Scripture reading for April 14th: Judges 17-18, Psalm 21, Acts 1
Key Scriptures: Acts 1:4-8 “And while staying with them, He ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which He said, “you heard from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” So when they had come together, they asked Him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Jesus was always teaching His disciples, preparing them to take over the vision He had given them from the Father to reach the whole world through preaching and making disciples. After the resurrection, Jesus appeared a final time to instruct them to wait for the Promise of the Father–the Blessed Holy Spirit. They were looking for the full restoration of the kingdom but Jesus told them that was not their concern. They would need the power given by the Holy Spirit to be witnesses to the ends of the earth.
Faith Confession and prayer: My King, fill me afresh with the Holy Spirit today! I know You will come again, but I want to be about Your vision of reaching my Jerusalem and even the ends of the earth.
Judges 17:10 “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
Psalm 21:13 “Be exalted, O Lord, in Your strength! We will sing and praise Your power.”
Scripture reading for April 13th: Judges 12-16, Psalm 146, Luke 24
Key Scriptures: Luke 24:30-33 “When He was at table with them, He took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him. And He vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked to us on the road, while He opened to us the Scriptures?” And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem.
After His resurrection, Jesus sought out His disciples to reassure them of His resurrection and the fulfillment of Scripture. He joined up with two of them on their way to Emmaus. Jesus joined in their conversation about the events of their past few days. As they explained their difficulty understanding the women who had visited the grave of Jesus and found it empty, Jesus gently rebuked them for their unbelief and expounded the Scriptures concerning Himself. He then joined them for supper and took the bread and blessed, broke and gave it to them. This opened their eyes to recognize Jesus and they remembered how their hearts burned as He opened the Word of God.
Faith Confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the Holy Spirit, who opens the Scriptures to me each day as I read and walk with You. Set my heart on fire with Your love, mercy and truth.
Judges 13:20 “And when the flame went up toward heaven from the altar, the angel of the Lord went up in the flame of the altar. Now Manoah and his wife were watching, and they fell on their faces to the ground.”
Psalm 146:10 “The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord!”
Scripture reading for April 10th: Judges 9-11, Psalm 17, Luke 23
Key Scriptures: Luke 23:39-43 “One of the criminals who were hanged railed at Him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into Your kingdom.” And He said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.””
Jesus had been crucified and hung on the cross between two other criminals. One mocked Jesus in bitterness and unbelief. Jesus was silent. The other rebuked the first, asking if he had not fear of God, the ultimate judge that all must answer to. He then asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom. This was a acknowledgement of faith in Jesus and in the resurrection. To this Jesus broke His silence, simply stating that that man would be with Him before the day was over in Paradise! On this Good Friday, look to Jesus and humbly appeal to Him for mercy for yourself and others.
Psalm 17:6 “I call upon You, for You will answer me, O God; incline Your ear to me; hear my words.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord, thank You for hearing my prayer for mercy and for granting me a place in Your kingdom. Help me today to share the good news of Your mercy towards sinners. Thank You for Jesus’ great sacrifice and mercy.
Judges 10:10 “And the people of Israel cried out to the Lord, saying, “We have sinned against You, because we have forsaken our God and have served the Baals.”
Scripture reading for April 9th: Judges 7-8, Luke 22
Key Scriptures: Luke 22:40-45 “And when He come to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if Your are willing, remove this cup from Me. Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.” And there appeared to Him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in an agony, He prayed more earnestly; and His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, . . “
Jesus went to His designated place of prayer and asked His disciples to watch and pray with Him to avoid temptation. He withdrew by Himself and was praying with great agony and intensity, asking His Father to remove the cup of coming suffering, if it were possible. But Jesus submitted completely to the Father’s will. An angel from heaven appeared and strengthened Him. He prayed again, more passionately than ever, even to the point that drops of His blood mingled with sweat coming from His brow. When He returned, He found sleeping disciples!
Faith confession and prayer: Lord, You alone can deliver me from evil and temptation. Thank You for the Holy Spirit and the strength You give. Help me to be watchful and in prayer for me and my family as the terrible times of trouble come in these last days. Keep me from the snares of this world.
Judges 8:27 “And Gideon made an ephod of it (gold spoil), and put it in his city, in Ophrah. And all Israel whored after it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and to his family.”
Scripture reading for April 8th: Judges 4-6, Luke 21
Key Scriptures: Luke 21:34-36 “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Jesus closed out His time of ministry by preparing His disciples for the temptations and trials that would accompany the time just before He would return. Watchfulness was required of each believer because of the temptations and wickedness that would abound before Christ’s return. These temptations would attack all who dwelled on the earth. Prayer and alertness was required to escape the temptations and to stand before “The Son of Man” when He returned to receive His own and judge the wicked. Those not able to stand would be cast out of His presence forever.
Faith Confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, temptations and seduction fill the world in this time that I live. Give me Your strength to stand firm and encourage the brothers and sisters and warn those who are not right with God. May none in my family circle and my friends fail to stand before You when You return.
Judges 5:31 “”So may all Your enemies perish, O Lord! But Your friends be like the sun as he rises in his might.” And the land had rest for forty years.”
Scripture reading for April 7th: Judges 1-3, Psalm 16, Luke 20
Key Scriptures: Luke 20:21-25 “So they asked Him, “Teacher, we know that You speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” But He perceived their craftiness, and said to them, “Show Me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have? They said, “Caesar’s.” He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s”
Some religious Scribes came to Jesus to try and trap Him by asking a leading question concerning paying taxes to Caesar. Jesus was not fooled by their trickery, but turned the tables on them, asking them for a Roman coin, the denarius. He asked them to read the inscription and state what likeness it contained. It was a likeness of Caesar, the Roman ruler. He then instructed them to give to Caesar what belonged to Him and to God what He rightfully had coming. That would be respect and obedience!
Psalm 16:11 “You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord, thank You for Your precious Word, teaching me truth to live by. May I always please God my Father by giving Him what is due and respect earthly authorities He ordained.
Judges 3:1,4 “Now these are the nations that the Lord left, to test Israel by them, that is, all in Israel who had not experienced all the wars of Canaan. . . .They were for the testing of Israel, to know whether Israel would obey the commandments of the Lord, which He commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.”
Scripture reading for April 6th: Joshua 22-24, Psalm 116, Luke 19
Key Scriptures: Luke 19:41-44 “And when He drew near and saw the city, He wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side, and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”
Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem. He was ready to enter it to cleanse the temple to begin the last week of His life before dying as our Passover sacrifice. But the people of Jerusalem were unreceptive of the truth of Jesus Christ and God’s amazing plan revealed by Jesus, Himself. The would reject Him and have Him crucified. This would bring about the destruction of the city and the people and their children. When Jesus returns at the end of the age, those rejecting Him will miss the time of their visitation.
Psalm 116:1-2 “I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call on Him as long as I live.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I ask you for mercy for those who do not yet know you. I weep for the lost and those who harden their hearts concerning Your visitation bringing salvation.
Joshua 24:14 “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.”
Scripture reading for April 3rd: Joshua 18-21, Psalm 15, Luke 18
Key Scriptures: Luke 18:6-8 “And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to His elect, who cry to Him day and night? Will He delay long over them? I tell you, He will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?”
Jesus told a parable to His disciples to reinforce His teaching that men ought “always to pray and not faint.” He told of a widow that came repeatedly to an unjust judge asking for “justice against her adversary.” She came so often that the judge finally agreed to help her to get her off his case. Jesus used the reluctant judge to contrast with God’s speedy answers to His own people when they called in faith. The question is, would Jesus find people asking for justice and honestly seeking God’s help when He returned for them?
Psalm 15:1-2 “O Lord, who shall sojourn in Your tent? Who shall dwell on Your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; . . .”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I desire to dwell with You eternally. Help me to walk in faith today and obey Your holy Word trusting in all Your good promises. You, alone, will bring justice to the earth!
Joshua 21:45 “Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.”
Scripture reading for April 2nd: Joshua 14-17, Luke 17
Key Scriptures: Luke 17:3-6 “”Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.””
Jesus was teaching His disciples about the need to keep their hearts free from offense. It would require attention to their own hearts when brothers or sisters sinned against them. These offenses must be dealt with in a timely manner in the day they happen (Ephesians 4:26). To this teaching, the disciples cried, “Increase our faith!” Jesus said that the faith needed was available in seed form. It may appear small, like a mustard seed, but when they spoke to the problem, the problem would be removed. Much like Caleb of old, ‘give me this hill country’ came from the seed of faith in God’s promises.
Joshua 14:10-12 “. . .And now behold, I am this day eighty-five years old. I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming. So now give me this hill country of which the Lord spoke on that day, . .”
Faith Confession and prayer: Lord, increase my faith daily that I may attentively guard my heart against offenses and unbelief! Give me my full inheritance and renewed strength in old age to take possession of it!
Scripture reading for April 1st: Joshua 9-13, Luke 16
Key Scriptures: Luke 16:10-13 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
Money is also a necessity of life to buy what we need. It is not evil in itself. Jesus taught His disciples that the “very little”, money, was a test for all men of their faithfulness. Their honesty in dealing with money, their own and others, showed where their heart really was. When money was the center and people spent all their time serving money and controlling it, they would not be right with God and could not serve Him. He did not say it was hard to serve God and money, but it was impossible! Choosing to put God at the center is possessing the ground of our heart.
Faith Confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, forgive me for trying at times to serve You and money. In my old age, there is still much for me to possess of Your truth in my own soul. Jesus Christ is Lord of all! Money is “very little” but God is everything!
Joshua 13:1 “Now Joshua was old and advanced in years, and the Lord said to him, “You are old and advanced in years, and there remains yet very much land to possess.”