Scripture reading for May 13th: 2nd Samuel 3-5, 1st Chronicles 12, Psalm 122, Acts 22
Key Scriptures: Acts 22:6-10 “”As I was on my way and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ And I answered, ‘Who are You Lord?’ and He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, Whom you are persecuting.’ Now those who were with me saw the light but did not understand the voice of the One Who was speaking to me. And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Rise and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.'”
Paul was intent on finding Christ’s followers and locking them up. But Jesus met him and changed his plans. The risen and exalted Jesus confronted Paul in a great flash of light that knocked him to the ground. As he asked who Jesus was, Jesus revealed Himself to Paul and gave him instructions for the next steps needed on a new journey with new objectives. He would now work with Jesus, Son of David, Son of God and other Christ followers to share the Gospel he once berated and extend the peace of Jerusalem.
Psalm 122:6 “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! May they be secure who love you!”
Faith confession and prayer: I am thankful that Jesus confronted me with who He is: Lord and Savior! I have committed myself to preach His Gospel of repentance and faith to all He directs me to. Lord fill me with Your love and the Holy Spirit.
2nd Samuel 5:10 “And David became greater and greater, for the Lord, the God of Hosts, was with Him.”
Scripture reading for May 1st: 1st Samuel 20, 1st Chronicles 4, Psalm 56, 57, 142, Acts 14
Key Scriptures: Acts 14:19-22 “But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. When they had preached the Gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God”
Paul was stoned for preaching the Gospel at Lystra and left for dead. The other disciples gathered around him and prayed and he arose and entered the city. The crowd that stoned him had been stirred up by Jews from Antioch, their home mission base. This did not stop them from their mission! They continued to preach in Lystra and made many disciples there and even went back to Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the church members. They understood that persecution and tribulation was a part of kingdom opposition.
Psalm 57:2-3 “I cry out to God Most High, to God Who fulfills His purpose for me. He will send from heaven and save me; He will put to shame him who tramples on me.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the privilege of preaching the Gospel and for persecution for the kingdom’s sake. Help me to boldly trust You each day for strength and help.
1st Samuel 20:3 “. . . But truly, as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, there is but a step between me and death.”
Scripture reading for January 23rd: Genesis 41-42, Mark 16
Key Scriptures: Mark 16:14-16 “Afterward He appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and He rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw Him after He had risen. And He said to them, “God into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”
Genesis 41:38-40 “And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?” Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. You shall be over my house and all my people shall order themselves as you command.”
Jesus had appeared to several disciples and women who had come to the tomb. They had told the disciples they had seen Jesus alive but the disciples refused to believe. Now Jesus appeared to them all, rebuking them for their hard hearts and unbelief. They were commanded to get to work sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ–the wisest and most discerning man, full of the Spirit of God! Through resurrection from death, Jesus was declared the Ruler of God’s House!
Faith confession and Prayer: Lord, forgive me for my unbelief and at times hardness of heart. Thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit within me and the great commission to go into all the world and preach the Gospel! Keep reminding me that faithful obedience means life to those who believe.
Scripture reading for October 11th: Philemon, Psalm 54, Proverbs 19
Key Scriptures: Philemon 4-7 “I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.”
Paul wrote to Philemon, a friend and fellow church member, from prison. This letter accompanied Onesimus, Philemon’s run-away slave who had been miraculously saved under Paul’s ministry in Rome. Paul wrote to ask Philemon to receive Onesimus as a brother. As he began the letter, he thanked God for Philemon’s faith and love for Jesus and for his ministry of refreshing the other believers in the church. He prayed that Philemon would possess a full knowledge of every good thing in him through the sharing of his faith.
Faith Confession: Through the sharing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I have come to a more complete knowledge of everything I have in Jesus Christ my Lord. Lord, fill me with faith and love to refresh the saints!
Proverbs 19:23 “The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rest satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.”
Scripture reading for September 20th: 2nd Thessalonians 2, Psalm 39, Proverbs 4
Key Scriptures: 2nd Thessalonians 2:13-15 “But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this He called you through our Gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.”
Paul was thankful for the believers in Thessalonica who had come to Christ as a result of his ministry there. He noted that they had been sanctified, set apart, by the Holy Spirit and had believed the true Gospel. They had heard God’s call to salvation through that Gospel and now needed to stand firm in the truth they had believed. Glory awaits those who are truly saved and living in truth.
Faith Confession: I thank God for the Gospel of grace through faith in Jesus Christ. That Gospel called me into relationship and through the Holy Spirit I am standing firm in the truth.
Psalm 39:7-8 “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You! Deliver me from all my transgressions. Do not make me the scorn of the fool.!”
Scripture reading for March 1st: Mark 16, Psalm 44, Proverbs 13
Key Scriptures: Mark 16:14-16 “Afterward, He appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and He rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw Him after He had risen. And He said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.””
Jesus appeared to His disciples after His resurrection from the grave. His first words to them were a rebuke, a word of chastisement, for their unbelief. According to Jesus, this was hardness in their hearts to believing truth that was revealed to them by His own prophetic words and those who saw Him after He arose. He then sent them on a world-wide mission of preaching or proclaiming the gospel. How people received it or rejected it would determine eternal salvation or eternal condemnation.
Faith Confession: I believe Jesus Christ as God’s resurrected Son and obey Him by going into the world He placed me in to share and proclaim the gospel. The results are up to each person and God.
Psalm 44:7-8 “But You have saved us from our foes and have put to shame those who hate us. In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to Your Name forever.”
Scripture reading for July 17th: Psalm 23-26, 1st Corinthians 9
Key Scriptures: 1st Corinthians 9:22-24 “To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.”
Paul explained his mission in life now that he had become a follower of Christ. He tried to relate to whoever Christ placed in his path. He wanted to share the gospel with them and see them saved and enjoying the blessings of becoming a child of God. Paul compared life in Christ to a great race. All believers in the race should run to obtain the prize. Eternal life is the prize to be shared with the world.
Psalm 24:9-10 “Lift up your head, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of Glory may come in. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of Glory.”
Prayer: Lord, help me today to focus on Your mission of reaching lost people with the blessing of the Gospel. I glorify You as the King of Glory! May all open the door of their hearts to You! Amen.
Scripture reading for November 17th: Romans 1-4
Key Scriptures: Romans 1:16-17 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes; first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written; “The righteous will live by faith.”“
Paul was proud to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ because through the simple message of Jesus’ life, death, burial and resurrection, the power of God for salvation was released to all who would believe. This included Jew and Gentile as well as every race, social status, gender and people group! The gospel was inclusive because it was by faith that righteousness was granted as a gift! Faith is the great equalizer, available to all!
The simplicity of faith: “Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. “See, he is puffed up; his desires are not upright--but the righteous will live by his faith–” (Habakkuk 2:2-4)
Scripture reading for August 23rd: 1st Corinthians 15:1-28
The Gospel message is the power of God for salvation. Paul clearly stated this powerful Gospel in just a few words: “By this Gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, the He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. . “ (1st Corinthians 15:2-4)
In order to be saved, we must believe the Gospel. Paul’s simple explanation of the Gospel reveals to us the essentials of what makes up the ‘good news’. We must hold firmly to all aspects of this Gospel. The first essential is that Christ died for our sins. Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He could die for our sins because He, Himself, never sinned by breaking God’s laws. His life wasn’t taken by the force or power of men in authority. He willingly gave up His life for the purpose taking the penalty for man’s sins as their substitute.
Christ actually died. His body was a human body and He suffered willingly the brutal death of Roman crucifixion. He was scourged by Roman soldiers, carried His cross until another helped Him, and then was bodily nailed to that cross. It was there, on the cross, that Jesus gave up His life. His last words were “It is finished.” (John 19:30) One of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ body and heart with a spear to make sure He was dead. Blood and water came out. (John 19:33-35) Jesus’ body was placed in a borrowed tomb that had never been used. (John 19:40-42) His body was wrapped in grave clothes and covered with about 75 pounds of spices. A stone was rolled over the mouth of the tomb.
Jesus rose again from the dead on the third day! Eyewitnesses saw the empty tomb! Mary Magdalene, Peter, and John saw the tomb and grave clothes neatly folded. (John 20:3-7) Paul states that five hundred people at once saw Jesus alive. The apostles saw and touched His body and Paul, himself, saw Jesus alive! Because He lives, we can live too! Christ rose from the dead and we will also be raised when the end comes and Jesus returns! (1st Corinthians 15:20-24) Praise the Lord!