March 18th

Scripture - 2 Corinthians 11

Observation - Paul warned the Corinthians that people would come, claiming to serve Christ, but teach a different Gospel -even a different gospel than what Paul taught. Somehow these ‘False Apostles’ were trying to distract these believers from the truth that Paul was teaching and living. Paul had gone through great challenges for the sake of the gospel. Yet, he endured, he was encouraging the Corinthians to hold onto the truth faith too, not to be distracted by the lies these other teachers offered them.

Application - There will always be someone or something with a more attractive message, but the Gospel of Christ is true. Have you gotten sidetracked by distracting teachings -maybe not even by false gospels, but by teaching that has turned molehills into mountains? Take some time to remember that God invites us to find our HOPE in the Simple Gospel of Christ Jesus, our savior. We invite you to take time to realign your focus on God’s true Plan, Hope, and Future for you and all of His church.

Prayer - God, Help me to fix my eyes on you rather than the millions of distractions that cloud my thoughts on a daily basis. Protect my mind and heart from false teaching and any thing that would distract me from your gospel. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

March 17th

Scripture - 2 Corinthians 10

Observation - Paul speaks to the Christians in Corinth with a gentle voice but tries to get his point across to them.  On many occasions, Paul had to defend himself to the Christians in Corinth. Some thought he was ministering from his flesh and not from God. Paul was human just like each of us and had struggles just like the rest of us. But that’s when he suited himself up with the armor of God, while the Corinthian Christians used manipulation, personal success, words, perception of power, and human schemes. Paul wanted to teach them to fight for the sake of the kingdom rather than their own successes. Rather than pursuing their own accolades, Paul wanted them to live for God’s approval.

Application - Many times we come unequipped to the battle. While we do fight our flesh when temptation hits, our main fight is with the enemy. He comes at us fast and hard and we have to be on our guard, ready to fight at all times. Take time to invite God to equip you for the battle you are fighting.

Prayer - God, help me to fight my battles, equipped with strength from You. Help me to always be alert and ready when attacks come my way. I will stand strong on your word. Fill my life with your love and strength. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

March 16th

Scripture - 2 Corinthians 9

Observation - Being diligent with your finances is what Paul emphasizes in this chapter. The Corinthian Christians were having a hard time with giving. Paul uses sarcasm or maybe even humor to get the Corinthian Christians in the mindset to willingly give selflessly. He uses an analogy of a farmer sowing seeds to help his readers understand what he’s saying. When a farmer doesn’t plant a lot of seeds, he shouldn’t expect much to grow, but when he goes above and beyond with the seeds that he plants, he will see a lot more growth. The same is with our giving to God. When we give from our hearts and with generosity, God will go above and beyond to bless you back. But when you hold back from God, He will hold back from you. 

Application - When we trust God with our finances, we know and can trust that God will give us an abundance of reward both here and in heaven. When we give to God’s kingdom, it’s just not money that is brought back to us, we see growth in our faith, in winning souls and ministering to the community. How can you be a more generous giver? What is a tangible way that you can personally respond to what Paul teaches in 2 Corinthians 9?

Prayer - Father, I don’t want to hold anything back from you. When it comes to the money that you’ve trusted me with, I don’t ever want to try to hold my money all to myself. Teach me how to be a generous giver and pour into your kingdom, in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen

March 15th

Scripture - 2 Corinthians 8

Observation - Paul tells the Corinthians about how the Macedonian Christians who were poor and distressed themselves, gave generously to those who live in Jerusalem who they had never met. Paul urges the Corinthians to follow the very same example.

Application - Paul helped the Corinthians look at generosity as something that everyone could practice. How can you learn to be more generous with the finances that you have? Do you hide anything for God, or are you an open book? When we are good stewards with God’s money, he also gives back. 

Prayer - God, I surrender my finances to you. I trust you with all that I have been given. I ask that you remove my fears, worries, and anxiety about money and replace them with faith. I know that you will provide as I begin to trust in you. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

March 14th

Scripture - 2 Corinthians 7

Observation - Paul continued to address the Corinthians about their morals. Most of them had been letting things slip, especially when it came to keeping their bodies pure. Paul tried to talk to them in a brotherly love kind of way. He encouraged them to step away from anything that defiles their bodies. God wants his followers to live a more holy life.

Application - Living a more holy life means leaving behind the thoughts, activities, actions, and words that distract us from following Jesus. That’s not an easy road to travel. Spend time evaluating your life. What activities or relationships do you need to adjust? What is beneficial to your walk with God and what is not?

Prayer - God, help me walk in the direction that you are guiding me in. Show me what needs to be in my life and what needs to be surrendered to You. Help me walk a holier life with you. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

March 13th

Scripture - 2 Corinthians 6

Observation - Paul explained to the Corinthians that their good works were not reason they received God’s grace. Grace is always freely given. Just because grace is given freely, doesn’t mean that we should become complacent in following Jesus. Paul then continues on to write to the Corinthians about how following Jesus, ministry, and life in general can be challenging, even as we follow Jesus. Paul had poured out his life for their sake, but they had not opened their hearts to him. He urged them in verse 13 to open their hearts to him too— it seems that he was teaching them to not be just takers, but givers too. Then Paul urges his readers not to let anything be more important than God - no relationship, no job, nothing at all.

Application - Take a few minutes to thank God for his GRACE that he has given you so freely. God gives us grace so freely, and even places amazing mentors in our lives. Is there a person like Paul in your life that you could bless like Paul urged the Corinthians to do for him? Finally, take a few moments to examine your heart- is there anything that is sneaking it’s way into a more important place in your life than God? Take a step to lay down that distraction, or reassess your priorities.

Prayer - Father, you see my weaknesses and my failings, and without you I cannot accomplish what you have set before me.  Your grace is never ending over my life. Give me patience as I walk out the path you have set before me. Help me to see people that I can give back to in my life. Finally, let nothing take a higher priority than you. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

March 12th

Scripture - 2 Corinthians 5

Observe it - Here we see that we must move past our old lives of sin and instead move towards our relationship with Christ. “In Christ” profoundly expresses the significance of our redemption. It speaks of the Power of the One who bears God’s judgment for our sin. We have assurance of a present and future glory that goes beyond our human comprehension. The miracle of new birth is the basis by which Paul pleads with others; be reconciled with God. 

Apply It - It’s funny how many times Satan tries to remind of us of the past life we once used to live. He likes to plant little seeds in our heads and let our thoughts run wild. But, when we reconcile with God, all that past, sinful life is washed clean by His blood! So, the next time Satan tries to bully you with his words, just remind him that he was a lost cause once Christ died on the cross. Satan’s power is nothing compared to the power of our Father God!

Prayer - Lord, help me to trust you and empower me through your Spirit to stop my emotions for getting the better of me. I want to quit worrying about what might happen and focus on what has already happened. I want to focus on the faithfulness you have presented in my life. In your name I pray, amen

March 11th

Scripture - 2 Corinthians 4

Observation - Paul encourages the church not to preach about ourselves, but instead about Christ “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. Greek We now have this treasure in clay jars. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” We are simply vessels that God shines his light through as we cling to HOPE from God and not ourselves.

Application - What does it look like for us to allow God’s message of Hope to be shared through our lives? It’s so easy to talk about ourselves, to be focused on our needs and wants. What if we were occupied by a deep desire to share God’s HOPE and the LIGHT he wants to shine through us? How does living with that focus change your plans for today, your conversations, your speech?

Prayer - God, will you shine your light through me today? Will you help me be more occupied with sharing the message of HOPE and LIFE that you have, than living for myself? Thank you for patiently walking with me every step of my life, and allowing this fragile clay jar to carry your Hope to the world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

March 10th

Scripture - 2 Corinthians 3

Observation - Hope is the main focus of this passage. Before, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai, he covered his face to hide the glory of God from the Israelites. This was just a glimpse of God’s glory. Today, because of what Christ has done, and Holy Spirit’s presence, God’s glory is being displayed even more powerfully. We get to display God’s glory through our lives! In fact, the more we let it shine for the world to see, the more we show off hope to the world. We are slowly being changed from the inside out as we surrender to His Spirit filling us more and more. 

Application - God wants to display his glory through you! What areas of your life can you step out and surrender to God today? “So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” You are His image bearer!

Prayer - Lord, I thank you that your truth dwells in the atmosphere of your presence. I worship you in the splendor of your holiness. I praise you because you are mighty, powerful, loving, and kind. I thank you that you will break through the veils -the dry, hard areas of my life in order to display Your glory. In Your name I pray, Amen.

March 9th

Scripture - 2 Corinthians 2

Observe It - Romans would take their captives and lead them through the crowds that lined the streets. We were once captives, but now we are overcome by God’s love and taken captive to his victory parade. We are on display for all the world to see how God’s goodness radiates in our lives. We are a sweet aroma, pleasing to God, but if we reject God, we bring on an odor of death. 

Apply It - God loves nothing more than to show his love through us. We are his creation, made in his image. We reflect all that God is to a dark and hurting world. When we step away from his light, we no longer shine, but instead fade into the darkness. What areas of your life are that sweet aroma to the world? What areas do you need to surrender and allow God to bring back into alignment with him?

Prayer - Father, take my life and make it yours. Let me be a reflection of your love, grace, joy, and peace. Gather me into your arms so that I might find rest there. I ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

March 8th

Scripture - 2 Corinthians 1

Observe It - Paul opens this letter by telling the Corinthians about his experiences in Asia. When he was there, he wasn’t sure he’d leave the area and make it back home. Paul claims that suffering for God leads to compassion for others. What Paul meant by that was that when we follow Christ, there can be times we suffer, get made fun of, become the least popular person or worse. God takes the challenges that we face and gives us strength as he guides us and offers us comfort along the way. 

Apply It - Even though it seems like we face the worst in life when we choose to follow Christ, we know that he is always there beside us. He is our guiding force that gets us through those difficult times. What is your faith costing you right now? Could it be that God is forming something more significant in you because of that challenge?

Prayer - God, I ask that you meet me where I am at today. Life seems to find a way of overwhelming me. Some days, it feels like I won’t get through the day, or there’s a heavy weight weighing me down. I ask that you take those troubles and worries and replace them with your peace and hope. I love you father. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

March 7th

Scripture - 1 Corinthians 16

Observation — Paul gave the church instructions on how to generously take care of the church in Jerusalem. He also wrote to them about Timothy coming to the church, encouraging them to respect him as he does God’s work too. In closing this letter, Paul shows us just how important community is within the Church as he refers to a number of believers that he is connected with.

Paul closes this letter by telling the Corinthians to, “Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.”

Application — How can you be an encouragement to other Christ followers - both at 2911 and other churches? How can you respond to Paul’s words, “Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.”

Prayer — God, may I always be motivated by LOVE in all I do. Help me to remember this faith is meant to be lived out in the context of community. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

March 6th

Scripture - 1 Corinthians 15

Observation — Paul reminds the Corinthians that Christ rose from the dead. He also explains that as Christ followers, we will be resurrected too. Not to this life, but into eternity. If there were no resurrection, all that he preached, all of their church activities would be useless. Here’s the catch- if we believe that Jesus was only a good teacher, then our resurrection is not possible. Jesus rose from the grave so that we could be raised from the dead too. We cannot achieve salvation or resurrection without Christ.

Application — There is a lot activity surrounding our faith in God, the Church, and Theology. What molehills have you gotten caught up on that have distracted you from the fact that Jesus rose from the grave? What area of your life do you need to declare the scripture that Paul quoted: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” God’s overcoming work meets us in our day to day and is for our eternity.

Prayer — God, When things seem hopeless, help me remember that you have overcome the grave, that you are greater than my biggest failure and faults. Help me remember that my faith, my HOPE is built on Christ the Solid Rock who overcame sin, death, and the grave. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

March 5th

Scripture - 1 Corinthians 14

Observe It — How can our spiritual gifts benefit the body of Christ? It was a question Paul began to ask the Christians in Corinth. The Corinthians were getting caught up in their own individual gifts and what they thought were the highest forms of spirituality. They were missing the point that every gift is made to encourage and rally the church, even to draw people to God. Paul was also giving the Corinthians guidelines on how to be spirit led, yet members in a community working together as we worship as one.

Apply It — Have you ever wanted to have a specific gift to use in ministry? God will meet you right where you are at. A good scripture to study this week is Acts 2 where the New Testament Christians met in the upper room and prayed until the Holy Spirit met them there. God can fill you, empower you, and equip you with exactly what you need to carry out the work of the ministry.

Prayer — Father, I recognize my need for Your power to live this new life. Please fill me with Your Holy Spirit. By faith, I receive Holy Spirit and the work he wants to do in and through me. Thank you for filling me, empowering me, and equipping me. Holy Spirit, You are welcome in my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

March 4th

Scripture - 1 Corinthians 13

Observe it — This chapter speaks on love. Love is selfless, kind, sacrificial, and unconditional. This is the love Jesus has for humanity. Paul was attempting to teach the Corinthians what Real Love looks like. When love drives our life, our actions, we reflect our Savior.

Apply It — Review the chapter and its words and write down what love is and what it isn’t. Take a quiet moment of reflection and let God speak his love to you. Ask God as you continue studying his words to build up loving characteristics inside of you.

Prayer — Father, Love is the most important thing to have in my life. If there are areas of my life where I lack in love, would you transform my heart to love like you love. I want my whole life to reflect the love you have shown me. Help me to continue learning to love selflessly. In Your name I pray, Amen.

March 3rd

Scripture - 1 Corinthians 12

Observe It - Paul explores just a few of the many gifts that God gives his followers. If a body was made up of just eyes, we couldn’t go anywhere. Each part is vastly different, but each part plays a role in the community.

Paul lists a few parts of the church: first are apostles, second are prophets, third are teachers, then those who do miracles, those who have the gift of healing, those who can help others, those who have the gift of leadership, those who speak in unknown languages… There are so many different parts of the Church!

Apply It — We need all the parts of the church… what part or role do you feel God has created you to play during this season of life? Are there some things that you realize God has not called you to do and may need invite someone else to do instead? Take some time today to encourage someone that has a different gift and role to play?

Prayer — Father, You have made me you unique- different from everyone else, there is no one exactly like me in the world. Thank you for the gifts and roles that you’ve called me to contribute to your church. Thank you God, Amen.

March 2nd

Scripture - 1 Corinthians 11

Observe It - In this time, it was improper for a woman to have her head uncovered. It meant she was loose and promiscuous. But, the women in Corinth loved to worship freely alongside their male counterparts, without their head coverings just as they were. Some saw men have a higher rank then women. But Paul states to them that God is not above the Son, just as man is not above women. God and the Son are equal, with varied roles, just as men and women are.  Paul also noticed that there was disunity when it came to the “love feast” after communion. The people were not united because the rich brought more and ate more, and the poor left hungry. Paul tells them all to check their hearts to see how they all interact with one another. 

Apply It - We still deal with different classes and races today. We can see in the news stories that pop all the time full of hate crimes. But, when we live with the Lord, those barriers of race and rich and poor are dropped. We are all one people who love God. When we begin to see that, we begin to put others first and ourselves last. We become a people who are willing to serve.

Prayer - God, help me to check my heart for any imbalances. I want to look at others as you do. Break my spirit God, help me to love others and serve others better. In my work, home, and church God, I want to be of service and go above and beyond the norm. In your name I pray, Amen.

March 1st

Scripture - 1 Corinthians 10

Observe it - Temptation will always come your way, but God is always right there standing beside you. Temptation is not the part that is sinful. Sin happens when we give into temptation. Paul gives rest to the weary Christians in Corinth. He tells them that they can ask God for help. Paul was teaching them that when they rely on God, they will begin to see that He has provided a way to help them resist temptation.

Apply It - Where do you struggle lately? What tempt you regularly? Even the Christ was tempted. It’s hard sometimes to face temptations, especially when we’ve come out of our old life. The best way to fight temptation and our old ways is to look to God for help. How do we connect with God? We can connect through reading the Bible (like you are here in SOAP), praying, and by surrounding yourself with other believers. God knows that things can be rough in our day-to-day. That’s why your relationship with Him is super important. Growing and cultivating our relationship with God will create strong roots that the enemy cannot destroy.

Prayer - God, help me to grow strong as I spend each day with you. I want my roots to grow down deep and be strong so that when temptations come my way, I can stand strong in you. Be by my side as I grow in you. In your name I pray, Amen.

February 28th

Scripture - 1 Corinthians 9

Observe It - Here we have Paul once again addressing the Corinthians. They were trying to get down to a science on what they could and couldn’t do. Paul’s heart was the exact opposite. He was working hard to spread the message of Jesus; something he tried to teach to the Christians in Corinth. Paul also explained that living a life with Jesus was like a race. We all were working hard, training hard, and running hard to obtain the ultimate prize; life in heaven with Jesus. Paul knew the hard work it took to preach truth and love. He couldn’t just sit idle, hoping that the gospel would just spread. He dedicated every part of his life to talk about Jesus.

Apply It - Do you work hard for your dreams, or do you just sit back hoping everything lines up? It’s really a nice thought. It would be great to sit and wait for God to deliver our hearts desires to us. It doesn’t quite work like that though. In order to get to where we want to go, we have to work hard and not be lazy. As you work hard, God will meet you right where you are at. He’s your biggest cheerleader.

Prayer - God, help me to not be lazy and complacent in my work. I do not want to get to a place that is comfortable and take advantage of what you are doing through me. Give me the drive and passion that I may lack in my life to get me where you want me to be. Thank you for continuing your work in and through me. In Your name I pray, Amen.