Prayer Challenge

I want to ask you to say this prayer out loud, if possible.

“I belong to God. I am a holy vessel because I have the Holy Spirit of the Living God. The Lord of Heaven and earth has said to me; “I declare you holy!”. I commit to start believing what He says. I AM HOLY! Remind me daily, Spirit of the Living God, to treat myself as holy, open my eyes to every scheme of The Enemy to treat me as if I'm not. You, God, are Holy. Your word is the truth. This day Father, I chose to believe you! I ask this in the mighty name of your son Jesus Christ, who died on a cross for me so that I could be a coheir to the kingdom of God. Amen”

Monday, November 27, 2017

Paul's 2nd Corinthian Letter - Week 3

Chapter 7
Paul's Joy in the Corinthians
  • Having the promise of being God's sons and daughters, we need to cleanse ourselves from the filthiness of the flesh and spirit. 7:1
Cleanse ourselves means:
  • Clean heart, mind, and soul
  • No bad thoughts - take your thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 8:5)
  • Focus on being a son or daughter of God
  • Lead a holy life - The Holy Spirit dwells in us, therefore let us be holy. (1 Corinthians 6:19)
  • Our body is a temple because we received a cleansing of forgiveness by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:18-19)
  • We have to cleans ourselves not by our own efforts, but by relying on God to shape us and mold us. (Jeremiah 18:6)
Paul states his case to be received.
  • wronged no man
  • corrupted no man
  • defrauded no man 7:2
  • Paul loves his followers 7:3
In spite of the tribulations he faces, Paul is filled with comfort and joyful 7:4
Compared to the tribulations of Paul, nothing I face today seems nearly as significant.
Paul is a minister.
"If the ministers of the gospel are thought contemptible, there is danger lest the gospel itself be despised also; and though ministers must flatter none, yet they must be gentle towards all."  Matthew Henry's Concise Bible Commentary
 Paul and Titus were shepherds to a widespread flock. They rejoiced to see their flocks change in attitude. 7:12-16
Chapter 8
Generosity Commended
Paul commended the charity of the Macedonians.  8:1-6
  • All good done by us, or in us, is the grace of God at work.
  • When we are servants, or useful to others - It is by grace and favor from God.
  • Whatever we use of give for God is only giving him what is already his. When we ascribe really good works to the grace of God, it gives God the glory AND shows us where our strength lies - in God. 
The Corinthians abounded in grace.  8:7-9
  • Faith - Faith is necessary to please God.
  • Utterance, or speaking
  • Knowledge
  • Diligence
  • Love
  • Paul also wanted the Corinthians to abound in charity.
The Grace and Love of Jesus
  • Jesus was rich in that he was equal to God the Father in power and glory
  • Jesus was poor in that he became a man after being rich in heaven with God the Father.
  • Jesus died on the cross as a ransom sacrifice for man.  
"Good purposes are like buds and blossoms, pleasant to behold, and give hopes of good fruit; but they are lost, and signify nothing without good deeds." Matthew Henry's Concise Bible Commentary
 Christians share with each other and achieve a sort of equality. All should be concerned to help those in want.
Paul commends Titus and the brother who was sent to collect the charity 8:16-24

  • When dealing with money, or materials you need to take care that you appear to be trustworthy and honest. 
  • It is needful to be upstanding in God's sight, but it is also needful to be honest in the sight of men too.

Chapter 9
God Loves a Cheerful Giver 9:1-5
The duty of ministering to other believers seems to be plain, but self-love contends powerfully against the love of Christ. Make sure you are not placing self-love over the love of Christ.
Financially, You Reap What You Sow
  • sow sparingly - reap sparingly
  • sow bountifully - reap bountifully
  • God loves a cheerful giver
God can make grace abound in your life so that you always have what you need.
"We must show the reality of our subjection to the gospel by works of charity." Matthew Henry's Concise Bible Commentary

Chapter 10
Paul faced mean and scornful talk from others.  10:1-6
  • Paul knew who and what he was and didn't let this talk affect him. 
  • We should be aware of our own infirmities and think humbly of ourselves, even when others reproach us. 
"The work of the ministry is a spiritual warfare with spiritual enemies, and for spiritual purposes." Matthew Henry's Concise Bible Commentary
Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5
This is impossible without faith and the grace of God. The Holy Spirit is our helper from the Father through Jesus Christ. Reliance upon God helps us win each spiritual battle within ourselves.  10:5
Do you look on things after the outward appearance?      10:7-11

  • Remember we belong to Christ and we are Christ's. 
  • Paul's outward appearance may have been weak and his speech contemptible BUT his letters were and are powerful.
  • Comparing others to ourselves is not wise. 10:12-13
  • God's measure is not the measure man uses. Plus, God gives to each of us according to his measure.
  • Instead of praising ourselves, we should work to approve ourselves to God. 

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day 23

Monday, November 20, 2017

Paul's 2nd Corinthian Letter - Week 2

I sat down to read Chapters 4 to 6 two or three times this week. Each time was in the evening, rather than in the morning and my brain wouldn't settle down, even though I had prayed for guidance.
Today, I asked Bill to pray for me and with me before I even tried to sit down and study. As we held hands and prayed, I could feel peace and serenity flow through me. My thoughts settled down, and I was able to begin the process of reading and taking notes with focus and clarity.
However, one random thought did make it into my mind,"Maybe I should have asked Bill for prayer the first time."

Chapter 4
Treasures in Jars of Clay
Do not lose heart if you are in a god-given ministry. (4:1)
The signs of a god-given ministry are:
  1. You have renounced secret and shameful ways (4:2)
  2. No deception
  3. No distortion of God's Word
  4. In the sight of God, you are setting forth the truth plainly
Setting forth the truth plainly means with no misunderstanding. You are not adding to what is written and most importantly you are not softening the word.
The word of God is veiled to the perishing because the god of this age - Satan - has blinded the minds of unbelievers. (4:3-4)
  • Unbelievers cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God. (4:3-4)
  • Jesus is Lord and we are servants for Jesus' sake. (4:5)
God's light shines in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 4:6
  • God's light shines in my heart 
  • God's light gives me knowledge of God's glory
  • Christ's face reflects the glory of God. 
  • Through Christ, the light of God shines in my heart that I might know God's glory. 
We are jars of clay containing this treasure to show this power is from god, not ourselves (4:7)
Servants of god are:
  • hardpressed BUT not crushed
  • perplexed BUT not despairing
  • struck down BUT not destroyed (4:8-12)
We are dealing with the same world that Jesus lived in. Therefore, we will meet the same hardships he dealt with as we represent Jesus to the world around us. 
 We have the Spirit of God, who is life at work in us. 
"I believed therefore I have spoken." Psalm 116:10
  • We believe and speak because the one who raised Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus. 
  • All this is for you, so the grace that is reaching more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God. (4:15)
  • Do Not Lose Heart. 
  • Fix your eyes on the unseen, not the seen. What is unseen is eternal. We live by faith, not by sight. (4:16-18; 5:7)
Chapter 5
Earthly Tent versus Eternal House in Heaven
  • Even though we presently live in an earthly tent, our thoughts and minds can dwell on our eternal house in heaven. 
  • Paul said he longed to be clothed in his heavenly dwelling. 
  • God has given us the Spirit as a guarantee of what is to come. 
  • We can be confident we are going to our eternal house in heaven because we have the Spirit of God living in us. 
  • Our goal is to please him whether we are in our earthly tent or in our eternal house in heaven. (5:7-9)
Before the Throne
  • For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each may receive what is due him. 
  • Christ is the judge of the living and the dead. (Acts 10:42) 
  • Each of us will give an account of himself to God. (Romans 14:12)
The Ministry of Reconciliation
  • What we are is plain to God. 
  • For Christ's love compels us because we are convinced that he died for all, and therefore all died. 
  • We shouldn't live for ourselves, but for Jesus. 
  • He died for us and was raised again. 
  • We shouldn't regard people from a worldly point of view because those in Christ are a new creation. 
  • All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. (5:11-16)
We are Christ's Ambassadors
  • As Christ's ambassadors, when we speak, it is as though God were making his appeal through us. 
  • We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. 
  • God made the sinless one to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (5:20)
Chapter 6
We put no stumbling block in anyone's path so that our ministry will not be discredited. (6:3)
As a disciple of Jesus Christ and God's servant, Paul faced
  • troubles in daily life
  • distresses in life
  • beatings
  • imprisonments
  • riots
  • hard work
  • sleepless nights
  • hunger (6:4-5)
Paul listed his ministry attitude and work as being:
  • in purity
  • understanding
  • patience
  • kindness
  • in the Holy Spirit
  • in sincere love
  • in truthful speech
  • in the power of God
  • using weapons of righteousness (6:6-7)
As a disciple of Jesus Christ, Paul and his ministry withstood many things.
  • glory and dishonor
  • bad report and good report
  • Paul and his ministry was genuine, yet regarded as imposters
  • known, yet regarded as unknown
  • dying, yet living on
  • beaten, yet not killed
  • sorrowful, yet always rejoicing
  • poor, yet making many rich
  • having nothing, yet possessing everything (6:8-10)
We are the temple of the living God.  (6:14-18)
"I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." 2 Samuel 7:14; 7:8

30 Days of Thanksgiving - Day 17

Monday, November 13, 2017

Paul's 2nd Corinthian Letter - Week 1

After Paul went to Ephesus, the Corinthian church developed problems. 
Groups following other preachers rejected Paul's ministry and gospel. In 1 Corinthians, Paul warned the church against living a self-centered life rather than a Christ-centered life.
 1 Corinthians is Paul's second attempt to deal with problems by letter from Ephesus and was delivered by Apollos. The situation in Corinth was troublesome enough that Apollos refused to deliver the second letter Paul wrote. Instead, Timothy delivered the letter that is now known as 2 Corinthians.

Chapter 1
God Is
1. Good and Father of Jesus Christ
2. Father of Compassion
3. God of all comfort in all our troubles
Reciprocal Comfort
  • As we receive comfort from God, we are told to give comfort in the same way.  
  • Christian comfort doesn't mean we will be comfortable. 
  • God's comfort is giving us strength to meet the troubles that will come into our lives. BUT through Jesus, our comfort will overflow. 
  • Our strength is in God and that comfort will overflow when we rely on him and not on ourselves. (1:5)
  • Rely on God no matter how bad things get. Even if you think death is a real possibility, rely on God. God can raise the dead. Therefore, don't lose hope. (1:9)
Prayer Partners
  • Paul gave credit to his prayer partners for receiving favor from God. 
  • He wrote that the favor was granted because of the prayer of many. 
  • Their prayers helped deliver Paul from persecution and trouble. (1:11)
Christian Conduct Is
1. Sincere
2. Holy
3. According to God's grace. (1:10-12)
God's promises are "Yes" in Christ and through Christ the "Amen", or agreement, is spoken by us to the glory of God. (1:20)
God makes us stand firm in Christ because:
1. He anointed us
2. He set his seal of ownership on us
3. He put his Spirit in our hearts
4. His Spirit acts as a deposit,or guarantee  (1:21-22)
Church leaders should work with you and cause joy, not lord it over the church.
Chapter 2
  • Paul's relationship with the Corinthian church was painful, but he knew he had to lead them to Christ's way.(2:2-4)
  • Forgiveness is essential for a church. Christians are not free to withhold forgiveness and comfort.(2:5-11)
  • Satan can and will cause disruptions within a church body.(2:11)
The Lord opens doors for his leaders and people. God goes before us and leads to victory in evangelism. (2:12-14)
  • Paul made a point about profiting from the Word of God. He pointed out that many peddle the Word of God for profit, but he and his leaders did not do this. (2:17)
Chapter 3
  • I love how Paul writes that we are a letter from Christ, a result of ministry, written not in ink, but with the Spirit of the Living God. A letter not written in stone, but on tablets of human hearts. (3:2-3)
  • Paul gives credit to God for his competence as a minister of the new covenant. He followed not the letter of the law, but the Spirit of God that gives life. (3:4-6)
The Glory of the New Covenant
  • The law given to Moses came with glory,so shouldn't the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? (3:7-8)
  • We who have this glorious covenant should be bold. The veil that separated God's people from him is taken away by faith in Christ.(3:14-16)
  • The Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. Our unveiled faces all reflect the glory of the Lord. 
We are being transformed into his likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (3:17-18)

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day 10

Sunday, November 12, 2017

A Four Week Book Reading, or Study of 2 Corinthians

Hi there!
I am starting a 4 week reading, or study, of 2 Corinthians. I am using a study bible and I want to invite you to join me. 
Post your personal discoveries and revelations as a comment for each weekly post beginning Monday, November 13.

My post schedule will be:
November 13     Chapter 1-3
November 20     Chapter 4-6     
November 27     Chapter 7-9
December 4        Chapter 10-13

Join me in creating a closer relationship with Jesus, through sharpening the Sword of the Spirit, or the Word of God. 

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day 9

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Do Encourage Converted Sinners - Acts 9:26-27

Acts 9:26-27
And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple.  But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared to them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. 
When great and notorious sinners profess to be converted - people who have been violent, artful, or malignant - it is natural to ask whether they have not some unworthy motive still in their professed change. 
Confidence is a plant of slow growth, and starts up, not by a sudden profession, but is the result of a course of life which is worthy of affection and of trust.                Barnes' Notes on the Bible 
Saul had been gone for three years before he showed up in Jerusalem wanting to join the disciples
The disciples hadn't heard much about Saul's conversion, or any subsequent preaching. Therefore, they were afraid of him because they weren't sure about his conversion. Saul had been the number one persecutor of the new believers in Jesus. Now, here he was wanting to join them. 
Barnabas Stood With Saul
Barnabas, the Son of Encouragement, decided to stand with Saul and to encourage the disciples to believe in what had happened to Saul. Barnabus related what he knew about Saul and felt that Saul was truly a changed man. How different the bible story might be if Barnabus hadn't stood and encouraged the disciples to accept Saul! 
My husband's testimony affects people because he dealt with an abusive father until he was ten years old. 
In turn, Bill passed on the pain by being a bully. As an adult, he was an aggressive, alcoholic-addict who liked to show people he was powerful. He ended up in an outlaw motorcycle club where his personality fit in with the lifestyle. Bill is the first to tell you that he was not a nice person. 
When Bill retired, he moved to southern Missouri and bought some land in the Irish Wilderness. 
Bill didn't know that this area had a rural church with active disciples of Jesus in it who were his neighbors. Bill said he couldn't even pick up a hammer without a neighbor showing up offering to help. His neighbors wouldn't accept money. They only asked that he think about coming to church. In Bill's world, obligations needed to be paid off. 
Eventually, he went to church several times. God touched Bill and he ended up answering an alter call. After that alter call, Bill joined the church through baptism in a local river. 
Today, Bill is an evangelist for Jesus Christ. 
He never meets someone without asking them if they are a Christian, or if they know Jesus Christ. He even does this on every phone call that he receives. I sometimes find myself wondering if Saul might not have been a lot like Bill after he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. 
Saul spent the rest of his life serving the Lord and  my husband is doing the same.
I think this illustrates that no matter how bad a person is in the world, God can turn them into his greatest followers. No matter how bad you think you are, God wants you. Tell Jesus that you want him in your life today. Tell Jesus you know you have done bad, but want to change your life.  Find a church and talk to the pastor. 
As Barnabus stood with Saul and vouched for his conversion, God will send someone to help you.

The Dark Side of Encouragement - Psalm 64:5

Psalm 64 is titled: The Hurtful Tongue. 
David was well aware of his enemies that smiled to his face, but encouraged each other in secret meetings. Don't let people around you encourage you to join the dark side of encouragement such as gossip, slander, cursing others, and planning to hurt others. It is difficult to stand up to a group, but it isn't impossible. When you are in a group that begins to verbally assault someone, ask yourself what Jesus would do. Would He be quiet, or would he remind the group that they have their own faults too? John 8:7 Do not let yourself be pulled into the dark side of encouragement.  
Social Media Messages
Today, the hurtful tongue has become the typing fingers that post dark and negative comments on a social media profile. On social media, people can hide behind a user name and send anonymous, negative messages that can hurt others. These secret users type out posts that are as hurtful as being cut with a knife. Words can be wielded like a knife. Words can stab, slash, and cut into your self-esteem and heart, if you let them. Please, do not let these hurtful messages wound, or harm you.
Use Your Faith
I repeat, do not let words harm you. Pick up your shield of faith and extinguish the negative messages. Believe in and repeat God's messages. God's messages tell you who God says you are. Look into a mirror and say,"I am God's chosen. I am a co-heir to the kingdom of God. I am his beloved child. I am priceless to God."

This Is Who You Are In Christ
I added the bold italics to emphasize the point that you are a son or daughter of God through Jesus Christ. 
Romans 1:12
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Romans 8:16
The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
1 John 3:1
Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew him not.
Galatians 4:6-7
6 And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, you are also an heir through God.

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day 2

I am thankful for being released from the bonds of addiction and given a chance to live a joyful life with Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. 

Saturday, November 4, 2017