Scripture reading for November 7th: John 17, Psalm 72, Proverbs 5
John 17:13-19 “But now I am coming to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them Your Word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the Truth; Your Word is Truth. As You sent Me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate Myself, that they also may be sanctified in Truth.”
Jesus closed His time with His disciples in the upper room with His longest recorded prayer. He had shared with them the truths of the coming Holy Spirit and of the coming sorrow of His own death and the joy of His resurrection. He had given them instructions concerning their mission to reach a lost world with the Good News and warned them of the world’s hatred of Him and them and now prayed for their protection. He asked His Father to set them apart and make them holy through His Word. He proclaimed His Word as Truth! It was absolute Truth that would not change or be altered by time, culture or the whims of fallen man. In His Name and through His Word, they would be blessed forever and they would bless all nations with the Gospel! In holiness, Christ’s joy of seeing all saved would be fulfilled!
Psalm 72:16-17 “May there be abundance of grain in the land; on the tops of the mountains may it wave; may its fruit be like Lebanon; and may people blossom in the cities like the grass of the field! May His Name endure forever, His fame continue as long as the sun! May people be blessed in Him, all nations call Him blessed!”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for Jesus’ prayer for His disciples and for us who through their message now believe the Good News and are being sanctified in the Truth, God’s Word. We say ‘Amen!” to His prayer and that of the psalmist! May Your Name endure forever and Your joy be fulfilled through us! May all people receive the blessing that comes through faith in Jesus Christ and bless Him forever!
Proverbs 5:18-19 “Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.”
Scripture reading for June 9th: Ephesians 3, Psalm 115, Proverbs 22
Ephesians 3:4-9 “When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel. Of this Gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of His power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, Who created all things.”
Paul was given grace and stewardship of a once-hidden mystery, now revealed in Jesus Christ. This mystery was that God’s plan of salvation through the Gospel of Jesus Christ was to make adoption into God’s forever family available to both Jew and Gentile alike! The ‘unsearchable riches’ of Christ Jesus is forgiveness of sins and the Father’s Gift of the Holy Spirit living in all who repent and believe. Social status, male or female, Jew or Gentile made no difference to God, Who alone created all things and gives grace to those who humbly receive it. God wants all those who receive His Gift and grace to share it as a man shares bread with the hungry! Blessings flow to those who faithfully share and bring increase!
Psalm 115:13-15 “. .He will bless those who fear the Lord, both the small and the great. May the Lord give you increase, you and your children! May you be blessed by the Lord, Who made heaven and earth!”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for the ‘unsearchable riches of Your Son! Thank You for the light of the Gospel and the Gift of the Holy Spirit revealing the path of adoption and new birth. Thank You for revealing the mystery of Your Gospel to both Jew and Gentile! Give me a ‘bountiful’ eye to share this ‘Bread’ with the hungry and may all my children and offspring be blessed to receive and increase!
Proverbs 22:9 “Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.”
Scripture reading for April 20th: Matthew 11, Psalm 79, Proverbs 17
Matthew 11: 2-6 “Now when John (the Baptist) heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the One Who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by Me.”
John the Baptist was imprisoned by Herod for speaking truth to him concerning his immoral behavior. After baptizing Jesus and hearing God speak, his faith is now wavering. He sends his disciples to Jesus and asks for confirmation that Jesus is Messiah. Jesus sends back a report of miraculous deeds: “blind are healed and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and deaf hear, and even dead are resurrected and good news is preached to the poor.” Jesus last statement to John concerned offense against Jesus. Jealousy often brings offense. All glory must go to God and thankfulness for whatever part God allows us to play.
Psalm 79:13 “But we Your people, the sheep of Your pasture, will give thanks to You forever; from generation to generation we will recount Your praise.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for men of integrity like John the Baptist who fearlessly preach Your Word and live uncompromising lives of faith and holiness. Thank You for Your compassion for our weaknesses in the flesh and sometimes wavering faith. I praise You for Your amazing care and guidance in the paths of righteousness You lay out for me. May I never be offended by You but confess You daily before men.
Proverbs 17:24 “The discerning sets his face towards wisdom, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.”
Scripture reading for December 20th: Job 15-17, Revelation 14
Revelation 14:9-11 “And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of His anger, and He will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.” Here is the call for endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.”
As God prepares the earth for His final judgments, an Angel preaches the eternal gospel to those on earth, calling them to fear God and give Him glory because the hour of His judgment has come. The call is one of repentance for those worshiping the beast and Satan instead of their Creator. A second angel announces the fall of Babylon the great, who had seduced all nations in sexual immorality. And the third angel warned of eternal torment for those worshiping the beast, its image, or receiving its mark. God does nothing in judgment except He warns people. They will make the choice of eternal consequences in the lake of fire or eternal rest in the presence of Jesus Christ. The call is for patient endurance and faith in Jesus Christ even unto death. The best is yet to come for those who believe!
Revelation 14:13 “And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.: Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors for their deeds follow them!””
Prayer: Holy Father, this coming time of judgment and wrath on the earth is a sobering reminder that all made in Your image are eternal beings. I have chosen faith in Jesus and am prepared to endure, even to death of my earthly body. I trust Jesus Christ, as my Witness in heaven, to give me eternal rest with Him in Your presence and give You glory and holy respect now and forever!
Job 16:18-19 “”O earth, cover not my blood, and let my cry find no resting place. Even now, behold my Witness is in heaven and He Who testifies for me is on high.””
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 5th: Jeremiah 17-20, James 1
James 1: 19-25 “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted Word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”
James was the pastor of the Jewish church in Jerusalem and the half-brother of Jesus Christ. He wrote affectionately to the church very clear and strong instruction about the importance of obedience to God’s Word. Many in the church were familiar with God’s Word in the Old Testament but they were still living in sin and wickedness and became angry when confronted with truth. James encouraged them to quickly hear and apply the Word of God. Failure to do so would lead to self-deception and worthless religion. True religion involved hearing God’s heart in His Word and applying it. Two areas of application Paul mentioned were visiting orphans and widows and living free from the corruption of Corinthian culture.
James 1:26-27 “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for the clear instructions written down by James for Your Church. Forgive me for being a hearer and sometimes failing to do what You have said. Help me to care for orphans and widows and to serve the hurting and helpless around me. As I look in the mirror of Your Word, may I see who I really am and remove the stains of worldliness and sin and live in Your smile and blessing.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
Scripture reading for August 30th: Isaiah 26-29, Psalm 65, 1st Corinthians 4
1st Corinthians 4: 10-15 “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. I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you, my beloved children.. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the Gospel. I urge you then, be imitators of me.”
The early apostles were considered fools by the world and even by some in the church. Their lives were examples of sacrifice and hard work to meet their own needs and also to minister to others. By their ministry, many were saved and introduced into God’s family. This process caused Paul to consider them his spiritual ‘children’. Paul encouraged those in Corinth who had been saved under his ministry to follow his example and live unselfishly for the sake of Christ Jesus and His Gospel message. What the world thinks of us means nothing. Pleasing Christ by living by faith in faithfulness to His Word is all that truly matters.
Isaiah 26:1-3 “In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: “We have a strong city; He sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks. Open the gates that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in. You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for those You called as the first Apostles. Thank You for their lives of sacrifice and their obedience to the Holy Spirit that inspires me today to live a life of sacrifice and dedication to You. Thank You for Your perfect peace given to those whose trust is in Christ Jesus. I look forward to the New Jerusalem and Christ’s reign as King of Kings! I am blessed You chose me!
Psalm 65:4 “Blessed is the one You choose and bring near, to dwell in Your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your House, the holiness of Your Temple.”
Scripture reading for December 2nd: Revelation 1
Key Scriptures: Revelation 1:1-3 “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the Word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophesy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.”
John was imprisoned on the Isle of Patmos for preaching the Word of God. Tradition says he was boiled in oil but it had no effect on him so the Roman government sent him away. By this time, John was likely over ninety years old. As John was worshiping the Lord, he was visited by Jesus Christ and given the task of writing down for the church “what was, what is and what must soon take place.” John pronounced a blessing on all who would read the words of this prophesy out loud. We remember that “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17) The title, “Revelation” of Jesus Christ is “Apocalupsis” in Greek and means “lifting of the curtain” on the unseen realities associated with Jesus Christ. This amazing book is a gift to the Church and promises blessing to readers, hearers and doers of the words written. The time is at hand!
Revelation 1:10 “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father, I receive this revelation of Jesus Christ and ask that you lift the curtain on my heart and mind and show me afresh the glory of my Lord. Help me to read aloud, to hear with my ears, and to heed with all my heart the Word of God. Use me to proclaim this Word to Your people and to the lost that they may find Jesus Christ as Lord.
Revelation 1:17-19 “When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as though dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the First and the Last, and the Living One. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this.”
Scripture reading for September 27th: 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 now turns to boast on the churches in Macedonia and God’s amazing grace of giving that had caused them to respond with generosity. Giving is a gift of God’s grace. It is natural for worldly people to want to hold onto what they have, especially during hard times when the fears of poverty and need are strongest. But the believers in Macedonia exceeded Paul’s expectations and he noted the special grace of giving among them. The first had given themselves to the Lord and as a result of that, they could then give themselves to generosity to Paul and the ministry team. They were going through affliction and trials of poverty and persecution, but God had given them joy in abundance and a willingness to give that caused them to ask for the privilege of giving. If you want to be blessed, ask God to give you this ‘grace of giving’ and choose to excel in it!
2nd Corinthians 8:7 “But you excel in everything–in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you–see that you excel in this act of grace also.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for being a generous and giving and loving Father to us Your children. Pass on to me and my children and brothers and sisters in Christ this amazing ‘grace of giving’. Help me to excel in it to bring glory to Your Son, Jesus Christ and be a blessing to Your Church and world mission.
Acts 20:35 “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”
Scripture reading for December 25th: Job 31-33, Psalm 102, Revelation 19
Key Scriptures: Revelation 19:9-10 “And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true Words of God.” Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophesy.”
John was commanded by an angel to write down the “true Words of God” which was a blessing upon those invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. This statement caused John to fall down at the angels feet in worship. Then angel then admonished John concerning worship. God is the only One worthy of worship. Angels are simply fellow-servants of God and of those holding the testimony of Jesus. Those believers holding the testimony of Jesus Christ as Lord and faith in the sacrifice the Lamb of God held the true spirit of prophesy. They were destined for the wedding supper and would be eternally blessed!
Psalm 102:27-28 “. . .but You are the same, and Your years have no end. The children of Your servants shall dwell secure; their offspring shall be established before you.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I worship You and thank the Father for the invitation to the wedding supper You will provide for me and all who hold Your testimony. May I declare prophetically Your testimony to the world I live in today.
Job 33:28 “‘He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit, and my life shall look upon the light.'”