Category: Gospels

Full of grace and truth!

Scripture reading for October 22nd: Ezekiel 1-3, John 1

Key Scriptures: John 1:14-18 “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness about Him, and cried out, (“This was He of whom I said, ‘He Who comes after me ranks before me, because He was before me.'”) For from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, Who is at the Father’s side, He has made Him known.”

John the beloved disciple, wrote his gospel towards the end of his life. He was the youngest of the disciples and one of the closest to Jesus’ heart. He was assigned the duty of caring for Jesus’ mother by Him. John honored Jesus as the only Son of the Father God, and the Word of God made flesh. John portrayed Jesus Christ as ‘full of grace and truth’, making known the Father’s heart of love and mercy. John had received this grace and truth, and wrote to pass it on to us and the generations that have followed and will come.

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for revealing the Father’s heart of grace and truth to us through Your life and John’s written Word. Fill me with Your fullness that I might share with others Your amazing grace and truth.

Ezekiel 3:16-17 “And at the end of seven days, the Word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a Word from My mouth, you shall give them warning from Me.”

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From mourning to joy!

Scripture reading for August 24th: Isaiah 14-16, Matthew 28

Key Scriptures: Matthew 28:5-9 “But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, as He said. Come, see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead, and behold, He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see Him. See, I have told you.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell His disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him.”

According to Scripture, at least three women went early in the morning to properly care for Christ’s body. These women were surprised to find the stone rolled away and even more frightened to see an angel and hear him speak to them. The angel told them not to be afraid and gently invited them to see where Christ had been laid and then sent them off to tell the disciples the Good News and that they would see Him in Galilee! As they were running away to tell the news, Jesus appeared to them with a cheerful greeting. This brought them to worship and adoration in overwhelming joy!

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I worship You and rejoice in Your resurrection and victory over death and the grave! I will follow You and share with the afflicted that You are their refuge and salvation!

Isaiah 14:32 “What will one answer the messengers of the nation? “The Lord has founded Zion, and in her the afflicted of His people find refuge.””

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The Gate of Righteousness!

Scripture reading for August 21st: Isaiah 11-13, Psalm 118, Matthew 27

Key Scriptures: Matthew 27:45-51 “Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to Him to drink. But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save Him.” And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.”

The curtain that covered the Holy of Holies was thick and blocked the entrance to the mercy seat and cherubim that guarded it. As Jesus endured His darkest hours here on earth, He suffered death and the feeling of separation from God that it brings. He cried out in anguish to His Father, feeling forsaken and fulfilling prophesy. His final breath yielded up His spirit. The temple curtain (veil) ripped from top to bottom! Access to God was granted through Jesus’ broken body to the Holy of Holies! Amazing grace! His Righteousness is our gate!

Psalm 118:19-20 “Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your costly sacrifice, taking my place on Your cross. You opened the gate of righteousness and I thank You forever and ever!

Isaiah 12:2 “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and He has become my Salvation.”

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Following at a distance

Scripture reading for August 20th: Isaiah 7-10, Psalm 22, Matthew 26

Key Scriptures: Matthew 26:58, 73-75 “And Peter was following Him (Jesus) at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the high priest, and going inside he sat with the guards to see the end.”. . . .”After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.” Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.”

Following Jesus’ arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter followed Jesus at a distance because he wanted to see what would happen. While in the courtyard of the High Priest were Jesus was being tried, Peter denied Jesus three times. Following the third denial, Scripture records that a rooster crowed. It also fulfilled Jesus’ prophetic Word that Peter, who claimed he would stick with Jesus no matter what, would actually deny Him three times. Luke records that Jesus looked at Peter at this point. Peter met His gaze and went out and wept bitterly at his own failure of His Lord. He learned the hard way that distance can lead to denial!

Psalm 22:24 “For He has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and He has not hidden His face from him, but has heard, when he cried to Him.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord, but for Your grace and help, I could be like Peter in his weakest hour. Help me by Your grace and power through the Holy Spirit to follow You closely and to look at Your face and ask when I need mercy!

Isaiah 8:13 “But the Lord of Hosts, Him you shall honor as holy. Let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.”

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Sheep on the right please!

Scripture reading for August 19th: Micah 5-7, Matthew 25

Key Scriptures: Matthew 25:31-34 “”When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. Before Him will be gathered all the nations, and He will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And He will place the sheep on His right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.'”

Jesus concluded His final message before His suffering with a parable of sheep and goats. He told how people of the nations would come before His glorious throne and be separated in judgment. The ‘sheep’ would have a place on His right hand, but the goats would be placed on the left. The ‘sheep’ would enter into their full inheritance, prepared from the world’s foundation. The ‘goats’ would be sent to eternal damnation in the lake of fire. This final judgment will be based on response of faith to follow Jesus as their ‘Good Shepherd’.

Faith confession and prayer: Jesus, Your throne is glorious and You are King of Kings! You see the hearts of all men and are full of mercy. Help me to follow You like a dependent ‘sheep’ follows the shepherd.

Micah 6:8 “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”

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Power to endure!

Scripture reading for August 18th: Micah 1-4, Psalm 10, Matthew 24

Key Scriptures: Matthew 24:9-14 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for My Name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this Gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

Jesus was answering His disciples questions concerning His prophesy about the destruction of the temple. They asked ‘when’ that would happen and ‘what’ would be the sign of His return at the end of the age. As to ‘when’, Jesus stated that no one but His Father knew the exact date or time. But the followers of Jesus would suffer great persecution and hatred from the nations of the world. Many believers would fall away and betray others. False teachers would lead many astray and lawlessness would increase. But the true believers would endure and preach the Gospel to all nations and be saved!

Psalm 10:17 “O Lord, You hear the desire of the afflicted; You will strengthen their heart; You will incline Your ear. . .”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord, thank You for Your call to preach the Gospel to all nations before the end of the age. Fill me with power and strengthen my heart to endure and hasten Your return through obedience!

Micah 3:8 “But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin.”

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Putting on a show!

Scripture reading for August 17th: Isaiah 4-6, Matthew 23

Key Scriptures: Matthew 23:1-5 “Then Jesus said to the crowds and to His disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. . .”

One of Jesus’ teachings in the last week of His life involved warning the people about the practice of the Pharisees and scribes. They were preachers who sat in the seat of authority in Israel and taught the Word of God. Jesus encouraged them to listen to them because of their position but not to follow their practice! They were play-actors, putting on a show for others to see but not practicing what they preached! This would bring God’s judgment on those involved!

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, deliver me from any hidden hypocrisy–preaching but not practicing–Your Word. Empower me with the Holy Spirit to help people know You by preaching practicing Your Word.

Isaiah 5:20 “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”

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Speechless before the King!

Scripture reading for August 14th: Isaiah 1-3, Psalm 9, Matthew 22

Key Scriptures: Matthew 22:11-14 “”But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.””

Jesus told another parable about a wedding feast for the son of a king. This king sent his servants to call the invited guests to the wedding feast but they would not come. The invited guests made excuses and had other interests and refused and even killed the king’s servants. The king destroyed them and their city and then invited whoever would come from the highways and byways. The wedding hall was full, but when the king entered he asked one man who had no white wedding garment how he had entered. The man was speechless with no excuse–and suffered a humiliating ejection into outer darkness!

Psalm 9:17 “The wicked shall return to Sheol, all the nations that forget God.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for providing white garments for all included in Your wedding feast. May I never be speechless before You.

Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”

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A Stone of Stumbling!

Scripture reading for August 13th: 2nd Kings 15-16, Matthew 21

Key Scriptures: Matthew 21:42-46 “Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scripture: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. And the one who falls on the stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.” When the chief priest and the Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking about them. And although they were seeking to arrest Him, they feared the crowds, because they held Him to be a prophet.”

Jesus ended His ministry telling some parables that revealed the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. They had been entrusted with the Word of God and should have been listening and applying God’s Word as spoken by the prophets and by Jesus, Whom the people understood was a prophet. Jesus warned that God would take the kingdom of God away from them and give it to those people producing the fruit of an obedient life of faith. Jesus was the “Stone” that the builders rejected. Those who fell upon Him would be broken, but those He fell upon in the final judgment would be crushed.

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, You alone are the Cornerstone of my life and I want to follow You and produce fruit. Help me to keep others from calamity at the final judgment by sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ, my Cornerstone!

2nd Kings 16:2 “Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord his God, as his father David had done, . . .”

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Greatness through serving!

Scripture reading for August 12th: Hosea 14, 2nd Chronicles 26-27, Psalm 61, Matthew 20

Key Scriptures: Matthew 20:25-28 “But Jesus called them to Him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.””

The mother of James and John came to Jesus and requested a special favor. She wanted them to sit on Jesus’ right and left when He came into His kingdom rule. In reply, Jesus asked them if they were able to drink the cup that He would drink? He further told them it was not His prerogative to grant this honor, but His Father. Greatness in God’s sight is being a servant, humble and obedient, even unto death. Jesus, Himself, is our example.

Psalm 61:4 “Let me dwell in Your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of Your wings!” Selah

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the promised reward for those who put their faith in You and seek Your presence and favor. Help me to serve You and others, pleasing to You and honoring You.

2nd Chronicles 26:4-5 “And he (Uzziah) did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that his father Amaziah had done. He set himself to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God, and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper.”

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