Category: General epistles-BibleTrekToday
Scripture reading for April 5th: James 5, Psalm 68, Proverbs 6
James 5:7-11 “Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.”
James, a pastor, understood well the need for patience. His instructions to the beloved brothers was to cultivate a continual awareness of the coming of our Lord. Our Lord is the Judge of all men and believers must stand before the Judgment seat of Christ to receive reward or loss for deeds done in the body. A lack of patience with people is manifested in grumbling, complaining and judging others. To encourage patience, James pointed believers to the prophets who spoke in the Name of the Lord. Job, in particular, was a man of great suffering and trials, yet he patiently waited on the Lord. The Lord restored him double at the end! God is truly merciful and compassionate and worth waiting for!
Psalm 68:3-4 “But the righteous shall be glad; they shall exult before God; they shall be jubilant with joy! Sing to God, sing praises to His Name; lift up a song to Him Who rides through the deserts; His Name is the Lord; exult before Him.”
Prayer: Father God, I rejoice in You today and in Your wise Words of encouragement through the prophets and apostles written down for us. Your Words are a Light and when I am reproved by them, it leads me to a fuller life and the experience of peace. Help me to be patient with others each day, recognizing Your great patience for me and Your endless mercy for Your suffering people.
Proverbs 6:23 “For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way to life.”
Scripture reading for April 4th: James 4, Psalm 67, Proverbs 5
James 4: 6-10 “But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you doubleminded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will exalt you.”
Our world operates on pride and is centered on getting what we want when we want it. This causes strife and quarrels, even in the church of Jesus Christ! James, as a wise pastor, was emphasizing to the church the need for God’s grace in each person and in the church family. God gives grace in abundance, but there is the requirement of humility. When we are in a prideful attitude, putting ourselves first, God actually is opposing us! Who can be blessed or find grace when God is opposing them? This pride is demonic in nature, because it is the devil’s nature. The simple solution, according to James, is to resist the devil and draw near to God. The devil will flee and God will then draw near to you. True humility brings repentance first and then exaltation and the joy of God’s grace and smile in our life.
Psalm 67:1-3 “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face to shine upon us, that Your way may be known on earth, Your saving power among all nations. Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You!”
Prayer: Father God, I pray the prayer of the psalmist in Psalm 67. Be gracious to us and bless us and make Your face shine on us, that through Your smile and favor, we may reflect Your ways to those on earth and Your saving power among all peoples. I humble myself to draw nearer to You each day that I may learn Your ways and become more like You in the humility of You amazing grace.
Proverbs 5:1-2 “My son, be attentive to My wisdom; incline your ear to My understanding, that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge.”
Scripture reading for April 3rd: James 3, Psalm 66, Proverbs 4
James 3: 13-18 “Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but it is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
The letter of James is often likened to the proverbs wisdom of the Old Testament. Like the Jewish rabbi’s, James asks a question about who is wise and understanding. James answers his own question, stating that the wise are meek and do good works in a righteous manner. This is contrasted with those who are jealous and selfish and because of this bring disorder and chaos. God’s wisdom is likened to a godly woman in Proverbs 31 and again in Proverbs 4 where lady wisdom will keep you and guard you if you love her! Like the godly woman, wisdom is pure, peaceable, gentle and full of mercy and good fruits. Godly wisdom brings in a harvest of righteousness and peace in contrast to the worldly wisdom’s disorder and demonic activity. Let’s fall in love with Jesus, the true Wisdom from God!
Psalm 66:1-4 “Shout for joy to God, all the earth; sing the glory of His Name; give to Him glorious praise! Say to God, “How awesome are Your deeds! So great is Your power that all Your enemies come cringing to You. All the earth worships You and sings praises to You; they sing praises to Your Name.”
Prayer: Father God, I shout for joy and sing glory to Your Name for the Wisdom of God in Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior! Through the Holy Spirit help me to walk in the purity and gentleness of Your Wisdom in all my actions and relationships. Keep me from jealousy and selfish ambition. Use me to make peace with my brothers and sisters and reap a harvest of righteousness and peace in my own life. Amen!
Proverbs 4:5-6 “Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the Words of My mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will keep you; love her, and she will guard you.”
Scripture reading for March 31st: James 2, Psalm 65, Proverbs 3
James 2: 8-13 “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For He Who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”
James was addressing the sin of partiality in the church he pastored. He pointed his ‘beloved brothers’ to the ‘royal law’ from Scripture: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” When we show partiality, we are in a sense judging one person better than another, or more worthy of respect than another. This isn’t love like God our Father shows us. He is not partial with any of His ‘beloved brothers’. If we are born again and have God’s Seed, (His Word) in us, making us doers of His Word and not just deceived hearers, we will show mercy because we know we need mercy from God ourselves. We have received His mercy and now want to share it. We cease judging and showing partiality and God’s mercy triumphs! Amen!
Psalm 65:9-10 “You visit the earth and water it; You greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; You provide their grain, for so you have prepared it. You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth.”
Prayer: Father, I rejoice today in Your great mercy and loving kindness towards me and my family. You have sent the river of Your Love and watered us, planting the Seed of Your Word in our hearts and bringing a harvest! Help me by the Holy Spirit to walk daily in the perfect law of liberty–loving You fully and loving my neighbor as myself! Forgive me for showing any partiality or judging others.
Proverbs 3:3-4 “Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.”
Scripture reading for March 30th: James 1, Psalm 64, Proverbs 2
James 1:19-22 “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted Word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets, but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”
Humility, obedience, and integrity are marks of those who follow Jesus Christ and love His Word. James was the half-brother of Jesus and was chosen to be the pastor of the Jerusalem church. He addressed the believers as ‘my beloved brothers’, a sign of humble respect. He shared godly instruction with the church that is written down for us today as well. Hearing requires focus and a quiet and calm spirit. Anger tends to hinder our ability to hear. As we receive God’s Word, faith comes by hearing. We must humbly listen in order to apply and obey. James likens our hearing as looking into a mirror and then forgetting what we look like. We must concentrate intently with a quiet spirit and receive the Word as a seed that can find good soil and grow, producing corresponding actions. True faith always produces good works.
Psalm 64:10 “Let the righteous rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in Him! Let all the upright in heart exult!”
Prayer: Holy Father, I rejoice in the Word of Truth You have given to Your ‘beloved’ people. Help me to hear and receive Your Word like seed. Empower me by Your Holy Spirit to understand and apply all Your Truth to my life. Forgive me when I have looked into Your Word like that mirror, and then immediately forgot what You had said about my identity and new character in Your Son Jesus Christ.
Proverbs 2:21-22 “For the upright will inhabit the land, and those with integrity will remain in it, but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the treacherous will be rooted out of it.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.””
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.”