Body Language

Our daily devotional is a re-post with permission from Words Of Hope. Come view our website at www.clintonave.org.

Body Language
September 25, 2021

Read: 1 Corinthians 12:12-26

For the body does not consist of one member but of many. (v. 14)

Corinth was a fractious, squabbling congregation. The Corinthians were a diverse bunch, and they couldn’t seem to agree on anything. Word of their strife reached Paul, and his response was to urge the Corinthians not to quarrel over their diversity, but to celebrate it, and to realize that different gifts enable people to play different roles in the life of the church. The church is like a body, said Paul, and just as all the parts of the human body have to work together if the body is to be healthy, so it is with the body of Christ.

Which raises an interesting question: what role do you play in the body of Christ? Are you the brain—the thinker? Perhaps you’re the womb—always giving birth to new ideas? Maybe you are the hands—the means by which ideas become reality? Recently, I read an article about the hypothalamus. Did you even know you had a hypothalamus? Believe me, you’d know it if yours stopped working. The hypothalamus is a tiny portion of your brain that regulates all kinds of physical and emotional functions. Maybe that’s your role—balancing, keeping things on an even keel.

Everyone has a gift. Everyone has a contribution to make, however modest. All gifts are given by God, and all gifts are important. “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you . . .’” What is your gift, and how are you using it to keep the body running well? —Lou Lotz

As you pray, give thanks for other people’s gifts, and for your own.

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The Lord’s Supper

Our daily devotional is a re-post with permission from Words Of Hope. Come view our website at www.clintonave.org.

The Lord’s Supper
September 24, 2021

Read: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

The Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” (vv. 23-24)

My son phoned. He said he’d visited a bakery, on his way home from work, to pick up a loaf of bread for dinner. “They must have just baked a batch of cinnamon rolls,” he said, “because the moment I entered the store I smelled them, and instantly I was a little boy again, and Mom was baking cinnamon rolls, and she’d drizzle on the icing. Somehow, the smell of cinnamon rolls always makes me feel loved.” What food makes you feel loved?

Food and memories have a way of getting all tangled up together, don’t they? Grandma’s home-baked cookies, Thanksgiving dinner, picnic baskets in the park, hot dogs at the stadium—food has a way of triggering memories.

It’s remarkable, when you stop and think about it, how so many Bible stories revolve around food. The bread-like manna that sustained the children of Israel in the wilderness. The Passover meal in Egypt. Jesus dining at the home of Simon the Pharisee. The fatted calf banquet prepared for the prodigal son. Jesus feeding the five thousand. The risen Christ and his disciples having a breakfast of bread and fish on the beach. And of course, there was this meal: “The Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed took bread . . .” Whenever I partake of the Lord’s Supper, it always makes me feel loved. —Lou Lotz

As you pray, give thanks for God’s love.

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Honoring God in the Ordinary

Our daily devotional is a re-post with permission from Words Of Hope. Come view our website at www.clintonave.org.

Honoring God in the Ordinary
September 23, 2021

Read: 1 Corinthians 10:31–11:1

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (v. 31)

We tend to segment our service to God. That is, we think, When I volunteer at the soup kitchen, then I am honoring God. And of course that’s true. But you don’t just honor God when you work at the soup kitchen. You also honor God when you work in your own kitchen. Every daily duty, every task, can and should be done as a gift to God. In Sunday worship, people put their gifts in the offering plate. But that’s just money, and it’s all God’s money to begin with.

Everything we do can be considered an offering unto God—the way you do your job, the way you tend your garden, the way you handle sickness. I can remember, when I was a boy, how my mother would say that one’s posture—simply the way you sit or stand—is done to the glory of God. At the time I thought that was a preposterous idea. But increasingly, as the years have gone by, I’ve thought that Mom was right. “Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God,” said Paul.

On your next visit to the Lotz home be sure to notice the painted wooden plaque that hangs on the wall in the kitchen: “Fulfill each daily duty as beneath the eye of God . . . Simply, Zealously, Cheerfully, Completely.” Think about that. And sit up straight. —Lou Lotz

As you pray, be mindful that we honor God in life’s ordinary tasks.

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Overcoming Temptation

Our daily devotional is a re-post with permission from Words Of Hope. Come view our website at www.clintonave.org.

Overcoming Temptation
September 22, 2021

Read: 1 Corinthians 10:12-13

God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability. (v. 13)

Gettysburg was the decisive battle of America’s Civil War, yet nobody saw it coming. Neither army knew that the opposing force was even in the area. Neither commanding general had any idea, when they awoke that morning, July 1, 1863, that the decisive battle of the war was about to begin.

That’s the way it is in the battle with temptation—you never see it coming. When Peter boasted of his allegiance to Jesus—“Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away” (Matt. 26:33)—how could he have known that within hours, in the courtyard of the high priest, he would be put to the test? And how do you know what battles await you? If you knew that this very day you would be assaulted with a great temptation, that the decisive spiritual battle of your life would be waged, you could prepare yourself. But temptation doesn’t announce its arrival in advance. When the battle comes, the solemn fact is that you are either ready or not ready. It is too late to get ready.

The good news is that “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape.” Commit that verse to memory. Ask God to help you withstand temptation. Don’t get complacent in your Christian walk. Rely on God’s promise, not on your own strength. —Lou Lotz

As you pray, ask God to make you strong in the hour of temptation.

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Freedom to Flail

Our daily devotional is a re-post with permission from Words Of Hope. Come view our website at www.clintonave.org.

Freedom to Flail
September 21, 2021

Read: 1 Corinthians 9:19-23

I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. (v. 22)

Do you know what a flail is? It’s a primitive, hand-held device for threshing wheat—a staff, at the end of which is a free-swinging stick. The stick is connected to the staff with a short length of chain or leather. As the staff is moved up and down, the stick flops herky-jerky, this way and that, pounding the wheat and separating the grain from the chaff.

Paul was like a flail. He strove to be “all things to all people,” hoping that thereby he “might save some.” Paul would go anywhere, do anything, accommodating himself in all sorts of ways, to all sorts of people—Jew or Gentile, under the law or outside the law—that he might win to Christ as many as he could.

There are risks, for a church, in trying to be all things to all people. You can find yourself spread a mile wide and an inch deep, all periphery and no center. Still, give me a church where believers flail—going here and there, doing this and that, each of us in our own way striving to do God’s work. Some volunteer at the food pantry. Some teach Bible stories to children. Some join the work crew that renovates housing so folks in need will have a decent place to live. Many believers in many ways doing one thing—trying to win people to Christ. How are you involved in that effort? —Lou Lotz

As you pray, ask God to show you how you might best serve his kingdom.

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It’s Too Late Now!

Monday Ministerial Musings

By Rev. Mark William Ennis

2021 Blog Number 38

September 20, 2021

It’s Too Late Now!

A month or so ago, I read a news article on the Yahoo news feed. It was an intriguing story of the pain a sadness of physicians who have been working diligently during the Covid-19 plague. One doctor, who works in a Southern state where the value of Covid vaccinations are minimized, told a very heart-wrenching story.

This physician had been fighting to save the life of an un-vaccinated patient who contracted Covid and whose condition was worsening. As he neared death, he looked at the doctor and asked if he could get the Covid-19 vaccine. The doctor had to tell him sadly, “It’s too late now.” Yes, the man died a few days later.

There are times in life when we wait too long and it is “too late.” I’ve not experienced it, but I know people who have arrived too late to the airport and missed a flight. Somethings in life have timeframes which are inflexible.

Relationships are especially like this. I have met a number of people who were estranged from family or friends. When the family member or friend dies without a reconciliation, the surviving member feels guilt knowing that reconciliation is not possible. It is too late.

How about your relationship with God? Will you build one before it is too late? Do you visit with God in his house? Do you talk to him each day? When was the last time that you inquired from God what he wishes you to do. This recent plague has taught us all that life is short. Our time to die has come any day. Have you made good plans to meet God face to face? If not, why not? If you wait too long to get right with God it might be “too late.”

#ClintonAvenueReformedChurch                         #ReformedChurchInAmerica                    

#PastorMarkAuthordotcom                                    #BergenfieldNJ

#CovidVaccines                                                       #Death

#Timing                                                                      #FriendOfGod

To read more of Pastor Mark’s writings, please order a copy of his book: https://deepriverbooks.com/books/the-circle-of-seven/

Es demasiado tarde ahora!

Reflexiones ministeriales del lunes
Por el reverendo Mark William Ennis
2021 Blog número 38
20 de septiembre de 2021

Es demasiado tarde ahora!

Hace más o menos un mes, leí un artículo de noticias en la fuente de noticias de Yahoo. Fue una historia intrigante del dolor una tristeza de los médicos que han estado trabajando diligentemente durante la peste Covid-19. Un médico, que trabaja en un estado sureño donde se minimiza el valor de las vacunas Covid, contó una historia muy desgarradora.

Este médico había estado luchando para salvar la vida de un paciente no vacunado que contrajo Covid y cuya condición estaba empeorando. Mientras se acercaba a la muerte, miró al médico y le preguntó si podía recibir la vacuna Covid-19. El médico tuvo que decirle tristemente, “Es demasiado tarde ahora”. Sí, el hombre murió unos días después.

Hay momentos en la vida en los que esperamos demasiado y es “demasiado tarde”. No lo he experimentado, pero conozco gente que ha llegado demasiado tarde al aeropuerto y ha perdido un vuelo. Algunas cosas en la vida tienen marcos temporales que son inflexibles.

Las relaciones son especialmente así. He conocido a un número de personas que estaban distanciadas de la familia o amigos. Cuando el miembro de la familia o amigo muere sin una reconciliación, el miembro sobreviviente siente culpa sabiendo que la reconciliación no es posible. Es demasiado tarde.

¿Qué tal su relación con Dios? ¿Usted construirá uno antes de que sea demasiado tarde? ¿Visita usted a Dios en su casa? ¿Habla con él todos los días? Cuando fue la última vez que usted preguntó a Dios lo que Él desea que usted haga. Esta plaga reciente nos ha enseñado a todos que la vida es corta. Nuestro tiempo para morir ha llegado cualquier día. ¿Ha hecho buenos planes para conocer a Dios cara a cara? Si no es así, ¿Por qué no? Si esperas demasiado tiempo para acertarte con Dios, puede que sea “demasiado tarde”.

#ClintonAvenueReformedChurch                         #ReformedChurchInAmerica                    

#PastorMarkAuthordotcom                           #BergenfieldNJ

#CovidVaccines                                                       #Death

#Timing                                                                      #FriendOfGod

Para leer más de los escritos del Pastor Mark, por favor pida una copia de su libro: https://deepriverbooks.com/books/the-circle-of-seven/

Glorify God in Your Body

Our daily devotional is a re-post with permission from Words Of Hope. Come view our website at www.clintonave.org.

Glorify God in Your Body
September 20, 2021

Read: 1 Corinthians 6:12-20

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. (v. 18)

Corinthianize means “to live a promiscuous life” (Collins English Dictionary). The word comes, of course, from the ancient city of Corinth, a place known for sexual promiscuity. Apparently, some of the members of the Corinthian church had convinced themselves that the physical act of sex posed no harm to Christian spirituality. They had adopted an attitude similar to that which the world has today: “What’s the big deal? Sex is a normal physical function, so why not use it as you please?” We can almost hear Paul’s teeth grinding as he rebukes the Corinthians for not taking sexual sin seriously. “Freedom in Christ” does not mean sexual license. “All things are lawful for me” (v. 12) does not mean promiscuous sexual behavior.

Paul gives two exhortations, one negative and one positive. First, the negative: “Flee from sexual immorality” (v. 18). Flee. Run away. Don’t debate with temptation. Don’t weigh the pros and cons. Flee. Some temptations are too insidious to spar with. When Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph, he ran away (Gen. 39:12). Some evil allurements may be overcome with fight, but sexual immorality requires flight.

The second exhortation is wonderfully positive: “Glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:20). In every aspect of life, including sexuality, honor God. Let people see God in you! —Lou Lotz

As you pray, ask God to give you the strength to fight against temptation, and the wisdom to flee from it.

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Real People

Our daily devotional is a re-post with permission from Words Of Hope. Come view our website at www.clintonave.org.

Real People
September 19, 2021

Read: 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. (v. 26)

In today’s mail there was a slick brochure about a new church in town. The brochure is a montage of beautiful people. The teenage girl with a sweet smile. The handsome African American couple caught mid-laugh. Two giggling children, one black and one white, arms draped around each other’s shoulders. They seem perfect, these people. Who wouldn’t want to worship with them? But they are not real. They are models from stock images. They are picture-frame people, the impossibly good-looking people who come in the picture frame that you buy at the store.

If truth-in-advertising laws applied to church brochures, the montage would show “not many of you were wise . . . not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.” The disabled vet in the wheelchair. The elderly gentleman struggling to stay awake during the sermon. The whiney, squirming five-year-old. The off-key choir. The single mom who can’t afford to tithe but does anyhow. These are not picture-perfect people; they are real people, reaching out to a real God.

God chooses the lowly, the humble, those with no rank, no clout. The Father stores his treasure in earthen vessels, not picture frames. Be thankful that you are numbered among the saints of God, but don’t try to take any credit. God gets the credit. —Lou Lotz

As you pray, give thanks that you are numbered among the saints.

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No Divisions

Our daily devotional is a re-post with permission from Words Of Hope. Come view our website at www.clintonave.org.

No Divisions
September 18, 2021

Read: 1 Corinthians 1:10-13

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you. (v. 10)

Sometimes I think about how divided the Christian church has become. Thousands of different churches; thousands of denominations. How come a divine structure has to keep paying bills for alterations and repairs?

Paul visited the church in Corinth around AD 50, barely twenty years after the death and resurrection of Christ, and already the Christian community had become terribly splintered. The Corinthian Christians had divided themselves up based on their favorite evangelist, and Paul sounded like an exasperated babysitter trying to enforce a ceasefire among fractious siblings: “Can’t you please try to get along?”

Among Christians, there doesn’t have to be uniformity. But there ought to be unity, and a recognition that we have more in common with other believers than anything that might divide us. By all means you should value your religious tradition, but remember that your ultimate allegiance is to the Lord. I hope you think well of your pastor, but never put any human leader where Christ alone should stand. At my first church, I copied Psalm 133:1 onto a slip of paper and slid it beneath the glass on my desktop, so I’d see it every day: “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” I need to do that again. —Lou Lotz

As you pray, ask the Father to give you a spirit of unity.

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The Friendly Church