Scripture reading for June 28th: Psalm 102-106
Key Scriptures: Psalm 105:43-45 “He brought out His people with rejoicing, His chosen ones with shouts of joy; He gave them the lands of the nations, and they fell heir to what others had toiled for–that they might keep His precepts and observe His laws. Praise the Lord.”
The psalmist has remembered the greet deeds of the Lord for His people when He delivered them from slavery and bondage in Egypt. This evokes praise and worship and causes him to seek the Lord and glory in every aspect of His provision for His people. Rejoicing and shouts of joy filled the people of God as they were blessed with God’s grace of deliverance and given the land of Israel as their inheritance! Even the memory caused shouts of joy!
Shouts of joy among God’s people: “Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory!” (Revelation 19:6-7)
Scripture reading for November 12th: Acts 19-20
The Apostle Paul began his third missionary journey to reach those in the province of Asia. (Acts 18:23) He ended up in Ephesus where he found a group of disciples gathered. These twelve men had been baptized into John’s baptism of repentance but had never heard about Jesus Christ. Paul gave them the Gospel of Jesus, told them about the Holy Spirit and then laid hands on them. The Holy Spirit came on them and they spoke in tongues and prophesied! Thus the church at Ephesus was born. Paul’s ministry went on there for nearly three years. This event took place about 20 years after the first Pentecost!
The Lord promised that signs would follow those who obediently preached the Gospel. (Mark 16:15-20) As Paul preached in Asia, God did extraordinary miracles through him to win the lost and confirm that Jesus was the Christ. These miracles included supernatural healing and casting out evil spirits. (Acts 19:11-12) Handkerchiefs and aprons that Paul used were taken to the sick and they were healed and delivered!
Paul’s preaching of Jesus and these extraordinary miracles caused some Jewish exorcists to imitate Paul’s methods. They tried to cast out a demon from a possessed man “in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches.” The demon spoke to them, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” (Acts 19:13-15) These seven exorcists were then severely beaten by the demon possessed man! The word about this spread and brought a revival of holiness. Fear seized the populace and they confessed their evil deeds, sorcery, and witchcraft. They publicly burned their books and charms and the word of God spread and grew in power!
God’s power is no match against the powers of the Devil! Jesus told us that in His Name, we would cast out devils! We must know Jesus personally! It can’t be a second hand knowledge or we will be in trouble, just like the seven who tried it. Demons recognize and know Jesus and those who have Him as Lord! In His name, extraordinary miracles will follow the preaching of the Gospel and the ministry of those who obediently go! Be bold as you enter your mission field today! We have a mission field that is full of demonic bondage in need of bold confrontation.
Scripture reading for January 23rd: Matthew 15:29-39, Psalm 17:8-15, Proverbs 4:10-17
Compassion ministries are making a comeback in many evangelical churches. Many churches are visiting the sick and helpless, feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, and clothing those who are needy. These ministries have their source in the heart of Jesus Christ, Himself. Jesus was known for His compassion on hurting and hungry people. Compassion might be defined as love in action. We demonstrate true love by acting in faith to meet needs as God directs!
“Great crowds came to Him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at His feet: and He healed them. The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, and the lame walking and blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.” (Matthew 15:30-31) Jesus showed compassion and great love by healing all who came to Him. The miracles were drawing crowds of people that all needed the message of repentance! His heart’s desire was to see them made whole so He also preached the good news of the kingdom, calling them to repent. The result was worship of God!
“Jesus called His disciples to Him and said, ‘I have compassion for these people: they have already been with Me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.’ “ (Matthew 15:32) The heart of Jesus is clear here in His words and following actions. He was concerned about their need for food to sustain them on their journey. He cared for them enough to do something. He asked what was available: 7 loaves of bread and a few fish. He took this and blessed it and broke it, giving it to the disciples to distribute. When all the people had eaten, seven baskets full of bread were collected! This crowd was numbered at 4000 men plus the women and children!
Compassion for the hungry and hurting is the heart of God! His greater compassion is for the souls of the lost and their eternal salvation. Compassion ministries must always be coupled with preaching the gospel of faith in Jesus Christ and repentance from sins. It’s the reason Jesus came and the mission that He gave His disciples and us! (Luke 19:10) (Matthew 28:18-20)
Scripture reading for April 26th: 2nd Chronicles 10-12
God doesn’t take rejection lightly. He is a jealous God and loves His children enough to discipline them when they need it. He allows consequences to come that He has foretold so that His people understand His Father’s heart and grace. In today’s reading, consequences of sin bring humbling and repentance.
King Rehoboam was a young son of Solomon who was given rule of Judah. He began his reign by consulting the elders who had served Solomon for some advice on how to govern the people. The people had been under a heavy load of taxation because of the requirements of King Solomon in building the Lord’s house and then his own house. The elders recommended that Rehoboam lighten their load and treat the people kindly. (2nd Chronicles 10:7)
King Rehoboam rejected the advice of the elders and next consulted some of his younger friends. They recommended harsh treatment and a heavier yoke! This response caused division among the people instead of unity. The people grumbled against Rehoboam. Rehoboam sent Adoniram, one of his overseers of the forced labor out and the people stoned him! Rehoboam was going to muster an army and fight against his own brother, but was warned by God not to do it. He did listen.
Rehoboam grew strong and then lead the people in departing from the Lord. The Lord allowed Shishak, king of Egypt to attack Jerusalem. Shishak had a large army and many horse and chariots. The prophet Shemaiah gave the word to Rehoboam, “This is what the Lord says, ‘You have abandoned me; therefore, I now abandon you to Shishak.'” (2nd Chronicles 12:5b) Rehoboam acknowledged that the Lord was just and that he needed to humble himself. God relented from totally destroying Rehoboam but still allowed Shishak to attack and plunder the temple. The reason given was so that Israel and Rehoboam would learn the difference between serving God and foreign kings.
There are some lessons for us in this passage. First, it is good to listen to wise advice from the elders. The wisdom from above brings peace and unity, not strife and division. When we depart from the Lord, He wisely allows consequences. He warns of what is ahead and hears when we humbly ask for mercy. Living under His rule is always better than captivity! Let’s learn by reading and not by experience!
Scripture Reading for January 23: Exodus 13-15
Have you ever followed the Lord’s direction and gotten into more trouble than you bargained for? Moses had obeyed the Lord and witnessed the 10 plagues that humbled Pharaoh and judged the people of Egypt and their gods. He and Israel had experienced God’s protection and blessing throughout this time, even though they were slaves and had cruel taskmasters. The final plague had comvinced Pharaoh to send the Israelites away. The Egyptians had given them many items of silver and gold and they went away rich! God healed their bodies and there was not one feeble or sick person in the company of over one million people! The lamb that they had eaten and the blood over their doors had brought them amazing deliverance and blessing! They left Egypt following the cloud of God’s presence by day and a pillar of fire by night! But, trouble was lurking not far behind them and would soon put them between the proverbial “rock and hard place”!
The Egyptians came to their senses and Pharaoh decided to bring them back. He ordered all his army into mobilization and hot pursuit! The chariots were fueled and the chase was on! The Israelites, under the direction of the Cloud and Fire of God’s Presence, were camped in the desert by the Red Sea. They looked up and saw the army of Egypt bearing down on them and “cried out to the Lord”. (Exodus 14:10-13) They then began the “blame game” on Moses, saying that they should have stayed in Egypt. They blamed God for bringing them out in the desert to die! What had started out so good with such joy and blessing now looked like trouble–or death!
But God fought for them! If God is for you, who can be against you? (Romans 8:31) The God of the pillar of cloud and fire can do anything! When you are following His instructions, the journey may get wild and even scary at times, but you will enjoy the ending! Moses had the instructions from the Lord and held out his staff over the waters. The waters were parted and the Israelites walked over on dry ground between two walls of water. As soon as the Egyptians were between the walls of water, their wheels started to come off and the Lord fought against them. Moses held out his staff again and the Egyptians were all drowned in the surging sea!
The lessons for us are plain! Follow God closely and trust Him no matter what obstacles you face. When you find yourself between a “rock and a hard place”, look to the cloud and the fire to direct the way! Stand still and see the salvation of God! (Exodus 14:13)