The one who conquers!

Scripture reading for December 2nd: Esther 4-6, Revelation 2

Revelation 2: 8-11 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The Words of the First and the Last, Who died and came to life. “‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you in prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’

Jesus Christ, the glorified Savior and Head of the Church, His Bride, spoke messages to John for each of the seven churches of Asia that John had oversight for. In each instance, Jesus gave commendation to them and then proceeded to instruct or warn them of their need to be overcomers–ones who conquered! Their battle was with Satan, the prince of darkness and he would seek to imprison, kill and destroy God’s people. They must do battle by standing firm in Christ’s Words and the victory of the cross. Those who remain faithful, even unto death, reap amazing rewards. Authority over nations, the crown of life, eating of the tree of life in paradise, hidden manna, a new name and the morning star are just a few!

Revelation 2:26-27 “The one who conquers and who keeps My works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from My Father.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for sending Jesus Christ as our Savior and the promise of His return to reward each believer with amazing gifts of Your grace. Strengthen me today to stand firm in Christ’s victory over death and hell. I want to keep Your Word and do Your works until the end. I want my family, friends and neighbors to all know You and conquer the evil one through faith in Your Son.

Esther 4:14 “”For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?””

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Behold! Jesus is coming–again!

Scripture reading for December 1st: Esther 1-3, Psalm 139, Revelation 1

Revelation 1: 4-8 “John, to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him Who is and Who was and Who is to come, and from the seven Spirits that are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ the Faithful Witness; the Firstborn of the dead and the Ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him Who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of Him. Even so. Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “Who is and Who was and Who is to come, the Almighty.””

John the Apostle, was by this time an old man. He was suffering exile on the Isle of Patmos for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and wrote this amazing letter to the seven churches of Asia that God had assigned Him oversight for. John writes a letter of love and grace from the heart of God the Father and Jesus Christ, conveying God’s Word and prophetic insight concerning the things to come. This God we serve is the great “I Am,” and is described by John as the One Who was in existence from everlasting, the ‘Alpha’ and Who is now present and Who also is the One Who is to come in time yet known. Our Father knows it all–past, present, and future! He knows the end from the beginning and His will will be done on earth as in heaven. He will come again with the clouds to receive glory and dominion forever and ever! That is Truth!

Psalm 139:3-4 “You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.”

Prayer: Father God, I am in awe of Who You are–the God Who always was, and is now and will exist in eternity future. You truly know all things and have revealed Your plans to us through Your Word and the prophets and apostles. You place us where You desire and fulfill Your purposes through those who serve You. Use me today to bring others to know You through the Good News of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Esther 2:16-17 “Now Esther was winning favor in the eyes of all who saw her. And when Esther was taken to king Ahasuerus, into his royal palace, in the tenth month, which is the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign, the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all the other virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.”

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Fellow workers for the Truth

Scripture reading for November 30th: Ezra 5-6, Psalm 95, 3rd John

3rd John: 2-8 “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. For they have gone out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore we ought to support people like these that we may be fellow workers for the truth.”

John loved the people that God had assigned oversight to him for their souls. His prayer for them was for health and prosperity as their soul prospered. Soul prosperity comes when we follow Jesus in obedient faith and support Jesus’ workers in order that the Gospel is preached to all the world. John commended this church family because they were walking in the truth and supporting those who were preaching the Gospel message. He told them that as they gave support, they became fellow-workers with them for the spreading of the Gospel. Some can go and others can send, but all share in the work and the rewards.

Psalm 95:1-3 “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation! Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and great King above all gods.”

Prayer: Father God, we praise You with great joy, singing, and giving to Your sacred work! Thank You for encouraging me to give generously to support Your workers who share the Gospel and quarry ‘living stones’ from the lost of this world. I can’t always go, but I can joyfully give that Your work proceed. I say ‘amen’ to this prayer for prosperity and health as my soul prospers through Your amazing grace!

Ezra 6:22 “And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy, for the Lord had made them joyful, and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, so that he aided them in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.”

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Walking in love and truth

Scripture reading for November 29th: Zechariah 12-14, Psalm 94, 2nd John

2nd John: 4-9 “I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. And now I ask you, dear lady–not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning–that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments: this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it. For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.”

In Jesus Christ, love and truth are joined together. John’s second letter is short and to the point concerning Christ’s commandment to love one another. This commandment is not new, but one given by God from the beginning to His people. Loving one another involves faith in God’s Word and obedience to it. Jesus Christ came in a human body and lived a sinless life of faithful obedience to His Father. As God’s Son, He alone is worthy of our love and obedience. Only through abiding in His Word do we have confidence and know that we have the Father and the Son! Beware of deceivers who deny Jesus as God’s Son and His teachings as truth!

Psalm 94:14-15 “For the Lord will not forsake His people; He will not abandon His heritage; for justice will return to the righteous, and all the upright in heart will follow it.”

Prayer: Father God, I know You through Your Son Jesus Christ and cling to Him as my Savior. Through Your gift of the Holy Spirit, I am now able to joyfully obey Your Word and seek to know and apply it to my life. You are my Lord and King and I choose to follow Jesus and walk in His truth. May my walk bring Your love and truth to those still in the darkness of sin and bondage of self.

Zechariah 14:9 “And the Lord will be King over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be One and His Name One.”

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Overcoming faith and love!

Scripture reading for November 28th: Zechariah 9-11, 1st John 5

1st John 5:2-5 “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”

John concludes his letter to encourage the church with a simple test of believer’s love for God and salvation. If we truly love God, we willingly seek to obey His Word. Obedience is not hard or begrudging, but joyful and freely given, coming from faith in God and His holy Word. This willing obedience of faith is the key to victory over the world and the forces of darkness and the antichrist. Simply believing on Jesus Christ as God’s Son gives us confidence of our salvation and God bears witness in our spirit that we possess eternal life and that God is our Father. Faith requires humility and the choice to trust God’s Son for all needs and promises. God want’s us secure in Christ, not in fear of the world or Him.

1st John 5:12-13 “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the Name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for these encouraging truths about the simplicity of salvation. I place my trust fully in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, for my salvation and the gift of eternal life. I seek to live each day in obedience to Your holy and true Word, awaiting the fullness of all You have promised. Fill me with the Holy Spirit and give me open doors to share Your great Son with a lost and dying world.

Zechariah 9:9 “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is He, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

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Perfected in love!

Scripture reading for November 25th: Zechariah 6-8, 1st John 4

1st John 4: 16-19 “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as He is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because He first loved us.

God is love! His covenant with His people is a covenant of love demonstrated to all men through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ. We can love God and others because He first loved us. God’s love takes time to know and to believe in. God is working in us through the Holy Spirit to perfect His love in us, giving us confidence instead of fear of punishment when we ultimately stand before God on the day of judgment. His perfect love casts out all fear of punishment. When we are truly perfected in God’s love, we do more than say “I love God,” we also love others made in His image. God’s love is pure, peace-loving, full of good fruit and kind. The Holy Spirit brings this fruit to ripeness making us like Jesus Christ.

1st John 4:20-21 “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God Whom he has not seen. And this is the commandment we have from Him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your faithful and righteous love demonstrated through Jesus Christ. Have Your way in perfecting that kind of love in my life, towards You and towards people. Help me to love others with purity of motive, always looking out for their highest good and welfare. Give me confidence through Your faithful love on the day of judgment and make me like You in this world.

Zechariah 8:7-8 “Thus says the Lord of Hosts: “Behold, I will save My people from the east country and from the west country, and I will bring them to dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. And they shall be My people, and I will be their God, in faithfulness and in righteousness.””

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It’s all about love!

Scripture reading for November 24th: Zechariah 2-5, Psalm 93, 1st John 3

1st John 3: 11-15 “For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”

John kept his message to the churches he oversaw very simple. He pointed them to a basic commandment: ‘Love one another.’ He used the oldest example of murder as an illustration of how the unrighteous of the world hate the righteous and seek to destroy them. So it is in this world until this day that we live in. One of the surest signs of salvation and eternal life is our love for our brothers and sisters. If we have hatred, we abide in death, not life eternal. Love for others comes from new birth and the Holy Spirit of God, Who Himself is Love, abiding in us. Love gives grace and forgiveness as our Lord did for us.

Zechariah 4:6-7 “Then he said to me, “This is the Word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts. Who are you O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain. And he shall bring forward the top stone amid shouts of ‘Grace to it!'”

Prayer: Father God, I love You and I love the brothers and sisters in Your family. Thank You for the gift of love and eternal life. I can only love because You first loved me and gave me Your love in the abiding Holy Spirit. Your love is holy and mighty–moving mountains and drawing many to salvation. Forgive those who are still in hatred and fear and use me to share the Good News of Your amazing love.

Psalm 93:4-5 “Mightier that the thunders of many waters, mightier that the waves of the sea, the Lord on high is mighty. Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits Your house, O Lord, forevermore.”

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The ‘Abiding’ anointing!

Scripture reading for November 23rd: Haggai, Zechariah 1, Psalm 138, 1st John 2

1st John 2: 26-29 “I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie–just as it has taught you, abide in Him. And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears we may have confidence and not shrink from Him in shame at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of Him.”

To abide in something means to take up residence and remain. John was writing to the believers being attacked by false teachers and warned them to listen to the Holy Spirit, Who abided in them. The Holy Spirit’s anointing brings instruction to us concerning living and applying God’s Word and thereby ‘abiding’ in Jesus Christ. John wanted believers to have confidence in their relationship with God based on Truth, not on some false teaching or opinion of men. A mark of false teachers was that their life was a lie–they failed to practice the Truth and abide in Jesus Christ by faith and through grace. A mark of a true follower of Jesus was practice of right living because of new birth and the abiding Holy Spirit.

Haggai 2:4-6 “Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, declares the Lord. Be strong, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the Lord. Work, for I am with you, declares the Lord of Hosts, according to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not.”

Prayer: Father, thank You for Your Name and Your Word and the anointing of Your Holy Spirt to abide in me and help me to abide in Jesus Christ, my Lord. Thank You for being with me always and for empowering me through the Holy Spirit and grace to live in righteousness and have confidence in Your acceptance when You return again. Abide in me and give me opportunity to share Your Word and Name!

Psalm 138:2 “I bow down toward Your holy temple and give thanks to Your Name for Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness, for You have exalted above all things Your Name and Your Word.”

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The Light of Truth

Scripture reading for November 22nd: Ezra 3-6, Psalm 92, 1st John 1

1st John 1: 5-10 “This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. But if we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.”

John, in his old age, wrote this letter to the church to encourage them in the truth and to warn them against the lies of false teachers who were seeking to deceive the believers. God is light, and His Word is a light to our path and a lamp for our feet. Believers must walk in the Light of God’s Word and cling to Jesus Christ for cleansing and salvation. The false teachers were telling people that there was not really anything like ‘sin’ and that God would save everyone. John stated that those who say they have no sin, deceive themselves and ignore the Truth of God’s Word. Confession of sin and repentance alone brings cleansing and it is a continual process to walk it out. The blood of Christ, our ‘Passover Lamb’ is sufficient!

Ezra 6:20-22 “. . .So they slaughtered the Passover lamb for all the returned exiles, for their fellow priests, and for themselves. It was eaten by the people of Israel who had returned from exile, and also by everyone who had joined them and separated himself from the uncleanness of the peoples of the land to worship the Lord, the God of Israel. And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy, for the Lord had made them joyful. . .”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for the Light of Life in Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. Thank You for the apostles, like John, who knew You and spoke plainly to the Church concerning basic truths of sin, repentance, cleansing by Christ’s blood, and the deceptions of false teachers. Fill me with the Holy Spirit and help me today to walk in the Light of God’s Word and speak truth that brings repentance and faith.

Psalm 92:1-2 “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to Your Name, O Most High; To declare Your steadfast love in the morning and Your faithfulness by night.”

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“Do you love Me?”

Scripture reading for November 21st: Ezra 1-2, John 21

John 21: 15-17 “When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.” He said to him a third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” and he said to Him, “Lord you know everything; You know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. . . .”

Peter had been an impetuous disciple known for rash outbursts and impulsive responses. When Jesus said that one of the disciples would betray Him, Peter swore He would remain faithful, even to death. Jesus responded: “before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” This indeed was what happened. Now, as Jesus set about restoring Peter, He asked him three times, “Do you love Me?”. Peter responded simply with “Yes Lord” two times then declared that Jesus knew everything. Jesus’ response to Peter was a reiteration of His mission to feed and tend Jesus’ sheep and follow Him.

John 21:20-22 “Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against Him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “What about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is My will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for restoring those who slip up in following You. Your mercy and kindness lead Peter to repentance and many others, including myself. Thank You that You alone know everything and see every heart and restore and stir up Your people to accomplish the mission You give of reaching the lost and building up Your house with living stones out of the rubble of sin and death. I will follow You.

Ezra 1:5 “Then rose up the heads of the father’s houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, everyone whose spirit God had stirred to go up to rebuild the house of the Lord that is in Jerusalem.”

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