Prayer Focus: Uganda

Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 5-9

Scripture:

giving no cause for offense in anything, so that the ministry will not be discredited, but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true; as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death, 10 as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.  (2 Corinthians 6:3-10)

For even when we came into Macedonia our flesh had no rest, but we were afflicted on every side: conflicts without, fears within. 6 But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus. (2 Corinthians 7:5-6)

Observation:

This passage of Scripture contains some of my favorite verses, particularly the portion on being Christ’s ambassador. . . working alongside God to accomplish His work . . . how cool is that! (way cool in case you’re not sure which side of that coin I hang out on). So imagine my surprise when I felt the Spirit tugging me to the above passages. First observation, no matter how familiar the passage there is always something new to see. Second observation, new things, are often familiar things, from a different perspective. Third observation, no matter how familiar or how different, God’s character and His purposes will be consistent.

Application:

Here in these verses, I hear extensions of our partnership with God – played out no matter what our circumstances. It’s the age old thinking – I’ll come to God [for salvation, for fellowship, etc.] when I get my life together, but right now I’m a mess. . .  which of course doesn’t make sense at all because without God, we have little hope of  truly turning toward Him.  In this context, we think – I’ll serve God when the kids are grown, I’m out of debt, I’ve retired, etc., but right now I’m focusing on my [self, family, marriage, career]. . . . I don’t get to think that when I hear Paul’s letter. No matter where you are in Paul’s list – whether your conflicts are external – persecution, abandonment, imprisonment, ridicule, labors, sleeplessness, etc, or within – fears that incapacitate you and rob you of your strength, fears that you are unworthy or have nothing to say, fears that you will be exposed to external conflicts like persecution, abandonment. . .well you get the idea. Bottom line – we are called to live in such a way as to not discredit the ministry of the Gospel – the ministry of reconciliation. Behold, now is the day of salvation. the old has gone and new things have come. Therefore we are Christ’s Ambassadors.. . . see what I did there. . . God’s character and purpose are consistent. . . Commendable.

Prayer:

Father, help me to live my life in such a way as to not discredit You. I will fail, I won’t always get it right, but in every way, help me to point to You so that in my failings, You are still glorified. Through my failings, You are honored. Through my failings, that I am teachable, and strengthened, and comforted by the Titus’ of Scio that you have placed in my life. And, Father, may I be a Titus to others. Help us to not be afraid of conflicts, if they are righteous conflicts arising from our obedience and walk with You. Give us discernment to recognize and know where You are at work, and join You in it. Make us Your Ambassadors. . . For your Kingdom and Your Glory. . . Forever. Amen.

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