10/23/16 Strive To Please God In All That You Do

“And so our goal is to always do what pleases God, whether we are here on earth, apart from Him, or in Heaven with Him.  When the last day comes, we will all be required to stand before the judgment seat of our Messiah, to be judged based on what we have done in our lives, good or bad.  Because we know what it means to not belong to God, and we understand the fear that will come to those who are not His own on that day, we work diligently to persuade everyone to come to faith in Jesus to save them from their sins.  But we ourselves are His own and He knows us well, and, I hope, we are well known in your hearts as well, so we do not need to fear condemnation.”


2 Corinthians 5:9-11

10/22/16 We Look Forward Eagerly To Heaven & Our Eternal Bodies

“Because our bodies are like tent homes that we live in while we are here on this earth, if those “tents” are destroyed, we don’t have to worry, knowing that we have our true bodies, like indestructible buildings, waiting for us in Heaven, made by God to last forever.  We want so badly to be changed, to inhabit these new indestructible bodies, to live with our Messiah in the Kingdom of Heaven, that sometimes we catch ourselves groaning audibly.  We want so much to be changed, not because we want to die, but because we want to have real life, so that death will be swallowed up by life.  And God has prepared us for this, giving us His Holy Spirit as a guarantee that what He has said will come to pass.  We have confidence in this, no matter what trials we are going through, because although we know that while we are here on earth, in this dying shell of a body, we are away from God, but we long for the day when we will be away from these earthly bodies and present with God.  And in the meantime, we go through life walking with the eyes of faith, of our hearts, not with our human eyes.”


2 Corinthians 5:1-8

10/21/16 Keep Your Eyes Focused On Jesus

“Because of God’s grace, because of our faith in Him and in His Son, our Great Messiah, we do not grow discouraged, no matter what comes our way.  Even though we may be dying physically, our spirits are renewed daily through God’s Holy Spirit, alive in us.  Whatever trials may come our way, though they may seem heavier than anyone could bear, they should be considered light and momentary troubles compared to the glorious life that awaits us in Heaven.  And these trials are working in our hearts, softening and strengthening them to prepare us for what is to come.  We must look not at the things that we can see with our eyes, but at what we can only see with the eyes of our hearts, focusing on Jesus and His Holy Spirit, and letting His Spirit guide us.  Because what we can see with our eyes in this world will not last, but that which we can only see with the eyes of our hearts will last forever.”


2 Corinthians 4:16-18

10/20/16 Faith, Grace, And Thanksgiving To God

“We have the same spirit of faith that King David had when he wrote, ‘I believed and therefore I spoke.’  Just like King David, we too believe and therefore speak up boldly, proclaiming Jesus’ message to all who will listen, because we know that the same God who raised our Messiah, Jesus, from the dead will also raise us up with Him, and you with us.  Remember what I wrote to you in my last letter, that we belong to each other and to Jesus, and He belongs to His Father and ours, God.  Everything we do is done for you, to build you up and strengthen your faith, so that the grace that God gives us all through Jesus our Messiah might be spread through us all and make us all to increase our thanksgiving to the glory of God.”


2 Corinthians 4:13-15

10/19/16 God’s Treasure Stored In Frail, Mortal Containers

“Just as the kings of the world fill clay jars with their gold and silver treasures, we have the treasure of the knowledge of the glory of God – not of ourselves – stored up in our frail hearts.  We are facing pressure from all around us, by those who are against the message we declare, yet we are not crushed.  We often live in confusion, unsure of what to do or where to go, but never to the point of despair, because we trust God to reveal the next step we are to take in His perfect time.  We are tormented and even tortured, but we know that God is with us always, and His hope lives in our hearts through all.  Though blows rain down on us and we are knocked down, we are not destroyed by them.  We live with the presence of death in our bodies every day, as if we are carrying Jesus’ death within our bodies, but this is so that the life that He alone is able to give can also be clearly seen in our frailty.  Those of us who live for Jesus are continually placed in death’s hands so that the sinfulness of humanity will be crushed and the true life that Jesus gives can shine through.  Death is working in us in order to bring life to you.”


2 Corinthians 4:7-12

10/18/16 The Light Of Jesus

“But God has given us this ministry, in His wisdom and mercy, knowing the limitations of our frail bodies, hearts, and minds, and we have courage to follow through with our calling because we know that He will give us all that we need in order to accomplish His plan.  And so we do not hide anything about the message of Jesus that we bring.  We are not ashamed of it, though men may call us foolish.  We don’t use trickery or tailor our words to our hearers, nor do we spin the words to deceive people.  Instead we walk in the light of God’s truth, being careful to live lives that bring honor to Him and give people no grounds to suspect us of any wrongs, and in living out our lives this way we are able to present Jesus’ message plainly and honestly.  If there is any confusion or veiling of the message we bring, it is only because the eyes and ears of those who do not believe it have been clouded by Satan, the god of this world, because he knows that otherwise the light of Jesus and His message would shine on them and lift the veil, drawing them to the Lord.  We come to you boldly declaring the message that Jesus is our Messiah, not seeking to build ourselves up but only to point people to Him.  For Him, we are your slaves.  God Himself, who in the beginning commanded light to be, and made the light shine out of the darkness, shone His light into our hearts, illuminating within us His glory in the face of His Son, Jesus, our Messiah.”


2 Corinthians 4:1-6

10/17/16 We Are Becoming The Glory Of God

“When Moses was given the Law, he was given at the same time a ministry of the Law.  When he came down from the mountain with the Law engraved on stone tablets, the people couldn’t look at him because of the glory of God shining on his face.  If that ministry, which led to death, was so glorious, then the ministry given to us by the Holy Spirit, that of sharing the message of our Messiah and leading people to life, is much more glorious.  It makes the Law look dull in comparison, because the old covenant that the Law ushered in was dying, but this new covenant in Jesus’ blood is Life itself.  Because we have such a great hope in God and in Jesus, we cannot help preaching His message boldly, in contrast to Moses, who hid the glory of God on his face behind a veil so that the children of Israel would not have to look at it.  The veil did not just blind their eyes to God’s word, but their hearts and minds as well.  But Jesus lifted the veil, and all who come to Him have their eyes open to His Truth.  Even now, when people study the Law of Moses, their eyes are veiled unless they put their faith in Jesus to remove the veil.  Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one, and when the Holy Spirit lives in your heart you have freedom.  With the Holy Spirit guiding us, all we who put our faith in Jesus are being changed into the image of God, like looking into a mirror and becoming what we see.”


2 Corinthians 3:7-18

10/16/16 Our Letters Of Recommendation Are Written On The Hearts Of Our Brothers & Sisters

“I have been told that some of you took my listing of credentials from my first letter as bragging, and have taken offense.  I listed my credentials so that I might convince those of you who doubted my claim to be an apostle of Jesus.  I did not do this to brag of my excellent qualities.  Some of you are still saying that I ought to have letters of recommendation from the apostles in Jerusalem so that I can prove myself.  And perhaps I should have letters of recommendation from you in order to continue my work in new cities.  But I tell you that you, and all those who have accepted Jesus’ message after I preached to them, are my letters of recommendation.  These letters of recommendation from you are written in our hearts for all the world to see when we speak of you and your love for Jesus and for us.  In fact, you, yourselves, are letters to the world from our Messiah, written with God’s Holy Spirit instead of ink, on hearts instead of on stone tablets, and dictated to us by the Holy Spirit.  We trust in God, through Jesus, that God qualifies us to do His work, spreading the teaching of His new covenant in Jesus’ blood.  It is not in and of ourselves that we are qualified, but what God has done in and through us by His Holy Spirit.  And it is not the Law that we teach, but the Holy Spirit.  Because the Law by itself leads only to death – its primary job is to show us our need for the Holy Spirit, Who gives life.”


2 Corinthians 3:1-6

10/15/16 Who Is Worthy To Spread God’s Word?

“When I went to Troas, I came to deliver Jesus’ message to the people there, and God opened a door for me to do much work for Him among those people.  But I had hoped to meet Titus there, returning from delivering my last letter to you, and I was anxious to hear how you were doing.  So instead of taking the opportunity that presented itself for ministry in Troas, I continued on to Macedonia in hopes that Titus might meet me there.  I give thanks to God, who always leads us in Jesus our Messiah and gives us victory through Him, and also uses us to bring the sweet savor of His knowledge everywhere we go.  When we bring that knowledge to those who accept it and give their hearts over to Jesus for salvation, we are the fragrance of Jesus Himself, and of life everlasting, to God.  But to those who do not listen and will not accept Jesus’ sacrifice on their behalf, we are the stench of death.  Who is qualified for such a task?  Only those whose hearts are home to God’s Holy Spirit, who, like us, don’t sell the Word of God, molding it to fit the fancy of each hearer, but present it in its unaltered state, simply and sincerely, the way we also received it from God, speaking in God’s sight and in Jesus’.”


2 Corinthians 2:12-17

10/14/16 After Punishment Must Come Forgiveness & Love

“I was determined not to come to you in anger or sadness, because I want to rejoice in you, and how can I do that, having come to chastise you?  I wrote this to you, in fact, in my last letter, so that I would not be saddened by those who should bring me joy when I come.  Instead, I would like to come with the confidence that we would all rejoice together at our reunion.  In my last letter, I wrote to you in tears, greatly distressed by all that has been happening in your church.  I did not do this to grieve you, but so that you would understand how much love I have for you all.  But really, it is not against me that some among you have sinned, only against you – and against all of you in some ways.  The punishment given to that sinful man I spoke to you of in my last letter was justly carried out, and the consequence well-deserved.  Though the decision to punish this man was not unanimous, there was a majority, and you carried it out just as I suggested, and I commend you for it.  But now, you ought to forgive him and try to help him return to Jesus, so that he won’t be dragged down under the weight of despair.  Go to him and show your love for him, showing your obedience to the commandments of Jesus in loving as much as in punishment.  When you forgive someone, I, too will forgive him.  And if I have forgiven anyone anything, I do so for you, in Jesus’ Name, so that none of us may fall prey to Satan’s temptation.”


2 Corinthians 2:1-11