Scripture reading for April 12th: Acts 5
Key Scriptures: Acts 5:27-33 “And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this Name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, Whom you killed by hanging Him on a tree. God exalted Him at His right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, Whom God has given to those who obey Him.””
Obedience to God has rewards now and in eternity. The high priest was in authority over Israel and had brought the apostles in earlier and sternly commanded them to not speak or teach in the Name of Jesus. The apostles, in opposition to these instructions from spiritual authority, had continued to boldly preach repentance and forgiveness in Jesus’ Name. Many signs and wonders were also being reported through the Name. Peter, when directly confronted, plainly told the high priest that they must obey God rather than men. He then accused them again of crucifying the Lord Jesus Whom the Father had raised from the dead and exalted to His right hand. This was the ultimate position of spiritual authority. Listen to the witnesses!
Acts 5:38-39 “So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” So they took his advice, . . “
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the Holy Spirit and the boldness of Your witnesses recorded for us in Scripture. Deliver me from the snare of fearing men and empower me to obey You alone.
Proverbs 29:25 “The fear of man is a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.”
Scripture reading for April 9th: Acts 4
Key Scriptures: Acts 4:27-31 “. . for truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, Whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant Your servants to continue to speak Your Word with all boldness, while You stretch out Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the Name of Your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the Word of God with boldness.”
Peter and John had just been before the Sanhedrin and were warned to never again speak or teach in the Name of Jesus. They told the Sanhedrin that they must listen to God and speak what they saw and heard from Him. After more severe warnings, they were let go for the man that was healed of his lameness from birth was over 40 years old. They went back to the gathering of disciples and shared what had happened. They all began to lift their voices in prayer and thanksgiving to God, declaring God’s plans and asking protection and power to speak His Word even more boldly! In answer, God shook the gathering place and they went out in great power.
Acts 4:33 “And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, shake my house and my church house as Your people gather to praise You and ask for more boldness! Work with us in signs and wonders to draw sinners to Jesus and heal broken people. Make me bold as the Lion of Judah! Amen! Let it be so!
Proverbs 28:1 “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.”
Scripture reading for April 1st: Luke 22
Key Scriptures: Luke 22:24-30 “A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the One who serves. You are those who have stayed with Me in My trials, and I assign to you, as My Father assigned to Me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
Jesus’ disciples argued with each other about who would have the greatest honor and place of authority in the coming kingdom of God. They assumed a soon-to-be revealed physical kingdom. Jesus admonished them that although greatness in this world is associated with being served, it is those who serve now who will enjoy the greatest honor in the coming kingdom. By humbly serving God and other, we gain opportunity to share the Gospel and kingdom of God with them. Jesus Himself set an example of serving and those following Him must have that attitude. The greatest honor in future kingdom of God will be for those serving Jesus in this life with zeal and humility. It’s God’s Word!
Matthew 7:12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your great example of serving others by giving Your time on earth and life to obeying the Father and serving others. Help me learn from You daily that greatness in Your kingdom is serving God and others. As we give service to others, Lord, open their hearts to Jesus Christ, our Master Servant!
Proverbs 21:25-26 “The desire of the sluggard kills him, for his hands refuse to labor. All day long he craves and craves, but the righteous gives and does not hold back.”
Scripture reading for March 31st: Luke 21
Key Scriptures: Luke 21:33-36 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My Words will not pass away. But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that are going to take place and to stand before the Son of Man.” And every day He was teaching in the temple, but at night He went out and lodged on the mount called Olivet. And early in the morning all the people came to Him in the temple to hear Him.”
Jesus was plain in warning His disciples and those who would follow their message concerning the final judgment before the Son of Man. This world has many attractions and diversions that capture men and hold them in a state of unpreparedness for this judgment. Man operates from his heart–the inner man and God sees each heart. When hearts are weighed down and hardened by sins and even the cares and troubles of life, preparations for this judgment are put off and those so burdened are lulled into a dangerous lack of perception. They neglect to remember that life here is short and that following this life, all must give an account before God. Jesus urgently pleaded with all who would listen to stay awake and guard their hearts through prayer and faith. He wanted all to stand and none to be caught in the sudden trap of a heavy heart! He was also warning these disciples of the coming battle in the Garden of Gethsemane where they would sleep while He wrestled in prayer, sweating great drops of blood.
Proverbs 4:23 “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your loving warning of future accounting. I want to stand without shame or condemnation. Give me wisdom today to fulfil Your Word and will and avoid the traps of this world. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit empowering me to pray and stand as evil increases in these last days.
Ephesians 6:13 “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”
Scripture reading for March 26th: Luke 18
Key Scriptures: Luke 18:18-24 “And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments? ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.'” And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come and follow Me.” But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!”
Mankind is always looking for a formula or some form of human effort that they can use to earn favor with God. The rich ruler flattered Jesus, calling Him ‘good’ and appeared sincere in his quest for eternal life. Jesus called his attention to the revealed Word of God, the ten commandments, quoting five of them. The ruler sincerely stated that he had kept them from his youth. Knowing his love of money, Jesus went deeper to expose a breaking of the first commandment–idolatry. When asked to give up all his possessions and follow Jesus, he became sad and could not freely comply. He was wrestling in his heart with the cost of obtaining what he had stated he wanted and giving up the money now. Jesus told His disciples that it was hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom–not impossible! With God’s grace and our humility to listen and receive, all things are possible.
Luke 18:29-30 “And He said to them, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come, eternal life.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your grace, enabling my salvation! I wanted this world’s riches, but was bankrupt until You revealed the Way of eternal life in Jesus Christ. Help me to clearly present the Good News of laying my desires down and following You to eternal riches.
Proverbs 11:28 “Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf.”
Scripture reading for March 24th: Luke 16
Key Scriptures: Luke 16:10-14 One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? No servant 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.” The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed Him.”
Jesus had just told his disciples and those listening, including some Pharisees, the parable of the dishonest manager. The Pharisees who were given management in God’s house were lovers of money. They made fun of Jesus because He was not rich and had no possessions. They viewed money as a measure of God’s blessing for obedience. Jesus spoke plainly of our stewardship of money and possessions as “very little” that demanded faithfulness. How we manage the little determines if we can be given more. All we have here belongs to God and He is keeping an account. He is our Master, not the money! We serve Him alone in how we steward His money.
Luke 16:15 “And He said to them, “You (Pharisees) are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, You alone are my Lord and Master, not the money or possessions You have blessed me with. Help me to be the faithful steward of “very little” so that I can bless You and Your kingdom.
Proverbs 28:20 “A faithful man will abound with blessings, but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.”
Scripture reading for March 4th: Luke 2
Key Scriptures: Luke 2:46-51 “After three days they found Him in the temple sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers. And when His parents saw Him, they were astonished. And His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You treated us so? Behold, Your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” And He said to them, “Why were you looking for Me? Did you not know that I must be in My Father’s house?” And they did not understand the saying that He spoke to them. And He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them and His mother treasured up all these things in her heart.“
There is not much written in the Gospels concerning Jesus’ early years. This short passage from Luke’s Gospel offers a glimpse of Jesus as a child of about twelve years of age visiting the temple during Passover week. Jesus sat with the teachers and leaders and listened and asked questions. He amazed all who heard Him in both His questions and answers. His mom and dad had already left for home when they found He was not with them. When they returned and found Him in the temple, His mother rebuked Him for causing them distress. Jesus simply stated that He must be in His Father’s house! This statement did not bring understanding and He went with them submissive and obediently.
Luke 2:52 “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for being with me as I am now Your house and helping me to grow in wisdom as I walk with You. Give me favor with You and with men, that I might accomplish Your will on earth as in heaven.
Proverbs 1:6-8 “For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the oaths of justice and watching over the way of His saints.”
Scripture reading for June 18th: Proverbs 29-31, 1st Thessalonians 4
Key Scriptures: 1st Thessalonians 4:3-8 “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives His Holy Spirit to you.”
Paul solemnly warned the Thessalonians against sexual immorality. God’s Word is very clear about what He considers “immorality”. Adultery is sexual immorality in a marriage covenant when one partner steps out on another. Fornication is any sexual acts outside of a marriage relationship. Homosexuality is any sexual acts between those of the same sex. Bestiality is sexual misconduct with animals. Pornography is lusting for sexual contact through images or imagination. These acts “transgress and wrong” those involved and they must and will answer to God. We disregard God Himself when we claim to be a believer and still continue in sexual immorality. Be warned: God will avenge!
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, have mercy on our land and its people. We have transgressed against Your Holy Word and Spirit and each other in these sins of sexual immorality. Help me to control my own body and thoughts and solemnly warn this people about Your plan for our sanctification in Jesus Christ. turning away Your wrath.
Proverbs 29:1 “He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing.”
Proverbs 29:8 “Scoffers set a city aflame, but the wise turn away wrath.”
Scripture reading for June 17th: Proverbs 26-28, 1st Thessalonians 3
Key Scriptures: 1st Thessalonians 3:9-13 “For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, as we pray earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith? Now may our God and Father Himself and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.”
Paul had been encouraged by the report from Timothy concerning the faith and steadfastness of the Thessalonians. It gave him great joy and comfort to know that the tempter, Satan, had not been successful in his tricks. But as a true pastor, he longed to return and further instruct them in God’s Word and see their faith increase. He entrusted them to the Father and the Lord Jesus to help them grow and abound in love. He prayed that their hearts would be blameless before God when Jesus Christ returned. Without holiness, no one can stand before the Lord.
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your Word and the working of holiness into my heart by the Holy Spirit. Help me today to grow in faith and love towards You and my brothers and sisters that I may be able to stand before You when You come again. Hide me in Jesus Christ on the Day of Christ.
Proverbs 27:12 “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.”