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Category Archives: 2 Corinthians

The End of Me

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. . .”  Charles Dickens penned these words in the first chapter of A Tale of Two Cities.  Do you feel like you are in the “worst of times?”  It is easy to adopt a pessimistic view of the world.  Anyone that watches the news for more than a moment may feel overwhelmed and hopeless.  It seems as though bad things are happening all around us.  What do we do in the worst times of our lives?  Is there something that keeps us going?  Maybe you are in one of those situations right now.  There is hope.

During these hardest times, God is with us and he has something for us.  If you feel like you are ready to give up, I want you to know that you are in good company.  Even Paul had a moment, when everything seemed to come crashing in, and he felt like giving up.  He writes in 2 Corinthians 1:8, “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.”  Did you catch that?  Even Paul, the Apostle that penned 13 letters in the New Testament was in despair.  Paul came to the end of himself.

Some of you have used the words, “I can’t go on . . .” or “I just can’t take this anymore . . .”  You feel as though you have nothing left in you to keep going.  In the midst of Paul’s struggle he found a great truth.  Verse 9 says, “Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.”  When Paul came to the end of his own strength, he realized that he needed to rely on God.  Steven Curtis Chapman wrote a song that contained these words, “His strength is perfect when our strength is gone.  He’ll carry us when we can’t carry on.”  This is the same message that Paul shares with the Corinthians.

If you find yourself in this situation, maybe it is time to lean into God.  Paul set his eyes on Christ and saw the hope that he had.  This made his despair disappear.  His problems didn’t go away, but they faded in the glory of God.  Paul learned to rely on God during the hardest times of his life.  Are you relying on God?  His strength is perfect.  Lean into him and he will see you through.

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2018 in 2 Corinthians, Monitor Articles

 

When The Going Gets Tough . . .

Sometimes things are overwhelming.  I’m am not talking about a busy schedule; I am talking about those things that happen when it seems like hope is lost. These moments are hard, and we tend to ask the question, “where is God?”  There is a simple answer to this question – He is right there with you.

We need look no farther than the account of Joseph in Genesis.  At times, things were pretty rough and overwhelming in Joseph’s life.  Where was God when Joseph’s brothers threw him into the pit?  Where was God when Joseph was sold into slavery?  Where was he when Joseph was falsely accused of an attempted rape?  Where was God as Joseph was innocently thrown in prison and then forgotten about?  Where was God?  Acts 7:9 tells us, “And the patriarchs, jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt; but God was with him.”

We live in a Genesis 3 world.  This means that everything around us is corrupted and tarnished by sin.  Evil takes place all around us because mankind rebels against the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, God.  Jesus told the disciples that they would have trouble in this world, but they were not to fear because he had overcome the world (John 16:33).

Are things overwhelming?  I want to encourage you to have hope.  I am not speaking of hope as if it is wishful thinking; I am talking about an anticipated certainty.  2 Corinthians 4:17-18 tells us, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

Don’t lose heart.  I cannot promise you that your current situation will change, but I can promise you that if you lean into God and the truth of his love you will find hope.  This is because our momentary affliction is nothing compared to the eternal glory that awaits us.  Our circumstances do not change God’s love and purpose for our lives. We trust in God’s plan and we faithfully proclaim with Joseph that what is meant for evil, God intends for good (Gen. 50:30).

Our hope is in the Lord.  By the work of the Holy Spirit, through the redemption of Christ, God is bringing us to a place where his presence will be uninterrupted by sin.  Don’t let the current circumstances lose sight of your hope in Christ.  Remember that God is with you, even when you don’t see Him or feel Him.

 
 

Speak Your Mind?

George Orwell wrote, “But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”  Orwell not only acknowledged the power of thoughts through the expression of language, but that language has an effect on the things we think.  Orwell wasn’t the first to discover this relationship.  This view has a root in what the Bible teaches us about the things we think and say.

We all know people that pride themselves on speaking their mind, but not every thought we have is worthy of speech.  Why is this?  It’s because not every thought (or feeling for that matter) is good.  Our minds and our hearts struggle with sin daily and many times the things we think and feel do not bring glory to God.  We should not speak our mind or our feelings without filtering them through the truth of Scripture.  Sure, the idea of speaking our minds seems like a noble attribute of honesty, but is something noble if it is not right?

What does the Bible teach us about the things we think and say?  First, our hearts and minds are in the process of being transformed into the image of Christ.  Romans 12:2 tells us that our minds need to be renewed to know what is acceptable to God.  Meaning there is still work to do.  This journey is not complete until we die or Christ returns.  Scripture speaks in similar fashion about the heart.  Jeremiah 17:9 tells us the “heart is deceitful above all things.”  It is also something that must be daily purged of sinful desires.  So, not everything we think or feel is right.

Second, if the thought or feeling is not right we have a responsibility to capture that thought.  This one aspect of the message found in 2 Corinthians 10:5. We must evaluate our thoughts and feelings through the truthfulness of Scripture.  If it does not align with God, it should never make it past our lips.  We must stop it in the mind and if anything is spoken, it should be a rebuke of that thought or feeling.

Why is this battle of the mind so important?  Because our words have the ability to influence our own thoughts and the thoughts of others.  This takes us back to Orwell’s statement, but the Bible is also clear on this subject.  Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 12:36 that we would give an account on the day of judgement for every idle or careless word spoken. Don’t get caught speaking your mind or following your feelings unless they align with God’s word.  “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 (ESV)

This post was published in The Monitor of Naples, Texas, 5/12/2016.