Month: February 2020

February 28, 2020

Ps84- 2020-02-28

  • Journal
  • Bible Text: Psalm 84 (ESV)

    1 How lovely is your dwelling place,

        O Lord of hosts!

    2 My soul longs, yes, faints

        for the courts of the Lord;

    my heart and flesh sing for joy

        to the living God.

    3 Even the sparrow finds a home,

        and the swallow a nest for herself,

        where she may lay her young,

    at your altars, O Lord of hosts,

        my King and my God.

    4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house,

        ever singing your praise! Selah

    5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you,

        in whose heart are the highways to Zion.

    6 As they go through the Valley of Baca

        they make it a place of springs;

        the early rain also covers it with pools.

    7 They go from strength to strength;

        each one appears before God in Zion.

    8 O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer;

        give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah

    9 Behold our shield, O God;

        look on the face of your anointed!

    10 For a day in your courts is better

        than a thousand elsewhere.

    I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God

        than dwell in the tents of wickedness.

    11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;

        the Lord bestows favor and honor.

    No good thing does he withhold

        from those who walk uprightly.

    12 O Lord of hosts,

        blessed is the one who trusts in you!


  • [What truths about God’s person, activity or character does the text reveal?]

  • Lessons/ Insights

  • Apply and Obey

    [How does today’s text apply to me? How will I obey or respond to the truths from today’s text?]

  • Prayer 

February 27, 2020

2Cor7- 2020-02-27

  • Journal
  • 2 Corinthians 7 – Commentary

  • Bible Text:

    2 Corinthians 7:10-16 (ESV)

    10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. 11 For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter. 12 So although I wrote to you, it was not for the sake of the one who did the wrong, nor for the sake of the one who suffered the wrong, but in order that your earnestness for us might be revealed to you in the sight of God. 13 Therefore we are comforted.

    And besides our own comfort, we rejoiced still more at the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all. 14 For whatever boasts I made to him about you, I was not put to shame. But just as everything we said to you was true, so also our boasting before Titus has proved true. 15 And his affection for you is even greater, as he remembers the obedience of you all, how you received him with fear and trembling. 

    16 I rejoice, because I have complete confidence in you.

  • Reflection & Application 

    2 Corinthians 7:10-16

    “‘Repentance’ includes both the remorse that comes from recognizing that one has wronged God and its consequent resolve to reverse one’s behavior as seen in the first steps in that new direction. Therefore, though its consequences are long-term, repentance is indicated by an initial change in both attitude and action.” [1]

    “A godly sorrow produces a true repentance, and a true repentance is one which demonstrates its sorrow by its deeds.” [2]

    • What does godly grief produce?  What does this tell me about the process of repentance?
    • What can I learn from the fact that, through their treatment of Titus, Apostle Paul was convinced of their genuine repentance? What is my attitude towards people God uses to initiate repentance?

    [1]   Scott J. Hafemann, “Commentary on 2 Corinthians” In NIV Application Commentary, New Testament: 2 Corinthians. By Scott J. Hafemann, 42-11. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, © 2000.

    [2]  William Barclay, The Letters to the Corinthians., Daily Study Bible Series, Rev. ed. (Philadelphia:  Westminster Press, 1975). 227.

  • Prayer 

February 26, 2020

2Cor7- 2020-02-26

  • Journal
  • 2 Corinthians 7 – Commentary

  • Bible Text:

    2 Corinthians 7:5-9 (ESV)

    5 For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within. 6 But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 7 and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more. 8 For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it—though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. 9 As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us.

  • Reflection & Application 

    2 Corinthians 7:8-9

    • Think of what would have happened if Apostle Paul was afraid of causing the Corinthians grief and did not send the harsh letter.  Have there been times when I held back vital truth so that I would not hurt people’s feelings or offend them?  
    • What do the phrases “grieved into repenting” and “godly grief” (v. 9)  teach me about the value of emotional pain over sin, and the value of correction?  
    • Are there ways in which I refuse to tolerate a sense of grief or sorrow over my sins?
    • Recount a time when I was confronted by someoneover my sin, and I made room in my heart (see v. 2) toward that person and so was led to experience “godly grief” that led to repentance.
  • Prayer 

February 25, 2020

2Cor7- 2020-02-25

  • Journal
  • 2 Corinthians 7 – Commentary

  • Bible Text: 2 Corinthians 7:2-4 (ESV)

    2 Make room in your hearts for us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one. 3 I do not say this to condemn you, for I said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. 4 I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy.

  • Reflection & Application 

    2 Corinthians 7:2-4 

    • Reflect on the facts Apostle Paul reminds the Corinthians of in v. 2 as he pleads with them to “make room in your hearts,” and how crucial this might have been for the turnaround of some of the Corinthians.  
    • Is there someone in my life for whom I need to “make room” in my heart on similar grounds?
  • Prayer 

February 24, 2020

2Cor7- 2020-02-24

  • Journal
  • 2 Corinthians 7 – Commentary

    v.1 “Defilement ‘of body and spirit’ means that the entire person, externally and internally, is corrupted by idolatrous practices in much the same way that sexual relations with a prostitute corrupts both body and spirit (1 Cor 6:15–18). Paul still must convince some in Corinth that participation in anything publicly associated with idols endangers their spiritual lives.

    “Therefore Paul calls them to perfect their ‘holiness.’ The verb ‘to perfect’ (epitelein) means ‘to bring to completion,’ ‘to bring to its intended goal’ and does not mean that they are to become perfect.   In the greetings of both letters to the Corinthians, Paul emphasizes that they have been set apart (1 Cor 1:2) and called to be ‘holy ones’ (‘saints,’ ‘those who are set apart,’ 1 Cor 1:2; 2 Cor 1:1). Barnett comments, ‘The holiness that is to be perfected is covenantal rather than developmental or progressive in character.’ Holiness is ‘something that God gives to Christians (1 Cor 1:30; 2 Thess 2:13) but also something Christians strive to complete (1 Cor 7:34; 1 Thess 4:1–8; Rom 6:19), as well as something that God will ultimately complete (1 Thess 3:13).’”[1]

    vv.8-9 “Paul’s sole object in giving rebuke was to enable people to be what they ought to be. By his rebuke he wished the Corinthians to see the real earnestness they possessed for him in spite of their disobedience and their trouble-making. Such a course might for the moment cause pain, but its ultimate object was not the pain; it was not to knock them down, but to lift them up; it was not to discourage them, but to encourage them; it was not simply to eradicate the evil, but to make the good grow.”[2]

    vv.10-11 “A godly sorrow produces a true repentance, and a true repentance is one which demonstrates its sorrow by its deeds. The Corinthians proved their repentance by doing everything they could to mend the wretched situation that their thoughtless conduct had produced. Now they hated the sin they had committed, and even hated themselves for committing it, and they laboured to atone for it.   A worldly sorrow is not really sorrow at all in one sense but it is not sorrow for its sin or for the hurt it may have caused others; it is only resentment that it has been found out. If it got the chance to do the same thing again and thought it could escape the consequences, it would do it. A godly sorrow is a sorrow which has come to see the wrongness of the thing it did. It is not just the consequences of the thing it regrets; it hates the thing itself. We must be very careful that our sorrow for sin is not merely sorrow that we have been found out, but sorrow which, seeing the evil of the sinful thing is determined never to do it again and has dedicated the rest of its life to atone, by God’s grace, for what it has done.”[3]

    [1] The letters to the Corinthians. 2000, c1975 (W. Barclay, lecturer in the University of Glasgow, Ed.). The Daily study Bible series, Rev. ed. (2 Co 8:1). Philadelphia: The Westminster Press.

    [2]The letters to the Corinthians. 2000, c1975 (W. Barclay, lecturer in the University of Glasgow, Ed.). The Daily study Bible series, Rev. ed. (2 Co 8:1). Philadelphia: The Westminster Press.

    [3]The letters to the Corinthians. 2000, c1975 (W. Barclay, lecturer in the University of Glasgow, Ed.). The Daily study Bible series, Rev. ed. (2 Co 8:1). Philadelphia: The Westminster Press.

  • Bible Text:

    2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 (ESV)

    14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 

    15 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,

    “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,

        and I will be their God,

        and they shall be my people.

    17 Therefore go out from their midst,

        and be separate from them, says the Lord,

    and touch no unclean thing;

        then I will welcome you,

    18 and I will be a father to you,

        and you shall be sons and daughters to me,

    says the Lord Almighty.”

    7 1 Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

  • Reflection & Application 

    2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1

    • This passage has been understood to apply most directly to marriage.  Why does it make sense for the Bible to oppose a marriage between a believer and an unbeliever?
    • What is the first implication of accepting our identity as “the temple of God”?
    • What does the word “temple” suggest in terms of Christian engagement with the world?
    • Reflect on the words “since we have these promises.” How does the promise, “you shall be sons and daughter to me” (v. 18), motivate me toward cleansing myself “from every defilement” and pursuing holiness?  To what extent am I focused on growing in my holiness?
  • Prayer 

February 21, 2020

Ps73- 2020-02-21

  • Journal
  • Bible Text: Psalm 73

    1 Truly God is good to Israel,

        to those who are pure in heart.

    2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled,

        my steps had nearly slipped.

    3 For I was envious of the arrogant

        when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

    4 For they have no pangs until death;

        their bodies are fat and sleek.

    5 They are not in trouble as others are;

        they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.

    6 Therefore pride is their necklace;

        violence covers them as a garment.

    7 Their eyes swell out through fatness;

        their hearts overflow with follies.

    8 They scoff and speak with malice;

        loftily they threaten oppression.

    9 They set their mouths against the heavens,

        and their tongue struts through the earth.

    10 Therefore his people turn back to them,

        and find no fault in them.

    11 And they say, “How can God know?

        Is there knowledge in the Most High?”

    12 Behold, these are the wicked;

        always at ease, they increase in riches.

    13 All in vain have I kept my heart clean

        and washed my hands in innocence.

    14 For all the day long I have been stricken

        and rebuked every morning.

    15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,”

        I would have betrayed the generation of your children.

    16 But when I thought how to understand this,

        it seemed to me a wearisome task,

    17 until I went into the sanctuary of God;

        then I discerned their end.

    18 Truly you set them in slippery places;

        you make them fall to ruin.

    19 How they are destroyed in a moment,

        swept away utterly by terrors!

    20 Like a dream when one awakes,

        O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms.

    21 When my soul was embittered,

        when I was pricked in heart,

    22 I was brutish and ignorant;

        I was like a beast toward you.

    23 Nevertheless, I am continually with you;

        you hold my right hand.

    24 You guide me with your counsel,

        and afterward you will receive me to glory.

    25 Whom have I in heaven but you?

        And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.

    26 My flesh and my heart may fail,

        but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

    27 For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;

        you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.

    28 But for me it is good to be near God;

        I have made the Lord God my refuge,

        that I may tell of all your works.


  • [What truths about God’s person, activity or character does the text reveal?]

  • Lessons/ Insights

  • Apply and Obey

    [How does today’s text apply to me? How will I obey or respond to the truths from today’s text?]

  • Prayer 

February 20, 2020

2Cor6- 2020-02-20

  • Journal
  • Commentary: 2 CORINTHIANS 6 – COMMENTARY
  • Bible Text: 2 Corinthians 6:11-13 (ESV)

    11 We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open. 12 You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. 13 In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also.

  • Reflection & Application 

    2 Corinthians 6:11-13

    • Reflect on the relational dynamic between Apostle Paul and the Corinthians as revealed in this passage.
    • Is there some relationship in which I am deliberately closing my heart and being “restricted” in my affections?


  • Prayer 

February 19, 2020

2Cor6- 2020-02-19

  • Journal
  • Commentary: 2 CORINTHIANS 6 – COMMENTARY
  • Bible Text: 2 Corinthians 6:3-10 (ESV)

    3 We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4 but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5 beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6 by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; 7 by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8 through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.

  • Reflection & Application 

    2 Corinthians 6:4-5

    “[T]he focus of Paul’s commendation…is once again on his divinely enabled endurance in the midst of adversity. […]  [T]his endurance ‘commends’ Paul as a servant of God. […]” [1]

    • In what ways do the many sufferings of Paul and his companions commend them as servants of God?
    • What sacrifices or hardships have I suffered for the sake of the gospel that I can point to as “commendations” to back up my identity as a Christian?  

    2 Corinthians 6:8-10

    • Reflect on the real difficulties, the actual pain and struggle, which must lie behind the words listed here that describe the life of ministry.  Reflect also on the fact that all believers are called to be ministers.  
    • Think of the paradoxes in v. 10 and what they say about the glory and dignity of being servants of God.  To what extent can I affirm these words as aptly describing my view of Christian life, my actual experience as a Christian, and my personal vision for my life?

    [1]  Gary M. Burge, 2 Corinthians The NIV Application Commentary. Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 2000

  • Prayer 

February 18, 2020

2Cor6- 2020-02-18

  • Journal
  • Commentary: 2 CORINTHIANS 6 – COMMENTARY

    v.1 “Paul directs his call for reconciliation specifically to the Corinthians (5:20), and he implores them not to receive God’s grace in vain (eis kenon).   The grace refers to God’s reconciling work in Christ. Paul apparently took this warning to heart himself. He wrote to the Corinthians about his call to be an apostle: ‘But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect [kene]. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me’ (1 Cor 15:10). He assumes that they have received God’s grace, but what would make it all for nothing? Lapide cites Anselm: ‘He receives grace into a vacuum … who does not work with it, who does not give it his heart, and who, through sloth, makes that grace ineffectual, by not doing all that he can to express it in good works.’   This interpretation makes this statement an applicable warning to all Christians, but Paul has something more specific in view for the Corinthians than allowing God’s grace to produce fruit in their Christian life. The admonition that follows in 6:14–7:1 suggests that their continuing association with idols would cause their faith to founder on the rocks.”[1]

    v.3 “Paul now moves on to present what is commendable about his ministry. He commends himself by his purity of motives and the evident power of God that has sustained him through all his trials and afflictions. His deeds match his words.   Paul lets the Corinthians know that he is just such a man whom God has enabled to hold up under every pressure. In listing his qualities he is trying indirectly to encourage them to emulate his cruciform life. His life and work are ‘a model and example of his message.’

    “Paul expresses the purpose of his upright behavior: ‘so that our ministry will not be discredited.’ The apostle is not concerned about his own personal reputation but the reputation of the ministry and its effectiveness (see Phil 1:15–18). The censure he dreads does not come from humans but from God (see 1 Cor 4:2–5). To be discredited before humans is one thing; to be discredited before God is quite another. People inevitably find fault with human ministers, and trying to avoid this by ministering ‘defensively,’ skirting around anything that might evoke possible criticism, will still meet with criticism. Worse, a ministry directed by what others might think is so neutralized that it is ultimately worthless to God.”[2]

    THE PROBLEM THAT faced Paul is much the same as that which faces many contemporary ministers in their proclamation of the gospel. Now, as then, suffering and weakness call into question the power of the Spirit. But Paul is relentless in his response: The greatest display of God’s power is not the absence of pain or the presence of a miracle, but Paul’s faithful endurance in the midst of adversity, through which God “makes many [others] rich” (6:10). This section’s climactic appeal in 6:13 flows out of the reality of the presence of God in Paul’s life, a reality that radically transforms the significance of his circumstances.”

    “In adducing his experiences of endurance through good times and bad as a testimony to the “open” condition of his “heart” and “affection” toward the Corinthians (6:11), Paul is not detailing a series of cold, calculated decisions to “gut it out” for the sake of the Corinthians. Paul is not to be pitied. He is not a masochist. The Corinthians are his “boast” (1:14; cf. 7:4; 8:24; 9:2) and a great source of joy in his life (cf. 7:7). His ministry grows out of such a “depth of … love” for them (cf. 2:4) that Paul would even be willing to die on their behalf (cf. 7:3). And Paul is not giving a news report. His words in this section are filled with pathos. As the Corinthians’ father, his appeal in this passage is pastoral and his tone affectionate. One can hear the emotion in his voice as he calls the Corinthians by name in 6:11 and breaks from his “apostolic plural” into the first person singular in 6:13. In short, Paul is speaking from his “heart.”[3]

    vv.14-18 “There are certain Old Testament pictures behind this. Paul begins by urging the Corinthians not to be joined to unbelievers in an alien yoke. Undoubtedly that goes back to the old commandment in Deuteronomy 22:10, ‘You shall not plough with an ox and an ass together.’ (cp. Leviticus 19:19). The idea is that there are certain things which are fundamentally incompatible and were never meant to be brought together. It is impossible for the purity of the Christian and the pollution of the pagan to run in double harness.

    “In the demand, ‘What has the temple of God to do with idols?’ Paul’s thought is going back to such incidents as Manasseh bringing a graven image into the temple of God (2 Kings 21:1–9), and, in the later days, Josiah utterly destroying such things (2 Kings 23:3 ff.). Or he is thinking of such abominations as are described in Ezekiel 8:3–18. Men had sometimes tried to associate the temple of God with idol worship, and the consequences had been terrible.

    “The whole passage is a rousing summons not to hold any fellowship with unbelievers. It is a challenge to the Corinthians to keep themselves unspotted from the world.”[4]

    [1]Garland, D. E. (2001, c1999). Vol. 29: 2 Corinthians (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (304). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

    [2]Garland, D. E. (2001, c1999). Vol. 29: 2 Corinthians (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (306). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

    [3] Hafemann, Scott J. “Bridging Contexts” In The NIV Application Commentary: 2 Corinthians. By Scott J. Hafemann, 271-272. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, © 2000.

    [4]The letters to the Corinthians. 2000, c1975 (W. Barclay, lecturer in the University of Glasgow, Ed.). The Daily study Bible series, Rev. ed. (2 Co 7:5). Philadelphia: The Westminster Press.


  • Bible Text: 2 Corinthians 6:1-2 (ESV)

    1 Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For he says,

    “In a favorable time I listened to you,

        and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”

    Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

  • Reflection & Application 

    2 Corinthians 6:1-2

    • Reflect on what this passage shows about the heart of a Christian toward those outside the faith.
    • How can I respond to the statement “now is the day of salvation”?
  • Prayer 

February 17, 2020

2Cor5- 2020-02-17

  • Journal
  • Bible Text: 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 (ESV)

    16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 

    17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

  • Reflection & Application 

    2 Corinthians 5:17

    • Reflect on v. 17 for myself and for the people in my life with whom I am called to share the gospel.  

    2 Corinthians 5:18-20

    • Have I embraced my call as an ambassador for Christ? How has this identity affected how I view my life and make decisions regarding my future?
  • Prayer 

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