2 Corinthians 6

Thank You, Lord, that You love me like no other.

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“As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain … We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited.” (6:1,3 NIV)

“…please don’t squander one bit of this marvelous life God has given us … don’t frustrate God’s work by showing up late, throwing a question mark over everything we’re doing.  Our work as God’s servants gets validated – or not – in the details.” (6:1, 3-4 MSG)

Father, Your marvelous grace is a wondrous gift that cost You so much! Thank You for Your grace!  Thanks for freely giving what I surely didn’t deserve.

Cause my life to be a reflection of that grace to others.  Remove any part of me that would convey “ungrace” to others.  Teach me to leave the convicting of other’s faults to Your Spirit.  Make my heart and mind into vessels of Your acceptance and compassion.  Shape me into more of an encourager, a cheerleader, one who builds others up as we together seek to be fully devoted followers of You.

“…For we are the temple of the living God.  As God has said, ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people … I will be a Father to you, and you will be My sons and daughters.” (6:16, 18 NIV)

Thank You for making me Your child, Lord.  Thanks that I get to call You “Father.”  Thanks for the changes in me that You initiate, cultivate, and bring to the point of being ripe for harvesting and sharing with others.  Make the fruit that comes from this branch into that which resembles the Vine (Jesus) and is nourishing to others around.  Amen.

2 Corinthians 5

Thank You, Lord, that You love me like no other.

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“For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down–when we die and leave these bodies–we will have a home in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God Himself and not by human hands … We are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord.  So our aim is to please Him always, … For we must all stand before Christ to be judged.  We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in our bodies.  It is because we know this solemn fear of the Lord that we work so hard to persuade others…” (5:1, 8-11 NLT)

Being human can sometimes be frustrating, Father, especially when “our aim is to please [You] always” (v 9).  My intentions, my passion, my focus can be intensely set on You and I can be moving in the direction of Your will, and then some lie, ploy, or subtle attack by the enemy of my soul can work its way into me.  There are times, before I’ve even seen it lurking about, that the tangling vines of sin get such a grip on me.  Papa! Only YOU by Your grace can free me from its clutches!  Every time I cry out to You and You free me from such sin, I am reminded of the price You paid so that I could know that freedom … so that I could know You personally … so that I’d tell others about You.

Make me aware of the lives touching mine who need to hear of this freedom You offer them as well.  Help me to see others through Your eyes.  Move me to step toward them with Your Message of new and eternal life.

“Whatever we do, it is because Christ’s love controls us.  Since we believe that Christ died for everyone, we also believe that we have all died to the old life we used to live.  He died for everyone so that those who receive His new life will no longer live to please themselves.  Instead, they will live to please Christ, who died and was raised for them … All this newness of life is from God, who brought us back to Himself through what Christ did … For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” (5:14-15, 18, 21 NLT)

Thank You for offering Your Son in my place, so that You and I, Father, could be reconciled.  My sin sent Jesus to the cross.  Your love kept Jesus on the cross.  May that same love move me daily to carry the Message of the cross to those who need to hear it the most and to those who think they need it the least.  Use me as You will, Father, and keep on making me just like Jesus.  Amen.

2 Corinthians 4

Thank You, Lord, that You love me like no other.

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“…since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.” (4:1 NIV)

“Since God has so generously let us in on what He is doing, we’re not about to throw up our hands and walk off the job just because we run into occasional hard times.” (4:1 MSG)

Wherever You place me, each time You place me into some sort of ministry role — whether it’s interpersonal, vocational, short term, long term — the main point is that it’s YOU who supplies the role and it’s YOU alone who can sustain me in that role until You’re done molding and shaping me through each season of service.

“But this precious treasure — this light and power that now shine within us — is held in perishable containers, that is, in our weak bodies.  So everyone can see that our glorious power is from God and is not our own.” (4:7 NLT)

All that I am comes solely from You, Father.  You are my Maker.  My weak body is not a sign that You made a mistake; rather, because there are cracks in this jar of clay, Your light within me can shine through.  Even light poking through cracks can illuminate a dark room … Just as Your light in me can help others I encounter to see You more clearly, and can bring understanding of You and Your longing for them to know You intimately.  Here I am, Lord; use me as Your vessel.

“So we’re not giving up.  How could we!  Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without His unfolding grace.  These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us.  There’s far more here than meets the eye.  The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow.  But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” (4:16-18 MSG)

Thank You for unfolding Your grace before me, toward me, around me, and in me EVERY day.  How amazing to consider what You have in store for me, Father.  Certainly, what You have is far greater than anything I could imagine.  Just the thought of getting to be with You is a hope that spurs me onward.  Keep on molding me.  “Take my heart and form it.  Take my mind, transform it.  Take my will, conform it to Yours, to Yours, Oh Lord.” (from “Holiness” by Vineyard Singers on More Love, More Power)  Whatever it takes, Lord, make me just like Jesus.  Amen.

2 Corinthians 3

Thank You, Lord, that You love me like no other.

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“Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God.  Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.  He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant…” (3:4-6 NIV)

Any task before me, any challenge ahead of me, I can accomplish or face because of the confidence and competence YOU supply.  You make me bold; You make me capable.  I am dependent upon You, Lord, for these things at all times.

“…where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (3:17-18 NIV)

“…God is a living personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone.  And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete.  We’re free of it!  All of us!  Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of His face.  And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like Him.” (3:17-18 MSG)

Thank You for the freedom You bring, Father!  And every single day, You’re at work to cause the reflection of me to look less and less like me and more and more like Jesus.  Keep on doing so!  Amen.

2 Corinthians 2

Thank You, Lord, that You love me like no other.

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“Thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through ups spread everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him” (2:14 NIV)

“In Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade.  Through us, He brings knowledge of Christ.  Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance.  Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation–an aroma redolent with life.  But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse.” (2:14-16 MSG)

Father, thanks that You make it so that others can smell Jesus on me.  Only You can cause Your scent to be stronger than my own, and to be recognizable as originating from You.

Thank You for the victory over sin that You make possible when I follow You.  This passage says You LEAD us in this “triumphal procession” or “perpetual victory parade.”  The only way You can LEAD is if I choose to follow … and I do!  I choose to follow You and I thank You for the victory You bring, as You shape me to be just like Jesus!  Amen.

*link embedded in “perpetual victory parade” is to Kathy Troccoli’s song “Parade” from her Love Has a Name project

2 Corinthians 1

Thank You, Lord, that You love me like no other.

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You, Father, are my Source for ALL things:

FATHER OF COMPASSION (v 3) — You peer through the windows of my soul to see the needs and hopes deep inside me.  Your heart feels what I feel, identifying with all that I go through.

GOD OF ALL COMFORT (v 3) — You come alongside me with Your embrace, Your presence, Your encouragement.  You reach out Your hand, slip it under my chin, lift my head, so that my eyes can look into Yours … and as my Papa who loves me without end, You speak precious words that settle my spirit, calm my mind, and hold my heart near to Yours.  Not always do You provide protection from pain, but always You supply Your presence in every pain.

PATIENT ENDURANCE (v 6) — Both of those words look so LONG, like their nature personified in their letters!  Yet, in every step of each long haul of sticking it out without anxiety, YOU give wisdom and strength for me to remain steadfast.

NOT RELY ON OURSELVES BUT ON GOD (v 9) — YOU are the Friend on whom I can ALWAYS depend, Jesus!  You are consistent, more than capable, trustworthy … and You love me.  Thank You for the assurance of YOU … and knowing that I can always count on YOU!

GOD, WHO RAISES THE DEAD (V 9) — Into every life that has become Yours, You bring a resurrection: restoring once-dead or dying areas and breathing new life into withered souls.  When You find dying areas of my life, Lord, call me forth from the tomb and unwrap ALL my grave clothes, as You did for Lazarus.  Remake my attitudes, actions, and thoughts into life-inspiring ways like Your own.

HE WILL DELIVER US (v 10) — When I cry out in the midst of pain or trial, YOU are there, Father.  Your hand reaches out to rescue me or to keep me from falling into peril.  Thank You for being my Deliverer.

ON HIM WE HAVE SET OUR HOPE (v 10) — You alone, O Lord, are the strength of my heart.  There is NOTHING on earth that compares to YOU.  May my desires not focus on temporal, earthly things, but rather, may the eyes of my heart continually seek You, see You, and remain focused on You throughout all my days.

HOLINESS AND SINCERITY (v 12) — It’s You who sets me apart, making me holy, and who places a genuineness in me, so that others can see a true devotion to You in spite of my humanity.

ACCORDING TO GOD’S GRACE (v 12) — Thank You for giving me what I didn’t deserve.  Your free gift of grace has wiped my slate clean–no more sin.  That same grace carries me through this life in You as I endeavor to allow You to have all of me.

AS SURELY AS GOD IS FAITHFUL (v 18) — There is NONE like You — so faithful and true!  You follow me, You go before me; You are always at work in my life.

PROMISES GOD MADE ARE “YES” IN CHRIST (v 20) — You always fulfill Your promises, doing what You say You’ll do.  In Jesus, You carried out so MANY things You promised Your people over centuries!

IT IS GOD WHO MAKES … YOU STAND FIRM IN CHRIST (v 21) — You are my strength; You are my support, my defense, my refuge in the face of temptation from the enemy.  You uphold me always, simply because I belong to You.

ANOINTED US (v 21) — Just like when You’d have someone in the Old Testament times smear oil onto a person in an act of consecration, so You have done so with my heart.  You have set me aside for Your use.

SET HIS SEAL OF OWNERSHIP ON US (v 22) — You have chosen me.  You called me.  When I came to You, You accepted me and made me Your own.  You are my Master; keep me from allowing another to rule over me.

PUT HIS SPIRIT IN OUR HEARTS AS A DEPOSIT (v 22) — When Jesus left here to go be with You, Father, He said He’d send a comforter.  Indeed, Your Spirit did come, and He lives in the hearts of those of us who turn to You. Thank You for Your companionship in this life.  Thanks for the promise of one day being with You forever.  Meanwhile, during the time You leave me here, keep on making me just like Jesus.  Amen.

Next Devo-Prayers: 2 Corinthians

Through these Devo-Prayers, we stepped through the Gospels–the books of the Bible that tell the account of Jesus’ life on earth (Matthew, John, Mark, and Luke). We journeyed through Luke’s other work, the book of Acts, which gives a historical account of the birth of the Church, the Body of Christ. Then, we began diving into the letters that Paul wrote to the saints, or believers/Christians, in various cities or regions.  We finished his letter to believers in Rome–the letter to the Romans and then his first letter to the believers in Corinth or 1st Corinthians.  Next, we’ll journey through the second letter Paul wrote to those believers or 2nd Corinthians

Devo-Prayers ~ Praying through the Scriptures

Each posting contains a first-person prayer based on a particular chapter or passage from the Bible. The Bible passage reference is provided above the devotional prayer, so you can also refer to the scripture which inspired the prayer. Posts that are found via Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn usually provide an excerpt from the full post.

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