Confidence on judgment day

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

Key Scriptures: 1st John 4:14-18 “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 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 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.”

John did not want believers to live in fear, unsure of their salvation. In fact, if believers are living in fear of punishment on judgment day, they have not been perfected in Christ’s love. They have failed to lay hold of the truth of Jesus by faith. Jesus is God’s Son and Savior of the world. Jesus is “Love.” When we are able to freely confess that Jesus is God’s Son and our Savior, we know by God’s unfailing Word that God abides in us and we in Him. We can love God because He first loved us and demonstrated that love through Jesus Christ. His perfect love is a choice, not an emotion, based on Who He is: Love!

Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for Jesus Christ, Your only Son and my Savior. I confess Jesus Christ as My Lord and Savior and receive His amazing love. Because of this, I can have confidence on judgment day.

Zechariah 8:16-17 “These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace; do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the Lord of Hosts.”

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Are you of God? Or Satan?

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

Key Scriptures: 1st John 3:7-10 “Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s Seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this is it evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.”

John was concerned about deception in the church. False teachers came and spread the lie that it did not matter how you lived, receiving Christ in your spirit was all that was needed. John set the record straight by repeating the same thing several times and ways. If you practice sin, you are of the devil. If you practice righteousness and love your brothers and sisters, you are born of God and His “Seed” abides in you. We are not saved by works, but by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. God’s “Seed”, His Word and Spirit, come to live in us and transform us into Christ’s image. Our fruit shows which one we belong to: either the devil or God.

Psalm 93:5: “Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits Your house, O Lord, forevermore.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I don’t ever want to be deceived. Thank You for the Holy Spirit and Your “Seed”, the Word given as grace gifts to form Christ’s holy character in me.

Zechariah 4:6 “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.””

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Abiding forever!

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

Key Scriptures: 1st John 2: 15-17 “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life–is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

Affections help us to set priorities and guide us through life. The Apostle John warned the believers not to set their affection on this world. Love of this world, its desires and appetites and the things that worldly people hold in high esteem, will block out a person’s ability to love the Father. Besides, all these things and activities are temporal and passing away. If we love the Father and those created in His image, we will seek to share God’s love and plan of salvation. We will do the will of the Father and instead of having temporary pleasure but eternal loss. We will enjoy life eternally resting in God’s presence and peace.

Psalm 138:8 “The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; Your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of Your hands.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I love You and the Father and have set my heart to do Your will while on my temporary assignment in this world. Give me daily reminders of Your great love and faithfulness and my need to hold this world lightly with an open hand.

Haggai 2:9-10 “The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine, declares the Lord of Hosts. The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of Hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of Hosts.”

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Walking in the light!

Scripture reading for November 20th: Ezra 3-4, Psalm 92; 1 John 1

Key Scriptures: 1st John 1:6-10 “If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice he 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. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.”

John was the youngest of the disciples when he began following Jesus and wrote his Gospel and these letters to the church when he was older and more mature. He explained to the church that true fellowship with Jesus brought light, truth, and joy into our life and Christ’s Church. We can’t walk in darkness and truly have fellowship with Jesus. We can’t say we have no sin if we are living it it and cover it up and expect forgiveness and peace. We must walk in the light of Jesus’ Word and confess all sins, repenting and turning away from them. The blood of Jesus cleanses us and we can have true fellowship with others cleansed and walking in the light.

Psalm 92:12-13 “The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I desire to walk in the Light of Your Word and have true fellowship with You and other disciples. Help me to confess sin and walk in righteousness and truth.

Ezra 3:11 And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord, “For He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.” And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.”

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“Do you love Me?”

Scripture reading for November 19: Ezra 1-2; John 21

Key Scriptures: John 21: 17-19 “He said to him the 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. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (This He said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.” And after this He said to him, “Follow Me.””

The first and greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Jesus persistently asked Peter if he loved Him. Peter had denied Jesus three times and now Jesus was restoring him by asking him to affirm his love. Love is the basis for all ministry. Love for Jesus is the foundation of His Church and disciples would be known by their love for Jesus and one another. It would be for love of Jesus that Peter would die a martyr’s death, choosing to be crucified upside down. Jesus spoke prophetically about this and emphasized to Peter his need to lovingly follow the Master, even unto death.

Faith confession and prayer: Lord, You alone know what is ahead in my life and I ask You to help me each day to follow You, even if it leads to persecution or death. Your unrelenting love draws me to love You more each day and love people into Your eternal kingdom.

Ezra 1:1-2 “In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the Word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing: “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He has charged me to build Him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.”

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Breathe on me!

Scripture reading for November 18th: Daniel 10-12; John 20

Key Scriptures: John 20:19-23 “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, even so I am sending you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

In the evening after Jesus arose from the tomb, He appeared to His disciples who were waiting behind locked doors and were fearful of the Jews who had crucified their Lord. Jesus simply appeared, a locked door was not able to keep Him out. He spoke peace to the troubled disciples and showed them His hands, scared with the nails and His side, opened with the spear. This was to reassure them that it was really Him. He spoke peace again and then breathed on them, inviting them to receive the Holy Spirit. As they believed on their Resurrected Lord, the breath of God entered them and they were born again. This mirrored God breathing life into Adam, the man He had formed from the dust and clay.

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your peace and for walking into my life in spite of my locked door of fear and pride. Thank You for the Father’s gift of the Holy Spirit, God’s breath in me, imparting fresh ability to lead others to Your righteousness that I might shine with Your glory.

Daniel 12:2-3 “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forevermore.”

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“It is finished”

Scripture reading for November 17th: Daniel 7-9; Psalm 91; John 19

Key Scriptures: John 19:25-30 “So the soldiers did these things, but standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to His mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished,” and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.”

Jesus was alert and in command, even from the cross. He was aware of Scripture being fulfilled as the soldiers gambled for His garment and as He called out, “I thirst.” He was aware of His mother and honored her by assigning the disciple He loved, John, to care for His mother as if she were his mother. As He drank the sour wine, He knew that in this bitter cup all had been completed to purchase mankind’s salvation from sin and death. He cried out, “It is finished” and gave up His spirit as His final sacrifice, tasting death for all. What a beloved Savior we have!

Psalm 91:14-15 “”Because he holds fast to Me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows My Name. When he calls to Me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.””

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your faithfulness to fulfill Scripture and fully finish the work necessary for my salvation and that of the world. I will hold fast to You in love, trusting You to be with me and protect me and bring me into Your everlasting kingdom.

Daniel 7:13-14 “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came One like a Son of Man, and He came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him; His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall never pass away and His kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.”

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“Let these men go.”

Scripture reading for November 16th: Daniel 4-6; John 18

Key Scriptures: John 18:4-9 “Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to Him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am He.” Judas, who betrayed Him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground. So He asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I told you that I am He. So, if you seek Me, let these men go.” This was to fulfill the Word that He had spoke: “Of those whom You gave Me I have lost not one.””

Jesus had promised His disciples His peace in the Upper Room. He prayed for their protection to the Father, stating that He had kept all whom the Father had given Him, except for Judas. Now, after a night of agonizing prayer, the betrayal was accomplished. Jesus was confronted by armed soldiers and representatives of the Jews coming to arrest Him. He identified Himself after the kiss of Judas. This brought a wave of power that knocked down Judas and the armed band. When they got back up, Jesus told the men that He was the One they sought and commanded them to let His disciples go. The ‘Prisoner’ was in total command!

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I am thankful that You have total understanding of each trial and circumstance in my life. Thank You for protecting Your people by Your Word and Presence! O King Jesus, live forever!

Daniel 6:20-21 “As he (King Darius) came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, Whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before Him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.””

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Fullness of Jesus’ Joy!

Scripture reading for November 13th: Daniel 1-3; John 17

Key Scriptures: John 17:12-15 “While I was with them, I kept them in Your Name, which You have given Me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to You, and these thing I speak in the world that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them Your Word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one.”

Jesus prayed for Himself and then for His disciples before leaving the upper room for the Garden of Gethsemane. He proclaimed His protective love for the disciples in the giving of His Father’s Words to them. He stated that none had been lost, except Judas, the son of destruction, and that also fulfilled the prophetic Word of Scripture. As Jesus was very soon to leave His disciples, His desire was that His joy would be fulfilled in them. Jesus’ joy was seeing people saved and kept for His eternal kingdom! (Hebrews 12:2) He prayed that they be kept from the evil one, Satan. How powerful are His prayers!

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your protective prayers for us who follow You and believe. Fill me again with Your joy of seeking and saving the lost! I believe You are able to keep me in this world look forward to fullness of joy in Your presence forever and ever! May I never bow to idols!

Daniel 3:17-18 “If this be so, our God Whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

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An encouraging Word!

Scripture reading for November 12th: Ezekiel 46-48; Psalm 88; John 16

Key Scriptures: John 16:30-33 “Now we know that You know all things and do not need anyone to question You; this is why we believe that You came from God.” Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave Me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with Me. I have said these thing to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Jesus was giving His disciples a last Word of encouragement and prophetic truth before going to the Garden of Gethsemane and His crucifixion, death, and resurrection. They had confessed faith that He was from God and that they trusted in Him. Jesus plainly told them they would all desert Him and be scattered in a coming hour. Jesus assured them that He would not be alone, but the Father would be with Him. He told them this that they might have peace in trusting in Him. In the world they would experience tribulation and trial, but as they held fast to Him, they would overcome as He overcame! Perseverance was mandatory. Amen!

Psalm 88:18 “You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me; my companions have become darkness.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, You alone know all things. Continue to speak prophetic truth to my soul concerning coming trials and bring peace to my soul, even though others may abandon me. Let the water of Your Word bring life and freshness in my life and everywhere I share it.

Ezekiel 47:9 “And wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes.”

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