Scripture reading for November 29th: Jude, Psalm 88, Proverbs 21
Jude: 20-25 “But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh. Now to Him Who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
Jude was the half-brother of Jesus Christ and a follower of Jesus as his Messiah. He wrote to the early church, encouraging them to contend for the faith once delivered to them. False teachers and false prophets were seeking to devour and draw away Christ’s followers. Jude had simple instructions and a benediction that has been used by many church leaders to encourage Christ’s followers. Jude recognized the need for faith. Faith comes by hearing and applying God’s Word. Prayer is an act of faith. The Father’s Gift, the Holy Spirit, enables us to pray effectively. When we pray in the Holy Spirit, we build ourselves up in holy faith. Through faith and prayer, patience to wait for and anticipate the coming of Jesus is a glorious by-product! All glory to Jesus Christ, the Faithful One, Who is praying for us as we wait in His Love!
Psalm 88:13 “But I, O Lord, cry to You; in the morning my prayer comes before You.”
Prayer: Father God, I cry to You each morning, responding to Your Word that tells me to ask You for my daily bread and protection from the evil one. May Your kingdom come and Your will be done in my life and those of my brothers and sisters and children. Your Word is a precious Treasure and the Holy Spirit is Oil of Joy in my heart as I keep my heart in Christ’s love, seek His kingdom, pray, and wait for His return.
Proverbs 21:20-21 “Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it. Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.”
Scripture reading for November 28th: 2nd Peter 3, Psalm 87, Proverbs 20
2nd Peter 3:`10-13 “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. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming Day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to His promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”
Peter’s closing letter to the Church of Jesus Christ was a bold statement of what the future ‘Day of the Lord’ would be like. No one of the world would know its coming–like a ‘thief’ was the description. But believers can be assured of what will happen because God has decreed it in His Word. The heavens and earth will be dissolved and renovated by fire at that appointed Day. Because of the certainty of this day coming and it’s destruction, believers should be motivated to live holy and godly lives while they wait for the promised ‘new heavens and new earth’, the home of eternal Righteousness in Jesus’ reign as King of Kings on Mt. Zion, the eternal City of God in the New Jerusalem. Only through God’s Word can man know with certainty the future!
Psalm 87:1-3 “On the holy mount stands the city He founded; the Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob. Glorious things of you are spoken, O city of God.” (Selah)
Prayer: Father God, thank You for the settled certainty that comes through trusting Your Word concerning future events. Your amazing plans are eternal and settled in heaven by Your Word and glorious power. Thank You for directing our steps into the Way of Christ and faith. We as believers are looking forward to Your rule as King of Kings in the City of God and enjoying the new heavens and new earth for ever!
Proverbs 20:24 “A man’s steps are from the Lord; how then can man understand his way?”
Scripture reading for November 27th: 2nd Peter 2, Psalm 86, Proverbs 19
2nd Peter 2:18-22 “For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. 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 is a seasoned pastor and Apostle. He has watched Judas walk with Jesus and then go his own way, ending his life in suicidal misery. He evidently watched many others over his years of ministry start out right and then succumb to false teaching, fleshly enticements, or Satan’s deception. False teachers were in the church of his time and he plainly warned the people of God to beware. He used two very strong word pictures to describe what happens when a believer goes back to the world and the flesh. A dog may vomit up his food, but later the dog returns and eats it again. A sow, an unclean animal, washes herself but then goes back to wallow in the mud. The idea of a pig washing themself is somewhat humorous. Pigs wallowing in the mud is common! Thankfully, God is merciful to even use humor to help us!
Psalm 86:15-16 “But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Turn to me and be gracious to me; give Your strength to Your servant, and save the son of Your maidservant.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for this humorous but clear warning to keep moving forward in our relationship with You. Thank You that You are merciful and gracious to us and have given me strength through Your Word and the Holy Spirit to stay on the right path. Use me to warn others that may be falling away from Truth to avoid the mud, vomit and folly of a backslidden life.
Proverbs 19: 3 “When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord.”
Scripture reading for November 24th: 2nd Peter 1, Psalm 85, Proverbs 18
2nd Peter 1: 17-21 “For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My Beloved Son, with Whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with Him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic Word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention to 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 was writing his final letter to the Church before his departure from this life. He retold his eye-witness account of the transfiguration of Jesus Christ with James and John. They heard the Father, described as the ‘Majestic Glory’, declare the Sonship of Jesus and His Divine pleasure with His Son. This Word made a deep impression on Peter and he encouraged the Church to pay close attention to this Word, and all Scripture. Peter emphasized that Scripture was not man’s idea or thoughts, but all Scripture is prophetic in nature and comes through men who were empowered to speak and inspired to speak by the Holy Spirit. The Words of Scripture came from God’s mouth and carry the power of life and death. They are God’s gift to His children.
Psalm 85:8-9 “Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for He will speak peace to His people, to His saints; but let them not turn back to folly. Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, that Glory may dwell in our land.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your Word, Your Son, and the Holy Spirit! Your generosity has given me everything I need for life and godliness. I trust every Word of prophesy as instruction, correction, and training in Your righteous character. Open my ears to hear Your ‘Majestic Glory’ and use my tongue to bring life to others through speaking Scripture prophetically in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Proverbs 18:20-21 “From the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips. Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”
Scripture reading for November 23rd: 2nd Thessalonians 3, Psalms 84, Proverbs 17
2nd Thessalonians 3: 1-5 “Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the Word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.”
As Paul closed out this letter to his friends in Thessalonica, he asked for prayer. His request was that God’s Word would be spread quickly by believers and his own ministry and that it would be honored by many more trusting in Jesus Christ. He asked for deliverance from evil and wicked men who because of no faith were under Satan’s deception. He knew that God was faithful and would answer prayers that aligned with His will. Paul prophetically declared his confidence in God concerning the believers in Thessalonica. He was confident in their faithfulness to apply God’s Word and pray. Paul prayed for them that God would direct their hearts deeper into His Love and the steadfastness of Christ Jesus, Who is eternally Faithful and True. All who trust in the Lord will walk in light and God’s Shield of Christ’s love!
Psalm 84:11-12 “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of Hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in You.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your amazing faithfulness and that of Jesus Christ, our Example and Paul, the Apostle. Thank You for the privilege of prayer and answering prayer. Cover my sins today and protect me from the evil one. May Your Word speed forth to every person You direct me to today through my attitude, actions and words. I declare my trust in You today as my Sun and Shield!
Proverbs 17:9 “Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.”
Scripture reading for November 22nd: 2nd Thessalonians 2, Psalm 83, Proverbs 16
2nd Thessalonians 2: 7-12 “And you know what is restraining him (the man of lawlessness) now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of His mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
Paul carefully explains a final lawless ruler who will come on the world scene after the restraining influence of God through His Spirit-filled church is removed. Lawlessness is the mark of this leader and all that follow him. This is because Satan is the ultimate rebel and that evil spirit will be allowed to raise up a lawless leader. The mystery of lawlessness was already at work in Paul’s day! (How much more today!) But believers are not to live in fear because God has everything under His control. The Lord Jesus will destroy this ‘lawless one’ with the breath of His mouth at the glory of His return! Paul warns the church not to succumb to the false signs and wonders of this lawless one. Satan is a deceiver and only the Truth of Jesus Christ and God’s eternal Word will keep people from deception. Those deceived by this false leader will end up eternally punished because they refused the Good News of grace through Jesus.
Psalm 83:17-18 “Let them be put to shame and dismayed forever, let them perish in disgrace, that they may know that You Alone, Whose Name is the Lord, are the Most High over all the earth.”
Prayer: Father God, it is comforting to know that You already know how Your plans will work out. Although You want none to perish, You have allowed the wicked to choose the day of destruction. Fill me with the Holy Spirit today in all wisdom and discernment. Empower me to avoid deception and to share the Good News with those in the grips of Satan and the lawlessness filling our world in this last time.
Proverbs 16:4 “The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.”
Scripture reading for November 21st: 2nd Thessalonians 1, Psalms 82, Proverbs 15
2nd Thessalonians 1: 5-10 “This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering–since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His might, when He comes on that Day to be glorified in His saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.”
Paul sought to build up and encourage these believers who were suffering much affliction and persecution from unbelievers. He encouraged them by reminding them of God’s justice and the coming judgment of the wicked at the arrival of Christ. The Psalmist, in Psalm 82:8, calls on God to arise and judge the earth. He proclaimed that God would inherit all nations! Paul proclaimed that the Lord Jesus would return in blazing fire with His holy angels and repay all unbelievers and those who rejected the opportunity for salvation through Jesus Christ. Their just ‘payment’ would be ‘eternal destruction’ and eternal separation from God and His believing people. The writer of Proverbs describe the ‘sever discipline’ of those who forsake God’s way. God sees the hearts of all men and is Judge of all!
Psalm 82:1,8 “God has taken His place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods He holds judgment.” . . .”Arise, O God, judge the earth; for You shall inherit all the nations!”
Prayer: Father God, You are Holy and Just and righteous in all You decree and do. Thank You for reminding us of the culmination of all justice at the return of Jesus Christ in flaming fire with the holy angels. We as believers, will arise to marvel at Your amazing grace and rejoice in Your eternal justice and reign of peace. Search my heart O God, and lead me in the way of eternal life in Jesus Christ.
Proverbs 15:10-11 “There is severe discipline for him who forsakes the way; whoever hates reproof will die. Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the Lord; how much more the hearts of the children of man!”
Scripture reading for November 20th: 1st Thessalonians 5, Psalm 81, Proverbs 14
1st Thessalonians 5: 5-11 “For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so we might live with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
Paul called the Thessalonian believers to walk in the light of Jesus Christ and His soon return. He contrasted those in the world with sleepers at night in darkness. These also got drunk at night, because of living in darkness without the light of Jesus Christ. Believers were children of light and daytime. They were awake to spiritual truths and filled with the Holy Spirit instead of drunk with alcoholic beverages. They realized the truth of salvation from the coming judgment of the wicked and their eternal damnation. Through Jesus Christ, the future was bright with God’s eternal light and promise of eternal life with Him! Fruit flows from within our lives as we live as children of the light. We sing with joy and shout in victory!
Psalm 81:1-3 “Sing aloud to God our Strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob! Raise a song; sound the tambourine, the sweet lyre with the harp. Blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, on our feast day.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for the Light of Truth in Jesus Christ. Thank You for revealing eternal life and escape from wrath through repentance and faith. Use believers and me to encourage others and build them up in their faith as the day of Christ Jesus draws near. Bring holy conviction on those who are foolish and have not given thought to their ways. I shout for joy to Jesus Christ my Lord!
Proverbs 14:14-15 “The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways, and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways. The simple believes everything, but the prudent give thought to his steps.”
Scripture reading for November 17th: 1st Thessalonians 4, Psalm 80, Proverbs 13
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.”
Paul, through the Holy Spirit, lays out God’s will for believers in the area of sexual conduct. The Holy Spirit living in believers brings a sensitivity to God’s will in this area of life. Before salvation, sexual desires motivate people to take whatever their flesh dictates. But sexual immorality defiles the one involved, the partner, families and children, the body of Christ and is an offense against God. Paul warns that God will avenge such sins, as He knows everything done in darkness. He calls His children to holiness and purity in the area of sexual conduct because He desires godly offspring. When we disregard God’s clear instructions, we will fall under conviction by the Holy Spirit. Confession and repentance, turning away from the sin, is not optional to restore our relationship with God. His is watching as are our family.
Psalm 80:1,3 “Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, You Who lead Joseph like a flock. You Who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth. . . .Restore us, O God; let Your face shine, that we may be saved.”
Prayer: Father God, have mercy on our nation in this sin of sexual immorality. We confess that through the media, we have watched and listened to that which is impure and violated Your holy Word. We have taken lightly or disregarded Your clear instructions against adultery, fornication, homosexuality, and perversion of even our children. Restore us, O God, and let Your face shine on us, that we may be saved!
Proverbs 13:9 “The light of the righteous rejoices, but the lamp of the wicked will be put out.”
Scripture reading for November 16th: 1st Thessalonians 3, Psalm 79, Proverbs 12
1st Thessalonians 3: 8-13 “For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. 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 most 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 was commending these persecuted believers for standing firm in the Lord. It brought him great joy and he offered prayers of thanksgiving to God for His protection of them and provision for them. Here he prays that God would graciously direct his way back to them that he might meet face to face with them again. Paul knew that it was all God’s grace to direct his steps, increase their love, and establish all hearts blameless at Christ’s return. It is by faith that we daily appropriate His grace and live a life of joy and effective witness. He daily delivers us and covers our sins for His own Name’s sake and directs our way to our heavenly home.
Psalm 79:8-9 “Do not remember against us our former iniquities; let Your compassion come speedily to meet us, for we are brought very low. Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Your Name; deliver us and atone for our sins, for Your Name’s sake!”
Prayer: Father God, I depend today on Your grace and covering for my sins. Thank You for Your divine promise to direct my way and establish my heart blameless before you through Your Son, Jesus Christ. I offer my body, mind, and spirit to be directed in Your way today and to live in such a way that I will help guide others into the Way, the Truth and Life of Jesus Christ, my Lord!
Proverbs 12:26 “One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.”