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Category Archives: 2 Corinthians

My God is…making us competent 2 Corinthians 3:4-6

Psalm-1072 Corinthians 3:4-6 – Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God,  who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of letter but of spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Who do you tell about Jesus?

Is there anyone you have shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with? I feel like I truly fall short on this measure. I spend a lot of my time interacting with other believers. I don’t know many unbelievers. Except in my extended family. I don’t even truly know where they all stand, and to tell the truth I’m not very confident in telling them about my faith. Why? I don’t want to risk embarrassment, I don’t want to alienate them, and I don’t want them to feel pressured to think one way or the other. I know that the Holy Spirit is the initiator of faith, but we are also called to minister and spread the word of God. I think sometimes I fail miserably.

Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God.

I am sure of what I believe. Do I have doubts? Regrettably, I must say at times I do (though usually quite fleeting). But I have confidence in God. I know that God follows through on what He says, and I know that because of Jesus Christ, because of His Scriptures, because of the faith of others and because of His work through the Holy Spirit in my heart.

Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us

Notice, I am not competent because of myself. I don’t really have anything to do with my faith, except that I don’t deny it. Usually. I guess that’s where I fear I fail sometimes. When friends or relatives say things that seem pointed toward my faith or more likely my religion, I don’t always do a good job of standing up for my God, myself or my church. Recently I was able to spend time with some of my family, and we had an amazing visit. It was truly a blessing. There was a moment on one day that was really hard for me. Some one I care about deeply said something in a pointed way about Christians, and I said nothing. It wasn’t a flattering statement about Christians or Christianity. I said nothing. I didn’t know what I could say that would glorify God. I also didn’t want to get upset and ruin the time we had together. Discussing the situation with my friends, some said that maybe, because I always seem to have a comeback or answer, maybe this time, silence was the right thing. I pray it was, but I feel like I let my Lord down. That when people were throwing stones and minimizing what He has done for us, I didn’t stand up and say, “He died for all, He wants you to spend eternity with Him in Heaven.” That (or something more eloquent) is what I wished I had said.

Our competence is from God,  who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant

I don’t know what I was supposed to say, but I pray that when given another opportunity, I would be able to use the competence, use what I know to be true as worked in me by the Holy Spirit, to speak confidently. I pray I will trust God and the competence He has worked in me. I pray I will not be cowardly. That I will not miss the opportunity to have a conversation I’ve been praying to have. I want nothing more than to spend eternity with my family in heaven.

Not of letter but of spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life

I don’t have to live the rest of my life beating myself up over this one missed opportunity. The Holy Spirit can work in this person’s life other ways. Their faith is not dependent on me, but the Lord’s work in their lives and their ability not to reject it. I have been blessed that I no longer live under the condemnation of the law. When I don’t measure up, it’s not the end of the world. There is grace for me, grace for my loved one, and I can trust that the Lord has this at hand. While I don’t want to miss another opportunity, I don’t have to live pained by the one I missed. I will trust God, be competent and confident.

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My God is…the God of all consolation 2 Corinthians 1:2-4

2 Corinthians 1:2-4 – Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the

distraught-woman
God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God.

Definition of CONSOLE

: to alleviate the grief, sense of loss, or trouble of : comfort

The Father of mercies and the God of all consolation
In August of 2012, we were watching the landing on Mars, and my sons said a phrase I had never heard before…”Like a Boss”. Perhaps you’re like me and didn’t know this phrase, but as you can imagine, it means that you’re the best at something. It’s like you are in charge of all things that have to do with that subject. You’re a pro. You owned it. Basically that you know what you’re doing and it shows. God isn’t “like a boss of mercy and consolation, He is the Father of all mercies. He created mercy. He is the God of all consolation. You can’t get any more “Boss” than God.

Who consoles us in all our affliction
“If God brings you to it, He’ll see you through it.” I don’t know if God brings all things on us. I think somethings He would rather we didn’t get ourselves into, but no matter what He can bring us through it. I also believe that going through affliction, persevering and clinging to God draws us closer to God and others. Romans 5:3-5 says, “And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,  and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,  and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” We definitely go through some rough stuff in life. But with Christ we can get through it. When we rely on God, and see His faithfulness after we’ve come through something horrible, our faith is increased. We know that God has given us strength to endure the pains of today, but that we are promised a future that is without pain and suffering with Him in heaven.

So that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God
I’ve seen it time and time again, in my life as well as the life of my friends. Our sufferings of today are our connections of tomorrow. Whether it is a life altering diagnosis, a miscarriage, a rough marriage, bankruptcy, childlessness, being single, or whatever it is you’re going through, someone else has gone through it too. Being able to talk with others who have faced similar (though each situation is unique) problems, gives us consolation. God has brought us through things that were horrible. At the time we didn’t think we would make it through. They seemed too painful, to hopeless or unbearable. But, by the Grace of God, we did make it through. I’ll bet most of us have gone through something really tough. I would also bet that most of us have been able to console someone else because of what we went through. Hearing that others survived helps us to persevere through our plight, then be able to help others. I know that’s how it felt whenever I met a mother of twins. They would see me with my little twin babies and look at me reassuringly saying, “It gets easier”. That gave me hope. They had seen and experienced the frustrations that come in the early years of raising twins, and knew it would get easier. They were right, but their consolation was comforting and encouraging.

Our Pain becomes a blessing
Sometimes our pains can even turn out to be a blessing. An opportunity for growth in our families, churches and communities. We’re able to connect with people on a deeper level than we were before. We’re able to see God at work in our lives and the lives of others. We see purpose in our suffering. We grow and are strengthened in relationships and faith. Next time (or maybe right now) as you go through a time of suffering, look for how God might use this in the future. Think about who might be blessed by knowing what you’ve gone through. How you might help someone who feels like there is no one else out there going through these same things. Maybe they need to know that not all families are kind. Maybe they need to know that they can survive the pains of this world. Maybe they need to know that you came through bankruptcy, that the Lord provided even when it seemed impossible. Maybe they need to know that your marriage wasn’t always easy. Maybe they need to know that one day their baby will sleep through the night. But they certainly need to know that in the end, the Lord their God wants them to spend eternity with Him in heaven. He has big plans for them, and not all of them are just here on earth. He wants to continue to bless them into all eternity. There is hope in the consolation from our Lord.

Who is consoling you?
 

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My God is…My Comforter 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 – Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

Who comforts us in all our troubles© Willie B. Thomas

I can be overprotective. Not in the sense that I don’t let my boys do anything. In fact in some ways I’m way more permissive than some parents. My boys are free to ride their bikes downtown, crossing the highway. They are able to stay home alone for long periods of time, but there are things that make me crazy.

If I am around and my boys are doing anything dangerous at all I get nervous. You know, dangerous things like; riding their bikes, playing football, walking on a ledge, exploring, hiking, climbing at a playground, or basically anything else that they could get injured in any way. Pretty much everything more than breathing makes my heart race a bit. Why? I have no idea. Perhaps it’s the fact that I’m very uncoordinated myself, and I know the likely hood of me getting hurt doing any of those things is high. My solution to my crazy over protectiveness? I send my husband.

This isn’t a new phenomenon. When I was a teacher, there was nothing I hated more than recess duty. I was nervous the whole time. Eventually another teacher (mother of 9) and I came to an agreement that I would do lunch duty, and she would take recess duty. Problem solved.

Outdoor school

So this brings us to this morning. I awoke at 4:30 am, anxious about my boys leaving for outdoor school this week. I thought about all of the things that could go wrong. Will they get along with the other kids, will they be safe, etc. I began to pray to God for comfort. I decided I needed a verse to focus on as I prayed, and I found the one above. I realized that I need to be comforted by God so that I can help my boys be comfortable with the situation.

So that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God

Many things in life seem uncomfortable. Like we may never have comfort again. Perhaps you’ve had a miscarriage, a child die, an illness, divorce, abandonment, or heart-break. When we’re going through these things it seems we might never recover. If we’re fortunate, the Lord will provide someone to walk along side us who has already experienced these troubling times. In time most of us do find comfort from the Lord. In fact true comfort only comes from the Lord. Our hope of everlasting life through Jesus Christ is often the comfort we need to help us to know that all things on this earth are temporary, but God’s love is forever. Let us not forget where we’ve come from, the challenges we’ve faced. The Lord has provided us comfort through those times so that we can comfort others.

How are you being called to comfort someone?

 
 

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My God is … My Supplier 2 Corinthians 9:6-11

2 Corinthians 9:6-11 – Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written:

“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever.”

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. 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.

Now he who supplies seed to the sower & bread for food will also supply & increase your store of seed 

Have you ever lost a job? Have you ever wondered where your next meal will come from? Where your concerns valid? The past year has been a year of change for my husband and I. His job is quite secure, but I have gone from having the highest paid job in my life to basically no job at all. At first the reduction of hours was a decision I made to spend more time with my boys. It’s been blessed to say the least. We’ve been having great conversations, more time together and enjoying who the Lord made each of us to be.

Losing your income sucks

Yep, I said it, losing your income sucks. Yesterday my main client told me she couldn’t afford me anymore and would have to put our work on hold. She’s happy with my work, but because of the way some things are working out on her end, she won’t be able to keep me employed for a while. I feel like I should be worried, and to be honest, part of me is, but then I keep hearing “The Lord will Provide”.

Is this an opportunity

My sister said that she felt that this time might be an opportunity to even further explore my wish to be a writer and a speaker. To be honest that scares me, and to make it a profitable venture also seems daunting. But I will pray that the Lord will reveal to me what He wants me to do.

You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion

So I got my last paycheck for a while, and part of me is struggling with the idea of putting some of that money in the offering plate. 10% sure looks like a huge amount today. But in the verse above I’m reminded that the Lord is the supplier of my lively hood and my food. I need to trust Him today, tomorrow and always. I need to be reminded that my Lord can be trusted. To keep my focus on Him, and allow Him to direct my paths. Stay tuned as we see what the Lord has in store for me now. How will He turn this challenge into a blessing for this girl who loves Him so much.

Have you ever lost a job?

 
 

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My God is …the God of Power and Might II Chronicles 20:6

2 Chronicles 20:6

LORD, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you.

The God of our ancestors

This is something that I have been thinking about a lot lately. The blessing of having ancestors who have gone before me in this Christian walk. My Grandparents, on both sides, were strong Christian people. They raised my parents keeping Christ at the center of all they did. My parents raised us similarly, and I pray that my children, future grandchildren and great-grandchildren will also follow Christ.

Jehoshaphat Defeats Moab and Ammon

So this verse is sort of plucked out of a chapter that is about the fight between Jehoshaphat and the Moabites and the Ammonites. In this verse they’re crying out to God for his power and might, hoping that God will help them to defeat these nations. Later in the chapter, God tells them not to worry it’s His battle not theirs. Then he goes on to tell them how he’s going to help them defeat these people.

Flattery, wishful thinking or the truth

When my boys are talking to me and asking me for something, sometimes they butter me up. Saying things like I love the way you cook or you’re the best mom ever. Some of the things that they’re saying in this verse sound almost like they’re trying to butter God up. Or maybe it’s wishful thinking, maybe they’re desperate and calling out not sure if God will answer. Hoping, with a bit of doubt. But I think it’s more that they knew, had heard and seen the power and might of God before, so they knew the truth. They knew He was the God of Power and Might, and that there wasn’t anything He couldn’t do.

Do you trust the God of Power and Might?

The entire town came to the temple to call out to God. They all came together asking for help from the Lord. Their prayer was clearly answered when their enemies were defeated. If God can defeat armies, doesn’t it make sense then that his Power and Might would be enough to help you conqueror the much smaller battles we face each day. Sometimes I act like being married, raising kids and getting along with others is such a hard thing to do that I’m not sure God could help me do it. I’m pretty sure it’s easier than beating an army. But it doesn’t matter easy or hard. God can do all things. He can be our strength, power and might.

Are you mighty powerful?

 

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