Tag: power of God

Boasting in our weakness

Scripture reading for October 1st: 2nd Corinthians 12

Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 12:7-9 “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Paul told the Corinthian church briefly about the great revelations he had received when he was caught up into the third heaven, the dwelling place of God. This place is also called ‘paradise’ and Paul was unsure whether he had gone there in bodily form or it was an ‘out of body’ experience. He had heard things there that he was forbidden by God to talk about. So Paul had a ‘thorn given me in the flesh’, ‘a messenger of Satan’ to harass him and keep him humble. Paul had prayed to God to take it away, but God spoke to him about grace. God’s favor would be sufficient for Paul. God’s power would be made perfect in Paul’s weakness. This Word brought peace to Paul and he was now content to boast in his weakness that Christ’s power would rest on him. It is interesting we do not find him binding Satan or continuing to pray for removal. He simply rested and accepted this ‘thorn’, whatever it was, allowing God’s power to rest on him. It appears that the thorns in believer’s lives can take many forms but the result is the same–weakness leading to more grace and power.

2nd Corinthians 12:10 “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father, thank You that Your grace is sufficient for me in every trial, persecution, hardship, or even calamity. For the sake of Your Son, Who was made weak by bearing my sins, I accept my weakness and Your grace. I invite You to let Your power flow through me to preach the Gospel and bring healing and salvation to the lost.

2nd Corinthians 12:14-15 “Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden, for I seek not what is yours but you. . . . I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. . .”

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Thankful for the Gospel!

Scripture reading for November 17th:  Romans 1-4

Key Scriptures:  Romans 1:16-17  “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes; first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.  For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written; “The righteous will live by faith.”

Paul was proud to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ because through the simple message of Jesus’ life, death, burial and resurrection, the power of God for salvation was released to all who would believe.  This included Jew and Gentile as well as every race, social status, gender and people group!  The gospel was inclusive because it was by faith that righteousness was granted as a gift!  Faith is the great equalizer, available to all!

The simplicity of faith:  Then the Lord replied:  “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.  For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false.  Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.  “See, he is puffed up; his desires are not upright--but the righteous will live by his faith–”  (Habakkuk 2:2-4)

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Not ashamed of the Gospel!

Scripture reading for June 15th:  Romans 1

Paul wrote a letter to the church at Rome from Corinth during his third missionary journey to help them understand the Gospel and to clear up some issues between Jewish believers and Gentile believers.   He longed to visit them but had not yet done so.

“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God–the gospel He promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding His Son, who as to His human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by His resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.  Through Him and for His Name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.”  

Paul introduced himself to the church as a ‘servant of Christ Jesus’.  God had called him and set him apart to preach the Gospel–the good news of Christ Jesus the Son of God.  Jesus was a descendant of David–the Jewish king as foretold in the Scriptures through the prophets.  However, Jesus was declared with power from God to be His Son by resurrection from the dead as Christ the Lord!  Through God’s grace in Christ, Paul became an apostle and preacher to the Gentiles, as well as the Jews!

“I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes; first for the Jew and then for the Gentile!  For in the Gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.””  (Romans 1:16-17)

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Resurrection essentials!

Scripture reading for August 23rd: 1st Corinthians 15:1-28

The Gospel message is the power of God for salvation.  Paul clearly stated this powerful Gospel in just a few words: “By this Gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you.  Otherwise you have believed in vain.  For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, the He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. . “ (1st Corinthians 15:2-4)

In order to be saved, we must believe the Gospel.  Paul’s simple explanation of the Gospel reveals to us the essentials of what makes up the ‘good news’.  We must hold firmly to all aspects of this Gospel.  The first essential is that Christ died for our sins.  Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  He could die for our sins because He, Himself, never sinned by breaking God’s laws.  His life wasn’t taken by the force or power of men in authority.   He willingly gave up His life for the purpose taking the penalty for man’s sins as their substitute.

Christ actually died.  His body was a human body and He suffered willingly the brutal death of Roman crucifixion.  He was scourged by Roman soldiers, carried His cross until another helped Him, and then was bodily nailed to that cross.  It was there, on the cross, that Jesus gave up His life.  His last words were “It is finished.” (John 19:30) One of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ body and heart with a spear to make sure He was dead.  Blood and water came out.  (John 19:33-35)   Jesus’ body was placed in a borrowed tomb that had never been used. (John 19:40-42)  His body was wrapped in grave clothes and covered with about 75 pounds of spices.  A stone was rolled over the mouth of the tomb.

Jesus rose again from the dead on the third day!  Eyewitnesses saw the empty tomb!  Mary Magdalene, Peter, and John saw the tomb and grave clothes neatly folded.  (John 20:3-7)  Paul states that five hundred people at once saw Jesus alive.  The apostles saw and touched His body and Paul, himself, saw Jesus alive!   Because He lives, we can live too!  Christ rose from the dead and we will also be raised when the end comes and Jesus returns!  (1st Corinthians 15:20-24)  Praise the Lord!

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Preaching the Cross!

Scripture reading for August 5th: 1st Corinthians 1:18-2:5

The cross of Jesus Christ has long been foolishness to the world and its followers.  The message of the cross has been mocked and those who preached it have been ridiculed, tortured and killed by those who refused to hear the message.  But for us who are being saved, it is the power of God that saved us!  It is the wisdom of God that made grace available to whoever will listen and believe!  (1st Corinthians 1:18,24)

The Greeks were known for their search for wisdom.  They had great philosophers like Plato and Aristotle.  Their wisdom and scholarship was well know, but they did not bring the world a knowledge of God and His plan of salvation.  (1st Corinthians 1:21)  The Jews were always seeking miraculous signs and the cross was a stumbling block.  In the Gospel message, Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came to earth as a man.  He lived  a sinless life and offered His body and blood as a sacrifice for our sins on the cross.  He was crucified, died and was buried in a tomb.  The greatest miracle occurred on the third day when the tomb was opened and the Son of God rose from the dead!  This message proved to be a stumbling block for the Jews in spite of the greatest miracle ever witnessed.  It proved to be foolishness to the Greeks who reject the message of the cross as without merit.

Yet, in this message is the greatest power ever released on earth!  Through this message, all mankind has the opportunity to be forgiven of sin and receive eternal life.  The key to receiving is a humble heart that will be open to believe in the One who went to the cross for all!  “But God chose the foolish things of this world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things-the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him.  It is because of Him that you are in Christ, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” (1st Corinthians 1:27-30)  Have you embraced God’s wisdom through the One who died on the Cross?

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The power of God!

Scripture reading for February 1st: Matthew 22:23-46, Psalm 21, Proverbs 6:1-19

Today’s reading tells of a group of Sadducees who came to Jesus to test Him.  The Sadducees were what we might describe as non-charismatic Jews of Jesus’ day.  They did not believe in miracles and especially the resurrection of the dead.  For them, this was not reasonable and was just superstitious.  They contrasted with the Pharisees who did believe in miracles and the resurrection of the dead.  These Sadducees had what they thought was an question that would prove Jesus was not the Messiah.

Their question concerned the teaching of Moses where if a man died without having children, his brother was to marry his widow and have children for his brother.  They proposed that this happened to a widow who had been married to seven brothers who had all died without producing children.  (Matthew 22:23-32) (Deuteronomy 25:5-6)  Their question for Jesus was, “Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?” (Matthew 22:27)

“Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.  At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.  But about the resurrection of the dead–have you not read what God said to you, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?  He is not the God of the dead but of the living.” ” (Matthew 22:29-32)   Jesus turned their question into a time of teaching for them.  He gave them truth to help their understanding but did not fall into the trap that they had designed.  He took the Scripture and clearly showed that God viewed the patriarchs as alive.  The greater need was not to argue about issues of heaven, but to believe in resurrection and eternal life!

God’s power is sufficient to meet our every need.  If we have honest questions, God can help us with answers.  He has given us His Word to know truth and to bring faith alive in our hearts.  We must take Him at His word and believe!  All who come to God must believe that He is alive and rewards those who seek Him!  (Hebrews 11:6)  Many are like the Sadducee s, sad because they don’t believe the Scriptures or the power of God!

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The message of the cross

Scripture reading for November 22nd: 1st Corinthians 1-6

To educated people, Christ and his cross is often  considered foolishness.  It is not logical or believable to many who have embraced science and modern secular humanism.     But God chose the foolish things of this world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong! (1st Corinthians 1:27)

The message of the cross is a message of God’s wrath against sin.  God has decreed that every soul that sins must die.  (Romans 6:23) Jesus Christ took the wages of man’s sin upon Himself and was beaten, mocked, spit upon, ridiculed, and crucified as a common criminal.  Isaiah says that we considered Him “stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted.” (Isaiah 53:4)  The punishment that we deserved fell upon Him and by His stripes we are healed!  (Isaiah 53:5)  God’s wrath was directed against His own Son, that we might be free from that wrath! (2nd Corinthians 5:21)

The message of the cross tells of God’s love for us.  That God Himself sent His only Son to earth just to die in our place tells the greatest love story ever told!  “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)  He demonstrated His love for us in that Christ died for us while we were yet sinners!  (Romans 5:8)  God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever would believe on Him would not perish, but have eternal life!  (John 3:16)

The message of the cross demands repentance and faith.  We must turn from our self-centered ways and look to Jesus Christ for salvation and forgiveness of sin.  This message is the power of God for salvation to those who will believe!  (Romans 1:16-17)  “It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.”  (1st Corinthians 1:30)

This message of the cross is foolishness to those who claim worldly wisdom.  It is weakness to those who think themselves strong.  It is an offense to our intellect and strength, but it is God’s wisdom for the humble!  Oh how I love the cross and the One who gave His life for me!  May this message of God’s wrath against sin and God’s amazing love flow from us who believe each and every day!

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Today is the best day!

Scripture reading for September 2nd: 2nd Corinthians 6:1-13

When many people hear the plea of one of Christ’s ambassadors: “Be reconciled to God!”, they make excuses as to why they are not yet ready.  Some may feel that they have many things in the world that they want to do and see, and they don’t want God interfering.  Others may have pet sins that they know God would ask them to give up.  Their consciences have already been convicting them, but the sin is bringing them too much temporary pleasure.  Others feel that they are young yet, and that religion is for old people who are near death.  When they get older, then they will consider Christ’s plea for reconciliation.  Still others feel that they are ‘good’.  There are many others who are worse ‘sinners’ and God surely knows that they are trying to do good works.  It is easy to find justification!

“As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain.  For He says, “In the time of My favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.”  I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” (2nd Corinthians 6:1-2)  It is possible to hear the message of the Gospel of God’s grace and receive it in vain!  Failure to respond with a personal faith and trust actually makes you more liable for God’s wrath and judgment.  To whom much is given, much is required!  Paul urged those at Corinth to respond when they had the opportunity. “Today” was the best day and the right time because no one could guarantee themselves a “tomorrow”!

Paul continued his plea for these Corinthian’s reconciliation by explaining his own efforts to offer the message of reconciliation to them and not cause them to stumble.  He had loved them sincerely and spoken the truth to them at every turn.  He had worked hard to provide for himself and suffered for their sake to provide what they needed in an example of Christ’s love.  (2nd Corinthians 5:3-10)  Paul had opened his heart to them and demonstrated Christ’s love.

In spite of all this, the Corinthians were withholding their love to Paul and many had not opened their hearts.  As you examine your heart, where are you with your response to Christ’s plea?  Today is the best day to open your heart!

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Preaching the Cross!

Scripture reading for August 5th: 1st Corinthians 1:18-2:5

The cross of Jesus Christ has long been foolishness to the world and its followers.  The message of the cross has been made fun of and those who preached it have been mocked, beaten, tortured and killed by those who refused to hear that message.  But for us who are being saved, it is the power of God that saved us!  It is the wisdom of God that made grace available to whoever will listen and believe!  (1st Corinthians 1:18,24)

The Greeks were known for their search for wisdom.  They had great philosophers like Plato and Aristotle.  Their wisdom and scholarship was well know, but they did not bring the world a knowledge of God and His plan of salvation.  (1st Corinthians 1:21)  The Jews were always seeking miraculous signs and the cross was a stumbling block.  In the Gospel message, Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came to earth as a man.  He lived  a sinless life and offered His body and blood as a sacrifice for our sins on the cross.  He was crucified, died and was buried in a tomb.  The greatest miracle occurred on the third day when the tomb was opened and the Son of God rose from the dead!  This message proved to be a stumbling block for the Jews in spite of the greatest miracle ever witnessed.  It proved to be foolishness to the Greeks who reject the message of the cross as without merit.

Yet, in this message is the greatest power ever released on earth!  Through this message, all mankind has the opportunity to be forgiven of sin and receive eternal life.  The key to receiving is a humble heart that will be open to believe in the One who went to the cross for all!  “But God chose the foolish things of this world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things-the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him.  It is because of Him that you are in Christ, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” (1st Corinthians 1:27-30)  Have you embraced God’s wisdom through the One who died on the Cross?

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Proud of the Gospel!

Scripture reading for July 12th: Romans 1:1-17

Paul’s letter to the Romans is a wonderful exposition of the gospel message and salvation by grace through faith.  Paul wrote this letter from jail to a Roman church that he had never visited.  The term ‘gospel’ is used twelve times in the letter and is used six times in first seventeen verses!

It is interesting that just this evening I was out sharing the gospel in the park with a team from our church.  There was a man with a tee shirt that quoted Romans 1:16: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. . .” I asked this young man if he knew what the term ‘gospel’ meant and he said he would have to go look that up.  That opened the door for me to share with him and his friends the gospel message!

Paul loved the gospel message.  For him, the gospel was all about Jesus Christ.  The gospel was promised by God through the prophets concerning the Son of God who was to be a descendant of David.  This Son was none other than Jesus Christ, “who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by resurrection from the dead.” (Romans 1:4)  The gospel was good news in that by faith Jew and Gentile could receive grace and forgiveness of sins.

Paul considered the gospel of Jesus Christ the power of God for salvation.  He was not ashamed of that message, but instead was bold to share it whenever and where ever God would open the door.  This gospel revealed the righteousness of God that is received by faith in both Jew and Gentile.  Paul quotes Habakkuk 2:4 in saying, “The righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1:17b)

Paul was so proud of the gospel because it saved him from working to try and earn righteousness through the law!  He knew the futility of his own works and how this good news brought him rest and grace.  He wanted everyone he was in contact with to know that grace and believe in Jesus Christ!  (Acts 26:29)

If you were asked to explain what ‘gospel’ means, would you be able to?  Have you experienced the power of the gospel to save you?  Are you able to say with Paul, “I am not ashamed of the gospel!”

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