Scripture reading for August 21st: 1st Corinthians 15, Psalm 16, Proverbs 11
1st Corinthians 15: 20-26 “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at His coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For He must reign until He has put His enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”
Some in the Corinthian church struggled to comprehend how Christ was raised from the dead. They were thinking naturally that when a person is dead, then that’s the end of them. But Christ Jesus has been raised from the dead and is alive. Adam’s sin brought death to all men because death is the penalty for sin. But Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection now brings eternal life to those who believe on Him. Christ was the Firstborn from the dead but He won’t be the last! When He comes again, we shall all be raised to life eternal in a glorified body, like His glorious body! God did not abandon Jesus and He certainly won’t abandon to death those trusting in His Son. Jesus is the only path to eternal life and resurrection! Amen!
Psalm 16:9-11 “Therefore my heart is glad, and my flesh also dwells secure. For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
Prayer: Father God, my heart is full of joy at the understanding that I will live forever in Your presence! I believe Jesus Christ was raised from the dead and at His coming I will be raised. Use me to declare these truths to a world skeptical of the resurrection and lost in sin’s darkness. Deliver those with the fear of death by revealing that You have defeated our last enemy!
Proverbs 11:6-7 “The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the treacherous are taken captive by their lust. When the wicked dies, his hope will perish, and the expectation of wealth perishes too.”
Scripture reading for February 15th: Romans 5
Key Scriptures: Romans 5:18-21 “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one Man’s obedience the many were made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Paul explained to the Roman believers that the first man, Adam, crossed God’s line (trespassed) in disobedience when he took fruit from his wife and ate of the forbidden fruit. Because of this, all men became sinners after the manner of Adam. But Jesus Christ the Son of God, the second Adam, came to earth and perfectly obeyed His Father. He then offered His own sinless body on the cross for payment for sins done by Adam and his offspring. The Law was given to Israel to reveal sin and the sin nature. All sins lead to death which is eternal separation from God. But grace is unlimited towards all who will go to God through Jesus Christ in repentance and faith. Righteousness through Christ’s sacrifice and His obedience is given to all the faithful as a gift of eternal life.
Genesis 2:16-17 “And the Lord God commanded the man (Adam), saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your perfect obedience and perfect sacrifice on the cross to make those who would believe on You righteous and cleanse them of sin’s guilt and shame. Lead me to share Your amazing grace and lead sinners to righteousness and life
John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.”
Scripture reading for November 19: Ezra 1-2; John 21
Key Scriptures: John 21: 17-19 “He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” and he said to Him, “Lord, You know everything: You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (This He said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.” And after this He said to him, “Follow Me.””
The first and greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Jesus persistently asked Peter if he loved Him. Peter had denied Jesus three times and now Jesus was restoring him by asking him to affirm his love. Love is the basis for all ministry. Love for Jesus is the foundation of His Church and disciples would be known by their love for Jesus and one another. It would be for love of Jesus that Peter would die a martyr’s death, choosing to be crucified upside down. Jesus spoke prophetically about this and emphasized to Peter his need to lovingly follow the Master, even unto death.
Faith confession and prayer: Lord, You alone know what is ahead in my life and I ask You to help me each day to follow You, even if it leads to persecution or death. Your unrelenting love draws me to love You more each day and love people into Your eternal kingdom.
Ezra 1:1-2 “In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the Word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing: “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He has charged me to build Him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.”“
Scripture reading for September 24th: Habakkuk; 2nd Corinthians 7
Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 7:8-11 “For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it–though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter.”
Paul had written plainly to the Corinthians this second time to appeal to them to forgive a brother who had been disciplined for sexual sins. He had some regrets at first, that he might offend them, but he ended up rejoicing when their godly grief over this brother’s sin caused him and them to repent and do the right thing. Worldly grief leads only to death–sorrow for sin alone won’t bring forgiveness and life. Godly sorrow leads to repentance and true transformation.
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to receive correction with grace and humility and true repentance. May I not shrink from godly correction of one who may need to experience mercy by repentance.
Habakkuk 3:12-13 “You marched through the earth in fury; You threshed the nations in anger. You went out for the salvation of Your people, for the salvation of Your anointed.”
Scripture reading for May 28th: 1st Chronicles 22-25, Psalm 78, Romans 5
Key Scriptures: Romans 5:18-21 “Therefore, as one trespass lead to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the One man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Paul explained that Adam’s sin of disobedience to God’s simple command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil brought death to all men. But the second ‘Adam’ Jesus Christ’s perfect obedience made eternal life and righteousness available to all men under the sentence of death. The law was given to reveal and increase man’s awareness of sins and the need for grace. God’s grace abounds for eternal life to all who confess their sins and ask for grace by faith.
Psalm 78:38 “Yet He, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them; He restrained His anger often and did not stir up all His wrath.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your compassion and restraint for us descendants of Adam. I receive the ‘abounding grace’ provided by Your Son, Jesus Christ. Fill me with joy and grace to share Your compassionate gift of eternal life!
1st Chronicles 22:9-10 “Behold, a son shall be born to you who shall be a man of rest. I will give him rest from all his surrounding enemies. For his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days. He shall build a house for My Name. He shall be my son, and I will be His Father, and I will establish His royal throne in Israel forever.”
Scripture reading for February 27th: Leviticus 24-25, Psalm 81, Hebrews 9
Key Scriptures: Hebrews 9:27-28 “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him.”
God’s decrees are sure and predictable. Because of sin, man has an appointment with death. Following along after death is judgment for the sins committed. But God, being rich in mercy, sent His Son Jesus Christ to keep our appointment with death in our place by bearing our sins. He rose again from the dead and rules at God’s right hand until all enemies are under His feet. He will come again, not to deal with sin, but to save all who believe on Him and take them into their full inheritance forever.
Faith Confession and prayer: I thank Jesus Christ for keeping my appointment with death and judgment by bearing my sins in His body on the cross. Help me to wait with patience for His return and entering into my full inheritance with Him forever. Open my mouth to preach the Gospel that none would have to keep their appointment with death.
Leviticus 25:38 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan, and to be your God.”
Psalm 81:10 “I am the Lord your God, Who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.”
Scripture reading for February 18th: Leviticus 1-3, Psalm 27, Hebrews 2
Key Scriptures: Hebrews 2:9-10, 14-15 “But we see Him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.” . . .”Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.”
The writer of Hebrews was sharing about how God sent Jesus to earth as the perfect and final sacrifice for our sins and to deliver us from the fear of death. Sin brings death and fear of punishment. Jesus came in a human body to experience death for us and destroy the devil who is enslaving us. But death did not hold Jesus, now crowned with glory and honor, at God’s right hand as our High Priest, made perfect through suffering.
Faith Confession and prayer: Thank You Jesus for sending Jesus as the perfect sacrifice. Help me to share the good news of Jesus suffering and death that all men might be delivered from the fear of death.
Leviticus 3:7-8 “If he offers a lamb for his offering, then he shall offer it before the Lord, lay his hand on the head of his offering and kill it in front of the tent of meeting; and Aaron’s sons shall throw its blood against the sides of the altar.”
Psalm 27:13 “I believe that I shall look on the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”
Scripture reading for July 30th: 2nd Corinthians 2, Psalm 1, Proverbs 27 (using Psalm 1 today to switch to using odd-numbered Psalms for balance of year.)
Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 2:14-17 “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s Word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.”
Paul likened his life to that of a conquered prisoner being led by a conquering king. He was in a triumphal procession and where ever he was led, he and his fellow believers manifested the sweet fragrance of Christ Jesus. This fragrance brought salvation and life to those being saved, but it brought death to those rejecting the message. Paul and his companions did nothing for money or fame, but as those commissioned by God, they spoke in Christ by the Holy Spirit.
Faith Confession: I have been conquered by Christ Jesus and He leads me each day in triumphal procession, manifesting His sweet fragrance to those around me. I pray for salvation and life as people make decisions that will affect them for eternity.
Psalm 1:5-6 “Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”
Scripture reading for June 3rd: Acts 21, Psalm 110, Proverbs 17
Key Scriptures: Acts 21:10-13 “While we were staying for many days, a prophet named Agabus come down from Judea. And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘This is how the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'” When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the Name of the Lord Jesus.””
Paul had had many warnings of coming imprisonment. God always prepares His own for what is ahead and His Presence guides them through the storms and trouble. We naturally want to protect our loved ones from suffering or trials. God’s people count it all joy when the trials come, knowing that the testing of their faith brings endurance and helps complete Christ’s work in others and us.
Faith Confession: Lord, thank You for this record of Paul’s faith confession that encourages me to stand true to You no matter what the consequences. I trust You for grace sufficient to each trial in my life.
Psalm 110:3 “Your people will offer themselves freely on the day of Your power, in holy garments; from the womb of the morning, the dew of your youth will be yours.”