“We Have A Building From God”

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1 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.​-2 Cor. 5:1 NIV​

2 Cor 5:1-4 NIV

This is the hope that we have. One day, all that is dead and dying will be done away with. These mortal bodies will be left behind for immortal images. These perishing, fleshly bodies will be exchanged for the image of God. In the meantime, there are burdens to bear and temptations to overcome.  Since the day Adam and Eve committed the original sin, we have been dying. Not only us, but everything that God had created to last forever was now infected with the deadly disease of sin. All of creation would groan under the burden anxiously awaiting a Savior. When Jesus was resurrected from the grave, the spiritual restoration could begin.  We, who have accepted Jesus as our Savior, are being restored and sanctified daily.  Still, we groan with all of creation awaiting the full restoration. We should spend that time rejoicing, singing His praises and telling His story to a lost and dying world.  We are being transformed from glory to glory to glory to victory. We are to be watchmen on the wall alerting those around us to the dangers they face.  Look up and shout! Jesus is coming and all this death will be swallowed up by life!

51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 55 “Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting?” — 1 Cor. 15:51-55 NIV

The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“May Cause Thanksgiving to Overflow”

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15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.– 2 Cor. 4:15 NLT

2 Cor. 4:13-15 NLT

“I believed; therefore I have spoken.” is a reference to Psalm 116 (KJV). The Psalmist is referencing a time when God had delivered him from death either physically and/or spiritually.  Paul says that we who have this same spirit of faith can have confidence, believe and therefore speak of the saving grace of Jesus, our Savior and Lord.  We know that the same resurrection power that raised Jesus from the dead has already raised us from spiritual death. Since we know this, we can be confident of the hope we have that one day He will raise us from the dead physically. We will die as mortals and be raised as immortals clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.  If we were not changed into His image, we would not be able to stand before God. This knowledge of God’s amazing grace and our hope for the future should cause us to continually give thanks and explode with joy and praise that overflows to the glory of God.  Through this power, we can be overcomers and participants in the abundant life with which God wants to bless us.  Our rejoicing will bring more and more people to the Kingdom!

33 I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. 34 May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the Lord.  — Psalm 104: 33-34 NIV

I’m Drinking From My Saucer

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“So We Could Know the Glory of God”

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6 For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. – 2 Cor. 4:6 NLT 

2 Cor. 4:3-7 NLT

When we allow God to use us as His witnesses, we may not see the results of our labors immediately.  It has been determined that it takes more than 7 “touches”  or exposures to the Good News for a person to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.  Our God desires that everyone should be saved, but the “god of this age”, satan, has blinded many to the truth of the Gospel. They cannot see the Light because they are focused on the pleasures of this world and the desires of the flesh. Their refusal to see the Light does not alleviate us of the responsibility of being the Light of Jesus Christ shining in a world of darkness.  We have this Light of the knowledge of God’s glory shining in our hearts. God has placed His treasure, this knowledge of Him, in the hearts of human beings. These jars of clay are weak and decaying but the Light shining forth from them displays the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This power is from God and not from us.  That is why God has made us responsible for shining, but He has kept the responsibility for dispelling the darkness. We can be assured that if we do our part, He will faithfully do His part and souls will be added to the Kingdom.

9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. — Isaiah 55:9-11 NIV

 “The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“we Have This Ministry”

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1 Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. — 2 Cor. 4:1​-2  ​NIV

When we hear the word minister or ministry, we tend to think of pastors. evangelists, missionaries and offices of that sort.  But, God has given each of us a ministry. Each one of us has been called to service by God. Our mission field is where we live, work or go to school.  Our congregations are our families, neighbors, fellow workers and/or fellow students. Just as surely as a pastor is responsible to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ and His resurrection to his congregation, we are to do the same for those God has placed in our circle of influence. Just as surely as a pastor should pray for those in his congregation, we are responsible to pray for those around us. Just as surely as a church staff should minister to the needs of the congregation, we should minister to the needs of those God has put in our “congregations”. Whether those needs be spiritual, emotional, physical or financial, we have a responsibility to use the resources God has given us to comfort others.

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

Our lifestyles should reflect the truth that we are letters sent from Christ written on hearts of flesh by the Holy Spirit and read by everyone who knows us.

“There Is Freedom”

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17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. – 2 Cor. 3:17 

2 Cor.3:14-18 NLT

Even though the veil was rent when Jesus died on the cross, there are those who will hear the news and not accept it as truth.  Whether they claim to believe the law or not, their refusal of the offer of salvation leaves them under the law. Therefore, when the Old Testament is read, a veil covers their heart. They hear but they refuse to understand.  The veil is not removed from our eyes and hearts until we accept Jesus as our Savior. The law and the veil keep us in bondage and lead to death.  When we accept Jesus as our Savior, the veil is removed and the Holy Spirit comes to abide in us giving us freedom and life. At that moment, we are saved from the wrath of God and eternal punishment.  But, God wants us to have more than just salvation, He wants us to understand that now we are being sanctified or set apart for His service and for His glory. He wants us to get to know Him, to have a relationship with Him and participate in the abundant life. For that to happen, we must spend time contemplating and meditating on His Word. As we spend time with God, the Holy Spirit is transforming us into the image of God.

2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. — 1 John 3:2-3 NIV

 “The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Far Greater Glory”

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8 Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? – 2 Cor 3:8 NLT

2 Cor. 3:7-11 NLT

When God called Moses to Mt. Sinai to give him the commandments, He had Moses tell the Israelites that they could not come near or touch the mountain.  Anyone who did so would be put to death. The whole mountain was covered with a thick cloud as God descended to the top of the mountain to speak with Moses. God and His glory were covered with the cloud so that Moses could not see God.  It was, as though, God spoke to him through a veil.  This veil protected Moses because no one could see the face of God and live. It was a foreshadowing of the veil that covered the Most Holy Place in the temple.  So the law and the commandments came with the glory of God. Under sentence of death, the people could not touch the mountain so they could not approach God directly.  When Jesus died on the cross, the veil in the temple was torn apart from top to bottom. The resurrection of Jesus ushered in righteousness and grace.  When He ascended to heaven, He was restored to His position with all of its glory for eternity. We no longer need a Moses or a priest to approach God for us, we are invited to come before the throne of God in all its glory and make known our requests. It is our privilege and our ministry to bring the Living Word that came with surpassing, eternal glory to a lost and dying world.

15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. — Hebrews 4:15-16 ​KJ​V

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“A Christ-Like Fragrance”

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15 Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing.  – 2 Cor. 2:15 NLT 

2 Cor. 2:14-16 NLT

In the first century, when a king or leader had conquered a new territory, he would bring the captives back to his country and parade them down “main street’.  This was to show his subjects how powerful he was and to receive their worship and praise.  It also reminded them of what could happen if they ever decided to be disloyal to the king.  These were unwilling captives. Paul is giving thanks to God that we are led in this triumphal procession as willing captives.  We are captives and bondservants because we have chosen Jesus as our Savior and King.  Now, it is time for each of us “to spread the aroma of the knowledge of Him everywhere”.  That Word will be good news to some because they will receive the Word with gladness of heart, accept Jesus and receive the gift of forgiveness and eternal life.  It will be a stench in the nostrils of those who refuse to accept our God as the only true and living God and Jesus as their Savior and King. That rejection will lead to death and eternal punishment.  Just as Paul felt inadequate to do that job, so should we. As he says, “who is equal to such a task?”  None of us can do this work alone, It must be Spirit-led and Spirit-fed.  As Paul also explains, “I can do all things through Jesus Christ”.  And so can we do all things through Jesus.  It is His plan, His purpose and it is accomplished by His power, not ours. We are to be faithful and follow His example.

1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. — Eph. 5:1 NIV

We are to offer our lives as a sacrifice and a fragrant offering to God. Just as bees are drawn to honey, others are drawn to Jesus by people who live sacrificial lives.
Do our lifestyles release a sweet smelling aroma of life or a stench of death?

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Reaffirm Your Love for Him”

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8 So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him. – 2 Cor. 2:8

2 Cor. 2:5-11 NLT

It appears that someone in the church at Corinth had done something that was deserving of discipline by the church body. Whatever the action was, it had caused a great deal of grief in the church.  Paul is writing to tell them that the discipline has been sufficient and now it is time for the church to move on and let the healing begin.  The church now needs to restore that one to their fellowship and reaffirm their love for him or he could be completely overwhelmed. In every family, whether it be our church or our physical family, there are disagreements, some severe enough to be deserving of corrective action.  But once that action has been taken, it is time to restore and reaffirm our love for each other.

1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. — Galatians 6:1 NIV

The restoration is not a favor to the perpetrator, but a necessary step in the forgiving process that brings glory to God.  True forgiveness releases all anger and resentment against that person and allows us to enjoy the freedom we have in God’s forgiveness of our sins.  It also defeats satan’s schemes since it will keep us from allowing a root of bitterness to grow in us, which will steal our joy.

14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many– Hebrews 12:14-15 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Mighty Hero, the Lord Is With You”

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12 The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!” – Judges 6:12

Judges 6:12-16 NLT

We serve a mighty God who is always surprising us by doing things a different way and with the most unlikely  people.  Most of those people say no when they first hear of God’s plan to use them. They have a few things they need help to overcome before they will actually accomplish what God has called them to do. Moses couldn’t talk, Jeremiah was too young and the list goes on and on.  And then of course, there is Jonah who just didn’t want to go to Nineveh because God was too merciful and would end up forgiving the Ninevites. When the Holy Spirit nudges us to do something for the Lord, what is our response?  Are we the not me, Lord, you got the wrong person type? Remember God formed us and He knows exactly what we are capable of, it isn’t so much that He needs us, it is more that He loves us and wants to have an opportunity to bless us.  He can only do that, if we are obedient to His requests.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Follow Me”

22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” – Matt.8:22 NKJV

Matthew 8:18-22 NKJV

This response by Jesus seems harsh to us.  However, if we were a 1st century Jew, we would have understood what Jesus was saying to this disciple.   The disciple could have meant either that he wanted to stay home with his Father until he passed away which would have been an indefinite time or he could have meant that he wanted to be sure that his Father’s bones were transferred to an ossuary which was a common custom after the body had decomposed. But touching dead bones would have made him unclean, this was a job that he paid others to do and it would also have meant that his Father had been dead for a year or more.  Either way, the disciple is saying “No” to Jesus. How many different ways do we say “No” to Jesus when He says to us “Follow Me”?​​

15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. ​ – Eph. 5:15-16 NLT

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous