February 15, 2013

Today you should read: 2 Corinthians 5:1-10

Have you ever met one of those Christians who constantly complain about the world they live in and eagerly await Jesus’ second coming? Facebook posts that quote “Come Jesus Come.” “There’s something in the air” on repeat at their home and the creepy campy tribulation movie “A Thief in the Night” is the pick for family movie night every Friday night. One might even think that the above passages, 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 could possibly justify such actions. Paul says in verse 2 that “we groan and long for our heavenly body” and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that was true for me every time I visit someone who is sick or witness someone who is in deep suffering because of some type of consequences of this fallen world and our fleshly sin. A Christian should long for the time that there will be no more tears and our glorified, resurrected body will be worshiping Jesus forever and ever. In verse 5, Paul shares with us that the Holy Spirit is a gift from God to guarantee us this great promise of victory over sin, Satan and death.

However, as much as we should long for Jesus’ second coming we should also be reminded that Jesus PUT us on this earth and in our earthly vessels for a purpose while we are here. He didn’t put us here just to condemn the earth and the people around us as from our little protective bubble with our end times, “please come” mindset. We are to be missionaries out to redeem the world we live in through the Gospel, making wise use of the time God has given us by trying to save everyone we can and glorifying God living the lives God has given us. In verse 6, Paul says we are to always be of good courage and verse 9 encourages us to please God with our lives whether we are at home in Heaven or away on earth. I honestly doubt that it pleases God when we complain and seclude ourselves from the very people God has sent us to and the mission He has sent us on. Let’s be Christians known for redeeming the world instead of ones who constantly just condemn it.

Posted by: Erik Koliser

February 14, 2013

Today you should read: 2 Corinthians 4:1-18

Do yourself a favor – take your time and read today’s passage SLOWLY.  It has so much to say to us today.

If you are a Christ-follower, then God has made His light shine in your heart to give you the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in Jesus (v.6). That’s so much to be thankful for!

Verse 7 says…

But we have this treasure in jars of clay…

Jars of Clay

What’s the treasure and why jars of clay?  The treasure is the Gospel – the message that is hidden from the lost (v.4) but has been revealed to you (v.6).  The Gospel or Good News – is the most powerful bit of information available to man.  It contains life-changing words that alter lives in ways thought unimaginable.  The Gospel is that you and I are in a desperate spot because of the sin nature we inherited from Adam.  Everyone has sinned – and our sin deserves the penalty of hell.  Jesus came to earth at Christmas time – born of a virgin and lived a perfect, sinless life.  When He was thirty-three, He willingly laid down His life by dying on a cross to shed His blood for our sins.  He rose again three days later to confirm His Deity.  Now He invites you and I into a relationship with God by accepting His atonement for our sins.  We have this TREASURE!

Do you consider the Gospel a treasure?  Do you treat it like it is?

But why jars of clay?  This is a metaphor that the people in Paul’s day (when this was written) clearly understood.  Many things were stored in clay jars – medicines, foods, documents (like the Dead Sea Scrolls), wine, and more.  Treasure was stored in clay jars.  Now the play on words comes in, when you realize that our bodies are made of dirt – “clay” if you will – so we are clay jars.  God has decided, by His grace and mercy, to house the Gospel in us; for you and I to be the containers that show the Gospel to the world.

Sometimes this is difficult (v.8-10) – but it’s always important! So . . .

Don’t lose heart (v.16) – Remember that our momentary troubles are achieving an eternal glory [heaven] that outweighs them all. (v.17). SO fix your eyes on what is unseen – what is eternal. (v.18)

Posted by: Tim Parsons

February 13, 2013

Today you should read: 2 Corinthians 3:1-18

Have you ever played pin the tail on the donkey? What makes it so hard? The difficulty is in the fact that you can’t see where you are and what you are doing. Sometimes you get lucky but, for the most part you just get a lot of laughs at how badly you missed the donkey. We live in a world full of people who are playing a game of pin the tail on the donkey with their spiritual lives. They have a veil over them that blocks them from the truth of God and who He is and who Jesus, our Savior is. This veil comes in many shapes and forms. Sometimes it comes in the form of seeking fun and pleasure in this life through stuff like money, sex, material goods, etc. Other times it comes in the form of “spiritual enlightenment” or religion like in our passage today.

The people of Israel were told that, one day God would make a new covenant with them. (Jeremiah 31:30-34) So it should have come as no big shock to them when this idea came about. However, many of the Jews were not willing to give up their laws and rules for God’s new covenant. This is where we see the veil over their eyes. God was revealing Himself to His people in a new and glorious way and they could not see it.

There are lots of people today, many of whom you see and speak with everyday who are going about their lives with a spiritual veil on. The glory of God is all around them and they have no idea. Maybe you are reading this and you might be among those who are going about life with a spiritual veil over your eyes. Maybe you are reading this passage today and the Spirit of God is convicting you to think about and believe in Jesus, which we know is the only way to remove the veil (verse 14). If you do have this spiritual veil over you, all it takes to remove it is to believe in Jesus, that’s it. If you are someone who has been given the amazing gift of seeing the glory of God all around you, go out and be someone God can use in the work of removing the veils of others.

Posted by: Robbie Byrd

February 12, 2013

Today you should read: 2 Corinthians 1:2

Ministry is very fulfilling, but if I am honest, though, at times it can be one of the most heartbreaking things to do. It’s very exciting to see God move in the life of an individual and see transformation take place. On the other hand, it stinks to see someone I’ve discipled fall into sin, lose their passion for Christ and live in sin. Do you have someone in your life that was walking with God, but has gotten off track? It’s heartbreaking, huh? The book of 2 Corinthians and this chapter gives me encouragement.

Paul writes this letter in response to the positive reaction to a harsh letter that he had sent to the church in Corinth and Achaia. Initially, Paul was heartbroken over the sin of the church, but now he seems excited that they have moved forward in their walk with God after reading his letter.

The fact that Paul sent a harsh letter as a rebuke to the church (vs. 4) shows that he loved the people, and it gives me hope for those people in my life who have seemingly gotten off track in their Christian walk. The people of the Corinthian church seemed to get back on track. It gives me hope because it reminds me that it’s possible for people to be restored again to an intimate walk with God.

As a word of encouragement today, take hope that God can restore those people in your life who have gotten off track spiritually speaking. Pray for them. A strong rebuke that is motivated by love might be in order. Be encouraged that those who seem far removed from their passion for Christ can be transformed.

Posted by: Rich Duffield