Saturday, July 30: Proverbs 10- Cascading proverbs

Most of Proverbs reads like this chapter, pithy sayings on various subjects spliced together like pictures in a video montage. Sometimes my thoughts grow from themes I hear as I read, other times a particular proverb chapters my meditations. Today I noticed a bit of both.

There seemed to be a number of proverbs concerning our words.I pondered for a while about how I use my tongue. Do I use it to build up or tear down, to encourage or dishearten, for truth or bending the truth to suit my situation? Words are powerful tools and like the many power tools that fill my woodshop, when used correctly they can produce wondrous items.  However, when used incorrectly, they can injure a limb or integer in a nanosecond.

I pondered my words, which can often be strong and correcting, but can be appropriate when necessary. Question is, ‘do I balance strong and correcting with encouraging, uplifting and loving’? Hmmm, that’s one ‘ponder point’ for my time with the Lord this morning.

A second came as I read verse 29: The way of the LORD is a refuge for the righteous, but it is the ruin of those who do evil. I thought about the various reactions I have seen to the God of the Bible and the Words of Scripture. For some it is a stumbling stone and others, honey. As Solomon put it, ‘for some it is a refuge, for others ruin’. I pondered my responses to the way of the Lord. My reactions are not universally one way or the other. For those who have been following my reading, you know.  Sometimes God’s way hits me hard and challenges me deeply and at other times, I am able to receive it effortlessly…

Lord, I pray that as I grow and mature in You that I grow more and more able to receive and accept Your way in all areas of my life. I pray that I find my refuge in You and not in myself or in my culture or in my anything.

There is a song, Lord, that goes simply….Jesus be the center, be my source, be my life, Jesus.  May it be so. Amen.



Friday, July 29: Proverbs 9- Choices and Trends.

Choices, everyone has choices.  All of us make choices all the time. We choose which gas station to fill our cars at, which chips to buy for the party, which apartment to rent, what TV channel to watch, what teams to root for, what books/magazines to read, which phone to buy. Choices fill our lives. Most choices seem pretty innocuous when viewed individually.I mean, does it really matter if I have the ‘double baconator’ or a salad for lunch? Probably not, if it were truly independent, but we all tend to follow our self-chosen trends. I like certain sports teams and watch them regularly.  I don’t watch just any baseball team play. I choose certain TV shows and not others. A salad may have 300 calories; the ‘double baconator’, I recently learned, has over 2000! And reports just surfaced that the United States is escalating in obesity. 49 states now have 20% obesity rates! Scary.

Are choices independent?  Strictly speaking, yes, but we all have our personal trends.

Proverbs 9 zooms in on our choice of ‘wisdom v. folly’… appealing to us to choose wisdom. I know there are times I have chosen folly, poor choices dot my life (thank You, Jesus, for forgiveness and correction)… yet the Spirit’s nudge in my inner being is about my trend line. What is my pattern when it comes to ‘folly v. wisdom’?

What’s your trend line? Think about it.

Lord, unclog my ears that I might hear Your voice and choose wisdom time and time again. Please, Lord, help me. Help me in my areas of weakness.  Help me in times of stress and lack of clarity. Help me to choose wisdom, for Your sake and mine. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.




Thursday, July 28: Proverbs 8- A song to wisdom, an ode to understanding.

If you could give your son or daughter or younger protégé one piece of basic advice, what would it be? Really take a moment and ponder this.  One piece of advice, what would it be?

Ponder (let the Final Jeopardy theme play a few seconds in your mind before you read on).

Mulling on this, I believe the author of Proverbs would say, “Gain wisdom, seek understanding.” This theme has already emerged a number of times and now, yet again, the author gives an entire chapter, pressing readers to pursue wisdom and understanding. [W]isdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her (11).

So what should I do to heed this advice? That’s where my thoughts go next. It is one thing to wax eloquently about the pursuit of wisdom; it is a different thing to actually pursue her (in Proverbs wisdom in personified as a female).

  • Reading and attending to God’s Word would be one avenue.
  • Hanging with and learning from wise others, who have pursued wisdom throughout their lives, is another.

Both worthy endeavors.  Am I engaged in them? And so my morning meditations go…

I conclude with the final verses of the chapter:

For whoever finds me [wisdom] finds life and receives favor from the LORD. But whoever fails to find me harms himself; all who hate me love death (35-36).

Lord, why is it so easy to slack off and to not pursue wisdom or You with all my heart and soul and mind and strength? Why, Lord, can I have good intentions and then fall short, repeatedly? O Lord, my God, all I can do is cry out to You, ‘Help me, please. Help me give my energies and focus to things that matter to You.’ In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.


Wednesday, August 3: Proverbs 13- A Trio of Thoughts

Three Proverbs caught my attention as I read today.

Verse 3: He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.

Verse 12: Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

And verse 20: He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.

And the meditations sprung from those verses:

Verse 3: guard my tongue, particularly impulsive words. Rash words, impulsive promises, off the cuff remarks, angry outbursts, words spoken without thought and regard for follow through have a great deal to say about how I am to the people around me… guard my words.

Verse 12: I thought mostly about parenting.  Do I hold back things my children long for? Now, I am not thinking about supplying their every whim. But have I planted a seed about a special trip, gift, outing, adventure and then not followed through, causing them to loose hope in what I promised or in me? Hope deferred makes the heart sick.

Verse 20: who are my counselors, from whom do I listen to and learn? Who steadies my ship when it is rocking?  Their integrity and righteousness will directly affect mine.

O, Holy Spirit, is there a particular theme weaving these threee thoughts together or are these three individual correctives You have for me today? Continue to speak to me about these topics and others throughout this day. I am Yours.  Place me where You need me and use me as You desire. I pray this in the name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus. Amen.


Wednesday, July 27: Proverbs 7- Seduced.

It is amazing how often sexual sin is confronted by the writer of Proverbs. Young men beware. Foolish men beware. Successful men beware. Old men beware.

This chapter is a sad tale of one lured into the seductress’ lair… With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk (21).

I inadvertently read it in the Message translation first. Peterson’s translation of the final verse stings. She runs a halfway house to hell, fits you out with a shroud and a coffin (27).

Lord, protect me… protect my children… protect my friends from the seductress. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Tuesday, July 26: Proverbs 6- Seven Things the Lord Hates


This chapter, like most in Proverbs, is a series of pithy sayings on various topics. As I read through chapter 6, I first paused after verses 6-11 and contemplated the sluggard or lazy person. Proverbs will have much to say to the person who does not apply him/herself. I thought about the instruction to work diligently in these verses but quickly moved on because my nature is generally to work hard and diligently, so these verses were simply feeding how I generally live.

Verses 16-19.  Now they gave me food for thought and contemplations. There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

I took a slow walk though these seven things…

1- Haughty eyes: other translations read a ‘proud look.’ People who have an air about them that says I am better than you, I am better than others…

2- Lying: God hates lying.  He hates those small white lies I often convince myself are okay and the big lies that destroy the fabric of any relationship, be it interpersonal or work related.

3- Murder: since the account of Cain and Able in Genesis 4, God has been against murder, the killing of innocent life. Jesus reminds us in Matthew 5:21-22 that we can ‘murder’ people with our words as well as our hands.

4- Scheming wicked heart: people who work at defrauding, cheating, stealing and exploiting others.

5- People who rush into evil: people who seem to enjoy a dalliance with evil, who like to dance on/over the ethical/legal/community-appropriate line.

6- False witness; people who perjure to place blame on others or remove blame from self or cover up wrong doing.

7- Dissention creators: people who stir the pot so strife between people grows.

Attempting to write descriptions for these ‘things’ helped me to process these words from the Lord. Otherwise, I might have rush past them.

Questions swirl within my soul.  Am I avoiding these seven things God hates?

Lord, help me to look deep within, to examine and see who I am and how I am living. Are any of these ‘things’ found in me? Painfully, yes.  So purge them from me. Holy Spirit, convict me of my sin that I might confess and receive forgiveness mercy and grace…through Jesus, I pray. Amen.


Monday, July 25: Proverbs 5- Beware Adultery

The two words in the heading capture the essence of this chapter.  Beware Adultery.

How many lives are scandalized due to adultery? Presidents, governors, senators, congressmen, pastors, world leaders, celebrities and everyday people have lives torn by sexual indiscretion! Families are destroyed, legacies tarnished and futures unrealized because of adultery. Even though films and TV normalize sexual indiscretion, everyday lives are ripped apart by violating the advice of this proverb.

Think about it… For the lips of an adulteress drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword (5-6).

Lord, I am so thankful that, by Your grace, I have heeded the words of this proverb. Lord, I say this in a spirit of humility.  Keep me close to You, burn Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You or those I love most dearly in my life. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Saturday, July 23: Proverbs 4- Guard your heart

 ‘Wisdom and understanding’… these are the catch words for the chapter. Grow in them, honor them, pursue them, and live by them… such is my brief of this chapter. We should all remember, of course, that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

Building on this foundation, verse 23 says, Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.

I began meditating on the ‘heart.’ It describes the seat of emotions… the place from which we love and we hate. Guard that place. I must make sure my love grows and doesn’t wither… love for the Lord, love for my wife, love for my family and so on. I should monitor my emotions, and not let them rule my life but use them as indicators of the things rumbling and tumbling within me.

The ‘heart’ is used to describe the center of a person. I need to guard my center and my core, who I am in the depth of my being. Guard those inner places…

The heart, by some measurements, is the most important muscle in the body. Although moving beyond the intended meaning of the text, I thought about what it takes to keep my heart physically healthy, so that I may give all my strength to the Lord…

Guard my heart, guard your heart… that is the quiet place the Lord took me this morning as I spent time with Him and His Word.

Jesus, thank you for my heart. Lord Jesus, I pledge my heart to You. Lord of my life and Lord of my heart, I am Yours. Lead me and direct me that I may follow Your way and grow in Your wisdom and understanding. Amen and Amen.


Friday, July 22: Proverbs 3-

Many verses and sayings provided moments of devotion. Such is the nature of Proverbs, as wise sayings from many topics are spliced together. For whatever reason verses 3-4 stuck to me today. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man (NIV).

I read these verses again in the NASV: Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute In the sight of God and man.

Love/kindness and faithfulness/truth… these are the two virtues Solomon imparts to his sons.  If we write them in our hearts we will find favor and a good name with God and others.That’s quite a promise.

I spent some time mulling on those virtues.

Love/kindness: if I treat people right and do good things for those who need it, if I care for people in ways that matter, build others up as opposed to tearing them down, I will find favor before God and people. It does matter how I treat people. And Jesus taught that what I do for the least of these I do for Him! Hmmm, Solomon got it right, I’d say.

Faithfulness/truth: “Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and ‘no’, ‘no’”, said Jesus. ‘Speak the truth in love’, wrote Paul. ‘Put on truth/faithfulness’, instructed Solomon. Be men and women of our word and use our words and life for truth… that honors God and men. Again, the more I ponder, the more potent Solomon’s words grow.

Lord, it is not knowing these truths that is the difficult part, it is living them. Too often the video of my life shows that I can be harsh with others rather than loving. I can be coarse instead of kind.  Forgive me, pleas,se and help me to change my ways and grow in Your ways! And the same goes for faithfulness and truth. I can twist and alter truth to suit my situation. The mirror of your Word can be painful at times. Agai,n I ask Your forgiveness and seek Your strength to change and live differently… to live better and higher, to live Your way. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Thursday, July 21: Proverbs 2- Wisdom.

Solomon offers his words as a foundation for his sons. The core of his words is to seek wisdom. [Y]ou will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding (5-6).

And the wisdom that God gives will help us discern good from evil, keep us from wandering from God’s path as well as sexual, monetary and other problems.

As I thought about this, it is true. God’s way does help me navigate the twists and turns of life. Fear God and one will find knowledge. In other places we are told that fearing God is the beginning of wisdom. Who of us doesn’t want knowledge and wisdom? I know I do.

And yet as I pondered all this, I recognized that God’s wisdom and knowledge is so much more than information. Information is part of it, but it is also a deep seated desire to act and do what is right and honorable and good in God’s eyes…

Lord, help me to attend to Solomon’s words, to fear You, O my God, and to open my life to Your knowledge and Your wisdom… In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


Wednesday, July 20: Proverbs 1- Prudent.

   I appreciate the opening of Proverbs, which is the reason for its writings. I focused on the third ‘for;’ for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair. ‘Prudent’ isn’t an oft used word these days so I looked up synonyms: careful, cautious, sensible, practical, discreet. Quite a list. ‘Prudent’ certainly pairs well with ‘disciplined.’

But what caused me to reflect most was why one lives disciplined and prudent lives… so that we can do what is right and just and fair. Right… just… fair.  My the world would be a different place if people lived that way.

If attending to this book of Scripture will help produce that in me then this should be a wonderfully enriching read! I pray so…

I read once that Billy Graham took it upon himself to read one chapter of Proverbs a day which means he basically read Proverbs 12 times a year! Seems to me that he is living proof that attending to this book will help produce a discipline and prudent life, on what is right and just and fair.

Lord, as I read this book, I pray that You work on me, that You produce discipline and prudence in me so that my life reflects Your desires. Change me, Lord, file off the rough edges and cement up the broken pieces of my life, that I might be transformed into the likeness of Jesus, my Savior.  In His name I pray. Amen.



Tuesday, July 19: 1Corinthians 16- Money and Fortitude.

As soon as my eyes landed on the opening words of this chapter (On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made (2)), God began to nudge me to consider my giving to kingdom work. Oh, I fulfill these words. I give a proportion (I tithe to my church and then give beyond that to other kingdom work) regularly but the Spirit’s Word to me was, have I become complacent with giving?  Even smug that I give and others should, too.  Ouch, I was kind of hoping for one of those ‘pick me up I love’ devotional mornings. Yet God is serving up a challenge!

I made no decisions to deepen my giving this morning but I am talking with God about it. After all, everything I have is from God. I am steward, He is Lord and maybe God wants me to rearrange my living so that I dedicate more of my resources directly to His work.

After this extended meditation on verse two, I continued reading… and stopped once again on verse 13: Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. The third challenge, in particular, hit me… be a man (woman) of courage… Courage to change how I am living (giving?), courage to be more intentional with my faith, courage to live more faithfully to Jesus and to risk being different for kingdom sake…

If one challenge wasn’t enough, God added more…

Lord, help me to believe that You have given me everything I need to live as You would have me live. I know I cannot do it on my own but You have already supplied me with Your Holy Spirit who supplies way more than I lack. Holy Spirit, lead me, guide me, embolden me for Your work today and all my todays. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Monday, July 18: 1Corinthians 15- Working harder

Many stopping points occurred during this amazing chapter on the Resurrection. Thoughts that we will one day be raised from the dead and given bodies that will never wear out and will last all of eternity still boggles my mind. I really cannot fathom eternity…

Of all the amazing meditation points, these words by Paul spurred my thinking and contemplation most deeply. For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. Whether, then, it was I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed (9-11).

In the first Rocky movie there are scenes where he is training. Rocky puts everything he has into his training.  It is his one shot. During some of the workout scenes, the theme song plays in the background.  It doesn’t have many words but there are places where the words, (“Trying hard now, it's so hard now, trying hard now… Getting strong now, won't be long now, getting strong now… Gonna fly now, flying high now, gonna fly, fly, fly”) are heard in the background of the song (if you don’t remember this check it out at It is one of the classic film scenes and it depicts a man giving everything he has to reach the goal he has set.

That’s what I hear Paul doing in these verses, by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. Paul, fueled by God’s grace, gives everything he has into his service of Jesus, his Lord!

The Holy Spirit’s challenge to me this a.m. is to put the effort and hard work into my faith that Paul put into his and Rocky his…

O, God, give me the strength and the perseverance to work harder at my faith and service to You that others… I will need Your grace to do this and especially to do it for Your honor and glory not mine! Amen.


Saturday, July 16: 1Corinthians 14- Building other up.

Paul’s snapshot of worship in Corinth is quite a bit different that any church I have worshipped with, including charismatic/Pentecostal churches. As I was reading and meditating on this chapter, it was not worship that stuck to my soul but Paul’s opening.  As I meditated, it seems to set the tenor and foundation for the rest of what he instructs in this chapter. Paul opens thusly: Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. … everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort (1, 3).

When it comes to prophecy, tongues and charismatic gifts, particularly charismatic speaking gifts, the present-day church is a divided body. Our worldview and experiences often cause us to run to our theological constructs rather than letting God’s Word refresh and instruct us.

Let me repeat Paul’s words: Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. … everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort.

Just yesterday chapter 13 gave the most eloquent definition and word-picture of love… patient, kind, not envious or boastful, keeping no record of wrongs, trusting, persevering etc. Wow, if everyone lived like that the world would be a different place! Paul opens chapter 14, follow the way of love… Don’t forget yesterday’s word about love, incorporate it into your (my) life, repeats the Lord!

Then God continues, telling us to eagerly desire spiritual gifts. Two days ago God told us that spiritual gifts rightly used are for the common good (12:7). Hmm, sounds like God wants us to focus our lives on helping others, which is not all too different than God’s call to love.

Lastly, Paul instructs eagerly desire spiritual gifts especially prophecy, which he goes on to describe as strengthening, encouraging and comforting. Maybe I am overdoing it, but again, I hear in that definition a deep concern for building others up in life and in the Lord.

Wow, when I add up this entire equation it seems God is hammering me (us, the church) that we have to be about building up one another. Stop worrying about self and start living for and caring for brothers and sisters in the body! To do so we need love, gifts, prophecy…

I have been with people who have ‘received a word’ in prayer that totally encourages and builds up the person being prayed for! I think God smiles. I have watched people share a scripture with another person that is totally encouraging and blessing. I think God smiles. Just yesterday I was on the phone with a hurting person and I worked to pour hope and care into that person’s life. I believe God smiled.

Okay, I get it God. I have my marching orders for today and all my today’s… The Spirit is saying how I want you to live…Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. Live to strengthen, encourage and comfort others.

Lord, may I be that kind of person, helping others to live well, to live strong and to trust in You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Friday, July 15: 1Corinthians 13- Love

In our American culture this chapter has become connected to marriage. Although it is certainly fitting to read this incredible description of love at a wedding, we must not pigeonhole this definition with marriage only. In its original context it is written to a divided church and this definition of love is applicable to almost any interpersonal situation. Listen to the heart of the chapter again and apply it to any situation that springs to mind:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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. Love never fails (4-8a).

Like the ripples radiating out from a stone tossed into a lake, I plumbed my living up against this definition, considering my ever-widening circles of relationships of my life: to my wife & family, extended family, friends, church, community…

Lord, I weighed my living and came up wanting. I need so much growth… not easily angered, keeps no records of wrongs… is kind, always perseveres… O, God, I realize again how much I need Your strength to live as You would have me live. Grow Your  fruit (Gal 5:22-23) in my life.  I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.



Thursday, July 14: 1Corinthians 12- T-E-A-M

I recently attended a Gospel concert with an Island/Jamaican flair. It was a great night. One of the soloist’s talked about TEAM – saying Together Everyone Accomplishes More. I liked that and as I turned to this morning’s reading I think Paul would like that, too.

Two topics dominate chapter 12:  Holy Spirit gifts/manifestations and teaching that the body needs to work together. One linkage between the two is accomplishing the common good and kingdom work.  We need the HS and all His gifts to do that.  We also need all the body of Christ working together, employing God’s gifts and callings for the common good and kingdom advance.

TEAM –Together Everyone Accomplishes More and the common good is best served and God’s kingdom is best advanced.

Take a deep look inside, the Spirit nudged. Are you using all the gifts God has given you?  Are you using them within and together with your local expression of the body of Christ?

Think about it.  I am…

Lord, You have given me gifts and abilities, education and experiences. I intentionally offer them back to You to be used in Your service, with how You see fit and within Your body and together with Your people… Use me… Please! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen




Wednesday, July 13: 1Corinthians 11-The advantage of a mentor


The first verse was literally highlighted as I opened the text on my computer. It always is because my Bible program highlights the first verse but somehow the words seized me. Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. Want to know how to follow Jesus?  Watch and emulate mature believers. Paul bids the Corinthians to follow him.

Two problems follow… what women and men should wear on their heads when they pray and prophecy during the gathering. Also concerns with the Lord’s Supper.

In both situations Paul, the mentor and the wise mature believer, offers his understanding, advice and direction. Regarding the two issues addressed in this chapter, the mentor sees a problem and addresses it. Beginning next chapter, the mentor speaks to issues about which the mentee (the Corinthians) apparently inquired.

The specifics of the chapter fade as the big picture brightens. I ponder who I turn to when I have questions about following Jesus. Who speaks God’s truth into my living? Who straightens me out? Over the years I have had men I emulate but I have never had a singular mentor. Likewise I have encouraged and advised younger believers but never had a singular mentee.

Hmmm, should I? This is worth praying through and seeking the Lord about.

How about you?

O, God, is there a ‘Paul’ for me? A wiser more mature brother whose example I could follow? Lord, is there a younger man for whom I could be a ‘Paul’? Make it clear to me, Lord… Amen.


Tuesday, July 12: 1Corinthians 10- 3 "should not's" and a comment

I continually find it interesting how God seems to highlight portions of the text as I do my devotional reading. Generally there is a word, thought, comment, or idea that sparks and I offer it to God and ask God to speak with me about it.

Today the first spark came in verses 8-10. Building from an OT example, Paul offers 3-‘should not’s’ for those of us seeking to walk the way of Jesus. We should not commit sexual immorality … We should not test the Lord … And do not grumble… It appears that the Corinthian society like our own was sex crazed because Paul again warns about sexual immorality. This is the 3rd or 4th time sexual immorality has come up in this letter! I think I get it, Lord.

Testing the Lord is a new warning. I pondered that. Hmmm… could I be testing God when I ‘try God’s patience” by constantly flirty with evil or idolatry rather than being wholly committed to the Lord? I suppose it could also be when I lay a fleece before God or confront God to have Him prove His God-ness to me? I am not to control God, God is to direct me. I am the servant and I need to beware of making God my servant!

Then came grumbling. Israel grumbled constantly in the wilderness.  ‘God, the food You provide isn’t good enough. We don’t have enough meat. We need water… whine, whine, whine. I want, I want, I want. You’re not nice enough to me… blah, blah, blah. Complain, complain, complain’. When I (we) grumble and whine, I am (we are), again, turning the tables and making God my servant instead of serving Him!

As I read on, verse 24 also stood out: Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.

A theme emerged as I meditated on these texts. Following God –faithfulness to God- is not about me and what pleases me or takes care of me or makes my life the simplest or most comfortable. Faith in the Lord is submitting to Him, receiving what comes from His hand and serving others… that in all things I might help God’s kingdom grow and glorify the Lord God Almighty.

I surrender all… I surrender all. All to Jesus I surrender. I surrender all. Amen.



Monday, July 11: 1Corinthians 9- Not hindering the gospel.

The sentence stood out as if it were highlighted; On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ (12b).

We put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ… it stuck to me like darts to a dart board. Paul would put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ. That’s why he worked to pay for his expenses when he could have expected the churches to pay for his living.

Then a few sentences later Paul explains further what he means. Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings (19-23).

So when he is with Jews, he lives under the Jewish law to make those with whom he is living comfortable. When his target audience is ‘weak’ (probably a buzz word for people who believe in idols, etc.) he won’t eat meat so as to not make them uncomfortable. Paul adapts to his context to have the best possibility to share the gospel of Jesus.

Paul will not press his rights but intentionally surrenders them so that we can present the most connecting and infecting witness possible.

I sat thinking about Paul, realizing how much growth I still have. I wondered about my life. Do I live in ways that hinder the gospel or diminish my witness? Do I, Lord?

Those were my meditation points for today, I offer them to you for your contemplation and meditation.

Lord, I aspire to live so that my life in no way hinders the gospel of Jesus. Holy Spirit, show me areas of necessary change. Change You seek and You desire in my life. In Jesus’ name and for the advancement of God’s kingdom, I pray. Amen.


Saturday, July 9: 1Corinthians 8 - Knowledge & Love

To our information world, Paul makes a staggering statement: Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up (1). He then proceeds to show how someone with knowledge can destroy the faith of someone with less knowledge. And yet if the same knowledgeable person also possessed love, s/he would not destroy the faith of the less knowledgeable person.

A-Ha! I had one of those ‘a-ha’ moments. Originally I thought it was knowledge verses love but I was wrong. Paul’s equation is not knowledge vs. love, it is knowledge and love (or knowledge vs. knowledge + love). Certainly Paul wants believers to grow in knowledge. Knowledge is essential to growth (read Romans 12:1-2), but knowledge needs to be tempered by love and care for others or else it can destroy others.

So as I grow in my discipleship I should be evaluating myself both facets of life… Knowledge –am I learning more and more about God and His scriptures and how they apply to my life and living? and Love –applying the spirit, care and love of God to those around me.

Knowledge says ‘know the scriptures’…

Love says ‘live so as to build and help others grow… sacrificing self for others even!’

I am better at growing in knowledge than love… Lord God, help me develop love alongside of knowledge. Help me become a more ‘Jesus-like’ person rather than simply a more knowledgeable person. Help me, Lord, to willingly lay my rights aside that others might be loved and grow in You. Amen.



Friday, July 8: 1Corinthians 7- Mutuality and Marriage

Chapter 7 is written from a world perspective where men dominated. In the first century Roman world men ruled. Men had rights and freedoms; women had comparatively few and in some cases women were treated under the law as property. Given that general background, I find it incredibly fascinating how mutual Paul’s instructions are to both women and men regarding these various marriage situations. Hmmm, worth pondering…

As I step back from the various particulars of this chapter, I am struck by Paul’s singular devotion to the Lord and how that impacts all aspects of his life and is to impact all aspects of the believer’s life. Devotion to the Lord is crucial in determining whether to marry or stay single. If you can control yourself (i.e. your sexual desires) then don’t marry because you can serve the Lord better if single. But if you cannot control yourselves, it is better to marry than burn with passion. In other words, it is better to marry and have an appropriate sexual outlet than to be single and fight sexual urges all your life.

Paul also says, those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this. … a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world--how he can please his wife (28, 33). Paul’s point seems to be that married people have divided loyalties; they have loyalties to the Lord and to their spouse. Wow, we do not think about marriage like that.  How it will impact our service to the Lord?!?

We don’t think about life like that either… my mind spins with questions I rarely, if ever, ask myself:

·         If I make this purchase (fill in the blank) will it allow me to serve the Lord better or will it pull me from the Lord’s service?

·         Follow up question: could the money necessary for the purchase be better used to serve You and Your kingdom if it were given away or used in some other way?

I can ask similar questions about money use; vacations, moves, mission trips, entertainment, hobbies, education, career and so on.

Lord, my meditations have moved far afield from marriage to questions of devotion, dedication and service to You. I can, and often do, live so self-centeredly instead of centering my life on serving You and Your kingdom. As I continue to wrestle with all of this, please guide me by Your Holy Spirit because sometimes erroneous guilt rises up in me and that is not of You.

I pledge my allegiance to You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit… Amen.


Thursday, July 7: 1Corinthians 6- Lawsuits and Immorality.?!?

If anyone ever says that following Jesus need not impact ones behavior, just have them read 1Corinthians. Behavior is the fruit of faith. As healthy trees produce good fruit, so we are to live good lives.

Regarding the lawsuits concern verses 7-8 landed like an MMA kick to the midsection. The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers. Does that present a different way of living than we experience or what?!

The underlying issue of problems between fellow believers is a given. Paul suggests that possibly we should live with being wronged rather than make a big stink about it. How’s that for a counter-way to live?

Believers cheating other believers, that’s why they are defeated already! We should be able to live above this petty way of living…

What I am seeing in the text, both yesterday and today, is that we should be able to live differently. We should be able to live to a higher, more-godly standard. I am wondering why we don’t seem to crucify the sinful nature as Paul apparently expects the Corinthian believers to be able to do. It baffles Paul’s mind that some in the church are living sexually impure lives and that they would cheat one another.

The question that floats for me is the issue of a higher standard. “Do I hold myself to a higher standard? I should live differently. I should live with ‘Christ like’ regard and love and concern for others. How I live matters. Am I a person of Jesus honoring integrity? Am I?”

These are the self-examining questions that the Holy Spirit presses into me as I sit with God’s word this morning.

Lord, help me to stop playing it safe.  Help me with total abandon to give myself to living faithfully in all areas of my life. Through You, Jesus, I pray to the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.





Saturday, July 2: 1Corinthians 2- What's your foundation?

I found myself focused on verse 2: For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. The centrality of Jesus and the cross! Paul resolved to know nothing except Jesus and the cross. Before I knew it I found myself humming an old hymn (Edward Mote, 1834:

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

Refrain: On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.


His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.


When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.


It’s all about Jesus and what He did for me/us on the cross. Paul built his preaching, his ministry and his life on Jesus and the cross.

The thought came: “What about me? What am I building my life upon?”

Now how about you? What are you building your life upon?

A worthy meditation point on the eve of the Lord’s Day…

O, God, when my earthly life ends and I am called before Your throne of judgment, may I be found standing on Jesus Christ alone, dressed in Christ’s righteousness in which He clothed me when I believed in Him as Savior and Lord. Amen.


Phone instructions

Here we go again:



Go to Manage connections ( looks red and like a golf tee) go to options: Mobile Network options


Look for Data Services and make sure turned on

Go to while roaming and make sure turned on

Go to mobile network if it says Verizon that’s a problem

Go to network selection mode should say automatic

Go to network technology and it should say global or gsm.


This is the 1st level of troubleshooting.  If this does not work you can call there Global Support number at 908-559-4899, use your Nigeria phone to call since you will need to look at your blackberry.  


Hope that is helpful. Sorry you didn’t get the info yesterday, I did text it shortly after our conversation.  


Lisa Steigerwald

Administrative Assistant

Presbyterian Church of Old Greenwich

38 West End Avenue

Old Greenwich, CT 06870


Fax 203.698.1370


Friday, July 1: 1Corinthians 1

After the long journey through Job, it was refreshing to read in the New Testament and particularly to read one of the letters where so many verses offered a cool refreshing spiritual drink. Here are a couple of my spiritual pauses.

Verse 2: Paul writes To the church of God in Corinth … together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ--their Lord and ours: I was struck by the “together with.” My natural focus is with my church and the people I worship and serve with regularly. And yet this phrase caused me to think about the millions who call on Jesus throughout the world, most of whom I will never meet. God loves and cares for them as much as He does me. And God loves and cares for their churches as much as He does for the one I gather with regularly. And the Scripture I am reading speaks as boldly and strongly to each of them as it does to me.  I meditated on the wonder of God’s word and the beauty and variety of God’s world-wide family.

Then I paused for a while with verse 10-17 and Paul’s plea for no divisions among you. That short section ends with the phrase lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. The thought that divisions empty the cross of its power stunned me. I don’t recall connecting divisions within a local church with emptying the cross of power before! How sad. How true. When divisions prevail they typically garner our focus and attention.  And guess what, we stop being about God’s agenda and we start fighting, quarrelling and concentrating our own agenda. Thus the cross of Christ fades to the background, so, yes, the cross looses its power. This is frightening. What a cleaver plan by Satan, the enemy of God, to derail God’s people from God’s mission.

Jesus, forgive me for allowing stuff to get in the way of doing Your business and being about Your kingdom mission. Divisions, selfishness, personal wants and desires, laziness, the good life, all these and so many other issues can cause me to remove my eyes and heart from You and place them elsewhere. Please forgive me and help me to keep You front and center in my living and serving… Amen.