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First Reading: Isaiah Chapter 25 and 26

Isaiah 25

25:1 Praise to God

O LORD, You are my God.I will exalt You,I will praise Your name,For You have done wonderful things;Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. 2 For You have made a city a ruin,A fortified city a ruin,A palace of foreigners to be a city no more;It will never be rebuilt. 3 Therefore the strong people will glorify You;The city of the terrible nations will fear You. 4 For You have been a strength to the poor,A strength to the needy in his distress,A refuge from the storm,A shade from the heat;For the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall. 5 You will reduce the noise of aliens,As heat in a dry place;As heat in the shadow of a cloud,The song of the terrible ones will be diminished.
6 And in this mountain The LORD of hosts will make for all people A feast of choice pieces,A feast of wines on the lees,Of fat things full of marrow,Of well-refined wines on the lees. 7 And He will destroy on this mountain The surface of the covering cast over all people,And the veil that is spread over all nations. 8 He will swallow up death forever,And the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces;The rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth;For the LORD has spoken.
9 And it will be said in that day:"Behold, this is our God;We have waited for Him, and He will save us.This is the LORD;We have waited for Him;We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation."
10 For on this mountain the hand of the LORD will rest,And Moab shall be trampled down under Him,As straw is trampled down for the refuse heap. 11 And He will spread out His hands in their midst As a swimmer reaches out to swim,And He will bring down their pride Together with the trickery of their hands. 12 The fortress of the high fort of your walls He will bring down, lay low,And bring to the ground, down to the dust.

Isaiah 26

26:1 A Song of Salvation

In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:
"We have a strong city;God will appoint salvation for walls and bulwarks. 2 Open the gates,That the righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter in. 3 You will keep him in perfect peace,Whose mind is stayed on You,Because he trusts in You. 4 Trust in the LORD forever,For in YAH, the LORD, is everlasting strength. 5 For He brings down those who dwell on high,The lofty city;He lays it low,He lays it low to the ground,He brings it down to the dust. 6 The foot shall tread it down — The feet of the poor And the steps of the needy."
7 The way of the just is uprightness;O Most Upright,You weigh the path of the just. 8 Yes, in the way of Your judgments,O LORD, we have waited for You;The desire of our soul is for Your name And for the remembrance of You. 9 With my soul I have desired You in the night,Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early;For when Your judgments are in the earth,The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.
10 Let grace be shown to the wicked,Yet he will not learn righteousness;In the land of uprightness he will deal unjustly,And will not behold the majesty of the LORD. 11 LORD, when Your hand is lifted up, they will not see.But they will see and be ashamed For their envy of people;Yes, the fire of Your enemies shall devour them.
12 LORD, You will establish peace for us,For You have also done all our works in us. 13 O LORD our God, masters besides You Have had dominion over us;But by You only we make mention of Your name. 14 They are dead, they will not live;They are deceased, they will not rise.Therefore You have punished and destroyed them,And made all their memory to perish. 15 You have increased the nation, O LORD,You have increased the nation;You are glorified;You have expanded all the borders of the land.
16 LORD, in trouble they have visited You,They poured out a prayer when Your chastening was upon them. 17 As a woman with child Is in pain and cries out in her pangs,When she draws near the time of her delivery,So have we been in Your sight, O LORD. 18 We have been with child, we have been in pain;We have, as it were, brought forth wind;We have not accomplished any deliverance in the earth,Nor have the inhabitants of the world fallen.
19 Your dead shall live;Together with my dead body they shall arise.Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust;For your dew is like the dew of herbs,And the earth shall cast out the dead.
20 Take Refuge from the Coming Judgment

Come, my people, enter your chambers,And shut your doors behind you;Hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment,Until the indignation is past. 21 For behold, the LORD comes out of His place To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity;The earth will also disclose her blood,And will no more cover her slain.

Second Reading: Philippians Chapter 1

Philippians 1

1:1 Greeting

Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ,
To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Thankfulness and Prayer

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, 5 for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; 7 just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. 8 For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.
9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
12 Christ Is Preached

But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, 13 so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; 14 and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
15 Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: 16 The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; 17 but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.
19 To Live Is Christ

For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20 according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. 24 Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. 25 And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith, 26 that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again.
27 Striving and Suffering for Christ

Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God. 29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30 having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.

Bible Background



Part 1 of 2

Philippians is another letter of Paul written to a new Christian church. The believers in Philippi would have received this letter sometime in the year 62 A.D. The tone of this letter is very personal in nature. Paul outlines his own beliefs and relates the attitude that all believers must not be self centered in their own lives. Each believer must look to Christ as an example of humility, self-sacrifice and unity in purpose. He further contrasts enemies of the cross with those who are friends of the Lord Jesus and the cross. It is thought that Paul wrote this epistle while he was in prison.


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