Category: Isaiah–BibleTrekToday

Standing before kings

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.”

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A preachers dream!

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.”

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Jesus ashamed of me?

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.”

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The Holy Spirit and fire

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.””

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The Virgin and God’s Son

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.”

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The Gospel saves from wrath

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.””

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Condemned and spit upon!

Scripture reading for February 4th: Mark 14

Key Scriptures: Mark 14:60-65 “And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, “Have You no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against You? But He remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” And the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need? You have heard His blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned Him as deserving death. And some began to spit on Him and to cover His face and to strike Him, saying to Him, “Prophesy!” And the guards received Him with blows. ”

Mark used Peter as one of his sources of the details of passion week events. The betrayal of Jesus by Judas and the subsequent denial of Peter and all the disciples was a shameful part of the story. This record of Jesus’ trial before the Sanhedrin shows how Jesus was falsely accused by false witnesses and remained silent before His accusers. When asked directly if He was the “Christ”, Jesus spoke the truth very plainly and simply. This declaration of Messiahship and prophetic announcement to those sitting in judgment brought immediate condemnation for blasphemy and acts of disrespect. They spit upon Him and covered His face and turned Him over to abusive Roman guards. All this was in the plan of God to bring about salvation for all who would humbly repent and believe!

Psalm 22:6-7 But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads: . . .”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I am humbled by the scorn and harsh treatment You received. Even Judas betrayed You and the other disciples denied knowing you. This was all before the crucifixion. Thank You for Your sacrifice. Use Me however You want to proclaim Your love and mercy.

Isaiah 53:3, 7 “He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces.” . . . .”He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so He opened not his mouth.”

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Don’t let Jesus be ashamed!

Scripture reading for January 27th: Mark 8

Key Scriptures: Mark 8:34-38 “And calling the crowd to Him with His disciples, He said to them, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and for the Gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My Words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.””

Peter had just confessed Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God and Jesus began to teach the disciples about his coming death and resurrection. Peter began to rebuke Him and Jesus, looking at the other disciples, turned and rebuked Satan for tempting Him and Peter for having a carnal mind. Then Jesus called the crowd and His disciples to come to Him and stated the cost of following after Him. Each follower would have to take up a cross and be willing to lose their life! They would need to chose between gaining the world and following Jesus as He carried His cross. Following Jesus would bring shame from the world but would bring a bold profession by Jesus before the Father of acceptance and eternal life. Those ashamed of Him and His cross would suffer the ultimate shame of eternal damnation at Christ’s return.

1st John 2:15 “Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I am willing to take up my cross and to follow You out of love for You and the Father. Deliver me from any love of the world and empower me do Your will and to make You smile on the Day of Your Glory!

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.”

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Physician to the sinner!

Scripture reading for January 19th: Mark 2

Key Scriptures: Mark 2:14-17 “And as He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow Me.” And he rose and followed Him. And as He reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and His disciples, for there were many who followed Him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that He was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to His disciples, “Why does He eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.””

Jesus knew all men and saw potential that the world and religious community missed. As He passed by the tax station of Levi (Matthew), Jesus called out to him to follow as a disciple. Levi was quick to obey and invited Jesus to a party as his house with other tax collectors. These tax collectors were considered the “unredeemable” of Jesus time in the Jewish culture and Jesus was questioned about why He would stoop to eat with them. Jesus explained that He came for those who were sick with sin and would recognize their need of healing and forgiveness. Those who judged themselves to be righteous would miss His call and judged those who did respond.

Psalm 32:5 “I acknowledged my sin to You, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and You forgave the iniquity of my sin.” Selah

Faith confession and prayer: Thank You for calling me. Lord, keep me from self-righteousness. I confess my need for Your forgiveness and healing as a sinner. Use me to bring others to You who need healing from their brokenness.

Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; . . .”

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The time is fulfilled!

Scripture reading for January 18th: Mark 1

Key Scriptures: Mark 1:9-11, 14-15 “In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when He came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on Him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son; with You I am well pleased.”. . . .”Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the Gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel.””

Mark wrote this Gospel account of Jesus’ life with much of the eye-witness information gotten from the Apostle Peter, one of the original twelve disciples. He wrote this for the believers in Rome, many who were Gentiles and not acquainted with Jewish history or customs. He records the story of Jesus beginning with John the Baptist and Jesus’ baptism. John baptized in water and called all Jews to repent for the forgiveness of their sins in preparation for the kingdom of God. Jesus was baptized, not because He had sin, but to identify with all sinful men that He might offer Himself on their behalf. Jesus was baptized and heaven opened with God’s voice declaring, “You are My beloved Son, with You I am well pleased.” God confirmed Jesus’ Sonship with the Holy Spirit descending and resting on Him! After this, Jesus was tempted for forty days and then after the temptation and John the Baptist’s arrest, He began His ministry with John’s message of repentance and a call to believe the Gospel. The kingdom of heaven was at hand and the King was inviting all!

Isaiah 40:3 “A voice cries; “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.””

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe You are God’s beloved Son and I have repented of my sins. Thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit and the mission to testify and preach the Gospel of the King Jesus to the world. Let Your voice be heard through me today!

Matthew 24:14 “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.”

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