Scripture reading for August 31st: Isaiah 30-32, 1st Corinthians 5
1st Corinthians 5: 1-5 “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the Name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.”
Paul had a report of egregious sexual sin in the Corinthian Church. A man there was fornicating with his own stepmother which was a sin even among pagans of that time. The believers were tolerating this and not seeking God for deliverance. Paul stated clearly that this man must be removed if he would not repent. Not stated, but the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 18:15-18 was the likely pattern. Paul recommended turning this person over to Satan and expelling him from fellowship. The motive was this man’s ultimate salvation. When he experienced the darkness of Satan’s grip, the prayer was that repentance and restoration would result. This is God’s mercy over His children in action. The church body was also protected from the defiling spirit that the man was under.
1st Corinthians 5:11-13 “But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler–not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.””
Prayer: Father God, You are just and righteous in all You do. Thank You for this plan for spiritual discipline in Your Church. Help Your leaders to have wisdom and courage to follow Your instructions in cases of sexual immorality and idolatry and gross rebellion. Protect Your Church from these evil spirits and deliver those who are seduced and bound by them. Give grace through this process to Your people.
Isaiah 30:15-16 “For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling, and you said, “No! We will flee on horses”; Therefore you shall flee away; and we will ride upon swift steeds”; therefore your pursuers shall be swift.”
Scripture reading for August 30th: Isaiah 26-29, Psalm 65, 1st Corinthians 4
1st Corinthians 4: 10-15 “We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things. I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you, my beloved children.. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the Gospel. I urge you then, be imitators of me.”
The early apostles were considered fools by the world and even by some in the church. Their lives were examples of sacrifice and hard work to meet their own needs and also to minister to others. By their ministry, many were saved and introduced into God’s family. This process caused Paul to consider them his spiritual ‘children’. Paul encouraged those in Corinth who had been saved under his ministry to follow his example and live unselfishly for the sake of Christ Jesus and His Gospel message. What the world thinks of us means nothing. Pleasing Christ by living by faith in faithfulness to His Word is all that truly matters.
Isaiah 26:1-3 “In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: “We have a strong city; He sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks. Open the gates that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in. You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for those You called as the first Apostles. Thank You for their lives of sacrifice and their obedience to the Holy Spirit that inspires me today to live a life of sacrifice and dedication to You. Thank You for Your perfect peace given to those whose trust is in Christ Jesus. I look forward to the New Jerusalem and Christ’s reign as King of Kings! I am blessed You chose me!
Psalm 65:4 “Blessed is the one You choose and bring near, to dwell in Your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your House, the holiness of Your Temple.”
Scripture reading for August 29th: Isaiah 23-25, 1st Corinthians 3
1st Corinthians 3: 10-15 “According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw–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 the fire.”
Paul explained the life of following Jesus Christ like building a house. Jesus Christ was the cornerstone of any true building for God. Each person who built upon that foundation would use various types of building materials to finish the structure. Some would use the gold of faith or the silver and precious stones of works of righteousness. Others would use materials that would not pass through the fire of judgment. Wood, hay or straw were self-centered works or life-styles that would be burned up. As long as Jesus Christ remained the foundation, all would be saved but some would loose their reward.
1st Corinthians 3:16-17 “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy and you are that temple.”
Prayer: Father God, I have placed Jesus Christ as my cornerstone at Your Word. As I have gone through this life, I have sought to live by faith and apply Your Word to all situations. Forgive me for the times I have failed and used inferior building materials. Help me to remember that all believers are Your earthly ‘Temple’. May I always build up Your church and never destroy it by my actions or attitudes.
Isaiah 24:1,3 “Behold, the Lord will empty the earth and make it desolate, and He will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants. . . . The earth shall be utterly empty and utterly plundered; for the Lord has spoken this Word.”
Scripture reading for August 26th: Isaiah 20-22, 1st Corinthians 2
1st Corinthians 2: 9-14 “But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him”–these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit Who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”
God’s Word reveals amazing truths to those who believe in Jesus Christ. These truths cannot be understood or seen visibly by natural men and women, who do not have God’s Holy Spirit residing in them. God wants His children to know Him and to know who they are and what belongs to them. The Holy Spirit knows even the depths of God and can bring knowledge, wisdom, and understanding to God’s children as He wills and they have need to know. He will also use them to impart this wisdom, even giving them the words and wisdom at the appropriate time. Natural man looks on these truths as folly!
1st Corinthians 2:16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”
Prayer: Lord Jesus, baptize me again with the Holy Spirit! I realize my dependence and the awesome Gift that You have given me to help me understand Your thoughts and my own part in Your amazing plan of salvation. Fill my mouth with spiritual words to meet the needs for ministry to lost and hurting people in these last days before Your glorious return.
Example of spiritual truth and wisdom: Isaiah 22:15-17 “Thus says the Lord God of Hosts, “Come, go to this steward, to Shebna, who is over the household, and say to him: What have you to do here, and whom have you here that you have cut out here a tomb for yourself, you who cut out a tomb on the height and carve a dwelling in the rock? Behold, the Lord will hurl you away violently, O strong man. He will seize firm hold on you and whirl you around and around, and throw you like a ball into a wide land.””
Scripture reading for August 25th: Isaiah 17-19, Psalm 62, 1st Corinthians 1
1st Corinthians 1:20-25 “Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
Paul reasoned with the Corinthians concerning his message of salvation. Paul preached Christ Jesus as crucified for the sins of mankind. His cosmopolitan audience in Corinth consisted of Greeks and Jews and other Gentiles from various parts of the world. The Greeks put a premium on wisdom and human intellect. Jews were open to God, but constantly wanted signs. Jesus gave them the ultimate ‘sign’, comparing his death and time in the grave to Jonah’s three days and nights in the big fish. But God’s ‘wisdom’ is actually the power of God for salvation. “And because of Him, you are in Christ Jesus, Who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1st Corinthians 1:30)
Psalm 62:5-7 “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from Him. He only is my Rock and my Salvation, my Fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty Rock, My Refuge is God.”
Prayer: Father God, Your amazing wisdom to bring salvation to all through Your Son is my only hope and my Refuge. Thank You for Your salvation and for giving all men opportunity to hear and know You and experience Your gift of righteousness and being set apart for Your forever family. Use me to preach Christ crucified, resurrected and coming again in the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ is my only boast!
Isaiah 19:19-21 “In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the Lord at its border. It will be a sign and a witness to the Lord of Hosts in the land of Egypt. When they cry to the Lord because of oppressors, He will send them a savior and defender and deliver them. And the Lord will make Himself known to the Egyptians, and the Egyptians will know the Lord in that day and worship with sacrifice and offering, and they will make vows to the Lord and perform them.”
Scripture reading for August 23rd: Isaiah 11-13, Psalm 118, Matthew 27
Matthew 27: 22-26 “And he said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus Who is called the Christ?” They all said, “Let Him be crucified!” And he said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let Him be crucified!” So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered Him to be crucified.”
Early on the day of His betrayal, Jesus was taken bound before Caiaphas, the high priest. John’s Gospel records that Caiaphas had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people. (John 18:14) He unknowingly was prophesying what Jesus would ultimately do. At Pilate’s judgment, it was customary for the crowd to ask for one prisoner to be released. When Pilate asked about releasing Jesus, the Jews had stirred the crowd to demand His crucifixion. Pilate was distraught, because he had been warned by his wife not to have anything to do with Jesus and he had found nothing evil. He washed his hands as the crowd declared that they wanted Jesus’ blood on them and their children!
Psalm 118:26-27 “Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord! We bless You from the house of the Lord. The Lord is God and He has made His light to shine upon us. Bind the festal sacrifice with chords up to the altar!”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for the sacrifice of Your Son that You bound to the altar of the Cross that we might have salvation through Jesus’ precious blood. Forgive us for our rebellious spirits of violence and murder. Thank You for taking our place and paying for our sins and bringing us the Light of heaven! We now draw water from Your well of salvation and proclaim Your deeds to all peoples! Amen!
Isaiah 13:3-5 “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the Lord, call upon His Name, make known His deeds among the peoples, proclaim that His Name is exalted. Sing praises to the Lord, for He has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth.”
Scripture reading for August 22nd: Isaiah 7-10, Psalm 22, Matthew 26
Matthew 26: 36-41 “Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and He said to His disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” And taking with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, He began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then He said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here , and watch with Me.” And going a little farther He fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And He said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak.”
Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray and prepare for the cross. He had already been betrayed by Judas and Judas was going to escort the Jews to where Jesus was. He took His disciples with Him and instructed them to watch and pray. Jesus then went alone to implore the Father for a way of escape as His own flesh was weak. But angels strengthened Him and He committed Himself to do His Father’s will by offering Himself as the sacrifice for our sins on Calvary’s cross. The disciples fell asleep for their flesh was weak as well, but in God’s plan Jesus must finish the work of salvation alone through suffering and death on our behalf.
Psalm 22:14-15 “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; You lay me in the dust of death.” (Psalm of the cross)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your strength and faithfulness to the Father to complete the work necessary for our salvation by tasting death on our behalf. Forgive me for being weak in my flesh and failing to watch and pray as I ought. Give me grace each day to accomplish Your will of sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with all You send me to.
Isaiah 9:6 “For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His Name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and of peace there will be no end. . .”
Scripture reading for August 17th: Isaiah 4-6, Matthew 23
Matthew 23: 1-7 “Then Jesus said to the crowds and to His disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feast and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others.”
Religion can easily turn into hypocrisy. Jesus’ pointed out how the religious leaders of that day were in positions of authority and knew and taught God’s Word as truth, but did not put it into practice in their own lives. They demanded others strictly obey their teaching and judged those who failed. They did their religious duties just for show, playing to the audience of others. They loved titles and recognition from men, but neglected to please God by living by faith in humble obedience. It is easy to slip into the performance mode in today’s culture as well. Ask God to mercifully show you where this is happening.
Matthew 23:37-38 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your loving rebuke of religious hypocrisy. Search my heart and reveal any area of my life that is governed by pride and pleasing men rather than by humble faith and pleasing You. Gather me and my family under the protection of Your Presence and Word. We are willing to go for You and proclaim the Gospel and rest in Your provision and care.
Isaiah 6:8-10 “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” And He said, “Go and say to this people: “‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts and be healed.””
Scripture reading for August 16th: Isaiah 1-3, Psalm 9, Matthew 22
Matthew 22: 11-14 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”
Jesus told the parable of the great king’s wedding feast. This parable was a parable of the kingdom of heaven. The king sent out his servants to invite the guests to his son’s wedding. The guests made excuses so the king sent the servants to gather up any who would willingly attend. As the king viewed the wedding guests, a man without proper wedding garments stood out and he questioned how he was admitted. The man had no excuse as he knew it was the king’s son’s wedding. The consequences were dire–cast out into outer darkness with much weeping and gnashing of teeth. This indicated remorse and an eternally missed opportunity. God sees each person and their heart and will judge with justice!
Psalm 9:7-8 “But the Lord sits enthroned forever; He has established His throne for justice, and He judges the world with righteousness; He judges the people with uprightness.”
Prayer: Father God, we love you and thank You for the invitation to the wedding of Your Son, Jesus Christ! I have put on the wedding garment You provided–the righteousness of Christ Himself through His total obedience and sacrifice. As Your betrothed, use me to invite all nations to this great event and to receive the gift of Christ’s righteousness as their wedding garment.
Isaiah 1:18-20 “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”