Category: General epistles-BibleTrekToday

Fellow workers for the Truth

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.”

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Walking in love and truth

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.”

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Overcoming faith and love!

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.”

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Perfected in love!

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.””

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It’s all about love!

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.”

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The ‘Abiding’ anointing!

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

1st John 2: 26-29 “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. And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears we may have confidence and not shrink from Him in shame at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of Him.”

To abide in something means to take up residence and remain. John was writing to the believers being attacked by false teachers and warned them to listen to the Holy Spirit, Who abided in them. The Holy Spirit’s anointing brings instruction to us concerning living and applying God’s Word and thereby ‘abiding’ in Jesus Christ. John wanted believers to have confidence in their relationship with God based on Truth, not on some false teaching or opinion of men. A mark of false teachers was that their life was a lie–they failed to practice the Truth and abide in Jesus Christ by faith and through grace. A mark of a true follower of Jesus was practice of right living because of new birth and the abiding Holy Spirit.

Haggai 2:4-6 “Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, declares the Lord. Be strong, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the Lord. Work, for I am with you, declares the Lord of Hosts, according to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not.”

Prayer: Father, thank You for Your Name and Your Word and the anointing of Your Holy Spirt to abide in me and help me to abide in Jesus Christ, my Lord. Thank You for being with me always and for empowering me through the Holy Spirit and grace to live in righteousness and have confidence in Your acceptance when You return again. Abide in me and give me opportunity to share Your Word and Name!

Psalm 138:2 “I bow down toward Your holy temple and give thanks to Your Name for Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness, for You have exalted above all things Your Name and Your Word.”

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The Light of Truth

Scripture reading for November 22nd: Ezra 3-6, Psalm 92, 1st John 1

1st John 1: 5-10 “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. 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. But if we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.”

John, in his old age, wrote this letter to the church to encourage them in the truth and to warn them against the lies of false teachers who were seeking to deceive the believers. God is light, and His Word is a light to our path and a lamp for our feet. Believers must walk in the Light of God’s Word and cling to Jesus Christ for cleansing and salvation. The false teachers were telling people that there was not really anything like ‘sin’ and that God would save everyone. John stated that those who say they have no sin, deceive themselves and ignore the Truth of God’s Word. Confession of sin and repentance alone brings cleansing and it is a continual process to walk it out. The blood of Christ, our ‘Passover Lamb’ is sufficient!

Ezra 6:20-22 “. . .So they slaughtered the Passover lamb for all the returned exiles, for their fellow priests, and for themselves. It was eaten by the people of Israel who had returned from exile, and also by everyone who had joined them and separated himself from the uncleanness of the peoples of the land to worship the Lord, the God of Israel. And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy, for the Lord had made them joyful. . .”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for the Light of Life in Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. Thank You for the apostles, like John, who knew You and spoke plainly to the Church concerning basic truths of sin, repentance, cleansing by Christ’s blood, and the deceptions of false teachers. Fill me with the Holy Spirit and help me today to walk in the Light of God’s Word and speak truth that brings repentance and faith.

Psalm 92:1-2 “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to Your Name, O Most High; To declare Your steadfast love in the morning and Your faithfulness by night.”

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God’s patience will run out

Scripture reading for October 21st: Jeremiah 50-51, 2nd Peter 3

2nd Peter 3: 8-10 “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.”

God is loving and compassionate, slow to anger and patient in working for salvation of each person and nation. God gives time to repent and sends His messengers and Word. But Peter also warned the Church not to take God’s love and patience as an indication that He was not just and would not bring recompense for those doing evil. Peter warned that the Day of the Lord would come like a thief with sudden destruction. God would punish evil and unrepentant people and would ultimately cleanse the heavens and the earth by the fire of His wrath against sin. This is cause for self-examination and renewed dedication to Christ Jesus and flight from the fallen world system that is under God’s judgment. It is also time to be about God’s business of saving the lost while His patience waits.

2nd Peter 3:11-13 “Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to His promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your great patience and compassion for lost mankind. Thank You for sending Jesus Christ at just the right time to redeem us by His blood. Thank You for sending Your Church with a Gospel of grace and warnings of the coming Day of the Lord and Your just anger and wrath against sin. Use me today to spread the Gospel and proclaim Your call to escape the coming wrath.

Jeremiah 51:5-6 “For Israel and Judah have not been forsaken by their God, the Lord of Hosts, but the land of the Chaldeans is full of guilt against the Holy One of Israel. “Flee from the midst of Babylon; let every one save his life! Be not cut off in her punishment, for this is the time of the Lord’s vengeance, the repayment He is rendering her.”

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Beware: Deception in the Church

Scripture reading for October 20th: Jeremiah 47-49, Psalm 80, 2nd Peter 2

2nd Peter 2:1-3 “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master Who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”

Peter’s final letter to the Church contained warning similar to other apostles and Jesus and even the prophets of Old Testament times. False teachers and false prophets would arise among God’s people and seek to draw believers away from Christ. They would encourage greed and sensuality and bring disrepute on true believers living in the way of Truth. These deceivers would preach and teach heresies–teachings that divide and cause strife–rather than bringing love and unity and peace. Peter cited examples in Scripture of God’s judgment on the sensual world in the case of Noah and Sodom and Gomorrah. He cited Balaam as a false prophet motivated by greed instead of truth. Swift destruction awaits those deceiving and being deceived if they don’t repent.

Psalm 80:17-19 “But let Your hand be on the Man of Your right hand, the Son of Man Who You have made strong for Yourself. Then we shall not turn back from You; give us life, and we will call upon Your Name! Restore us, O Lord God of Hosts! Let Your face shine, that we may be saved!”

Prayer: Father God, we live in deceptive times with many voices seeking to influence us that are not from You. Fill me and Your Church with the Holy Spirit and gifts of discerning of spirits. Use me to warn and be a prophetic voice to this generation concerning the present dangers of deception and idolatry. Restore us, O Lord God of Hosts! Let Your face shine on us for we trust only in You!

Jeremiah 48:6-8 “Flee! Save yourselves! You will become like a juniper in the desert! For because you trusted in your works and your treasures, you also shall be taken; and Chemosh shall go into exile with his priests and his officials. The destroyer shall come upon every city and no city shall escape; the valley shall perish, and the plain shall be destroyed, as the Lord has spoken.”

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Living in exile!

Scripture reading for October 19th: Jeremiah 43, 44, 46, 2nd Peter 1

2nd Peter 1: 14-19 “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as He Who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on Him as Father Who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”

Our journey on earth is likened by Peter as living in exile from our true home in the holy presence of God. Holiness is the character of God the Father and Jesus Christ as well as the Holy Spirit. The word for ‘holy’ means ‘set apart’ and God is truly set apart from all other beings. His holiness and perfection allow Him to judge impartially each person made in His image and called His ‘children’. He knows all things past, present and future. These sobering truths should motivate us to live in holy reverence and separation to God Who loved us enough to redeem us from our sin and rebellion through the blood of Jesus Christ. God raised Jesus from the dead and revealed Him as God the Son to all who look to Him in faith.

2nd Peter 1:20-21 “He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but wad made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”

Prayer: Holy Father, I am in awe and holy respect for You and Your holiness and loving plans to save and redeem Your people and even to restore them from captivity that they brought upon themselves by disobedience. As I live in exile from my eternal holy home with You, set me apart daily to be holy and to live in reverence and hope, knowing that You will soon return to fulfill all prophetic promises!

Jeremiah 46:27 “But fear not, O Jacob My servant, nor be dismayed, O Israel, for behold, I will save you from far away, and your offspring from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease, and none shall make him afraid.”

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