1 Corinthians 7 (Part 1)

Yes, Lord! My life is in YOUR hands.

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Excerpts from 1 Cor. 7 in The Message:

“Sometimes I wish everyone were single like me–a simpler life in many ways!  But celibacy is not for everyone any more than marriage is.  God gives the gift of the single life to some, the gift of the married life to others.

“I do, though, tell the unmarried and widows that singleness might well be the best thing for them, as it has been for me.  But if they can’t manage their desires and emotions, they should by all means go ahead and get married.  The difficulties of marriage are preferable by far to a sexually tortured life as a single.

“…don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else.  Where you are right now is God’s place for you.  Live and obey and love and believe right there.  God, not your marital status, defines your life….

The really important thing is obeying God’s call, following His commands….Because of the current pressures on us from all sides, I think it would probably be best to stay just as you are.  Are you married?  Stay married.  Are you unmarried?  Don’t get married.  But there’s certainly no sin in getting married….All I am saying is that when you marry, you take on additional stress in an already stressful time, and I want to spare you if possible.

“I do want to point out, friends, that time is of the essence.  There is no time to waste, so don’t complicate your lives unnecessarily.  Keep it simple–in marriage, grief, joy, whatever.  Even in ordinary things–your daily routines of shopping, and so on.  Deal as sparingly as possible with the things the world thrusts on you.  This world as you see it is on its way out.

“I want you to live as free of complications as possible.  When you’re unmarried, you’re free to concentrate on simply pleasing the Master.  Marriage involves you in all the nuts and bolts of domestic life and in wanting to please your spouse, leading to so many more demands on your attention.  The time and energy that married people spend on caring for and nurturing each other, the unmarried can spend in becoming whole and holy instruments of God….All I want is for you to be able to develop a way of life in which you can spend plenty of time together with the Master without a lot of distractions.…Marriage is spiritually and morally right and not inferior to singleness in any way, although as I indicated earlier, because of the times we live in, I do have pastoral reasons for encouraging singleness.”

Father, may my heart and mind be wholly devoted to You above all else, above all other relationships in my life.  May YOU be at the center of those relationships, so that each one may glorify You!  Amen.

1 Corinthians 1:8-31

Yes, Lord! My life is in YOUR hands.

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“…God Himself is right alongside to keep you steady on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus.  God, who got you started in this spirited adventure, shares with us the life of His Son and our Master Jesus.  He will never give up on you.  Never forget that.” (v 8-9 MSG)

“God, who has called you into fellowship with His Son…” (v 9 NIV)

“Everything that we have–right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start–comes from God by way of Jesus Christ” (v 30 MSG).

“It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption” (v 30 NIV).

Look how Your hand is in EVERYthing, Father!  It was You who called me into a companionship with Jesus.  You saw me as You formed me, grew me up, and You introduced me to Him, drawing me toward knowing Him.

It’s because of Your redemptive plan that I am in Christ Jesus through my faith in Him.  By Your sacrificial act through Your Son, You’ve redeemed me from my slavery to sin.  You have declared me righteous in Your sight, justified by Your grace.  You have made me holy, set apart for Your service, through the blood of Jesus.

You got me “started on this spiritual adventure” and I’m so grateful in knowing that You, Yourself are right alongside me to keep me “steady on track” until the Day I see You face to face.  Thank You for never giving up on me.  Let me never, ever lose that assurance.  Guard my mind from doubt.  Purify my heart.  Make Your ways my ways.

You are holy, Lord.  You are righteous.  Thank You that, through the death of Jesus on the cross –a sacrificial gift out of Your love for me–I can be just like Him one day.  Amen.

1 Corinthians 1:1-9

Yes, Lord! My life is in YOUR hands.

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What a powerfully encouraging passage this is, Father!  I could just imagine receiving this letter, reading through it with such wonder, humility and gratefulness for the kind of love conveyed through such intercession.  In the times that You move me to correspond with others, YOU be the one moving the pen or hitting the keys, so that a message of rich encouragement and hope pour forth toward the recipient.

Paul conveyed in these first few verses some of what he prayed for Your people in Corinth AND “all those everywhere” who call on Your name — Hey! that’s me too.  So, I want to shape this portion of the chapter into my own prayer to You (drawn from the wording in the Amplified Bible):

Thank You, Father, for being the one who consecrates me, purifies me and makes me holy in Christ Jesus.  You have selected and called me to be a saint (one of Your people), together with all those who, in any place, call upon and give honor to Your name, Lord Jesus Christ.

May Your grace (favor and spiritual blessing) be mine and may heart peace from You, my Father God and my Lord Jesus Christ, be immovably within me.  Thank You for the grace You bestow on me, so that in You in every respect You enrich my life, in full power and readiness of speech, to speak of my faith and complete knowledge and illumination to give me full insight into its meaning.

You’ve used the witness of many over the years to impact my life.  You worked it so that their witness concerning Your Son, the Christ or Messiah, was so confirmed and made sure in me, that I am not consciously falling behind or lacking in any special spiritual endowment or Christian grace.  You’ve enabled me to receive this gift by the power of divine grace operating in my soul by the Holy Spirit.

All the while I wait and watch, constantly living in hope (or assurance) for Your coming, my Lord Jesus … the Day You’ll be made visible to all!

You have promised that You will establish me to the end, keeping me steadfast, giving me strength, and guaranteeing my pardon.  You will be my warrant against all accusation or indictment, so that I will be guiltless and blameless on Your Glorious Day.

You are my God; You are faithful, reliable, trustworthy, and therefore ever true to Your promise.  You can be depended on.

You have called me into companionship and participation with Your Son, Jesus, my Sovereign Lord.  Thank You for this Forever Friend and loyal Companion You’ve given me, Father.  Thank You for the life He lived here as an example to me.  Take my life and make me just like Jesus.  Amen.