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marriage supper of the lamb

In our previous post, we saw that Sabbath meant rest and we looked at a number of verses that talked about when various Christian in the Bible met. Jews traditionally maintained their Saturday Sabbath whereas the Gentile or Greek believers met on Sunday which they considered the Lord’s Day because that was the day he overcame death. If you missed this post, click here to check it out.

Today we are going to continue with this Sabbath theme and discuss what we should do on the Sabbath. (Don’t worry, it won’t be all that painful)

First, Cease from Working

Since the word Sabbath means rest, it is a day when we should rest from our everyday work. since the old testament law is a teacher and a foreshadow of what Christ has for us, we can look at when God first instructed the Jews in honoring their Sabbath. He had taken the Israelites out of Egypt and started feeling them manna. Every day they were supposed to gather their portion of manna and eat it. The only exception was the Friday before the Sabbath Day when they were told to pick up enough for that day too because there would not be any manna to pick up that day. After the Israelites settled, they were to continue the tradition of not gathering or preparing food on the Sabbath. Everyone was to rest from their labors.

What does that mean for us today? Well, if we are to continue resting from work on the Sabbath, I would think that we should also assist others in being able to rest on our Sabbath as well. As much as we are able that its. I think that we should be sensitive to those people who work in food services on our Sabbath. Granted, our Sabbath may not be their Sabbath, but I think that we need to show consideration to those who are allowing us to rest from working, cooking, and serving on our day of rest. I think that one of the worst things that we can do in our Christian walk is to mistreat those who serve us in restaurants. Both my own personal experience in the past as a cook and waitress who had to work on Sundays (my chosen Sabbath) and those I have known in food services all agree that some of the meanest spirited, demanding people who we have had to serve were people who had just come into the restaurant from a church service. And tip? I got far better tips from motorcyclist groups. Not only that, but they often treated me as though I were a heathen because I worked on Sunday. I cannot tell you how many tracts I got in leau of gratuity. When I have brought this to the attention of other Christians, I have been given the excuse that sometimes they just didn’t have the money to leave a decent tip. My response to that is that if they cannot afford to leave a tip, then perhaps they should have gone out for fast food (where no gratuity was expected)rather than to a sit down meal.

Second, Celebrate What God Has Done

The word Sabbath not only includes the concept of resting from work, but it also denotes the idea of celebration. Because God rested on the seventh day after all of his creation, the Israelites celebrated and praised God for his creation. As Christians, we too can do this. This time of year I find it especially easy to worship God through his creation. Everything is coming to life and the colors are so vivid after the drabness of winter. We have so much to be grateful for. We have been given so much. Our gratitude and praise is what God is looking for from us as we rest from toil and focus our attention on him.

In addition to worshiping God for his creation, we Christians also have Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. We also have the gift of His Spirit living  inside of us, our helper, our counselor. We can also celebrate everything that his work on the cross gave to us. In addition to salvation to an eternity with Christ, as believers, he offers us healing in spirit mind, and body..

Third, Gather Together

One of the biggest arguments that I have heard from others about why they don’t go to church is that they can worship God wherever they are. Although that is true, God is available everywhere, I cannot recall anywhere in the Old or New testament where anyone thought that worshiping alone was what they were supposed to do on a regular basis. At first, the goal was to go to the Temple in Jerusalem for as many major days as possible. when the temple was not available, Jews built synagogues in the cities where they lived. Christians throughout the Bible also gathered together even at the risk of persecution or even death, they gathered together to worship God.

We also get together to pray. As the word says, where two or more agree as touching anything,, God will do whatever they ask. That’s some pretty powerful stuff when you think about the idea that one will put a thousand to flight and two ten thousand. Imagine what prayer could do if a whole church filled with people believed what God promised!

When we cease from our labors and gather together in prayer and  to praise of God for all that he has done for us, the Sabbath becomes a day of true celebration. At least one day in seven becomes a day of celebration. Joy begins to radiate in our lives to the point that we are gracious to all those we mean, even those who serve us.

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Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback 

Get a free e-book copy of Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard, when you sign up for my free newsletter

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


Where God Speaks

Hands_of_God_and_Adam

I have been trying to listen to God (Holy Spirit) through my spirit. A couple of months ago I learned that my spirit is found in my gut, rather than in my mind or in my emotions. Some of the places in a word in the original language says heart, should actually read “belly” or “gut”.

Years ago I learned that whenever I sensed something in what I called my intuition, I was always right. This understanding of gut knowledge has me now to hear from that place what it is that God has for me to do. My problem was that I did not understand that that place was where my spirit is.

God Spoke, I Listened

Because of the nature of my job, for the first time in eight months that I worked there, I have not had a single Sunday off until three weeks ago. I had been going to a Tuesday nigh and a Wednesday night  Bible study,  but could not get to church on Sundays.Because I had missed church, I determined that I would go to three services in three different churches. The first church was a denominational church, but the second two were nondenominational churches. In  the second, they had a food distribution going on in which I helped. In the final church, even though I had never been there before, I felt as though i was home.

At the end of the service, I felt the prompting in my spirit to go up to the pastor of the congregation and ask him if I could give a message at his church on June 7th.  As I said, I did not know the pastor, but I did feel as though I needed to ask.

It was not as hard to ask as I thought it would be. I even told the pastor that I understood if he said no. He did not however, said no. He said maybe. I didn’t hear back from him, but on June 7th, I showed up with a message.

Mind you, I had never preached a message in front of a church group before and I even told the congregation that. I was obviously nervous, but everything went well. I knew that I needed more experience and I really want to be able to do that more.

The Message

thunderstormThe message that I gave was out of Luke 11, John 11 and John 12. It was about Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus who sat at Jesus feet, listening to what he had to say. She faced ridicule from her sister. She questioned Jesus when he allowed her brother to die. She then received revelation that Jesus was going to the cross and she wanted to serve him by anointing his feet with Spikenard, an oil that offered physical, emotional, and spiritual healing because she knew the pain that he was going to face on the cross.

Today, like Martha, we are often too busy to take the time to listen to Jesus as Mary did. If we are to get revelation from God, then we need to take the time to spend at his feet listening.

We need to be willing to question Jesus. It says in the word that we receive not because we ask not. Perhaps our problem as Christians is that we think we are supposed to have it all together. The truth is, in our earthly physical bodies, we never will. It is only in Jesus that we can know anything of lasting value.

Nothing is really mystical about what Jesus offers us. Our duty as Christians is primarily to love as Jesus loved and to listen to what he would have us do next.

I hope that I never get too busy to listen to what Jesus Christ has to tell me.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is an ordained minister. As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues. Her upcoming book A Coward’s Solace will be available soon. Click here for more information about Cygnet Brown and her books.

 


So far we have basically covered just two verses in I Corinthians. We have learned about Paul who wrote the book. We learned about the church, and we learned about Corinth. Today we are going to discuss the Bible’s central person–Jesus Christ.

I Corinthians 1:4-9

4) I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you  by Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ gave us God’s Grace when he died on the cross.

5) That in every thing you are enriched by him, in all utterance and in all knowledge;

Paul told the Corinthians that he wanted them to be enriched by Jesus Christ. In other words, Jesus Christ is the source. The term “all utterance” in the Greek is logos–the spoken word of God.. (Another Greek term for utterance apophtheggomal is used in Acts 2:4 on the day of Pentecost when the Spirit of God came down with tongues of fire, and the worshipers in the upper room spoke in other tongues. This term here therefore is not referring to that kind of utterance.) What this word “utterance” refers to is the idea that God will speak to you in very real terms and as the next phrase states, he will give you all the knowledge you need to make decisions that he approves.Our knowledge comes from Jesus Christ. I remember the first time I  the Bible through.  I didn’t really understand what I was reading, but on each subsequent time I have read it, the Lord speaks his secrets to me. I encourage people to read the Bible all the way through as often as possible. Like me, you may not get much out of your first reading of the Bible, but you will gain insights into how the word relates to you with each subsequent reading. A lot of people get bogged down in Bible reading because they begin in Genesis and read from there. I suggest that you begin in the Gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the first four books of the New Testament in which they write about Jesus’ life here on earth from four different perspectives. There are parts of it you won’t understand and that is okay. (I don’t understand all of it either.) Don’t just read it through once and call it quits, instead, read it numerous times. Each time you will discover something new and relevant to your current situation. Focus on how Jesus thinks. This will help you know whether you are hearing him in your every day activities.

6) Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you

As you read through the Gospels you will discover an amazing thing happening. The things you read about concerning Jesus will have direct bearing on what is going on in your own life. Questions you had yesterday, he answers today out of his written word. The word testimony is maturion (Strong’s 3140) which means evidence, in other words, you will witness the truth in your own situation. His testimony will be backed up by events in your own life.

7) So that you come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:

This verse tells us that Paul wanted the Corinthian church to have the testimony of Christ so that they wouldn’t miss out on the gifts that Christ’s testimony had to offer. He also says that part of those gifts will come at the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. The same is true for us. Jesus is returning and he has presents for us! It will be better than Christmas! (The celebration of the gift of himself his first time on earth.)

8) Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The word “confirm” here is the Greek word bebaloo  (Strong’s 950) which means stands firm. Jesus will stand firm that we are held blameless because we have accepted his provision for salvation.  As it says in  Romans 8:30-32 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? And in Colossians 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross. Isn’t this cool, Jesus is willing to blot out anything that is held against us. Jesus is on our side!

9) God is faithful, by whom you were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Just like the Corinthians, you are called into fellowship (friendship) with Jesus Christ, the son of God. You are called, he wants you to have fellowship with him. He wants to be your friend. He isn’t looking for ways to trap you into hell (no fine print!)  Are you ready to accept his call?


So far in our study of First Corinthians we have examined Paul–the author, we have looked at the church, and the city where the church was located. Today I would like to look at the rest of Paul’s introduction and discover what we can about how to look at others in the church with whom we may not agree.

In today’s study, we are going to examine I Corinthians 1:2 a little more closely, because there is an important jewel to be discovered here:

Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be Saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.

I want to point out that the words  in my Bible “to be” are italicized. Whenever I see words in my Bible italicized, I know that those words were not in the original language (in this case Greek), but were added by the translator to help clarify the words meaning. However, in this case the words “to be” change the meaning of the passage. The phrase originally read:

” to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus called Saints“.

In other words, those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus are already called Saints. In order more completely understand what this verse means, we need to learn what a couple of words actually mean.

What does Sanctified mean?

The word sanctified here is haglozo (Strong’s 37) means to mentally purify, or to go through the process of making your mind holy. It is a process that you do in your mind. It is different than the spiritual change that occurs at salvation. Your spirit becomes a new creature at salvation (II Corinthians 5:17), but your mind is under a constant renewal process. (Romans 12:2).

Who are the Saints?

This Biblical term is not referring to the canonization of people by the Roman Catholic church. The word “saints” here (and all of the New Testament) in the Greek is hagios (Strong’s 40) which means consecrated thing, one who is held blameless. If you are a born again believer, you are called saint because if you remember from earlier lessons, your righteousness doesn’t come from your own merits. The righteousness that covers you comes from what Jesus Christ did for you on the cross. You are held blameless for your sins because of what he did for you.

Both of these Greek words haglozo and hagios come from the same Greek root hagos. As I pointed out, Haglozo refers to the fact that every day there is a renewal in our minds that should go on every day. Hagios is different in that we are made blameless through making Jesus Lord of our lives.

Paul still called them Saints because they called upon the name (authority) of Jesus Christ.

Let’s go on to Verse 3:

3) Grace be upon you, and peace, from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ,

Paul gave the church at Corinth a blessing in his greeting. He offered them grace and peace. Paul gave this blessing in all of his letters except for his letters to Timothy and Titus. He did not agree with everything they were doing, but he always blessed them anyway.

Perhaps we too need to learn to bless those in the church who we don’t always see eye to eye with or even those we believe are in error. We need to learn to pray grace and peace over them every time we think about them. When we pray grace and peace over other people, we are rewarded with the same thing. If we want more grace and more peace, we need to begin praying the same for others, especially those with whom we do not agree.

If this has blessed you or if you have any questions or comments about this post, please comment below. If you have any questions about any matter regarding salvation or growing in Christ, please contact me at cygnetbrown@gmail.com. I would love to help.


So far, In our study of First Corinthians we have learned that Paul wrote the book. We studied that the word church meant “to be called”, and we discovered that those who were “called”, also had to choose to accept the invitation. We also learned that we had to accept the provision of righteousness that only Jesus Christ can give us, Today, we will learn about Corinth,  the city to him this book (actually a letter) was addressed in this book. We will also learn how this city is a mirror of our society today.

Corinth had originally been part of the Greek empire before the Romans’ conquered the region in 146 BC. The Romans under Julius Caesar rebuilt it in 44 BC. When Paul wrote this first letter to the church at Corinth, the city had again become a cosmopolitan city of wealth and trade.  First century Corinth was an environment of varying social classes, numerous and varied spiritual influences and with a culture shaped primarily by both Greek and Roman historical influences.  Situated in a key geographical location that supported prosperity, Corinth developed a wealthy economy but a significant divide between rich and poor, resulting in a social elitism. It had a varied polytheistic approach to religion, but also supported a Jewish population and the emerging Christian movement. All of these factors contribute interpretation of First Corinthians, but understanding Corinth can also help us in understanding what we need to do as the church in today’s society.

Culture

By the time, Paul wrote this letter, the city supported diverse cultural influences. As a Roman colony, Rome’s influence upon culture, economy, and religion were in evidence, but the re-habitation of the city under Julius has included Italians and “dispossessed Greeks”, then later Hellenistic Jews. This multicultural society became a virtual melting pot. We can say the same for our culture. As our society becomes more globally influenced, our culture becomes a melting pot of cultures where cultural tolerance rules.

Economy

Economically Corinth’s society ranged from wealthy elite down to the lowest social classes. The city sponsored the Isthmian Games that brought revenue into the city.  Merchants and traders supported other occupations in the city. Not all inhabitants of the city lived well. The socially disadvantaged and slave class, prostitutes, and a criminal element also lived there. Diseases amongst the population caused a high turnover of staff which warranted employment opportunity to newcomers. Our world culture also has the extremely rich, and the extremely poor.  In extremely poor countries around the world, 25  thousand die of starvation every day, whereas  in the United States, approximately 40% of food is thrown away because food’s overabundance.

Spirituality

Corinth was one of the most religious diverse cities of the Roman Empire. Roman Gods, Greek Gods, gods of new religious, philosophers, and  Jewish Rabbis developed a religious society that sported a “just in case” spiritualism. Corinth was also known as the cultural center for the fertility goddess Aphrodite. Her temple in Corinth was rumored to be home to a thousand prostitutes. Some may have participated in church activities. This cult is said to have contributed to Corinth’s reputation  for licentiousness.  As we look at these religious issues, we get a better understanding about what Paul was up against. He certainly had serious issues to confront when we consider all the religious practices, associated with a plethora of pagan religious entities, including eating foods dedicated to other religious gods. In our culture religious ideologies also abound.

According to David Barrett of the “World Christian Encyclopedia: A comparative survey of churches and religions – AD 30 to 2200,” there are 19 major world religions which are subdivided into a total of 270 large religious groups, and many smaller ones.”

Paganism is probably the fastest growing religion in the west, paganism, and it is becoming a widespread cultural phenomenon. Anchored in ancient culture, paganism is the result of many different anti-establishment ideologies uniting and providing a pliable, culturally rich spiritual system seemingly suited to life in the modern, western world.

Whether Isis or Ma’at to Kemetic practitioners, Freyja to the Asatru, the Lady to Wiccans, or Artemis, Athena, or Hecate to Hellenic Reconstructionists, some aspect of the feminine Divine has become central to most if not all neo-pagan religions. Though individual practitioners may not choose to follow or honor a particular goddess, especially those who follow a henotheistic path, the religion that they identify with is still loyal to certain images of feminine divinity. The same goddess centered system is thriving in our current society.

The Church

As recorded in Acts 18, Paul brought Christianity to Corinth. He propagated the good news that Jesus Christ was Lord while Paul worked as a tent maker. Paul exploited the opportunity influence the spiritually insatiable hunger of the citizens of Corinth. He became socially imbedded into the culture. At this time the Church of Corinth was just a small seed beginning to sprout.

Today the churches of the world are divided on a number of fronts. Barrett states that 34,000 separate Christian groups have been identified in the world. “Over half of them are independent churches that are not interested in linking with the big denominations.

Just as the Church at Corinth squabbled over social issues, the church of today does the same. Even those sitting next to you in church on the same pews may not have the same social ideology as you do. The church is divided along the lines of  women in ministry, capital punishment, the homeless and refugees, abortion, nuclear deterrence, medical technology, public education, homosexuality just to name a few. Some groups believe that congregations should be homogenous. In other words, they believe that everyone should be alike. They believe that churches should be divided by social class, by culture, or by whatever societal denomination you choose. (Personally, I think that if we did that, we’d each eventually find ourselves sitting alone), but as we read I Corinthians, we will discover that Paul had a different idea about how the church in a culturally diverse place like Corinth should conduct service.

As we will discover later in this first chapter of First Corinthians (verse 10), Paul wanted no divisions in the church. He desired that we believers be united having the same mind and judgment. We will see however,  that He did not think that all churches should be clones of one another. We will discover that he wanted The Church to be relevant to their overall society, and he knew that in order to do this, the church had to be united. This is a lesson of which we can all benefit.

What is your viewpoint concerning our diverse social structure? Do you think the church should be more tolerant?  Do you feel that the church should be diverse or do you think that we should divide up into “relevant” social groups? Feel free to comment below.  If you have any questions, feel free to email me at cygnetbrown@gmail.com. I am here to assist you in any way I can.

 


For the next few weeks, I am going to be doing an intense study out of I Corinthians. As we’ll notice in the first verse of I Corinthians, we see that the writer of I Corinthians is Paul. He wrote this book in about 59 AD at the close of his three-year residence at Ephesus (Acts 20:31). This book is the 46th book of the Bible, has 16 chapters, 5 Old Testament prophecies, 13 new prophecies, 377 verses of history, 55 unfulfilled verses and 5 verses of fulfilled prophecy.

In I Corinthians we will learn about the human spiritual condition, what false doctrine needed to be corrected in the church, Standards Christians are expected to live by, Christian marriage, Christian liberties, Christian Worship, Spiritual Gifts and their exercise as well as the Resurrection. The reason I feel that this is an important book to study is that I see a lot of correlation between the Church at Corinth and the church today. i pray that you get as much from this study as I pray that I do.

As we mentioned, in verse one, it talks about who Paul is. He is an apostle. Apostle is not a term we use much any more except in reference to the twelve disciples of Jesus and Paul . So what exactly is an Apostle? Apostle comes from the Greek word: which means one sent by God. An Apostle has power from God to go into a place as God’s representative. Paul was letting the people of Corinth know that he was sent by God, and was appointed by God to give them the message of the Good News that Jesus Christ came give himself as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.

To make sure that the Corinthians knew that he was who he said he was, he dropped the name Sosthenes. Who is Sosthenes? In Acts 18:17 in mentions that there was a Sosthenes who had been the ruler of the synagogue. Could this have been the same person? I don’t know, but I can tell you that whoever he was, the Corinthians knew who the man was and if Paul was good enough for Sosthenes, then he should be important enough for the church at Corinth.

In verse two of I Corinthians, we learn that this book was written to the Church of God at Corinth. We get the word church from the Greek word (Strong’s 1577) ekklesia which was a popular meeting especially religious. At the time of the early church it was used as a reference to Jewish synagogues, but became a word that referred to members of the new sect, the religious congregation of Christians both still living on earth and those who had died.  The origins of this word interests me because it comes from two Greek words (1537) ek which refers leaving a point of origin. And (25640 kaleo which means whose name is called. So the word ekklesia literally means ones who have been called out from where they were originally.

To me prayer is talking with God. When i say talking with God, I don’t just mean monologues where I run down my laundry list of things I want God to deal with. Rather, I have dialogs with God. I’ll ask a question and I’ll get an answer. Often I know it is God and not me because what I am hearing back is NOT what I want to hear, but I also know that what is said is meant to help me grow. One day I was talking with God about life and I suddenly asked him, “How do I know I belong to you?”

The words were as clear as day, “My sheep hear my voice. You hear my voice, so you are one of mine.”

I knew that what he was doing was quoting John 10:14-16. He was telling me that because I could hear his voice, I was following him.

Today i ask you if you know that you have been called? Do you hear the Shepherd’s voice? Do you know that you belong to him?

When I worked at a drug and alcohol rehab center, one of the clients asked me how I knew what I knew about God. I didn’t quote scripture to him. Instead I told him to ask God to reveal himself to him. Then I prayed. I prayed that God would in fact reveal himself to him. Two days later, the young man came to me. He was excited because he had asked God to speak to him and that morning, God did speak to him and called him by name. One note about this young man, he never came back to the center as a client. He became a Christian counselor.

How about you? Are you not sure that God exists? Don’t take my word for his existence. You can know. You can be as sure as I am that he exists. Just ask him, and he will reveal himself to you. He will speak to you. You will discover that he is already calling you. Will you answer him?

Has God has spoken to you and his words have been a catalyst for your faith? I would love to hear about it. Would you be kind enough to share your experience in a comment?

 

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