BDBD is 2 Corinthians 1:15-2:13

Acts 20:1-2 also records this time.
   Reading these verses it is clear that Paul changed his plans several times on his third missionary trip. Paul’s plans developed when different ever-changing circumstances developed. Since he often changed his plans it is clear that he did not always know what God’s specific will was for him. Events forced him to make new plans.
   Paul was ministering in Ephesus for 2 years and 3 months (1:8-10, Acts 19:8-10). He had not planned on staying that long anywhere on this missionary journey.  Yet, because God had opened the door in Ephesus he changed his plans and stayed there a long time. Events in other congregations like those in Corinth caused them to asked Paul to visit them. Yet he did not.
  Finally, due to a riot in Ephesus Paul was forced to leave. He traveled north to the coastal city Troas and sailed west to Philippi.  Then he traveled on land west to Thessalonica and then to Berea. These cities are in the Macedonia province. Corinth is to the south of these cities. (See maps at www.stephenricker.com/study/paul_3.htm)
  Paul wanted to travel south to Corinth because he heard of alarming things happening in their young congregation. Yet, Paul changed his mind and delayed his plans because of issues in the Thessalonica congregation. Instead of traveling to Corinth Paul wrote them his first letter.
   Finally, Paul left the province of Macedonia and arrived in the province of Greece. He visited Athens and Corinth. Then he traveled north again to Thessalonica.  When he arrived back there he heard of more alarming things happening in Corinth. From this letter, it appears he did not know what to do. Should he return to them, or go onto Jerusalem as he had planned? (1:23-2:1) Finally, he wrote this letter.  Paul appears to be reacting more to events than preparing and planning them.
  I am happy to see even the Apostle Paul wasn’t always sure of God’s specific will for his life. Right now I am in-between going there, there, or staying here. Every morning I ask God to cleanse me with the blood, fill me with His Spirit, show me his will, and give me whatever is needed to carry it out. I say yes to God’s will and wait on the Holy Spirit to reveal his will. Sometimes events happen and choices need to be made. Other times I need to patiently wait to hear from God. Now I wait.

BDBD is 2 Corinthians 1

flower

Paul wrote this letter to the new congregation at Corinth shortly after he wrote the first one. He wrote it in the middle of his third missionary journey in 56 AD while residing in the Roman province of Macedonia. Paul wanted to visit Corinth to the south again, but had not done so and thus explains and apologized for his delays.
Verses 21 and 22 are moving. God makes me “stand firm in Christ. He anointed (me), set his seal of ownership on (me), and put his Spirit in (my) heart as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” God’s grace is wonderful and precious.
I am not the one who does any of this. God does it all. I am weak in faith and my actions prove it. Yet God in his grace makes me stand firm in Christ.
When I accepted Jesus as my personal Savior and asked him to take full control of my life God anointed me with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit entered me. It was something entirely new to me. It was pleasant, loving, powerful, and warm. I was anointed.
Seals of ownership are used to this day. A rancher’s seal of ownership is called a brand. He or she puts the brand on a metal plate. The plate is heated and pressed against the steer hide. This burns the brand on the steer. The brand is a claim of ownership.
God burned his brand on my hide. This is what happened when I first believed. God branded me with the Holy Spirit. Now when the Holy Spirit moves in my spirit just as he did the day I first believed, I know that I am his and he is mine. I feel his guarantee of what is to come. These movements are small in comparison to what is to come. With them, I am encouraged to continue in troubles and hardship just as Paul did.

BDBD is 1 Corinthians 16

  Paul concludes his letter to the congregation at Corinth with an instruction, a personal request, and final greetings.
  The Corinthian congregation meets on the first day of the week, Sunday. That is when he told them to gather together money to help the believers in Jerusalem. Judah was experiencing a severe drought. They were to plan and prepare according to their income to help fellow Christians.  Helping other believers is a good part of life in Jesus.
  Paul also encouraged hospitality toward traveling believers. At times I was stationary and accepted others into my abode. Now I find myself moving here and there often. In the last 15 months, I stayed at 8 different places. Some for a few days, others longer and still others I visited more than once. Some of these times the Lord’s people and family welcomed me in. Most of the time I was alone renting. A few times I had guests. It is good to open my home and share time with believers.

BDBD is 1 Corinthians 15

People live after the body dies. It’s a fact.  Jesus bodily died and was buried. It’s a fact. Jesus rose from death bodily. It’s a fact. Those who believe in Jesus will die and then receive a resurrection body. It’s a fact. The resurrection body is far better than the body I currently have.  It’s a fact. The body I have now is a flesh weak earthly body. The body I will receive in Christ will be a powerful spiritual body like Jesus’s body is now. These are facts.
   When I think of the resurrection to come I think of a caterpillar.  They have a long fussy body with many feet that traverse on plants and the ground. They eat and grow, eat and grow, and eat and grow. Then one day they form a cocoon around them. In hiding their worm body is amazingly transformed into a colorful delicate flying body. They are the same creatures on the inside. Yet outside they are something entirely new. Somewhere in their DNA is an old and a new body.  For me it’s an amazing picture of what God can do and will do.

BDBD is 1 Corinthians 14

Paul is continuing and concluding his point about gifts of the Spirit with how the gifts are to be used when they come together as a group. Some congregations call the gathering a mass, a worship service, a joyful celebration, a Bible study, or simply a gathering.
First, he states that speaking in tongues should not be done when they are gathered as a group unless someone can interpret what they are saying. The reasons are because tongues are for self-edification and if a stranger would come in during the gathering they would think they are all drunk.
Second, only a few are to sing a hymn or song. He does not specify the style or the meaning of the lyrics. He does not include or exclude instruments. He does say it should be done in turn.
Third, he says that two or perhaps three prophets should speak and the others should weigh carefully what is said. A prophet then is called today a pastor, priest, shepherd, missionary, evangelist, and speaker. Those who speak should speak in turn, not all at once.
Fourth, Paul wrote that women should remain silent. Today this is shocking and labeled as anti-women. The reason Moses wrote this and Paul agreed was not that women are not intelligent. It’s because they were not educated in ages past. Most could not read the Bible. The speakers should be educated. I have great respect for two ladies who taught the Bible for many years at church. I spoke to one yesterday who went to the same seminary as Bily Graham. Her knowledge of the Bible and 60 years of teaching is clearly a gift of the Spirit.

BDBD is 1 Corinthians 13

And now these three remain; faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”  This verse is the basis for my manuscript, “The Believers Future, Hope that Inspires” which is on my website (https://stephenricker.com/novels/the_believers_future.htm. It’s also there in PDF.). Now I find my hope fading like fog in the morning as the sun rises and the air gets hotter and hotter. What is to become of me in this world?
  God has given me different gifts at different times to help others.  Yet these gifts whether tongues, prophecy, miraculous powers, healing, wisdom, and messages of knowledge are all temporary. They are tools meant for the greater good. All tools can be used for good or bad including the gifts of the Spirit.
  All is from God. Therefore, all is a gift including health, wealth, prosperity, food, drink, children, and gifts of the Spirit. These gifts should be used in love. Sometimes they are not.
   Love is patient, kind, protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres.  Yet here when I have lost almost all and own much I find my hope melt away like an ice cube in a frying pan. All I can do is love those I meet and pray for mercy.

DB is 1 Corinthians 12

  The chapter is easy enough to understand. All believers are in Jesus. Each has been given a gift to be used for the greater good of the congregation. The least part should be honored more than the greater part. Each should use their gift accordingly. All are a part of Jesus. There is unity in the diversity of Jesus's people.
 The reason Paul wrote this chapter was obviously because of the division, disagreements, bickering, and gossip in the congregation. Every group whether Christian or not have this problem. I like Star Trek. I look at Star Trek groups in Facebook. They claim diversity. Yet most do not accept others that are not like them. I have been a member of congregations as I have lived in different cities. I see similarities to the Star Trek groups, but not as severe.
  Everyone is unique in Christ. No one is like me. I am not like anyone else. I should not look down nor up to someone else. I should respect everyone else in action and word. Still I find myself congregating towards those more like me than not. Such actions forms niches that often exclude others. Divisions then form. God does not want divisions. I need others especially those not at all like me and those who do not have the sames gifts as me.