Tag Archives: devotions


Chapter 7

Paul said that, with promises like this – “I will live in them and I will walk among them. I will be their God and they will be my people. Therefore, … separate yourselves from [unbelievers] says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty,[1] that the Corinthian Christians should all cleanse their selves from everything that could defile their bodies and spirits. The Holy Spirit of God wants you and me to know that the same promises from God should cause us to make a clean break from everything – both in and out of our bodies – that defiles or distract us from our goal – to glorify God – reflect his glory. We must make our entire lives – everything we think, do, and say – in private or in public – fit and holy so that we are suitable and godly temples for the worship of the living God. 

Paul asked the Corinthian Christians to open their hearts to him and Timothy. He told the Corinthians that as their leaders they had not done wrong to anyone – not led anyone astray or taken advantage of anyone. Paul anticipated the accusations that immediately try to take root in the Corinthian Christian’s hearts and told them that he and Timothy were not defending themselves by reproving the Corinthian Christians. He reminded them that he and Timothy had told the Corinthian Christians that he and Timothy were with them all the way no matter what. He assured the Corinthian Christians that he and Timothy had the greatest confidence in them and were very proud of them even with all their troubles.

Paul told the Corinthian Christians that they had greatly encouraged him and made him happy in spite of all of their troubles. The Holy Spirit of God is telling you and me today that Christian leaders are his servants labouring for his family and need followers’ encouragement and support. Followers don’t know the trails and tribulations that leaders have. They encourage and bless those who follow them and need the encouragement of followers as well as other leaders.

Paul described the atmosphere in Macedonia – northern Greece – where he and Timothy were labouring for the Gospel. They were there to encourage and teach the Christians as well as bringing the Good News to unbelievers.

Paul said, “Outside there was conflict from every direction, and inside there was fear. Then the God who lifts up the downcast lifted our heads and our hearts with the arrival of Titus. We were glad just to see him, but the true reassurance came in what he told us about you: how much you cared, how much you grieved, how concerned you were for me. I went from worry to tranquility in no time!”

Paul told the Corinthian Christians that he was sorry – for a while – that he had written the letter – that we call I Corinthians – to them because he knew that it was painful for them. However, he was no longer sorry because he knew the pain that he caused them stimulated sorrow and repentance on their part. The remorse his letter caused resulted in the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have. God uses that kind of sorrow to help us humans turn away from sin and seek salvation. Sorrow without repentance is the kind that results in death. In other words, sorrow that doesn’t cause a man, woman, boy or girl to turn from self to God is destructive.

Paul said, “Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain. But those who let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets, end up on a deathbed of regrets.”

Paul told the Corinthian Christians, “Now I’m glad—not that you were upset, but that you were jarred into turning things around. You let the distress bring you to God, not drive you from him. The result was all gain, no loss.” Paul was a human being and had all the emotional trails that every other human being has. The Holy spirit of God wants you and me to know that those who are responsible for leading and teaching need our understanding, love, and encouragement just as we need theirs.

Paul and Timothy were greatly encouraged when the Corinthian Christians realized their error and drew closer to God, doing everything that they could to make things right. They were more alive, more concerned, more sensitive, more reverent, more passionate, and more responsible. Paul told them that they had come out of the situation with purity of heart and that was what he had hoped for when he wrote the letter of admonition to them. Paul’s primary concern was not for the one who did the wrong – or even the one wronged – but his concern was for the Corinthian Christians as a whole. His desire was for them to realize and act upon the ties between Paul and his associates and the Corinthian Christians. Paul and timothy were delighted and doubly blessed by the fact that Titus – another leader and teacher of the Corinthian Christians – was encouraged and blessed from the spiritual advancement of the Corinthian Christians.

The Holy Spirit of God wants you and me to know that when we yield to the direction of our God and Savior – reflect the glory of our God and enjoy the life and freedom of our life in Christ with its blessed results – we are a source of blessing to the ones who labor to draw us closer to maturity in Christ.

[1] II Samuel 7:14

Running the Race as a Winner Day Thirty-nine

I read the words of Habakkuk at the end of his book at a time in my life when the circumstances weren’t the cheeriest. Like Habakkuk I could say, “I have heard all about you, Lord and I am filled with awe by the amazing things that you have done. In my deep need I ask you to help me like you did in years gone by.” God had done wonderful things in my life in the past. He had sent his angels – in human form twice so that I could see them with my physical eyes – to help me out of a tight squeeze more than once and had saved me and my children and grandchildren from physical harm a number of times.

Nevertheless, I was depressed. My writing wasn’t selling and my children were all grown up and living their own lives. My dog and my cat were both dead. I had planned a life where I was living out my life with my husband and frequent visits from my grandchildren. Reality proved to be much different.

Then I read those last verses of Habakkuk’s prayer and decided to adopt his attitude as my own.

Though my books never sell and I never have a home of my own again, though I can never have another dog or cat of my own and my car has to go to a mechanical graveyard I will sing joyful praises to my God. My soul will jump for joy in God my Savior. I will take heart and gain strength in the knowledge that I can count on God’s rule to prevail.[1]

As a winner running the race you can make Habakkuk’s attitude yours as well. You can adopt that joy – the joy of the Lord – and let it be your strength. You can live above the circumstances of your life – no matter how bad the atmosphere is around you. As a winner, you will make the choice to thank God for an empty spoon when there is no food to put in it or a car that has no gas. You can praise God for the sky when it is covered with clouds and pouring down rain. God inhabits the praises of his people and you will feel his presence and grab the hope and peace that permeate God’s presence.

Prayer: Thank you my precious Lord, for your presence. Thank you for the sure knowledge that you will continue to work everything in my live together so that I will become conformed to the image of your dear Son. Thank you for your law – your instructions for living your character out in my life.

[1] Though the cherry trees don’t blossom
    and the strawberries don’t ripen,
Though the apples are worm-eaten
    and the wheat fields stunted,
Though the sheep pens are sheepless
    and the cattle barns empty, I’m singing joyful praise to God.
    I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God.
Counting on God’s Rule to prevail,
    I take heart and gain strength.
I run like a deer.
    I feel like I’m king of the mountain!

Habakkuk 3:17-19