2 Corinthians 11:16-30 – The Trials of Life

Read 2 Corinthians 11:16-30

We recently read about being careful not to boast. Here Paul says, “If I must boast, I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am.” When we boast of our weaknesses it is often to show our victories in God. Some people find joy in wallowing in their misfortune. That’s not what I’m talking about here. Paul wasn’t either. His accounts of his trials were not to gain sympathy or to complain. They were to show the power of God to sustain him.

As I write this, the whole planet is under watch or attack of a pandemic virus. You can’t have a conversation, turn on the television, peruse social media, or even read your email without mention of this “trial” of life. It is affecting everyone differently. For those close to it, with loved ones affected, I have no words. Families are being torn apart and unable to comfort each other. People are dying alone because there is too much fear of spreading this virus. For those of us staying indoors, limiting our contact with other humans, there is less concern. Yet, we are all in a place of weakness. We all need Jesus’ power to sustain us.

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Matthew 10:1-20 – Go!

Read Matthew 10:1-20

I might have been shaking in my boots (or sandals). Jesus’ directions to his followers were thorough yet frightening. Why frightening? Because it was new territory for them. They had seen Jesus healing and teaching, and now he was kicking them out of the nest, so to speak. Jesus felt they were ready to take the Good News to the people of Israel. The lost ones.

Did they feel ready? Were they equipped? How would they know what to do? Sometimes we need to get pushed out of our comfort zone. It’s been said that great things never came from comfort zones. If we’re growing, we are most likely out of our comfort zone. If Jesus thought they were prepared, there should be no hesitancy. They will go. We should go, too.

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Genesis 4:1-16 – Jealousy

Read Genesis 4:1-16

When we think about how the world began, Adam and Even no doubt come to mind. The names Cain and Abel may also be familiar to us as the first two sons born of the first couple. Sibling rivalry at it’s worst. If you’ve had children or had siblings growing up, you know that there are times when kids don’t get along. Since each of us is gifted differently, there are bound to be issues. For instance, the musically inclined may wish they were athletic and visa versa. Perhaps the oldest (or the youngest) gets more attention. It’s when jealousy gets so overpowering that it can be dangerous.

In our Biblical account, the jealousy turned deadly. We’re not told why Cain’s sacrifice wasn’t accepted, but that was a big deal for him. We did hear that Abel brought “choice” lambs from the “best” of his flock for his sacrifice. It didn’t say Cain’s was bad, but it didn’t indicate it was his “best” stuff. God could clearly see the heart. In Cain’s despair, God cautioned him, “Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” Obviously, Cain was not able or willing to be a master over this evil. Continue reading “Genesis 4:1-16 – Jealousy”

Hebrews 13:6-9 – Kick Fear in the Butt

Read Hebrews 13:6-9

Fear can be crippling. What are your fears? What comes to mind for me are the obvious fears like spiders, heights and confined spaces. We aren’t born with these fears, but somehow they creep in over the course of time. Since moving to Mexico I have really come to grips with my fear of spiders. It’s been a while since I’ve seen one scurrying around (yes, they are VERY fast here, and VERY big). You’ve heard people say the way to conquer your fear is to face it.

Aside from these “common” fears, we all have fears that are deeper inside us. They limit us from our true happiness or potential. I’ve learned more and more about these fears, also known as “limiting beliefs.” We all have them. Maybe we believe we aren’t good enough or don’t deserve happiness. Maybe we believe we are too old or too young to do this or that. These beliefs are based on fear. What does the Bible say? Continue reading “Hebrews 13:6-9 – Kick Fear in the Butt”

Acts 27:13-26 – Stormy Seas

Read Acts 27:13-16

We have all had “I told you so”  moments in our lives. I’m sure one, in particular, sped through your mind as you read today’s reading. I know one did for me. However, Paul’s message was not to condemn but to comfort. Again, Paul’s integrity and leadership shine through the darkness of the moment.

When we are going through the storms of life, it is sometimes hard to focus on anything good. When we are lost in the moment of despair, there is nothing anyone can say that is going to lift us up. I wonder how it was for Paul’s shipmates. They had been frantically doing things to keep themselves safe–as if they had control.  Continue reading “Acts 27:13-26 – Stormy Seas”