Category Archives: 2 Corinthians

1 Kings 3; 2 Chronicles 1; 2 Corinthians 12; Psalm 78

Today’s readings reminded me of how present God is in our lives and how he hears our prayers. We can cry out to him when we need direction and we need healing. We may not get the answer we want but we can trust in his goodness. It starts with Solomon:

At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.

“Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (1 Kings 3:5-9) NIV

Solomon offers sacrifices to the Lord, and cries out to him for direction on how to be king and lead the people of Israel. God answers his prayer and gives him the gift of wisdom to rule wisely.

Paul cries out when he has been afflicted:

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor. 12:7b-10) NIV

Paul’s prayer was not answered as he had prayed. God did not remove the “thorn”. God’s answer made Paul realize that he would be a better representative of Christ for any suffering he might endure. Paul endured much hardship, persecution and difficulty that can only be accounted to the very presence of God with him.

That same God is with me every day. Psalm 78 reminds me how quickly I can forget his presence and all he has done in my life. It is a reminder of the story of the Israelites and how God was with them from the beginning. I have my own story of parting seas, manna in the wilderness, and Promised Land victories over my enemies. When I feel weak, I pull out my journals and reread the story of God working in my life. He’s held me when I cried and reprimanded me when I needed correction. There are prayers he didn’t answer that now, looking back, were a blessing. Then, there are the prayers that were answered in ways I didn’t expect that far surpassed my imagination. Through it all I know I am dearly loved and never alone.

Lord, your presence is everything and I am so thankful that you call me your child. Sometimes I get caught up in my circumstances and take my eyes off Jesus. That is when I start to sink. But you quickly reach out and catch me. I am so grateful you are ever-present, as close as a whispered prayer, and always have my best interest at heart. I know I’ve not always followed through and had to go around the same mountain a time or two, but you’ve patiently allowed me to see your way is far better. You are the solid rock beneath my feet. I love you more each day. Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

 

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2 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles 21; 2 Corinthians 8; Psalm 3

I am still learning principles that are laying foundations in my life as a disciple of Jesus. One of those lessons has been in the area of giving. It was a difficult process and in some elements, even today, there are areas that I find challenging..

 But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels[g] of silver. – 2 Samuel 24:24  ESV

A key thought – if my offering to the Lord does not cost me anything, then it is not much of an offering. As a disciple of Christ, I am called to take up my cross and follow hard after Him.

I know there are moments when we want to count what we have as opposed to how much we are giving. Satan messed up David in this matter.

Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel. – 1 Chronicles 21:1  ESV

So Paul has these strong words, in the form of a testimony, for me that have challenged me when I have gone astray in my own thinking, especially when I was beginning to hoard.

We want you to know, brothers,[a] about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia,  for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. – 2 Corinthians 8:1-2  ESV

When I find myself stressed by circumstances, bills or pressures, it is in God’s Word where I find the lessons of giving. At the end of the day, this principle has always sustained me — 

Salvation belongs to the Lord;
your blessing be on your people! – Psalm 3:8

Father, continue to allow me to be a blessing on Your people, keep the joy of Your salvation in my heart, and give me a testimony of giving that will encourage and strengthen others to do the same. I still need this to cost me. May I not be tempted to step aside. Thank you for walking with me through my journey of giving. Amen

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Ezekiel 37-39; Psalm 87; John 13

Someone noticed that I talk a lot about God’s care and protection.  It seems like I come across these themes quite a bit, especially in my readings found in the Old Testament.

Their king will always come from the family of my servant King David and will care for them like a shepherd. The people of Israel will faithfully obey my laws. They and their descendants will live in the land I gave my servant Jacob, just as their ancestors did. I solemnly promise to bless the people of Israel with unending peace. I will protect them and let them become a powerful nation. My temple will stand in Israel for all time – Ezekiel 37:24-26  CEV

I think it excites me to read these passages of scripture because they relate so freely to the love that Jesus has for me.  If He can love a group of people who reject Him so often, so fully, lacking so much gratitude for what He has done in their lives, then I know His love for me can equal such actions from me.

It was before Passover, and Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and to return to the Father. He had always loved his followers in this world, and he loved them to the very end. – John 13:1  CEV

Unconditional love, a word that is known but a word rarely experienced.  I look for it in all my relationships that matter.  It is inside me to want and I believe it is in me to give, but I choose judgement over love sometimes.  Somehow I feel it gives me more power.  But love changes the world, as it has me.  If I want someone to know just how much they mean to me, how much I cherish them, how much they matter to God, then I need to let them know of Jesus love for them.  Jesus can care and protect more than anyone or anything this world has to offer. What other gift can I give to you other than Jesus and His love – what other gift would you want from me?

Father, remind me that your unconditional love is the greatest gift I can give to someone today.  No matter if they are looking for something else, like the forty year old lame beggar at the Beautiful Gate who was looking for a gift of money.  Peter and John said, we do not have money, but we have Jesus, can we give Him to you? Taking the man by the hand they said stand up and walk.  That Lord, that image of love, has not left my mind for some time.  That is the kind of love I want to give away today.  Fill me with Your Spirit and enable me to do that with those I meet.  Thank you for allowing me to be a bit of You in someone’s life. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Jeremiah 1-4; Psalm 130; 2 Corinthians 9

I love the promises that God gives us – promises to protect, and keep us safe.

I promise to be with you and keep you safe, so don’t be afraid. – Jeremiah 1:8  CEV

Those were what I counted on in the newness of my relationship with Him.  I needed those to survive, to transition, to be changed by the Holy Spirit to become what He purposed me to be.

When you were my young bride,
you loved me
and followed me
through the barren desert. – Jeremiah 2:2  CEV

Somewhere along the way, there are those friends of mine who have found that the narrow path has lost its flavour.  The joys of this world, the pleasures, somehow made us forget that God was blessings us. We forgot that these things were not for us to absorb and keep, but to give away to others who had less than we did. Unfortunately, I have met many of these individuals personally.  I wish I could say that in my desire to disciple them back into a relationship with God, I could not.  Their story is very much like the world Jeremiah was speaking of.

Your shoes are worn out,
and your throat is parched
from running here and there
to worship foreign gods.
“Stop!” I shouted,
but you replied, “No!
I love those gods too much.” You are so clever
at finding lovers
that you could give lessons
to a prostitute. You have more gods
than a prostitute has lovers. You act like a prostitute
when you try to win back your lovers. – Jeremiah 2:25,33;3:1;4:30  CEV

I was taught in my first year of ministry that one of the best ways to avoid the temptation of pleasure was to give.

God loves people who love to give. – 2 Corinthians 9:7  CEV

While my walk with God is crazy, I can see one very common, reappearing theme in my life – I have always given what I have, away.  I know that it is not my salvation, but I also know that pleasure will not take me off the narrow path – I just do not give it a chance.  Will my friends ever find their way back to God? Yes, I will be praying for them as will others. When God steps in and grabs their attention, then those that love them will walk alongside of them.  The Lord, who never leaves us or forsakes us, will be there alongside too.

The Lord will save you
from all of your sins. – Psalm 130:8  CEV

Father, it must hurt You so much when we deliberate leave the palm of Your hand and go elsewhere to find whatever it is that we think we need or want. Forgive me for even thinking of it sometimes. Keep my feet steady, may I always find that my trust is in You alone. Walk with my friends who are struggling so much.  They need You. Thank You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

 

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Nahum 1-3; Psalm 149; 2 Corinthians 4

I have just finished a wonderful week of vacation and have really enjoyed knowing that God has been caring for me and protecting me no matter where our family went and no matter what our family did.  It was so gracious to hear each of us take time to thank God for asking Him to protect us.  He honoured our trust in Him and was so faithful to be present in all of our activities.

The Lord is good.
He protects those who trust him
in times of trouble. – Nahum 1:7  CEV

This is why Sunday morning worship is something our family enjoys the most when we go to church.  It is a time where we join with others to thank God and to worship Him for all His blessings.

Shout praises to the Lord!
Sing him a new song of praise
when his loyal people meet. – Psalm 149:1  CEV

What makes this the hardest to understand is that so many times I think about all these blessings coming my way because in some way or form I have earned them.  It is the hardest thing to get out of my system.  My head knows the truth, there is no way in this world that I could deserve even a little of what God has been so gracious to give.  My head knows that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and each morning when I spend time with Him, I invite Him to walk with me during the day.  I know He fills me with His Holy Spirit so that the work I will do for Him does not come from my own strength but from Him alone.

We are like clay jars in which this treasure is stored. The real power comes from God and not from us. – 2 Corinthians 4:7  CEV

Lord, forgive me when I have even a passing thought that I have earned anything. I know it is You and You alone that has protected me, cared for me, loved me and have blessed me.  You have graciously given me so much including the power of Your Holy Spirit to live the life You have asked me to live.  I have so much to be thankful for and I thank You right now, today, for this gracious gift you have so freely given. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

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2 Chronicles 9; Jude 1; Zephaniah 1; Luke 23

Anger.Gratitude. Awe. Wrath.Jealousy. Justice……Hope.

Such a melange of emotions in today’s passages. Luke 23 stirs such anger in me. Ever since I was a child, I could not understand why Jesus had to die in this scene. He was declared innocent. He wasn’t supposed to die. But the mob mentality brought him to a violent death. Never has it been so clear to me – the ugliness of my sin – than in this passage. My sin is represented by that angry mob.

18 But the whole crowd shouted, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!” 19 (Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder.)

20 Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again. 21 But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

22 For the third time he spoke to them: “Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him.”

23 But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. 24 So Pilate decided to grant their demand. Luke 23: 18-24 NIV

He didn’t have to die…but He did it for me.

Lord, I am grateful beyond words for what you did for me. For all.

The Queen of Sheba comes to visit King Solomon in 2 Chronicles 9. She finds him to be beyond her expectations. When she speaks of his wisdom and the splendor of his possessions, it says, “It all took her breath away.” (The Message)

When the queen of Sheba saw the wisdom of Solomon, as well as the palace he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, the cupbearers in their robes and the burnt offerings he made at[a] the temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed. NIV

Every day I have the opportunity to be overwhelmed with the goodness and mercy of God, along with the beauty of His creation.  For me, a glimpse of a magnificent sunrise or the beauty in a single flower is enough to take my breath away. To stand in awe.

But I did not believe what they said until I came and saw with my own eyes.

2Chronicles 9:6 NIV

Lord, help me to truly see You everyday.

“When I destroy all mankind
on the face of the earth,”
declares the Lord,
“I will stretch out my hand against Judah
and against all who live in Jerusalem.
I will destroy every remnant of Baal worship in this place,
the very names of the idolatrous priests—
those who bow down on the roofs
to worship the starry host,
those who bow down and swear by the Lord
and who also swear by Molek,[b]
those who turn back from following the Lord
and neither seek the Lord nor inquire of him.” Zephania 1: 3-6 NIV

Jealousy. Holy Anger. This passage is hard to stomach, knowing that God is a loving and merciful God. But God has made it clear that his people are to worship Him and Him alone. God’s sense of justice will not tolerate anything else. How should I react to this? Two things come to mind. 1. Gratitude that my relationship with Jesus covers me, and 2. A heart that breaks for those who worship the idols of today’s world and try to live life without God.

Jude 1 show me how to act accordingly.

22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. Jude 1:22-23

Lord, fill me with compassion for those who do not know you.

A doxology for us.

24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

Amen.

Ann (naturelady)

 

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2 Samuel 16; 2 Corinthians 9; Ezekiel 23; Psalm 70, 71

I’m not too sure about wisdom coming with age. Sure, I feel I have a few things to say or to offer the ‘younger generation.’ Yet, I’m well aware that they generally like to just figure this all out by themselves. I definitely am not saying that I want others to look up to me as the example of Christian perfection; the days of hubris have long passed. Life experiences for the most part though, have taught me to say, “All is well with my soul,” even in the midst of hell on earth. Still, when I hear myself complaining of indigestion, this aching pain in my left hip, or the increasing wrinkles on my forehead and loose skin on the underside of my arms, I admit that I am being remiss as a servant of God. For how will focusing on me teach others to glorify God? Smooth sailing through calm waters may not lift the eye to seek God, but a mentor captivates with steady faith.

I think King David felt this, too. The “man after God’s own heart,” submitted to the ups and downs of life, the consequences of sin repented. David accepted with faith whatever landed in his lap (even rocks hurled by his enemy). He admonished others by saying, “So let him curse, because the Lord has said to him, ‘Curse David.’ Who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’ “It may be that the Lord will repay me with good for his cursing this day,” (2 Samuel 16:10, 12). Can you hear David’s faith in the only One who knew him from his first cry as a babe to his last breath of life?

I, too, am sure of my salvation and of God’s presence in my  life (hence, all is well with my soul), but I long for the day that my puny efforts in serving Him here in this earthen vessel, will be shattered and left in the dirt while I fly to meet my Lord Christ in the sky. Saying this may sound like the proverbial ‘pie in the sky’ way of life. It’s just that I am well aware that I have a duty to obedience while here on earth, even though my heart is set on the joy to come. This wanting to be with Jesus does not allow me to shirk my responsibilities that continue with age. In fact, as one of the ‘older generation,’ I will be held responsible for the tasks God has given me. So being present is the most meaningful way I can touch others for Christ. Without a doubt, I need MORE of Him, and now!

Psalm 71:9, 18 “Do not cast me off in the time of old age; Do not forsake me when my strength fails…” “No also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come.”

Thank You, Lord Jesus for opportunities of testimony and service yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Let the last wink of my eyelids declare Your glory as I gaze upwards to You. I pray to work alongside You until You come or You take me home. Maranatha! Come, O Lord!

2 Corinthians 9:12-14 “For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you.”

Janet (jansuwilkinson) All Scripture and commentary quotes from: The Nelson Study Bible, New King James Version, Trinity Fellowship Church 25th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, 2002.

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