I have to wonder if Mary Jane will be glad when I finish reading through the New Testament. I've been peppering her with questions such as "who is the brother mentioned in 2 Corinthians 8:19?" or "why don't we follow Paul's instructions when dealing with members of the body who are wallowing in their sin? why do we close our eyes and pretend that it doesn't exist?" (for the record, I'm still waiting on her answers.)
Well, we are in the final weeks of our reading through this year. Bev asks us what lingers in our hearts each week. I have found these past weeks to be so chock full of goodies that it is difficult to pick just one or two. I suspect that's a good thing. Because all of the Word should be lingering in my heart.
I was kind of surprised to find so many familiar things as I read this week. So many passages reminded me of sermons heard, books read or bible studies worked through. It was like being with old friends. Let's visit a few....
..and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 2 Cor. 2:14b-15
Do we reflect Him in our daily walk? Are we a fragrant perfume, leading others to a better life through Him?
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 2 Cor. 4:8-9
Truly one of my favorite verses. (I think it's because I'm often perplexed. It's a blonde thing.) I love the phrase "never abandoned by God." No matter what life brings, do we believe that He holds us close?
Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything. 2 Cor. 6:10
The NIV phrases it as "sorrowful, yet always rejoicing." Even in my sorrow, do I rejoice? For I truly do have "everything" that matters. This is one that continues to turn over and over in my mind.
...and our prayer is for your perfection. 2 Cor. 13:9b
Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Cor. 13:11
This caught my eye because I don't find myself praying for perfection...ever. For anybody. I mean, if perfection is impossible to obtain, then why bother with it? And yet, Paul clearly states that his desire for them is their perfection. Not only that, but he admonishes them to aim for it. The Amplified Bible phrases it this way: And this we also pray for: your all-round strengthening and perfecting of soul (9) Be strengthened (perfected, completed, made what you ought to be);(11)
Made what I ought to be. Perhaps it's time to start praying for a little perfection.
Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. Romans 1:28
Um...did you catch that? Since they didn't think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, He gave them over to a depraved mind. I don't know about you, but this verse scares me. It seems to state very clearly that we have two choices. We can fill our minds full of God or we can fill it full of ick. (reminds me of Breaking Free. If we don't fill our minds and hearts with God once we've broken free, ick just comes right back to stay.) Then, we follow up with this:
Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; Romans 8:5-6
There are so many more treasures in these chapters. Too many to list here. I will leave you with this thought...
I'm absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. Romans 8:38-39