E-Message Bible/Commentary

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." --- Psalm 119:105

Custom Search

 2 CORINTHIANS

Dr. Charles Stanley Responds to the Virginia Tech Tragedy
Today in lieu of my usual E-Message, I default to my spiritual father and partner in ministry, Dr. Charles Stanley of In Touch Ministries, to share his response to the Virginia Tech Tragedy especially since they are my sentiments exactly.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction 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 1:3-5)

The events we heard about and saw on television Monday from Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Virginia were extremely disturbing and horrifying. Our thoughts and prayers are going out to the families and friends who lost loved ones to this senseless act of violence. At In Touch Ministries, we will continue to pray for the Lord to comfort and heal everyone affected by this terrible act. It's difficult to understand how and why something like this could happen. Oftentimes, in the face of overwhelming tragedy, we wonder why a loving God would allow so much injury and loss of life. We ask, “Why didn't He prevent it?” “Why didn't He do something?” My friends, no one knows the answer to that question. But what we do know is that God is still in control.

The most powerful thing we can do at this time is to cry out to God for the grieving families of those precious students, for their friends, the faculty and the entire student body. The days, weeks and months ahead will be a long and difficult healing process. The apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 is most encouraging when he says, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction 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."
__________________________________________________________________________________

Our Connection to Christ
For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. (2 Corinthians 1:5)

Jesus Christ died on the cross over 2,000 years ago. So why are we still connected to Him? What is the link between Jesus dying on the cross and our being able to feel Him in our hearts right now? The answer might not be the one you expect. We are connected to Christ though our suffering. We suffer because of our strong identity with Christ. Christ learned obedience from what He suffered (Hebrews 5:8). Why then should we expect anything less?

Our suffering is a definite link to Jesus Christ. How? And why? Just as Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith, He is also the author and finisher of our suffering. We don't experience anything that Jesus didn't experience first. He endured frustrations while living in this sinful world. We still live in this same fallen world and are we frustrated? Yes, we are! We are still feeling the influence and impact of this same evil world that Jesus lived in. Because Jesus suffered for us and gave His life for us, we now share in His suffering. The beauty of this whole notion of suffering is that since Jesus lives in our hearts, He suffers along with us, and gives us comfort in our suffering.

It should bless us to know that whenever we suffer, it is an opportunity to get closer to Christ; it is our connection to Christ. It should also give us peace to know that just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, the comfort of Christ also flows over into our lives.

It also would be helpful to know that "we have been crucified with Christ and we no longer live, but Christ lives in us. The life we now live in the body, we live by faith in the Son of God, who loved us and gave himself for us." (Galatians 2:20)
__________________________________________________________________________________

Guaranteed
For the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.  (2 Corinthians 1:20)

Doesn't it make you feel secure to have something guaranteed?  When you get a prescription filled, the pharmacist says, "This medicine is guaranteed to make you feel better."  Advertisers are paid to make promises to you guaranteeing something . . .  to make you look better, smell better, sleep better, drive better, etc.  You are also given promises of things that will make life easier, more convenient.  You are assured that if you use certain products you will save time and money.  Sometimes you are asked to pay an additional fee to get a "warranty" just in case something happens to the product.  Have you ever wondered why they would "guarantee" and then "warrantee" at the same time?  Something is not right with this concept.

God does not promise us something, and then ask us to pay for that extra assurance just in case He can't keep His word.  With God a warranty is not needed because all of God's promises are guaranteed with "Yes" and "Amen."
_____________________________________________________________________________

The Promise Is Not in the Process
For all the promises of God in him are Yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. (2 Corinthians 1:20) 

If God has given you a promise, it will be fulfilled. If He has said you will live and not die, believe it when you get sick. If He has promised you will succeed in business, believe it when your ledger is in the red. If He has promised you will write a bestseller, believe it no matter how many rejections slips you get. God's promises will be realized no matter how bad it looks during the process.
 
God promised Abraham he would become the father of many descendants; yet he was on his way to sacrifice his son. If he had no son, he would have no descendants. Abraham believed the ultimate promise which helped him through the process. God promised that Jesus would save the world so none would perish; yet on Friday Jesus Himself was crucified on the cross. God's promise was not in the process. Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day. In both scenarios, the process didn't look so promising. But the promise was not in the process. 
 
If you are waiting for a promise to be fulfilled, stop looking at the process. Look beyond the plowed up field and see the harvest. Look beyond the construction site and see the mansion. Look beyond the rough drafts and see the leather bound book. All of God's promises are "Yea" and "Amen." However, we were never promised a smooth process.
 
Stop analyzing the process. Keep your focus on the promise. No matter how bad the process looks, remember the promise is not in the process.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________


Now What?
He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. (2 Corinthians 1:22)

After completing a major assignment, it is not unusual to hear someone ask, "Now what?" After investing four years in college, some graduating students might ask, "Now what?" The executive who has climbed the ladder of success will probably ask, "Now what?" After you have finally won the heart of that special person, it is certainly appropriate to ask, "Now what?" After a person receives the gift of salvation, the next step is to ask, "Now what?"

There is more to do after completing all the above. We should never settle for merely reaching our goal. When we finish the first mile of a race, we should set our next goal for two miles.  When we climb one rung of a ladder, we should seek to climb another rung. After climbing a hill, the next obvious goal is to climb a mountain.

With a "Now what?" attitude, we not only complete the goals we have set, but we should also be open and willing to set higher, better, and greater goals.

What now after receiving the gift of salvation? Know that salvation will not be complete until we are glorified in heaven. While on this earth, we are saved (Acts 16:31), we are being saved (Romans 8:13), and we will be saved (Romans 13:11). Salvation is on ongoing process. However, we should always have a "Now what? attitude while we live expectantly.
__________________________________________________________________________________

Led in His Triumph
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. (2 Corinthians 2:14)

We can embrace the truth that no matter what is going on in our lives, God will always lead us in the triumphal procession, and through our victory let us spread the fragrance of the knowledge of Him who has brought us over the mountains and through the valleys. We may not realize we are marching in the parade with Jesus as the drum major, but we are in a procession following Jesus and getting to know Him better. 

The above scriptures alludes to the Roman procession where the Roman general would march through the streets displaying his treasures and captives amidst a cloud of incense. To the victors, the aroma was sweet. To the captives in the parade, it was the smell of slavery, bondage, and death. When Christians live by the gospel, it is good news to some and repulsive news to others. Believers recognize the life-giving fragrance of the message. To unbelievers, however, it smells foul, like death---- their own.

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. (2 Corinthians 2:14)
__________________________________________________________________________________

Do Not Peddle the Word of God
Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God. (2 Corinthians 2:17)

Paul rebuked the Corinthian church for many things they were doing wrong. Among the things he taught the people was to be aware of false teachers who were hucksters of the gospel. He warned the Corinthians about peddlers of the word of God. Today we should heed that same warning. We should be careful of those who attempt to spread the gospel for profit. This includes fraudulent ministers who focus on their own personal gain instead of on the truth of the gospel.

Peddling the gospel means teaching it for selfish reasons. It also means altering the gospel to increase "sales." We have reasons to be suspicious when the gospel is used to obtain popularity or fame. We should be suspicious when the gospel is used to gain control over others. We should be suspicious when the gospel is used for any type of personal profit. The gospel should be used for the salvation of souls. If it is done for any other reason, Paul calls it "peddling the word of God."

Two warnings: (1) Don't peddle the word of God.  (2) Don't buy into the peddling of the word of  God.
__________________________________________________________________________________

The Letter Kills; The Spirit Gives Life
He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant — not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Corinthians 3:6)

In the Old Covenant there were originally 613 laws that had to be kept.  There were laws keeping mothers from nursing their babies on the Sabbath because that was considered to be work.  People could not bathe or shave on the Sabbath because that was work. It was utterly impossible to keep the law because to disobey part of the law was to disobey all of the law. The law was necessary at that time to point out sin in one's life.  The fallacy with the law was that it could not and still cannot save.  To believe only in the law is death.  Only by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ can a person receive eternal life through the Holy Spirit.  No one but Jesus could fulfill the law perfectly. Therefore, under the new covenant or New Testament, the Spirit gives life to all who believe in Christ. The moral law or Ten Commandments still point out sin and show us how to obey God, but forgiveness comes only through the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ.

In summary, there were 613 originally Old Testament laws that were categorized into the Ten Commandments, but we live by New Testament grace which is summed up in just two laws: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments" (Matthew 22:37-39).
_____________________________________________________________________________

Right Doctrine; Wrong Spirit
He has made us competent ministers of a new covenant; not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Corinthians 3:6)

There are some Christians who know all the right doctrines, but they demonstrate the wrong spirit.  They talk about biblical principles and concepts, but their actions are the complete opposite. In fact, there are some mean Christians.

It matters not if we can recite all 66 books of the Bible in the correct order if we do not love our fellowman. It matters not if we can quote all Ten Commandments if we do not show compassion to those in need. It matters not if we can name all the 12 tribes of Israel if we lack honesty and integrity. It matters not if we know all 12 disciples of Jesus; yet we whine, pout, complain, get angry and harbor unforgiveness in our heart.

Knowing biblical information in our head is fine. However, we should let it go 18 inches below and hit our heart. People don't care what we know unless they know that we care.

Instead of living by the letter of the law, we should allow the Spirit to work through us to manifest love, joy, and compassion.  And that's what matters!
__________________________________________________________________________________

TGIF
And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (2 Corinthians 3:17)

To some people, "TGIF" means "Thank God, It's Friday."  When I conduct seminars for women, I say, "Thank God, I'm Female."  If you have ever been in bondage in body, mind or spirit, but now you are in Christ, you can say, "THANK GOD, I'M FREE!"

You can thank God you are loved, forgiven, accepted, and free to live and to live more abundantly (John 10:10).  You are free to love and to be loved.  You are free to choose and to be chosen.  You are free because where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. And that is THE WAY OF LIFE.
_____________________________________________________________________________

Our Reflection
But we Christians have no veil over our faces; we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him (2 Corinthians 3:18)

Have you noticed that couples who have been married a long time begin to look like each other? Have you noticed that couples who have been married a long time can finish each other's sentences? Have you noticed that couples who have been married a long time think alike? Why's that? That's because they have been around each other for so long that they have picked up each other's habits and mannerisms and opinions. They have walked in each other's shadow for so long that they have become the reflection of the other.

When we spend time with Jesus, we will begin to look like Him. When we spend time with Jesus, we will begin to speak like Jesus. When we spend time with Jesus, we will become so connected to Him that we can't help but pick up His habits and mannerisms.

We should look like Jesus. We should act like Jesus. Dr. Gardner C. Taylor, Pastor-Emeritus of the Concord Baptist Church in Brooklyn, NY (one of my former churches) once said, "You should be so much like Jesus that if the two of you were standing side by side, the angels would have to ask, 'Which is which?'"

The more closely we follow Christ, the more we will be like Him.
__________________________________________________________________________________

Looking in the Wrong Mirror
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

Have you ever been into the fun house at a carnival or fair where the mirrors make you look distorted? Or perhaps you have seen your reflection in a shiny car on a sunny day. The image you behold is not the true image of you. As in a fun house mirror, Satan causes us to see ourselves ugly, disfigured and distorted. He keeps us looking into the wrong mirror because if we looked in the right mirror we would see ourselves the way God sees us -- beautiful!

We will see that we have been created in the image of God. And there is nothing bad, ugly or distorted about God. God Himself has said that we are the apple of His eye. (Psalm 17:8) In other words, we are a good sight to look at. God wants us to see ourselves as He sees us: loved, forgiven, saved, transformed and a thing of beauty.

Perhaps you have been looking in the wrong mirror; one that only reflects distortion.  Remember this: Everything God made is beautiful. When God created the world and everything that's in it, He said, "That's good." However, when He created us in His own image, He said, "That's very good." (Genesis 1:31)
__________________________________________________________________________________

Earthen Vessels
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels to show this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2 Corinthians 4:7)

The valuable messages of God have been entrusted to human beings:  earthen vessels or jars of clay.  Even though the container is frail and fallible, the focus is on the priceless contents: God's power dwelling in us.

Though we are weak, God uses us to spread the good news of the Gospel, and gives us power to do so. Knowing that we have no power on our own should keep us from pride and motivate us to keep daily contact with God who is our power source.
_____________________________________________________________________________

Jars of Clay
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2 Corinthians 4:7)

We, as human beings, are also called earthen vessels or "jars of clay."  We are called jars of clay because we are containers.  Even though the containers are perishable, the contents, on the other hand, are priceless. The treasure inside us is the power of God.  Though the container is weak, the contents keep the jars of clay strengthened. The treasure is the glorious message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The earthen vessel or jar of clay is the frail human body. 

Why would God design us so that as containers we are temporary, fragile, and weak, yet our contents are strong?  God wants us to know that the excellence of the power is God and not we ourselves.  God does not want us to be occupied with the human instrument, but rather with His own power and greatness. Therefore, He deliberately commits the gospel message to the weak so that all praise and glory MUST go to the Creator and not to the creature.
__________________________________________________________________________________

The Proper Processing of a Problem
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair. (2 Corinthians 4:8)

When a problem occurs, the worst thing we can do is panic. When we panic, then we have one more thing to deal with. The solution to our problem depends greatly on our initial reaction to the problem. Negative reactions will produce negative results.

When we have a problem, we tend to magnify it by thinking about it often. When we constantly think about a problem, we give it power. When we constantly talk about the problem, we give it even more power.

The best way to handle a problem is to admit the reality of the problem. Denying it will not help you. It will only prolong the process. Secondly, know that no matter how serious the problem is, it will not last forever. That, too, shall pass. Additionally, there are some things you can do about solving your own problem. Do those things. Then keep in mind that there are some things you cannot do. Leave those things to God. Remember God came to Hagar in the desert only after she had used up her own resources. (Genesis 21:8-21)

To summarize, the worst thing you can do with a problem is to panic first and then give the problem power by constantly focusing on it. Participate as much as you can to solve the problem as you turn it over to the problem solver...Jesus Christ!

FYI: The word "problem" is not found in any of the standard Bibles (KJV, NKJV, NIV, RSV, etc.) Why not? We generalize and call things problems whereas the Bible seeks to deal with the individual fallacy by its name (wickedness, sin, infirmity, affliction, poverty, etc.). Rather than labeling everything a problem, let's deal with the issue as positively as possible by calling it what it is.
__________________________________________________________________________________

Hard Pressed, But Not Crushed
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair: persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)

No matter how we try to avoid trouble; trouble finds us. Trouble, trials, conflicts, and struggles happen to us all. The way we deal with them depends on our knowledge of what the Bible says about being hard pressed on every side. Christians will suffer because of their strong identify with Christ. Hebrews 5:8 says Jesus needed to learn obedience through suffering. Since Jesus is our example, we too must suffer. Though Jesus was the Son of God, He endured the same frustrations in the flesh while in this world just as we do. Therefore, our suffering is linked to Jesus Christ.

Our sufferings remind us and others of Jesus' ultimate suffering. His death on the cross was for a greater good. So it is with us. We must suffer now for a greater good. No woman can delight in a newborn baby without experiencing the pains of labor. No man can produce a bountiful crop without the sweat from his brow as he plows the fields and labors long in the hot sun. At harvest time, he forgets the suffering but rejoices in his harvest.

Harvest time is coming for all of us . . . but only after the sufferings and the inconveniences. "Be not weary in well doing for in due season, you shall reap if you faint not" (Galatians 6:9).
__________________________________________________________________________________

So, What's Your Problem?
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. (2 Corinthians 4:17)

Paul had a thorn in his flesh. Jacob limped. Moses stuttered. David took what didn't belong to him. David lied. David murdered. Solomon was married to 700 women and had 300 concubines. Ahab was henpecked. Jezebel was wicked. When she died the dogs ate up her body except her skull, the palm of her hands and the soles of her feet. Jeremiah was the weeping prophet. Peter frequently put his foot in his mouth. Thomas doubted. Esau thought more of food than his birthright. Hannah was teased and taunted. Elijah had a pity party. Elisha cursed 42 children and they were killed by a bear because they called him a bald head. Joseph was sold into slavery.

Noah got drunk and his sons saw him naked. Miriam had leprosy. Mephibosheth was crippled. Saul was jealous over David. Saul, his sons and his servant died on the same day. Lot's wife turned to a pillar of salt. Job lost all his wealth, ten children and was afflicted with sores all on the same day. The earth swallowed up the sons of Korah.

Jacob was a trickster until he discovered his uncle, Laban, was a greater trickster. Rachel lied to her father, was cursed and died in childbirth. Hagar was mistreated by Sarah, and the father of her child put her out with barely enough to eat or drink. Eli was nearly blind and when he heard the news of the death of his evil sons he fell backward and broke his neck. Jonah pouted. Hosea was commanded to marry a prostitute. Ezekiel was commanded not to mourn his beloved wife. Ezekiel had to sleep on one side half a year and the other side the other half of the year. Ezekiel was commanded to cook his food using human dung as fuel. Barak was so afraid that a woman had to fight his battle.

Leah had weak eyes. A certain man was blind from birth. A certain woman had an issue of blood.  A certain woman ran out of meal. A certain woman was threatened that her children had to go to a debtor's prison. A certain widow's only son died. Jairus' daughter was sick. Peter's mother-in-law had a high fever. Dorcas died and Peter brought her back to life. Lazarus died and was stinking before Jesus brought him back to life. Tamar was raped by her brother; then that brother was killed by another brother. Jephthah made a stupid vow and had to sacrifice his only daughter.

Mary Magdalene was tormented with seven demons. Sarah, Hannah, Rachel and Elizabeth were barren. Jesus was crucified on a cross. Peter was crucified upside down on a cross. Jeremiah was put down a well. Other prophets were sawed in two and boiled in hot oil. Zedekiah and Samson's eyes were gouged out. Judas killed himself. John was banished to the isle of Patmos. Stephen was stoned. John the Baptist and Paul were beheaded.

So what's your problem? You stumped your toe? You broke a fingernail?
__________________________________________________________________________________

Looking Beyond the Pain
For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

No matter how painful a situation is, you must look beyond the pain. When you endure pain of any degree, you should remember three things. (1) The pain is real. And there is no denying it. (2) The pain is temporary. It will not last forever. Focusing on the pain will only intensify it. (3) There is something worthwhile beyond the pain.

Any woman who has ever had a baby will tell you that labor itself is painful. But does that woman remember all the pain she went through when she sees the baby for the first time? Does she remember the pain when the baby begins to crawl, walk and talk? Does she remember and recount every painful detail when she sees her son or daughter walk across the stage to receive a high school diploma or a college degree? By the time these events take place, the woman no longer think about the pain she endured to have that child.

We should think of every painful experience this way. Additionally, we should remember it was a painful experience for Jesus to die on the cross on Good Friday, but Resurrection Day came. Now we can look beyond the pain of Jesus' suffering to the benefits His death made possible for us. When we go through our own personal suffering, we can look beyond it for we know that it is just a slight momentary affliction compared to what comes beyond the pain.
_____________________________________________________________________________

Seeing From the Perspective of Eternity
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18)

Have you ever wondered why the Bible indicates that Job received everything back double except his ten children? This has perplexed Bible students, but the explanation is simple. Originally Job had seven sons and three daughters. They died as well as all of Job's animals during Job's testing period. (Job 1: 18-19) However, Job never lost his integrity because he saw his plight from the perspective of eternity. He knew he would see his ten children again.

Those things, including his animals, that Job received double were for this earth only. They were not eternal things. The ten children God blessed him with were not a replacement for the dead children. They were in addition to the ten who had gone to be with God. Job knew without a shadow of a doubt that he would see all twenty of his children in heaven. Therefore, by faith Job saw from the perspective of eternity that his children were doubled; ten original ones and the ten new ones God gave him during his restoration.

God wants us to see from the perspective of eternity. What we have on earth is temporal. What we will have in heaven will be eternal. When we see from the perspective of eternity, we can say like Job, "I know my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes; I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!" (Job 19:25-27)
__________________________________________________________________________________

Horizon Eyes
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. (2 Corinthians 4:18)

What are "horizon eyes" and who has them? Horizon eyes belong to visionaries. Those are the people who see a need and fill it. Those are the people who take lemons and make lemonade. Those are the people who see their problems as possibilities. Those are the people who look beyond their present situation and see God's ultimate plan for their lives.

Horizon eyes are the eyes of faith, that substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). When horizon eyes turn toward God and His promises, they no longer focus on discouragement, fear, pessimism and anger. Horizon eyes look beyond these negatives and see only the positives based on God's promises.

Let's fix our eyes not on what is perplexing us today. Let's look toward the horizon and see God's promises far off and move steadily toward them through the power of the Holy Spirit.

God has great plans for you. But you must have horizon eyes to see above and beyond your present circumstances.
__________________________________________________________________________________

Flip This House
For we know that if our earthly house, this tent is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in heaven. (2 Corinthians 5:1)

There is a television program that Aaron, my son-in-law, loves to watch since he is in the business of selling houses. "Flip This House" is a reality show that focuses on real estate investors buying the most rundown dilapidated houses they can find and over the course of a few weeks transforming and selling them as profitable properties.

In the Bible, the word "house" is a metaphor for one's body. As long as we are on earth, we will live in a house. Even though we want our house to be in order, that is not always the case. We allow our house to become rundown and dilapidated and unfit to live in when we do things that are not pleasing to God. Even though we have contaminated our house with sin and evil doings, God allows our house to be flipped. God knows there is something inside that can be salvaged; something that can be restored to a thing of beauty.

There are times when we need to cry out to God to "Flip this house." We need to let God know we don't like the way we are living and our house needs to be put in order. It needs to be renovated, refurbished, restored and renewed.

God will not send a team in to renovate our house until we say the words. Let's say them now: "FLIP THIS HOUSE."

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Five Types of Faith
We live by FAITH and not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

To say you have faith is like saying you belong to a church. Which one?  When people say they have faith, everyone is telling the truth. Because God has given everyone "a measure of faith."  (Romans 12:3) Faith is a belief in or confident attitude toward God that should result in a commitment to His will for your life. Faith should be a key element in our spiritual lives. In other words, "the just should live by faith." (Habakkuk 2:4)

Faith covers various levels of personal commitment. Even though faith can be categorized in many ways, here are five major types of faith. They can overlap, and people can experience more than one type at a time. And at times, some people might feel that none of them are working.
  • DOCTRINAL FAITH. Faith based on the teachings of the Bible. (Jude 3)
  • SAVING FAITH. Faith resulting from having confessed that Jesus died and was resurrected from the dead in order for you to have eternal life. (Romans 10:9-10)
  • JUSTIFYING FAITH.  Belief you have been forgiven by God just as if you had never sinned. (1 John 1:9)
  • INDWELLING FAITH.  Practicing the presence of God by walking moment-by-moment in communion wih God. (Psalm 23:4)
  • DAILY FAITH. Knowing God is meeting your needs on a daily basis even when it is not evident. (Matthew 6:11)
Genuine faith is your personal attachment to God. Genuine faith is your umbilical cord to God's grace.  Genuine faith is your reliance on God and your commitment to God.

How great is your faith? It really depends on which kind!
__________________________________________________________________________________

Why Christians Recite Daily Affirmations
For we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

An affirmation is a positive assertion. Within the word "affirmation" is the smaller word "firm." Therefore, to affirm something means to shape up or firm up that which is crumbling. It also means to stand on a promise because it is valid.  How long are you to stand on your affirmation? You stand on your afFIRMation until it is conFIRMed.

An affirmation is different from a "name it and claim it" statement. Christians who recite daily affirmations should base them on God's promises and His purposes. We should state positively and forcefully that which God has already promised. Has God promised you good health? Affirm: "I am healthy." Has God promised you eternal life? Affirm: "I am saved by Jesus' death on the cross." Has God promised you an abundant life? Affirm: "I am living abundantly."

Reciting daily biblical affirmations is simply asserting, declaring, and avowing what God has already done for us through His Son. When we recite a biblical affirmation, we are letting God know we are taking it personally.  We are acknowledging to God that we receive and we thank Him in advance for the many wonderful things that are happening in our lives.

When we recite an affirmation, we might not see the manifestation of it until later. We affirm by holding fast that which God has promised, and we leave it up to God to work out the details.

In writing or speaking an affirmation, keep these points in mind:
  1. The affirmation is short.
  2. The affirmation is a statement; not a question. A question casts doubt.
  3. The affirmation contains only one main assertion; no this and that or multiple choices.
  4. Use the personal pronoun "I." This is an individual thing unless you are in a corporate or church setting. Then it becomes "We" when all agree. The above scripture is a corporate affirmation: "We walk by faith, not by sight."
  5. Use the present tense as if you already have the thing desired.
  6. All affirmations should be positive. Refrain from using words such as "not" or "never."
    Affirming is adding faith to that which is desired until it is manifested. Affirming is living by faith and not by sight.  As long as it lines up with God's word, keep affirming until that which you desire is truly a reality.
    __________________________________________________________________________________

    "Walking By Faith" OR "Living By Faith"?
    For we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7 KJV)
    We live by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7 NIV)

    Most modern versions of the Bible say, "We live by faith, not by sight." The older versions of the Bible, specifically the King James Version say, "We walk by faith, not by sight." What's the difference?
     
    The verb "walk" reflects our lifestyle, our conduct, our behavior, and our manner of living. Therefore, to walk by faith indicates how we live.
     
    However, to say, "We live by faith and not by sight" takes into account not only our walk but our talk and everything else that we do. While there appears to be a slight limitation on "walking by faith," there are no limitations when it comes to "living by faith." Walking is only part of what we do; living is all that we do.
     
    Actually, 2 Corinthians 5:7 is one of Paul's aside. That means he turns away from his argument about dying and inserts this brief statement before continuing his argument. The King James Version has this short verse in parenthesis to let us know that it was Paul's commentary about his argument rather than the argument itself.
     
    Whether you are "walking by faith" or "living by faith" you are trusting in the invisible rather than the visible and in the spiritual rather than the natural and in the unseen rather than the seen.
     
    Whether you are "walking by faith" or "living by faith" you are trusting God who is more powerful than you could ever be. If you are in doubt about what to do, do both. Walk by faith AND Live by faith.

    __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________



    Living Supernaturally
    We live by faith, not by sight.  (2 Corinthians 5:7)

    What is meant by "living by faith, not by sight."  Living by faith means living supernaturally in the spirit, not in the flesh.  It means being IN the world but not OF the world.  It means rising ABOVE our circumstances looking toward the author and finisher of our faith.  It means fixing our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen (2 Corinthians 4:18).

    Why should we live supernaturally?  We should live supernaturally because God commanded us to live by faith, not by sight. It is written that we should live in the natural world with supernatural attitudes.  God made us in His own image with supernaturally abilities.  We are to operate on God's behalf by letting God work through us in supernaturally ways.

    When people use the expressions, "That's just the way I am" or "I'm doing what comes naturally" they are really admitting that they have fallen short of God's original plan for their lives.  We are not to live in the natural.  We are to live supernaturally by letting God control us in every area of our lives.
    __________________________________________________________________________________

     

    A Touch of Reality
    We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8)

    Last Thursday and Friday, I facilitated a workshop "Kingdom Principles for Kingdom People" at the Chickahominy Annual Baptist Association where 11 churches came together for a conference. The first day of the conference during my two-hour workshop, one of the participants died right then and right there in the church pew. It was sudden and unexpected.
     
    Needless to say, the events of the day impacted me to a great extent. It is not that I don't know about death because surely I do.  It is not that I was afraid, upset, panicky, or any of those things. However, even with a degree in English, I couldn't find a word to adequately describe my feelings. It wasn't until the second day of the conference  during the morning devotion that I was able to sort out my feelings. As soon as I heard the expression, "a touch of reality" I knew that described my feelings. It was only after I could attach an expression to it that I could put the details of the day into perspective.
     
    All of us need a touch of reality. All of us need to know that we are mere mortals and at any moment God could call us home. With all those people in the workshop, any one of us could have gone home to be with the Lord that day. A touch a reality lets me know it could have been me.

    Do a reality check to make sure you are ready for the appointment you must keep; an appointment you must keep on schedule; one that cannot be cancelled or postponed. You don't know the day or the hour. It could happen at anytime. Be ready when it does!
     
    Make sure you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Make sure your name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life. (Revelation 21:27)


    Five Things God Says You Must Do
    For we MUST all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ... (2 Corinthians 5:10)

    All Christians theologically do not agree on the same things. There are some things Christians can disagree on without sustaining spiritual damage. Those things include capital punishment, war, politics, etc. However, in order to be a true Christian, there are several "Must" statements in the Bible. Five of them are listed below.
    1. "Marvel not that I said to you, you MUST be born again." (John 3:7). If this condition is not met, don't even try to go on to the other four.
    2. "He that cometh to God MUST believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." (Hebrews 11:6). Every believer must live according to God's sovereignty.
    3. "They that worship HIm, MUST worship Him in Spirit and in truth." (John 4:24) If you love God as you say you do, then honor and worship Him.
    4. "He must increase, but I MUST decrease." (John 3:30) In order to grow spiritually, you must decrease self and submit wholeheartedly to God.
    5. "For we all MUST appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ..." (2 Corinthians 5:10) Whether you have done all these things or not, you MUST appear before Christ to be judged on every thought, word and deed you have done on earth. Even sinners appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ.
    These are the five things God says you MUST do in order to be right with Him. If you are not right with God, do so now by accepting His Son as your Savior and Lord.
    __________________________________________________________________________________

    Five Things We Must Do To Have a Relationship With God

    Christians, theologians, seminarians, and many lay people have debates about the Bible, but there are five things on which all will agree we MUST have in order to have a relationship with God.

    "Marvel not that I said to you, you MUST be born again" (John 3:7). We MUST be transformed by the Holy Spirit from within.

    "He that comes to God MUST believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6).  Every believer MUST believe in the sovereignty and Deity of God.

    "They that worship God, MUST worship Him in Spirit and in truth" (John 4:24).  True believers MUST learn to worship God in the Spirit as well as in truth.

    In order to grow strong in the Lord, we MUST submit to God in every area of our lives.  "He MUST increase, but I MUST decrease" (John 3:30). We MUST put more emphasis on God's kingdom than on our own achievements.

    To maintain a healthy relationship with God, we MUST learn the holy attitude of our accountability to Him.  "For we MUST all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in His body, according to that he has done whether it be good or bad" (2 Corinthians 5:10). We all MUST give an account and will be rewarded based on how we have lived.
    __________________________________________________________________________________

    Heaven is Big Enough For All Of Us
    Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

    A story is told about a woman who was quite upset because her unsaved husband cheated on her. She was given the advice to forgive her husband and pray for his salvation. She replied, "I don't want him in heaven with me." The woman missed the point. What, then, is the point? The point is her husband will not be the same creature after salvation. He will be saved and will want to do the things of God because his old cheating desires will pass away. The couple will be able to relate to each other spiritually. The old cheating husband will become the new loving worshipping husband. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

    Some people are just like that wife who didn't want her husband saved because she didn't want him in heaven with her. Some people hate their enemies so much that they want them to live eternally in torment in fire and brimstone with gnashing of teeth.

    Jesus was clear when He said, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. (Matthew 5:44)

    Let us begin today to pray for the salvation of our enemies. Heaven is big enough for all of us.

    P.S. More advice for that wife:  Your husband on earth will NOT be your husband in heaven because there is no marriage (Matthew 22:30). We will all be one big family. So we might as well start getting along with each us now.
    __________________________________________________________________________________

    Lessons From the Butterfly
    Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)

    The butterfly is the most beautiful and graceful of all the insects. Some poets call butterflies "winged flowers" and flying gems."  It is hard to believe that the beautiful butterfly was once a harmful caterpillar destroying millions of dollars worth of crops every year. Butterflies are beautiful and useful carrying pollen from flower to flower. Butterflies do not grow in size as they become older. Small butterflies stay small. Large butterflies were always large. With over 90,000 different butterflies throughout the world, the largest butterfly is the Queen Alexandra birdwing in New Guinea having a wingspread of about 11 inches.

    Like a new Christian, every butterfly goes through stages. During each stage, the appearance and behavior change, and it leads a different kind of life. This process for the butterfly is called metamorphosis. This process for the Christian is called conversion.  God takes something not so beautiful (our sinfulness) and transforms it into something beautiful and useful (a changed and righteous life).

    Learn lessons from the butterfly. God can take you through a metamorphosis where He will make you both beautiful and useful. Notice that in order for the butterfly to fly, it must have two wings. In order for us to be changed, we must rely on two wings. One is the realization of our weakness, and the other is the realization of God's power.  With that in mind, every Christian should be able to exclaim, "I believe I can fly!"
    __________________________________________________________________________________

    Inside Out
    Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

    Spiritual growth involves change.  In order to grow spiritually, we need to become more like Christ and less like ourselves. We need to be changed on the inside. Experiencing real change involves more than changing our outward appearances with toupees, wigs, face lifts, and other physical cosmetic changes.

    Real change takes place on the inside in the quiet recesses of our hearts.  However, the evidence of that change shows up on the outside for all to see.  If you want to make a real spiritual change, stop trying to cover up who you really are. Be honest and allow God to change you His way: from the "inside out."
    __________________________________________________________________________________

    "Save" NOT "Save As"
    Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
     
    All computer users know the term "Save," and we have all probably learned the hard way of not saving our documents periodically. In some computer programs, there is a feature called "Autosave" where the computer saves documents automatically. Then there is a feature called "Save As" used when you want to keep the original document AS IS while you make changes to that same document with a different name.

    Well, those are computer terms and features. In God's kingdom, there is just "Save" NOT "Save As" and NOT "Autosave." After we confess Jesus as Lord of our lives, there is absolutely no way we can remain the same (and who would want to?).  In time, your urge to do those ungodly things will be DELETED and more godly thing will be INSERTED. You will change as you develop a relationship with Jesus. You will be set apart from that old negative crowd. In time, you will grow more toward a life in Christ living by the Spirit instead of by the flesh.

    It's a good thing to use the "Save As" feature on your computer. No such thing should exist in the Kingdom of God. Every new Christian is like a new document with unlimited possibilities!
    __________________________________________________________________________________

    A Kaleidoscope Life
    Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

    A kaleidoscope is a small tube in which mirrors reflect light transmitted through bits of loose colored glass contained at one end, causing them to appear as symmetrical designs when viewed at the other end. It is a constantly changing set of colors. Our lives should be like kaleidoscopes. Every time something happens to us or for us, our lives change. When Jesus Christ is at the center, our lives become more beautiful because the light is shining through. We should see our lives changing right before our eyes. We better with each series of changing phases or events.

    We are to grow from our experiences, whether the experiences are good or bad. There is always to a lesson to be learned. The dynamics change with each new lesson. Therefore, you should welcome changes and let those changes reflect the new you . . . with Jesus Christ as the center of your life.
    __________________________________________________________________________________

    One Reason God Doesn't Use You
    All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:18)

    How many times have you heard people pray, "O God, use me!"? How many times have you yourself prayed, "O God, use me!"? God wants to use you. But do you know why He doesn't use you in a greater capacity? You might be surprised to know one of the main reasons God doesn't use you even though you are faithful to Him.

    God made everyone in His own image (Genesis 1:26). However, He made each one of us unique with different gifts, skills, personalities, attitudes, wants and desires. Then God, in His awesomeness, put a special lock in each heart with only one key to fit it. Only God holds that key, and we can get that key from no one else but God. We try to be like T.D. Jakes. But his key doesn't fit our lock. We try to look, act, and sound like Joyce Meyer. Her key doesn't fit our lock. We to talk like and do what Benny Hinn does. That's his ministry. His key can't fit our lock. While we are so busy trying to be like others with established ministries, we neglect the ministry that God has given us.  And yes, God has given everyone a ministry. He has given each of us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18). Therefore, we each have a responsibility to help others to be reconciled to God.

    We neglect our own ministry when we try to be like others. Three things happen when we miss doing what God wants us to do. (1) We do not please God.  (2) We are never at peace. (3) We neglect the people who are waiting for us to minister to them. How awful if these people continue to be lost!

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with supporting television evangelists and going to their conferences but not to the extent that it takes away from your own personal ministry. While God wants to speak to you in a quiet place, He can't find you because you are out getting second hand revelations. God wants to give you your own revelations.

    One reason God doesn't use you is because you are not allowing Him to speak to you personally through His book...the Bible. Instead, you read about God in books written by others. Again, that's a second hand account.  Let God speak to you directly. Let Him speak to you in person and up close. Use your own key that will unlock your own revelations based on your own special gift and uniqueness.

    Do you want to be used by God in a greater capacity? Get your own revelations that only God can give.
    __________________________________________________________________________________

    Christ Was Made Sin
    God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

    We often thank Jesus for taking on our sins, and indeed He did do that. But have you ever considered that Jesus did more than merely take on our sins on the cross?

    What happened to Jesus on the cross is known as imputation. God made him to be sin so there could be a divine exchange. Jesus became sin so that we could become righteousness. Sin was credited to Jesus' account to keep it from being on our account. We needed to pay a debt that we couldn't pay, but Jesus was made sin to pay our debt in full!

    When we say Jesus took on our sins, we are minimizing the situation. Jesus did more than take on our sins; Jesus became sin. Jesus did more than take on our sins; the cumulative sins of the whole world past, present, and future were poured into Him not just onto Him. He paid the price as if He were guilty of the sum total; yet He was guilty of none. Jesus did more than just take on our sin; Jesus became so saturated with our sin that He became sin through and through.

    And how did that happen? God made it happen. God made Jesus into sin so we could be made into righteousness. It doesn't seem like a fair exchange, does it? When we exchange something, we exchange it for the same or a greater value. Jesus traded His immeasurable worth for our immeasurable worthlessness.

    Let's teach that Jesus didn't just take on our sins, Jesus was made sin by God so that we could be made righteous. What a divine exchange!
    __________________________________________________________________________________

    How to Know You Are In God's Favor
    I tell you, now is the time of God's favor. (2 Corinthians 6:2)

    God's favor simply means the attention God gives us and the blessings God bestows upon us. God's love for us is God's favor upon us. God's favor shows up in various ways. Sometimes we take God's favor for granted.

    The word "favorite" comes from the word "favor." Anything that you consider your favorite is that which you pay close attention to. Anything that is your favorite gets your undivided love and affection. We are God's favorites; therefore, He gives us new mercies every morning (Lamentations 3:23). We are God's favorites; therefore He lavishes His love on us (Deuteronomy 5:10). We are God's favorites; therefore, He gives us those benefits listed in Psalm 103.

    How to know you are in God's favor? Being able to read this E-Message is an indication that you are in God's favor. Being able to live, move and have your being is a good indication that you are in God's favor.

    It is at this point that it is all right to say, "Hallelujah!" and thank God for His favor.
    __________________________________________________________________________________

    The Time Is Now
    I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2)

    Have you ever put off doing something you knew you should do? Have you delayed the process for reasons valid and reasons not so valid? All of us procrastinate; some more than others. However, God is calling each of us to do something, and He is calling us to do it NOW!

    The timing of what we should do is just as important as the act itself. When God tells us to do something, unless He specifies a time period it should be obvious that the time is NOW. It is not that we will finish what we are called to do, but we should start and God will give further instructions as we go.

    When God spoke to Abram, He didn't mention a time. He said, "Get thee out of thy country and go to a place I will show you." And Abram did it then without hesitating or procrastinating. (Genesis 12:1-4) When God guided Joshua across the Jordan and the conquering of Jericho, He was more specific with time periods. (Joshua 3-6)

    The hindrance to making progress in your life might be because you have neglected to do the one thing God has called you to do. God is waiting to see if you can be trusted with that one thing before He can trust you with other assignments. In these last days, it is important to do what God is calling us to do. It is also extremely important to do it in a timely manner.

    Remember, delayed obedience is disobedience. When God gives instructions without specifying a time, then the time is NOW.
    __________________________________________________________________________________

    Getting Around To It
    Behold, now is the accepted time . . . (2 Corinthians 6:2)

    How many times have you said you would do something "when I get around to it"? Undoubtedly, you have said that so many times.  Now your "around to it" projects have piled up. They have been delayed and put aside long enough.

    Today has been designed "Around To It Day." Whatever you have been delaying or postponing, decide to do something about it today. The first step in doing anything is to decide to do it. It is to fix your mind and heart upon that particular thing. Then, the other steps will be easier. The journey of a thousand miles begins with that first step. A novel of a hundred pages begins with the writing of that first line.

    So, whatever you have been putting off until you get around to it, know that today is "Around To It Day." Get busy and do that which will free your mind to think about things other than what you have postponed for months or even years.

    Be liberated in your mind so you can focus on the things of God and not the backed up and half-finished projects in your garage or basement.
    __________________________________________________________________________________

    Just Browsing
    NOW is the acceptable time; behold NOW is the day of salvation.  (2 Corinthians 6:2)

    How many times have you gone to a department store just to check out the latest fashions or to see what was on the clearance rack? Then the store clerk politely asked, "May I help you?"  You smiled back and said, "Just browsing!" If that clerk sees you in the store on a regular basis and receives the same answer time and time again, the clerk is going to wonder why you ALWAYS browse but NEVER buy.  "Just browsing" in the long run is neither beneficial for the clerk nor for you. Sometimes you should leave the store with something.

    How many of you go to church Sunday after Sunday "just browsing" instead of  leaving with something? When the worship service begins, you "just browse." When the prayers are prayed you don't enter in . . . . you "just browse."  When the songs are sung, you "just browse." When the preacher preaches, you don't open up your heart to let the words sink in . . . you "just browse." You come to church empty, and you leave empty because you have been "just browsing."

    Your browsing time should be over.  Now is the time to make a commitment to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.  The price has already been paid.  It is time to accept the gift and leave the store with the package in your hand. It is time to start leaving the church with Jesus in your heart.
    __________________________________________________________________________________

    Walking Temples
    For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said, "I will dwell in them, and walk in them. I will be their God, and they shall be my people." (2 Corinthians 6:16b)

    Most church doors are locked by the sexton after the Sunday Morning Worship Service and are not opened again until Wednesday night. In some rural areas, the service is every other Sunday. In the meantime, the people scatter into the community and return when the doors are unlocked again. We have our 1-2 hour service, go back into the community only to return when the doors are unlocked to do it all over again.  Ideally, the church should NEVER close. The church should always be open for sick spirits just as hospitals and nursing facilities are open 24 hours, 7 days every week for sick physical bodies.  More provisions are made for us to shop at the Walmart's Super Stores and 7-11's than for us to worship God as a community of faith.

    God in His mercy made provisions for locked church buildings. In His divine wisdom, He knew this would happen. Therefore, He created mobile temples. All believers are walking temples with God dwelling within. The word "church" is in the New Testament 115 times, mostly in the Book of Acts and the epistles. At least 92 of these times, the word refers to the local congregation. The other references are to all believers throughout all generations.  The church consists of those who follow Christ.

    "Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" (1 Corinthians 3:16) The church building might be locked, the lights might be off, the pulpit might be silent, but God's work continues through His people. We should never sing "We Are the World" because "We Are the Church," and we never close. We are walking temples!
    __________________________________________________________________________________

    An Overflow of Giving
    Though they have been going through much trouble and hard times, they have mixed their wonderful joy with their deep poverty, and the result has been an overflow of giving to others. (2 Corinthians 8:2)

    The Corinthian believers excelled in everything. They had faith, good speech, much knowledge, and much love. Paul wanted them to excel in another area: their giving. Since giving is a natural response to love, Paul wanted to encourage the Corinthians to prove that their love was sincere. When you love people, you want to give them your time and attention and to provide for their needs. If you refuse to help, your love is not as genuine as you say.

    God is pleased with personal giving. Every Christian should have a "Give-O-Meter" in his or her heart. An overflow of giving should be in proportion to our love for others and the upbuilding of God's kingdom here on earth. People should give according to what God has given them while realizing that God give to us so that we can give to others.

    Check your "Give-O-Meter." When is the last time you have given as an expression of your love? When is the last time you have given when it wasn't a holiday, a birthday, or an anniversary? When is the last time you have given when your "Give-O-Meter" summoned you to do so?
    __________________________________________________________________________________

    Blaming Others
    We intend that no one should blame us about this, for we intend to do what is right not only in the Lord's sight but also in the sight of others. (2 Corinthians 8:20)

    When something goes wrong in our lives, the first thing we do is to blame others. When we are not satisfied with the way we live our lives, we blame others. When marriages fail, marriage counselors ask the woman how she was treated by her father and the man how he was treated by his mother. Psychiatrists encourage their patients to get to the bottom of what caused them misery as children. They say the root of the problem stems from childhood. Yet things happen today that trigger emotions that might have been buried deep within us. They suggest that someone or something in our past is the blame for our present troubles.

    While the above definitely has merit, there is something else to consider. No matter how bad our childhood was, we must stop blaming others. Because you can't balance your checkbook today should not be blamed on your high school math teacher. Every time you burn your dinner, it is not your home economics teacher's fault. Life gives us opportunities to take responsibility and live according to God's word without blaming others. When we blame others, we only block our own progress.

    So stop blaming others! Who is the only person who has been with YOU in every situation all YOUR life?  It's YOU! Perhaps the key to unlocking all YOUR problems is YOU. Take an inventory of YOUR own life and see what changes YOU can make in order for YOU to enjoy a more fulfilling life without blaming others for YOUR faults and failures.
    __________________________________________________________________________________

    God Will Make It Up To You
    God is able to make it up to you by giving you everything you need and more  . . . (2 Corinthians 9:8)

    Have you ever been cheated and you know you have been cheated?  Have you ever received unfair treatment from family, friends, co-workers, bosses, etc.?  If so, you are not alone.  All people have undoubtedly received some unjust treatment from someone during their lifetime.  Our response to this unfair treatment should be, "That's all right God will make it up to me."  God always compensates us for what is missing in our lives; especially those things that others have taken from us through no fault of our own.

    If a spouse has mistreated you, go ahead cry for a little while, but do not let it monopolize you to the extent that it keeps you from doing God's work for God has said in His word, that He will make it up to you.  If you did not get that raise that you know you deserve, get over it.  God will make up the difference.   For any setbacks you are experiencing right now, take a deep breath and say, "God will make it up to me."
    _____________________________________________________________________________

    God Will Make It Up To You
    God is able to make it up to you by giving you everything you need and more  . . . 2 Corinthians 9:8 TLB

    Have you ever been cheated and you know you have been cheated?  Have you ever received unfair treatment from family, friends, co-workers, bosses, etc.?  If so, you are not alone.  All people have undoubtedly received some unjust treatment from someone during their lifetime.  Our response to this unfair treatment should be, "That's all right God will make it up to me."  God always compensates us for what is missing in our lives; especially those things that others have taken from us through no fault of our own.

    If a spouse has mistreated you, go ahead cry for a little while, but do not let it monopolize you to the extent that it keeps you from doing God's work for God has said in His word, that He will make it up to you.  If you did not get that raise that you know you deserve, get over it.  God will make up the difference.   For any setbacks you are experiencing right now, take a deep breath and say, "God will make it up to me."
    __________________________________________________________________________________

    Grace 101
    And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)

    The moment we became Christians, we were accepted into God's School of Grace. Our introductory course was justification by faith into God's grace. Throughout the rest of our Christian lives here on earth and in eternity, we we will  constantly be taking new courses in Grace.

    The first lesson to learn in Grace 101 is that everything we will ever need has already been provided by God's grace.  Our challenge is to stop asking God to bless us because He already has. Grace 101 teaches us that we should use what we already possess. God opened up an account in the Bank of Grace and placed all spiritual resources there for us. Our responsibility is to make withdrawals. Grace 101 teaches us that we are spiritual millionaires; yet we live like spiritual paupers.

    Learn from Grace 101 and know that you have been "blessed with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3).
    _____________________________________________________________________________

    God at the Checkout Counter
    Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. (2 Corinthians 9:15)

    How much thought and preparation do you put into the gifts you give? Notice I did not say anything about how much money you put into the gifts. During this season of shopping and buying and giving gifts of every kind, here are some things to think about.

    Give gifts that have lasting values instead of those that have only a short life span. Make an investment into the person's spiritual, intellectual, or emotional growth. Give a gift that produces fruit within the receiver. (Examples include inspirational books, tapes, CD's, videos).

    Think of the person's personality, and give a wholesome gift that would enrich and enhance what the person already possesses. (Examples include software for people who already have computers, candle holders for people who frequently burn candles or candles for those who already have the holders). In other words, add to what the person has instead of giving an entirely new trinket.

    Actually, there is nothing wrong with simply asking the person what he or she wants or asking for the person's wish list.  It is a better alternative than having the receiver secretly returning your gift the day after Christmas.

    Never give a gift without first dedicating it to God. Then consecrate it and offer a blessing for both the giver and the receiver. If the gift is not worth this action, then it is not worth giving.
    Never give a gift that you are not willing to receive yourself. In fact, a good rule is to buy two; one for the person and one for you.

    Give from the heart and try not to base what you give on what you think someone will give you. Gift giving should not be a gift matching endeavor. Let love be the basis for all your gift giving.

    This is the best rule of all:  Give a gift that would pass God's inspection?  Would you be ashamed of what you have bought if God was at the checkout counter? Would you be embarrassed if His eyes met yours as you prepared to pay for your selections? What would happen if God trashed your purchases because He knew you couldn't afford them or if you bought them with impure motives?

    Know that God is at every checkout counter. He is not waiting to take your check, cash or credit card. What He offers you is a free gift; a gift that meets all the criteria above. What He offers is a lasting investment into your future. It fits your personality. It enhances what you already have. It has been dedicated and consecrated. It is filled with love and it is worth giving.

    God is at the checkout counter not only to check your purchases but to give you the gift that keeps on giving. He gives you His only begotten Son Jesus Christ. Accept Christ as your Savior and Lord! He is the best gift of all!
    __________________________________________________________________________________

    Gift Suggestions
    Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15)

    Gift giving is the act of bestowing a favor or an item on another person without expecting anything in return. The purpose of a gift may be to honor (2 Samuel 8:2; Daniel 2:48), to celebrate (Revelation 11:10), or simply to bestow favor or help (Esther 9:22).  God is the giver of every good and perfect gift (Matthew 7:11; James 1:5, 17) including eternal life (Romans 6:23). This Christmas, put some thought into the gifts you give for your giving is a gift from God. Everyone doesn't have the compassion or the means to give.

    When you realize the background of gift giving, it might become more sacred not only to the giver but also to the receiver.  We give gifts at Christmas time to celebrate the birth of Jesus. The wise men gave Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Many times people give gifts just for the sake of giving.  Never give a gift that you yourself don't want or would be proud to own.  Gift giving should be from the heart rather than from the pocketbook. It is not the expense of the gift that counts but the personal expressions behind the giving. As Christians, we should never try to outdo someone else but to let our gifts be a reflection of the good taste we have.

    Next Christmas, why not introduce someone to God's indescribable gift? Give Jesus: the Gift that keeps on giving.
    __________________________________________________________________________________

    Length and Limitation
    Neither do we go beyond our limits by boasting of work done by others. (2 Corinthians 10:15)

    Just as everyone has strengths and weaknesses, everyone has lengths and limitations.

    What is a length? A length is the degree or expansion to where you can go. A length is the extent to where you can take a course of action.  A length is the full measure to which you can be stretched.

    What is a limitation? A limitation is the stopping point at the length that you have gone.  When you have taken something to the limit, that's as far as you can go. You have accomplished the utmost extent. You have done the maximum. Your limit is an imaginary line drawn in the sand. You cannot cross that line no matter what you do.

    To summarize, a length is the extent to which you can be stretched as long as you have power. A limitation is the stopping point because there is no power left.

    Perhaps you have been stretched and have gone the last mile of the way in the power of God. Know that God also honors and ordains limitations. Don't be afraid to say, "I've done all I can do concerning this matter." Then move on because somebody else's lengths might surpass your limitations.

    It is wise to know your LENGTHS (how far you can go). It is just as wise to know your LIMITATIONS (how far you can't go).
    __________________________________________________________________________________

    Reliving Life's Experiences
    The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you, do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." (2 Corinthians 11:23b-25)

    I had a very pleasant dinner Sunday evening with friends. On Tuesday I went back to that same Chinese Restaurant and ordered the identical foods I had eaten Sunday evening. Why? To relive the experience!

    We do it all the time. We wear the same clothes that we wore on a happy occasion to help us relive the experience. We listen to music to remind us of the time we hear it before. We travel the same way to work because of the memories. We savor our wonderful experiences by doing some of the same things to bring back fond memories.

    We relive the experience Jesus shared with His disciples every time we eat the bread and drink the cup. We remember when Jesus instituted this ordinance and the reason He did so. We can't help but think back to the first time it was done as we look forward with anticipation to the time when we will not need to partake of the elements that symbolize the body of Christ and His shed blood. We will be with Jesus Himself when He returns.

    Until then, we relive the experience of Jesus saving us every time we eat the bread and drink the cup.
    __________________________________________________________________________________

    Life Is Not Without Conflicts
    But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9)

    The average person does not want conflicts. The average person does not like conflicts. The average person does not welcome conflicts. But guess what? No life is without conflicts. Abraham had them. Moses had them. David had them. Paul had them. Jesus had them. And you will have them as well.

    A conflict is a mental struggle resulting from opposing needs, wishes, or demands. A conflict exists when you want one thing and your partner, boss, pastor, teacher, family member or friend wants something else. No life is without conflicts because people have different interests, ideas, and priorities.

    Abraham dealt with his conflict by allowing Sarah to handle it. WRONG move, Abraham! Moses dealt with his conflict until he ran out of excuses and defaulted to God's guidance. David's life was full of conflicts; yet, he is still known as "a man after God's own heart." (1 Samuel 13:14) David repented for his sins, cried out to God, and kept in harmony with God which prevented discord to dominate his life. Paul had a conflict known as "a thorn in his flesh." After praying three times about it, God said to him, "My grace is sufficient for you and my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9) Paul accepted the thorn in his flesh and went on with the business of preaching, teaching and writing letters to the churches. Jesus had a conflict. Yes, He struggled in the Garden of Gethsemane. His conflict became easy after saying, "Father, not my will, but thine be done." (Luke 22:42)

    Do you have a conflict of any kind? Are you involved in a mental struggle that brings discord and uneasiness to your life. Remember, no life is without conflicts. Know like Paul that God has said, "My grace is sufficient." Say like Jesus, "Father, not my will, but thine be done."
    __________________________________________________________________________________

    Perfect Power
    But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9 )

    Did you read the above scripture?  If not, go back up and read it.  If you did read it, go back and read it again.  Pay close attention to "for my power is made perfect in weakness."  This simply means that when we are at our weakest moment, God's power shows up the strongest.  When we are down and out, God's power will be made perfect in our situation.

    Have you ever left your porch light on during the day and you didn't know it was on because of the daylight?  When you came home and it was pitch black outside, you couldn't miss seeing the light on.  It is because the light pierced the darkness.  The darker the night, the brighter the light! That's the way it is with us.  When our lives are the darkest, that's when God's light will shine the brightest.  When we are weak is when His power will be made perfect.
    __________________________________________________________________________________

    The Key to Answered Prayer
    But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness," (2 Corinthians 12:9)

    Most Christians agree God answers prayers. God always responds, but often His answer might not be the one we desire or expect. That's because we pray to God with a preconceived idea of the best way to handle our problem.

    Often times God gives us answers that we overlook, ignore, neglect, dismiss or simply disobey because we think the answer is farfetched. Would you, like King Jehoshaphat, follow God's instruction not to fight a battle but send out a choir to sing praises to the enemies? (2 Chronicles 20:21) Would you, like Naaman, dip in the muddy Jordan for leprosy? (2 Kings 5:14) Would you, like Abraham, lay your son on the altar to be sacrificed? (Genesis 22:1-19)

    Even when we might not understand God's answer to our prayer, we should trust God that He has given the right solution to our problem. Often we want God to fix our situations without requiring any effort on our part. We should know that the key to answered prayer is a willingness to obey God whether we understand the answer or not. When God gives us the answer, we MUST act as He instructs.  

    Yes, God does answer every prayer. We might not recognize the answer because it is not what we expect. God might answer our prayer by not taking away the thorn in our flesh or the ache in our lower back but by giving us enough grace to endure the pain. And His grace is sufficient. (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). Or He might give us more tolerance to endure that unbearable co-worker. Or He will might give us patience to be a good example to our wayward child. Let's trust God with the answer He gives instead of thinking we already know what's best.

    When you pray, watch out for God's answer even when it might not be delivered in the package you expect.

    _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________





    Custom Search