Scripture reading for March 1st: Romans 15
Key Scriptures: Romans 15:3-7 “For Christ did not please Himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.” For whatever was written former days was written for our instruction, that through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragements grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”
Life isn’t supposed to be about me or centered on my will. Jesus demonstrated His own life lived out to please God and serve others in perfect submission and obedience. This took patience and endurance and for Jesus, the ultimate in suffering and sacrifice. Paul encourages the Roman Christians to follow Jesus’ example and gain encouragement from Scripture of the blessed hope that is ours in Christ. Paul prays that the “God of endurance and encouragements” would empower and make the way for harmony and unity among God’s people, that they may glorify God the Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. He asked that they would speak and live the Gospel of God’s love with “one voice,” welcoming others in the unity of Christ’s body. As Christ suffered to bring us into God’s unified Body, we may also have to endure suffering for others.
Psalm 69:9 “For zeal for Your house has consumed Me, and the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on Me.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your Word and Holy Spirit that gives me endurance and encouragement today. Help me to live in perfect harmony with my brothers and sisters in the church. Use me to build Your Church and welcome others into fellowship and harmony.
Psalm 133:1 “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity.
Scripture reading for October 5th: Jeremiah 17-20, James 1
Key Scriptures: James 1:12-15 “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and He Himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”
James writes to the Church of Jesus Christ concerning trials and testing. He encourages believers to count it all joy when trials come because trials produce patience and endurance and lead to eternal reward. He even says that those who stand firm under trials will receive a crown of life, promised by God the Father. We are never to accuse God of tempting us, however. James reminds us that God tempts no one. Temptations occur when our own selfish desires lure us into sin and we give in. Sin fully developed leads to death.
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to joyfully accept trials and tests and to resist temptations. I trust You for strength and discernment to identify temptations and cut them off, awaiting my eternal reward.
Jeremiah 17:9-10 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick, who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.””
Scripture reading for June 11th: Proverbs 16-18, Romans 15
Key Scriptures: Romans 15:5-7, 13 “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” . . .”May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
By God’s grace we are empowered to live in harmony with one another. God gives us endurance and encouragement to stay in unity through the infilling of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us God’s power to rest in Jesus Christ and live in peace and joy because we know we are God’s children and declared righteous. We have the Blessed Hope of Jesus’ soon return.
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You today for the fruit of the Holy Spirit in my life, bringing patience and endurance in this trying time. May I live in the power of the Holy Spirit today to live in steadfast love and harmony with Your Church sharing the hope we have in Christ Jesus, making my enemies my peace-filled friends.
Proverbs 16:6-7 “By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil. When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”
Scripture reading for March 5th: Numbers 8-11, Colossians 1
Key Scriptures: Colossians 1:9-12 “And so from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.”
Paul prayed for the believers he had been told about, asking God for spiritual gifting and increased understanding and knowledge of God. He knew God was glorified when they would produce fruit as a result of knowing His will and doing it. Growth spiritually is not always instantaneous, but requires patience and endurance through many setbacks and obstacles. Prayer is the best thing we can do for new believers–and older saints!
Numbers 11:24-25 “So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord. And he gathered seventy men of the elders of the people and placed them around the tent. Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. As soon as the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied. But they did not continue doing it.”
Faith Confession and prayer: Lord, fill me with the Holy Spirit and wisdom today that I might speak Your Word with boldness and understanding. Thank You for the prayers of Paul that inspire me to pray for myself and others.
Scripture reading for July 3rd: Romans 15, Psalm 132, Proverbs 8
Key Scriptures: Romans 15:4-6 “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Paul knew that the Roman believers needed endurance and encouragement to live by faith in the grace of Jesus Christ. The God of endurance and encouragement is Jesus Christ! This amazing Savior gives us the encouragement and endurance we need through His unchanging and true Word, also a source of fulfillment for our deepest need.
Faith Confession: I believe that Jesus Christ is the God of endurance and encouragement and that His Word gives me hope as well. I shout for joy at the gifts of hope, endurance and encouragement!
Psalm 132:8-9 “Arise, O Lord, and go to Your resting place, Your and the ark of Your might. Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness and let Your saints shout for joy.”
Scripture reading for July 10th: Psalm 139-143
Key Scriptures: Psalm 143:9-12 “Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord, for I hide myself in You. Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground. For Your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life; in Your righteousness, bring me out of trouble. In Your unfailing love, silence my enemies; destroy all my foes, for I am Your servant.”
The psalmist faces a desperate situation where God is his only refuge! He clings to the Lord and hides himself there in His presence. He asks for instruction in God’s will and the leading of the Holy Spirit. He asks God to preserve his life and bring him out of this trouble, silencing his enemies and foes. God is his last and best hope!
A knowledge of His will: “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you might have great endurance and patience, . .” (Colossians 1:9-12)
Scripture reading for July 4th: Romans 15
Key Scriptures for over-comers: Romans 15:1-4 “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
God has given His people His sacred Word. The Word of God was also embodied in Jesus Christ as He came into our world as a man and lived in obedience to every Word God had commanded, fulfilling Scriptures. Because of this and Christ’s example, we no longer live for ourselves but for God. We love our neighbors and seek to build them up by bearing with them in matters of conscience not covered specifically in Scripture. We know from Scriptures that Jesus is coming again to receive His people and reward them for their faithful service and faith in His sacrifice.
Observations for over-comers: We must stay close to Christ through living in the Holy Spirit and our prayer life. We overcome by faith and obedience to the Word of God! “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed His steps; I have kept to His way without turning aside. I have not departed from the commands of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily bread.” (Job 23:10-12)
Scripture reading for July 3rd: Romans 15
Paul identified himself with those who were ‘strong’ in their faith. He understood the liberty that believers have in Jesus Christ. He also knew that strong believers might become prideful and judgmental, as he had been towards followers of Christ before he was saved. In order to encourage the strong believers, he asked them to bear with the failings of the weaker believers. “Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on Me.” For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance and encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:2-4)
Christ, our example, always sought to please the Father and as a result suffered for it. He was insulted and ridiculed as a ‘friend of tax collectors and sinners‘! Those insults were directed towards Christ and the Father! But Christ was on a mission to save the lost, not condemn them! The Scriptures record the endurance and message of hope that Christ proclaimed in order to help us follow His example. So must we be kind, patient, and encouraging to those who are weaker in their faith. We must accept them as Christ accepted us and cultivate unity and love.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13) It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that we are filled with joy and peace through faith in Christ! The Holy Spirit brings a hope that ‘overflows’ into the lives believers encouraging all!