Welcome to today's encouragement from Our Daily Bread.
Today's reading, titled The Dwindels, was written by Adam Holes. It started with a tickle in my throat. Uh-oh, I thought. That tickle turned out to be influenza, and that was just the beginning of bronchial affliction. Influenza morphed into whooping cough. Yes, that whooping cough. And that turned into pneumonia. Eight weeks of torso-wracking coughing—it's not called whooping cough for nothing—has left me humbled.
I don't think of myself as old, but I'm old enough to start thinking about heading in that direction. A member of my small group at church has a funny name for the health issues that assail us as we age—the dwindles. But there's nothing funny about dwindling's work in action. In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul too wrote in his own way about the dwindles. That chapter chronicles the persecution he and his team endured. Fulfilling his mission had taken a heavy toll.
Outwardly, we are wasting away, he admitted. But even as his body failed—from age, persecution, and harsh conditions—Paul held tightly to his sustaining hope. Inwardly, we are being renewed day by day. These light and momentary troubles, he insisted, can't compare to what awaits—an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
Even as I write tonight, the dwindles claw insistently at my chest. But I know that in my life and that of anyone who clings to Christ, they'll not have the last word. Today's Our Daily Bread devotional scripture reading is from 2 Corinthians chapter 4, verses 7 through 18. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed, perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted but not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.
So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. It is written, I believed, therefore I have spoken. Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. All this is for your benefit so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore, we do not lose heart, though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day, for our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal. Let's pray. Father, even as our bodies waste away, help us to see that our value and purpose never waste away. While our bodies may grow weak with age, our years of living fill us with wisdom that is more precious than gold, and that wisdom can always be used to encourage others in their faith. May we be renewed day by day as we continue to trust you to supply our every need. Thank you, Lord. It's in Jesus' name we pray. Amen. His encouragement was provided by Our Daily Bread Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-14 21:37:46 / 2023-08-14 21:39:41 / 2