Scripture reading for November 3rd: Ezekiel 25-27, Psalm 85, John 9
John 9: 1-7 “As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of Him Who sent Me wile it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, He spit on the ground and made mud with saliva. Then He anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.”
Jesus came to this earth to fully obey His Father and reveal His Father’s great love and compassion for those living in the darkness of sin and this fallen world created by Adam[s disobedience. As Jesus walked by on the Sabbath, His eyes saw a man blind from birth. The disciples asked Jesus why this man was born blind. They assumed it was because of sin–either the man’s or his parents. Jesus declared that neither was the real issue. The Father sent Jesus into this fallen world to be the “Light of the World” and to open blind eyes to the hidden reality of their Father’s love and compassion. God our Father gives to sinners freely and generously what they don’t deserve or can’t get for themselves. Blind eyes opened bring forth the harvest God our Father desires! Praise our Lord!
Psalm 85:10-12 “Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs up from the ground and righteousness looks down from the sky. Yes, the Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You that you are always working to bring salvation and light to those in the darkness of sin and death. You are the Light of the world! Your steadfast love and faithfulness are on display in Your Son Jesus Christ, the Righteous Servant. You have given us what is truly good for us, forgiveness of sins and eternal life in Your Presence. Let the earth bring forth the harvest of souls!!
Ezekiel 26:20 “. . then I will make you (the city of Tyre) go down with those who go down to the pit, to the people of old, and I will make you to dwell in the world below, among ruins from of old, with those who go down to the pit, so that you will not be inhabited; but I will set beauty in the land of the living.”
Scripture reading for November 2nd: Ezekiel 22-24, Psalm 134, John 8
John 8: 39-44 “They answered Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, but now you seek to kill Me, a Man Who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. You are doing the works your father did.” They said to Him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father–even God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of My own accord, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear My Word. Your are of your father, the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
The Jews came to Jesus and Jesus told them that if they would abide in His Word, they would know the truth and the truth would make them free. This offended them and they claimed that they were never slaves and did not need to be free. Jesus stated that everyone who sinned was a slave of sin. Freedom from sin could only come through Him. This really offended them and they were seeking to find a way to kill Jesus. Jesus carefully explained that if they were truly Abraham’s children, and God was their Father, they would love Him and believe His Word. But since they sought to kill Jesus and rejected the truth, they were under their true father, the devil. The fruit of this fatherhood is murder and lies! The fruit of true children of God is love, joy, peace and humble obedience and intercession for God’s people.
Ezekiel 22:30 “And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none.”
Prayer: Holy Father, thank You for revealing Your love and heart to me through Jesus Christ, Your Son. I respond to Your love by loving You and seeking humbly to obey. I stand against the evil one, Satan, and his lies and murdering ways. Forgive those who are under that spirit and use me to share Your love and the Gospel that they might be saved and bless Your Name forever and ever.”
Psalm 134: 1-2 “Come, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, who stand by night in the house of the Lord. Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the Lord!”
Scripture reading for October 28th: Ezekiel 13-15, Psalm 136, John 5
John 5: 43-47 “I have come in My Father’s Name, and you do not receive Me. If another comes in his own name, you receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote of Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”
The Jewish religious leaders were always zealous for the law of Moses and for their rules concerning keeping it. They had come against Jesus’ healing of the man lame from birth because He violated their view of keeping the Sabbath and claiming to be one with His Father. Jesus challenged them and their religious rules. He stated that Moses would be their accuser on judgment day. Moses wrote about Jesus. If they really believed the writings of Moses, the Pentateuch, they would believe in Jesus. If they failed to believe Moses’ writings, they would not be able to trust Jesus’ words either. They were guilty of self-glorification and confirming one another but had not sought the glory that comes from God.
Psalm 136:13-15 “. . to Him Who divided the Red Sea in two, for His steadfast love endures forever; and made Israel pass through the midst of it, for His steadfast love endures forever; but overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea, for His steadfast love endures forever; . . .”
Prayer: Father, You are indeed a loving God Whose love and truth endures forever! Thank You for Your Word and Your Son, Jesus Christ Who is the subject and object of Your Word. I believe all of Your Word and through Jesus know You as my loving Father and through Jesus’ blood I have true peace with You and know that You are the Lord of heaven and earth! Empower me today in sharing Your steadfast love.
Ezekiel 13:9-10 “My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and who give lying divinations. They shall not be in the council of My people, nor be enrolled in the register of the house of Israel, nor shall they enter the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord. Precisely because they have misled My people, saying, ‘Peace,’ when there is no peace, and because, when people build a wall, these prophets smear it with whitewash.”
Scripture reading for October 27th: Ezekiel 11-12, Psalm 83, John 4
John 4: 34-39 “Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him Who sent Me and to accomplish His work. Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that the sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.” I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” Many Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.”.
Jesus had talked with the Samaritan woman at the well, violating all norms of that day. His disciples had gone into town to purchase food and Jesus stayed by the well to minister to a woman who had had many husbands. He drew her out by asking her for a drink of water and then told her He had living water that would quench her thirst once and for all time. He also revealed to her that He was the Messiah, called Christ. She ran to town and told of this encounter to everyone she met. She and the townspeople streamed out to see Jesus. This is where Jesus shared this word about the white harvest and the Father’s work. Following Jesus is about accomplishing the Father’s work of bringing lost people to Jesus.
Psalm 83:1, 18 “O God, do not keep silence; do not hold Your peace or be still, O God! . . .that they may know that You alone, Whose Name is the Lord, are the Most High over all the earth.”
Prayer: Father, thank You for Your amazing work of creation and new creation. Thank You that You see people as Your great ripe harvest and for commissioning Your Church to enter into Your work of sowing the Word of the Gospel and bringing many to Jesus Christ, even from the ends of the earth and from among those who were once far away and enemies. Use me today to sow or reap or raise up workers!
Ezekiel 11:17-19 “Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God, I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.’ And when they come there, they will remove from it all its detestable things and all its abominations. And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, . . .”
Scripture reading for October 25th: Ezekiel 4-6, Psalm 82, John 2
John 2: 13-17 “The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple He found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. And making a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And He poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And He told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make My Father’s house a house of trade.” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house will consume Me.””
Jesus Christ came to show the heart of His Father to lost mankind. He healed, cast out devils, and taught the Gospel of the Kingdom of heaven. But as Jesus visited the temple, early in His ministry (and again towards the end), He found money-changers, greed, idolatry, and worldly trading. His holy anger caused Jesus to drive out those who were buying and selling. These worldly Jews were hindering God’s purposes for the temple. It was to be a house of prayer for all people and not a house of trade and money grabbing. The Father’s heart of passion for the needy, the broken, and the nations was to show compassion and mercy and the Father’s love. Jesus would demonstrate that in His passionate death.
Psalm 82:3-4 “Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for sending Jesus Christ to Your temple on earth to show all Your love and compassion as well as Your holy anger against those who would hinder the poor and needy from coming to you. Forgive me for failing to be a house of prayer for all people and nations. Remove any hinderance in my life that may keep others from coming to Jesus Christ and finding help for their need of a Savior.
Ezekiel 6:13-14 “And you shall know that I am the Lord, when their slain lie among their idols around their altars, on every high hill, on all the mountaintops, under every green tree, and under every leafy oak, wherever they offered pleasing aroma to all their idols. And I will stretch out My hand against them and make the land desolate and waste, in all their dwelling places, from the wilderness to Riblah. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”
Scripture reading for October 20th: Jeremiah 47-49, Psalm 80, 2nd Peter 2
2nd Peter 2:1-3 “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master Who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”
Peter’s final letter to the Church contained warning similar to other apostles and Jesus and even the prophets of Old Testament times. False teachers and false prophets would arise among God’s people and seek to draw believers away from Christ. They would encourage greed and sensuality and bring disrepute on true believers living in the way of Truth. These deceivers would preach and teach heresies–teachings that divide and cause strife–rather than bringing love and unity and peace. Peter cited examples in Scripture of God’s judgment on the sensual world in the case of Noah and Sodom and Gomorrah. He cited Balaam as a false prophet motivated by greed instead of truth. Swift destruction awaits those deceiving and being deceived if they don’t repent.
Psalm 80:17-19 “But let Your hand be on the Man of Your right hand, the Son of Man Who You have made strong for Yourself. Then we shall not turn back from You; give us life, and we will call upon Your Name! Restore us, O Lord God of Hosts! Let Your face shine, that we may be saved!”
Prayer: Father God, we live in deceptive times with many voices seeking to influence us that are not from You. Fill me and Your Church with the Holy Spirit and gifts of discerning of spirits. Use me to warn and be a prophetic voice to this generation concerning the present dangers of deception and idolatry. Restore us, O Lord God of Hosts! Let Your face shine on us for we trust only in You!
Jeremiah 48:6-8 “Flee! Save yourselves! You will become like a juniper in the desert! For because you trusted in your works and your treasures, you also shall be taken; and Chemosh shall go into exile with his priests and his officials. The destroyer shall come upon every city and no city shall escape; the valley shall perish, and the plain shall be destroyed, as the Lord has spoken.”
Scripture reading for October 17th: Lamentations, Psalm 137, 1st Peter 4
1st Peter 4: 7-11 “The end of all things is at hand, therefore, be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies–in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To Him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
God’s people have endured suffering in many different times in their history. Peter encourages the Church of Jesus Christ to remain self-controlled and sober-minded as the end of time approaches that they might pray effectively. Love for God and others must mark their lives and hospitality should be shown to fellow believers and godly service to all who are hurting and in need. Peter shares that this is the stewardship of God’s grace that is to flow through believers by the Holy Spirit and bring God glory. We are to be steadfast in love and show mercy in the power of the Holy Spirit. Jeremiah’s song of lament cited here is an example of self-control and godly thinking in a difficult time.
Lamentations 3:20-23 “How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land? But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning and great is Your faithfulness.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your faithfulness and new mercies each morning. Your unfailing and everlasting love gives me blessed hope in this difficult time. Fill me with the Holy Spirit today to use the gifts and talents You have provided me to serve You and others. Beholding Your glory and giving You glory is all my heart longs for in Your heavenly kingdom. May Your will be done on earth as in heaven!
Psalm 137:5-6 “If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill! Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy.”
Scripture reading for October 14th: 2nd Kings 24-25, 2nd Chronicles 36, Psalm 126, 1st Peter 3
1st Peter 3: 13-17 “Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you: Yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.”
Peter again returns to the theme of suffering for righteousness and the blessing that it can bring. When we suffer in honor of Christ, not reviling those causing the suffering or cursing and complaining, God is glorified and looks graciously upon us. He opens hearts and often gives those suffering an opportunity to share the reason for their hope and good attitudes. They are to be ready to do that and when that opportunity comes, use gentleness and reverence and respect. God may bring a harvest of souls from your honoring Christ, who also suffered unjustly to bring souls to glory.
Psalm 126:5-6 “Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You again for encouraging Your people to honor Christ even by suffering unjustly at the hands of those who don’t know You or despise Your Word. Use us to show compassion to those despising and mocking Your Word and messengers. Help me to always be ready with an answer and to show gentleness and respect to all. May Your remedy, Jesus Christ be applied to each heart.
2nd Chronicles 36:15-16 “The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent persistently to them by His messengers, because He had compassion on His people and His dwelling place. But they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising His Words and scoffing at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord rose against His people, until there was no remedy.”
Scripture reading for October 7th: Jeremiah 25, 35, 36, 45, Psalm 133, James 3
James 3: 6-10 “And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. For the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”
James understood from Jesus and from God’s holy Word the importance of unity. Jesus had prayed for unity, that His people would be one with He and the Father. By their love and unity and obedience, all men would be able to know that they were Jesus’ disciples. But James understood the tongue as well. Our tongue is connected to our hearts. Our flesh and its desires and passions cause the tongue to act like fire. A mean or hateful word spoken can set a whole family, city, or church or nation on fire. God’s people must allow the Holy Spirit to bridle their tongues and anoint hearts with Christ’s love and compassion. They must make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit and bond of peace through the anointing of the Spirit.
Psalm 133:1-2 “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes.”
Prayer: Father God, I know the truth of my tongue’s unruly nature and thank You for Your mercy and forgiveness when I have spoken out of my flesh, frustration, or anger. Fill me with the Holy Spirit of God that my tongue might bless You and those to whom I am speaking. Let my words and my heart be acceptable in Your sight, bringing unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace.
Jeremiah 35:15-16 “I have sent you all My servants the prophets, sending them persistently, saying, ‘Turn now every one of you from his evil way, and do not go after other gods to serve them, and then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to you and your fathers.’ But you did not incline your ear or listen to Me. The sons of Recab have kept the command that their father gave them, but this people has not obeyed me.”
Scripture reading for October 6th: Jeremiah 22, 23, 26, Psalm 77, James 2
James 2: 8-13 “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For He Who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not commit murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”
In the culture of this world, persons with wealth and position are shown favor and often given preferential treatment in hopes of gaining their favor. James warns the believers not to treat people with partiality, but to show equal love for each person as you would want for yourself. James called this the ‘royal law’ as it was part of Jesus’ summary of the commandments in loving God and loving your neighbor. Believers are to show mercy towards each person and avoid judging them. We realize that we need mercy ourselves and have been shown mercy by God. We must not choose which laws to obey either. Failure to obey even one makes us transgressors and liable for all.
Psalm 77:11-13 “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes I will remember Your wonders of old. I will ponder all Your work, and meditate on Your might deeds. Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God?”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your amazing Word that reveals truth in every word and paragraph. Help me as a preacher of Your Word to speak the whole of it faithfully and without partiality towards those who hear. Let Your Word be a fire in the hearts of those who hear and a hammer to shatter the rocky hearts and shallow soil of those in need Your mercy. Help me to live out Your Word in truth.
Jeremiah 23:28-29 “Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let him who has My Word speak My Word faithfully. What has straw in common with wheat? declares the Lord. Is not My Word like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?”