10/31/16 Godly Sorrow Leads To Rejoicing

“I know that I my last letter caused you sorrow, and although I regretted it when I sent it, I no longer feel that way.  Because your sorrow lasted only a little while, and it caused you to examine yourselves and turn away from your sins and back to God.  That brings me great joy!  Your sorrow was given by God to show you the dangerous road you were traveling, so that you would acknowledge it and turn away from it before you suffered loss because of it.  This kind of sorrow is not like what the rest of the world experiences, resulting in death.  Instead it illuminates the errors we are making in order to help you change your course to get back on the path of God, the one that leads to salvation.  And look at what happened – you had Godly sorrow that caused you to fear the consequences of your actions, cleanse your hearts from the evil that had seeped into them, work diligently to come back to God’s way, be zealous in your desire for Godliness, and gain the victory over evil that comes from living as God intends.  You were given a verdict of innocent after all the hard work you did to turn away from your former course.  When I wrote to you, it was to show you how much love and care we have for you in God’s eyes, not to punish wrongdoers or alleviate those who suffered under them.”

 

2 Corinthians 7:8-12

10/30/16 We Rejoice In You

“Whatever you may have heard about us, I want you to know the truth.  We haven’t done anything to turn anyone away from what is good.  We haven’t cheated anyone or done anything wrong to anyone.  You have accepted into your hearts people who make a regular practice of doing all of these things, so can’t you make room in your hearts for us?  I’m not saying this to judge anyone – have I not told you many times that you are in our hearts whether in death or in life?  I speak boldly to you and speak of you to others proudly because of my great love for all of you.  Even in the midst of all the tribulation we are in, I am filled with comfort and joy because of you.  When we reached Macedonia, we were thrust into peril on all sides, and we had no rest for body or soul.  We were fearful in our hearts and surrounded by conflict.  But God, who is the God of all comfort for anyone who is suffering, sent us Titus and comforted us through him and the message he brought.  We learned that you comforted him when he was with you, and that you indeed hold us in high regard, praying earnestly, filled with sorrow for the troubles surrounding me, wanting us to come to you, and that made me even more joyful.”

 

2 Corinthians 7:2-7

10/29/16 Honor God With Your Actions

“We have the promises of God to hold onto, and we know that He always keeps His promises.  So let us get closer to God and to what He wants for us by cleaning all the filth from our hearts and souls, staying away from any temptations that will come between us and God, and working toward becoming the people He made us to be – holy and perfect, living our lives with respect, glory, and honor for God.”

 

2 Corinthians 7:1

10/28/16 Don’t Join Belief With Unbelief

“Oh, Corinthians, we lay our hearts bare before you and speak openly and honestly with you.  We don’t put restrictions on you – you restrict yourselves by turning to those things that have become your idols, things that you hold in higher regard than Jesus.  I feel that I have to speak to you as if I were speaking to children, asking that since we have been open and honest with you, that you would do the same for us.  I have received reports that some of you have taken unbelieving spouses, and I must admonish you against such practices.  Even counting unbelievers among your closest friends is dangerous, because their contrary beliefs and lifestyles will undoubtedly influence you, no matter how hard you try to steel yourselves against it.  In the book of Deuteronomy, God warns us not to yoke two different kinds of animals together to plow a field, and for men and women it is no different.  We are the Temple of the Living God, and we have His Holy Spirit living within us, so how can we join God together with Satan?  For when a believer and an unbeliever marry, that is essentially what happens, because until Jesus comes into our hearts and frees us from his hold, Satan owns our souls.  It is like trying to bring together light and darkness, justice and lawlessness.  God tells us, ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them.  I will be their God, and they shall be My people,’ and then He tells us, ‘”Come out from among them and be separate,” says the Lord.  “Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.”’  ‘”I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,” says the Lord Almighty.’”

 

2 Corinthians 6:11-18, Deuteronomy 22:10, Leviticus 26:12, Jeremiah 32:38, Ezekiel 37:27, Isaiah 52:11, Ezekiel 37:27, Samuel 7:14

10/27/16 Ministers Of Jesus

“Since we are all fellow workers for Jesus, we implore you along with Him that you would not accept His gift of salvation and then turn back to embrace the ways of this world.  God, speaking through Isaiah the prophet, said, ‘In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.’  Hear me:  the acceptable time is now, and the day of salvation is now.  We work hard to give nobody any cause to be offended by anything we say or do, because we do not want to stand in the way of the work Jesus has given us to do, and we certainly do not want people to believe that it is God or Jesus who offended them and turn their backs on Jesus and His gift because of something we have done or said.  We strive to be the ministers God called us to be, and we can acclaim ourselves in this because we have persevered through all circumstances – patiently enduring all that comes our way, tribulation, poverty, distress, whippings, imprisonments, rioting crowds, hard work, sleeplessness, fasting both by choice and by necessity.  We have kept ourselves pure, working through the knowledge given to us by the Holy Spirit, in longsuffering and kindness, delivering Jesus’ message with sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God and His Holy Spirit, defending ourselves with the armor of righteousness on all sides.  We have been honored and dishonored, known as good and as evil, as true and as deceivers, come into a new village known and unknown.  We are dying, and yet we have inside of us real life.  We have been punished but not killed, in deep sorrow but still always rejoicing in Jesus, poor but making many rich in Jesus, having nothing material but possessing everything through the riches we have in our Messiah.”

 

2 Corinthians 6:1-10, Isaiah 49:8

10/26/16 See People As God Sees Them

“Now that we know who He is, we no longer view Him in this way.  We see Him closer to the way God sees Him.  This is how we are to look at everyone, now that God’s Holy Spirit resides in our hearts.  If anyone belongs to Jesus the Messiah, he is a new creation.  All the old things that held us tied down in death have disappeared, and we have been made new.  God makes and gives life to everything, and He gives us all that we have and all that we are.  Now He has rescued us from eternal separation from Him and reconciled us to Himself through His Son, Jesus.  And because we have been reconciled to God, we are also called to bring that reconciliation to the rest of the world, drawing people to Jesus for salvation from their sins.  God was in Jesus, working in Him to reconcile all the world to Himself, instead of judging and condemning us for our sins, and when Jesus’ work here was finished, He passed that work on to those of us who have become His own.  So now we are like ambassadors for Jesus, as though God were speaking through us, imploring His children to return to Him, and so we implore you on behalf of our Messiah to come and be reconciled to God.  God made Jesus, His Son, who lived His whole life without sinning at all, to become our sin for us, so that by His sacrificial death all our sin would be put to death and we would become the purity and perfection of God in Him.”

 

2 Corinthians 5:16b-21

10/25/16 We Can No Longer Judge People Based On Outward Appearance

“And so, from the point that we are given new life in Jesus, we no longer look at anyone from a human point of view – seeing only those things that his environment and upbringing have made him to be.  We don’t care whether someone is rich or poor, the most or least important in society, wise or ignorant, part of our culture or a complete stranger to our way of life.  All we see when we look at someone is whether or not that person has been rescued yet from that death that we are all destined for until we give our hearts and souls to our Messiah.  We have all been guilty of judging by earthly standards even our Messiah, the very one who came to give us life out of death.  He does not fit the picture in our minds of what we thought the Messiah should be, so almost everyone dismissed Him as a fraud.  We judged Him not by God’s standards but by our own, and in so doing we robbed ourselves of the life, the miraculous salvation, that He came to give us.”

 

2 Corinthians 5:16a

10/24/16 We Do All For Jesus & For You

“Again, we are not writing these things out of pride in ourselves, bragging to you of our best qualities.  We write these things in order to give you an answer for those who accuse us of doing so, and who also are doing that very thing – bragging about themselves to you, of their own outer qualities instead of the state of their hearts.  There are those who accuse us of insanity because of our zeal for the Lord, but if it is so, then we are insane for God.  And then there are those who accuse us of the opposite – for being too shrewd in our dealings with people.  But if we are shrewd in our dealings with people, it is for you, in order that we ourselves would not stand in the way of the message of Jesus that we present to you.  Jesus’ love requires us to live right, seeking the good of others above our own selfish wants, because we believe that He died the death that all of us were to die, so that whoever believes in Him and trusts in Him to save them from that death should live not for themselves, but for Jesus, who died for them and came back to life so that we, too, can have life forever.”

 

2 Corinthians 5:12-15

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