I have a cold today, so I've barely been up let along writing. At this rate I'm never going to get a finished product. I'm going to copy and paste another segment from a couple of days ago from my book. Please keep in mind these are first drafts, so they are very rough, but I would really like to know what you think.
1 Corinthians 1:18-31
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate." Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased trhough the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and weakness of God is stronger than man's strength. Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things-and the things that are not-to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God-that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."
Oh, I love this passage. I have often felt like one of the most foolish people in this world and I am so glad that God chose me, so that even in all my foolishness I can be used by God: "Please, Lord! I'm begging you! Use me!"
But backing up let's look at this from the beginning. Vs. 18 says, "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,..." This in itself is an important reminder for me. The world does see it as foolishness. How in the world can one man die for the sins of all of mankind? How can it really be that simple? I think that is a lot of why it is so hard for the world to understand. I have talked to many who seem to think that the cross takes all of the responsiblitly off of us. Personally, I have found quite the opposite to be true. I have lived most of my life in completer fear of failure. The only reason I can even write this devotional is because I know there is forgiveness and God can fill in the gaps I leave, because of what He did on the cross.My lack of perfection does not excuse me from faliing to use my gift of teaching. I can't say, I'm not fully healed so therefore I can't teach. Obviously there is a certain amount of healing and preparation that needs to take place before we can use our gifts effectively. However, God and I have been over this a million times and one of the things He made very clear to me at Living Proof Live last weekend is that I'm ready to teach. I've done a loft of studying and a lot of healing and it's time to start teaching.
I love the next half of that verse where it says "but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."
Power! I don't know about the rest of you, but I've spent most of my life feeling absolutely powerless! I love that God has all the power I need! When I feel powerless now, I know that it just means I need to rely that much more fully on God's power! I love that there is power in the cross. There is power in what God did for us on the cross. Now all we have to do is lean on Him and He will give us all the power we need to live out our lives and do the things that He has called us to do. And again that brings us back to foolishness. It's so simple that it's foolish in the world's eyes. And my heart goes out to you if you're reading this and thinking with great frustration, "Lady, it's not that simple!" Maybe even thinking (or yelling) that at this book, I know. Trust me, the only reason I can picture you doing that is because I was YOU! I have been in recovery through Celebrate Recovery for 5 years! And looking for solid, biblical counseling for longer! I was seeing a Biblical lay Counselor, trained through the church, for about a year, before God moved her on to somewhere else. And I experienced a large amount of healing from that, but not enough, and when she had to move I felt abandoned, not just by her, but by God. I promise you, God did not abandon me, and He has not and WILL NOT abandon you! Feelings on their own are so unreliable. We have to trust that God's word is TRUE! I type that in all caps for a reason! I, myself, still have to remind myself of this every day! His WORD is TRUE no matter what I feel! If you feel powerless, you have a stronghold in your life somewhere. Stay in God's Word, don't give up on Him. He will not fail you. Can I say that again, with more emphasis! HE WILL NOT FAIL YOU! If you need counseling get it. If you need a Christ-centered recovery program like the one I'm in, look for that, but stay in God's Word. I am convinceed that no recovery program or counseling will work in your life outside of God's Word. God's Word has literally saved my life! And I'm not exaggerating! You can ask anybody who's ever been close to me how badly I've wanted to take my own life at times. I am alive because of Jesus and His Word! Praise you, Jesus!
Okay, moving on! Whew! That was something else, huh! I'm going to jump to the last half of verse 21 now (aren't you relieved) where it says "God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe." The word there that pops out at me is pleased! God was pleased! Oh, my goodness! I don't about you, but I have always had a hard time imagining that God could look at my life and be pleased with anything! Oh, how I want Him to be pleased with me, but couldn't imagine how He could be. And I thought for years that He just put up with me. He only saved me, because He did die to save the world and I'm part of the world, so okay, I guess if I have to save you, too, I will. But that's not how He feels about any of us! Myself and all of my self-loathing included! Praise God He was pleased to save me! Oh, I am having so much fun writing this! I hope you're having fun reading it! I love God's Word so much there are tears in my eyes right now! I'm telling you this is my life! But please remember He was not just pleased to save me when I chose to believe Him. He is pleased to save you, too, when you choose to believe! I feel compelled to rewrite that: God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save Shellie Paparazzo. Say that out loud, but instead of my name use yours! Cause He was pleased to save you! He wants you and He wants me! Oh, my heart is so full right now, I feel like I'm going to burst! I love you, Jesus!
Now, we're going to skip to verse 25, "For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength." No matter how wise man may seem to me; no matter how wise I may seem to you, I promise you God is wiser. And even at His weakest, God is stronger than we are! Praise God for that, I need His wisdom and His strength every day.
Now, verse 29, "so that no one may boast before him." I don't think He chooses the lowly things, because He doesn't love those that are strong. I think He chooses those of us that are weak, because we are not going to boast before Him. We are very aware that we have done nothing to deserve what He has given us. We are just going to praise Him for it and that's what we're supposed to be doing on this earth. Not drawing attention to ourselves. I'm not writing this so that you will look at me and think, "What an amazing person that Shellie is!" I'm doing it so that I can tell you, it's not me. I am so messed up. I want you to look at what I'm writing and say, "What an amazing God she serves" and want to know Him more. I do not boast before God. I have nothing to boast about. So, that leaves us with verse 31, "Therefore as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord." I believe that is what I just did. Praise you, Jesus!!!
"Dear Father, thank you so much for choosing me and for being pleased to save me. Thank you for saving my life. In Jesus' Name. Amen."