Archives For II Corinthians

During some recent study, I was struck with a concept I had inexplicably never considered before. While I talk a lot about stewarding our resources of money and time, I had never considered stewarding the resources of our words. As a writer, the thought struck me deeply. I see words as being an incredibly powerful resource we can use to further God’s Kingdom or to tear it down.

stewarding your words,stewardship,commitment,discipleship,love,mission,humility,Ephesians 4:29,build up someone,2 Corinthians 10:3-5,take every thought captive,James 3:6,tongue is a fire

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Actions indeed speak louder than words, but words can change minds, influence change, and impact the world in ways that little else can. Yet, how much thought do you give towards stewarding your words each day? How often do you intentionally measure your speech to be certain each word you speak makes the greatest impact for the Kingdom of God?

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Matthew 25:1-13 tells the parable of the ten virgins. The story details how ten virgins were waiting for the bridegroom. Five of them were prepared to stick it out until the groom showed up, bringing extra oil to keep their lamps lit throughout the dark night. The other five didn’t come prepared. They brought their lamps, but no oil. When the groom didn’t show as early as they expected, they all fell asleep.

midnight is coming,Bible study,commitment,discipleship,commitment,prayer,faith,Matthew 24:36,no man knows the hour,Matthew 25:1-13,parable of the ten virgins,Exodus 34:29-30,moses face shone,shining face,2 Corinthians 4:6,Jesus shines in our life

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When the groom arrived at midnight unexpectedly, the ones who were prepared lit their lamps so the groom could see them. These were invited into the wedding banquet, but the unprepared were left outside, alone and in the dark. The moral of the story is to be prepared in case the Lord delays and doesn’t show up until midnight. My friends, midnight is coming.

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I have long been fascinated with Stoicism and am often intrigued by quotes from thought leaders of the movement. I often find an interesting application of Stoic principles in my own discipleship quest. One quote I read recently, from Marcus Aurelius, said, “Such as are your habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of your mind; for the soul is dyed by the thoughts.” This mimics – and is no doubt inspired by – Proverbs 23:7, which says, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

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What we think about defines who we are. You can’t think selfish thoughts and be an unselfish person. The brain doesn’t work in such a manner. Every thought burns a new neural pathway. The more we think the same thought or way, the deeper the pathway gets grooved into our psyche. We do indeed become dyed by the thoughts we entertain.

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You do know you can talk back to Satan, right? Jesus modeled this for us when the devil was tempting Him in the wilderness. Satan would tempt Jesus, and Jesus would talk back to the devil, reminding him who he was and putting him in his place. Perhaps you think it’s one thing for Jesus to talk back to the devil and another thing for us to do so. On the contrary, Jesus said we would do greater things than He had done (John 14:12).

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As disciples of Jesus, we are to pattern our lives after His. What we see Jesus do, we should do. When Satan comes along flaunting temptation before us, we should not hesitate in saying, “Not today devil!”

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God is a Creator. In the beginning, He created, and He continues to create to this moment. Every day He is creating new opportunities for His followers to spread His message. He is never caught off guard or without a plan. Instead of reacting to the freewill decisions of His creation, He instead is spinning new avenues to provide an entirely new way for His plan to be accomplished. He isn’t discouraged by our lack of cooperation or frustrated by our failures.

stop living a reactive life,reaction,reactive,mission,purpose,God's kingdom,kingdom of God,freewill,viktor frankl,rick lawrence,jesus centered life,2 Corinthians 5:17,old things have passed away,all things are new

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I see Him moving in constant fluidity, constantly creating throughout history, and never losing sight of the mission at hand. In contrast, we tend to be a reactive people. Instead of collaborating with Him in creating something new, we busy ourselves reacting to what has already been created. If we want to be more like Christ, we’re going to need to stop living a reactive life.

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Few would admit it, but what most people want is a comfortable relationship with Jesus. We want answered prayers, help through troubled times, and comfort in crisis. Oh, and spending eternity in Heaven while escaping Hell, we want that too. Those are the comfortable benefits making Jesus so desirable to us, after all. Here’s where it gets a little uncomfortable. Jesus didn’t spend a lot of time talking up those benefits. He spent most of His time warning of trials and persecution, and giving stern warnings to those seeking to live a comfortable “religious” life.

comfortable relationship,commitment,discipleship,God's will,mission,pharisees,selfishness,comfort,Hebrews 13:5,never leave you or forsake you,John 14:3,prepare a place for you,John 3:16,God so loved the world,John 16:33,you will have trouble,Matthew 8:20,foxes have holes,Mark 13:10-13,brother will hate brother,2 Corinthians 11:24-27,Matthew 7:22-23,depart from me I never knew you,Matthew 28:20,I am with you always,Luke 9:23,take up your cross

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His harshest words were reserved for people just like us… those who were trying please God through comfortable and often self-serving platitudes. Comfortable Christianity is synonymous with Pharisaical living.

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For followers of Jesus, daydreaming can be both a blessing and a curse. On the blessing side, what we daydream about offers significant insight into what God created you to do for His Kingdom. If you aren’t certain where your passions lie, pay attention to the things about which you daydream. We tend to dream about those things which captivate and fascinate us. One of the great joys in life is figuring out the intersection between your passions and God’s mission.

daydreaming,passions,God's Kingdom,Kingdom of God,focus,dreaming,dreams,Luke 14:28,no one builds a tower,count the cost,2 Corinthians 10:3-5,take every thought captive

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On the flip side, daydreaming can be an insidious thief of your time and energy. We can waste hours daydreaming and not accomplishing anything for God’s glory. As disciples, we know it is our duty to be good stewards of our time, so we must be careful our daydreaming does not inhibit our Kingdom building.

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Whether we realize it or not, we are all suffering from a shortness of breath. Each inhale leaves us one less before we breathe our last. While this may sound morbid and depressing to some, it should not be the case for followers of Jesus. For me, the thought invokes both excitement and a sense of urgency. I have no greater desire than to be with Jesus.

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I don’t fear death and neither should you if you have placed your faith in, and pledged devotion to, Christ. Paul said to be absent from the body was to be in the presence of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:7-8). There is no fear in being surrounded by perfect love (1 John 4:18).

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I’m seeing a disturbing trend in Christendom…  Somehow sin is becoming “okay”. I’m not picking on any individual sin because it’s all equal in the eyes of God. Jesus demonstrated this when He said anyone who has lusted has committed adultery in their heart and anyone who has harbored anger has committed murder in his heart. I don’t think I’d be going too far out on a limb to then conclude, if not for the merciful covering of the blood of Christ, we would all be adulterers and murderers in the eyes of God.

sin is not okay,sin,1 John 2:15-17,2 Corinthians 6:15-17,James 1:27,everyday Sunday,commitment,mission,compromise,heresy,hypocrisy

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I say this to make it known up front I am the worst of sinners. What’s worse than an adulterer and murderer? So I am throwing no stones at any other sin or sinner. My only premise is it should never be acceptable or even possible for a Christian to find sin acceptable. Sin is not okay.
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We love Jesus and want to dedicate our lives to Him, but our stubborn old self keeps getting in the way. How do we conform our will to that of God? Francois Fenelon once wrote, “The way to have a good will that conforms to God is to give up our desires and fears and to leave ourselves completely in His hands. Those who do so… can never be moved, because their only desire is for God.”

letting go,surrender,Francois Fenelon,Matthew 12:30,Matthew 10:39,Matthew 19:27-28,2 Corinthians 5:17,1 John 4:18,John 8:44,Ephesians 2:10,perfect love,love casts out fear,who can be against us,if God is for us

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Living God’s will for your life necessitates a complete letting go. Too often we make the mistake of trying to figure out how to use our dreams and passions in conjunction with God’s will. That’s a totally backwards approach.

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