Monday, December 03, 2012

December 3, 2012 … Blessings In Disguise

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 338

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 2nd Corinthians, Chapters 1-4 To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Passages: 2nd Corinthians, Chapters 1-4 … Please take the time to use the link above and read these chapters of 2nd Corinthians. : [NLT] … {God’s Spirit has me focusing on one of the issues covered in 2Cor. 1 & 4; but I’ll rely on you to read the rest of chapters 2-3 for Paul’s word to the Corinthians.}

Highlight Passages: 2nd Corinthians 1: 3-7 : [NLT] … {Ever wonder why, after becoming a Christian, all the problems and trials of life aren’t diminished or eliminated? After all, in Christ don’t we have the power of God in our lives? Well, Paul addresses this for the Corinthians, who were questioning Paul’s authority with this issue.}  
3 All praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the source of every mercy and the God who comforts us. 4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 5 You can be sure that the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. 6 So when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your benefit and salvation! For when God comforts us, it is so that we, in turn, can be an encouragement to you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. 7 We are confident that as you share in suffering, you will also share God’s comfort.  
Highlight Passages: 2nd Corinthians 4: 8-10; 15-18 : [NLT] … {As above in 2Cor. 3-7, Paul continues to deal with the issue of Christians dealing with suffering.}  
8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don’t give up and quit. 9 We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going. 10 Through suffering, these bodies of ours constantly share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. … 
15 All of these things are for your benefit. And as God’s grace brings more and more people to Christ, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory. 16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are£ being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever. 

Reference Passage: 1st Cor. 10: 13 : [NLT] … {Remembering a bit of First Corinthians}  
But remember that the temptations {also can be translated “tests, trials, troubles, OR tribulations” from the Greek – peirasmos - for “temptations”} that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it. 
Reference Passage: Romans 8: 28 : [NLT] … {Again I ask, do we really believe God’s word?} And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

My Journal for Today: Moving on to the fourth letter written from Paul to the church at Corinth. Apparently letters 1 and 3 have been lost; and our 1st Corinthians is Paul’s second letter with 2nd Corinthians being his fourth letter. But in our 2nd Corinthians, which is a much more personal letter than the very practical advice Paul gave to the church in 1st Corinthians, we read Paul defending his authority to teach/preach Christ and to give the Corinthians some very pertinent and powerful advice on Christian living (which is also true for us today).

Today, from the first four chapters of 2nd Corinthians, which I was assigned from my chronological reading program, God’s Spirit definitely had me focus on one issue which Paul covered, … that of dealing with trials, tests, and troubles in life. Have you ever wondered why suffering doesn’t go away – or at least is diminished significantly – after we become a Christian? And the Corinthians were likely using this issue to question Paul’s authority; and so, he dealt with it in chapters 1 and 4 of this letter. And I have extracted some of those verses for your study and meditation above.

You may also remember Paul’s exhortation to these same Christians in 1st Cor. 10: 13, which I’ve also copied for you above. In that passage Paul was helping the Corinthians (and us) to remember that God never allows us – or leads us – into any trials or temptations which we cannot handle. And in the passages which I’ve copied above from 2nd Cor., chapters 1 and 4, Paul is trying to help his much loved brothers/sisters in Christ to realize that all troubles or trials in life are for a reason – God’s reason; but so often we simply don’t – or cannot – discern God’s reasoning.

And it’s that same message he would later give to the Romans (and us) when he wrote what he did in Romans 8: 28 - also copied above. It’s a faith question, isn’t it? When we’re going through any of the tough troubles, trials, or temptations of life, do we really BELIEVE that God is leading us through them for HIS REASON and our GOOD? Do we really believe that the trials of life really for our benefit?

You know, that’s the subject matter of one of my favorite contemporary Christian songs, entitled Blessings, written and performed by Laura Story, in this You Tube linked piece . And remember Laura Story wrote this song after her beloved husband had to go through multiple brain surgeries for growing tumors. And once you use that link to meditate on this poignant song, that really says all I could ever write about what I’m focusing on today from Paul’s writings above in 2nd Corinthians. Trials in life are to build our faith, not to tear it down. As Laura Story writes, they are “blessings in disguise.”

My Prayer Today: … Thank You for the trials of life, Lord, which bring me closer to You. Amen

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