DAY 103: Genuine Faith!

Read: II Corinthians 13:1-14

Think: After speaking to the Corinthian church on a variety of cultural and spiritual issues, Paul, by the end of his second letter, reminds them that they can actually know if they possess “genuine” faith. In 2 Corinthians 13:5, he writes, “Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.” Of course, Paul never asked a leading question without providing specific answers. In the last few verses of 2 Corinthians 13, he gives them exact ways in which Jesus would be seen and felt among them: “Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you.

Act: To the early church—and to every Christian generation that has followed—Jesus was invisible, yet real. The notion of “out of sight, out of mind” had apparently overtaken the way the church operated. Instead of being generous and sacrificial, humble and kind because Jesus was among them, they were most often selfish, slanderous, exclusive, and immature. If space on parchment hadn’t been at such a premium, Paul might have asked a number of questions to spark their memories of how Jesus wanted to be felt and seen among them, such as…

    1. Can you feel Jesus’ presence personally? Does He fill your heart with joy and             love? 

    2. Can you hear Jesus whispering to you? If so, what is He saying?

    3. Is Jesus guiding your decisions with His Spirit-led counsel? If not, who is? 

    4. Do you honor and love Jesus by the sacrificial and kind ways you treat others?

Paul’s prescription for genuine faith required joy, maturity, encouragement, and harmony among the body of Christ on earth. Today, take an inventory. Do you have genuine faith?

Pray: Dear Jesus, my heart longs to be filled to overflowing with more of Your presence, Your love, and Your power! I long to be more and more like You. I need You. Lord. Amen.

Be full of faith today!


DAY 102: How did they fall so far?

Read: II Corinthians 12:11-21

Think: Paul has planted the church in Corinth and even made a second visit. As he closes this letter, he talks about his plan to make a third visit—which he explains could be painful for everyone. He says, “I am afraid that when I come I won’t like what I find, and you won’t like my response. I am afraid that I will find quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorderly behavior. . . .I will be grieved because many of you have not given up your old sins. You have not repented of your impurity, sexual immorality, and eagerness for lustful pleasure.” Oy!

Act: One of the greatest differences that Christianity brought to every location and culture in the 1st century was its call to the high standard of sexual purity—and holiness—among its people. Paul’s frustration in II Corinthians 12 is obvious. The people have retreated, slipped back, and reverted to their old sinful behaviors. Of course, any leader would feel disheartened if they had mentored and discipled a group of Christians only to find out they had returned to their old ways! One of the most helpful ways to avoid sliding back to old ways is the simple act of daily asking God to search you with His Spirit, test your thoughts, identify any offensive ways in you, and lead you in His ways (Psalm 139:23-24). This allows God’s Holy Spirit to immediately show you if are minimizing, justifying, or rationalizing your behavior. But to be really vigilant, you should allow a spiritual leader (like Paul) to help you stay clear of the behavior in which you previously struggled. If you’ve never made a decision to confess your sins on a daily basis, do so today. If you need an accountability partner for any area of your life in which you struggle, contact them today and ask them to meet with you regularly.

Pray: Dear Lord, I ask you to deepen my resolve to represent You in my culture. I understand that if I don’t look any different than the world, I’ll make no difference in the world for You. I humble myself before you today. I need You, Lord! Amen.

Be full of faith today!


DAY 101: Keep me from…Pride

Read: II Corinthians 12:1-10

Think: One of Paul’s most famous teachings is found in II Corinthians 12. His words about pride are timeless as they reach into the heart of every reader in any culture or generation. Pride has been called the worst of the “7 Deadly Sins.” C.S. Lewis, author of Mere Christianity called pride the “greatest” sin—the “chief cause of misery in every nation and family since the world began.” Paul—who wrote much of the New Testament—had much to boast about, yet he wrote, “So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three times I begged God to take it away. Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness’. . . .I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Wow. 

Act: Everyday that we read in God’s Word, we will be challenged to think and live different—set apart from the world. Everyday God’s Word will remind you that Christ endured suffering, and so will every man or woman who chooses to live the Christian life! The entire Bible—New Testament and Old Testament readings—reveals to its readers more about God, His Son, and His Holy Spirit and what pleases Them. We find through the Word of God that God’s ways are not our ways. God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. Therefore, to read daily, is to learn more about God and how to live with Him and for Him. Today, allow God to give you His perspective on pride in your life. Ask Him to strengthen you.

Pray: Dear Jesus, I am growing more and more in my understanding of You. I want to know You better so that I can make You known. Help me surrender my pride. Show me how to be a more humble servant and ambassador for the Lord Jesus Christ right where I live and work. I need Your strength. I love You, Lord! Amen.

Be full of faith today!


DAY 100: Boasting in Weakness!

Read: II Corinthians 11:16-33

Think: As you read this portion of chapter 11, Paul’s unusual tactic for challenging the church in Corinth—which has been diluting the Gospel—is to boast in his weaknesses. In an overview of both letters to the Corinthians, Bible scholar NT Wright suggests, “Throughout his two letters to Corinth, Paul has been aware that the young church is in danger of being sucked in to the ordinary culture of their city and life. And the teachers who have influenced the church in his absence have been going in the exactly that direction. They have commended themselves, boasted of their achievements, they have wallowed in a culture of fame and success and showy rhetoric.” To rebuke them, Paul lists his crowning achievements as follows: he had been whipped, lashed, faced death, stoned, shipwrecked, worked hard, gone without food, and faced danger on the high seas. Paul writes, “If I must boast, I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am.”

Act: For 100 days, we’ve been reading through the New Testament—from Acts to Romans to I & II Corinthians. Each books has revealed how to live a life for Christ that looks different from the way the world lives. Acts showed us that the life of faith requires an outside force—the Holy Spirit—who empowers us to bear witness to Jesus. Faith is fueled by the Gospel—a singular, powerful message about the One Lord, Jesus Christ. Faith is experienced and sustained within a community, in which Christ is embodied, the Church. To live this life of faith, we must be “all in.” We must let Him fill us and use us for His glory. Today, what is the “one thing” God has said to you or done for you during 100 Days of Faith in Action that has changed the way you live for Him? Please “boast in your weakness” and write to me at:

Pray: Dear Jesus, I’ve learned so much from reading through the Bible for the past 100 days! I’ve been challenged to lay down my pride, my plans, and my prejudices. I’ve been reminded of how great is Your love for me and for the Church on earth. Let my life be full of Your Holy Spirit today. Fill me up with more of You! Amen.

Be full of faith today!


DAY 99: Don’t be surprised!

Read: II Corinthians 11:1-15

Think: I’m sure you realize by now that we are actually reading together for 103 days! The book of II Corinthians concludes with Paul’s call to “Genuine Faith” on September 13—it will be a perfect conclusion to our series, FAITH IN ACTION. But today’s reading reminds us of the continued difficulties Paul is having with the leaders in the church of Corinth. He writes, “I [Paul] hope you [Corinthians] will put up with a little more of my foolishness. Please bear with me. For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God Himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband—Christ. But I fear that some of your pure and undivided to devotion to Christ will be corrupted.” NT Wright, contemporary theologian writes, “The problem is that they are talking glibly about Jesus. . . .The true Jesus was the one who suffered unspeakably. And the teachers who have come to Corinth after Paul left had been quietly toning down this hard, rough edge of the Gospel. In particular, it doesn’t give them the reputation and status that they are hoping for.” Hmmm…

Act: Paul spends quite a bit of time defending the Gospel and Jesus against the culture. After all his persuasive speeches, he comes near to the close of this letter and says, “But I’m not surprised!” Opposition to the Gospel occurred in the 1st century, the 19th century, and in the 21st century. The Gospel is countercultural. It requires a laser-like focus to stay “true” to the teachings of Christ in any culture! Today, ask yourself, “Do I have a pure and undivided devotion to Christ? Is there anything I can do differently that would allow my family, classmates, co-workers or friends to know Jesus better because of the way I live, act, and speak?” __________________________ 

Pray: Dear Jesus, I am reminded today that the Gospel is about You dying for me! Let me live today so that others might know how grateful I am for the sacrifice You made for me. Give me a deep desire to honor You with my life and make You known within my culture. I love You. Thank you for loving me. Amen.

Be full of faith today!


DAY 98: Is it time for a personal revival?

Read: II Corinthians 10:1-18

Think: Paul is in a heated battle with some of the leaders of the Corinthian church. He is frustrated with the rebellious thinking they are stirring up within the church, so he writes, “We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons to knock down strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.” 

Act: Paul, who has planted—and loves—the church in Corinth, is irritated with them. He challenges their thinking, suggesting that they should take their thoughts—and minds—captive to Christ, not comparing “themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement.” Today, ask yourself, “Do I allow Christ to influence my thinking more than I allow my peers or culture to influence me?” Today, spend time in your journal and Bible. Identify at least one thought you have held onto that is contrary to God’s Word and His standards. Ask Jesus to take it and change it and give You His thoughts. This kind of “faith in action” will begin a personal revival in your life—a new obedience to God. Go for it!

Pray: Dear Jesus, I am growing more and more convinced that my mind is a battle ground in which I must let You knock down strongholds and destroy false arguments in my thinking. Today, take my thoughts captive to You, Jesus. Give me new thoughts—Your thoughts. I am ready for revival—a new obedience to You and Your Word! Amen.

Be full of faith today!


DAY 97: Give So That…

Read: II Corinthians 9:1-15

Think: II Corinthians 9:-6-7 says, “Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your own heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. ‘For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.’” We learned in church this past Sunday, that God wants us to give cheerfully and generously give so that we will (1) experience more of God’s generosity toward us, (2) bring more glory to God because of our generosity, and (3) have plenty left over to share with others! What great reasons to give! But, we also learned that there are barriers to giving such as worry and fear. If you want (or need) a new perspective on the benefits of becoming more generous with the gifts God has given to you, please click here listen to this week’s message from II Corinthians 9 (as well as from Matt. 6:21-33 and Malachi 3:8-11).

Act: Over the past 97 days of the “100 Days of Faith in Action” Series, we have discovered that faith is actually quite counter-cultural! For example, through I and II Corinthians, Paul has consistently challenged the church to live differently than the world—to love with patience, to sacrifice for the weaker, and in today’s reading, to give back to God in proportion to what He has given to you! None of it makes worldly sense, but that is Paul’s point! Planet earth is not the home of a Christian. Eternity is our home and we have an opportunity to store up rewards in heaven! Today, evaluate your generosity in light of II Corinthians 9. Are you a joyful or reluctant giver? Do you “plant only a few seeds” or do you “plant generously?” This week in church, we were challenged to… “Take an inventory and re-sync your thinking to consider how blessed you are…then freely give! Prayerfully consider becoming a more generous giver today. Make a commitment to give and live up to it!”

Pray: Dear Jesus, I want to become more generous by giving my time and money back to You. I know that my giving will cause me to mature in my faith. It will cause others to be reached for you (locally and globally) and it will reflect my obedience to You and Your Word. Show me specifically how and what I can give to Your church on earth. Help me not to worry, but to trust that You will take care of my needs. I love You, Lord. Amen.

Be full of faith today!