Daily Devotional

by Larry Stockstill

Fasting involves our separating ourselves from food for a season in order to draw close to God on behalf of others. This practice can be easily perverted into a religious activity to be seen of men (as Jesus reminded the Pharisees) or something that is performed while tolerating strife, debate, and self-interest (Isaiah 58:3-4).

Isaiah said that the fast God has chosen is one that focuses on the needs of others. When we become so burdened about a yoke of oppression upon the life of another that we refuse to partake of our normal food until that person is delivered, God is pleased (Isaiah 58:6). For example, Daniel fasted, not for himself, but for the nation to be returned from Babylon (Daniel 9:3).

If we spend ourselves on behalf of the hungry, then God will bless us with light, health, and water (Isaiah 58:8-11). Our light will be a guide through dark places, our health will give physical prosperity and strength, and our water will provide emotional and spiritual joy in times of drought. As someone once said, "Fasting is another way of feasting!"

Isaiah 57:15-59:21

15 For this is what the high and exaltedS Isa 52:13 One says—

he who lives forever,S Dt 33:27; S Ps 90:2 whose name is holy:

“I live in a highS Job 16:19 and holy place,

but also with the one who is contritePs 147:3 and lowly in spirit,Ps 34:18; 51:17; Isa 66:2; Mic 6:8; Mt 5:3

to revive the spirit of the lowly

and to revive the heart of the contrite.S 2Ki 22:19; S Job 5:18; S Mt 23:12

16 I will not accuseS Ps 50:21; Isa 3:13-14 them forever,

nor will I always be angry,S Ps 103:9; S Isa 54:9

for then they would faint away because of me—

the very peopleS Ge 2:7; Zec 12:1 I have created.

17 I was enraged by their sinful greed;S Isa 56:11; Jer 8:10

I punished them, and hidS Isa 1:15 my face in anger,

yet they kept on in their willful ways.Isa 1:4; S 30:15; S 53:6; 66:3

18 I have seen their ways, but I will healS Dt 32:39; S 2Ch 7:14; S Isa 30:26 them;

I will guideS Ps 48:14; S Isa 42:16; S 48:17 them and restore comfortIsa 49:13; 61:1-3 to Israel’s mourners,

19 creating praise on their lips.Isa 6:7; 51:16; 59:21; Heb 13:15

Peace, peace,S Isa 2:4; 26:3, 12; 32:17; S Lk 2:14 to those far and near,”Ac 2:39

says the Lord. “And I will heal them.”

20 But the wickedJob 18:5-21 are like the tossing sea,S Ge 49:4; Eph 4:14; Jude 1:13

which cannot rest,

whose waves cast up mirePs 69:14 and mud.

21 “There is no peace,”S Isa 26:3; 59:8; Eze 13:16 says my God, “for the wicked.”S Isa 48:22

True Fasting

58 “Shout it aloud,Isa 40:6 do not hold back.

Raise your voice like a trumpet.S Ex 20:18

Declare to my people their rebellionS Isa 24:20; S 48:8

and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.S Isa 57:12; Eze 3:17

For day after day they seekS Isa 48:1; Tit 1:16; Jas 4:8 me out;

they seem eager to know my ways,

as if they were a nation that does what is right

and has not forsakenS Dt 32:15; S Ps 119:87 the commands of its God.

They ask me for just decisions

and seem eager for God to come nearIsa 29:13 them.

‘Why have we fasted,’S Lev 16:29 they say,

‘and you have not seen it?

Why have we humbledS Ex 10:3; S 2Ch 6:37; Jer 44:10 ourselves,

and you have not noticed?’Mal 3:14

“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you pleaseIsa 22:13; Zec 7:5-6

and exploit all your workers.

Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,1Ki 21:9-13; Isa 59:6; Jer 6:7; Eze 7:11; Mal 2:16

and in striking each other with wicked fists.

You cannot fast as you do today

and expect your voice to be heardS 1Sa 8:18; Isa 59:2; La 3:44; Eze 8:18; Mic 3:4 on high.

Is this the kind of fastZec 7:5 I have chosen,

only a day for people to humble1Ki 21:27; Mt 6:16 themselves?

Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reedS Isa 36:6

and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?S Job 2:8

Is that what you call a fast,

a day acceptable to the Lord?

“Is not this the kind of fastingJoel 2:12-14 I have chosen:

to loose the chains of injusticeNe 5:10-11

and untie the cords of the yoke,

to set the oppressedS Dt 14:29; Isa 61:1; Jer 34:9; Am 4:1; S Lk 4:19 free

and break every yoke?S Isa 9:4

Is it not to share your food with the hungryS Job 22:7; Eze 18:16; Lk 3:11

and to provide the poor wanderer with shelterIsa 16:4; Heb 13:2

when you see the naked, to clotheJob 31:19-20; S Mt 25:36 them,

and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?S Ge 29:14; Lk 10:31-32

Then your light will break forth like the dawn,S Job 11:17; S Isa 9:2

and your healingS Isa 1:5; S 30:26 will quickly appear;

then your righteousnessOr your righteous OneS Isa 26:2 will go before you,

and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.S Ex 14:19

Then you will call,S Ps 50:15 and the Lord will answer;S Job 8:6; S Isa 30:19; Da 9:20; S Zec 10:6

you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,

with the pointing fingerS Pr 6:13 and malicious talk,Ps 12:2; Isa 59:13

10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry

and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,Dt 15:7-8

then your lightS Isa 42:16 will rise in the darkness,

and your night will become like the noonday.S Job 11:17

11 The Lord will guideS Ps 48:14; S Isa 42:16; S 48:17 you always;

he will satisfy your needsS Ps 104:28; S 107:9 in a sun-scorched landS Ps 68:6

and will strengthenS Ps 72:16 your frame.

You will be like a well-watered garden,S SS 4:15

like a springS Isa 35:7; Jn 4:14 whose waters never fail.

12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruinsS Isa 49:8

and will raise up the age-old foundations;S Isa 44:28

you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,Ne 2:17

Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the SabbathS Ex 20:8

and from doing as you please on my holy day,

if you call the Sabbath a delightPs 37:4; 42:4; 84:2, 10

and the Lord’s holy day honorable,

and if you honor it by not going your own way

and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,Isa 59:3

14 then you will find your joyS Job 22:26 in the Lord,

and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heightsS Dt 32:13 of the land

and to feast on the inheritancePs 105:10-11 of your father Jacob.”

For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.S Isa 1:20

Sin, Confession and Redemption

59 Surely the armS Isa 41:20 of the Lord is not too shortS Isa 50:2 to save,

nor his ear too dull to hear.Isa 30:19; 58:9; 65:24

But your iniquities have separatedJer 5:25; Eze 39:23

you from your God;

your sins have hidden his face from you,

so that he will not hear.S Ps 18:41; S Isa 58:4; S Jer 11:11; S Jn 9:31

For your hands are stained with blood,S 2Ki 21:16; S Isa 1:15; S Eze 22:9

your fingers with guilt.Ps 7:3

Your lips have spoken falsely,S Isa 3:8

and your tongue mutters wicked things.

No one calls for justice;S Isa 5:23

no one pleads a case with integrity.

They relyS Job 15:31 on empty arguments, they utter lies;S Isa 44:20

they conceive trouble and give birth to evil.S Job 4:8; S Isa 29:20; Jas 1:15

They hatch the eggs of vipersS Isa 11:8; Mt 3:7

and spin a spider’s web.S Job 8:14

Whoever eats their eggs will die,

and when one is broken, an adder is hatched.

Their cobwebs are useless for clothing;

they cannot cover themselves with what they make.Isa 28:20

Their deeds are evil deeds,

and acts of violenceS Ps 55:9; S Pr 4:17; S Isa 58:4 are in their hands.

Their feet rush into sin;

they are swift to shed innocent blood.S 2Ki 21:16; S Pr 6:17; S Mic 3:10

They pursue evil schemes;S Pr 24:2; S Isa 26:10; Mk 7:21-22

acts of violence mark their ways.Ro 3:15-17*

The way of peace they do not know;Ro 3:15-17*

there is no justice in their paths.

They have turned them into crooked roads;S Jdg 5:6

no one who walks along them will know peace.S Isa 57:21; Lk 1:79

So justice is far from us,

and righteousness does not reach us.

We look for light, but all is darkness;S Job 19:8; S Ps 107:14; S Isa 5:30; S 8:20; S Lk 1:79

for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows.

10 Like the blindDt 28:29; S Isa 6:9-10; 56:10; La 4:14; Zep 1:17 we grope along the wall,

feeling our way like people without eyes.

At midday we stumbleS Job 3:23; S Isa 8:15; Jn 11:9-10 as if it were twilight;

among the strong, we are like the dead.La 3:6

11 We all growl like bears;

we moan mournfully like doves.S Ge 8:8; Ps 74:19; Isa 38:14; Jer 48:28; Eze 7:16; Na 2:7

We look for justice, but find none;

for deliverance, but it is far away.

12 For our offensesS Ezr 9:6; S Isa 57:12 are many in your sight,

and our sins testifyS Ge 4:7; S Isa 3:9; S Jer 2:19 against us.

Our offenses are ever with us,

and we acknowledge our iniquities:Ps 51:3

13 rebellionIsa 46:8; 48:8 and treachery against the Lord,

turning our backsS Nu 11:20; S Pr 30:9; Mt 10:33; Tit 1:16 on our God,

inciting revolt and oppression,S Ps 12:5; S Isa 5:7

uttering liesS Isa 3:8; S 44:20; Mk 7:21-22 our hearts have conceived.

14 So justiceS Isa 29:21 is driven back,

and righteousnessS Isa 1:21 stands at a distance;

truthS Isa 48:1; S Jer 33:16 has stumbled in the streets,

honesty cannot enter.

15 TruthJer 7:28; 9:5; Da 8:12 is nowhere to be found,

and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.

The Lord looked and was displeased

that there was no justice.S Isa 5:7

16 He saw that there was no one,S Isa 41:28

he was appalled that there was no one to intervene;S Isa 53:12

so his own arm achieved salvationS Isa 51:5 for him,

and his own righteousnessIsa 45:8, 13; 46:13 sustained him.

17 He put on righteousness as his breastplate,Eph 6:14; 1Th 5:8

and the helmetEph 6:17; 1Th 5:8 of salvation on his head;

he put on the garmentsS Job 27:6; Isa 63:3 of vengeanceS Isa 1:24

and wrapped himself in zealS Isa 9:7; Eze 5:13 as in a cloak.

18 According to what they have done,

so will he repayS Lev 26:28; S Nu 10:35; S Isa 34:8; S Mt 16:27

wrath to his enemies

and retribution to his foes;

he will repay the islandsIsa 11:11; 41:5 their due.

19 From the west,S Isa 49:12; S Mt 8:11 people will fear the name of the Lord,

and from the rising of the sun,S Ps 113:3 they will revere his glory.Ps 97:6; S Isa 24:15; 35:2; 40:5; 52:10; 66:18

For he will come like a pent-up flood

that the breathS Isa 11:4 of the Lord drives along.Or When enemies come in like a flood, / the Spirit of the Lord will put them to flight

20 “The RedeemerS Job 19:25; Isa 60:16; 63:16 will come to Zion,S Isa 52:8; S Joel 3:21

to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,”S Job 22:23; S Isa 1:27; S Jer 35:15; Ac 2:38-39; Ro 11:26-27*

declares the Lord.

21 “As for me, this is my covenantS Ge 9:16; S Dt 29:14; S Isa 42:6 with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit,S Isa 11:2; S 44:3 who is on you, will not depart from you,S Jos 1:8 and my words that I have put in your mouthS Ex 4:15 will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever,” says the Lord.

15 The high and lofty one who lives in eternity,

the Holy One, says this:

“I live in the high and holy place

with those whose spirits are contrite and humble.

I restore the crushed spirit of the humble

and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.

16 For I will not fight against you forever;

I will not always be angry.

If I were, all people would pass away—

all the souls I have made.

17 I was angry,

so I punished these greedy people.

I withdrew from them,

but they kept going on their own stubborn way.

18 I have seen what they do,

but I will heal them anyway!

I will lead them.

I will comfort those who mourn,

19 bringing words of praise to their lips.

May they have abundant peace, both near and far,”

says the Lord, who heals them.

20 “But those who still reject me are like the restless sea,

which is never still

but continually churns up mud and dirt.

21 There is no peace for the wicked,”

says my God.

True and False Worship

58 “Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast.

Shout aloud! Don’t be timid.

Tell my people IsraelHebrew Jacob. See note on 14:1. of their sins!

Yet they act so pious!

They come to the Temple every day

and seem delighted to learn all about me.

They act like a righteous nation

that would never abandon the laws of its God.

They ask me to take action on their behalf,

pretending they want to be near me.

‘We have fasted before you!’ they say.

‘Why aren’t you impressed?

We have been very hard on ourselves,

and you don’t even notice it!’

“I will tell you why!” I respond.

“It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves.

Even while you fast,

you keep oppressing your workers.

What good is fasting

when you keep on fighting and quarreling?

This kind of fasting

will never get you anywhere with me.

You humble yourselves

by going through the motions of penance,

bowing your heads

like reeds bending in the wind.

You dress in burlap

and cover yourselves with ashes.

Is this what you call fasting?

Do you really think this will please the Lord?

“No, this is the kind of fasting I want:

Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;

lighten the burden of those who work for you.

Let the oppressed go free,

and remove the chains that bind people.

Share your food with the hungry,

and give shelter to the homeless.

Give clothes to those who need them,

and do not hide from relatives who need your help.

“Then your salvation will come like the dawn,

and your wounds will quickly heal.

Your godliness will lead you forward,

and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.

Then when you call, the Lord will answer.

‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.

“Remove the heavy yoke of oppression.

Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors!

10 Feed the hungry,

and help those in trouble.

Then your light will shine out from the darkness,

and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.

11 The Lord will guide you continually,

giving you water when you are dry

and restoring your strength.

You will be like a well-watered garden,

like an ever-flowing spring.

12 Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities.

Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls

and a restorer of homes.

13 “Keep the Sabbath day holy.

Don’t pursue your own interests on that day,

but enjoy the Sabbath

and speak of it with delight as the Lord’s holy day.

Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day,

and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly.

14 Then the Lord will be your delight.

I will give you great honor

and satisfy you with the inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob.

I, the Lord, have spoken!”

Warnings against Sin

59 Listen! The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you,

nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call.

It’s your sins that have cut you off from God.

Because of your sins, he has turned away

and will not listen anymore.

Your hands are the hands of murderers,

and your fingers are filthy with sin.

Your lips are full of lies,

and your mouth spews corruption.

No one cares about being fair and honest.

The people’s lawsuits are based on lies.

They conceive evil deeds

and then give birth to sin.

They hatch deadly snakes

and weave spiders’ webs.

Whoever eats their eggs will die;

whoever cracks them will hatch a viper.

Their webs can’t be made into clothing,

and nothing they do is productive.

All their activity is filled with sin,

and violence is their trademark.

Their feet run to do evil,

and they rush to commit murder.

They think only about sinning.

Misery and destruction always follow them.

They don’t know where to find peace

or what it means to be just and good.

They have mapped out crooked roads,

and no one who follows them knows a moment’s peace.

So there is no justice among us,

and we know nothing about right living.

We look for light but find only darkness.

We look for bright skies but walk in gloom.

10 We grope like the blind along a wall,

feeling our way like people without eyes.

Even at brightest noontime,

we stumble as though it were dark.

Among the living,

we are like the dead.

11 We growl like hungry bears;

we moan like mournful doves.

We look for justice, but it never comes.

We look for rescue, but it is far away from us.

12 For our sins are piled up before God

and testify against us.

Yes, we know what sinners we are.

13 We know we have rebelled and have denied the Lord.

We have turned our backs on our God.

We know how unfair and oppressive we have been,

carefully planning our deceitful lies.

14 Our courts oppose the righteous,

and justice is nowhere to be found.

Truth stumbles in the streets,

and honesty has been outlawed.

15 Yes, truth is gone,

and anyone who renounces evil is attacked.

The Lord looked and was displeased

to find there was no justice.

16 He was amazed to see that no one intervened

to help the oppressed.

So he himself stepped in to save them with his strong arm,

and his justice sustained him.

17 He put on righteousness as his body armor

and placed the helmet of salvation on his head.

He clothed himself with a robe of vengeance

and wrapped himself in a cloak of divine passion.

18 He will repay his enemies for their evil deeds.

His fury will fall on his foes.

He will pay them back even to the ends of the earth.

19 In the west, people will respect the name of the Lord;

in the east, they will glorify him.

For he will come like a raging flood tide

driven by the breath of the Lord.Or When the enemy comes like a raging flood tide, / the Spirit of the Lord will drive him back.

20 “The Redeemer will come to Jerusalem

to buy back those in Israel

who have turned from their sins,”Hebrew The Redeemer will come to Zion / to buy back those in Jacob / who have turned from their sins. Greek version reads The one who rescues will come on behalf of Zion, / and he will turn Jacob away from ungodliness. Compare Rom 11:26.

says the Lord.

21 “And this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit will not leave them, and neither will these words I have given you. They will be on your lips and on the lips of your children and your children’s children forever. I, the Lord, have spoken!

15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

16 For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made.

17 For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart.

18 I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners.

19 I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord; and I will heal him.

20 But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.

21 There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.

58 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.

Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.

Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours.

Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.

Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord?

Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?

Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?

Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy reward.

Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;

10 And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day:

11 And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

12 And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.

13 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:

14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

59 Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:

But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.

None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.

They hatch cockatrice' eggs, and weave the spider's web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper.

Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands.

Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.

The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace.

Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness.

10 We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noon day as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men.

11 We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us.

12 For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them;

13 In transgressing and lying against the Lord, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.

14 And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.

15 Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.

16 And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.

17 For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak.

18 According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompence to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompence.

19 So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.

20 And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord.

21 As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever.

Philippians 1:1-26

Paul and Timothy,S Ac 16:1; 2Co 1:1 servants of Christ Jesus,

To all God’s holy peopleS Ac 9:13 in Christ Jesus at Philippi,S Ac 16:12 together with the overseersS 1Ti 3:1 and deaconsThe word deacons refers here to Christians designated to serve with the overseers/elders of the church in a variety of ways; similarly in Romans 16:1 and 1 Tim. 3:8,12.:1Ti 3:8

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.S Ro 1:7

Thanksgiving and Prayer

I thank my God every time I remember you.S Ro 1:8In all my prayers for all of you, I always prayS Ro 1:10 with joybecause of your partnershipAc 2:42; Php 4:15 in the gospel from the first dayAc 16:12-40 until now,being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completionPs 138:8 until the day of Christ Jesus.ver 10; S 1Co 1:8

It is right2Pe 1:13 for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart2Co 7:3 and, whether I am in chainsver 13, 14, 17; S Ac 21:33 or defendingver 16 and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.God can testifyS Ro 1:9 how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

And this is my prayer: that your love1Th 3:12 may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,S Eph 1:1710 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,ver 6; S 1Co 1:811 filled with the fruit of righteousnessS Jas 3:18 that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Paul’s Chains Advance the Gospel

12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters,The Greek word for brothers and sisters (adelphoi) refers here to believers, both men and women, as part of God’s family; also in verse 14; and in 3:1, 13, 17; 4:1, 8, 21. that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guardOr whole palace and to everyone else that I am in chainsver 7, 14, 17; S Ac 21:33 for Christ.14 And because of my chains,ver 7, 13, 17; S Ac 21:33 most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.S Ac 4:29

15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill.16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.ver 7, 1217 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition,Php 2:3 not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.ver 7, 13, 14; S Ac 21:3318 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,19 for I know that through your prayers2Co 1:11 and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus ChristS Ac 16:7 what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.Or vindication; or salvationPhm 2220 I eagerly expectRo 8:19 and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient couragever 14 so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body,1Co 6:20 whether by life or by death.Ro 14:821 For to me, to live is ChristGal 2:20 and to die is gain.22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart2Ti 4:6 and be with Christ,S Jn 12:26 which is better by far;24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith,26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.

Greetings from Paul

This letter is from Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus.

I am writing to all of God’s holy people in Philippi who belong to Christ Jesus, including the church leadersOr overseers, or bishops. and deacons.

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

Paul’s Thanksgiving and Prayer

Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy,for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now.And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News.God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus.

I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.10 For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.11 May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus ChristGreek with the fruit of righteousness through Jesus Christ.—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.

Paul’s Joy That Christ Is Preached

12 And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters,Greek brothers. that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News.13 For everyone here, including the whole palace guard,Greek including all the Praetorium. knows that I am in chains because of Christ.14 And because of my imprisonment, most of the believersGreek brothers in the Lord. here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s messageSome manuscripts read speak the message. without fear.

15 It’s true that some are preaching out of jealousy and rivalry. But others preach about Christ with pure motives.16 They preach because they love me, for they know I have been appointed to defend the Good News.17 Those others do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me.18 But that doesn’t matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice.19 For I know that as you pray for me and the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me, this will lead to my deliverance.

Paul’s Life for Christ

20 For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die.21 For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.22 But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better.23 I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me.24 But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live.

25 Knowing this, I am convinced that I will remain alive so I can continue to help all of you grow and experience the joy of your faith.26 And when I come to you again, you will have even more reason to take pride in Christ Jesus because of what he is doing through me.

Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:

Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,

Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,

For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.

For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;

10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.

11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;

13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;

14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:

16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:

17 But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.

18 What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.

19 For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,

20 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.

21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.

23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:

24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.

25 And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;

26 That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.

Psalm 71:1-24

Psalm 7171:1-3pp — Ps 31:1-4

In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;S Dt 23:15; Ru 2:12

let me never be put to shame.S Ps 22:5

In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me;

turn your earS 2Ki 19:16 to me and save me.

Be my rock of refuge,

to which I can always go;

give the command to save me,

for you are my rock and my fortress.Ps 18:2

DeliverS 2Ki 19:19 me, my God, from the hand of the wicked,Ps 140:4

from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel.S Ge 48:16

For you have been my hope,S Ps 9:18; S 25:5 Sovereign Lord,

my confidenceS Job 4:6; Jer 17:7 since my youth.

From birthS Ps 22:10 I have relied on you;

you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.S Job 3:16; S Ps 22:9

I will ever praisePs 9:1; 34:1; 52:9; 119:164; 145:2 you.

I have become a signS Dt 28:46; Isa 8:18; 1Co 4:9 to many;

you are my strong refuge.S 2Sa 22:3; Ps 61:3

My mouthver 15; Ps 51:15; 63:5 is filled with your praise,

declaring your splendorPs 96:6; 104:1 all day long.

Do not castS Ps 51:11 me away when I am old;Ps 92:14; Isa 46:4

do not forsakeS Dt 4:31; S 31:6 me when my strength is gone.

10 For my enemiesPs 3:7 speak against me;

those who wait to killS Ps 10:8; 59:3; Pr 1:18 me conspireS Ex 1:10; S Ps 31:13; S Mt 12:14 together.

11 They say, “God has forsakenS Ps 9:10; Isa 40:27; 54:7; La 5:20; Mt 27:46 him;

pursue him and seize him,

for no one will rescueS Ps 7:2 him.”

12 Do not be farS Ps 38:21 from me, my God;

come quickly, God, to helpPs 22:19; 38:22 me.

13 May my accusersJer 18:19 perish in shame;S Job 8:22; Ps 25:3

may those who want to harm me

be covered with scorn and disgrace.S Ps 70:2

14 As for me, I will always have hope;Ps 25:3; 42:5; 130:7; 131:3

I will praise you more and more.

15 My mouth will tellS ver 8; S Ps 66:16 of your righteous deeds,S Ps 51:14

of your saving acts all day long—

though I know not how to relate them all.

16 I will come and proclaim your mighty acts,Ps 9:1; 77:12; 106:2; 118:15; 145:4 Sovereign Lord;

I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone.

17 Since my youth, God, you have taughtS Dt 4:5; S Jer 7:13 me,

and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.S Job 5:9; Ps 26:7; 86:10; 96:3

18 Even when I am old and gray,Isa 46:4

do not forsake me, my God,

till I declare your powerS Ex 9:16 to the next generation,

your mighty acts to all who are to come.Job 8:8; Ps 22:30, 31; 78:4; 145:4; Joel 1:3

19 Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens,S Ps 36:5

you who have done great things.Ps 126:2; Lk 1:49

Who is like you, God?Ps 35:10; 77:13; 89:8

20 Though you have made me see troubles,Ps 25:17

many and bitter,

you will restorePs 80:3, 19; 85:4; Hos 6:2 my life again;

from the depths of the earthS Ps 63:9

you will again bring me up.

21 You will increase my honorPs 18:35

and comfortPs 23:4; 86:17; Isa 12:1; 40:1-2; 49:13; 54:10 me once more.

22 I will praise you with the harpPs 33:2

for your faithfulness, my God;

I will sing praise to you with the lyre,S Job 21:12; Ps 92:3; 144:9

Holy One of Israel.S 2Ki 19:22

23 My lips will shout for joyPs 20:5

when I sing praise to you—

I whom you have delivered.S Ex 15:13

24 My tongue will tell of your righteous acts

all day long,S Ps 35:28

for those who wanted to harm mever 13

have been put to shame and confusion.S Est 9:2

Psalm 71

O Lord, I have come to you for protection;

don’t let me be disgraced.

Save me and rescue me,

for you do what is right.

Turn your ear to listen to me,

and set me free.

Be my rock of safety

where I can always hide.

Give the order to save me,

for you are my rock and my fortress.

My God, rescue me from the power of the wicked,

from the clutches of cruel oppressors.

O Lord, you alone are my hope.

I’ve trusted you, O Lord, from childhood.

Yes, you have been with me from birth;

from my mother’s womb you have cared for me.

No wonder I am always praising you!

My life is an example to many,

because you have been my strength and protection.

That is why I can never stop praising you;

I declare your glory all day long.

And now, in my old age, don’t set me aside.

Don’t abandon me when my strength is failing.

10 For my enemies are whispering against me.

They are plotting together to kill me.

11 They say, “God has abandoned him.

Let’s go and get him,

for no one will help him now.”

12 O God, don’t stay away.

My God, please hurry to help me.

13 Bring disgrace and destruction on my accusers.

Humiliate and shame those who want to harm me.

14 But I will keep on hoping for your help;

I will praise you more and more.

15 I will tell everyone about your righteousness.

All day long I will proclaim your saving power,

though I am not skilled with words.Or though I cannot count it.

16 I will praise your mighty deeds, O Sovereign Lord.

I will tell everyone that you alone are just.

17 O God, you have taught me from my earliest childhood,

and I constantly tell others about the wonderful things you do.

18 Now that I am old and gray,

do not abandon me, O God.

Let me proclaim your power to this new generation,

your mighty miracles to all who come after me.

19 Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens.

You have done such wonderful things.

Who can compare with you, O God?

20 You have allowed me to suffer much hardship,

but you will restore me to life again

and lift me up from the depths of the earth.

21 You will restore me to even greater honor

and comfort me once again.

22 Then I will praise you with music on the harp,

because you are faithful to your promises, O my God.

I will sing praises to you with a lyre,

O Holy One of Israel.

23 I will shout for joy and sing your praises,

for you have ransomed me.

24 I will tell about your righteous deeds

all day long,

for everyone who tried to hurt me

has been shamed and humiliated.

71 In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion.

Deliver me in thy righteousness, and cause me to escape: incline thine ear unto me, and save me.

Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress.

Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.

For thou art my hope, O Lord God: thou art my trust from my youth.

By thee have I been holden up from the womb: thou art he that took me out of my mother's bowels: my praise shall be continually of thee.

I am as a wonder unto many; but thou art my strong refuge.

Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honour all the day.

Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth.

10 For mine enemies speak against me; and they that lay wait for my soul take counsel together,

11 Saying, God hath forsaken him: persecute and take him; for there is none to deliver him.

12 O God, be not far from me: O my God, make haste for my help.

13 Let them be confounded and consumed that are adversaries to my soul; let them be covered with reproach and dishonour that seek my hurt.

14 But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more.

15 My mouth shall shew forth thy righteousness and thy salvation all the day; for I know not the numbers thereof.

16 I will go in the strength of the Lord God: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only.

17 O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works.

18 Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.

19 Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high, who hast done great things: O God, who is like unto thee!

20 Thou, which hast shewed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth.

21 Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side.

22 I will also praise thee with the psaltery, even thy truth, O my God: unto thee will I sing with the harp, O thou Holy One of Israel.

23 My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; and my soul, which thou hast redeemed.

24 My tongue also shall talk of thy righteousness all the day long: for they are confounded, for they are brought unto shame, that seek my hurt.

Proverbs 24:9-10

The schemes of folly are sin,

and people detest a mocker.

Saying 25

10 If you falter in a time of trouble,

how small is your strength!S Job 4:5

The schemes of a fool are sinful;

everyone detests a mocker.

10 If you fail under pressure,

your strength is too small.

The thought of foolishness is sin: and the scorner is an abomination to men.

10 If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.

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