Tag: joy

May God direct our way!

Scripture reading for November 16th: 1st Thessalonians 3, Psalm 79, Proverbs 12

1st Thessalonians 3: 8-13 “For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith? Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.”

Paul was commending these persecuted believers for standing firm in the Lord. It brought him great joy and he offered prayers of thanksgiving to God for His protection of them and provision for them. Here he prays that God would graciously direct his way back to them that he might meet face to face with them again. Paul knew that it was all God’s grace to direct his steps, increase their love, and establish all hearts blameless at Christ’s return. It is by faith that we daily appropriate His grace and live a life of joy and effective witness. He daily delivers us and covers our sins for His own Name’s sake and directs our way to our heavenly home.

Psalm 79:8-9 “Do not remember against us our former iniquities; let Your compassion come speedily to meet us, for we are brought very low. Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Your Name; deliver us and atone for our sins, for Your Name’s sake!”

Prayer: Father God, I depend today on Your grace and covering for my sins. Thank You for Your divine promise to direct my way and establish my heart blameless before you through Your Son, Jesus Christ. I offer my body, mind, and spirit to be directed in Your way today and to live in such a way that I will help guide others into the Way, the Truth and Life of Jesus Christ, my Lord!

Proverbs 12:26 “One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.”

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Joyfully waiting for Jesus’ Return!

Scripture reading for November 14th: 1st Thessalonians 1, Psalm 77, Proverbs 10

1st Thessalonians 1:6-10 “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 in Achaia. For not only has the Word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead, Jesus, Who delivers us from the wrath to come.”

The Thessalonian believers were strong in their faith and their testimony of Jesus Christ. But some believers had already died and there was confusion among them about what events of the end times to look for. Some false teachers had tried to confuse them about Christ’s bodily return. Paul refers to Jesus’ return in each chapter of this short letter. His goal was to strengthen their faith through a deeper understanding of salvation and Jesus’ return to reward the faithful. These rewards awaited the living as well as those who had already died and were with the Lord. Paul assured them that God was faithful and those who had already died would rise first. He commended them for their repentance and patience to wait for Jesus who had already delivered them from the coming wrath of God against sin.

Psalm 77:19-20 “Your way was through the sea, Your path through the great waters; yet Your footprints were unseen. You lead Your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your encouraging Word through the apostles of Jesus. Thank You for revealing Jesus Christ as the Way through the waters of judgment and the only escape from Your righteous wrath against sin. The hope of salvation brings me joy and my faith is a stronghold in this world. Use me to encourage others and to share the Good News of Jesus’ return for His own.

Proverbs 10:28-29 “The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish. The way of the Lord is a stronghold to the blameless, but destruction to evildoers.”

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Again I say rejoice!

Scripture reading for June 20th: Philippians 4, Psalm 122, Proverbs 29

Philippians 4:4-8 “Rejoice in the Lord always ; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, my brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Paul concludes his short letter with an exhortation to rejoice with a double emphasis! He encourages the believers to live a life of continual rejoicing. If they have any worries or fears, they are to realize that the Lord is there with them and they need to cast these cares and fears on Him. Jesus will restore their peace and take away the fears. As the Jews were glad when they traveled to Jerusalem to visit the temple and experience God’s presence, the believer is to experience God’s peace because they are the ‘new temple’ of the Holy Spirit. Joy and rejoicing and peace are fruits of dwelling in God’s presence! Amen and amen!

Psalm 122:1-2 “I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem.”

Prayer: Father God, I am glad today that I am the temple of the Holy Spirit and that You dwell in me. Thank You for the privilege of coming to You with all my worries and cares and casting them on You. Thank You for the fruit of Your Spirit growing in my life as I focus on You and Your Word. Fill my life with continuous rejoicing as I grow in righteousness, peace and joy through meditation on Your promises!

Proverbs 29:2 “When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.”

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Great joy and worship!

Scripture reading for April 7th: Matthew 2, Psalm 70, Proverbs 8

Matthew 2: 7-11 “Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found Him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship Him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary His mother, and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.”

“Wise men (and women) still seek Him!” is a popular bumper sticker with believers in our culture. In the time of Jesus’ birth, God revealed to some men renowned for their wisdom the birth of a King, the Son of God. God sent a “star” to lead them across the desert and wilderness to the exact location of this Child Who was a King. They stopped to inquire of the local king, Herod, about this Child’s birth and location. Herod had asked the Jewish leaders about where the King would be born and they had revealed “Bethlehem” through the prophesies of Micah. Herod sent them to locate this Child with instructions to return and reveal the location. They went onward, led by the star, and found the child. Great joy and worship and the giving of expensive gifts resulted! They were warned not to return to Herod. They obeyed as only “wise” men could! Show your wisdom by seeking Him, worshiping Him and obeying!

Psalm 70:4 “May all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You! May those who love Your salvation say evermore, “God is great!””

Prayer: Father God, You Alone are the All-Wise God! In Your Son is hidden all the treasures of true Wisdom and Knowledge! I seek Your instruction as silver and Your Wisdom as fine gold and jewels! Nothing I desire can compare with Jesus Christ, the Wisdom and Knowledge of God My Father! I shout with the psalmist: “God is Great!” and thank You for leading me to Jesus, the Pearl of great price.

Proverbs 8:20-23 “Take My instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.”

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Words of wisdom and encouragement

Scripture reading for March 1st: Acts 27, Psalm 43, Proverbs 12

Acts 27:33-38 “As day was about to dawn, Paul urged them all to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you have continued in suspense and without food, having taken nothing. Therefore I urge you to take some food. For it will give you strength, for not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you.” And when he had said these things, he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat. Then they all were encouraged and ate some food themselves. (We were in all 276 persons in the ship.) And when they had eaten, they lightened the ship, throwing the wheat into the sea.”

Paul was a prisoner of Rome under the control of a centurion named Julius. He had favor with him and Paul was allowed to visit his friends before boarding the ship. It was nearing winter, and sailing was treacherous. Paul warned them about possible loss, but the ship’s owner and captain called the shots. During the trip, a storm arose that caused them to despair of life! For fourteen days they drifted in the gale winds. Paul spoke up as the time of approaching land drew near. He encouraged the men to take heart and eat. He told them not a hair of their head would perish. He blessed the bread and ate, along with the 275 others on this ship. He gave a word of wisdom–light and truth making souls glad.

Psalm 43:3-4 “Send out Your light and truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to Your dwelling! Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding Joy, and I will praise You with the lyre, O God, my God!”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for giving words of wisdom to Your servants to be a blessing and encouragement to all people and to show signs to the lost of Your love and care. Your Word brings light and truth to my soul. It leads me to Your holy dwelling and lifts anxiety from my heart replacing it with joy and gladness. Let Your Word bring hope, salvation and encouragement through my lips!

Proverbs 12:25 “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.”

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The ‘religious’ Jews plot murder!

Scripture reading for February 27th: Acts 25, Psalm 41, Proverbs 10

Acts 25: 1-5 “Now three days after Festus had arrived in the province, he went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea. And the chief priests and the principal men of the Jews laid out their case against Paul, and they urged him, asking as a favor against Paul that he summon him to Jerusalem–because they were planning an ambush to kill him on the way. Festus replied that Paul was being kept at Caesarea and that he himself intended to go there shortly. “So,” said he, “let the men of authority among you go down with me, and if there is anything wrong about the man, let them bring charges against him.””

Paul considered himself a ‘prisoner of Jesus Christ.’ Paul knew that God had sent him to Jerusalem and that he also would go to Rome as well because the Lord Jesus had spoken to him. But the ‘religious’ leaders of the Jews had their own plots in mind. More than 40 men had pledged an oath to neither eat or drink until they had killed Paul. Religion may appear to be legitimate, but hearts that are not humble before God but proud and manipulative are being controlled by the devil. God watches over His people in every situation to work out everything for His good and His purposes. Paul’s imprisonment and this conflict enabled Him to witness to Roman authorities in Caesarea and to be taken to Rome for ministry and the government protected him and footed the bill.

Psalm 41:11-12 “By this I know that you delight in me: my enemy will not shout in triumph over me. But You have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in Your presence forever.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for delighting in Your people and protecting them from enemies bent on destruction. You are the One who spins over me in delight and brings me into the rest of Your righteousness and joy. You are my stronghold in trouble and the One who will ultimately bring justice. Use me and my humble trust in You to bring Your Word of salvation to those who are lost and dying.

Proverbs 10:28-29 “The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish. The way of the Lord is a stronghold to the blameless, but destruction to evildoers.”

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The Word of the Lord!

Scripture reading for February 9th: Acts 13, Psalm 29, Proverbs 29

Acts 13:44-49 “The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the Word the Lord. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, It was necessary that the Word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold we are turning to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, “I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth. And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the Word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. And the Word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region.”

Paul and Barnabas were sent out by the early church on a missionary journey to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They went from city to city, sharing the good news, first to the Jews because of their place in God’s plan of redemption. However, many Jews resisted the message and jealously opposed them and their preaching. As instructed by Jesus, they shook the dust off and went next to the Gentiles. God was not showing partiality to the Jews, but wanted all men to receive salvation and eternal life. As they preached the good news of Jesus, Son of God, God brought conviction and salvation to those who believed and the Word and voice of the Lord spread to the whole region causing joy and rejoicing!

Psalm 29:3-4 “The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord over many waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty!”

Prayer: Father God, through the Gospel message coming through those You sent to share with me, I was appointed to salvation and received the gift of eternal life! Thank You for Your mercy and grace! Thank You for speaking to my heart! Use me to speak Your Word to those still in darkness that the glory of Your voice may resonate in their hearts through the powerful Holy Spirit, bringing salvation and joy to them!

Proverbs 29:6 “An evil man is ensnared in his transgression, but a righteous man sings and rejoices.”

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Oh the Joy of His coming!

Scripture reading for January 18th: Mark 13, Psalm 13, Proverbs 13

Mark 13: 24-27 “”But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send out the angels and gather His elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.””

Jesus’ last major teaching of His disciples was a warning of the coming time of great tribulation before Jesus’ second coming. Jesus told them that the tribulation would be time of great shaking of the earth and even the heavens. It would culminate with the return of “The Son of Man” in the clouds with power and great glory. The angels would gather all the elect, those trusting in Jesus Christ, from the ends of the earth and heaven! The righteous would be rewarded by their faith in Jesus and faithfulness to God’s Word. They had heeded the warning of Scripture and now will rejoice in salvation and their eternal reward. Everlasting singing and worship will mark the redeemed and they drink the fountain of Life!

Psalm 13:5-6 “But I have trusted in Your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.”

Prayer: Father God, You have dealt bountifully with me and I am thankful and rejoice in my promised salvation! I revere Your Word of warning for those still despising Your Word. Have mercy on them and send Your workers with Good News that they might not bring destruction on themselves or their families. I look forward with joy to Your return with the clouds of heaven and power and great glory!

Proverbs 13:13-14 “Whoever despises the Word brings destruction on himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded. The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.”

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Delighting God through faith!

Scripture reading for January 17th: Mark 12, Psalm 12, Proverbs 12

Mark 12: 38-40 “And in His teaching He said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widow’s houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

Jesus taught His disciples to be discerning and watchful. In this world and even among religious folks, pride and love of position often is a trap of the devil to catch men. The Scribes wore religious clothing and symbols of their piety, but stole goods from the widows. They loved seats of honor, and prayed long prayers to show off. But their hearts were far from God and His commandments. God will arise and care for the poor and needy, widows, and orphans. God protects and defends them. He promises safety and deliverance to the righteous. They can count on having joy from their pure hearts and will delight God in their faithfulness. His Word is pure, tried and tested!

Psalm 12:5-6 “”Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the Lord; “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.” The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.”

Prayer: Father, thank You for reminding me that You care for the poor, needy, widows, and orphans. Your Word is pure and true for all generations. Help me to walk by faith. Forgive me for the times I have been like those scribes, prideful and self-righteous. Use my lips to declare Your pure Word, warning and calling those lost in this world and deceived in Your church to peace and faithfulness, Your delight and my joy!

Proverbs 12:20-22 “Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but those who plan peace have joy. No ill befalls the righteous, but the wicked are filled with trouble. Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are His delight.”

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Don’t hinder the children!

Scripture reading for January 13th: Mark 10, Psalm 10, Proverbs 10

Mark 10: 13-16 “And they were bringing children to Him that He might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, He was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to Me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And He took them in His arms and blessed them, laying His hands on them.”

All children are special in God’s sight. He loves them and longs to bless them, but people often hinder the children from coming to Jesus! These disciples were rebuking parents who were bringing their children to Jesus. Jesus got angry with them! He insisted on the children being allowed to come to Him. When they did, He used them again as an illustration of how their simple faith and trust was what the kingdom of heaven was all about. They loved Jesus and found joy in His blessing. In fact, Jesus loves the fatherless and abused children and those who are oppressed and held back by mistreatment! He promises to stand up for them and bring justice! But His greatest desire was and is to bless abundantly!

Psalm 10:17-18 O Lord, You hear the desire of the afflicted; You will strengthen their heart; You will incline Your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your heart towards the children, particularly the fatherless, the abused, the oppressed and the abandoned. I love how You long for them to come to You. Help me to bring them to You in prayer and to see Your blessing extended to them causing joy and hope to arise and giving joy to Your heart. Forgive me for neglecting the children or hindering them. Let all barriers be removed!

Proverbs 10:28-29 “The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish. The way of the Lord is a stronghold to the blameless, but destruction to evildoers.”

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