Scripture reading for August 14th: 1st Corinthians 10, Psalm 11, Proverbs 6
1st Corinthians 10: 8-13 “We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. 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.”
Writing to a church in an immoral and idolatrous culture in Corinth, Paul gave examples from Scripture that would be useful for avoiding temptations. God sees and knows each person. He is faithful to those who humbly put their trust in Him for help and mercy. Every temptation comes with a way of escape. Sexual immorality requires use of the feet to run away and resist. Twenty-three thousand Israelites died when they gave in instead of running away! Proverbs says the adulterer will not go unpunished and that sexual immorality will burn the garment of our flesh! It affects our body and soul. We must avoid pride and humbly use the means of escape provided by our Lord! God is watching us and is for us!
Psalm 11:4-5 “The Lord is in His holy temple the Lord’s throne is in heaven; His eyes see, His eyelides test the children of man. The Lord tests the righteous, but His soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your faithfulness to us in sending Your Son to live perfectly under Your law and offer His body for our sins. Help me remember each time I am tempted to use the way of escape You graciously provide. Protect me from sexual temptations, grumbling, and testing God by my attitudes. Use me to proclaim Your Name through a life of love and ability to resist temptations.
Proverbs 6:27-29 “Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched? So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; none who touches her will go unpunished.”
Scripture reading for June 16th: Philippians 2, Psalm 120, Proverbs 27
Philippians 2:14-18 “Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the Word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.”
Paul knew that as believers lived in love and unity of the Holy Spirit, they would cease from grumbling and complaining and begin to shine in the darkness of this world. Paul told them that the people living in the world system were crooked and twisted in their ways and thinking. It would require focused living for Christ, clinging to His Words of life, to bring reward when Christ returned. Paul, even though suffering in jail, rejoiced with the Philippians that they were standing fast. He encouraged them to rejoice with him as well. Suffering for the Gospel is part of shining light in the darkness and crookedness of this world.
Psalm 120:6-7 “Too long have I had my dwelling place among those who hate peace. I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war!”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for the wise counsel of our Brother and Friend, Jesus Christ, and Paul Your Apostle. Help me to rejoice in those of faith who are suffering around this world for standing firm in Christ. Help me to stand firm and share the Word of life, shining Christ’s eternal Light into all darkness. Keep me from war, grumbling or dissention, but guide me in Your peace and unity with my brothers.
Proverbs 27:9 “Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a a friend comes from his earnest counsel.”
Scripture reading for April 5th: James 5, Psalm 68, Proverbs 6
James 5:7-11 “Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.”
James, a pastor, understood well the need for patience. His instructions to the beloved brothers was to cultivate a continual awareness of the coming of our Lord. Our Lord is the Judge of all men and believers must stand before the Judgment seat of Christ to receive reward or loss for deeds done in the body. A lack of patience with people is manifested in grumbling, complaining and judging others. To encourage patience, James pointed believers to the prophets who spoke in the Name of the Lord. Job, in particular, was a man of great suffering and trials, yet he patiently waited on the Lord. The Lord restored him double at the end! God is truly merciful and compassionate and worth waiting for!
Psalm 68:3-4 “But the righteous shall be glad; they shall exult before God; they shall be jubilant with joy! Sing to God, sing praises to His Name; lift up a song to Him Who rides through the deserts; His Name is the Lord; exult before Him.”
Prayer: Father God, I rejoice in You today and in Your wise Words of encouragement through the prophets and apostles written down for us. Your Words are a Light and when I am reproved by them, it leads me to a fuller life and the experience of peace. Help me to be patient with others each day, recognizing Your great patience for me and Your endless mercy for Your suffering people.
Proverbs 6:23 “For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way to life.”
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.”
Scripture reading for November 24th: 1st Corinthians 7-11
Key Scriptures: 1st Corinthians 10:6-10 “Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry.” We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did–and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test the Lord, as some of them did–and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did–and were killed by the destroying angel.”
Paul stated that all the past writings and examples recorded in Old Testament Scripture was there as examples for New Testament believers. These negative examples teach us the consequences of rebellion and unbelief. They stand as warning and encouragement to live a righteous and holy life and avoid the death and destruction that come from practicing known sin!
Thankful for Scripture examples: “They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!” Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died.”
Scripture reading for November 24th: 1st Corinthians 7-10
I chose my life theme from going through Army officer’s leadership school. A key leadership principle that stuck with me was “Set the Example!” I was taught that one of the most powerful influences that a leader could have on others is their example. Jesus Christ modeled for us and his disciples by living a life centered on doing God’s will and serving others. The Bible records many examples that are not so good as well. Someone has said, “if you are not good for anything else, you can always be a bad example!”
In 1st Corinthians 10, Paul used some bad examples as warning for believers. Paul exhorted the Corinthians to remember the Israelites of the Old Testament. They had some great spiritual experiences with the Lord leading them by the cloud and fire and taking them through the Red Sea. They got to eat “manna” from heaven and drink water from the “Rock” for forty years while they wandered in the desert. They had God’s appointed leader, Moses, praying for them. However, God was not pleased with them! (1st Corinthians 10:1-5)
In spite of being supernaturally delivered by God from Egypt, many of them brought their idols with them! They were taught by God to be true to their wives, but many were sexually immoral as they worshiped these idols. Many grumbled against God and died from the bite of poisonous snakes and by the destroying angel of death. Their hearts were not right with God in spite of all the supernatural power that they witnessed. They thought they were right with God because of His blessings.
We should learn from their example. (1st Corinthians 10:8-10) America is a land of idols! Sports stars, entertainment figures, soap operas, movie stars, popular music stars and the like all serve as idols. We are sexually immoral and glorify sexual freedom that mocks God and His word because we are idolatrous!
Grumbling against God because of unbelief was also a characteristic of the Israelites. That grumbling kept them out of the land of promise and a whole generation died in the desert. These examples should drive us to Christ Jesus. He is our escape from sin, death and temptation. He is always faithful and delivers those who depend on Him!
Scripture Reading for February 17th: Numbers 21-15
The Israelites were doing what they did best–grumbling! As they grumbled against Moses and God, God sent poisonous snakes which bit the complainers and caused death. (Numbers 21:5) The Israelites then asked Moses to pray for them and confessed their sin. (Numbers 21:7) God answered Moses as he prayed with some strange instructions. He was to make a bronze serpent and place it on a pole in the camp. Anyone who was bitten could look at the bronze snake on the pole and he would be healed! (Numbers 21:8-9)
God put this ancient story in the Bible to teach us that sin causes death! God has repeated this over and over but His people seemed to forget! When we grumble against leadership, God isn’t pleased because we are actually grumbling against Him. Because of sin’s consequences, we lose our connection with God and need His healing grace. Good leaders are there, even when we mess up, to intercede for us and restore us. God’s remedy sometimes seems strange to the world! Imagine! Put a bronze serpent on a pole and look to it!
This story is actually a picture of the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf. In the Gospel of John, Jesus used this story before the most famous verse in all of Scripture. The snake that was lifted on the pole is a picture of Jesus Christ crucified. He was made sin, who knew no sin, that we might be healed from the serpent’s poisonous bite. If we will look with faith to His finished work on the cross, we will be saved and healed! God loves His people and wants to save them from the poison of sin’s bite and the consequence of sin–death! (John 3:14-18) If we refuse the remedy provided by God, then we will die and perish! This ancient snake-bite remedy turns out to be the current remedy for all mankind! I am grateful that I have looked at Jesus Christ with faith and received the healing from my own sin of grumbling, complaining and rebellion! Have you done the same? (Romans 10:9-10) It is through the cross of Jesus that all who look to Him can connect with His healing grace!
Scripture reading for January 24th: Exodus 16-18
For some reason, I’ve been in leadership positions all my life! I’ve always felt inadequate and usually haven’t sought a leadership position; others always seemed to volunteer me. As I’ve worked leading in various secular and church positions, I’ve become acutely aware of my inability to please everyone. Moses soon learned this same truth! There are as many opinions as there are people under you and Moses had over a million “followers”!
God’s people were delivered from Egypt by a mighty act of power by the Lord, and then from Pharaoh’s pursuing army! Led by Miriam, Moses’ sister, they danced in joy and sang a song of deliverance! A few days after the victory celebration, the Israelites faced hunger and began to grumble. They blamed Moses for his poor leadership and for bringing them out into the desert to die. (Exodus 16:3) A little farther into the walk, they ran out of water and began to grumble again, quarreling with Moses. Their hearts were angry and hard and they blamed their leader, actually blaming God! (Exodus 16:8)
Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, came for a visit to bring back Moses’ wife and two sons. Jethro was thrilled to hear the stories of God’s deliverance through his son-in-law. He observed Moses sitting in judgment with all the people coming to him with their complaints. His advice to Moses was to raise up some helpers to share the load of leadership.
If you are a follower, pray and obey before you complain! When you grumble about your leader, you are grumbling about God! Listen to your leadership and support them by prayer and encouragement! Don’t test or blame God; He is never at fault! If you are a leader, raise up those who can help you with the work. It blesses you and them to use the gifts God has given them to serve. Leadership is a joy when you take these tips and your followers do, too! The main one to please in all of this is God. May His face be smiling on your leadership!
Scripture reading for November 23rd: 1st Corinthians 7-10
I chose my life theme at Army officer’s leadership school. A key leadership principle that stuck with me was “Set the Example!” I was taught that one of the most powerful influences that a leader can have on others is their example. Jesus was a great model of this principle! The opposite can also true. It has been said: “If you are good for nothing else, you can always be a bad example!”
There were several things that Paul exhorted the Corinthians to learn from the example of the Israelites in the Old Testament. These people had great spiritual experiences with the Lord leading them. They got to eat “manna” from heaven and drink water from the “Rock” for forty years while they wandered in the desert. They had God’s appointed leader, Moses, praying for them. However, God was not pleased with them! (1st Corinthians 10:1-5)
In spite of the good example of God’s leadership and Moses’ prayers, many of them were sexually immoral as they worshiped idols from Egypt. Others grumbled against God or tested Him and died before reaching the promised land. Their actions indicated a lack of faith. They became examples for us of what not to do!
“Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were. . ” (1st Corinthians 10:6-7a) America is a land of idols! Sports stars, movie stars, rock stars and government leaders all serve as idols for those without a true relationship with Christ. Our nation glorifies sexual freedom and immorality that mocks God and His word! We call stories filled with idolatry and immorality “entertainment” and many in the church support this by regularly partaking.
“We should not test the Lord, as some of them did, and were killed by snakes.” (1st Corinthians 10:9) We challenge God by questioning His leadership and right to direct us. God’s goodness should never be questioned by His people.
“And do not grumble, as some of them did–and were killed by the destroying angel.” (1st Corinthians 10:10) Grumbling is a sin indicating unbelief in the heart. Grumbling is common today in our culture. It can be a besetting sin with church people. Grumbling kept the Isrealites out of the land of promised land and can do the same for us! Let’s wisely learn from these examples!