We need more grace!

Scripture reading for October 8th: Jeremiah 27, 28, 29, 24, James 4

Key Scriptures: James 4:6-10 “But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.”

James speaks plainly to the church concerning their need for God’s grace. Pride was causing quarreling and fighting and division in the church. God opposes the proud. Satan’s pride got him thrown out of heaven and he was seeking to cause division here. In order to get God’s grace, humility and submission to God was required. The humble must draw near to God through Jesus Christ and find cleansing through repentance and faith in the promises of God. Mocking and laughter concerning sins will only bring God’s opposition. Humility and repentance will bring life and exaltation.

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I need more grace. I humbly draw near to You each day for strength and truth to resist the devil and live victoriously.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 “”For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will hear you. You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart.””

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This beast is not tamed!

Scripture reading for October 7th: Jeremiah 25, 35, 36, 45, Psalm 133, James 3

Key Scriptures: 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. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”

James knew the power of the small tongue. He likened it to a fire, starting small but soon spreading to cover a whole life. He told how this fire was started in hell and by Satan. This fire is also like a beast that cannot be tamed. All creatures have been put under man’s dominion, but the tongue cannot be tamed. Evidence of this is that we can use our tongue to bless God and then in the same breath curse people made in God’s image. Only yielding our tongues to the Holy Spirit will tame the beast and put out the fire bringing peace and unity.

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!”

Faith confession and prayer: I thank You that I can give my tongue to You as an instrument of unity and worship. Fill me with the Holy Spirit to bless Your Name and those made in Your image!

Jeremiah 35:13 “”Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Go and say to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Will you not receive instruction and listen to My Words? declares the Lord.””

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True Faith brings works!

Scripture reading for October 6th: Jeremiah 22, 23, 26, Psalm 77, James 2

Key Scriptures: James 2:18-23 “But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is One; you do well. Even the demons believe–and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”–and he was called a friend of God.”

James, the pastor of the Jerusalem church and half-brother of Jesus, was writing to help Jewish believers understand the relationship of faith and works. He carefully explained that true faith will show itself by corresponding works. He used Abraham as an example. Abraham believed God’s promise for a son who would become a nation of people. God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. Abraham believed the promise, and obeyed God by taking Isaac to the mountain to sacrifice him. He showed his trust by obedience! He was called a ‘friend of God’.

Psalm 77:11-12 “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 mighty deeds.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I want an active faith that produces good works and pleases You. Thank You for godly examples in Scripture for me to meditate on. Thank You for Your example of perfect obedience, giving Your life for sinners like me!

Jeremiah 23:18 “For who among them (the prophets) has stood in the council of the Lord to see and hear His Word, or who has paid attention to His Word and listened?”

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The crown of Life!

Scripture reading for October 5th: Jeremiah 17-20, James 1

Key Scriptures: James 1:12-15 “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and He Himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”

James writes to the Church of Jesus Christ concerning trials and testing. He encourages believers to count it all joy when trials come because trials produce patience and endurance and lead to eternal reward. He even says that those who stand firm under trials will receive a crown of life, promised by God the Father. We are never to accuse God of tempting us, however. James reminds us that God tempts no one. Temptations occur when our own selfish desires lure us into sin and we give in. Sin fully developed leads to death.

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to joyfully accept trials and tests and to resist temptations. I trust You for strength and discernment to identify temptations and cut them off, awaiting my eternal reward.

Jeremiah 17:9-10 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick, who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.””

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The God of peace and love!

Scripture reading for October 2nd: Jeremiah 14-16, Psalm 76, 2nd Corinthians 13

Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 13:11-14 “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

Paul’s closing benediction calls the church at Corinth to joy and peace in the Holy Trinity. God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit bring love, peace and joy to all the saints. They are restoring all believers and bringing comfort, agreement and peace. As believers through the grace of Jesus Christ allow and invite God the Father to live in their midst, His love and peace brings true fellowship through the Father’s gift of the Holy Spirit living in each one. This is the pattern for God’s people everywhere–and especially in our lives today!

Psalm 76:1-2 “In Judah God is known; His Name is great in Israel. His abode has been established in Salem (Peace), His dwelling place in Zion.”

Faith confession and prayer: Heavenly Father, establish Your abode in my midst and the midst of Your Church. May Your grace and peace and love flow from Your people in unity and fellowship as they are fed by Your delightful Word.

Jeremiah 15:16 “Your Words were found and I ate them, and Your Words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by Your Name, O Lord, God of hosts.”

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Conceit can bring deception!

Scripture reading for October 1st: Jeremiah 11-13, 2nd Corinthians 12

Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 12:7-10 “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me.”

Paul carefully explained how God had given him great revelations, even catching him up to the third heaven. He heard things that he could not reveal or explain. God allowed a thorn in Paul’s flesh from Satan, to keep him from conceit. Conceit is pride that puffs up a person and allows deception. Paul sought God for deliverance, but God assured him that His power would be made perfect in weakness and His grace would be sufficient to keep him. Paul’s boast now was in his weakness so Christ’s power would flow through him.

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your amazing grace that can keep me from pride and deception. Help me to boast only in You and my many weaknesses that Your power may work through me to accomplish Your will.

Jeremiah 13:15-17 “Hear and give ear; be not proud, for the Lord has spoken. Give glory to the Lord your God before He brings darkness, before your feet stumble on the twilight mountains, and while you look for light He turns it into gloom and makes it deep darkness. But if you will not listen, my soul will weep in secret for your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly and run down with tears, because the Lord’s flock has been taken captive.”

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Satan in disguise!

Scripture reading for September 30th: Jeremiah 8-10, 2nd Corinthians 11

Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 11:12-15 “And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.”

The spiritual warfare Paul warned the Corinthians about came in the form of counterfeit apostles, teachers and “Christian” workers. Satan loves to disguise himself as an ‘angel of light’ when he is really a dark fallen angel. Satan uses people he has taken captive to be his ‘deceitful workmen’ right in Christ’s church. To identify the counterfeit “Christians”, we must know the genuine Jesus and those who genuinely represent Him and His Word. If we fall for the counterfeit, we will suffer now and in eternity. The Holy Spirit will give us discernment if we are teachable.

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the Truth and the Spirit of Truth Who brings me discernment. Correct me and help me daily to stay true to You and listen only to Your Word taught by Your gifted people.

Jeremiah 10:23-24 “I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps. Correct me, O Lord, but in justice; not in Your anger lest You bring me to nothing.”

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Spiritual warfare!

Scripture reading for September 29th: Jeremiah 5-7, Psalm 75, 2nd Corinthians 10

Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 10:3-7 “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.”

Paul was concerned about false teachers and their deceptive ideas and philosophies defiling God’s people. They were making fun of his own humble stature and demeanor when he was present with them and now his bold approach to correction in his letters. Paul set them straight, that they were all in a spiritual battle. This battle was not against flesh and blood, but against wicked spiritual forces who used argument, proud ideas, and opinions contradicting Christ Jesus. We must control our thinking and use the divine weapons of prayer, worship, confession of truth and faithfulness to God’s Word to destroy the strongholds of evil attacking us.

Psalm 75:2-3 “At the set time that I appoint I will judge with equity. When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants, it is I Who keep steady its pillars.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the divine weapons You provide Your Church for pulling down strongholds. Help me today to bring every though captive to the obedience of Christ Jesus.

Jeremiah 7:23 “But this command I gave them: ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.'”

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How’s your harvest?

Scripture reading for September 28th: Jeremiah 1-4, Psalm 130, 2nd Corinthians 9

Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 9:6-9 “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”

Paul encouraged the Corinthians to give cheerfully and with purpose. He did not want to shame them or coerce them to give or to manipulate their hearts with human emotions. He did tell them spiritual truth: the law of sowing and reaping determines the harvest. For a sparing harvest, sow sparingly, but for a bountiful harvest, sow bountifully. God gives the increase and will make all grace abound to you in many areas of need in your life. The abounding harvest is more than money, but brings full sufficiency in all things at all times! Amen!

Psalm 130:5 “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His Word I hope; . . .”

Faith confession and prayer: God’s promises are true and bring encouragement and hope. I want an abundant harvest so I will sow generously and cheerfully trusting in Your Word of promised grace!

Jeremiah 1:11-12 “The Word of the Lord came to me saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see an almond branch.” Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over My Word to perform it.””

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Delighting God!

Scripture reading for September 25th: Zephaniah, Psalm 74, 2nd Corinthians 8

Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 8:1-5 “We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints–and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.”

Paul commended the Macedonian churches for their gracious giving. These churches were in severe persecution and were suffering physically and economically. But Paul was impressed with their joyful hearts and gracious giving, even beyond their means. They did not need to be persuaded, but begged to be part of the relief of other brothers and sisters. Their giving was marked by giving of themselves to the Lord first and then their offerings.

Psalm 74:12 “Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, You are my King, working salvation. Keep my heart in step with Yours, full of mercy and generosity. I give myself to You to dwell in my midst and open my hands to give as You direct.

Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God is in your midst, a Mighty One Who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.”

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