Tag: God with us
Scripture reading for May 13th: 2nd Samuel 3-5, 1st Chronicles 12, Psalm 122, Acts 22
Acts 22: 17-21 “”When I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance and saw Him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about Me.’ And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that in one synagogue after another I imprisoned and beat those who believed in You. And when the blood of Stephen Your witness was being shed, I myself was standing by and approving and watching over the garments of those who killed him.’ And He said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.'”
Paul had been a devout Pharisee and orthodox Jew. He had persecuted Christians and had them imprisoned and put to death. He was zealous for the temple and Jerusalem as the place of God’s House and presence in the midst of His people. But when Christ appeared to him on the Damascus road, Paul was confronted with his own blindness and need to repent. After his sight was restored, he returned to Jerusalem and was warned by Jesus to leave there. The Jews would not receive his testimony. God would be with Him as he now was sent to the Gentiles. He could still pray for the peace of Jerusalem as Scripture commanded. Jesus Christ, King David’s offspring, would be with him on this new mission to tell the Good News to the world! The promised New Jerusalem would be the ultimate ‘City of Peace’!
Psalm 122:6-7 “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! May they be secure who love you! Peace be within your walls and security within you towers!”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for sending the Prince of Peace to Jerusalem! He, too, was rejected there and not received by His own people. He sent His disciples into the whole world with the Good News and promised that He would be with them forever! Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and power to declare the message of peace to Jew and Gentile. Jesus Christ is Lord of Lords and King of Kings!
2nd Samuel 5:9-10 “And David lived in the stronghold and called it the city of David. And David built the city all around from the Millo inward. And David became greater and greater, for the Lord, the God of Hosts, was with him.”
Scripture reading for May 3rd: 2nd Chronicles 31-34
Key Scriptures: 2nd Chronicles 32:7-8 “”Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said.”
King Hezekiah was faithful to the Lord but Israel still came under attack by Sennacherib, king of Assyria. The king of Israel built up fortifications, made more weapons, and appointed military officers to positions. But it was not these preparations that would bring victory! King Hezekiah knew that the Lord was with them–the greatest power on earth! This gave him and the people confidence!
Thankful for God’s presence and power: “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” (2nd Corinthians 10:3-4)
Scripture reading for June 27th: Acts 18:1-21
The apostle Paul always seemed to get in trouble as he preached about Jesus Christ in the synagogues. After leaving Athens and the confrontation with the intellectuals on Mars Hill, Paul went to Corinth and again went to the synagogue. There he encountered some interest at first, but soon was being opposed by some abusive Jews. Paul did as Jesus instructed, shaking out his clothes and stating, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of my responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles!” (Acts 18:6)
He went next door to the house of a man named Titius Justice, who was a worshiper of God. This means that he was a Gentile seeker who had attended the synagogue. Paul used his house to preach and the synagogue ruler Crispus and his entire household was saved! Many others were saved and baptized! (Acts 18:7-8)
Sometimes leaders need fresh vision and encouragement. Even though we are living life one day at a time, we need to know that we are in line with where God wants us. Sometimes we can feel His pleasure, but other times we feel opposition and even fear. God knew that Paul needed encouragement to stay in Corinth for a more extended period of time so He gave him a vision. “Don’t be afraid; keep on speaking, don’t be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” (Acts 18:10) Many of God’s mighty saints struggled with fear. The Holy Spirit gave them great boldness and vision and words of encouragement to keep them on track. Paul stayed in Corinth teaching for a year and a half.
As Paul left there, he went back to many of the churches he had started and encouraged them. He had a ministry of encouragement and disciple making that was ordered by his commitment to listen to the Holy Spirit. When asked by some Jews at Ephesus to stay and spend more time, he declined. He told them that he would come back if it was the Lord’s will. (Acts 18:21) God knows how to direct His disciples. We are all on a directed journey to accomplish God’s will and must finish our course! Are you listening to the Holy Spirit today?
Scripture reading for October 6th: Matthew 1-4
As we begin the New Testament, we are immediately made aware of Jesus Christ the son of David and son of Abraham! (Matthew 1:1) Matthew’s eye-witness account of the life of Jesus Christ starts with a genealogy of Jesus from Abraham to Joseph. There are 42 generations listed in this period of about 2000 years of history. Jesus is the central figure of the entire Bible and especially the New Testament. His birth, life on earth, sacrificial death, and resurrection from the dead are told by Matthew specifically for a Jewish audience who would appreciate the Old Testament and the various prophecies that Jesus fulfilled.
“Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel, which means, “God is with us”. (Matthew 1:20b-23) (Isaiah 7:14) We are introduced to a miraculous conception by the Holy Spirit uniting with a virgin named Mary. The child would be a son to be given the name “Jesus” which means “the Lord Saves”. This child would also be referred to as “Immanuel” which is “God with us”! All of this was foretold 700 years earlier by Isaiah the prophet. This conception nearly caused Joseph to call off the marriage! Imagine his surprise to find his promised bride pregnant! God visited him in a dream with an angel messenger to give him insight into the plan of God.
It so happened that Joseph and Mary had to travel to Bethlehem to pay taxes and during that visit Jesus was born. This was also no accident! “But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of My people Israel”. (Matthew 2:6) (Micah 5:2) Micah had spoken of the town in Judah where this ruler would originate. Bethlehem means “house of bread”. Jesus would be the living bread to nourish the whole world! God’s plans are established forever!