The eye as your lamp!

Scripture reading for July 23rd: 2nd Kings 7-8, 2 Chronicles 21, Matthew 6

Key Scriptures: Matthew 6:21-24 “”For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Money.””

Our eyes are amazing tools to use to navigate through this life. The eyes depend on light to bring them images of reality in the physical world. If our eyes are healthy, we can see clearly. If our eyes are faulty, our whole body will suffer in darkness. Jesus tied this to money and servitude. Money is a good servant, but a poor master. If we get our vision on serving money instead of serving God, our heart turns against God and our whole being goes into darkness. If we think we are in light but it is really darkness we are in deep trouble! Beware of deception if your eyes are focused on money.

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, You alone are my treasure here in this life and in Heaven for eternity. In Your mercy, reveal any darkness in my life and thinking.

2nd Chronicles 21:6 “And he (King Jehoram) walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for the daughter of Ahab was his wife. And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.”

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Great reward–in heaven!

Scripture reading for July 22nd: 2nd Kings 4-6, Matthew 5

Key Scriptures: Matthew 5:10-12 “”Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.””

Jesus had gathered a great crowd of people and he began to teach them. The Sermon on the Mount is the longest recorded message of Jesus and one of the most famous. Jesus taught that it was a blessing to be persecuted for “righteousness sake.” He went on to elaborate what this meant. Those who followed Him would be reviled and persecuted and blasphemed against. Those who follow Jesus live righteous lives and preach repentance from evil. This brings persecution and sometimes death. Followers can rejoice because they have a great reward and they join with a long line of persecuted prophets.

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I will gladly and with rejoicing take persecution because of You. Help me to stay true to You and Your Word in my actions, words and deeds.

2nd Kings 6:31 “—and he (Joram king of Israel) said, “May God do so to me and more also, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today.””

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Praise to the ends of the earth!

Scripture reading for July 21st: 2nd Kings 2-3, Psalm 48, Matthew 4

Key Scriptures: Matthew 4:23-25 “And He went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the Gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. So His fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought Him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and He healed them. And great crowds followed Him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.”

Jesus began His ministry following 40 days of temptation by the devil in the wilderness. He began in His home region in Galilee in synagogues by preaching repentance and the Gospel of the kingdom. He also had a wonderful healing ministry where as many sick who were brought were healed and demonic spirits were cast out. Jesus set a great example for those who would follow Him. Great crowds from all the region came to hear Jesus and receive healing. Those who came were both Jews and Gentiles.

Psalm 48:10 “As Your Name, O God, so Your praise reaches to the ends of the earth. Your right hand is filled with righteousness.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I praise you today for Your great salvation and healing of my soul from sin and death. May Your Name be praised among all nations and use me to proclaim it, in word and deed.

2nd Kings 2:14 “Then he took the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and struck the water, saying, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” And when he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over.”

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John’s Prophetic Word!

Scripture reading for July 20th: 2nd Chronicles 19-20, 2nd Kings 1, Psalm 20, Matthew 3

Key Scriptures: Matthew 3:11-12 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but He Who is coming after me is mightier than I, Whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will clear His threshing floor and gather His wheat into the barn, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.”

John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin, was called by God to a prophetic ministry in Israel similar to that of Elijah. John, dressed in camel’s hair with a leather belt, called all people to repentance in preparation for the coming Messiah. The repentance was acted out through water baptism by all who received his message. But John spoke of the One coming after him, Who would be greater than him. This One would baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire! He would gather His wheat into the barn but burn the chaff with unquenchable fire. The Messiah would be judge of all!

Psalm 20:6 “Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed; He will answer Him from His holy heaven with the saving might of His right hand.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire. Purify my heart and life today and empower me to proclaim Jesus as Messiah and Lord.

1st Kings 1:8 “They answered him, “He wore a garment of hair, with a belt of leather about his waist.” And he said, “It is Elijah the Tishbite.””

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Gentiles worship and obey!

Scripture reading for July 17th: 1st Kings 22, 2nd Chronicles 18, Matthew 2

Key Scriptures: Matthew 2:8-12 “And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the Child, and when you have found Him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship Him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary His mother, and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.”

Wise men, Gentiles from the East, followed a star to Israel in search of the King of the Jews. They went before King Herod, the Roman ruler, to inquire and they were directed by him to Bethlehem. He told them to let him know where this person was. The wise men followed the star to the house where Jesus was with His mother, Mary. They were overcome with worship and adoration and opened their treasures, honoring Him. But they left another way, being warned not to go back to Herod! God reveals Himself to all who truly seek Him!

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I worship and honor You as King of Kings! Thank You for revealing Yourself to the Gentiles as well as the Jews, for You are Savior of all men!

1st Kings 22:14 “But Micaiah said, “As the Lord lives, what the Lord says to me, that I will speak.”

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From Abraham to Joseph to The Christ

Scripture reading for July 16th: 1st Kings 19-21, 2nd Chronicles 17, Psalm 129, Matthew 1

Key Scriptures: Matthew 1:1, 7-8. 16-17 “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. . . .and David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, . . .and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Christ. So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.”

The Gospel of Matthew begins with a genealogy tracing the line of Joseph all the way back to Abraham, the father of faith and the Jewish nation. Matthew was showing that the Christ had a lineage through Joseph to both King David and Abraham. He was a real man, but the Christ–Son of God. Joseph had been betrothed to Mary, a virgin. She had been found with child by the Holy Spirit. Joseph had been instructed to go ahead with the marriage and to name the child “Jesus” because He would save His people from their sins!

Psalm 129:5 “The Lord is righteous; He has cut the cords of the wicked.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the record of Jesus’ earthly lineage and how it fulfilled what You had written by the prophets. Help me to proclaim Jesus and His saving power today!

2nd Chronicles 17:3 “The Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the earlier ways of his father David. . . .”

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Praying in the Holy Spirit!

Scripture reading for July 15th:1st Kings 17-18, Psalm 119, Jude

Key Scriptures: Jude 17-23 “But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. 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.”

Jude was the half-brother of Jesus Christ. Jude called Jesus “Lord” and warned believers concerning the words of the apostles concerning the scoffers of the last days before the Lord Jesus would return. The believers must build themselves up in their faith by praying in the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God helps us to pray when we don’t know how to pray or what to pray for. The Spirit helps us to pray for the doubting and to show mercy to those who need salvation, even snatching them from the fire of judgment.

Psalm 119:105 “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord, thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit, living in me and bringing Your Word to my remembrance and helping me to pray. Empower me today with Holy Spirit led prayers to show mercy and see sinners snatched from the fire.

1st Kings 18:41 “And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink, for there is a sound of the rushing of rain.”

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Sharing the faith!

Scripture reading for July 14th: 2nd Chronicles 15-16, 1st Kings 16, Philemon

Key Scriptures: Philemon 3-7 “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.”

Paul wrote this short letter to a fellow-worker in the Gospel who had a church in his home. He commended Philemon for his love and faith and prayed that his sharing of his faith would result in full knowledge of all the blessings of Christ Jesus. Faith is like a muscle, that when exercised and shared grows stronger. God reveals Himself to us more and more as we possess what we already have. Paul had been comforted by the reports of the ministry of this brother and was filled with joy. Encouragement flows from Paul’s heart to this minister.

Faith confession and prayer: Lord, give me open doors today to share my faith in Jesus Christ with love to those You send. As I share my faith, open my mind to know fully every good thing that is mine in Your kingdom.

2nd Chronicles 15:1-2 “The Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded, and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.”

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Heirs of Eternal Life!

Scripture reading for July 13th:  1st Kings 15, 2nd Chronicles 13-14, Titus 3

Key Scriptures:  Titus 3:3-7  “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.  But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, Whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” 

We all have a tainted history–sinners enslaved by our flesh and involved in acts of sin and rebellion against God.  Jesus Christ was presented to us through the preaching of the Gospel and by grace we were able to see His goodness and kindness and respond through repentance and faith.  This was all an act of mercy on Christ’s behalf, justifying us who were guilty and making us heirs with Him of eternal life!  Amazing grace brought saving faith.

Faith confession and prayer:  Lord Jesus, thank You for Your amazing grace, goodness and kindness towards me, a rebellious sinner.  I invite the Holy Spirit to continue Your regeneration of my heart, preparing me for eternal life.  Jesus is Lord!

2nd Chronicles 13:12 “Behold, God is with us at our head, and His priests with their battle trumpets to sound the call to battle against you, O sons of Israel, do not fight against the Lord, the God of you fathers, for you cannot succeed.”

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Amazing Grace!

Scripture reading for July 10th:  1st Kings 13-14, 2nd Chronicles 12, Psalm 47, Titus 2

Key Scriptures:  Titus 2:11-14  “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession who are zealous for good works.”  

Grace from God’s merciful heart appeared to all men in the form of a man, God’s Son, Jesus Christ.  This grace, when received, teaches us to renounce all sins and worldly passion and to live holy lives in expectation of the return of Jesus, our ‘Blessed Hope!’  As we are waiting, we are to be joyfully focused on doing the good works Christ has prepared for us.  This is amazing grace!

Psalm 47:7-8 “For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm!  God reigns over the nations; God sits on His holy throne.”  

Faith confession and prayer:  Thank You, Lord for Your amazing grace shown to us in Jesus Christ.  I choose to live a holy life, doing the good works  You prepared for me and expecting the ‘Blessed Hope!’

2nd Chronicles 12:6  “Then the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, “The Lord is righteous.”

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