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I Want That! — 1 Corinthians 13

Today’s Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:2-13:13

I know, it’s Thanksgiving Week and it’s early to be sharing my Christmas list, but today’s reading caused me to bypass thankfulness and move straight to the “I’m making a list and checking it twice” time of year.

Today’s reading is about gifts.  Not your ordinary, pickup at Target kind of gifts, but heavenly gifts… gifts more amazing and miraculous than the kind a guy in a red suit brings down the chimney.

Paul pens 31 verses to explain and share many of the gifts (special abilities) the Spirit of God has available for us (1 Corinthians 12). He called these helpful gifts (1 Corinthians 12:31a).

Here are some of them:

    • Apostles
    • Prophets
    • Teachers
    • Those who do miracles
    • Those who have the gift of healing
    • Those who can help others
    • Those who have the gift of leadership
    • Those who speak in unknown languages

Hummm, helping others sounds more like giving than a gift.

Receiving and using these gifts is a lot of work, but there’s no better feeling than to be supernaturally gifted and used by the God of the Universe.

Except

There’s something better?

Paul tells us there’s something better than being a Billy Graham, Beth Moore, Joyce Meyer or John Maxwell?

The Apostle Paul made it very clear:

So you should earnestly desire the most helpful gifts. But now let me show you a way of life that is best of all.

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. –1 Corinthians –12:31-13:3

I want that.

I want the kind of love Paul was talking about.

Yes, all the world would love to receive that kind of love…

but

being

capable

of

GIVING

that kind of love

is the greatest gift.

Here’s what it looks like:

Love never gives up. 

Love cares more for others than for self. 

Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. 

Love doesn’t strut, 

Doesn’t have a swelled head, 

Doesn’t force itself on others, 

Isn’t always “me first,” 

Doesn’t fly off the handle, 

Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, 

Doesn’t revel when others grovel, 

Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, 

Puts up with anything, 

Trusts God always, 

Always looks for the best, 

Never looks back, 

But keeps going to the end. 

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (From The Message)

We’re not bankrupt when we aren’t loved.  We’re bankrupt when we can’t love others.

Heavenly Father, fill me with Your love so that I can love like You.  Forgive me for the times I’ve failed.   Lord, please give me the gift of supernatural love.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 14:1-15:58

God’s Dream Lives in Us—1 Thessalonians 2:4


Today’s Scripture Reading:  Acts 17:16-18:3, 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5:11

A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to hear B.G. Nevitt speak at the C.L.A.S.S. Writers Conference.  He  told us that “God’s dream lives in us.”  It was such a moving message; it caused me to do some serious soul-searching.  To close out the conference Gerry Wakeland, C.L.A.S.S. President asked us to write our dream on a piece of paper and bring it forward and “ceremonially” give it back to God.

This question flashed through my mind:

Dianne, whose dreams are you pursuing?

Yours or God’s?

I’ve always been a goal-setting type of person.  One of my favorite workshops to facilitate is called Prayerfully and Proactively, Planning and Prioritizing. Most of time prayer is the missing piece in goal-setting.

In today’s reading the Apostle Paul gave us a filter to run every dream, vision, goal, priority or task through to help us pursue God’s plans for our lives rather than our own selfish desires:

For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people (*or ourselves). He alone examines the motives of our hearts. —1 Thessalonians 2:4 (emphasis, *comment mine)

Our purpose is to please God.  That’s it. End of story.

Is it realistic to think we can please God in EVERYTHING we do?

I know I’ve missed it many times, but if I get up each day and filter my plans and ambitions through the question, “Will this please God?” I won’t miss it as much!

The hard part is waiting.

Being willing to wait for God’s best.

As I look to 2013 with many things spinning in my head, I pray that my focus will be to please God and Him alone.

What dreams do you have for 2013?

Heavenly Father, show us Your purpose.  Breathe the passion of  Your dreams into our hearts.  Help us to wait for your dreams.  Use us for Your Glory.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  1 Thessalonians 5:12-28, 2 Thessalonians 1:1-3:18, Acts 18:4-23

Are You Too Important to _______________? — Galatians 6:2-4

Today’s Scripture Reading: Galatians 3:24-6:18; Acts 15:1-21

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important. 

Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.–Galatians 6:2-4

Can you believe these words are in the Bible?

I am continually amazed at how applicable the scriptures are to our day-to-day lives.

Once again, the Apostle Paul tells it like it is:

  • Share each other’s burdens because this is the law of Christ (not all that other stuff we try to obey)
  • If you think you’re too good to do anything that’s legal, honest, and morally right, you’re just plain crazy
  • You are not that important
  • Do your job to the best of your ability and be happy about it
  • Stop comparing yourself to others

I Love the Word of God!

He puts me in my place!

Heavenly Father, when will we ever get it?  Taking care of the hurting, sick, lonely, widowed and orphaned is the way You want us to “be the church.” Holy Spirit, show me how to make carrying other people’s burdens a part of my daily life.  Use me to be Jesus to the hurting.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Acts 15:22-17:15

Am I a People-Pleaser? –Galatians 1:10

Today’s Scripture Reading: Acts 14:21-28; Galatians 1:1-3:23

Sometimes I wish I could be like the Apostle Paul.  He really didn’t care what people thought.  He is the perfect example of the way God uses us within the parameters of our personality.  Our Heavenly Father doesn’t change our temperament when we get saved, He just sands us down a bit and uses our craziness for His Glory.

Paul was bold and blunt.  He was definitely not a people-pleaser.

I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ.

Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you.  I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed.

Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant. 

–Galatians 1:6-10

While I don’t consider myself a people-pleaser, I’m definitely not as bold as Paul. There have been times when I’ve missed it.  After those times I’ve often thought, “If I had been bolder maybe there would have been a different outcome, maybe that person would have come to know Christ?”

I don’t necessarily think Paul was telling us to be “like” him, i.e. bold, loud and in your face.  I think it was more like, “You must care more about what Jesus thinks than what people think.”

This makes me ask, “Do I really believe what I really believe is real?”

If we can ever get a glimpse of the reality of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we will be God pleasers; just one more reason to be in God’s Word each day.

The more I know Him, the less of a people pleaser I’ll be.

Oh, that I could ALWAYS hear God’s voice and ALWAYS obey!

Heavenly Father, forgive me for the times I’ve been a people-pleaser.  Forgive me for the times I’ve made You small so that I could seem big to others.  Lord, I want to know You more.  I want to please You!  I want to hear You. I want to do what You tell me to do. Speak loudly Lord, Your servant is listening (1 Samuel 3:9).

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Galatians 3:24-6:18; Acts 15:1-21

“I’m a Human Being Just Like You”–Acts 10:26

Today’s Scripture Reading: Acts 10:1-12:5

As I read today’s scripture, it made think about Joe Paterno. On this day last year, as we watched another public icon fall, I wondered when he stopped believing he was a human being, just like you and me.

When did he become above the law?

I’m sure it was a very gradual thing.  It probably began when the fame began and in Paterno’s case that was a long time ago.  In Acts 10:24-26, Peter teaches us something about fame, which leads to power, which is fueled by pride.

They arrived in Caesarea the following day. Cornelius was waiting for them and had called together his relatives and close friends. As Peter entered his home, Cornelius fell at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter pulled him up and said, “Stand up! I’m a human being just like you!” –Acts 10:24-26

Oh, that you and I can remember this one.  No matter how well things are going, how successful we become, how much of a celebrity the world tells us we are; we are just a human being like everyone else and we can fall in an instant no matter how much good we’ve done for society or the Kingdom of God.

Heavenly Father, help us to remember Peter’s example.  Help us not to take ourselves too seriously. Forgive us for our sins.  Make us more like You.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Act 12:6-14:20

5 Steps In Dealing With “Rumblings of Discontent”–Acts 6:1


Today’s Scripture Reading: Acts 6:1-8:1a

When was the last time you experienced the rumblings of discontent?

Was it in your…

  • Workplace
  • Community
  • Neighborhood
  • Children’s school
  • Home

Or, was it in your local church?

But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. The Greek-speaking believers complained about the Hebrew-speaking believers, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food.  —Acts 6:1

I’m the kind of girl that hates griping, complaining, conflict; i.e. discontent.  Thankfully, today’s scripture reading gives me insight into proactively dealing with these enemies of success.

So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program. And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility. Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word.” –Acts 6:2-4

God’s Word is so practical, so applicable to any situation.  In these three verses lies a simple outline for handling the rumblings of discontent.  As Christian leaders in our homes, communities, workplaces, and churches we should follow this model.

The Leadership of the group/team/organization/family should:

Step 1: Get everyone together and addresses the rumblings; as soon as possible

Step 2: Remind the team of the mission of the organization, in this instance it’s teaching the Word of God

Step 3: Address the rumblings and explain the ways in which they are distracting the team from its mission

Step 4: Put a plan in place to handle the complaints so that the mission can go forward

Step 5: Appoint wise and mature leaders from the team to carry out the plan

One of the most important sayings I’ve ever heard in the world of teams came from Mary Kay Ash, “People support what they help to create.”  This includes problem-solving.  This is just what the Disciples did, they called everyone together, addressed the problem and pulled everyone into the plan to solve it.

The Bible is the greatest leadership book ever written!

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word.  Help us to be the kind of leaders You planned for us to be.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Acts 8:1b-9:43

To Self-Promote or Not…That is the Question—Luke 14:7-11

Today’s Scripture Reading:  John 10:1-42, Luke 13:22-14:24

Have you ever been around someone

who was constantly

telling you how wonderful

THEY are?

You know, the kind of person who can take any topic and turn it to their favorite subject—themselves.

I’ve been in sales all my life and taught sales training and coaching for over 20 years; I know there are times when we need to promote our product, service, or business, but there’s a right and a wrong way of doing it.

Today’s reading teaches us the right way…

When Jesus noticed that all who had come to the dinner were trying to sit in the seats of honor near the head of the table, he gave them this advice:  “When you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t sit in the seat of honor. What if someone who is more distinguished than you has also been invited?  The host will come and say, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then you will be embarrassed, and you will have to take whatever seat is left at the foot of the table!

“Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, ‘Friend, we have a better place for you!’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests.  For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” —Luke 14:7-11

In Jesus’ day, as today, there were “status symbols” that helped people enhance and protect their high standing in society. If you were invited to the “right homes” and if you were seated in the “right places,” then people would know how important you really were. The emphasis was on reputation, not character. It was more important to sit in the right places than to live the right kind of life.

Experts in management tell us that most people wear an invisible sign that reads, “Please make me feel important”; if we heed that sign, we can succeed in human relations. On the other hand, if we say or do things that make others feel insignificant, we will fail. Then people will respond by becoming angry and resentful, because everybody wants to be noticed and made to feel important.

This kind of attitude betrays a false view of success. “Try not to become a man of success,” said Albert Einstein, “but try to become a man of value.” While there may be some exceptions, it is usually true that valuable people are eventually recognized and appropriately honored. Success that comes only from self-promotion is temporary, and you may be embarrassed as you are asked to move down (Prov. 25:6–7).

When Jesus advised the guests to take the lowest places, He was not giving them a “gimmick” that guaranteed promotion. The false humility that takes the lowest place is just as hateful to God as the pride that takes the highest place. God is not impressed by our status in society or in the church. He is not influenced by what people say or think about us, because He sees the thoughts and motives of the heart (1 Sam. 16:7). God still humbles the proud and exalts the humble (James 4:6).

Humility is a fundamental grace in the Christian life, and yet it is elusive; if you know you have it, you have lost it! It has well been said that humility is not thinking meanly of ourselves; it is simply not thinking of ourselves at all. Jesus is the greatest example of humility, and we would do well to ask the Holy Spirit to enable us to imitate Him (Phil. 2:1–16). From Warren Wiersbe’s Bible Exposition Commentary

Heavenly Father, we trust you to put us the appropriate seat at the table!

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Luke 14:25-17:10, John 11:1-37

I Want My Family in “The Family”–Matthew 16:13-17

Today’s Scripture Reading: Mark 8:22-30, Matthew 16:13-20, Luke 9:18-20, Mark 8:31-9:1, Matthew 16:21-28, Luke 9:21-27, Mark 9:2-13, Matthew 17:1-13, Luke 9:28-36

I want everyone I love and care about to be a part of the Family of God! I want them to have the free gift of eternal life!

Do you have family members, friends, or co-workers who don’t know Jesus Christ as their Savior?  I know I do.  I was having a conversation this past week-end with some of our family.  We were discussing our great desire for our all our family, friends and loved ones to “know Him.”

We were wondering

What we could say…

What we could do…

To help them to know Christ;

…maybe we could give them a DVD, a song, or a book.

Or maybe getting someone to talk with them,

yea, maybe that’ll  work!

After reading today’s scriptures it seems we should spend more time praying and asking God to reveal Himself to our loved ones in the method He thinks is best, and less time fretting, scheming and plotting to “get them saved.”

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”  “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”

Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah the Son of the living God.”

Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. —Matthew 16:13-17 (emphasis mine)

The apostle John also reminded us how we come to Jesus:

For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up. —John 6:44 (emphasis mine)

Less than twelve hours after that family conversation, God confirmed His Word by allowing us to witness a divinely orchestrated “God moment” in the lives of the very family members we were discussing.  Did they accept Jesus as their Savior?  I don’t know, we didn’t see any visible signs of interest.  But after what we saw, we KNOW God is working in their lives!

I’m still in awe of the way our God moved in this situation.

Let’s make a pact to pray more, worry less, and believe God to draw our loved ones to Himself.  Let’s take the God point of view rather than the human point of view.

Jesus turned around and looked at his disciples, then reprimanded Peter. “Get away from me, Satan!” he said. “You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” —Mark 8:33 (emphasis mine)

Heavenly Father, we want our family, friends, co-workers, and the whole world to know You.  Help us to continually pray for their salvation and then expect You to orchestrate it!  We ask You to work in their lives so that they will come to accept You as their Savior.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen.

 

 

© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Mark 9:14-29, Matthew 17:14-21, Luke 9:37-43a, Mark 9:30-32, Matthew 17:22-23, Luke 9:43b-45, Matthew 17:24-27, Mark 9:33-37, Matthew 18:1-6, Luke 9:46-48, Mark 9:38-41, Luke 9:49-50, Mark 9:42-50, Matthew 18:7-35

Prove It! — Luke 3:8

Today’s Scripture Reading: Matthew 2:1-23; Luke 2:41-52; Mark 1:1b-8; Matthew 3:1-12; Luke 3:1-18; Mark 1:9-11; Matthew 3:13-17; Luke 3:21-22

Have you ever heard the old saying, “Put your money where your mouth is?”  I’m not sure where this saying originated, but after today’s reading I’m thinking it may have come from John the Baptist.

When the crowds came to John for baptism, he said, “You brood of snakes! Who warned you to flee God’s coming wrath? Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones.  –Luke 3:7-8

So basically the message for us is…

Our life needs to line up with our testimony

Just saying we’re a Christian, Christ-follower, or we’ve been born again without having a life that reflects Jesus Christ, does nothing for the Kingdom of God, except maybe turn people away from Christ.

When John gave this message to the crowds they asked him what should they do?(Luke 3:10)

Or, in my paraphrase, What does this look like in our everyday life?

John replied, 

“If you have two shirts, give one to the poor

If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.

Even corrupt tax collectors came to be baptized and asked, “Teacher, what should we do?”

 He replied, 

Collect no more taxes than the government requires.

“What should we do?” asked some soldiers.

  John replied,

Don’t extort money or make false accusations. 

And be content with your pay.  –Luke 3:11-14

Humm, nothing is mentioned about church attendance, Bible reading, or prayer.

Why not?

Because those three things are tools that help us communicate with our God and learn His ways.

The things John mentioned are the fruit that displays our testimony.

We need the tools to cultivate the fruit!

Here’s another saying that John could have started:

Your actions speak so loudly I can’t hear

a word you are saying.

Heavenly Father, I pray that my words and my actions cause someone to know you more today.  Holy Spirit, show me the areas in my life that aren’t glorifying You.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Mark 1:12-13; Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-15; John 1:19-2:25

3 Reasons Why We Don’t Volunteer in Our Local Church–Nehemiah 11:1-2

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Nehemiah 11:1 through Nehemiah 12:26

As I read today’s passage, my western mindset was surprised that most Jews of that day did not want to live in the Holy City.

Here are 3 Reasons the Holy City Wasn’t Their Neighborhood of Choice:

  1. Because a greater strictness of conversation was expected from the inhabitants of Jerusalem than from others, which they were not willing to come up to.
  2. Because Jerusalem, of all places, was most hated by the heathen their neighbors, and against it their malicious designs were leveled, which made that the post of danger (as the post of honor usually is) and therefore they were not willing to expose themselves there.
  3. Because it was more for their worldly advantage to dwell in the country. Jerusalem was no trading city, and therefore there was no money to be got there by merchandise, as there was in the country by corn and cattle. Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible

In Nehemiah 7:4-5, God gave Nehemiah an idea to get the population up and the houses rebuilt.  In today’s reading we see that idea:

The leaders of the people were living in Jerusalem, the holy city. A tenth of the people from the other towns of Judah and Benjamin were chosen by sacred lots to live there, too, while the rest stayed where they were.  And the people commended everyone who volunteered to resettle in Jerusalem. –Nehemiah 11:1-2

Some of these citizens volunteered willingly while others had to be “drafted” (Neh. 11:1–2). The people had promised to tithe their produce (10:37–38), so Nehemiah decided to tithe the people; and 10 percent were chosen by lot to move from the villages into Jerusalem.

In today’s world most churches are in critical need of volunteers to work in all areas of ministry.  You would think that people who have been redeemed, rescued, and know the Lord would be thrilled to serve in any capacity.   But most don’t…

Why?

  1. Because leaders are held to a higher standard and most are not willing to come up to that standard.
  2. Because being a leader puts a target on our backs for criticism and judgment by family, co-workers, and friends.
  3. Because being a leader takes time, energy, and money and most would rather use those valuable resources for their own personal wealth and pleasure.

Very interesting…

The reasons why today’s church is low on volunteers are very similar to the reasons Nehemiah was having trouble getting the Jews to move back to Jerusalem.

Never underestimate the importance of simply being physically present in the place where God wants you. You may not be asked to perform some dramatic ministry, but simply being there is a ministry. The men, women, and children who helped to populate the city of Jerusalem were serving God, their nation, and future generations by their step of faith.

Heavenly Father, help us to commit to serving others through our local church.  Holy Spirit, show us how our talents, gifts, and time could make an eternal difference in the lives of people who don’t know you.  Jesus, stir us up, make us aware of the needs of a lost world.  Use us for Your Glory.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen.

 

© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller


Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Nehemiah 12:27 – 13:6; Nehemiah 5:14-19; Nehemiah 13:7-21; Malachi 1:1 – 2:9

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