Wednesday, December 05, 2012

December 5, 2012 … Testing, testing, testing!!

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 340

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 2nd Corinthians, Chapters 10-13 To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Passages: 2nd Corinthians 10: 3-6; 17-18 : [NLT] … {Doesn’t this section of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians remind you of Ephesians 6: 10-20, Paul’s famous passage on the “full armor of God?” Paul had to remind the Corinthians that life is a continual battle for Christians; but God, as our Supreme Commander-in-Chief, has provided us with the character armaments and the all powerful offensive weapon of His word to do battle against our spiritual enemies. Perhaps it would behoove the reader to go back and mediate on the Ephesians 6 passage referenced above.}  
3 We are human, but we don’t wage war with human plans and methods. 4 We use God’s mighty weapons, not mere worldly weapons, to knock down the Devil’s strongholds. 5 With these weapons we break down every proud argument that keeps people from knowing God. With these weapons we conquer their rebellious ideas, and we teach them to obey Christ. 6 And we will punish those who remained disobedient after the rest of you became loyal and obedient.  
{Paul learned that some in Corinth thought of him as a boastful weakling; but Paul in this chapter of his 2nd letter to these Christians, quotes Jeremiah 9: 24, telling his readers that he (Paul) had only gotten his commission and commendation from the Lord, Himself. Paul had a real dilemma in trying to seem forceful in bringing the Gospel message to the Corinthians without seeming to be prideful, … the latter character flaw Paul had to consciously and continually work to avoid (see the discussion about 2nd Cor. 12: 9-11 below.} 
17 As the Scriptures say, “The person who wishes to boast should boast only of what the Lord has done.” … 18 When people boast about themselves, it doesn’t count for much. But when the Lord commends someone, that’s different! 

Highlight Passages: 2nd Corinthians 11: 28-31 : [NLT] … {In this chapter of Paul’s letter, he describes how the trials of his life and God bringing him through those trials in the travels and tribulations of his missionary journeys, validates his credentials to bring God’s good news to the Corinthians. And, with vulnerability and emotion, he candidly reports what a burden he feels for all those with whom God led him to share Christ. And also like the message below of 2nd 12: 9-11, Paul indicates that his only real strength comes by God covering his human weakness.}  
28 Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of how the churches are getting along. 29Who is weak without my feeling that weakness? Who is led astray, and I do not burn with anger? 30 If I must boast, I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am. 31 God, the Father of our Lord Jesus, Who is to be praised forever, knows I tell the truth. 
  ============ Highlight Passages: 2nd Corinthians 12: 6-10 : [NLT] … {This passage in this letter from Paul is one of the most personal and powerful message from this letter. It’s personal – and maybe for you, too – because I’ve had “thorns” in my life which I prayed for God to remove; but He didn’t. And the message is powerful because what Jesus was quoted to say to Paul, is potent truth we all need to recognize. And it’s the message Paul wrote to these same Corinthians earlier in 1st Cor. 10: 13, that God, in His faithfulness, would never allow us to be put into or through any circumstance which we, with His help, could not handle. Do you have some “thorns” in your life? Well, if so, God’ grace is sufficient for us to deal with the pain, sorrow, or suffering which has weakened us from this “thorn,” whatever it is. Yes, we are weak; but in that weakness, we find HIS strength.} 6 I have plenty to boast about and would be no fool in doing it, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it. I don’t want anyone to think more highly of me than what they can actually see in my life and my message, 7 even though I have received wonderful revelations from God. But to keep me from getting puffed up, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from getting proud. 8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me. 10 Since I know it is all for Christ’s good, I am quite content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Highlight Passages: 2nd Corinthians 13: 5 : [NLT] … {And finally, in his last chapter of this letter, Paul gives one final bit of pertinent advice to Christians, … to periodically take stock of their (our) faith to see if we stack up to what our potential is in Christ. If you’ve been reading along with me in these letters Paul wrote to the Corinthian Christians, you have, as have I, been led to take stock of your (our) own faith, especially when aspiring to Christlikeness, to see where we are. Second Corinthians shows clearly where Paul stood and where he desired for the Christians he loved in Corinth to direct themselves. Where do we stand on God’s test of faith through Paul?}  
5 Examine yourselves to see if your faith is really genuine. Test yourselves. If you cannot tell that Jesus Christ is among you, it means you have failed the test. 6 I hope you recognize that we have passed the test and are approved by God. 

My Journal for Today: Have ever been in a situation of having to test out a microphone or an audio system to see if it projected what you wanted to say to be clearly heard and understood by the audience in the room? If you’ve ever done that, you almost always end up declaring into the audio system, as the title I’ve given to my devotional this morning, … “Testing, … testing, … testing!!”

And in many respects, especially in light of the passage I quoted above from 2nd Cor. 13: 5, Paul’s entire second letter to the believers in Corinth he loved so much was like a mic check. He so wanted these Christians, this church in Corinth, to hear what God wanted them to hear, … to fully grasp and live out the Gospel in their lives. And so, Paul kept crying out, over and over again, to the Corinthians (and to us) … that they (we) need to grasp the life Christ has for us … in, through, and for Him.

I’m not going to write any more than I have in bold above in this blog entry for today. What I’ve said above (in bold) about the passages in the final four chapters I was led to read in this Pauline epistle today is plenty enough. I just hope we take in God’s message, through Paul’s letter, as God’s way of saying, “TESTING, … TESTING, … TESTING!!!” 

My Prayer Today: … I get it, Lord! ...  I do!! You want me to hear You speaking out to my heart. … You want me to understand Your message clearly. … I do hear You, Lord, ever so clearly. Now I beg you to give me Your strength, in my weakness, to live it so others will get the message through me. Amen

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