Scripture reading for September 16th: 2nd Corinthians 1
Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 1:8-11 “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God Who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us. On Him we have set our hope that He will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.”
Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians came after the church and Paul had experienced some difficult trials and persecution. Disciples of Jesus and ministers of His Gospel will suffer persecution. Jesus did not tell His disciples life would be easy. He told them that the student would not be above the teacher, as He would suffer and even be crucified, so they would also suffer. Paul and his ministry team suffered in Asia such that they felt they were going to die. But the suffering worked in their favor. They learned to rely on God Who even raises the dead. They also relied on the prayers of the saints to help them and God answered prayer and delivered them. They placed their hope in God and were not disappointed!
Matthew 24:9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for My Name’s sake.”
Faith declaration and prayer: Father God, I have set my hope on You alone! Thank You for sustaining me through life’s trials and tests and allowing me to share Your great comfort with others. Help me to continue to trust in Your faithfulness and to pray for my brothers and sisters who are also going through fiery trials. I know we will not be disappointed!
2nd Corinthians 1:3-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, Who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
Scripture reading for June 22nd: 2nd Thessalonians 2
Key Scriptures: 2nd Thessalonians 2:13-17 “But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this He called you through our Gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father, Who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.”
It is not our works that save us, but our good works and words are the fruit that come from a life of faith. Our very lives in Christ are fruit to God, as He sets us apart by the Holy Spirit after we believe the Truth of the Gospel. Through faith and grace we become heirs of eternal comfort and good hope of eternal life in God’s presence. Our only ‘work’ is to stand firm in the Gospel truth of Jesus Christ as Lord and hold onto the traditions laid out in God’s Word. As we stand firm, we share by word and example the grace of God that saved us and call others to eternal hope and comfort in Christ Jesus the Lord. God’s great love for all sinners is demonstrated by His grace in Christ made available to all through the cross by faith.
Ephesians 2:4-5 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved–“
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for calling us by Your eternal love and grace to a place of comfort and hope. Help me to stand firm in Your grace and hold to the traditions taught in Your word by faith. May Your love flow towards others through my life and testimony. I have good hope knowing all Your promises are true and will not be disappointed!
Colossians 2:6-7 “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”
Scripture reading for September 17th: Isaiah 64-66, 2nd Corinthians 2
Key Scriptures: 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 your 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 devices.”
Paul’s purpose in his second letter was to encourage the Corinthians to forgive and restore a repentant brother who had been under church discipline. Paul encouraged them to forgive and comfort, and not to hold anything against him. Paul stated that this was a test of their obedience. He also reminded them that Satan’s plans and traps were set for them. Satan would like to see the church divided and bring strife and hatred in through unforgiveness. Christ Jesus is our example of grace.
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for forgiving us and bringing us Your comfort and love by the gift of the Holy Spirit. Continue to inform me of the traps and devices of Satan that I might walk in freedom.
Isaiah 66:2 “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.”
Scripture reading for September 16th: Isaiah 60-63, 2nd Corinthians 1
Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 1:2-5 “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, Who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”
Paul wrote a second letter to the Corinthian church. As he greeted them, he offered grace and peace and blessing. He blessed God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, confessing faith in God’s great mercy and ability to comfort those in affliction. He lifted up Jesus as God’s Son and the One who suffered death for us. He spoke comfort to them in their afflictions for the sake of Christ. The comfort would flow in abundance from a ‘God of all comfort’!
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your comfort in all affliction and trouble. May Your mercy and comfort flow through me and Your people to a hurting world today.
Isaiah 63:9 “In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them; in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; He lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.”
Scripture reading for December 27th: Zechariah 7-10, Revelation 21
Key Scriptures: Revelation 21:2-4 “And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be nor more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
As John continued to look and write, he saw a beautiful city, descending from heaven. This city looked like a bride adorned for her husband. A loud announcement from heaven stated that God would dwell with His people bringing eternal joy, comfort and peace. This would be the ultimate fulfillment of God’s desire and prophetic word to live with His people eternally!
Zechariah 8:7-8 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Behold, I will save My people from the east country and from the west country, and I will bring them to dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. And they shall be My people, and I will be their God, in faithfulness and in righteousness.”
Prayer: Lord Jesus, Thank You for the vision of the prophetic Word made sure by Your own faithfulness and righteousness! I await the joy of being in Your presence for ever! Amen!
Scripture reading for October 15th: Isaiah 50-52, Hebrews 2
Key Scriptures: Hebrews 2:14-15 “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.”
Jesus Christ, God’s Son, shared in our humanity by becoming a human being. He identified with sinful humanity, but Himself was without sin. He experienced death, the penalty for sin, on our behalf in order to destroy the devil and his power to hold mankind in the grip of death. He set those in bondage to fear of death free forever! Hallelujah!
Isaiah 51:12-13 “I, I am He who comforts you; who are you that you are afraid of man who dies, and the son of man who is made like grass, and have forgotten the Lord your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, and you fear continually all the day because of the wrath of the oppressor, when he sets himself to destroy? And where is the wrath of the oppressor?”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for sending Jesus Christ, to deliver me from fear of man and fear of death. I am a free person because of You! Amen.
Scripture reading for June 8th: Psalm 39-42
Key Scriptures: Psalm 41:1-3 “Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the Lord delivers him in times of trouble. The Lord will protect him and preserve his life; He will bless him in the land and not surrender him to the desire of his foes. The Lord will sustain him on his sickbed and restore him from his bed of illness.”
David knew that God cared for the weak and needy. All who know God will have concern for the hurting. God rewards those who share His heart by promising them protection and deliverance in their own times of sickness, trouble and weakness! We reap what we sow from a God who is faithful and caring!
Thankful for a caring God: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” (2nd Corinthians 1:3-5)
Scripture reading for August 21st: 1st Corinthians 14:1-17
“Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit. But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort.” (1st Corinthians 14:1-3)
As we seek to live in love, we can eagerly desire spiritual gifts. The one gift that Paul commends to these believers is the gift of prophecy. The gift of prophecy that Paul talked about was not the giving of personal words of knowledge or wisdom to individuals, but the gift of expounding God’s will and word in a manner that the church could understand. Prophecy always is in line with the word of God. It is intended by God to comfort or encourage the recipients and strengthen them for God’s service.
The Corinthians were evidently fascinated by speaking in other tongues. They were all speaking in tongues at once and people visiting their meetings were confused. Not all the tongues were being interpreted and this left the church without understanding of what was God was saying. This was not acting in the way of love! Paul told them to continue to speak in tongues for their own edification, but in the church to prophesy so that all might be edified.
According to Paul, we can and should pray and sing in other tongues. When a person prays or sings in another tongue, they are speaking by the Holy Spirit directly to God. This is a good thing. But in the church, people who do not have the gifts will not understand what you are saying. “Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church.” (1st Corinthians 14:12)
If pubic tongues were given, they must be interpreted. Two or three could speak, one at a time and then one must interpret. In this way, all could be edified. When tongues were used with interpretation, the same effect as prophecy would occur. God would use that combination to give a sign to unbelievers and to edify believers. All could profit and order would confirm God’s presence to all. (1st Corinthians 14:13-17) Are you seeking the spiritual gifts? Do you seek be used to build up the body of Christ?