Scripture reading for November 13th: John 21, Psalm 76, Proverbs 9
John 21: 20-24 “Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against Him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray You?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is My will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!” So the saying spread around that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say that he was not to die, but, “If it is My will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?” This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.
After the resurrection, Jesus Christ met with His disciples to complete their equipping for the mission He was sending them on–to be His witnesses. Peter had denied Jesus three times and Jesus asked him three times if he loved Him. Peter responded in the affirmative, vowing his love. After each response, Jesus reiterated His command to Peter to feed His lambs and sheep. After the third time, Jesus prophetically told Peter how he would give his life for the Master and Gospel. This caused Peter to wonder about John, who was also near at the time. What about John’s future before Jesus’ return? Jesus told him that was not to be his concern, instead Peter was to concentrate on following Him day by day. Jesus has a unique path for each of His followers that requires focus and daily obedience! Wisdom must prepare, set the table and wait.
Psalm 76:11-12 “Make your vows to the Lord your God and perform them; let all around Him bring gifts to Him Who is to be feared, Who cuts off the spirit of princes, Who is to be feared by the kings of the earth.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your patience in restoring Peter and reaffirming Your call. Thank You for calling me to follow You. It is my choice and desire to follow You each day of my life. Keep me from distractions and looking at other disciples with wonder or jealousy instead of keeping my focus on Your appointed work for me. May my testimony of You be steadfast and true and I be found faithful to You.
Proverbs 9:1-2 “Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn her seven pillars. She has slaughtered her beasts; she has mixed her wine; she has also set her table.”
Scripture reading for September 7th: 1st Corinthians 10
Key Scriptures: 1st Corinthians 10:19-24 “What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He? “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.”
As a Christ-follower, we must never compromise our love and commitment to the One true God. In the Corinthians culture, idol worship was associated with sacrifices that were then cooked and served. Believers knew that the sacrifice was nothing more than an animal and that the god they sacrificed to was nothing. But behind these ‘gods’ were demons. They were lying religious spirits of darkness that held men in bondage. Demons were real and their purpose and power was also real. To set a good example and help those who were just coming out of this demonic bondage, Paul urged the believers to do what was most helpful and able to build up those being delivered: abstain from this meat. It would be ‘lawful’ to eat for them, but not helpful. The law of love again limits liberty to win souls.
1st Corinthians 10:26-29 “For “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.” If one of the unbelievers invites you to diner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. But if someone says to you, “this has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience–I do not mean your conscience, but his.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for this instruction on idolatry and the demonic forces behind it. Help me to apply this truth today in my time and culture that I might show the love of Christ and yet never compromise my sincere and total devotion to You and Your Word. Help me to seek the good of my neighbors always.
1st Corinthians 10:31-33 “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.”
Scripture reading for March 22rd: 1st Samuel 20-23
When I was in school, I had a “best friend” named Kendal. He and I were in the same class at the same school from kindergarten until our junior year of high school. Kendal was drafted into the Army and went to Vietnam. I had enlisted in the Iowa National Guard. Kendal gave his life serving our country. Best friends are hard to find, and even harder to loose!
David and Jonathan were best friends. The Scripture records their love for each other and how their hearts were knit together. (1st Samuel 18:1-4) Jonathan was Saul’s son and the probable heir to the throne of Israel. David was a shepherd and musician who God had selected to be the next king of Israel. God placed David in Saul’s court to prepare him for his kingship. Jonathan recognized the favor of the Lord on David and was drawn to him. They made a covenant that would bind them to help each other.
King Saul was jealous of David’s reputation and was afraid of David’s anointing. He was insecure and tormented by an “evil spirit from the Lord”. (1st Samuel 17:14, 23) David played his harp and the evil spirit would leave for a time. The evil spirit would return and sometimes turn murderous towards David. Saul tried to kill him on several occasions and David was forced to flee. Jonathan always tried to patch things up or help his friend.
Finally, David realized that King Saul was going to kill him. Jonathan tried one more time to patch things up, but was himself attacked by his own father! Jonathan sent David away with tears and reaffirmation of their friendship. (1st Samuel 20:41-42) When he could, Jonathan would slip away and meet with David. (1st Samuel 23:15-18) Jonathan maintained friendship even when he knew his own father was out to kill his best friend.
We have such a friend as Jonathan in our Lord Jesus Christ! He is faithful and true to us, even when the going gets rough! He provides encouragement and shares his strength with us! We can call on him at any time and he will come. He will warn us of danger and help us to either face it or escape. He is benevolent and can be trusted to do us good all of our lives! (John 15:15-17) He will never leave us!
Scripture reading for September 12th: 2nd Corinthians 12:11-21
Paul continued his defense of his own ministry, blaming the Corinthians for driving him to this. “I ought to have been commended by you, for I am not in the least inferior to the “super-apostles,” even though I am nothing. The things that mark an apostle–signs, wonders and miracles–were done among you with great perseverance.” (2nd Corinthians 12:11-12) Paul did not consider himself to be anything. But he did do the things that mark apostles of Jesus Christ in their midst. God had used him to preach the Gospel and they were saved as a result of his ministry. He had done other signs during his ministry there. This should have brought commendation.
“Now I am ready to visit you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but you. After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well. If I love you more, will you love me less?” Paul wasn’t after their money or possessions, as some of the “false apostles” had been. He considered himself like their parents. He wanted to be with them and bless them, gladly spending himself for their welfare. He loved them as Christ loved them, willing even to lay down his life for them.
Paul went on to explain that all he had written was for their strengthening and that he had written what was needed in the sight of God. ” For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outburst of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged.” (2nd Corinthians 12:20-21) His love for them warned them of his coming so that they may repent and be found free from these sins! Examine your own life today for these sins! Jesus is coming soon!