Christ…is not weak toward you, but mighty in you. 2 Corinthians 13:3
If anything brought the apostle Paul to his wit’s end, it was the problems in the church he established at Corinth. He loved the believers there like his own children, but their problems, errors, lapses, and failures drove him to distraction. Near the end of his final letter to them, he urged them to remember the strength available to them in Christ. “For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you” (2 Corinthians 13:4).
Each of us have particular strengths and weaknesses, and sometimes our weaknesses rule over our strengths. But in our walk of faith, we can tap into Christ’s strength.
If you’re facing a crisis today, let the Lord calm you. If you have a problem with no resolution, give it to Him. If there’s an opportunity, ask God to strengthen you for it. If you feel weary, remember how God gives us strength sufficient for each day (Deuteronomy 33:25). Christ is not weak toward you, but mighty in you!
Whatever and wherever we are at any given moment of any given day, God is God enough! Jill Briscoe
Love: The Greatest Thing (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth. Ezekiel 3:3
I’d had the spot on my nose for the better part of a year when I went to the doctor. The biopsy results came back days later with words I didn’t want to hear: skin cancer. Though the cancer was operable and not life-threatening, it was a bitter pill to swallow.
God commanded Ezekiel to swallow a bitter pill—a scroll containing words of lament and woe (Ezekiel 2:10; 3:1–2). He was “to fill [his] stomach with it” and share the words with the people of Israel, whom God considered “obstinate and stubborn” (2:4). One would expect a scroll filled with correction to taste like a bitter pill. Yet Ezekiel describes it being “as sweet as honey” in his mouth (3:3).
Ezekiel seems to have acquired a taste for God’s correction. Instead of viewing His rebuke as something to avoid, Ezekiel recognized that what is good for the soul is “sweet.” God instructs and corrects us with lovingkindness, helping us live in a way that honors and pleases Him.
Some truths are bitter pills to swallow while others taste sweet. If we remember how much God loves us, His truth will taste more like honey. His words are given to us for our good, providing wisdom and strength to forgive others, refrain from gossip, and bear up under mistreatment. Help us, God, to recognize Your wisdom as the sweet counsel it truly is!
Reflect & Pray
What truth has God shown you recently? Did you receive it as a bitter pill or sweet honey?
If you’re like most people today, you probably don’t know much about shepherding sheep, but in biblical times this was a common occupation. Every evening, the local shepherds could be seen leading their flock into a common fold for the night. And each morning, they would call their own sheep out of the communal fold and lead them to pasture.
It was the shepherd’s job to find adequate food and water, protect the sheep from predators, rescue those who wandered off, and care for the weak or wounded. The shepherd lived among his flock and slept across the doorway of the fold to keep the sheep in and the wolves out. Although this was a lowly, dirty, and exhausting job, Christ used it to describe Himself, saying, “I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11; John 10:14).
The Sovereign God of the universe humbled Himself, became a man, and lived among sinful, errant, and willful human “sheep.” He laid down His life for them so that all who believe in Him could enter into the fold and become part of His flock. And once they become His sheep, He does for them exactly what the shepherds long ago did—He feeds them, protects them from enemies, brings them back when they stray, strengthens the weak, and cares for the hurting.
Being one of Christ’s sheep is the most secure and comforting position possible. He knows each of us intimately and calls us by name, leading us every step of the way through this life. And when we are truly His, we can distinguish His voice from all the others and will follow Him in obedience.
“For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” (2 Corinthians 1:20)
The word “amen” is a most remarkable word. It is transliterated directly from the Hebrew into the Greek of the New Testament, then into Latin and into English and many other languages so that it is practically a universal word. It has been called the best-known word in human speech.
The word is directly related—in fact, almost identical—to the Hebrew word for “believe” (aman), or “faithful.” Thus, it came to mean “sure” or “truly,” an expression of absolute trust and confidence. When one believes God, he indicates his faith by an “amen.” When God makes a promise, the believer’s response is “amen”—“so it will be!” In the New Testament it is often translated “verily” or “truly.” When we pray according to His Word and His will, we know God will answer, so we close with an “amen,” and so also do we conclude a great hymn or anthem of praise and faith.
The word is even a title of Christ Himself. The last of His letters to the seven churches begins with a remarkable salutation by the glorified Lord: “These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God” (Revelation 3:14). We can be preeminently certain that His Word is always faithful and true because He is none other than the Creator of all things, and thus He is our eternal “Amen.”
As our text reminds us, every promise of God in Christ is “yea and amen,” as strong an affirmation of truth as can be expressed in the Greek language.
It is, therefore, profoundly meaningful that the entire Bible closes with an “amen.” “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen” (Revelation 22:21), assuring everyone who reads these words that the whole Book is absolutely true and trustworthy. Amen! HMM
As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children.
We who follow Christ are men and women of eternity. We must put no confidence in the passing scenes of the disappearing world. We must resist every attempt of Satan to palm off upon us the values that belong to mortality. Nothing less than forever is long enough for us. We view with amused sadness the frenetic scramble of the world to gain a brief moment in the sun….
The church must claim again her ancient dowry of everlastingness. She must begin again to deal with ages and millenniums rather than with days and years. She must not count numbers but test foundations. She must work for permanence rather than for appearance. Her children must seek those enduring things that have been touched with immortality. The shallow brook of popular religion chatters on its nervous way and thinks the ocean too quiet and dull because it lies deep in its mighty bed and is unaffected by the latest shower. NCA009
Oh Lord, remind me constantly of this eternal perspective. Amen.
Tozer on Christian Leadership: A 366-Day Devotional.
Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.—Luke 10:19.
SheD down on-me Thy mighty power,
To strengthen for each coming hour;
And then, through flood, through fire and sword,
I’ll follow Thee, my Lord, my Lord!
Why do we grow so little in grace? It is because we do not use our intellect to meditate upon the forces of the unseen world amidst which we live, or our will to draw upon them. We know that we are weak, and sin and Satan are strong, and we know the truth. But there is a third power stronger than either our weakness or the forces of evil which we commonly forget, and which will never disclose itself except in our using of it. We must stir up the gift within us. Within us we have the Spirit of power, the Spirit of Jesus, the life of Jesus. It remains to us to appeal to it; in constant acts of faith to draw upon it and to use it. Thus it will become to each of us as much a truth of experience as it was to St. Paul, and no vague language of metaphor, that “it is no longer merely I that live, but Christ that liveth in me.”
“He that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.” Prov. 13:13
Holy awe of God’s Word is at a great discount. Men think themselves wiser than the Word of the Lord, and sit in judgment upon it. “So did not I, because of the fear of God.” We accept the inspired Book as infallible, and prove our esteem by our obedience. We have no terror of the Word, but we have a filial awe of it. We are not in fear of its penalties, because we have a fear of its commands.
This holy fear of the commandment produces the restfulness of humility, which is far sweeter than the recklessness of pride. It becomes a guide to us in our movements; a drag when we are going down-hill, and a stimulus when we are climbing it. Preserved from evil and led into righteousness by our reverence of the command, we gain a quiet conscience, which is a well of wine; a sense of freedom from responsibility, which is as life from the dead; and a confidence of pleasing God, which is Heaven below. The ungodly may ridicule our deep reverence for the Word of the Lord; but what of that? The prize of our high calling is a sufficient consolation for us. The rewards of obedience make us scorn the scorning of the scorner.