2 Corinthians

Made Perfect in Weakness

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In reading in the Bible in 2 Corinthians chapter 12 about something that tormented Paul, we see that although God did not remove Paul’s physical affliction, He promised to demonstrate His power in Paul.  The fact that God’s power shows up in weak people should give us courage.  When we are strong in abilities or resources, we are tempted to do God’s work on our own, and that leads to pride.

We must rely on God for our effectiveness rather than our own energy, effort, or talent.  Our weakness not only helps develop Christian character, it also deepens our worship; in admitting our weakness, we affirm God’s strength.  When we are weak, and when we allow God to fill us with his power, then we are stronger that we could ever be on our own.  We must depend on God-only His power makes us effective for Him and does work that has lasting value.  We must daily be mindful that God is our source for every need.

Give us this day

our daily bread.

Matthew 6:11

Commentary from The One Year NIV Devotional New Testament, May 14. Tyndale House Publishers (2003).

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Aim

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Satan tries to trick us into thinking that life can be divided into two separate parts:  the secular, which is separate from the Lord, and the spiritual.  That’s a lie.  As God’s children, we are spiritual beings, and every area of our life is to be an expression of that divine relationship.  Whether employment, family role, ministry, or leisure pursuits, our every involvement connects into God’s purpose for our life and must please Him.

Portions of commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional, February 12, 2017.

Burden or Bridge

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What word would you use to describe adversity in your life?  To most people, it is a heavy, inescapable burden that wears them down, saps their joy, and hinders them from truly living.  Those that follow Jesus, however, have the opportunity to see adversity as a bridge leading to a glorious eternal future.

The determining factor in how a follower of Jesus views hardship is perspective.  If we focus only on the negative aspects of our earthly life, we’ll be drawn into despair and desperation-a common worldly perspective.  But if we look at problems from an eternal standpoint, our thinking and attitudes will be transformed in the following ways:

  1. Instead of letting difficulties wear us down, we won’t lose heart, because we know we’re being renewed from within (2 Corinthians 4:7-18).  As we respond in submission to whatever God is allowing in our life and trust in His good purposes, our character is shaped into Christlikeness and our hope is restored.
  2. The despair of feeling that our adversity is inescapable and never-ending will be replaced with strength to endure.  Paul said he was afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, struck down, and constantly threatened with death, yet he called it all “light and momentary” compared to eternity (2 Corinthians 4:8-11, 17 NIV).
  3. Rather than seeing adversity as a thief of all joy and a hindrance to a good life, we should look beyond the present to what the trial is producing for us in heaven-“an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (v. 17).

Viewing troubles through an eternal lens is an act of faith, which pleases God.  It increases our trust in Him, gives us greater passion for our heavenly inheritance, and strengthens us to victoriously cross the bridge of adversity.

Portions of commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch Devotional, November 7, 2017.

A Good Voyage

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For every one of God’s promises

is “Yes” in Him.

Therefore the “Amen” is also

through Him for 

God’s glory through us.

2 Corinthians 1:20

In His grace, God gives us a new day every 24 hours, and a new year every 365 days.  He’s the Lord of new beginnings and King of fresh hope.

Think of it this way.  Without Christ, we’re like passengers on a doomed ship, sailing into the night, fearing the storms ahead, hoping there’s enough entertainment on board to distract out forebodings.

But with Him in our hearts, we’re sailing under a heavenly flag with the Captain of our Salvation at the helm.  We know this will be a good voyage-a great year-even if there are choppy waters along the way.

We can face the future without fear, for all of the promises of God in Him are “Yes”, and in Him “Amen”, to the glory of God.  This is the year that the Lord has made-we will rejoice and be glad in it!

Portions of commentary from David Jeremiah’s Pathways Devotional, January 1.