Scripture reading for July 13th: Matthew 11
Key Scriptures: Matthew 11:25-28 “At that time Jesus declared, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was Your gracious will. All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him. Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
John the Baptist had been Jesus’ forerunner, proclaiming repentance and baptismal cleansing in preparation for the One to come, the Christ. John was imprisoned and heard of Jesus’ ministry and sent disciples to ask concerning Jesus, if He were truly the Christ. This is curious, because John proclaimed Jesus the Christ and heard the proclamation of the Father after Jesus’ baptism. But many had seen Jesus’ signs and miracles and had failed to respond with repentance just as many rejected John’s message. Jesus prayed to His Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thanking Him for hiding the truth from the hard of heart and revealing truth to humble and repentant believer, whom Jesus likened to ‘little children.’ He declared that only He, God’s Son, truly knew the Father and it was His mission to reveal the Father to those He chose through divine foreknowledge. He then issued an invitation to those under heavy loads and burdens to come to Him and find rest. This rest would involve a deep knowledge of Christ Himself and the Father’s heart to save the repentant and humble! Amen! Let it be so for me and my household!
Matthew 11:29-30 “Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank You for Your gracious will of revealing Who You are through Your Son Jesus. I have responded to Your call to come to Him and learn of Him. I have found rest for my soul from my own efforts to be successful and now delight in sharing the rest in Jesus the Christ. Open doors today to share this “Good News!”
Isaiah 66:1-3 “Thus says the Lord: “Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool; what is the house that you would build for Me, and what is the place of My rest? All these things My hand has made, and so all these things came to be,” declares the Lord. “But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at My Word.”
Scripture reading for July 8th: Matthew 8
Key Scriptures: Matthew 8:14-17 “And when Jesus entered Peter’s house, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve Him. That evening they brought to Him many who were oppressed by demons, and He cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.””
Some in the church today declare that Jesus only came to forgive sins and that the healing miracles He did were just for the early church when He was with them. These gifts passed away with the first apostles. But Jesus clearly demonstrated the Gospel by healing the sick and delivering those bound with evil spirits. His authority to do these works was evident to all and was also evident in His disciples as they also were sent out on mission. This was all a fulfilment of prophecy recorded in Isaiah 53 and applied to Jesus and His ministry of healing and deliverance as He went into the places of need and where hurting people were. In fact, Matthew 8:2-3 records a leper with a statement for Jesus: “If you will, you can make me clean.” Jesus answered, “I will; be clean!” Jesus is willing and able and on His cross in His own body bore our sicknesses and diseases! Praise His Name!
Isaiah 53:4-5 “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed.”
Faith Confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for sending Jesus, Your Son, to bear our sins, sickness and disease in His own body on our behalf. Thank You for the full Gospel of healing and grace to forgive sins. Fill me with the Holy Spirit to preach that full Gospel and to see healing and deliverance and salvation from sins bondage.
Mark 16:15, 17-18 “Go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation. . . And these signs will accompany those who believe: in My Name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues’ they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Scripture reading for July 2nd: Matthew 4
Key Scriptures: Matthew 4:12-17 “Now when He heard that John had been arrested, He withdrew into Galilee. And leaving Nazareth He went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, and in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles–the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and the shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.” From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.””
Jesus Christ heard that John the Baptist had been arrested by King Herod for preaching repentance and confronting Herod’s sinful sexual life. Jesus withdrew to His own childhood region of Israel but moved to another town from Nazareth, Capernaum by the sea. This area was on a trade route where peoples from all over the world would visit on their way to trade in other parts of the world. It was known as “Galilee of the Gentiles” but had been the home property given to Zebulun and Naphtali, tribes of Israel. Isaiah the Prophet had spoken about this area in Isaiah 9:1-2, about 700 years before Christ’s birth. Jesus began preaching right where John the Baptist left off. He began where the land of the Jews was particularly darkened by the shadow of death and brought great light by preaching the Word of God. God’s Word would bring deliverance from death and its dark shadow and the dawning of a new day! Herod’s kingdom of darkness and death would be overcome by the kingdom of Light!
Isaiah 60:1-2 “Arise, shine, for your Light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon You, and His glory will be seen upon You. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of Your rising.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for sending Jesus to light up my world of darkness! Thank You for loving Gentiles as You loved Jews. Through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, Your light shines through me. Let the preaching of repentance, faith and miracles of healing flow through my life and today’s ministry opportunities.
Matthew 4:23-24 “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.”
Scripture reading for June 30th: Matthew 2
Key Scriptures: Matthew 2:7-11 “Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. 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.“
Matthew alone records the visit of these wise men from the East, probably ancient Persia. These wise men were seeking one born “King of the Jews” and had come to Jerusalem seeking this child. They had followed a star that appeared to lead them there. King Herod and the city and temple officials were troubled by this entourage and their request. The temple officials stated that the Christ was to be born in Bethlehem. After inquiring, King Herod sent for them and questioned them about their mission. He told them to search diligently and report back to him so he might worship too. They listened and went to find the child, again following the star that led them to the exact place. These men rejoiced and when they saw the child, immediately fell down in worship. They opened their treasures and gave freely to honor this Child. But God warned them in a dream not to return to Herod. These Gentiles found another way home to their country, made truly rich by now seeing the “King of the Jews”. They went on their way rejoicing!
Matthew 2:12 “And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country another way.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for revealing Your Son to all nations, tongues and tribes and bringing the joy of salvation to all the lost of mankind. Help me to proclaim clearly the way home to “Father’s House” to those in my family and sphere of influence. Jesus alone is the Way to our eternal home!
John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Isaiah 35:10 “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”
Scripture reading for May 10th: Acts 25
Key Scriptures: Acts 25:9-12 “But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, “Do you wish to go up to Jerusalem and there be tried on these charges before me?” But Paul said, “I am standing before Caesar’s tribunal, where I ought to be tried. To the Jews I have done no wrong as you yourself know very well. If then I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything for which I deserve to die, I do not seek to escape death. But if there is nothing to their charges against me, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar.” Then Festus, when he had conferred with his council, answered, “To Caesar you have appealed; to Caesar you shall go.””
Paul had been in Roman custody for over two years. A new governor, Festus, came into power and wanted to get on the good side of the Jews and sought to arrange a trial for Paul in Jerusalem. The Jews there were still wanting to kill Paul and had plotted how they would if he came back to Jerusalem. Paul was a Roman citizen and when asked where he wanted tried, asked to continue his trial under Roman jurisdiction, even appealing to Caesar himself. This was all part of God’s plan to have Paul stand before Roman authorities and to preach in Rome, transported there at government expense. It is not always our way of accomplishing God’s will, like Paul, we must be open to unusual routes and ways to witness of Jesus before those God is desiring to reach!
Mark 13:9 “But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for My sake, to bear witness before them.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, Your ways are above our ways. You always prepare Your followers for what will come and make a way for them to accomplish Your work of witness to all the lost. Make me bold today and attentive to Your thoughts and ways.
Isaiah 55:8-9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.”
Scripture reading for April 19th: Acts 10
Key Scriptures: Acts 10:30-33 “And Cornelius said, “Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter, He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.’ So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.”
Peter was the chief of the apostles of Jesus Christ and he was a devout Jew. Jews must never go to the house of a Gentile, or so Peter was taught. However, God gave him a dream of a sheet coming down from heaven with all kinds of unclean foods. He was commanded to arise, kill and eat. This happened three times and Peter was struggling to understand when the three men sent by Cornelius arrived at Peter’s lodging. The Holy Spirit spoke to Peter that he should go with them to Cornelius’ home. As he arrived, Cornelius shared his side of God’s directions and asked him to share what God had given him! Now that is a preachers dream come true! Peter preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ and God gave them salvation and the gift of the Holy Spirit!
Acts 10:44-46 “While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the Word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father, thank You for preparing hearts of seekers to hear the Gospel message. Thank You for sending Your people to preach that salvation and the baptism of the Holy Spirit would be poured out through their obedience. Open doors for me today to share Your Word with seekers who are ready to receive Your Word.
Isaiah 9:2 “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.”
Scripture reading for March 15th: Luke 9
Key Scriptures: Luke 9:23-26 “And He said to all, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in His glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”
Jesus was calling those to Himself who would be willing to lay down their lives to follow Him. In fact, those who would make the choice to follow Him, would necessarily take up a personal cross each day in doing so. The cross signifies a willingness to die to ourselves and to willingly give up our life. In doing this, His followers would actually receive their life back eternally. Those who were ashamed of Jesus and their cross signifying obedience to His Words would ultimately make Jesus ashamed of them when He comes in triumph and judgment of the wicked. How will Jesus react to me at His coming? Thankfully, today is a time to repent!
Luke 9:22 “. . . saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for calling Your followers to Your example. Unashamed You carried Your cross, beaten and bruised and suffered rejection and death for us. I will not be ashamed of You or Your Words as You empower me with Your amazing grace.
Isaiah 53:10 “Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush Him; He has put Him to grief; when His soul makes an offering for guilt, He shall see His offspring; He shall prolong His days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.”
Scripture reading for March 5th: Luke 3
Key Scriptures: Luke 3:15-18 “As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether He might be the Christ, John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but He Who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of Whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, to clear His threshing floor and to gather the wheat into His barn, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.” So with many other exhortations He preached good news to the people.”
Many flocked to John the Baptist who was calling Israel to repentance and symbolically baptizing them in the waters of the Jordan river. The baptism was symbolic of a washing needed to prepare them for the One coming who would further baptize them with the Holy Spirit and fire. He would come to gather the “wheat” into God’s “barn” and then to burn up the chaff in a unquenchable fire. Those baptized in the Holy Spirit and fire would become the wheat. Those refusing would be the chaff. John preached this Good News” to the people of Israel who would listen.
Luke 3:4 “As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.'”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for water baptism that allowed me to identify with You and Your work on the cross. Thank You for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, marking me as belonging to God and empowering me to live a life of following You and preaching the Good News.
Isaiah 52:7 “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, Who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness who publishes salvation, Who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.””
Scripture reading for March 3rd: Luke 1
Key Scriptures: Luke 1:34-38 “And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy–the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God. And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.”
A key truth of the Christian faith is the truth that Jesus Christ, God’s Son, was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin who had never known a man. This is important for our faith because a man born the ordinary way, through human intercourse, would not be able to save us because he would still have a sin-nature. God’s plan was to form His Son in a virgin’s womb and allow Him to be born of a woman and yet be the “Son of God.” The child would be holy and set apart from all other humans from His birth. Mary, herself, when approached by the angel had trouble understanding how this would happen. The angel explained that God can do anything He wants and had already formed the fore-runner, John the Baptist, in the womb of a barren woman. Mary humbly submitted and offered her body to serve God and mankind.
Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign, Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His Name Immanuel.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord I believe that You were born of a virgin, and are the Son of God. Thank You for saving me and those who believe on You. Help me to say along with Mary, Your mother, “Let it be to me according to Your Word,” for all my life and service.
Genesis 18:13-14 “The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.”
Scripture reading for February 9th: Romans 1
Key Scriptures: Romans 1:16-20 “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. for what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”
Paul wrote a letter to the Roman church where he laid out in terms that both Jew and Gentile could understand, the Gospel of Jesus Christ and man’s universal need for salvation and God’s righteousness. He was not ashamed of the Gospel message–Jesus Christ, Son of God, crucified for our sins, buried and raised from the dead to God’s right hand. This message, when preached and believed in faith brings salvation from God’s wrath to Jews and Gentiles. It gives right-standing with God to those once under His wrath because Jesus Christ took God’s wrath against sin on the cross. God has revealed the truth about His eternal power and divine nature to all men through creation. Man has pushed this truth out of their thinking but that will be no excuse when they stand before Him. Those without Christ will face God’s eternal wrath.
Psalm 19:1-3 “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork. Day to day pours out speech and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for revealing the power of God for salvation through Your life, crucifixion, burial and resurrection. I desire to preach the Good News every day I am given on this earth. Fill me with the Holy Spirit today for this task.
Isaiah 52:7 “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.””