Wednesday, December 4, 2013

2 Corinthians 9-13

We're moving right along in our Bible reading as we finish 2 Corinthians today.  Paul wraps up his second letter to the church in Corinth in 2 Corinthians 9-13.   It seems to me like Paul is pleading with the believers at this point.  He is defending his ministry, boasting about his sufferings and God's power, and encouraging generous giving.  Paul is trying his best to help us realize that by God's grace, through Christ, we are made strong in our weaknesses.  

If you read with me yesterday, you might remember me talking about graceful giving and how God blesses us so we can bless others.  Paul reminds us again today,

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

God gives us everything we need, all the time.  And He doesn't give just so we can barely get by day to day.  He gives to us with such grace that we will "abound."

I have to admit.  I am too quick to forget that.  I get caught up in what I see (that is part of my weakness), not the powers at work in me that are unseen (my strength).  I catch myself worrying about not being enough, having enough, and thinking about what I don't have that I think I need.  But here's the thing I have to remember-- what I have IS what I need in Christ.

Paul challenges the Corinthians to do a little self-check in their faith.  He challenges me too.

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?

Oh yeah, God.  Christ is in me.  He is sufficient.  He's in you too, if you believe.  We all have much to celebrate.  Because of that, Paul tells us,

11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.

So continuing this whole discussion of graceful giving…God wants to be at the center of our giving.  He is the heart and soul of our holiday season.  He is the source of our gifts, so He will also be at the source of all we truly need to give.

What does "full restoration" mean for you?

What does God truly need for you to give as we celebrate and honor Jesus' birthday?

A prayer for today-

Dear God,

I thank you for your abundant blessings in all things, at all times.  Thank you for giving me all that I need.  Help me work for You and the full restoration I have in Christ not because I have to earn it but because I am overflowing with gratefulness.  I pray for your love and peace to restore all those on my mind today.  Speak to my heart and show me what I need to give You. 

In the name of Jesus I pray,

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all,

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