Scripture reading for January 18th: Mark 13, Psalm 13, Proverbs 13
Mark 13: 24-27 “”But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send out the angels and gather His elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.””
Jesus’ last major teaching of His disciples was a warning of the coming time of great tribulation before Jesus’ second coming. Jesus told them that the tribulation would be time of great shaking of the earth and even the heavens. It would culminate with the return of “The Son of Man” in the clouds with power and great glory. The angels would gather all the elect, those trusting in Jesus Christ, from the ends of the earth and heaven! The righteous would be rewarded by their faith in Jesus and faithfulness to God’s Word. They had heeded the warning of Scripture and now will rejoice in salvation and their eternal reward. Everlasting singing and worship will mark the redeemed and they drink the fountain of Life!
Psalm 13:5-6 “But I have trusted in Your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.”
Prayer: Father God, You have dealt bountifully with me and I am thankful and rejoice in my promised salvation! I revere Your Word of warning for those still despising Your Word. Have mercy on them and send Your workers with Good News that they might not bring destruction on themselves or their families. I look forward with joy to Your return with the clouds of heaven and power and great glory!
Proverbs 13:13-14 “Whoever despises the Word brings destruction on himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded. The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.”
Scripture reading for January 6th: Genesis 6-8, Mark 3, Psalm 104
Key Scriptures: Genesis 6:17-19 “For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die. But I will establish My covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your son’s wives with you. And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark to keep them alive with you.”
As God chose Noah and his family to make a covenant with and to bring into the ark for their salvation, so Jesus chose those who He desired to be with Him and to be sent out to preach and cast out demons. Our Lord is all-powerful and all-knowing. He has a plan to bring life and relationship with those who will respond to His invitation. He has a grand plan to save all those who will believe from eternal destruction. He calls disciples and sends them out.
Faith Confession and Prayer: Lord God, thank You for choosing to spare Noah and his family and the animals from destruction. Thank You for sending Jesus Christ to spare all mankind from eternal destruction and to call disciples to be with You–for eternity. Here I am Lord, send me!
Mark 3:13-15 “And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those whom He desired, and they came to Him. And He appointed twelve (whom He also named apostles) so that they might be with Him and He might sent them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons.”
Psalm 104:4 “He makes His messengers winds, His ministers a flaming fire.”
Scripture reading for September 17th: Obadiah
Jacob and Esau were twin brothers. Esau was the first-born and Jacob came out holding onto his brother’s heel. A spiritual conflict ensued that caused these brothers and their descendants to be in a struggle that lasted for hundreds of years. Jacob got Esau’s birthright for a bowl of soup. (Genesis 25:32-34) Jacob stole his brother’s blessing from their father Isaac with the help of their mother Rebekah. Esau was furious and held a grudge against Jacob, plotting to kill him. (Genesis 27:41) Jacob fled to Paddan Aram, to Laban’s house to find a wife. (Genesis 28:1-3) Esau had upset his parents by marrying Hittite women who were idolaters! (Genesis 27:44) So this conflict between two brothers smoldered like a fire, particularly in the heart of Esau!
Over 500 years later, Obadiah the prophet was sent with a message for Esau’s descendants. They had become a nation that was dwelling next to Israel but still held a grudge! They had pride that their own strength would make their way. (Obadiah 3-4) They had violence in their hearts against their brother Jacob and stood aloof while Jacob was under attack. (Obadiah 10-12) They had looked down on their brothers when they were being overtaken by foreigners and rejoiced over their misfortune rather than helping defend them. (Obadiah 12-14) God’s message was that Edom would reap what they had sowed and their pride would result in the destruction of the House of Esau! (Obadiah 15-18)
We can all learn from this sad story! A grudge held can infect a family which can eventually destroy a nation of people. Esau’s grudge was never fully dealt with! Esau’s focus on his own needs, appetites, and personal pride caused his family and eventually a nation that came from him to dwell in pride. This pride and despising of their brothers resulted in God’s judgment and their destruction! Unforgiveness is just as dangerous for us today! It will isolate us from our family and open us up to the enemy of our souls. It will cut us off from God’s grace! Jesus Christ died to heal our broken family ties and restore us to God’s family! Take time today to ask for God’s mercy and forgiveness! Humility always defeats pride’s death traps!
Scripture reading for July 24th: Isaiah 24-27
Isaiah breaks forth in a dissertation about the coming “day of the Lord”. The watchman of Israel is given a description of that day to warn the people of Israel to be ready for what is coming on the people of earth. God’s people are set apart from this day of wrath and welcome it with singing and joy. (Isaiah 24:14-16) The people of earth, those without a knowledge of the Lord and faith in Him, are filled with mourning and terror at this day! (Isaiah 24:11-13)
Let’s focus on those who know the Lord today! Out of this vivid description of the terror of the lost comes bright rays of joy and hope for those of faith! Isaiah hears shouts of joy and acclaim for the glory and majesty of the Lord arising from the East and West! He hears singing coming from the islands of the sea and the ends of the earth! God is bringing His people together and they are joyful in His presence! (Isaiah 24:14-16) God is reigning in their midst on Mt. Zion and His glory radiates through and in His people! (Isaiah 24:23)
In Isaiah 25:1-4, Isaiah breaks into praise of the Lord for His fulfillment of His Word! God speaks out His plans from ancient days and then brings them to pass! He knows how to humble the proud and how to exalt his humble people! He cares for the poor and needy and defeats all their enemies! Isaiah then sees the Lord preparing a banquet of rich foods for all peoples! On the mountain of the Lord, Mt. Zion, God will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples and swallow up the swallower of His people! Death will be defeated and tears will be wiped away! Wow! What a picture of joy! No wonder His people are singing from the ends of the earth!
Of course, these verses were used by the Apostle Paul in 1st Corinthians 15:50-57 to describe the resurrection body that would be given to each believer at the coming of Jesus Christ! They were also referred to by the Apostle John in his vision from the island of Patmos in Revelation 21:1-5 as he described the new heavens and new earth where believers would dwell with the Lord forever! There is also a reference to the great banquet in Revelation 19:6-9 as John describes the wedding supper of the Lamb! Whenever we receive Holy Communion, we are proclaiming His death destroying the shroud of death over us and our hope of eating at that great banquet! No wonder we are singing from the ends of the earth!
One last nugget from these chapters of Isaiah comes in Isaiah 26:3-4. “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.” Put your trust in Jesus Christ again today! He is our Rock eternal! From your end of the earth, sing songs of worship without ceasing as you rest in His perfect peace!
Dear Friends, Greetings in the Wonderful Name of Jesus Christ, the only wise God! What a day to be alive and learning to know and love God! The signs are everywhere of the last days and God’s Word tells us to live wisely and make the most of our time as we see the Day of Christ approaching. (Ephesians 5:15-16) Those who are righteous will become more righteous and live by the Spirit, following Christ more closely. Those who are wicked will become more wicked, following their own flesh and the evil spirits of this world more closely. (Revelation 22:10-11)
As we begin a study of Proverbs in our daily reading, we are exposed to wisdom for successful daily living in this world. The proverbs were wise sayings and nuggets of God’s truth that would help to discern the right path. These truths were particularly helpful to youth and children who were beginning their walk through life. Parents were to teach their children wise living. They taught by impressing truth on the hearts of the young during daily meals, Sabbath day church gatherings, work, and sharing at bedtime around the fire.
Wise living always centered on loving God and obeying His commandments. This wisdom has it’s beginning in a deep respect for God as Creator and giver of life! The term used in Scripture is the ‘fear of the Lord’. Parents teach the ‘fear of the Lord’ by their attitude towards God and God’s house. Regular church attendance and worship is a good indication of a desire to live wisely. Daily study of the Word of God and prayer are spiritual disciplines that indicate a desire to know God’s will in order to submit to it and obey it. Wise living honors God’s Word as the rule of faith and practice. We treat it with respect and believe it is truth–all of it! When we cut out parts of the Bible because it doesn’t line up with what ‘science’ teaches or with what we want to believe, then we have lost our fear of the Lord and our ability to know truth. This is a dangerous place to be!
In the last days, men will refuse a love of the truth, believe a lie, and end up in damnation. (2nd Thessalonians 2:9-12) When we have no fear of God or His Word, a delusion of deception blinds us even further. We lose our ability to discern right from wrong. We end up delighting in wickedness and going to our destruction. Now is the time to press on to know the Lord and live wisely in obedience and faith. Jesus is coming soon! (Revelation 22:20)