Monthly Archives: June 2015

II Corinthians 4:1-6 — Our part, God’s part

I think one thing that a lot of people worry about as we share the gospel is how people will respond. It’s only natural, I suppose.  For one thing, we really want them to be saved.  For another, we want … Continue reading

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II Corinthians 3:7-18 — Why we need never be ashamed

I touched on this yesterday, but I want to look at it much more deeply today.  We saw yesterday that when Moses received the ten commandments, his face initially glowed with the glory of the Lord. At first, because the … Continue reading

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II Corinthians 3:7-18 — Seeing the law for what it is

A lot of times as Christians, we think of Christianity as keeping a bunch of rules.  And so do the vast majority of non-Christians out there today.  But the glory that we have as Christians is not found in a bunch … Continue reading

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II Corinthians 3 — Letters from Christ

I must becoming ancient.  I still remember letters.  I remember receiving them, reading them, and writing them.  When I first came to Japan 20 years ago, email was around, I used it in university, but it was hardly common.  So … Continue reading

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II Corinthians 2:16b-3:6 — But how can someone like me make a difference?

Sometimes we read in the Bible passages like we saw yesterday, passages that say we are to be the aroma of Christ to those around us, or passages that call us to be his priests, and we ask, “How can … Continue reading

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2 Corinthians 2:14-16 — The fragrance life, the stench of death

As Christians, there will never be a point in time when everyone will like us.  Jesus was perfect, and still people hated him.  Why? Because of the aroma that flows out from Christ. Paul says something very interesting here in … Continue reading

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II Corinthians 2:5-11 — When there is repentance

When someone hurts us it can be easy to hold a grudge.  And even if they are truly sorry and apologize, sometimes we withhold that forgiveness.  Or sometimes we forgive, but we let them know in no uncertain terms that … Continue reading

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II Corinthians 1:23-2:4 — When we must confront

Confronting a brother or sister in their sin is never a pleasant thing.  Quite frankly, if you do think it is fun, you shouldn’t be doing it at all. But sometimes it is necessary, and here we see in Paul’s life … Continue reading

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II Corinthians 1:18-22 — Why we can have confidence in God

Sometimes, in the midst of trials, it can be easy to lose confidence in God.  One wonders if Paul ever came close to doing so, when he and his companions “were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, … Continue reading

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2 Corinthians 1:12-2:4 — When others misunderstand and accuse us

As you read this letter, you start to see that Paul and the Corinthians had been having a really tough time in their relationship. Apparently, some of the Corinthians had taken some of the things he had said in his earlier letter … Continue reading

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II Corinthians 1:10-11 — The importance of our prayers

Do our prayers really make a difference?  Or would God have just done what he was going to do anyway, even without our prayers? I think Paul definitely had his opinion on the matter.  He said concerning his trials, He … Continue reading

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II Corinthians 1:6-7 — Seeing beyond ourselves

As I was rereading these verses, it struck me that Paul was truly following the pattern of Christ. If Christ had merely been concerned about his own comfort, he would never have come to earth.  He would never have been born … Continue reading

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II Corinthians 1:3-5 — Called to be a channel, not a sponge

One of the great things about being a Christian is the blessings that God pours out in our lives.  And one of those blessings is the comfort that he gives us as we go through trials. But it’s so easy for … Continue reading

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II Corinthians 1:1-10 — Comfort in the midst of trial

This is probably one of my favorite passages in scripture.  Paul writes, Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, … Continue reading

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I Corinthians 16:22-23 — Come, Lord Jesus

It’s easy to look at this world and all the evil in it and get discouraged.  But as Christians we can have hope.  Why? Paul writes, If anyone does not love the Lord –a curse be on him. Come, O … Continue reading

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I Corinthians 16:13-14 — Being men

I know this tends to get lost in some of the newer translations, but it seems to me that while Paul is talking to all Christians in this letter (I Corinthians 1:2), he does specifically address the men in this … Continue reading

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I Corinthians 16:15-18 — Refreshing others

When we think of serving others, many times we think about simply doing the job God has called us to do.  And certainly that’s important to do. Paul writes, You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in … Continue reading

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I Corinthians 16:1-4 — When we give

As Paul often did when he visited the churches, he collected offerings to support the poor Christians in Jerusalem. And in his instructions, I think we see several principles concerning our giving. First, give in accordance with your income.  Don’t … Continue reading

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I Corinthians 15:58 — Because we have hope

Nobody said life was easy. And neither did Paul.  He was a man who had been stoned, shipwrecked, persecuted, imprisoned, and even more. What could keep a person going in the face of all these trials?  The hope that he … Continue reading

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I Corinthians 15:51-57 — The final victory

I really love these verses.  Somehow, I’ve never gotten around to committing them to memory, but I think I may just do that over the next several days. It is Paul’s victory cry.  He says, When the perishable has been … Continue reading

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1 Corinthians 15:35-55 — Though we are a dim reflection

I was kind of planning to move on to the next section of this passage, but the more I reflect on this passage, the more I stand in wonder at what we will be. Our new bodies will be imperishable … Continue reading

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I Corinthians 15:35-55 — What we will be

I was talking with some students in their 60s last week, and we were talking about how some researchers were talking about 60 and 65 being the new middle age because of increasing lifespans. I asked them how long they … Continue reading

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I Corinthians 15:1-34 — The importance of Christ’s resurrection

I remember teaching at an English conversation school and overhearing this conversation between another teacher and her students. Student:  What is Easter? Teacher:  Oh, it’s the day that Christians believe Jesus rose from the dead. <dead silence, and probably incredulous … Continue reading

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I Corinthians 15:8-10 — A grace that is not without effect

How do you see yourself? It’s very striking to see how Paul saw himself.  After Saul met Christ, he changed his name to “Paul” which means “little.” Here he had been this Hebrew of Hebrews, a Pharisee, a man full of … Continue reading

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I Corinthians 15:1-11 — The most important thing

We now come to perhaps the most important part of this letter, because it stands at the core of our faith. Paul writes, Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received … Continue reading

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I Corinthians 14:26-40 — That the church might be strengthened

In this passage, Paul gives instructions on how the church service was to be run.  And the main thing to him was that there was to be order, not chaos, in the church. For that reason, if someone spoke in … Continue reading

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I Corinthians 14:26 — Bringing something to give

One excuse people often use as to why they leave the church is, “I’m just not getting anything out of it.” It’s almost as if they expect to be entertained or coddled, and if that’s not happening, they are no … Continue reading

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I Corinthians 14:7-11 — Speaking clearly

In the midst of Paul’s speech about tongues and prophesy, I think there’s a little nugget that we can all take to heart from pastor all the way down to the person in the pew. Paul says, Even in the … Continue reading

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1 Corinthians 14:20-25 — Understanding our gifts

This is one of the harder passages to interpret.  I’ve heard several interpretations on it.  I’m not sure that the one I have is the correct one and it may change in the future, but for what it’s worth, here … Continue reading

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I Corinthians 14:1-31 — Speaking for the strengthening, encouragement, comfort, and instruction of others

We’re in territory that I must admit I have little confidence to speak upon.  I suppose I’m in kind of a weird position.  I’m not one of those that believe that certain gifts such as tongues have disappeared.  I have, for … Continue reading

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