November 16 2 Corinthians 3,4,5,6

These are a few of our SOAP notes from today’s reading. We encourage you to read and journal on your own first, then join us in conversation about what God revealed to YOU today. Click HERE to go directly to the daily reading if you wish.

Printable reading plan: Life Journal Reading Plan

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Freeeeeeeee | Kim Chipman

S~ For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17 (NLT)

O~ Paul is teaching about the glory of the new covenant through Christ. Through Jesus there is freedom, not bondage.

A~ Lord, I know Your ways are best, but sometimes I am temped away from them with the notion that immediate gratification is better. Wherever the Spirit is there is freedom! Satan’s sneaky lies whisper to me that there must be something I’m missing, something better, just like he did to Eve. Your ways are best. You love me and know me intimately (and still love me which is just flat out amazing). Lord help my unbelief! Grow my trust in You that no matter what is in my path/life you allowed it. Help me to trust You even when I have intense, consuming *feelings* that pull me away from You. In these moments remind me to fix my *thoughts* on Your Truth until the tempter leaves so I can *choose* to allow the Spirit to ‘make me more and more like You as I am changed into Your glorious image’ and that my life would ‘reflect the glory of the Lord’.

P~ Lord, help me to remember that your new covenant is freedom! As tempting as the deceiver can make other things, please help my unbelief and grow my trust in Your Truth. Help me to fix my thoughts. I love you.

Outweighed | Robin Laney

S~ Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV)

O~ Paul had been through the wringer and he had come to the conclusion that eternity with God was well worth any suffering he had to endure in this life. He understood that his time here on earth was fleeting and that any external trials he suffered were strengthening him inwardly.

A~ This life is hard. Disease, divorce, addictions, natural disasters, homelessness, disabilities, death and more. The pain of our sufferings can be crippling. They can shake us and the ones we know and love to our very cores. These trials are life changing and can seem life ending if we have a view of life that is limited to what we see with our eyes. If this life is what we are living for then any challenge to its quality and quantity can be devastating. Great loss seems like the end of the world.

Fortunately, this life is not all there is. It’s a bleep on the radar, a vanishing mist, the tick of a clock. Everything on this big blue ball is temporary. Our physical bodies, our troubles, our worries, our struggles, our weaknesses, our pain, our limitations are all temporary. Though we suffer here, Christ’s victory at the cross gives us hope of an eternity without pain or sorrow of any kind.

Paul’s focus on eternity and the knowledge of his God-given purpose here on earth drove him to allow his external problems to strengthen his faith and his resolve to tell as many people as possible about Jesus. He knew that with an eternal perspective of his external struggles, God would be glorified. We all have been inspired by stories of people who have been knocked down by life and who have leaned into God in the midst of their mess and have found new strength, courage, peace and joy. They fix their eyes on things they can’t see, eternal things. Their faith in God’s plan and purpose for their lives drives them to persevere and thrive though their bodies may be perishing or their loved ones or worldly possessions have been taken from them. They want people to know that God is real, that He loves them and that He has prepared a place for them, with Him, in Glory.

God can and, if we allow Him, will use each and every trial we face to accomplish His will for those He loves. Our struggles can either crush us or they can bring us to a new awareness of who God is and what He has done for us. They can destroy us or they can humble us enough that we see our need for Him. They can either discourage the people who know our story or they can open their eyes to God’s amazing grace and love. They can defeat us or they can highlight the gifts of God’s miracles, none of which are small.

If our troubles here on earth were heaped up on a scale opposite the eternal promises of God, no amount of mess could ever even come close to balancing the scale. Let’s keep our eyes on Him and that promise He has given us of an eternity free of pain and sorrow. It will all be more than worth it!

P~ Lord, thank you that not one bit of our suffering in this life goes to waste when we set our eyes on You and Your Kingdom. Give us faith to believe Your promises and trust Your plans for our lives. Let us see You clearly in every circumstance and let us glorify Your name in how we handle each trial so that others will see You clearly and will believe that You love them beyond measure. Hold us up when we falter, redirect us when we get off course, carry us when we are too weak and let Your light and Truth shine through us no matter what life throws at us.

Balanced Scales | Kelley Deases

S~ For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Corinthians 4:17 (NIV)

O~ Paul certainly suffered more trouble and affliction in his life than I have seen, but always his eyes were fixed on heaven — not his earthly circumstance.

A~ This verse makes me think of a scale (like the scales of justice) upon which items are placed on either side to strike a balance. As I think of the trivial things that can bump me, or even the very worst, most intense, moments of my life, I imagine putting them on that scale. It hardly moves as it is so heavily weighed down on the other side by all the riches heaven has in store!

P~ Father, I am so grateful for Your Word, which reminds me that, really, my hardships are fleeting and my future is secure.

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