“Stop the spread!”

Scripture reading for January 27th: Acts 4, Psalm 20, Proverbs 20

Acts 4:17-22 “”But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this Name.” So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the Name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot speak of what we have seen and heard.” And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people, for all were praising God for what had happened. For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old.”

Religious people, who are not ‘born again’, have a difficult time with Jesus Christ, miracles, and the gift of eternal life through the resurrection of Jesus. The religious people that had crucified Jesus were upset with these apostles who were preaching Jesus Christ, raised from the dead and eternal life through repentance and faith. They were even upset at a notable miracle, the healing of the forty-year-old man, lame from birth. They wanted to stop the spread of this teaching and the miracles because all the people were excited and praising God. So they forbid these apostles to speak or teach in Jesus’ Name! This would surely stop the spread! But not so fast! Should apostles obey Jesus or these religious fakes?

Psalm 20:6-7 “Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving might of His right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the Name of the Lord our God.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for opening my ears day by day to hear Your Word and obey Your instructions, no matter what the world may demand. Protect me from the fear of man which would hinder the spread of Your Word. Use me through the authority of Jesus’ Name to show compassion on those who are hurting or bruised by life. Bring notable miracles of healing and deliverance to Your glory!

Proverbs 20: 27-28 “The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all his innermost parts. Steadfast love and faithfulness preserve the king, and by steadfast love his throne is upheld.”

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Times of refreshing!

Scripture reading for January 26th: Acts 3, Psalm 19, Proverbs 19

Acts 3: 17-21 “And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, Whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets long ago.”

Peter and John had just been used by God to speak prophetically in the power of the Holy Spirit to a lame beggar. At their word, the beggar immediately received strengthening and healing. He began to walk, leap, and praise the Lord! It was truly a picture of the refreshing that comes when God intervenes in our lives and reveals our Lord and Savior, appointed to save even us! Peter called out to those who had participated in the trial of Jesus to repent, change their minds, and receive their refreshing as well! Jesus was in heaven, but was still at work through His people! Everything God had spoken by the prophets had come true or would come true at the final restoring of all things at Christ’s return!

Psalm 19:12-14 “Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. Keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless and innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for keeping me from errors and presumptuous sins. Fill me afresh with the Holy Spirit that the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart might be Yours and thereby acceptable in Your sight. Continue to open my ears to Your instructions that I might be refreshed daily and walk, run, and leap for joy for Your amazing grace!

Proverbs 19:27 “Cease to hear instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.”

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Fulfilled prophesy in pouring out the Spirit!

Scripture reading for January 25th: Acts 2, Psalm 18, Proverbs 18

Acts 2:14-18 “But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this was what was uttered through the prophet Joel: “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on My male servants and female servants in those days I will our out My Spirit and they shall prophesy.”

God speaks to His people and His Word never returns void. As the Jews who were present on this first Pentecost listened to the people who had received the gift of the Holy Spirit speak in other tongues, they assumed, wrongly, that they were drunk with wine. But Peter, now bold with the Holy Spirit, stands to explain and preach the Gospel to all who were present. He pointed them to Scripture in the Book of Joel. Joel had, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, foretold how in the last days God would ‘pour out’ the Holy Spirit on all flesh. Men and women, young and old, servants and slaves; all would have access and this would result in prophesy and the gift of prayer and worship in tongues. God was empowering His people to speak His Gospel Good News to the whole world.

Psalm 18:31-32 “For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a Rock, except our God?–the God Who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless.”

Prayer: Father God, thank Your for Your gift to those who trust in Jesus of the Holy Spirit. Thank You for pouring it out generously on all those who believe, great or small, man or woman, young or old. Use me today prophetically, to speak in power Your Words of Scripture and tell forth the Good News that will bring eternal life to those who hear and receive. Let the ‘bubbling brook’ of the Holy Spirit flow in me.

Proverbs 18:4 “The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.” Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”

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Focus on the mission

Scripture reading for January 24th: Acts 1, Psalms 17, Proverbs 17

Acts 1:6-11 “So when they had come together, they asked Him, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by His own authority. But You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when He had said these things, as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven, as He went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, Who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven.””

Jesus had been with HIs disciples for nearly 40 days after His resurrection. He appeared to them, allowed them to touch Him and taught them, opening their minds to the Scriptures. As He prepared to leave them and ascend into heaven, they asked Him about the time of revealing the full kingdom of heaven. Jesus told them not to be concerned about the timing. Rather, they would receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit soon to empower them in their calling and mission: reaching the lost world with the Gospel Good News. He sent two angels to assure them that He would return just as He promised and He arose with the clouds of heaven in great glory!

Psalm 17:15 “As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with Your presence.”

Prayer: Lord, thank You for clearly defining the focus and mission of Your disciples as that of witnesses of You and Your power and glory and saving message of repentance and faith. Thank You for the assurance that we will see Your face again and dwell in Your presence forever. Through the power of Your Holy Spirit in me, I set my face towards Jesus Christ, Wisdom from God, and ask to be used as a witness today.

Proverbs 17:24 “The discerning sets his face toward wisdom, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.”

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“He has risen; He is not here!”

Scripture reading for January 23rd: Mark 16, Psalm 16, Proverbs 16

Mark 16: 1-6 “When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint Him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back–it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, Who was crucified. He has risen; He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. But go and tell His disciples and Peter that He is going before you to Galilee. There you will see Him, just as He told you.””

Mark describes how the women who followed Jesus came on the first of the week to the tomb where they had witnessed Jesus’ body being laid three days before. They came to anoint His body with spices so that the smell of decaying flesh would be covered. As they came, they wondered how they might access the tomb. The rolling stone door was very heavy. But their fears were soon dispelled by the open door! Inside, they found a young man in white. He calmed their fears by telling them the good news, Jesus Christ was not there anymore! He was alive and risen from the grave! He invited them to view the tomb and HIs resting place. It was empty, except for carefully folded grave-clothes! They were instructed to tell His disciples He would see them in Galilee!

Psalm 16:9-11 “Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right had are pleasures forevermore.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your amazing and steadfast love demonstrated for us through the giving of Your Son to bear our sins on the cross. Thank You that You did not allow Your Son’s body to decay or keep Him in Sheol, but raised Him to life eternal at Your right hand! I offer myself today to go and tell others that they may become disciples! I long for Your eternal presence and pleasures!

Proverbs 16:6 “By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.”

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Another reminder of 2023 reading!

Dear friends and fellow pilgrims,

Our reading this year is through the New Testament in a chronological format. This format is taken from the Navigators 5x5x5 reading program found free on their site: navlink.org/newtestament. It is a free download. They encourage that this plan can be followed with five minutes a day, five days a week, and five ways to dig deeper. This is elaborated on their website and with the free download.

I have added a daily Psalm chapter and a daily Proverb chapter that will help us focus on worship and wisdom as well as walking with Jesus through the New Testament. I like the chronological plan, because it spreads the Gospels out over the year, beginning with Mark and ending with John right before Revelation. Please join me in reading! Let’s enjoy the journey, dig deep, and experience the joy of Jesus and worship Him more fully in loving obedience! Pastor John Morse

“Hail! King of the Jews!”

Scripture reading for January 20th: Mark 15, Psalm 15, Proverbs 15

Mark 15:16-20 “And the soldiers led Him away inside the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters), and they called together the whole battalion. And they clothed Him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on Him. And they began to salute Him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they were striking His head with a reed and spitting on Him and kneeling down in homage to Him. And when they had mocked Him, they stripped Him of the purple cloak and put His own clothes on Him. And they led Him out to crucify Him.”

Mark’s account of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus, probably from Peter and possibly his own memory, was full of mockery and derision. The soldiers, course men of the world of Rome, loved to laugh at someone else’s expense. Where they got the purple robe we do not know. But they found thorns growing near-by and quickly fashioned a crown. Placing it on Jesus, they mocked this ‘King of the Jews’, spit on him and repeatedly struck Him, beating Him severely, before crucifying Him. Scoffing and mocking are sins of pride. People seek to elevate themselves and put in total humiliation those they mock. Jesus wisely held His tongue, and in fact, prayed for these men, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

Psalm 15:1-2 “O Lord, who shall sojourn in Your tent? Who shall dwell on Your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart;. . .”

Prayer: Glorious Lord, thank You for Your steadfast love and faithfulness to take our sins in Your body on the cross that our sins might be atoned for. Thank You for the Gift, Your Holy Spirit, that enables us to now fear the Lord and live blamelessly through grace during our sojourn in this world. Your righteousness given to us enables us to live in Your Holy Presence forever! Amen! Hallelujah!

Proverbs 16:5-6 “Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished. By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.”

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Body, blood, with thanksgiving!

Scripture reading for January 19th: Mark 14, Psalm 14, Proverbs 14

Mark 14: 22-25 “And as they were eating, He took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is My body.” And He took a cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And He said to them, “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew with you in the kingdom of God.””

As Jesus shared the ‘Last Supper’ with His disciples, He used the bread and sweet wine as a touchstone of remembrance and a prophesy of what was to come. He had told His disciples of His coming death and now broke the bread, giving thanks, telling them that it symbolized His body, broken for the world. He gave them the cup, after again giving thanks, telling them that this symbolized the (new) covenant with them made by the shedding of His own blood. He further told them that He would not drink this cup with them again until that day when He would drink it anew with them in His eternal kingdom! This cup also symbolizes the coming reunion of all believers when Jesus Christ takes us as His ‘Bride’ at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

Psalm 14:7 “Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the Lord restores the fortunes of His people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.”

Prayer: Oh, Father in heaven, we rejoice now with thanksgiving each time we partake of the ‘Lord’s Supper’ in Holy Communion! It is the Eucharist–(thanksgiving) and helps us remember Your Son’s death on the Cross for us and that last supper with His disciples. But our hearts long for the prophetic fulfilment when Jesus Christ comes again for us, His ‘Bride’ and we eat with Him anew in His eternal kingdom!

Proverbs 14:26-27 “In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.”

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Oh the Joy of His coming!

Scripture reading for January 18th: Mark 13, Psalm 13, Proverbs 13

Mark 13: 24-27 “”But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send out the angels and gather His elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.””

Jesus’ last major teaching of His disciples was a warning of the coming time of great tribulation before Jesus’ second coming. Jesus told them that the tribulation would be time of great shaking of the earth and even the heavens. It would culminate with the return of “The Son of Man” in the clouds with power and great glory. The angels would gather all the elect, those trusting in Jesus Christ, from the ends of the earth and heaven! The righteous would be rewarded by their faith in Jesus and faithfulness to God’s Word. They had heeded the warning of Scripture and now will rejoice in salvation and their eternal reward. Everlasting singing and worship will mark the redeemed and they drink the fountain of Life!

Psalm 13:5-6 “But I have trusted in Your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.”

Prayer: Father God, You have dealt bountifully with me and I am thankful and rejoice in my promised salvation! I revere Your Word of warning for those still despising Your Word. Have mercy on them and send Your workers with Good News that they might not bring destruction on themselves or their families. I look forward with joy to Your return with the clouds of heaven and power and great glory!

Proverbs 13:13-14 “Whoever despises the Word brings destruction on himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded. The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.”

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Delighting God through faith!

Scripture reading for January 17th: Mark 12, Psalm 12, Proverbs 12

Mark 12: 38-40 “And in His teaching He said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widow’s houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

Jesus taught His disciples to be discerning and watchful. In this world and even among religious folks, pride and love of position often is a trap of the devil to catch men. The Scribes wore religious clothing and symbols of their piety, but stole goods from the widows. They loved seats of honor, and prayed long prayers to show off. But their hearts were far from God and His commandments. God will arise and care for the poor and needy, widows, and orphans. God protects and defends them. He promises safety and deliverance to the righteous. They can count on having joy from their pure hearts and will delight God in their faithfulness. His Word is pure, tried and tested!

Psalm 12:5-6 “”Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the Lord; “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.” The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.”

Prayer: Father, thank You for reminding me that You care for the poor, needy, widows, and orphans. Your Word is pure and true for all generations. Help me to walk by faith. Forgive me for the times I have been like those scribes, prideful and self-righteous. Use my lips to declare Your pure Word, warning and calling those lost in this world and deceived in Your church to peace and faithfulness, Your delight and my joy!

Proverbs 12:20-22 “Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but those who plan peace have joy. No ill befalls the righteous, but the wicked are filled with trouble. Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are His delight.”

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