2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our affliction,[b] so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so through Christ our comfort also overflows. 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is experienced in your endurance of the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that as you share in the sufferings, so you will share in the comfort.
8 For we don’t want you to be unaware, brothers, of our affliction that took place in Asia: we were completely overwhelmed—beyond our strength—so that we even despaired of life. 9 Indeed, we personally had a death sentence within ourselves, so that we would not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a terrible death, and He will deliver us. We have put our hope in Him that He will deliver us again 11 while you join in helping us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our[c] behalf for the gift that came to us through the prayers of many.
12 For this is our confidence: The testimony of our conscience is that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you, with God-given sincerity and purity, not by fleshly[d] wisdom but by God’s grace. 13 Now we are writing nothing to you other than what you can read and also understand. I hope you will understand completely— 14 as you have partially understood us—that we are your reason for pride, as you are ours, in the day of our[e] Lord Jesus.
15 I planned with this confidence to come to you first, so you could have a double benefit,[f] 16 and to go on to Macedonia with your help, then come to you again from Macedonia and be given a start by you on my journey to Judea. 17 So when I planned this, was I irresponsible? Or what I plan, do I plan in a purely human[g] way so that I say “Yes, yes” and “No, no” simultaneously? 18 As God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes and no.” 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silvanus[h] and Timothy—did not become “Yes and no”; on the contrary, a final “Yes” has come in Him. 20 For every one of God’s promises is “Yes” in Him. Therefore, the “Amen” is also spoken through Him by us for God’s glory. 21 Now it is God who strengthens us, with you, in Christ and has anointed us. 22 He has also sealed us and given us the Spirit as a down payment in our hearts.
23 I call on God as a witness, on my life, that it was to spare you that I did not come to Corinth. 24 I do not mean that we have control of[i] your faith, but we are workers with you for your joy, because you stand by faith.
Throughout Scripture, Old Testament and New alike, there is a principle taught that encourages us to be aware of the effect we have in the lives of others. We do have an influence on those around us. It’s up to us whether that influence is positive, godly and encouraging, or if it’s negative, ungodly and discouraging.
Obviously, we are to avoid sin and sinful actions. We must continually fight in order to put down the works of the flesh. Even as children of God, the corrupt, sinful nature is constantly attempting to control our thoughts and actions. Add to that the fact that the desires of our sinful nature are in agreement with what Satan tempts us to do, and you have a difficult warfare indeed.
To avoid sin and sinful actions is a constant battle, to say the least. But for the most part, what is right and what is wrong is usually pretty clear to discern. We do face situations occasionally when the decision is not so clear but typically, we are able to “boil it down” and reach the proper conclusion about those situations.
What is sometimes just as difficult as the battle itself is considering how those around us perceive our actions. While we should not let other people’s opinions determine our actions, we should seriously consider the matter when someone has a legitimate concern about something we have done or intend to do. Since none of us have perfect knowledge in all things, some situations in life appear to fall into those “gray” areas. Two people might come to different conclusions about a situation and each appear to have legitimate reasons backing up that conclusion. It is situations like this where respect for our brother or sister leads us to prayerfully consider their point of view.
Perhaps a more common situation that we should be concerned about is when the “world” observes our actions and sees little or no difference. If the actions of the Christian is no different than the rest of the world, we bring a reproach upon the name of Christ. If we look like the world, we lose our influence. We are no longer salt and light and have lost our influence.
As Christians, it goes without saying… we identify ourselves as followers of Christ and others identify us as such. By God’s grace and the sustaining strength of the Holy Spirit, we might mature in our Christian walk to the point that we easily recognize most forms of evil and avoid it. But since we are disciples of Christ, ambassadors of His, and in a real sense, represent Him in the sight of the world around us, we should be ever so careful to avoid even what might be perceived as evil. If it is something that we can avoid without doing harm to someone else, we should not risk doing harm to another by going through with that action or deed. If you are an ambassador of Christ, your aim should be to look like Christ in every way, to the best of your ability: void of even the appearance of evil. We understand that we won’t reach sinless perfection in this life; all the more reason to regard not only the obvious, but also the appearance.
So we have at least three reasons to “shun the appearance of evil”… for the sake of our brothers and sisters in Christ; for the sake of the potential influence we could have in our own little world, and most importantly, for the sake of Christ Himself. — Pastor Matt Jordan
16 “For God loved the world in this way:[a] He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God.
I am up at three a.m.. This is a literal miracle! I never get up this early. There is a lady I went to high school with that is on my mind quite heavily. I know Who this is bringing her before me and what I am to do! When I first thought of her my mind went back to high school. She had a very bad reputation and was a loner. I don’t know of any close friends she had. Her family was very successful. They were wealthy and well-known.
As I thought of her, knowing God wanted me to pray for her I began to remember the things she allegedly did that I found disgusting and repugnant! Then the Lord spoke to me. He said, “You don’t even know where she lives or how she lives. Those things occurred over 30 years ago.” Again, God is so perfectly right. For all I know she is a Christian now. She may even be a missionary and in trouble and that is why I was awakened to pray. BUT, even if she isn’t, by me walking in HER past I am not walking in GOD’S LOVE! God’s love always believes the best of another person until it is shown otherwise!
My husband has been reading the Kenneth Copeland book “The Blessing of the Lord Makes Rich and Adds No Sorrow To It”. This is also a scripture. In this book, Ken talks about how the only way we can walk in God’s love is to picture someone as though they had never sinned. If you begin to remember the past, or create a present for someone in the imaginations of your mind your love walk is already destroyed before it can even begin! How do we know that person has not asked forgiveness? If they have, according to the Word, that sin is washed away NEVER to be remembered against that individual again. We are the ones with the elephant memory when it comes to others, but boy howdy they better not have one toward our past shortcomings and outright sin!! And they better see us through “rose-colored” glasses now!
Not walking in love will destroy our ability to hear clearly from God, it will make us negative and pessimistic, and our faith will not work for faith worketh by LOVE! That is the Bible, precious reader!
It is time to put the past in the past, and that includes not only my own, but others as well. I will be praying immediately for this precious woman and I will be able to hear what God wants me to pray because I have ridded myself of preconceieved notions! Thank God for His voice of correction for in that is His voice of love, too!
Whatever this dear woman is facing, God didn’t get me up at three a.m. to NOT do what He is calling me to pray about. This is where I have to let the Holy Spirit pray through me. I have no idea what is going on, but He does. Praise God for love and due to that love whatever mountain she is facing can and will be plucked up and cast into the sea. God wouldn’t wake you up to have you pray just to tell you no! He awakened me to answer my prayer, not just to hear it!
Have a wonderful day, precious reader. Go with God and God will go with you!! Remember Jesus is Lord and nothing in your world today is impossible for Him to change!! Blessings in abundance!! See you next time!
16 Now about the collection for the saints: You should do the same as I instructed the Galatian churches. 2 On the first day of the week,[a] each of you is to set something aside and save in keeping with how he prospers, so that no collections will need to be made when I come. 3 When I arrive, I will send with letters those you recommend to carry your gracious gift to Jerusalem. 4 If it is suitable for me to go as well, they can travel with me.
5 I will come to you after I pass through Macedonia—for I will be traveling through Macedonia— 6 and perhaps I will remain with you or even spend the winter, so that you may send me on my way wherever I go. 7 I don’t want to see you now just in passing, for I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord allows. 8 But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, 9 because a wide door for effective ministry has opened for me[b]—yet many oppose me. 10 If Timothy comes, see that he has nothing to fear from you, because he is doing the Lord’s work, just as I am. 11 Therefore, no one should look down on him. Send him on his way in peace so he can come to me, for I am expecting him with the brothers.[c]
12 About our brother Apollos: I strongly urged him to come to you with the brothers, but he was not at all willing to come now. However, he will come when he has an opportunity.
13 Be alert, stand firm in the faith, act like a man, be strong. 14 Your every action must be done with love.
15 Brothers, you know the household of Stephanas: They are the firstfruits of Achaia and have devoted themselves to serving the saints. I urge you 16 also to submit to such people, and to everyone who works and labors with them. 17 I am pleased to have Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus present, because these men have made up for your absence. 18 For they have refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore recognize such people.
19 The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, along with the church that meets in their home. 20 All the brothers greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss.
21 This greeting is in my own hand[d]—Paul. 22 If anyone does not love the Lord, a curse be on him. Marana tha that is, Lord, come![e] 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. 24 My love be with all of you in Christ Jesus.
This song has been on my mind all day. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!