Re:Verse reading 2 Corinthian 12:1-10 (day seven)
Paul asking for relief in 2 Corinthians 12:8,
“Concerning this (thorn) I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.”
which sounds an awful lot like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane,
“And He (Jesus) withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, ‘Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me;’” (Luke 22:41-42)
which sounds an awful lot like us asking God for a different way. When we pray these same prayers of concern walking through difficult circumstances we are in good company. Where we begin to distance ourselves from them though, is in our response to God’s “no”.
When God told both, “no” they responded,
“not my will but yours be done” (Lk 22:42) and
“most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9)
How do we respond when God says, “no”?
Re:Verse reading–2 Corinthians 12:1-10 (Day six)
For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10
Christ’s power turns the world on its head. He is not desperately looking for the next celebrity, or highly positioned politician to advance the cause. Nor is he wringing his hands wishing another highly visible QB would pray in the end zone or mention his name during a viral press conference. He’s not going through a stack of resumes looking for the right pedigree and experience to pastor the next mega-church. The Kingdom of God does not advance on the shoulders of giants, but through the lives of servants.
He is looking for anyone who says, “For Christ’s sake.”
Re:Verse reading–2 Corinthians 12:1-10 (Day Five)
Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
Why was Paul thankful (glad) for the love of God? Because God’s love does what needs to be done in order to point us to and give us the greater/greatest thing- Himself thru a relationship with Jesus.
God worked in Paul’s heart until he saw enough of God the Father and enough of God the Son, Jesus Christ, that he knew and felt that God’s love was not ultimately for health in his body. It is to bring him into an intimate relationship with Jesus.
Are you thankful for that kind of love?
Re:Verse reading–2 Corinthians 12:1-10 (day four, Thanksgiving Day)
Sing to the Lord a new song; Sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless His name; proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day. Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples. For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before Him, strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.
Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory of His name; bring an offering and come into His courts. Worship the Lord in holy attire; tremble before Him, all the earth. Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns; indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved; He will judge the peoples with equity.”
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all it contains; let the field exult, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the Lord, for He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in His faithfulness. –Psalm 96
Re:Verse reading 2 Corinthian 12:1-10 (day three)
To keep me from becoming conceited…
Can you be trusted with power? Whether it’s a car engine or a piece of exclusive news, the opportunities to exercise power over others exert a strong force on your life. What is it about seeing motorists recede in your rearview mirror, or watching others hang on your every word as you reveal something they’re dying to know? Horsepower and headlines will tend to convince you that you’re important—and then, more important than others. Those are relatively low stakes, but what happens when pride arises in matters of greater importance? Pride will render a heart incapable of love. And so, further questions: What would you do if you did not love? Why would you not view others as obstacles to your will? Paul isn’t talking about being “stuck up”. He’s talking about being deadly.
Re:Verse reading 2 Corinthian 12:1-10 (day two)
Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. vs. 8
Sometimes God says no. Intellectually we understand this. We can’t get everything we want or ask for, right? We appreciate that we don’t always know the best path forward for our lives, and that God sees the bigger picture. But surely, surely God would remove something that is painful from us in order to better serve him, right? Well, no. Paul, reluctantly, admits that God in his wisdom has chosen to not remove this thorn in order that any good result of Paul’s ministry will be rightly attributed to God. He knows us and our tendencies. Sometimes we need a governor (pardon the NASCAR reference) on our hearts in order to maintain focus on Jesus. If he says no, don’t wallow. You are in good company. He will give you what you need to cope with your circumstances.
Re:Verse reading 2 Corinthian 12:1-10 (day one)
“I refrain (from boasting) so that no one will credit me with more than he sees in me and hears from me.”–v 5.
Something my grandmother said. Yours too, probably. “The proof is in the pudding”. (Originally the proverb said, “the proof of the pudding is in the tasting”. Not sure my grandmother ever got that memo).
The meaning, however, is clear. After all the talk, the evidence that matters most is outcome. Not stories of past spiritual highs, what I do and what I say is the real me.
In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul is content to let his life do the talking. His opponents bragged about deep, spiritual experiences. Good enough, said Paul, I have had them too. But, the bottom line is who you are.
Easy to speak Christian truth. Much harder to be kind, brave, and unselfish. (See 1 Thessalonians 1:5) Tell your story! Just remember, the proof of your words is your life.
Re:Verse reading–2 Corinthians 10 (day seven)
For even if I boast somewhat further about our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be put to shame, for I do not wish to seem as if I would terrify you by my letters. (2 Corinthians 10:8-9)
Scripture gives us a necessary reminder on authority. Paul was given a specific authority in the church by God. In Corinth that meant Paul started the church, helped them develop, and when necessary rebuked them. In this context that rebuke came in a harsh letter, but that word was never meant to tear them down in destruction. It was to build them up into something greater than themselves.
Any authority that we have from God is for building people up into a grand and holy people nearer to God. We should never use our authority and position to destroy people, but to point them to redemption. The goal is always grace.
Re:Verse reading–2 Corinthians 10 (day six)
“…when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.” 2 Corinthians 10:12b
Referring to Jesus, John wrote, “No one has seen God; the only God who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.” (John 1:18) The author of Hebrews would apply that truth, “let us run with the endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2) This is how Paul is encouraging the Corinthians.
Do you want understanding? Do you really want to see? Do you want to run this race well? Then keep your eyes focused on Jesus. The moment we begin comparing ourselves to one another, rather than looking to Jesus, is the very moment we begin to lose sight of reality. We begin to think, “I’m not nearly as bad off as he is; I’m alright.” Soon we forget we need Jesus at all, or have any need to repent.
That’s the opposite of understanding; that’s foolishness. That’s not sight; it’s blindness.
Re:Verse reading–2 Corinthians 10 (day five) Paul uses an interesting phrase as he reveals the strategy for the warfare against culture and worldly things. “and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,”
The battleground is in the minds (thoughts, knowledge, understanding) of the Corinthians. The strategy for combat is to make their minds mind- become obedient. How does one make their mind mind? It’s more difficult than you might guess. Because our thoughts come from within, we can easily be confused to believe that they are automatically true. The scriptures have lots of warnings about our thinking and our minds- strengthening, subduing, renewing. The Bible also exhorts is to, “test the spirits (thoughts, ideas, understandings) to see if they are from God”. Test with the scriptures, test with Christian community, test with trusted Pastors, and test with personal prayer. To follow Christ, we must make our minds mind.