Category Archives: 7-day reading pln

2 Corinthians 8-12

Paul certainly endured a lot. In 2 Corinthians 11:23-29, he lists the many things (physically and mentally painful things) he went through–and survived. But it’s the portion before this that prepares me: And I will keep on

12 And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. 13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

2 Corinthians 11:12-15, NIV

Paul endured so many things, but it is in these verses that I see purpose. He knows there’s a spiritual battle at hand. A quest for hearts, minds, souls.

His examples straddle two realms. When he speaks of generosity, the fruit is enjoyed in a physical realm, the seed provided by a spiritual one.

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

2 Corinthians 9:10-15, NIV

I notice it here too–the world and the divine:

I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:2-5, NIV

Because he has such a deep understanding, he has learned to welcome endurance.

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 Corinthians 12:7b-10, NIV, emphasis mine

Lord, help me to remember the words “And I will keep on” in the face of adversity. I am thankful for your provision and your power. I am grateful for your Word as truth, for weapons that have divine power.

Courtney (66books365)

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1 Corinthians 4:14-7:40 

It is tough when a patron in the church becomes the burden of sin in the church too. I have seen it twice in my lifetime and both times the model that Paul provides was not followed. Still today, people in the church love the sinner and their resources and turn a blind eye to the sin continuing to take place in the individual’s life. I am interested in reviewing Paul’s thought patten.

 I’m not writing all this as a neighborhood scold to shame you. I’m writing as a father to you, my children. I love you and want you to grow up well, not spoiled. – 1 Corinthians 4:14 MSG

The church should be shamed and so with some sarcasm, he tries entering the back door and suggests that dispensing shame is not his prime purpose but rather, as a father, he is there to warn them of a significant spiritual danger – pride.

There is a cure for pride. Shame means to turn back or around, in a state of turning, as turning one’s attention in a riveted way. Wholesome shame leads a person to consider their condition. When I am shamed or made to feel ashamed, I am being scolded. Sometimes it is necessary to shame someone for redemptive purposes, by that, turn them back to their senses – a positive shame.

There are three sections where Paul addresses issues in connection with patronal abuse in our reading today – that of the incestuous man in 1 Corinthians 5, the abuse of the law courts in 6:1-10, and immoral banquets in 6:11-20. Since my personal experience allows me to appreciate chapter 5, let’s see if I can add some more flavour there.

God decides on the outsiders, but we need to decide when our brothers and sisters are out of line and, if necessary, clean house. – 1 Corinthians 5:13 MSG

I was an elder in a church and was asked to write a piece for a policy that would deal with antagonists in the church. At the end of the day, cleaning house, was a solution. Shame is a central theme.

Paul is trying to motivate the believing community to function as a court of reputations to impose sanctions of shaming as well as conferring on each other the honour with which God has gifted them.

Paul is faced with a serious issue and has to build up and reestablish his position of authority. He has to put the church in their place and has to introduce the perspective of Jesus and himself an apostle and father of the believers.

Now the healing can begin.

Father, I am grateful for strong people in the church who can speak on Your behalf. Help me be one of those people. Thank You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Romans 16; 1 Corinthians 1:1-4:13

Romans 16 is full of greetings. When I read the names listed, there is a description that follows along. I read things like:

A benefactor of many people … they risked their lives for me … the church meets at their house … my dear friend … worked very hard for you … whose fidelity to Christ stood the test … in the household who are in the Lord … women who work hard in the Lord … our brothers and sisters …

This list causes me to slow and remember … the family whose broken English first introduced me to the Lord … the third-grade friend who told me about salvation … a sister who told me sins could be forgiven … a bold woman who wasted no time in bringing me to church … the people I’ve served alongside … the ones who’ve shown up and walked alongside here for years.

My heart warms at the Christian community.

I’m doing an Advent study (good grief, I’m already one day behind!) called “Light and Life to All He Brings” published through Well-Watered Women. It’s a study through 1 John. Its dissection of light, darkness, love, children of God, the world, and more completely takes hold of me. So when I read in Romans today, I take heed.

17 I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. 19 Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.

20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.

The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

Romans 16:17-20, NIV, emphasis mine

Grace and peace be with you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Romans 11:25-15:33

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 15:4-6, NIV, emphasis mine

When I set goals in the past, the satisfaction of the accomplishment felt short-lived. I set a goal to run a mile. I ran a mile. And then I wondered, “Is this it?” I set other goals and reached them. But when I cloaked the goal in purpose, they stopped being one-and-done events, and became details of a bigger picture.

A post by an account I recently started following (@horseandchariot) reminded me about purpose: “What should your one purpose in life be? Something that never needs to change and can continue to be pursued in the very best and worst situations. The one purpose in life you are called to fulfill is to seek to glorify God in all you do by pursuing a virtuous life.” (Excerpt from a post on November 29, 2022, Horse and Chariot)

This morning as I poured a second cup of coffee, I glanced at the disappointment that’s been vying for my attention. It isn’t a physical thing, but a thought that’s been poking at me, “(That scenario) didn’t turn out the way you thought it would. Not at all. What do you have to show for (it)?” While the results may not have been what I imagined, the steps that I took were made in acts of faith–regardless.

Endurance is about the long course, not the one-and-done. (And I’m not done!) I read these verses in Romans 15 and hold them today. Everything that was written was written to teach. Endurance is taught through the Scriptures. And the encouragement they provide gives HOPE.

Father God, you give endurance and encouragement. Thank you for your Word. Thank you for hope. Help me to live in purpose, on purpose. May you be glorified.

Courtney (66books365)

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Romans 8:26-11:24

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35 & 37 NIV Romans 8 is a powerhouse of a chapter. So much, so good, so very hard to choose the best verse to focus on. I kept coming back to these 2 verses. Nothing…I repeat Nothing, we can or could ever imagine, can separate us from God’s love that we experience through Jesus.I’ve been in a kind of slump spiritually. Not keeping up with my “spiritual disciplines”, feeling guilty, but not enough to get me out of bed before the rest of the family to have some special time with the Lord.I’m just so thankful that even when I’m having this valley experience that Jesus still loves me so very much. He just never stops. My personal human feelings can’t separate me from His love. My out of balance life can’t separate me from His love.  He “is at the right hand of God and is interceding for us/me.” (Romans 8:34)How reassuring! He has not given up on me and can never ever possibly stop loving me, even when I mess up time and time again and fall through on my end of our relationship. He’s in my corner, rooting for me, because He has already won. He has already paid the penalty with His life and death because of His incomprehensible love for me and all humanity.Heavenly Lord,Even in my present state of mind, I still feel your love and know that You won’t ever give up on me. You are in heaven interceding on my behalf. Thank you for Your persistence. Please forgive my lack of persistence and I ask You to help me to come up out of the valley and experience the joy of following You once again.AmenBeckie (look2thehills)

From the archives. Originally published November 21, 2009.

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