Do you remember the first person you were infatuated with or really in love with? Do you remember how often and how much you thought about them? From morning to night to morning, they were the last person on your mind before you went to sleep and the first person on your mind when you woke up. You couldn’t wait to get to school just to see that person. Do you remember walking down the hall carefully watching to see that person and to see if they were looking for you? If they smiled at you, do you remember that feeling you got? As that relation grew and liking turned into loving, do you remember never wanting to let a day go by without telling that person that you loved them. That is what God wants from each of us. He wants us to go to sleep talking to Him or thinking about Him and wake up in the morning with our hearts and our spirits longing to spend time with Him. Do you imagine God watching you sleep and smiling? We should because He really is a “good, good Father, that’s who He is”. We should make sure that we speak to Him early and often. We need to tell Him out loud that we love Him and thank Him for all of His goodness throughout the day. If we practice doing this, we will have that “peace that passes all understanding” and the joy way down deep inside that no one can take away.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
25 Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26 Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is. 27 Are you pledged to a woman? Do not seek to be released. Are you free from such a commitment? Do not look for a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this. 29 What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not; 30 those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; 31 those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.–1 Cor. 7:25-31 NIV
There was never a time in the first century that the church was not under duress and persecution. Perhaps at the time of Paul’s writing this letter, the problem was more severe. Whatever the situation was at that time, Paul felt it was good advice for a single person to stay that way and not add the obligation of a spouse and children to the weights they were already bearing. This was most likely a temporary injunction against marriage because of the situation. It would be a stretch to try to make it fit into any argument against marriage since Paul so eloquently covers that in other Scriptures. It would be better to spend the short time that is left in serving God because the things of this world are temporary and passing away. Our most important work is to help to establish the Kingdom of God which is eternal.
4 I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.–John 9:4 NKJV
1 In the beginning there was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were made by him, and nothing was made without him. 4 In him there was life, and that life was the light of all people. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overpowered it. 6 There was a man named John who was sent by God. 7 He came to tell people the truth about the Light so that through him all people could hear about the Light and believe.8 John was not the Light, but he came to tell people the truth about the Light. 9 The true Light that gives light to all was coming into the world!—John 1:1-9 (NCV)
Before God created the world and divided time into night and day, They existed. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit were there as One and yet separately. Jesus was the Word and was there with God. He participated in the creation of all things and all things were made for Him. He is Life and He is Light. He came into the world as the Word made Flesh. John was sent to announce His coming and John was faithful in carrying out that mission. John was the prophet foretelling the birth of Jesus. John was looking forward to that day even though John knew that when Jesus comes, “I must decrease and He must increase”. Now, we are the prophets looking back and looking forward, we tell of the future return of Jesus. We should pray that we will be as faithful as John was in carrying out our part of the mission. It is up to each of us to carry out the plan and the purpose that God planned for each of us to do. This was decided before the beginning of the world. 10 It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago he planned that we should spend these lives in helping others.—Eph. 2:10 (TLB)
6 So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.–1 Thessalonians 5:6-11 (ESV)
Paul is not saying that our physical bodies don’t need rest. He is saying that we need to be Spiritually alert at all times. We are to be alert, sober, and dressed in our battle armor each moment of every day. There is a Spiritual battle being waged for the control of our minds 24/7/365. We may not see the combatants but we can know from Scripture that the battle is being waged continuously. There are examples of this in the following texts as well as other places: 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.–Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)
The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia,–Daniel 10:12 (ESV)
We just need to remember that if God is for us, who can defeat us? So, we encourage each other with these words.
1 One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. 2 He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. 3 Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.” 5 “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” 6 And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! 7 A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.–Luke 5:1-7 (NLT)
Most of us have jobs to go to on a regular basis and a car to drive to work and back home. If we are skilled laborers, we have a tool kit full of the tools we need to perform our job. Simon Peter was a fisherman by trade. He had been blessed with a boat and fishing nets to earn a living. Yet, on this night (and probably several others as well), he had been unsuccessful in netting any fish. But then (how often do the “but thens” come along in our lives, and we choose to ignore them?), Jesus asked to use Simon’s boat for His ministry. When Jesus was through teaching the crowd, He said to Simon: “go out where it is deeper and let down your nets”. Simon complained and objected, but then he let down his nets and caught a superabundance of fish. More than his boat could haul. What can we learn from this miracle? Think about the resources with which God has blessed each of us. Do you have a need in your life in some area? Pray about what resource you have that Jesus could use in His ministry and release that resource totally to Him. Remember the question that God asked Moses? What is that in your hand, Moses? Little or nothing can become much when we release it completely for God’s use. In faith, step out to where it is deeper, let go, and let God