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G-MM™: Meditation Moment

The Free Press WV

If there be some weaker one,
Give me strength to help him on;
If a blinder soul there be
Let me guide him nearer thee;
Make my mortal dreams come true
With the work I fain would do;
Clothe with life the weak intent,
Let me be the thing I meant;
Let me find in Thy employ,
Peace that dearer is than joy;
Out of self to love be led,
And to Heaven acclimated,
Until all things sweet and good
Seem my natural habitude.
Amen.


Proverbs 15:31-33 (NKJV)

The ear that hears the rebukes of life
Will abide among the wise.

He who disdains instruction despises his own soul,
But he who heeds rebuke gets understanding.

The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom,
And before honor is humility.


1 Corinthians 6:1-8 (ESV)
Lawsuits Against Believers

When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world?

And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!

So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers?

To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud – even your own brothers!


Notes on the Scripture

1 Corinthians is full of tough messages, and this one was as hard for the people of Corinth as it is today. But it is taken directly from the mouth of Christ Himself: “And if anyone would sue you and take your shirt, let him have your cloak as well.” (Matthew 5:40)

Paul is actually a little milder than Jesus was, in this respect, for he will allow church members to have a dispute among themselves settled by other members of the church. (One would suppose, the losing party would be expected to take his loss in good graces.)

Reading a passage like this, most of us will simply despair of meeting the demands of Christ and expect to throw ourselves on His mercy for our attachment to the baubles and comforts of this world. For Christ expected His followers to have a total disregard for physical possessions.

If you think this is impossible, consider for a moment the life of a monk, or a married couple who work as missionaries in complete commitment to God’s service. Are they unhappy, compared to those of us who have mortgages and lawnmowers?

Love of money is a trap, a pit with no bottom, for if we love money and possessions, no matter how much we have, we want more. Do you know what you call a man with five hundred million dollars? “A frustrated billionaire,” says an old joke. Young people dream of being rock stars or movie stars, but look at reality. Their suicide rate for rock stars is higher than average, the incidence of drug and alcohol addiction horrendous, and the chances of a happy marriage small. They have few real friends.

We should all of us take time, in our prayers and reflections, to realize that life would not become hell on earth if we had less money. Many people who actually are not so terribly attached to their possessions really fear insecurity more than poverty. But this, also, is a worry that Christ taught us to overcome, in one of the Bible’s great passages, Matthew 6:25-34.

G-MM™: Meditation Moment

The Free Press WV

I give thanks to you, all-powerful and eternal God of truth, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Creator of heaven and earth, of humanity and all creatures, Sustainer of all things, Giver of all life, order, and wisdom, unfailing Source of help; And to your Son our Lord Jesus Christ, your Word and eternal image; And to your Holy Spirit, with whom you endowed the apostles at Pentecost and have brought to comfort all who confess the name of Jesus the Christ, until his coming again.

I give thanks to you, O God of holiness, and truth, and wisdom and goodness, justice and mercy, purity and loving-kindness, for with goodness and wisdom unmatched you revealed yourself to us, sending your Son into the world, humbling Himself to be emptied of His divine form to become truly human, a slave and a servant to us, and a sacrifice for our salvation.

I give thanks to you, Mighty God, for gathering your eternal church, for guarding the ministry of your Word, for granting your Holy Spirit, and for the gift of everlasting life. I thank you, O God, because you have given us all good things, because you alleviate the chastisement we justly deserve, because you bestow upon us all the blessings of soul and body we enjoy. To you be all glory, honor, praise, and thanksgiving, forever and ever.
Amen.


Psalm 98:8 (NKJV)

Let the rivers clap their hands,
Let the mountains sing together for joy;
Let them sing before the Lord,
for he comes to judge the earth.

He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples with equity.


Ruth 1:8-15 (NKJV)
The Story of Ruth (part 2)

[Naomi is a Hebrew widow, living in the foreign land of Moab with two Moabite daughters-in-law, who are also widowed.]

Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother’s house: may the Lord deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me. The Lord grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept.

And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people. And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband.

If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons; Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord is gone out against me.

And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her. And Naomi said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law.


Notes on the Scripture

Naomi clearly has a strong bond with the two Moabite women her sons had married. When she decides to return to Judah, it is a difficult and emotional break. But although Naomi will be better off in Judah, where the famine has ended and she will be considered a part of her deceased husband’s family, the two Moabite women will be better off in Moab.

Naomi has to point out to them that they have much better prospects in Moab. Since they are Moabite by birth, they might be able to find husbands in their native land. Their only hope of finding husbands in Judah would be Naomi, but Naomi has no husband; and even if she had a husband, she is past the age of childbearing; and, even if she had a husband that very night and could conceive sons, the two women would not be able to wait twenty years to marry them.

So they have a tearful realization. Orpah returns to her people, and Naomi tells Ruth to follow Orpah, her sister.

G-MM™: Meditation Moment

The Free Press WV

God of compassion, God of dignity and strength, watch over the veterans of our blessed nation who have served with loyalty and at great sacrifice. Bless them with wholeness and love. Shelter those who are in want, heal those who bear wounds, comfort the hearts of those who have lost friends and family, and bring peace to all who are haunted by the terrible memories of war.

Protect them and their families from loneliness and want. Grant them lives of joy and bounty. And may their dedication and honor, which have shielded us from tyranny, be remembered as a blessing from generation to generation.
Amen.


1 Corinthians 5:9-13 (ESV)

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people — not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler — not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders?

Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” (Deuteronomy 13:5)


Notes on the Scripture

Paul here instructs Christians to expel and even shun people who call themselves “Christians,” but who continue to wallow in sin. Note that he is not referring to people outside the church. Christians certainly have a right, even a duty, to talk to the unsaved and bring them to Christ. Think of Christ and the woman at the well. Rather, he is talking about people whom Christ called “seeds that are sown in weeds and grow to be choked by them.”

Last week, Paul taught a hard lesson about the man who was sleeping with his father’s wife. Now he returns to the subject, and the lesson becomes even harder. Paul’s concept of a church is very different from our modern-day version, and his advice on church administration was, to say the least, stricter in some respects.

Were the Christian churches of Paul’s time rigid, unreasonable, hungry, a home to unreasonable zealotry? Or are the churches of today lax, frivolous, weak, fat, and more concerned with compromise and popularity than with following Christ?

If the Bible is the anchor upon which we found our knowledge of God, then one would have to say, in most cases, the latter. Is there a church today that does not have, in its congregation, greedy or vain people, swindlers, and lechers? And not just the congregation: It would be surprising to think of a major denomination where such activity has not been tolerated among the ministry. “But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning.” (1 Timothy 5:20)

But we are all sinners; how shall we judge? Who am I to accuse so-and-so of fornication or greed? Do we want to turn churches into angry finger-pointing, put members on trial for sin?

Apparently so, although Paul seems to be speaking only about intransigent cases. Elsewhere he speaks of counseling and exhortation for those who have gone astray. His message is primarily one of love and salvation. But, quite apparently, he felt that the church in Corinth needed a wake-up call, a basic lesson that a Christian church is not a place where people should go to mouth a few prayers and then live their lives completely in the flesh, with no regard for their alleged faith.

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