ImmerseMessiah NLT - Page 172


in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”
And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have
everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say,
“They share freely and give generously to the poor.
Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”
For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to
eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then
produce a great harvest of generosity in you.
Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will
thank God. So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—
the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully
express their thanks to God.
As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to
the Good News of Christ. And they will pray for you with deep affection
because of the overflowing grace God has given to you. Thank God for
this gift too wonderful for words!
Now I, Paul, appeal to you with the gentleness and kindness of Christ—
though I realize you think I am timid in person and bold only when I write
from far away. Well, I am begging you now so that when I come I won’t
have to be bold with those who think we act from human motives.
We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s
mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the 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. And after you have become fully
obedient, we will punish everyone who remains disobedient.
Look at the obvious facts. Those who say they belong to Christ must
recognize that we belong to Christ as much as they do. I may seem to be
boasting too much about the authority given to us by the Lord. But our
authority builds you up; it doesn’t tear you down. So I will not be ashamed
of using my authority.
I’m not trying to frighten you by my letters. For some say, “Paul’s letters
are demanding and forceful, but in person he is weak, and his speeches are
worthless!” Those people should realize that our actions when we arrive
in person will be as forceful as what we say in our letters from far away.

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