Author: carmenhsu

January 24, 2020

Ps40- 2020-01-24

  • Journal
  • Bible Text: Psalm 40 (ESV)

    1 I waited patiently for the Lord;

        he inclined to me and heard my cry.

    2 He drew me up from the pit of destruction,

        out of the miry bog,

    and set my feet upon a rock,

        making my steps secure.

    3 He put a new song in my mouth,

        a song of praise to our God.

    Many will see and fear,

        and put their trust in the Lord.

    4 Blessed is the man who makes

        the Lord his trust,

    who does not turn to the proud,

        to those who go astray after a lie!

    5 You have multiplied, O Lord my God,

        your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;

        none can compare with you!

    I will proclaim and tell of them,

        yet they are more than can be told.

    6 In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted,

        but you have given me an open ear.

    Burnt offering and sin offering

        you have not required.

    7 Then I said, “Behold, I have come;

        in the scroll of the book it is written of me:

    8 I delight to do your will, O my God;

        your law is within my heart.”

    9 I have told the glad news of deliverance

        in the great congregation;

    behold, I have not restrained my lips,

        as you know, O Lord.

    10 I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;

        I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;

    I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness

        from the great congregation.

    11 As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain

        your mercy from me;

    your steadfast love and your faithfulness will

        ever preserve me!

    12 For evils have encompassed me

        beyond number;

    my iniquities have overtaken me,

        and I cannot see;

    they are more than the hairs of my head;

        my heart fails me.

    13 Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me!

        O Lord, make haste to help me!

    14 Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether

        who seek to snatch away my life;

    let those be turned back and brought to dishonor

        who delight in my hurt!

    15 Let those be appalled because of their shame

        who say to me, “Aha, Aha!”

    16 But may all who seek you

        rejoice and be glad in you;

    may those who love your salvation

        say continually, “Great is the Lord!”

    17 As for me, I am poor and needy,

        but the Lord takes thought for me.

    You are my help and my deliverer;

        do not delay, O my God!


  • God

    [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 

January 23, 2020

2Cor2- 2020-01-23

  • Journal
  • Commentary: 2 CORINTHIANS 2 – COMMENTARY
  • Bible Text: 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 (ESV)

    5 Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. 6 For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, 7 so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. 9 For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. 10 Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, 11 so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.

  • Reflection & Application 

    2 Corinthians 2:5-11

    • How should “punishment” by the church be balanced with the need to “forgive and comfort” and “reaffirm love” toward a person who has sinned publicly?
    • What does Apostle Paul tell the Corinthians to do so that Satan would not outwit them?  What “designs” (or schemes) of Satan would be thwarted by our forgiveness of a repentant brother?
    • Is there someone I need to forgive today?  Is there someone I need to “affirm [my] love for”?

    [1] David Guzik, Bible Commentary, online

  • Prayer 

January 22, 2020

2Cor2- 2020-01-22

  • Journal
  • Commentary:
  • 2 CORINTHIANS 2 – COMMENTARY

    vv.1-4 “Paul faced a dilemma. To come to Corinth might intensify the problems and the pain; to stay away would allow the problems to fester and make reconciliation even more difficult. Again, Paul’s affection for the church comes out. They are a source of joy to him, and when their relationship is out of sorts, his pain is multiplied. The ‘I’ in the Greek is emphatic, ‘if I am the one who causes you pain.’ If he adds to the sadness in some way, they can hardly cheer him. Paul’s solution for reconciling the situation was to write a painful letter of rebuke.”[1]

    vv.5-11 “Again we have a passage which is an echo of trouble and of unhappiness. When Paul had visited Corinth there had been a ring-leader to the opposition. This man had clearly personally insulted Paul who had insisted that discipline must be exercised upon him. The majority of the Corinthians had come to see that his conduct had not only hurt Paul, but had injured the good name of the whole Corinthian Church. Discipline had been exercised, but there were some who felt that it had not been sufficiently severe and who desired to impose a still greater punishment.  It is now that the supreme greatness of Paul emerges. His plea is that enough has been done; the man is now penitent and to exercise still further discipline would do far more harm than good. It might simply drive the man to despair, and to do that is not to serve Christ and the Church, but to offer an opportunity to Satan to lay hold upon the man. Had Paul been actuated by merely human motives he would have gloated over the hard fate of his former enemy. Nowhere does the majesty of his character better emerge than on this occasion, when, in the graciousness of his heart, he pleads for mercy on the man who had hurt him so much. Here is a supreme example of Christian conduct in face of injury and insult.”[2]

    [1]Garland, D. E. (2001, c1999). Vol. 29: 2 Corinthians (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (113). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

    [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 2:12). Philadelphia: The Westminster Press.

  • Bible Text: 2 Corinthians 2:1-4 (ESV)

    1 For I made up my mind not to make another painful visit to you. 2 For if I cause you pain, who is there to make me glad but the one whom I have pained? 3 And I wrote as I did, so that when I came I might not suffer pain from those who should have made me rejoice, for I felt sure of all of you, that my joy would be the joy of you all. 4 For I wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.

  • Reflection & Application 

    2 Corinthians 2:1-4

    “Titus was the one who apparently carried the ‘severe letter’ Apostle Paul mentions in 2:3-4 to the Corinthian church.  Apostle Paul was so eager to receive word from Titus about how the Corinthian Christians responded to his harsh letter of rebuke that even though a door was open in Troas for the gospel, he went to Macedonia to look for Titus.  At this point, after 2:3, Apostle Paul moves on to address other matters, but the issue of Titus, and the response of the Corinthians is picked up again in chapter 7.” [1]

    • Reflect on the words Apostle Paul uses in describing what he went through in writing the severe letter. What can I learn about what it takes to speak the truth to people we love?  
    • Have I been willing to undergo “anguish of heart” and “many tears” in order to uphold God’s standards in the lives of those close to me?

    [1] David Guzik, Bible Commentary, online

  • Prayer 

January 21, 2020

2Cor2- 2020-01-21

  • Journal
  • Bible Text:

    2 Corinthians 1:21-24 (ESV)

    21 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

    23 But I call God to witness against me—it was to spare you that I refrained from coming again to Corinth. 24 Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith.

  • Reflection & Application 

    2 Corinthians 1:21-24

    • Reflect on the assurances in vv. 21-22.  Who establishes us in Christ?  List all that God does toward us in Christ.
    • What wisdom about human relationships is revealed in Apostle Paul’s decision to cancel his visit to Corinth?
  • Prayer 

January 20, 2020

2Cor1- 2020-01-20

  • Journal
  • BIBLE TEXT: 2 Corinthians 1:15-20 (ESV) 15 Because I was sure of this, I wanted to come to you first, so that you might have a second experience of grace. 16 I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia, and to come back to you from Macedonia and have you send me on my way to Judea. 17 Was I vacillating when I wanted to do this? Do I make my plans according to the flesh, ready to say “Yes, yes” and “No, no” at the same time? 18 As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No. 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. 20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.
  • Reflection & Application 

    2 Corinthians 1:15-20

    • From the fact that Apostle Paul had to defend himself against serious criticism regarding his cancellation of a scheduled visit to Corinth, what can we guess about what kind of people the Corinthian Christians were?
    • In what ways have all the promises of God become fulfilled with a resounding “yes” in Christ? Are there specific promises of God that I need to particularly remember and cling to these days?

  • Prayer 

January 17, 2020

Ps25- 2020-01-17

  • Journal
  • BIBLE TEXT: Psalm 25

    1 To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
    O my God, in you I trust;
        let me not be put to shame;
        let not my enemies exult over me.
    Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame;
        they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

    Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
        teach me your paths.
    Lead me in your truth and teach me,
        for you are the God of my salvation;
        for you I wait all the day long.

    Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love,
        for they have been from of old.
    Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
        according to your steadfast love remember me,
        for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!

    Good and upright is the Lord;
        therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
    He leads the humble in what is right,
        and teaches the humble his way.
    10 All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
        for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.

    11 For your name’s sake, O Lord,
        pardon my guilt, for it is great.
    12 Who is the man who fears the Lord?
        Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose.
    13 His soul shall abide in well-being,
        and his offspring shall inherit the land.
    14 The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him,
        and he makes known to them his covenant.
    15 My eyes are ever toward the Lord,
        for he will pluck my feet out of the net.

    16 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
        for I am lonely and afflicted.
    17 The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
        bring me out of my distresses.
    18 Consider my affliction and my trouble,
        and forgive all my sins.

    19 Consider how many are my foes,
        and with what violent hatred they hate me.
    20 Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me!
        Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
    21 May integrity and uprightness preserve me,
        for I wait for you.

    22 Redeem Israel, O God,
        out of all his troubles.

  • God

    [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 

January 16, 2020

2cor1- 2020-01-16

Journal

  • Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:
  • 2 CORINTHIANS 1 – COMMENTARY
  • BIBLE TEXT: 2 Corinthians 1:12-14 (ESV)

    12 For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you. 13 For we are not writing to you anything other than what you read and understand and I hope you will fully understand— 14 just as you did partially understand us—that on the day of our Lord Jesus you will boast of us as we will boast of you.

  • Reflection & Application

    2 Corinthians 1:12-14

    • What does it mean to behave “with simplicity and godly sincerity” in our relationships?
    • What perspective does the “day of our Lord Jesus” provide for dealing with misunderstandings or conflicts among Christians?

    Prayer 

January 15, 2020

2Cor1- 2020-01-15

Journal

  • Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:
  • 2 CORINTHIANS 1 – COMMENTARY
  • BIBLE TEXT: 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 (ESV) 

    8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

  • Reflection & Application

    2 Corinthians 1:5-7

    • What are some ways in which I “share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings?”
    • What is the relationship between 1) suffering/affliction and comfort and 2) the ability to give comfort to others?

    Prayer 

January 14, 2020

2Cor1- 2020-01-14

Journal

  • Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:
  • 2 CORINTHIANS 1 – COMMENTARY
  • BIBLE TEXT: 2 Corinthians 1:5-7 (ESV) 

    5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

  • Reflection & Application

    2 Corinthians 1:5-7

    • What are some ways in which I “share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings?”
    • What is the relationship between 1) suffering/affliction and comfort and 2) the ability to give comfort to others?

    Prayer 

January 13, 2020

2Cor1- 2020-01-13

Journal

  • Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:
  • 2 CORINTHIANS 1 – COMMENTARY

    v.3 “For us, the word ‘comfort’ may connote emotional relief and a sense of well-being, physical ease, satisfaction, and freedom from pain and anxiety. Many in our culture worship at the cult of comfort in a self-centered search for ease, but it lasts for only a moment and never fully satisfies. Watson comments that the word ‘comfort’ ‘has gone soft’ in modern English. In the time of Wycliffe the word was ‘closely connected with its root, the Latin fortis, which means brave, strong, courageous.’  The comfort that Paul has in mind has nothing to do with a languorous feeling of contentment. It is not some tranquilizing dose of grace that only dulls pains but a stiffening agent that fortifies one in heart, mind, and soul. Comfort relates to encouragement, help, exhortation. God’s comfort strengthens weak knees and sustains sagging spirits so that one faces the troubles of life with unbending resolve and unending assurance.” [1]

    vv.9-10 “Paul saw that the terrifying experience he had gone through had had one tremendous use—it had driven him back to God and demonstrated to him his utter dependence on him. […] The danger of prosperity is that it encourages a false independence; it makes us think that we are well able to handle life alone. For every one prayer that rises to God in days of prosperity, ten thousand rise in days of adversity. […] It is often in misfortune that a man finds out who are his true friends, and it often needs some time of adversity to show us how much we need God.

    The outcome was that Paul had an unshakable confidence in God. He knew now beyond all argument what he could do for him. If God could bring him through that, he could bring him through anything. […]The confidence of the Christian in God is not a thing of theory and speculation; it is a thing of fact and experience. He knows what God has done for him and therefore he is not afraid.” [2]

    v.15 “The major theme within 2 Cor is Paul’s defense of his ministry under the new covenant. Paul’s relationship with the Corinthians was now quite strained for three reasons. First, Paul didn’t return as promised. Instead, he sent a severe letter (1:15–2:4; 10:10; 12:13–15). Second, a face-to-face visit only deepened the conflict between Paul and the Corinthians (10:1–10; 13:3–4). Third, Paul refused to accept payment for ministry (11:8–9), and some Corinthians believed that Paul had been duplicitous in this matter. He made much of declining payment, but (his detractors said) his co-workers received money for him anyway (12:16–18).” [3]

    vv.15-22 “At first sight this is a difficult passage. Behind it lies another accusation and slander against Paul. Paul had said that he would visit the Corinthians, but the situation had become so bitter that he postponed his visit so as not to give them pain (verse 23). His enemies had promptly accused him of being the kind of man who made frivolous promises with a fickle intention and could not be pinned down to a definite yes or no. That was bad enough, but they went on to argue, ‘If we cannot trust Paul’s everyday promises, how can we trust the things he told us about God?’ Paul’s answer is that we can rely on God and that there is no vacillation in Jesus between yes and no. Then he puts the matter in a vivid phrase—’Jesus is the yes to every promise of God.’ He means this—had Jesus never come we might have doubted the tremendous promises of God, might have argued that they were too good to be true. But a God who loves us so much that he gave us his Son is quite certain to fulfill every promise that he ever made. He is the personal guarantee of God that the greatest and the least of his promises are all true.” [4]

    v.22 “The sealing metaphor draws on ancient custom in Paul’s everyday world and could have a variety of meanings.  Something was sealed or stamped to indicate ownership. […]  The meaning of sealing in this text is controlled by the idea of marking ownership. They belong to God as God’s possession. Thus ‘sealing’ marks the beginning of God’s work in believers.

    “We can also see theological significance of this metaphor beyond Paul’s use of it in the context to defend his integrity. God gives the Spirit as a first installment to those who believe in and serve him.

    “1. It guarantees that our relationship with God is not something ephemeral but permanent and will continue beyond our death. The believers’ future destiny is assured in Christ. Having the deposit of the Spirit insures that we belong to the age to come. It provides surety that God will fulfill his promises and that believers in Christ will pass through the judgment unscathed.

    “2. What is given is part of the whole. […] Believers therefore receive the Spirit at the time of their conversion (Gal 3:2–3). It brings what Christ has accomplished for them on the cross to fruition in believers’ lives and conveys into their lives God’s power that raised Christ from the dead.

    “3. Believers do not receive a portion of the Spirit, but the Spirit is the installment that gives a foretaste and assures the glory that is to come. The Spirit makes present God’s future blessing.  It helps believers to evaluate the present suffering in light of the glorious future (see Rom 8:9–27).

    “4. The final inheritance the Spirit guarantees is yet to be realized. Believers have not yet arrived at the heavenly goal.

    “5. The deposit of the Spirit does not come without any strings attached. The metaphor of a deposit implies that those who receive the first installment obligate themselves to fulfill their part of the contract. Believers should understand that God gives the Spirit to empower them for service.” [5]

    [1]Garland, D. E. (2001, c1999). Vol. 29: 2 Corinthians (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (60). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

    [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 1:12). Philadelphia: The Westminster Press.

    [3] Apologetics Study Bible. 2007. Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.  Note on 2 Cor. 1:15

    [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 1:23). Philadelphia: The Westminster Press.

    [5]Garland, D. E. (2001, c1999). Vol. 29: 2 Corinthians (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (108). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

  • BIBLE TEXT: 2 Corinthians 1:1-4 (ESV) 

    1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

    To the church of God that is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia:

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

    3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

  • Reflection & Application  

    2 Corinthians 1:1-4

    • Reflect on the fact that God is described as the “Father of mercies” and “God of all comfort.”   

    •                What mission does v. 4 give to every Christian?  

  • Prayer 

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