Scripture reading for June 15th: Proverbs 22-23, Psalm 117, 1st Thessalonians 1
Key Scriptures: 1st Thessalonians 1:2-7 “We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father you work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers loved by God, that He has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in Word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the Word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.”
As Paul began his letter to the Thessalonian believers, he encouraged them by telling them of his prayers for them. Paul thanked God for their “work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope” in the Lord Jesus. They had received the Word of God in much affliction and had demonstrated their faith by works of repentance and true change. These believers became examples of Jesus Christ and the power of the Gospel among the growing church in Macedonia. God was glorified!
Psalm 117:2 “For great is His steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, help me today to do works of faith in the love of God, being steadfast in hope and full of joy as I obey Your Word. Use my example to encourage other believers and bring God glory.
Proverbs 23:19 “Hear, my son, and be wise, and direct your heart in the way.”
Scripture reading for June 11th: Proverbs 16-18, Romans 15
Key Scriptures: Romans 15:5-7, 13 “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” . . .”May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
By God’s grace we are empowered to live in harmony with one another. God gives us endurance and encouragement to stay in unity through the infilling of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us God’s power to rest in Jesus Christ and live in peace and joy because we know we are God’s children and declared righteous. We have the Blessed Hope of Jesus’ soon return.
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You today for the fruit of the Holy Spirit in my life, bringing patience and endurance in this trying time. May I live in the power of the Holy Spirit today to live in steadfast love and harmony with Your Church sharing the hope we have in Christ Jesus, making my enemies my peace-filled friends.
Proverbs 16:6-7 “By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil. When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”
Scripture reading for September 18th: 1st Thessalonians 5, Psalm 37, Proverbs 2
Key Scriptures: 1st Thessalonians 5:8-11 “But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
Christians belong to the day and are creatures living in the Light of Jesus Christ. We don’t need alcohol to help us cope with this world because we have faith in Jesus Christ and His love and are filled with hope through the Holy Spirit. We know God’s Word has promised us salvation and escape from wrath. Whether we are awake and ready or asleep or even sleeping in death, God’s promises are true. We must remind each other of this day by day.
Faith Confession: I am a believer in Jesus Christ and hold fast to the hope of salvation and deliverance from God’s wrath. Thank You Lord for Your promises and the light of Your Word to guide my path.
Psalm 37:39-40 “The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their stronghold in the time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in Him.”
Scripture reading for July 3rd: Romans 15, Psalm 132, Proverbs 8
Key Scriptures: Romans 15:4-6 “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Paul knew that the Roman believers needed endurance and encouragement to live by faith in the grace of Jesus Christ. The God of endurance and encouragement is Jesus Christ! This amazing Savior gives us the encouragement and endurance we need through His unchanging and true Word, also a source of fulfillment for our deepest need.
Faith Confession: I believe that Jesus Christ is the God of endurance and encouragement and that His Word gives me hope as well. I shout for joy at the gifts of hope, endurance and encouragement!
Psalm 132:8-9 “Arise, O Lord, and go to Your resting place, Your and the ark of Your might. Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness and let Your saints shout for joy.”
Scripture reading for April 29th: John 17, Psalm 85, Proverbs 23
Key Scriptures: John 17:24-26 “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, may be with Me where I am, to see My glory that You have given Me because You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know You, I know You, and these know that You have sent Me. I made known to them Your Name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which You have loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
As we listen to Jesus’ prayer to His Father for us and His disciples, we note that He desired that they would be with Him in the Father’s presence. There the disciples would be able to behold Christ’s glory and experience ultimate joy and fullness of life in God’s love. Christ’s prayer is pulling all believers towards the throne of God and the fullness of our joy, glory, and eternal life.
Faith Confession: Amen! Let it be according to Your prayer for me and all disciples! I desire to be with You where You are and see Your glory! Thank You for the Holy Spirit that is a down payment on the fullness to come!
Proverbs 23:17-18 “Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day. Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.”
Scripture reading for March 26th: Luke 17, Psalm 61, Proverbs 30
Key Scriptures: Luke 17:20-21 “Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!” or ‘There!” for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.””
Jesus preached the Gospel of the kingdom, proclaiming that it was near. The Pharisees asked Him when it would actually come. He answered them by telling them that it would come in ways that were not openly visible or able to be observed. The kingdom of God would come inside of each person through the key of repentance and faith. God’s kingdom would not be political or material in its initial appearance, but it would bring righteousness, peace and joy.
Faith Confession: I believe that Christ’s kingdom rule is in my heart through faith in Jesus Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. I experience this kingdom rule through understanding righteousness by faith, peace with God, and joy of hope in all His promises. Jesus is Lord of my life!
Proverbs 30:5 “Every Word of God proves true; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.”
Key Scriptures for December 13th: 2nd Timothy 4, Titus 1-3
Key Scriptures: Titus 3:4-7 “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”
Paul, writing to Titus, emphasized the basic truth of salvation by grace through faith. Because of Jesus Christ, our Savior, we have obtained mercy, washing from sin and renewal by the Holy Spirit in new birth. We stand justified before a Holy God because of what He did for us, not anything we did or can do for Him. We not rejoice in our promised inheritance in God’s household–eternal life! What amazing hope we eagerly expect!
Rejoicing in hope and a future: “”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. The you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.”” (Jeremiah 29:11-13)
Scripture reading for November 10th: 1st Peter 3
Key Scriptures for over-comers: 1st Peter 3:13-16 “Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts set apart Christ as lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”
Believers are always being watched by the worldly people around them. We must seek to represent Christ Jesus in all we do, even if people of the world judge us harshly or even persecute us for our stands of faith or good works. We must also be ready to share our testimony and reason that we live such different lives marked by joy and good works. This sharing must be done with great respect and gentleness, seeking to win them over to the Blessed Hope we personally know!
Observations for over-comers: Our lives should be marked by joy and hope and faith in God’s Word. We must be prepared and ready to share our reasons for this joy! “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” (Isaiah 52:7)
Scripture reading for July 3rd: Romans 15
Paul identified himself with those who were ‘strong’ in their faith. He understood the liberty that believers have in Jesus Christ. He also knew that strong believers might become prideful and judgmental, as he had been towards followers of Christ before he was saved. In order to encourage the strong believers, he asked them to bear with the failings of the weaker believers. “Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on Me.” For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance and encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:2-4)
Christ, our example, always sought to please the Father and as a result suffered for it. He was insulted and ridiculed as a ‘friend of tax collectors and sinners‘! Those insults were directed towards Christ and the Father! But Christ was on a mission to save the lost, not condemn them! The Scriptures record the endurance and message of hope that Christ proclaimed in order to help us follow His example. So must we be kind, patient, and encouraging to those who are weaker in their faith. We must accept them as Christ accepted us and cultivate unity and love.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13) It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that we are filled with joy and peace through faith in Christ! The Holy Spirit brings a hope that ‘overflows’ into the lives believers encouraging all!
Scripture reading for July 16th: Isaiah 1-4
The book of Isaiah is a rich resource of prophesy and New Testament truth. Jesus Christ said of Isaiah that he “saw My glory and spoke about it.” (John 12:41) Jesus began His ministry quoting from Isaiah 61:1-2 (Luke 4:18-19). His book is considered by some to be a miniature of the Bible as a whole. The first 39 chapters record Isaiah’s messages of judgment. Like the New Testament, the last 27 chapters contain messages of hope!
In the first chapter Isaiah had a four-point sermon outline that went something like this: (A) Charges of sins, (B) Threats of coming judgment, (C) Call to repent, and (D), Promises of restoration if they repented.
Isaiah’s charges against Judah and warnings of judgment could apply to us in the American church today! The people of Judah were delivered from bondage by God himself, but they willfully forgot God. They had turned their backs on God and rebelled against their own Maker! (Isaiah 1:2-9) The consequences were physical afflictions, a land under a drought, and cities burned with fire through war! God likened them to Sodom and Gomorrah, two cities He had destroyed by fire because of their gross wickedness.
God was fed up with their hollow religious meetings and meaningless offerings. He hated their festivals and was burdened by their shows with no substance. He promised to hide his face from them and would not respond to their prayers. (Isaiah 1:10-15)
God called them to repent while there was still time. Their hands were full of blood and needed washing. God was concerned with the needy and weak who were being exploited. (Isaiah 1:16-17) He tried to reason with them about the stain of their sins. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow. . .” (Isaiah 1:18) This may be a strong warning that their sin, like leprosy, was quickly taking them towards death. Leprosy turns the skin white and it loses all feeling. Their king, Uzziah, had died of leprosy because of pride and rebellion. (2nd Chronicles 26:16-21)
The fourth point of God’s message promised that if they were willing and obedient, they would eat the best of the land, but if they refused and rebelled against His advice they would be devoured by the sword. The choice we make determines the consequences and future reward or judgment! If we listen closely, God’s reasoning is easy to follow!