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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Day 56: 2 Corinthians 10-12 (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes from 2 Corinthians 10-12 follow the link provided here to read the ESV online.

In the reading today, the Apostle Paul brings up spiritual warfare. There were some in Corinth who were seeking to cause division, which Paul was compelled to address.  Some individuals mistook Paul’s directions and intentions as a personal attack, rather than a loving rebuke. Paul writes to reassure them that he’s not looking to start a fight, but that the church needs to be on guard against spiritual forces seeking to destroy it from within (10:3-4).

It’s not as though there is a demon lurking around every corner. Even if there were, you wouldn’t necessarily know it. One of the schemes of the devil is to blend in at church (11:14-15). Most often spiritual warfare begins with “stinkin’ thinkin'” (any thought that isn’t good and isn’t from God). Not every thought that pops into our head is a good thought or a true thought. Every thought needs the light of the gospel to examine it. Paul says, “take every thought captive” (10:5b).  We need to compare what we think to what we know to be true of Jesus.

I’m reminded of the movie, A beautiful mind. The main character begins to see people that were not real. When he interacts with them it becomes apparent that he is mentally ill. There comes a point, where he understands that he is having delusions and so he doubts and scrutinizes some of the people that seemed very real.  He used a metric to evaluate what he was experiencing. His delusions didn’t go away, but he was able to navigate life despite them because he put them in their place.

There are some thoughts that pop into our head that we should doubt. Thoughts that think the worst of others, rather than the best. Thoughts that seek to tear down and destroy. Thoughts that sow seeds of discord. Thoughts of hatred, envy, and bitterness. Thoughts of worthlessness. The list can go on and on… These thoughts should all be filtered by the gospel and brought to obedience in Christ (10:5b).

FATHER, Thank You for the Word of God. Thank you that we can evaluate thoughts that come through our mind and take captive those that would lead us away from you. Thank you for the Holy Spirit and the role He plays in guarding our hearts and helping us to discern truth from error. Help us to remember that we don’t fight against flesh and blood, but that we are waging a spiritual war. Help us to guard the battle ground of our minds. Thank you for the grace to lead your people. 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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Day 55: 2 Corinthians 7-9 (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes from 2 Corinthians 7-9 follow the link provided here to read the ESV online.

Sometimes sorrow is necessary. Paul had written a stern letter to the Corinthians that had caused them grief. His desire wasn’t to hurt their feelings, but to bring them to a place of repentance. We live in a culture that is increasingly afraid to hurt feelings, but sometimes hurting feelings is necessary for someone to experience genuine, godly sorrow.

There is a difference between worldly sorrow and godly sorrow (7:10). Worldly sorrow is being sorry you got caught. Maybe you would be glad to do it again if you could guarantee that no one would find out. Godly sorrow is being sorry that you ever did such a thing to begin with. Sorry that your heart would be so opposed to God that you would even have acted that way. Godly sorrow agrees with God about the seriousness of sin and truly grieves over your condition. Godly sorrow is what leads to repentance. You’ll never  find real repentance apart from Godly sorrow.

In Chapters eight and nine, Paul turns his attention to giving and generosity. He shares about the generosity of other churches in the midst of affliction (8:2-3) as well as the model of Christ (8:9). He reminds the Corinthians of two facts concerning our giving to the work of the LORD. He encourages them that, “God loves a cheerful giver” and that our gifts aren’t to be given under grudging circumstances (9:5,7).  We are to give with a joyful attitude. He also reminds the Corinthians that we reap what we sow (9:6,10). Not to say that we get more money because we give more money.

SIDE NOTE: We Reap what we sow is true with all the spiritual disciplines. We gain joyfulness when we give joyfully. We gain knowledge when we study God’s word. We have a deeper understanding of God the more we talk to God in prayer. We get the blessing by being with God’s people that we can’t get when we don’t gather with God’s people. There is always a fruit to doing the right thing spiritually.

FATHER, thank you for godly sorrow that brings about genuine repentance. I pray that we would never shy from speaking your truth in love so that others might experience eternal life in Christ. Thank you for the basic instructions in giving generously that we received from your word today. I pray that we would all be joyful and generous givers because of how Jesus gave to us. Show us how to be diligent in our sowing so that we might be bountiful in our reaping. Thank you for the grace to lead your people. 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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Day 54: 2 Corinthians 4-6 (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes from 2 Corinthians 4-6 follow the link provided here to read the ESV online.

Chapter four is encouraging. Paul  encourages us to endure when we face trials and opposition in the Christian life. I appreciate Paul’s charge, “do not lose heart” (4:1, 16). He compares the present trials to light afflictions in light of eternity (4:17-18).

I’m looking forward to the return of Christ when all is set right. I look forward to the glorious resurrection body that will allow us to experience the presence of the LORD (5:1-8).  This great expectation that we have in Christ should provoke us to live lives set apart for His glory (5:15). We are new creations and we no longer have to live as we once did, we are free in Christ (5:17). As those who have been set free, we are in the position of preaching the ministry of reconciliation to our fellow men so that they might know and experience the grace and forgiveness of God as we have (5:19-21).

Chapter six highlights two results from being made new in Christ. One is that we should press others to enter the Kingdom now while they can. “Now is the acceptable time; Behold now is the day of Salvation” (6:2). The other is that we should live holy lives. We don’t become holy to be saved, but when we are saved, we should start the process of becoming holy. This includes being careful of our closest associations. Paul warns us not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers (6:14).

FATHER, Thank you for the grace and ministry of Reconciliation. We give you all the praise and the glory for making us New Creations in Christ. We ask for grace and encouragement to endure whatever struggles we would face in this life. May they be viewed as light and momentary afflictions compared to the glory of Eternity. We ask for earnestness on our part to spread the gospel of reconciliation and holiness in our lives. Thank you for the grace to shepherd your people. 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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Day 53: 2 Corinthians 1-3 (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes from 2 Corinthians 1-3 follow the link provided here to read the ESV online. You can get a copy of the New in 90 reading schedule here.

Paul begins 2 Corinthians by praising God for his comfort (1:3-7). I am thankful for the grace of God in comforting us when we go through various trials. I am grateful for the opportunity to comfort others because we have been comforted (1:4). The Christian has a

In chapter two, Paul advised the church on how to forgive those who have been addressed by the church for their sin. Sometimes we don’t take pause to think about how Satan might attempt to manipulate us (2:11). This is one of the reasons why it is so important to walk close to God everyday. If we are out of God’s word, the lines get blurry and legalism and an attitude of superiority can set in. We are not to hold people’s sins continually before them… ultimately, God is their judge.

So when someone repents we are to forgive, just as we have been forgiven.  We have to be careful not to let Satan rob us of the joy and freedom found in forgiving people their sins against us, because we want to nurse a grudge.  Satan uses this attitude of unforgiveness to cripple us not the one against whom we nurse the grudge.

FATHER, Thank you for how you have brought comfort to us in the midst of the trials that we face. We are grateful to be able to comfort others with the comfort you have given us. We pray for grace and discernment in comforting others. We ask for grace to forgive those who have hurt us. Guard us from unforgiveness. Thank you for the grace to lead your people. 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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Day 52: 1 Corinthians 16 (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes from 1 Corinthians 16 follow the link provided here to read the ESV online.

As Paul wraps up this first letter to the Corinthian church he gives special instructions about collecting money that give us insight into church life. The money was to be collected on the first of the week (Sunday), which indicates the early church had already replaced the Sabbath day with Sunday worship. Sunday was the day Jesus rose from the dead.

The money was collected as a reverse missions offering. The churches that had been planted by Paul were raising money for the church in Jerusalem, the church that had sent out Paul.  There were a couple of reasons for this type offering.  First, Paul wanted to establish the legitimacy of the Gentile church and his mission. An offering to take care of the poor and orphans of the mother church is a great way to demonstrate the church’s legitimacy. Second, the Jerusalem could have really used the gift with general calamities it had recently suffered and persecution that was arising.

Paul instructs the church to show Timothy some hospitality (16:10). Those first missionaries were first sent out with little reserves. As they traveled from place to place, they relied on the hospitality of individuals in the church. This benefited the church as they were influenced by ministers such as Timothy, Paul, and Apollos. It also benefited the ministers in that it meat their needs.

Paul reminds the Corinthians to make sure that all they do is done out of love (16:14). This becomes an excellent measure to evaluate our thoughts and deeds. Can we truly say that what we’ve said and done is out of love for God and neighbor? If not, perhaps we ought not do it.

FATHER, Thank you for the many churches in the world today that exist because you used your missionaries established gospel outposts. I pray that we would remember the faithfulness of brothers and sisters who have gone before us to establish the bodies that we so gratefully minister to and through today. I ask that we continue to open our doors and hearts to your ministers. I pray that we evaluate all that we do and seek to operate from a pure heart. Thank you for the grace to pastor 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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Day 51: 1 Corinthians 13-15 (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes from 1 Corinthians 13-15 follow the link provided here to read the ESV online.

I Corinthians is rightfully known as the love chapter of the bible. The chapter is so poetic and beautiful that it can be easy to forget the reason Paul wrote this chapter. The church at Corinth was facing division and Paul was writing to remind them of their need to be unified. Paul reminds the Corinthians that loving one another and using their gifts together is more important than an individual gift (13:1-3). He is pressing them to maturity, to use their gifting for the benefit of the body.

Paul calls believers to be innocent in evil, but wise in their thinking (14:20).  This has everything to do with how we treat each other and Paul insists on an orderliness in worship (14:26-40). He even goes as far as to note that when the Spirit moves in prophecy that the prophet CAN contain themselves and not interrupt (14:32).   Paul notes the need for awareness, the use of gifts in worship  will be perceived by insiders and outsiders differently (14:22-25). 

SIDE NOTE: We know from the historical data that all kinds of rumors were being spread around the Roman empire about Christians. Some would say that they were cannibals because of a misunderstanding about the Lord’s supper. Others would say that they practice incest because they called everyone brother and sister and some of those folks were married. Still others said that Christians had a creepy death ritual as a rite of initiation (baptism = dead to sin, alive in Christ). Christians didn’t need to give their detractors any extra ammunition to use against them.

FATHER, We ask to day for right priorities. We pray that we would be maturing in Christ and be concerned with using the gifts you have given to bring glory and honor to you. We pray that we would love others as described here in your word. We pray for perfect unity. Thank you for the grace to shepherd your people. 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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