Thursday 31 October, 2013

2 Corinthians 5:6-10

6 So here is what we can always be certain about. As long as we are at home in our bodies, we are away from the Lord. 7 We live by believing, not by seeing. 8 We are certain about that. We would rather be away from our bodies and at home with the Lord. 9 So we try our best to please him. We want to please him whether we are at home in our bodies or away from them. 10 We must all stand in front of Christ to be judged. Each one of us will be judged for the good things and the bad things we do while we are in our bodies. Then each of us will receive what we are supposed to get.

I remember praying once “Lord, I’d love to see my report card. How am I doing? What will my judgement be when I see you in eternity?”

I guess I was nervous that I wasn’t doing what Jesus wanted me to do and I was fearful of His judgement. Paul doesn’t seem to have this problem. He can’t wait to see Jesus. He knows his report card is all A+’s. He has lived his life doing what Jesus asked him to do and did it at full throttle. His conscience is completely clear. “Bring on eternity” Paul is saying “my report is going to be good”.

What a great example for how to live this life well.

Lord, I know that one day I will meet you face to face and You will require me to give an account for how I’ve lived my life. I want to be confident like your servant Paul. Help me choose today the path that You’ve called me to walk and serve You with absolutely everything I’ve got.

 

Written by Boudy Van Noppen

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Wednesday 30 October, 2013

2 Corinthians 4:16 - 5:5

16 We don’t give up. Our bodies are becoming weaker and weaker. But our spirits are being renewed day by day. 17 Our troubles are small. They last only for a short time. But they are earning for us a glory that will last forever. It is greater than all our troubles. 18 So we don’t spend all our time looking at what we can see. Instead, we look at what we can’t see. What can be seen lasts only a short time. But what can’t be seen will last forever. 5 We know that the earthly tent we live in will be destroyed. But we have a building made by God. It is a house in heaven that lasts forever. Human hands did not build it. 2 During our time on earth we groan. We long to put on our house in heaven as if it were clothing. 3 Then we will not be naked. 4 While we live in this tent of ours, we groan under our heavy load. We don’t want to be naked. We want to be dressed with our house in heaven. What must die will be swallowed up by life. 5 God has made us for that very purpose. He has given us the Holy Spirit as a down payment. The Spirit makes us sure of what is still to come.

Our earthly bodies grow older and frailer by the day.  That’s just a fact – we can see it.   What believers don’t see is that their inner man is being renewed each day.  By God’s grace there is new life on the inside of the believer and it is getting livelier by the day, just the opposite to our physical bodies. This passage acknowledges that there will be troubles and suffering but as believers we are not to let these things overwhelm us.  Paul encourages us to get some eternal perspective and not to focus on temporary things.  We are also told that we will receive new bodies in heaven.

This Scripture is a strong reminder of the growing life within us as Christians and more importantly our ultimate destination, heaven for all eternity.   It’s very easy to get caught up with the day to day issues of here and now. Our five senses seem to download the temporary stuff 24/7 causing us to forget the unseen or eternal things to which we are destined.  Paul has given us an important reminder as to what Christians are called to focus upon. There is a lot of talk at the moment in Australia regarding “temporary visas ” ie.  basically who is entitled to such a visa.  As Christians we have been granted temporary planet earth visas.  We are just passing through!  We are not aiming for permanent residency down here so don’t get too familiar with all the goings on, it’s unnecessary and throws us off course. Once you meet Jesus your destination is heaven, lets remind ourselves and one another of this often.  Think I need to read this passage frequently!

Dear God, thank you, that as we trust in you we are being renewed each day.  Please help me not to get caught up in temporary things, show me what is eternal so I can focus on those things.  Amen

Written by Ainslie Woods

2 replies
  1. Kim Fleming says:

    Love this passage -heaven, can’t wait. but for now help me to live in my decaying body but focus on what’s to come in eternity.

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Tuesday 29 October, 2013

2 Corinthians 4:7-15

7 Treasure is kept in clay jars. In the same way, we have the treasure of the good news in these earthly bodies of ours. That shows that the mighty power of the good news comes from God. It doesn’t come from us. 8 We are pushed hard from all sides. But we are not beaten down. We are bewildered. But that doesn’t make us lose hope. 9 Others make us suffer. But God does not desert us. We are knocked down. But we are not knocked out. 10 We always carry around the death of Jesus in our bodies. In that way, the life of Jesus can be shown in our bodies. 11 We who are alive are always in danger of death because we are serving Jesus. So his life can be shown in our earthly bodies. 12 Death is at work in us. But life is at work in you. 13 It is written, “I believed, and so I have spoken.” (Psalm 116:10) With that same spirit of faith we also believe. And we also speak. 14 We know that God raised the Lord Jesus from the dead. And he will also raise us up with Jesus. He will bring us with you to God in heaven. 15 All of that is for your benefit. God’s grace is reaching more and more people. So they will become more and more thankful. They will give glory to God.

Paul tells it like it is – no papering over the truth here!

He tells of the difficulties, he recognises his frailty.

Yet he is not despairing because he knows that faith is the key and so even in his frank acknowledgment of his situation he realises that he has the same spirit of faith that believes and therefore speaks!

Faith speaks – it doesn’t just believe.  If we truly believe we will speak and there will not only be a note of confidence – but of substance.  There will be‘gravity’ to our words!

Am I in faith – then I will be speaking it is a tell tale sign of my faith.  What am I speaking about!!

Father help me to boldly proclaim my convictions about you and from you to all around me.

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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Monday 28 October, 2013

2 Corinthians 4:1-6

4 So because of God’s mercy, we have work to do. He has given it to us. And we don’t give up. 2 Instead, we have given up doing secret and shameful things. We don’t twist God’s word. In fact, we do just the opposite. We present the truth plainly. In the sight of God, we make our appeal to everyone’s sense of what is right and wrong. 3 Suppose our good news is covered with a veil. Then it is veiled to those who are dying. 4 The god of this world has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They can’t see the light of the good news of Christ’s glory. He is the likeness of God. 5 We do not preach about ourselves. We preach about Jesus Christ. We say that he is Lord. And we serve you because of him. 6 God said, “Let light shine out of darkness.” He made his light shine in our hearts. It shows us the light of God’s glory in the face of Christ.

This new glorious ‘way’; the new covenant in Jesus, the freedom in the Spirit, has been given to Paul and the new churches. The veil has been taken away and because of this new vision, they tell the truth about God, they don’t use trickery or underhanded methods to win people.
When others don’t believe the message, it is their lack of receptiveness which allows satan to make the veil even thicker, so that the light cannot come through.  Many at that time were unable to accept that Jesus Christ was the EXACT likeness of God, and that this was the source of His glory.
But we, like Paul, have received the light that God spoke into the darkness, it has penetrated our hearts so that we can see and know the glory of God in Christ Jesus. It is because we know His mercy that we want to glorify Him alone. Not for our gain, not by deceitful means, but so that others can see Him too. He is magnificent, His light will shine through the darkness, if we are willing to let it shine out of us.
Lord let your light shine today through the darkest veils. Holy Spirit please change me to be more and more like Jesus so I can be a bright and true reflection of your glorious mercy to all people. Please don’t let the image of me get in front of your shining presence. Amen

Written by Dimity Milne

1 (reply)
  1. David Newton says:

    I love this version of the bible!
    ————————————————–
    So because of God’s mercy, we have work to do.
    ————————————————–

    In the old covenant the work came first and the mercy followed, in the new, grace and mercy precedes our efforts.

    So what is our first task as a response to grace and mercy?
    ————————————
    To give up secret and shameful ways
    ————————————
    A good rule of thumb – If it’s something about yourself that is you need to keep as a secret, then it is most likely a problem!

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Sunday 27 October, 2013

2 Corinthians 3:7-18

7 The Law was written in letters on stone. Even though it was a way of serving God, it led to death. But even that way of serving God came with glory. And even though the glory was fading, the people of Israel couldn’t look at Moses’ face very long. 8 Since all of that is true, won’t the work of the Holy Spirit be even more glorious? 9 The Law that sentences people to death is glorious. How much more glorious is the work of the Spirit! His work makes people right with God. 10 The glory of the old covenant is nothing compared with the far greater glory of the new. 11 The glory of the old is fading away. How much greater is the glory of the new! It will last forever. 12 Since we have that kind of hope, we are very bold. 13 We are not like Moses. He used to cover his face with a veil. That was to keep the people of Israel from looking at his face while the brightness was fading away. 14 But their minds were made stubborn. To this very day, the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. The veil has not been removed. Only faith in Christ can take it away. 15 To this very day, when the Law of Moses is read, a veil covers the minds of those who hear it. 16 But when anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Holy Spirit. And where the Spirit of the Lord is, freedom is also there. 18 Our faces are not covered with a veil. We all display the Lord’s glory. We are being changed to become more like him so that we have more and more glory. And the glory comes from the Lord, who is the Holy Spirit.

When Moses received the Ten Commandments from God, he came down from the mountain with a glowing face from being in the presence of God. As the glow began to fade over time, Moses covered his face with a veil to hide from the people of Israel the fact that the glow was fading.

This passage says that Moses’ glory was a transitory glory, symbolic of the fact that the law Moses received not a lasting solution to the problem of sin.

But now we have an eternal glory in Christ, and with the Spirit of the Lord there is freedom. Not freedom to do whatever we like, but freedom from the power of sin. Freedom that lasts and does not fade away.

We no longer need to cover our faces in shame to hide our fading glory, and this should give us boldness! Boldness to approach God’s throne of grace, and boldness to share this good news with others. May we live in this freedom and this boldness every day!

Written by Shelley Witt

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  1. Kerrie Quee says:

    I love your last sentence, Shelley.
    I’m going into my week remembering to live in freedom and boldness.

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Saturday 26 October, 2013

2 Corinthians 3:1-6

3 Are we beginning to praise ourselves again? Some people need letters that speak well of them. Do we need those kinds of letters, either to you or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter. You are written on our hearts. Everyone knows you and reads you. 3 You make it clear that you are a letter from Christ. You are the result of our work for God. You are a letter written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God. You are a letter written not on tablets made out of stone but on human hearts. 4 Through Christ, we can be sure of this because of our faith in God’s power. 5 In ourselves we are not able to claim anything for ourselves. The power to do what we do comes from God. 6 He has given us the power to serve under a new covenant. The covenant is not based on the written Law of Moses. It comes from the Holy Spirit. The written Law kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Just as for Paul, people see God in our lives not by what we say but in how we live life and the positive impacts we have on those around us. What impacts are you having on those around you? Do they feel loved by you? Are they seeing how to live life God’s way by how you are living life? It is such a big call. God asks us to represent Him here on earth to those He has put in our lives. None of us can do it without His help.

The other thing about this is that this world sets our minds on what we need, what we must do for our lives to go well which distracts us from what God has asked of us – to grow in our relationship with Him and to bring that relationship to those around us.

Lord this is a big deal, You have asked us to bring You to the people who cross our paths and that works best by people seeing us living in relationship with You. But to do this requires effort on our behalf to choose to live life Your way Lord. Help us to make this choice and teach us how to live and love well.

Written by Therese Manning

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Friday 25 October, 2013

2 Corinthians 2:12-17

12 I went to Troas to preach the good news about Christ. There I found that the Lord had opened a door of opportunity for me. 13 But I still had no peace of mind. I couldn’t find my brother Titus there. So I said good-by to the believers at Troas and went on to Macedonia. 14 Give thanks to God! He always leads us in the winners’ parade because we belong to Christ. Through us, God spreads the knowledge of Christ everywhere like perfume. 15 God considers us to be the sweet smell that Christ is spreading among people who are being saved and people who are dying. 16 To the one, we are the smell of death. To the other, we are the perfume of life. Who is able to do that work? 17 Unlike many people, we aren’t selling God’s word to make money. In fact, it is just the opposite. Because of Christ we speak honestly before God. We speak like people God has sent.

What grabs me most about this passage is the certainty the author, Paul, has for the need to have a partnership with Titus.

Too often I personally take on tasks and opportunities based on the resources that are immediately available, but Paul is able to see things as God sees them.

This passage also reminds me to never lose the sense of how “sweet smelling” the Gospel is.

God, help us to see things in your timing and help us to experience the beauty of the Gospel with all our spiritual senses!

Written by Justin Ware

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Thursday 24 October, 2013

2 Corinthians 2:5-11

5 Suppose someone has made us sad. In some ways, he hasn’t made me sad so much as he has made all of you sad. But I don’t want to put this too strongly. 6 He has been punished because most of you decided he should be. That is enough for him. 7 Now you should forgive him and comfort him. Then he won’t be sad more than he can stand. 8 So I’m asking you to tell him again that you still love him. 9 I wrote to you for a special reason. I wanted to see if you could stand the test. I wanted to see if you could obey everything that was asked of you. 10 Anyone you forgive I also forgive. Was there anything to forgive? If so, I have forgiven it for your benefit, knowing that Christ is watching. 11 We don’t want Satan to outsmart us. We know how he does his evil work.

To forgive is a promise that you make to someone who has offended you and now has repented, where you say “I will not let my attitude toward you be ruled any longer by this offense” The way I treat you is as if the offense never happened. It is a promise to never to bring it up again.

Forgiveness is a promise not to pass it on to anybody else. Now it is forgiven, it is forgotten. Nobody should bring the issue again, hold it over a forgiven person’s head or reminds them of it every time any future difficulty happens. It is a promise to drop the matter, leave it in the past, and never bring it up to anybody again.

Forgiveness is a promise to yourself that when your memory goes back to it, you are not going to allow it to push those buttons and make you angry all over again. The minute it comes back to mind, put it aside as something that belongs to the past. Refuse to dwell on it. It is a promise, therefore, to repeat your act of forgiveness, no matter how often the memory comes up.

The reason we do this is because we have been forgiven. Remember to be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ forgave you.

Lord, when you died on the cross, you forgave me of everything, and I can forgive everything in Your strength.  Your Spirit in me means I have your strength and life, this means I can forgive the person and the offense.

Written by Cath Croft

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Wednesday 23 October, 2013

2 Cor 1:15 - 2:4

15 I was sure of those things. So I planned to visit you first. Here is how I thought you would be helped twice. 16 I planned to visit you on my way to Macedonia. I would have come back to you from there. Then you would have sent me on my way to Judea. 17 When I planned all of that, did I do it without much thought? No. I don’t make my plans the way the world makes theirs. In the same breath the world says, “Yes! Yes!” and “No! No!” 18 But just as sure as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.” 19 Silas, Timothy and I preached to you about the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Our message did not say “Yes” and “No” at the same time. The message of Christ has always been “Yes.” 20 God has made a great many promises. They are all “Yes” because of what Christ has done. So through Christ we say “Amen.” We want God to receive glory. 21 He makes both us and you stand firm because we belong to Christ. He anointed us. 22 He put his Spirit in our hearts and marked us as his own. We can now be sure that he will give us everything he promised us. 23 I call God as my witness. I wanted to spare you. So I didn’t return to Corinth. 24 Your faith is not under our control. You stand firm in your own faith. But we work together with you for your joy. 2 So I made up my mind that I would not make another painful visit to you. 2 If I make you sad, who is going to make me glad? Only you, the one I made sad. 3 I wrote what I did for a special reason. When I came, I didn’t want to be troubled by those who should make me glad. I was sure that all of you would share my joy. 4 I was very troubled when I wrote to you. My heart was sad. My eyes were full of tears. I didn’t want to make you sad. I wanted to let you know that I love you very deeply.

It seems apparent that Paul changed his plans and didn’t go to Corinth as he said he hoped he would in chapter 16 of the first letter to the Corinthians (verses 5-9). He does give a condition in that first letter though – ‘if The Lord permits’ (1 Corinthians 16:7).

Paul’s reasons for changing plans are that he might not grieve the church in Corinth.

There are many questions that run through my head as I read this passage, however one section grabs my attention as Paul uses this change of plans to contrast the sure hope we have in Christ.

Verse 18-22 of today’s passage remind me that Jesus stands as the centre piece of this world and all of history, he is the confirmation that God is faithful to all his promises, he will never let me down. Not only has Jesus entered history to reconcile me to God, he continues to be with me as the Spirit has been given to me as an incredible sign of who I belong to. I am different. I am a saint. I know this because Jesus really came, really died and really came back to life and I experience the Holy Spirit in me today.

Lord Jesus thank you that my relationship with God is built on three unshakable truths. Your death. Your resurrection. The anointing of your Spirit on me. I am blessed!

Written by Andrew Mellor

2 replies
  1. Kerrie Quee says:

    Paul made plans but was willing to change them because God had other plans – even though it made him and the people in Corinth sad. I like that, as you mentioned, he says “if God permits”.

    As I make my plans for each day, I want to allow God to change my direction if he has other plans. To show me the people He wants me to talk to, the places where He wants me to be an influence for Him.

  2. David Newton says:

    I wonder if that means, your willingness to change your plans reveals who is at the centre of your world!!!

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Tuesday 22 October, 2013

2 Corinthians 1:12-14

12 Here is what we take pride in. Our sense of what is right and wrong gives witness that we have acted in God’s holy and honest ways. That is how we live in the world. We live that way most of all when we are dealing with you. Our way of living is not wise in the eyes of the world. But it is in keeping with God’s grace. 13 We are writing only what you can read and understand. And here is what I hope. 14 Up to this point you have understood some of the things we have said. But now I hope that someday you will be able to take pride in us, just as we will take pride in you on the day the Lord Jesus returns. When you are able to do that, you will understand us completely.

Paul expresses here in these verses a selfless approach to the Corinthian believers. Paul acted with integrity and sincerity, relying upon the grace of God, to help these believers understand what the Christian life looked like. And all of this was in order that Paul can ultimately boast of their faith and progress to God on the day of the Lord Jesus.

Paul lived constantly aware of his impact upon, and example for, those around him. Indeed, he lived to be a boaster on behalf of other people. Boasting about their faith, growth, and progress in God. As such, he laboured and strove for their progress and their faith. God is showing me an example that I am called to follow, especially with the constant temptation in our world today to promote self at the expense of everyone else.

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Help me, Lord, be a boaster in the growth, progress, and faith of other people. As such, help me to be an example of growth and progress they can follow, help me inspire and activate that growth in them, so that on the day you return, I will have a worthy boast – not in myself or my achievements, but in being used by you to stir the growth and faith of those around me.

Written by Ps. Rob Waugh

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