Aug. 6. Head Covering or Not During Worship

I Cor. 11:1-16

Another of the concerns of the Corinthians addressed by Paul dealt with the covering of one’s head during the worship. There were Romans, Jews and Greeks present in that church and they had different customs and ideas of proper headwear in the worship assemblies. He stated four illustrations showing how men and women are to show their humility and submission. There are differing opinions regarding this command. Following are comments gleaned from various commentaries on the subject.

First, Paul reminded the Corinthians that Christ is the head of man; man is the head of woman; God is the head of Christ. He stated that a man must keep his head uncovered and according to the customs of that time, the woman must keep her head covered to express her submission to the man. With an uncovered head, a woman could be mistaken for one of the temple prostitutes. A man with his head covered showed feminine characteristics and was disgraceful.

Second, the uncovered head of the man showed superiority created by God in that the woman was created from man and not the man created from woman. Even then, both man and woman must be submissive to Christ and to God. As being submissive to Christ does not dishonor the man, neither does being in subjection to the man dishonor the woman.

Third, it was natural that men should have short hair and the women to let their hair stay long.

Fourth, it had been the custom in the churches in other cities for men to worship with uncovered heads and women to have covered heads. In the Western culture in which we live, there is no custom requiring women to show submission by wearing a covering over their heads.

#chronological-bible-study

Jesus is King

The major problems facing the American culture today are moral problems and these problems will not be solved by denigrating one race below any other race nor by promoting one above any other race.

Those who use their various connections and resources to promote their own race on the basis of some skin-deep pride create as much division as those who denigrate the race of another on the basis of some skin-deep castigation.

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Tracking righteousness

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

The one who pursues righteousness and love finds life, bounty, and honor. Proverbs 21.21

Have you ever watched a film where there was a tracker, someone who was trying to follow a trail? Usually there are moments when he has to stop and look closely to see in what direction he needs to go. He may have to follow clues that are very difficult for untrained eyes to see.

This verse talks about one who pursues righteousness. The verb pursue can also mean track. The person who tracks righteousness knows where to look for the clues to find it. They also search tirelessly for the goal.

This person also tracks love which in some versions has been translated kindness. Love in the Biblical sense is doing what is best for someone, what is good and kind.

God loves those who pursue righteousness, Proverbs 15.9. The rewards for this pursuit are life, bounty, and honor. God has already made these things possible for the Christian. John 17.3 defines what eternal life is to his readers. It is knowing God and Jesus Christ. In Matthew 6.25-33, we read where God will provide the necessary things for our existence such as food and clothes if we make his kingdom our priority. Some of Paul’s last words to Timothy were to pursue righteousness in the company of other Christians, 2 Timothy 2.22.

We are not alone in this pursuit. We need each other to help us to be the best that we can be!

#risingjoy #Proverbs #seek

Aug. 5. Paul Warns Against Idolatry

I Cor. 10:14-33

Idolatry was a prevalent and grievous sin. Paul told the Corinthians to flee from it. Many sins today are idolatrous, especially the excessive desire for money, looks, fame, entertainment or “stuff.”

Paul returned to his thoughts on eating meats offered to idols. He first reminded the Corinthians of the elements of the Lord’s Supper and the communion Christians have with one another when they partake of the Supper. The (unleavened) bread and cup (fruit of the vine) represent the body and blood of Christ. Christians take these as they commune as one in the church. The Israelites communed as one as they ate the sacrifices offered on the altars under the Law of Moses.

When one partakes of a feast to idols, even though idols are nothing, he communes as one with those who are worshipping those gods. Paul warned against this practice by saying, “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons.” (Likewise, one cannot fellowship in worship with those who are teaching things contrary to the commands of Christ.)

Paul repeated that it was not sinful to eat meat offered to idols as long as one did not eat it as worship to an idol. Meat could be bought at the marketplace without fear of it being associated with idol worship. In order to protect one who regarded eating this meat as worship to an idol, he instructed the Corinthians to refuse to eat it if they had been informed that it had truly been offered in idol worship.

#chronological-bible-study

Hugh’s News & Views (A “To Do”…)

A “TO DO” LIST FOR CHRISTIANS

1. Do to others as you would have them do to you (Matthew 7:12).

2. Do the will of the Father who is in heaven (Matthew 7:21-27).

3. Do this (eat the Lord’s Supper) in remembrance of Christ (I Corinthians 11:23-26).

4. Do good to all men, especially to those of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10). Continue reading

Avoid the symptoms of apathy

In these times of extended separation from worshipping as a whole body, one must be careful of allowing spiritually apathetic attitudes to creep in our heart, mind and soul.

Doing good in the name of Jesus for the glory of God can still be accomplished. If the scattered church of the first-century could still serve God is it impossible for God to be served by the twenty-first century stationary church? It is not!

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Aug. 4. Christian Life Compared to Wilderness Wandering

I Cor. 10:1-13

To further illustrate the importance of steadfastness in living the Christian life, Paul reminded the Corinthians of the events surrounding the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt and their eventual entry into Canaan.

Egypt represented the time that a person was lost in sin. Moses was a type of Christ who led the people out the Egypt of sin and into the wilderness of the Christian life. The Israelites passed through the Red Sea with water on both sides and a cloud hovering over them hiding (burying) them in baptism from the grasp of the Egypt of sin. This analogy relates to baptism into the church to save from sin. Eating the manna and drinking the water from the rock was a type of the communion enjoyed by Christians as they partake of the Lord’s Supper each Lord’s Day. Finally, crossing the Jordan River into Canaan represented the passage through death from the physical life of the wilderness to the everlasting glory of heaven.

Paul pointed out that many were saved from the Egypt of sin, but various sins of lust, idolatry, fornication and complaining caused many of them to die in the wilderness. Many of the Israelites even wanted to return to Egypt. Just as these sins caused the Israelites to die in the wilderness, these same sins cause Christians to die spiritually in the wilderness of life preventing them from entering into the Canaan of everlasting life in heaven.

In closing this admonition, Paul gave another warning and an encouragement. He warned the Corinthians to be alert for temptations because they come when least expected. However, they were encouraged by the fact that God will not allow a Christian to be tempted greater than he is able to bear, but will provide a way of escape.

#chronological-bible-study

Anyone left alive?

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

The king asked, “Is there not someone left from Saul’s family, that I may extend God’s kindness to him?” Ziba said to the king, “One of Jonathan’s sons is left; both of his feet are crippled.” 2 Samuel 9.3

David was king of Israel. He and Jonathan, Saul’s son, had been very good friends. Jonathan was dead having been killed in battle with the Philistines. Due to his friendship with Jonathan, David inquired to see if there was anyone left alive from Saul’s family.

David had Ziba, a servant from Saul’s house, to appear before him and he asked if anyone from Saul’s family was still alive. Ziba informed him that one of Jonathan’s sons was still alive and that he was crippled in both feet. David had Mephibosheth brought to his palace.

David restored all of Saul’s lands to his grandson. Ziba, with the help of his family, was given the task of cultivating the land and was to bring the food to Mephibosheth for him to eat. Jonathan’s son was also a regular guest at the king’s table.

The king was kind to Mephibosheth. David treated him as if he were one of the king’s sons. David wanted to extend kindness to Mephibosheth because of his friendship with Jonathan, his father. What David did was not necessary, but it provided for a man who otherwise would have had a very difficult time with his physical condition. All because David wanted to show kindness to Jonathan’s family.

May we be willing to show kindness to others.

#risingjoy #kindness #2-Samuel

What does the Bible say about what happens when we die

By Douglas M. Williams Sr.

Death is a subject about which we do not like to think, and especially our own. We know, as the Bible teaches, that “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Thus, we need to consider death seriously to make preparation for it. Amos 4:12 tells us to “prepare to meet thy God.”

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#afterlife, #bible-study, #death, #judgement, #soul

They named him Ezra

I don’t know why it even bothered me. It certainly was none of my business, but somehow I couldn’t get past the fact that this young couple named their little baby boy Ezra. It sounded so antiquated to me, so out-of-date. I thought of how he would hate his name when he grew up. It reminded me of when as a young girl I told Raymond Elliott, our preacher, of how when I married and had a baby boy I wanted to name him Ishmael. Raymond immediately came back reminding me I should check out the name before labeling a child with that name for life. I never forgot his suggestion and never named our son Ishmael. Well, some would say, “There’s nothing in a name. It doesn’t matter.” Doesn’t it?

Ezra has a book in our Bibles named after him. I’ve read it more than one time…lately because this is still on my mind. But you know what I’ve found? Ezra was a fine man. Read what the Today’s English Version records in Ezra 7:6-10:

“Ezra was a scholar with a thorough knowledge of the Law which the Lord, the God of Israel, had given to Moses. Because Ezra had the blessing of the Lord his God, the emperor gave him everything he asked for. In the seventh year of the reign of Artaxerxes, Ezra set out from Babylonia for Jerusalem with a group of Israelites which included priests, Levites, Temple musicians, Temple guards, and workmen. They left Babylonia on the first day of the first month, and with God’s help they arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month. Ezra had devoted his life to studying the Law of the Lord, to practicing it, and to teaching all its laws and regulations to the people of Israel.”

Notice:

  1. Ezra had devoted his life to studying the Law of the Lord.
  2. Ezra had devoted his life to practicing the Law of the Lord.
  3. Ezra had devoted his life to teaching all the Law of the Lord’s laws and regulations to the people of Israel.

I imagine with the fine Bible training this little fellow is getting, one day he will want to read the book of Ezra for himself. And when he does without doubt he’s going to be mighty pleased with his name. I know I am. There’s something important in a name.

#bible-study

Aug. 2. Additional Questions Answered

I Cor. 7:25-8:13

The next question of the Corinthians also concerned marriage. Even though Jerusalem was hundreds of miles from Corinth, the same political upheavals that led to the destruction of Jerusalem were affecting many other places including Corinth.

Paul advised those who had never married to remain single. That was not a general command, but a wise suggestion due to the turmoil of that period of time. He further instructed that those who were married should remain married. Whatever state they were in would be easier to maintain than having to adjust to a new lifestyle.

Single people would be better able to care for the things of the Lord than those who were married and had family responsibilities. Paul pointed out that it was not sinful to be married or single.

Customs of that time dictated that the father of an unmarried daughter would select her husband. Some fathers were concerned that they were mistreating their daughters by withholding them from marriage. Paul instructed fathers to allow their daughters to marry if remaining single would cause them to sin.

Another concern of the Corinthians was regarding whether widows should remarry. Paul stated that a wife was bound to remain married as long as her husband lived. After the death of her husband a widow could remarry only in the Lord. Again, because of the distress of the time, he suggested that it would be better if she also did not remarry.

Paul continued replying to the Corinthians by answering the problem of eating meat that had been offered to idols. This issue had been addressed several years earlier during the conference in Jerusalem after the first missionary journey of Paul and Barnabas.

Many of the new converts to Christianity had been led from paganism and idol worship. Meat sacrificed to these idols was eaten during feasts associated with the worship of these gods. Some of it was sold in the markets. In order to show true conversion, James had forbidden new Christians from eating such meat lest they associate themselves again with these idols.

Paul pointed out that there is only one God and that these so-called gods mean nothing and the meat offered to them is as though it had never been offered. However, to keep these new weaker believers from stumbling, he warned the stronger Christians to refrain from placing a stumbling block before them.

Stronger Christians show their love for God and His Son by loving those who are weaker in the faith. Paul demonstrated this love by refusing to indulge in anything that would cause a weaker brother to stumble, even if the indulgence itself was not sinful.

Christians lead and teach by example and are to do nothing that will cause a brother to sin. When a weak brother observes behavior in a strong brother that violates his conscience and is led to commit that act violating his conscience, he sins against Christ. By causing the weak brother to sin, the strong brother also sins against Christ.

#chronological-bible-study

Kindness begets kindness

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Her mother-in-law asked her, “Where did you gather grain today? Where did you work? May the one who took notice of you be rewarded!” So Ruth told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked. She said, “The name of the man with whom I worked today is Boaz.” Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “May he be rewarded by the Lord because he has shown loyalty to the living on behalf of the dead!” Then Naomi said to her, “This man is a close relative of ours; he is our guardian.” Ruth the Moabite replied, “He even told me, ‘You may go along beside my servants until they have finished gathering all my harvest!'” Ruth 2.19-21

The verses this month shall be about kindness. Ruth was a Moabite who had married Naomi’s son. After the death of her husband and sons, Naomi decided to return to the land of Judah. She encouraged Ruth to return to her parents’ home in the hopes of being able to find another husband. However, Ruth insisted on going to Judah with Naomi.

After their arrival, Ruth went to the fields to gather grain. She worked in a field that belonged to Boaz, who was a kinsman of Elimelech, Naomi’s husband. Boaz told Ruth to stay in his fields and work alongside his female workers. When asked by Ruth why he was treating her with kindness, he assured her that he had been told how she had accompanied Naomi back to Judah. She had shown kindness to Naomi.

The story continued with Boaz marrying Ruth and having a child who was Obed, the grandfather of David, who would later become king of Israel. Kindness shown to others can bring about results that we can not begin to imagine.

#risingjoy #Ruth #kindness

Aug. 1. Paul begins to Answer Questions from the Corinthians

I Cor. 7:1-24

At some point in time, Paul had received a letter from the Corinthians about certain problems. After addressing division, incest and going to court, he began to answer their questions.

The first problem that Paul answered dealt with whether marriage was desirable or to be avoided. Living conditions were very difficult due to the persecutions at the time Paul wrote this letter. Because of these conditions, he suggested that it would be better if marriage were avoided.

Paul recognized that the sexual immorality of that day would also make it impossible for many of them to abstain from sinning if they were not married. He suggested that if the unmarried could not control themselves, it would be better for them to marry.

As a deterrent to unfaithfulness between husbands and wives, Paul instructed them to fulfill the sexual needs of their spouses, only being apart by mutual consent for short periods.

The second question Paul answered dealt with believers and unbelievers remaining together. After conversion, many Christians were faced with the dilemma of being married to nonbelievers. In order to keep the Israelites pure, the Law of Moses forbade them from marrying the Canaanites. These new Christians feared that to be pure, they would be required to divorce their spouses who were not Christians and that their mates and children would be unclean.

Paul, through inspiration replied that if an unbeliever desired to continue being married to a Christian, there was no need for them to divorce. There was a good possibility that the believer could lead the unbelieving spouse to Christ.

If an unbelieving husband or wife would not continue in the marriage, a separation would be permitted and the Christian would not be bound to live with such a person. Paul did not give this as grounds for divorce—only a separation.

Christianity did not change a person’s cultural or social status in life. If he were married, he should stay married. Those who were slaves were to continue to be slaves unless other circumstances allowed them to be freed. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision made a person a better or lesser Christian. One should remain with God and not let social standing hinder his spiritual life. Christians must remember that they were bought with the blood of Christ.

#chronological-bible-study

Return with him

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Their end is destruction, their god is the belly, they exult in their shame, and they think about earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven – and we also await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform these humble bodies of ours into the likeness of his glorious body by means of that power by which he is able to subject all things to himself. Philippians 3.19-21

Paul, in Philippians 3.17, tells the Philippians to imitate his life just as he once told the Corinthians. Paul was single-minded. His goal was to be found faithful at the second coming of Jesus and to prepare as many as possible to also be ready. He encourages them to watch carefully those who live the Christian life.

Paul followed with the warning that not all who were Christians had the same point of view. There were still some who believed that the old law had to be observed. Paul stated that these people were enemies of the cross of Christ. They were focused on life on this earth and not focused on what was to come.

Our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, is coming a second time. He is coming to claim his bride, the church! Those, who are faithful in the church, will return with him to heaven. Our citizenship is in heaven, not this earth. Our bodies will be transformed from their humble state. Through his power, he will change our bodies to be similar to his glorious body!

The question to ask is into what group do we fall? Are we trying to imitate Paul? Are we single-minded when it comes to our goal? Do we look forward to entering heaven for eternity? Or are we solely focused on life in the here and now? What are you focused on?

#risingjoy #Philippians #heaven

Jul. 31. General Admonitions to the Church

I Cor. 6:1-20

After having admonished the Corinthians regarding divisions and incest in the church, Paul turned to the matter of some of them going to court against their Christian brothers. He instructed them to place legal disputes before the church for judgment by the righteous instead of before heathen judges.

Christians are to be examples of peace and harmony in a world of chaos and confusion. When Christians go to civil courts to settle their differences, they deliver a message to the world that they place more trust in the unbelievers than they do in their own brethren.

Paul stated that it would be better to take a loss (even to be cheated) from a brother than to go to the unrighteous judges of that day. He even charged them with the same actions that they were accusing their brethren.

After admonishing the Corinthians about going to court, Paul repeated his previous list of sins and added others that would prevent a person from entering heaven. The additional sins were homosexuality, sodomy, and theft. Note: There are those who accuse Christians of hate when these sins are spoken against. God hates sin, but He loves the sinner. True Christians hate sin, but they also love the sinner—even when that sin is committed against them.

Paul pointed out that some of the Corinthians had been guilty of those sins, but they had been forgiven when they had obeyed the gospel and became Christians. As fruits of their repentance, they must not return to those old ways.

Even though Paul and the Corinthians had the power and ability to do many things, some of those things were not acceptable or advisable to commit. Christians are to hold to the highest levels of moral conduct and must flee from the evil temptations that are present. They are not to defile their bodies with the sins that he had mentioned earlier.

Paul reminded the Corinthians that their bodies had been bought with the price of God’s Son and therefore belonged to Him and that His Spirit resides in His temple, the bodies of Christians.

#chronological-bible-study