Highlights In Today's Reading:
The Lord expects us to do for others what He has done for us (1:3-7). Holy Spirit seals us (1:21-22). The letter (of the Law) killeth, but the Spirit giveth life (3:6). Ministry is tough; Paul says: "Don't give up" (4:1). Present troubles are short-lived, but glory with the Savior is forever (4:16-18).
Earthen vessels (clay pots) are brittle and of little value; but, if they are filled with gold, their value increases dramatically. We have this Treasure in earthen vessels (4:7). How thrilling it is to realize that within us we have what is, to God, the most priceless treasure in all the world — the indwelling Christ (Col. 1:27)! Because of this, we are precious to God (II Tim. 2:20-21).
After Paul reveals this glorious truth, he testifies of what it cost him: We are troubled (oppressed) on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair (discouraged); Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body (II Cor. 4:8-10).
Trials and troubles, in one form or another, are needed for every Christian's spiritual growth (Acts 14:22; I Pet. 1:6-7; 4:12-13). Christ's purpose for coming to earth was to die on the cross to pay the penalty for the sins of the world. We too must die — die to self-love and be willing partakers of His suffering.
We can face trials and suffering with the confidence that our Lord never makes a mistake. As we submit our wills during times of testing, God imparts strength and the comfort of the Holy Spirit with a two-fold effect: Our burdens are lifted and we become qualified to comfort others with the comfort (encouragement) wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God (II Cor. 1:4). Peter explained: Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you . . . But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings (I Pet. 4:12-13).
However, some do not rejoice in suffering. Instead they become bitter because they do not know the Word of God. Some leave the ministry, others leave the church, and some have nervous breakdowns. When we suffer for Christ's sake, our light affliction, which is but for a moment (brief time), worketh (producing) for us a far more exceeding (beyond comparison) and eternal weight of glory; While we look . . . at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal (II Cor. 4:17-18).
Thought for Today:
I will be glad and rejoice in Thee: I will sing praise to Thy Name, O Thou Most High (Ps. 9:2).
2:5 not overcharge =not overstate the case or be too severe; 2:9 know the proof of you =test your loyalty; 2:14 savour =satisfaction, sweetness, like a lovely fragrance; 3:10 even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth =that was glorious (Law given to Moses) has no glory in comparison to the surpassing glory of Jesus Christ; 4:15 redound =abound, overflow, result in abundance..
For II Cor. 3:13: See Ex. 34:33-35. II Cor. 4:13: See Ps. 116:10.
Pray for Assistant to the Executive Director of the IBRA in our Washington DC Branch: Terry Hall & Staff: Barbara Bivens • Government Official: Sec. Eric Shinseki (Dept. of Veterans Affairs) • Country: Mexico (99.7 million) in North America • Major language: Spanish • Religious freedom • 89% Catholic; 6% Protestant; 3.5% None; 1.5% Other (Orthodox, Muslim, Jewish, Baha'i) • Prayer Suggestion: Give thanks to the God of heaven; His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever (Ps. 136:26).
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 16:27