Scripture reading for October 4th: Jeremiah 14-16, Psalm 76, 2nd Corinthians 13
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.”
The false teachers, some claiming to be ‘apostles of Jesus Christ’, had led some of these believers away from the truth of the Gospel of salvation by grace through faith alone. Paul encouraged the church to do a healthy self-examination to see if they were really in the faith. “Is Jesus Christ living in you?” was the question that must be answered individually. True faith is all about a living relationship with the Living God. The Holy Spirit gives us assurance that God is our Father and that He loves us. God’s love and goodness lead us to repentance and growth in holiness and service to God and one another.
Psalm 76:1-3 “In Judah God is known; His Name is great in Israel. His abode has been established in Salem, His dwelling place in Zion. There He broke the flashing arrows, the shield, the sword, and the weapons of war.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for pastors, apostles, and prophets who call us to repentance and faith through the truth of Your Word. Fill my heart and lips with Your Truth and use me to call Your people to renewed faith and holy living. Forgive me of sins of omission and commission and may the true Gospel of grace and faith bring restoration to many.
Jeremiah 14:20-21 “We acknowledge our wickedness, O Lord, and the iniquity of our fathers, for we have sinned against You. Do not spurn us, for Your Name’s sake; do not dishonor Your glorious throne; remember and do not break Your covenant with us.”
Scripture reading for September 29th: Jeremiah 5-7, Psalm 75, 2nd Corinthians 10
2nd Corinthians 10: 1-6 “I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ–I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away. I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to 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 though captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
Paul’s heart as a pastor was to help those under his oversight to grow in spiritual understanding of Christ Jesus and His Word. Paul was meek and gentle and humbly implored them while in person to follow Christ. There were other false teachers that maligned Paul and sought to manipulate people into following them. They used arguments and myths and opinions to destroy the truth of God’s Word. Paul assured the believers that even though he appeared meek and humble, he was bold because of God’s truth and the powerful weapon that Truth was in destroying these fleshly strongholds and those who espoused them. Obedience to Christ and His Word would spare them and us from punishment and eternal loss.
Psalm 75:2, 7-8 ““At the set time that I appoint I will judge with equity. . .but it is God Who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another.” For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup with foaming wine, well mixed, and He pours out from it, and all the wicked of the earth shall drain it down to the dregs.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for giving watchful prophets, pastors, and apostles to humbly speak Your Word to Your people to turn them to reverence and obedience. Protect Your people from those who use arguments, opinions of men, and lies to trap men and cause division in Your Church. Thank You for the powerful weapons of Truth, righteousness, and humility that destroy satanic strongholds.
Jeremiah 5:24-26 “They do not say in their hearts, ‘Let us fear the Lord our God, Who gives the rain in its season, the autumn rain and the spring rain, and keeps for us the weeks appointed for the harvest.’ Your iniquities have turned these away and your sins have kept good from you. For wicked men are found among My people; they lurk like fowlers lying in wait. The set a trap, they catch men.”
Scripture reading for September 28th: Jeremiah 1-4, Psalm 130, 2nd Corinthians 9
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. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings 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!”
Paul spoke to believers in Corinth who were familiar with an agrarian culture. He reminded them of the law of sowing and reaping. He reminded the Corinthians that it was God that supplied the seed for sowing and it was also God that caused the seed to sprout and produce the wheat to supply their bread to eat. Not only enough to eat, but more seed for next year’s sowing! Our giving is like that sowing of seed. As we wait on God, in time it produces a harvest of righteousness as we please God through our willing generosity. It produces thanksgiving in those receiving the gifts and they thank God for the givers and God for supplying! The givers receive blessings from God in more seed for sowing so that the harvest may overflow continuously! The harvest is promised by God the Giver of His only Son!
Psalm 130:5-7 “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His Word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with Him is plentiful redemption.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your indescribable Gift, Jesus Christ our Lord! Your giving and extreme generosity inspires me to also bless others. Thank You for teaching me to trust you through this teaching on sowing and reaping. I am learning to joyfully sow and trust You for the promised harvest of righteousness, bread for my family, and more seed to sow! Let the harvest overflow with thanksgiving!
Jeremiah 1:11-12 “And 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.””
Scripture reading for September 27th: Zephaniah, Psalm 74, 2nd Corinthians 8
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 overflowing generosity of the Macedonian church in the face of severe persecution. These believers were filled with joy even in the midst of extreme poverty and gave extravagantly out of the little they had. They could only give out of their means but some gave beyond their means because of their faith in God and they demonstrated their faith through giving and even counting it a great favor to give for the relief of other believers who were also in need. Paul noted that they could do this only because they had truly given themselves to the Lord first and then they discerned God’s will to give to these needs.
Psalm 74:12-13 “Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth. You divided the sea by Your might; You broke the heads of the sea monsters on the waters.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for the joy and willingness to give reflected in these Macedonian churches that were under severe affliction and poverty. I see Christ Jesus in their generosity and compassion for others who were also suffering. Help me to overflow with generosity and joyful response to the needs of your people. I give myself and my possessions to You to bring You glory and work salvation on earth.
Zephaniah 2:3 “Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, who do His just commands; seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the Lord.”
Scripture reading for September 22nd: 2nd Kings 22-23, Psalm 73, 2nd Corinthians 5
2nd Corinthians 5: 1-6 “For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened–not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He Who has prepared us for this very thing is God, Who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.”
Paul elaborated further on his faith in the resurrection of the dead. His firm belief was that even if our mortal body is destroyed, believers have a guarantee through the Gift of the Holy Spirit that they will receive a new resurrection body that will live forever in the presence of God. It will not be temporary like the “tent” of our body. It will be a “building”, something eternal. While we wait for this promise, we may groan and suffer from persecution, aging, or attacks of Satan. But focus on what is ahead and surely coming with take us through to receive our promised inheritance! God is with us and guiding us to glory.
Psalm 73:23-24 “Nevertheless, I am continually with You; You hold my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for the Gift of Your Holy Spirit to live in me and guide me with Your counsel and prepare me for glory eternal! Your plans for me are amazing and a pure gift of grace in that I deserve the opposite. I long for the day when these promises become sight and I receive the ‘building’ You have prepared for me and I am swallowed, not by the grave, but by Life eternal in Your presence!
2nd Kings 23:25 “Before him (King Josiah) there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses, nor did any like him arise after him.”
Scripture reading for September 21st: Nahum, Psalm 149, 2nd Corinthians 4
2nd Corinthians 4: 13-18 “Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that He Who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into His presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
Paul shared with the Corinthian believers how faith motivated him in the preaching of the Gospel. He believed the Gospel message of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection so that is what he preached. He was confident because of faith in God’s written Word and promises that those who heard and believed would also experience resurrection. Even though their bodies were getting older and wasting away, or suffering persecution, inside, Christ Jesus through the Holy Spirit was renewing them and preparing them for eternal glory. Focusing on the unseen realities of God’s eternal Word would bring vision and victory! Praise and worship greatly facilitates our focus!
Psalm 149:1-3 “Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song, His praise in the assembly of the godly! Let Israel be glad in his Maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their King! Let them praise His Name with dancing, making melody to Him with tambourine and lyre.”
Prayer: Father God, We praise You and worship Your Holy Name! Thank You for the eternal Truth of Your Word and Your Son, Jesus Christ! Give me continued grace to not lose heart or faint in these times of persecution and adversity and experiencing the aging process in my own body. Renew me today through the Holy Spirit and show me the amazing things to come in the unseen world of Your Throne!
Nahum 1:15 “Behold, upon the mountains, the feet of Him Who brings Good News, who publishes peace! Keep your feasts, O Judah; fulfill your vows, for never again shall the worthless pass through you; he is utterly cut off.”
Scripture reading for September 20th: 2nd Kings 21, 2nd Chronicles 33, Psalm 71, 2nd Corinthians 3
2nd Corinthians 3:7-12 “Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters of stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because the glory that surpasses it. For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory. Since we have such a hope, we are very bold. . .”
Paul explained to the believers in Corinth the amazing truths concerning the glory of the ministry of righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ. Under the old covenant, the Law, the glory on Moses’ face after meeting with God was fading away and Moses used a veil to shield the people from that fading glory. The Law could only reveal sin and bring condemnation before God. Its glory was fading because it was temporary until Christ was revealed and the New Covenant of righteousness by faith. Paul explained that this Covenant comes with far-exceeding glory that instead of fading away grows ever brighter in intensity on those following Christ by faith! Amen!
Psalm 71:14-16 “But I will hope continually and will praise You yet more and more. My mouth will tell of Your righteous acts, of Your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge. With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come, I will remind them of Your righteousness, Yours alone.”
Prayer: Holy Father, You alone are God and Your amazing mercy to forgive us all our sins and wickedness and to give us Your gift of righteousness is worthy of all praise. Your promise of ever-increasing and far-exceeding glory to those who humbly follow Jesus stretches my mind! I vow with the psalmist, “I will praise You yet more and more!”
2nd Chronicles 33:12-13 “And when he was in distress, he entreated the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. He prayed to Him, and God was moved by his entreaty and heard his plea and brought him back again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.”
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.”
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.”
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.”