Monday, August 31, 2015

Hypocrites! (Galatians 2:11-14)

Today’s scripture: Galatians 2:11-14


For generations, one of the biggest obstacles to people finding faith in Christ is the hypocrisy of Christians.

For too long, unbelievers have been able to point to church leaders and deny the truth of the gospel because of those leaders’ behavior. Sexual sin, financial corruption, arrogance, anger.

So many people saying one thing and doing the complete opposite. No wonder people are turned off by the church. And it’s certainly not just in our generation. Even in the early church, some of the greatest leaders behaved contrary to what they taught.

So what are we to do? How can we attract rather than repel?

First, we need to look at our own hearts and behaviors. How are we living God’s word? Are we both talking the talk and walking the walk?

Second, we need to ask the Holy Spirit to work in those areas of hypocrisy. What are we doing that goes against God’s truth?

Finally, we need to acknowledge we’re flawed—the world has had enough of “holier than thous.” We are sinful creatures forgiven by our Sovereign Lord. He has changed us from the inside out. And we need to live accordingly.

Don’t be the one others can point to as a hypocrite. Speak and do God’s will, and let Him work through you.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Generous Hearts (Galatians 2:7-10)

Today’s scripture: Galatians 2:7-10

The poor and destitute have a very special place in God’s heart. And those of us who have been blessed with more are obligated to help those who have less. But it’s more than an obligation; it’s a privilege, not to be taken lightly.

I grew up watching my maternal grandfather’s heart for the “least of these” (see Matthew 25:31-46). He was never wealthy, yet he gave of his time and treasures to help those less fortunate. He gave years of his life to serve at the Los Angeles Union Rescue Mission.

He looked at those whom society would pass without a glance, and he loved them—genuinely loved them. He wiped tears and washed feet. He comforted and counseled.

He was, in fact, Jesus in the flesh to countless men who’d lost hope.

And he did it eagerly—just as Paul did.

A few years ago, I had the privilege of helping a friend get back on her feet. She’d had some pretty devastating experiences that had left her virtually homeless. I was able to provide her with some necessities, and she was so grateful. But I found myself feeling even more grateful that God had blessed me so I could bless her.

I believe God rejoices when He sees His children selflessly give to those in need. How long has it been since you gave? Maybe it’s time to give again. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

No Partiality ... None (Galatians 2:4-6)

Today’s scripture: Galatians 2:4-6

As I meditated on these words and prayed for the Spirit’s words for you, I realized I could focus on a couple of things: false brethren bringing us into bondage; not yielding to those speaking lies; or making certain the gospel remains in us.

But what really caught my eye and touched my heart were the words, “God shows no partiality.”

Stop a moment and read over those words again. “God shows no partiality.” None.

We tend to revere those who are smarter or richer or more talented than we are. Somehow they seem to be better or greater. Even in the Christian community, we look at those such as Billy Graham or Beth Moore or Charles Spurgeon or Paul, and think they’re more spiritual than we are or are closer to God.

God doesn’t see us that way. He doesn’t look at how famous we are or how much money we’ve donated to worthy causes. He doesn’t care if our name has been on the cover of countless books or if we’ve had our own radio or television show.

He cares about our heart. He cares about our motives. Just as Jesus commended the widow for giving all she had (Mark 12:41-44) or the tax-gatherer for his sincere prayer (Luke 18:9-14), God esteems us when we sincerely seek His will. When we give sacrificially—and quietly. When we use the gifts He’s given us to serve Him and others.

Our society—especially in the United States—looks at status, at bank accounts, at notoriety. However, God looks at hearts, at service, at dedication to Him.

It’s comforting to know that God loves me as much as He does anyone else. And He loves you just as much!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Waiting on God (Galatians 2:1-3)

Today’s scripture: Galatians 2:1-3

We’ve talked about this before: God always answers prayers, but He answers differently, according to His will. The hardest answer to receive from God is “wait.”

Sometimes God just wants us to patiently await His work. Paul waited 14 years to continue his God-given journey. He was an itinerant missionary and knew God had designed a particular path for him to take. And he was patient, knowing God would reveal His will in His timing.

Have you prayed for something for a long time, yet you feel God hasn’t answered? Chances are, He’s asking you to wait and trust Him.

I’ve been praying well over 20 years for my husband’s salvation. I believe God is softening his heart, but so far, the answer has been, “Wait, my daughter.” It’s hard sometimes, but I know without doubt that God is faithful. I know with quiet certainty that He loves Russ so much more than I ever could. I know I can patiently and trustingly wait for the moment when the answer is finally, “Yes!”

We are invited to come to God and pray to Him, knowing He will listen. (See Jeremiah 29:12-13.) But we have to be ready to receive whatever His answer is. Even if He asks us to wait—for 14 years … or 20 years … or even longer.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Broken Vessels (Galatians 1:18-24)

Today’s scripture: Galatians 1:18-24

God changes lives. He defeats addictions. He calms anger. He repairs relationships. He takes rebellious, sinful hearts and makes them white as snow.

And He sometimes takes the most defiant against Him or the most ambivalent towards Him or the weakest and makes them His spokespeople.

Moses feared he wouldn’t be able to speak to Pharaoh. Paul actively sought to destroy those who followed Christ, thereby destroying a new religious movement. Corrie Ten Boom was in her sixties, frail from interment in a Nazi death camp.

Yet each of these became a powerhouse in proclaiming God’s truth.

On a quite lesser scale, I was a rebellious, fist-in-the-hand-of-God teenager and young adult. I didn’t want to have anything to do with faith. Then I recommitted my life to the Lord, and all I wanted to do was know Him better and serve where He wanted me.

I never expected He’d use me to speak or write. I felt unworthy to do either. Yet, God, in His mercy and grace, chose to give me the privilege of telling His stories.

You may think your choices have somehow made you inadequate to be used by God in a significant way. But that’s one of the great things about our God. He’ll use the most broken vessel to do His will.

It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been. If you surrender your life to Him, willing to do whatever He asks, He will use you. You may be a Moses or a Paul. Or you may be the only Jesus your neighbors, friends, and coworkers see. In either case, others will be pointed to Christ through you.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Called Through His Grace (Galatians 1:15-17)

Today’s scripture: Galatians 1:15-17

It still amazes me that God “set me apart” and “called me through His grace.” That’s how much He loves me.

I'm so very flawed, and I so often fail, yet He continues to bless and use me—oftentimes, in spite of me.

I’m gearing up for a new semester of teaching, and I’m reminded of how He uses me to influence the lives of students ... which I get to do from the comfort of our lovely new Tennessee home. As I sit here in my office, I glance out the window and see an expanse of trees. It’s beautiful, and I'm thrilled that I can teach in such a wonderful, peaceful setting … in my jammies, if I want! I am blessed.

I start a new small group tomorrow, and I’m excited to connect with a new group of “sisters” and to see how God might use me to encourage them. I am blessed.

I’m back on the stage, rehearsing for a fun show, and I'm working with a great cast and crew. It’s such a gift to be able to perform, using gifts that God has given me. I am blessed.

You, too, are “called through His grace.” If you surrender to Him and let Him order your day, you will be blessed as well. In spite of you …

Friday, August 21, 2015

Not Good Enough? (Galatians 1:13-14)

Today’s scripture: Galatians 1:13-14

Have you ever thought you’re not “good” enough to be used by God? Maybe you’ve done things that shame you when you think of them. Or you deliberately turned away from God in rebellion. Or you’ve made choices that hurt you or others.

How can God use me? you think.

Guess what? None of us is perfect. All of us have our flaws and failings. And yet God chooses to use every one of us in His plan.

Paul persecuted those who chose to follow Christ. And he did it zealously, hoping to wipe this new faith off the map.

Yet God transformed him and used him mightily.

I made choices that led me on a twenty-year journey away from my faith. I very consciously chose to follow my own path and shook my fist in the face of my loving Father.

Yet God welcomed me back with open arms and gave me the blessing of serving Him through speaking and the arts.

We do not—none of us—deserve God’s grace and mercy, and yet He offers them freely. And no matter where we’ve been, no matter what we’ve done, He will use us as He builds His kingdom.

How amazing!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Praying for God's Will (Galatians 1:11-12)

Today’s scripture: Galatians 1:11-12

As I wrote on Tuesday, there is one gospel and one alone. The Bible is God’s revelation to us through the pens of men, and it is that gospel we who follow Christ believe.

Some of the so-called gospels being preached today aren’t found anywhere in the Bible—or are found partially. The “name it and claim it” gospel, for example, is partially biblical. The Bible certainly includes verses such as
Mark 11:24  or Matthew 7:7-8. These seem to support the idea that “I ask and I get.”

However, if Mark 11:24 is read in context, we learn so much about how we’re to pray, how we’re to ask. First, we need to, as the New King James Version states, “Have faith in God.” If we have faith in God, we will desire to do His will, and if we desire to do His will, then indeed, we will be able to ask for anything. And He will do it—within His will. The second thing that stands out is that we can’t pray for God’s will if we harbor unforgiveness in our hearts. 
Jesus Himself prayed within God’s will (see Matthew 26:39). 

We must be very careful when we listen to men. And we must also know the Bible well. Then and only then can we be assured that the gospel we follow is God’s revealed word.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Pleasing God ... Only (Galatians 1:10)

Today’s scripture: Galatians 1:10

Such conviction in a single verse … and with such a simple question: Whom am I “striving to please”?

If I’m a true Christ-follower, the obvious answer is “God.” But when I look into the deepest part of my heart, is that the real answer?

Do I worry about how others will see me more than how God sees me?

Do I stress about how I’ll be seen as a speaker or a singer or an actor? Do I do these things for the accolades of man?

Or do I joyfully and gratefully do what God’s called me to do no matter what others might think?

Of course, I want to serve my God with excellence, but if I’m really, truly serving an “audience of One,” it won’t matter if I mess up. It won't matter if I trip over my own tongue. It won’t matter if I blow a line or my voice cracks. If my heart is focused on God, He’ll be pleased. And if man ridicules me or persecutes me or laughs at me? It won’t matter.

Because my God will be smiling, pleased with my heart.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Speak Truth (Galatians 1:6-9)

Today’s scripture: Galatians 1:6-9

The gospel is this: Jesus Christ—God the Son—came to earth and put on flesh. He preached about God the Father’s love, grace, and mercy. He took the sin of all mankind on Himself when He offered His own life as a sacrifice. Then He conquered death itself when He rose from the grave. He lives today, and salvation comes through the acceptance of His sacrifice and the commitment of our lives to the will of the Father.

So many so-called Christian churches are preaching a different gospel. If you’re good enough (whatever that means), you’ll make it to heaven. If you just believe that God exists (or some “higher power”), you’re going to be okay. If  you make it to the occasional church service, you can check off your list that you did your “Christian duty.”

Paul made his feelings about those who are “preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received.” They aren’t just wrong; they’re “accursed.”

This is serious, folks. And I believe one of the reasons he was so adamant about this, is that those who preach a contrary gospel aren’t just wrong for themselves. No, they’re guilty of dragging others away from God’s truth.

It’s heartbreaking to see the gospel—a beautiful story of God’s grace and redemption—so distorted. It’s even more heartbreaking to think of souls that have been lost by contrary gospels.

What can we do? We can share God’s plan of salvation—the true story—with as many people as God brings across our paths. We can lovingly guide those who’ve heard those contrary gospels.

We can make certain we always speak truth.

Monday, August 17, 2015

More Words of Encouragement (Galatians 1:1-5)

Today’s scripture: Galatians 1:1-5

We're over half-way through 2015 and a journey through Paul's epistles, and we're just now getting to Galatians. Just five verses into the book, we’re already encouraged.

First, Paul reminds his reader that Jesus Christ lives. We indeed serve a risen Savior, who walks with us every day.

Second, God gives us grace and peace. These are ours just because God loves us.

Third, our salvation through the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior protects us from the evil one. We live in very dark times, and this world is rapidly de-evolving into something rather ugly. But we have a rescuer. We’re not in this alone.

Finally, God does have a plan for each of us. And His will through us will give all glory to Him.

Whew. So much in just five short verses. I pray you’ll continue this journey with me as we learn more of God’s wisdom through Paul’s pen.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Words of Encouragement (2 Corinthians 13:11-14)

Today’s scripture: 2 Corinthians 13:11-14

We’re finishing our months-long journey through Paul’s letters to the church in Corinth. We’ve been encouraged, affirmed, exhorted, and convicted. And as we wrap things up, let’s meditate on Paul’s last encouraging words:

Rejoice. The Bible tells us that God desires that His children experience joy. Psalm 16:11 tells us that:
You [God] will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (emphasis mine)
And the second of the “fruit of the Spirit” is joy (Galatians 5:22). We can find joy in every situation because the God of the universe is with us, never leaving our side and loving us everlastingly (Hebrews 13:5; Jeremiah 31:3).

Be made complete. We are all works in progress, and God is molding and refining us to be more like Christ (Philippians 1:6). Our job is to be open to His will and live to bring Him glory.

Be comforted. We began Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians with the reminder that our God is the God of comfort. We receive comfort from Him, and we receive comfort from others—and we give comfort in return.

Be like-minded. It’s beyond critical that we believers be unified. We must love each other, support each other, esteem each other.

Live in peace. We need to “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). And we are blessed to remember the words of Jesus: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” (John 14:27).

And may the “
grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.”

On Monday, join me as we continue through Paul's epistles and spend time in Galatians.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

For the Truth (2 Corinthians 13:7-10)

Today’s scriptures: 2 Corinthians 13:7-10

In our age of relativism, many say there is no absolute truth. You believe what you believe; I believe what I believe. No one can be 100 percent sure of anything.

The lines are blurred between right and wrong. In fact, there really is no such thing. If I believe it’s right, then it’s right for me, no matter what you may think.

The problem is that when it comes down to it, most people do have an innate sense of right verses wrong. Unless one is psychopathic, he will agree that killing another human being for sport is wrong.

Most people would agree that living by the “golden rule” is good. Most people want to conduct business with people of integrity, with those who won’t cheat and who will behave honestly. Most people want to marry spouses who will be loyal and faithful.

Each of us has been endowed by our Creator (sometimes the old phrases do work the best!) with a sense of morality. Even more, we have been given a guidebook by which we can learn what it means to “love our neighbors” (Mark 12:31).

God’s word is Truth (yes, with a capital “T”). Its words of wisdom help us to know how to live moral, upright lives. To be good citizens. To be faithful spouses. To be supportive friends. To be honoring children. To be wise parents. To be loyal employees. To be fair employers.

In its 66 chapters, the Bible helps us to be the men and women God has created us to be, and that’s why it’s so very important that we study its words. Meditate on its precepts. Live by its truths.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Test Yourself (2 Corinthians 13:5-6)

Today’s scripture: 2 Corinthians 13:5-6

Sometimes when I’m studying God’s word, I like to look at several versions of the same verses. Meditating on different ways of saying the same thing helps me to better understand what God is saying.

Other versions of verse five of today’s scripture say:

Test yourselves and find out if you really are true to your faith. If you pass the test, you will discover that Christ is living in you. But if Christ isn't living in you, you have failed. (CEV)

Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don't drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. (MSG) 

Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it. Test and prove yourselves [not Christ]. Do you not yourselves realize and know [thoroughly by an ever-increasing experience] that Jesus Christ is in you--unless you are [counterfeits] disapproved on trial and rejected? (AMP)
Test. Examine. Evaluate.

I’m getting ready to teach for another semester. Testing, examining, and evaluating are "part and parcel" of each term's work. When I test my students, I’m looking for a breadth of knowledge. How well did they study? How well do they know the material?

It’s the same when we test our faith. How well do we know God? How well do we know His word? Are we studying it daily? Meditating on in? Saturating ourselves with its truths?

If someone were to test us, would we pass? While we may not be handed a pop quiz about our faith, we need to “always be ready to give an answer when someone asks [us] about [our] hope” (1 Peter 3:15, CEV).

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Mighty in You (2 Corinthians 13:1-4)

Today’s scripture: 2 Corinthians 13:1-4

“Christ … is not weak toward you, but mighty in you.”

Our God—Father, Son, and Spirit—is all powerful and almighty (Genesis 17:1; Revelation 1:8). He is our stronghold (2 Samuel 22:3; Psalm 9:9; 62:2). And Jesus Christ, God the Son, is in each of us who has accepted the gift of salvation through His death, burial, and resurrection. He is indeed “mighty” in each of us.

And because He provides strength in us, although we are “weak in Him, yet we will live with Him because of the power of God directed toward” each of us.

These are amazing, affirming, encouraging, and humbling words.

I certainly feel weak … most of the time. The many health issues with which I deal often make even getting out of bed a challenge. Yet, I still have to take care of the major priorities on my “to do” list. So I pray for extra strength … a lot. And my Lord God provides just what I need to do what needs to be done.

And so I “… sing of Your strength; Yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your lovingkindness in the morning, for You have been my stronghold and a refuge in the day of my distress (Psalm 59:6).

For He is indeed power in me.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Unity Among Believers (2 Corinthians 12:19-21)

Today’s scripture: 2 Corinthians 12:19-21

Why is it that we so often contend the most with those we’re to love the most? Paul is writing to Christians in Corinth—not unbelievers. Yet, he’s concerned with the possibility that there may be “
strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slanders, gossip, arrogance, disturbances” (v. 20).

We Christians are part of the very body of Christ. We are hands and feet, ears and eyes, knees and elbows. All together making up one unified body—or so it should be.

How sad that it isn’t that way … We point fingers. We gossip behind closed doors. We see the failings of a sister and think ourselves better. We somewhat maliciously delight in seeing the speck in our brother’s eye, all the while ignoring the plank in our own.

As Paul writes in other contexts, may it never be!

What if we all loved as we’re commanded to love? Loving our neighbor (Matthew 22:39; Mark 12:31; Romans 13:10; Galatians 5:14). Being willing to lay down our lives for others (John 15:13). Thinking of others above ourselves (Philippians 2:2-4). Showing patience, kindness, self-control (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

Can you imagine? If we loved each other that way, maybe we would love unbelievers that way too. And then how attractive would they find us? If we showed genuine love and unity, we could change our communities, our workplaces, our schools.

It would be amazing.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Supporting the Family (2 Corinthians 12:14-18)

Today’s scripture: 2 Corinthians 12:14-18

It is a rare day when I don’t feel completely inspired by the Spirit to write the day’s devotion. However, I’m experiencing significant “fibro fog,” so I’m going to trust the words of a saint of the past—who was far wiser than I—to share his words of wisdom.

When prayerfully considering Paul’s words in today’s scripture, Adam Clarke discerned Paul was saying:

Ye are my children, and I am your father. You have not contributed to my support, but I have been labouring for your life. I will act towards you as the loving father who works hard, and lays up what is necessary to enable his children to get their bread. I will continue to act as a loving father, who spends all he has upon his children, and expends his own strength and life in providing for them the things necessary for their preservation and comfort. I will even act towards you with the most affectionate tenderness, though it happen to me, as it often does to loving fathers, that their disobedient children love them less, in proportion as their love to them is increased. Does it not frequently happen that the most disobedient child in the family is that one on which the parents' tenderness is more especially placed? See the parable of the prodigal son. It is in the order of God that it should be so, else the case of every prodigal would be utterly deplorable. The shepherd feels more for the lost sheep than for the ninety-nine that have not gone astray.
I love any scripture that reminds me of my loving Father, my Abba … my Daddy. And as much as Paul loved his earthly “children” and as much as our parents love us, our heavenly Father loves us so much more.

Father God, Abba, thank You for Your overwhelming, unconditional love. May I live to glorify You. Every day. Amen.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

A Nobody (2 Corinthians 12:11-13)

Today’s scripture: 2 Corinthians 12:11-13

Paul, the writer of the majority of the New Testament, deliverer of wisdom, faithful servant of God, could very well have boasted regularly about how God used him. Yet one of his most visible attributes is his humility.

I believe he never forgot what God had done for him. He had actually, literally persecuted Christ’s followers.

When we first meet Paul, he’s supervising the execution of Stephen. Before he meets Jesus, he wants nothing more than to wipe out this new movement following the upstart Nazarene. He’s on his way to Damascus when, as the Bible says: “Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem” (Acts 9:1-2).

Then he meets Jesus: “As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ And he said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting’ …” (Acts 9:3-5).

It’s easy to see why Paul would call himself a “nobody.” And I totally understand his humility. Even after Paul showed such hate towards Jesus and His people, Jesus lovingly saved him, and God used him in amazing ways.

I too am a “nobody.” I turned my back on God for so many years, choosing to live, not to honor Him, but to fulfill my own fleshly desires. Yet, when I came back to Jesus, He welcomed me with open arms.

And I too am being used by God. It’s enough to make me fall on my face in humble gratitude.

What an amazingly gracious God we serve!

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Strength in Weakness (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

Today’s scripture: 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

So much has been questioned about Paul’s “thorn in the flesh.” Was it poor eyesight? Was it circumstances? Was it some other physical ailment? I don’t think it really matters exactly what Paul’s thorn was.

The important thing is that Paul had something that tormented him, something that he asked God to remove. Something that caused him so much pain—physical or emotional—that he implored God to take it away.

Implored means “to call upon in supplication or beseech
; to call or pray for earnestly or entreat.” Paul wasn’t making a casual request. He earnestly pleaded for this thorn to be removed.

Sometimes I wonder if Paul’s “three times” really meant three “seasons.” I know I’ve gone through especially rough seasons with my health when I’ve certainly implored God to heal me. Yet other times, I just manage the pain with God’s strength. In any case, God had a different plan for Paul’s life … and for mine as well.

I’ve found my pain to be a blessing. Yes, a blessing. First, my pain—my weakness—truly is my strength because I’m so aware of God’s grace. More times than I can count, I’ve needed God’s strength just to get me out of bed. Second, God uses my pain to comfort others. Because I can sincerely relate to those who suffer from chronic health issues, I can encourage them by sharing how God has worked in and through my pain.

I would rather live in pain and be able to boast about Christ’s power in me than live pain-free because it truly in my weakness than I am strong.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

"Necessary" Boasting (2 Corinthians 12:1-6)

Today’s scripture: 2 Corinthians 12:1-6

Some debate who the “man in Christ” is that Paul writes about in these verses. Was it Paul himself? Or someone who told his story to Paul? For me, this isn’t one of those “stake in the sand” issues. What matters is what Paul is saying: Boasting isn’t profitable.

When we boast about something we do, two issues arise:

First, nothing we can do is of our own merit (we’ve talked about this before) because everything we have, everything we are, everything we can do comes from God.

Second, if we do boast about ourselves, we run the risk of being foolish. We say we can do something, and then we mess up. Seriously. None of us is perfect, and even the very best of us fails sometimes. For example, I’ve heard some really wonderful vocalists miss a note. Or an amazing actor flub a line.

But when we boast in what God does in and through us, He will use us to glorify Himself. I know when I focus on Him and just let Him work, He allows me to do far more than I can do on my own. He speaks through me in unexpected ways. He helps me to write words I hadn’t planned or remember verses I thought I’d forgotten.

When I know He’s fully with me, even if I mess up in my own weakness, He’ll still be glorified. Because the focus will be on Him and His glory, not me and my human failings.

And that’s exactly as it should be. 

Monday, August 03, 2015

Protection Through Persecution (2 Corinthians 11:30-33)

Today’s scripture: 2 Corinthians 11:30-33

Friday, we talked about the persecution Christians will face. While most of us won’t be imprisoned or martyred for our faith, we will be insulted or ridiculed.

But God is our faithful protector in each and every situation. He miraculously opened prison doors (Acts 12:7; 16:26), closed lions’ mouths (Daniel 6:22), and provided ways of escape, like Paul’s being let down in a basket. And even when in the midst of suffering, He brings peace and joy (Acts 16:25).

We can be confident that, no matter what persecution we experience, our God will be with us (Hebrews 13:5). He will walk with us, often carry us. And we can know without doubt that even if He calls us to make the ultimate earthly sacrifice, our reward will be heaven itself.

And while on earth, we know that persecution will: 

“we may study patience, courage, and firm trust in God. Here we may learn to think less of ourselves; and we should ever strictly keep to truth, as in God's presence; and should refer all to his glory, as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed for evermore.” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary of the Whole Bible)