This content is part of a series.
NOTE: This sermon is part 31 and 32 of a 40 part devotional series. Two sermons outlines are included in this download.
Thirty-First Day (31 of 40)
Series: Lenten Devotion
‘‘Now this is the answer of the holy God of Israel: ‘You rejected my message, and you trust in violence and lies. This sin is like a crack that makes a high wall quickly crumble and shatter like a crushed bowl. There’s not a piece left big enough to carry hot colas or to dip out water.’’’ Isaiah 30:12-13
We tend to see God in the Old Testament as violent, vengeful, or angry. We equate the Old Testament God with force, war, destruction, and calamity. We want to believe that this God is somehow different from our perception of Jesus, as though the character of Jesus were not the character of God. There are indeed passages depicting God along those earlier lines of force, but they are not the whole picture, nor the clearest. Here in Isaiah’s words is a whole other aspect of God’s character, Yahweh’s determination that violence is not the better way, not God’s chosen path.
Thirty-Second Day (32 of 40)
Series: Lenten Devotion
I Corinthians 12:7-11
‘‘The Spirit has given each of us a special way of serving others. Some of us can speak with wisdom, while others can speak with knowledge, but these gifts come from the same Spirit. To others the Spirit has given great faith or the power to heal the sick or the power to work mighty miracles. Some of us are prophets, and some of us recognize when God’s Spirit is present. Others can speak different kinds of languages, and still others can tell what these languages mean. But it is the Spirit who does all this and decides which gifts to give each of us.’’ 1 Corinthians 12:7-11
It is fairly easy to celebrate our individual differences. Society speaks glibly of diversity. We may look upon diversity as a goal to achieve or a threat. We celebrate our distinctive differences. In the process, we may celebrate ourselves, painting our own characteristics in a better light than those we find somewhat different or alien to our experience. At other times, we may highlight the gifts of others as more important than our own, perhaps excusing ourselves for reticence to use our own gifts. This diversity, with all its importance and contribution, however, is not the point Paul was trying to make. He states the differences in gifting, but his point is that gifts qualify us to serve.