Scripture reading for July 23rd: 2nd Kings 7-8, 2 Chronicles 21, Matthew 6
Key Scriptures: Matthew 6:21-24 “”For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! No one 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.””
Our eyes are amazing tools to use to navigate through this life. The eyes depend on light to bring them images of reality in the physical world. If our eyes are healthy, we can see clearly. If our eyes are faulty, our whole body will suffer in darkness. Jesus tied this to money and servitude. Money is a good servant, but a poor master. If we get our vision on serving money instead of serving God, our heart turns against God and our whole being goes into darkness. If we think we are in light but it is really darkness we are in deep trouble! Beware of deception if your eyes are focused on money.
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, You alone are my treasure here in this life and in Heaven for eternity. In Your mercy, reveal any darkness in my life and thinking.
2nd Chronicles 21:6 “And he (King Jehoram) walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for the daughter of Ahab was his wife. And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.”
Scripture reading for July 22nd: 2nd Kings 4-6, Matthew 5
Key Scriptures: Matthew 5:10-12 “”Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.””
Jesus had gathered a great crowd of people and he began to teach them. The Sermon on the Mount is the longest recorded message of Jesus and one of the most famous. Jesus taught that it was a blessing to be persecuted for “righteousness sake.” He went on to elaborate what this meant. Those who followed Him would be reviled and persecuted and blasphemed against. Those who follow Jesus live righteous lives and preach repentance from evil. This brings persecution and sometimes death. Followers can rejoice because they have a great reward and they join with a long line of persecuted prophets.
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I will gladly and with rejoicing take persecution because of You. Help me to stay true to You and Your Word in my actions, words and deeds.
2nd Kings 6:31 “—and he (Joram king of Israel) said, “May God do so to me and more also, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today.””
Scripture reading for July 21st: 2nd Kings 2-3, Psalm 48, Matthew 4
Key Scriptures: Matthew 4:23-25 “And He went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the Gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. So His fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought Him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and He healed them. And great crowds followed Him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.”
Jesus began His ministry following 40 days of temptation by the devil in the wilderness. He began in His home region in Galilee in synagogues by preaching repentance and the Gospel of the kingdom. He also had a wonderful healing ministry where as many sick who were brought were healed and demonic spirits were cast out. Jesus set a great example for those who would follow Him. Great crowds from all the region came to hear Jesus and receive healing. Those who came were both Jews and Gentiles.
Psalm 48:10 “As Your Name, O God, so Your praise reaches to the ends of the earth. Your right hand is filled with righteousness.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I praise you today for Your great salvation and healing of my soul from sin and death. May Your Name be praised among all nations and use me to proclaim it, in word and deed.
2nd Kings 2:14 “Then he took the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and struck the water, saying, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” And when he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over.”
Scripture reading for July 20th: 2nd Chronicles 19-20, 2nd Kings 1, Psalm 20, Matthew 3
Key Scriptures: Matthew 3:11-12 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but He Who is coming after me is mightier than I, Whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will clear His threshing floor and gather His wheat into the barn, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.”
John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin, was called by God to a prophetic ministry in Israel similar to that of Elijah. John, dressed in camel’s hair with a leather belt, called all people to repentance in preparation for the coming Messiah. The repentance was acted out through water baptism by all who received his message. But John spoke of the One coming after him, Who would be greater than him. This One would baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire! He would gather His wheat into the barn but burn the chaff with unquenchable fire. The Messiah would be judge of all!
Psalm 20:6 “Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed; He will answer Him from His holy heaven with the saving might of His right hand.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire. Purify my heart and life today and empower me to proclaim Jesus as Messiah and Lord.
1st Kings 1:8 “They answered him, “He wore a garment of hair, with a belt of leather about his waist.” And he said, “It is Elijah the Tishbite.””
Scripture reading for July 17th: 1st Kings 22, 2nd Chronicles 18, Matthew 2
Key Scriptures: Matthew 2:8-12 “And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the Child, and when you have found Him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship Him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary His mother, and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.”
Wise men, Gentiles from the East, followed a star to Israel in search of the King of the Jews. They went before King Herod, the Roman ruler, to inquire and they were directed by him to Bethlehem. He told them to let him know where this person was. The wise men followed the star to the house where Jesus was with His mother, Mary. They were overcome with worship and adoration and opened their treasures, honoring Him. But they left another way, being warned not to go back to Herod! God reveals Himself to all who truly seek Him!
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I worship and honor You as King of Kings! Thank You for revealing Yourself to the Gentiles as well as the Jews, for You are Savior of all men!
1st Kings 22:14 “But Micaiah said, “As the Lord lives, what the Lord says to me, that I will speak.”
Scripture reading for July 16th: 1st Kings 19-21, 2nd Chronicles 17, Psalm 129, Matthew 1
Key Scriptures: Matthew 1:1, 7-8. 16-17 “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. . . .and David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, . . .and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Christ. So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.”
The Gospel of Matthew begins with a genealogy tracing the line of Joseph all the way back to Abraham, the father of faith and the Jewish nation. Matthew was showing that the Christ had a lineage through Joseph to both King David and Abraham. He was a real man, but the Christ–Son of God. Joseph had been betrothed to Mary, a virgin. She had been found with child by the Holy Spirit. Joseph had been instructed to go ahead with the marriage and to name the child “Jesus” because He would save His people from their sins!
Psalm 129:5 “The Lord is righteous; He has cut the cords of the wicked.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the record of Jesus’ earthly lineage and how it fulfilled what You had written by the prophets. Help me to proclaim Jesus and His saving power today!
2nd Chronicles 17:3 “The Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the earlier ways of his father David. . . .”
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.”