1260.) 2 Corinthians 5

February 28, 2014

2Cor5 new creation

2 Corinthians 5   (NLT)

New Bodies

For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. 5 God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit’s work in us now in daily renewal and spiritual strengthening is a foretaste and guarantee of future completion of that work in resurrection bodies and complete sanctification.  (The Reformation Bible)

So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. 7 For we live by believing and not by seeing.

2Cor5 live by faith

Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him. 10 For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.

We Are God’s Ambassadors

She was Ambassador in Czechoslovakia during one of this nation’s most important moments: the Velvet Revolution of 1989. The dissidents who suddenly found themselves running the country that would become the Czech Republic welcomed her help with the transition and had fond memories of her.

Shirley Temple Black was Ambassador in Czechoslovakia during one of this nation’s most important moments: the Velvet Revolution of 1989. The dissidents who suddenly found themselves running the country that would become the Czech Republic welcomed her help with the transition and had fond memories of her.

11 Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. God knows we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too. 12 Are we commending ourselves to you again? No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us, so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart. 13 If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. 14 Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. 15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.

Robert Morrison (1782-1834). the first Protestant missionary to China, was asked shortly after his arrival in China if he expected to have any spiritual impact on the Chinese.  He answered, “No sir, but I expect God will!”

Robert Morrison (1782-1834), the first Protestant missionary to China, was asked shortly after his arrival in China if he expected to have any spiritual impact on the Chinese. He answered, “No sir, but I expect God will!”

from This Day with the Master
by Dennis F. Kinlaw

I was in Macao, a tiny colony off the China coast, where I stood beside the grave of missionary Robert Morrison.  The stone is weather-beaten and mossy, so I could barely make out the name, date, and inscription, yet I found myself uncharacteristically moved with emotion.

Robert Morrison had been a young British man studying accounting when God saved him and called him to the mission field.  When he arrived in China and the Chinese learned what his mission was, they booted him out.  So Robert went to Macao, a Portuguese colony.  He stayed there a little while and then returned to China, but again was deported, so he found a job with the East India Company as an accountant.  Periodically he would return to China, only to be expelled each time.  Morrison worked all day for the East India Company and at night he translated the Bible into Chinese.  After 25 years he finished translating the Bible, and later he died in Macao.  For days after his death, there was no agreement on where to bury his body.  The Chinese certainly did not want a Christian to be buried in their cemetery, and the Roman Catholics were not about to have a Protestant buried in their cemetery.  Finally someone negotiated with the Roman Catholic archbishop, who sold one cemetery plot so they could bury Robert Morrison.  He was rejected all his life and even rejected in death.

Rarely do we recognize the cost that other people have paid to be faithful to the Lord Jesus.  In our society, we focus so much on our own personal needs that few people will stand up and say, “Whatever God asks, I will do.”  Are you willing to do that?

16 So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

2Cor5 new creation cross
18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “All Things New”  by Steven Curtis Chapman.  The truth of this song is cause for great rejoicing!

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
new creation.   http://newlife.id.au/wp-content/uploads/2corinthians5_17.jpg
we live by faith.    http://29.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_l1c2pt2j381qbf7mho1_500.jpg
Ambassador Shirley Temple Black.   http://www.aic.cz/blog/pics/AmbShirley300.jpg
Robert Morrison.    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/82/Robert_Morrison_1782-1834.jpg
new creation cross.    http://media.salemwebnetwork.com/crosscards/wallpapers/cc_wall02083_800.jpg
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1259.) 2 Corinthians 4

February 27, 2014

2Cor4 earthen vessels

2 Corinthians 4   (NLT)

Treasure in Fragile Clay Jars

Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up.

Paul preached the word of God humbly yet boldly,

We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods.

honestly,

We don’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God.

truthfully,

We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this.

and with integrity.

If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.

You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,”

Paul knew the Genesis account:  God said, “Let there be light.”  And there was light.

has made this light shine in our hearts

Paul remembered that as he was traveling to Damascus, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him.

so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.

2Cor4 hard pressed

I love the word “but” in the Bible.  J. B. Phillips translates the two verses above like this (emphasis mine):  We are handicapped on all sides, BUT we are never frustrated; we are puzzled, BUT never in despair. We are persecuted, BUT we never have to stand it alone: we may be knocked down BUT we are never knocked out! 

I add these examples to the BUT GOD of Psalm 73:26 and my heart rejoices!  My flesh and my heart may fail, BUT GOD is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

11 Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. 12 So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you.

13 But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.” 14 We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. 15 All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.

Revelation 4:11   (NIV)

“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
    to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
    and have their being.”

16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

Often afflictions appear only to sour us and make us more rebellious and discontented.  But let us remember that afflictions help prepare us for the glory hereafter.  Affliction draws our hearts away from the love of the world:  it will enable us to appreciate by way of contrast the things God has prepared for them that love Him.

Here then is what faith is invited to do:  to place in one scale the present afflictions; in the other, the eternal glory.  Are they worthy to be compared?  No, indeed.  One second of glory will more than balance a whole lifetime of suffering.  What are years of toil, of sickness, of battling against poverty, of persecution, even a martyr’s death, when weighed over against the pleasures at God’s right hand, that are forevermore!

May God grant us faith that will enable us to anticipate the future and live in the present enjoyment of it.

–Arthur Pink

_________________________

Music:

HERE  we are with “Trading My Sorrows” again, since part of the song comes from verses in this chapter:   We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.  This performance is by Hillsong.

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
treasure in earthen vessels.    http://www.onlythebible.com/backgrounds/previews/2-Corinthians-4.7.jpg
hard pressed on every side.    http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/e7/1a/37/e71a3751e6c6f4ee44838fbf87c2b33a.jpg

1258.) 2 Corinthians 3

February 26, 2014

celebrity

2 Corinthians 3   (NLT)

Are we beginning to praise ourselves again? Are we like others, who need to bring you letters of recommendation, or who ask you to write such letters on their behalf? Surely not! The only letter of recommendation we need is you yourselves. Your lives are a letter written in our hearts; everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you. Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts.

Do people see something of the patience of Christ, the meekness of Christ, the purity of Christ, the love of Christ, and the tender compassion of Christ in me?

As I mingle with others in my daily employment, those with whom I have the most to do should see a difference.

Do they say, “Well, so-and-so may be a Christian; if he is, I do not think much of Christianity”?

Or are we so living that others looking upon us say, “Well, if that is Christianity, I wish I knew something of it in my own life”?

Long for someone to say to you:  “I cannot help but believe in the reality of the message you preach because of the effect it has on the people I have seen who believe it.”

This is what Paul means when he says that we are the letter of Christ.

–H. A. Ironside

You’re writing a gospel, a chapter each day
By the deeds that you do and the words that you say.
Men read that gospel, be it faithless or true.
What is that gospel, according to you?

We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.

_________________________

Music:

“I Can See Jesus in You” — oh, may that be true!  HERE  is Twila Paris.

_________________________

The Glory of the New Covenant

The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away.

Click  HERE  to read the account in Exodus 34:29-35.

Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! 10 In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way. 11 So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever!

12 Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold.

2Cor3 BeBold

13 We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away. 14 But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. 15 Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand.

16 But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

2Cor3 mirror

from My Utmost for His Highest
by Oswald Chambers

The outstanding characteristic of a Christian is this unveiled frankness before God so that the life becomes a mirror for other lives.  By being filled with the Spirit, we are transformed, and by beholding we become mirrors.  You always know when a person has been beholding the glory of the Lord; you feel in your inner spirit that he is the mirror of the Lord’s own character. 

The golden rule for your life and mine is this concentrated keeping of the life open towards God. Let everything else –- work, clothes, food, everything on earth –- go by the board, saving that one thing. The rush of other things always tends to obscure this concentration on God. We have to maintain ourselves in the place of beholding, keeping the life absolutely spiritual all through. Let other things come and go as they may, let other people criticize as they will, but never allow anything to obscure the life that is hid with Christ in God. Never be hurried out of the relationship of abiding in Him. It is the one thing that is apt to fluctuate but it ought not to. The severest discipline of a Christian’s life is to learn how to keep “beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord.”

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
letter of Christ.    http://4catholiceducators.com/graphics/2Corinthians3_3.jpg
be bold.    http://maulshri.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/BeBold.jpg
mirror.   http://www.mirrormanmirrors.com/images/B%20&%20G%20CHELSEA%20MIRROR.jpg

1257.) 2 Corinthians 2

February 25, 2014

2Cor2 forgive_others_jpg2

2 Corinthians 2   (NLT)

So I decided that I would not bring you grief with another painful visit. For if I cause you grief, who will make me glad? Certainly not someone I have grieved. That is why I wrote to you as I did, so that when I do come, I won’t be grieved by the very ones who ought to give me the greatest joy. Surely you all know that my joy comes from your being joyful. I wrote that letter in great anguish, with a troubled heart and many tears. I didn’t want to grieve you, but I wanted to let you know how much love I have for you.

Carrying on the thought from chapter one, Paul is defending himself against the Corinthian Christians.  Some among them were criticizing him because he changed his travel plans, and did not come when he had planned to.  They used this change of plans to say of Paul, “He is unreliable and untrustworthy.  We don’t need to listen to him at all.”  But Paul explains there were many reasons why he did not come as planned, one of them being he was trying to spare the Corinthian Christians.

Paul’s most recent visit was full of conflict and unpleasantness.  So he determined that he would not have another “sorrowful” visit with the Corinthians.

It seems that Paul thought it best to give the Corinthian Christians a little room, and give them space to repent and get their act together.  He didn’t want to be on them all the time.  With this situation, how could another visit of the same kind be of any benefit for either Paul or the Corinthian Christians?

–David Guzik

Forgiveness for the Sinner

I am not overstating it when I say that the man who caused all the trouble hurt all of you more than he hurt me. Most of you opposed him, and that was punishment enough. Now, however, it is time to forgive and comfort him. Otherwise he may be overcome by discouragement. So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him.

I wrote to you as I did to test you and see if you would fully comply with my instructions. 10 When you forgive this man, I forgive him, too. And when I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven, I do so with Christ’s authority for your benefit, 11 so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.

2Cor2 forgiving

“The weak will never forgive.  Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” 

— Mahatma Gandhi

12 When I came to the city of Troas to preach the Good News of Christ, the Lord opened a door of opportunity for me. 13 But I had no peace of mind because my dear brother Titus hadn’t yet arrived with a report from you. So I said good-bye and went on to Macedonia to find him.

Ministers of the New Covenant

14 But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume.

Here, Paul takes an image from the Roman world, seeing Jesus as the victorious, conquering general in a triumph parade. A Roman triumph parade was given to successful generals when returning from their conquests.

“In a Triumph the procession of the victorious general marched through the streets of Rome to the Capitol … First came the state officials and the senate.  Then came the trumpeters. Then were carried the spoils taken from the conquered land … Then came the pictures of the conquered land and models of conquered citadels and ships. There followed the white bull for sacrifice which would be made.  Then there walked the captive princes, leaders and generals in chains, shortly to be flung into prison and in all probability almost immediately to be executed.  Then came the lictors bearing their rods, followed by the musicians with their lyres; then the priests swinging their censers with the sweet-smelling incense burning in them.  After that came the general himself … finally came the army wearing all their decorations and shouting Io triumphe! Their cry of triumph.  As the procession moved through the streets, all decorated and garlanded, amid the cheering crowds, it made a tremendous day which might happen only once in a lifetime.

“That is the picture that is in Paul’s mind. He sees Christ marching in triumph throughout the world, and himself in that conquering train.  It is a triumph which, Paul is certain, nothing can stop.”

–William Barclay

15 Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. 16 To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?

2Cor2 roses

What is your favorite smell?  The fragrance of roses?  The aroma of chocolate chip cookies, warm from the oven?  A certain perfume?  Paul calls us here to be giving off an inviting fragrance to those around us, drawing people to the Lord Jesus and bringing glory to God.

17 You see, we are not like the many hucksters who preach for personal profit. We preach the word of God with sincerity and with Christ’s authority, knowing that God is watching us.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is Matthew West and “Forgiveness.”  When we forgive others in honor of Christ, we are a fragrant aroma, pleasing to the Lord.

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Matthew 6:14.    http://thepropheticbooksofbible.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/forgive_others_jpg2.jpg
Ephesians 4:32.    http://dailydwelling.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/eph-4_32_thumb.gif
Tiffany roses.    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-6w0FmyiZOjo/TfWeEeSzzXI/AAAAAAAAABg/uHTkZu_2j9c/s1600/IMG_0594.JPG

1256.) 2 Corinthians 1

February 24, 2014

2Cor1 yes

2 Corinthians 1   (NLT)

Greetings from Paul

This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy.

I am writing to God’s church in Corinth and to all of his holy people throughout Greece.

Established during Paul’s second missionary journey (Acts 18:1-17), the church at Corinth was plagued by the corrupting influence of the pagan lifestyle of that bustling metropolitan city.  Paul wrote them a disciplinary letter (1 Corinthians), exerting his authority as an apostle to deal firmly with such problems as divisions, doctrinal debates, questionable practices, and abuses of the Lord’s Supper and spiritual gifts.  False teachers in Corinth — angered by Paul’s first letter — swayed the people against him.  They claimed Paul was fickle, proud, unimpressive in appearance and speech, dishonest, and unqualified as an apostle. 

After Paul sent Titus to deal with the situation, he rejoiced to hear of the Corinthians’ change of heart.  Paul wrote this letter to thank the repentant majority for their support and to appeal to the rebellious minority to accept his authority, as he defends his conduct, character, and calling.  The book of 2 Corinthians is heavily autobiographical, offering glimpses into the life of Paul found nowhere else in Scripture:  his pre-conversion background, his visions from God, his thorn in the flesh, and his persecution of Christ.

–Walk Thru the Bible Ministries

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

God Offers Comfort to All

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.

2Cor1 dove

from Whispers of His Power
by Amy Carmichael

2 Corinthians 2:3 (KJV) — Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.

In one of his letters, Aldolph Monod tells how he found in his hardest moments that it was enough to take firm hold on a single promise.  It sustained him in the sorest difficulties.  He loved the words Father of Compassions, as 2 Corinthians 1:3 has it in French.

When one is in great pain or trouble, or caught suddenly by fierce temptation, it is the word of strength or comfort that is set deep in the memory that takes life.  It speaks in a new tone, and becomes to us at that moment more than we could have ever believed it would be.  John 14:26 explains this:  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost . . . He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

So let us fill the storehouse of our mind with the treasure of God’s word.  Every day offers opportunities.  When we go to bed tonight, let us think, “What treasure did I put in my storehouse today?”

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.

Often, we never receive the comfort God wants to give us, because He wants to give it to us through another person.  Pride often keeps us from revealing our needs to others, so we never receive the comfort God would give us through them.

–David Guzik

For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.

We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. 10 And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. 11 And you are helping us by praying for us.

2Cor1 thank_youThen many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.

Paul’s Change of Plans

In this section, Paul defends himself against the accusation that he is fickle and unreliable.  Here, he simply states that he has a clear conscience before God, and trusts that the Corinthian Christians will understand. The Corinthian Christians were so used to dealing with ministers who were calculating and manipulative, they figured Paul must be the same way.  Therefore, when Paul said he was coming to them, but did not, they figured he was just manipulating them.  Paul is letting them know this is not the case at all.

–David Guzik

12 We can say with confidence and a clear conscience that we have lived with a God-given holiness and sincerity in all our dealings. We have depended on God’s grace, not on our own human wisdom. That is how we have conducted ourselves before the world, and especially toward you. 13 Our letters have been straightforward, and there is nothing written between the lines and nothing you can’t understand. I hope someday you will fully understand us, 14 even if you don’t understand us now. Then on the day when the Lord Jesus returns, you will be proud of us in the same way we are proud of you.

15 Since I was so sure of your understanding and trust, I wanted to give you a double blessing by visiting you twice— 16 first on my way to Macedonia and again when I returned from Macedonia. Then you could send me on my way to Judea.

17 You may be asking why I changed my plan. Do you think I make my plans carelessly? Do you think I am like people of the world who say “Yes” when they really mean “No”? 18 As surely as God is faithful, our word to you does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” 19 For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” He is the one whom Silas, Timothy, and I preached to you, and as God’s ultimate “Yes,” he always does what he says. 20 For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.

2Cor1 yes purple

“We might never have had this precious verse if Paul had not been so ill-treated by these men of Corinth.  They did him great wrong, and caused him much sorrow of heart … yet you see how the evil was overruled by God for good, and through their unsavoury gossip and slander this sweet sentence was pressed out of Paul.” 

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

21 It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, 22 and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.

23 Now I call upon God as my witness that I am telling the truth. The reason I didn’t return to Corinth was to spare you from a severe rebuke. 24 But that does not mean we want to dominate you by telling you how to put your faith into practice. We want to work together with you so you will be full of joy, for it is by your own faith that you stand firm.

_________________________

Music:

I love verse 20:  For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!”    HERE  is “Trading My Sorrows” written by Darrell Evans — Yes, Lord, Yes, Lord, Yes, Yes, Lord!  (This song gets into my brain and plays on a loop; we will hear it again later this week!)

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
In Jesus Christ every one.    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_hJQ2MxZbc9o/TSmq–nTZMI/AAAAAAAAQPk/A-RzPf4srSE/s1600/2Corinthians1_19.jpg
Holy Spirit dove.    http://hischarisisenough.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/dove.jpg
Thank you for your prayers.    http://www.belovedhavanese.net/images/480_thank_you_for_your_prayers.jpg
Yes.    http://idontwanttobestressed.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/yes.jpg

1255.) Nahum 3

February 21, 2014
Nineveh was the last capital of the Assyrian Empire. It was located on the east side of the Tigris River directly opposite the modern city of Mosul in northern Iraq. The site has been extensively excavated and boasts a long and rich history.

Nineveh was the last capital of the Assyrian Empire. It was located on the east side of the Tigris River directly opposite the modern city of Mosul in northern Iraq. The site has been extensively excavated and boasts a long and rich history.

Nahum 3   (NIV)

Woe to Nineveh

Woe to the city of blood,
    full of lies,
full of plunder,
    never without victims!
The crack of whips,
    the clatter of wheels,
galloping horses
    and jolting chariots!
Charging cavalry,
    flashing swords
    and glittering spears!
Many casualties,
    piles of dead,
bodies without number,
    people stumbling over the corpses—

The Assyrian king Shalmaneser III boasted of having erected a pyramid of chopped-off heads in front of an enemy’s city.  Other Assyrian kings stacked corpses like cordwood by the gates of defeated cities.   (The Archaeological Study Bible)

all because of the wanton lust of a prostitute,
    alluring, the mistress of sorceries,
who enslaved nations by her prostitution
    and peoples by her witchcraft.

“I am against you,” declares the Lord Almighty.
    “I will lift your skirts over your face.
I will show the nations your nakedness
    and the kingdoms your shame.
I will pelt you with filth,
    I will treat you with contempt
    and make you a spectacle.
All who see you will flee from you and say,
    ‘Nineveh is in ruins—who will mourn for her?’
    Where can I find anyone to comfort you?”

Are you better than Thebes,
    situated on the Nile,
    with water around her?
The river was her defense,
    the waters her wall.

In the ancient city of Thebes, the sprawling Temple of Karnak covers more than 200 acres

In the ancient city of Thebes, the sprawling Temple of Karnak covers more than 200 acres.

Thebes (Upper Egypt) was another wealthy, mighty city that was destroyed completely. The Assyrians in Nineveh knew this well, because it was their armies that destroyed Thebes in 663 B.C. Nahum says, “Remember what you did to Thebes? The same is coming on you.”

–David Guzik

Cush and Egypt were her boundless strength;
    Put and Libya were among her allies.
10 Yet she was taken captive
    and went into exile.
Her infants were dashed to pieces
    at every street corner.
Lots were cast for her nobles,
    and all her great men were put in chains.
11 You too will become drunk;
    you will go into hiding
    and seek refuge from the enemy.

12 All your fortresses are like fig trees
    with their first ripe fruit;
when they are shaken,
    the figs fall into the mouth of the eater.

Nah3 ripe fig
13 Look at your troops—
    they are all weaklings.
The gates of your land
    are wide open to your enemies;
    fire has consumed the bars of your gates.

History and archaeology confirm that Nineveh was burned.  Assyria’s king (see verse 18) died in the flames of his own palace.   (The Archaeology Study Bible)

14 Draw water for the siege,
    strengthen your defenses!
Work the clay,
    tread the mortar,
    repair the brickwork!
15 There the fire will consume you;
    the sword will cut you down—
    they will devour you like a swarm of locusts.
Multiply like grasshoppers,
    multiply like locusts!
16 You have increased the number of your merchants
    till they are more numerous than the stars in the sky,
but like locusts they strip the land
    and then fly away.
17 Your guards are like locusts,
    your officials like swarms of locusts
    that settle in the walls on a cold day—
but when the sun appears they fly away,
    and no one knows where.

18 King of Assyria, your shepherds slumber;
    your nobles lie down to rest.
Your people are scattered on the mountains
    with no one to gather them.
19 Nothing can heal you;
    your wound is fatal.
All who hear the news about you
    clap their hands at your fall,
for who has not felt
    your endless cruelty?

Bass Relief of Royal Lion Hunt from Nineveh Palace

Bas-Relief of a Royal Lion Hunt from Nineveh Palace

Ninevah’s destruction in 612 B.C. was so complete that the decimated city was never rebuilt.  In the days of the Greek historian Herodotus, 400 B.C., Nineveh had become a thing of the past.  It was covered with windblown sand, leaving no trace except a mound that was known as Tell Kuyunjik, “the mound of many sheep.”  (The Archaeological Study Bible)

For centuries no one knew where ancient Nineveh lay buried.  Its remains were finally uncovered by archaeologists in 1845.  Excavations began on the site and over the next century and a half, wonderful things have been uncovered:  a vast arrangement of royal palaces, hundreds of sculptures and bas-reliefs, thousands of cuneiform tablets.  But the recent war in Iraq has not been kind to Nineveh.  In an October 2010 report titled Saving Our Vanishing Heritage, the Global Heritage Fund named Nineveh one of 12 sites most “on the verge” of irreparable destruction and loss, citing insufficient management, development pressures, and looting as primary causes.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “The King Shall Come,” a hymn which is often sung in Advent.  But as I thought about the end of Nineveh, I started also thinking about the end of the world as we know it.  When Christ returns, we as believers will not face the enemy with accompanying destruction, as the Ninevites did.  Instead, we will see his face — light, glory, love divine.  No fear.

The King shall come when morning dawns,
And light triumphant breaks;
When beauty gilds the eastern hills,
And life to joy awakes.

Not as of old a little child
To bear, and fight, and die,
But crowned with glory like the sun
That lights the morning sky.

O brighter than the rising morn
When He, victorious, rose,
And left the lonesome place of death,
Despite the rage of foes.

O brighter than that glorious morn
Shall this fair morning be,
When Christ, our King, in beauty comes,
And we His face shall see.

The King shall come when morning dawns,
And earth’s dark night is past;
O haste the rising of that morn,
The day that aye shall last.

And let the endless bliss begin,
By weary saints foretold,
When right shall triumph over wrong,
And truth shall be extolled.

The King shall come when morning dawns,
And light and beauty brings:
Hail, Christ the Lord! Thy people pray,
Come quickly, King of kings.

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
Nineveh.    http://s3.amazonaws.com/rapgenius/nineveh.jpg
Karnak Temple of ancient Thebes.    http://www.destination360.com/africa/egypt/karnak-temple
ripe fig.    http://foodblogandthedog.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/sm-fig.jpg
bas relief.    http://s1.hubimg.com/u/4960730_f520.jpg


1254.) Nahum 2

February 20, 2014
the fall of Nineveh

the fall of Nineveh

Nahum 2   (NIV)

Nineveh to Fall

“This chapter is a masterpiece of ancient literature, unsurpassed for its graphic portrayal of a military assault.”

–James Montgomery Boice

An attacker advances against you, Nineveh.
    Guard the fortress,
    watch the road,
    brace yourselves,
    marshal all your strength!

The Lord will restore the splendor of Jacob
    like the splendor of Israel,
though destroyers have laid them waste
    and have ruined their vines.

The shields of the soldiers are red;
    the warriors are clad in scarlet.
The metal on the chariots flashes
    on the day they are made ready;
    the spears of juniper are brandished.
The chariots storm through the streets,
    rushing back and forth through the squares.
They look like flaming torches;
    they dart about like lightning.

Nineveh summons her picked troops,
    yet they stumble on their way.
They dash to the city wall;
    the protective shield is put in place.

Ninevah’s wall, which was almost 8 miles long with 15 gates, was surrounded by a moat 150 feet wide.  The moat had to be filled before attackers could reach the city wall.  The “protective shield” refers to a large defensive shelter covered with hides to deflect stones and arrows.  (The Archaeological Study Bible)

The river gates are thrown open
    and the palace collapses.
It is decreed that Nineveh
    be exiled and carried away.
Her female slaves moan like doves
    and beat on their breasts.
Nineveh is like a pool
    whose water is draining away.
“Stop! Stop!” they cry,
    but no one turns back.
Plunder the silver!
    Plunder the gold!
The supply is endless,
    the wealth from all its treasures!

Nah2 galleon

If you love ships and the sea, this poem (with a reference to the wealth of Nineveh) will delight you.

Cargoes

–British poet John Masefield (1878-1967)

Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
With a cargo of ivory,
And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.

Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus,
Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-green shores,
With a cargo of diamonds,
Emeralds, amythysts,
Topazes, and cinnamon, and gold moidores.

Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack,
Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,
With a cargo of Tyne coal,
Road-rails, pig-lead,
Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.

10 She is pillaged, plundered, stripped!
    Hearts melt, knees give way,
    bodies tremble, every face grows pale.

11 Where now is the lions’ den,
    the place where they fed their young,
where the lion and lioness went,
    and the cubs, with nothing to fear?

Nah2 lion

The lion is an appropriate image for Assyria, which was known for its viciousness.  Ninevah itself contained numerous lion sculptures.  (The Archaeology Study Bible)

12 The lion killed enough for his cubs
    and strangled the prey for his mate,
filling his lairs with the kill
    and his dens with the prey.

13 “I am against you,”
    declares the Lord Almighty.
“I will burn up your chariots in smoke,
    and the sword will devour your young lions.
    I will leave you no prey on the earth.
The voices of your messengers
    will no longer be heard.”

“I am against you” — what frightening words from God!  They are the opposite of the good news of salvation, “I will be with you.”

Isaiah 43:2-3  (ESV)

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

_________________________

Music:

Though there is danger and dismay all around, the Jews hear God’s promise that He is their rescuer and restorer, and that this time will serve a good purpose towards their future.  Are you in the middle of a disaster or a storm now?  God’s care is holding you even now, and you can trust Him to bring you to the other side of it.  God says to you:  I will be with you.

HERE  is Ginny Owens and “If you want me to.”

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
the fall of Nineveh.    http://members.tripod.com/joseph_berrigan/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/battleninevehc.gif
Spanish galleon.    http://www.treasurelore.com/florida/galleon2.jpg
Assyrian lion (found in Nimrud).   http://www.ancientreplicas.com/assyrian-lion-2-o.jpg