II Cor. 7
Scholars tell us that something had gone terribly wrong with Paul and the Corinthians. Trying to mend the wound, Paul made a quick trip to Corinth, but it was unsuccessful and only caused more heartbreak. After the visit that failed, Paul dispatched Titus to the Corinthians with a letter filled with sternness and harsh corrections for their thinking and behavior. (This letter was possibly I Corinthians, but maybe even the first part of II Corinthians)

Paul did not know how the Corinthians would react to the strict demands in his letter. Can you imagine his unrest as he awaited news from Titus on how his letter was received? Have you ever felt the anxiety of such a situation?

That is the background story for which chapter 7 was written. Understanding the intensity of the moment causes this to be an extremely rich passage indeed!

Paul once again writes of the God who brings comfort, and Paul experiences comfort, peace, and joy when he hears Titus’ report.

Chapter 7 addresses Paul’s outlook on rebuke and receiving rebuke.

Paul writes about two different kinds of sorrows: Godly sorrow and worldly sorrow. In what ways are these sorrows different? What different things do they lead to? How have you experienced both kinds of sorrow in your life?

I love Paul’s honesty as he shares his heart and his experiences with the Corinthians in this letter.



I always wanted to be the team captain. Both in high school and college, my first three years found me desperately wanting to be a team captain. I wanted to walk to the center of the field, call the coin toss and represent my team. I wanted to be the one with a tough look, no smiles - I wanted to shake the hand of our opponents and squeeze as hard as I could - I wanted to be the team captain. But the team captain had more responsibility than just what was visible on the field. The captain led the team - on and off the field of play. The team captain was chosen because he was the best option to represent the team - players and coaches. This position was one with great responsibility.

In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul reminds us that we are Christ's ambassadors. Think about the great honor of being named the ambassador of the Son of God, King Jesus. This is startling news. When I look at my life I see mistakes and failures and weakness. But when God looks at us, He sees Jesus. God looks at you and me and sees something great. Paul tries to help us see this when he says, "anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!" God chooses you and me to be ambassadors for the King.

With honor comes responsibility. This role of ambassador is not a figure head role. It is one with great purpose. Catch this... God sent Jesus to reconcile us to Him. In other words, Jesus was here so that we could be o.k. with God. Our role, our responsibility is to continue that mission in the world - to help others know that they can, through Christ, be o.k. with God. Don't miss this - what we do is the most important thing going on in the world today.

You are an ambassador. Your old life is gone and there is new life in Christ. And your mission is to help people know that because of Christ, they are o.k. with God.

How does that make you feel? What are you doing this week as His ambassador?



This chapter is one of the most powerful chapters in the New Testament. I love it. It serves as such an encouragement for followers of Christ - an encouragement to continue preaching Christ and pointing others to Him no matter what may come. Just a couple of things to note:

1. We preach Christ: It must be our goal to preach Christ, not ourselves. It is a temptation to think about how others view us and adjust accordingly. It is a temptation to work to have others follow us instead of Jesus. It is a temptation to build our own Kingdom instead of His. We must remain fixed on preaching Christ.

2. We are like jars of clay: We find ourselves getting knocked around in this world. Following Christ is a call to live a different kind of way than the rest of the world. Choosing that path will cause us to take some hits and get some bumps and bruises. But the power within us is greater than the powers outside of us. We are pressed, but not crushed...

3. We should never give up: Though our bodies are fading and weakening, our spirits are being renewed each day by God's own Spirit. God breathes new life into us each day, and empowers us to continue the way of Jesus. He gives us strength to continue pointing people toward Him.

The takeaway? Preach Jesus and point people to Him, not you. Realize that the message you carry is far more important than the 'jar' it is in. And be renewed each day by God's Spirit. Remember...

our present troubles are small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.



The art of letter writing is not dead, at least not in our family.   Megan loves to write letters to one of her best friends in Tennessee.  Now, these are not traditional letters as they are often written on multiple pieces of paper or sticky notes reflecting their different moods on the different days each was penned.  And that is why I love when I get to read them.  Those letters burst with personality and honesty--reflecting exactly what each was thinking in that moment. That is true freedom among friends who hide nothing.  I thought of this as I read Chapter 3 today.

In Paul's letter he speaks of people being letters, letters of commendation...of proof of our works, really.  And, the freedom that comes when we turn to God and experience Him face to face.  It made me ask myself some questions:

Do I hid behind any veils?  Is there an area of my life that I have not completely exposed, and submitted to God?

What "letters" have I written in my lifetime?  In the last few months?  In the last week?  I hope and pray always that my children are letters for me; reflections of how well I have shared and shown God to them.  But what other letters am I working on? Who else can some day be that reflection?  Not for our glory, but for the sake of God's Kingdom should we all be composing letters of lives daily.  

So, who should be your next letter?