Scripture reading for May 5th: 1st Samuel 23-24, 1 Chronicles 6, Psalm 54, Acts 16
Key Scriptures: Acts 16:25-31 “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all of the prison doors were opened and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household.””
Paul and Silas had been beaten and put in stocks in the dungeon of a Philippian prison. They were praying and praising God at the darkest hour–midnight, with other prisoners listening in amazement. In response to their faith, God sent a special earthquake that loosed their bonds and opened the doors! The jailer fell under conviction, asking what he needed to do for salvation. Paul’s response was simple: “Believe on the Lord Jesus!” He could and would be spared by faith, and his whole household if they too believed!
Psalm 54:4 “Behold, God is my Helper; the Lord is the Upholder of my life.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord, I put my trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and receive salvation, for me and for my whole household! I stand in faith for each one’s personal act of trust in the Lord Jesus.
1st Samuel 24:10 “Behold, this day your eyes have seen how the Lord gave you today into my hand in the cave. And some told me to kill you, but I spared you. I said, ‘I will not put out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord’s anointed.'”
Scripture reading for December 10th: Revelation 8, Psalm 119-20, Proverbs 30
Key Scriptures: Revelation 8:1-5 “When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.”
God loves the prayers of His people! The Scripture says that our prayers are like incense offered in a sweet-smelling savor to our Lord. When we call on Him, we honor Him and He will answer and deliver what we need. During the final day of God’s wrath, prayers will be offered and God will answer with actions on earth that shake the world!
Faith Confession: Lord, thank You for Your faithfulness to answer our prayers and prayers of Your people everywhere. Thank You for the Holy Spirit who enables us to pray according to Your perfect will.
Proverbs 30:5 “Every Word of God proves true; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.”
Scripture reading for December 6th: Revelation 6, Psalm 115-16, Proverbs 28
Key Scriptures: Revelation 6:12-16 “When He opened the sixth seal, I looked and behold, there was a great earthquake and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that had been rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him Who is seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb.””
John watched as the Lamb opened the scroll He had received from God on the throne. As the seals were opened, judgments were triggered on the earth. The sixth seal brought a great earthquake which caused mountains to crumble and islands of the sea to disappear. The dwellers of earth were terrified and sought shelter from the face of God and from His wrath against sin.
Faith Confession: I am thankful that I am a citizen of Heaven and just a pilgrim on earth. I am concerned for those not recorded in the registry of God’s family. Great terror and eternal loss will be their lot so I must pray and do my assignment from God while on earth.
Proverbs 28:14 “Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity.”
Scripture reading for February 6th: Matthew 27, Psalm 27, Proverbs 27
Key Scriptures: Matthew 27:51-54 “And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!””
Matthew described the events that took place immediately after Jesus cried out for the last time and gave up His Spirit. First, the temple veil was torn, from top to bottom revealing the Holy of Holies. Then there was a great earthquake, shaking rocks to pieces and opening sealed tombs, as well as a resurrection of saints from those tombs who showed themselves to many in the city. The centurion and troops overseeing the crucifixion saw these events and made a faith confession: “Truly this was the Son of God!”
Faith’s confession: I believe that the death of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, opened the way for me to experience the presence of God. I have a down payment now with the Holy Spirit in me but will fully experience Jesus at the resurrection and rapture.
Proverbs 27:12 “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.”
Scripture reading for May 25th: 2nd Chronicles 2-5, Acts 16
Key Scriptures: Acts 16:25-26 “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. Immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened.”
Paul and Silas spent time in stocks, after having been beaten. They spent their time there in the darkness singing hymns and praying. About midnight, the Lord sent a great earthquake that loosened all the bonds and opened the jail doors. The jailer was ready to take his own life, thinking that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul reassured him that they were all there. The jailer’s question brought salvation to him and his household!
2nd Chronicles 5:13 “and it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord, and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the Lord, “For He is good and His steadfast love endures forever,” the house of the Lord was filled with a cloud.”
Prayer: Lord, it is my duty and desire to worship You in all circumstances. Teach me to make Your praises heard. Amen.
Scripture reading for February 6th: Leviticus 2-4, Matthew 27
Key Scriptures: Matthew 27:50-54 “And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!””
Jesus, the Son of God, hung on a cross between heaven and earth, offering His own body and blood as the final sacrifice for our sins and the sins of the world. He cried out to His Father one more time and gave up His spirit. The earth shook, rocks were split, tombs were opened, saints were resurrected and the temple curtain was torn from top to bottom! The Gentile centurion and those with him declared the divinity of Jesus, Son of God!
Leviticus 4:15,20-21 “And the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands on the head of the bull before the Lord, and the bull shall be killed before the Lord. . . .And the priest shall make atonement for them, and they shall be forgiven.”
Prayer: Lord Jesus, Son of God, thank You for Your complete obedience to fulfill the law as the final and complete sacrifice for our sins. May I always use the grace provided to approach Your throne through Your sacrifice. Amen.
Scripture reading for February 8th: Matthew 27
Key Scriptures for over-comers: Matthew 27:50-53 “And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He gave up His spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.”
Jesus was not murdered by Roman soldiers, He willingly gave up His spirit to the Father after suffering for the sins of all mankind. When His own obedience to the Father was complete, Jesus was released from His suffering and shame. This event was so powerful that the first event recorded by Matthew was the tearing of the thick veil on the temple. This was significant to Jews, because that veil had covered the Holy of Holies so that only the High Priest could enter, once a year for the sins of the people. Now the final sacrifice was completed, a better sacrifice that would satisfy God’s justice forever!
An earthquake also occurred which split rocks and opened some tombs of holy men and women of the past. This earthquake shook the realm of the dead to the core! Death could no longer hold those who by faith had looked to God for His salvation!
Observations for over-comers: Never forget the power of the Gospel message and the story of Jesus’ suffering and death for our sins! It has power to raise the dead and cause spiritual earthquakes that open the way to intimacy with God! “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; . .” (Job 19:25-26)
Scripture reading for December 15th: Revelation 11
“I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the worshipers there. But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months. And I will give power to My two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” (Revelation 11:1-3)
John was put to work in his vision. He was given a measuring rod and told to measure the temple in Jerusalem, the city where “our Lord was crucified.” Measuring in the prophetic literature has to do with spiritual evaluation for judgment or for reward. God would evaluate those in His house for true worship and exclude those who would trample His holy city. A set time was given for their trampling: forty-two months. This is in line with the prophesy of Daniel 7:25 where the “little horn” will oppress the saints for “a time, times and half a time.”
During this time, two witnesses chosen by God will prophesy, clothed in sackcloth. They are clothed in sackcloth as a sign of mourning for the judgments that they are bringing. They are given power by the Holy Spirit to strike their enemies and bring drought and plagues on the earth. When they are finished with their testimony, they will be killed by the beast. Their bodies will lie in the street for three and a half days while people of the earth celebrate their deaths. Then, suddenly, they will be resurrected and caught up to heaven in the clouds! A great earthquake will strike the city and 7000 people die and others terrified.
The seventh angel then sounds his trumpet and announces: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15) The climax all heaven has waited for has come!
Scripture reading for May 27th: Acts 16
Earthquakes have been in the news frequently. A devastating earthquake killed thousands in Nepal and caused terrible hardship and suffering. But the Book of Acts tells of an earthquake that had a liberating effect on a specific group of people. This earthquake literally shook the chains off them and opened the hearts of a family for salvation!
Paul and Silas while on a missionary journey found themselves in stocks in the prison dungeon, beaten and bruised, after casting a demon from a slave girl in the Roman province of Philippi. Instead of feeling sorry for themselves, they began to worship God. “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the doors flew open and everybody’s chains came loose.” (Acts 16:25-26)
Worship has a liberating effect on the souls of those who practice it. It also has a way of loosing people from chains of bondage! In this case, all the prisoners experienced a terrible shaking that loosed them and opened the doors of the jail!
The jailer was fearful that all the prisoners would escape in the night, and drew his sword to kill himself. Paul called out to stop him, letting him know that all were still there. “The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.” (Acts 16:29-31) This earthquake opened the heart of the Roman jailer to recognize his need of salvation! This was an earthquake that brought blessing!
Scripture reading for December 17th: Revelation 8:1-13
As the Lamb opened the seventh seal on the scroll, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour! (Revelation 8:1) The number ‘seven’ was a special number to the Hebrew people. It represented completion and fullness. It was the number of rest from the story of creation and the day of rest for the people of God, Israel. This silence signified rest, completion, and anticipation of the opening of the scroll by the Lamb.
After the silence, seven angels appeared before the throne and they were given seven trumpets. John then noticed another angel, “who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.” (Revelation 8:3-5)
This description from before the throne of God helps us as saints to understand how our prayers ascend before God. God loves to hear from His children. Their prayers are a sweet fragrance to Him, symbolized by the incense offered. John knew that the golden altar of incense in the temple was right before the veil. It was there that the priests offered daily prayers and burned incense. He was now seeing the reality of this in heaven!
In response to those prayers from earth, heaven shook the earth with fire from the altar! Prayers are powerful and release power from heaven to bring help and assistance in the battle against evil and sin. We must always pray and not faint. God’s delight is to help those who call on Him in trouble! (Psalm 50:15)
The silence in heaven was broken by the sounding of the seven trumpets. As each one sounded, judgments fell on the earth. These all seem to come in response to the prayers going up before God! Four angels sounded trumpets and then John saw an eagle flying in midair and calling out: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels.” (Revelation 8:13)