Category: 1st and 2nd Corinthians

Faithfulness brings mercy!

Scripture reading for September 11th: 1st Timothy 1, Psalm 31, Proverbs 26

1st Timothy 1:12-17 “I thank Him Who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because He judged me faithful, appointing me to His service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display His perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in Him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”

Paul begins his letter to his young ‘son’ in the faith by sharing about how he received Christ’s mercy, Paul considered himself the ‘foremost’ of sinners, because he persecuted God’s people and even had some murdered out of zeal for the law and ignorance of faith and grace. He was worthy of great punishment and rejection by God. But through Christ Jesus, Paul received grace and an appointment into God’s service. He came to realize that it was Christ’s primary mission to save sinners, even ones as bad as he was! Christ used the miraculous change in Paul’s life as an example to others and as a display of God’s perfect patience. All Paul could do, along with us, was worship the King of the Ages Who lives forever and ever! God’s faithfulness and patience brought Paul into His family and us who believe as well!

Psalm 31:3-5 “For You are my Rock and my Fortress; and for Your Name’s sake You lead me and guide me; you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for You are my Refuge. Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your amazing patience with me and the grace You have shown to all sinners throughout history. It is Your love and faithfulness that have brought me to a place of repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. You have delivered me from pride and flattery as well as lying and violence. You are my King Eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God. You are worthy of honor and glory forever!

Proverbs 26:28 “A lying tongue hates its victims, and a flattering mouth works ruin.”

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Healthy self-examination

Scripture reading for September 8th: 2nd Corinthians 13, Psalm 30, Proverbs 25

2nd Corinthians 13: 5-9 “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?–unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test. But we pray to God that you may not do wrong–not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for.”

It is a hard thing to be honest with ourselves. It has been said that the kingdom of ‘self’ is highly defended territory! But Paul encourages a healthy self examination to these Corinthian believers. They are to determine if they have truly invited Jesus Christ to live in them and are living by faith in His sacrifice on the cross for their salvation. God wants us to know that we have been forgiven and healed from the ravages of selfishness and sin. He wants us restored to humble confidence in Him and His power and ability to save us. He wants us free from self-deception and dead works based on human effort that we sometimes use instead of resting in God’s grace in Christ. That’s good news from heaven for us today!

Psalm 30:2-3 “O Lord my God, I cried to You for help, and You have healed me. O Lord, You have brought up my soul from Sheol; You restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.”

Prayer: Father God, help me today to examine myself with honesty and Truth. Show me where I am in need of repentance and restoration. Deliver me from pride in my own abilities and the deception of trying to earn my place in Your kingdom. I choose to invite Jesus Christ to live in me today and lead me in the path of grace and eternal life. Use me to share this ‘good news’ from heaven!

Proverbs 25:25 “Like cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.”

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Strength through weakness

Scripture reading for September 7th: 2nd Corinthians 12, Psalm 29, Proverbs 24

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 upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

People often boast of their strengths and skills. Self-promotion and pride go hand in hand. But Paul encouraged believers by what he had learned through many trials and tests. Although Paul had great wisdom and amazing revelations of the glory of heaven, he was weak. To keep him from being conceited, a messenger of Satan was permitted to attack Paul in his flesh. We don’t know exactly what this trial was, except that after praying three times, the Lord instructed Paul to rely on His grace! God said His power is perfected in weakness. For Christ’s sake, Paul chose to be content with God’s grace and found new strength in his weaknesses! This is the upside/down principle of kingdom living as we endure earth’s trials and receive greater revelation of our Lord.

Psalm 29:10-11 “The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as King forever. May the Lord give strength to His people! May the Lord bless His people with peace!”

Prayer: Father God, Your grace is indeed sufficient for me. You are King forever and You Alone can give me strength and peace in every trial and test of life. Thank You for the revelation of Your Son as my Savior and King. Thank You for the Holy Spirit as my Counselor, Who takes Your Truth and reveals it to my soul, giving me strength and the assurance of victory! To You be all glory and honor, forever!

Proverbs 24:5-6 “A wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might, for by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory.”

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Angel of light

Scripture reading for September 6th: 2nd Corinthians 11, Psalm 28, Proverbs 23

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 apostle, 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.”

Like sparkling wine, that looks good and goes down smoothly, so are those who are false apostles and deceitful workmen in the Church of Jesus Christ. These false workers disguise themselves as ‘apostles of Christ’ and boast of their great knowledge and love for God. In reality, they are serving the master of disguise: Satan the ‘angel of light!’ Their false teaching is not the true Gospel and the ‘Jesus’ they claim to serve is not Jesus Christ, Son of God. They also claim to have the ‘spirit’, but that ‘spirit’ is not the Holy Spirit but the very spirit of the devil. God will expose them and reward them for their evil deeds! Beware of that which is counterfeit!

Psalm 28:3-4 “Do not drag me off with the wicked, with the workers of evil, who speak peace with their neighbors while evil is in their hearts. Give to them according to their work and according to the evil of their deeds; give to them according to the work of their hands; render them their due reward.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for the true Gospel of salvation by repentance and faith through Your grace in giving Your Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins. Open the eyes of those who are in a state of deception, claiming to be apostles of Jesus but really lost. Give us discernment and Truth to stand firm and rest in Your grace. Use me to proclaim the truth and warn Your people of deception.

Proverbs 23:31-33 “Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder. Your eyes will see strange things and your heart will utter perverse things.”

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Boasting in the Lord!

Scripture reading for September 5th: 2nd Corinthians 10, Psalm 27, Proverbs 22

2nd Corinthians 10: 14-18 “For we were the first to come all the way to you with the Gospel of Christ. We do not boast beyond limit in the labors of others. But our hope is that as your faith increases, our area of influence among you may be greatly enlarged, so that we may preach the Gospel in lands beyond you, without boasting of work already done in another’s area of influence. “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.”

Boasting of our talents, abilities, and conquests is a common phenomena among all people. Even God’s people can get caught up in this! Paul shared with the Corinthians how he was the first minister of the Gospel to come to them. He was proud that he was the first and he desired also to preach to them and see Christ formed in them as well as to press beyond their country to others who had not yet heard the Good News. But Paul stressed that his boasting was “in the Lord” Who sent him and gave him the privilege of knowing Christ and sharing with those still without salvation. His desire was to be commended by the Lord and fully accomplish all God sent him to do in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 27:1,14 “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” . . .”Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for the call to preach the Gospel. In most cases, I have gone and followed the work of others who went before me. Thank You for those receiving salvation through Your Holy Word and the drawing of Your Holy Spirit. I can only boast in You, Lord, as all that has been done is for Your glory. Your are my Light and my Salvation. You are the Stronghold of my life! I wait on You each day!

Proverbs 22:29 “Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.”

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Enriched to be generous!

Scripture reading for September 4th: 2nd Corinthians 9, Psalm 26, Proverbs 21

2nd Corinthians 9: 10-15 “He Who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the Gospel of Christ and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for His inexpressible Gift!”

When we by faith put our lives in God’s hands through faith in Jesus Christ, we are adopted into God’s family. We then have God as our Father pouring out blessings on us as His children. God is the great Giver, supplying seed to the sower and bread for all of His creation. Now as His children, we have vision to see His abundant supply. Paul stated it like this: “You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.” Paul was encouraging the Corinthians to give to those in need as God had poured out His blessing on them. This act of giving would produce thanksgiving to God and blessing for them and God would again pour out new blessings so that this cycle of giving and blessing and thanksgiving might continue to the glory of God!

Psalm 26:11-12 “But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity; redeem me, and be gracious to me. My foot stands on level ground; in the great assembly I will bless the Lord.”

Prayer: Father God, the Great Giver of seed and bread, thank You for giving first to me the understanding of Your great generosity in the Gift of Your Son. Help me to grow in understanding of the great riches I have in Christ Jesus and to grow in this grace of giving. Turn my heart to give to Your work and to those in need. May all that is given bring glory to You and increase thanksgiving and worship! Amen!

Proverbs 21:1 “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He will.”

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Generosity produces joy!

Scripture reading for September 1st: 2nd Corinthians 8, Psalm 25, Proverbs 20

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 encouraged the believers with a testimony about the churches of Macedonia. They were in a severe test of affliction and persecution but begged Paul for the opportunity to give. This was because they had given themselves to the Lord as His children and servants when they believed. God’s grace, working in them, caused them to freely give of themselves and of their finances. Many were in extreme poverty because of the persecution, but they gave beyond their means. This giving for the relief of the saints cause an abundance of joy and rejoicing. Not only among those giving, but also among the saints receiving the needed help! God’s ways and paths are beyond the world’s understanding! The faithful and generous are blessed!

Psalm 25:4-5 “Make me to know Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for Your are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all the day long.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for demonstrating joyful giving through the giving or Your Son, Jesus Christ for us who were sinners. Thank you for the joy that this free gift of salvation has brought to believers throughout the world and for all time. Use me to overflow with generosity to help refresh the saints and experience the abundant joy of cheerful giving.

Proverbs 20:6 “Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find?”

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Repentance with godly grief

Scripture reading for August 31st: 2nd Corinthians 7, Psalm 24, Proverbs 19

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 little 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 urged them earlier in his letter to forgive the brother who had been in gross immorality. (2nd Corinthians 2:1-9) He explained to them the working of ‘godly grief’ that leads to true repentance and a change of direction. Some people only experience ‘worldly grief’, which is being sorry that your wrong choice of action was found out. This kind of grief produces death, whereas, godly grief produces repentance and true salvation. Its fruit is eagerness to do what is right, willingness to discipline those who are in sin, and upholding the integrity of God’s Word. Since we are all sinners, we all need godly sorrow to produce the necessary repentance. God will give the repentant clean hands and a pure heart. A man of understanding will gain knowledge through reproof.

Psalm 24:3-5 “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for sending those who will reprove me in love when I have done wrong. Thank You for giving me ‘godly sorrow’ over my sins, bringing true repentance and life. As an elder in Your Church, help me to correct others with grace and tears, following the example of Jesus Christ and His apostles. Give our nation’s people this gift of godly sorrow over sins and true repentance leading to life.

Psalm 19:25 “Strike a scoffer, and the simple will learn prudence; reprove a man of understanding, and he will gain knowledge. ”

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The faithful will endure!

Scripture reading for August 30th: 2nd Corinthians 6, Psalm 23, Proverbs 18

2nd Corinthians 6:1-7 “Working together with Him, then we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger, by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; . .”

Paul emphasized to the Corinthians that it was Jesus Christ Who brought God’s amazing grace and would enable them to endure. Paul worked with Jesus to appeal to them to stay true to grace. They had been saved but were being tempted to turn away. Now was the favorable time to stay true, and ‘today’ was the day of salvation. Paul used his life and that of his fellow-workers as examples of God’s keeping power, no matter what the trial or obstacle. By following the Holy Spirit and trusting in God’s Word and power, they stood firm and overcame. Walking the path of faith is a ‘today’ activity! Depending on Jesus never fails!

Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for the Friend that sticks closer than a brother, Jesus Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit Who empowers me day by day. Give me wisdom and encouragement to help those who are faltering in their faith by pointing them to You, our Great Shepherd. Thank You for Your genuine love and mercy, and power to keep me from receiving Your grace in vain.

Proverbs 18:24 “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

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Good courage before Christ!

Scripture reading for August 29th: 2nd Corinthians 5, Psalm 22, Proverbs 17

2nd Corinthians 5:6-10 “So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and be at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”

Paul taught the believers that judgment was coming for all believers at the judgment seat of Christ where each person individually would receive reward or suffer loss, depending on how they used their allotted time on earth and were obedient to live by faith in God’s Word. Paul encouraged them that they could be of good courage at all times if they lived a life of faith, following the Lord faithfully. They could have courage in this life as well as confidence in the life to come and before Christ at His judgment seat. It is only by faith that we can please God. Faith brings confidence and assurance in the unseen realities and promises of God.

Psalm 22:27-28 “All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You. For kingship belongs to the Lord, and He rules over the nations.”

Prayer: Father God, Your Word and Your justice through Your Son Jesus Christ give me great courage and confidence. Thank You for leading me into a life of faith. Thank You for calling me out of this self-centered world system to live in freedom serving You in obedience, worship and good works. Help me to remind others of their need to live by faith and the confidence all can have who rely on Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 17:15 “He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the Lord.”

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