2 Corinthians 1-4

Well, well, well.      Just yesterday I mentioned that I believed that Paul called himself an apostle because he received a direct commission to do so from Jesus, and today that’s how he begins his letter.    It’s almost as if we’ve read this book before….
There’s so much content contained in these 4 chapters that we have no hope of covering it all in a blog entry.   Take it from me, this is rich ground in which you could easily spend weeks, months and perhaps years studying and learning.   That leaves me with a dilemma this morning:  what in the world do I blog about?1:3-7   When I have trouble, I need to remember that God can use by trouble to bring comfort to others.   And also, that I am comforted by others when I have trouble.
1:8-11   Paul was at a point in his ministry where he didn’t expect to live through it….but he kept on going, knowing that Christ could raise him from the dead.   That’s a powerful image…one worth committing to memory and seeking to emulate.
2:5-8   I really want to know what happened in Corinth.  Who was the man that caused the problems?  What exactly did he do?   Was this why the church seemed arrogant to me as I read the first letter?    What happened to this guy?     Paul shows grace by instructing the church to reach out to him and offer him the opportunity to be restored to the fellowship.   I hope he took advantage of it.   Sometimes our mouth and our impulsive actions get us into so much trouble that we have a hard time feeling comfortable with the people we previously offended.
2:14-16   God uses us to spread the knowledge of himself everywhere.   Not everyone likes the “smell of Jesus”, so we can’t expect to be welcomed everywhere we go.   It’s kind of like taking off your coat and revealing your team jersey…some are going to like you…others are not.
3:4-6    I am not qualified to do anything on my own, especially not anything of spiritual value.   However, God has qualified me to do certain things so I rejoice in that fact.  I don’t celebrate the accomplishments of the ministry as much as I celebrate the fact that God has equipped and allowed me to be part of it.
(no verse reference)   The veil still covers the eyes of some, as sad as that is.   You can almost see the truth bouncing off the heads of people who are wrapped in the veil.   It’s impervious to truth, and while wearing it they will never change.   the only good news is that the veil can be taken off.   The Holy Spirit gives us the presence of mind to realize that we can remove it, and the power of God removes it when we ask Him to do so.
4:7-10   How could I possibly read these verses without commenting on one of my favorite verses? “we are hard pressed but not crushed”.    Jesus makes us able to accomplish any task, survive any hardship and endure any trial.   There isn’t anything that can do any permanent damage to me.  If I am cut, God can heal it immediately.   If my bones are broken, he can repair them.  If my reputation is shredded, he can restore it.   If my life is taken, he can give it back to me.   All things can be done through Jesus.  In Him, I always win.
4:16   Yes, this is why we never give up.   Because we don’t see the world the way the world sees the world.  We see it through the eyes of Christ, through the lens of Scripture, and from a heart filled with compassion and love for fellow men and for Jesus.     Even if the world says we are failing, that has no ring of truth to it….God is able to make us successful, regardless of what the world says or thinks.