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Tag Archives: 2 Corinthians

  • He Really Loves Me!

    Posted on February 3, 2014 by Darlene Sala

    Darlene Sala

    "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV)

    Our hearts long to be loved. We want to know someone treasures and values us. Truly. Faithfully. Lavishly. Would someone, anyone, be willing to give up an item of great value for us?

    I'm stunned God willingly paid so much for me to know Him. It's mind-boggling to grasp that Jesus left His Father in heaven to come to this earth as a baby, then die by crucifixion. I can hardly comprehend a love that cost so much.

    I can't imagine sacrificing any of my three children to save someone else's life. Yet Peter writes, "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed ... but with the precious blood of Christ ..." (1 Peter 1:18-19, NIV). What love!

    What makes it even more costly is God the Father knew He would need to turn away from His son during Jesus' death.

    When Jesus was hanging on a wooden cross, God the Father withdrew His presence because of the sin His Son bore on our behalf. Jesus cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46b, NIV). A great shadow had come between Jesus and the Father. Jesus was excruciatingly alone on that cross because of you and me.

    A story from the mission field illustrates a similar kind of love. For years, Dr. Margaret Brand served as a missionary eye surgeon in southern India. In the rural areas she would sometimes do 100 cataract surgeries in a day.

    In one instance where there was no electricity, Dr. Brand asked a 12-year-old boy to hold a large flashlight so that its beam gave her enough light to operate. Dr. Brand doubted whether the boy would be able to endure the sight of eyes being sliced open and stitched. For the first five operations he did his job impressively. During the sixth, however, he faltered.

    "Little brother, show the light properly," Dr. Brand instructed him. But she could sense that he simply could not bear to look at the eye. When she asked him if he felt well, she saw tears running down his cheeks. "Oh, doctor, I cannot look," replied the boy. "This one, she is my mother."

    You see, God loves us so much, "For our sake he made him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21, NRSV) when we put our faith in Him. The high price Jesus paid makes us incredibly valuable — no matter how worthless we may feel at the end of the day.

    Here's another way to look at it. When it comes to placing a value on a piece of art, that value is derived from three things:

    • Who made it?
    • How many are there like it?
    • What is someone willing to pay for it?

    You are a priceless work of art. The greatest Artist in the universe hand-crafted you. God gave the life of His only Son to have a relationship with you. That's how valuable you are. I'm clearly a sinner, not holy like God. But God loves me, and He loves you enough to pay an enormous price so that we could have our sins forgiven.

    With a word the universe was brought into being. With a touch lepers were healed. But when sin was forgiven, Jesus the Son of God willingly died. What amazing love!

    And the focus of that love? You and me.

    May we pause in this moment to absorb the depth of God's love for us. And may our lives be filled with thankfulness that He was willing to pay the price!

    Loving God, help me always remember that my only true worth is found in You. Thank You for the gift of Your Son; thank You for loving me so much that You thought I was worth Christ's life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Knowing how treasured you are by God, what part of you doesn't feel like a "priceless work of art"?

    What would your day look like if you thanked Him for this "flaw" all day long?

    Power Verses:
    1 John 3:1a, "See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are." (ESV)

    1 John 4:19, "We love him, because he first loved us." (KJV)

    © 2014 by Darlene Sala. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with 2 Corinthians

  • I Once Was a Shell of a Girl

    Posted on January 27, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV)

    Have you ever believed the injustices of the world were too big for you to make a difference? I have felt that way. So instead of doing something, even something small, I did nothing.

    I thought big, world-sized problems required big, powerful people.

    But then a friend told me about spending time with rescued victims of sex trafficking. I knew that conversation was meant for more than just two friends connecting. I couldn't just say, "Wow, how awful," and go about my normal life. I had to do something. Even if it was something very small.

    My small act didn't solve the evils of the world, but it did help combat the evil being done against one. And that small gift tendered my heart to do more.

    A few years later, I spent almost a week living and serving in a shelter for girls rescued from sex trafficking. Coming face to face with those affected by evil was starkly different than just hearing about it. I listened to their stories, saw their tears, and held their hands.

    What I heard and saw horrified me on deep, deep levels. I kept thinking, How can this be going on in America? How was I so unaware?

    And yet the reality is I personally know the horrors of being taken advantage of and feeling powerless. As a young girl I was caught in a vicious cycle of sexual abuse by a family "friend" for years.

    His threats kept me silent. Over time that silence turned into overwhelming shame. Hatred cloaked my soul in darkness. And that bitterness seeped into the deepest crevices of my heart, changing how I saw myself. A girl can get completely lost inside the caverns of hate and lose every bit of what used to make her feel alive.

    I once was a shell of a girl ravaged by evils done to me.

    But now I'm a girl who has hope bigger than the hurt. Light brighter than the darkness. And a life full of truth as God set me free from those death chains of hatred.

    How did I find that pathway to healing? Someone told me about Jesus.

    Jesus promised me a new life by following Him. As I did, He saved me by His love, comforted me by His grace, and freed me by His truth. Christian counseling helped me understand how to forgive and challenged me to share the hope I'd found. Every time I shared my story, it miraculously deepened my own healing. Every time I comforted another hurting woman, my own soul found deeper comfort.

    The Bible reminds us that God has comforted us "so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ" (2 Corinthians 1:4b-5, NASB).

    Your story and circumstances may be different, but we all need healing and comfort of some kind. Seek that comfort from God today. But don't stop there.

    God doesn't comfort us to make us comfortable. He comforts us to make us comfort-ABLE ... able to help others.

    Seek out someone to help today. And if you need a small place to start, I want to introduce you to a friend named Becky who was rescued and gave her life to Jesus just a few weeks ago. (For more on Becky's story, read the related resources portion below.)

    If you want to be part of the miracles happening in Becky's life and the lives of other women being helped right now, here are three ways:

    * Be aware there are women needing help.

    * Pray for these women and the organizations seeking to rescue them.

    * Buy a bracelet made by Becky or one of the other women being helped by a ministry we've partnered with called Fashion & Compassion. When you buy a bracelet, you get the name of the "rescued" woman who made it. You can pray for her specifically as you wear this beautiful reminder that small gifts matched with your prayers make a big difference.

    And if you have a story of hope like me, share it. Love. Comfort. And believe small gifts aren't small at all.

    Dear Lord, thank You for being our Comforter. Wrap Your loving arms around each woman struggling with hurt and pain in the world right now, Father. Please show me how I can help them specifically. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What small thing could you do today to help those who are hurting in the community around you? Pray for them and then take action however you can.

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 62:7, "My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with 2 Corinthians

  • Rich Poor Rich

    Posted on December 17, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9

    Jesus exchanged the riches of heaven to become poor on earth. He gave up His mansion to be born in a manager. He gave up His Kingship to be pursued by jealous King Herod. He gave up His train of royalty to ride on a lowly donkey at His humble coronation. He gave up His majestic throne to take a towel and wash filthy feet.  He gave up His glory to glorify His Heavenly Father. Jesus gave up His riches, so we might be made rich by His grace and love! Rich, poor, rich.

    Yes, Jesus Christ was born in poor conditions, lived a low income life and died impoverished. Yet, He was the richest gift ever given to the human race. The gifts brought by the wise men were a mere trinket compared to the gift of salvation who quietly lay at the back of the inn surrounded by noisy animals. All the natural resources in the world combined do not begin to define the value of this one child, Christ Jesus. One man’s poverty made the world rich indeed.

    And all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:24

    What is the value of one saved soul? What is the worth of God’s grace that gets us through life with peace and joy? The human mind cannot properly monetize the mission of Jesus, but we know its worth far exceeds any earthly comparisons. Diamonds and jewels are only shiny rocks in light of God’s love given to all who love Him. Grace is the Lord’s blank check to draw on in time of need. His bank of love never has a run on its resources. It is insured by infinite grace!

    Furthermore, your adoption by grace through faith gives you full benefits as a child of the King.  So, steward well the riches you received at salvation when you inherited the Kingdom of God. You have been made rich by every good deed that flows from God’s grace at work in your heart and life. Thus, remember the poor, because the One who was poor gave up His riches to make you rich. You are able to enrich others by introducing them to the poor child born at Christmas. For your sake, Jesus gave you His riches. Yes, thank Him this season for His indescribable gift!

    And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:14-15

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I am eternally grateful for Your surpassing grace that exceeds my expectations, needs and wants.

    Related Readings: Matthew 20:28; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Philippians 2:6-8; Hebrews 3:1

    Post/Tweet this today: The wise men’s gifts were measly compared to the gift of salvation who quietly lay at the back of the inn surrounded by noisy animals. #richgrace

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with 2 Corinthians

  • Spiritual Buoyancy

    Posted on December 3, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Corinthians 4:16-17

    Hope keeps us afloat. Sin and sorrow cannot sink a soul that finds spiritual buoyancy from belief in its living hope, Jesus Christ. We have hope because Jesus rose from the dead, therefore death is not final. It is a pass through into the presence of Almighty God. Our bodies were created for decay, but our soul for life eternal. As the body winds down in weakness the soul revs up in strength. The smell of death is like smelling salts to the soul searching for their unseen hope.

    Furthermore, we do not lose heart when we lose our health or any other earthly attachment. We can’t lose what we have already let go of and given over to the Lord. Relationships, reputations and riches lose their control over our peace when they are first given to God. Yes, the Holy Spirit is our Comforter when earthly comforts are threatened or removed. While some count on their savings for security, only what is eternal is truly dependable. Faith facilitates spiritual buoyancy.

    Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. Isaiah 40:31

    Do you feel like you are treading water with only your nose barely breaking the surface? Do you find yourself choking for air because life’s circumstances have sucked all the oxygen from your lungs? If so, the Lord has His lifeboat of love for your rest and renewal. You do not have to flail around unable to swim in the waters of the world, the flesh and the devil. They will drown you if you fight them alone. Help from the Holy Spirit lifts you up, back onto solid ground.

    Parenting teenagers requires mom’s nurturing, dad’s discipline and a mentor’s support. So, seek out a couple ahead in their child’s development, who can share their wisdom. Moreover, it may be harder to raise your parents than your children. If your aging mother or father need your help, be patient and let them discover their new realities in a respectful process. Yes, you receive the Spirit’s buoyancy so you are able to assist those who may be sinking under the weight of anxiety. Spiritual buoyancy from God’s mercy gives you inner energy to not lose heart!

    Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Corinthians 4:1

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, You are my refuge for rest and renewal when I feel alone and anxious.

    Related Readings: Psalm 103:5, 121:1-8; Romans 8:35-39; Colossians 3:10; 1 John 2:14-17

    Post/Tweet this today: Sin and sorrow cannot sink a soul that finds spiritual buoyancy from belief in its living hope, Jesus. #spritualbuoyancy

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with 2 Corinthians

  • Thanksgiving to God

    Posted on November 24, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God… Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!  2 Corinthians 9:11, 15

    Gratitude to God is a natural overflow of generosity. For example, the gift of salvation in Christ is indescribable. He gave when we did not deserve. He still gives, even though we are undeserving. His gift of liberty is freeing; His gift of health is healing; His gift of relationships is rich; His gift of peace is calming; His gift of wisdom is confidence; His gift of the Holy Spirit is comforting; His gift of finances is security; His gift of Himself is reassuring and humbling. Gratitude explodes from our hearts when we are reminded of His generous gifts. They are incomparable and incomprehensible. Thanksgiving to God is a tremendous opportunity to unleash joy. This is one of the fruits of gratitude. Joy, joy, joy, joy down in our hearts, because He came down to earth and into our heart. This is an occasion for a raucous but righteous celebration.
    Gratitude to God can be a moment-by-moment expression. Even in the middle of the worst of circumstances, your thanksgiving to God is appropriate and needed. Look beyond your current condition to your heavenly hope. He has prepared a place for you, and His preparations are not lacking. They are just what you need and desire. So, your thanksgiving is for what He has done in the past, His current provision, and what He has prepared for you in the future. God’s generosity is without competition. You can be very, very grateful for this. Let thanksgiving escape from your lips often. Use it to put out the fires of fear and worry before they spread too far. Thanks be to God for you are made rich.

    Yes, in Christ you are made rich. You have everything needed for this life in Christ. As a upshot of your management of His riches, you can be ridiculously generous. This is the natural result of thanksgiving. Because of your deep gratitude to God, you are called and compelled to give. Gratitude invites you to generosity. You cannot experience authentic thanksgiving and not see it birth giving. It is a beautiful process: because God has given to you, you give to others. At the moment you receive the gift of God, generosity is conceived in your heart.
    This is why your heart feels pregnant with thanksgiving. It will explode without the regular birthing of generosity to others. This expression of gratitude results in action. It is tangibly and regularly giving to people for whom Christ died. The poor need food, a job, and Jesus; orphans need parents, a home, and Jesus; divorcees need acceptance, healing, and Jesus; the angry ones need gentleness and Jesus; the confused need clarity and Jesus; the bankrupt need financial wholeness and Jesus. Opportunities abound that invite your generous expression of gratitude. Gratitude is one of God’s prescriptions for discontentment. The two cannot comfortably coexist. Thanksgiving gives the credit for your accomplishments to God and others. Without either, you would not be in your current position of influence and success. Gratitude is generous. Gratitude is content. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift. The Bible says, “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever” (1 Chronicles 16:34).

    Post/Tweet today: Gratitude to God follows receiving the extravagant generosity of God. #thanksgivingtoGod

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with 2 Corinthians, Thanksgiving

  • Game of Thorns

    Posted on September 30, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:7-9

    Satan sends messengers to inflict thorns of temptation into the most spiritual followers of Jesus. His timing is shameless, as he attacks those most susceptible to spiritual pride. Perhaps a significant prayer has been answered or a loved one has just come to faith. Be on guard for the tormentor does not sit still when we experience special moments with the Lord and His people. Satan tempts mature believers, so if they fall they fall far,  disillusioning the faith of novices.

    It is these thorns in the flesh the Lord uses to keep us humble and faithful. Pride yearns to take credit and feed conceit, but humility gives all credit to Christ and remains meek. What’s best for us is not the removal of our afflictions, but the integration of God’s grace into our heart and mind. We can plead in prayer for relief, but not grouse in disappointment when our condition remains the same or worsens. God’s grace is sufficient in our weaknesses to perfect His power.

    I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

    Furthermore, health issues can be the thorn in your physical flesh that challenges your faith. Fatigue and feeling bad wears you down and demoralizes your determination. You weary over time as you get sick and tired of being sick and tired. Chemo can kill your spirit in the process of killing your cancer, thus you cling to Christ and trust Him in your torment. Turn treatment and therapy into a platform of God’s grace to share with your caregivers. Trust in God triumphs over thorns!

    Above all, look to the cross at the crown of thorns Christ wore for you. Each drop of His precious blood was shed for your soul’s salvation and for your hope and healing. Thorns in the flesh are not foreign to your Savior. Indeed, He suffered through their pain, but rose victorious from the grave. You win the game of thorns when you rest in the sufficiency of God’s grace. He makes you the most powerful for Him, when you feel the weakest within. Bow at His throne of grace, unperturbed by a thorn of disgrace. Yes, God’s glory shines through your surrendered life!

    And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, teach me to appropriate Your grace in the middle of temptations and trials.

    Related Readings: Numbers 33:55; Job 1:6-12; Matthew 4:10; John 19:2-5; 2 Corinthians 4:15

    Post/Tweet today: God’s grace makes you the most powerful for Him, when you feel the weakest within. #gameofthorns

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with 2 Corinthians

  • Running on Empty

    Posted on August 21, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

    People often ask me, "How do you handle it all?"

    Depending on the situation, I answer in a variety of ways:

    1. I'm wired this way. And that's partly true. I have a God-wired ability to stay focused in the midst of chaos ... most of the time. I'm more left-brained than my husband, and he's an engineer!
    2. I stay organized ... most of the time. Usually, I can find what I need when I need it. Usually, I prepare in advance. There are times when life gets the best of me, and someone wears the same socks two days in a row. But systems and schedules help me stay on top of responsibilities.
    3. My kids are older. We still have issues that derail my best-laid plans, but they're different than when my kids were toddlers and one tried to use my car keys to unlock the back gate, dropping them in the alley by accident. That threw me into a meltdown of monumental proportions.

    But when people ask "How do you handle it all?" it's usually when I've shared something that has changed my life more than anything else. An act of obedience my family made eight years ago has pushed me to the edge of myself, made me question who I am and question God about His choice of me for this assignment. But it's also made me cling to Him with more desperation than ever before. What is it?

    Adopting two little girls from Africa.

    I haven't written much about these challenges due to respecting my family's privacy. And I also don't want to discourage adoptive parents with how hard our journey has been. It's one of the most important things I've ever done. But also the most costly.

    In 2005 we adopted two girls, ages 8 and 10, from war-torn Liberia. We knew nothing about their background, other than it contained deprivation even other poor countries don't experience. No running water, no electricity, no school, no exposure to books or even television. Just basic existence for years.

    Welcoming these little girls into our family at first seemed easy. They responded well to our love. They thrived with good food and education. But very soon we realized challenges. And then very sad truths about what happened in Africa started being uncovered.

    One daughter has cognitive challenges that will impact her ability to live independently the rest of her life, and ours. With the other we faced behavioral challenges-significant issues based on an early history of neglect and abuse.

    Sometimes there are Hallmark-channel-endings, but that's not our story. We live every day with our daughters' wounds and challenges. And these hardships have deeply affected me and my husband. They have affected our three biological children.

    Here's what I've discovered: all my God-wired ability to think through chaos, all my attempts at organization and having older kids didn't prepare me for this.

    But God's strength did.

    So how do I manage it all? Every day I turn to God and rely on what 2 Corinthians 12:9 teaches me ...

    I don't have it in me to do this one more day, I need Your strength.

    I don't have the patience in me for this … I need Your patience.

    I can't think straight right now ... I need Your clarity.

    I'm not even sure I have love in me right now ... I need Your love.

    And I get my portion for that day. I get just enough strength, patience, and clarity to make it through. And a new definition of love that's stronger and tougher and more determined than I have ever experienced.

    I wish I could write more about my family's story, and maybe someday I will. But for now, it's brought me to my knees; it's made me more humble; it's made me less judgmental, and it's made me depend on God more than ever.

    God's strength is enough. But I had to get to the end of mine to learn that.

    Heavenly Father, although I didn't know I'd be facing my current challenges, You did. Thank You for offering to step in the gap between my needs and my insufficient reservoir of strength with Your peace, wisdom, strength and love. Help me to lean on You when I feel like things are falling apart. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    A Life That Says Welcome, Simple Ways to Open Your Heart & Home to Others by Karen Ehman

    The NIV Real Life Devotional Bible for Women with 366 devotions written by the Proverbs 31 Ministries team on everyday life.

    Reflect and Respond:
    The way to truly experience God's power is to get to the end of yours. What are you facing that makes you feel powerless?

    Ask God for one thing you need to make it through today. Then watch for His response.

    Power Verse:
    John 14: 27, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with 2 Corinthians

  • Faith Living

    Posted on July 26, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    For we live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7

    Faith living is focused on God living. It is the road less traveled. Even for believers in Jesus Christ, faith living is not always predominant. Why settle for anything less? If we limit ourselves to our efforts, our logic and what we can see, then we only tip God with our faith. He is calling us beyond the honeymoon stage of our faith to mature faith. A faith that only thinks of the past is anemic and stunted. Faith alive is focused on God’s vision for the future. It is caught up in the possibilities of today with no fear of tomorrow.

    By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going (Hebrews 11:8).

    Faith living enjoys God’s ability to create. For example, He can create resourceful relational opportunities, as He is the connector par excellent. By faith He can be trusted to lead you to just the right people. People whom you can serve and people who can join you to accomplish God’s will. Determine ways to bring value to the other person. It is not about what you can get from them, it is all about how you can serve them.

    Moreover, faith living is not irresponsible living. This is not some blind excursion that ignores the needs of your spouse and children. It is wrought with prayer and godly advice. This implies that faith living is not lived in a vacuum. It is living in concert with those around you. Abraham went by faith to a new country and cared for his family.

    By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise” (Hebrews 11:9).

    Yes, it requires sacrifice and service, but not in the guise of unwise decision-making. Faith living trusts God’s timing. It does not rush into battle without weapons or a plan. You trust God to prepare you and provide  you the needed resources to carry out His will. You are no match for Satan without the weapons of spiritual warfare.

    Furthermore, trust the Lord with how He has gifted you. Your part is to become more self aware of your strengths and weaknesses. Allow God and others to leverage your strengths and shore up your weaknesses. Be who God created you to be and come alive in Christ. Pursue Him, live by faith and execute His will. Live by faith and not by sight. Faith living is the only way to live for God. You are not really alive until you live by faith in Jesus!

    Prayer: How can I better position my life to live by faith and not by sight?

    Related Readings: Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 2:20; 3:11; Hebrews 10:38

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with 2 Corinthians, Faith

  • As Weak as Our Strongest Link

    Posted on June 27, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

    One day I tweeted, "We are only as weak as our strongest link." It wasn't a typo. It's something I've been thinking about for a while now.

    Often the Bible talks in counter-intuitive statements. Different than the normal flow. An unexpected rub against the grain.

    To gain, you must give up.

    If someone takes your jacket, give them your shoes too.

    When we are weak, then we are strong.

    Tough stuff. Good stuff. Heart-protecting stuff.

    The minute I start feeling absolutely confident in my own strength is the minute I am desperately weak ... and I don't even realize it.

    The Lord reminded me of this right before I stepped on stage to speak to 4,500 women at a large conference. One minute I was walking backstage to get my microphone on and the next minute I was on the ground with my face pressed into the cement floor.

    My heel had gotten caught in a crack in the floor and that's all it took to bring me down.

    My first thoughts were not spiritual.

    Have mercy, I've probably split my pants wide open and there is no time to change!

    I quickly picked myself up, put on the over-ear microphone, and went on stage. I felt so vulnerable.

    Inside my head I whispered, Lord, I'm not ready. I don't want to speak right now. I want to go crawl in a hole with a mirror so I can check my pants! I tried as discretely as possible to make sure the seams in my pants were in tact.

    My heart drummed wildly in my chest as I prayed, Jesus, I am completely desperate for You.

    And I imagine the Lord thought, Good. She's ready. Now, this is going to be powerful.

    I'd left my strength, confidence and self-sufficiency back on that concrete floor. Next to the crack that tripped me up. And my weakness made room for God's strength to take over.

    My weakness wasn't what could have messed me up that day. It was my strength.

    We are only as weak as our strongest link. Sometimes it's not our weaknesses that leave us vulnerable to attack. It's our strengths. Those places where we feel especially confident, invincible, and quite able. But, as a friend reminded me recently, "Our strengths can become strongholds if we're not careful."

    When Paul pleaded with the Lord to remove the thorn in his flesh—the thing that made Paul feel weak—the Lord did not. Instead, the Lord reminded Paul, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9a NIV).

    Paul took hold of this truth and went on to conclude in verse 10, "For when I am weak, then I am strong" (12:10b NIV). Which leads me to wonder if the opposite is also true ... where I am strong, then I am weak.

    I'm making a conscious effort to stay in tune with what strengths might easily trip me up. Really doing some soul-searching. Praying. Listening for direction and correction. Then, walking in complete faith. Because if we're going to call ourselves people of faith, we must live lives that require faith. For me this means accepting my weaknesses rather than boasting in my strengths.

    Faith is like walking over a bridge, where we cross over from relying on our strength to God's strength. It's a powerful walk to take.

    However, I really wouldn't recommend wearing high-heeled shoes.

    Dear Lord, reveal to me the places where I'm relying on my own power instead of Yours. Show me what strengths could be my biggest weaknesses, God, so that I can learn to serve You better. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    In her book, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God, Lysa TerKeurst shares inspiring stories from her own life along with biblical insights as she describes how to discern when God is speaking to you. Click here to purchase your copy!

    Reflect and Respond:
    What strength could easily trip you up today? Ask God to give you spiritual ears to hear any direction or correction He whispers.

    What would it look like to exchange your weakness for God's strength?

    Power Verse:
    Ephesians 6:10, "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with 2 Corinthians

  • When the Pressure Crushes You

    Posted on June 11, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself ... But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead." 2 Corinthians 1:8b, 9b (NIV)

    It seemed pressure came from every direction. It was unrelenting. Financial pressures brought worry. Children issues brought frustration. And an overloaded schedule kept me up at night. It got so bad I wanted to have a bonfire with all my to-do lists and make s'mores.

    Being a naturally self-sufficient person, my instincts led me to work harder. How could I make more money? What new parenting technique would make this child behave? If I pulled an all-nighter could I knock my emails down to a manageable number?

    I picked up the pace. Buckled down. Slept less. Instituted logical consequences for my child. And re-wrote my to-do lists. I was determined to pull myself together. After all, that's who I am ... at least that's who I was.

    In the past, my Lone Ranger attempts at managing circumstances worked. But not this time.

    Debts mounted. My child's problems increased. And consequently, I fell further behind. The pressure just kept increasing instead of going away.

    Never in my life had circumstances been so overwhelmingly beyond my control. I was surrounded by things I couldn't whip into shape, including my own emotions. I felt like such a failure, and was so ashamed that I couldn't manage the assignments God had given me. Finally, with no solutions in sight, I broke down before God, crying out in desperation, certain He'd be as disappointed with me as I was.

    After all, I was the girl He was supposed to be able to count on. I was the dependable one. And here I was falling apart.

    With my emotions a tangled mess, I poured out all my fears, weakness, and insecurities to God. Even my prayers seemed jumbled and incoherent. And in the midst of my tears, I declared "I can't even pray right!" Never had I needed God more. Well, to be honest, never had I really needed God.

    In the aftermath of my breakdown, something started to change in me. It was subtle, kind of like the dawn, when pitch black moments start to take shape.

    My self-sufficiency was slipping, being replaced by God-dependency. Peace snuck in where I didn't expect it. Circumstances didn't change, but my understanding did. God never needed to depend on me ... rather I was to depend on Him.

    Although I'd been a Christian for many years, and loved and followed God with what I thought was all my heart, it seemed I'd held something back. In the midst of that pressure-cooker time, I realized believing in God isn't the same as trusting Him. God used pressure that felt crushing to lead me to dependence that felt freeing.

    Recently I read a passage in 1 Corinthians that perfectly summarized what God taught me during that time: "We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself ... But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us" (vv. 8b, 9b-10)

    Pressure in life is never easy. But God can use it to take our faith deeper if we let Him. It started for me by admitting my insufficiency, and realizing God wasn't disappointed by that confession. In fact, He invites me to need Him.

    Heavenly Father, please forgive me for all the times I've said "I don't need You" through my actions. I admit I can't manage my life alone, and need Your help. Thank You for being all-sufficient and all-powerful and loving me enough to never shame me for what I can't manage. I love You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    A Confident Heart by Renee Swope

    Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try Hard Life by Emily Freeman

    For daily encouragement, join our Facebook community.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What is your typical reaction when facing a problem?

    If you knew without a doubt that God would help in your time of need, how would that change things for you?

    Power Verses:
    2 Corinthians 4:8-9, "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." (NIV)

    Romans 15:13, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with 2 Corinthians

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