Scripture reading for October 15th: 1st Peter 4
Key Scriptures: 1st Peter 4:1-5 “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to life for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but the will give account to Him Who is ready to judge the living and the dead.”
Jesus Christ was a man of sorrows and acquainted with suffering and grief. The trial and crucifixion brought maximum suffering to Jesus Christ and although His flesh wanted to find a way out, He chose to submit fully to His Father’s plan and will. His example should motivate us as well. Jesus promised His followers that as He suffered and was persecuted, so they would also. Peter is pointing out to believers that this same attitude will serve them well. The world will not understand why we cease from sin and live fully for our Lord, but we will be fully rewarded on that Day of Christ.
1st Peter 4:13-14 “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father, thank You for the example of Jesus Christ and the teaching You give us on the value of suffering in focusing our lives on the eternal kingdom and coming King! Help me to live a life free of sins and live fully sold out to You as a witness of Your saving grace to a lost world. Use any suffering for Your will as further purification and increase my focus on You. I rest in my Faithful Creator!
1st Peter 4:19 “Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.”
Scripture reading for August 31st: 1st Corinthians 5
Key Scriptures: 1st Corinthians 5:1-5 “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. For although absent in body, I am present in spirit’ and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the Name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.”
Christ’s Church is His body on earth and is required to reflect God’s holiness and truth found in His Word. As the Church is formed out of the culture with converted sinners, some of the sinful culture seeps into the body. Not all believers are quick to repent and some strongholds are more difficult to break. Paul wrote to the Corinthians about a man in their body who was sexually immoral but nothing was being done about it. He told the leaders that they were arrogant for not confronting this problem and explained how to do it. If the man would not repent, he was to be turned over to Satan by putting him out of the fellowship of believers. The goal was the destruction of this stronghold in the man’s life through repentance and eventual restoration. The evil person must not be allowed to stay in the church of Christ Jesus until a turn-around was made.
1st Corinthians 5:6-7 “Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father, thank You for giving discipline instructions to Your Church leaders. As a member of Your body here on earth, I want to be a new lump without leaven. I have accepted Christ as my Passover Lamb that I might be unleavened. Help Your Church to apply these discipline instructions where needed to reflect Your holiness and to possibly bring healing and restoration.
1st Corinthians 5:12-13 “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.””
Scripture reading for August 30th: 1st Corinthians 4
Key Scriptures: 1st Corinthians 4:1-5 “This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, Who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.”
Each person is given a ‘conscience’ and has God’s inner witness that their deeds are on target or missing the mark. Paul admonished the believers about being judges of another believer. It is impossible for us as humans to fully know another person and their true motives. In fact, Paul said he couldn’t accurately judge himself. Only God can truly and fairly judge each believer. At the judgement seat of Christ all hidden motives and purposes will come to light. Christ alone is the perfect and final Judge Who never misses truth.
1st Corinthians 4:6 “I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father, thank You for making me a servant of Christ and steward of the mysteries of God. Help me to stay faithful and true to Your Word and avoid the temptation to make judgments of people and their motives. May I set an example for other believers to follow in the power of the Holy Spirit. My highest desire is to be commended by You as my judge.
1st Corinthians 4:20 “For the kingdom of God does not consist of talk but in power.”
Scripture reading for January 15th: 2nd Timothy 4
Key Scriptures: 2nd Timothy 4:5-8, 22 “As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing.” . . . .”The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.”
Paul’s final words to his son in ministry calls him to a reminder of the eternal reward that will come on the Day of Christ when at the Judgment Seat of Christ we will all be rewarded for the deeds done in the body. Paul knew his race was at the end here on earth. He was soon to be beheaded–poured out as a ‘drink offering’! He had maintained his faith and fought a good fight to stay true to Jesus Christ, suffering for the Gospel but anticipating the reward! This reward would also be for Timothy and all others who faithfully followed and endured! God is with us and His grace will bring us through to reward! We will cast our crowns at Christ’s feet!
Daniel 12:18 “But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the promise of reward from You for faithfulness and endurance through the trials here on earth. Help me to maintain my testimony and finish the good fight in Your grace filled with Your Holy Spirit.
1st Corinthians 3:13-15 “. . .each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.”
Scripture reading for October 9th: Jeremiah 37, 21, 34, Psalm 79, James 5
Key Scriptures: James 5:7-9 “Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.”
The Church of Jesus Christ needs patience! Jesus has promised His return for His Church and judgment for the wicked. The Church can be confident that He will come again but the time of this great event is left unknown to believers. No one knows the day or the hour! James uses farmers as an example of patience. They plant the crop and must wait through a whole growing season for the precious fruit to come forth. This requires early rains to get it started and late rains to fill the harvest and mature the fruit. Grumbling about the lack of rain is not faith! We must establish our hearts on God’s faithfulness and truth!
Psalm 79:13 “But we Your people, the sheep of Your pasture, will give thanks to You forever; from generation to generation will will recount Your praise.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your great patience with me and with the rebellious of this world. Help me to show Your patience to others and not grumble. I know the Judge is coming soon!
Jeremiah 21:14 “I will punish you according to the fruit of your deeds, declares the Lord; I will kindle a fire in her forest, and it shall devour all that is around her.”
Scripture reading for August 21st: Jeremiah 9-13
Key Scriptures: Jeremiah 10:10-12 But the Lord is the true God; He is the living God, the eternal King. When He is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure His wrath. “Tell them this: ‘These gods, who did not make the heavens and the earth, will perish from the earth and from under heaven.” But God made the earth by His power; He founded the world by His wisdom and stretched out the heavens by His understanding.”
Idols are simply objects made in images but without life. They can do nothing for those who make them or those who worship them. In fact, they are destined to perish, along with those who hold them. But God alone is the living God who made the heavens and the earth. He is the eternal King who rules the nations! In Him we can find true life and One worthy of worship!
Rejoicing in the Living God: “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine Being is like gold or silver or stone–an image made by man’s design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent. For He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the Man He has appointed. He has given proof of this to all man by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:29-31)
Scripture reading for August 7th: Isaiah 29-33
Key Scriptures: Isaiah 33:20-22 “Look upon Zion, the city of our festivals; your eyes will see Jerusalem, a peaceful abode, a tent that will not be moved; its stakes will never be pulled up, nor any of its ropes broken. There the Lord will be our Mighty One. It will be like a place of broad rivers and streams. No galley with oars will ride them, no mighty ship will sail them. For the Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is our King; it is He who will save us.”
God called His people to look upon Mount Zion, Jerusalem the peaceful city. It was likened to a tent that would never be moved. It would be like a place of broad rivers and streams, although no natural river was there. The River there would would flow from the throne of God and bring life and peace to all the inhabitants! God would be Judge, Lawgiver, and King! This last verse inspired the writers of our constitution to create three branches of government–judicial, legislative and executive.
Rejoice in our King’s rule: “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and His servants will serve Him. They will see His face and His name will be on their foreheads.” (Revelation 22:1-4)