Scripture reading for November 23rd: 2nd Thessalonians 3, Psalms 84, Proverbs 17
2nd Thessalonians 3: 1-5 “Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the Word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.”
As Paul closed out this letter to his friends in Thessalonica, he asked for prayer. His request was that God’s Word would be spread quickly by believers and his own ministry and that it would be honored by many more trusting in Jesus Christ. He asked for deliverance from evil and wicked men who because of no faith were under Satan’s deception. He knew that God was faithful and would answer prayers that aligned with His will. Paul prophetically declared his confidence in God concerning the believers in Thessalonica. He was confident in their faithfulness to apply God’s Word and pray. Paul prayed for them that God would direct their hearts deeper into His Love and the steadfastness of Christ Jesus, Who is eternally Faithful and True. All who trust in the Lord will walk in light and God’s Shield of Christ’s love!
Psalm 84:11-12 “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of Hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in You.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your amazing faithfulness and that of Jesus Christ, our Example and Paul, the Apostle. Thank You for the privilege of prayer and answering prayer. Cover my sins today and protect me from the evil one. May Your Word speed forth to every person You direct me to today through my attitude, actions and words. I declare my trust in You today as my Sun and Shield!
Proverbs 17:9 “Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.”
Scripture reading for November 13th: John 21, Psalm 76, Proverbs 9
John 21: 20-24 “Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against Him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray You?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is My will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!” So the saying spread around that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say that he was not to die, but, “If it is My will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?” This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.
After the resurrection, Jesus Christ met with His disciples to complete their equipping for the mission He was sending them on–to be His witnesses. Peter had denied Jesus three times and Jesus asked him three times if he loved Him. Peter responded in the affirmative, vowing his love. After each response, Jesus reiterated His command to Peter to feed His lambs and sheep. After the third time, Jesus prophetically told Peter how he would give his life for the Master and Gospel. This caused Peter to wonder about John, who was also near at the time. What about John’s future before Jesus’ return? Jesus told him that was not to be his concern, instead Peter was to concentrate on following Him day by day. Jesus has a unique path for each of His followers that requires focus and daily obedience! Wisdom must prepare, set the table and wait.
Psalm 76:11-12 “Make your vows to the Lord your God and perform them; let all around Him bring gifts to Him Who is to be feared, Who cuts off the spirit of princes, Who is to be feared by the kings of the earth.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your patience in restoring Peter and reaffirming Your call. Thank You for calling me to follow You. It is my choice and desire to follow You each day of my life. Keep me from distractions and looking at other disciples with wonder or jealousy instead of keeping my focus on Your appointed work for me. May my testimony of You be steadfast and true and I be found faithful to You.
Proverbs 9:1-2 “Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn her seven pillars. She has slaughtered her beasts; she has mixed her wine; she has also set her table.”
Scripture reading for August 14th: 1st Corinthians 10, Psalm 11, Proverbs 6
1st Corinthians 10: 8-13 “We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
Writing to a church in an immoral and idolatrous culture in Corinth, Paul gave examples from Scripture that would be useful for avoiding temptations. God sees and knows each person. He is faithful to those who humbly put their trust in Him for help and mercy. Every temptation comes with a way of escape. Sexual immorality requires use of the feet to run away and resist. Twenty-three thousand Israelites died when they gave in instead of running away! Proverbs says the adulterer will not go unpunished and that sexual immorality will burn the garment of our flesh! It affects our body and soul. We must avoid pride and humbly use the means of escape provided by our Lord! God is watching us and is for us!
Psalm 11:4-5 “The Lord is in His holy temple the Lord’s throne is in heaven; His eyes see, His eyelides test the children of man. The Lord tests the righteous, but His soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your faithfulness to us in sending Your Son to live perfectly under Your law and offer His body for our sins. Help me remember each time I am tempted to use the way of escape You graciously provide. Protect me from sexual temptations, grumbling, and testing God by my attitudes. Use me to proclaim Your Name through a life of love and ability to resist temptations.
Proverbs 6:27-29 “Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched? So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; none who touches her will go unpunished.”
Scripture reading for July 28th: Luke 23, Psalm 150, Proverbs 26
Luke 23: 44-49 “It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit!” And having said this He breathed His last. Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this Man was innocent!” And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. And all His acquaintances and the women who had followed Him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.”
God gives each of us the breath of life. Every breath we take is a gift to be cherished and used to praise the Lord and fulfil His Word and will. Jesus’ example of perfect faithfulness to His Father is recorded here in Scripture as He took His last breath. He placed His Spirit (Pnuema) (breath) and ultimate destiny in His Father’s hands. John’s Gospel records “It is finished,” as His last words before giving up His Spirit. Jesus totally obeyed His Father in perfect love and honor. This act of service and sacrifice brought a hardened Roman centurion to declare Jesus’ innocence! We can use our breath to declare God’s truth or to share lies and gossip and quarrel with others. We never know when our last breath is coming!
Psalm 150: 1-2, 6 “Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heavens! Praise Him for His mighty deeds; praise Him according to His excellent greatness! . . .”Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!”
Prayer: Father God, I ask You for mercy when I have not used my breaths wisely during my time on earth. Forgive me for gossip, quarreling, and lies. I give my breaths to You to use to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and declare Your praise and glory in prayer and worship. I ask You to fill me with Your Holy Spirit each day that I might give every breath to You until I breath my last here on earth!
Proverbs 26:20 “For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.”
Scripture reading for April 1st: Joshua 9-13, Luke 16
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 the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful with that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
Faithfulness is the first requirement of a good steward. Jesus said that what we have to manage here on earth is a test of our faithfulness and He considers all earthly wealth as ‘very little.’ Earthly wealth is also ‘unrighteous’ and fleeting. When we leave this earth, nothing will go with us. Scripture also teaches that the love of money is the root of all evil and this might be why Jesus called it ‘unrighteous.’ As a steward we actually serve God, Who owns it all. (The earth is the Lord’s!) The Pharisees were lovers of money and justified themselves concerning their use of it. Jesus reminded them that God knows all hearts and what we justify that’s sinful is an abomination in God’s sight. Not one person can serve both God and money!
Luke 16:14-15 “The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him. And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for the stewardship that you have given me. Forgive me for not always being faithful in the little. Help me to use the money and resources You give me to manage in ways that further Your kingdom. I realize that like the tribe of Levi, You are my priceless Inheritance, my Portion, and my eternal Reward!
Joshua 13:32-33 “These are the inheritances that Moses distributed in the plains of Moab, beyond the Jordan east of Jericho. But to the tribe of Levi Moses gave no inheritance; the Lord God of Israel is their inheritance, just as He said to them.”
Scripture reading for August 30th: 1st Corinthians 4
Key Scriptures: 1st Corinthians 4:1-5 “This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, Who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.”
Each person is given a ‘conscience’ and has God’s inner witness that their deeds are on target or missing the mark. Paul admonished the believers about being judges of another believer. It is impossible for us as humans to fully know another person and their true motives. In fact, Paul said he couldn’t accurately judge himself. Only God can truly and fairly judge each believer. At the judgement seat of Christ all hidden motives and purposes will come to light. Christ alone is the perfect and final Judge Who never misses truth.
1st Corinthians 4:6 “I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father, thank You for making me a servant of Christ and steward of the mysteries of God. Help me to stay faithful and true to Your Word and avoid the temptation to make judgments of people and their motives. May I set an example for other believers to follow in the power of the Holy Spirit. My highest desire is to be commended by You as my judge.
1st Corinthians 4:20 “For the kingdom of God does not consist of talk but in power.”
Scripture reading for March 24th: Luke 16
Key Scriptures: Luke 16:10-14 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 the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if 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 hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed Him.”
Jesus had just told his disciples and those listening, including some Pharisees, the parable of the dishonest manager. The Pharisees who were given management in God’s house were lovers of money. They made fun of Jesus because He was not rich and had no possessions. They viewed money as a measure of God’s blessing for obedience. Jesus spoke plainly of our stewardship of money and possessions as “very little” that demanded faithfulness. How we manage the little determines if we can be given more. All we have here belongs to God and He is keeping an account. He is our Master, not the money! We serve Him alone in how we steward His money.
Luke 16:15 “And He said to them, “You (Pharisees) are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, You alone are my Lord and Master, not the money or possessions You have blessed me with. Help me to be the faithful steward of “very little” so that I can bless You and Your kingdom.
Proverbs 28:20 “A faithful man will abound with blessings, but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.”
Scripture reading for July 10th: 1st Corinthians 4, Psalm 137, Proverbs 13
Key Scriptures: 1st Corinthians 4:1-4 “This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.”
Instead of exalting church leaders, they should be viewed as servants of the Lord Jesus and stewards of the mysteries of God revealed in Him. Each steward’s first requirement before God is faithfulness. Only God can judge each person’s faithfulness and reward him. We cannot even judge ourselves with accuracy. Wait on the Lord and He alone will judge with truth.
Faith Confession: I am a servant of Christ Jesus by God’s grace and a steward of God’s Word and truth revealed in Jesus Christ. Lord, help me not to judge others or even myself presumptuously. I will wait on the Lord alone.
Proverbs 13:14 “The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.”
Scripture reading for November 30th: Daniel 1-3, Revelation 2
Key Scriptures: Revelation 2:9-11 “‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.'”
John was taking dictation from Jesus Christ for the churches he had been assigned to oversee. Smyrna was a church undergoing persecution from Jews under Satan’s deception and Jesus told them that they would have a short time of imprisonment and possible martyrdom. They were to be faithful and the reward was a crown of life eternal–never to be hurt by the second death. The second death is the lake of fire made for the devil and his angels and followers.
Daniel 3:27 “And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had com upon them.”
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your promises to those who suffer persecution in the last days and example from Daniel. Help me to stay faithful and reap the reward–a crown of eternal life! Amen.
Scripture reading for October 25th: Jeremiah 13-15, Hebrews 10
Key Scriptures: Hebrews 10:23-27 “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. For if we go on sinning deliberately, after receiving a knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.”
God honors faithfulness and application of truth revealed. Christians have a great responsibility to live in obedience and hold Christ’s return in their thinking and actions. God is faithful and also just! Willful sinning when the knowledge of God’s truth has been received will bring judgment and eternal loss. What a joy to delight in His Word!
Jeremiah 15:16 “Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your words became to me a joy and delight of my heart, for I am called by Your Name, O Lord, God of Hosts.”
Prayer: Lord, Thank You for Your faithfulness and Holy Word of encouragement and warning. May I always delight in Your Word and be called by Your great Name! Amen.