Rudy Ross and I have talked with each other about the Bible for over 20 years. A year ago, we began posting YouTube videos of our conversations.
The videos and my blog articles this week will include prayer for Ukraine, along with a study of 1 Corinthians.
Today’s Prayer Suggestion
When at a loss for what to say in prayer, we can resort to the best prayer that has ever been uttered.
“Pray then in this way:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us to the time of trial,
but rescue us from the evil one. (Matthew 6.9-13)
Begin by making yourself aware of the presence of God, who is listening to you. Next, pray the Lord’s Prayer and focus on each request that Jesus instructed us to say.
The Poverty of Human Wisdom
Paul sought to influence the church, not the whole of Corinthian society, with his letter. The church had embraced the cultural norms of Corinth, instead of transforming them.
The church needed correction and Paul wrote to set them on the right course.
— 1 Corinthians 1.26-29 – Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.
But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;
God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are,
So that no one might boast in the presence of God.
The wisdom of the world has produced the most horrific war in Europe in the past 80 years.
The United States – and often the church – has accepted the wisdom of this world, and the result is extreme division and polarization.
By no means, should the church imitate the world’s wisdom. This problem and Paul’s answer is the theme of 1 Corinthians.
The wisdom teachers of Corinth met in the forum to display their rhetorical skills and entertain the crowds. It didn’t matter if their message had merit or not, as long as it was entertaining.
People strove for high status and reputation. Humility was not valued but was seen as a weakness of character.
Let’s not forget that Satan’s character flaw was pride and a will to exalt himself above God. People join forces with Satan when they allow pride and self-exaltation to run rampant.
To a church that was tempted to mimic the behavior of the “great” ones of Corinth, Paul held up the example of humble servants.
Humble servants, who live in self-surrender like Jesus, exalt God not themselves. God calls us to live like the Savior, not the world’s rich and famous.
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
Who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
But emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross. (Philippians 2.5-8)
Imitate the One Who Loves You
I can give you a very long list of people who don’t care for you or have any time to give you.
On the other hand, the One who matters most loves you and is always available.
— 1 Corinthians 1.30-31 – He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption,
In order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
In three different realms of life, the Crucified One has made a radical difference for us.
(1) Justice – Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross grants us righteousness in the face of judgment.
(2) Religious – We are set apart for God’s purposes (sanctification) when we receive Jesus’ free gift of salvation.
God gives humans who live with him the awesome opportunity to join him in his activity in the world.
(3) Freedom – Redemption is the act of setting a slave free. Humans are freed from the power of sin through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
Here is a question to ponder. Why should we imitate people who don’t know us or care about us, when we can model our lives after the One who loved us and gave us abundant life?
Prayer for Ukraine and YouTube
Please join Rudy Ross and me in praying for Ukraine. We have devoted the next seven videos and my blog articles to praying for the needs of this country. The videos can be found on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
Please email your prayer request to firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.