Scripture reading for July 12th: Matthew 10
Key Scriptures: Matthew 10:28-33 “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him Who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges Me before men, I also will acknowledge before My Father Who is in heaven, but whoever denies Me before men, I also will deny before My Father Who is in heaven.”
There is a cost associated with following Jesus Christ. As Jesus was sending out the Twelve apostles on a mission, He carefully explained that they would be going out as lambs among wolves (10:16) and they would suffer persecution and hatred because of His Name. He told them to have no fear of those persecuting them but rather to have a reverent fear of God Himself, Who alone could destroy soul and body in hell. Jesus reminded them that God even numbers the hairs on our heads so He knows all things and holds His people closely. As followers of Jesus, His disciples must never be ashamed and freely confess Him before men, even our own family. Those that shrink back and deny Jesus will find that Jesus will deny them before His Father. Thus we have “fear not” men who hate and misuse you but “fear” Him before Whom we must give an account.
Matthew 10:34 “”Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.””
Faith confession and prayer: Father God, I hold You in awe and respect for Who You are. Thank You for this clear instruction on the cost of following Jesus, Your Son. Empower me today to boldly and without fear declare my faith with my own household and the harvest field You send me to.
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 everlasting contempt. And those that are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”
Scripture reading for May 6th: Acts 23
Key Scriptures: Acts 23:9-11 “Then a great clamor arose, and some of the scribes of the Pharisees’ party stood up and contended sharply, “We find nothing wrong in this man. What if a spirit or an angel spoke to him?” And when the dissension became violent, the tribune, afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him away from among them by force and bring him into the barracks. The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about Me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.””
Jesus is with His people always and in all situations. He is in charge of what His people walk through in their appointed calling. Paul was in the center of God’s will and doing what He was called to do. God was at work on those of the Jews as well as the Gentile soldiers and their handlers as well as the officials of Rome. He placed Paul where He could minister the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all and also had plans to reach even to Rome with Paul. Even a plot of ambush by forty Jews to kill Paul didn’t stop God’s plans. The devil is no match for God’s Spirit-filled people! Paul could rest soundly knowing Jesus was standing by him!
Daniel 3:24-25 “Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.””
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for standing by Your people in every age and every mountain and valley. Thank You for vision and Words of encouragement when the going gets tough. May I testify boldly to the facts of Who You are and Your plan of salvation, knowing that You are standing by me.
Psalm 4:8 “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
Scripture reading for March 18th: Luke 12
Key Scriptures: Luke 12:27-32 “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
Jesus instructed His disciples about fear and worry. They had no reason to be anxious about life and its many needs. Jesus called their attention to the ravens for food provision and the beautiful lilies for clothing. God takes care of creation and man, made in His image, is of even higher value. It is the world without knowledge of God that is fearful and striving for these material needs. But God’s children are to seek His kingdom and all these material needs will be taken care of as well as their eternal care and provision. God knows our needs better than we do! Seeking Him and His kingdom is our greatest need and brings the greatest reward! It is His pleasure to freely give those who believe in Jesus the eternal kingdom as a gift! Amen!
Luke 11:9 “And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for this simple instruction on life’s fears and daily worries. I cast all these needs on You and my loving Father. I will ask and receive, seek and find, and knock persistently on the kingdom door until it is opened for me and my household. Jesus You are the Door!
Daniel 7:27 “And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; His kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.”
Scripture reading for January 15th: 2nd Timothy 4
Key Scriptures: 2nd Timothy 4:5-8, 22 “As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing.” . . . .”The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.”
Paul’s final words to his son in ministry calls him to a reminder of the eternal reward that will come on the Day of Christ when at the Judgment Seat of Christ we will all be rewarded for the deeds done in the body. Paul knew his race was at the end here on earth. He was soon to be beheaded–poured out as a ‘drink offering’! He had maintained his faith and fought a good fight to stay true to Jesus Christ, suffering for the Gospel but anticipating the reward! This reward would also be for Timothy and all others who faithfully followed and endured! God is with us and His grace will bring us through to reward! We will cast our crowns at Christ’s feet!
Daniel 12:18 “But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the promise of reward from You for faithfulness and endurance through the trials here on earth. Help me to maintain my testimony and finish the good fight in Your grace filled with Your Holy Spirit.
1st Corinthians 3:13-15 “. . .each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.”
Scripture reading for January 13th: 2nd Timothy 2
Key Scriptures: 2nd Timothy 2:8-10;14-15 “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my Gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the Word of God is not bound! Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” . . .”Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the Word of truth.”
Paul’s reminder to Timothy continues as he wrote to him from prison in Rome and would soon suffer martyrdom. He calls to his remembrance Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, son of David, Son of God. Paul had unashamedly preached Jesus Christ and was now suffering and bound by chains. But Paul reminded Timothy not to be ashamed of his imprisonment or to fear his own. The Word of God was not chained and was producing the fruit of salvation and eternal glory in those who would receive. Paul encouraged Timothy to preach clearly the Word of God to his hearers and to continually present himself to God as His workman. God’s grace would enable him to rightly preach the whole truth and not be ashamed at Christ’s appearing. He wanted Timothy to hear “Well done, faithful servant!”
Psalm 126:5-6 “Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy. He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I will endure suffering for the sake of sharing the Seed of Your Word bringing salvation and eternal glory to those lost and in darkness. Keep my mind and heart focused on You alone! May the “unchained” Word go forth from me turning many to You!
Daniel 12:3 “And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”
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.”
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.”
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.””
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.”
Scripture reading for November 30th: Daniel 1-3, Revelation 2
Key Scriptures: Revelation 2:9-11 “‘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 into 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.'”
John was taking dictation from Jesus Christ for the churches he had been assigned to oversee. Smyrna was a church undergoing persecution from Jews under Satan’s deception and Jesus told them that they would have a short time of imprisonment and possible martyrdom. They were to be faithful and the reward was a crown of life eternal–never to be hurt by the second death. The second death is the lake of fire made for the devil and his angels and followers.
Daniel 3:27 “And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had com upon them.”
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your promises to those who suffer persecution in the last days and example from Daniel. Help me to stay faithful and reap the reward–a crown of eternal life! Amen.