Scripture reading for September 16th: 2nd Corinthians 1
Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 1:8-11 “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God Who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us. On Him we have set our hope that He will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.”
Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians came after the church and Paul had experienced some difficult trials and persecution. Disciples of Jesus and ministers of His Gospel will suffer persecution. Jesus did not tell His disciples life would be easy. He told them that the student would not be above the teacher, as He would suffer and even be crucified, so they would also suffer. Paul and his ministry team suffered in Asia such that they felt they were going to die. But the suffering worked in their favor. They learned to rely on God Who even raises the dead. They also relied on the prayers of the saints to help them and God answered prayer and delivered them. They placed their hope in God and were not disappointed!
Matthew 24:9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for My Name’s sake.”
Faith declaration and prayer: Father God, I have set my hope on You alone! Thank You for sustaining me through life’s trials and tests and allowing me to share Your great comfort with others. Help me to continue to trust in Your faithfulness and to pray for my brothers and sisters who are also going through fiery trials. I know we will not be disappointed!
2nd Corinthians 1:3-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, Who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
Scripture reading for June 22nd: 2nd Thessalonians 2
Key Scriptures: 2nd Thessalonians 2:13-17 “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. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father, Who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.”
It is not our works that save us, but our good works and words are the fruit that come from a life of faith. Our very lives in Christ are fruit to God, as He sets us apart by the Holy Spirit after we believe the Truth of the Gospel. Through faith and grace we become heirs of eternal comfort and good hope of eternal life in God’s presence. Our only ‘work’ is to stand firm in the Gospel truth of Jesus Christ as Lord and hold onto the traditions laid out in God’s Word. As we stand firm, we share by word and example the grace of God that saved us and call others to eternal hope and comfort in Christ Jesus the Lord. God’s great love for all sinners is demonstrated by His grace in Christ made available to all through the cross by faith.
Ephesians 2:4-5 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved–“
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for calling us by Your eternal love and grace to a place of comfort and hope. Help me to stand firm in Your grace and hold to the traditions taught in Your word by faith. May Your love flow towards others through my life and testimony. I have good hope knowing all Your promises are true and will not be disappointed!
Colossians 2:6-7 “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”
Scripture reading for March 1st: Romans 15
Key Scriptures: Romans 15:3-7 “For Christ did not please Himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.” For whatever was written former days was written for our instruction, that through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragements 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.”
Life isn’t supposed to be about me or centered on my will. Jesus demonstrated His own life lived out to please God and serve others in perfect submission and obedience. This took patience and endurance and for Jesus, the ultimate in suffering and sacrifice. Paul encourages the Roman Christians to follow Jesus’ example and gain encouragement from Scripture of the blessed hope that is ours in Christ. Paul prays that the “God of endurance and encouragements” would empower and make the way for harmony and unity among God’s people, that they may glorify God the Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. He asked that they would speak and live the Gospel of God’s love with “one voice,” welcoming others in the unity of Christ’s body. As Christ suffered to bring us into God’s unified Body, we may also have to endure suffering for others.
Psalm 69:9 “For zeal for Your house has consumed Me, and the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on Me.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your Word and Holy Spirit that gives me endurance and encouragement today. Help me to live in perfect harmony with my brothers and sisters in the church. Use me to build Your Church and welcome others into fellowship and harmony.
Psalm 133:1 “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity.
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)