Category: 1st and 2nd Corinthians

Bind the strong man!

Scripture reading for January 20th: Mark 3

Key Scriptures: Mark 3:22-27 “And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and” by the prince of demons He casts out demons.” And He called them to Him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.”

A big part of Jesus’ ministry was casting out demons and healing those oppressed by Satan. So much so, that even His own family thought Jesus to be “out of His mind.” (Mark 3:21) The scribes came down from the religious rulers in Jerusalem and accused Jesus of using demonic power to cast out the devils. Jesus patiently called them to listen to Him and in a rabbinic posture, asked them a question: “How can Satan cast out Satan? . . .” He pointed out that a house divided against itself would not stand. He stated that in order to cast out demons (the strongman), they must be bound first. The rope or chain Jesus had used was His authority–authority from God the Father in the kingdom of heaven. He went on to warn these religious people about blasphemy of the Holy Spirit and the unforgivable sin!

Luke 11:19-20 “And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for demonstrating Your authority over the devil and demons, binding them with Your powerful Word. Give me greater discernment when I confront the forces of darkness and patience with those who lack understanding about spiritual authority.

2nd Corinthians 10:4 “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.”

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Reward from the Lord!

Scripture reading for January 15th: 2nd Timothy 4

Key Scriptures: 2nd Timothy 4:5-8, 22 “As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing.” . . . .”The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.”

Paul’s final words to his son in ministry calls him to a reminder of the eternal reward that will come on the Day of Christ when at the Judgment Seat of Christ we will all be rewarded for the deeds done in the body. Paul knew his race was at the end here on earth. He was soon to be beheaded–poured out as a ‘drink offering’! He had maintained his faith and fought a good fight to stay true to Jesus Christ, suffering for the Gospel but anticipating the reward! This reward would also be for Timothy and all others who faithfully followed and endured! God is with us and His grace will bring us through to reward! We will cast our crowns at Christ’s feet!

Daniel 12:18 “But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the promise of reward from You for faithfulness and endurance through the trials here on earth. Help me to maintain my testimony and finish the good fight in Your grace filled with Your Holy Spirit.

1st Corinthians 3:13-15 “. . .each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.”

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The God of peace and love!

Scripture reading for October 2nd: Jeremiah 14-16, Psalm 76, 2nd Corinthians 13

Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 13:11-14 “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

Paul’s closing benediction calls the church at Corinth to joy and peace in the Holy Trinity. God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit bring love, peace and joy to all the saints. They are restoring all believers and bringing comfort, agreement and peace. As believers through the grace of Jesus Christ allow and invite God the Father to live in their midst, His love and peace brings true fellowship through the Father’s gift of the Holy Spirit living in each one. This is the pattern for God’s people everywhere–and especially in our lives today!

Psalm 76:1-2 “In Judah God is known; His Name is great in Israel. His abode has been established in Salem (Peace), His dwelling place in Zion.”

Faith confession and prayer: Heavenly Father, establish Your abode in my midst and the midst of Your Church. May Your grace and peace and love flow from Your people in unity and fellowship as they are fed by Your delightful Word.

Jeremiah 15:16 “Your Words were found and I ate them, and Your Words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by Your Name, O Lord, God of hosts.”

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Conceit can bring deception!

Scripture reading for October 1st: Jeremiah 11-13, 2nd Corinthians 12

Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 12:7-10 “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me.”

Paul carefully explained how God had given him great revelations, even catching him up to the third heaven. He heard things that he could not reveal or explain. God allowed a thorn in Paul’s flesh from Satan, to keep him from conceit. Conceit is pride that puffs up a person and allows deception. Paul sought God for deliverance, but God assured him that His power would be made perfect in weakness and His grace would be sufficient to keep him. Paul’s boast now was in his weakness so Christ’s power would flow through him.

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your amazing grace that can keep me from pride and deception. Help me to boast only in You and my many weaknesses that Your power may work through me to accomplish Your will.

Jeremiah 13:15-17 “Hear and give ear; be not proud, for the Lord has spoken. Give glory to the Lord your God before He brings darkness, before your feet stumble on the twilight mountains, and while you look for light He turns it into gloom and makes it deep darkness. But if you will not listen, my soul will weep in secret for your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly and run down with tears, because the Lord’s flock has been taken captive.”

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Satan in disguise!

Scripture reading for September 30th: Jeremiah 8-10, 2nd Corinthians 11

Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 11:12-15 “And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.”

The spiritual warfare Paul warned the Corinthians about came in the form of counterfeit apostles, teachers and “Christian” workers. Satan loves to disguise himself as an ‘angel of light’ when he is really a dark fallen angel. Satan uses people he has taken captive to be his ‘deceitful workmen’ right in Christ’s church. To identify the counterfeit “Christians”, we must know the genuine Jesus and those who genuinely represent Him and His Word. If we fall for the counterfeit, we will suffer now and in eternity. The Holy Spirit will give us discernment if we are teachable.

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the Truth and the Spirit of Truth Who brings me discernment. Correct me and help me daily to stay true to You and listen only to Your Word taught by Your gifted people.

Jeremiah 10:23-24 “I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps. Correct me, O Lord, but in justice; not in Your anger lest You bring me to nothing.”

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Spiritual warfare!

Scripture reading for September 29th: Jeremiah 5-7, Psalm 75, 2nd Corinthians 10

Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 10:3-7 “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.”

Paul was concerned about false teachers and their deceptive ideas and philosophies defiling God’s people. They were making fun of his own humble stature and demeanor when he was present with them and now his bold approach to correction in his letters. Paul set them straight, that they were all in a spiritual battle. This battle was not against flesh and blood, but against wicked spiritual forces who used argument, proud ideas, and opinions contradicting Christ Jesus. We must control our thinking and use the divine weapons of prayer, worship, confession of truth and faithfulness to God’s Word to destroy the strongholds of evil attacking us.

Psalm 75:2-3 “At the set time that I appoint I will judge with equity. When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants, it is I Who keep steady its pillars.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the divine weapons You provide Your Church for pulling down strongholds. Help me today to bring every though captive to the obedience of Christ Jesus.

Jeremiah 7:23 “But this command I gave them: ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.'”

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How’s your harvest?

Scripture reading for September 28th: Jeremiah 1-4, Psalm 130, 2nd Corinthians 9

Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 9:6-9 “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”

Paul encouraged the Corinthians to give cheerfully and with purpose. He did not want to shame them or coerce them to give or to manipulate their hearts with human emotions. He did tell them spiritual truth: the law of sowing and reaping determines the harvest. For a sparing harvest, sow sparingly, but for a bountiful harvest, sow bountifully. God gives the increase and will make all grace abound to you in many areas of need in your life. The abounding harvest is more than money, but brings full sufficiency in all things at all times! Amen!

Psalm 130:5 “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His Word I hope; . . .”

Faith confession and prayer: God’s promises are true and bring encouragement and hope. I want an abundant harvest so I will sow generously and cheerfully trusting in Your Word of promised grace!

Jeremiah 1:11-12 “The Word of the Lord came to me saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see an almond branch.” Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over My Word to perform it.””

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Delighting God!

Scripture reading for September 25th: Zephaniah, Psalm 74, 2nd Corinthians 8

Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 8:1-5 “We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints–and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.”

Paul commended the Macedonian churches for their gracious giving. These churches were in severe persecution and were suffering physically and economically. But Paul was impressed with their joyful hearts and gracious giving, even beyond their means. They did not need to be persuaded, but begged to be part of the relief of other brothers and sisters. Their giving was marked by giving of themselves to the Lord first and then their offerings.

Psalm 74:12 “Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, You are my King, working salvation. Keep my heart in step with Yours, full of mercy and generosity. I give myself to You to dwell in my midst and open my hands to give as You direct.

Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God is in your midst, a Mighty One Who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.”

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Blessed godly grief!

Scripture reading for September 24th: Habakkuk; 2nd Corinthians 7

Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 7:8-11 “For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it–though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter.”

Paul had written plainly to the Corinthians this second time to appeal to them to forgive a brother who had been disciplined for sexual sins. He had some regrets at first, that he might offend them, but he ended up rejoicing when their godly grief over this brother’s sin caused him and them to repent and do the right thing. Worldly grief leads only to death–sorrow for sin alone won’t bring forgiveness and life. Godly sorrow leads to repentance and true transformation.

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to receive correction with grace and humility and true repentance. May I not shrink from godly correction of one who may need to experience mercy by repentance.

Habakkuk 3:12-13 “You marched through the earth in fury; You threshed the nations in anger. You went out for the salvation of Your people, for the salvation of Your anointed.”

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We are the Temple!

Scripture reading for September 23rd: 2nd Chronicles 34-35, 2nd Corinthians 6

Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 6:16-18 “What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make My dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me, says the Lord Almighty.”

Under the New Covenant, there is a new temple. The new temple isn’t a building of brick or stone, but it is made up of living stones that are filled with the presence of God. God promised to make His dwelling place among men. He calls men and women to come out from entanglement with the world and it’s human-centered philosophies. No more idols are to defile His temple. God welcomes us as sons and daughters, a living temple where He dwells with us!

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, there is no agreement between Your temple and idols! Deliver me from Your wrath. Fill Your temple (my body) with Your Holy Spirit and dwell in me. I joyfully accept adoption as Your son.

2nd Chronicles 34:25 “Because they have forsaken Me and have made offerings to other gods, that they might provoke Me to anger with all the works of their hands, therefore My wrath will be poured out on this place and will not be quenched.”

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