Category Archives: 2 Corinthians

It’s not about me

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”  2 Corinthians 12:8-9.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading; 1 Samuel 13, 1 Chronicles 2-3, and 2 Corinthians 12.

When I am weak, I am strong.

How does that work?

When I am feeling strong, then it is easy for me to assume that I am strong.  When I am feeling weak then I need help to feel strong.

Paul’s strength was going to come from God.  His lack of self-strength was a good thing because it forced him to find his strength in God.

My threshold of pain is miniscule.  I want to feel good and have things going good.  When they don’t, I am thrown off.  The missing piece in my life is that I forget that God is with me in all conditions.

If I want God to use me, I must center my life in Him during all “seasons.”  If things aren’t going the way I want them to, He is still with me and willing to use me.  Will I let Him?

In my weaknesses, I must be drawn to Him.  Then my weaknesses are a good thing.  They keep me clinging to Him for help.

“Lord, thank You for Your Word.  So much for me to learn from it.  Forgive me for being a part-time, fair-weather follower of You.  I want to rightly represent You in every situation.  I want Your Eyes and Ears.  Your Words and Thoughts.  Impart them to me, I beg.  I love You, Lord.”

Do you understand: When I am weak, He is strong?  Live accordingly.


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Doing what comes naturally

“Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.”  2 Corinthians 9:13.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; 1 Samuel 6-7, Psalm 72, and 2 Corinthians 9.

Something must accompany my belief in God.

There must be actions that flow smoothly from a changed life.

When I contrive to do good, I am a sham.  God is not fooled.  Folks in my midst might be fooled, but not God.  He knows my motivations.

Ideally, I am Godly naturally.  What I do will flow from my love for Him.

God has given me a conscience and I thank Him for it.  That conscience tells me when my relationship to God requires an action that I may not have naturally been inclined to do.  I love that conscience but I long for the day when I don’t need my conscience telling me what to do and not to do.  I want to naturally be Godly!

How can this be done?  It requires an ongoing, all-seasons relationship to Him.  There is no “down” time.  There is no separation from Him.  I will, in fact, be mindful of Him.

“Lord, I want Your Ways to be my ways.  I want Your Ways to flow from me naturally as part of a Godly way of life.  Take me over, Lord.  Run my life.  Guide me, I beg.  I love You, Father.”

Our Godly acts must not be contrived.

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“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come; The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Ruth 1-2, Psalm 53 & 61, and 2 Corinthians 5.

Never forget the beginning: “if anyone is in Christ.”

If I am not “in Christ” I don’t need to read any further in this verse.  It does not apply to me.

However, if I believe that I am “in Christ,” I must be tuned into what comes next.

I’ll be new.  Think of the difference between a new car and an old car.  It shows in looks and sounds.

The same must be true of me.  My visuals must reflect Him. My audibles must sound like Him.

What a responsibility!  But there is a clear bottom line.  If my face and my words aren’t Godly, then I am apart from Him.  There is no other way to explain it.

How can I pull this off?  I can’t without Him!  I must be completely committed to Him.  No need to force myself into this mode, it must come naturally.

When I think of His love for me, it is overwhelming.  I have never earned it.  It is grace.

When I recognize what He has done for me, I am filled with a need to love Him back.  To do what He wants me to do in this life.  Not to mess things up.

I have an eternal future in heaven.  I know that, because of what Jesus/God did, I will stand completely in the clear before a holy and righteous God on Judgment Day.  Heaven is my after-life future.  Praise be to Him!

“Lord, thank You.  Your Love for me is immeasurable.  Help me to love You back in ways that please You.  Enable me to share You boldly with others.  I love You, Father.”

Are you new in Him?

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Jars of clay

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” 2 Corinthians 4:7.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Judges 19-21 and 2 Corinthians 4.

The Corinthians found reasons to say that Paul was inadequate.  Paul was okay with that.  Why?  Paul was the messenger.  He wasn’t the message.

How easy it is to put our trust in people.  The more we trust them the more we lessen our ability to rightly evaluate them.  “If they say it. It must be so!”

We are faulty vessels.  We’re well-intentioned but prone to mistakes. We are sinners and our motivation is suspect.  We trust in our own wisdom and invite God along to do what we want to do.

God knows our hearts.  We need to know our hearts too.  Understanding my heart will emblazon the idea that I need Him running my life.

“Lord, I am a jar of clay.  Inadequate to say the least.  A messenger with a message I don’t share.  O Father, help me.  Take every part of me over.  Guide me.  Direct me.  I yield to Your Will.”

We must get our eyes off the messengers and onto the Message.



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Godly competent

“Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.”  2 Corinthians 3:5.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Judges 17-18, Psalm 89, and 2 Corinthians 3.

Paul, who often exudes confidence, takes a step back.

Here those who admire Paul, are straightened out about his abilities.  Whatever Paul has was given to him by God.

If my competence is of my own construction, it is foundationless. It will fall apart sometime.

When the disciples, filled with the Spirit, were told to stop talking about Jesus and the resurrection, they answered simply: “We can’t help ourselves.”

The Spirit-filled disciples knew that they had it right.  They were certain of their competence because it had been given to them by God.  No man could tell them otherwise.  They wouldn’t buy it.

I want to rightly represent God in everything I do.  I want to be Godly competent.  To do this I must be totally committed to Him.  I must take each step with Him.  I must say each word with Him in mind.  I must be filled with Him.  Paul believed that he was filled with God and acted Godly competent.

“Father, help me, I beg.  Fill me with You.  Saturate me so that I overflow with You.  Direct my path.  Turn me in Your Direction.  I beg for competency in serving You this second/minute/hour/day.  Help me.”

Competency comes when I am filled with Him.

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Be weak so He can be strong

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-9.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading; Psalm 124, and 2 Corinthians 11-13.

God is omnipotent.  I am none of the above except in my own mind.

God is in charge.  I need to surrender to His direction.

I love Him, and I am certain that He knows what is best for me.  I must learn to act accordingly.

I am constantly cold and today I am visiting where it is colder than I am used to.  Perfect time to whine about it BUT God has brought me here.  Why would I have the nerve to complain about a place He has enabled me to be at?

I must not create for myself a sense of the way things SHOULD be.  I want things to be His Way, whatever that may be.  Therefore, when I think things are tough, they aren’t if they are the way God wants them to be.

If I go my own way, then I am moving away from God.  I can’t do that.  How wonderful it will be to be completely, for better for worse, in His Will.

“Lord, I need to be tight to You.  I want to please You in everything I do.  Forgive me for my acts of independence.  I love You, Lord.  Prick my conscience when I am off course.  I do NOT want to displease You.  You are my God.”

I must be willing to do whatever God wants me to do.  I must trust Him and please Him where He places me.

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Words for a believer to live by

“For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.”  2 Corinthians 8:21.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; 2 Corinthians 7-10.

Paul is writing about appropriate giving in this verse, but I believe that I can apply to how I live in general.

Having a job puts me into the public eye.  I have a boss.  I have students, of various ages, that I’m teaching to drive.  I need to be sure that I am working in a way that pleases my boss.

However, I also have a higher Authority that I am striving to please.  I must be actively pleasing God at work.

My experience has been that if I am pleasing God, then my boss is regularly pleased with the way I carry out my work assignments.

Both bosses (I’m including God) are positioned, however, to let me know when I’m messing up.  I must be ready to take the criticism (and it has happened at work) and make the needed apologies and corrections.

Note at the beginning of the verse that Paul is “taking pains” to get things right.  He’s not just rolling along.  He’s alert to what God would have him do.  He’s tuned in to the ways of the society he is mixing with.  This is no part-time job!

I need to see that I must be full-time in seeking to please God/man this day.  It is essential that I get that mix right.  Obviously, I need all that help at it that He can give me.

“Lord, simple truth in today’s verse: I must get things right with You and right in the places I am today.  I must rightly represent You most of all.  Help me to discern Your Way this day.  Open my eyes/ears to the way You see things in my midst.  Please give me those divine assignments.  I thank You for the one I had yesterday. I love You, Lord.”

God has a right way for me to live in this world.  Will I seek His counsel and then follow what He tells me?

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Seeing but not really seeing

“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.  The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”  2 Corinthians 4:3-4.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading; 2 Corinthians 3-6.

Unbelievers do not see well.

O they think that they see just perfectly, but they don’t.  They cannot see who Jesus is and what Jesus did.

Many guess that Jesus has something to do with Christmas and Easter.  The specifics on either are unimportant to them or just plain unbelievable.

Paul say his job as one of helping unbelievers see who Jesus is and why His death and resurrection are so important.

How do I do as Paul did?  I engage unbelievers in conversation.  I have mentioned this before: There are 100 million people in the US who have NEVER heard the Gospel!  They live among us but no has ever enlightened them to who Jesus is and what He did.

IN HIM, I must be open/prepared to share the Good News to anyone. Their blood will be on my hands if I don’t do it.  (That thought is a troubling motivator for me.)

“Lord, I beg for the lives of those in my midst.  Many have not even heard details of You.  They consider You irrelevant when You are Almighty.  Help me to be willing and able to enlighten those I am with this day to Your Gospel.  I praise You, Lord.”

I must be willing/able to share the Good News.

St. Lucia

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Are you a “strong” Christian? I hope not!

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  2 Corinthians 12:10.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: 1 Samuel 13, 1 Chronicles 2-3, and 2 Corinthians 12.

Today’s verse warns against that “strong Christian” perception.

If we are strong, why would we need God?

It is best for us to see ourselves as weak.  Why?  Then we know that we must turn elsewhere for our strength……..God.

Paul rattles off situations where he was overwhelmed as he conceived how he would deal with them.  I do not believe that Paul relished the bad situations.  Rather, he relished the fact that those situations reminded him of his weakness.

When I cannot take care of something, it is very likely that I will turn to someone who can help me.  In Paul’s case, it was God.

It also needs noting that there are NO situations in which I have less need of God.  Will I lessen my dependence on Him because things are going smoothly?  I must not.  I need Him in everything.

“Lord, You are my God in all seasons.  Forgive me for mumbling in the tough times and ignoring You in the easy times.  I need You all the time because I am weak apart from You.  You have everything I need no matter what I’m facing.  I love You, Lord.”

Our strength must be in God, not ourselves.  Otherwise, we’ll go it without Him and wish we hadn’t.


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The starting point for living a Godly life

“They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us.”  2 Corinthians 8:5.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: 1 Samuel 3-5, Psalm 77, and 2 Corinthians 8.

The Macedonian churches set quite an example!

You see here the formula for getting giving right: Give yourselves to God.

Often activities are started without God.  We try it alone and must live with the consequences of our folly.

If God is truly our overseer, we MUST seek Him FIRST.

Just imagine what life would be like for us if we had His directions within us.  Why do we persist rather in inviting Him along, instead of following His lead?

A Godly life is a surrendered life.  We must come to Him seeking mercy.  We must come to Him mindful of His grace on our behalf.

In everything we do we must predate it with the certainty of having His Way be our ultimate goal.

Paul is talking about giving in today’s verse and what motivated the Macedonians to give as they had.  BUT every part of our spiritual lives must be driven by a love to be in God’s Will.  There is no better place to be.  It takes surrender.  Will we do it?

“Lord, I surrender to Your Will.  What do You want me doing or not doing?  Enable me to sort those two things out.  I want to please You.  Direct my path.  Guide me, O thou great Jehovah.”

If we start with God we’ll do what He wants.

St. Lucia




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