1 Corinthians

Fort Eben-Emael in Belgium was considered to be the strongest fortress in the world. Its concrete walls were fifteen feet thick and reinforced with honeycombed steel. It took five years to build and was the strongest and most heavily armed fortress in the world. Upon completion the Belgians boasted, “It is so strong no army can storm it.”
And they may have been right.
But one night a German glider with well-trained and heavily armed paratroopers quietly descended into the fort. They discovered that few men were on duty and they easily took command of the fort and its assets. All of the preparations of the Belgians were in vain.
The Apostle Paul had a military background. So it is no wonder that he went back to his military experience to give an insight for Christian living to the Church at Corinth. And it seems as though he is speaking as a military commander when he wrote, “Be on your guard! Stand true to what you believe. Be courageous. Be strong. And everything you do must be done in love.”
His first order of the day was to be alert – to be on guard – to the worldly dangers that will certainly and with great consistence confront the Christian. We may prepare well and be strong in our faith but if we are not constantly alert to life’s temptations we will be defeated.
Prayer: Help us, Lord, to avoid becoming complacent in our lives. May we be constantly aware of those areas in our life where we are weak and look to You for our strength. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Corinthians 16:13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.
One of the world’s greatest composers and musicians was Johann Sebastian Bach. He is recognized as the most celebrated German composer of all times. He was also known as a deeply religious man. Over every one of his compositions he wrote the words, “To the glory of God.” He never lost sight of Who got credit for what he did.
This sets a great example for us: Whatever we do we must do, as Paul said, for the glory of God. But how is this possible and what does it mean? Am I to receive no recognition for what I do? Must God get all the credit for all of my accomplishments?
Perhaps the first truth we need to understand is the impact of our behavior on others. Many things that we can do may not bring harm to ourselves. But we must not ever, under any conditions, do anything that may or will bring harm to other Christians or non-Christians. There is nothing more wonderful than the Christian’s freedom. But that freedom must be used to help – not hurt others.
We also need to consider the important fact that we as disciples are responsible to disciple others. It is not enough to live right, we must be involved in sharing the insights, knowledge and wisdom God has given us with those who want to grow into the likeness of Christ. We need to strengthen the weak and lift up the fallen. When we, in our lives, do as Jesus did with His life, we will not be concerned about “being recognized.” We will do what we do because we love our Father!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, may we be conscious and considerate of everything we do and say. May we also work with You to equip those who are struggling. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Scripture for Today: 1 Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
Sir Michael Costa was a celebrated and successful conductor in England. He was recognized by others for the demands he placed on musicians to be accurate and to perform with excellence. In fact, many resented him for his adherence to high musical standards.

On one occasion, during a rehearsal of a large choir and orchestra, he brought the music to an abrupt stop. The musicians were puzzled until he shouted, “Where’s the piccolo? I can’t hear the piccolo.”
With all of the musicians playing as loudly as they could, and the choir singing as loudly as it could, the piccolo player thought to himself, “My instrument is so small and the sound it makes is so insignificant it won’t be missed.” But to Costa, the sound of one small instrument was essential to make the harmony needed for the concert to be complete.
Paul, writing to the church at Corinth said, “Now, all of you together are Christ’s body and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it.” Here we find him emphasizing the significance that each of us have, though we have our own distinctive talents and skills, that is necessary to do the work of Christ through our church and its various activities.
One of the dangers of comparing ourselves to others is that we come out looking as small as a piccolo. But remember, the Conductor needs us to play our part.
Prayer: Lord, may we each play our part in Your symphony of grace, realizing that if we do not play our part, Your Kingdom will be incomplete. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: 1 Corinthians 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.
Looking at a gallon of water in a plastic container hardly suggests that it has any power. But if it seeps into the crack of a rock or a cement road and turns into ice, the rock and the road will split into pieces. If the water is turned into steam it can drive the pistons of a large engine and become a massive amount of power. Water has the potential to do many great things.
So do we.
When we become Christians, God empowers us to change our lives into something completely different and special. Paul in our Scripture for today teaches us that there are four things that Christ can do for us:
1. He gives us wisdom. By walking with Him and listening to Him, we hear the truth because He is the expert in living.
2. He is righteousness. Righteousness in Paul’s writings always means a right relationship with God. We can never achieve a right relationship with God through ourselves or what we do – only through Christ.
3. He is holy. It is only through the presence of Christ in our lives that we can be or become all that God intends or expects us to be or become.
4. He is deliverance. Only Christ can deliver us from our past sin and present helplessness to sin. Only He can deliver us from our slavery to sin and set us free from self-destruction.
Prayer: Lord, help us to understand the goodness of Your grace and the power of Your presence in our lives. With You, all things are possible – most importantly salvation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Corinthians 1:26-31
A country doctor said, “I’ve been practicing medicine for over 30 years. During all those years I have prescribed many different things. But in the long run, I’ve learned that for most of what ails the human condition, the best medicine is love!”
“But,” asked a student, “what if it does not work?”
“Double the dose,” came the quick reply.
Many have said that love is the greatest medicine in the world. It can do more to heal the sick than most medicines. But what is this “healing love?” It is holding someone’s hand when they are lonely. It is shedding a tear with someone who is brokenhearted. It is sitting quietly beside someone who is grieving. It is having a cup of coffee with someone who has been abandoned by a loved one. It is praying with someone who is overwhelmed with discouragement.
Love is not an emotion that is based on a passing feeling. It comes from a compassionate heart that has experienced the conversion that God has provided for us through His Son. Love is something that is born of God and given by God.
Love is a gift. Take it and let it grow.
Love is a sign. Wear it and let it show.
Love is an act. Do it and let it go.
Prayer:Fill our hearts, Father, with Your love. May we overcome selfishness by living lives of service as Your Son, our Savior did. In His name, Amen.
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7  Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 
Abraham Lincoln was known for his kindness to everyone. He was often criticized by his associates for being so gracious.
On one occasion one of them said, “With all of the power you have, why don’t you destroy your enemies?”
“Am I not destroying my enemies,” he asked, “when I make them my friends?”
Perhaps there is no more misunderstood or misused word in our world today than the word “love.” Nearly everyone has their own personal meaning for it. For some it has a “sexual” meaning. For others it has an “I like to be with you” meaning. And there are those who see love as demonstrating an unselfish concern for others – helping them when they are unable to help themselves or even provide for themselves.
Paul speaks of a love that is supremely concerned with the best interests and welfare of others. It is a love that makes the needs and concerns of others my very own. It is as though I am saying, “I don’t walk away from the needs of others, I take them with me. If they have a need, it is my need. If they hurt, I hurt. If they are in pain, it is my pain as well. If they have no food, I will share my food with them.”
As Christians we must move beyond the feeling, sentimental and emotional types of love to a love that calls us to do what Jesus would have us to do for others.
Prayer: Lord, we see in Your life and death the real meaning of love. Strengthen us to live as you lived and to love as You loved so others will see You in our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Corinthians 13 …Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs…
General Dwight Eisenhower is recognized as one of the greatest leaders in all of history. After a brilliant military career he became a trusted and honored president.
On one occasion he was asked to describe the art of leadership. Rather than describing it, he decided to demonstrate it. To illustrate his point, he put a piece of string on a table and said, “Push it and it will go nowhere. Pull it and it will follow.”
Few of us will ever say to others: “Look at me. I am a good example. Follow me and do as I do.” But that’s exactly what Paul wrote in his letter to the Corinthians. Quite a daring statement!
He established himself as an example, however, because he walked close to his Lord and Savior, spent much time studying God’s message, and praying and witnessing. Because he was “in Christ” he lived his life “through Christ” and could say to others, “I ask you to follow my example and do as I do.” At all times and in every situation whatever Paul did is what he believed Christ would have done.
If there ever was a Christian leader who “pulled” people to the Lord it was Paul. We see it in his faith that sustained him in situations far beyond our imagination. We are inspired by his hope that never faltered when he had no reason to hope. And his very life defined love, service, hope and trust.
Prayer: Father, it is frightening to think that others may look at us and imitate what we do because they assume we are Your examples. May our lives be worthy of imitating. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me.
After church one Sunday the head usher decided to take his family to the local cafeteria to eat. After they went through the line and selected their food, they sat at a table near a window. Little Margie unfolded her napkin, folded her hands, bowed her head and waited for the prayer of thanksgiving. After a moment or two she opened her eyes to see what the others were doing. To her surprise, her father had started to eat.
“Mom,” she whispered quietly, “Dad has started to eat and we haven’t thanked Jesus for the food. What’s going on?”
“Hush,” said her father. “People don’t give thanks in a place like this.”
“Why?” asked Margie. “Doesn’t God go to cafeterias?”
Our thankfulness should not fluctuate with where we are or what is going on in our lives. Though our circumstances change and our feelings fluctuate, we must never forget that God is in all things doing what is in our best interest. Remember: He is always at work in our lives shaping us into the person He wants us to be.
When life’s trials turn to triumphs we can rejoice with Paul and say, “Thanks be to God who gave us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” He always protects us and provides for us and is worthy of our thanks.
Prayer: We often forget, Father, that You love us with an everlasting love and that You are with us even though others forget about our pains and sorrows. Thank you! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Years of struggle had finally ended for George. He completed all of his requirements to become a high school teacher. After sending out many resumes one principal finally invited him for an interview. He looked forward to it with great excitement.
Sitting across from the principal he was asked, “In your biology classes, would you teach biology or evolution?”
Anxious to get the job he replied, “I would teach it any way you wanted me to teach it. It really does not matter to me.”
In many of his letters Paul addressed the importance of being Christians of conviction. Writing to the church at Corinth he boldly declared: “Be on guard! Stand fast for what you believe. Be courageous. Be strong. And everything you do must be done with love!”
No apology here. Those words are as important when he wrote them as they are today. The spiritual danger to compromise our faith greets us everywhere we turn. The temptation to compromise our witness when we are called upon to speak boldly for Christ is difficult when the fear of rejection overwhelms us. And we often act unlovingly toward others when acts of kindness and thoughtfulness could be essential win them for Christ.
Prayer: Lord, we pray that we will become strong in our faith through You. May we rely on Your strength and power to overcome the temptation to compromise. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Corinthians 16:13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.
Captain James Cook was one of the most famous British navigators. He sailed around the world many times. On each of his journeys he would take seeds of flowers that came from lovely English gardens.
Whenever his ship reached a port, he would disembark with his crew. While the crew enjoyed the city, he would take some of the seeds he brought with him and plant them in a garden near the port. Everywhere he went, he left a reminder of his visit by planting seeds that brought beauty to the lives of the people who lived in that city.
There is nothing more important for Christians to do than to share God’s love and beauty. Wherever He leads us in our journey through life, He will give us many opportunities to “plant” seeds of His love, salvation and hope.
Paul reminds us that we Christians must be clothed in God’s love. His love adds His beauty to our actions and makes whatever we do attractive to others. No matter what other gifts God may give us, we can all share His love in every word and deed.
Prayer: Lord, help us to always be mindful of the great love You have for us and as we do, be willing to go to any extreme to give that Love to others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Corinthians 13 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
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