Today's Good News

May 2008

5/1              2 Corinthians 9:1-3
I really don’t need to write to you about this gift for the Christians in Jerusalem.   For I know how eager you are to help, and I have been boasting to our friends in Macedonia that you Christians in Greece were ready to send an offering a year ago. In fact, it was your enthusiasm that stirred up many of them to begin helping.  But I am sending these brothers just to be sure that you really are ready, as I told them you would be, with your money all collected. I don’t want it to turn out that I was wrong in my boasting about you.

GIVING
Unselfishness is difficult for many to deal with.  Even when we have been saved for a long time, we may still have to battle the sin of selfishness.  For many there is a drive to excel and a yearning to have enough.  Faith is a large part of giving.  We don’t know what tomorrow holds.  We may not know if we will get in enough to replace what we give away.  As we mature as Christians, part of that maturing process is to listen to the Father and give as He leads.

 

5/2              2 Corinthians 9:4-5
I would be humiliated – and so would you – if some Macedonian Christians came with me, only to find that you still weren’t ready after all I had told them!  So I thought I should send these brothers ahead of me to make sure the gift you promised is ready. But I want it to be a willing gift, not one given under pressure.

GIVING
Giving is a part of the normal Christian life.  The Lord owns everything and He will take care of us.  Our giving registers our faith in a way that is tangible, measureable and identifiable.  The key to our giving is to ask the Lord what He would have us do and then do it.

 

5/3              2 Corinthians 9:6
Remember this – a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop.

GIVING
The value of our giving is measured.  It is not measured by how much we give but instead is measured by how much of what we have to give is given.  The widow giving the mite gave all that she had.  One person may be giving all they have by giving $20 where someone else may need to give $1,000.  Tithing is a critical part of our giving and so is our generous gifts beyond the tithe.

 

5/4              2 Corinthians 9:7
You must each make up your own mind as to how much you should give. Don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves the person who gives cheerfully.

CHEERFUL
Give from you heart and give cheerfully.  Cheerful giving is an example of obedience and trust.  Giving frees us from the tyranny of fear that the world is under and moves us into the presence of the Lord.

 

5/5              2 Corinthians 9:8
And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.

OBEDIENCE
The rewards of an obedient life are consistent and persistent.  They are consistent because they put us in the position of an obedient servant.  By our own action we evidence our trust in the Lord.  They are persistent in that we are living by the direction of the Lord and He is moving us forward day by day.  Generous giving is a part of an obedient life.

 

5/6              2 Corinthians 9:9-10
As the Scriptures say, “Godly people give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will never be forgotten.”   For God is the one who gives seed to the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will give you many opportunities to do good, and he will produce a great harvest of generosity in you.

DO
What we do matters.  You will find that a life committed to giving cheerfully and generously will be a life that is in partnership with the Lord in this world.  When we are faithful servants our master is actively involved in the ordinary events of our life. A life of humility and service is a life that the Lord uniquely blesses.

 

5/7              2 Corinthians 9:11-15
Yes, you will be enriched so that you can give even more generously. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will break out in thanksgiving to God.  So two good things will happen – the needs of the Christians in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanksgiving to God.  You will be glorifying God through your generous gifts. For your generosity to them will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ.  And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the wonderful grace of God shown through you.  Thank God for his Son – a gift too wonderful for words!

LOVE
The best way to understand and express the love of Christ is to lead a life of aggressive obedience.  The Lord is for us.  He frees us to be for Him.  Good news living casts the light of Jesus on everyone.  The world is made up of two groups of people-those who live in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ and those who need to know about Jesus.

 

5/8              Psalms 87:1
On the holy mountain stands the city founded by the Lord.

REALITY
Don’t let the world drag you down.  Do not be blinded by the difficulties you face.  Remember that the Lord Himself loved you so much that He stepped into your world and provided a free gift for you.  That gift is salvation-a relationship with Him.  One day we will be with Jesus.  Right now He is in us.

5/9              Psalms 87:2
He loves the city of Jerusalem more than any other city in Israel.  O city of God, what glorious things are said of you!

PERSONAL
Jesus is personal.  He knows us.  He calls us to be personally involved in His work.  Jerusalem, the city of God is important to the Lord just as our church is important to Him.  The church belongs to Him, we belong to Him and He loves the church and us.

5/10            Psalms 87:4
I will count Egypt and Babylon among those who know me also Philistia and Tyre, and even distant Ethiopia.  They have all become citizens of Jerusalem!

GIFT
The Lord is offering us the free gift of membership in His family.  Any one of us has the same opportunity for membership-accepting Jesus as our Lord.  We are brought into the family of God by this free gift.

5/11            Psalms 87:5-7
Regarding Jerusalem it will be said, “Everyone enjoys the rights of citizenship there.”  And the Most High will personally bless this city.  When the Lord registers the nations, he will say, “They have all become citizens of Jerusalem.”  The people will play flutes and sing, “The source of my life springs from Jerusalem!”

JOY
Note the joy and rejoicing.  We as members of the family of God have a good reason to rejoice no matter what our circumstance.  We belong.  We have a purpose.  We have value and worth.  We are beloved of God.  He is our father.

 

5/12            2 Corinthians 10: 1
Now I, Paul, plead with you. I plead with the gentleness and kindness that Christ himself would use, even though some of you say I am bold in my letters but timid in person.

PEOPLE
People are judgmental.  People seldom know the truth about someone else.  People will often misconstrue our motives.  You make sure that you take your situation to the Lord and let Him guide you.  Give the acrimony of others to Him and do not take it personal.  Follow Jesus.

 

5/13            2 Corinthians 10:2-4
I hope it won’t be necessary, but when I come I may have to be very bold with those who think we act from purely human motives.  We are human, but we don’t wage war with human plans and methods.  We use God’s mighty weapons, not mere worldly weapons, to knock down the Devil’s strongholds.

WAR
Jesus fights our battles.  We keep our eyes on Jesus.  Strongholds come down by the power of God and not the schemes of man.  Take your struggles to Jesus.  Tell Him what you are facing and failing.  Listen to His instructions and do them.  Obedience in spiritual matters is required for bringing down the strongholds of the evil one.

 

5/14            2 Corinthians 10:5-7
With these weapons we break down every proud argument that keeps people from knowing God. With these weapons we conquer their rebellious ideas, and we teach them to obey Christ.  And we will punish those who remained disobedient after the rest of you became loyal and obedient.
The trouble with you is that you make your decisions on the basis of appearance.  You must recognize that we belong to Christ just as much as those who proudly declare that they belong to Christ.

CHANGE
Change comes through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Submission and obedience are critical elements in our daily life.  World change begins with us.  Let Jesus have you first.

 

5/15            2 Corinthians 10:8-11
I may seem to be boasting too much about the authority given to us by the Lord. But this authority is to build you up, not to tear you down. And I will not be put to shame by having my work among you destroyed.  Now this is not just an attempt to frighten you by my letters.  For some say, “Don’t worry about Paul. His letters are demanding and forceful, but in person he is weak, and his speeches are really bad!”  The ones who say this must realize that we will be just as demanding and forceful in person as we are in our letters.

JESUS
Daily living requires that we seek guidance from the Lord for how we are to act and what we will do.  Confrontation is never comfortable.  The key for us is to make sure that our eyes and heart are firmly focused on Jesus.  Are we doing what the Lord has called us to do or have we let our egos lead?  Surrender and obedience lead us.  Ask Jesus what He has for you to do.

 

5/16            2 Corinthians 10:12
Oh, don’t worry; I wouldn’t dare say that I am as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, and measuring themselves by themselves. What foolishness!

MEASURE
In our minds and our hearts where we know, really know ourselves we never measure up.  Others do not know us but Jesus knows us.  Kneel before Him and ask Him what he would have you to do.  Jesus will talk straight with us.  He will tell us what He expects and how He will help us to meet His demands.

 

5/17            2 Corinthians 10:13-14
But we will not boast of authority we do not have. Our goal is to stay within the boundaries of God’s plan for us, and this plan includes our working there with you.  We are not going too far when we claim authority over you, for we were the first to travel all the way to you with the Good News of Christ.

PLAN
The Lord has a plan for your life.  It is unique and personal.  Jesus would first and foremost that you be yourself.  When you do what He says for you to do then He is the only one that can measure your success.  Keep your eyes on Jesus and the Lord will give you the resources that you need to accomplish His plan for your life.

 

5/18            2 Corinthians 10:15-18
Nor do we claim credit for the work someone else has done. Instead, we hope that your faith will grow and that our work among you will be greatly enlarged.  Then we will be able to go and preach the Good News in other places that are far beyond you, where no one else is working. Then there will be no question about being in someone else’s territory.  As the Scriptures say, “The person who wishes to boast should boast only of what the Lord has done.”  When people boast about themselves, it doesn’t count for much. But when the Lord commends someone, that’s different!

GOOD JOB
We live at the pleasure of the Lord.  He is our focus, He is the master we are the servant.  As I work the life plan He has for me I am looking to Him for guidance and evaluation.  Jesus will speak with us about what we are or are not doing.  One day we will go to be with Him and then He will give us His evaluation of our work.  I’m looking for a “good job” from Him.

 

5/19            2 Corinthians 11: 1-4
I hope you will be patient with me as I keep on talking like a fool. Please bear with me.  I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. For I promised you as a pure bride to one husband, Christ.  But I fear that somehow you will be led away from your pure and simple devotion to Christ, just as Eve was deceived by the serpent.  You seem to believe whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach about a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed.

GROW
Grow is a personal admonition for each one of us.  We have to spend time with Jesus to grow.  We do that by reading His Word, memorizing Scripture, and thinking about Scripture, praying, and meditating.  Stop and let Him control your life.  When you have no time you are spending too much time letting the world control you.

 

5/20            2 Corinthians 11:5-6
But I don’t think I am inferior to these “super apostles.”  I may not be a trained speaker, but I know what I am talking about. I think you realize this by now, for we have proved it again and again.

YOU
You are who you are.  You will never be anyone but who you are.  Jesus made you special and He wants you to give who you are to be His.  You have nothing to prove and everything to give.

 

5/21            2 Corinthians 11:7-15
Did I do wrong when I humbled myself and honored you by preaching God’s Good News to you without expecting anything in return?  I “robbed” other churches by accepting their contributions so I could serve you at no cost.  And when I was with you and didn’t have enough to live on, I did not ask you to help me. For the brothers who came from Macedonia brought me another gift. I have never yet asked you for any support, and I never will.   As surely as the truth of Christ is in me, I will never stop boasting about this all over Greece.  Why? Because I don’t love you? God knows I do.  But I will continue doing this to cut the ground out from under the feet of those who boast that their work is just like ours.  These people are false apostles. They have fooled you by disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.  But I am not surprised! Even Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light.  So it is no wonder his servants can also do it by pretending to be godly ministers. In the end they will get every bit of punishment their wicked deeds deserve.

LIFE
Life belongs to Jesus.  We don’t know the future nor do we know how we will respond in the future.  What we do know is what we can do right now to prepare ourselves for the future-spend time with Jesus.  Do not be overwhelmed by the moment or sidetracked by future fears.  Let the Lord have you-all of you-and He will be faithful.

 

5/22            2 Corinthians 11:16-21
Once again, don’t think that I have lost my wits to talk like this. But even if you do, listen to me, as you would to a foolish person, while I also boast a little.  Such bragging is not something the Lord wants, but I am acting like a fool.  And since others boast about their human achievements, I will, too.  After all, you, who think you are so wise, enjoy listening to fools!  You put up with it when they make you their slaves, take everything you have, take advantage of you, put on airs, and slap you in the face.  I’m ashamed to say that we were not strong enough to do that!  But whatever they dare to boast about – I’m talking like a fool again – I can boast about it, too.

YOU
You are special to Jesus.  What you do is important to Him.  He sees the things you do and say and knows your heart.  Let Christ have control of you.  Talk with Him.  He will listen.

 

5/23            2 Corinthians 11:22-30
They say they are Hebrews, do they? So am I. And they say they are Israelites? So am I. And they are descendants of Abraham? So am I.  They say they serve Christ? I know I sound like a madman, but I have served him far more! I have worked harder, been put in jail more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again.  Five different times the Jews 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.  I have traveled many weary miles. I have faced danger from flooded rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the stormy seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be Christians but are not.  I have lived with weariness and pain and sleepless nights. Often I have been hungry and thirsty and have gone without food. Often I have shivered with cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.  Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of how the churches are getting along.  Who is weak without my feeling that weakness? Who is led astray, and I do not burn with anger?  If I must boast, I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am.

WEAKNESS
We are weak creatures.  Life can change so quickly.  The future becomes the past, the moment passes, what we intended gets confused and life passes by.  We are weak creatures.  But in our weakness we can proclaim the honor and glory of the Lord.  When I am weak He is strong.  He is for me who can be against me?  Go with God.

 

5/24            2 Corinthians 11:31-33
God, the Father of our Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows I tell the truth.  When I was in Damascus, the governor under King Aretas kept guards at the city gates to catch me.  But I was lowered in a basket through a window in the city wall, and that’s how I got away!

PROVIDENCE
God’s plan for your life includes His providence for you.  When we are following Him we do not need to worry because Jesus will take care of everything we need.  The Lord is always on His throne.  The world never surprises Him.  Be strong in the Lord and He will handle the needs of your life.

 

5/25            2 Corinthians 12:1-6
This boasting is all so foolish, but let me go on. Let me tell about the visions and revelations I received from the Lord.  I   was caught up into the third heaven fourteen years ago.  Whether my body was there or just my spirit, I don’t know; only God knows.  But I do know that I was caught up into paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be told.  That experience is something worth boasting about, but I am not going to do it. I am going to boast only about my weaknesses.  I have plenty to boast about and would be no fool in doing it, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it. I don’t want anyone to think more highly of me than what they can actually see in my life and my message,

EGO
Our need to be important will get us into trouble.  Ego must go.  Our importance in Jesus is a fact.  He died for you and for me.  His death was a community event but it was also a personal event.  My sin was known to Him.  He knew my personal need and died for me.  Do not let the world get you down.  Do not forget who you are and whose you are.  Jesus is Lord and He loves you.

 

5/26            2 Corinthians 12:7-10
even though I have received wonderful revelations from God. But to keep me from getting puffed up, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from getting proud.  Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.  Each time he said, “My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me.  Since I know it is all for Christ’s good, I am quite content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

SHINE
When Jesus is in our heart and our ego is set aside others can see our light.  We talk about Him and tell everyone about Him but unless He is in me and in control of me all others will hear are words.  Remember we must let Jesus shine from inside of us-from our heart and soul.

 

5/27            2 Corinthians 12:11-12
You have made me act like a fool – boasting like this. You ought to be writing commendations for me, for I am not at all inferior to these “super apostles,” even though I am nothing at all.  When I was with you, I certainly gave you every proof that I am truly an apostle, sent to you by God himself. For I patiently did many signs and wonders and miracles among you.

EVIDENCE
The evidence of His presence in us is what we do for others.  We are measured by our generosity, our submission, our forgiving nature.  Every proof of Christ in our life is when we do for others as He has done for us.  Give.

 

5/28            2 Corinthians 12:13-14
The only thing I didn’t do, which I do in the other churches, was to become a burden to you. Please forgive me for this wrong!  Now I am coming to you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you. I don’t want what you have; I want you. And anyway, little children don’t pay for their parents’ food. It’s the other way around; parents supply food for their children.

GENEROSITY
Amazing but true, the more we give the more we have to give.  I cannot out give the Lord.  The depth of my ability to give is directly related to the act of giving.  When I give I am more able to give.  The more I give the greater ability I have to give.

 

5/29            2 Corinthians 12:15-17
I will gladly spend myself and all I have for your spiritual good, even though it seems that the more I love you, the less you love me.  Some of you admit I was not a burden to you. But they still think I was sneaky and took advantage of you by trickery.  But how? Did any of the men I sent to you take advantage of you?

DOUBT
The world will always doubt you.  Get your eyes off the world and focus on Jesus.  Let Him have your full attention.  Be about His business and let Him have your worries about what others think.

 

5/30            2 Corinthians 12:18-20
When I urged Titus to visit you and sent our other brother with him, did Titus take advantage of you? No, of course not! For we both have the same Spirit and walk in each other’s steps, doing things the same way.  Perhaps you think we are saying all this just to defend ourselves. That isn’t it at all. We tell you this as Christ’s servants, and we know that God is listening. Everything we do, dear friends, is for your benefit.  For I am afraid that when I come to visit you I won’t like what I find, and then you won’t like my response. I am afraid that I will find quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfishness, backstabbing, gossip, conceit, and disorderly behavior.

LIFESTYLE
The world does as it pleases.  We do as the Lord pleases.  We set aside our prerogatives and claim the goals that the Lord defines.  Step one in daily living is praising the Lord.  We are His and He has our best interests at heart.

 

5/31            2 Corinthians 12:21
Yes, I am afraid that when I come, God will humble me again because of you. And I will have to grieve because many of you who sinned earlier have not repented of your impurity, sexual immorality, and eagerness for lustful pleasure.

PRAYER
Prayer is our lifeline.  Prayer brings us a more exact understanding of who we are and who Jesus is.  Our prayer helps us to connect with others.  Prayer changes us.  Pray.

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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.