Thursday, December 9, 2021

The Daily Bible Readings for Thursday, December 9, 2021

Encouragement to be Generous

The Daily Bible Readings
Thursday, December 9, 2021
Isaiah 12:2-6; Amos 6:1-8; 2 Corinthians 8:1-15
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible


In today’s lectionary readings, our psalm comes from the book of Isaiah. It speaks both to those who suffer water’s absence and those who feel drowned in the waters of destruction. God’s salvation flows and overflows, fulfilling the deepest need of parched souls with the very presence of God in their midst. Our reading in Amos compares Israel to her pagan neighbors. Amos said, The LORD will roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem, and the habitations of the shepherds shall mourn, and the top of Carmel shall wither. In our epistle reading, Paul encourages the predominately Gentile Christians in Corinth to give generously to an offering being collected for the predominately Jewish Christian church in Jerusalem. In our verse of the day, Jesus describes the essence of a fruitful Christian life. By faith, we must stay connected to Christ every second of every day to live the most God-honoring and abundant life of peace and fruitfulness in Christ. After explaining to his disciples how his Father is the gardener that prunes each branch so that it can bear more fruit, Jesus urges them to stay grafted in.

Today’s Verse of the Day:
John 15:5, 8

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.… This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
What kind of fruit do you bear? How would your family, co-workers, and neighbors describe you? Would they say you are loving or selfish? Godly or unscrupulous? The way to measure the effectiveness of your walk with the Lord is to see what is being produced. Are people being drawn to God through you, or are they turned off to Him because of your ways? You can only make a difference in this world for Christ if you abide in Him.

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Prophetic Books of Major Prophets
Isaiah 12:2-6
In Your Midst is the Holy One of Israel

2 Surely God is my salvation;
     I will trust and not be afraid.
  The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense;
     he has become my salvation.”
3 With joy you will draw water
     from the wells of salvation.

4 In that day you will say:

  “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
     make known among the nations what he has done,
     and proclaim that his name is exalted.
5 Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things;
     let this be known to all the world.
6 Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,
     for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”


The song of praise in this chapter is suitable for the return of the outcasts of Israel from their long captivity, but it is especially suitable to the case of a sinner, when he first finds peace and joy in believing; to that of a believer, when his peace is renewed after corrections for backslidings; and to that of the whole company of the redeemed, when they meet before the throne of God in heaven. The promise is sure, and the blessings contained in it are very rich; and the benefits enjoyed through Jesus Christ, call for the most enlarged thanksgivings. By Jesus Christ, the Root of Jesse, the Divine anger against mankind was turned away, for he is our Peace. Those to whom God is reconciled, he comforts. They are taught to triumph in God and their interest in him. I will trust him to prepare me for his salvation, and preserve me to it. I will trust him with all my concerns, not doubting but he will make all to work for good. Faith in God is a sovereign remedy against tormenting fears. Many Christians have God for their strength, who have him not for their song; they walk in darkness: but those who have God for their strength ought to make him their song; that is, give him the glory of it, and take to themselves the comfort of it. This salvation is from the love of God the Father, it comes to us through God the Son, it is applied by the new-creating power of God the Spirit. When this is seen by faith, the trembling sinner learns to hope in God, and is delivered from fear. The purifying and sanctifying influences of the Holy Ghost often are denoted under the emblem of springing water. This work flows through the mediation of Christ, and is conveyed to our souls by means of God's ordinances. Blessed be God, we have wells of salvation opened on every side, and may draw from them the waters of life and consolation. In the second part of this gospel song, verses 4-6, believers encourage one another to praise God, and seek to draw others to join them in it. No difference of opinions about the times and seasons, and other such matters, ought to divide the hearts of Christians. Let it be our care that we may be placed amongst those to whom he will say, Come, ye blessed of my Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world.

From the Prophetic Books of Minor Prophets
Amos 6:1-8
Punishment for Self-indulgence

1 Woe to you who are complacent in Zion,
     and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria,
  you notable men of the foremost nation,
     to whom the people of Israel come!
2 Go to Kalneh and look at it;
     go from there to great Hamath,
     and then go down to Gath in Philistia.
  Are they better off than your two kingdoms?
     Is their land larger than yours?
3 You put off the day of disaster
     and bring near a reign of terror.
4 You lie on beds adorned with ivory
     and lounge on your couches.
  You dine on choice lambs
     and fattened calves.
5 You strum away on your harps like David
     and improvise on musical instruments.
6 You drink wine by the bowlful
     and use the finest lotions,
     but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph.
7 Therefore you will be among the first to go into exile;
     your feasting and lounging will end.

8 The Sovereign Lord has sworn by himself—the Lord God Almighty declares:
  “I abhor the pride of Jacob
     and detest his fortresses;
  I will deliver up the city
     and everything in it.”


Those are looked upon as doing well for themselves, who do well for their bodies; but we are here told what their ease is, and what their woe is. Here is a description of the pride, security, and sensuality, for which God would reckon. Careless sinners are every where in danger; but those at ease in Zion, who are stupid, vainly confident, and abusing their privileges, are in the greatest danger. Yet many fancy themselves the people of God, who are living in sin, and in conformity to the world. But the examples of others' ruin forbid us to be secure. Those who are set upon their pleasures are commonly careless of the troubles of others, but this is great offense to God. Those who placed their happiness in the pleasures of sense, and set their hearts upon them, shall be deprived of those pleasures. Those who try to put the evil day far from them, find it nearest to them.

From the Epistles
2 Corinthians 8:1-15
Encouragement to be Generous

8:1 And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. 5 And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. 6 So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. 7 But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.

8 I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

10 And here is my judgment about what is best for you in this matter. Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. 11 Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. 12 For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.

13 Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14 At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, 15 as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.”


Verses 1-6: The grace of God must be owned as the root and fountain of all the good in us, or done by us, at any time. It is great grace and favor from God, if we are made useful to others, and forward to any good work. He commends the charity of the Macedonians. So far from needing that Paul should urge them, they prayed him to receive the gift. Whatever we use or lay out for God, it is only giving him what is his own. All we give for charitable uses, will not be accepted of God, nor turn to our advantage, unless we first give ourselves to the Lord. By ascribing all really good works to the grace of God, we not only give the glory to him whose due it is, but also show men where their strength is. Abundant spiritual joy enlarges men's hearts in the work and labor of love. How different this from the conduct of those who will not join in any good work, unless urged into it!

Verses 7-9: Faith is the root; and as without faith it is not possible to please God, Hebrews 11:6, so those who abound in faith, will abound in other graces and good works also; and this will work and show itself by love. Great talkers are not always the best doers; but these Corinthians were diligent to do, as well as to know and talk well. To all these good things the apostle desires them to add this grace also, to abound in charity to the poor. The best arguments for Christian duties, are drawn from the grace and love of Christ. Though he was rich, as being God, equal in power and glory with the Father, yet he not only became man for us, but became poor also. At length he emptied himself, as it were, to ransom their souls by his sacrifice on the cross. From what riches, blessed Lord, to what poverty didst thou descend for our sakes! and to what riches hast thou advanced us through thy poverty! It is our happiness to be wholly at thy disposal.

Verses 10-15: Good purposes are like buds and blossoms, pleasant to behold, and give hopes of good fruit; but they are lost, and signify nothing without good deeds. Good beginnings are well; but we lose the benefit, unless there is perseverance. When men purpose that which is good, and endeavor, according to their ability, to perform also, God will not reject them for what it is not in their power to do. But this scripture will not justify those who think good meanings are enough, or that good purposes, and the mere profession of a willing mind, are enough to save. Providence gives to some more of the good things of this world, and to some less, that those who have abundance might supply others who are in want. It is the will of God, that by our mutual supplying one another, there should be some sort of equality; not such a leveling as would destroy property, for in such a case there could be no exercise of charity. All should think themselves concerned to relieve those in want. This is shown from the gathering and giving out the manna in the wilderness, Exodus 16:18. Those who have most of this world, have no more than food and raiment; and those who have but little of this world, seldom are quite without them.

Today’s Lectionary Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year C. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2022, we will be in Year A. The year which ended at Advent 2021 was Year B. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible.

The Morning Prayer for Thursday, December 9, 2021


The Morning Prayer
Thursday, December 9, 2021

But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.
Deuteronomy 4:29, NIV

Lord our God, we seek your face and long to find you. May we find you as your people found you in times past when you drew near with many signs and miracles. May our hearts come before you in awe and trust and draw their strength from you. May many in our time seek you and receive your comfort and help, for you provide strength and courage for the poor and destitute, for the suffering and the dying. Do not let our age pass by in vain, O great and almighty God. A new time must surely come, a new day must be born from this present age. This is your will, and in your will we trust. Amen.

Verse of the Day for Thursday, December 9, 2021


Verse of the Day
Thursday, December 9, 2021

John 15:5, 8
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.… This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
What kind of fruit do you bear? How would your family, co-workers, and neighbors describe you? Would they say you are loving or selfish? Godly or unscrupulous? The way to measure the effectiveness of your walk with the Lord is to see what is being produced. Are people being drawn to God through you, or are they turned off to Him because of your ways? You can only make a difference in this world for Christ if you abide in Him.

Read all of John Chapter 15

Listen to John Chapter 15

Scripture from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.

Our Daily Bread — A Great Multitude


A Great Multitude

Before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language. Revelation 7:9

READ Revelation 7:9–12

We came together for our Sunday morning church service with joy and anticipation. Although we were spatially distanced because of the coronavirus pandemic, we welcomed the opportunity to celebrate Gavin and Tijana’s wedding. Our technologically gifted Iranian friends broadcast the service to friends and family spread out geographically—including in Spain, Poland, and Serbia. This creative approach helped us overcome the constraints as we rejoiced in the covenant of marriage. God’s Spirit united us and gave us joy.

That Sunday morning with our wonderfully multinational congregation was a small taste of the glory to come when people from “every nation, tribe, people and language” will stand before God in heaven (Revelation 7:9). The beloved disciple John glimpsed this “great multitude” in a vision he recounts in the book of Revelation. There those gathered will worship God together along with the angels and elders: “Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever” (v. 12).

The union and marriage of Jesus and His international bride in the “wedding supper of the Lamb” (19:9) will be an amazing time of worship and celebration. Our experience at our Sunday church service with people from many nations points to this celebration that one day we’ll enjoy.

While we wait in hope for that joyful event, we can embrace the practice of feasting and rejoicing among God’s people.

By Amy Boucher Pye


How do you picture the wedding supper of the Lamb? How does being invited to this celebration affect your daily life?

Lamb of God, thank You for the invitation to the heavenly wedding.


It’s interesting to note some differences in the description of the two crowds in Revelation 7. John heard of the first group (v. 4), while he saw the second (v. 9). The first group was numbered at 144,000 (v. 4); the second group “no one could count” (v. 9). The first crowd was of a single nationality (the tribes of Israel, vv. 4–8); the second was “from every nation” (v. 9). Bible scholar Craig Keener suggests that “the first vision portrays symbolically God’s end-time spiritual army, then this second vision is a more literal interpretation of the first” (Revelation, NIV Application Commentary). According to this view, God’s army is victorious over their enemies by dying a martyr’s death rather than by killing their enemies (see 11:7–13; 12:11; 13:7; 15:2; 21:7). Keener goes on to note that “in this, we are like our Lord.”

J.R. Hudberg