Glorifying God in our Weaknesses (2 Corinthians 10-12)

2Corinthians 12:9 NKJV And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

We had a tough conversation at the little league ball park the other night. The coach had shared that we had a record number of boys sign up and we ended up with 16 kids on the roster. That means that some games, some kids won’t play. Everyone wants to see their kid play and no one wants to invite relatives to a game where their kids doesn’t play. It is a less than ideal situation.

After the parent meeting I shared with the coach that whatever decisions he had to make that affected our boy, we were behind him 100%. I shared that we were there to learn team work and sportsmanship and sometimes that meant sitting out so someone else could have a chance to step up. Even if we don’t get to don a batting helmet or glove in a game, we’ll still be cheering on and boasting in the accomplishments of the team.

I sat my son down and told him that he had a bigger role on his team this year than he has ever had. In the games where he plays a lot as well as games where he shows up, dressed to play, but gets little to no game time, he is to be the number one encourager for his team. Instead of reliving the outs and at bats that he got, he will get to help the team remember all of their successes. If he can do that, playing the bench may actually be creating room for a bigger purpose in his life.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not an ideal situation. I’d rather all the boys play all the time, but sometimes we need to recognize our obstacles as opportunities. The Lord is sovereign. He does what He pleases. Sometimes He allows setbacks, challenges, and even tragedies to shape our character. He hasn’t left us alone though. He has promised He will never leave nor forsake us. Paul points out that even though he struggles in weakness, God is strong, God’s Grace is sufficient, and Paul’s weakness gives him an opportunity to boast in the Lord even more.

Sometimes we imagine the Christian life will be pain and problem free. The truth is that it is filled with challenges. What is unique is how we can face those challenges by trusting in Jesus through them. When we face setbacks, health issues, financial issues, relational issues, etc., we can rejoice in the fact that God’s grace is more than enough for whatever we face.

Father, thank you for your grace that is enough. Thank you that even when we struggle with weakness, infirmities, set backs, and losses that you are more than enough. Thank you that we can call on you and you are an ever present help in a time of trouble. Thank you that when we are stripped of pride in our own accomplishments that we can still boast in YOU. Give us grace to trust you in the good times as well as the bad. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Godly Sorrow (2 Corinthians 7-9)

2Corinthians 7:10 ESV For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

I went to see the doctor for a check up a few weeks ago. We had a great conversation until he told me that I was fat. To be honest, it stung a little to hear. I knew that it was true, but I didn’t like him saying it. He was encouraging me to lose weight and so he told me all the negative side effects of being fat and how it was effecting my health and could effect my health years down the road.

I was grieved coming out of the doctors office. I had a choice to make. I could either be upset that he was so blunt and choose to get angry and tell all my friends what a terrible doctor he is, or I could take his word to heart and start changing my lifestyle. So far I have been consistently choosing the second option. His harsh word that caused me grief produced a positive change and attitude in me.

This is how it should work when we are confronted about sin in our lives. We don’t need to get mad at the messenger. That doesn’t deal with the sin. We need to come to the Lord in confession and repentance. The basis for the verse above is that Paul had grieved the Corinthians by being so direct and pointing out the issues in the church that needed to be addressed. Rather than let that grief fester into bitterness at Paul, they had moved to action and it produced repentance.

We should be asking ourselves how do we handle it when someone addresses sin in our life? Certainly there is grief. No one likes to be told about their sins, even if they are true. We have a choice we can become bitter at the messenger or we can repent and turn to the LORD. Grief about sin can be godly when it produces repentance.

Father, thank you for placing people in our lives that love us enough to point out the obvious. Thank you for the grace of being confronted and warned about sin. Thank you that when we find ourselves grieved over our sin we can repent of our sin and turn to you. I pray that my heart would never allow sorrow over sin to turn to bitterness at a messenger, but that it would always produce repentance. Thank you again so much for your grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Day 57: 2 Corinthians 13 (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes from 2 Corinthians 13 follow the link provided here to read the ESV online.

There is no greater folly than to be self deceived. It’s one thing for someone to maliciously trick you and cause you to stumble. It’s another thing to trick yourself. Yet, it happens all the time even to the best of us.

I know for me, some one of the things I lie to myself about are thing pertaining to my weight. I tell myself that “It would be bad if I didn’t eat cake for their birthday party” or “I’ll burn it off on the elliptical later.” I’ll weigh and think, “well it’s just water weight” or “I’ deserve this high calorie food because I skipped breakfast today.” It’s not that I engage in the bad or destructive behavior concerning high calorie food, I flat out lie to myself about it. I rationalize it and make it seem as though I’m doing the right thing, when I’m actually doing the wrong thing as it concerns my goal of losing weight.

But that’s just food. What if we lie to ourselves about something infinitely greater than calories and pounds? What if we lied to ourselves about our relationship with God? What if we deceived ourselves into thinking we were true Christians, when we really weren’t?

Paul tells the Corinthians to examine their faith (13:5). They need to be sure that they are the real deal. They don’t want to get to the day of judgement and realize that they bought into a fake faith (Matthew 7:21-23). Faith that was all about what others saw, but wasn’t of any real substance. They were to examine their hearts and lives and look for the fruit of what it is to belong to God. Where we abide in him, fruit will abound (John 15:4). If we continue in immaturity and never seem to grow or produce the fruit of godliness in our lives, we should be concerned for the salvation of our souls.

FATHER, We ask that you would  examine our lives. Help us to see and know that we belong to you. Give us great grace to live godly lives and to demonstrate the power of the Holy Spirit alive in us. I pray that you would test us and if we fail the test that we would come to you for genuine, saving faith. Thank you for your grace in causing us to examine ourselves so that we might be absolutely sure that we belong to you. Thank you for the grace to shepherd your church. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.

What did you take away from today’s reading? What are your thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below and enter the discussion.

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