7 day plan

Power and Weakness

Day 2 of 7

2 Corinthians 1:8-11

8We don’t want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, of our affliction that took place in Asia. We were completely overwhelmed — beyond our strength — so that we even despaired of life itself. 9Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death, so that we would not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead. 10He has delivered us from such a terrible death, and he will deliver us. We have put our hope in him that he will deliver us again 11while you join in helping us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gift that came to us through the prayers of many.

Reflection:  The book of 2 Corinthians finishes a long way second to 1 Corinthians in a popularity contest. It’s like the shy sibling in the background of the family photo. Upon opening it Christians might say – I’ve met your famous brother – but who are you again?
2 Corinthians is an incredible book because it is Paul at perhaps his most emotional. The NT scholar R P C Hanson put it like this:
Here, broken sharply off, with none of the jagged edges filed down, is a chunk of Paul’s life – authentic, uncensored, bewilderingly complicated, but amazingly interesting.
If you think that Paul was always happy, that he never got to the end of himself, that he was never acquainted with confusion, anxiety, and even something like depression – then you’ve never read 2 Corinthians.

Question:  When was the last time you shared your confusion, sadness, or disappointment with God?

Prayer:  Gracious God, you are the Father of Compassion and the God of all comfort. I know you hear my prayer today, even when I am confused, even when I feel broken and overwhelmed. Through the comforting presence of your Spirit, remind me of your love and your sovereignty. Point my heart towards Jesus, who pioneers for us how to run the race with perseverance. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Days

2 Corinthians 1:1-24

Greeting

1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, and Timothy our brother:

To the church of God at Corinth, with all the saints who are throughout Achaia.

2Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The God of Comfort

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. 4He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings that we suffer. 7And our hope for you is firm, because we know that as you share in the sufferings, so you will also share in the comfort.

8We don’t want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, of our affliction that took place in Asia. We were completely overwhelmed — beyond our strength — so that we even despaired of life itself. 9Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death, so that we would not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead. 10He has delivered us from such a terrible death, and he will deliver us. We have put our hope in him that he will deliver us again 11while you join in helping us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gift that came to us through the prayers of many.

A Clear Conscience

12Indeed, this is our boast: The testimony of our conscience is that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you, with godly sincerity and purity, not by human wisdom but by God’s grace. 13For we are writing nothing to you other than what you can read and also understand. I hope you will understand completely —  14just as you have partially understood us — that we are your reason for pride, just as you also are ours in the day of our Lord Jesus.

A Visit Postponed

15Because of this confidence, I planned to come to you first, so that you could have a second benefit, 16and to visit you on my way to Macedonia, and then come to you again from Macedonia and be helped by you on my journey to Judea. 17Now when I planned this, was I of two minds? Or what I plan, do I plan in a purely human way so that I say “Yes, yes” and “No, no” at the same time? 18As God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes and no.” 19For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you — Silvanus, Timothy, and I — did not become “Yes and no.” On the contrary, in him it is always “Yes.” 20For every one of God’s promises is “Yes” in him. Therefore, through him we also say “Amen” to the glory of God. 21Now it is God who strengthens us together with you in Christ, and who has anointed us. 22He has also put his seal on us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a down payment.

23I call on God as a witness, on my life, that it was to spare you that I did not come to Corinth. 24I do not mean that we lord it over your faith, but we are workers with you for your joy, because you stand firm in your faith.