Scripture reading for June 29th: Matthew 1
Key Scriptures: Matthew 1:18-23 “Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son, and you shall call His Name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call His Name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).”
Matthew’s Gospel account of the life of Jesus was written primarily to a Jewish audience and contains many references to Old Testament Scriptures. This first chapter includes a genealogy of Joseph all the way back to Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation. (Mary’s genealogy is in Luke, and goes all the way back to Adam and the first prophesy of a coming ‘Seed of woman’ Who would crush the serpent’s head.) Matthew’s account stresses that Mary was found with child before having any relations with Joseph, but conceived by the Holy Spirit. Joseph, not wanting to shame Mary, was ready to divorce her quietly, but an angel gave him clear instructions regarding the child Mary was carrying. The angel confirmed the Holy Spirit as the One bringing conception. Before ultrasounds, the angel declared Mary would bear a Son, Who would be named “Jesus”, for He would be Savior of His people! This is the One announced by Isaiah the Prophet as “a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name “Immanuel”. God’s amazing preparation and planning is evident from the Holy Scriptures!
Matthew 1:24-25 “When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a Son. And she called His Name Jesus.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father God, Thank You for this amazing record of Your plans to bring Your Son Jesus Christ into this world through a virgin birth. Thank You for recording the prophetic words given proclaiming Your plans beforehand and for allowing me to hear and understand and proclaim this Good News of a Savior!
Acts 4:11-12 “This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the Cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Scripture reading for April 1st: Luke 22
Key Scriptures: Luke 22:24-30 “A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the One who serves. You are those who have stayed with Me in My trials, and I assign to you, as My Father assigned to Me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
Jesus’ disciples argued with each other about who would have the greatest honor and place of authority in the coming kingdom of God. They assumed a soon-to-be revealed physical kingdom. Jesus admonished them that although greatness in this world is associated with being served, it is those who serve now who will enjoy the greatest honor in the coming kingdom. By humbly serving God and other, we gain opportunity to share the Gospel and kingdom of God with them. Jesus Himself set an example of serving and those following Him must have that attitude. The greatest honor in future kingdom of God will be for those serving Jesus in this life with zeal and humility. It’s God’s Word!
Matthew 7:12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your great example of serving others by giving Your time on earth and life to obeying the Father and serving others. Help me learn from You daily that greatness in Your kingdom is serving God and others. As we give service to others, Lord, open their hearts to Jesus Christ, our Master Servant!
Proverbs 21:25-26 “The desire of the sluggard kills him, for his hands refuse to labor. All day long he craves and craves, but the righteous gives and does not hold back.”
Scripture reading for April 16th: Ruth 1-2, Acts 3
Key Scriptures: Acts 3:17-21 “”And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets long ago.””
Peter and John were going to the temple to pray when they encountered a lame beggar by the roadside. The man asked them for money, but they had something better: The Name of Jesus! Peter explained to the crowd that had gathered how this notable miracle had taken place and what their response should be. Many of these people were the same ones who had demanded the crucifixion of Jesus and asked for the release of a criminal. Peter called them to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. They could enjoy a time of refreshing just like the healed beggar!
Faith confession and prayer: Jesus, thank You for the power of Your Name to bring healing, salvation and deliverance. Use me today to share the love of God and the good news of Jesus Christ, Lord and healer.
Ruth 2:12-13 “The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge! Then she said, “I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, though I am not one of your servants.””
Scripture reading for March 11th: Numbers 22-25, Luke 1
Key Scriptures: Luke 1:30-33 “And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son, and you shall call His Name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
Luke, inspired by the Holy Spirit, decided to write an account of the birth and life of Jesus Christ, Son of God and Savior of mankind. He wrote here of Mary’s supernatural encounter with Gabriel, an angel of God and special messenger to Israel. The angel announced to Mary that she would conceive and bear a Son. She was to give Him the Name “Jesus.” Her Son would truly be “Son of the Most High.” He would shine as a star and his scepter would rule forever and ever!
Numbers 24:17 “I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the forehead of Moab and break down all the sons of Sheth.”
Faith Confession and prayer: Lord, thank You for announcing Your plans by the prophets of old and bringing them to pass in the fullness of time. Help me to proclaim the Name of Jesus and His wondrous work of salvation for all mankind.
Scripture reading for January 1st: Matthew 1, Psalm 1, Proverbs 1 (Reading through the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs one chapter a day, five days each week in 2019–please join me in the trek!)
Key Scriptures: Matthew 1:18-21 “Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son and you shall call His Name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.””
The New Testament begins with a story that has its roots in the flow of the Old Testament. A genealogy from Abraham to Joseph begins the story. Joseph’s betrothal to Mary makes the story personal and about love. But Mary, a virgin, was pregnant before the marriage was consummated! Joseph had a plan, but angelic intervention brought needed information: the baby Mary carried was conceived by the Holy Spirit! The Name, “Jesus” was to be given to the child. He would save His people from sin! This story is made personal and current if you have believed in Him and received His love!
Faith’s Confession: I believe that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, conceived by the Holy Spirit, and was God’s Son in human flesh, and is my Savior from my sins.
Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Scripture reading for May 17th: 1st Chronicles 10-13, Acts 10
Key Scriptures: Acts 10:34-39 “So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him. As for the word that He sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ(He is Lord of all), you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”
Peter preached Jesus Christ as Lord of all to Cornelius, the Roman Centurion and his family. God graciously saved them and filled them with the Holy Spirit. God shows no partiality to those who will surrender to Him! He makes them mighty warriors for Christ, the Son of God, Son of David.
1st Chronicles 12:38 “All these, men of war, arrayed in battle order, came to Hebron with a whole heart to make David king over all Israel.”
Scripture reading for March 4th: Luke 1
Luke was a traveling companion of the Apostle Paul and of Greek origin. He was a physician and a man who was well-studied and articulate. God chose to use him to write an orderly account of the birth, life, death, and resurrection of His Son. Luke’s Gospel places an emphasis on the humanity of Jesus, the Son of God. Luke also wrote the Book of Acts which chronicles the early church and the spread of the Gospel throughout the known world.
Luke began his account with the story of two miraculous births to two different women. The first birth was that of John the Baptist. He was born to a godly couple, Zechariah and Elizabeth, who had been barren. Zechariah was a priest in Israel and was serving in the temple when an angel appeared to him telling him that his prayers for a son would be answered. Zechariah asked the angel how he could be sure of that, given he and his wife’s age. The angel identified himself as Gabriel, who stood in God’s presence. Zechariah would be mute until the birth of the child for his unbelief!
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, Gabriel the angel, made another appearance. This time to a young virgin named ‘Mary’ who was betrothed to Joseph. “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son and you are to give Him the name Jesus. He will be great and be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, His kingdom will never end.” (Luke 1:30-33) Mary accepted God’s favor and conceived the Son of God!
Scripture reading for January 5th: Matthew 3
John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus, came on the scene when Jesus was nearly 30 years old. He preached that the kingdom of heaven was at hand and that all men needed to repent. John wore the clothes of a prophet and lived in the lonely places of the Judean wilderness. Matthew records that he was the one spoken of by Isaiah, “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.'” (Isaiah 40:3) Many people came and confessed their sins and were baptized by John in the Jordan River.
When the Saducees and Pharisees came to observe, John warned them of their need to repent and be baptized. He told them that having a genetic tie to Abraham was not enough with God. God was looking for fruit of obedience in each life and would judge all who had none! He also warned them that there was one coming after him who would be more powerful and honored. The “Coming One” would baptize men with the Holy Spirit and with fire, not just water! This One would gather in the faithful, but punish the wicked! (Matthew 3:11-12)
Jesus then appeared to be baptized by John. John recognized Him as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29) Jesus was insistent and John baptized Him. As Jesus came out of the water, the Holy Spirit came down and rested on Him like a dove, and a Voice from heaven stated: “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well-pleased.” (Matthew 3:17) Water baptism is a step of obedience that all disciples should follow. But Jesus also is the Baptizer in the Holy Spirit and Fire! Go after all He has for you!
Reading for January 1st: Matthew 1
Dear Friends of Jesus,
As we begin our journey on the first day of a new year, I begin my seventh year of writing devotions through the Bible. This year we will try another reading approach to the New Testament. My plan is to read one chapter a day for five days each week. We will take Saturday’s and Sunday’s off to reflect and worship with our family and church family. May the Lord reveal His holy character and ways to each of you as you faithfully read.
The theme this year is simply “Jesus”! Jesus Christ is the central focus of the whole Bible and the New Testament begins with a record of the human lineage of Jesus traced from Abraham to Jesus’ earthly father Joseph. There were 42 generations in this record covering about 2000 years of human history. (Matthew 1:17) Matthew writes from a Jewish perspective and shows that Jesus was truly a son of David traced back to Abraham, the father of the nation.
Matthew recounts how Mary was found to be with child before the consummation of her marriage to Joseph. Joseph planned to divorce her quietly, but was told by God that he should go ahead and marry her. The child was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Joseph was given the Name “Jesus” to give to the child by the angel. “Jesus” would save His people from their sins! (Matthew 1:21)
Everyone needs a savior because all have sinned! (Romans 3:23) There is no other Name given among men that can bring salvation! (Acts 4:12) Why not start this new year committing your life to Jesus Christ? Would you dedicate time each day to read His Word and know Him? God bless you on your journey this year! Pastor John and Mary Morse
Scripture reading for October 25th: Luke 13-15
“Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear Him (Jesus). But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Luke 15:1-2
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to seek and save the “lost” of this world. No one is really right with God. Sin has come to every man because of Adam (not Eve!). (Romans 5:12-14) But not everyone is ready to recognize and admit that they are “sinners” and “lost”. Satan’s trick of blinding minds through pride and the lies keeps many in bondage. (2nd Corinthians 4:4) Jesus cannot save those who will not willingly come to Him.
When He walked the earth, He sought out people who were open to His message of the Kingdom. It was on one of those occasions that Jesus responded to the muttering of the religious leaders about His hanging around sinners. He told them three parables to help them understand the heart of God for the lost. The first parable was about a man who had a hundred sheep and found out that one of them was missing. He left the main flock to go and search for the lost sheep. When he found that lost sheep, he called friends and neighbors together and celebrated! The moral of this story was that there was joy in heaven over one lost person being restored! (Luke 15:7)
Another parable concerned a woman who had lost one of ten silver coins. She searched diligently in her house until finding it and then invited friends to rejoice with her for her restored savings! The same bottom line is emphasized. (Luke 15:10)
The final parable concerned a man who had two sons. One wanted his inheritance right now. His father gave him the money and he left to squander it on loose living. He got himself into a mess, even needing to eat with pigs to satisfy his hunger! This lost son decided to go back to his father and beg for mercy. The father was watching for his lost son, saw him coming, and ran to meet him. After a brief apology, the father restored this son and threw a party of celebration!
Jesus loves lost people! This “Man” will welcome you back with open arms!