Milk or solid food?
Scripture reading for March 9th: Hebrews 5, Psalm 49, Proverbs 18
Hebrews 5:11-14 “About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil..”
Most people have ears. Not all people are able to hear! This is not just those who experience deafness. The writer of Hebrews lamented that those he was writing to had become dull of hearing. They had heard enough teaching of truth that they should have been teaching others, but since they did not go on to put it into practice, it was lost and this had dulled their ability of hearing more truth. God calls His people to pay attention to His Word, particularly the Word of righteousness by grace through faith. This is a basic doctrine that we must grasp and understand or we easily slip back into dead religion, rules and traditions. This is the milk of Scripture for the newly born-again. Solid food can only be received when the milk has been digested!
Psalm 49:1-3 “Hear this, all peoples! Give ear, all inhabitants of the world, both low and high, rich and poor together! My mouth shall speak wisdom; the meditation of my heart shall be understanding.”
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for giving all Your disciples the milk of Your Word, that we might be born again. Thank You for Your patience to help me understand the basic truth of grace and faith. Thank You for solid food of all of Your Word that brings discernment of good and evil through the Holy Spirit to my life. Help me to live as a mature follower of Jesus and model this maturity to the younger and the world.
Proverbs 18:15 “An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.”
Satan in disguise!
Scripture reading for September 30th: Jeremiah 8-10, 2nd Corinthians 11
Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 11:12-15 “And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.”
The spiritual warfare Paul warned the Corinthians about came in the form of counterfeit apostles, teachers and “Christian” workers. Satan loves to disguise himself as an ‘angel of light’ when he is really a dark fallen angel. Satan uses people he has taken captive to be his ‘deceitful workmen’ right in Christ’s church. To identify the counterfeit “Christians”, we must know the genuine Jesus and those who genuinely represent Him and His Word. If we fall for the counterfeit, we will suffer now and in eternity. The Holy Spirit will give us discernment if we are teachable.
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the Truth and the Spirit of Truth Who brings me discernment. Correct me and help me daily to stay true to You and listen only to Your Word taught by Your gifted people.
Jeremiah 10:23-24 “I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps. Correct me, O Lord, but in justice; not in Your anger lest You bring me to nothing.”
All for God’s glory!
Scripture reading for July 18th: 1st Corinthians 10, Psalm 143, Proverb 19
Key Scriptures: 1st Corinthians 10:31-33 “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.”
Paul ministered in a culture where there were Jews and Gentiles and those in the new church that had come out of both backgrounds. There were idol temples that some in the church had belonged to and food sold in the marketplace that came from sacrifices to the idols. Although he had liberty in Christ and prayed over his food, asking God to sanctify it, he was still careful not to cause others to stumble. This again was love for God and others.
Faith Confession: Lord, give me discernment in this pagan culture to know how to reach those caught up in it without compromising my walk with You. I trust the Holy Spirit to guide me each day.
Proverbs 19:17 “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his deed.”
Sincere devotion to Christ
Scripture reading for August 10th: Psalm 86-89, 2nd Corinthians 11
Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 11:2-5 “For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the One we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the One you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.”
False teachers were after the Corinthian believers. They came disguised as “apostles of Christ”. They preached ‘Jesus’, but it was not Jesus Christ, Son of God, crucified and raised from the dead. They had a ‘spirit’, but it was not the Holy Spirit of God. They proclaimed a ‘gospel’, but it was not the pure Gospel of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Paul was concerned for their souls and wrote to warn them. Oh that men and women would listen to truth and discern the cunning serpent!
Psalm 85:8-9 “Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for He will speak peace to His people, to His saints; but let them not turn back to folly. Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, that glory may dwell in our land.”
Prayer: Lord Jesus, give me discernment to know truth from error. Open my ears to hear You speak and keep me from folly. Amen.
Beware of ‘feel-good’ prophesies!
Scripture reading for August 11th: Jeremiah 26-29
It takes discernment to hear the voice of God. What sounds good is not always truth and only the truth will make us free! In Jeremiah 28 we have a story of two prophets speaking to God’s people. One had a message of victory and hope, and the other a message of judgment and captivity. One message was true and the other was false. After the messages were given, the people had to decide which one to believe.
In the fifth month of the fourth year of King Zedekiah, all the people were gathered with the priests in the temple. Hananiah, a prophet from Gibeon spoke to Jeremiah in front of all the people. Jeremiah had been wearing a wooden yoke around his neck for a long time telling the people of their coming captivity. Hananiah spoke that within two years, God would remove the yoke of the Babylonians and Judah would be free. To illustrate that message, he took the yoke off Jeremiah and broke it in front of the people. (Jeremiah 28:1-4,10-11)
Jeremiah responded initially with an ‘amen’ to the message. But he added some prophetic insight. Most prophets are sent to warn of coming disaster and turn the people back to God. This prophecy of peace will only be from the Lord if it actually happens. (Jeremiah 28:6-9)
Jeremiah went his way and then the Lord spoke to him to go back with a word for Hananiah. He was to tell Hananiah that he was not sent by the Lord and that his prophecy was not true. God was going to remove the wooden yoke and place an iron yoke on his rebellious people. His final word was that Hananiah would die because he preached rebellion against the Lord.
How would you decide which was true? As we finish reading, the truth becomes apparent. In the seventh month, three months later, Hananiah died! God’s word is always validated because it comes to pass! Please take time today to thank God for His word and the blessing of knowing the truth. Ask Him for discernment in these last days to keep you from being deceived by messages that simply make you feel good but are not of God!