Tag: ends of the earth

Repentance and calling!

Scripture reading for July 21st: 2nd Kings 2-3, Psalm 48, Matthew 4

Matthew 4:17-22 “From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” While walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Jesus Christ began His ministry after spending forty days in the wilderness being tempted by the devil. His opening statement was “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Jesus, the King, had arrived on earth and was calling out to all who would listen and believe His Word. His next step was to begin to call individuals to Himself and train and equip them to reach lost people and spoil the devil’s kingdom. These first two He called, Simon Peter and Andrew, were brothers who were fishermen by trade. Jesus challenged them to fish for men! They dropped their nets and accepted His call to them. They changed their mind (repentance) concerned their occupation and calling and Jesus used their obedience to build His Church through calling and equipping disciples!

Psalm 48:9-10 “We have thought on your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of your temple. As Your Name, O God, so Your praise reaches to the ends of the earth. Your right hand is filled with righteousness.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for calling us to repentance and faith to follow Your Son Jesus Christ, our only Savior! Your steadfast love and faithfulness to us causes us to praise You! Your righteousness is made known through Your Son and those who in faith follow Him take His Name and praise to the ends of the earth! Teach me daily how to fish for men, casting the Gospel net to bring in a great catch!

2nd Kings 2:9-10 “When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me. And he said, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if you do not see me, it shall not be so.”

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Rejoicing in God’s Big Heart!

Scripture reading for November 13th:  Acts 10-14

Key Scriptures:  Acts 13: 47-49, 52  “For this is what the Lord has commanded us:  “‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'”  When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.  The word of the Lord spread through the whole region.  . . . And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”

Paul and Barnabas were sent out by the church in Antioch on their first missionary journey specifically to the Gentiles.  They went to the Jews first and were opposed so they then preached Christ to the Gentiles.  They reaped a harvest of Gentiles among those who believed!  God’s big heart desired something big–the ends of the earth finding salvation!   The word of Christ spread rapidly and this brought great joy and an new infilling of the Holy Spirit to the disciples!

Rejoicing in God’s Big Heart:  “He (the Lord) says:  “It is too small a thing for You to be My servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept.  I will also make You a light for the Gentiles, that You may bring My salvation to the ends of the earth.”    (Isaiah 49:6)

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I bow my knee!

Scripture reading for August 10th:  Isaiah 43-46

Key Scriptures:   Isaiah 45:22-24  “”Turn to Me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.  By Myself I have sworn, My mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked:  Before Me every knee will bow; by Me ever tongue will swear.  They will say of Me, ‘In the Lord alone are righteousness and strength.'”

God proclaimed through Isaiah His prophet that He alone was God and His word was true.  He was the only God who knew the future and spoke truth.  He spoke that He alone was the source of salvation for all the ‘ends of the earth’.  He proclaimed that one day, every knee would bow and every tongue would confess His righteousness and strength!

Rejoice in our Savior:  “Therefore God exalted Him (Jesus) to the highest place and gave Him the Name that is above every name, that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  (Philippians 2:9-11)

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Something to sing about!

Scripture reading for July 24th: Isaiah 24-27

Isaiah broke forth in a prophesy about the coming “day of the Lord”.  This watchman of Israel warned the people of God to be ready for what would surely come.  They would welcome it with singing and joy. (Isaiah 24:14-16)  The people of earth without a knowledge of the Lord would face it with mourning and terror! (Isaiah 24:11-13)

Out of this vivid description of the terror of the lost comes bright rays of joy and hope for those of faith!  Isaiah heard shouts of joy and acclaim for the glory and majesty of the Lord arising from the East and West!  He heard singing coming from the islands of the sea and the ends of the earth!  God would bring His people together from the nations with great joy in His presence!  (Isaiah 24:14-16)  God would reign in their midst on Mt. Zion!  (Isaiah 24:23)

In Isaiah 25:1-4, Isaiah praised the Lord for the fulfillment of His Word!  God had spoken out His plans from ancient times and suddenly brought them to pass!  He would humble the proud and exalt his humble people!  He would care for the poor and needy and defeat all their enemies!  On the mountain of the Lord, Mt. Zion, God would destroy the shroud that enfolded all peoples and swallow up death!  He would prepare a great banquet for His people!   No wonder His people from the ends of the earth were singing!

These verses were quoted 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 in Revelation 19:6-9 as John describes the wedding supper of the Lamb!  Whenever we receive Holy Communion, we are proclaiming His victory over death and our hope that great banquet!

“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.”   (Isaiah 26:3-4)  Put your trust in Jesus Christ again today!  He is our Rock eternal and Prince of Peace!

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Final instructions–for us!

Scripture reading for June 3rd: Acts 1:1-26

Today our journey through the New Testament takes us to the book of Acts.  Acts was an additional historical book written by the doctor, Luke, documenting the progress of the early church.  The first 12 chapters focus on events in and around Jerusalem and the Apostle Peter while the last chapters focus on the missionary efforts of the Apostle Paul.  There are over 50 references to the Holy Spirit so we might call this book the ‘Acts of the Holy Spirit’.

Acts begins by Luke recounting briefly his Gospel account of all Jesus began to do and to teach before He was taken up to heaven.  Jesus appeared to the apostles for a period of forty days and taught them about the kingdom of God.  Jesus gave them a specific command, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift My Father promised, which you have heard Me speak about.  For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:4-5)

His disciples, now called ‘apostles’ (sent ones), asked Jesus if this is when He would restore the kingdom to Israel.  Jesus told them, “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority.  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)  These final instructions would shape the work of these apostles and the growth of the early church.

Jesus did not want them focusing on dates or times, but wanted them filled with this special gift of the Father, the Holy Spirit.  Their purpose was to be ‘witnesses’ of Jesus Christ.  Jesus had a simple message and a world-wide vision.  The Holy Spirit would empower these men and the other followers of Jesus to be the witnesses they needed to be.

These simple instructions are still in effect for us today.  We are to be focused on the mission of taking the Gospel of Jesus to our own ‘Jerusalem’ and then to the surrounding country and even to the ends of the earth.  The power to do that comes from being baptized in the Holy Spirit!  Ask the Lord to fill you with His power today!

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