Thursday, May 31, 2018

Day 149~ 1 Tim 5-6~ Conspicuous or not, everything will be seen!

I was in a conversation once talking about God’s righteous judgement.  The other person, not believing in God, confessed that he had a hard time understanding how a God would commit a person to eternal hell.  It didn’t make sense, so he didn’t believe.  “I know people”, this person said, “who are really good people.  They are loving, kind, benevolent…..better than a lot of people I know who call themselves Christian!”

I wish I could have pulled up this verse, in today’s reading, to rebuttal his point:
“The sins of some people are conspicuous, going before them to judgement, but the sins of others appear later.  So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden.” (5:24)

Someone can look really good or really bad on the surface at the time we know them.  But God knows their whole life and what they do in secret.  Everything will be laid bare in the end. 
That reminds me of what Jesus said written in both Luke 8 and Matthew 10.

“For nothing is hidden that will not be manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.” (Luke 8:17)

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Day 148~ 1 Tim 3-4~ You can be an elder!

Paul was a great leader!  He did not feel the need to do all the work- he delegated work to others! Big time work!  Serious work that had consequences!  What a great example for those who are in leadership to remember~ God will get his work done.  Don’t feel like you have to do it all! Just do what he is asking YOU to do. He will get others to do the rest.  

I say this because I am noticing how much responsibility Paul gave Timothy when he left him in Ephesus.  Paul did the same thing when he left Titus in Crete. (We will read about that in a couple of days.)
He gave both these men the same responsibility, set up the churches and appoint the leaders.  Paul must have written to Tim and Titus around the same time because the lists of qualifications he wanted them to use for the “elders” are almost identical.

Elders (and deacons) were to be “above reproach”.  He goes on to describe what that means for elders; husband of one wife (which means faithful to the one), sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money, manages his own household, keeps his children submissive (Titus says “believers”), not a recent convert and well thought of by outsiders. (1 Tim3:2-7 & Titus 1:6-8)

That’s a pretty specific list!! 
Yet, my footnote says, “The list of qualities is not intended to be exhaustive but pictures a person of mature character, one whose faith has had tangible impact on his behavior.”

So,….keeping that in mind….wouldn’t that list apply to all of us then?  Aren’t we all supposed to have the kind of faith that has a tangible impact on our character?  We should all be evolving into that character of one who is “above reproach”.  We should all eventually get to the position of being eligible to be a deacon or elder (or the wife of one).

I think many read these verses and think that they apply only to church leaders..…….think again….maybe it’s time for you to step into that role at your church!  But take heart, “able to teach” was only on the elder list, not the deacon list.  So, go for the, deacon/servant role at your church, if you don’t feel you can teach. πŸ˜‰

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Day 147~ 1 Tim. 1-2- Hear, hear!!

I was touched at how Paul showed, in our reading today, how thankful he was to what God had done in his life.  In the middle of “charging” Timothy with instructions on how to correct certain people from teaching a “different doctrine”, he breaks into praise for our merciful Jesus.  Did you notice that?  It seemed he got carried away with gratitude while reflecting back on his former life. 
He starts reflecting back on his own sinfulness (1:13), why Jesus uses him (vs. 16) and then seems to almost break out in song reflecting on the reality if what God has done for him.  
“To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (1:17
It’s good to reflect back and see how far Jesus has brought you!  
Paul’s break out praise reminds me of how we raise our glasses in a cheer.  πŸ₯‚
I’m thinking we Christians should forget about saying “cheers”, “to health”, “Skol”, or “bottom’s up” and instead adopt what Paul said!  

“To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God be honor and glory forever and ever!” 

πŸ₯‚πŸ»That just makes me want to raise my glass and say, “Hear, Hear!”πŸ₯‚πŸ»

Monday, May 28, 2018

Day 146~ 2 Thess. ~ the whole letter!

Three chapters today=the whole letter!

OK, was anyone else kind’a surprised reading about the judgement that will occur at Christ’s coming? (1:5-12) 😳 I have read this letter before but this time, maybe because I’m reading a different version, it really stood out to me. I wasn’t totally just seemed...very definite!
“This is evidence of the righteous judgement of God....indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who affect you...” (1:5-7). “...they will suffer eternal destruction, ....when he comes on that day.” (vs.9).

That really drives home the point I made two days ago about the reality of hell. People really need to understand that concept in order to see a need for someone to save them from it. 

Paul states the solution to staying out of hell in a simple way.  “ the truth and so be saved.” (2 Thess. 2:10)
I wish everybody could see how easy that can be~ just love the truth!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Day 145~1 Thess. 4-5-God will sanctify, unless...

This is a short thought, but it really got me thinking......

“For this is the will of God, your sanctification...”(4:2)

God wants us to be sanctified (made holy).  He will make it happen!  We don’t need to worry about being perfect...He’s going to take care of disregard him. 

“For God has not called us for impurity but holiness.  Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.” (4:7-8)


My footnote said something interesting about that.  
“God promised that he would establish aa new covenant in which the Holy Spirit would write the law on people’s hearts and cause them to obey.  To reject the giver of the Holy Spirit (by continuing in sexual sin- vs 3), is to cut oneself off from the sanctifying power that enables the Christian to be “blameless in holiness” at the second coming.” (See 1 Thess 3:1)

Wow!  Doesn’t that sound like you can reject what the Holy Spirit started in you....


Saturday, May 26, 2018

Day 144~ 1 Thess. 1-3~ They got it!

Notice it’s three chapters today!

Boy, those Thessalonians really “got it”!
1.) They became imitators of Paul, Silvanus, Timothy and the Lord (1:6).
2.) The word of the Lord “sounded forth”.   That means they were spreading to others what they had learned and believed. ( vs. 8)
3.) Their faith was an example to others. (vs.8)
4.) They turned from their former life. (vs.9)
5.) They eagerly waited for Jesus to return. (vs.10)

And why did they do all this?  Because they fully believed what they heard from Paul; there was a wrath to come, (vs.10) and they wanted to be delivered from that!

That wrath thing.....that’s a key element to the gospel.  Yet, I think it’s lost on people today.  Preachers are afraid of sounding like “fire and brimstone”.  It’s just not in vogue to talk about hell.  We are taught about God’s love and we can receive his free gift of love...and that’s that.  
So, one who is being evangelized can quite simply say, “No thank you to that love.  I don’t need it.  I am loved by my family.  I’m good.  That’s not for me.” Or, they may dabble in the Jesus thing because they have been told He can fix their marriage, heal them from a sickness, or give them happiness here and now in this life. When things don’t work out the way they want it to, they drop the Jesus thing. 

What if.....evangelist went back to how it used to be done in the 18th and 19th century? 
“Wrath is coming!!!!...I know a way out....Listen to me!!!” (That sounds kind’a like the prophets in the Old Testament, doesn’t it?)
It certainly seems the pendulum has swung far, both ways.  I like what one commentary wrote,
“True preaching of the gospel of Christ is not complete without teaching about hell.  We come to Christ for forgiveness of sin, the very presence of which in all our hearts is a sure one-way ticket to hell. A balanced, biblical message consists of the reality of hell, a warning to escape it, and the only way to do so- through the shed blood of Christ on the cross for our sins.”

Well, today’s reading shows us, that’s how Paul preached it and the Thessalonians ‘got it’!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Day 143~ Col. 3-4 = Practical advice

“ the things that are above where Christ is...” (3:1)
“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. “ (3:1)

Did you notice Paul repeats himself?  It must be important if he is doing that!  But how do I set my mind on things above?  All I know is what is here on earth.  I know about parenting, family, friends, career, planning vacations, decorating, entertaining and being entertained.  Those are the earthly things I which I set my mind.  So, how do I shift my focus from those things to heavenly things?
Well, Paul gives some very practical advise in 4:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

I love getting practical advise!

1.) Stay in the Word.  What better way is there to get an idea of what heavenly things are than reading the Bible!!
2.) Teach others.  What’s the saying?...If you can’t explain it, you don’t understand it.  Right?!  When you teach someone else, you get a clearer understanding yourself.  This isn’t advise to just the teachers but to everyone. 
3.) Sing spiritual songs.  I just commented on singing the other day (Day 139) and here it is again!  Singing is important!  Just make sure it’s spiritual songs.  Music and the emotions it provokes sticks!
4.) Always be thankful.  Thankfulness is the biggest way to keep your mind on God.  When you acknowledge that everything comes from Him and not from yourself, the focus is not on you.  

Four simple steps to keep my mind on heavenly things....I love it!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Day 142~ Col 1-2-Hold fast to Christ!

“Let no one disqualify you...not holding fast to the Head.” (2:18) 
I love that verse! 
Hold fast to Christ (the Head)!!
If any teaching does not focus on Christ’s sufficient act, the teaching is basically from Satan!  Why do I say that?  Take a look at 2:8, “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy  and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elementary spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”

Did you catch that?  Elementary spirits of this world,.. that would be Satan.
I know a guy who grew up in a Christian home, went off to college became a sociology major and gave up on everything he was taught as a child.  He bought into the religion of philosophy that is taught by our academic institutions and gave up on the existence of God entirely.

The verse also says, any teaching, which can also imply teaching in Christianity.  Paul points out those who worship angels.  That sounds religious doesn’t it? But, remember, if any teaching takes away from Christ, it is from Satan.  I have a neighbor who recently lost her husband of 40 years.  She says it’s been difficult without him, yet, she talks with him daily. “That’s comforting, but it’s not quite the same.”, she said. (Really?!). That may sound comforting to those who have lost contact with the Head.  But, that is not her husband she is talking to; that should not be comforting to anyone who knows the truth.

Our comfort is in Christ alone!  Everything else is “empty deceit”.  This neighbor is being lied to by Satan.  When our comfort is from Christ, we (the whole body) are “nourished and knit together...with a growth that is from God.” (2:19)

That’s the comfort I want, nourishment and growth!! You can only get that by holding fast to the Head (Christ).

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Day 141~ Phil 3-4

I’m speaking for everyone when I say, we like when Paul admits he’s not perfect, don’t we?
“Not that I have already obtained this (resurrection from the dead) or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” (3:12)

Whew!  Paul isn’t perfect! We don’t have to feel so bad about our imperfections!  Yet,....even though he isn’t perfect, he still tells others to imitate him and others who “walk according to the example you have in us.” (3:17). He tells the Corinthians and Thessalonians to do the same.  (1 Cor. 11:1 & 2 Thes 3:10)

Can you imagine being that confident in your Christian walk that you told new Christians to follow your example?

I would imagine, like me, you would be saying, “No, I’m not that confident.”  But here’s a question, why not?  Why am I not as confident as Paul?  Am I as sold out?  Am I as confident in my belief as he was?  Why am I not living in such a way that people can imitate me?

I think the problem is, (and I am sure Satan had a hand in creating this mentality), we are looking for perfection to imitate.  Since no one is perfect, we imitate no one. 

Thankful we have the written New Testament so we can try to imitate Christ and the disciples by what we read. But Paul encourages his readers to imitate “others who walk according to the example”.  That would include all believers, right?
Well, what are we supposed to imitate when looking at Paul since he admits he wasn’t perfect?  We are to imitate what he teaches, that Christ was the only way to righteousness, not the law (works).  If you believe that and live by that, you are worthy of being imitated!!

OK, God, I see that I need to be confident in what I know to be true and I need tell others to copy what I believe! (.....It’s even hard to pray that!) Help me with that!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Day 140~ Phil. 1-2

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (2:2)

I think that is one of the hardest things to do!  It is my natural tendency to put myself first!  I like how Paul clarified that we are allowed to look after our own interests, but also look out for others (vs. 3).  So, how do we put others first when we are looking out for ourselves too?

When you know who you are and what you already have, you are less likely to keep striving for more, don’t you think?  In others words, if you know you are a son or daughter of a king, you aren’t striving to become the son or daughter of the king.  If you know you already have the riches of the kingdom, you don’t have to strive for those riches.

Having knowledge that those things are already yours gives you the ability to turn and look at others to help them.
That was the position Christ held.  Paul explained that “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped.” (2:6). He didn’t need to grasp for it, he already had it!
My footnote says, “Christ did not imagine that having “equality with God” (which he already possessed) should lead him to hold onto his privileges at all costs.  It was not something to be grasped, to be kept and exploited for his own benefit or advantage, instead he had a mind set of service.”

Christ knew he had power and he wasn’t worried he would lose it by becoming a servant.

What a great example for us.  We know we already have eternity with him so we don’t need to worry we will lose it by putting others before ourselves.  When you look at it that way, 2:2 is almost easy to do!!  Now, Lord, help me to put it into practice!!

Delay in posting~ sorry

I am out of town with spotty Wi-Fi.  So, if you wondering what happened to the daily email, that’s the reason. 😜

Monday, May 21, 2018

Day 139~ Eph.5-6- 🎢 sing!

 “ filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and
 hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the
 Lord with your heart...”
 Remember in the book of Luke, Elisabeth and Mary both broke
 out in song? Remember all the songs David wrote? God knows
 how he created our brains...songs stick and so do the emotions
 that are felt while singing!
 Research shows that listening to music that is considered
 pleasurable increases the release of dopamine, which results in
 remembering the “pleasurable” better. In contrast, a deficiency
 of dopamine promotes remembering “the negative”. Isn’t that
 Even if you aren’t musical the verse applies to all of us. Paul
 didn’t single out the musicians here. He tells us to address one
 another. It reminds me how my two girls talk together.
 When one says something that reminds the other of a song, they
 both break out singing the song together! Can you imagine if we
 all talked to each other that way? “Oh, Hi Jill, how are you
 today? Isn’t it a beautiful day?” And then Jill breaks out with,
 “Ohh,what a beautiful mooorrnningg, Oh, what a beautiful
 Now for those of you who are not musical, like me, you may just
 roll your eyes and move on, thinking, “it’s not my gift”. Well, like
 yesterday’s comment, God put teachers in place to teach us
 Biblical truths, and He gifted musicians to write songs, therefore
 we have a plethora of music to chose from. If we filled our brains
 with nothing but worship songs, worship songs would pour out.

 Luckily, the verse says “making melody to the Lord with your
 heart”. It doesn’t necessarily need to be sung out loud to the
 general public. But how cool would it be if a song about the Lord
 came to your mind with a simple word from someone else?!
 I think I need to listen to more worship music!!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Day 138~ Eph.3-4~ Progression is the key!

I have a relative, who as a baby, regressed in her development.  She was at the age where she was able to pull herself up on the side of her crib and she started to crawl.  Then...she stopped.   She no longer crawled or pulled herself up.  Needless to say, her parents responded quickly to the regression and took her to the doctor.  I remember my mom saying, “Progression, that is what you look for.  If it is slow progression, that’s OK.  As long as there is progression. No progression or regression is not good!”

I thought of my moms words when I read, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets., equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of knowledge of the sin of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro about by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” (4:11-14)

God gave us church leaders to help in our process of maturing in our faith and knowledge.  So, either you have the time to study and learn the Bible yourself or you learn from one who has done the studying.  Either way, learning and progressing in your faith and knowledge is a sign of healthy growth and development.  
If there is not growth or regression, the alarms should sound!  Ones like these are not continuing on in,   “the truth in Jesus, to put off your old self... to be renewed in the spirit of your put on the new self.”(4: 21-24)

To put it very simply, if you one does not put on the new self.......they are not a Christ follower. 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Day 137~ Eph. 1-2

 You know how you can talk with a fellow believer so much easier than one who is struggling in their faith or who has no faith at all? With like minded friends you can easily talk like, “Isn’t God great?! He did this for me..” The other person nods in agreement and knows exactly what you are talking about.
Well, I had to smile while reading the introduction to the letter addressed to the Ephesians. Paul just seems happy doesn’t he? He is talking to like minded friends. After reading Corinthians and Galatians where he is writing to correct their behavior, he seems almost giddy here! “...because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you...” (1:5)
The whole first chapter is filled with blessings and thanksgiving. Through this spilling forth of joy, he also reiterates spiritual truths I’m sure the readers were aware of already. I’m sure they were encouraged to hear it again just as I was. “In him we have redemptions through his blood.” (1:7) “God being rich in mercy because of his great love for us...made us alive together with Christ.” (2:4)
Yup, it was an encouraging read today....I’m nodding with Paul knowing exactly what he means. 😊

Friday, May 18, 2018

Day 136~ Gal 5-6 Bear other's burdens and your own

“Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (6:2)
that’s a little confusing when it is followed by, “For each will have to bear his own load.” (6:5)
Which is it? Bear one another’s burdens or your own load?

I bet you can figure out the jest of what Paul is saying, but here is how one commentary clarified it.

“In verse 2 the Christian is bidden to “bear the burdens” of others in the sense of sympathizing with them in their troubles.  In verse 5, the Christian is told that he must answer directly to God for his own actions.  His responsibility cannot be shifted onto others.  It will make him no better that there are others worse than himself.”

That’s so true, no one can fully take on another's trial or tribulation, except Jesus.  But we can follow His example by bearing with them, not abandoning them when they feel they are at their lowest. (Paul also tells people this in Romans 15:1, Ephsians 4:2 and Colossians 3:13)  But we can't save that person.  Again, only Jesus can do that.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Day 135~ Gal 3-4

It was a good reminder for me to read, “The law, which came 430 years afterward, (after the promise God made with Abraham) does not annual a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void.” (3:17)

430 years!!  That’s a long time between Abraham and Moses!  Paul points out that the “off spring” was Jesus, which was about 1500 years after Moses!  That brings a new understanding to, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise as some understand slowness.  Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

Boy, if you think about it, the 2000 years since Christ was resurrected seems right in line to when God does something big!! πŸ˜ƒ


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Day 134~ Gal. 1-2~ Keep reading the Bible!

Boy, we just get finished with a letter directed to one church going wayward by false teachers, and now we are reading of another church being deceived by false teachers as well (1:6)!
It goes to show you that Satan will go hard after people who are learning about Jesus!  Paul alluded to the spiritual warfare in 2 Cor. when he said, “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” (2 Cor. 10:4)  He also talks about spiritual warfare in his letter to the Ephesians (6:12). 

Notice Satan’s tactic, “a different gospel”, one that “distorts the gospel of Christ.” (1:7) That means it sounds super similar- it sounds like the gospel- but…a little off…a little distorted…..
Bottom line, if it takes away from the grace of Christ- it’s wrong.  What do you need grace for? To be saved from hell- to put it simply.  
Have you ever heard of a teaching that sounds really good, all about love~and then…you hear the preacher reject the idea of hell?  “God is so loving, he would never have a hell”….That preacher just robbed God of his justice and the reason for His grace. That’s a distorted gospel!

Paul said something that really stuck out to me. “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?  Or am I trying to please man?  If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (1:10)
Right when I read that, I thought of Jesus saying, “If the world hates you, keep in mind it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own.” (John 15:18-25)
The gospel, though it has the potential to set men free, will never be popular among the general population.  Use caution when you hear about a super popular preacher who is liked by the masses.  What is he saying that may sound different than what you know to be true?  If he is preaching a “different gospel”- watch out!!

And by the way, like I said yesterday in a response comment, the best way to detect “different” is to keep reading the Bible!  

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Day 133~ 2 Cor. 13~ Widen your heart

Paul’s advise to “examine yourself” or “test yourselves” is interesting, don’t you think?  It’s not a done deal that Jesus Christ is “in you”, just because you claim to be a Christ follower. 

Well….how do you test yourself?  According to Paul, “Do what is right” (13:6).  He states he has not failed the test, “For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.” (13:8)

I love how Paul did not give up on the “rebellious minority” (see day 131), who seemed to only understand half of what he was preaching when he was with them.

It seems like some of those Corinthians had a lot of excuses not to live right; blaming Paul was a big one!
“Paul may not be that great of a leader!  Why should we follow what he says?  He is not an eloquent speaker, his credentials are questionable, we don’t support him financially, and he changes his plans!  He’s not reliable! (11:6-22) They were reaching to try to find excuses not to trust or believe Paul, thus not fully believe the gospel.  

He defended himself so that they could see what he meant in chapter 6,
“You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections” (6:1)  

Isn't that the truth?!  People have their own desires and affections that keep them from loving Jesus.  Paul encourages them and people today to “widen your heart”. (6:3)
Yet, some will actually fail the test.  They can’t love Jesus more than they love their own affections.  πŸ˜”

Monday, May 14, 2018

Day 132~ 2 Co. 11-12- I'll wait for my personal encounter!

Have you ever thought, “I would love to have a personal encounter with God, then trusting him would be so easy!"
Well, after today’s reading, I can honestly say, no thank you to that!  I am perfectly content waiting for my personal encounter with God to be on the day I die here on earth.

Paul got that personal encounter (12:2) and maybe the memory of that encounter sustained him during all his physical trails,…..but for Pete’s sake, he went through a lot!!! (11:23-28)

It gives a whole new meaning to the verse, “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.” (Luke 12:48)

So, yea, I’m good Lord….I’ll wait…😁

I’m stick’en with the verse, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Day 131~ 2 Cor. 9-10~ To the Rebellious Minority and the Faithful

Today’s reading got me thinking that those Corinthian people didn’t seem to know Paul very well.  So, to jog my memory, I went back to Acts to see how he got to know the people and establish the Corinthian church
Acts 18 says Paul started to preach in the synagogue in Corinth.  You may remember that it didn’t go well, so he went next door to the house of Titius Justus, preaching to the people from there.  He ended up staying in Corinth 1 1/2 years!!  That’s plenty of time to get to know someone!  Although, I don’t think it was an easy year with the Jews right next door…Paul ended up leaving Corinth after an unsavory attack by a Jew named Gallio (Acts 18:12).
Shortly after Paul left, Apollos, arrived in Corinth.  With his fervent spirit he “powerfully refuted the Jews” (Acts 18:28) which helped the believers immensely!  In addition, Paul sent Timothy and Erastus to check up on the Corinthians before he visited them again.  Yet, when Paul came back for a second visit, staying three months, his visit ended once again by the Jews plotting against him (20:3).  Obviously there was a big spiritual battle for the souls in Corinth!  It wasn’t that the Corinthian people didn’t know Paul well, it was that some were starting to rebel against his teaching when they heard other divisive teachers (10:12).

So, now as Paul addresses the church in Corinth, he is addressing a diverse group.  Some who have a devout faith in God (the ones ready to give the money gift- vs. 9:2), and some who are seriously questioning everything about Paul (those holding the strongholds against Paul-vs10:4-5).  My commentary calls the doubters , the ‘rebellious minority’.  

Paul takes the time, in this letter, to defend himself because he is defending the Lord.
My commentary puts it this way, “Paul sees a close tie between the Corinthian’s acceptance of his apostleship and the genuineness of their faith.  To reject Paul and his proclamation is to reject Christ himself, since Paul’s message, ministry, and manner of life are one.”

I get exhausted just thinking about the work Paul had in front of him dealing with opposition on every level, Jews outside the church and “believers” inside the church.  Praise the Lord that He gave Paul a heart of devotion to his converts, taking the time to continue corresponding with them even after he moved on to new territory.  I wonder if he ever imagined his letters would last 2000 years; still talking to both the devout and the rebellious…..

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Day 130~ 2 Cor. 7-8-Joy and giving

Wow!   You gotta admire those Christians in 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.  For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints…” (2 Cor. 8:2-4)

Did you catch that?  
They were afflicted (with who knows what, but it doesn’t really matter)! 
They were in extreme poverty.
They begged to take part in helping others.

Can you imagine if poor people and sick people looked beyond themselves and helped others?  That is very hard to imagine in our society that seems to feel “entitled” these days.  
Now turning that to me, who is not afflicted or poor at this time……am I filled with extreme joy, so much so that I am begging to take part in the relief of saints and give beyond my means (vs.3)?

Paul’s admonishment to me hit home!  “But as you excel in everything- in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you- see that you excel in this act of grace also (vs 7)” (Referring to giving).

Lord, I am filled with joy knowing you and learning more about you!  Help me to excel in giving of my wealth as a natural bi-product of that joy!! 

Friday, May 11, 2018

Day 129~ 2 Cor. 5-6~ Do we listen to Paul at all?

The unequally yoked section of the reading really made me ponder today.  I usually always put “being yoked” in the category of marriage or business partner.  However, when Paul wrote, “or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?” (6:15), it made me think of relationships in general.  

Just as I was reading this, my high school daughter came into the kitchen, where I was, for breakfast.  I talked with her about what I had just read, about not yoking yourself with unbelievers.  In essence she has been yoked with a good friend who is an unbeliever.  I told her that farmers may put well trained ox with untrained ox so that the stronger leads the weaker.  I cautioned her to evaluate who was doing the leading in this unequally yoked friendship.  

If Paul had been in the kitchen with us, I can imagine him shooting daggers with his eye at me! “That is not what I wrote in my letter! Didn’t you see that I quoted God when he said, ‘Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them.’ ?”

It seems in today’s culture we ignore a lot of what Paul teaches! (Except the Amish, they implement what he says to the letter!)  Paul uses 6 verses to tell us how to avoid defilement (7:1), yet I recently heard a pastor on the radio teach not to stay in our “holy huddle”.  He made it sound wrong that we spend much of our time with Christians.  He used the example that Jesus was “friends” with sinners, just as we should be.  He was in the radio, so I couldn't say anything back to him, like, yes, he was friends with them but he “yoked” himself to 12 who’s mindset was waiting for the Messiah.  Notice he did not ‘yoke’ himself to his half-brothers who didn’t believe he was the Messiah.

Anyway…..those verses just got me pondering…….what do you think?

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Day 128~ 2 Cor. 3-4~ Hard minds, veiled hearts.

Have you ever known someone who is stubbornly against God?  You think, “Man!  He is so hard-hearted!
Well, today’s reading can explain where that expression comes from. 

If you are familiar with how Moses gave the law to the people you may remember that he was in the glorious presence of God, came down with the law on tablets and had such a radiant face the people were scared. (Exodus 34:33-35)  Moses would give the words of God to the people and then cover his face until the next time he went up to talk with God again.  Then he would repeat that cycle. The glowing face, I’m sure was evidence to the people that he had really been in the presence of the Lord and the words he spoke were from God himself.  But, here is the odd thing, they didn’t want to keep being reminded of the glory of God.  They didn’t want to see Moses’ shinny face.  They couldn’t stand the glory, it scared them. 

If you think about it, if one’s mind was open to the love of God, would that person really say to Moses, “Cover your face! I can’t take looking at you!”……No, rather, that person would probably act like a fan of God, saying, “Man!  You are sooo lucky!! You got to go up there and be in his presence! What was it like?  Tell me all about it!!! Don’t cover your face, looking at you reminds me God is real!!!  You saw him!  Luuuucky!!!!”
That person doesn’t want the veil! 

So, doesn’t that make sense when you read, “Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory?” (2 Cor. 3:7)
“But their minds were hardened.” (3:14)

Paul explains clearly why some people have hard hearts. “ is veiled to those who are perishing.  In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (4:3-4)

However, there is a solution for that hard heart who is trapped by Satan’s blinders, 

“But, when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.” ( 3:15)

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Day 127- 2 Cor. 1-2~ God might give you more than you can handle!

I’m sure you have heard the saying, “God won’t give you more than you can handle”…..weeelllll……that is not exactly what the verse says in the Bible….😬
People have that verse in other context than to what Paul was referring.  The verse actually reads, “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted behind your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure under it.” (1 Cor. 10:13)
That verse implies that there is always a morally right solution to morally confusing situations.  

Why am I even talking about this?  Because 1:8-9 stood out to me today.  Paul felt God was giving him more than he could bare!
“For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia.  For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.” 😳 “Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death.”
I love Paul’s explanation of why God would have him and his companions go through such despair. “But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.”

So, yeah, God may give you more than you feel you can handle.  He might not give you “a way out”.  BUT, you can rest assured that he loves you and he is using the event in your life, that seems overwhelming, as a tool to get you to rely on him. He will handle your situation then, not you.  When we understand that, then we can “set our hope on Him.” (vs.10)😌