Tuesday, January 29, 2013

When I Am Weak, I Am Strong {2 Cor. 12:7-10}

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Our world prizes strength - the physical strength of athletes, the financial strength of companies, the political strength of office-holders, and the military strength of armies. But Paul put a new twist on the notion of strength - Weakness can make a person strong (2 Cor. 12:7-10).



Most of us would have no problem with God using our natural areas of strength, such as speaking, organizing, managing, or selling. But suppose he chose instead to use us in areas where we are weak? Moses claimed to be a poor speaker (Ex. 4:10), yet God used him as his spokesman on Israel’s behalf.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mentoring Other People {2 Tim. 2:2}

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1.     Barnabas With Paul

Barnabas stood up for Saul (Paul), the persecutor turned convert, introducing him to Church leaders and vouching for his conversion. Coached by Barnabas (Acts 4:36-37; 9:26-30, 11:22-30), Paul became an outstanding leader in the burgeoning movement.



2.     Barnabas With John Mark
In a dramatic split with Paul, Barnabas took young John Mark home with him to Cyprus and rebuilt his confidence (15:36-39). Years later, Paul changed his opinion, describing John Mark as one who could help him in his work (2 Tim. 4:11).

3.     Priscilla And Aquila With Apollos
Priscilla and Aquila drew alongside gifted but confused Apollos, tutoring him in the faith and then sponsoring his ministry (Acts 18:1-3, 24-28).

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Bleeding Woman {Matthew 9:20-22}

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Jesus Christ is the Messiah for women and men, for those with all kinds of backgrounds, all kind of pasts. He is the Messiah for all people. Much has been made of the Virgin Mary, but Matthew’s genealogy (Matt.1:1-6, 9:20-22) highlights five other important women in Jesus’ family and ministry.

Tamar
Tamar was a widow who married Onan, Judah’s second son (Matt. 1:3, Gen. 38:1-30). She was left childless and a widow once again, resorting to trickery and acting as a prostitute to find economic security. Her child continued the line that eventually led to Jesus.

Rahab
Rahab was a Canaanite prostitute in Jericho who protected two Hebrew spies in exchange for her own protection from the Israelites who surrounded the city (Matt. 1:5, Josh.2:1-24, 6:22-25). She later married a Hebrew and gave birth to Boaz, David’s great-grandfather.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A New And Better Promise For The Year 2013

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A New and Better Agreement {Heb. 8:6-7, 9:1-10}
If you have ever felt hopeless and trapped in a desperate situation, you will understand why Jews reacted so warmly to the invitation extended in the book of Hebrews. Thousands of years of Jewish history were built on God’s agreement with Israel. But Christ came to offer a superior agreement rooted in better promises and without fault (Heb.8:6-7).

As the prophet Jeremiah had foreseen, under the new arrangement wickedness will be forgiven, sins will be forgotten, and the old agreement will fade into the shadows before vanishing altogether (8:12-13, Jer.31:31-34).

What an amazing message! We can have a fresh start. Bondage to old, seemingly unbreakable patterns can be broken and replaced. But first we must confess our condition and accept God’s provision, which includes His agenda for change (1 John 1:8-10). Therein lies a fresh start for our lives. The same pattern of newness holds true for relationships. Owning our responsibility and admitting our faults open the door to new ways (see Acts 19:18-20, James 5:16).

Have you learnt the joy of confession, apology and repentance? Do you need some breakthroughs among your peers, friends, or associates? Take the risk to speak the truth to them about your failings and seek a renewal in the relationship.

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