2687.) 2 Corinthians 6

August 20, 2019

2Cor6 now is the day
2 Corinthians 6   (NLT)

 As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it. For God says,

“At just the right time, I heard you.
    On the day of salvation, I helped you.”

Grace isn’t given because of any works, past, present or promised; yet it is given to encourage work, not to say work is unnecessary. God doesn’t want us to receive His grace and become passive. Paul knew that God gives His grace, we work hard, and the work of God is done

Many Christians struggle at this very point. Is God supposed to do it or am I supposed to do it? The answer is, “Yes!” God does it and we do it. Trust God, rely on Him, and then get to work and work as hard as you can! That is how we see the work of God accomplished. If I neglect my end of the partnership, God’s grace doesn’t accomplish all that it might, and is therefore given in vain.

–David Guzik

Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.

Paul’s Hardships

(Note to self:  Next time I am feeling sorry for myself, re-read the following verses.)

We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry. In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. We have been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food. We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love. We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense. We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed. 10 Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.

These verses are just as wonderful in The Message:

People are watching us as we stay at our post,
alertly, unswervingly . . .
in hard times, tough times, bad times;
when we’re beaten up, jailed, and mobbed;
working hard, working late, working without eating;
with pure heart, clear head, steady hand;
in gentleness, holiness, and honest love;
when we’re telling the truth, and when God’s showing his power;
when we’re doing our best setting things right;
when we’re praised, and when we’re blamed;
slandered, and honored;
true to our word, though distrusted;
ignored by the world, but recognized by God;
terrifically alive, though rumored to be dead;
beaten within an inch of our lives, but refusing to die;
immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy;
living on handouts, yet enriching many;
having nothing, having it all.

11 Oh, dear Corinthian friends! We have spoken honestly with you, and our hearts are open to you. 12 There is no lack of love on our part, but you have withheld your love from us. 13 I am asking you to respond as if you were my own children. Open your hearts to us!

The Temple of the Living God

14 Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers.

2Cor6 unequally yoked

The idea of do not be unequally yoked together is based on Deuteronomy 22:9, which prohibited yoking together two different animals. It speaks of joining two things that should not be joined.

In what ways had the Corinthian Christians become unequally yoked together with unbelievers? How can we do this? Certainly by marrying an unbeliever and this is the most common way this principle is applied.

But Paul means much more here than only marrying an unbeliever. It really applies to any environment where we let the world influence our thinking. When we are being conformed to this world and are not being transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2), we are joining together with unbelievers in an ungodly way.

–David Guzik

How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? 15 What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? 16 And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God.

As God said:

“I will live in them
    and walk among them.
I will be their God,
    and they will be my people.
17 Therefore, come out from among unbelievers,
    and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord.
Don’t touch their filthy things,
    and I will welcome you.
18 And I will be your Father,
    and you will be my sons and daughters,
    says the Lord Almighty.”

In other words — Allow the Gospel to have its life-changing effect on you! Do not receive the grace of God in an empty, purposeless way! Let your thoughts, words, and deeds be consistent with the grace of God!

_________________________

Music:

I think some of my favorite words in all of Scripture (found today in verse 2, as well as in other places) are “Today is the day of salvation!”  HERE  is Phil Wickham and “This Is the Day.” What needs to be rescued/helped/saved/changed in your life? This is the day! Thank You, Jesus!

_________________________

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:
now is the accepted time.    http://missionventureministries.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/2-corinthians-6-vs-2.jpg
unequally yoked.    http://www.godandscience.org/images/donkeyoxyoke.jpg
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2686.) 2 Corinthians 5

August 19, 2019

2Cor5 new creation

2 Corinthians 5   (NLT)

New Bodies

For we know

Paul has just contrasted our light affliction with a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, and things which are seen and temporary with things that are not seen and eternal (2 Corinthians 4:17-18). Now, Paul writes more about this contrast between the earthly and the eternal.

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.

Salvation isn’t just for the soul or spirit, but for the body also. Resurrection is how God saves our bodies. We have a glorious new body to come. The British preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon wrote, “The righteous are put into their graves all weary and worn; but as such they will not rise. They go there with the furrowed brow, the hollowed cheek, the wrinkled skin; they shall wake up in beauty and glory.” 

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)

A man in the middle of many painful trials took a walk in his neighborhood and saw a construction crew at work on a big church. He stood and watched a stone craftsman work a long time on a block but could not see where the block would fit, because the church appeared to be finished. He watched the man work on the block carefully and methodically, slowly shaping it into a precise pattern. Finally, he asked, “Why are you spending so much time chipping and shaping that block?” The craftsman pointed up to the top of the nearly completed steeple and said, “I’m shaping it down here so it will fit in up there.” The man in the middle of the trials instantly knew that was God’s message to him:  He was being prepared down here so that he would fit in up in heaven.

–David Guzik

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.

The truth that to be absent from the body means we will be present with the Lord proves two false doctrines to be false. It refutes the false doctrine of “soul sleep” (saying that the believing dead are held in some sort of suspended animation until the resurrection occurs) and the false doctrine of “purgatory” (saying that the believing dead must be “cleaned up” through their own suffering before coming into the presence of God).

–David Guzik

And that is what makes heaven, heaven — to be present 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.

Paul presents essentially the same idea in 1 Corinthians 3:12-15, where he speaks of a coming assessment of each one’s work before the Lord. In that passage, he makes it clear that what we do and our motive for doing it will be tested by fire, and the purifying fire of God will burn up everything that was not of Him. We won’t be punished for what was not done rightly unto the Lord; those things will simply be burned up, and it will be as if we never did them. We will simply be rewarded for what remains. 

–David Guzik

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.

This is the greatest foundation for ministry, wanting to give something to others because Jesus gave you everything. When we really receive the love of Christ, it touches us and makes us want to serve others.

–David Guzik

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

Being a new creation is a gift from God received by faith!

“God is surely the author of the second creation as he was of the first.”

–Murray J. Harris

“A phrase which argueth the greatest change imaginable, and such a one as can be wrought in the soul by no other power than the power of God.”

–Matthew Poole

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

2685.) 2 Corinthians 4

August 16, 2019

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 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.

The NIV puts it this way:

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Particularly during the years when my mother was changing for the worse with Alzheimer’s, I found these verses to be so strengthening and true! It was almost as if it were a proportion — the more I saw the decay of her body and mind, the more I imagined her renewal in spirit! God was faithful in what I could not see!

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.    https://www.onlythebible.com/Backgrounds/2-Corinthians-4.7.html
hard pressed on every side.    http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/e7/1a/37/e71a3751e6c6f4ee44838fbf87c2b33a.jpg
worth it.    https://www.amazon.com/wont-easy-but-itll-worth/dp/1979292639

2684.) 2 Corinthians 3

August 15, 2019

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.

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.

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.”

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is one of the great Wesley hymns. “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” prays “Let us see thy great salvation perfectly restored in thee.” Not in a mirror dimly, but face to face.

_________________________

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.   https://www.worldmarket.com/product/segovia-whitewashed-mirror.do

2683.) 2 Corinthians 2

August 14, 2019

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

Paul’s motive in the exercise of discipline was not vengeance but correction; he did not aim to knock a man down, but to help him to get up. His aim was to judge a man, not by the standards of abstract justice, but of Christian love. The fact is that quite often sins are good qualities gone wrong. The man who can plan a successful burglary has initiative and organizing power; pride is a kind of intensification of the independent spirit; meanness is thrift run to seed. Paul’s aim in discipline was, not to eradicate such qualities as a man might have, but rather to harness them to higher purposes. The Christian duty is not to render the sinner harmless by battering him into submission, but to inspire him to goodness.

–William Barclay

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://www.turnbacktogod.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Commit-Your-Plans-To-The-Lord.jpg
Ephesians 4:32.    http://dailydwelling.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/eph-4_32_thumb.gif
Tiffany roses.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2019/08/0f124-img_0594.jpg

2682.) 2 Corinthians 1

August 13, 2019

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.

According to William Barclay, verses 1-7 give us a kind of summary of the Christian life. Paul writes as a man who knows trouble to those who are in trouble. The answer to this suffering lies in endurance. But we are not left to face this trial and to provide this endurance alone — there comes to us the comfort of God. (English teacher note — the word comfort comes to English from the Latin, com meaning with, and fortis meaning brave; to strengthen greatly and give support.) The supreme result of all this is that we gain the power to comfort others who are going through it. Paul claims that the things which have happened to him and the comfort which he has received have made him able to be a source of comfort to others.

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

“Had Jesus never come we might have doubted the tremendous promises of God, might have argued that they were too good to be true. But a God who loves us so much that he gave us his Son is quite certain to fulfil every promise that he ever made. He is the personal guarantee of God that the greatest and the least of his promises are all true.”

–William Barclay

“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.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2019/08/15e6a-2corinthians1_19.jpg
Holy Spirit dove.    http://hischarisisenough.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/dove.jpg
He comforts us.   http://theheavenscall.blogspot.com/2013/07/he-gives-us-comfort-in-all-our-troubles.html
Thank you for your prayers.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/2cor1-thank_you.jpg
Yes.    http://idontwanttobestressed.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/yes.jpg

2681.) Proverbs 29

August 12, 2019

Pro29 glassesProverbs 29   (NIV)

Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes
    will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy.

When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice;
    when the wicked rule, the people groan.

A man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father,
    but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth.

Pr29 prodigal son

The prodigal son, you remember, wasted his father’s wealth in riotous living, breaking his father’s heart. There was rejoicing only after he came to his senses in the pigsty and then returned home. Click  HERE  to read the story again.

By justice a king gives a country stability,
    but those who are greedy for bribes tear it down.

“This was notoriously the case in this kingdom, before the passing of the Magna Charta, or great charter of liberties…I have met with cases in our ancient records where, in order to get his right, a man was obliged almost to ruin himself in presents to the king, queen, and their favourites, to get the case decided in his favour.”

–Adam Clarke

Those who flatter their neighbors
    are spreading nets for their feet.

Evildoers are snared by their own sin,
    but the righteous shout for joy and are glad.

The righteous care about justice for the poor,
    but the wicked have no such concern.

Mockers stir up a city,
    but the wise turn away anger.

“A fine motto for engraving on the walls of the Foreign Office of any nation.”

–G. Campbell Morgan

If a wise person goes to court with a fool,
    the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace.

10 The bloodthirsty hate a person of integrity
and seek to kill the upright.

11 Fools give full vent to their rage,
    but the wise bring calm in the end.

Pro29 speak angry

12 If a ruler listens to lies,
    all his officials become wicked.

13 The poor and the oppressor have this in common:
    The Lord gives sight to the eyes of both.

14 If a king judges the poor with fairness,
    his throne will be established forever.

15 A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom,
    but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother.

Pro29 train up a child

16 When the wicked thrive, so does sin,
    but the righteous will see their downfall.

17 Discipline your children, and they will give you peace;
    they will bring you the delights you desire.

18 Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint;
    but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.

“No greater calamity, therefore, can there be than the removal of the revelation…Where revelation is withdrawn from a church, the people perish in ignorance and delusion.”

–Charles Bridges

19 Servants cannot be corrected by mere words;
    though they understand, they will not respond.

20 Do you see someone who speaks in haste?
    There is more hope for a fool than for them.

Pro29 speak think

21 A servant pampered from youth
    will turn out to be insolent.

22 An angry person stirs up conflict,
    and a hot-tempered person commits many sins.

23 Pride brings a person low,
    but the lowly in spirit gain honor.

Pro29 23

24 The accomplices of thieves are their own enemies;
    they are put under oath and dare not testify.

25 Fear of man will prove to be a snare,
    but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.

26 Many seek an audience with a ruler,
    but it is from the Lord that one gets justice.

27 The righteous detest the dishonest;
    the wicked detest the upright.

“Here is the oldest, the most rooted, the most universal quarrel in the world. It was the first fruit of the Fall (Genesis 3:15). It has continued ever since and will last to the end of the world.”

–Charles Bridges

_________________________

Music:

Verse 18 says, “Where there is no vision (= divine revelation), the people perish.”  Oh, for a clear vision of God Most High!  HERE  is Robin Mark and “Be Thou My Vision.”

_________________________

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:
Where there is no vision.    http://leadershipvoices.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Eyeglasses-Proverbs-29_18.jpg
the prodigal son.    https://mudpreacher.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/prodigal_son_in_pig-slop.jpg
Twain quote.    https://quotefancy.com/quote/42201/Mark-Twain-Never-argue-with-a-fool-onlookers-may-not-be-able-to-tell-the-difference
Speak when you’re angry.    http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/a2/e8/a3/a2e8a332643a3ca2bcf3c5bb03b10e64.jpg
Train up a child.    http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Inspirational-Images/large/Proverbs_22-6.jpg
Proverbs 29:18.     https://behealthythenwealthy.weebly.com/blog/category/goals-setting
Before you speak.   https://www.morningjoycompositions.com/2012/10/18/think-before-you-speak/
tortoise and hare.    http://christrescuemission.org/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/pride_prov_29-23_humble_spirit_honor.10594224_std.jpg
Chesterton quote.   https://www.azquotes.com/quote/371614