Category Archives: 2 Corinthians

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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Hang in there!

“Therefore, we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”  2 Corinthians 4:16.

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

God is with us whether it is visible or not.

Things are not always smooth.  Life has its storms.

BUT God is in charge.  He is the God of the storms and the God of the calm waters.

We must abide in Him in all circumstances.

We must internalize His Word.

If we do those things He tells us in John 15:7: We may ask what we desire, and it will be done for us.

I struggle with letting circumstances dictate my demeanor.  Things are good….I’m good.  Things get difficult….I’m difficult to be around.

It all shows how shallow my relationship is with God.  I am not submerged in Him.  I have my toe in the water and little else.

God is in my life.  I have His Holy Spirit.  I must open every part of me to His control.  That will help me as I face the variety of circumstances that come my way in a day.  Things will not always be easy or difficult.  It shouldn’t make a bit of difference in how I react to those circumstances.  If I am overflowing with God then those who enter my life will be the beneficiaries.

“Lord, forgive me for getting into a situational relationship with You.  I want to be steady with You in every situation.  Take me over.  Run out the evil that has invaded me.  I love You.  Fill every part of me with You.  You are ever steady.  I love You, Father.”

God is with You.  God loves You.  Live accordingly.

St. Lucia

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Are you wearing a veil?

“Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts.  But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.  Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”  2 Corinthians 3:15-18.

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

Folks feared looking at Moses when he came back from Mount Sinai.  He had this “glow” about him that scared them off.

Believers can be like Moses: We can glow.

The reactions we get from our “glowing” will surely vary.   Some people are going to want to avoid us or they’ll insist that we became less obvious in our beliefs.  Other people will find our “glowing” to be attractive.  They may be equally “glowing” so that there is a camaraderie or they may want to increase their “glow.”

If I am filled with God, there will be an overflow.  It will spill out of me as I live: I’ll say things, I’ll do things that will give it away.  I can’t help myself.

If I am restrained in my “glowing” then I am not filled with Him.  I do not have enough of Him to naturally share with others.

The “veil” referred to in these verses had to be worn by Moses because of the Israelites’ sinfulness.  They weren’t ready to be exposed to God and they knew it.

I have no reason to limit my attempts to reflect God’s glory.  I love God and I want to glow of Him.  My restraints in this effort are of my own doing.  They reflect my sinfulness.

“Lord, forgive me for not reflecting You in my midst.  I have You within me.  I open every part of my being to Your control.  Take me over, now.  Run my life.  I want there to be a natural overflow of You from within me.  I trust You to help me do this.  I love You, Lord.”

We should have no restraints in “glowing” of God.

St. Lucia

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