Today's Good News

January 2008

Jan 1           Psalm 52:1-9
You call yourself a hero, do you? Why boast about this crime of yours, you who have disgraced God’s people?  All day long you plot destruction. Your tongue cuts like a sharp razor; you’re an expert at telling lies.  You love evil more than good and lies more than truth. You love to say things that harm others, you liar!  But God will strike you down once and for all. He will pull you from your home and drag you from the land of the living.   The righteous will see it and be amazed. They will laugh and say,  “Look what happens to mighty warriors who do not trust in God. They trust their wealth instead and grow more and more bold in their wickedness.”  But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God. I trust in God’s unfailing love forever and ever.  I will praise you forever, O God, for what you have done. I will wait for your mercies in the presence of your people.

CHALLENGE
We are constantly pulled to live and do the way the world does.  Today is the day of opportunity and success: Claim Jesus as Lord and live like it.

 

Jan 2           II Corinthians 1:1
This letter is from Paul, appointed by God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our dear brother Timothy.  We are writing to God’s church in Corinth and to all the Christians throughout Greece.   May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you his grace and peace.  All praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the source of every mercy and the God who comforts us.  He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.

GRACE
Jesus will meet your needs.  When our needs are met we will be quick to help someone else.  As our needs are met and we face a challenge successfully in the Lord He will use us to help someone else that is struggling just like we did.  God is able to help us and He will use us to help others.

 

Jan 3          1John 2:7
Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment, for it is an old one you have always had, right from the beginning. This commandment – to love one another – is the same message you heard before.

LOVE
Love is a requirement for those who are members of the Kingdom of God.  Think about this as our new year begins.  Think about this as you pray.  Let Jesus change the way that you interact with others.  Love one another.

 

Jan 4          2John 1:5
And now I want to urge you, dear lady, that we should love one another. This is not a new commandment, but one we had from the beginning.

LOVE
Too many Christians forget that love is a key element of the Christian life.  Hard feelings towards others, mistreating those who offend us are both the wrong way for us to live.  Pray for those who mistreat you.  Intercede for those who are suffering from hate.  Be sure you put aside hate and love one another.

 

Jan 5          Romans 8:23
And even we Christians, although we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, also groan to be released from pain and suffering. We, too, wait anxiously for that day when God will give us our full rights as his children, including the new bodies he has promised us.

NEW DAY
We are looking forward to that day with deep yearning and a hope that overcomes the ravages of this world.  Remember as you look forward to being with Jesus that you grow in your ability to love those you are still with.

 

Jan 6          2Corinthians 5:2
We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long for the day when we will put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing.

WEARY
We tire from failure, disease and so many other things.  We seek the Lord’s face so that He can comfort us in the midst of our weary lives.  That day of victory will be awesome.  Today we have that victory.  In Jesus we have everything we need especially those things that we need to live and walk in love.  Love one another.

 

Jan 7           II Corinthians 1:5-9
You can be sure that the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ.  So when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your benefit and salvation! For when God comforts us, it is so that we, in turn, can be an encouragement to you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer.  We are confident that as you share in suffering, you will also share God’s comfort.  I think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and completely overwhelmed, and we thought we would never live through it.  In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we learned not to rely on ourselves, but on God who can raise the dead.

POWER
The world strives for power.  People think that money is the key catalyst for power.  You and I know the real power and that is Jesus Christ.  He is Lord of all and He loves us.  We can have his power that equips us to love like He loves.  Just ask and He will give you the power to love.

 

Jan 8           II Corinthians 1:10-14
And he did deliver us from mortal danger. And we are confident that he will continue to deliver us.  He will rescue us because you are helping by praying for us. As a result, many will give thanks to God because so many people’s prayers for our safety have been answered.  We can say with confidence and a clear conscience that we have been honest and sincere in all our dealings. We have depended on God’s grace, not on our own earthly wisdom. That is how we have acted toward everyone, and especially toward you.  My letters have been straightforward, and there is nothing written between the lines and nothing you can’t understand.  I hope someday you will fully understand us, even if you don’t fully understand us now. Then on the day when our Lord Jesus comes back again, you will be proud of us in the same way we are proud of you.

DELIVERANCE
What are you struggling with that you cannot overcome?  Give it to Jesus.  Ask Him to deliver you from this mortal danger that is constantly tripping you up.  Claim His deliverance and He will deliver you.

 

Jan 9           II Corinthians 1:15-20
Since I was so sure of your understanding and trust, I wanted to give you a double blessing.  I wanted to stop and see you on my way to Macedonia and again on my return trip. Then you could send me on my way to Judea.  You may be asking why I changed my plan. Hadn’t I made up my mind yet? Or am I like people of the world who say yes when they really mean no?  As surely as God is true, I am not that sort of person. My yes means yes because Jesus Christ, the Son of God, never wavers between yes and no. He is the one whom Timothy, Silas, and I preached to you, and he is the divine Yes – God’s affirmation.  For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in him. That is why we say “Amen” when we give glory to God through Christ.

AFFIRMATION
We are often looking for affirmation from others when we complete a job.  In Christ we find affirmation all the time.  Jesus loves us and cares for us.  He loves us so much that He came into our world and died for us.  Jesus the Lord loves you and me.

 

Jan 10                  II Corinthians 1:21-24
It is God who gives us, along with you, the ability to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment of everything he will give us.  Now I call upon God as my witness that I am telling the truth. The reason I didn’t return to Corinth was to spare you from a severe rebuke.  But that does not mean we want to tell you exactly how to put your faith into practice. We want to work together with you so you will be full of joy as you stand firm in your faith.

FAITH
Faith in Christ is the activity of living a Christian life.  It is not an empty thought or a thoughtless activity; it is focused on and following Jesus moment by moment.  When we believe in Jesus we live like it.

 

Jan 11        II Corinthians 2:1
So I said to myself, “No, I won’t do it. I won’t make them unhappy with another painful visit.”  For if I cause you pain and make you sad, who is going to make me glad?  That is why I wrote as I did in my last letter, so that when I do come, I will not be made sad by the very ones who ought to give me the greatest joy. Surely you know that my happiness depends on your happiness.  How painful it was to write that letter! Heartbroken, I cried over it. I didn’t want to hurt you, but I wanted you to know how very much I love you.

GIVING
We give of our self to Christ.  I must willingly bend the knee to Jesus and listen to Him as He gives me wisdom and guidance for living.  When I give of myself to Jesus it becomes normal for me to give to others.  Christ loves each one of us.  We are His partners together in bringing the Good News to the World.

 

Jan 12        II Corinthians 2:5-11
I am not overstating it when I say that the man who caused all the trouble hurt your entire church more than he hurt me.  He was punished enough when most of you were united in your judgment against him.  Now it is time to forgive him and comfort him. Otherwise he may become so discouraged that he won’t be able to recover. 8 Now show him that you still love him.  I wrote to you as I did to find out how far you would go in obeying me.  When you forgive this man, I forgive him, too. And when I forgive him (for whatever is to be forgiven), I do so with Christ’s authority for your benefit, so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are very familiar with his evil schemes.

WORLD
Call it what you will, the world is against the cause of Christ.  Satan will do everything in his power to throw you off track.  Today the greatest problem for those in the ministry is discouragement.  We can do two things.  First, when we are discouraged, go to Jesus and ask Him to encourage us and to help us stand in the face of assault.  Second we can make sure that we are encouragers.

 

Jan 13        II Corinthians 2:12-14
Well, when I came to the city of Troas to preach the Good News of Christ, the Lord gave me tremendous opportunities.  But I couldn’t rest because my dear brother Titus hadn’t yet arrived with a report from you. So I said good-bye and went on to Macedonia to find him.  But thanks be to God, who made us his captives and leads us along in Christ’s triumphal procession.  Now wherever we go he uses us to tell others about the Lord and to spread the Good News like a sweet perfume.

AROMA
We can be a force for good if we let Jesus lead us.  When we are filled with Jesus everything we do is different.  We talk differently.  Our attitude is different.  Our mind and heart are different.  We respond to the world as a child of Christ.

 

Jan 14        II Corinthians 2:15-17
Our lives are a fragrance presented by Christ to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those being saved and by those perishing.  To those who are perishing we are a fearful 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?  You see, we are not like those hucksters – and there are many of them – who preach just to make money. We preach God’s message with sincerity and with Christ’s authority. And we know that the God who sent us is watching us.

LIFE
We live our life in the presence of the Lord.  He is the audience.  What we do we do for Him.  This is a critical element in a daily Christian walk.  Not a works salvation but a salvation that equips us and enables us to serve.  Jesus is Lord and if we will surrender ourselves to Him He will be Lord of our life.

 

Jan 15        II Corinthians 3:1-2
Are we beginning again to tell you how good we are? Some people need to bring letters of recommendation with them or ask you to write letters of recommendation for them.  But the only letter of recommendation we need is you yourselves! Your lives are a letter written in our hearts, and everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you.

LIFE
We do want to do good things and we do want to be recognized as valuable.  We must remember that our life is changed by our focus on Jesus and doing what He says.  Christ changes us.  Others know it and see it.  Jesus is the foundation and facilitator of our Christian life.

 

Jan 16        II Corinthians 3:3-4
Clearly, you are a letter from Christ prepared by us. It is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on stone, but on human hearts.  We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ.

KNOWING
When we know Jesus we know the Father.  We have a new heart and a new life.  Change becomes part of our daily existence.  My life is no longer controlled by me but by Jesus.  I study His Word and let His Word grow in me so that I know Him better.

 

Jan 17        II Corinthians 3:5
It is not that we think we can do anything of lasting value by ourselves. Our only power and success come from God.

JESUS
The Christian life is all about Jesus.  It isn’t about me and what I can do.  It is about Jesus and what He has done and is doing.  A surrendered life is a life of activity.  This activity is directed by the Lord in an atmosphere of peace and joy.  Jesus is Lord.

 

Jan 18        II Corinthians 3:6
He is the one who has enabled us to represent his new covenant. This is a covenant, not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old way ends in death; in the new way, the Holy Spirit gives life.

LIFE
Our new Life in Christ is given freely as a gift by the Father through the Holy Spirit.  We are new creatures in Christ.  The Holy Spirit resides in us equipping us with a spirit filled life.  Jesus is Lord and we can build by His strength a strong daily Christian walk.  Not because of what we do but because of what Jesus did and is now doing in us.

 

Jan 19        II Corinthians 3:7
That old system of law etched in stone led to death, yet it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away.

WORKS
People understand works.  We can select the things we do and deny the things we disdain and still rate ourselves pretty good.  Look what I did is the human cry.  There is nothing in us that commends us to God.  Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for our sin because we couldn’t pay it ourselves.  Salvation is a gift-the free gift of God.  The ground at the cross is level; every one of us comes into the family of God the same way-through Jesus.

Jan 20        II Corinthians 3:8-11
Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory when the Holy Spirit is giving life?  If the old covenant, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new covenant, which makes us right with God!  In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new covenant.  So if the old covenant, which has been set aside, was full of glory, then the new covenant, which remains forever, has far greater glory.

JESUS
A life in Christ is forever.  It is beyond our ability to comprehend forever but that doesn’t change the fact that Jesus saves us for today, tomorrow and forever.  We can greet every problem with the fact that it will not last but we will.

 

Jan 21        II Corinthians 3:12-14
Since this new covenant gives us such confidence, we can be very bold.  We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory fading away.  But the people’s minds were hardened, and even to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, a veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ.

JESUS
Jesus gives us wisdom, mercy and grace so that we can live each day with confidence.  Jesus takes away all of our sorrow and comforts us when we are overwhelmed by the world.

 

Jan 22        II Corinthians 3:15-18
Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand.  But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, then the veil is taken away.  Now, the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, he gives freedom.  And all of us have had that veil removed so that we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more.

JESUS
Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith.  We spend time with Him.  We let Him mold and shape us.  We study the Word to know Jesus better.  The result of spending time with Jesus is that we become like Him.  His likeness will show through us in the way we live and the things we do.

 

Jan 23        II Corinthians 4:1-2
And so, since God in his mercy has given us this wonderful ministry, we never give up.  We reject all shameful and underhanded methods. We do not try to trick anyone, and we do not distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know that.

WORLD
The world uses trickery.  We are called to open, honest and kind.  We don’t use half-truths or subterfuge to bilk others.  We represent Jesus.  When we deal with others we are to treat them as Jesus would treat them.  Jesus loves each one of us as if there were no other and expects us to do the same.

 

Jan 24        II Corinthians 4:3-4
If the Good News we preach is veiled from anyone, it is a sign that they are perishing.  Satan, the god of this evil world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe, so they are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News that is shining upon them. They don’t understand the message we preach about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.

TESTIMONY
We represent Jesus.  We represent Jesus to everyone we meet.  Not everyone will understand or listen to us.  We are not to judge, force or criticize others.  We are to be the light of Christ to the world.  This is hard sometimes.  Someone we really love may refuse to acknowledge Jesus as Lord or they may even criticize us.  We are still called to share Christ by word and deed.  Be about the business of the kingdom-sharing Christ with a lost world.

 

Jan 25        II Corinthians 4:5
We don’t go around preaching about ourselves; we preach Christ Jesus, the Lord. All we say about ourselves is that we are your servants because of what Jesus has done for us.  For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made us understand that this light is the brightness of the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.

JESUS
We need to speak and live in such a way that we honor and glorify Jesus.  Remember that God is love.  Our love and faithfulness to Jesus will fill us with love for others so that we mirror Christ in all we do.  People count with Jesus and they must count with us.

 

Jan 26        II Corinthians 4:7
But this precious treasure – this light and power that now shine within us – is held in perishable containers, that is, in our weak bodies. So everyone can see that our glorious power is from God and is not our own.

GOSPEL
Jesus is strong when we are weak.  We focus our life on Christ and live as His servant before a watching world.  It is never do as I say but instead it is always how may I serve you?  We are servants and not overseers.

 

Jan 27        II Corinthians 4:8-9
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don’t give up and quit.  We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going.

ETERNAL
We are eternal creatures in Christ.  We are sojourners in this world just passing through.  The world will abuse us but Jesus is always with us.  We may be at the end of our rope but Jesus will be holding on to us.  His power is perfected in our weakness.  Jesus never wastes hurt.  We are never out of His sight or out of His hand.

 

Jan 28        II Corinthians 4:10-11
Through suffering, these bodies of ours constantly share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.  Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be obvious in our dying bodies.

OVERCOME
We shall indeed overcome.  Nothing in this world can destroy us.  Jesus will be with us forever.  Our home is in heaven where we have a house not made with hands that is ready for us upon our arrival.  Our day of death will be a day of homecoming with the Lord.  Rejoice, whatever the world means for our harm will be overcome by Jesus.  He is alive and well and lives in those of us that claim Him as Lord and Savior.  He lives.

 

Jan 29        II Corinthians 4:12-13
So we live in the face of death, but it has resulted in eternal life for you.  But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, and so I speak.”

FAITH
Faith is a focus on Jesus and a life that exemplifies that focus.  We are not blown about by every wind of life but instead are steadied by the Creator of life.  Jesus is worthy of all of our attention.  Faith isn’t a thought nor is it something we summon up, it is an activity with Jesus as its source.

 

Jan 30        II Corinthians 4:14-15
We know that the same God who raised our Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself along with you.  All of these things are for your benefit. And as God’s grace brings more and more people to Christ, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.

FAITH
We believe in the resurrection because of the Spirit within us that testifies to the truth of the Word of God.  We live with faith in Jesus because we know Him.  His presence is a now presence.  We know Him now and His strength is for now.  Do not fear for we live in the presence of the Lord.

 

Jan 31        II Corinthians 4:16
That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.  For our present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever!  So we don’t look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.

ETERNITY
Day by day we trust Jesus for the moment.  Day by day we face the trials and tribulations of life.  Day by day we can know for sure that Jesus has made   provision for us for eternity because we know Him.  His Word bears testimony of His Lordship and the Spirit bears testimony in our spirit that this is true.  As we get to know Jesus this truth blossoms within our heart and we know Him better.  One day we will be with Jesus for eternity.

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Clay Corvin

Clay Corvin is Co-Pastor at Bethel Community Baptist Church. He is the VP Business and Professor of Admin at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He was the pastor at the Brantley Baptist Center for twenty-five years. He is married to Carol Corvin and the father of three children and has three grandchildren.