Scripture reading for October 2nd: Jeremiah 14-16, Psalm 76, 2nd Corinthians 13
Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 13:11-14 “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
Paul’s closing benediction calls the church at Corinth to joy and peace in the Holy Trinity. God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit bring love, peace and joy to all the saints. They are restoring all believers and bringing comfort, agreement and peace. As believers through the grace of Jesus Christ allow and invite God the Father to live in their midst, His love and peace brings true fellowship through the Father’s gift of the Holy Spirit living in each one. This is the pattern for God’s people everywhere–and especially in our lives today!
Psalm 76:1-2 “In Judah God is known; His Name is great in Israel. His abode has been established in Salem (Peace), His dwelling place in Zion.”
Faith confession and prayer: Heavenly Father, establish Your abode in my midst and the midst of Your Church. May Your grace and peace and love flow from Your people in unity and fellowship as they are fed by Your delightful Word.
Jeremiah 15:16 “Your Words were found and I ate them, and Your Words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by Your Name, O Lord, God of hosts.”
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 25th: Hosea 6-9
Key Scriptures: Hosea 6:1-3 “”Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but He will heal us; He has injured us, but He will bind up our wounds. After two days He will revive us, on the third day He will restore us, that we may live in His presence. Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge Him. As surely as the sun rise, He will appear; He will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.””
Hosea called out to God’s people to return to the Lord with humility and repentance. Their sins had torn them apart and caused great injury and many wounds. God promised to revive them and restore them. They must press in and press on to acknowledge the Lord. He would soon come, bringing the rains of heaven and granting His holy Presence to all who believe through the Holy Spirit!
The blessing of repentance: “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that He may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you–even Jesus. He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as He promised long ago through His holy prophets.” (Acts 3:19-21)
Scripture reading for October 29th: Philemon 1:1-25
Paul won a run-away slave, Onesimus, to faith in the Lord Jesus. He also knew this slave’s master, Philemon, who was a brother in the Lord and possibly won to the Lord under Paul’s ministry as well. (Philemon 1:19) Paul was in prison during this time. It is possible that they were in jail together and God used Paul to present the Gospel and then to disciple him. Now this slave was a brother in the Lord and serving Paul. Paul instructed him to return to Philemon and ask for mercy for running away. This short letter to Philemon was penned by Paul to accompany this new brother as he returned to His owner in repentance!
” I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints. I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.” (Philemon 1:4-7) Paul affectionately addressed Philemon as a “dear friend and fellow worker.” He cared about Philemon and prayed for him with a thankful heart. Paul’s pastoral heart shines through in this prayer for his ministry of sharing his faith. Paul prayed that he might be active in sharing his faith in order to have a full understanding of all good things we have in Christ! Perhaps failure to share faith is why many today lack a true understanding of their inheritance!
Paul could have simply commanded Philemon to take Onesimus back and forgive him for running away, but he appealed to him on the basis of love. (Philemon 1:8-10) God had shown mercy to Onesimus while he was away by saving him. Now Onesimus was a brother in the faith and useful to Paul and to Philemon in a different way. God had also shown this mercy to Philemon and to Paul. Since God’s love was shown to us while we were sinners, we must also show this love by forgiveness and restoration.
This story reminds us of God’s love and restoration of us. We were run-away slaves as well. When we heard the Gospel, we returned to our Master. He forgave us and restored us to ‘sonship’, not slavery! In His amazing love, He gave us the ministry of reconciliation! (2nd Corinthians 5:21)