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August 5

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“For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2 NLT).

From: August 5, 2019

TALKING TO OTHERS ABOUT JESUS

Why is it easier to invite someone to church than it is to invite them to follow Jesus? Talking about church is not the most comfortable thing in our modern culture. It signals a shift in our everyday generic conversation with neighbors and coworkers, for it moves from that which we have in common to that which we don’t. Talk about the weather, or sports, or some TV show is all fair game for discussion. But church talk crosses the unspoken cultural line.
 
Yet, there is no other shift in conversation as uncommon as the one that speaks of Jesus Christ. Calling out His name in conversation (not swearing, but sharing), often results in an uncomfortable silence, or a sudden need for the hearer to get back to some suddenly urgent task at hand. Since we have learned this, we often avoid talking about Jesus to others. When we want to talk to them about our faith, we hold back the Jesus talk, thinking maybe we’ll get to it later. Unfortunately, the longer we delay, the more uncomfortable we feel in bringing it up. If Jesus is the most important person in our lives, why have we waited so long in talking about Him? This is the tension we feel.
 
What if we became as Paul? What if we “decided” to “forget everything except Jesus Christ” in our daily conversations? Can we try it today? What would it look like to start talking about Jesus today?
 
PRAYER: Father, we have been called to be witnesses of Your Son, yet we often speak of everything except Jesus. Forgive us. Help us to be empowered and enthusiastic to talk about Jesus today. We give You this day. Give us opportunities to talk about Jesus and the spiritual boldness to tell others of His life-giving love. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:25 ESV)

From: August 5, 2016

Some consider the story of the cross foolishness. They dismiss the gospel as folly. They see only weakness in Jesus. They are ignorant of His life-giving, resurrection power for those who believe. Yet, Christ is both the wisdom and the power of God. His wisdom and power are revealed to those who believe. Their minds and hearts are transformed, so that foolishness and wisdom, and weakness and power, reverse poles from North to South. They are made right with God and see all things as they really are, no longer walking in darkness, but in light.

“Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom” (Ezra 1:1 NKJV)

From: August 5, 2015

King Cyrus of Persia enabled the Jews who had been captured by the Babylonian king to return to Jerusalem for the rebuilding of their temple. Persia (modern day Iran) overthrew Babylon (modern day Iraq) and showed favor to the Jews by not only allowing their return, but also giving back whatever temple implements that had been stolen and offering aid in its rebuilding. This Jewish return from exile was prophesied by Jeremiah.
I was recently reminded of this history by an Iranian named Reza that I met at a London coffee shop. When he suggested that I visit his country, I told him that I didn’t want to end up in an Iranian jail. “No!” he insisted. “We love Americans. It’s the politics, the mullahs that stir up trouble between us. Remember, we were Persians before we became Muslims. We were the ones who helped the Jews return to Jerusalem. Ninety-nine percent of Iranians love Americans!” I was surprised by his distinction of identity based on being Persian more than Muslim, and by his declaration that Iranians love Americans. I suppose the Jews were surprised by Cyrus’s favor too. It reminds me that things are not always as they seem and that God is still at work in this world and that one Day all prophecies will be fulfilled in Christ.

“The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18 NLT)

From: August 5, 2014

It is God’s plan that the “message of the cross” should enliven human hearts, yet it is also that which certifies that others are already dead. We often try human wisdom to reason and persuade, but it is the gospel alone that saves. And it is the gospel that reveals others to be lost. Only the message of the cross has the power to show we are already dead in our sins before making us alive in Christ. This message is a stumbling block to some and foolishness to others, but to us who believe it is the very power of God.

“The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18)

From: August 5, 2012

The message of the cross is spiritual wisdom. We are called to proclaim it to all, but not everyone will understand. God’s Spirit is the power that reveals the truth of the gospel. Explaining it with human wisdom falls short. Instead, we preach it, asking the Spirit to reveal the truth of it to human hearts. What happens when you survey the wondrous cross?

“For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2)

From: August 5, 2011

Paul, a brilliant and educated man, resolved to “know nothing” but one thing: Jesus! What have you resolved to know and think on and talk about today?