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Showing posts from August 27, 2017

Trials

Trials  What does it mean to have trust in the midst of a trial? Let's look to the Apostle Paul's life as a way to understand that. Paul loved the churches he was instrumental in starting. He took three journeys though what is today's Greece and Turkey to start churches and to meet with believers on their own turf. He financed his trips through gifts of friends and the church but also made tents as a business to obtain resources for his travels. Paul had success in many cities but was constantly challenged by Jews and Gentiles that opposed the message of the good news about Jesus Christ. He shared a picture of the trials of his life in two passages: "I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea.…

The New Way

When we come home with a new car, vacuum, blender, or whatever it is that we bought to replace an older and possibly failing item, we are quick to show the comparison with our family and friends. The old one only did this, but the new one does this, and this, and this, and more. So, Paul shared a comparison of the old way and the new way that God had chosen to work with men on the earth. The old way was "etched in stone, led to death." It began with "such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses' face." However, it was temporal but fading, and specific to the people of Israel. (2 Corinthians 3:6-7) The new way that God brought through His Son, Jesus Christ, gives life, is glorious and eternal, makes us right with God. It creates confidence, gives freedom, and conforms us to Christ and is available to all. (2 Corinthians 3:8-18) The comparison is not given to degrade the Law that was given on Mt. Sinai but rather to explain this "upgrad…

Suffering

When we are with friends it's easy to talk about the tough times we have had. We can explain the days of suffering; the pain we felt; the struggle it was going through it all. Then, they do the same about their suffering. It's can be a kind of one-upsmanship. They tell a tale of woe, then, we tell one even better from our experience and so goes the cycle of the discussion. If it ends at those stories, then the best has been missed. Paul chose to put his conversations concerning suffering in perspective. In his second letter to the Corinthian Christians, he said, "We think you ought to know…about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die." (2 Corinthians 1:8-9a) The specifics of the "trouble" was never stated, only that it was severe, mortal, but what we see as Paul continues was that he was not focused on the trou…