Scripture reading for December 11th: Malachi, Psalm 2, Revelation 9
Key Scriptures: Revelation 9:20-21 “The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.”
John recorded the seven trumpets and their woe brought upon the earth as the scroll had been opened and God’s final judgments were being poured out on the earth. One of the curious truths John recorded was that although many of earths final group of people were killed by the judgments, the rest refused to repent. They clung to their idols and worshiped demons and continued to flaunt the breaking of God’s holy commandments. Neither positive miracles nor the calamitous judgments of these last days could penetrate the hardened hearts. Although they knew the judgments were from God, they refused to ask for His mercy.
Psalm 2:12 “Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I am in awe of Your great mercy towards me and my family. Thank You for Your love and mercy. I pray that all of my offspring will “kiss the Son” of God, Jesus Christ and take refuge in Him.
Malachi 4:1-2 “For behold, the Day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The Day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear My Name, the Sun of Righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out like calves from the stall.”
Scripture reading for March 3rd: Numbers 3-5, Hebrews 12
Key Scriptures: Hebrews 12:15-17 “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.”
The writer of Hebrews admonished the believers about roots of bitterness that may be lingering in their hearts and souls towards others. Sometimes they come from family strife and worldliness, as in the case of Esau. Other times they can come from sexual sins exhibited by Esau’s escapades with foreign women. Sin can take us further than we want to go and exact a price higher than we want to pay! God’s grace can be obtained through true repentance and faith in Christ’s blood sacrifice.
Numbers 5:23-24 “Then the priest shall write these curses in a book and wash them off into the water of bitterness. And he shall make the woman drink the water of bitterness that brings the curse, and the water that brings the curse shall enter into her and cause bitter pain.”
Faith Confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I rest completely in Your grace to cover my sins confessed before You. Deliver me from bitter roots and pain caused by strife, worldliness, and sexual sin by empowering me through Your grace to live free and holy before you.
Scripture reading for November 24th: 1st Corinthians 7-10
I chose my life theme from going through Army officer’s leadership school. A key leadership principle that stuck with me was “Set the Example!” I was taught that one of the most powerful influences that a leader could have on others is their example. Jesus Christ modeled for us and his disciples by living a life centered on doing God’s will and serving others. The Bible records many examples that are not so good as well. Someone has said, “if you are not good for anything else, you can always be a bad example!”
In 1st Corinthians 10, Paul used some bad examples as warning for believers. Paul exhorted the Corinthians to remember the Israelites of the Old Testament. They had some great spiritual experiences with the Lord leading them by the cloud and fire and taking them through the Red Sea. They got to eat “manna” from heaven and drink water from the “Rock” for forty years while they wandered in the desert. They had God’s appointed leader, Moses, praying for them. However, God was not pleased with them! (1st Corinthians 10:1-5)
In spite of being supernaturally delivered by God from Egypt, many of them brought their idols with them! They were taught by God to be true to their wives, but many were sexually immoral as they worshiped these idols. Many grumbled against God and died from the bite of poisonous snakes and by the destroying angel of death. Their hearts were not right with God in spite of all the supernatural power that they witnessed. They thought they were right with God because of His blessings.
We should learn from their example. (1st Corinthians 10:8-10) America is a land of idols! Sports stars, entertainment figures, soap operas, movie stars, popular music stars and the like all serve as idols. We are sexually immoral and glorify sexual freedom that mocks God and His word because we are idolatrous!
Grumbling against God because of unbelief was also a characteristic of the Israelites. That grumbling kept them out of the land of promise and a whole generation died in the desert. These examples should drive us to Christ Jesus. He is our escape from sin, death and temptation. He is always faithful and delivers those who depend on Him!
Scripture reading for August 22nd: Ezekiel 16-19
In this chapter God explained how He saw the nation of Israel and how they were given life by Him. They had been born in sin and were covered with iniquity but God had mercy on them. God Himself had given the command “Live” and they received life! (Ezekiel 16:6-7) They grew up to become His beautiful bride and He clothed them in fine linen clothes and gave them fine jewelry. They were given ear rings and nose rings and even a crown for their head. They were to be a bride of royalty! (Ezekiel 16:10-14) In fact they became His queen and their fame spread among the nations!
Then a strange thing happened. God’s Queen decided to become a prostitute. She had become proud and trusted in her beauty and fame! She went up to the high places and spread her beautiful garments and offering sexual favors to all who passed by. She took some of her expensive jewelry and made cheap idols and engaged in prostitution with them! (Ezekiel 16:15-18) She even offered her sons and daughters to the idols by sacrificing them in the fires! What a strange and twisted mind this beautiful woman had!
On top of all that, instead of being paid by her lovers, she paid them to come to her! (Ezekiel 16:32-34) She had paid for favors from the Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians and even the Philistines! All of this behavior would bring wrath upon His people! (Ezekiel 16:37-40) She would reap the fruit of her illicit activities by being handed over to her lovers. Those lovers would strip her and leave her naked and bring destruction on the land. God’s hope was to turn His Queen back to Him again.
As we think about this story, we must heed its warning! Many in the church today are compromising their devotion to Christ and His Holy word. They are justifying their sexual idolatry and still claim to belong to Christ. They throw their children into the fire by using abortion to free themselves from the responsibility of raising godly offspring. They claim God’s favor and blessing when they are really under His wrath because they have never truly repented. (Romans 1:18-20) Maybe it’s time for another reading of this graphic prophetic warning!
Scripture reading for November 28th: 2nd Peter 2:1-22
Peter warned his flock about the false teachers who would come into their midst. These teachers secretly introduced destructive heresies, some that even denied the sovereign Lord who bought them. These teachers were greedy for money and used ear-tickling methods to divide off the weaker sheep and destroy them.
Peter made a case from church history emphasizing God’s dealing with false teaching and rebellion. The first example he used was that of Noah and his family. Noah preached righteousness by faith and built an ark to protect his family. God used a world-wide flood to judge the world of that day that had been corrupted by the false teaching of some wicked beings who were indwelt by fallen angels. These angels were also locked up in hell awaiting the judgment. (2nd Peter 2:4-5)
Next Peter cited the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. God rescued the righteous Lot and his family, but judged the wicked that had rebelled against Him. Peter plainly stated that God would judge the false teachers who promoted immorality and heresy and would rescue those who stood firm in His word! (2nd Peter 2:7-9)
Peter went on to expose these false teachers for who they were. They were arrogant men who blasphemed God and His truth. They were ‘brute beasts’ who operated out of their instincts and fleshly desires. They were immoral and open about it. They were adulterous and greedy for money and sin. They seduced the weak and unstable among the believers. They enticed people who were just escaping from living in sin and took them back into bondage! Peter stated that they were “slaves of depravity”. (2nd Peter 2:13-19)
I think today about ministers and churches who openly embrace the sin of homosexuality as something ordained by God. I think of others who willingly promote “pro-choice’ politics and the murder of the innocent and do that while naming the name of Christ! Often this is done to attract those who so believe and gain monetary support from them. They tell them that God loves them and that they can go on living “as slaves of their depravity’. God’s word plainly states that those who live like this will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven! (1st Corinthians 6:9-11) God wants to save them, but without repentance He can not!
Scripture reading for November 23rd: 1st Corinthians 7-10
I chose my life theme at Army officer’s leadership school. A key leadership principle that stuck with me was “Set the Example!” I was taught that one of the most powerful influences that a leader can have on others is their example. Jesus was a great model of this principle! The opposite can also true. It has been said: “If you are good for nothing else, you can always be a bad example!”
There were several things that Paul exhorted the Corinthians to learn from the example of the Israelites in the Old Testament. These people had great spiritual experiences with the Lord leading them. They got to eat “manna” from heaven and drink water from the “Rock” for forty years while they wandered in the desert. They had God’s appointed leader, Moses, praying for them. However, God was not pleased with them! (1st Corinthians 10:1-5)
In spite of the good example of God’s leadership and Moses’ prayers, many of them were sexually immoral as they worshiped idols from Egypt. Others grumbled against God or tested Him and died before reaching the promised land. Their actions indicated a lack of faith. They became examples for us of what not to do!
“Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were. . ” (1st Corinthians 10:6-7a) America is a land of idols! Sports stars, movie stars, rock stars and government leaders all serve as idols for those without a true relationship with Christ. Our nation glorifies sexual freedom and immorality that mocks God and His word! We call stories filled with idolatry and immorality “entertainment” and many in the church support this by regularly partaking.
“We should not test the Lord, as some of them did, and were killed by snakes.” (1st Corinthians 10:9) We challenge God by questioning His leadership and right to direct us. God’s goodness should never be questioned by His people.
“And do not grumble, as some of them did–and were killed by the destroying angel.” (1st Corinthians 10:10) Grumbling is a sin indicating unbelief in the heart. Grumbling is common today in our culture. It can be a besetting sin with church people. Grumbling kept the Isrealites out of the land of promised land and can do the same for us! Let’s wisely learn from these examples!
“In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.” Judges 21:25
As we have read through this book of Judges, I am impressed with how much this book describes our contemporary culture and the world view of secular humanism that is so prevalent. When people have no king or supreme authority in their life, they end up being the authority themselves. The result is catastrophic! Society becomes full of sin, immorality, and rebellion. That’s all that is in the human heart apart from God’s grace! Let’s think about these records from history we have just read.
First, without strong leadership to keep the people focused on the Lord and His Word, people always drift into evil and rebellion. Our land has lacked leadership morally. Men have forsaken their job of training children and mentoring younger men. Women have had to take leadership and responsibility for providing for families because men are not stepping up and the children have suffered from lack of parenting. The home is broken down and idolatry has replaced the family altar and accountable relationships in the family. Each person is seeking self-fulfillment in ways that are harmful to godly relationships. Our land has drifted into sexual immorality and personal spirituality that more often than not does not have a biblical base. In Scripture, idolatry and immorality always go together! The parents end up letting the children choose what they want, thinking that this is best. How can a sinner choose what is best when they have no “king” but self?
In the time of Judges, the ministry of the priesthood was also corrupt. Ministers were often hirelings. It is often true today that the same thing is true of ministry people. (John 10:11-13) Many are in ministry just as a job. They have positions and go through the motions, but are not really caring for the people. They tickle ears and tell their people what they know that they want to hear. (2nd Timothy 4:3-4) There is also a group that have a love for money and use God’s people to line their own pockets. We must be discerning of the same idolatry and religious scams in our world today!
God’s remedy for these conditions in religion has always been the same. He listens for His people to cry out to Him in prayer! When they do, He begins to act. (Psalm 50:14-15) He raises up a person who will walk with Him by faith and live and preach the Word of God. When these people preach the uncompromising Word of God in the power of the Holy Spirit, then healing, restoration, and deliverance takes place. (see Judges 4:1-11 for an example) How God longs to be our King and lead us into doing what is right and a blessing for us and those we love! Allow Him to touch your heart today! God bless you and your family! Pastor John