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Category Archives: 2 Corinthians 12

Living Now in Light of the Future! (A Study in 2 Corinthians 12) (Part 1)

Friends:

On September 23-24 I get to speak to the supporters of Camp Elim in Woodland Park, Colorado!

I’ve been working my way through 2 Corinthians 12 and want to begin a series of posts on this incredible chapter. Here’s the passage I’ll be speaking on:

So the title for my series is “Living Now in Light of the Future!” Paul gets a visit to heaven, but he is not sure whether he actually traveled there or experienced a series of visions.

A few words about our future: The overall context of this section of 2 Corinthians has to do with Paul’s defending his apostleship. He pulls his trump card — a visit to heaven itself! No one can top that credential!

What do we learn about heaven from Paul’s experience? We learn at least two truths: (1) The sounds in heaven will be amazing! They are described as “inexpressible things” (v. 4). In fact, they are so incredible that “no one is permitted to tell” about them. What will we hear in heaven? We don’t know. But we will be blown away by the sounds of the celestial kingdom! (2) Secondly, the sights in heaven will be overwhelming! We learn that Paul received “surpassingly great revelations” (v. 7) as he was “caught up to the third heaven” (v. 2) which he later describes as “caught up to paradise” (v. 4)

The “So what?” for today: Knowing the Lord Jesus should get us excited about eternity! The greatest sounds and sights in this broken world don’t hold a candle to what God has prepared for those who love Him. Thank Him for that today.

 

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2019 in 2 Corinthians 12

 

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VANISHING PROBLEMS (Part 4)

Friends:

In our last few posts we have talked about the Nationwide commercial about vanishing deductibles. We asked, “Wouldn’t it be great if all our difficulties vanished like the problems depicted in that commercial?”

We then began looking at 2 Corinthians 12 for Paul’s response to his problems.  That text reads:

We noticed the principle that God has the power to do what He needs to do to keep us humble and trusting Him.  We’ve also seen that we can ask the Lord to take away our thorns, but we cannot demand that He do so. He is sovereign over our lives. 

Let’s notice one additional lesson from this text today and it is this:  There are reasons for our trials and difficulties, sometimes simply that God’s power is shown in our weaknesses.  We sometimes rebel against weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties simply because we don’t see the purpose of them.  They appear to us as interruptions — barriers to keep us from getting where we want to be.  But what if they aren’t barriers, but stepping-stones divinely placed in our path to make us more like Christ?

Questions:

1.  What is the 1st weakness, insult, hardship, persecution, or difficulty that immediately comes to your mind that God has allowed in your life?

2  You are certainly free to pray that God would take that away.  But what if He wants to use that for His glory?  Will you pray, “Lord, please give me grace to bear that challenge so that Christ will be glorified in my life”?

 
 

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VANISHING PROBLEMS (Part 3)

Friends:

In our last post we talked about the Nationwide commercial about vanishing deductibles. We asked, “Wouldn’t it be great if all our difficulties vanished like the problems depicted in that commercial?”

I then posted the Apostle Paul’s extensive testimony about his “thorn in the flesh” described in 2 Corinthians 12. Let’s look at that text again and make a few more observations:

We noticed last time the principle that God has the power to do what He needs to do to keep us humble and trusting Him.

Let’s move on to a second lesson from 2 Corinthians 12.  And it is this:  We can ask the Lord to take away our thorns, but we cannot demand that He do so. He is sovereign over our lives.  (to be continued)

Questions:

1.  Have you asked the Lord to take away any weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, or difficulties in  your life?

2  How have you responded when He did not remove from your life what you asked for?

 

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VANISHING PROBLEMS (Part 2)

Friends:

In our last post we looked at the Nationwide commercial about vanishing deductibles.  We asked, “Wouldn’t it be great if all our difficulties vanished like the problems depicted in that commercial?”

I then posted the Apostle Paul’s extensive testimony about his “thorn in the flesh” described in 2 Corinthians 12.  Let’s look at that text again and make a few observations:

There is so much here, it’s hard to know where to start!
The context, of course, is Paul’s description of his having had a tour of heaven!  We learn in verse 7 that God sent or allowed to come into Paul’s life a “thorn of the flesh” to torment him, to keep him “from becoming conceited.”

Bible scholars debate what Paul’s thorn in the flesh was.  I’ve discussed it at length in my little book Heaven:  Thinking Now about Forever.  I believe it was some sort of vision problem (see several passages in Galatians for support).

At any rate, let’s not miss the point of today’s blog.  Which is:  God has the power to do what He needs to do to keep us humble and trusting Him. (to be continued)

Questions:

1.  Where might God be humbling you through a trial or difficulty?

2.  How have you responded to that circumstance — and why?

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2012 in 2 Corinthians 12, humility

 

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VANISHING PROBLEMS?

TV commercials crack me up!  After watching the video above, please permit me a few comments.

Wouldn’t it be great if all our annoyances, all our difficulties, just disappeared?

I thought about this the other say when I was reminded of what the Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:

We’ll talk about this great text over the next several blogs, but a couple of questions for right now:

QUESTIONS:
1. Why don’t we have Paul’s perspective on our difficulties, weaknesses, etc.?
2. How did God use Paul’s challenges in his life — theologically?

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2012 in 2 Corinthians 12

 

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