Scripture reading for July 2nd: Matthew 4
Key Scriptures: Matthew 4:12-17 “Now when He heard that John had been arrested, He withdrew into Galilee. And leaving Nazareth He went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, and in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles–the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and the shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.” From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.””
Jesus Christ heard that John the Baptist had been arrested by King Herod for preaching repentance and confronting Herod’s sinful sexual life. Jesus withdrew to His own childhood region of Israel but moved to another town from Nazareth, Capernaum by the sea. This area was on a trade route where peoples from all over the world would visit on their way to trade in other parts of the world. It was known as “Galilee of the Gentiles” but had been the home property given to Zebulun and Naphtali, tribes of Israel. Isaiah the Prophet had spoken about this area in Isaiah 9:1-2, about 700 years before Christ’s birth. Jesus began preaching right where John the Baptist left off. He began where the land of the Jews was particularly darkened by the shadow of death and brought great light by preaching the Word of God. God’s Word would bring deliverance from death and its dark shadow and the dawning of a new day! Herod’s kingdom of darkness and death would be overcome by the kingdom of Light!
Isaiah 60:1-2 “Arise, shine, for your Light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon You, and His glory will be seen upon You. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of Your rising.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for sending Jesus to light up my world of darkness! Thank You for loving Gentiles as You loved Jews. Through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, Your light shines through me. Let the preaching of repentance, faith and miracles of healing flow through my life and today’s ministry opportunities.
Matthew 4:23-24 “And He went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the Gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. So His fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and He healed them.”
Scripture reading for May 28th: Ephesians 5
Key Scriptures: Ephesians 5:3-6 “But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
Immorality and idolatry go hand in hand in the world of the sinner but should have no part in the life of a follower of Christ Jesus. Paul wrote the believers in Ephesus a clear warning against continuing in past personal sins of immorality and in the culture of immorality in the land. Repentance means a change of mind, heart, and direction away from the culture of sinners to that of Christ. Immorality includes filthy talk and crude jokes. It includes watching lewd movies and pornography. It also includes homosexuality, adultery and fornication–any sex outside of marriage of a man and a woman. It includes incest and bestiality or coveting another’s body in lust. Beware, no one practicing such things will inherit the unsearchable riches of Christ Jesus! Believers must reflect the light of truth in Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:7-8 “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore, do not be partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, give me discernment and grace to avoid all the temptations of the culture of immorality and idolatry in my assigned mission field. Keep me from deceptive words and the allure of the flesh. Remind me often that I am light in the Lord to my family and church. Help me to use the limited time left in my life in wisdom and fruitfulness,
Ephesians 5:15 “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”
Scripture reading for March 17th: Luke 11
Key Scriptures: Luke 11:33-36 “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.”
Jesus used light and darkness often in his teaching. Here he talked about the lighting of a lamp dispelling darkness. He stated that the eye is the lamp of our body and that when the eye is functioning properly, our whole being is flooded with light. When the eye ceases to function, darkness comes over us. Our eye takes light and reveals natural and spiritual truth. If the light coming in is really darkness, we have a big problem. Jesus was talking about deception that brings darkness to the soul from lying spirits of evil. A humble and teachable heart invites Jesus to bring true light into our souls and flood our being with pure light. The entrance of God’s Word brings true light, revealing spiritual truth and exposing deception.
John 8:12 “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Faith confession and prayer: Thank You Jesus that the entrance of Your Word brings light to my soul. Help me to let Your light shine today through my life and testimony, illuminating the darkness of this world. Give me discernment to keep me from deception.
Psalm 119:130 “The unfolding of Your Words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.”
Scripture reading for November 20th: Ezra 3-4, Psalm 92; 1 John 1
Key Scriptures: 1st John 1:6-10 “If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice he truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.”
John was the youngest of the disciples when he began following Jesus and wrote his Gospel and these letters to the church when he was older and more mature. He explained to the church that true fellowship with Jesus brought light, truth, and joy into our life and Christ’s Church. We can’t walk in darkness and truly have fellowship with Jesus. We can’t say we have no sin if we are living it it and cover it up and expect forgiveness and peace. We must walk in the light of Jesus’ Word and confess all sins, repenting and turning away from them. The blood of Jesus cleanses us and we can have true fellowship with others cleansed and walking in the light.
Psalm 92:12-13 “The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I desire to walk in the Light of Your Word and have true fellowship with You and other disciples. Help me to confess sin and walk in righteousness and truth.
Ezra 3:11 And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord, “For He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.” And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.”
Scripture reading for June 19th: Song of Solomon 1-3, Psalm 72, 1st Thessalonians 5
Key Scriptures: 1st Thessalonians 5:8-11 “But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation, for God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with Him. therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
Paul encouraged the Thessalonians to live in the light as children of the light. Christ will come again soon. Whether awake (alive) or asleep (body resting in the grave) we live with Him and for Him. God has not destined His people for wrath but for salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. We should encourage each other to continue in faith as we wait for Christ’s return.
Song of Songs 2:4 “He brought me to the banqueting house, and His banner over me was love.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the light of Your Word and Your love shed abroad in my heart by the Holy Spirit. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and encouragement for others. I long to be with You.
Psalm 72:19 “Blessed be His glorious Name forever; may the whole earth be filled with His glory! Amen and Amen!”
Scripture reading for November 19th: 1st John 1, Psalm 89-90, Proverbs 15
Key Scriptures: 1st John 1:5-9 “This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
John was the “beloved” disciple. He followed Jesus when he was very young and now as an old man, he wrote to the Church of Jesus concerning the light of Truth as found in Jesus. If we walk in the light of Jesus, we will experience true fellowship with God and one another. The blood of Jesus will continually be at work bringing cleansing and sanctification from sins we confess and repent of. Denying real sin in our lives cuts us off from Jesus and truth.
Faith Confession: I desire to walk in the light of Jesus and His Word. I want to be sensitive to sins and find repentance and cleansing through Jesus’ blood, keeping my fellowship with Him and His church.
Psalm 89:1 “I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever; with my mouth I will make known Your faithfulness to all generations.
Scripture reading for September 26th: 1 Timothy 3, Psalm 43, Proverbs 8
Key Scriptures: 1st Timothy 3:14-16 “I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.”
Paul hoped to see his son in the faith, Timothy, soon. But in case that didn’t happen, he wrote down some instructions for his conduct and those of other elders in the church. The church was God’s family (household), and a “pillar and buttress” of truth. Jesus Christ is the “truth” and the ultimate revelation of the mystery of true godliness. His birth, death and resurrection from the dead, appearance on earth and in heaven is proclaimed among the nations prompting faith and salvation. He alone is worthy of worship and eternal praise!
Faith Confession: I want to live a godly life. The mystery of godliness is great and is found in the greatest Man, the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God. Through faith in Him, God has granted me the desires of my heart.
Psalm 43:3-4 “Send out Your light and Your 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.”
Scripture reading for September 18th: 1st Thessalonians 5, Psalm 37, Proverbs 2
Key Scriptures: 1st Thessalonians 5:8-11 “But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
Christians belong to the day and are creatures living in the Light of Jesus Christ. We don’t need alcohol to help us cope with this world because we have faith in Jesus Christ and His love and are filled with hope through the Holy Spirit. We know God’s Word has promised us salvation and escape from wrath. Whether we are awake and ready or asleep or even sleeping in death, God’s promises are true. We must remind each other of this day by day.
Faith Confession: I am a believer in Jesus Christ and hold fast to the hope of salvation and deliverance from God’s wrath. Thank You Lord for Your promises and the light of Your Word to guide my path.
Psalm 37:39-40 “The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their stronghold in the time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in Him.”
Scripture reading for August 29th: Ephesians 5, Psalm 23, Proverbs 19
Key Scriptures: Ephesians 5:8-11 ” . . for at one time you were darkness, but now your are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”
All believers were once sinners, walking in darkness and doing deeds of those who live in darkness and ignorance of God’s will. But now believers have been made “children of light” and are called to walk in the light of God’s Word and life. We are to study God’s Word to find out what pleases Him and do that. We are to expose the darkness by letting our light shine brighter each day as we follow our Good Shepherd in His paths of righteousness.
Faith Confession: I am light in the world because Christ lives in me. As I walk in the light of Christ’s love and Word, I please God and expose the fruitless deeds of darkness that I once lived in.
Psalm 23:1-3 “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake.”
Scripture reading for February 19th: Mark 8, Psalm 36, Proverbs 5
Key Scriptures: Mark 8:34-36 “And calling the crowd to Him with His disciples, He said to them, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the Gospels will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?”
Following Jesus is not for the faint of heart or the self-centered. His way is the way of the cross. It is a path of suffering and even leads to death. It is a path of self-denial. We can’t ‘have it our way’ and do God’s will. There is nothing in this world that we can give to God to buy our own soul. If we gained the whole world, it would not suffice!
Faith Confession: Lord, I count it a privilege to know and follow You. Help me today to give my life, time, talent, and energy, to serve You. Thank You for Your steadfast love and light!
Psalm 36:9-10 “For with You is the fountain of Life; in Your light do we see light. Oh, continue Your steadfast love to those who know You, and Your righteousness to the upright of heart.”