Treasures in Jars of Clay (2 Corinthians 4:1-18)

Treasures in Jars of Clay

1 Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:1-18 (NIV)

The Great Commission

16 Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted!

18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:16-20 (NLT)

How to Turn Your Crisis into an Opportunity

  1. Trust that God is working everything in your life for your good.
    “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).
  2. Believe that our heavenly Father is in control of everything. 
    “The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all” (Ps. 103:19).
  3. Accept that the Lord’s ways are higher than ours. 
    “‘My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isa. 55:8-9).
  4. Refuse to make quick judgments in the midst of a crisis. 
    “Thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said, ‘In repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength’” (Isa. 30:15)
  5. Focus on the Father instead of the crisis.
    “O our God . . . we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You” (2 Chron. 20:12).
  6. Avoid dwelling on the pain. 
    “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence” (Ps. 42:5).
  7. Recall past crises and the opportunities that followed.
    “They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the LORD was my support. He also brought me forth into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me” (2 Sam. 22:19-20).
  8. Let go of your anger immediately. 
    “Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity” (Eph. 4:26-27).
  9. Submit yourself to God’s will. 
    “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Pr. 3:5-6).
  10. Demonstrate a spirit of gratitude. 
    “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:18).
  11. Determine to view the trial as a chance to see God at work.
    “The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently for the salvation of the LORD” (Lam. 3:25-26).
  12. Refuse to listen to unscriptural interpretations of your situation. 
    “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. . . . The wicked have laid a snare for me, yet I have not gone astray from Your precepts” (Ps. 119:105, 110).
  13. Remain in constant prayer, listening for the Father’s instructions. 
    “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving” (Col. 4:2).
  14. Do not give in to fluctuating emotions.
    “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Ps. 73:26).
  15. Obey God and leave all the consequences to Him. 
    “Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday. Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him” (Ps. 37:5-7).

Source: Dr. Charles Stanley
http://www.intouch.org/you/article-archive/content/topic/how_to_turn_your_crisis_into_an_opportunity_article#.U_vTrfmSz8k

Colossians 1:3-14

Thanksgiving and Prayer

3-We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4-because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints— 5-the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel 6-that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth. 7-You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, 8-and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.

9-For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10-And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11-being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully 12-giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. 13-For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14-in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Colossians 1:3-14 (NIV)

Be Holy

Be Holy

13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

17 Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.

22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For,

“All people are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
25 but the word of the Lord endures forever.”

And this is the word that was preached to you.

1 Peter 1:13-25 (NIV)