Scripture reading for March 4th: Luke 2
Key Scriptures: Luke 2:46-51 “After three days they found Him in the temple sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers. And when His parents saw Him, they were astonished. And His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You treated us so? Behold, Your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” And He said to them, “Why were you looking for Me? Did you not know that I must be in My Father’s house?” And they did not understand the saying that He spoke to them. And He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them and His mother treasured up all these things in her heart.“
There is not much written in the Gospels concerning Jesus’ early years. This short passage from Luke’s Gospel offers a glimpse of Jesus as a child of about twelve years of age visiting the temple during Passover week. Jesus sat with the teachers and leaders and listened and asked questions. He amazed all who heard Him in both His questions and answers. His mom and dad had already left for home when they found He was not with them. When they returned and found Him in the temple, His mother rebuked Him for causing them distress. Jesus simply stated that He must be in His Father’s house! This statement did not bring understanding and He went with them submissive and obediently.
Luke 2:52 “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for being with me as I am now Your house and helping me to grow in wisdom as I walk with You. Give me favor with You and with men, that I might accomplish Your will on earth as in heaven.
Proverbs 1:6-8 “For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the oaths of justice and watching over the way of His saints.”
Scripture reading for February 13th: Exodus 32-34, Philippians 3
Key Scriptures: Exodus 33:13-16 “”Now therefore, if I have found favor in Your sight, please show me now Your ways, that I may know You in order to find favor in Your sight. Consider too that this nation is Your people.” And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” And he said to Him, “If Your Presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. For how shall it be known? Is it not in Your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and Your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?””
As Moses met with God, he pleaded with God to show him His ways in order to have God’s favor and presence. God promised to go with him and give him rest. Moses knew that God’s presence was the best and only thing that would set him and God’s people apart from all others on earth. In His presence was fullness of joy and divine rest!
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for making me distinct by filling me with Your Holy Spirit. Empower me today in my upward journey by showing me Your ways and giving me favor with You and those You want to reach.
Philippians 3:12-14 “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Scripture reading for May 6th: Acts 1, Psalm 90, Proverbs 28
Key Scriptures: Acts 1:6-9 “So when they had come together, they asked Him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times and seasons that the Father has fixed by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And as He had said these things, as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight.”
Jesus’ disciples asked Him, right before He ascended to heaven, if He was going to restore the kingdom to Israel. They were expecting Jesus to soon establish His kingdom. Jesus told them not to be concerned. The Father had fixed them time and that was His to know. Their main need would to received the infilling of the Holy Spirit and be empowered to share the gospel with the world.
Faith Confession: Lord Jesus, thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit and power to be a witness to the world. Teach me to treat each day as an opportunity to work for You and Your kingdom.
Psalm 90:11, 17 “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” . . .”Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!”
Scripture reading for June 18th: Nehemiah 13, Esther 1-3, Romans 4
Key Scriptures: Romans 4:19-22 “He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about 100 years old) or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. Now 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.”
Paul used the example of Abraham to drive home his argument of justification by faith. Abraham was not declared righteous by keeping the Law. The Law had not yet been given. But Abraham was given a promise that he would become the father of many nations and through his “Seed” all nations would be blessed. He believed God, even when it looked impossible in the natural!
Esther 2:16 “And when Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus, into his royal palace, in the tenth month, which is the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign, the king loved Esther more than all the women and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all the other virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head. . .”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for the grace and favor showed to all men through faith in Jesus Christ. Help me to believe Your word and receive all Your promises! Amen.
Scripture reading for March 5th: Deuteronomy 6-9, Luke 2
Key Scriptures: Luke 2:49-52 “And He said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in My Father’s house? And they did not understand the saying that He spoke to them. And He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And His mother treasured up all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.”
Jesus’ early years and growth until 30 years of age are summarized here by Luke. These few verses give us insight into Jesus’ early understanding of His mission and yet His need to fully submit to being human and growing up in this world under parental authority and experiencing temptations common to all people. Jesus knew that “He must be in Father’s house.”
Deuteronomy 6:4-5 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise.”
Prayer: Holy Father, today I want to be in Your house and learn Your Word and ways. Let me increase in wisdom and favor with You and those I interact with. Amen.
Scripture reading for November 29th: 2nd Corinthians 5-8
Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 5:21-6:2 “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For He says, “In the time of My favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”
Paul urged the Corinthians to receive the grace of God and hold fast to it. That grace is summed up in the fact that God made Jesus Christ, His Son, to be sin for us that we might receive the gift of righteousness. This offer of favor is for now, today! We do not have a guarantee of tomorrow in this life! We can receive God’s grace in vain by hearing the gospel but failing to respond! May it never be!
The blessing of God’s favor: “This is what the Lord says: “In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you; I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land and to reassign its desolate inheritances, to say to the captives, ‘Come out,’ and to those in darkness, ‘Be free!'” (Isaiah 49:8-9)