1 Corinthians 16

Yes, Lord! My life is in YOUR hands.
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“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.” (16:13-14 NIV)
“Keep your eyes open, hold onto the faith with all you’ve got, stand up like a man, develop your muscles. Let your every act be an expression of love.” (16:13-14 Cotton Patch Version)
“Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping.” (16:13-14 MSG)
“Keep alert. Be firm in your faith. Stay brave and strong. Show love in everything you do.” (16:13-14 CEV)

These words were some that You moved Paul to pen just as he wrapped up his first letter to the Corinthians, Lord. He was encouraging their steadfastness as they awaited his visit. How applicable these words are for us today, as we await Your return visit to us!

“BE ON YOUR GUARD” — Keep me aware of the tools the enemy uses to undermine or attack my faith in You.
“STAND FIRM IN THE FAITH” — Let nothing move me from the conviction that You are faithful to all that You say.
“BE COURAGEOUS” — Fill me with a boldness that draws its strength from knowing who I am in You and because of You.
“BE STRONG” — Strengthen me with Your power by Your Holy Spirit as You guide me in facing anything.
“DO EVERYTHING IN LOVE” — Continually shape my nature so that this is a natural part of who I am. Make me a reflection of Jesus. Amen.

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1 Corinthians 15:12-58

Yes, Lord! My life is in YOUR hands.
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“…Christ has indeed been raised from the dead,…in Christ all will be made alive …
When you sow, you don’t plant the body that will be, but just a seed,…
But God gives it a body AS HE HAS DETERMINED, and to each kind of seed He gives its own body…
so it will be with the resurrection of the dead.
The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised IMPERISHABLE;
it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in GLORY;
it is sown in weakness, it is raised in POWER;
it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” (15:20, 22, 37-38, 42-44 NIV)

What a wondrous Day that will be, Father, when we all get to see YOU face to face!  How fantastic to think that even the very best that we’ve known here in this life can’t compare to that which You have awaiting us in our life after this life on earth!

This body I have now will one day die; and You’ll exchange it for one that can never die.

This body has been enslaved and dishonored by sin; but the new one You have for me will be gloriously unbound and free.

This body is frail; but that new one will be a powerful reflection of You.

This body is a natural, human address, a temporary dwelling for who I truly am in You; yet one day I’ll reside in a spiritual body just like Jesus’  (Php. 3:20-21)

Thank You for making my resurrection possible through Your Son’s death, burial and resurrection, as He conquered the “last enemy” (15:26 NIV), death, so that I might know new, abundant, and eternal life with YOU!  Amen.

1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Yes, Lord! My life is in YOUR hands.

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“…Christ DIED for our sins according to the Scriptures,…
He was BURIED…
He was RAISED on the third day according to the Scriptures,…
He APPEARED to [several followers].” (v 3-8 NIV)

Thank You, Father, for conveying this message of hope (assurance) and mercy and freedom.  This path Jesus took was His path of victory over sin and death, as He won that battle for me!  Thank You so much, Jesus!

  • Your death stripped away my sin.
  • Your burial put aside my old self.
  • Your resurrection birthed my new self.
  • Your appearing modeled the witnessing You call me to.
  • Your ascension sets the stage for Your return to take me Home.

“…by the grace of God I am what I am…yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” (v 10 NIV)

Thank You for Your grace toward me, Father.  Were it not for grace, I shudder to think of where or what I’d be.

You saw me before I was even born, and by Your grace, You chose then to love me.

You saw me in my sin, and by Your grace, You chose to forgive me.

You see me in my frail humanity, and by Your grace, You choose to transform me.

It’s by Your grace alone, Lord, that I am who I am, and that I am becoming who I will be, as You keep making me just like Jesus.  Amen.

1 Corinthians 14

Yes, Lord! My life is in YOUR hands.

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“Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it — because it does.  Give yourselves to the gifts God gives you.  Most of all, try to proclaim the truth … letting others in on the truth, so that they can grow and be strong and experience His presence with you.” (14:1, 3 MSG)

“A life of love sure sounds like something much bigger than me, Father.  It’s got to be You at work in me to transform every crevice of my life into a nook where Your love is found.  Only when You invade all of me can there be an overhaul of my character.  Here I am, Lord: surrendered, willing, open, available.  Do what You need to do so that my life more fully reflects and conveys Your love.

Thank You for the gifts You’ve given me through Your Holy Spirit within me.  Thank You for the opportunities You supply in which I may use them.  Guide me in using them.  YOU be the one directing my investment of those gifts.

Use me, Lord, as a mouthpiece for conveying Your truth to this world, which is groping around trying to find and define “truth.”  Put me into situations that call for Your truth to be presented; and I’m confident that You will supply every word, resource, or means necessary for sharing that Truth.

LOVE – GIFTS – TRUTH — all three originate in YOU alone, Father.  YOU are Love.  You give gifts.  You are Truth.  AND, YOU are MY God, my Papa, who loves me always, who showers gifts abundantly, and who trains me to walk in Truth consistently, as You make me just like Jesus.  Amen.

1 Corinthians 13

Yes, Lord! My life is in YOUR hands.

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Father, a couple of chapters back, You had Paul write, “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ” (11:1 NIV).  If this chapter (13) were a tangible inventory list that You used to examine my life daily, how many days would there be so few check marks to count?!

Inside me is a desire to love like You do, yet my humanity can so often push its way forward to cut in line and be what gets noticed or conveyed.  Still, Father, keep on working on my heart and mind so that this list could one day be a resume of my life in You (derived from the Amplified Bible):

  • Loves with endurance, patience and kindness
  • Loves without ever being envious or boiling over with jealousy
  • Loves without boasting, vainglory, or displaying herself haughtily
  • Loves without conceit, arrogance or being inflated with pride
  • Loves without being rude, unmannerly, or acting unbecomingly
  • Loves without insisting on her own rights or her own way, not self-seeking.
  • Loves without being touchy, fretful, or resentful
  • Loves without taking account of the evil done to her, paying no attention to a suffered wrong (Prov  19:11)
  • Loves without rejoicing at injustice and unrighteousness
  • Loves by rejoicing when right and truth prevail
  • Loves by bearing up under anything and everything that comes.
  • Loves by being ever ready to believe the best of every person
  • Loves with hopes that are fadeless under all circumstances
  • Loves by enduring everything without weakening

“And so faith, hope, love abide
[faith–conviction and belief respecting man’s relation to God and divine things;
hope–joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation;
love–true affection for God and man, growing out of God’s love for and in us],
these three; but the greatest of these is love” (13:13 AMP)

Here I stand before You, Lord, fully admitting that I am nothing without You, that I cannot love anyone fully without You infusing me with YOUR love.  Here I am, fill me up.  Keep making me just like Jesus.  Amen.

1 Corinthians 12

Yes, Lord! My life is in YOUR hands.
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“God’s various gifts are handed out everywhere;
    but they all originate in God’s Spirit.
God’s various ministries are carried out everywhere;
    but they all originate in God’s Spirit.
God’s various expressions of power are in action everywhere;
    but God Himself is behind it all.
Each person is given something to do that shows who God is:
    Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits.” (12:4-6 MSG)

Father, how diverse and extensive is Your Church!  You’ve put us together in the manner which You know will best carry out Your plan for redeeming this world from slavery to sin.  You’ve fashioned us into a Body, setting Your Son, Jesus as the head.

MANY PARTS YET ONE BODY (12:12 MSG)

“Your body has many parts–limbs, organs, cells–but no matter how many parts you can name, you’re still one body.  It’s exactly the same with Christ.  By means of His one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives.  We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which HE has final say in everything.”

Thanks for drawing me to You, Lord, to become part of those “many parts.”  Thanks too for connecting my life in varying depths to so many other parts of this Body.

ALL PARTS FUNCTIONING TOGETHER (12:14-20 MSG)

“I want you to think about how all this makes you more significant, not less.  A body isn’t just a single part blown up into something huge.  It’s all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together … As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where He wanted it.”

Thanks for the different ways You’ve gifted Your people and how You place us together to work alongside one another in building Your kingdom.  You’ve fashioned this person for this role, that person for that role, and another person for another role.  Then, You even put together folks whose roles complement one another’s.  You’re more than amazing, Father!

SIGNIFICANT BECAUSE YOU ARE A PART (12:21 MSG)

“But I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance.  For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a PART of … What we have is one body with many parts, each its proper size and in its proper place.  No part is important on its own.”

Humility … a rare find at times … yet You have promised grace to the humble, Lord.  For any little thing I am able to do, You deserve ALL the glory, with none saved for me.  You are my Source, my Strength, my Sustainer, my Shield … Everything I say and do is for YOUR honor and glory.

ALL PARTS ARE NECESSARY (12:22-23 MSG)

So many different kinds of parts are in this Body.  Not always is it easy for some parts to coexist with other parts, but You value EACH part equally.  This whole thought is why the humility is so very necessary.  Each part is simply a “part” of a greater whole.  Each part in that whole MUST be in that whole for it to be whole.  Thanks for the reminder to value each of my brothers and sisters in Christ.  Help me to genuinely do so.

EVERY PART NEEDS EVERY OTHER PART (12:24-31 MSG)

“The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t.  If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing.  If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance.  You are Christ’s body — that’s who you are!  You must never forget this.”

Thank You for making me part of Your Body.  Keep me a healthy part that follows the Head everywhere and increasingly takes on His nature.  Amen.

1 Corinthians 11

Yes, Lord! My life is in YOUR hands.

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“Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.” (v 1 NIV)

How interesting to think, Lord, that at the time the Corinthians were reading this letter, they couldn’t pick up a copy of one of the gospels and read about the life of Your Son, Jesus.  Paul couldn’t tell them to imitate Jesus, because most knew very little about Him.  Instead, Paul chose to point them to a Christian they had grown to trust, with whom they had built a relationship.

With so much biblical illiteracy in our world today, Paul’s tactic is just as relevant today.  So many folks have never seen an open Bible, let alone read the words found therein, especially the gospel accounts of Your Son’s life and ministry.  What’s that leave?  My life is what they see … My words are what they hear … My attitude is what they pick up on.

As John the Baptist once said, “He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:30 NIV).  Father, cause there to be more of Jesus evident in my life than me.  Help me to follow Your footsteps in such a way that others become curious, then interested, then captivated until they become connected to You through examples like mine.  Only by Your grace can I become such an example.  Keep making me just like Jesus.  Amen.