Monthly Archives: September 2021

Jeremiah 8-10; 2 Corinthians 11

If I were to sum up a theme in these readings, it would be a warning about false teachings.

You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed. (2 Corinthians 11:4, NLT)

What of the false teacher? What is deceit’s disguise?

14 But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15, NLT)

A deceiver knows how to disguise and hide. Some disguised themselves as apostles of Christ. That’s tricky. Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. We are told this for a reason. Bad intentions can sport good appearances.

But what of truth? Shouldn’t truth have an easy road? After all, it is right and pure. If Paul’s story is any example of trying to bring truth to light, that road is far from comfortable. For example, he:

  • worked harder
  • was put in prison more often
  • was whipped times without number
  • faced death again and again
  • 5 different times the Jewish leaders gave him 39 lashes
  • 3 times he was beaten with rods
  • he was stoned
  • 3 times he was shipwrecked
  • he spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea
  • he traveled on many long journeys
  • he faced danger from rivers
  • he faced danger from from robbers
  • he faced danger from his own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles
  • he faced danger in the cities, and in the deserts, and on the seas
  • he faced danger from men who claimed to be believers but were not
  • he worked hard and long
  • he endured many sleepless nights
  • he was hungry and thirsty
  • he often went without food
  • he shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep him warm (from 2 Corinthians 11:23b-27, NLT)

I read the account again, and this time, I imagine standing next to him. Working. Whipped. Shipwrecked. Facing danger–again and again. Exhausted. Hungry. Thirsty. Cold. And when I read it again, I look into the eyes of other prisoners, assailants holding whips and rocks, intimidating authorities, forceful robbers, a shunning community, even the ones who claimed to be believers. Paul’s not telling a passing story of what he did over the weekend. He’s telling a story of how he faced the extreme pressure to abandon the truth and abolish his faith.

I am ever more grateful for these words in my hands. Grateful for all the people who came before me, speaking and preserving truth, so that I could know Jesus and live. I will never know all that it cost them. But I know if they hadn’t persevered, my ignorance would have cost me my life.

Courtney (66books365)

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 Jeremiah 5-7; Psalm 75; 2 Corinthians 10

Today is my 37th wedding anniversary. It would be great to get 1Corinthians 13 as the reading. Anything but Jeremiah as he was told he could not marry. Psalm 51 would be more appropriate for the amount of times I have had to say sorry. So I walk into this day with what we have and see if I can relate. 🙂

Lord, don’t Your eyes look for faithfulness?
You have struck them, but they felt no pain.
You finished them off,
but they refused to accept discipline.
They made their faces harder than rock,
and they refused to return. – Jeremiah 5:3 HCSB

This is no surprise – God is looking for truth – and faithful people. When I am called to love, I am called to love by my actions and in truth. The eyes of the Lord, of His love, favour, good will and delight are on those whose hearts lean towards His cause and interest, and are faithful to His word, and who are lovers of truth – of Jesus Himself who is truth itself – and of His Gospel, the word of truth.

Then there is the definitiveness of His love.

“I will cut off all the horns of the wicked,
but the horns of the righteous will be lifted up.” – Psalm 75:10 HCSB

I cannot explain how He separates the truth from the lie – I will know one day I will see things as God sees them.

“Holiness is the habit of being of one mind with God, according as we find His mind described in Scripture. It is the habit of agreeing in God’s judgment; hating what He hates, loving what He loves, and measuring everything in this world by the standard of His Word. He who most entirely agrees with God, he is the most holy man.” – Dr. J. C. Ryle

So what do I do between now and then? I have to love Paul’s response.

Now I, Paul, make a personal appeal to you by the gentleness and graciousness of Christ—I who am humble among you in person but bold toward you when absent. – 2 Corinthians 10:1 HCSB

What does the gentleness and graciousness of Jesus look like? I think He loved righteousness, hated sin. He is just as He is loving – the cross modelled that – He died for the just and for the unjust.

This meekness and gentleness is the weapon by which Christ conquers us. It is the power of His love that subdues human hearts. He will bear with men until His very patience and gentleness shall make them ashamed of their sin. What argument can be more powerful than this? – W. Braden

Father, as You look for those to stand in the gap and be faithful, may I be found ready. I wanted to be the one You call righteous and I know I am through the blood of Jesus. May Your Spirit keep transforming me into the very likeness of Jesus. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Jeremiah 1-4, Psalm 130, 2 Corinthians 9

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8 ESV)

Dr. Gary Chapman wrote a book called, The Five Love Languages. In it he outlines five basic languages that each person could have. It is the ways we feel loved and how we show love. They include quality time, physical touch, gift giving, words of affirmation and acts of service. I read it years ago and watched how my oldest clearly had the “gift giving” love language. The best way to show her that you care about her is to give her something. And on the reverse of that, whenever she hears of someone she cares about having a need or having a special event in their life, her first thought is always to plan a gift for them. She is an example of the cheerful giver that Paul is describing.

For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all the others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you.” (2 Corinthians 9:12-14 ESV)

Being generous to others is not only a gift to them, it is very rewarding to us. It is one way that we can show God’s love to others and also helps us be humble in sacrificing for the good of others.

Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15 ESV)

~Kellie

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Zephaniah; Psalm 74; 2 Corinthians 8

One of my daughters has a serious servant’s heart. She seeks out the downtrodden and knows how to love them like no one else I know. In high school she organized an outreach and donation drive for the homeless and then walked the streets delivering the donated items. After high school she spent a few months in Uganda being Christ’s hands and feet to people living in prisons, slums, and other needy situations.

When she comes home from each of her adventures she is overflowing with the joy of seeing God at work through the experience. She loves the genuineness of people that find themselves without much to fall back on. She often walks away feeling she received more than she gave away. Her unconditional love is always a challenge to me.

Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land,
    who do his just commands;
seek righteousness; seek humility;

Zephaniah 2:3 ESV

. . . but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.

2 Corinthians 8:5b ESV

When people are humbled (whether voluntarily or by force), they come to a place of realizing their need. There is no faking it any more. They can’t pretend to be okay. They don’t have resources to help them keep up a polished facade. Sometimes these desperate situations lack physical resources and sometimes they are emotionally barren places, or both.

We don’t have to be pushed to such challenging places to come to God in humility, and not all those that live in humble circumstances have humble hearts. But, seeking God, seeking righteousness, and seeking humility are all wrapped up together.

As the Corinthian church sought to give out of their poverty, they first surrendered themselves to God, and then watched as He did amazing works through them. That first step cannot be skipped though. Sometimes I rush headlong into plans that looked good, or giving that gave me some emotional kickback, instead of first surrendering my plans to God and His leading in it.

Sometimes I hear about needs that are so overwhelming, and yet I want to be wise in responding. I need to remember to seek God first, and then proceed in partnership with Him, according to his design.

I will punish the men
who are complacent,
    those who say in their hearts,
‘The Lord will not do good,
    nor will he do ill.’

Zephaniah 1:12 ESV

However, sometimes I miss the call to serve others all together. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in my everyday life and full calendar that I become neutral about God’s work around me. I don’t really see what He is doing, don’t really see the needs that I could meet, and I just float through life checking off the next item on my schedule and calling it a day. God says he will punish complacency. I might feel neutral or ambivalent, but complacency is not. Satan loves it, God hates it.

The Lord your God is in your midst,
    a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
    he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17 ESV

Father God, You are anything but complacent. No one could accurately describe You as lukewarm or wishy-washy. May I never be those either. You are mighty, powerful. You rejoice. You love. You sing loudly. Thank you for that picture of your emotion. I sometimes picture You sitting stoically on a throne receiving all the glory and honor and praise You are due. But, you are also that loving Father that scoops me up, calms my racing heart, sings with joy over me, and is mighty to save me. I love you, my everlasting Father. In Jesus name, amen.

Erin (6intow)

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 Habakkuk & 2 Corinthians 7

Look among the nations, and see;
wonder and be astounded.
For I am doing a work in your days
that you would not believe if told
(Habakkuk 1:5 [ESV]).

What a beautiful way to start a book of the Bible. Very interesting that it is Habakkuk that starts this way. If God spoke these words to you what would you be expecting?

Perhaps God was going to bless you beyond reason with health and wealth and relationships.

Perhaps God was going to bless you with children that would follow close after Him and be wonderful ambassadors for the sake of His kingdom.

Perhaps God was going to give you loving grandchildren in your old age that would love you and be people you could brag about.

Perhaps God was going to use your church to make a HUGE impact for Him in your region of the world.

Perhaps God was going to give you a long and prospourus life.

Hmmm… but is that what Habakkuk is all about? No. It’s about judgement and ruin. Judah was at a moral low and yet Habakkuk’s message is one of trusting God with our lives and seeing Him eventually bring justice through His activity in the world. And through that time of judgement God will provide a remnant that will remain true to Him.

Sound familiar? Aren’t we in the midst of such a time. There is moral failure and ruin at every turn. But in the midst of all that, God will protect His remnant for future purposes. And really nothing is stopping us from being true to him this morning.

What are you trusting God for today? Don’t let this wicked time in the history of the world take your eyes off of that hope.

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