Scripture reading for July 27th: Matthew 21
Key Scriptures: Matthew 21:18-22 “In the morning, as He was returning to the city, He became hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, He went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. And He said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once. When the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once?” And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.””
Jesus was spending His last days on earth before the crucifixion teaching His disciples and imparting truth that would help them be overcomers and fulfil their mission on earth. On this particular morning, Jesus was returning to Jerusalem from Bethany and came to a fig tree that was covered with leaves, but upon inspection had no fruit. Jesus spoke to the tree with a declaration: “May no fruit ever come from you again!” Matthew records that the tree withered at once at Jesus’ Word. The disciples were mystified and asked Jesus how this happened. Jesus gave them clear instructions about their authority through faith to speak to whatever ‘mountain’ or problem and see it removed. He put it simply: “Whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” Take a moment and let that truth sink into your soul and ask God to increase your faith to act on His Word. This is the fruit that Jesus is looking for.
Matthew 21:43 “Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father, thank You for this powerful truth about faith in Your Word and producing fruit of answered prayer. Fill me with the Holy Spirit and faith today and bring this truth to my remembrance every time I face a situation that looks impossible. May You receive all glory and a harvest of souls as I produce fruit!
Proverbs 18:20-21 “From the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”
Scripture reading for March 19: Luke 13
Key Scriptures: Luke 13:5-9 “No, I tell you, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. And He told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.”
Jesus used the local news of the death of some Galileans by Herod’s forces and the accidental death of eighteen people in the fall of a tower to punctuate the need of all men to repent or they too would suddenly perish. He told a parable of a man who planted a fig tree in his vineyard. Each year, for three years, he came seeking fruit but found none. He ordered the vinedresser to cut it down as it was wasting valuable space in the vineyard. The vinedresser asked for more time. He would dig around it and put manure on it. Maybe it was lacking in water penetration or in nutrients from the rocky soil. If ultimately there was no fruit, it would be cut down. This parable shines light on each person and their need to repent and show fruit of repentance. God’s patience is amazing, but not unlimited!
Luke 11:32 “The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, realizing that You greatly desire true fruit of repentance in my life, thank You for Your patience with me. Dig around in my life where necessary with Your Word and the Holy Spirit. Bring the ‘manure’ of life that will produce greater fruit, to Your glory.
Job 23:10-11 “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tried me, I shall come out as gold. My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and have not turned aside.”
Scripture reading for August 13th: 2nd Kings 15-16, Matthew 21
Key Scriptures: Matthew 21:42-46 “Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scripture: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. And the one who falls on the stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.” When the chief priest and the Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking about them. And although they were seeking to arrest Him, they feared the crowds, because they held Him to be a prophet.”
Jesus ended His ministry telling some parables that revealed the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. They had been entrusted with the Word of God and should have been listening and applying God’s Word as spoken by the prophets and by Jesus, Whom the people understood was a prophet. Jesus warned that God would take the kingdom of God away from them and give it to those people producing the fruit of an obedient life of faith. Jesus was the “Stone” that the builders rejected. Those who fell upon Him would be broken, but those He fell upon in the final judgment would be crushed.
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, You alone are the Cornerstone of my life and I want to follow You and produce fruit. Help me to keep others from calamity at the final judgment by sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ, my Cornerstone!
2nd Kings 16:2 “Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord his God, as his father David had done, . . .”
Scripture reading for August 22nd: Galatians 6, Psalm 18, Proverbs 14
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.”
It is easy to get discouraged in the culture and world we live in. It was no different in Paul’s day. Believers must not tire of sowing the Gospel message and living in the Spirit and reflecting His fruit. It may appear that no progress is being made, but it is a work of faith and love. If we continue to sow, and not give up, we will reap! This promise made by God our Father.
Faith Confession: I will continue to live by the Holy Spirit and allow Him to produce the sweet fruit of His presence in my life. I know that what I sow, that I will reap! Nothing is too hard for God!
Proverbs 14:14 “The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways, and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways.”
Scripture reading for June 20th: Esther 7-10, Romans 6
Key Scriptures: Romans 6:20-23 “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Sin’s fruit leads to death. Not just physical death, but eternal separation from God and under His wrath. But when we sell out to God through faith in Christ Jesus, the free gift we get is eternal life! What a great bargain!
Esther 8:16-17 “The Jews had light and gladness and joy and honor. And in every province and in every city, wherever the king’s command and his edict reached, there was gladness and joy among the Jews, a feast and a holiday.”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for the gift of eternal life! Everywhere I go, may I tell the good news and bring joy and gladness! Amen.
Scripture reading for January 5th: Matthew 3
Key Scriptures: Matthew 3:1-2, 8 “In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” . . .”Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves ‘We have Abraham as our father.'”
Overcomers in the last days must understand repentance. Repentance is more than just being sorry for you sins or sorry that you were found out. Our God knows everything! He is not a God that is far away and aloof from His people. He is near! And His kingdom is near as well! This kingdom is not visible to the human eye, but His people know the King Himself and He knows them. True repentance is a change of mind that leads to a changed life! When we repent of sexual immorality, for example, we turn from all forms of immorality and no longer live in rebellion to God’s commands and our conscience.
The human mind is always devising ways to justify our sinful actions or to find an alternative to repentance! We often speak to ourselves about our own righteousness and justify ourselves. God knows exactly where we are! If we are to overcome, we must speak honestly to ourselves, accept responsibility and change!
Observations for over-comers: True repentance brings forgiveness of sin and life! Overcomers are quick to repent and walk in victory over sin by the power of the Holy Spirit and the victory of Christ through the cross! “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10