23, 2018

Rev. Donna McClellan was one of my pastors in Orlando some years ago, and I love the way she understands, teaches, and lives Scripture and community and prayer. She does it all in joyful submission to our Lord Jesus Christ. I have learned much from her, and I am grateful for her gifts that she brought to the church.

1 Corinthians 14:26-40   (NIV)

Good Order in Worship

26 What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.

Paul sees the gathering of the church as a time when people come to participate and to give to one another, not merely to passively receive.

We can easily picture how this dynamic would work among the Corinthian Christians. They would, out of necessity, meet in small groups in different homes. There would be many “house churches” scattered all over the city of Corinth. As they would meet in these small groups, there would be a freedom, and a responsibility to not only receive but to give. So, one might give by reading or singing a psalm. Another might offer a word of teaching. Someone might pray in a tongue, along with an interpretation. Still someone else might have a revelation, a word from God’s heart and mind to the gathered church. In a small, home-fellowship type setting, this is how the church should work together.

When more people are gathered together, this “everybody shares something with everyone else” becomes more difficult. Among ten people, ten can share something with all the other ten. But among thirty, or sixty, or a hundred people, there isn’t time to allow everyone to share something with everyone else. This is why so many are blessed and find great spiritual growth through a home group, because it provides a perfect context for the “everyone shares something with everyone else” idea. The hunger for this has also led to the growth of the home church movement in our generation.

At the same time, there are potential pitfalls in this approach. It is easy for people of poor doctrine or weak character to dominate the group. It is easy for the group to focus not on the truth of the word, but on how one “feels” about the word. Spurgeon once described a man coming from such a gathering, and meeting a friend. “How was the meeting?” the one asked. The other answered, “Oh, it was wonderful. No one knew anything and we all taught each other!”

 It is safe to say that when it comes to the “house church” or “larger church” issue there is no “right” or “wrong.” God has used both, is using both, and will use both. Both are essential and greatly needed for the health and the strength of the whole body of Christ today.

–David Guzik

27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God. 29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30 And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31 For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.

Though Paul seems more positive about the use of the gift of prophecy in church meetings than the use of the gift of tongues, he still believes prophecy should be regulated. The gifts of the Spirit are never to be made the focus of congregational life. Worship and the Word are the focus, and the gifts flow under God’s direction around the focus of worship and the Word.

34 Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

Because Paul assumed the right of women to pray and prophesy under proper authority in 1 Corinthians 11:1-16, the context suggests that a woman speaking refers to either the judging of prophecy (something for the leadership of the church to do) or to disruptive speaking. 

I also like to apply Proverbs 14:1 here:  “The wise woman builds her house.”

36 Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? 37 If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command. 38 But if anyone ignores this, they will themselves be ignored.

39 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.



HERE  is a worship song sung by a godly woman — Twila Paris and “We Bow Down.”


New International Version (NIV)    Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Worship and the Word.   http://www.familychristiancenter.ws/hp_wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/worship-and-word2.jpg
building a church.   https://letsbuildchurches.wordpress.com/