Monday 8 February, 2021

2 Corinthians 3:7-18

7 Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? 9 If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! 10 For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. 11 And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! 12 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. 13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate[a] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the 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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Sunday 7 February, 2021

2 Corinthians 3:1-6

3 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 4 Such confidence we have through Christ before God. 5 Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter 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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Saturday 6 February, 2021

2 Corinthians 2:12-17

12 Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me, 13 I still had no peace of mind, because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said goodbye to them and went on to Macedonia. 14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? 17 Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.

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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Friday 5 February, 2021

2 Corinthians 5:11–21

11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 12 We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 13 If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin[b] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

“God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ”. Christ has made us new. Now he wants us to tell others about being reconciled to him and made new as well. But our chief motivation needs to be the love of Christ. It is easy, if things are going well in ministry, to become proud. We need to keep a check on our hearts – look for opportunities to tell others about Jesus, but be always motivated by Christ’s love for them. Then we will be able to say with Paul “Whatever we do, it is because Christ’s love urges us on”.

Dear Lord, help me to keep a check on my heart – to do things out of right motives, with a “solemn fear of the Lord”, so that I can be a true ambassador for you. Amen

Written by Megan Cornell

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Thursday 4 February, 2021

2 Corinthians 1:23-2:4

23 I call God as my witness—and I stake my life on it—that it was in order to spare you that I did not return to Corinth. 24 Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm. 2 1 So I made up my mind that I would not make another painful visit to you. 2 For if I grieve you, who is left to make me glad but you whom I have grieved? 3 I wrote as I did, so that when I came I would not be distressed by those who should have made me rejoice. I had confidence in all of you, that you would all share my joy. 4 For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.

These verses pick up from verse 17 where Paul has outlined the change to his plans to visit the church in Corinth and other parts of Greece.

The false teachers who had taken hold in these churches saw Paul’s change of plans as an opportunity to criticise and challenge his authority and trustworthiness, presumably something along the lines of “you cant trust the word of a man who changes his mind.”

I find Paul’s reaction quite surprising in two ways. Firstly, the focus is not on himself and the need for them to follow him, rather it is on Jesus and their faith. He knows that once he is no longer with them, they must be able to stand firm in their faith, resting not on him but on God.

Secondly, he encourages. He shows love (v23 “in order to spare you”) and concern for their “joy.” Paul encourages their joy and faith. The power of encouragement cannot be over-stated. It always speaks louder than rebuke, it lifts and builds and can bring strength.

Paul’s words in Colossians 2:2 really show the riches encouragement can bring:

“My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ.”

What a great reminder today to be an encourager.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Help me use words of encouragement to build and strengthen your church, but also others I know and meet. Words that show your heart of love, words that build. Holy Spirit guide my words. Amen

Written by Claire Moore

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Wednesday 3 February, 2021

2 Corinthians 1:12-22

12 Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity[a] and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace. 13 For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand. And I hope that, 14 as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus. 15 Because I was confident of this, I wanted to visit you first so that you might benefit twice. 16 I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia and to come back to you from Macedonia, and then to have you send me on my way to Judea. 17 Was I fickle when I intended to do this? Or do I make my plans in a worldly manner so that in the same breath I say both “Yes, yes” and “No, no”? 18 But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.” 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silas[b] and Timothy—was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” 20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Making plans is good. It’s part of being intentional in serving God. So long as I remember that God calls me to walk with him, where he’s going (Micah 6:8), not to take him where I’m going. Jesus calls me to follow him first. My plans are fragile, but God’s plans aren’t. “No matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.” (v20)

I often wonder why God entrusts the gospel of life to unreliable messengers like me. What if I get cold feet? What if I jumble it up and confuse it? What if I get it wrong? Ironically, questions like that increase the chance that I’ll get cold feet or garble the message.

It’s a good thing that God’s thoughts are not my thoughts, and his ways are not my ways. God says, “my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:8,11)

I need to be reminded that God gives me a part in what he’s doing in the world. But his plans aren’t dependent on me. He will save all sorts of people in my life even if I get cold feet or mess things up. Though I may miss out on the joy of being part of it.

That’s liberating. I can be more confident when I know that the Holy Spirit will say far more significant things than anything I might say. Knowing that it depends on what Jesus did frees me from the fear that I will do it wrong.

Lord, I want to walk with you in your plans rather than mine. I want to be part of what you’re doing. Holy Spirit, use me to speak your words of grace. Thank you for the places we’ll go together today.

Written by David Cornell

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Tuesday 2 February, 2021

2 Corinthians 1:1-11

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God in Corinth, together with all his holy people throughout Achaia: 2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. 8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

Paul begins his 2nd letter to the Corinthians by talking about comfort.  Comfort in the midst of all the hard times for the Gospel. He uses the word comfort 9 times in these paragraphs and gives us a picture of receiving comfort from God so that we can then be a comfort to others in similar situations.  Coming to God then going to others.  One version I read says that he felt “so utterly and unbearably crushed” v8 … What an amazing example Paul is, in some situation of his ministry of the Gospel he felt so utterly and unbearably crushed yet he went to God and not away from Him.  He did not give up, he did not throw it all in but he grew.

I’m afraid I’ve missed this many times and gone to others first.  I have missed the comfort & support I needed from God and valuable insights to then help others.

Jesus, help me to be wiser in seeking comfort from you first and foremost for whatever situation I’m going through, you are the only one who knows me completely and knows what I need in each circumstance.  Jesus, I want to grow, help me to grow in seeking you first in all things.

Written by Suzie Hodgson

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Monday 1 February, 2021

1 Corinthians 16:13-24

13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love. 15 You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the Lord’s people. I urge you, brothers and sisters, 16 to submit to such people and to everyone who joins in the work and labors at it. 17 I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived, because they have supplied what was lacking from you. 18 For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition. 19 The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house. 20 All the brothers and sisters here send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss. 21 I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. 22 If anyone does not love the Lord, let that person be cursed! Come, Lord! 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. 24 My love to all of you in Christ Jesus. Amen.

And now we come to the end of Pauls letter to the church in Corinth. And last words are always important. It’s quite a long letter, and easy to forget some of the things that Paul wrote, so remember this: Be on guard, stand firm in the faith, be courageous AND do everything with love.

That last part, really summarises everything that Paul wrote in this letter, do everything in love.

How? Love as Christ loved you. 

Why? Love because Christ loved you.

If you read this in the morning, or at night, look at the day ahead, and do everything in love. Simple. Don’t make it complicated, Keep it simple ….

Father I thank you for the perfect example of Christ, who loved us so much, that he died for us long before we even knew him. His love for you, and for us motivated him, so also let our love for you and others motivate us today.

Written by Andrew Martin

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