Scripture reading for September 17th: 2nd Corinthians 2
Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 2:4-9 “For I wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you. 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.”
Paul had instructed the church in Corinth in his first letter about how to deal with a man in the church who was living in sexual sin. They were to confront and remove him from the church fellowship and deliver him over to Satan. (1st Corinthians 5:1-5) The goal of this was the saving of his soul. Now Paul was writing the church that this man had repented and was ready to be restored to fellowship. He must be forgiven and now comforted and received back into the fellowship of the believers. Their love for him must be reaffirmed to keep him from excessive sorrow and condemnation. Why? Because we are not ignorant of Satan’s designs to keep people bound by unforgiveness and under shame and condemnation.
2nd Corinthians 2:10-11 “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.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for Your great mercy and redemptive purposes to be worked out by those who believe. Help me to carefully follow Your instructions in discipline of those caught in sin and in restoration of the repentant. By the Holy Spirit, illuminate my heart and mind to the designs of Satan and helping those in the church to escape Satan’s traps. May others smell ‘the aroma of Christ’ coming from my life!
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 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. Who is sufficient for these things?”
Scripture reading for March 11th: Luke 7
Key Scriptures: Luke 7:44-48 “Then turning toward the woman He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave Me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss My feet. You did not anoint My head with oil, but she has anointed My feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven–for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little. And He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.””
Jesus was always teaching those He loved and came to save. The setting was the home of a Pharisee that had invited Him to dinner. At the meal, a woman came and anointed His feet with expensive ointment and washed them with her tears, wiping them off with her locks of hair. Simon, the Pharisee, was wondering if Jesus understood what kind of a person this woman was. He had judged her a “sinner”. Jesus addressed his thoughts with a parable of two debtors asking mercy from the lender and asking Simon which debtor would love the lender more? The bottom line was correctly reached by Simon–the one forgiven the most money. Does my love for Jesus match His great mercy for me a sinner?
Luke 6:37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; . . .”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I thank You for forgiving my sins and transgressions. Forgive me for often taking this lightly and not showing love to You by obedience, worship and service. Increase my love level by revealing Your great mercy to me.
Psalm 103:11-12 “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us.”
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 March 9th: Numbers 15-18, Psalm 113, Colossians 3
Key Scriptures: Colossians 3:12-16 “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the Word of Christ dwell in your richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
Paul lists many character and behavior traits of Christ Jesus that should now be “put on” by His disciples. Christ-followers have a desire and spirit-given ability to be like Him. Forgiveness and love are not accessories but staples of Christian character. They produce peace and thankfulness. As Christ’s Word indwells us, our hearts begin to sing songs of worship and adoration to God! What a blessed way to live!
Numbers 15:40-41 “So you shall remember and do all My commandments, and be holy to your God. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I am the Lord your God.”
Faith Confession and prayer: Lord, help me today to put on the clothing of Christ Jesus, my Lord. I want to allow His Word to dwell in me and sing praises to His Name forevermore!
Psalm 113:2 “Blessed be the Name of the Lord from this time forth and forevermore!”
Scripture reading for February 22nd: Mark 11, Psalms 39, Proverbs 8
Key Scriptures: Mark 11:22-25 “And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.””
Jesus had cursed a fig tree and the next day the disciples noted that it had withered away from the roots. Jesus used this illustration of speaking in faith to teach them the power of faith and prayer. Asking the Father in faith, believing that they would receive what they asked, would bring them the desired answer. Jesus also encouraged them to forgive wrongs done against them so that they might stand forgiven before the Father.
Faith’s confession: Lord, I believe that You will answer my prayers that I ask You for in faith. Help me to forgive those who have wronged me, and increase my faith. (Action step: Ask the Lord today to meet a need or purposely forgive any wrongs against you.)
Proverbs 8:17 “I (Wisdom) love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.”
Scripture reading for January 8th: Matthew 6, Psalm 6, Prov. 6 (Reading through the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs one chapter a day, five days each week in 2019–please join me in the trek!)
Key Scriptures: Matthew 6:9-13 “Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.””
Jesus taught His disciples a pattern of prayer. Prayer was not to be empty repetitions and vain babbling. Prayer is humble and vital communication with a loving Father who hears our every cry. Prayer declares our alignment with the Father and His will and Word and our dependency on Him for daily provision, protection and deliverance from temptation and the evil one. Prayer keeps our alignment right with God and others made in their Father’s image. Prayer is the basic language of the kingdom of heaven.
Faith’s confession: I believe that my Father in heaven hears and answers prayer. I am dependent on Him for provision, protection and forgiveness of my sins and forgiving others. (Action: Search your heart today for unforgiven sins or bitter roots and ask God and/or others for grace to let go and receive restoration.)
Psalm 6:9 “The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord accepts my prayer.”
Scripture reading for October 13th: Philemon
Paul’s short letter to his dear friend, Philemon, who lived in Colosse stands as an example of how the early church fathers dealt with the sensitive issue of slavery under a government where it was legal and with church members who actually owned slaves. Philemon owned Onesimus, a slave who had run away and providentially found Paul in Rome in jail. The letter reflects Paul’s heart for his friend, Philemon, and for Onesimus, his new ‘son’ through receiving Christ as Lord.
“Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker, to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow solder and to the church that meets in your home: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (vs. 1-2) Paul was in jail, but considered himself a ‘prisoner of Jesus Christ.” He wrote with affection and blessing to Philemon and the church family in Colosse. He had no condemnation or words of judgment, but thanksgiving and commendation for the love and work of Philemon and his church family.
“Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I appeal to you on the basis of love. . . . I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me. . . .Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back for good–no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. . . .So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me.” (Philemon 8-9,10-11,15-17) Paul wanted Philemon to joyfully and willingly receive Onesimus back as a brother in the Lord. He might still do the work of a slave, but he was free in Christ! May this example stir our hearts with Christ’s love!