Category: General epistles-BibleTrekToday

Blessed doers of God’s Word

Scripture reading for October 5th: Jeremiah 17-20, James 1

James 1: 19-25 “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.”

James was the pastor of the Jewish church in Jerusalem and the half-brother of Jesus Christ. He wrote affectionately to the church very clear and strong instruction about the importance of obedience to God’s Word. Many in the church were familiar with God’s Word in the Old Testament but they were still living in sin and wickedness and became angry when confronted with truth. James encouraged them to quickly hear and apply the Word of God. Failure to do so would lead to self-deception and worthless religion. True religion involved hearing God’s heart in His Word and applying it. Two areas of application Paul mentioned were visiting orphans and widows and living free from the corruption of Corinthian culture.

James 1:26-27 “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for the clear instructions written down by James for Your Church. Forgive me for being a hearer and sometimes failing to do what You have said. Help me to care for orphans and widows and to serve the hurting and helpless around me. As I look in the mirror of Your Word, may I see who I really am and remove the stains of worldliness and sin and live in Your smile and blessing.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

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Build yourself up in holy faith!

Scripture reading for July 15th: 1st Kings 17-18, Psalm 119, Jude

Jude 18-23 “They (the Apostles) said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.”

Jude was the half-brother of Jesus and wrote this letter to remind believers about the difficult times of the last days before Christ Jesus would return. Jude quoted the Apostle’s warning about scoffers in the last days being numerous and causing division in the church. God’s antidote was for believers to build themselves up through praying in the Holy Spirit and keeping in the love of God. The Holy Spirit helps us to pray when we don’t even know how to pray. God’s Spirit brings a river of God’s love into our inner man and clothes us with an anointing of fresh oil to empower us to love and reach out to those who doubt and even to those in danger of the fires of hell. Love never fails!

Jude 24-25 “Now to Him Who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit to help me to pray and stay on course in these perilous last days. Help me to show mercy to those who doubt and to reach out to those in danger of Hell’s fires with the message of Christ’s salvation. It is comforting to know that You will keep me from falling and present me before Your Presence with great joy! Praise Your Name forever and ever!

Psalm 119:114-115 “You are my Hiding Place and my Shield; I hope in Your Word. Depart from me, you evildoers, that I my keep the commandments of My God.”

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Contend earnestly for the faith!

Scripture reading for December 1st: Jude

Key Scriptures: Jude 1-4 “Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, to those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you. Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”

Jude and James were half-brothers of Jesus Christ. Neither of them mention this in their letters, but rather Jude refers to himself as a servant of Jesus Christ. Jude was originally going to write the letter to further explain the wonderful salvation that the church enjoyed through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. But certain false teachers had crept unnoticed into the church and began to pervert the pure Gospel of God’s grace and drew people away from Jesus Christ into sensuality and denial of the Master. This letter was now a call to the church to war–contending earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints. It’s a good fight and Jude reminded them that others had contended for the faith before them. They could build themselves up in their most holy faith through praying in the Holy Spirit and continuing to do God’s work of mercy.

Jude 17-21 “But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.”

Faith confession and prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for giving me the gift of the Holy Spirit and calling me to Your family and church. Help me to be strong in my faith by praying in the Holy Spirit and showing mercy by preaching Your powerful Gospel. Snatch the lost from the fire and bring glory to Your Name!

Jude 24-25 “Now to Him Who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”

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Fellow workers through giving

Scripture reading for November 30th: 3rd John

Key Scriptures: 3rd John 5-8 “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, the apostle of Jesus Christ, had lived a long life and faithfully preached the Gospel in Asia. He was appointed as an elder over seven churches and Jesus personally gave him messages for each of them as he was imprisoned for preaching the Gospel on the Island of Patmos. Now, as John writes this last letter, he commends Gaius, a faithful member of one of the churches, for the love shown by the church to traveling ministers who visited them. Even though these ministers were not known personally by the church, they were encouraged to help them financially and prayerfully to further the work that they had been called to do. John told them that when they support them, they become fellow-workers and share in the ministry and the reward. John also warned Gaius about another man, Diotrephes, who was speaking evil of John and other church elders and refused to welcome these ministers.

3rd John 9-10 “I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father, I thank You that You speak plainly with those in leadership in Your Church about loving others and giving help to brothers and sisters sharing the work of ministry, even if we don’t know them personally. Give me discernment concerning those like Diotrephes, who John knew by name, who seek to cause division and sow discord. Help me to share in Your great work of winning the lost for Your eternal kingdom.

3rd John 11 “Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.” Vs. 15 “Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends, each by name.”

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Walk it out!

Scripture reading for November 29th: 2nd John

Key Scriptures: 2nd John 4-8 “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.”

In this short letter, John writes to ‘the elect lady and her children.’ Most commentators believe that John was writing to a female church leader and the church members. His greatest joy came from finding some of the church members walking in the truth and loving each other. Jesus taught that the simple command to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves was the greatest commandment. He emphasized to His disciples that they were to walk out their love for one another and by this all men would know that they were His disciples. We are to love those made in God’s image. Jesus Christ came to earth in a fleshly body and demonstrated God’s love through healing, relationships, and teaching. Deceivers tried to deny Jesus was a man in a human body. This is the spirit of antichrist. Don’t even welcome them into your homes.

2nd John 9-11 “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. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for perfectly walking out a life of obedience to all God’s commandments and summarizing them in the simple command to love one another and love God. May I bring joy to Your heart and church leadership by my walk of truth and love. Help me today to discern those with the antichrist spirit in the church and world and avoid their false doctrines.

2nd John 3 “Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love.”

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Blessed assurance!

Scripture reading for November 26th: 1st John 5

Key Scriptures: 1st John 5:10-13 “Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning His Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 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.”

John wanted the believers to understand that they could absolutely know that they had eternal life. The fear of punishment or fear of failure to do enough causes people to shrink back from God and not enjoy a life of faith and the joy coming from no condemnation and justification by faith. John said it was simple. When we believe in the Son of God, we have that testimony in us in the confession “Jesus is Lord.” Because of the gift of the Holy Spirit, we know God as our Father and also cry “Abba, Father” from a heart that has experienced new creation. When we have the Son of God as Lord, we have eternal life and cease from a life of sin. If we do not have the testimony about Jesus the Son of God and continue in a life of sin, we do not have eternal life. Check your heart today and receive blessed assurance by the Holy Spirit!

1st John 5:18 “We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for the blessed assurance that Jesus is my Lord and Savior and that I have eternal life in Him. Thank you for delivering me from a life of sin and selfishness and calling me to Your eternal kingdom and preaching the Gospel. Guide my steps today in Your pathways and give me opportunity to share Your love and help the lost to gain this blessed assurance of eternal life through faith in God’s Son.

1st John 5:20 “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him Who is true; and we are in Him who is True; in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.”

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Confidence on Judgment Day!

Scripture reading for November 25th: 1st John 4

Key Scriptures: 1st John 4:13-17 “By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 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 judgement, because as He is so also are we in this world.”

Fear of judgment and punishment is found in every human being. This fear is there because of God placing eternity in our hearts and a basic knowledge of God’s law and conviction of sin through conscience. When we repent and humble ourselves before God, asking Him for mercy through His Son, Jesus Christ, God the Father gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit to live in us and abide with us. We can confess ‘Jesus is Lord’ because we have the Holy Spirit. We can love others because of the Spirit of God, who is Love, abiding in us. His love is perfected in us and casts out all fear of judgment and punishment, because we are now justified and made righteous. We have confidence on Judgment Day through the love of God in us by the Holy Spirit.

1st John 5:18-19 “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.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit and a river of Your perfect love that enables me to confess Jesus as Lord and to know and believe in Your Son. Thank You for confidence that comes from the Holy Spirit and the casting out of fear from my life. Open doors today to share this great and perfect love with those who are cowering in the fear of punishment on Judgment Day.

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 commandment we have from Him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

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True love in deed and truth

Scripture reading for November 24th: 1st John 3

Key Scriptures: 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 is writing to the church as an overseer of churches and an elder with wisdom. He goes back to the basics in this chapter, emphasizing a simple message that has been in effect from the beginning of recorded biblical history: ‘love one another.’ Cain and Able were the first two offspring of Adam and Eve after the fall. Cain murdered his brother out of jealousy that his brother’s offering was accepted by God (a blood offering) while his own was not (a grain offering). John pointed out that Cain was of Satan, the evil one who was a murderer from the beginning! Satan is also behind the world system that even to this day hates Jesus and those following Him. Hatred is the root stronghold behind Satan’s murderous spirit. John plainly points out that no murderer or anyone hating his brother has eternal life but actually abides in death! Love for our brothers will be displayed not by talk but by actions of love and faith.

1st John 3:16-18 “By this we know love, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for this simple message of our basic need and your command to love our brothers and sisters. Help me to guard my heart against hatred of anyone made in Your image and to show compassion by serving brothers and sisters in need of help instead of siding with the evil one. I want to love in deed and truth.

1st John 3:23-24 “And this is His commandment, that we believe in the Name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as He has commanded us. Whoever keeps His commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit Whom He has given us.”

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Keys to abiding now and forever

Scripture reading for November 23rd: 1st 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.”

John had walked with Jesus as possibly the youngest disciple. He was the only one not to die a martyr’s death and lived into his ninety’s. He was the bishop or overseer of the churches in Asia. He spoke plainly to the church to help them live a victorious life of faith and to enjoy God’s presence forever. In this letter, John gives some clear advice concerning the world system of the antichrist that was present even as John wrote his letter. First, believers are not of this world system anymore. They have been born again from above. They cannot love the world system and live in the flesh and follow its desires and please God the Father. Our Father gives good gifts and calls His children to holiness and consecration to prepare them for life with Him forever. Some in the church had departed to follow the flesh and antichrist spirits. This a sign of the last hour.

1st John 2:18-19 “Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father, I choose to love You and to turn away from the world system. I belong to You and long for the kingdom of heaven and Your will on earth as in heaven. Give me and Your church discernment of spirits that we might avoid the antichrist spirit that is present now in this last hour. Help me to be watchful over those in the church that the world, flesh and satanic antichrist spirit might not snare any who believe.

1st John 2:26-27 “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.”

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Up close and personal!

Scripture reading for November 22nd: 1st John 1

Key Scriptures: 1st John 1:1-4 “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life–the Life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us; that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.”

As the apostle John wrote this letter to the Church of Jesus Christ, he emphasized that he hadn’t gotten second-hand information to share with them. He had heard Jesus personally for over three years then saw and touched Him after the resurrection and now had fellowship with Jesus abiding in him through the Holy Spirit. He shared with the Church so that they too might have deeper personal fellowship with him and other believers, as well as with the Father and Son. John wrote to make his joy complete as he was obeying His Father and pleasing Him.

1st John 1:5-6 “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.”

Faith confession and prayer: Father God, I thank You again for the eye-witnesses of Your Son Jesus Christ. Thank You for their anointed testimony and proclamation of His message. You have revealed the light of His glory in Jesus Christ and I have fellowship with other believers and with the Father and Son through the Holy Spirit, Your gift to me. I humbly confess my need for ongoing cleansing of my sin that I may walk in Your light.

1st John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

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