Scripture reading for July 28th: Matthew 22
Key Scriptures: Matthew 22:8-14 “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.'”
Are you clothed in ‘wedding garments’ and ready to attend the King’s wedding feast? Jesus told this parable to speak to the chief priests and Pharisees who were seeking a way to arrest Him and kill Him. He told this parable to challenge each person to examine their own lives and walk with God and relationship with His Son. Many professed to be part of the ‘chosen’ people who would be in the wedding feast of the kingdom. But profession must also be true possession of salvation and the righteousness that comes by true faith in Jesus Christ. All other ‘garments’ will be examined and rejected by the king as illegitimate. When questioned about how the man without the garment got in, he had no answer. The king’s instructions were quick and final: “Bind him hand and foot and cast him out into the outer darkness.” Weeping and gnashing of teeth is the lot of those without excuse. The invitation was sent to everyone and all had opportunity but only a few were humble enough to repent and believe and receive the King’s pure white wedding garment!
Matthew 22:2-3 “”The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come.””
Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for Your Son, Jesus Christ. I am trusting in Him alone for my wedding garment and I have accepted with humble thanks the invitation to come and humbly seek to wear the garment of His righteousness in readiness for the King’s announcement. Let none You invited be speechless when You appear!
Psalm 45:13-15 “All glorious is the princess in her chamber, with robes interwoven with gold. In many-colored robes she is led to the king, with her virgin companions following behind her. With joy and gladness they are led along as they enter the palace of the king.”
Scripture reading for July 19th: Matthew 15
Key Scriptures: Matthew 15:27-31 “She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly. Jesus went on from there and walked beside the Sea of Galilee. And He went up on the mountain and sat down there. And great crowds came to Him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at His feet, and He healed them, so that the crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel.”
Jesus had just healed instantly the Canaanite woman’s daughter who was oppressed by a demon. Her faith had brought Jesus’ mercy and healing power. Jesus then walked by the Sea of Galilee and went up on a hillside as great crowds of people brought to Him all manner of sick and hurting people. He healed them all and brought great awe and wonder as He performed miraculous healings and restoration. The people began to praise the God of Israel for what they were experiencing! God was in their midst as the Son of God, Jesus Christ shared the Father’s love and mercy, and had compassion on the hungry people.
Matthew 15:32 “Then Jesus called His disciples to Him and said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they gave been with Me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to sent them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father, thank You for Your great compassion on those wounded by sin and sickness and hunger in this fallen world. As You called Your disciples to share Your compassion, fill me with love and compassion and use me to bring healing and restoration and food to the hungry! All glory to the God of Israel!
Psalm 57:5, 11 “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let Your glory be over all the earth!”
Scripture reading for May 19th: Galatians 4
Key Scriptures: Galatians 4:1-6 “I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of this world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
Paul used a natural analogy of a family in his culture. Children were eventually going to be heirs of their father and mother, but when they were young and underage, they were like slaves in that they had no access to their inheritance but were under the control of their parents or the appointed guardians until the date set to receive the inheritance. Likewise, we are like slaves before we are born again. We are in bondage to the elemental principles of this world and under the curse of the law. But at the right time, God our Father sent His only Son born under the law, to redeem us who were under the law. We were given the Holy Spirit of Jesus, the Spirit of adoption, to be confirmed a son and joint heir of Jesus. In the fullness of time, we will enter our full inheritance in eternal life! Amen!
Galatians 4:7 “So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for redeeming me from slavery to sin and sending the Holy Spirit of adoption into my heart. I await with patience and anticipation the full inheritance You have promised! Help me to share this beautiful inheritance with all I meet. Come, Lord Jesus!
Psalm 16:5-6 “The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; You hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.”
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.”