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Posts Tagged ‘1 Corinthians 13:12’

Questions and Doubts

August 23rd, 2018

Questions Are Inevitable. Doubts Are Avoidable.

“All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now. 1 Corinthians 13:12 NLT.

My thoughts and comments today are about,

“Questions and Doubts.”

To any honest heart, there are times and occasions in life that produce questions. With our limited perspective and imperfect knowledge, many times and many things don’t appear to make sense at the moment. Times and things introduce uncertainty. At one time or another, everyone has questions. If you haven’t, you either have not lived long enough or faced anything tough enough if life has not made you ask why on occasion.

Maybe you have felt guilty and swallowed your questions rather than ask them. Know this. God is not threatened by your questions nor surprised by your bewilderment. In the agony of the Cross, Jesus cried out to His Father, “My God, why have You forsaken Me?” His words came from the depths of His humanity. He had questions, but He did not yield to doubt. Before Jesus breathed His last breath on that cross, He turned His face toward the future and His Father, and said, “Father, I entrust my spirit into Your hands. And with those words Jesus breathed His last.” Luke 23:46 NLT. His final words were faith- filled.

Whatever the circumstances of my life or death, I choose to submit my feelings and fears to truth and trust. If Jesus can find peace and faith in such a moment as He faced, He will empower you and me to do so as well. Preparing for the cross as Jesus prayed to His Father, His future was secured by His words, “Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours be done!” Jesus had questions, but He did not succumb to doubt.

Questions are inevitable. Questions can play a vital role in learning. Questions push you beyond the known and understood to what has not been previously considered. Great discoveries and advances in technology advances have happened because someone asked questions no one else bothered to ask. A person does not have faith because they have no questions. If you had no questions, why would you need faith? Faith looks at the hardest questions, and though often without answers, simply trusts God’s love, wisdom, and sufficient grace.

You may struggle to resolve your questions. But you must choose to deal with your doubts. You can be without doubts while wrestling with the toughest questions, maybe even unanswerable ones. Paul did not say that was easy to do, but he does show that it is possible to do. Read the context of today’s verse. “None of these things move me.” Acts 20:24. Paul knew he was facing, “jail and suffering.” Read Acts 20:22-23 NKJ and 21:10-14 NIV. For any thinking person, that would raise some unsettling questions. I would expect Paul had questions about that. I would; you likely would as well.

When you are uncertain, and questions trouble your mind and rob your peace, concentrate on what is certain and unchanging and rest your questions there. That place is the Word and character of God. When there seems too much that you do not know, be sure of what you do know. Paul wrote, “Now we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when that which is complete comes, what is partial will be done away  . . now I know partially, then I will know fully just as I am fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:9-13 NIV. Dwell on what you know. Deal with what you don’t. Rest in what God says.

What leaves more unanswered questions than death, and resurrection? After Paul’s expansive defense of the Resurrection, he summarizes this way, “Therefore, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58. Those admirable character qualities – “steadfast, immovable, and always abounding” –  evidence a mature Christian who has asked their questions and chosen to move beyond their doubts to rest peacefully in God and His character and Word.

Even when there are serious questions, you can still live and trust with no doubts about God. Paul is a prime example. From prison, he wrote to young Timothy, “I am suffering here in prison . . but I know the One in whom I trust, and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until the day of His return.” 2 Timothy 1:12 NLT.

Today, I pray you will submit your questions and surrender your doubts to God.

Christian Communications 2018

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Clarity and Ambiguity

November 10th, 2017

Purity is the spiritual fruit of clarity.

 “Then we will see everything with perfect clarity.”  1 Corinthians 13:12 NLT.

My thoughts and comments today are about,

“Clarity and Ambiguity.”

We live in a world that lacks moral and spiritual clarity. Presently, our country is reeling from the senseless, murderous tragedy of lives taken on this most recent Sunday morning in a Church not far from where I write these thoughts. In vain, our hearts try to understand what our minds cannot explain. Where clarity lacks, confusion fills the void. Opinions pose as facts, but sometimes they are merely opinions. Inevitably, we find some supposed facts to be in dispute. Opinions are as diverse as the people that hold them. Truth is never ambiguous and not lessened by either those who proclaim or disclaim it.

The world longs for clarity yet there is not much that is perfectly clear. Ambiguity seems the norm. Spiritual ambiguity. Moral ambiguity. Political ambiguity. Ambiguity seems to have become the norm. Where there is no clarity there is no truth. When and where you discover truth, you will find clarity. Absolute truth is found in God’s Word and character. Clarity comes from His truth.

The Apostle Paul addressed his problem and ours. We lack clarity. “Now we see things imperfectly as [looking] in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now.” 1 Corinthians 13:12 NLT. Our knowledge is finite; His is infinite. Our comprehension is flawed; His is perfect. Our understanding is partial; His is complete. “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out!” Romans 11:33 NIV. Isn’t it foolish, or even arrogant, to assume your experience to be unique or your knowledge to be complete?

The more time you invest in God’s Word, and the more you welcome the Holy Spirit to direct your life, and the more you weave God’s Truth into your daily life, the clearer you will become about direction, relationships, values, integrity, purpose, and destiny. Be clear about your salvation; you are forever sealed by the blood of Jesus. Be clear about your victory in Christ; in Him, you are more than a conqueror. Be clear about your purpose; you are here to advance His Kingdom. Be clear about your identity; you are who God says you are. Be clear about eternal life; Jesus prepared a place with Him for all eternity. All other opinions to the contrary are superfluous.

I have found these words to be clarifying and a promise of what is ahead for us, “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” Prov 4:18 NIV. “When He shall come, we will be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.” Here is God’s goal for you, and should be yours as well. “Until we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:13 NKJV. Clarity about Who God is, what His Word says, and who you are in Christ produces purity of heart and life. Purity is the spiritual fruit of clarity. “Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” Read 1 John 3:2-3 NIV“Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” Read 1 John 3:2-3 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to be clear about your destiny and confident in His promises.

Christian Communications 2017

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Wait and See

October 4th, 2017

Patience Is the Posture of Waiting With Hope and Trust.

 “By your patience, possess your souls.” Luke 21:19 NKJV.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “Wait and See.”

Waiting is not my favorite pastime. I guess I always wanted the benefit of knowing the outcome of things. Many times in my youth, my Mom wisely advised me to, “just wait and see.” With the value of history and hindsight, she understood a simple principle that I did not. There are times when you must just be patient enough to wait and see. Urgently, we think we need to see, but God knows we need to wait and see. Paul explained this interim time in these words, “Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now.” 1 Corinthians 13:12 NLT.

In life, you will experience unforeseen challenges at inconvenient times. Don’t project today’s crisis onto your future. Sometimes you must be willing to wait and see. Successfully navigating such moments requires Godly optimism, with large amounts of patience. Waiting is never our preferred option. None of us enjoy waiting. Without perspective, waiting is challenging and stressful. Impatience is a common emotion in such moments.

There are times when the past as well as the present are less than clearly understood. So why then are we surprised when the future seems a bit obscure? Our impatience produces anxiety about things unforeseen. Life is a tension between what is and what yet will be. As I see it, the problem is that our knowledge is incomplete and our impatience is unsettling. While describing this tension, Paul directed us to hope. “Now we see things imperfectly, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely.” 1 Corinthians 13:12 NLT.

With God’s Word in your thoughts and hope in your heart, you can wait with anticipation and patience. Without hope, dread and anxiety will color your concerns for the unknown future. The Bible offers this insight, “Hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” Romans 8:24-25 NIV. Patience is a virtue. Hope is the foundation upon which patience is developed. In an earlier chapter, Paul wrote of, “this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:2 NKJV. Patience is the posture of waiting in hope and trust.

Waiting can and should be used profitably, not squandered in wasted worry. Waiting on God with expectation evidences a confidence so strong in God, and His nature, and Word, that your faith continues to grow even with every apparent delay. Forewarning His disciples of the mistreatment and opposition they would face, Jesus concluded with this encouraging instruction, “By your patience, possess your souls.” Luke 21:19 NKJV. Patience is evidenced by living today with optimism for tomorrow.

But sometimes, you may just feel too weak and weary to struggle on. The Bible has a faith-building word for you. “God gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:29-31 NIV. Meanwhile, I will stand alongside the Psalmist. “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His Word, I do hope. My soul waits for the Lord, more than those who watch for the morning.” Psalm 130:5 NKJV.

Today, I pray for you to choose patience and embrace His peace.

 

Christian Communications 2017

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Life Without Regrets

January 8th, 2014

“If he had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched.” Matthew 24:43 NKJV.

God knows you do not know everything but He knows all that you do not.

My thoughts and comments today are about “life without regrets.”

There may be no more plaintive sigh than, “If I had only known . . There have been things I have said or done which I would have done differently, if I had only known their effect on myself and others. There have been decisions I made that I might have chosen differently – more carefully, more wisely – if I had only known then what I know now I would have fewer things to regret.

The things that you will most regret are the times you knew better but didn’t choose more wisely, unlike the times that you did your best in matters where you could not have known better. You must learn from both of those, and then commit the past confidently to God’s grace. Jesus warned, “If the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.” Matthew 24:43 NKJV.

But is it possible for anyone to ever know all that they will need to know? Not really. That’s why God has given you His Word, and the indwelling Holy Spirit who will “guide you into all truth.” John 16:13 NIV. There is much unknown to you, but not unknowable to God. God has made provision for you in the many decisions of everyday life. He has given you life experiences and the lessons to be learned from them, an intellect to reason and analyze, a capacity for learning, parents and people to warn and teach you, and His Truth to instruct you. God wants you to live without regrets.

And when all of those are not quite enough, God Himself is there. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should pray to God, who will give it to him; because God gives generously and graciously to all.But when you pray, you must believe and not doubt at all. Whoever doubts is like a wave in the sea that is driven and blown about by the wind.” James 1:5-6 TEV. God knows you do not know everything but He knows all that you do not.

“Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now.” 1 Corinthians 13:12 NLT. There is no argument there; “We see things imperfectly . . all I know now is partial and incomplete.”

Usually a person frets and worries over what they do not know without living confidently in the truth of God’s Word which you can know, and in the knowledge and wisdom gained in life experience, though incomplete for now. I think the simple answer for everyday life may be to live the best you can, true to what you know even though it is partial, always asking and seeking for the knowledge, wisdom, and understanding that God alone possesses and faithfully supplies.

Jesus taught that if you know the thief is coming but just do not know when, you are wise to be always watchful, prepared, and on guard. It has been wrongly said that what you don’t know can’t hurt you; obviously, that is not always true. Sometimes that can hurt you badly, unless you live wisely in the practical truth of what you do know.

My prayer for you today is that you will love knowledge and be true to the truth.

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Life’s Questions

September 3rd, 2012

“You don’t understand now . . someday you will.” John 13:7 NLT.

More than answers, it is assurance and trust that give you peace of mind.

My thoughts and comments today are about “life’s questions.”

As a teenager, I did not always understand my father’s reasons for some of the decisions he made, especially as they related to what I could or could not do. I was especially frustrated when his only explanation was, “In time, you will understand.” I was impatient. I felt I needed to understand right then. In truth, it wasn’t understanding I wanted; I knew he was probably right. I wanted him to explain so I could debate his reasons and persuade him differently. By the way, that never worked. Dad was right; in time, I did understand. His life experience gave him a broader view and practical wisdom. Trusting and obeying my Dad saved me from needless hurts.

Many times and things in your world will confuse you. People’s conduct and unkindness can be quite bewildering. Sometimes, your own behavior will perplex you and. Who has the answer for why bad things happen to good people and don’t happen to others in the same ways? David wrestled with life’s questions about apparent inequities, as the wicked appeared to prosper while the righteous presently suffered. “But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled . . when I saw the prosperity of the wicked . . when I thought how to understand this, it was too painful for me – until I went into the sanctuary of God. Then I understood . .” Read Psalm 73 NKJV. In time, David understood. There are a lot of things for which neither you nor I have explanation. Life presents questions and you might not have answers when you want those most.

To His disciples, Jesus said much the same as my Dad did, “In time, you will understand.” Just hours before Jesus’ night of betrayal and worst suffering, Jesus did something baffling for the disciples. Like a common, household servant, Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. Read John 13:1-17 NLT. Peter’s question, “Why?” may sound familiar. Jesus’ response was not an explanation; it was just an assurance, “You do not understand now why I am doing this; someday you will.” Vs. 7.

Jesus knew what they couldn’t know. These same men would betray and all desert Him. They would later remember this moment and realize He expressed mercy before they knew they needed mercy. In that selfless act, He had forgiven their sins before they committed them. Answers can’t give you peace of heart and mind. Assurance and trust does, every time. It seems arrogant to question God’s wisdom and care.

“Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now.” 1 Corinthians 13:12 NLT. Stand firm on the truth you know, and trust God for what you do not yet understand. “Oh, the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out.” Romans 11:33-34 NKJV. Can’t you learn to trust a God like that, who would die on a cross for you? God can be trusted with your life’s questions. In time, you will understand.

My prayer for you today is that you rest safe in your knowledge of God’s loving care.

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