Scripture reading for January 20th: Mark 15, Psalm 15, Proverbs 15
Mark 15:16-20 “And the soldiers led Him away inside the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters), and they called together the whole battalion. And they clothed Him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on Him. And they began to salute Him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they were striking His head with a reed and spitting on Him and kneeling down in homage to Him. And when they had mocked Him, they stripped Him of the purple cloak and put His own clothes on Him. And they led Him out to crucify Him.”
Mark’s account of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus, probably from Peter and possibly his own memory, was full of mockery and derision. The soldiers, course men of the world of Rome, loved to laugh at someone else’s expense. Where they got the purple robe we do not know. But they found thorns growing near-by and quickly fashioned a crown. Placing it on Jesus, they mocked this ‘King of the Jews’, spit on him and repeatedly struck Him, beating Him severely, before crucifying Him. Scoffing and mocking are sins of pride. People seek to elevate themselves and put in total humiliation those they mock. Jesus wisely held His tongue, and in fact, prayed for these men, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)
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: Glorious Lord, thank You for Your steadfast love and faithfulness to take our sins in Your body on the cross that our sins might be atoned for. Thank You for the Gift, Your Holy Spirit, that enables us to now fear the Lord and live blamelessly through grace during our sojourn in this world. Your righteousness given to us enables us to live in Your Holy Presence forever! Amen! Hallelujah!
Proverbs 16:5-6 “Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished. By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.”
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 August 26th: Ephesians 2, Psalm 20, Proverbs 16
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 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.”
Paul shared with the Ephesians the richness of God’s heart of mercy and the gift of His grace through His amazing love for us as sinners. He forgave our sins through Christ’s sacrifice and then raised us up with Christ, seating us in the heavenly realms in Him. We can claim no merit or credit for these gifts. All boasting is in God’s great grace and mercy and love!
Faith Confession: I boast in God’s mercy shown me (and the world) in Christ Jesus. I repent (turn away) from my sins and I accept with thanksgiving the gift of forgiveness of my sins, eternal life and resurrection from death.
Proverbs 16:6-7 “By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.”
Scripture reading for August 22nd: Psalm 115-118, Galatians 6
Key Scriptures: Galatians 6:7-10 “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
Paul encouraged believers to continue to do good works. This was not to earn salvation, but to insure their reward. He taught them the spiritual law of sowing and reaping. What is sowed is what will be reaped. What is sowed will reap more that what was sowed. The harvest takes time–patience is required. A blessed field to sow in is within the household of faith because of God’s faithfulness to us, His family.
Psalm 115:1 “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your Name give glory, for the sake of Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness.”
Scripture reading for July 31st: Psalm 58-61, 2nd Corinthians 3
Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 3:16-18 “But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
Paul taught that the Jews had a veil over their faces that prevented them from beholding the glory of God revealed through Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit removes the veil when anyone turns to the Lord in repentance and faith. Believers can now, with freedom, behold Christ’s glory and be transformed by His presence living in them through the gift of the Holy Spirit. The ultimate transformation comes at Christ’s return.
Psalm 59:10,17 “My God in His steadfast love will meet me; God will let me look in triumph on my enemies.” . . .”O my Strength, I will sing praises to You, for You, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love.”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for taking away the veil of selfishness over my heart through revelation of Your Son, Your love and faithfulness. I will sing Your praises among the nations! Amen.
Scripture reading for July 30th: Psalm 55-57, 2nd Corinthians 2
Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 2:14-16 “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things.”
Paul was writing to the Corinthians for the second time. He described the Church of Jesus Christ as a triumphal victory procession, lead by the Savior. All who had been won over by the Savior’s love and grace, followed willingly. Their lives radiated the fragrance of Jesus Christ, His love and His sacrifice on the cross to save sinners. Those who saw and believed were saved and came to life eternal. Those who rejected, went on to eternal death. What an amazing picture!
Psalm 57:9-11 “I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to You among the nations. For Your steadfast love is great to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let Your glory be over all the earth!”
Prayer: Thank You Lord for your great love and faithfulness to me. May Your fragrance flow from my life today to bring salvation to the lost. Amen.
Scripture reading for May 21st: 1st Chronicles 17-20, Acts 12
Key Scriptures: Acts 12:6-8 “Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals.”
God sent an angel to rescue Peter from execution by Herod. Peter was secured in the jail by being chained between two guards and others watched outside the cell. But none of this was a problem for the angel who rescued Peter. Peter though he was dreaming or seeing a vision, but to his astonishment, the doors opened and he was free! God blessed His servant with His faithfulness.
1st Chronicles 17:26-27 “And now, O Lord, You are God, and You have promised this good thing to Your servant. Now You have been pleased to bless the house of Your servant, that it may continue forever before You, for it is You, O Lord, who have blessed, and it is blessed forever.”
Prayer: Father, thank You for Your faithfulness to those who serve You. You are able to save and rescue and bless. Amen.
Scripture reading for April 12th: 1st Samuel 24-26, John 6
Key Scriptures: 1 Samuel 26:23-25 “The Lord rewards every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness, for the Lord gave you into my hand today, and I would not put out my hand against the Lord’s anointed. Behold, as your life was precious this day in my sight, so may my life be precious in the sight of the Lord, and may He deliver me out of all tribulation. Then Saul said to David, “Blessed be you, my son David! You will do many things and succeed in them.””
David was being hunted by Saul, because Saul was jealous of David and had an evil spirit. David spared Saul’s life because he refused to touch the Lord’s anointed. He knew that only God could take vengeance of an anointed servant. Saul blessed David and prophesied his success. Jesus, a son of David and The Son of God, spared us!
John 6:56-57 “Whoever feeds on My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on Me, he also will live because of Me.”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your faithful obedience and honoring of mankind by offering Your own body and blood to give us life. Help me to honor and obey You today. Amen.
Scripture reading for March 19th: Luke 12
Key scriptures for over-comers: Luke 12:35-37,40 “Be dressed and ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. . .” “You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.”
Jesus knew all men and understood their tendency to become lazy and let down their guard. In many of His last teachings, Jesus emphasized the need for watchfulness and readiness when He returned for His followers. Unbelief in Christ’s return would produce this lax and lazy behavior in those who once were zealous. This would cause great loss because those found not ready would be left out completely!
No one knows the day or the hour of Christ’s return. (Matthew 24:36) He is coming back for those who are eagerly awaiting His appearing and doing the work He commanded them to do. There will be great reward for the faithful!
Observations for over-comers: Guard your soul against falling away and unbelief in Christ’s return by keeping an active faith and obeying Christ daily. The reward is out of this world! “For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity. In My faithfulness I will reward them and make an everlasting covenant with them.” (Isaiah 61:8)
Scripture reading for August 8th: 1st Corinthians 4:1-21
Evangelists, teachers, pastors, and apostles are merely servants of Christ who have been entrusted with the secret things of God. “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” (1st Corinthians 4:1-2) The people of Corinth had been elevating various men who were servants of Christ. Paul was helping them to see that each one of these gifted people were merely servants of the Lord. As servants, God had called them to be faithful.
Not one person has anything in the way of gifts or talents that he did not receive from God. (1st Corinthians 4:7) If Paul was a gifted teacher and apostle, all those gifts came from God. If Apollos was a great encourager and church builder, that also was a gift from God. No one should elevate them above God. God had called them to faithful service and also had called the Corinthians to grow up in their thinking.
“I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children. Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the Gospel.” (1st Corinthians 4:14-15) Paul had a father’s heart towards these believers in Corinth. He loved them as a dad. There may have been many other teachers and pastors that taught these believers, but he had a unique relationship in being the first to share the Gospel with them.
Fathers have a heart to truly love their children in the faith. Fathers love enough to train their children in the proper ways. Paul had tirelessly taught this church for over two years. Fathers also correct and warn their children about coming danger and wrong attitudes. Paul warned them about arrogance and quarreling. He did not want his ‘children’ to get off in the devil’s territory! As a father, Paul was sending Timothy, his spiritual son, to bring this correction to the church in Corinth. (1st Corinthians 4:17)
Do you have a spiritual father in the faith? Do you have someone in your life who loves you enough to teach, correct, and discipline you? If you do, call that person today and thank them for their loving care. If not, ask God to bring a mature believer who can speak into your life.