Peter and I both have loose, similar schedules for reading the Bible. It's a pretty cool, simple system that I should share with you at some point, and it provides stability and direction for our personal times of devotion. It also puts us on "the same page" so we can talk about what God has shown us later on in our day and week.
This morning Peter and I had a few moments together in the car before we began our day, and Peter popped in a podcast he had been chewing on this week to share with me. Damon Thompson's passionate preaching boomed though on the topic of the fear of the Lord, and he went to this passage in scripture full of power and revelation. As he was sharing the verse, Peter mentioned to me that he had just stumbled upon the exact same passage before he had heard the message. Then, as I was listening, I realized I too had just read that part of scripture in the past weeks. As we were talking, we realized we had even highlighted some of the same verses.
And then it struck us--this wasn't even close to our reading schedule! Wow. How amazing is our God? Not only did he put time into our lives for us to be encouraged though the podcast together, but he worked in our hearts and led us to the same chapter on His own time. Then on top of that, to prove again to us that He is God, all-knowing, all-present, all-powerful, He drew our hearts to the same verses as a confirmation that we both follow His leading and are in the correct place and season in our lives. Amazing.
So, what was the passage? 2 Corinthians 5:11-20.
Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord,
we work hard to persuade others.
God knows we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too.
Are we commending ourselves to you again?
No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us,
so you can answer those who brag about
having a spectacular ministry
rather than having a sincere heart.
If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God.
And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit.
Either way, Christ's love controls us.
Since we believe that Christ died for all,
we also believe that we have all died to our old life.
He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves.
Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.
So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view.
At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view.
How differently we know him now!
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person.
The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
And all of this is a gift from God,
who brought us back to himself through Christ.
And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.
For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself,
no longer counting people's sins against them.
And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.
So we are Christ's ambassadors;
God is making his appeal through us.
We speak for Christ when we plead,
"Come back to God!"