Isaiah 26; Isaiah 27; Philippians 2

1 A day is coming when the people will sing this song in the land of Judah: Our city is strong! God himself defends its walls! 2 Open the city gates and let the faithful nation enter, the nation whose people do what is right. 3 You, Lord, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in you. 4 Trust in the Lord forever; he will always protect us. 5 He has humbled those who were proud; he destroyed the strong city they lived in, and sent its walls crashing into the dust. 6 Those who were oppressed walk over it now and trample it under their feet. 7 Lord, you make the path smooth for good people; the road they travel is level. 8 We follow your will and put our hope in you; you are all that we desire. 9 At night I long for you with all my heart; when you judge the earth and its people, they will all learn what justice is. 10 Even though you are kind to the wicked, they never learn to do what is right. Even here in a land of righteous people they still do wrong; they refuse to recognize your greatness. 11 Your enemies do not know that you will punish them. Lord, put them to shame and let them suffer; let them suffer the punishment you have prepared. Show them how much you love your people. 12 You will give us prosperity, Lord; everything that we achieve is the result of what you do. 13 Lord our God, we have been ruled by others, but you alone are our Lord. 14 Now they are dead and will not live again; their ghosts will not rise, for you have punished them and destroyed them. No one remembers them any more. 15 Lord, you have made our nation grow, enlarging its territory on every side; and this has brought you honor. 16 You punished your people, Lord, and in anguish they prayed to you. 17 You, Lord, have made us cry out, as a woman in labor cries out in pain. 18 We were in pain and agony, but we gave birth to nothing. We have won no victory for our land; we have accomplished nothing. 19 Those of our people who have died will live again! Their bodies will come back to life. All those sleeping in their graves will wake up and sing for joy. As the sparkling dew refreshes the earth, so the Lord will revive those who have long been dead. 20 Go into your houses, my people, and shut the door behind you. Hide yourselves for a little while until God's anger is over. 21 The Lord is coming from his heavenly dwelling place to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The murders that were secretly committed on the earth will be revealed, and the ground will no longer hide those who have been killed.
1 On that day the Lord will use his powerful and deadly sword to punish Leviathan, that wriggling, twisting dragon, and to kill the monster that lives in the sea. 2 On that day the Lord will say of his pleasant vineyard, 3 "I watch over it and water it continually. I guard it night and day so that no one will harm it. 4 I am no longer angry with the vineyard. If there were thorns and briers to fight against, I would burn them up completely. 5 But if the enemies of my people want my protection, let them make peace with me. Yes, let them make peace with me." 6 In the days to come the people of Israel, the descendants of Jacob, will take root like a tree, and they will blossom and bud. The earth will be covered with the fruit they produce. 7 Israel has not been punished by the Lord as severely as its enemies nor lost as many people. 8 The Lord punished his people by sending them into exile. He took them away with a cruel wind from the east. 9 But Israel's sins will be forgiven only when the stones of pagan altars are ground up like chalk, and no more incense altars or symbols of the goddess Asherah are left. 10 The fortified city lies in ruins. It is deserted like an empty wilderness. It has become a pasture for cattle, where they can rest and graze. 11 The branches of the trees are withered and broken, and women gather them for firewood. Because the people have understood nothing, God their Creator will not pity them or show them any mercy. 12 On that day, from the Euphrates to the Egyptian border, the Lord will gather his people one by one, as threshing separates the wheat from the chaff. 13 When that day comes, a trumpet will be blown to call back from Assyria and Egypt all the Israelites who are in exile there. They will come and worship the Lord in Jerusalem, on his sacred hill.
1 Your life in Christ makes you strong, and his love comforts you. You have fellowship with the Spirit, and you have kindness and compassion for one another. 2 I urge you, then, to make me completely happy by having the same thoughts, sharing the same love, and being one in soul and mind. 3 Don't do anything from selfish ambition or from a cheap desire to boast, but be humble toward one another, always considering others better than yourselves. 4 And look out for one another's interests, not just for your own. 5 The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had: 6 He always had the nature of God, but he did not think that by force he should try to remain equal with God. 7 Instead of this, of his own free will he gave up all he had, and took the nature of a servant. He became like a human being and appeared in human likeness. 8 He was humble and walked the path of obedience all the way to death - his death on the cross. 9 For this reason God raised him to the highest place above and gave him the name that is greater than any other name. 10 And so, in honor of the name of Jesus all beings in heaven, on earth, and in the world below will fall on their knees, 11 and all will openly proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 12 So then, dear friends, as you always obeyed me when I was with you, it is even more important that you obey me now while I am away from you. Keep on working with fear and trembling to complete your salvation, 13 because God is always at work in you to make you willing and able to obey his own purpose. 14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may be innocent and pure as God's perfect children, who live in a world of corrupt and sinful people. You must shine among them like stars lighting up the sky, 16 as you offer them the message of life. If you do so, I shall have reason to be proud of you on the Day of Christ, because it will show that all my effort and work have not been wasted. 17 Perhaps my life's blood is to be poured out like an offering on the sacrifice that your faith offers to God. If that is so, I am glad and share my joy with you all. 18 In the same way, you too must be glad and share your joy with me. 19 If it is the Lord's will, I hope that I will be able to send Timothy to you soon, so that I may be encouraged by news about you. 20 He is the only one who shares my feelings and who really cares about you. 21 Everyone else is concerned only with their own affairs, not with the cause of Jesus Christ. 22 And you yourselves know how he has proved his worth, how he and I, like a son and his father, have worked together for the sake of the gospel. 23 So I hope to send him to you as soon as I know how things are going to turn out for me. 24 And I trust in the Lord that I myself will be able to come to you soon. 25 I have thought it necessary to send to you our brother Epaphroditus, who has worked and fought by my side and who has served as your messenger in helping me. 26 He is anxious to see you all and is very upset because you had heard that he was sick. 27 Indeed he was sick and almost died. But God had pity on him, and not only on him but on me, too, and spared me an even greater sorrow. 28 I am all the more eager, then, to send him to you, so that you will be glad again when you see him, and my own sorrow will disappear. 29 Receive him, then, with joy, as a believer in the Lord. Show respect to all such people as he, 30 because he risked his life and nearly died for the sake of the work of Christ, in order to give me the help that you yourselves could not give.
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