ADORATION – Reflect on God’s Greatness
FREEDOM God does whatever he pleases. Nothing in creation can hinder him from carrying out his will.
The Psalmist contrasts God’s power and freedom with the weakness of idols: “Our God is in the heavens; he does whatever he pleases” (Psalm 115:3). Human rulers can’t oppose God’s will, for “the king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will” (Proverbs 21:1). Similarly, Nebuchadnezzar learns that God, “does according to his will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, ‘What are you doing?’” (Daniel 4:35).
Praise God Because He is Free
Praise God that the only boundaries on his actions are his perfect, just, and loving character. Praise Him that nothing can stop him. Praise Him that his actions and withholding his hand are always the best.
CONFESSION: Confess your sins to God and receive his continued mercy.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
THANKSGIVING: Giving thanks to God for his specific blessings in our lives.
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100
SUPPLICATION: Bringing our requests to God.
- Bring your personal prayer requests to God.
- Ask God to use the work of Youth Horizons to help children discover Christ and to grow into responsible healthy adults.
- Ask God to speak as you read and meditate.
2 Corinthians 11 The Message
Pseudo-Servants of God
1-3 Will you put up with a little foolish aside from me? Please, just for a moment. The thing that has me so upset is that I care about you so much—this is the passion of God burning inside me! I promised your hand in marriage to Christ, presented you as a pure virgin to her husband. And now I’m afraid that exactly as the Snake seduced Eve with his smooth tongue, you are being lured away from the simple purity of your love for Christ.
4-6 It seems that if someone shows up preaching quite another Jesus than we preached—different spirit, different message—you put up with him quite nicely. But if you put up with these big-shot “apostles,” why can’t you put up with simple me? I’m as good as they are. It’s true that I don’t have their voice, haven’t mastered that smooth eloquence that impresses you so much. But when I do open my mouth, I at least know what I’m talking about. We haven’t kept anything back. We let you in on everything.
7-12 I wonder, did I make a bad mistake in proclaiming God’s Message to you without asking for something in return, serving you free of charge so that you wouldn’t be inconvenienced by me? It turns out that the other churches paid my way so that you could have a free ride. Not once during the time I lived among you did anyone have to lift a finger to help me out. My needs were always supplied by the believers from Macedonia province. I was careful never to be a burden to you, and I never will be, you can count on it. With Christ as my witness, it’s a point of honor with me, and I’m not going to keep it quiet just to protect you from what the neighbors will think. It’s not that I don’t love you; God knows I do. I’m just trying to keep things open and honest between us.
12-15 And I’m not changing my position on this. I’d die before taking your money. I’m giving nobody grounds for lumping me in with those money-grubbing “preachers,” vaunting themselves as something special. They’re a sorry bunch—pseudo-apostles, lying preachers, crooked workers—posing as Christ’s agents but sham to the core. And no wonder! Satan does it all the time, dressing up as a beautiful angel of light. So it shouldn’t surprise us when his servants masquerade as servants of God. But they’re not getting by with anything. They’ll pay for it in the end.
Many a Long and Lonely Night
16-21 Let me come back to where I started—and don’t hold it against me if I continue to sound a little foolish. Or if you’d rather, just accept that I am a fool and let me rant on a little. I didn’t learn this kind of talk from Christ. Oh, no, it’s a bad habit I picked up from the three-ring preachers that are so popular these days. Since you sit there in the judgment seat observing all these shenanigans, you can afford to humor an occasional fool who happens along. You have such admirable tolerance for impostors who rob your freedom, rip you off, steal you blind, put you down—even slap your face! I shouldn’t admit it to you, but our stomachs aren’t strong enough to tolerate that kind of stuff.
21-23 Since you admire the egomaniacs of the pulpit so much (remember, this is your old friend, the fool, talking), let me try my hand at it. Do they brag of being Hebrews, Israelites, the pure race of Abraham? I’m their match. Are they servants of Christ? I can go them one better. (I can’t believe I’m saying these things. It’s crazy to talk this way! But I started, and I’m going to finish.)
23-27 I’ve worked much harder, been jailed more often, beaten up more times than I can count, and at death’s door time after time. I’ve been flogged five times with the Jews’ thirty-nine lashes, beaten by Roman rods three times, pummeled with rocks once. I’ve been shipwrecked three times, and immersed in the open sea for a night and a day. In hard traveling year in and year out, I’ve had to ford rivers, fend off robbers, struggle with friends, struggle with foes. I’ve been at risk in the city, at risk in the country, endangered by desert sun and sea storm, and betrayed by those I thought were my brothers. I’ve known drudgery and hard labor, many a long and lonely night without sleep, many a missed meal, blasted by the cold, naked to the weather.
28-29 And that’s not the half of it, when you throw in the daily pressures and anxieties of all the churches. When someone gets to the end of his rope, I feel the desperation in my bones. When someone is duped into sin, an angry fire burns in my gut.
30-33 If I have to “brag” about myself, I’ll brag about the humiliations that make me like Jesus. The eternal and blessed God and Father of our Master Jesus knows I’m not lying. Remember the time I was in Damascus and the governor of King Aretas posted guards at the city gates to arrest me? I crawled through a window in the wall, was let down in a basket, and had to run for my life.
Think of being a grown man or woman and hiding in a wicker basket being lowered out of a window to the ground below. Put yourself there. Feel the heat and the fear. Smell the damp smell, feel the cramped space. Hear the voices of guards trying to find you in order to kill you. What is going through your mind? You are being hunted because of your belief in Christ. Are you being a coward, hiding like this? Are you being a fool putting yourself in danger like this? Paul uses this example from his earlier days of faith as an item on his “stat” sheet. It had to be a powerful and in some ways a traumatic memory but he uses it to demonstrate his commitment to Christ. God’s glory is evidenced in our weakness. We tend to run from weakness. We don’t like to feel vulnerable. But we are in fact, weak. We are vulnerable. Why do we try to hide from what is clearly true about us? This week tell a friend about something that displays your weakness. Tell a friend of a struggle or a failure. Not to saturate in failure but to train yourself to embrace the reality of your weakness rather than carefully guarding an unreal image of strength. If we are to learn to practically, actually, live in Christ’s strength we must learn to be honest with ourselves and others about our own weakness.