Scripture reading for December 1st: Esther 1-3, Psalm 139, Revelation 1
Key Scriptures: Revelation 1:4-7 “John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him Who is and Who was and Who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ the Faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the dead, the Ruler of kings on earth. To Him Who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him, and all tribes of earth will wail on account of Him. Even so. Amen.”
John was imprisoned on the Isle of Patmos for preaching the Gospel. He was likely in his late eighties at this time and had been an Apostle of Jesus Christ, a missionary and church planter and now an overseer. Writing to the seven churches he oversaw, he described God the Father and Jesus Christ to them. They are the eternal Ones, having past existence, present reality and perfect future existence. Jesus Christ, the Son, loves us now and demonstrated His love by giving His blood for our freedom. He made us part of His kingdom and priesthood. To Him and the Father belong eternal glory and dominion. Jesus is coming soon and every eye will behold Him!
Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, You have redeemed me by Your blood and freed me from my sins by Your divine grace and favor. Guide me today to fulfill Your will and prepare me for Your soon return.
Esther 2:17 “. . the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.”
Scripture reading for September 8th: 2nd Kings 20, Isaiah 38-40, Psalm 68, 1st Corinthians 11
Key Scriptures: 1st Corinthians 11:23-26 “For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when He was betrayed took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, “This is My body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way also He took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”
Paul gave further instructions concerning the Lord’s supper to the Corinthian believers. Some there had been taking this sacrament without proper understanding and personal repentance. The partaking of the bread and cup were to be done in remembrance of Jesus Christ, Whose body and blood they represented. They were to examine their hearts and repent of known sin because Jesus Christ was coming again for those eagerly awaiting Him. The cup of the Lord’s supper was prophetic of the Wedding Supper of the Lamb, ushering in the Church as Christ’s eternal ‘Bride’! Proper wedding garments come only through Jesus’ sacrifice!
Psalm 68:24-26 “Your procession is seen, O God, the procession of my God, my King, into the sanctuary–the singers in front, the musicians last, between them virgins playing tambourines. “Bless God in the great congregation, the Lord, O You Who are Israel’s Fountain!””
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the bread and the cup, representing Your body and Your blood, shed for my redemption. I look in anticipation to Your return in power and glory for Your people!
Isaiah 40:30-31 “Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles’ they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
Scripture reading for September 1st: Isaiah 33-35, 1st Corinthians 6
Key Scriptures: 1st Corinthians 6:15,18-20 “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!” , , ,”Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? Your are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
Corinth was a city known for it’s gross sexual immorality. Many church members had been saved out of that culture. Paul patiently explained that as believers, they were now part of Christ’s Body which was holy. By taking their bodies and joining them sexually with another person that was not their spouse, they were sinning against their own body and the Holy Spirit Who lived in them. God purchased us with the price of His own Son’s blood! Let His Glory shine through us in holiness! This is everlasting joy!
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I welcome the Holy Spirit to my body! Thank You for redeeming me with the precious blood of Your body. Shine the light of Your holiness through me bringing glory to Your Name and everlasting joy!
Isaiah 35:10 “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads’ they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”
Scripture reading for May 26th: 2nd Samuel 21-23, Psalm 18, Romans 3
Key Scriptures: Romans 3:21-26 “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it–the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, Whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over former sins. It was to show His righteousness at the present time, so that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
Paul was explaining to the Romans God’s plan to make His righteousness available to all people, Jews and Gentiles. This righteousness came by faith in Jesus Christ, not in keeping the Law. All men and women have sinned and no human effort or works can justify them. But God’s plan was to provide redemption and covering (propitiation) for sins through His Son’s blood shed on the cross. The shed blood satisfied God’s demand for justice–payment for sins. God can now be the justifier of all who come by faith in His Son. Praise the Lord!
Psalm 18:30; 2nd Samuel 22:31 “This God–His way is perfect; the Word of the Lord proves true; He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for providing a covering and cleansing for my sins and all sins through faith in the blood of Jesus. Help me to pass the Good News of this Gift to others today.
Scripture reading for February 3rd: Exodus 7-9, Psalm 105, Ephesians 1
Key Scriptures: Exodus 7:2-5 “You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall tell Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go out of his land. But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply My signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay My hand on Egypt and bring My hosts, My people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt with great acts of judgment. The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out My hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.”
God gave Moses specific instructions to tell Pharaoh and specific signs and wonders to do each time he and Aaron appeared before Pharaoh. He also told them that Pharaoh would not listen. He revealed that He would lay His own hand on Egypt and He would bring His people out with His own mighty hand! Jesus Christ is God’s mighty ‘hand’ that delivers us from death according to God’s plan!
Psalm 105:43 “He brought the people out with joy, and His chosen ones with singing.”
Faith confession and prayer: I thank You Lord for Your unstoppable plan of redemption through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ! Help me to spread the Good News before the fullness of time!
Ephesians 1:7-10 “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His purposes, which He set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth.”
Scripture reading for February 27th: Mark 14, Psalm 42, Proverbs 11
Key Scriptures: Mark 14:22-24 “And as they were eating, He took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take, this is My body.” And He took a cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And He said to them, “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.””
Jesus celebrated His last Passover with His disciples and prepared them for His coming death. His broken body and shed blood were to be offered before God as a ransom for the sins of mankind. These symbols of broken bread and the cup of fruit of the vine would come to bring remembrance to believers of all ages of Christ’s sacrifice. It is now a way of believers identifying with Christ and looking ahead to the coming fullness of the Kingdom when they will share the cup with Jesus at the wedding of the Lamb!
Faith Confession: I trust in the final sacrifice of Jesus Christ of His body and blood as the only hope for my righteousness! I look forward to partaking in the wedding supper of the Lamb!
Psalm 42:1-2 “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?”
Scripture reading for December 5th: 1st John 5:1-21
One of the favorite tricks of our enemy, the devil, is condemnation. After we make a commitment to Christ, he loves to keep us in doubt about our faith or the level of our faith! He doesn’t bring assurance, but constant doubt and fear of rejection by God. John, as a wise pastor, brought assurance to his flock by sharing truth in a spirit of love!
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves His Child as well. this is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out His commands. This is love for God: to obey His commands. And His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.” (1st John 5:1-4) John emphasized that faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God was the key to living a life of love and victory. Anyone who said they loved God and hated his brother was a liar. (1st John 4:19) Faith was simple and worked through love. Faith must be centered in God who alone is love!
Jesus Christ has given us three witnesses to verify that He is the Christ. John was again emphasizing that Jesus came as a man who was the Son of God. At Jesus’ baptism, the Spirit came down as a dove and the Father Spoke: “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17) This is the witness of the water. At Jesus crucifixion, the centurion declared, “Surely this Man is the Son of God!” (Mark 15:39) This is the witness of the blood. The Holy Spirit testifies that Jesus is the Christ by His resurrection. (Romans 1:4) In Jewish culture, all truth was established by two or three witnesses! (Deuteronomy 19:15)
“And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1st John 5:11-13) We can have full confidence before God when we believe in His Son!
Scripture reading for June 23rd: Acts 15:1-31
The church today is sometimes affected by legalism. Well-meaning Christians, pastors, and leaders try to define holiness by developing rules or traditions that help them summarize what pleases God. In early days, this confused people and often caused conflict and division. Most of the early church members were Jews and had a history of keeping the Law of God. These new believers struggled to know how to balance keeping the law with salvation by faith through grace!
“Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” (Acts 15:1) This teaching brought sharp debate in the early church and Paul and Barnabas were appointed to go to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders to discuss this question. They had seen God pour out His Spirit on uncircumcised Gentiles in many places where they were sent by the Holy Spirit to preach and disagreed with this teaching.
At Jerusalem, this conflict was found to be simmering as well. There were believers who came from the party of the Pharisees who agreed that the Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the Law of Moses. (Acts 15:5) The apostles and elders gathered for discussion and Paul got up and addressed them. He noted that God accepted the Gentiles and poured out the Holy Spirit on them without their keeping of the Law. God purified their hearts by faith, not by law-keeping! In fact, no Jew was ever able to keep the Law and be justified by that work! (Acts 15:8-12)
James spoke up in agreement, citing the Old Testament prophet Amos as confirming Paul’s word to them. “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.” (Acts 15:19-20) This seemed good to the elders and apostles and the Holy Spirit, so they sent Paul and Barnabas back to Antioch to share the ruling.
Salvation by grace alone was then taught by the early church. Adding law would not be allowed to hinder people from coming to Christ from a Gentile background. Are you trusting in Christ alone for salvation?
In this podcast Pastor John continues his summary of the book of Leviticus.
Wow! Leviticus really makes you appreciate what we have today because of Jesus Christ! I know I would have had a hard time bringing all those animals to offer for my sins. It’s hard to admit sin privately before the Lord. I can’t imagine having to confess my sins to the priest and then offer an animal that would die right in front of my own eyes! Sin might become detestable after a few times! Maybe that was God’s intent!
Being a priest would have been difficult and very messy! Killing animals daily and sprinkling blood and washing and lifting dead carcasses up before the Lord would have been gruesome work. Going into the Tent of Meeting knowing that you might die yourself would also not be exciting. I am sure that Aaron had his moments too. He lost two sons who went into that Tent, probably under the influence of alcohol. Can you imagine his thoughts each year as he had to go in with the blood of a bull for himself and his family and then the blood of a goat for the whole nation? He had to go in alone and by faith make the acceptable sacrifice. It was probably not something he took lightly!
We have it easy today! Jesus has done it all! He is our high priest and intercedes for us. He sacrificed his own body and blood for our “atonement” covering of our sins. Our sins are taken away and our consciences are cleansed! It is finished! He did not have to sacrifice for Himself, like Aaron, because He was without sin. He ever lives to make intercession for us! Take time and reflect on this past week’s reading and thank Jesus for fulfilling all the law! Ask Him to make you holy, as He is holy. By faith, claim His righteousness. True Christianity brings rest and true joy! God bless you and have a great sabbath rest!
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! . . .”God made him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2nd Corinthians 5: 17, 21.