Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

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On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again – 2nd Corinthians 1:8-11

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2nd Corinthians 1:8 (ESV) 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.

Thank you for clicking on our page for the Pauline epistle which is called 2nd Corinthians, the letter is authored by the apostle Paul to the church in Corinth. This is a great letter of exhortation and gives many doctrines that we still use in both church structure today. For other bible studies in 2nd Corinthians please click here and for other epistles please see our main epistle page.

When I set this blog up my intention was to explore the epistles and do the occasional bible study based on what I had studied and learned, what you are reading below is notes I have made. I have to confess that this bible study is basic in its content and is not prepared by a pastor and I have to admit I have no theological training; my hope in prayer is that someone will be blessed by the notes below.

Let’s start in verse eight of the first chapter of Second Corinthians.

V8 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.

In the last article in Second Corinthians we looked at the afflictions that Paul suffered and although we don’t know exactly what he suffered we can be aware that due to the text it was affliction worth writing about and was likely some kind of persecution as we read all throughout Acts and the Epistles of the scrapes and violent persecution that Paul endured because of faith in Christ Jesus.

Whatever it was it was enough to make him “so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself” and reading that it makes me despair at the things that travail me and cause me grief. They are but small things compared to what Paul has gone through as no-one is threatening me with my life and no-one is driving me to the point that I wonder whether it is worth even going on anymore.

V9 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.

Paul was threatened with death and he writes here that “we felt that we had received the sentence of death” and Paul often talks about a “thorn in his flesh” so we also know that Paul was not a well man so he could also have been battling an ongoing illness. He felt a sentence of death as something that was internally imposed on him rather than a sentence being handed down from a Governor or High Priest.

I feel that the real message in this passage though is that Paul’s afflictions made him rely on God even more than he had been doing up until that point. This echoes what he wrote in the third chapter of Philippians…

Philippians 3:8 (ESV) Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

If we suffer for Jesus sakes we know that we will be blessed in his sufferings and Paul’s faith was not just in the closeness of God but that God would help him and if it was in God’s will deliver him.

V10 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.

Paul uses three tenses here to describe the delivery of God…

  • Past tense – He delivered us
  • Present tense – He will deliver us
  • Future tense – We have set our hope that he will deliver us again

In layman’s terms Paul is saying “regardless of the timeline God has got this” and Paul touches on the importance of looking at the past and remembering how God has delivered you in the past if you are having a failure of faith in the present or can’t see how God will deliver you in the future. You have to remember that God is a God of truth and keeps his promises.

V11 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.

Paul valued prayer and coveted the prayers of the saints, regardless of where they were from and despite the fact that all through the letter of First Corinthians Paul chided the church in Corinth for its carnal nature; he wanted their help through the power of prayer.

Do not think that a prayer is futile, even if it is a prayer that you are confident is being prayed for by many in your assembly. Paul states that “many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many” and behind every Paul the apostle is many more people who were praying for him to be used by God and to be used effectively and despite having such a good repute and was obviously called by God, Paul saw that value in those who labored in praying for him, that it was not just a quick five minute prayer, it was a regular labor of love.

I am challenged on this and who I pray for, often times I pray for Pastors, leaders and missionaries for them to continue to be guided according to God’s plan in their life. I pray for my own walk and that the decisions I take be guided by his will but I do confess that I am probably not laboring as much as I would like. How do you view this area of your Christian walk?

Lord willing, in our next article in Second Corinthians we will look at verses twelve through twenty two where Paul explains why he had a change in travel plans and he explains how he plans his missionary journeys. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
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Psalms Saturday #8 – Psalms 70 – O LORD, Do Not Delay

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Psalms Saturday #8 – Psalms 70 – O LORD, Do Not Delay –02/13/2016

To the choirmaster. Of David, for the memorial offering.

Psalms 70:1 (ESV) Make haste, O God, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me! 2 Let them be put to shame and confusion who seek my life! Let them be turned back and brought to dishonor who delight in my hurt! 3 Let them turn back because of their shame who say, “Aha, Aha!” 4 May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!” 5 But I am poor and needy; hasten to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay!

This Psalm is both a plea for help and a prayer for deliverance, although it is just five verses it is rich in teaching moments. Let’s look it all five verses on a verse by verse basis beginning in verse one.

V1 Make haste, O God, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me!

How many times have you felt like this? Whether the trial is great or the trial is small we want deliverance as quickly as possible. Can I be so bold as to put to you something that might not be all that popular? Could it be that God is allowing you to go through whatever trial you are going through to be a teachable moment in your life in order to build you up for something greater yet to come in your life?

I most definitely can identify with this. Who can’t? Who actually enjoys trials? Who has not been frustrated with “God’s timing” when it has been slower than your timing (or what you would like your timing to be!) Regardless of the size of the issue and regardless if you will look back in a few years’ time and be ashamed that that stressed you out, the issue is big enough at that time to cause you to plead and to beg with the one you know can deliver you.

And that is the beauty of this, when the chips are down and you are reliant on who you believe can deliver you, your faith carries you home to that loving father God. It is said that in a fire you understand what is important in your life and what you are willing to leave behind. When you are in the fire you look to deliverance, it is important that you chose the one who can deliver you!

V2 Let them be put to shame and confusion who seek my life! Let them be turned back and brought to dishonor who delight in my hurt!

This is a righteous prayer, he wants the ones who are persecuting be put to shame and confusion and emphasizes the real harm that they want to do to him. They are said to be seeking after him looking to take his life. I am taken back by the restraint in the petition that he is not asking God (whom he knows could deliver according to his will) to “nuke them” to “wipe them out” or to “allow them to draw their last breath” and he does not seek the same medicine for those who seek his life. (At least not in these verses)

And we see this example when David is fleeing from Saul and twice has the opportunity to take Saul’s life and relents and does not. We may not be going through persecution to wipe that other person out. The Psalmist simply seeks to have them shamed, confused and dishonored. He appears willing to allow them to live.

V3 Let them turn back because of their shame who say, “Aha, Aha!”

They are saying “Aha” and not calling on the name of a Norwegian 80’s band! (Perhaps his opponents were calling him to “Take on me?”) They are being mean in their speech. It is a mean way of mocking and being derogatory and the manner of speech indicates a certain amount of gloating and goading.

Have we not all been victim of that these days due to the instant nature of the internet and the rise of social media, the slightest silly thing that we say can leave us with “egg on the face” with a period of longevity that would simply not be the case in the case of something that was said privately.

I have learned this the hard way and had to do some embarrassing back tracks and even this week I was teased about something that I posted nearly ten years ago and the reason I bring this up is that we are all blessed with astounding memories and some of us are blessed with better recall than others. I am unfortunate that when I make a “boo boo” I make a memorable one that people tend to remember. I am sure that as you are reading this you are recalling something that you have done in this manner?

V4 May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!”

And here is the praise portion of the Psalm; the Psalmist does not forget that God is worthy to be praised despite the current trial or issue that befalls him. A decent question to ask is “Do you praise him in the storm?” or do you snivel and whine because things are not rosy in the garden?

Are you being persecuted for the sake of your faith or for another reason? I ask this because sometimes we cause our own drama and we are our own version of a live “Jerry Springer show” I ask this because you may not feel like rejoicing in the name of the Lord because you may not actually be seeking Him and I doubt that you will be glad in Him if your focus is all about you.

This shows the heart of the Psalmist that he wants to praise God even although he faces the pain of death! What faith is this? Do we see such faith in our modern day comfortable Christianity except on the mission field. This month we rejoiced at the release from an Iranian prison a man who I am sure we all have been praying for called Saeed Abedini and we read of how the man endured beatings because he was a faith that was not accepted in the country that he was arrested and yet he still remained faithful.

V5 But I am poor and needy; hasten to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay!

He starts with “LORD make haste” and ends with “LORD, do not delay” and in case you are in any doubt of the urgency of this petition then we really should not be after seeing the urgency that begins and ends this Psalm. Timing truly is playing on the Psalmists mind. If the Psalmist was British he would be saying “Get on with it!”

He does reiterate that his God is “his deliverer” and he would be the one to get him out of this grave situation he is in. A good question to ask in this manner would be are you that confident when you go through the trials of life? Is your hope in your deliver? Do you have faith that you will be removed from danger when God’s timing happens?

Lord willing, in our next article in Psalms we look Psalm 93 and an awesome Psalm of praise. The Psalmist used such wonderful terms as “mighty”, “majesty”, “everlasting” and “holiness” all words which are very befitting a glorious God. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
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The LORD’s prayer – Part 5 – And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

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The LORD’s prayer – Part 5 – And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Matthew 6:13 (KJV) And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

As we close our series on the Lord’s Prayer we see that looking back it has been a well thought out prayer and we close with what the musically aware people would call a “crescendo” we have learned that God’s name is to be hallowed, God is always on his throne in heaven, that His kingdom comes on earth and heaven, why we pray for our provisions and lastly we learned why forgiveness is key. Now we end with temptation and why that is such an issue.

Fresh from the devastating revelations of the Ashley Madison hack and many people who teach God’s word being found online in a place that many would not have expected them to be, we realize that temptation is rife even in our churches. I am not going to labor the point here other than to say that this is a timely reminder of human nature and how far removed we are from the nature of God, even if we are immersed in doing his works. I urge you that even although you are reading a man’s words, do not follow the Pastor unless he is following the Master and at some point every man will let you down.

We are all tempted, my wife shared recently a link that was called “Why porn ruined my life” and that is just a common temptation, we are tempted to cheat financially on people, emotionally on people, we could cheat on our spouse, whether emotionally or actually, either way the hurt is still there, we could be tempted by food, tempted by self-indulgence, tempted by debt in fact there are temptations that I have not even thought about but it is true as the meme I read on Facebook which when quoted stated “The devil will not come to you wearing red and carry a pitchfork, he will come to you and promise you the desires of your heart”

That is as true today as it was when the world was created, in Genesis 3 Man only had one rule and the Serpent attacked that one rule right away and he did it by temptation, he twisted the words of God and coaxed the woman into quoting God into saying something that God didn’t actually say, from then on the temptation was set, temptation blossomed into sin and mankind was separated from God. That is how serious temptation is.

We cannot behave like Adam and Eve did and succumb to temptation, we must be more like Joseph when he was tempted by the wife of his master Potiphar, Let’s read from the book of Genesis…

Genesis 39:1 (KJV) And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither. 2 And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. 3 And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand. 4 And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. 5 And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field. 6 And he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured. 7 And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. 8 But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; 9 There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? 10 And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her. 11 And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within. 12 And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.

It is important to look at what Joseph did here! He was a slave, he was a servant in his master’s house, due to his diligence he was given authority over the house and the one thing he was not allowed was his master’s wife. His master’s wife was like the woman from Proverbs 7; she attempted to make herself alluring and offered herself on many occasions to Joseph. Joseph followed God’s plan and not his and even although he would most likely have got away with the sin he was being tempted into, he chose the righteous path. Are you like Joseph? If you could get away with it would you?

Joseph suffered in the short term for being righteous, he spend a couple of years in jail where he worked diligently and then was trusted with looking after the other prisoners, what diligence and what humility that man had to follow God’s will even in the most dire circumstances! He was there until God gave Pharaoh a dream and again Joseph was again blessed more than he ever was before, God placed him in charge of the country! What a testament to following the will of God.

God will never tempt us but will allow us to periods of testing to allow us to grow, let’s look at 1st Corinthians 10…

1st Corinthians 10:13 (KJV) There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 14 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.

God will not give you a sufferance more than you are actually able to withstand, however you have the option through free will of embracing sin and going against God. James also talks about this…

James 1:12 (KJV) Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. 13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.

James paints a picture of what I was saying that temptation is the foundation for sin, you have the option at this stage to endure the temptation or go with your own lusts, allow yourself to be enticed and then allow it to grow into sin and sin as we know brings for death. Regardless of how good the temptation is, if it is not of God then please and I beg you do not do it! If we are praying to be removed from temptation and we are removed then we will be removed from the evil one. (Who wants to destroy you!)

And lastly we have a reminder that “: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” And he is, he was and is and is to come, Holy is the LORD! One day we will be in glory with him and all of the struggles that we face today will pass away. What a day that will be! Anyone else looking forward to that one?

I pray that this article has been educational, challenging, convicting and exhorting, I pray that you received it well and please feel free to like, share and comment on whatever social media you wish as the LORD leads you too.
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