Scripture reading for October 13th: 1st Peter 2
Key Scriptures: 1st Peter 2:9-11 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.”
Peter is writing to believers who were undergoing persecution from Jews on one hand and the government of Rome on the other. Peter encouraged them with truth concerning their true identity and calling. They had been chosen by God to be a royal priesthood, representing man to God in prayer and intercession. They were also a holy nation, set apart by God to live a holy life of obedience and faith shining as light in the darkness of this present world. God had called them out of the darkness and flooded them with His glorious light of truth and salvation. They were especially a people that God would dwell within and call His own because of the grace He had lavished on them. In response to their identity, these believers were given the opportunity and calling of proclaiming the surpassing greatness of God and to live on this earth as strangers and exiles while awaiting the King and His eternal kingdom!
1st Peter 2:20-21 “For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for choosing me and giving me a new identity in Christ. As a part of the royal priesthood, help me to faithfully pray for those in need and the lost. Help me to hold this world loosely and proclaim Your excellencies passionately in worship and proclamation as I follow the example of Christ Jesus My Lord.
1st Peter 2:24-25 “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but now have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”
Scripture reading for January 27th: Mark 8
Key Scriptures: Mark 8:34-38 “And calling the crowd to Him with His disciples, He said to them, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and for the Gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My Words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.””
Peter had just confessed Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God and Jesus began to teach the disciples about his coming death and resurrection. Peter began to rebuke Him and Jesus, looking at the other disciples, turned and rebuked Satan for tempting Him and Peter for having a carnal mind. Then Jesus called the crowd and His disciples to come to Him and stated the cost of following after Him. Each follower would have to take up a cross and be willing to lose their life! They would need to chose between gaining the world and following Jesus as He carried His cross. Following Jesus would bring shame from the world but would bring a bold profession by Jesus before the Father of acceptance and eternal life. Those ashamed of Him and His cross would suffer the ultimate shame of eternal damnation at Christ’s return.
1st John 2:15 “Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I am willing to take up my cross and to follow You out of love for You and the Father. Deliver me from any love of the world and empower me do Your will and to make You smile on the Day of Your Glory!
Isaiah 53:10 “Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush Him; He has put Him to grief; when His soul makes an offering for guilt, He shall see His offspring; He shall prolong His days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.”
Scripture reading for March 4: Joshua 6-8
Have you ever faced an impossible situation? My life has been a series of various impossible situations that God has brought me through and as I look back, I am amazed! One such situation was a crisis of debt in my personal life. My wife and I had started a farm business from scratch with the help of my father. We had borrowed a lot of money and found ourselves nearly $600,000 in debt in 1981. The farm economy took a turn for the worse and we had purchased land in 1979 for $2000 per acre. By 1982 it was only bringing $600! The interest rate went from six percent to sixteen percent! We were hurting and in a mess! I saw many farmers lose farms because of this crisis. We turned to the Lord in repentance for our bad decisions and asked for help. In seven years of following instructions, we were debt-free! That made us shout!
In our reading today, Joshua faced a tough, walled stronghold just inside the “promised land”. As he contemplated what to do, he met up with an interesting person. He was not sure who this person was at first, and asked him who’s side he was on. The answer “neither” is interesting. God is for all men but is working out His purposes to save as many as will respond! Joshua removed his shoes as sign of holy respect when asked by the Lord and listened for instructions. The battle plan for this stronghold included all the Israelites. They must march around the city each day for six days. (Joshua 6:2 -5) The Ark of God was to lead the procession with seven priests carrying trumpets. On the seventh day, they were to march around seven times and the priests were to blow the trumpets. As they completed the journey, there was to be a loud trumpet blast and a great shout by the people. God promised that the walls would fall! What strange instructions!
When they obeyed, God gave them the victory! He promises us this very same thing today. It is important to seek the Lord when facing a stronghold. Ask for wisdom! (James 1:5-8) Listen closely! Be strong and full of courage and act on what He says. Let God lead the way. You follow Him closely. When the trumpet sounds, shout the victory! The walls will fall! Note that God saved Rahab, the prostitute because of her obedience in gathering her family into the room in the wall and tying the red cord to the window! God is in the saving business and loves to give victory! Face whatever stronghold is in your life today with courage and confidence! The Lord will bless you with a victory!