Devotional Reading for November 25, 2021

2 Corinthians 10-13 (The Daily Walk Bible).

Paul is being attacked. He reminds us that he could boast about his relationship with God. In fact, he has a lot to boast about (12:1-5)! Instead, he is going to boast about his weakness (12:5). He is going to boast about his thorn in the flesh (12:7). He is going to boast about the number of hardships he has faced (11:23-27). Why? Because he understands that when he is weak, then he is strong (12:10). When he has to rely upon God, that is when he is at his best.

That should serve as a wonderful reminder to us. When we think we are strong, when we rely on ourselves, that is when we are in the most danger. It is when we are humble, when we pray, when we cry out to God, when we realize our need – that is when we are the strongest.

This may not be your cup of tea, but it’s a fun song with a good lesson!

Devotional Reading for November 24, 2021

2 Corinthians 6-9 (The Daily Walk Bible).

What does Jesus offer? Peace in the midst of the storm!

2 Corinthians 6:10 “as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.”

We have all we need through Jesus Christ. And when we have more, when God has blessed us with resources, God has given them to us so that we can bless others.

2 Corinthians 9:11 “You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.”

Devotional Reading for November 23, 2021

2 Corinthians 1-5 (The Daily Walk Bible).

Some great Scriptures here! The reminder that God is our comfort and we are to pass on the comfort that we get from Him (1:4). The reminder that this world is not our home and that we have a home waiting for us in heaven (5:6). The reminder that God never abandons us (4:9). And tucked in the middle of it all there is a reminder that we are to show grace, mercy, forgiveness and restoration to those who are repentant (2:7). Here is an explanation from The Reformation Study Bible of the circumstances that led to 2 Corinthians that helps to explain chapter 2:

“After founding the church at Corinth in A.D. 51–52 (Acts 18:1–18), Paul returned to Antioch, ending his second missionary journey (Acts 18:22). On his third missionary journey, Paul traveled to Ephesus and stayed there three years (Acts 19:1–41; 20:31). During his stay at Ephesus, messengers came from Corinth with the questions that Paul would answer by writing 1 Corinthians (1 Cor. 16:17, 18). Sometime later, Paul apparently heard of difficulties at Corinth and made a quick voyage by sea from Ephesus to Corinth and back. This visit did not go well, and Paul later referred to it as a visit made “in sorrow” (2:1). Though it is not recorded in Acts, this visit is indirectly attested by Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians that he would be coming to them for the “third time” (12:14; 13:1). We do not know many details about what made this visit sorrowful, but apparently someone at Corinth had opposed or seriously offended Paul (2:5, 10).

Most commentators think that after the sorrowful visit, Paul wrote the Corinthians a strong letter, commonly called the “severe letter,” rebuking them and encouraging them to repent (2:3, 4; 7:8). It seems most likely that the letter referred to in these verses has not been preserved … Paul did not know how the Corinthians would receive Titus and the strong letter. When he left Ephesus and traveled to Troas, he experienced considerable anxiety because of his concern for the Corinthian church (2:13; 7:5). Though there was an opportunity for effective ministry when he reached Troas (2:12), Paul’s spirit was still deeply troubled. He left Troas and went on to Philippi in Macedonia, hoping to meet Titus there. When Titus finally arrived (probably at Philippi but perhaps at Thessalonica), Paul was overwhelmed with joy as he heard about the genuine repentance of the Corinthians and their deep affection for and loyalty to him (7:6–15).

Paul then wrote 2 Corinthians from Macedonia to express thanksgiving for the repentance and renewed obedience of some members of the Corinthian church (7:5–16). Yet further reconciliation and healing were needed between Paul and other members of the Corinthian congregation. Consequently, he appealed for the opening of their hearts to an even fuller restoration of their relationship (6:11–13).”

Devotional Reading for November 22, 2021

1 Corinthians 15-16 (The Daily Walk Bible).

The doctrine of the resurrection is under attack:

 — The enemies of the gospel deny it!

 — If there is no resurrection, one must be forced to accept the following horrible conclusions:

      1. The Easter story is a lie.

      2.  Preaching the gospel is useless.

      3.  Preachers are all liars.

      4.  Believers:

         a. Our trust in God is empty, worthless, and hopeless (15:14b).

         b. We are still in our sin (15:17).

         c. We are the most miserable of all creatures (15:19).

         d. Those who live, suffer, and die for Christ are fools (15:29–31).

      5.  Departed believers are forever dead, never to rise again.

      6.   In regard to this present life — we should live it up, for tomorrow we may die (15:32)!

— Paul rebukes Christians who have been listening to the lies of unbelievers about the resurrection. 

We are going to be resurrected, and what a difference it makes:

— Our old bodies:

      1. Are perishable.

      2. Are sown in dishonor.

      3. Are sown in weakness.

      4. Are sown as natural body’s.

      5. Are sown bearing the likeness of the first Adam.

 — Our new bodies:

      1. Will be raised imperishable.

      2. Will be raised in glory.

      3. Will be raised in power.

      4. Will be raised a spiritual body.

      5. Will be raised bearing the likeness of Christ.

 But some of us will be alive when Jesus comes back:

— Flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s Kingdom (15:50).

— All believers alive at Christ’s coming will go to heaven without dying (15:51).

— This will occur in the amount of time it takes to blink an eye (15:52).

 — The last trumpet will signify the fulfillment of this promise (15:52).

— Departed believers will exchange their corrupted bodies for incorruptible ones (15:52c).

— Living believers will exchange their mortal bodies for immortal ones (15:53).

 — Old Testament prophets Isaiah and Hosea predicted this (Isa. 25:8; Hos. 13:14).

And he gives us a wonderful promise to remind us to keep working while we wait:

— Because of the resurrection, no labor done for the Lord is in vain (15:58)

*Paul has already talked about the rewards that come to believers (3:10-15)!

Devotional Reading for November 20, 2021

1 Corinthians 11-14 (The Daily Walk Bible).

From hair coverings, to the Lord’s supper, to the use of gifts, and finally to how to conduct a church service, it’s very obvious that God is concerned about how we worship. “Be sure that everything is done properly and in order” (14:40).

Food for thought: we’ve been conditioned to thing of tongues as some type of ecstatic speech. However, if you think of the idea of tongues being languages, 1 Corinthians 14 makes perfect sense, and becomes even more amazing. Not speaking in gibberish, but speaking in a language that you don’t know, inspired by the Holy Spirit. Which is why there needs to be an interpreter present in a church body, since the others there would presumably know the same language that you do! It would be a sign to unbelievers if the language was theirs, whereas prophecy couldn’t be understood by them. But it backfires in a church service. If everyone around is speaking in a different language, who can understand? We end up back at the beginning of Acts, where people thought the believers were drunk! Here its “they will think you are crazy.”

Devotional Reading for November 19, 2021

1 Corinthians 7-10 (The Daily Walk Bible).

Why should we care about food that is offered to idols? Because Paul teaches us some important lessons regarding our Christian freedom. We should be willing to give up something that is permissible for us if, by engaging in it, we will cause someone else to falter in their walk with God.

1 Corinthians 8:13 “If what I eat is going to make another Christian sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live — for I don’t want to make another Christian stumble.”

1 Corinthians 10:32-33 “Don’t give offense to Jews or Gentiles or the church of God. That is the plan I follow, too. I try to please everyone in everything I do, I don’t just do what I like or what is best for me, but what is best for them so they may be saved.”

And in chapter 7 Paul reminds us that it’s okay to be single! Why do I mention that? Because we tend to treat marriage as the right, proper, and best thing for everyone. In truth, Paul teaches that we can serve God more easily by being single. The “weak” brothers and sisters are the ones who have to get married in order to keep from sexual immorality. In truth, that’s most of us!

Devotional Reading for November 18, 2021

1 Corinthians 1-6 (The Daily Walk Bible).

Humility is a big part of a Christian’s walk. God chose us – we aren’t to boast about how special we are. We are miserable sinners, and it’s only because of Jesus Christ that we can be saved! Paul extends that to Christian workers. All have their part to play, and one shouldn’t be exalted above another.

In fact, we couldn’t understand anything without the Spirit. When we submit to the Spirit and resist sinful desires, we mature. And a part of maturity is resisting, rebuking, and refraining from sexual immorality.

One final thought: power, prestige, and position are no guarantee of God’s work in your life. In fact, the opposite may be true! “Even now we go hungry and thirsty, and we don’t have enough clothes to keep warm. We are often beaten and have no home. We work wearily with our own hands to earn our living. We bless those who curse us. We are patient with those who abuse us. We appeal gently when evil things are said about us. Yet we are treated like the world’s garbage, like everybody’s trash—right up to the present moment” (1 Cor 4:11-13).

Devotional Reading for November 17, 2021

Romans 12-16 (The Daily Walk Bible).

Jesus died for our sins, so we can now present our bodies as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1-2). That is our reasonable act of worship, or, as the NLT says, “Is this too much to ask?”

We all have a gift or gifts that have been given to us by the Holy Spirit (12:6-8). We need to use them!

Lots of great stuff here. Lots of hard stuff here. “If people persecute you because you are a Christian, don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them” (12:14).

Romans 13 helped to guide First Baptist’s elders during the pandemic. How does it guide you in the way you live?

Romans 14 and 15 remind us that we should treat other believers with grace and mercy, and that we should consider their beliefs on non essential issues when we are with them, rather than flaunting our own. Perhaps this could go hand in hand with Romans 13…

Paul shows us the care that we should have for each other by taking an offering back to the believers in Jerusalem who are having a rough time (15:25-29). This is an embodiment of “Love your neighbor as yourself” (13:9).

What a way to finish a book: “To God, who alone is wise, be glory forever through Jesus Christ. Amen.”

Devotional Reading for November 16, 2021

Romans 9-11 (The Daily Walk Bible).

Our devotional breaks down the three chapters with three words: selection, rejection, and restoration. That works well when thinking of the way the Jewish nation is presented in the passage, but the Gentiles are mentioned too!

I have three phrases that could be enlightening. Think about them as you read, or consider them as you meditate on the passage. Can you think of examples from the text that support these ideas?

God is sovereign.

God is merciful.

God is righteous.

And 11:33 serves as important reminder that we should trust God! “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!”