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.”
Scripture reading for March 22nd: Deuteronomy 10-14, Psalm 5, Luke 8
Luke 8: 22-25 “One day He got into a boat with His disciples, and He said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, and as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. And they went and woke Him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And He awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this that He commands even winds and water, and they obey Him?””
Life as a believer in Jesus Christ is centered on faith. Even in the time of Moses, God called His people to walk in faith in His Word and to love Him by obeying His Word. As they loved God, He would lead them and fight their battles and protect them from harm. They would possess the land of promise by faith and every place they walked would be theirs. As these disciples of Jesus experienced a storm on the Sea of Galilee, their faith wavered as Jesus calmly slept. They woke Him up in fear for their lives. Jesus faithfully protected them and then asked them a penetrating question: “Where is your faith?” This question should cause us all to examine our trust and belief in God’s Word.
Deuteronomy 11:22-24 “For if you will be careful to do all this commandment that I command you to do, loving the Lord your God, walking in all His ways, and holding fast to Him, then the Lord will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations greater and mightier than you. Every place the sole of your foot treads shall be yours.”
Prayer: Father God, my faith is anchored in Your holy and unchanging Word. Forgive me for times when I have been overcome by fear from the events around me. Help me to increase my faith by reading Your Word and applying it to my life daily. Thank You for Your amazing promises of favor and protection that cause me to rejoice in You!
Psalm 5:11-12 “But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your Name may exult in You. For You bless the righteous, O Lord; You cover him with favor as with a shield.”
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.”