Defusing Satan’s designs!
Scripture reading for September 19th: Isaiah 64-66, 2nd Corinthians 2
2nd Corinthians 2: 5-11 “Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure–not to put it too severely–to all of you. For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, so that we would not be outwitted by Satan: for we are not ignorant of his designs.”
Paul wrote this second letter in part to this church family to encourage them to forgive a repentant brother that was under discipline as a result of serious sexual sin. (1st Corinthians 5) Paul and the church leadership had put this person out of the church for the destruction of his flesh that he might ultimately repent and be saved. Paul noted that this discipline process had worked and that now the church needed to forgive and restore this person. Satan’s design was to destroy this man and the church through strife and unforgiveness. In forgiving, the church would totally defuse any design of Satan to destroy anyone involved and spread the aroma of Christ’s mercy and restoration to many.
2nd Corinthians 2:14-16 “But thanks be to God, Who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for giving us insight into Satan’s designs and traps and for protecting us through clear instructions in Your eternal Word. Help me to always forgive and restore those who are contrite and repentant and demonstrate the love and mercy of Your Son Jesus Christ. Allow the fragrance of Christ in me to spread the knowledge of Him everywhere.
Isaiah 66:1-2 “Thus says the Lord: “Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool; what is the house that you would build for Me and what is My place of rest? All these things My hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at My Word.”
Love and grace are essentials
Scripture reading for September 15th: Isaiah 56-59, Psalm 70, 1st Corinthians 16
1st Corinthians 16: 11-12, 21 “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act as men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. . . . I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. If anyone has no love for the Lord; let him be accursed. Our Lord, Come! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.”
Paul closed this letter of encouragement and teaching to this church family with simple words of truth. Watchfulness was needed because of the false teachers who sough to draw them away from the Gospel truth. They must stand firm in their faith yet show love to all–even to those who might be opposed to them and the truth of the Gospel. But loving our Lord was not an option, but an essential. Paul reminded them that anyone who did not love Jesus and claimed to be a believer was under a curse. God’s grace is a gift to be received and held on to. Paul assured them of this and of his own love for them as he wrote this letter of correction and instruction as their father in the faith.
Isaiah 59:19-21 “”So they shall fear the Name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun; for He will come like a rushing stream, which the wind of the Lord drives. And a Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression,” declares the Lord. “And as for Me, this is My covenant with them,” says the Lord; “My Spirit that is upon you, and My Words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children’s offspring,” says the Lord, “from this time forth and forevermore.””
Prayer: Father in heaven, thank You for Your love shown to us in Jesus Christ, Who laid down His life for us. Thank You for the Gift of the Holy Spirit to abide in us always and release Your love in us and through us to a lost world. I love you and pray for grace in my children and grand-children and all offspring to know You and be filled with the promised Holy Spirit. Let it not depart from them forever! Amen!
Psalm 70::4-5 “May all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You! May those who love Your salvation say evermore, “God is great!” But I am poor and needy; hasten to me, O God! Your are my Help and my Deliverer; O Lord, do not delay.”
The Gospel of first importance!
Scripture reading for September 14th: Isaiah 53-55, Psalm 128, 1st Corinthians 15
1st Corinthians 15: 1-8 “Now I want to remind you, brothers, of the Gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the Word I preached to you–unless you have believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures; that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then He appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some who have fallen asleep.
Paul gave the church at Corinth a simple summary of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel covers the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in accordance with the Scriptures of the Old Testament. Paul had received this Gospel from Jesus Christ Himself and that was the basis of all his preaching. Christ confirmed His resurrection from the dead by appearing in His resurrection body to Peter and all His disciples plus a crowd of five hundred and even to Paul. The Gospel message is God’s message of love to lost mankind. Through the Gospel, God reveals His righteousness as well as His justice in Jesus Christ. It is the power of God for salvation to the Jew and Gentile.
Isaiah 55:10-11 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My Word be that goes out from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for sending Your Word, first through the holy prophets of the Old Testament and then in the person of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank You for the Gospel message of Jesus’ virgin birth, obedient life, sacrificial death and glorious resurrection. Thank You for accomplishing this mission of salvation for us, lost sinners living in darkness. Multiply fruit through my submitted life.
Psalm 128:1-2 “Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways! Your shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.”
Building up the church!
Scripture reading for September 13th: Isaiah 49-52, Psalm 69, 1st Corinthians 14
1st Corinthians 14: 1-5 “Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be build up”
Paul wrote to instruct the new Corinthian believers on the proper use of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. There had been confusion in their midst as those speaking in tongues were talking in their spiritual languages and no one was interpreting. Unbelievers could not understand and were confused and believers also could not be edified because they did not understand what was being said. However, prophesy is speaking in a known language under the influence of the Holy Spirit and it is profitable for all who hear. It builds up the believers in the Church and it brings conviction on the unbelievers. If tongues are spoken, they need to be interpreted. Tongues plus the gift of interpretation is the same as prophesy. Then all can be edified. Jesus Christ modeled prophesy in His living and His speaking as Isaiah the prophet foresaw.
Isaiah 50:4-5 “The Lord has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning He awakens; He awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught. The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious; I turned not backward.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for the Holy Spirit and the gifts He brings to build up Your Church. Thank You for those given gifts of prophesy and tongues and words of wisdom and knowledge. Teach my tongue through Your Holy Spirit to speak words that builds up Your Church and encourages those who are weary. Open my ears to hear Your voice and direction in each opportunity.
Psalm 69:30-32 “I will praise the Name of God with a song; I will magnify Him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs. When the humble see it they will be glad; you who seek God, let your hearts revive. For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise His own people who are prisoners.”
Faith, Hope, and Love abide!
Scripture reading for September 12th: Isaiah 45-48, 1st Corinthians 13
1st Corinthians 13: 4-7 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, endures all things.”
As Paul explained the work and gift of the Holy Spirit among the members of the church, he stopped to emphasize something greater and longer-lasting than the gifts. He emphasized God’s love as the greatest gift or fruit of the Spirit. God Himself is love. God’s love seeks what is best for those who are its object, regardless of cost or personal sacrifice. Love is patient and kind, and God’s patience allows people time to repent and His goodness and kindness draws them to repentance and faith. God is Truth and rejoices in what is right and true. He waits for His Truth to come to pass as it works through love. God’s love never ends and it is His greatest Gift in Jesus Christ our Lord.
1st Corinthians 13:8-13 “Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then is shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your gift of loving me and demonstrating that love in Your Son dying on the cross for me. As wonderful as the gifts of the Holy Spirit are, this fruit of love is the greatest gift that is not just temporal, but abides forever. My faith works by love and Your love is poured out into my heart by the Holy Spirit. Your love gives me eternal hope and anticipation that the best is yet to come.
Isaiah 45: 22-23 “Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. By Myself I have sworn; from My mouth has gone out in righteousness a Word that shall not return: ‘To Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance'”
One Spirit–many gifts!
Scripture reading for September 9th: Isaiah 41-44, 1st Corinthians 12
1st Corinthians 12: 4-11 “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God Who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, Who apportions to each on individually as He wills.”
God the Father has showered His born-again children with the Gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit brings gifts that are to be used to build up and encourage the Church, Christ’s corporate Body. These gifts are called ‘manifestations’ of the Holy Spirit and include speaking gifts called prophesy, tongues, and interpretation of tongues. Other gifts reveal something that is needed by believers–wisdom, knowledge and discerning of spirits. Other gifts empower believers to do God’s works of compassion for the hurting and to evangelize: gifts of faith, various healings, and the working of miracles. Each of these gifts are given by the one Holy Spirit as He wills and God directs for His purposes and glory. Amen!
1st Corinthians 12:27-28 “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the Church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues.”
Prayer: Father, thank You for the Gift of the Holy Spirit to live in me. I desire You to use me with any of the gifts of the Holy Spirit to show Your love and compassion to those in Your Body, the Church or to those who are in need of a Savior. Thank You for appointing gift people to the Church and me as a pastor/teacher. Open doors for each member of Your Church through the Holy Spirit to flow in gifts for the common good.
Isaiah 44:2-4 “Thus says the Lord Who made you, Who formed you from the womb and will help you: Fear not, O Jacob My servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen. for I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring and my blessing on your descendants.”
Scripture reading for September 8th: 2nd Kings 20, Isaiah 38-40, Psalm 68, 1st Corinthians 11
1st Corinthians 11: 27-33 “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world. So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another–. .”
Paul gave some strict warnings to believers in the partaking together with one another of the Lord’s supper, Holy Communion. Paul taught that it was vitally important that each person examine his own heart and life and repent of any offenses or known sins before partaking. Failure to do this could result in serious consequences. Guilt concerning the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ would come upon those partaking in an ‘unworthy’ manner. Discerning the body of Christ could refer to the bread and remembrance of Christ’s body broken for us for our healing and deliverance from sin. It could also refer to failure to recognize our need to be right with others in Christ’s body, the Church. Healthy self-examination can keep us from sickness and even death from unworthy hearts before the sacrament.
Isaiah 40:31 “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew the strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
Prayer: Father God, help me today and each day to examine my own heart and life and discern in a worthy manner the Body of Christ, broken for me. I want to be healthy and fully live for You. You are the One God Who alone is my Salvation and Who alone has delivered me from death and renews my strength each day. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit that I might proclaim the mercy of Your Body and Blood.
Psalm 68:19-20 “Blessed be the Lord, Who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. (Selah) (Pause and think about that.) Our God is a God of salvation, and to God, the Lord, belong deliverances from death.”
Enduring temptation in the last days
Scripture reading for September 7th: Isaiah 36-37, Psalm 123, 1st Corinthians 10
1st Corinthians 10: 9-13 “We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
Paul warned the believers in Corinth against the temptations of the last days. He pointed them to the Israelites of the Old Testament and what was recorded in the Scriptures. These stories of unfaithfulness and backsliding serve as examples for us. God had them written down to warn us to be watchful and to stand firm. He also provides a way of escape with each temptation. With sexual immorality, we are to use our feet to avoid defeat! With grumbling and testing Christ, we are to practice thanksgiving, prayer and simple and pure devotion to Christ. God will be faithful to keep us and give us escape when we walk by faith.
Psalm 123:1-3 “To You I lift up my eyes, O You Who are enthroned in the heavens! Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, and the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till He has mercy upon us.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for the examples and warning that You have graciously provided in the written Word of God to warn and encourage us. Thank You for Your faithfulness to Your people to give them pathways of escape from temptation common to believers. Help those today who are in sexual temptation to escape. Give Your people thankful hearts that are fully committed to follow You.
Isaiah 36:15-17 “And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord, “O Lord of Hosts, God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; You have made heaven and earth. Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God.”
Beware of deception!
Scripture reading for September 1st: Isaiah 33-35, 1st Corinthians 6
1st Corinthians 6: 9-11 “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
The Corinthian believers were saved out of a very idolatrous and sexually immoral culture. Paul, as their father in the faith, faithfully instructed them in God’s will and ways. He asked them many questions to help them avoid deception. He asked, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?” He then spelled out what activities that God says are ‘unrighteous’. He also reminded them of what Jesus Christ’s blood did for them when they believed the Gospel. They had been washed free from sin and sanctified (set apart) for God’s family and had been justified (declared righteous) by God’s Spirit living in them. Their bodies were now God’s property and they must use them to obey His Word and glorify Jesus Christ. Their inheritance awaited in eternal life!
1st Corinthians 6:19-20 “Or do you knot know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, Whom you have from God? Your are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
Prayer: Father, thank You for Your gift of the Holy Spirit to lead me on Your Highway of Holiness. Thank You for keeping me aware of Truth through Your Word and helping me avoid the deception of counterfeit peace because of a seared conscience and a continued lifestyle of sinful behavior marked by sexual immorality or idolatry or drunkenness or drug use. I want to inherit the kingdom of God!
Isaiah 35:8-10 “And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it’ they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”