Please read 2 Corinthians 4:5-12

As a self-proclaimed baptized Christian, when people observe your words and your behavior, they draw conclusions about who you are, who Jesus is for you and the kind of church you attend.

They see light. They see darkness. They may see a blending of the darkness and the light.

Paul said it best, ‘For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake.”

The early church was under extreme stress. They were under assault from Rome and from the synagogue. They were as Paul wrote,“afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair, persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed.”

This is powerfully, poignant prose illustrating the spiritual resilience of believers.

At the heart of the resilience was the indwelling presence of the living Christ, the remembrance of his life and courage in death and the ever present hope they had through his resurrection.

You and I will discover in a lifetime, you will be afflicted, perplexed, maybe even persecuted and struck down.

In Christ, however, we have the option “not be crushed,” “not driven to despair,” “not forsaken,” “not destroyed.”

Through our deep faith in the author of our salvation, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, in him we will rise and breathe the pure, fresh air of liberating love, which overcomes darkness and death.

We are called, commissioned, ordained baptized and anointed, to prepare us to release prophetic and transforming love into every circumstance in our lives.

We carry this treasure in the ordinary moments and minutes (clay jars) of everyday life.

Paul writes of a faith that is strong and sure, able to transform and overcome any moment that seeks to make us or others less than we were meant to be as holy and beloved children of God.

Moving to the deeper places,