2 Corinthians 12 Devotional – Day 4

ADORATION – Reflect on God’s Greatness

GOD IS JUST God is righteous and holy, fair and equitable in all things. We can trust Him to always do what is right. 

Psalm 75:1-3 We thank you, O God! We give thanks because you are near. People everywhere tell of your wonderful deeds.
God says, “At the time I have planned, I will bring justice against the wicked.
When the earth quakes and its people live in turmoil, I am the one who keeps its foundations firm.

PRAISE THE GOD WHO IS JUST
Praise God that he brings justice at the right time. Praise God that he is near and nothing escapes his notice. Praise God that his justice is righteous and holy. His justice is perfect. 

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.
  • Pray for the work of Embrace. Ask God to use their ministry to point women to Christ and to rescue unborn children.
  • Ask God to speak as you read and meditate.

SCRIPTURE READING:

2 Corinthians 12 The Message

Strength from Weakness
1-5 You’ve forced me to talk this way, and I do it against my better judgment. But now that we’re at it, I may as well bring up the matter of visions and revelations that God gave me. For instance, I know a man who, fourteen years ago, was seized by Christ and swept in ecstasy to the heights of heaven. I really don’t know if this took place in the body or out of it; only God knows. I also know that this man was hijacked into paradise—again, whether in or out of the body, I don’t know; God knows. There he heard the unspeakable spoken, but was forbidden to tell what he heard. This is the man I want to talk about. But about myself, I’m not saying another word apart from the humiliations.

6 If I had a mind to brag a little, I could probably do it without looking ridiculous, and I’d still be speaking plain truth all the way. But I’ll spare you. I don’t want anyone imagining me as anything other than the fool you’d encounter if you saw me on the street or heard me talk.

7-10 Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

* * *

11-13 Well, now I’ve done it! I’ve made a complete fool of myself by going on like this. But it’s not all my fault; you put me up to it. You should have been doing this for me, sticking up for me and commending me instead of making me do it for myself. You know from personal experience that even if I’m a nobody, a nothing, I wasn’t second-rate compared to those big-shot apostles you’re so taken with. All the signs that mark a true apostle were in evidence while I was with you through both good times and bad: signs of portent, signs of wonder, signs of power. Did you get less of me or of God than any of the other churches? The only thing you got less of was less responsibility for my upkeep. Well, I’m sorry. Forgive me for depriving you.

14-15 Everything is in readiness now for this, my third visit to you. But don’t worry about it; you won’t have to put yourselves out. I’ll be no more of a bother to you this time than on the other visits. I have no interest in what you have—only in you. Children shouldn’t have to look out for their parents; parents look out for the children. I’d be most happy to empty my pockets, even mortgage my life, for your good. So how does it happen that the more I love you, the less I’m loved?

16-18 And why is it that I keep coming across these whiffs of gossip about how my self-support was a front behind which I worked an elaborate scam? Where’s the evidence? Did I cheat or trick you through anyone I sent? I asked Titus to visit, and sent some brothers along. Did they swindle you out of anything? And haven’t we always been just as aboveboard, just as honest?

19 I hope you don’t think that all along we’ve been making our defense before you, the jury. You’re not the jury; God is the jury—God revealed in Christ—and we make our case before him. And we’ve gone to all the trouble of supporting ourselves so that we won’t be in the way or get in the way of your growing up.

20-21 I do admit that I have fears that when I come you’ll disappoint me and I’ll disappoint you, and in frustration with each other everything will fall to pieces—quarrels, jealousy, flaring tempers, taking sides, angry words, vicious rumors, swelled heads, and general bedlam. I don’t look forward to a second humiliation by God among you, compounded by hot tears over that crowd that keeps sinning over and over in the same old ways, who refuse to turn away from the pigsty of evil, sexual disorder, and indecency in which they wallow.

Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson

SCRIPTURE REFLECTION:

Desire:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
You believe that this is truth and available for you. You are confident that you have agency, that God has made you and life such that if you choose to, then you can change. Now what remains is the desire to implement a plan. You hear the stream that can quench your thirst. You know that you are free to go to that stream. Now, will you get up, walk and keep walking to the stream? You might wonder what choices you could make to live more fully and consistently in the grace of Jesus. You might be puzzled as to what actual decisions you could make that would allow you to more readily embrace your own weakness in order for God’s strength to flow through you. There are so many of these choices, none of them are “spectacular” they are just many, many steps in a determined direction. I’ll list a few to get you started thinking.
Show up at church and small group. When you get there, engage with God and others. Get time with friends and talk about these things. Intentionally talk to a friend about your weakness, your struggles. Ask God every single day to reveal his strength in your weakness. Memorize this verse and think about it as you go through your day. Stop watching, reading, or listening to things that are taking your heart and mind in a wrong direction. Be kind to the people around you. Listen to them, don’t just try to convince them that you are right or smart. Walk in their shoes mentally and emotionally.
Okay, that’s enough. You get the idea. Everything shapes us. We must determine to be shaped into the image of Christ. We must pay attention to the small, daily, shaping choices that God has given us to move to his life-giving water that can quench our soul’s thirst.

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