Scripture reading for November 10th: John 20, Psalm 75, Proverbs 8
John 20:26-29 “Eight days later, His disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see My hands; and put out your hand, and place it in My side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.””
Romans 10:17 declares that faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Thomas, the doubting disciple, stated that he could not believe unless he saw Jesus himself and put his fingers in His wounds. Jesus, knowing Thomas’ weakness of faith, met him right where he was. Jesus showed Himself to Thomas and the other disciples by coming right through locked doors. He specifically invited Thomas, who had been missing on other appearances of Jesus after His resurrection, to place his fingers in the nail wounds and his hand in Jesus’ side. This brought a firm declaration from Thomas of faith. Jesus’ Word to Thomas brought faith, as it will to all who hear and choose to believe. Seeing was just a bonus that we will all enjoy one day when we are privileged to see Jesus Christ face to face when He comes again!
Psalm 75:9-10 “But I will declare it forever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob. All the horns of the wicked I will cut off, but the horns of the righteous shall be lifted up.”
Prayer: Righteous Father, I will declare the truth of Jesus’ resurrection and salvation through His body and shed blood. I will praise You for exalting those who hear and believe and counting them righteous. Jesus Christ is my Lord and God Almighty! I look forward to the day of Jesus’ return in power and glory when my faith in Him will become sight! Come, Lord Jesus! Come!
Proverbs 8:4-6 “To you, O men, I call, and My cry is to the children of man. O simple ones, learn prudence; O fools, learn sense. Hear, for I will speak noble things and from My lips will come what is right. . .”
Scripture reading for July 21st: Luke 18, Psalm 145, Proverbs 21
Luke 18: 1-8 “And He told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.'” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to His elect, who cry to him day and night? Will He delay long over them? I tell you, He will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?””
God always honors faith. Faith puts its hope in God’s ability to do what He has promised or spoken. Jesus, in teaching His followers about faith and prayer, used this example of an unjust judge who neither feared God or respected man. This worldly judge finally gave in to the widow who was persistently coming to him for justice. He did this to get her complaint out of his sight. God is never unjust or callous toward those who call on Him. We must be persistent in faith and patient to wait for His sure answer. In the meantime, we must also be about His business of helping the poor and needy as we have opportunity.
Psalm 145:18-19 “The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear Him; He also hears their cry and saves them.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You that You are never unjust or uncaring towards us when we call out to you. Help me to be persistent and always come in faith when I call to You. Help me to be attentive to those You put in my path who need Your help that I can provide. I will continue to call out to You for my family each day knowing You are near to me and hear my cry and will save them and provide for them.
Proverbs 21:13 “Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.”
Scripture reading for July 19th: Luke 16, Psalm 143, Proverbs 19
Luke 16: 10-13 “”One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters, for either he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.””
Jesus had just told a parable about a dishonest manager who was shrewd to use his position to win friends to care for him after he was removed from management. Jesus explained that to be dishonest in even a little–the managing of another’s money, was to be dishonest in much. Dishonesty is part of our inner life and a lack of faithfulness with this world’s goods will bar us from stewardship of that which is truly of eternal value. Serving God requires truth and integrity in our inner man. Apart from our humble repentance and God’s grace, we end up serving the flesh and the devil who uses our flesh. We must sell out to serving God and invite Him to lead us on the level ground of faith on a day by day basis.
Psalm 143:9-10 “Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord! I have fled to You for refuge. Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God! Let Your Good Spirit lead me on level ground.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for this simple instruction on honesty. Forgive me when I have not been a wise or honest steward of that which belongs to You. Giving You the tithe is an act of stewardship and integrity. Continue to help me and guide me on the level ground of faith. Thank You for promising to provide for all my needs if I seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness and faithfully serve You alone.
Proverbs 19:1 “Better is a poor person who walks in integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.”
Scripture reading for May 16th: Romans 1, Psalm 97, Proverbs 4
Romans 1: 8-12 “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, Whom I serve with my spirit in the Gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you–that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.”
Paul, writing to Roman followers of Jesus, wanted to encourage them by his own walk of faith and was asking God that he would be able to come and be with them. He wanted to encourage them in the faith and impart some spiritual gift to this body of believers to help them to grow stronger in their faith and increase the testimony of faith going out from that church. When believers share stories of faith and God at work in their lives, everyone is mutually encouraged and faith rises to believe God’s Word and pray for more miracles and salvations. This brings transformation and joy to the believers as the Light of God’s Word, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, advances against the darkness, driving it totally away at Christ’s return!
Psalm 97:10-12 “O you who love the Lord, hate evil! He preserves the lives of His saints; He delivers them from the hand of the wicked. Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart. Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous, and give thanks to His holy Name!”
Prayer: Father God, I love You and trust You daily to use me in the encouragement of other believers. I desire to impart spiritual Truth and the Gospel message that people may be saved and come into God’s family. I desire the Light of the World, Jesus Christ to be exalted and shine through my life brighter and brighter each day until I go to be with You or Your return for Your Bride! Amen!
Proverbs 4:18 “The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.”
Scripture reading for March 23rd: Galatians 2, Psalm 59, Proverbs 28
Galatians 2:15-16, 20-21 “We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law by through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. . . .I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ Who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”
Paul had been a zealous Jew like many in the church at Galatia. He worked hard at keeping the law and had sought to imprison and harm those who preached the Gospel of God’s grace through faith. After a face to face meeting with the resurrected Jesus, Paul was converted and then spent time in the desert learning from Jesus the truths of the Gospel message. The works of the law could only expose sin, not bring the needed change and produce righteousness. Only our humble confession of our sins and appealing to Jesus Christ for mercy through His sacrifice on the cross obtains for us the gift of His righteousness. His mercy through faith produces what all our works cannot: justification and righteousness! That makes us sing for joy in true freedom!
Psalm 59: 16 “But I will sing of Your strength; I will sing aloud of Your steadfast love in the morning. For You have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for saving me through Your Son’s sacrifice! I identify with Christ and His cross as my only hope of true righteousness and eternal life. I have been born again through faith in His blood and His resurrection to life! Through confession of my sins and forsaking them I have obtained mercy and the joy of living in God’s eternal covenant of love!
Proverbs 28: 13 “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”
Scripture reading for June 17th: Proverbs 26-28, 1st Thessalonians 3
1st Thessalonians 3: 6-10 “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. 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.”
Paul was in jail for his faith and sent Timothy to the Thessalonians to see how the church there was holding up under persecution. Timothy brought a good report of the believer’s faith and love and their steadfast devotion to Christ Jesus. This comforted Paul and encouraged him. He was deeply grateful to God for this grace in a newly established church family. His prayer was that he be able to come and further strengthen their faith through teaching and preaching more of God’s Word. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God and allowing the Holy Spirit to apply it to our lives! (Romans 10:17) Jesus is coming soon!
1st Thessalonians 3:11-12 “Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all as we do for you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your Word which brings faith, first for salvation, and then for growing holiness and deeper faith. Help me to stand firm in faith in You and Your Truth as I wait for the soon return of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Let me hear reports of faithfulness and love among those that you have sent me to as well. This will comfort and encourage me and others!
Proverbs 28:20 “A faithful man will abound with blessings, but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.”
Scripture reading for May 27th: 2nd Samuel 24, 1st Chronicles 21, Romans 4
Romans 4:1-5 “What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 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 justified the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, . .””
Paul was explaining the amazing truth of justification by faith to Gentile believers as well as Jews. Here he showed how God used Abraham’s faith to call him ‘righteous’ before the law or circumcision was given. This man Abraham simply believed God’s promise that he would become the father of many nations, even when his wife Sarah had been barren for many years. Abraham was 99 years old and Sarah was 90 and beyond the years of childbirth, but by faith they conceived and Sarah had a child as God had promised. This child and his offspring would become a nation, Israel, that would be marked by God’s presence in their midst. However, Abraham’s simple faith made him the ‘father’ of all from every nation who will believe and received the gift of righteousness! Amen!
Romans 4:16-17 “That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring–not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”–in the presence of the God in Whom he believed, Who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.”
Prayer: Father God, Thank You for giving all who believe in You and Your Son, Jesus Christ, the gift of Your righteousness and the forgiveness of our sins, guilt and shame. I am humbled and grateful to be filled with Your Presence. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and power to declare this “good news” to all people, nations, tribes and tongues that all might enjoy grace and eternal life in Your presence.
2nd Samuel 22:24-25 “But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.” So David built there an altar to the Lord and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord responded to the plea for the land, and the plague was averted from Israel.”
Scripture reading for April 5th: Joshua 18-21, Psalm 15, Luke 18
Luke 18:1-8 “And He told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’ And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to His elect, who cry to him day and night? Will He delay long over them? I tell you, He will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?””
Many times in our world it looks like the ‘bad guys’ always win. The circumstances of life are stacked against us. We look for an advocate, but they are few and far between. The woman in this parable of Jesus’ may have felt that way, but her faith caused her to appeal to the ‘unjust’ judge. She did this again and again and got his attention. The ‘unjust’ judge finally granted her justice just to get some peace. Now Jesus turned this parable around for us. God is not ‘unjust’ but the all-powerful Just and True Judge. We have been given access through prayer to His throne. Like the woman, we should be crying out day and night in faith, not fainting under the load of fear or trouble. Jesus promises a speedy answer! Why not believe Him and begin asking in faith?
Psalm 15:1-2 “O Lord, who shall sojourn in Your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; . .”
Prayer: Father God, the times we live in are filled with injustice and Your people are often mistreated. Give us more grace to pray instead of fainting. Help us to live by faith, despite hostile circumstances and persecution. We desire a ‘full inheritance’ and want to be found with faith when You return.
Joshua 19:49-50 “When they had finished distributing the several territories of the land as inheritances, the people of Israel gave an inheritance among them to Joshua the son of Nun. By command of the Lord they gave him Timnath-serah in the hill country of Ephraim. And he rebuilt the city and settled in it.”
Scripture reading for April 4th: Joshua 14-17, Luke 17
Luke 17:15-19 “Then one of them (the 10 lepers), when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving Him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no on found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”
The Jews thought that their Jewish blood made them citizens of God’s kingdom. They were the ‘chosen’ people through Abraham. In this story, Jesus healed ten lepers who came to him. One of the ten, a Samaritan, returned to give thanks and praise God. The others, presumably Jews, did not. Jesus honored the Samaritan’s faith and granted healing–he was ‘made well!’ The Pharisees asked Jesus after this, when the kingdom would come. Jesus answered them with a puzzling statement. No one can actually observe the kingdom of heaven now, because it is within each person possessing faith in the Son of God. It is not what we eat or drink, healing, or miracles; it is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit! (Romans 14:17)
Luke 17:20-21 “Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your great salvation! Like the ten lepers, I was unclean and in need of a miracle. You touched me and I was cleansed and given the kingdom of heaven in place of my filthy rags. I know righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit! Like Caleb of old, my strength is renewed each day and I trust You to give me my full inheritance!
Joshua 14:11-12 “And now, behold, I am this day eighty-five years old. I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me: my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming. So now give me this hill country of which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out just as the Lord said.”