Thursday 11 May, 2017

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 what we do while in our bodies. We’ll be judged for the good things and the bad things. 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 10 May, 2017

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. That’s because 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. Instead, we want to be fully dressed with our house in heaven. What must die will be swallowed up by life. 5 God has formed 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

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Tuesday 9 May, 2017

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. This happens so that his life can also 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) We have that same spirit of faith. So we also believe and speak. 14 We know that God raised the Lord Jesus from the dead. And he will also raise us up with Jesus. And he will present both you and us to himself. 15 All this 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.

At first read, this passage reminds me of that late 1990’s drinking song ‘Tub Thumping’ – “I get knocked down, but I get up again, you ain’t never going to keep me down”. Or the exploits of Rocky Balboa come to mind, ‘down, but never for the count!’

But Paul is talking about something far more reliable and enduring then the human spirit of persistence and dogged determination. Paul knows what it means to be knocked down, literally. He has been abused in all senses of the word. He knows that he will one day be knocked down so hard that he does not get up again, not under his own steam. But there is nothing that can be thrown at Paul, not even death, that can keep him down forever, because Christ himself is at work in him and the Holy Spirit will raise him up for all eternity.

The work of death is not something we can escape as Christians, its gnawing affects on the physical body are a guarantee for all of us. God’s plan for his people is not that we would escape death, but overcome it. One day, just like Rocky, we will stand over a defeated and powerless ‘death’, and we will gloat over it.

Lord, in our lives, let the world know that you have conquered death. Tell them through us.

Written by Andrew Mellor

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Monday 8 May, 2017

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 that makes Christ’s glory clear. Christ is the likeness of God. 5 The message we preach is not about ourselves. Our message is about Jesus Christ. We say that he is Lord. And we say that we serve you because of Jesus. 6 God said, “Let light shine out of darkness.” (Genesis 1:3) He made his light shine in our hearts. His light gives us the light to know God’s glory. His glory is shown in the face of Christ.

At the same time that Paul was seeking to teach and encourage the Corinthian church there were others speaking into their world. It appears that some of these other ‘teachers’ were preaching a message that Paul described as ‘secret and shameful’ – one that sought to deceive in order to get popularity; a following, and financial gain. They spoke what people wanted to hear, they avoided the hard teachings in order to be liked.

This was so far from what Paul was about. He refused to change the message for anyone even if it meant he lost popularity or finances. He knew that the message he had been given was straight from the mouth of God, that it was a privilege to be a minister of it; he would not and did not distort the word of God.

I’m challenged on two levels. One, how open am I to being challenged and convicted, as well as encouraged when I hear teaching from the word of God, and secondly, in what ways am I watering down the gospel message with those I meet in order to be liked, and still included. The gospel of Jesus is life to all who accept him. It is a beautiful message of salvation and love, but there is also a call to repentance and life change. It’s only through Jesus that we can live in heaven eternally. There is no other way, no other God, he will not be light handed on sin. Am I sharing the whole gospel?

Help me Lord to be led by your Spirit and to be strong and courageous as you lead me in all I do and say. Amen

Written by Rosie Walker

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  1. Kim says:

    Lord give me boldness to not water down the gospel either when I am talking to others. Help me make You bigger in my world and let you do the convicting through the truth & power of your all your teachings, even those bits that are not popular with the worlds view, help me not to shy away from any of it, but let you speak.

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Sunday 7 May, 2017

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. The glory lasted for only a short time. Even so, the people of Israel couldn’t look at Moses’ face very long. 8 Since all this is true, won’t the work of the Holy Spirit be even more glorious? 9 The law that condemns people to death had glory. How much more glory does the work of the Spirit have! 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 lasts for only a short time. 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 seeing the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were made stubborn. To this 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 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 None of our faces are covered with a veil. All of us can see the Lord’s glory and think deeply about it. So we are being changed to become more like him so that we have more and more glory. And this glory comes from the Lord, who is the Holy Spirit.

Having a face that literally glows with the glory of God seems like a pretty cool thing, right? When Moses came down from the mountain after meeting with God, his face shone with glory, so much so that he covered his face with a veil.

That was, I imagine, a pretty amazing sight, and yet here we read that this is now considered to have no glory in comparison to the surpassing glory we now can experience in Christ! This must have been quite incredible for the Jews reading Paul’s words to comprehend.

Through Jesus, the new covenant is so much more glorious because it’s not dependent upon my works or my faithfulness to God, but upon the work of Christ on the cross and HIS faithfulness. And unlike Moses’ glory, the glory of Christ does not fade with time.

When we try to get to God through our own efforts our hearts are veiled to God. But now, with unveiled faces we are being transformed with ever increasing glory. Sometimes, I must admit, that I can’t always see my own transformation, but by faith I can believe that this is true – quite exciting, really!

Thank you Jesus, for the incredible freedom that you have bought for us on the cross, and for your transforming work in my life.

Written by Shelley Witt

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Saturday 6 May, 2017

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 before God. 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.

This passage speaks to me about the fruit of the Spirit, that this is our letter, not as a “certificate of merit” that hangs on a wall, but that there is effective fruit in our lives by the Spirit. I believe this is what Paul is reminding the Corinthian church of, that they do not obtain credit by a written commendation, but by the fruit of their lives in Christ. He then reminds them that this is by the Spirit, and not by their own competency.
A timely reminder to myself, that the fruit of my life is not actually about me, or due to my competency, but, due to God equipping and providing. This challenges my thoughts of pride, and leads me to thank God for his grace, equipping and provision.
And so my prayer is simple as I scribe this. Lord, increase the fruit of my life that You, and You only, will be glorified. In Jesus name. Amen

Written by Steve Fell

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Friday 5 May, 2017

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 goodbye to the believers at Troas and went on to Macedonia. 14 Give thanks to God! He always leads us as if we were prisoners in Christ’s victory parade. Through us, God spreads the knowledge of Christ everywhere like perfume. 15 God considers us to be the pleasing smell that Christ is spreading. He is spreading it among people who are being saved and people who are dying. 16 To those who are dying, we are the smell of death. To those who are being saved, we are the perfume of life. Who is able to do this 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.

I love perfume and I love scented candles.  So when you walk into a home with the aroma of the candles I understand what we are to ‘smell’ like.  Like sweet perfume….

Our lives are to be fragrant.  Fragrance wafts through the air, with no boundaries, perceived/received by our senses.  It transforms a room and changes an atmosphere.

Christ said in this scripture that our lives are to be like that – a fragrance rising up to God.  To Jesus our lives, when we live well and in the fear of God we become a sweet smelling fragrance.

However we are also aware that some fragrances people don’t like.  To some; our lives and ‘smell’ will be a scent of death and doom.   We need not fear that; we need not shy away from that – we are called to fragrant wherever God has placed us.

We all need to continue to be faithful to the Word of God.  To speak it with sincerity and authority and know that the only person we ever need to answer to – is HIM.  Jesus.

Lord Jesus, help us to be fragrant.  Where we have become not what we should be, convict us Lord and help us to change.  Help us to be as Christ amongst our family, neighbours and friends.

Written by Ps. Sue Botta

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Thursday 4 May, 2017

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. This punishment is enough. 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 another special reason. I wanted to see if you could stand the test. I wanted to see if you could obey everything 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.

V7 time to forgive him so that he won’t be overcome by discouragement.

Paul had sent a letter telling them what to do with a man who had insulted Paul during an earlier visit. It was difficult for them, but their obedience has produced the desired result, repentance and change. Now, because of that change, they can and should reach out to him to prevent discouragement overtaking the offender. Paul knows how destructive that discouragement can be to a believer, and regardless of his personal feelings, the welfare of this man’s soul is more important.

A familiar instruction from Paul to the early churches was to encourage one another. Especially when a believer repents and changes their ways, encourage them so that discouragement does not overtake them.

Discouragement is so destructive, that God, through Paul’s letter to us says to watch out for discouragement. After repentance and change, encourage each other, at all times – encourage one another.

I am so thankful for everyone who has, and continues to encourage me.

Written by Andrew Martin

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Wednesday 3 May, 2017

2 Corinthians 1:15 - 2:4

15 Because I was sure of this, I wanted 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 this, was I ready to change my mind for no good reason? No. I don’t make my plans the way the world makes theirs. In the same breath the world says both, “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 remain strong in the faith 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 to be my witness. May he take my life if I’m lying. I wanted to spare you, so I didn’t return to Corinth. 24 Your faith is not under our control. You remain strong in your own faith. But we work together with you for your joy. 2 1 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 people I made sad. 3 What I wrote to you I wrote 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.

Sometimes Paul starts saying one thing and then goes to another thing, something with deep doctrine and eternal value, then goes back to the first thing.

This passage is a good example…

  • I wanted to visit you twice but I decided not to.
  • God ALWAYS does what He says. In Jesus these promises are a resounding YES.
  • When I visit you I want it to be a joyful time and not a butt whooping so I’ll address the heavy stuff in a letter.

It’s the middle topic that really challenges my faith. Do I really believe that God will keep His word? Will He provide my needs? Will He never leave me or forsake me? Will He be an ever-present help in time of need? If God ALWAYS keeps His promises and He has backed them up in the affirmative with the death and resurrection of Jesus His son, shouldn’t my prayers change? Shouldn’t I be thanking Him for coming through for me, even before it happens instead of asking Him for something that He has already promised to do? Doesn’t this address my deepest fears and anxieties? Doesn’t this add eternal weight to His words “do not fear”? Surely this is the reason that Jesus himself said “do not worry about your life”?

God has promised. And He has backed His promises with the highest possible act of power and love and certainty – Jesus. I can trust Him.

God of wondrous grace and power. I feel loved!  That you would back your promises with something so powerful and staggering as the very blood of Jesus blows my mind. No more doubt! I’ll trust you and instead of asking for things that you have already promised, I will thank you for coming through for me.  Amen

Written by Boudy Van Noppen

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  1. Stephen Fell says:

    Thanks B. This is a wonderful reminder of God’s promises, to love me and care for continually, in whatever circumstance. Good to read this today

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Tuesday 2 May, 2017

2 Corinthians 1:12-14

12 Here is what we take pride in. Our sense of what is right and wrong tells us how we have acted. We have lived with honor and godly honesty. We have depended on God’s grace and not on the world’s wisdom. We lived that way most of all when we were dealing with you. 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 here is what I hope for when the Lord Jesus returns. I hope that your pride in us will be the same as our pride in you. When this happens, you will understand us completely.

In this passage Paul shares with us how he and his disciples went about teaching the gospel to new believers, in particular here, to the Corinthians. He wrote with words that could be read and understood. He did not try and trick people into believing but simply presented the truth in ways that made sense to the listeners. Knowing that it is God who empowers both the sharer and the listener by his grace and kindness. He helps them focus on Jesus, what he has done to bring them into relationship with him and how to navigate life with Him.

This simple clear teaching (without embellishment, worldly wisdom or false promises) was obviously not common in Paul’s time, as he makes a point in boasting about how “God has kept us uncompromised. Focused on him” (The Message Version). He states that God gave them integrity (New International Version). And because of this, trusting in Gods ways, they can rejoice that the Corinthians have understood, or have begun on their journey of understanding and growing evermore in understanding these great and wonderful truths about God, just as Paul and his disciples have.

Thank you Jesus that you used people of integrity to share the gospel with me, that I, through your grace, have believed and understood, and I continue to grow in understanding of you. Jesus help me to share about you with clarity and integrity too. Help me to hold to Jesus only Jesus, in what I present. And by your grace and truth, please use me to bring others to know you and live in you.

Written by Zoe Stewart

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