Posted in Devotions

2 Corinthians 10–Battle Strategy

The frank and honest truth is that very few of us like to be corrected or disciplined.  While we try to keep a positive attitude, we get hurt and angry inside and that can cause us to become defensive.  When defensive, we pretty much surrender to the attacks the enemy and the world unleash upon us.  What follows is usually a nullification of the spirit’s ability to use us or to work through us.

Paul is clarifying to the Corinthians that there is a better strategy for facing worldly onslaught.  First, Paul reminds this community of believers that they simply do not have to fight like the world fights.  The very Spirit sent by Christ after His ascension, not only guides and comforts us, but also equips us to face the battle. They are not typical wimpy wooden spiritual swords and shields! Instead, they are mighty and devastating battering-rams of faith!  They do not bruise false arguments or doctrine; they destroy them like an atom bomb!

Paul uses these very weapons when He says in effect, “You guys need to quit worrying about my letters being an excuse not to face the truth!” He tells them that the truth of the message of holiness and giving is for their benefit.  Paul wants this people to do the right things with confidence that God’s spirit will act as their armor, their weapons, and their megaphone for spreading the truth.

That same spirit also acts as our armor, weapons, and truth.  This word of God is as relevant today as it was in the letter form 2000 years ago.  We must not be rendered nullified simply because we do not like the message.  Instead, we need to use the training as motivation to be spurred on toward love and good deeds. 

We are equipped with the good stuff!  We can walk confidently, knowing that we will have what we need, and we can do what is expected to walk humbly in his path becoming more like our Lord each day!

God Bless You

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.

You are judging by appearances.[a] If anyone is confident that they belong to Christ, they should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as they do. So even if I boast somewhat freely about the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than tearing you down, I will not be ashamed of it. I do not want to seem to be trying to frighten you with my letters. 10 For some say, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.” 11 Such people should realize that what we are in our letters when we are absent, we will be in our actions when we are present…16 so that we can preach the gospel in the regions beyond you. For we do not want to boast about work already done in someone else’s territory. 17 But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”[b] 18 For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends

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2 Corinthians 9–The Key to Cheerful Giving

So, as crazy as it seems, it would grieve the Lord for us to give grumbling as we do so.  Abba, Father, Savior and Lord are the names and person of God we serve.  NO loving father exploits His children as indentured servants or subscribers to some +plan.

The idea of giving back a portion of what God has given us is a mechanism to allow us to be free from the bondage of stuff.  As far back as Cain and Abel, God was looking at the boys’ offerings and loving Abel’s and not loving Cain’s so much.  The difference between them was not the stuff, it was the spirit in which the offerings were made.

When we can come to a place where we are giving with joy and peace, we begin to look forward to the opportunities. As we joyfully give, what happens next is equally joyful.  We see our gifts making a difference and we see God meeting our needs and blessing us in crazy ways.

In short, God wants our hearts, not our stuff.  So, when we give, we give with joy, or we are wasting both God and our time. Please understand, I am not saying giving is always easy or convenient, I am simply saying that as we give, whatever we give needs to happen without a bad attitude or fear.  God will assist as we trust Him. So, give a little or give a lot, but when you give; do so with an open hand and not a white knuckled clinched fist!

God Bless You

There is no need for me to write to you about this service to the Lord’s people. For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action. But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you in this matter should not prove hollow, but that you may be ready, as I said you would be. For if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we—not to say anything about you—would be ashamed of having been so confident. So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given.

Generosity Encouraged

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 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. As it is written:

“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
    their righteousness endures forever.”[a]

10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

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2 Corinthians 8 Part 1–The Gift of Giving

The next few days, we are going to talk about giving.  As there are a variety of spiritual gifts, the gift of giving is one that is very difficult to discuss.  I have struggled mightily throughout my life with the challenge of how and how much to give.  I have many friends that it is a no brainer.  They give out of their wealth and their poverty with equal ease and joy.  

As Paul begins to address the Corinthians about giving, it is clear he does so with a humble heart.  God has been very clear that giving is a matter of trust, more than a matter of finance.  As Paul discussed the Macedonian church, he is clear to say that they gave more than they could dare afford in their extreme and dire circumstance.  Still, Paul was not concerned with the number they gave; he was celebrating the level of trust in God’s provision to actually give out of their distressed means.

In the gospels, Jesus points out a widow that throws her last two mites in the offering.  To the Father, she gave a fortune.  Meanwhile, people were throwing a lot greater sums in, but those sums were tokens of their wealth and not even an afterthought to the giver. 

From Abraham forward, God has illustrated time and time again that what we can trust God to take and use, speaks all about our faith and not our wealth.  If we can grasp that giving is a faith thing and not a financial thing, then we can start loosening our grip on our stuff, and we can strengthen our focus on the Father.

Please know that I am not speaking out of my mastery of giving.  I truly appreciate God’s grace and kindness in teaching me this discipline.  Still, at days end, like any Father, God only wants us to be free to live in peace.  Giving is a discipline that truly frees us from our dependence on ourselves and our wealth.  We can instead sit back and watch God do amazing things with what we share and bless us with event after event that we can only attribute to His grace and power. 

God Bless You

And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love, we have kindled in you[a]—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.

I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

10 And here is my judgment about what is best for you in this matter. Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. 11 Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. 12 For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.

13 Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality.  as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.”[b

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2 Corinthians 7 Part 1–Delivering the Hard Messages

Sometimes, delivering the hard message is done at great personal sacrifice.  Paul’s first Letter to the Corinthians was very pointed and very difficult.  While it was clear that the message was delivered in love, the hard facts caused great pain.  It caused enough pain that the churched fine-tuned and turned itself around.  Paul was given the report by Titus, one of His mission friends.  Paul learned that the Church had listened and tightened up on the issues that were a problem.  Paul also learned that the Corinthians treated Titus well and still thought a great deal of the mission team.

Still, Paul did transparently lay his heart out for the church.  He hated that his letter caused pain. We never want to cause pain to those we love. The pain was an important part of the church’s growth, so, while Paul hated it, he did not regret it. He wanted this community of believers to be the best they could be so that their influence would continue to build and reach throughout the Roman empire.

We are all faced with opportunities to encourage those we love to be the best they can be.  Some of the messages are hard.  Their deliverance often comes at great risk of damaging relationships or discouraging further growth. Still, in love, we put our personal fears aside and deliver loving messages of truth.  When we do, the receivers of the messages must then make their own choices.  Those choices, however, are informed choices backed by those who truly love them.

There is often no easy answer or delivery method.  The steps should be to pray first and often. Show love first and speak truth next. Finally, we must trust that the Holy Spirit will use our truth to build the believers up and make them more like Christ.

God Bless You

Make room for us in your hearts. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have exploited no one. I do not say this to condemn you; I have said before that you have such a place in our hearts that we would live or die with you. I have spoken to you with great frankness; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.

For when we came into Macedonia, we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever.

Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 

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2 Corinthians 6 Part 1–Walking through the Tough Stuff

Paul was extremely concerned about the Corinthians, and he was also extremely frustrated with their treatment.  He had poured so much into them and now they were treating his advice and encouragement shabbily.  Paul was simply laying things out.  He asked them for nothing and wanted them to understand that the commitment to the mission was at no small price.

Paul was a pharisee; he was meticulous about the matters of law.  God then used Him to be the expert for salvation by grace.  What an irony.  What is more, this Jew of Jews was the missionary to the Gentiles. That, as we learned yesterday, was not a big jump, as God was clear that he wanted His chosen to be a kingdom of priests. 

Still in the midst of the amazing transformation and life change, Paul set out to change the world.  He had been very effective, but at great personal cost. The scripture speaks of the beatings, the imprisonment, the sleepless nights, and constant danger.  In a word, Paul was clear that walking in God’s plan was not easy.

In our lives, We really are blessed. We experience our own trials and struggles, but the truth is that God protects, prepares, and provides for His chosen.  When we focus on the struggles we face, we can quickly lose sight of the countless blessings we have received as well as the opportunity we have allow God to complete His plan in our lives.

We must never give up or give in to the enemy’s drawing us into a cycle of selfish fear and consternation.  Fear is a liar and the enemy loves to use fears and lies to render us useless and defeated.  We need only to rely on the Holy Spirit to fill in the gaps and to speak truth as the world and fear scream hate and lies at us. 

If we seek the Lord, He will direct us to live in the eye of the chaotic storm that swirls around us.  We will also be able to pick ourselves up and continue to move forward through whatever lies ahead.

God Bless You

As God’s co-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.”[a]

I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

Paul’s Hardships

We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

11 We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. 12 We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. 13 As a fair exchange—I speak as to my children—open wide your hearts also.

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2 Corinthians 5 Part 3–Newly Created for a Purpose

It is a great comfort to know we are a new creation in Christ.  Our old sinful nature is now under the authority of the Holy Spirit and our sin and past have been erased as if they had never happened.  But the ministry of reconciliation performed by Christ was not an end to itself.  Instead, Christ gave Himself to restore us as His chosen to become that nation of priests envisioned since the time of Adam and Eve.

God never had a plan B.  He was always intent in bringing salvation to all that would believe.  So, as His chosen, we are called to be Christ’s ambassadors to the unsaved world.  Ambassadors have a very unique role in the world.  They are sent to other sovereign nations to represent the nation from which they are chosen.  The place they live, “The Embassy” is literally a very small piece of the nation from which the ambassador is sent.  So, as the ambassador carries out their duties,  they are in a foreign land but not of that foreign land.

As Christ’s ambassadors. we are in the world, but not “Of the world”.(John 15:19).  We conduct our daily lives in this chaotic culture without losing focus on the fact that this is not our home.  Our goal, like any ambassador, is to represent our sovereign Lord and country.  We are to share the love of Christ with any and everyone that will listen, never forgetting that we have been recreated as the face and heart of our Lord.

As daunting as the task may seem, God promises us that He who calls you is faithful, and HE will do it. I Thessalonians 5:24. We therefore are the ministers of reconciliation and provide the truth of Christ to all who will listen. We must simply trust the Lord and proudly live as ambassadors of true freedom and Life in Him!

God Bless You 

14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin[b] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

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2 Corinthians 5 Part 2–the Masterpiece

I was considering the amazing God we serve.  At a word, He created the universe! The very closest star to us, our sun is 93,0000,000 miles away.  The next is 4.36 light years away. That equates to roughly 24 Quadrillion miles away (A quadrillion miles is 1000 trillion). The scope of billions of stars spread across thousands of galaxies is unfathomable!

Next, consider the beauty of the earth.  A sunrise over a lovely ocean beach, the undersea beauty of a coral ridge filled with tropical sea life, the Rocky Mountain landscapes crested with fresh snow. waving wheat, sweltering deserts, and the vast wonder of the Grand and Waimea Canyons.

Finally, think of the precise symmetry of life and our personal bodies.  All things working in rhythm and order as life moves by. From the nucleus of a cell, to the orbits of our solar system, the creation moves as one.

Considering these amazing expressions of God’s creation, the Creator, Himself, holds us out as His crowning creation. He created us in His image, so that we could be in fellowship with Him.  That fellowship was broken by sin and its dividing power of separation. Then Jesus,  came, taught, died, and rose so that we might be redeemed and returned to fellowship with our Lord. 

This incredible reality is what makes 2 Corinthians 5:17 one of the most breathtaking verses in God’s Bible! “BEHOLD! if anyone is in Christ, they are a NEW creation, the old things have passed away, and ALL HAS BECOME NEW.” Imagine, a new creation by the ultimate sculptor.  Also, Paul reminds us that He who began this work in us will carry it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus’ return! Philippians 1:5. 

God will recreate us and refine and do the fine brush and tool work all the days of our lives,  In the end, we will return to the Father as a masterpiece worthy of the finest galleries and destined for an eternal life with the Master Artist and Author!

God Bless You

11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 12 We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 13 If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 

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2 Corinthians 5 Part 1–Remember You Are Camping…

We are entering the season of Thanksgiving and Christmas.  It is a time of true celebration.  We, as the chosen of the Lord, can be thankful that our lives are a small part of an eternal journey.  Knowing that, it brings up vast lists of things to be grateful for. 

One of the things we can all treasure is that no matter our current circumstance, we are headed for eternity in God’s presence.  sadly, life’s pressures and trials we divert our focus from God and toward the chaotic world, and we lose site of the glorious future that is Heaven.

We will be like our lord with eternal bodies, and without pain and suffering.  No sin or greed. No selfish desires to outlive or outdo another.  We will finally understand the love a Heavenly Father truly has for His own.

Meanwhile, we can live lives of grateful appreciation for our personal journey, no matter how great or small.  We have to enjoy the blessings we have, and not grow disheartened or jealous of those who have more. 

In an eternal sense, we are camping! so, whether you are at Jellystone, or you find yourself “Glamping” in a lovely life, it will be over in a flash, and we will be out of the woods and with the Lord. So be grateful for what you have; and then you can live as though this is a camping trip leading you home!

Happy Thanksgiving and God Bless You

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

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2 Corinthians 4 Part 1–Treasure in Disposable Containers!

It is often misleading to walk on the earth.  We build our lives, our families, our careers, and our hopes and dreams; somehow believing we have control or mastery over life.  The truth is that these lives we lead are as fragile as jars of clay.  We were cleaning our garage this weekend, and in the organizing found a box of Frankoma mugs.  Those mugs were originally purchased by my wife’s mom ad have stood the test of time for over 70 years. Still, one errant slip and that beautiful pottery would crash and crumble into a pile of shards.

Paul is reminding the Corinthians we house the treasure of God’s Spirit in these jars of clay we call human bodies. Even those that are fine China, beautiful and unique, will easily crumble into shards over time.  Still the life within, that which we have been given by the Father, is the true treasure and will last forever.  These sad little jars of clay, after all, were never made to last for eternity.  

When we add the trials, temptations, and wear and tear, our bodies fail us in many ways.  We cannot withstand the cultural attacks, the calls of our human nature, and the pressures of life. The result is a dinged-up, beat-up and tired out body.  Still, in the midst of these jars of clay, lives a child of God. Our Father loves us, and He gives us salvation through Jesus to make sure our treasured lives would be in relationship with Him for now and forever.  

Treasure chest isolated on white background

In that, we can take hope when we feel those pains and pulls of age and wear.  We can march forward; all be it a little more slowly. We can stand tall, (with a bit of a groan) knowing that within us is a treasure of undeterminable value that will last in peace for all eternity.

God Bless You

Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[a] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

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2 Corinthians 3–The Only Credential We Need

Paul finds himself defending his resume?!!? Here in this letter to one of the largest and most productive of the gentile churches, Paul is responding to the accusations that his apostleship was made up.  I am sure Paul was not a patient man.  He probably did not suffer fools! He was taught by the Superstar of Rabbi’s. He was the “Rookie of the Year” as a Pharisee.  He was literally called to ministry by a risen Savior.  Paul traded his wealth, fame and fortune to become a tent making, constantly berated, missionary that was beaten, stoned, shipwrecked and imprisoned.

So, now, in a place where God had literally used him to start to change the world, He is faced with the need to set the record straight.  So, Paul, as is his beautiful way, does just that. It is a phrase that should rock our world and guide our everyday life. “You yourselves are all the endorsement we need”…The Greek Phrase literally says the “Letter of us You are, inscribed in the hearts of us! Being known and being read by all men!” 

Paul simply did not need an endorsement for several reasons.  First, Paul was playing to one audience, The Lord! God our Father knew Paul’s heart and mission! He set him on it, afterall! This man that thrived on the praise and approval of others had been transformed into a humble and focused man clinging to the phrase, “To Live is Christ and to die is gain!”

He mentions Moses’ veil. Moses would leave the tent of meeting after being in God’s presence and would glow with God’s presence. In time, though, the glow would fade, and Moses would be like everyone else. Sound familiar? So, Moses would put on a mask to hide that humanness.  Paul said, I simply am not wearing a mask! I am changed from the inside out and this glow is the collection of lives the Father has allowed me to lead back to Him!

We need not put on our “Holy veil”. We are human and sometimes the glow fades. But, if we focus on the mission, the glow becomes the lives we are affecting for Christ! We need no justification, Christ provided that.  We are simply playing to an audience of one, God our Father!  He has become our sole credential!  

We need not fear that we will fail, because the only way to fail is to quit!  In 2 Timothy, Paul says it best–“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race and I have kept the faith!” 2 Timothy 4:7-8.  And now, the prize awaits us, a crown of righteousness.  Paul did not need a letter; he had the affirmation in the lives he touched and, in the Lord, he served! We get to enjoy that same affirmation because of who he was!

God Bless You

1-3 Does it sound like we’re patting ourselves on the back, insisting on our credentials, asserting our authority? Well, we’re not. Neither do we need letters of endorsement, either to you or from you. You yourselves are all the endorsement we need. Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you. Christ himself wrote it—not with ink, but with God’s living Spirit; not chiseled into stone but carved into human lives—and we publish it.

4-6 We couldn’t be surer of ourselves in this—that you, written by Christ himself for God, are our letter of recommendation. We wouldn’t think of writing this kind of letter about ourselves. Only God can write such a letter. His letter authorizes us to help carry out this new plan of action. The plan wasn’t written out with ink on paper, with pages and pages of legal footnotes, killing your spirit. It’s written with Spirit on spirit, his life on our lives!

Lifting the Veil

7-8 The Government of Death, its constitution chiseled on stone tablets, had a dazzling inaugural. Moses’ face as he delivered the tablets was so bright that day (even though it would fade soon enough) that the people of Israel could no more look right at him than stare into the sun. How much more dazzling, then, the Government of Living Spirit?

9-11 If the Government of Condemnation was impressive, how about this Government of Affirmation? Bright as that old government was, it would look downright dull alongside this new one. If that makeshift arrangement impressed us, how much more this brightly shining government installed for eternity?

12-15 With that kind of hope to excite us, nothing holds us back. Unlike Moses, we have nothing to hide. Everything is out in the open with us. He wore a veil so the children of Israel wouldn’t notice that the glory was fading away—and they didn’t notice. They didn’t notice it then and they don’t notice it now, don’t notice that there’s nothing left behind that veil. Even today when the proclamations of that old, bankrupt government are read out, they can’t see through it. Only Christ can get rid of the veil so they can see for themselves that there’s nothing there.

16-18 Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are—face-to-face! They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone. And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We’re free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.