Scripture reading for April 16th: Acts 9
Key Scriptures: Acts 9:1-6 “But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.””
Luke was a Gentile doctor and traveling companion of Paul after he was converted. He gives us this record of Paul’s conversion, probably directly from the source. Paul was a zealous Jew and Pharisee who thought he was doing God’s work to root out false teachers who claimed Jesus was the Christ. He held the coats of those who stoned Stephen and gave approval. He obtained papers to go to Damascus and round up more “Christ followers” when his plans were interrupted by a visit from Jesus, Himself. He was knocked down and blinded by a bright light from heaven and a voice asked him why he was persecuting Him. Saul (Paul) replied, “Who are You, Lord?” He was ignorant of the basic truth needed to repent. Jesus revealed Himself to Paul and instructed him in the next steps of a new life with a new purpose.
Acts 9:15-16 “But the Lord said to him (Ananias), “Go, for he (Saul) is a chosen instrument of Mine to carry My Name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of My Name.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for revealing Yourself to me and all who follow You. You are the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God and my Lord. As Your chosen instrument, send me today to those You have ordained to reach with the Gospel.
Jeremiah 1:4-5 “Now the Word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.””
Scripture reading for March 29th: 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, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”
As Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, He stopped to weep over the city and His own people. He had taught and demonstrated the kingdom of God in healing, forgiving sins, casting out demons, and teaching with authority. He revealed God His Father and His heart for the lost sons and daughters through kindness and compassion and demonstrating God’s love. But His own people refused to receive Him and gain true peace with God. Instead, they would charge Him falsely, beat Him, crucify Him and denounce Him as an imposter. Jesus wept over the city and its people, prophetically pronouncing the coming darkness of judgment and scattering that would result from their blind ignorance and refusal to believe. The Light of the World was hidden from those who refused to see. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth by those who will miss His coming again!
Luke 19:9-10 “And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham, for the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I weep with You over those who are lost and missing the time of visitation and grace. Give me grace and compassion to seek them out and share Your Word. Open their eyes by the Holy Spirit today, before its too late!
Jeremiah 9:1 “Oh that my head were waters, and my eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people.”
Scripture reading for February 16th: Romans 6
Key Scriptures: Romans 6:11-14 “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”
Paul was explaining the reality behind the sacrament of water baptism. In water baptism, the one being baptized is plunged under the water identifying with Jesus’ death and burial. The old carnal man has died with Jesus on the cross and was buried with Jesus. But as Jesus Christ did not stay in the grave, but was resurrected on the third day, so the baptismal candidate comes up out of the water a new man, out of death’s reach and freed from the grip of sin. Grace abounds through repentance and submission to Jesus Christ. But we still have a responsibility to choose daily to offer our bodies and its members to Christ as redeemed from death and alive in Him. Sin now has no dominion over us as a slave-master. We are dead to sin and no longer under law either. Grace is our new master through faith in Jesus!
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I thank You that you have told me to declare my old man as dead and buried. I was baptized in obedience and trust in my resurrection to a new life and eternal life with You. Help me each day to count my members dead to sin and alive to You for worship and service.
Jeremiah 31:33-34 “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put My law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity and their sins I will remember no more.”
Scripture reading for January 22nd: Mark 5
Key Scriptures: Mark 5:21-24; 35-36 “And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about Him, and He was beside the sea. Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing Him, he fell at His feet and implored Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” And He went with him.” . . .”While He was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.””
Jesus was approached by a synagogue ruler, Jairus, with a desperate request. He had a little daughter who was near death. He approached Jesus with great humility and asked for a personal visit by Jesus and the laying on of His hands. As they went, Jesus was interrupted by a woman with an issue of blood. He took time to minister to her and free her from her long infirmity. As Jesus was speaking to her, He overheard some messengers from Jairus’s house tell him not to bother the Teacher, as the little girl was dead. Jesus spoke authoritatively, “Do not fear, only believe.” The result was an amazing raising of the 12 year old girl from sickness and death. All were amazed at the immediate miracle!
Jeremiah 32:26-27 “The Word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: “Behold I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for Me?”‘
Faith confession and prayer: You are the Lord of all and nothing is too hard for You! Lord Jesus, help me to defeat all fear and hold fast to You and Your unfailing Word. Use me to speak Your Word and live by faith, inspiring others to trust You and Your eternal Word.
John 11:40 “Jesus said to her, Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”
Scripture reading for October 21st: Jeremiah 50-51, 2nd Peter 3
Key Scriptures: 2nd Peter 3:9-13 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.”
Mankind is very short-sighted. They tend to live for each day and many worry about the future, but fail to prepare for it. Peter called the believers to patient endurance. The Lord is patient with each person, and He wants none to perish. The Day of the Lord’s return will come suddenly and bring everlasting destruction to the earth and the unsaved. But followers of Jesus are looking forward to a New Heaven and New Earth and eternal righteousness! It will happen suddenly too! Amen!
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, help me daily to see the big picture and Your amazing mercy and patience with the lost. Use me to help others see Your patience and prepare them for Your sudden return!
Jeremiah 51:6 “”Flee from the midst of Babylon; let every one save his life! Be not cut off in her punishment, for this is the time of the Lord’s vengeance, the repayment He is rendering her.””
Scripture reading for October 20th: Jeremiah 47, 48, 49, Psalm 80, 2nd Peter 2
Key Scriptures: 2nd Peter 2:20-22 “For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.””
Peter knows that his time of departure through execution is near. He warns those in the church concerning apostasy. Apostasy is turning back from following Jesus Christ after repentance and a decision to follow Him. Peter warns that it will be worse in the final judgment and in the time before for those that do that. It will be like eating vomit after having a banquet or wallowing again in the mire after being cleansed. Don’t turn back to the world’s slop and filth!
Psalm 80:17-18 “But let your hand be on the Man of Your right hand, the Son of Man whom you have made strong for Yourself! Then we shall not turn back from You; give us life, and we will call upon Your Name!”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, with Your help and intercession for me, I will never turn back from following You. I have had enough slop and mire in the world!
Jeremiah 48:26 “Make him (Moab) drunk, because he magnified himself against the Lord, so that Moab shall wallow in his vomit, and he too shall be held in derision.”
Scripture reading for October 19th: Jeremiah 43, 44, 46, 2nd Peter 1
Key Scriptures: 2nd Peter 1:19-21 “And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
Peter, along with James and John, were eyewitnesses to the amazing event of the transfiguration. They saw Jesus transfigured in brilliant light along with Moses and Elijah and heard God’s voice, declaring Jesus as His beloved Son. But Peter told the believers that they had the Word of God delivered to them as well. No Scripture came from man’s will or imagination, but those who wrote were carried along by the Holy Spirit and the Word was God’s Word! We must pay attention as surely as Peter heard God’s voice! The entrance of God’s Word brings light to our darkness.
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your holy Word. I trust Your Word as Truth and the rule for faith and practice. Fill me with the Holy Spirit to rightly divide Your Word and preach it faithfully. Let the light of Your Word shine through me!
Jeremiah 44:23 “It is because you made offerings and because you sinned against the Lord and did not obey the voice of the Lord or walk in His law and in His statutes and in His testimonies that this disaster has happened to you, as at this day.”
Scripture reading for October 16th: Obadiah, Jeremiah 40-42, Psalm 147, 1st Peter 5
Key Scriptures: 1st Peter 5:6-9 “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. Be sober-minded’ be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”
The world of the last days is stressful unless we are fully submitted to the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter encouraged believers to humble themselves fully by casting their anxieties and fears on Christ as an act of trust that Christ hears and will act to strength us and deliver us through the trouble or out of it. It is Satan that is our true adversary. We must resist Him by staying firm in faith. Suffering is a normal part of standing firm in these last days and God’s mighty Hand can deal with all our anxieties.
Psalm 147:2-3 “The Lord builds up Jerusalem; He gathers the outcasts of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I am totally dependent on You and trust You for peace and deliverance from worry and fear in these last days. In Jesus’ Name, I resist Satan’s roaring and threats.
Obadiah 15: “For the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head.”
Scripture reading for October 15th: Lamentations, Psalm 137, 1st Peter 4
Key Scriptures: 1st Peter 4:7-10 “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep on loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s grace; . .”
Peter recognized the signs of the last days in his last days on earth. He warned and encouraged the church to stay on track with their heavenly calling to honor Jesus Christ as Lord. They must be vigilant and watchful in order to pray effectively. They must major on love. Loving God with all the hearts and loving one another as the highest proof that Jesus is Lord. Love covers a multitude of sins. Christ Jesus demonstrates this selfless love when He died on the cross for our sins and now welcomes us into His household for eternity. We should serve others and show hospitality as He did.
Psalm 137:4-5 “How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land? If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill!”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I am watching for Your return and see the signs of the last days in my last days. Fill me again with Your Spirit of love and a servant’s heart that I might honor You and serve Your gracious purposes on earth.
Lamentations 3:21-23 “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”
Scripture reading for October 13th: Jeremiah 38, 39, 52, 1st Peter 2
Key Scriptures: 1st Peter 2:1-5 “So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation–if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to Him, a Living Stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
Peter encouraged the new believers to put away their old lives of deceit and malice and envy. Through the nourishment of the pure “milk of the Word” they would grow up in their salvation. Healthy humans don’t stay babies forever, but progress through growing by eating, sleeping, and learning through interactions. Healthy Christ-followers eat the Word of God, rest in Christ Jesus and stay connected to Jesus, the “Living Stone”. In fact, Peter called them “living stones” as well, in the spiritual house Christ was building. Pure “Milk” makes a healthy life!
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You that You are the living Cornerstone of my spiritual house and I am a living stone in that spiritual structure. Fill me with the milk and meat of Your Word that I might grow and mature.
Jeremiah 39:18 “For I will surely save you, and you shall not fall by the sword, but you shall have your life as a prize of war, because you have put your trust in Me, declares the Lord.'”