Scripture reading for June 24th: 1st Kings 5, 2nd Chronicles 2, 2nd Thessalonians 3
2nd Thessalonians 3: 6-10 “Now we command you, brothers, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone in not willing to work, let him not eat.”
Paul admonished the believers concerning those in the church who were idle and taking advantage of others generosity. The teaching concerning Christ’s immanent return had caused some to think that there was no need to work but just to wait as Christ was coming soon. But Paul pointed to his own example of working hard to supply his own needs and not be a burden or a hindrance to the Gospel. Each believer has a responsibility to use their gifts and talents to provide for themselves and their families. We are warned not to hang around those who are habitually idle, lest we pick up their bad habits. We are to warn them as brothers, not treat them as enemies.
2nd Thessalonians 3:13-15 “As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for the gift of work that we can do and for the ability to work and bless others and Your kingdom. Our culture has lots of those who are idle and some who major in taking from others. Help me to discern how to warn them if they are brothers or sisters in the Lord. Help me to set a good example for other believers in working and in loving You and others.
2nd Chronicles 2:1-2 “Now Solomon purposed to build a temple for the Name of the Lord, and a royal palace for himself. And Solomon assigned 70,000 men to bear burdens and 80,000 to quarry in the hill country, and 3,600 to oversee them.”
Scripture reading for November 9th: John 13
Key Scriptures: John 13:12-15 “When He had washed their feet and put on His outer garments and resumed His place, He said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.”
Jesus had just taken off His out garment and taken a towel and basin and washed each of the disciple’s feet. He took the place of a servant and, although Lord and Teacher (Rabbi), demonstrated for them the servant heart that He had for them and all who would come to Him. He told them to go and do likewise for each other, remembering His example. Real worship is obedience to Jesus and results in loving service to the members of His body on earth, the Church. Jesus’ example would have rocked the thinking of His own disciples and the culture of that day. The way up, is to humbly take the lowest place by serving the needs of others.
John 13:16-17 “Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your humble example of obedience and serving others. Thank You for serving all by giving your life on the cross and by this example of serving Your own disciples. I commit to serving You and Your Father by serving my brothers and sisters as long as I have breath! I want all people to know that I am Your disciple.
John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Scripture reading for October 20th: 2nd Peter 2
Key Scriptures: 2nd Peter 2:4-8 “For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if He did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes He condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; . . .”
Peter, in writing his last letter before his own execution by Nero, warned the church family against being taken in by false teachers and prophets. He pointed them to the Scriptures and God’s past acts of judgment upon the ungodly. God shows mercy towards the repentant and those keeping faith in Him, but He judges the wicked who refuse His mercy. The angels were created by God to serve Him and the heirs of salvation, us. Some of these created beings rebelled under Satan and God cast them into hell. The word here in Greek is “Tartarus” and is a special holding place for wicked spirits. God judged the ancient world of people and animals living before the flood by destroying them but preserving Noah and his family through their faith. God judged Sodom and Gomorrah with fire from heaven for their sinful rebellion, saving Lot and his daughters, and left that as an example of the fate of the ungodly. These warnings are clear and powerful and from God through the apostle Peter! Let’s not despise his authority!
2nd Peter 2:9-10 “. . then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for Your loving warnings through the apostle Peter to Your church. We repent of complacency and failure to listen to Your warnings and those You place in authority. Have mercy upon us and our nation in these rebellious last days. Use me to preach Your Word clearly and lovingly to the lost today and to live as an example of Christ Jesus my Lord.
2nd Peter 2:20-21 “For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.”
Scripture reading for January 7th: 1st Timothy 4
Key Scriptures: 1st Timothy 4:7-12 “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness: for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for this present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially those who believe. Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.”
Leadership in Christ’s Church requires discipline, focused living and preaching. First, there are the things to avoid: false teachers and false doctrine summed up by Paul as “silly myths”. Our heart is Christ’s home and there is constant vigilance needed to maintain purity of thinking, Then Paul lists things to cultivate: training and discipline in applying God’s Word to our own lives and families. This is made visible by how we live and act and speak in faith and love and purity. It has been said, we are the only “Bible” many people will read. A primary focus of public ministry is the public reading and declaration of Scripture. We use it to teach and exhort others to godly living and fruitfulness in Christ’s kingdom, hopefully while living it out in the Holy Spirit’s grace.
Psalm 119:105 “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, help me today by the Holy Spirit to first apply Your Word to my life and guide my feet in Your ways. I choose to serve the Lord and obey His Word. I will publicly declare the Word of God by reading Scripture, teaching it and living as a godly example.
Joshua 24:15 “And if it is evil in your sight to serve the Lord, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Scripture reading for June 30th: 2nd Chronicles 5-7, Psalm 121, 1st Timothy 4
Key Scriptures: 1st Timothy 4:12-16 “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
Paul instructed Timothy about how to live as a pastor and lead a congregation as a younger leader. Setting an example by how you lived your life and conducted your ministry was one of the keys to success. The public reading of Scripture would help those who heard and the one who read to line up their lives with God’s Truth. The practice of what was read was imperative. Watchfulness of our personal conduct and our doctrine is a daily necessity. Perseverance in these simple principles would bring salvation success personally and in the congregation.
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your example of proclaiming Scripture and living it out consistently. As Your temple, help me to set an example today and persist to the full salvation of all.
Psalm 121:8 “The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.”
2nd Chronicles 7:16 “For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that My Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time.”
Scripture reading for June 15th: Proverbs 22-23, Psalm 117, 1st Thessalonians 1
Key Scriptures: 1st Thessalonians 1:2-7 “We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father you work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers loved by God, that He has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in Word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the Word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.”
As Paul began his letter to the Thessalonian believers, he encouraged them by telling them of his prayers for them. Paul thanked God for their “work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope” in the Lord Jesus. They had received the Word of God in much affliction and had demonstrated their faith by works of repentance and true change. These believers became examples of Jesus Christ and the power of the Gospel among the growing church in Macedonia. God was glorified!
Psalm 117:2 “For great is His steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, help me today to do works of faith in the love of God, being steadfast in hope and full of joy as I obey Your Word. Use my example to encourage other believers and bring God glory.
Proverbs 23:19 “Hear, my son, and be wise, and direct your heart in the way.”
Scripture reading for April 23rd: 2nd Samuel 17-20, John 13
Key Scriptures: John 13:14-18 “If I then, your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate My bread has lifted his heel against me.'”
At the Last Supper, Jesus washed the feet of each of His disciples to set an example for them of servant leadership. He warned them that one of them would betray Him, as Scripture declared. They each began to examine themselves as to their motives and hearts. One would betray and take his own life.
2nd Samuel 17:23 “When Ahithophel (betrayer of King David) saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his donkey and went off home to his own city. He set his house in order and hanged himself, and he died and was buried in the tomb of his fathers.”
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to examine my heart today and repent of anything that would betray You. May I follow Your example of serving and washing the feet of other followers. Amen.
Sunday August 3rd, 2014
Summer is flying by and school begins soon! No education is complete without a thorough knowledge of God and His Word! The nation of Israel gathered to study God’s Word and to teach their children about the importance of faith. Without faith, we cannot please God! Do your family and the family of God a favor and gather with God’s people to worship, study His Word, and pray this day! Your own soul will be fed and refreshed, and your family will be encouraged by your example, and your church family will be blessed by your faithful example! Jesus is coming soon–and quickly (suddenly)!
In His Love, Pastor John and Mary
Scripture reading for January 13th: Genesis 37-40
The story of Joseph is a fascinating one! He was a dreamer and the youngest of 11 brothers. He was also his father’s favorite and probably a little spoiled. His dreams that showed his father and brothers as somehow bowing down to him caused him to nearly lose his life! Jealousy arouses forces that cause trouble! At least one of his brothers showed a small amount of compassion and his life was spared. So much for the big dreams! Joseph was sold into slavery and taken to Egypt.
Joseph was evidently quite handsome and muscular. In his new role as servant to a wealth Egyptian, Potiphar, he was noticed by his master’s wife. One day when Potiphar was gone, as Joseph was doing his duties in the house, he was propositioned by Potiphar’s wife. “Come to bed with me!” Joseph’s response was full of truth and godly wisdom. “My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” This happened day after day and Joseph continued to refuse her advances. What amazing self-control!
Adultery is a sin! It is a sin against God and another person made in God’s image and joined as one to their spouse. God hates sin and this sin causes lying, jealousy, hatred, violence and ultimately death. Adultery sows violence in a relationship and destroys marriages and homes. Children are the victims and the devil loves to devour children in the midst of adultery, lying and violence.
Joseph gives us some very practical advice about how to escape temptation. Our first line of defense is our feet! If we would just quickly remove ourselves from the temptation, how much easier we find we can resist! When we linger and begin to make allowances and reason we will always be defeated! Running away may seem cowardly but it is sure better than the mess caused by sexual sin! “Use de feet to avoid defeat!”
One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants were inside. She caught him by the cloak and said, “come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house. Genesis 39:11-12 “
Marriage should be honored by all and the marriage bed should be kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” Hebrews 13:4