Paul received a thorn in flesh to keep him humble –

2 Corinthians 12:2,4,7a..I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man… 4b heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak. 7a-c Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh,

 The man in v.2 was Paul. Paul was referring to a revelation near the end of his time in Tarsus.

[After his miraculous salvation Paul went into Arabia to receive the knowledge of Jesus and the gospel directly. Then after 3 years he went to Jerusalem, then to Tarsus and finally Paul was brought to Antioch by Barnabas after 43AD. Barnabas went to Antioch in 43AD. The revelation occurred, “14 years ago”, about 43AD since 2 Corinthians was written in 57AD.   [Acts 9:26-30,11:22-26, Timeline]]

Paul could not describe how he received this revelation and was not permitted to speak of it because of its greatness. Paul’s soul was eternally alive but lived in a sinful body just like believers today. Therefore God knowing Paul was subject to the temptation of exalting himself “there was given me a thorn in the flesh,” to keep him humble and totally dependent on Jesus. [2 Corinthians 12:7-10, for 9 reasons for troubles in your life click here]

 Are any of your troubles “thorns in the flesh” to keep you humble? If so are you being bitter  – Temporal or thankful – Eternal?

Henry Luke 5/24/2018

For how to have peace with God click here, how to have peace of God click here, and how to disciple others click here.

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Grace giving is multiplied bountifully  

2 Corinthians 9:6-11.. Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

I grew up on small farm and recognize the example from agriculture. If we invest sparingly in a situation, whether money or time or whatever, we can’t expect much to come out of it. If we invest generously, we can expect a larger return. The generosity of Disciples is from love for Jesus; however we are reminded in both the OT & NT that giving is in our best interests. When we receive extra money we are tempted to think of self and temporal realities instead of Jesus and eternal realities.  We think temporally about how we can use the money for our comfort, pleasure or life-style.

The last book in the Old Testament said: 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.”” [v.10 from Malachi 3:8-10]

New Testament grace giving is the tithe plus offerings: 23 For you tithe … and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others…[Matthew 23:23]. Jesus dramatically increased these commands in the NT under grace, [for 3 examples click Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28, 43-44 ]

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; [ 2 Corinthians 9:8]

When we give by grace, God by His grace gives us the material possessions sufficient to increase our good deeds as well as meeting our needs, but not necessarily our wants. Unfortunately many times we take His material blessings and spend them all on ourselves. [Luke 6:38]

Temporal – I earned the money and I can spend it any way I want to or EternalGrace giving is multiplied providing the opportunity for increased giving and for thankfulness to God from the beneficiaries of our gifts.

Henry Luke 5/23/2018

For how to have peace with God click here, how to have peace of God click here, and how to disciple others click here.

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The Lord hates pride and temporal living

 Proverbs 6:16-19 AMP.. 16 These six things the Lord hates; Indeed, seven are repulsive to Him: 17a A proud look [the attitude that makes one overestimate oneself and discount others],

“In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”A  Pride is rebellion against Jesus and denial there is a God who sent His Son to die for my sin so that I could have eternal life B. As a born again believer I can be a practical atheist when I decide to choose self-centeredness, rebellion and walk in the deeds of the flesh.

Pride is the root cause of all sin. Pride led to the downfall of Satan when he said “I will make myself like the Most High.” C  Eve and Adam choose to disobey God because they wanted “to be like God” D. Instead of depending on God the proud “lie, murder, scheme, are evil, give false testimony, and are divisive” [vv.17b-19 NLT]. They look to self for guidance, strength, provision and for decisions about what is right or wrong.

the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” E

In pride I can focus on things that are visible but temporal [seen– present sufferings or blessings]; or in Jesus focus on invisible spiritual realities that are eternal [not seen– trusting Jesus one day at a time and the future reality of my home in heaven with Jesus and other departed saints. ]

The Disciple must decide every day and moment whether to focus in pride on Temporal things and self or spiritual Eternal things and Jesus. 

Notes: A- Psalms 10:4; B- John 3:16 ESV, Philippians 2:3-10, 1 Peter 5:6-9a; C- Isaiah 14:14b: D- Genesis 3:5b; E- 2 Corinthians 4:18b;

Henry Luke 5/22/2018

For how to have peace with God click here, how to have peace of God click here, and how to disciple others click here.

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Spiritual Declaration [Leaving the past behind me]

Philippians 3:13-14

Today I am stepping across the line. I’m tired of waffling and I’m finished with wavering, I’ve made my choice, the verdict is in, and my decision is irrevocable. I’m going God’s way. There’s no turning backing now!

I will the live the rest of my life serving God’s purposes with God’s people on God’s planet for God’s glory. I will use my life to celebrate His presence, cultivate His character, participate in His family, demonstrate His love and communicate His word.

Since my past has been forgiven, and I have a purpose for living, and a home awaiting in heaven, I refuse to waste any more time or energy on shallow living, petty thinking, trivial talking, thoughtless doing, useless regretting, hurtful resenting, or faithless worrying. Instead I will magnify God, grow to maturity, serve in ministry, and fulfill my mission in the membership of His family.

Because this life is preparation for the next, I will value worship over wealth, “we” over “me”, character over comfort, service over status, and people over possessions, position, and pleasures. I know what matters most and I’ll give it all I’ve got. I’ll do the best I can with what I have for Jesus today.

I want be captivated by culture, manipulated by critics, motivated by praise, frustrated by problems, debilitated by temptation, or intimidated by the devil. I’ll keep running my race with my eyes on the road, not the sidelines or those running by me. When times get tough and I get tired, I want back up, back off, back down, back out or backslide. I’ll just keep moving forward by God’s grace. I’m Spirit-led, vision-driven, and mission-focused so I cannot be bought, I will not be compromised and I shall not quit until I finish the race.

I’m a trophy of God’s amazing grace so I will be gracious to everyone, grateful for everyday, and generous with everything that God entrusts to me.

To my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I say: However, Whenever, Wherever and Whatever  You ask me to do, my answer in advance is yes! I desire to obey all the commands of Jesus and the apostles in the Word. Wherever You lead and whatever the cost, I’m ready: Anytime. Anywhere.  Anyway. Whatever it takes Lord! I want to be used by You in such a way, that on that final day I’ll hear You say “Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Come on in and let the eternal party begin.” 

Review daily. Accept personally by signing your name.

____________________________Date_______

Five basics of Christianity for Obedient Christians in action click @ the Mariners wheel

Used by permission with minor revisions from source: Calvary Ranch click here

Henry Luke 5/21/2018

For how to have peace with God click here, how to have peace of God click here, and how to disciple others click here.

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Summary/application 2 Corinthians 5-6:

 

  1. Have you made the great exchange of your sin for the righteousness of God and now live eternally?
  2. Being honest with yourself and God, what is your true motive for living? Do you find that your motives are hard to know or are mixed? What will you do if you have mixed motives?
  3. What is your view of who and what is Jesus?
  4. How are you doing at growth in your intimate relationship with Jesus and advancing daily in God’s goal to be conformed to the image of his Son”?
  5. Are you actively being a reconciler, ambassador, discipler and witness for Jesus or ignoring your “marvelous gift” of salvation from God?
  6. Scripture memory – 2 Corinthians 5:14-15.. 14 For the love of Christ controls us,… 15 and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

2 Corinthians 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him

Henry Luke 5/20/2018

For how to have peace with God click here, how to have peace of God click here, and how to disciple others click here.

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Disciples are to be ambassadors for Jesus –

2 Corinthians 5:20a Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ,

In vv.18-19 Paul said God 18cgave us the ministry of reconciliation” and 19aHe has committed to us the word of reconciliation”.

Paul reinforces this responsibility by calling Disciples “ambassadors for Christ” in v.20a. Believers [or Disciples as I describe us] are citizens of two worlds; our life as citizens on earth and as citizens in God’s kingdom. An ambassador represents their country’s interests to another country. Disciples are ambassadors carrying the gospel message to the lost in the entire world. [Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:19-20]

Do you think God was serious when He mentions the Disciples ministry of reconciliation in two verses [vv.18-19], saying we are His ambassadors v.20a, commanding His Disciples to go making Disciples in all the world [Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:19-20] and in other places in scripture?

2 Corinthians  6:1 As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it. NLT

Paul uses “we” to indicate Paul and God are urging all Disciples not to ignore our “marvelous gift” of salvation from God but to be ambassadors for the gospel in the ministry of reconciliation.

Are you and I serious about obeying these many commands

Are you actively being an ambassador for Jesus or ignoring your “marvelous gift” of salvation from God?

Henry Luke 5/19/2018

For how to have peace with God click here, how to have peace of God click here, and how to disciple others click here.

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Reconciled for a ministry of reconciliation – 

 2 Corinthians 5:18-19.. 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation,

“Now all these things are from God” summarizes Paul’s declaration that salvation is a spiritual rebirth and transformation accomplished by God alone and signifies every element of salvation A. Salvation is God’s work alone therefore it cannot be attributed to the person who is saved. Salvation is “the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” to those who believe in Jesus. [Romans 6:23]

Two times vv.18-19 says that God reconciled us to Himself through Christ” and God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself”.

Paul used the term “reconcile” to describe a change of relationship between God and sinful humanity. Human sin creates a separation and enmity between a holy God and humankind; God initiated the act of reconciliation by providing His Son Jesus as the perfect sacrifice for sinners so that sinners can be reconciled to God. [Colossians 1:21-22]. Christ’s death on the cross puts away the Disciples guilt as sinners and establishes a new relationship of peace with God [Romans 5:1]. We can then have the peace of God. [Philippians 4:6-7]

In vv.18-19 Paul said God 18cgave us the ministry of reconciliation” and 19aHe has committed to us the word of reconciliation”.

These verses give every believer the responsibility to declare the gospel of Jesus to the lost world. We cannot save the lost but we can deliver the message so God can save those who voluntarily accept the gospel message.

How focused are you on the ministry of reconciliation that Jesus gave you?

Notes A- Click for 12 Amazing chances that occur when a person believes in Jesus

Henry Luke 5/18/2018

For how to have peace with God click here, how to have peace of God click here, and how to disciple others click here.

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