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08 September - 2 Kings 14; Ezekiel 4; 2 Corinthians 12; 13


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Posted 08 September 2007 - 10:36 AM

First Portion

2 Kings 14


14:1 In the second year of Joash son of Joahaz king of Israel began Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah to reign. 14:2 He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem: and his mother’s name was Jehoaddin of Jerusalem. 14:3 He did that which was right in the eyes of Yahweh, yet not like David his father: he did according to all that Joash his father had done. 14:4 However the high places were not taken away: the people still sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places. 14:5 It happened, as soon as the kingdom was established in his hand, that he killed his servants who had slain the king his father: 14:6 but the children of the murderers he didn’t put to death; according to that which is written in the book of the law of Moses, as Yahweh commanded, saying, “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, nor the children be put to death for the fathers; but every man shall die for his own sin.” 14:7 He killed of Edom in the Valley of Salt ten thousand, and took Sela by war, and called its name Joktheel, to this day. 14:8 Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash, the son of Jehoahaz son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, “Come, let us look one another in the face.”

14:9 Jehoash the king of Israel sent to Amaziah king of Judah, saying, “The thistle that was in Lebanon sent to the cedar that was in Lebanon, saying, ‘Give your daughter to my son as wife. Then a wild animal that was in Lebanon passed by, and trampled down the thistle. 14:10 You have indeed struck Edom, and your heart has lifted you up. Enjoy the glory of it, and stay at home; for why should you meddle to your harm, that you should fall, even you, and Judah with you?’” 14:11 But Amaziah would not listen. So Jehoash king of Israel went up; and he and Amaziah king of Judah looked one another in the face at Beth Shemesh, which belongs to Judah. 14:12 Judah was defeated by Israel; and they fled every man to his tent. 14:13 Jehoash king of Israel took Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Jehoash the son of Ahaziah, at Beth Shemesh, and came to Jerusalem, and broke down the wall of Jerusalem from the gate of Ephraim to the corner gate, four hundred cubits. 14:14 He took all the gold and silver, and all the vessels that were found in the house of Yahweh, and in the treasures of the king’s house, the hostages also, and returned to Samaria. 14:15 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoash which he did, and his might, and how he fought with Amaziah king of Judah, aren’t they written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? 14:16 Jehoash slept with his fathers, and was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel; and Jeroboam his son reigned in his place. 14:17 Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah lived after the death of Jehoash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel fifteen years. 14:18 Now the rest of the acts of Amaziah, aren’t they written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? 14:19 They made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem; and he fled to Lachish: but they sent after him to Lachish, and killed him there. 14:20 They brought him on horses; and he was buried at Jerusalem with his fathers in the city of David. 14:21 All the people of Judah took Azariah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in the place of his father Amaziah. 14:22 He built Elath, and restored it to Judah, after that the king slept with his fathers. 14:23 In the fifteenth year of Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah, Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel began to reign in Samaria for forty-one years. 14:24 He did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh: he didn’t depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, with which he made Israel to sin. 14:25 He restored the border of Israel from the entrance of Hamath to the sea of the Arabah, according to the word of Yahweh, the God of Israel, which he spoke by his servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet, who was of Gath Hepher. 14:26 For Yahweh saw the affliction of Israel, that it was very bitter; for there was none shut up nor left at large, neither was there any helper for Israel. 14:27 Yahweh didn’t say that he would blot out the name of Israel from under the sky; but he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash. 14:28 Now the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, and all that he did, and his might, how he warred, and how he recovered Damascus, and Hamath, which had belonged to Judah, for Israel, aren’t they written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? 14:29 Jeroboam slept with his fathers, even with the kings of Israel; and Zechariah his son reigned in his place.

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Posted 08 September 2007 - 10:37 AM

Second Portion

Ezekiel 4


4:1 You also, son of man, take a tile, and lay it before yourself, and portray on it a city, even Jerusalem: 4:2 and lay siege against it, and build forts against it, and cast up a mound against it; set camps also against it, and plant battering rams against it all around. 4:3 Take for yourself an iron pan, and set it for a wall of iron between you and the city: and set your face toward it, and it shall be besieged, and you shall lay siege against it. This shall be a sign to the house of Israel. 4:4 Moreover lie on your left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel on it; according to the number of the days that you shall lie on it, you shall bear their iniquity. 4:5 For I have appointed the years of their iniquity to be to you a number of days, even three hundred ninety days: so you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. 4:6 Again, when you have accomplished these, you shall lie on your right side, and shall bear the iniquity of the house of Judah: forty days, each day for a year, have I appointed it to you. 4:7 You shall set your face toward the siege of Jerusalem, with your arm uncovered; and you shall prophesy against it. 4:8 Behold, I lay bands on you, and you shall not turn you from one side to the other, until you have accomplished the days of your siege. 4:9 Take for yourself also wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and spelt, and put them in one vessel, and make bread of it; according to the number of the days that you shall lie on your side, even three hundred ninety days, you shall eat of it. 4:10 Your food which you shall eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day: from time to time you shall eat it. 4:11 You shall drink water by measure, the sixth part of a hin: from time to time you shall drink. 4:12 You shall eat it as barley cakes, and you shall bake it in their sight with dung that comes out of man. 4:13 Yahweh said, Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their bread unclean, among the nations where I will drive them. 4:14 Then I said, Ah Lord Yahweh! behold, my soul has not been polluted; for from my youth up even until now have I not eaten of that which dies of itself, or is torn of animals; neither came there abominable flesh into my mouth. 4:15 Then he said to me, Behold, I have given you cow’s dung for man’s dung, and you shall prepare your bread thereon. 4:16 Moreover he said to me, Son of man, behold, I will break the staff of bread in Jerusalem: and they shall eat bread by weight, and with fearfulness; and they shall drink water by measure, and in dismay: 4:17 that they may want bread and water, and be dismayed one with another, and pine away in their iniquity.

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Posted 08 September 2007 - 10:38 AM

Third Portion

2 Corinthians 12; 13


12:1 It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. For I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. 12:2 I know a man in Christ, fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I don’t know, or whether out of the body, I don’t know; God knows), such a one caught up into the third heaven. 12:3 I know such a man (whether in the body, or outside of the body, I don’t know; God knows), 12:4 how he was caught up into Paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. 12:5 On behalf of such a one I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except in my weaknesses. 12:6 For if I would desire to boast, I will not be foolish; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, so that no man may think more of me than that which he sees in me, or hears from me. 12:7 By reason of the exceeding greatness of the revelations, that I should not be exalted excessively, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, that I should not be exalted excessively. 12:8 Concerning this thing, I begged the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 12:9 He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Most gladly therefore I will rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest on me.

12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then am I strong. 12:11 I have become foolish in boasting. You compelled me, for I ought to have been commended by you, for in nothing was I inferior to the very best apostles, though I am nothing. 12:12 Truly the signs of an apostle were worked among you in all patience, in signs and wonders and mighty works. 12:13 For what is there in which you were made inferior to the rest of the assemblies, unless it is that I myself was not a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong.

12:14 Behold, this is the third time I am ready to come to you, and I will not be a burden to you; for I seek not your possessions, but you. For the children ought not to save up for the parents, but the parents for the children. 12:15 I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more abundantly, am I loved the less? 12:16 But be it so, I did not myself burden you. But, being crafty, I caught you with deception. 12:17 Did I take advantage of you by anyone of them whom I have sent to you? 12:18 I exhorted Titus, and I sent the brother with him. Did Titus take any advantage of you? Didn’t we walk in the same spirit? Didn’t we walk in the same steps? 12:19 Again, do you think that we are excusing ourselves to you? In the sight of God we speak in Christ. But all things, beloved, are for your edifying. 12:20 For I am afraid that by any means, when I come, I might find you not the way I want to, and that I might be found by you as you don’t desire; that by any means there would be strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, whisperings, proud thoughts, riots; 12:21 that again when I come my God would humble me before you, and I would mourn for many of those who have sinned before now, and not repented of the uncleanness and sexual immorality and lustfulness which they committed.

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Posted 08 September 2007 - 10:39 AM

13:1 This is the third time I am coming to you. “At the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.” 13:2 I have said beforehand, and I do say beforehand, as when I was present the second time, so now, being absent, I write to those who have sinned before now, and to all the rest, that, if I come again, I will not spare; 13:3 seeing that you seek a proof of Christ who speaks in me; who toward you is not weak, but is powerful in you. 13:4 For he was crucified through weakness, yet he lives through the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we will live with him through the power of God toward you. 13:5 Test your own selves, whether you are in the faith. Test your own selves. Or don’t you know as to your own selves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. 13:6 But I hope that you will know that we aren’t disqualified.

13:7 Now I pray to God that you do no evil; not that we may appear approved, but that you may do that which is honorable, though we are as reprobate. 13:8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. 13:9 For we rejoice when we are weak and you are strong. And this we also pray for, even your perfecting. 13:10 For this cause I write these things while absent, that I may not deal sharply when present, according to the authority which the Lord gave me for building up, and not for tearing down.

13:11 Finally, brothers, rejoice. Be perfected, be comforted, be of the same mind, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. 13:12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13:13 All the saints greet you. 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.

World English Bible - (WEB) - Public Domain

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 10:35 AM

08 September 2008

2 Kings 14
Ezekiel 4
2 Corinthians 12; 13

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 10:45 AM

08 September 2009

2 Kings 14
Ezekiel 4
2 Corinthians 12; 13

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 03:50 AM

08 September 2010

2 Kings 14
Ezekiel 4
2 Corinthians 12; 13

"TO KEEP ME FROM BEING TOO ELATED"

We made reference yesterday to those who boast – and how we see this attitude in politicians today. We now read in Corinthians of Paul’s comments and the things he could boast about if he wanted to. The final chapters illustrate that boastful attitudes were still a problem at Corinth, they also illustrate that Paul was thankful in a way, that “a thorn was given me in a flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from being too elated” [2 Corinthians 12:7].

We cannot be sure what this “thorn” was, some disability, many think could have been poor eyesight. Turn on 2 or 3 pages and look at the last chapter of Galatians, Paul writes “See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand” [Galatians 6:11] which indicates difficulty in writing which would most likely be caused by poor eyesight.

This handicap, whatever it was, stopped him from being too elated and so he says, “for the sake of Christ then I am content with weaknesses …” But why is it called “a messenger of Satan”? It is a figure of speech to describe adversity. Satan is a Hebrew word, and many times in the Old Testament it is translated as “adversary” and a particular person is named. Adversity brings out the best in disciples!

In completing this letter he expresses the fear that when he comes “I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality and sensuality that they have practiced” [2 Corinthians 12:21] There is the blunt request [2 Corinthians 13:5] “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves that Jesus Christ is IN you” [2 Corinthians 13:9].

The atmosphere at Corinth seems to have been very much like that in Australia, indeed among all who are struggling to maintain their faith today, in adverse conditions. We need God’s word IN our thoughts every day as a defence against the fleshly attitudes all around us. Paul says, don’t you realize Christ is IN you? Those who are baptised must realize this – every day. We prove that Christ is in us by becoming more and more like our Lord and Master in the way we think and act. To conclude Paul writes, “Finally brothers (& sisters), rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace” [2 Corinthians 13:11]
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Posted 08 September 2011 - 11:55 AM

08 September 2011

2 Kings 14
Ezekiel 4
2 Corinthians 12; 13

"THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE HOLY SPIRIT"

What is fellowship? Essentially it means a partnership, a participation together with a common aim. Those who are in a partnership team together with a common purpose. Our reading of the conclusion to Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians provoked this line of thinking. His final words were “the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

This verse is telling us that believers, in experiencing “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ” and also “the love of God” – both of which are stated in this final verse, also experience “the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.” A degree of meditation is needed for our minds to fully grasp what these words illustrate. It is a message for believers at Corinth to aim for perfect harmony after all the disharmony they had experienced. Note 2 Corinthians 13:11, “Finally, brothers (and sisters footnote) rejoice, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” And how is God with believers? Through his spirit, as we have commented previously, God’s spirit possesses believers.

Paul made a significant point in the first chapter of this epistle, “it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal in us and given us his Spirit in our hearts …” [2 Corinthians 1:22] Men of God knew this long ago. David wrote, “O LORD, you have searched me and known me … you discern my thought from afar. You search out my path … and are acquainted with all my ways … Where shall I flee from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?” [Psalm 139:1-3; 139:7]

Paul told the people of Athens “that they should seek (the unknown) God … he is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘in him we live and move and have our being’” [Acts 17:27,28] So, with these verses, we understand more fully the words of Scripture on the involvement of our Lord Jesus, his God and our God, and the Spirit of God in our lives. Let us rejoice and live with confidence in that we have “the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.”
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Posted 08 September 2012 - 05:30 AM

08 September 2012

2 Kings 14
Ezekiel 4
2 Corinthians 12; 13

“TO KEEP ME FROM BEING TOO ELATED”

We made reference yesterday to those who “measure themselves” against each other – and how this is seen in attitudes in such as politicians. We now read in Corinthians of Paul’s comments of the things he could boast about - if he wanted to. The final chapters illustrate that boastful attitudes were still a problem at Corinth, they also illustrate that Paul had come to realize he should be thankful, that “a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from being too elated” [2 Corinthians 12:7]; it reminds us of how Jesus was “led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted” (tested – Matthew 4:1)

We cannot be sure what this “thorn” was, some disability; many think it could have been poor eyesight. Turn on 2 or 3 pages and look at the last chapter of Galatians, Paul writes “See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand” [Galatians 6:11] which indicates difficulty in writing which was most likely caused by poor eyesight.

This handicap, whatever it was, stopped him from being too elated and so he says, “for the sake of Christ then I am content with weaknesses …” But why is it called “a messenger of Satan”? It is a figure of speech to describe adversity. Satan is a Hebrew word, and several times in the Old Testament it is translated as “adversary” and a particular person is named. Adversity brings out the best in genuine disciples!

In completing this letter he expresses the fear that when he comes “I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality and sensuality that they have practiced” [2 Corinthians 12:21] There is the blunt request [2 Corinthians 13:5] “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves that Jesus Christ is IN you” [2 Corinthians 13:9]. Let us test ourselves.

The atmosphere at Corinth seems to have been very much like that in Australia today, for all of us are struggling to maintain our faith today in our increasingly Godless environments. We need God’s word IN our thoughts every day as a defence against the fleshly attitudes all around us. Paul says, don’t you realize “Christ is IN you” Those who are baptised must realize this – every day. We prove that Christ is in us by becoming more and more like our Lord and Master in the way we think and act and most particularly in our prayer life. Paul concludes by writing, “Finally brothers (& sisters), rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace” [2 Corinthians 13:11] Let us also do that, there is no room in our lives to be elated.
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Posted 08 September 2013 - 06:13 AM

08 September 2013

2 Kings 14
Ezekiel 4
2 Corinthians 12; 13

“TO KEEP ME FROM BEING TOO ELATED”

We made reference yesterday to those who boast – how much do we see this attitude in politicians today! We read today in Corinthians of Paul’s comments on the things he could boast about if he wanted to. The final chapters illustrate that boastful attitudes were still a problem at Corinth, they also illustrate that Paul expressed his thankfulness, maybe reluctantly, that “a thorn was given me in a flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from being too elated” [2 Corinthians 12:7].

We cannot be sure what this “thorn” was, evidently some disability, many think it was poor eyesight. Turn on 2 or 3 pages and look at the last chapter of Galatians, Paul writes “See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand” [Galatians 6:11] which indicates difficulty in writing which would most likely be the affect of poor eyesight.

This handicap, whatever it was, stopped him from being too elated and so he says, “for the sake of Christ then I am content with weaknesses …”

But why is it called “a messenger of Satan”? It is a figure of speech to describe adversity. Satan is a Hebrew word, and many times in the Old Testament it is translated as “adversary” and a particular person is named. Adversity brings out the best in committed disciples – Paul being the supreme example!

In completing this letter he expresses the fear that when I come “I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality and sensuality that they have practiced” [2 Corinthians 12:21] There is the blunt request [2 Corinthians 13:5] “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you” [2 Corinthians 13:9].

The atmosphere at Corinth seems to have been very much like it is in Australia today. We need God’s word to be alive in our thoughts every day as a defence against the fleshly attitudes that surround us.

Paul challenges, don’t you realize ”Christ is in you? Those who are baptised must realize this – every day. We prove that Christ is in us by becoming more and more like our Lord and Master in the way we think and act. To conclude Paul stresses 5 points, “Finally brothers (and sisters), rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace” [2 Corinthians 13:11] Let us all do that.
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Posted 08 September 2014 - 11:15 AM

08 September 2014

2 Kings 14
Ezekiel 4
2 Corinthians 12; 13

“EXAMINE YOURSELVES … TEST YOURSELVES”

Today we completed reading Paul’s second letter to the believers at Corinth; he is still anxious about them, his letter expresses many concerns. Let us recognise that correcting faults in our life in Christ is a personal responsibility. The concept of endless ‘grace abounding’ that exists among many who see themselves as Christians is dangerous. Let us carefully note the points Paul makes as he brings his letter to a conclusion.

“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith” [2 Corinthians 13:5]. And so also must we. Let us fully realize that Christ, by his spirit, is present among believers and sees their actions, knows their minds and that this knowledge will be the ‘foundation’ for his right judgment on the day of judgment. Paul is developing the points he made in his first letter when he said, “Let a person examine himself … and so eat … and drink” [1 Corinthians 11:28] when he or she comes to the table of remembrance to have fellowship.

 

This self-examination is not only when we come together to the table of the Lord; in 2 Corinthians 11:3 of this last chapter Paul stresses, “Christ is … not weak … but is powerful among you.” Christ sees their thoughts and actions (and, of course, ours). Paul stresses the need to, “Test yourselves. or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless you fail to meet the test.” [2 Corinthians 11:5] Let us realize the sense he is “in us – and that we meet all the tests the ungodly world around us, puts on us.?

When we were baptised we entered into a wonderful spiritual relationship with him, we were no longer our own; Paul expressed his own feeling to the Galatians, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” [Galatians 2:20]. Let us realize the reality of this, our Saviour is watching over us, this is both wonderful and awesome.

Paul completes his message to the Corinthians by writing; “finally brothers (& sisters) Rejoice … comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.” [2 Corinthians 13:11] It is the same today, our “peace” and teamwork together, means we will also fully have divine fellowship: remember Jesus said, “where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” [Matthew 18:20] How wonderful! It is beyond our human comprehension. Let us appreciate the full meaning of the final verse of Paul’s letter, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” Let us try ever harder to sense that “fellowship” as we “EXAMINE” and “TEST OURSELVES” every day.
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Posted 08 September 2015 - 04:50 AM

08 September 2015
 
2 Kings 14
Ezekiel 4
2 Corinthians 12; 13  
 
"EXAMINE YOURSELVES, TO SEE WHETHER ...”
            
Today we completed reading Paul’s 2nd Letter to the Corinthians. The last 10 verses are a telling summary of his challenge to them to live in a worthy manner – a challenge that we should take and apply to ourselves. [2 Corinthians 13:5-14]  
            
In the Old Testament we read of the foolish actions which lead to disaster in the reigns of the kings in the northern kingdom – they had become totally ungodly – and we can see comparisons to our world today and its’ ‘gods’.  These ‘gods’ are the things people seek after and which occupy their minds. Do we feel tempted to follow, at least a little, the example they are setting? We fear the answer is ‘Yes.’
            
And what a testing time Ezekiel had [Ezekiel 4] when God instructed him to ‘teach’ these exiles to live according to their spiritual heritage. As a result of his 'acted' teaching the LORD wants them to “look at one another in dismay ... because of their punishment." [Ezekiel 4:17], that is, the punishment the acted parables indicate!  Is this situation coming upon our world today – it has exiled itself from "the word of God," indeed, nearly all have no thought to there being a real God who sees all.
            
Back in Corinthians, let us heed Paul's words,  "Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith." [2 Corinthians 13:5] Then he puts a challenging question before them!  "Test yourselves ... that Jesus Christ is in you?"  He qualifies this by adding - "unless indeed you fail to meet the test!"  A question for us? What is our answer?  Is Christ truly “in” our hearts, in our thinking?  What do our actions show – the things we read – and watch!? 
            
We reflect on the last sentence of Chapter 12, "I fear that when I come ... I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced." [2 Corinthians 12:21] 
             
And when Jesus comes again!   Remember the key question of Jesus in Luke 18:8, "when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?"  Let us all "examine (y)ourselves" so that the answer to our Lord's question is "Yes."  
            
How close are we now to the time when the Lord "will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect "? [Matthew 24:31], the days having "been cut short, (or) no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short." [Matthew 24:22] Let us all "examine (y)ourselves so that the answer is "Yes" - and we are among those who are among “the elect” – what wonders far beyond our present comprehension await all those who do this.   
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Posted 11 September 2016 - 05:37 AM

08 September 2016
 
2 Kings 14
Ezekiel 4
2 Corinthians 12; 13 
 
"THE GRACE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST"
 
Paul ends his second letter to the Corinthians by stating (praying), "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." [2 Corinthians 13:14] There are 3 key words here that must be 'in' our lives, day after day. Let us particularly seek to fully understand “grace.”
 
"Grace" (Gk. 'Charis') is a particularly special word for Paul; we rarely find it in the gospels, it is not in Matthew or Mark - and John only has it in his prologue [John 1:1-18] which causes us to think John’s first 18 verses were added later before he released his gospel for general circulation. Luke, who travelled with Paul uses it in his gospel, but it is rarely translated as grace, for e.g. Luke 6:32, translated in the ESV as "benefit."
 
We meditate on how Paul's final words in his 2nd letter to the Corinthians which we read today sum up the spiritual principles that we should be developing - and which should now be operating in our lives.
 
"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ." We meditate on the fullness of Paul’s meaning here! He told the Ephesians, "even when we were dead in our trespasses, (God) made us alive together with Christ­by grace you have been saved" [Ephesians 2:5] - and then Paul added in Ephesians 2:8, "by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God."
 
It "is not our own doing" - we do not 'earn' salvation! That "grace" - that loving favour which Jesus has toward us, brings with it "the love" of the Father. It's foundation was laid in his love for his disciples - and then it spread out from them!
 
Remember the prayerful words of Jesus we find in John 17. After praying for his disciples, Jesus said, "I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me." [John 17:20-21] The initial ‘unity’ of the disciples as described in the early chapters of Acts – had a great effect – but true unity is founded on truth – in John 17:17 we also saw how Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”
 
As we read of "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ" and sense the spirit of this “grace” in action; let us take to heart the lessons in Paul's words that we have read in Corinthians and try even harder to follow his example, "by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me." [1 Corinthians 15:10] How hard are we working? Our work for our Lord will show how fully we appreciate "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ."
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- DC


#14 Librarian

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 04:19 AM

08 September 2017
 
2 Kings 14
Ezekiel 4
2 Corinthians 12; 13 
 
"ALL FOR YOUR UPBUILDING"
 
Today we completed reading Paul's 2 letter to the Corinthians. Paul declares to them, "It is in the sight of God we have been speaking in Christ, and all for your upbuilding" [2 Corinthians 12:19]. And that is the foundation reason why we read God's word every day – for our spiritual strengthening and upbuilding. How vitally necessary this is today as our world of 2017 grows more and more ungodly. How much is this ungodliness affecting us?
 
We must honestly answer that question. We can let David answer it for us – how wonderfully provocative of thought and meditation is his Psalm 7, how intensely it portrays what should be our true relationship with our Creator (and His Son) in these ungodly days. 
 
Psalm 7:9-10 gives us David's prayer! "Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end, and may you establish the righteous­ you who test the minds and hearts, O righteous God! My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart." 
 
Most if not of all of us, are regularly surrounded by ungodliness. In his final chapter [2 Corinthians 13] Paul challenged them (and us) to "Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves." [2 Corinthians 13:5] Paul is writing about things that were "all for (their) upbuilding" [2 Corinthians 12:19] This must be the way we approach one another – asking ourselves – what can I do (or say) to encourage them further in (their) upbuilding.
 
What a sense of commitment Paul had to the work of his Lord! It is clear this grew and grew – the more he did. A final thought – let us ponder his declaration in 2 Corinthians 12:15 "I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls" Let us aim to develop more and more of that spirit toward each other, saying, we are doing this (or that) "all for your upbuilding."
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- DC





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