Wednesday, September 21, 2011

spiritual weapons of the mind

2 Cor 10

3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 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.

Arguments and pretensions against the knowledge of God - these are the strongholds which we must destroy.  Immoral and rebellious behaviors are related to our knowledge/experience of God.  If we really know Him personally, then we will fear Him and desire to be holy like He is holy.  For me, practically, I find one of the greatest activation energy barriers to be my flesh and this world resisting and diminishing my desire to know Him.  Apathy and pride seem to be immovable barricades against The Way.

What weapons do I have to demolish these arguments and pretensions that block my knowledge of God?

Heavenly Father, please help me desire to know you so that I can know you and walk with you.  I love you, Lord.  Please give me grace to love you totally and desire to know you only.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


2 Corinthians 4

On Sunday, Greg talked about worry and how it is a sin of distrusting the promises of God.  Last night, in our small group, I asked what the promises of God are.  Straight away, someone quoted Romans 8:28-29.  And then we discussed Matthew 6:25ff.  I mentioned something about the promise that God is preparing the Church as the Bride of Christ and we can share in His joy for eternity.  Then I read 2 Corinthians 4 this morning.

His light is shining through us cracked pots.  We are beat up in this world, but through suffering we share in the death of Christ so that His life comes through our lives.

 13 But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, "I believed in God, so I spoke." 14 We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. 15 All of this is for your benefit. And as God's grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.

 16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the promises that you see and know everything, that you will accomplish justice, that you use everything (even pain and suffering) for the good of those who love you and are called according to your purpose.  Thank you for the hope of eternal life with you.  Please help me set my focus on you and not me.  I love you, and I want to serve you and walk with you.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I'm a letter!

2 Corinthians 3

3 Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This "letter" is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts.

I pray that the Lord will continue to use me as a letter on the hearts of the Brothers who have invested so much in me.  I was thinking this morning about our youth minister, Rick, who invested enormous amounts of time and energy into our spiritual growth.  And then Jason and Russ in college ministry.  And then Nate, David, and Mark in graduate school.

I believe that all of us are ministers of His new covenant:

4 We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. 5 It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. 6 He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. ...

And we continue to minister to others and be ministered to by others so that together, we all grow to be more like Christ:

 16 But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your mercy and grace.  Thank you for Brothers and Sisters who have poured into my life so that I can be more like you and be a blessing to others.  Please continue to use me as a spiritual letter of encouragement and discipleship.  I want to be used by you to make disciples of Jesus Christ.  I love you, Lord, and I pray in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

How do I smell?

2 Corinthians 2

14 But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ's triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. 15 Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. 16 To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?

 17 You see, we are not like the many hucksters who preach for personal profit. We preach the word of God with sincerity and with Christ's authority, knowing that God is watching us.

You know how some flowers are very fragrant, and others are pretty mild.  I want to clearly smell like Christ.  Perhaps I can't change how people respond to the smell, but I want to make sure that they smell it.  It seems to me that peace and joy are two of the most important factors in terms of how potent the fragrance is.

Heavenly Father, please help me see my life through your eyes so that I won't be so distracted by things that don't really matter in the long run.  Lord, please help me love you with all of my heart, mind, soul, and strength.  Lord, please give me your peace and joy so that others will be drawn to you.  I love you, Lord.  Thank you for your forgiveness and mercy.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Friday, September 9, 2011

works, character, and purpose

1 Corinthians 14

I think these last three chapters are related:
  • 1 Cor. 12 - works: spiritual gifts and what we do with them
  • 1 Cor. 13 - character: who we are; people of faith, hope, and love (especially love because God is love)
  • 1 Cor. 14 - purpose: how we work, with peace and order so that we build up the Body of Christ
Heavenly Father, please help me use the spiritual gifts that you have given me to express your love in tangible ways so that the Body of Christ will be strengthened and expanded locally and globally.  I love you, and I want to be used for your purpose.  I want to enjoy you and walk with you.  Please help me focus the attitude of my heart on loving and enjoying you instead of focusing on responsibilities and expectations.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

gift/part of teaching?

1 Corinthians 12

7 A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. ... 27 All of you together are Christ's body, and each of you is a part of it. 28 Here are some of the parts God has appointed for the church:

   first are apostles,
   second are prophets,
   third are teachers,
   then those who do miracles,
   those who have the gift of healing,
   those who can help others,
   those who have the gift of leadership,
   those who speak in unknown languages.

Is there a difference between a spiritual gift (v. 7) and a spiritual body part (v. 27-28)?  According to Strong's, the Greek word in v. 7 could be translated as manifestation/expression/bestowment, and the Greek word in v. 27 is member/limb/part.  Interesting.

I think the Spirit has given me a desire and gifting to teach.  So, how should I serve?

Heavenly Father, please help me see how you want to use me to serve the Body of Christ.  Lord, please guide me and use me to help build up the Body.  I love you, and I need you.  Thank you for your kindness to me. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


1 Corinthians 6

11 Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. ... 19 Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

Holiness is so important, but we can't make it a prize above Christ.  We have to let Christ make us holy; we can't do it ourselves.

Heavenly Father, thank you for making me holy through Christ.  Lord, please continue to cleanse me and transform me by renewing my mind and purifying my heart.  I love you, and I want to walk with you. Please help me.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.