Isaiah 26; Isaiah 27; Philippians 2

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Isaiah 26

1 At that time a song will be sung in the land of Judah. It will say, "We have a strong city. God's saving power surrounds it like walls and towers.
2 Open its gates so that those who do what is right can enter. They are the people who remain faithful to God.
3 Lord, you will give perfect peace to anyone who commits himself to be faithful to you. That's because he trusts in you.
4 "Trust in the LORD forever. The LORD is the Rock. The LORD will keep us safe forever.
5 He brings down those who are proud. He pulls down cities that have high walls. They fall down flat on the ground. He throws them down to the dust.
6 The feet of those who were crushed stomp on them. Those who were helpless walk all over them."
7 Lord, you are honest and fair. You guide those who do what is right. You lead them on a straight path. You make their way smooth.
8 Lord, we are living the way your laws command us to live. We are waiting for you to act. Our hearts long for you to be true to your name. That's what you are known for.
9 My heart longs for you at night. My spirit longs for you in the morning. You will come and judge the earth. Then the people of the world will learn to do what is right.
10 Grace is shown to sinful people. But they still don't learn to do what is right. They keep on doing evil even in a land where others are honest and fair. They don't have any respect for the majesty of the Lord.
11 Lord, you have raised your hand high to punish them. But they don't even see it. Let them see how much you love your people. Then they will be put to shame. Let the fire you are saving for your enemies burn them up.
12 Lord, you give us peace. You are the one who has done everything we've accomplished.
13 Lord, you are our God. Other masters besides you have ruled over us. But your name is the only one we honor.
14 Those other masters are now dead. They will never live again. Their spirits won't rise from the dead. You punished them and destroyed them. You wiped out all memory of them.
15 Lord, you have made our nation grow. You have made it larger. You have gained glory for yourself. You have increased the size of our land.
16 Lord, when your people were suffering, they came to you. When you punished them, they could barely whisper a prayer.
17 Lord, you made us like a woman who is having a baby. She groans and cries out in pain.
18 We were pregnant. We groaned with pain. But nothing was born. We didn't bring your saving power to the earth. We didn't give life to the people of the world.
19 Israel, those among you who have died will live again. Their bodies will rise from the dead. You who lie in the grave, wake up and shout with joy. The dew of the morning gives life to the earth. So the earth will give up its dead people.
20 My people, go into your houses. Shut the doors behind you. Hide yourselves for a little while. Do it until the LORD's anger is over.
21 He is coming from the place where he lives. He will punish the people of the earth for their sins. The blood that has been spilled on the earth will be brought out into the open. The ground will no longer hide those who have been killed.
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.

Isaiah 27

1 At that time the LORD will punish Leviathan with his sword. His great, powerful and deadly sword will punish the serpent that glides through the sea. He will kill that twisting sea monster.
2 At that time the LORD will sing about his fruitful vineyard. He will say,
3 "I am the Lord. I watch over my vineyard. I water it all the time. I guard it day and night. I do it so no one can harm it.
4 I am not angry with my vineyard. I wish thorns and bushes would come up in it. Then I would march out against them in battle. I would set all of them on fire.
5 So the enemies of my people had better come to me for safety. They should make peace with me. I will say it again. They should make peace with me."
6 In days to come, Jacob's people will put down roots like a vine. Israel will bud and bloom. They will fill the whole world with fruit.
7 The LORD struck down those who struck Israel down. But he hasn't punished Israel as much. The LORD killed those who killed many of his people. But he hasn't punished his people as much.
8 The LORD will use war to punish Israel. He will make them leave their land. With a strong blast of his anger he will drive them out. It will be as if the east wind were blowing.
9 The people of Jacob will have to pay for their sin. That must happen in order for their sin to be taken away. They will make all of the altar stones like chalk. They will crush them to pieces. No poles that had been used to worship the goddess Asherah will be left standing. No incense altars will be left either.
10 Cities that have high walls around them will become empty. They will be deserted settlements. They will be like a desert. Calves will eat and lie down in them. They will strip the branches of their trees bare.
11 When their twigs are dry, they will be broken off. Then women will come and make fires with them. The people of Jacob don't understand the Lord. So the One who made them won't be concerned about them. Their Creator won't show them his favor.
12 At that time the LORD will separate Israel from other people. He will gather the Israelites together. He will gather them one by one from the Euphrates River all the way to the Wadi of Egypt.
13 At that time a loud trumpet will be blown. Those who were dying in Assyria will come and worship the Lord. So will those who were taken away to Egypt. All of them will worship the LORD on his holy mountain in Jerusalem.
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.

Philippians 2

1 Are you cheerful because you belong to Christ? Does his love comfort you? Is the Holy Spirit your companion? Has Christ been gentle and loving toward you?
2 Then make my joy complete by agreeing with each other. Have the same love. Be one in spirit and purpose.
3 Don't do anything only to get ahead. Don't do it because you are proud. Instead, be free of pride. Think of others as better than yourselves.
4 None of you should look out just for your own good. You should also look out for the good of others.
5 You should think in the same way Christ Jesus does.
6 In his very nature he was God. But he did not think that being equal with God was something he should hold on to.
7 Instead, he made himself nothing. He took on the very nature of a servant. He was made in human form.
8 He appeared as a man. He came down to the lowest level. He obeyed God completely, even though it led to his death.
9 So God lifted him up to the highest place. He gave him the name that is above every name.
10 When the name of Jesus is spoken, everyone's knee will bow to worship him. Every knee in heaven and on earth and under the earth will bow to worship him.
11 Everyone's mouth will say that Jesus Christ is Lord. And God the Father will receive the glory.
12 My dear friends, you have always obeyed God. You obeyed while I was with you. And you have obeyed even more while I am not with you. So continue to work out your own salvation. Do it with fear and trembling.
13 God is working in you. He wants your plans and your acts to be in keeping with his good purpose.
14 Do everything without finding fault or arguing.
15 Then you will be pure and without blame. You will be children of God without fault in a sinful and evil world. Among the people of the world you shine like stars in the heavens.
16 You shine as you hold out to them the word of life. So I can brag about you on the day Christ returns. I can be happy that I didn't run or work for nothing.
17 But my life might even be poured out like a drink offering on your sacrifices. I'm talking about the way you serve because you believe. Even so, I am glad. I am joyful with all of you.
18 So you too should be glad and joyful with me.
19 I hope to send Timothy to you soon if the Lord Jesus allows it. Then I will be cheered up when I receive news about you.
20 I have no one else like Timothy. He truly cares about how you are doing.
21 All the others are looking out for their own interests. They are not looking out for the interests of Jesus Christ.
22 But you know that Timothy has proved himself. He has served with me like a son with his father in spreading the good news.
23 So I hope to send him as soon as I see how things go with me.
24 And I'm sure I myself will come soon if the Lord allows it.
25 But I think it's necessary to send Epaphroditus back to you. He is my brother in the Lord. He is a worker and a soldier of Christ together with me. He is also your messenger. You sent him to take care of my needs.
26 He longs for all of you. He is troubled because you heard he was sick.
27 He was very sick. In fact, he almost died. But God had mercy on him. He also had mercy on me. God spared me sadness after sadness.
28 So I want even more to send him to you. Then when you see him again, you will be glad. And I won't worry so much.
29 Welcome him as a brother in the Lord with great joy. Honor people like him.
30 He almost died for the work of Christ. He put his life in danger to make up for the help you couldn't give me.
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.