Scripture reading for January 7th: Genesis 12-15, Psalm 148, Mark 5
Mark 5:24-29 “And a great crowd followed Him and thronged about Him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. For she said, “If I touch even His garments, I will be made well.” And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.”
When a person has suffered under a disease or physical infirmity for many years, it is often hard to believe that things can change. In the natural world, things always seem to get worse and conditions deteriorate. This woman in Mark’s Gospel had experienced twelve years of suffering. She had tried all the recommended remedies and spent her money but was worse off than before. But word of Jesus’ healing signs had reached her ears. Faith arose in her heart and she spoke a ‘faith word’ to her own spirit: “If I touch even His garments, I will be made well.” She heard that Jesus was in her area and made haste to do what she believed would bring healing to her suffering body. Pressing in, one touch of Jesus’ robe brought an end to her blood flow and a new sense of health and well-being. If you have a long-term problem like this dear woman, why not take this Word today and reach out in faith to Jesus believing.
Genesis 15:1, 6 “After these things the Word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; and your reward shall be very great.” . . .”And he believed the Lord, and He counted it to him as righteousness.”
Prayer: Father God, I want to hear Your Word in each minute and hour of my day that I might walk in faith and press in to lay hold of all that You have for me. Forgive me when I speak out of fear and unbelief. I want to serve You and others by living a life of faith. I invite the Holy Spirit to give me healthy, ‘Word of God’ inspired self-talk. Bring to my remembrance Your promises and use me to facilitate healing and forgiveness through Your unchanging Word.
Psalm 148:11-13 “Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth! Young men and maidens together, old men and children! Let them praise the Name of the Lord, for His Name alone is exalted; His majesty is above earth and heaven.”
Scripture reading for January 6th: Genesis 9-11, Mark 4
Mark 4:37-41 “And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And He awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?””
Life is filled with disruptions that cause us to loose our peace and bring out our fears. Fear of death, fear of pain, fear of punishment and other fears mark our lives as humans. The disciples in the boat that day were no different than us. When the storm broke upon them, they were fearful for their lives and they woke Jesus from His sleep with a serious question: Did Jesus really care for their welfare? Jesus took action, speaking to the wind and the storm. Immediately there was a great calm and the disciples were filled with even more fear! Who was this Man? How could He speak to the wind and sea? But Jesus’ Words applied to them as well! With faith they could have peace and cast out fear and live abundantly in a great calm!
Mark 4:20 “But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the Word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for delivering us from fear through the Word of God, Jesus Christ our Lord. Help me to remember these words of Jesus to the wind and sea and chose faith instead of fear. Thank You for the New Covenant of eternal life in Jesus Christ and the privilege of using Jesus’ Name to confront storms and waves in my own life. Deliver those bound with fear through the Good News of Jesus today!
Genesis 9:8-11 “I establish My covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth. And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations. I have set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of My covenant between Me and the earth.””
Scripture reading for June 24th: Titus 1
Key Scriptures: Titus 1:10-16 “For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth. To the pure, all things are pure, but the the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and consciences are defiled. They profess to know God, but they deny Him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.”
Paul was a pastor and took time to instruct other pastors in dealing with problems in the church. There are people problems and problem people that must not be ignored but dealt with to keep order in the church and maintain unity. The problem in the church at Crete was false doctrine coming from a sect of Jewish converts who were still teaching Jewish ‘myths’. These ‘teachers’ were not under pastoral and apostolic authority–they were ‘insubordinate’. They thought they had truth, but were really deceived and were causing division. Paul’s instruction to Titus was to rebuke them sharply in hopes of bringing true repentance and faith. They must be silenced and stopped from fleecing the congregation and dividing it. Paul warned Titus that they may not be repentant as false doctrine and love of money from teaching it often defiles mind and conscience. They had a profession, but no possession of saving faith and were unfit for any role of church leadership.
Titus 1:9 “He (elders) must hold firmly to the trustworthy Word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I pray for pastors in Your church that are needing to correct and rebuke sharply those causing division. Give them wisdom and discernment and courage to do what You instruct that sound doctrine and true faith will bring salvation and life. Deliver us from defiled minds and consciences and fear of man.
Titus 1:5 “This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you–“
Scripture reading for June 16th: 1st Thessalonians 3
Key Scriptures: 1st Thessalonians 3:4-8 “For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass and just as you know. For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain. But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you– for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith. For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord.”
Paul loved the Thessalonians and was concerned how they might be taking the afflictions and persecutions coming against Paul as well as believers. He sent Timothy to them to find out about their faith. Timothy informed Paul that the believers were standing firm in faith and love. This brought great comfort and encouragement to Paul. He knew that Satan, the tempter, would be at work as well and wanted to strengthen these friends with God’s Word, as he had earlier when he warned them of coming affliction and persecution. Good pastors and apostles love and watch over their people and guard them against the tempter by equipping them with the Word.
1st Thessalonians 3:9-10 “For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for godly pastors and apostles who care for the souls of those they are sent to serve. May I give you joy by serving faithfully and praying for those you send me to. May You have great joy as believers stand firm in their faith! One day there will be a great reunion as we enjoy Your love and presence forever and ever!
3rd John 3-4 “For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
Scripture reading for May 25th: Ephesians 2
Key Scriptures: Ephesians 2:4-9 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved–and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Boasting is the result of pride in our own ability or accomplishment. We may have reason to boast in some things, but never in relation to our salvation from the penalty of sin and our adoption into God’s family. Salvation is a gift given by a generous and loving Father God through the sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. The only thing we can do is receive the gift by faith and say “thank You”. Those who receive with show forth God’s amazing grace and goodness throughout eternity. Our only boast is in our Lord’s amazing grace gift to us who are undeserved sinners. To Him be all glory, honor and praise, now and forever and ever!
Ephesians 2:18-19 “For through Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, . . .”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the gift of salvation and eternal life. We boast in Your great love and mercy and are so thankful to be adopted into the household of God. Let Your love flow through me to others that they might also enjoy salvation and boast in You forever and ever.
Ephesians 2:22 “In Him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”
Scripture reading for March 3rd: Luke 1
Key Scriptures: Luke 1:34-38 “And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy–the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God. And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.”
A key truth of the Christian faith is the truth that Jesus Christ, God’s Son, was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin who had never known a man. This is important for our faith because a man born the ordinary way, through human intercourse, would not be able to save us because he would still have a sin-nature. God’s plan was to form His Son in a virgin’s womb and allow Him to be born of a woman and yet be the “Son of God.” The child would be holy and set apart from all other humans from His birth. Mary, herself, when approached by the angel had trouble understanding how this would happen. The angel explained that God can do anything He wants and had already formed the fore-runner, John the Baptist, in the womb of a barren woman. Mary humbly submitted and offered her body to serve God and mankind.
Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign, Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His Name Immanuel.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord I believe that You were born of a virgin, and are the Son of God. Thank You for saving me and those who believe on You. Help me to say along with Mary, Your mother, “Let it be to me according to Your Word,” for all my life and service.
Genesis 18:13-14 “The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.”
Scripture reading for February 23rd: Romans 11
Key Scriptures: Romans 11:19-23 “Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will He spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in His kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again.”
Paul used the example of an olive tree to describe the Church and the true spiritual Israel. The Jews were natural branches that were cut off because they refused to accept Jesus the Messiah. The Gentiles who by faith received Christ were wild olive branches that were grafted into the tree that is the symbol of true believers. They stood in their place because of faith and by faith they would continue. Those natural branches were cut off because of unbelief, but God desired to graft them in again if they would believe. God’s kindness is towards believers and His severity towards those refusing to believe. He desires to show mercy to all and see them saved but they must repent and believe in Jesus.
Romans 11:30-31 “For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy.”
Faith confession and prayer: Thank You Lord for your patience and kindness shown towards me and all the unbelievers. I stand in faith and holy fear. Use me today to share the good news of Your kindness and mercy through Jesus Christ.
Romans 11:36 “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen.”
Scripture reading for February 19th: Romans 9
Key Scriptures: Romans 9:30-33 “What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame.””
Paul was a Jew and would have given his own life and salvation for that of his Jewish brothers and sisters. He understood the futility of trying to keep the law for righteousness. He had tried and failed and knew that his brethren had also failed. It was only by faith that righteousness could be obtained as a gift, not as wages earned. This was the stumbling stone, Jesus Christ–one descended from David perfectly kept God’s law and offered Himself as a sacrifice by giving His body and blood. Faith in Him alone would bring the gift of righteousness.
Romans 3:28-30 “For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes of Gentiles also, since God is One–Who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for revealing the way of faith and grace to obtain justification and righteousness. I believe in Jesus Christ and will not be put to shame! Open doors for me to proclaim the Good News of Your grace gift today.
Romans 4:3-5 “For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in Him Who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness. . . .”
Scripture reading for February 12th: Romans 4
Key Scriptures: Romans 4:19-24 “He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in Him Who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, Who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”
Paul used the father of faith, Abraham as a teaching point on justification by faith alone. Abraham was counted righteous when he believed God’s promise of offspring and inheritance despite the condition of his body or Sarah’s womb. This was 430 years before the giving of the Law and before circumcision. Abraham simply believed that God was able to fulfil His promise no matter what he thought or his physical condition. Because of his faith, God gifted him ‘righteousness’. This was written down for the Jews and for Gentiles of every age. Through faith alone by grace alone we are justified–made just before God. We should be fully convinced that God will do what He has promised for He is totally faithful. We have an inheritance awaiting us!
Romans 4:13 “For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord, thank You for saving Jew and Gentile by faith and giving all promise of eternal inheritance in Your family! I am fully convinced You are faithful to Your promises and will share the Good News today with others! Grant me open doors and grace!
Genesis 15:5-6 “And He brought him outside and said, “look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then He said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” And he believed the Lord, and He counted it to him as righteousness.”
Scripture reading for November 27th: Zechariah 12-14; Psalm 94; 2nd John
Key Scriptures: 2nd John 6-9 “And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it. For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. For everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.”
Deception is a mark of the devil and his agents in this world. Lying is the antithesis of God the Father and Jesus the Truth and is the native language of the devil. John again mentions those false teachers and calls them ‘antichrist’ as well as deceivers. This word means ‘counterfeit’. They were in the visible church but really not believers in Jesus Christ, Son of God. They advocated false doctrines and were under a deceiving spirit trying to rob believers of their full reward. The true believers could stay safe by abiding in Jesus’ love and showing love for Him by obedience to all His commandments. These were summed up in two: love God and love your brothers and sisters.” This is our “work” of faith, to believe and follow Jesus’ teaching in His love. Watchfulness is needed over our own souls and those of other believers because the ‘antichrist’ is already here.
Psalm 94:12-13 “Blessed is the man whom You discipline, O Lord, and whom You teach out of your law, to give him rest from days of trouble, until a pit is dug for the wicked.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father, deliver me from the evil one! Fill me each day with Your Word and Spirit, and discipline me if needed. Give me the watchful eyes of an under-shepherd to help brothers and sisters live in Your love and abide in Your Word, receiving their full reward.
Zechariah 13:9 “And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon My Name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are My People’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.'”