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.”
Scripture reading for November 15th: 1st Thessalonians 2, Psalm 78, Proverbs 11
1st Thessalonians 2: 17-20 “But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, because we wanted to come to you–I, Paul, again and again–but Satan hindered us. For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at His coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy.”
Because of persecution, Paul and his ministry team had to leave Thessalonica quickly. They only had a short time to minister the Gospel to them but Paul wrote back to them to encourage them to stand firm and cast prophetic vision of the joy that they all would share at Christ’s coming. This prophetic vision is what God uses to counter our enemy, Satan. Paul identified the power behind the persecution as coming from Satan. Satan was just a hinderance, not a major road block! Steadfast faith and righteous living will bring eternal joy and reward in Christ’s return. We must strengthen our flesh with the indwelling Holy Spirit and the food of God’s Word.
Psalm 78: 37-39 “Their heart was not steadfast toward Him; they were not faithful to His covenant. Yet He, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them; He restrained His anger often and did not stir up all His wrath. He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes and comes not again.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for defeating our hindering enemy, Satan. Thank You for prophetic vision in Your Word and flowing through the body of Christ that encourages me day by day to stay steadfast and walk in righteousness and Truth. I look forward to the soon coming of Jesus and the joy and crown of my family and friends in Christ’s return celebration.
Proverbs 11:19 “Whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live, but he who pursues evil will die.”
Scripture reading for November 14th: 1st Thessalonians 1, Psalm 77, Proverbs 10
1st Thessalonians 1:6-10 “And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the Word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For not only has the Word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead, Jesus, Who delivers us from the wrath to come.”
The Thessalonian believers were strong in their faith and their testimony of Jesus Christ. But some believers had already died and there was confusion among them about what events of the end times to look for. Some false teachers had tried to confuse them about Christ’s bodily return. Paul refers to Jesus’ return in each chapter of this short letter. His goal was to strengthen their faith through a deeper understanding of salvation and Jesus’ return to reward the faithful. These rewards awaited the living as well as those who had already died and were with the Lord. Paul assured them that God was faithful and those who had already died would rise first. He commended them for their repentance and patience to wait for Jesus who had already delivered them from the coming wrath of God against sin.
Psalm 77:19-20 “Your way was through the sea, Your path through the great waters; yet Your footprints were unseen. You lead Your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your encouraging Word through the apostles of Jesus. Thank You for revealing Jesus Christ as the Way through the waters of judgment and the only escape from Your righteous wrath against sin. The hope of salvation brings me joy and my faith is a stronghold in this world. Use me to encourage others and to share the Good News of Jesus’ return for His own.
Proverbs 10:28-29 “The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish. The way of the Lord is a stronghold to the blameless, but destruction to evildoers.”
Scripture reading for November 13th: John 21, Psalm 76, Proverbs 9
John 21: 20-24 “Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against Him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray You?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is My will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!” So the saying spread around that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say that he was not to die, but, “If it is My will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?” This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.
After the resurrection, Jesus Christ met with His disciples to complete their equipping for the mission He was sending them on–to be His witnesses. Peter had denied Jesus three times and Jesus asked him three times if he loved Him. Peter responded in the affirmative, vowing his love. After each response, Jesus reiterated His command to Peter to feed His lambs and sheep. After the third time, Jesus prophetically told Peter how he would give his life for the Master and Gospel. This caused Peter to wonder about John, who was also near at the time. What about John’s future before Jesus’ return? Jesus told him that was not to be his concern, instead Peter was to concentrate on following Him day by day. Jesus has a unique path for each of His followers that requires focus and daily obedience! Wisdom must prepare, set the table and wait.
Psalm 76:11-12 “Make your vows to the Lord your God and perform them; let all around Him bring gifts to Him Who is to be feared, Who cuts off the spirit of princes, Who is to be feared by the kings of the earth.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your patience in restoring Peter and reaffirming Your call. Thank You for calling me to follow You. It is my choice and desire to follow You each day of my life. Keep me from distractions and looking at other disciples with wonder or jealousy instead of keeping my focus on Your appointed work for me. May my testimony of You be steadfast and true and I be found faithful to You.
Proverbs 9:1-2 “Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn her seven pillars. She has slaughtered her beasts; she has mixed her wine; she has also set her table.”
Scripture reading for November 10th: John 20, Psalm 75, Proverbs 8
John 20:26-29 “Eight days later, His disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see My hands; and put out your hand, and place it in My side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.””
Romans 10:17 declares that faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Thomas, the doubting disciple, stated that he could not believe unless he saw Jesus himself and put his fingers in His wounds. Jesus, knowing Thomas’ weakness of faith, met him right where he was. Jesus showed Himself to Thomas and the other disciples by coming right through locked doors. He specifically invited Thomas, who had been missing on other appearances of Jesus after His resurrection, to place his fingers in the nail wounds and his hand in Jesus’ side. This brought a firm declaration from Thomas of faith. Jesus’ Word to Thomas brought faith, as it will to all who hear and choose to believe. Seeing was just a bonus that we will all enjoy one day when we are privileged to see Jesus Christ face to face when He comes again!
Psalm 75:9-10 “But I will declare it forever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob. All the horns of the wicked I will cut off, but the horns of the righteous shall be lifted up.”
Prayer: Righteous Father, I will declare the truth of Jesus’ resurrection and salvation through His body and shed blood. I will praise You for exalting those who hear and believe and counting them righteous. Jesus Christ is my Lord and God Almighty! I look forward to the day of Jesus’ return in power and glory when my faith in Him will become sight! Come, Lord Jesus! Come!
Proverbs 8:4-6 “To you, O men, I call, and My cry is to the children of man. O simple ones, learn prudence; O fools, learn sense. Hear, for I will speak noble things and from My lips will come what is right. . .”
Scripture reading for November 9th: John 19, Psalm 74, Proverbs 7
John 19: 23-27 “When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took HIs garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also His tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says, “They divided My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.” So the soldiers did these things, but standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” and from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.”
Jesus Christ, God’s Son, was keenly focused on His Father’s Word and the complete fulfilment of it. Even on the cross, Jesus was mindful of what was going on around Him. As He hung naked on the cross, the soldiers gambled for who would get His garments. As Jesus observed His mother nearby, the Word of God concerning God’s care for orphans and widows flowed through Jesus’ heart for His Mother. As His earthly care of His mother would soon be ending, He assigned to John this sacred task. John took Jesus’ mother into his own home and cared for her. In spite of the scoffing of the crowds, the mocking of the soldiers, and their worldly gambling for the clothes of His crucified Son, God was at work fulfilling His unchangeable Word as a witness to His love and care for those created in His image!
Psalm 74:22-23 “Arise, O God, defend Your cause; remember how the foolish scoff at You all the day! Do not forget the clamor of Your foes, the uproar of those who rise up against You, which goes up continually!”
Prayer: Father God, Your amazing love for us shines forth from the cross of Jesus as He fulfills Your Word and shows compassion for His own mother and His faithful disciples. Thank You for fulfilled Scripture as an eternal witness of Your love and Truth. Through the Holy Spirit, keep this Truth flowing through me as Your adopted son to those still mocking and scoffing that they might be saved and live eternally with You!
Proverbs 7:1-3 “My son, keep My Words and treasure up My commandments with you; keep My commandments and live; keep My teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.”
Scripture reading for November 8th: John 18, Psalm 73, Proverbs 6
John 18: 35-38 “Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You over to me. What have You done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But My kingdom is not from the world.” Then Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world–to bear witness to the Truth. Everyone who is of the Truth listens to My voice.” Pilate said to Him, “What is Truth?””
The Jews had turned Jesus over to Pilate, the Roman governor as an insurrectionist because they wanted to execute Him. Pilate questioned Jesus concerning His kingdom and title. Jesus told Pilate that His kingdom was not of this world. He also admitted that His purpose was to bear witness to the Truth of His Kingship and kingdom. Pilate was mystified. He had heard Jesus’ claims and was confused about whether they were Truth. This is the state of many in our world today. They know about Jesus and have heard His Gospel, but their hearts refuse to listen to Truth. They instead believe a lie and remain in a state of confusion and end up in eternal judgment. They point their finger at Jesus in accusation instead of lifting their hands in worship. Only the Truth, Jesus Christ, Son of God, can set us free!
Psalm 73:27-28 “For behold, those who are far from You shall perish; You put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to You. But for me, it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my Refuge, that I may tell of all Your works.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for the Truth of Jesus as King and Your heavenly kingdom. Thank You for revealing the Truth to me and all who believe, saving us from eternal judgment and confusion in this life. Open the eyes and hearts of my friends and family to see the Truth of the Gospel today. Use me in any way You can to share the Gospel Truth with a heart of compassion and love reflecting Your Son.
Proverbs 6:12-13 “A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with crooked speech, winks with his eyes, signals with his feet, points with his finger, . “