Scripture reading for May 6th: Acts 23
Key Scriptures: Acts 23:9-11 “Then a great clamor arose, and some of the scribes of the Pharisees’ party stood up and contended sharply, “We find nothing wrong in this man. What if a spirit or an angel spoke to him?” And when the dissension became violent, the tribune, afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him away from among them by force and bring him into the barracks. The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about Me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.””
Jesus is with His people always and in all situations. He is in charge of what His people walk through in their appointed calling. Paul was in the center of God’s will and doing what He was called to do. God was at work on those of the Jews as well as the Gentile soldiers and their handlers as well as the officials of Rome. He placed Paul where He could minister the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all and also had plans to reach even to Rome with Paul. Even a plot of ambush by forty Jews to kill Paul didn’t stop God’s plans. The devil is no match for God’s Spirit-filled people! Paul could rest soundly knowing Jesus was standing by him!
Daniel 3:24-25 “Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.””
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for standing by Your people in every age and every mountain and valley. Thank You for vision and Words of encouragement when the going gets tough. May I testify boldly to the facts of Who You are and Your plan of salvation, knowing that You are standing by me.
Psalm 4:8 “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
Scripture reading for April 21st: Acts 12
Key Scriptures: Acts 12:1-5 “About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of unleavened Bread. And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.”
Life in God’s kingdom is the only real life! But it is not always full of joy and delights here in this life. Those that live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution and James and Peter found out personally. James, the brother of John, one of the “Sons of Thunder” was probably beheaded by King Herod. It may be he resisted. Peter, the head disciple was arrested and put in prison and guarded by 4 squads of soldiers. They did not mess around with these Christ-followers. Because of Passover week, Herod just kept him guarded in jail, waiting until after the celebration to execute him in front of the Jews, many who were pleased to get rid of these ‘false teachers’. But God’s people were praying and it is not over even when it looks like it. A miraculous deliverance was brought about by angelic intervention and a squad of soldiers lost their lives for failure to guard their prisoner!
Acts 12:6-7 “Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You that life following You is never dull and boring. Help me to learn how to trust you like James and Peter in every situation. Take me by the hand and lead me step by step, and wake me up if necessary!
Psalm 34:6-7 “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and delivers them.”
Scripture reading for April 15th: Acts 8
Key Scriptures: Acts 8:3-8 “But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. Now those who were scattered went about preaching the Word. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ and the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip when they heard him and saw the signs that he did. For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was much joy in that city.”
The martyrdom of Stephen, the deacon, caused a great persecution against the church of Jesus Christ. All except the apostles were scattered out of Jerusalem to various towns, regions and villages. Another deacon, Philip relocated in Samaria and quickly began preaching Jesus there. He drew crowds of people who listened to the Gospel message and saw the signs of healing and deliverance that were done through his ministry. From the suffering and scattered church, God brought much joy to the places where they went through the Good News they brought with them. Out of difficulty and trouble came times of refreshing from God’s presence with His own. They took God’s glorious presence with them everywhere they were scattered, and like seed, they grew and produced fruit!
Acts 8:25 “Now when they had testified and spoken the Word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the Gospel to many villages of the Samaritans.“
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, You worked all things for good and Your glory, even persecutions and martyrdom! Work in me and our troubled world as I share the Good News and carry the testimony and presence of Jesus Christ. Let there be much joy from healings and deliverance and salvation!
Psalm 20:5 “May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the Name of our God set up our banners! May the Lord fulfill all your petitions!”
Scripture reading for March 30th: Luke 20
Key Scriptures: Luke 20:13-18 “Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: perhaps they will respect him.; But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, ‘ This is the heir. Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours.’ And they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When they heard this, they said, “Surely not!” But He looked directly at them and said, “What then is this that is written: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’? Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”
Jesus told the parable of the vineyard and the wicked tenants to help the scheming religious leaders understand that their plot to kill Him would ultimately bring their destruction. The religious leaders had judged Jesus to be an imposter, not God’s Son. They had schemed, because of jealousy, to kill Him and remove His memory for their own gain and power. Jesus told them plainly what would happen when they rejected Him. He pointed them to Psalm 118:22 which refers to the stone that was rejected, becoming the cornerstone! If they wanted to save themselves, they must fall on that stone asking for mercy. Otherwise, the stone would fall on them and crush them. Nothing like plain speaking, looking directly at those plotting His death!
Luke 20:19 “The scribes and chief priests sought to lay hands on Him at that very hour, for they perceived that He had told this parable against them, but they feared the people.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for speaking plainly in love, even to Your enemies. You are the Cornerstone and I fall on You alone for mercy for those still plotting against You and Your people. Bring conviction by the Holy Spirit revealing Your great mercy and restoration.
Psalm 118:22-24 “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Hosanna!) (Lord, save us!)
Scripture reading for March 23rd: Luke 15
Key Scriptures: Luke 15:18-24 “I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.” And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.”
Jesus gave a series of parables about lost things. There was the lost sheep, one out of a hundred. There was the lost coin, one out of ten silver coins. In each of these parables, there was great rejoicing as the lost was found. Jesus said these represented the joy in heaven over a sinner who repents. And then there was the story of the lost son, one of two, who chose to take his inheritance from his father and wasted it in the far country. This son was reduced to feeding pigs and at that point came to himself. He decided to go home and beg his father for mercy. The father was watching, and saw the returning son. He ran to greet him, hugging and kissing him. When the son confessed and asked for a slaves job, the father restored him to sonship and threw a party! Lessons on our Father’s heart abound in this amazing story!
Luke 15:7 “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for revealing our Father’s great compassion and heart to restore what as sinners we foolishly wasted. May the joy of heaven be increased through my life and sharing of this Good News!
Psalm 86:15 “But You, O Lord are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”
Scripture reading for March 22nd: Luke 14
Key Scriptures: Luke 14:25-30 “Now great crowds accompanied Him, and He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers ad sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.'”
Salvation and forgiveness of sins is a free gift for all who repent and believe on Jesus Christ. That is the first step of a journey that is to last the rest of our earthly lives and continues for eternity. According to Jesus, following Him definitely has a cost. First, all other interests, people, and priorities must be put behind our love for Jesus. We can’t put marriage, family, or even our own life ahead of Him. This is symbolized by His call to “bear his own cross” and come after Him as He modeled for us carrying His cross and loving not His own life unto death on our behalf. Following Him should not just be an emotional decision based on a momentary whim or pressure from a friend. These costs must be weighed, and if paid, must be followed through to completion.
Luke 14:33 “So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be My disciple.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, Thank You for purchasing the free gift of salvation and eternal life through Your sacrifice on the cross. I desire to be Your disciple and sometimes struggle with taking up my cross and fully following You. Show me daily what this looks like for me. Give me more grace.
Psalm 49:7-9 “Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life, for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice, that he should live on forever and never see the pit.”
Scripture reading for March 17th: Luke 11
Key Scriptures: Luke 11:33-36 “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.”
Jesus used light and darkness often in his teaching. Here he talked about the lighting of a lamp dispelling darkness. He stated that the eye is the lamp of our body and that when the eye is functioning properly, our whole being is flooded with light. When the eye ceases to function, darkness comes over us. Our eye takes light and reveals natural and spiritual truth. If the light coming in is really darkness, we have a big problem. Jesus was talking about deception that brings darkness to the soul from lying spirits of evil. A humble and teachable heart invites Jesus to bring true light into our souls and flood our being with pure light. The entrance of God’s Word brings true light, revealing spiritual truth and exposing deception.
John 8:12 “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Faith confession and prayer: Thank You Jesus that the entrance of Your Word brings light to my soul. Help me to let Your light shine today through my life and testimony, illuminating the darkness of this world. Give me discernment to keep me from deception.
Psalm 119:130 “The unfolding of Your Words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.”
Scripture reading for March 16th: Luke 10
Key Scriptures: Luke 10:1-3 “After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of Him, two by two, into every town and place where He Himself was about to go. And He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Go your way; behold I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.”
Jesus was intent on His mission to reach the world of lost people. His plan was to multiply ministers who would in turn raise up others. He hand-picked the Twelve and now sent a total of 72 out with authority. He first instructed them to pray to the Lord of the harvest for laborers. The harvest was plentiful but few were available to work. As soon as they prayed, Jesus said to them “Go your way, behold I am sending you!” They would be sent out as lambs among wolves! They were to take nothing and go in faith. Whatever house they entered, they were to impart “peace”. If the people received the blessing and them, they were to stay and minister. If they were rejected, they were to leave, shaking the dust off and moving on.
Luke 10:17-18 “The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your Name!” And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. . .”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your amazing plan to reach the whole world with Your Gospel. Thank You for sending Your disciples to places where You are going too. Lord of the harvest, send out more laborers into the plentiful harvest! I offer myself to go as well, that the earth may yield its increase and God shall bless us!
Psalm 67:5-7 “Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You! The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God shall bless us. God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear Him!”
Scripture reading for March 11th: Luke 7
Key Scriptures: Luke 7:44-48 “Then turning toward the woman He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave Me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss My feet. You did not anoint My head with oil, but she has anointed My feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven–for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little. And He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.””
Jesus was always teaching those He loved and came to save. The setting was the home of a Pharisee that had invited Him to dinner. At the meal, a woman came and anointed His feet with expensive ointment and washed them with her tears, wiping them off with her locks of hair. Simon, the Pharisee, was wondering if Jesus understood what kind of a person this woman was. He had judged her a “sinner”. Jesus addressed his thoughts with a parable of two debtors asking mercy from the lender and asking Simon which debtor would love the lender more? The bottom line was correctly reached by Simon–the one forgiven the most money. Does my love for Jesus match His great mercy for me a sinner?
Luke 6:37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; . . .”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I thank You for forgiving my sins and transgressions. Forgive me for often taking this lightly and not showing love to You by obedience, worship and service. Increase my love level by revealing Your great mercy to me.
Psalm 103:11-12 “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us.”