2 Corinthians 1:9 Surviving A Death Sentence

 

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Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 2 Corinthians 1:9

Paul opens this second letter to the Corinthian church talking about suffering. The church had probably heard about some of the sufferings he was going through. He wanted to let them know it was true, but it was for a purpose.

A death sentence is a very heavy sentence upon any person. It means that life is going to end. Criminals have been given death sentences for major crimes that they have done. As they are brought down to finalize that sentence, many are unable to walk on their own. It is a great weight to bear and no one wants it.

Very few people will receive a literal death sentence in this life. However, most people will have troubles that feel like a death sentence. Problems in life come up that are so heavy that if feels as if there is no more life left for the person.

These problems can be financial, marital, physical sickness, persecution, or many other things. Many people have felt the pressure of different problems in life so much that they choose to end their life in suicide.

Believers will have many of these problems come up in their life. Often one will wonder why there is such a high level of problems…why if feels like a death sentence upon his life.

The reason for these pressures is to push one towards God, to rely upon God. In himself, one cannot survive the high pressures of a death sentence. The believer cannot survive the attacks of the enemy on his own. He needs God’s strength and power to make it.

God is greater than any death sentence or problem in your life. Jesus beat the greatest problem in life–death. He did die and rose again. God can do the same thing for you.

As long as God has a purpose for you in this life, He will deliver you from the attacks of the enemy. The attacks may be painful and difficult, but you will survive. In the end you will gain eternal life in heaven.

Do not despair under the death sentences that the world is trying to give you, God is on your side. Rely upon His strength and power to overcome that death sentence.

I pray today that you will know what Jesus did for you; that you will trust in God’s power in your life; that you will know the reward God has waiting for you; and that God will give you comfort in all of your troubles.

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2 Corinthians 13:5 Will You Pass Or Fail?

“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test?” 2 Corinthians 13:5

Taking an exam is scary to most people. They do not like that idea. Even college students who have been studying every day and night for weeks are still usually very nervous about taking a test, especially the final exam. The reason for this is that a lot rides on passing that test. Did they study enough? Was the right information studied? Do they remember everything? What did they forget? It can be a time of stress.

In the USA, many people still claim a belief in God and faith in Jesus, although the numbers appear to be dropping. However, if one looks at the lives of many people, there leaves a big question as to whether they are really Christian or not. Their lives do not represent someone who is following Jesus.

Paul is telling the people that every believer has Jesus in them. If He is in the believer, that person is filled with power, eternal, omnipotent power. Power beyond anything one can imagine.

He tells them to examine themselves to see if they are of the faith. They are to put themselves to the test. Do they really believe in Jesus?

This same statement is for every believer today. You, alone, must examine yourself. You may state that you believe in Jesus and are His follower, but is it really true? When things are going bad what are your actions like? Who do you run to in the bad times and in the good times? Jesus? Or the world?

How do you spend your time each day? With God? Or with the world?

What or who are you talking about to everyone? Do you talk about the newest movies, or music, or sports game? Or do you talk about Jesus and His love and His work?

Do you spend time in God’s word? Or is it in some good novel, or the latest news?

If you were tried in a court for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? Examine your life today. Make sure you are fully following Jesus with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength.

I pray today that you will be a true follower of Jesus; that the Holy Spirit will reveal to you areas you need to work on in your life; that you will live and breathe Jesus daily; and that you will not fail the test of the faith.

2 Corinthians 12:10 The Value Of Weakness

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10

Paul is talking about something that most people do not want to discuss at all. It is the things that he is weak in. He is willing to talk about his short-comings.

Most people are ashamed of anything that they are weak in. Unless they are complaining, most people won’t even discuss what difficulties that they are going through. People feel that they should be strong and be able to handle any and everything that comes their way.

The world does not like weakness at all. Children who are going to be born with a disease or deformity are often aborted, because they will be weak and a shameful burden to parents. Elderly people are often allowed to die, rather than keep them alive, because they are weak and difficult.

In the church people who have a weakness in a certain area of their lives are often shunned by others. Leaders who have a weakness in one area, are often cast out or ridiculed because of it.

Paul had a different look at weakness. He stated that when he is weak, he is strong. In the eyes of the world this looks like a contradiction and is crazy.

When a believer is weak in some area of his life, it gives God a chance to step in and do something. It allows the grace of Jesus to fill his life. Scriptures say that God chose the weak things of this world to confound the strong and wise.

The more you rely on the strength of Jesus, the stronger you will be. The world will often say that they do not need a crutch and that Jesus is just a crutch.

When you have a broken leg, you need a crutch to support you to walk. In the same way in your life, you are broken and need a crutch to support you. You need Jesus to hold you up.

Do not be ashamed of your weakness, but allow God to use that weakness to His glory. Allow God to be strong in you and through you. Whether that weakness is in hardship, persecution or difficulties, or just personal weakness, God is strong in you. Lean on God for your strength.

I pray today that you will know the power of God in your life; that you will lean on God for strength; that you will not boast in your own power; and that in Christ you will be strong.

2 Corinthians 11:3 Being Deceived

“But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3

Paul had brought the gospel message to the Corinthian church. At some point along the way, the people of the church started to believe things that neither Jesus nor Paul ever taught. They were led astray into some false belief while still being a part of the church.

People in a church can be led astray very easily, but it does not usually happen quickly. It usually starts with a slight change of view. It is a small change in how a scripture verse is interpreted. Then it grows from there. On the surface the interpretation sounds good and looks good, but it is still wrong and in the end brings about death and false beliefs.

Nearly everywhere you look today you see deception in churches. Some are not so noticeable such as the unspoken requirement on how to dress for church or speaking gossip as though it is a prayer request. Others accept watching and doing things that are sinful as though they are acceptable to God and because they do not really hurt the individual.

Other churches have been extremely deceived in promoting that sinful lifestyles are acceptable by God. Many are living in adultery while being leaders in a church. There are churches that promote God’s love, while forgetting His holy and righteous requirements and His hatred for sin because they also promote acceptance of sin.

Satan and the world are trying to get believers to accept their way of living. Many in the church have bought into the world’s view. Many church groups have changed their policies to accommodate sinful living in the church. They are very sincere in their love for God, but it is down the wrong path and for the wrong god.

You must keep yourself from being deceived by the devil. Stay in God’s Word continually. Pray daily and seek His Holy Spirit to guide you. Do not allow yourself to be deceived.

I pray today that God will guide you by His Holy Spirit; that you will see when deception is shown you; that you will refuse to be led astray from Jesus; that you will stayed grounded in God’s Word; and that you will draw closer to Jesus every day.

2 Corinthians 10:3 A Different War

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.” 2 Corinthians 10:3

All over the world a person can see various types of wars that are being fought by nations. These are physical battles with real guns and artillery. People are physically killing and being killed. When speaking of wars, these are what most people think of.

In every nation there are other wars going on that are not usually seen as “wars”. These are battles of individuals against other individuals. There are spouses that are fighting for each other’s own way. Children and parents fighting. Bosses and workers fighting. Fellow workers fighting each other. Neighbors fighting each other. Each of these are small wars going on.

No person can escape being in or around a war. As a believer living in the world, one will be a part of a war. The difference is how the believer and the non-believer fights.

The world fights with harsh words and physically. The world looks at the individual as being completely responsible for the battles.

The believer fights in the spiritual realm. He looks at the individual as being controlled by the spiritual realm. The spirit of the devil is present in the battles. The believer is to fight the spiritual forces that are leading others into wrong living.

It is the spirit of deception that causes people to lie. It is the spirit of greed that causes theft. It is other demonic spirits that lead people to live lives not according to God’s way.

As a believer you must be willing to fight these spirits in this world. These spirits want to keep people from seeing Jesus. God’s Word is powerful and alive. Using God’s Word demolishes the power of the enemy. It will break down the strongholds in people’s lives. God’s Love will diminish the anger of the enemy and stop the battle.

Are you fighting in the war God is in with the demonic spiritual forces of this world? Are you fighting as the world fights? Or as God fights?

I pray today that you will see the war God is waging against sin in your life and around you; that you will fight using God’s words and ways; that you will be filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered for battle; and that you will stand in the victory of Jesus.

2 Corinthians 9:12 Overflowing Thanks

“This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.” 2 Corinthians 9:12

Paul had been encouraging generosity in giving to the needs of others. AS a person gives to someone, God in turn gives to meet the needs of the one who gave. Doing this type of giving does two different things: it meets the needs of others, and it brings many thanks to God.

It is easy how giving can supply for the needs of others. The main reason for giving is to provide something for someone that the person cannot provide for himself. It can be simple things, such has a cup of hot coffee or a ride, to great things such as a vehicle.

The thanksgiving behind the giving is not so easily seen. Not every time a person gives, does the person receive thanks for it. The thanksgiving that Paul is talking about is not to the individual who gave it but to God.

Believers are praying to God for a need to be met. When another believer hears God and provides for that need, the one supplied will give thanks to God for meeting that need. It is God who gets the credit, not the giver. God will then meet the needs of the giver.

Along with giving thanks to God, often people will tell others how God met the need. They in turn will give thanks to God for meeting that need. The amount of thanks to God continues to grow more and more. God receives more praise.

When God opens an opportunity to give to someone, give thanks to Him for the opportunity, give thanks for the person’s need being met, and give thanks for God’s generosity to you and the other person. Do not hold back on your giving of thanks to God. He is the One who provides for every one in everything that they may need.

I pray today that you will find ways to thank God for His provision in your life; that you will thank God for His provision for others; that God will use you to meet the need of others; and that God will be glorified in both the giving and the receiving.

2 Corinthians 8:2 Generosity

“In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.” 2 Corinthians 8:2

Paul is talking about the churches in Macedonia. He states that God has given them a large amount of grace. They were undergoing an extremely severe trial, yet were overflowing with joy despite extreme poverty. They did not use this joy for themselves, but gave to others as much as they were able to do. They were willing to give their last shirt and food for others to meet their needs. They were extremely generous.

Most people do not like to be extremely generous because they are concerned for themselves. If they give all their money, how will they pay for their bills? Or put food on the table? Or what if the vehicle breaks down? Or how will they purchase the clothes their children need?

These are legitimate concerns people have. They are not frivolous, selfish type of desires.

While there are others who have more selfish concerns. Some such as how to pay for the vacation coming up? Or how to purchase that new car? Or new television?

Both types of concerns are things that as a believer you should not be concerned about. You are supposed to trust God in all of your needs. You are to be led by God’s Holy Spirit in what you are to do in your life. If God opens the door to give to someone in need, take it. Trust that He knows your needs and will provide for them.

All believers should be first generous in everything they have. God was extremely generous in sending His Son to this earth for you. Jesus was extremely generous in laying down His life so that you may have life. Jesus was extremely generous in forgiving you of your sins so that you could live for eternity.

In light of the grace God has given you, be generous to others. Be willing to give, even beyond your ability. Trust that God is in control and will take care of your needs. As you meet the needs of others, others can meet your needs.

I pray today that God will show you ways to be generous to others; that you will know how generous God has been to you; that you will trust God for all of your needs; and that God will build His kingdom through you.