Scripture reading for October 14th: 1st Peter 3
Key Scriptures: 1st Peter 3:8-12 “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
Peter called the believers to unity and brotherly love. Their hearts were to remain tender and their minds humble toward the brothers and sisters. If anyone did evil towards them or spoke evil of them, they were to counter with a blessing of those misguided and bitter people. They were to seek peace and be peacemakers and do good towards them, not fear them. Peter then quoted Psalm 34:12-16 that encourages God’s people to watch their tongues and their actions. It also promised that God sees everything and hears every prayer. God also sets His face against those who are doing evil and He alone will repay. You may still suffer reviling or evil treatment, but for doing good and not evil you will be blessed by God! You should also be ready to share Christ with them when your love breaks through their hard hearts!
1st Peter 3:13-14 “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.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father God, help me today to stay humble in my mind and keep a tender heart towards those who would mistreat me or revile me. This requires Your supernatural strength for I am often weak. Prompt me to be ready and bold to share the hope I have in Christ Jesus with gentleness and reverence. Let Your love and blessing break through hard hearts.
1st Peter 3:17-18 “For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is God’s will, than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit. . .”
Scripture reading for August 28th: Isaiah 26-29, Psalm 65, !st Corinthians 4
Key Scriptures: 1st Corinthians 4:9-13 “For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.”
Paul wrote to the believers in Corinth about his life as an apostle. He felt like he was on display and viewed by the world as a fool. He was physically weakened and buffeted by persecution and worked to supply his own needs. When reviled, he chose to bless. When persecuted, he patiently endured. When openly slandered, he humbly entreated. The world and even some in the church often do not understand Christ’s grace flowing through His appointed leaders as examples for them. In all this, Paul kept on correcting, blessing and encouraging others to follow Christ Jesus.
Psalm 65:4 “Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in Your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness your Your house, the holiness of Your temple!”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I thank You for the examples of mature believers in Your Word and in the churches I have been a part of. Empower me by Your Holy Spirit to live a life of humility, peace, love and faith even when mistreated or slandered.
Isaiah 26:3 “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”
Scripture reading for June 8th: Proverbs 8-10, Psalm 144, Romans 12
Key Scriptures: Romans 12:14-20 “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.””
Paul explained to the new Roman believers what following Christ looked like in everyday attitudes and actions. Christ’s attitudes and actions were very different from the culture they lived in. They were to live in humble harmony with all other believers, whether in joy or sorrow. They were to seek to bless and be a blessing with those persecuting them or active enemies. They were never to consider revenge or paying back evil for evil, because God’s Word plainly stated that revenge was God’s alone to give. Good would always triumph over evil as love never fails!
Psalm 144:15 “Blessed are the people to whom such blessings fall! Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord, You have blessed me with Your Holy Spirit, infilling my body I have dedicated to You. Help me to grow in grace and obedience in my attitudes and actions towards others.
Proverbs 8:34 “Blessed is the one who listens to Me, watching daily at My gates, waiting beside My doors.”
Scripture reading for July 29th: Romans 12:1-21
Paul’s thoughts now turn to the practical aspects of living out what we truly believe, the truth in Jesus Christ! Chapters 12-16 are the practical application of the first eleven chapters. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing, and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-3)
As Christians, our bodies are now the property of God to be used for His purposes and glory! We are not our own, we were bought with a price, the precious blood of Jesus! We must offer our bodies willingly to God. They are not dead, but living sacrifices, ready for the Master’s use. This is an act of faith and it pleases God. (Hebrews 11:6) It is a spiritual act of worship, on par with singing, prayer, or tithing!
Practical offering of our bodies included using whatever gift we have received from God to serve others. (Romans 12:4-13) A short list of gifts and their benefits include prophesying, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leadership, and showing mercy. All members are to bless others with their gifts and they will find their own needs met.
We must also renew our minds by studying God’s word and allowing our thinking to be transformed from the world’s ways to God’s word. Spiritual worship includes the mind as well as the body. Transformation takes time and study. We must apply ourselves to this purpose.
Attitudes of our minds were also practically listed by Paul. We must learn to love each other and honor one another above ourselves. We must share with those in need and practice hospitality. Troubles will come but we must maintain our joy and hope. We must act righteously towards those who mistreat us, not react in a worldly manner. This included blessing our persecutors and associating with the lowly.
We must learn not to hold grudges or seek revenge. All vengeance belongs to God. We learn to bless our enemies and do good towards them. In doing so, we overcome evil with good! (Romans 12:19-21) What a joy to be a living sacrifice with a transformed mind!