Times of trouble can turn out to be times of great blessing.

2 CORINTHIANS

1:1-2:11  –  Times of trouble can turn out to be times of great blessing – ‘God… comforts us in all our affliction’ (1:3-4). Whether good things or bad things are happening to you, don’t forget this: God loves you. His Word is ‘not Yes and No’ – ‘Yes, I love you. No, I don’t love you’. In Christ, His Word is ‘always Yes’ (1:19). How do we know that God loves us? – ‘God showed His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us’ (Romans 5:8). Whatever may happen to us, nothing can change this great fact: Christ died for us. This is the great fact of God’s love. Life is not easy. There is ‘Satan’, always seeking ‘to gain the advantage over us’ (2:11). We do not stand alone in our battle against Satan. God ‘has given us His Spirit in our hearts’. He is the ‘guarantee’ of our final victory (1:22).

2:12-3:18  –  How do we react when things don’t seem to be going very well? We all need the encouragement of God’s Word: ‘Thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumph’ (2:14). When everything seems to be going wrong, we need to be reminded of God’s Word: ‘In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us’ (Romans 8:37). When we feel so weak, we receive strength ‘from God’. We are strengthened by ‘the Spirit of the living God’ (3:5,3). We must learn to look beyond our circumstances to our Saviour. In Him, we see ‘the surpassing glory’. As we look upon ‘the glory of the Lord’, we are ‘changed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory’ (3:18). In life’s many hard times, may God help us to see what He is doing in our lives and not only what we think is happening to us.

4:1-5:10  –  God has called us to salvation – ‘God has shone in our hearts…’ (4:6). He has called us to service – ‘having this ministry by the mercy of God’ (4:1). We receive salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ:  ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved’ (Acts 16:31). We are not to keep our faith to ourselves. We ‘believe’. We are to ‘speak’. This is God’s way of reaching ‘more and more people’ with His ‘grace’ (13-15). Our experience of salvation and our empowering for service are both grounded in one great gift from God: ‘God… has given us the Spirit’ (5:5). We fail our Lord often. Our faith is weak. Our witness seems so ineffective. When you feel such a failure, remember the Spirit. He will not fail you. He is our ‘guarantee of heavenly and eternal glory’ (4:16-5:5).

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