Scripture reading for August 1st: 1st Corinthians 1, Psalm 2, Proverbs 28
1st Corinthians 1:18-25 “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
Paul wrote this letter to the believers in Corinth, a city where he had spend considerable time preaching the Gospel. The result was many were saved as they believed in the message of the cross and Christ Jesus offering Himself there for the sins of the world. This message was foolishness to all who were perishing, both Jew and Gentile. But God, in His infinite wisdom, chose this simple message to save those who would believe. This put all men on level ground at the foot of Christ’s cross. Anyone who trusts in his own mind and reasoning will be a fool. Those who choose Christ will become wise and walk in wisdom. The choice is available to all for a limited time! Today is the best day to kiss the Son!
Psalm 2:10-12 “Now therefore, O kings, be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him,”‘
Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your amazing wisdom and mercy found in the message of the cross and the Son of God Who offered Himself there for all as a sacrifice for sin. I humbly bow before You and pay homage to Jesus Christ, Son of God. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and wisdom to share this message with both wise and foolish that they may believe and be saved from the coming wrath.
Proverbs 28:26 “Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.”
Scripture reading for January 11th: Mark 8, Psalm 8, Proverbs 8
Mark 8: 34-38 “And calling the crowd to Him with His disciples, He said to them, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the Gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My Words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father will the holy angels.””
Jesus called out to the crowds and directly again to His disciples. His call was to take up their cross and follow Him. What a strange thing to ask of your followers! Carrying the instrument of their own cruel death and following Jesus would not normally be attractive. Jesus explained that loving our life here on earth would cause us to lose our relationship with Him. We would not find the way of the cross that leads to real life. Jesus explained that to lose our lives in following Him was to gain life! We must not be ashamed of Him, His death on a cross for us, or His resurrection to become our Savior! We confess our confidence by faith and take up our cross and follow Him to eternal life and victory over death!
Psalm 8:1 “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your Name in all the earth! You have set Your glory above the heavens.”
Prayer: Father God, I confess my utter dependence on You and Your way of salvation through Your Son Jesus Christ. I am not ashamed of Jesus Christ, my Lord, or of His Gospel of repentance and salvation through His sacrifice on the cross. Fill me with fresh boldness to declare the Gospel message in simplicity and in power, with conviction through the Holy Spirit, opening eyes and drawing the lost to salvation.
Proverbs 8:10-11 “Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.”
Scripture reading for August 25th: 1st Corinthians 1
Key Scriptures: 1st Corinthians 1:26-31 “For consider you calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of Him, you are in Christ Jesus, Who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.””
Boasting and pride are a big part of the world system. Even in the church, there are people vying for titles and position and fame. But Paul asked the Corinthian believers to examine their lives first according to worldly standards. Not many of them were wise or powerful or famous. Not many were in positions of nobility. But thankfully God doesn’t judge us according to worldly standards but according to our relationship to His Son, Jesus Christ. In Christ Jesus, we are made wise with God’s wisdom and strong with God’s strength. In Christ Jesus we are set apart (sanctified) fully as a vessel of honor in God house and given the free gift of eternal life and full redemption. We can now boast in what our Lord Jesus has done for us! We are totally indebted to Him!
1st Corinthians 1:4-5 “I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in Him in all speech and all knowledge. . . “
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for becoming my wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and full redemption. My nobility comes from a relationship with You alone! Help me today to spread Your fame through the powerful message of the cross to those who have not yet heard and are still caught in a failed world system centered on sin and selfishness and pride.
1st Corinthians 1:18 “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
Scripture reading for June 7th: Colossians 1
Key Scriptures: Colossians 1:15-20 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything He might be preeminent. For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross.”
Paul explained to the Colossian believers the place held by Christ Jesus in the grand design of creation. Christ is the exact image of the invisible God. Christ is the firstborn of all creation and the creator of all things. He sustains all things and holds them together. Christ is the head of the church, His body, now active in this world. In Christ Jesus all the fullness of the Godhead: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, dwells. In Christ alone is peace with God through His sacrifice of His body on the cross of Calvary. Looking at a summary, Christ Jesus is preeminent in all things and He now resides in us who believe! He hold first place!
Colossians 1:27 “To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I give You the place of preeminence in my life in honor and worship of Who You are. Thank You for the blood shed on the cross and for placing me in Your Body, the Church and for sending the Holy Spirit to reside in me. May I declare Your preeminence in word and deed in Your power through my daily living.
Colossians 1:28-29 “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all His energy that He powerfully works within me.”
Scripture reading for March 22nd: Luke 14
Key Scriptures: Luke 14:25-30 “Now great crowds accompanied Him, and He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers ad sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.'”
Salvation and forgiveness of sins is a free gift for all who repent and believe on Jesus Christ. That is the first step of a journey that is to last the rest of our earthly lives and continues for eternity. According to Jesus, following Him definitely has a cost. First, all other interests, people, and priorities must be put behind our love for Jesus. We can’t put marriage, family, or even our own life ahead of Him. This is symbolized by His call to “bear his own cross” and come after Him as He modeled for us carrying His cross and loving not His own life unto death on our behalf. Following Him should not just be an emotional decision based on a momentary whim or pressure from a friend. These costs must be weighed, and if paid, must be followed through to completion.
Luke 14:33 “So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be My disciple.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, Thank You for purchasing the free gift of salvation and eternal life through Your sacrifice on the cross. I desire to be Your disciple and sometimes struggle with taking up my cross and fully following You. Show me daily what this looks like for me. Give me more grace.
Psalm 49:7-9 “Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life, for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice, that he should live on forever and never see the pit.”
Scripture reading for July 29th: Joel, Matthew 10
Key Scriptures: Matthew 10:34-39 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”
After observing Jesus ministering and healing, He sent out the twelve hand-picked disciples to do ministry with additional instructions concerning their reception. They were going out as sheep among wolves. There would be great persecution and even some loss of life–the sword would be raised against them! Their enemies would even come from among their own families. The Gospel message would offend and cause conflict between close relatives. These disciples must choose Jesus and take up their cross to find the life He offered: eternal life and everlasting joy!
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for speaking plainly and laying out the choice of following You with our whole heart. I choose to follow You, losing my life for Your amazing life! Lead me onward today!
Joel 2:32 “And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the Lord calls.”
Greetings in the Wonderful Name of Jesus Christ! Welcome to another day of rest in His finished work of redemption! It is at the cross that we find our rest with God and can enter into relationship with Him. The cross of Christ draws our attention and draws us Him.
As I reflect back on this week’s reading in the Gospels of Luke and John, I am drawn today to chapter three of John. Jesus had an encounter with a prominent teacher of the Jews, Nicodemus. He came to Jesus by night to ask Him some questions. Nicodemus recognized that Jesus was a teacher sent from God and noted the miracles that He had done. Jesus told Nicodemus that no one could see the kingdom of God unless they were born again! (John 3:3) Nicodemus had trouble grasping how this might take place. He was thinking about natural birth and growth when Jesus told him about the Spirit bringing the second birth. Nicodemus asked him how this could take place and Jesus answered him with one of the most famous verses in the Bible.
“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:14-16
Jesus used an incident in the life of Moses where the people were dying from a plague of poisonous snakes. Moses had prayed to the Lord and God showed him what to do. He was to make a bronze serpent and put it on a pole and lift it up in the center of the camp. Any Israelite who was bitten could look at the bronze serpent in faith, believing that God would heal him and receive that healing. (Numbers 21:1-8) Jesus presented Himself as the one who would be lifted up between heaven and earth. All who looked at Him and believed, would be saved from the universal bite of the ancient serpent, Satan.
God’s great love for us motivated Him to send His Son to be lifted up for us! Jesus, who knew no sin, was made sin for us that we might be saved. All who would believe on Him would be born again by the Holy Spirit. They would receive the gift of God’s heavenly Breath or Wind! Eternal life is the realm of God Himself! What amazing truth comes as we contemplate the lifting up of the Son of Man!
Now God has lifted Him to the highest place! He is risen from the dead and ascended into heaven! He is praying and interceding for us today! We who believe are seated with Him and will see Him soon! Hallelujah!
In His Love, Pastor John