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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Philippians 4:6-7 Get The Peace Of God

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

Peace is something people want everywhere in the world. This is not the peace of agreements between groups of people or nations. This is inner self peace.

All over the place one can see people that are stressed out about some situation that they are facing. Those situations could be dealing with another person, a job, one’s own or someone else’s health, family members, a vehicle, clothing, or something else of concern for the person. Each person’s concerns in life are slightly different from someone else’s, but the underlying principle is that there is not a peace in their lives.

God is always at perfect peace. He never gets worried (anxious) about anything. Why does He not get worried? It is because He knows that He is in control and has the situation under control.

As a human being, you do not have the absolute control that God has. When something is not going the way you like or planned, it can cause some stress and worry. You cannot see the future, so you worry about it.

Here you are told to present your need to God. You are also to do it with thanksgiving. Thank God for the situation you are in and thank Him for how He will choose to get you through it. Thank Him that He knows what is happening and will happen. Then trust Him in it. Believe that He will answer your prayer.

When you begin to trust God with your situation, His peace will come upon you. You will be able to rest in the fact that God is the One who is in control, and not you. In the midst of that storm, you will have a peace that not even you can fully understand. It will pass all understanding.

The world says you have a right to not be at peace, but God wants you to be at peace. Being at peace in a bad situation is putting your trust in God, not yourself or this world.

Tell God what you are going through and facing, then trust Him. Let His peace fill your life and block out all doubt and fear.

I pray today that you will go to God with all of your needs and fears; that you will give thanks to God for everything; that you will trust God with every situation in your life; and that you will know the peace of God in your life.

Mark 16:14 Lack of Faith

“Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.” Mark 16:14

Jesus had been crucified, died, and rose again from the dead. Several women had seen Him after the resurrection. They told the disciples that they had seen Jesus alive, but the disciples did not believe them.

Now Jesus appears to them directly and rebukes them for not having faith and for refusing to believe the women. The disciples were described as being stubborn in that refusal.

They were adamant that Jesus did not rise from the dead. They refused to believe the words of those who had seen Jesus risen.

Today ever believer in Jesus believes that He rose from the dead. Only those who do not follow Jesus do not believe He rose from the dead.

Although many believe He rose from the dead, they do not always believe the other testimonies about Jesus. Many people struggle with believing that Jesus can heal them, or provide for them, or get them through a bad situation. They do not believe that Jesus is really in control.

Believers will give testimony about how Jesus helped them in many different ways and situations. Others will hear it, but refuse to believe that Jesus can and will do the same for them.

You may not believe you are worthy of Jesus working in your life. True, you are not worthy, but God is loving and merciful and will work in your life.

You may not believe Jesus will work in your life. Look at the promises Jesus had made. They are for every believer. Believe in Jesus. He is faithful.

Listen to the testimonies of other people and believe them. God does work in lives today. He can and will work in your life today.

Do not have a lack of faith in God. Do not refuse to believe the testimonies of others or that God will not do what He has promised. Believe in Jesus today for both salvation and for getting you through every situation in your life.

I pray today that God will reveal His love for you more than ever before; that God will show His faithfulness to you; that you will have faith in God; that you will testify to others what God is doing in your life; and that God will use you to build His kingdom.

Mark 8:33 A Harsh Rebuke

“But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. Get behind me, Satan! he said. You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Mark 8:33

Jesus had just told the disciples about how He was going to suffer. He told them how He would be rejected and then killed. He also mentioned about His rising from the dead.

Peter heard all of this, except the part about rising from the dead. He could not believe Jesus would be rejected and would not allow for it.

Immediately Jesus says something that seems very harsh. He rebukes Peter as Satan. Jesus points out that Peter is only thinking like man, not like God. God had a plan that He knew would work, and Peter was not willing to follow that plan.

In this rebuke, however, Jesus does see the source of the problem. That source is Satan. He is the one behind all lies and deceit. Satan is the one trying to blind the eyes of Peter from seeing what God was really doing and needed to do.

Now comes the hard part, applying this to your life today. Many times a person will go through some major tragedy in his life. Often as he is going through the tragedy, he will blame God and get very angry with God. Many people cry out to God–Why? Often they will try to change God’s mind.

Jesus went to the cross willingly and knowing what was going to happen. Imagine the pain He knew that was coming, yet still going forward because it was the Father’s plan and will.

In your life, God may have you going through some major situation. It may seem to take forever for it to end. It may seem like it will never end.

You need to trust God in it. Do not try to run from the situation, embrace it as the will of God. Satan cannot do anything that God does not allow. Everything God allows is to build you up more like Jesus and for you to be His witness to the world.

This does not mean that things will be easy or fun, but it is God’s desire. Allow God to use you and make you more like Jesus. Keep yourself from having to be rebuked for not following God’s plan.

I pray today that God will reveal His plans for you; that you will know the love God has for you; that you will embrace the plans God has for you; that you will grow to be more like Jesus; and that God will use you to draw more people to Him.

Mark 5:19 Go And Tell

“Jesus did not let him, but said, Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” Mark 5:19

Jesus had just cast many demons out of a man. He had been possessed for many years and could not do anything normal. When Jesus cast the demons out, the man was grateful and wanted to go with Jesus. Jesus told him to go home and tell everyone what had happened.

The Lord had had mercy on the man in casting out the demons. The man had originally allowed the demons in at some point in his life. God did not have to cast out the demons. In fact, the man never asked that they be cast out. It was the choice of Jesus.

Jesus showed His love and mercy in helping the man out.

How does this apply to us today? God has shown mercy on you in your life. You need to tell others about that mercy.

Often, however, people like to complain about the situations in their life. They feel that God is against them and not showing mercy. According to many people, not having any problems in life would be a sign of God’s mercy. If they just had a little more money, or a different car, or house, or job, then they would accept it as God’s mercy on them.

You do not deserve anything in this life, including life itself. Yet, that is what God has given you in His love and mercy.

Realize all the blessings you do have. Don’t focus on what you do not have.

Notice how much God has had mercy on you. Yes, you have problems in your life, but they could be a lot worse. Is your car broke down? Be thankful, many do not even have one to break down. Is your house leaking? Be thankful, many do not have a place to sleep? Do you have a broke leg? Be thankful, the whole leg could be gone. Look at many other things also in your life.

Now go and tell others, how much God has had mercy on you. Tell others how much God loves you and cares for you.

I pray today that you will realize the blessings God has given you; that you will realize the mercy God has given you; that you will joyfully tell others of these blessings and mercies; and that God will use you to build His kingdom.

Mark 4:39-40 Quiet! Be Still!

“He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be Still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Mark 4:39-40

After a long day of teaching, Jesus and the disciples get into a boat. Jesus goes to sleep. During His sleep, a storm comes up and threatens to sink the boat.

The disciples wake Jesus up scared that they are going to drown. They know that Jesus can do something about it and could not understand why He was sleeping.

Jesus gets up and calms the wind and waves. Then He asks them why they were afraid.

While Jesus was resting His physical body on a cot on that boat, He was also resting His Spirit in the control of God the Father. He knew who was really in control. He knew that His time to die had not yet come. There was no wind or wave on the earth that was going to be able to kill Him. He had peace.

In life today, you may not be on a physical boat with wind and waves, but you are on the boat of life. There are other types of winds and waves that come against you.

How many times do you cry out to God, like the disciples did, “do You not care if I drown?”

As normal humans, we only see the here and now that is visible. We cannot see around the corner or into the future.

No matter how big the problem is, God is going to take care of you. Tell yourself the words that Jesus said: “Quiet! Be Still!” Do not allow yourself to get worked up into a frenzy of fear and worry.

Yes, the storms of life are large and the waves are ominous, but God is bigger. God is in control. Have faith in Him. God will take care of you, no matter how bad it gets.

Remember, the worst that can happen is you die, which then becomes the best because you get to go straight to heaven where there will be no more problems.

I pray today that God will bring peace to your heart and mind; that God will calm the storms in your life; that you will have faith in God; that God’s perfect love will cast out the fear in your life; and that God will use you to build His kingdom.

Revelation 7:10 Who Brings Salvation

“And they cried out in a loud voice: Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” Revelation 7:10

In the world people are looking for the person who will save their country, or state, or business or anything else. They want someone who will meet their needs.

Every four years in America, the people vote for a president. As they vote they are hoping he is the one who will make the needed changes to save the nation. As the campaigns go, each person running promises to do better than the other one. Change for the better is expected in the economy, education, law enforcement, freedoms, wars, and taxes.

Other times, people look to drugs and alcohol to save them from their struggles and frustrations. Some will look to movies and music to lose themselves in. Many will go out and buy stuff to make them happy or to look better.

This is a common thread everywhere you look. People know there is a problem. The problem is knowing where to look for the solution to the problem and know what the problem really is.

Very few realize the problem is sin, and fewer realize that the solution is found in Jesus.

In this verse you see a great multitude of people from around the world who followed God and survived the tribulation. The one thing they know is that salvation belongs to God and Jesus.

No other person can bring salvation. No religion, or denomination, or group can give you salvation. It is found only in God through Jesus Christ.

During the end times there will be a man called the anti-Christ who will rise up to “save” the world. He will do many things that look good, but in the end he will not follow Jesus. He will be a man of destruction and of the devil in the end. This crowd of people knew where the salvation came from and did not waver in that.

Although this passage is looking into the future, it is still true today. You cannot find the relief you really need in nothing and no one else but Jesus. Only God can bring about salvation. This is salvation from sin, sickness, problems, hatred, pain and all other things.

I pray that today you will look to Jesus for your salvation; that you will trust in God for everything you need; that God will reveal to you His plans for your life; that God will meet all of your needs; and that you will be His witness to the world that only Jesus saves.