For the next bit of time – perhaps a few days, perhaps more – I am taking a break from making and producing these daily devotionals.  I began them as a Lenten exercise that, because of our time of pandemic, continued well-past Lent.  I want to take some time to step back and evaluate both their value and their effectiveness. 

Thanks,

Pastor Evan

Saturday, July 18th

Have you ever given something that was meaningful to you to someone else, but they didn’t seem to appreciate it?  Like they just didn’t have the background or same common experience to know why it was significant?  I think this is similar to why Paul writes the unspiritual do not receive spiritual gifts from God:  because they cannot appreciate them or understand them.  But we do receive these things, because Paul says we have the mind of Christ.

Friday, July 17th

Paul says that we have received not the spirit of the world but the Spirit of God.  And this Spirit of God teaches us spiritual things, that we may recognize God’s spirit and follow as God leads.

Thursday, July 16th

Paul quotes this poem that has given so many so much hope throughout the ages, saying that no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has conceived of what God has in store for those who love him.  Let this verse inspire your heart today as well.

Wednesday, July 15th

Paul says that he did speak in wisdom to the mature.  Perhaps having heard that Paul didn’t come to the Corinthians relying on his wisdom to convince them about the truth of Jesus, and instead he relied on the power of the cross of Christ, might make us think that we can keep a shallow, surface level faith and all will be well.  In a sense, maybe – such is grace.  But for the mature, Paul did speak with wisdom and he sought to know God more so that he could appreciate what God had been doing through this Godly wisdom since before the beginning of the age.

Tuesday, July 14th

Paul says that when he came to the Corinthians he did so with fear and trembling, determined not to speak with eloquent wisdom but instead to let the Spirit work as the Spirit would, so that the people’s faith would be built on God and not on Paul, the messenger.  This passage is both challenging and encouraging, as it says to us that while we are still to be faithful and to try our best, we do not have to worry about having it all together in order to be used by God.

Monday, July 13th

Paul writes that Christ Jesus has become our righteousness, our sanctification, and our redemption, so that no one can boast.  These three things are so critical to our spiritual lives, and they are also all things we cannot do on our own.  So no matter who you are, no matter how great or how humble, we all need Jesus for these critical aspects of our lives in God, and therefore no one is able to boast, short of boasting in God alone.

Sunday, July 12th

It occurred to me recently that in Genesis 2, when God rests on the seventh day after six days of work, part of that sabbath was a reflection on the good work that God had previously done.  I think such should also be part of our sabbath times:  to take time to reflect on what God has done through us, in our work, the last six days, and to allow that then to help us enter into the rest that comes with the satisfaction of a job well-done.

Saturday, July 11th

Paul kind of insults the Corinthians here, saying that not many of them were considered great in the world when Christ entered their life.  But, Paul says, that was part of the point – the plan of God – so that the wise and strong in the world would see the power of God and realize that God is so much greater than they are.  Even now, we needn’t worry about our own assessment of our strength or abilities because God loves to use those the world has discounted in order that he might receive all the praise and all the glory.

Friday, July 10th

For Jews, the cross was a stumbling block, because the law had said that anyone who died by being hung on a tree was cursed by God, and then here Jesus is, dying by crucifixion, that is being hung on a tree.  They therefore had trouble seeing how God’s messiah could have died at all, much less in such a way.  For Greeks, the cross was foolishness because it proclaimed that death could save and that Jesus was raised three days later, and the Greeks knew that people do not simply come back from the dead.  Even now, people may reject the cross because it seems like it defies logic, but part of the message of the cross is that God’s foolishness is greater than humanity’s wisdom.

Thursday, July 9th

Paul says he didn’t come to convince people with eloquent wisdom, that the cross not be emptied of its power.  That might sound strange, but in many ways, it makes sense.  If someone is won to faith based on a good argument, then another good argument may convince them not to believe.  Rather let the Spirit use the power of the cross to convert. This also means that we don’t have to worry about having all the answers; rather, we can focus just on being faithful as the Spirit leads us.

Wednesday, July 8th

Looking at the same passage as yesterday, I realized that I think this passage also has a pertinent message to share with us in our age of pandemic.  Lately the best indicator of how someone feels about face coverings and the social responsibility to care for others has been not one’s faith but one’s political party.  This very thing is exactly contrary to this message of scripture, in which people are prioritizing following a worldly leader’s counsel over following what should be uniting us in Christ.

Tuesday, July 7th

What Paul is speaking against in this passage was the beginnings of denominationalism.  While there are great things each denomination can teach us, I’m afraid our thousands and thousands of denominations have put a divided face to the world that shows the world the way we, as the church, can sometimes, and historically did, struggle to get along.  Let us still find ways to be united and not divided into our own little camps.

Monday, July 6th

When I was a youth and children’s minister, I used to use pencils to teach kids that we are stronger together than apart.  The illustration went like this:  I would have one of the kids volunteer as someone strong enough to break a pencil.  The kid could always do it; then I would keep adding pencils until he or she could no longer break them.  It was a great object lesson for our strength in unity, and it holds true no matter the age.