Scripture Reading for February 23: Deuteronomy 5-7
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your foreheads. Write them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9
This passage is known by faithful Jews as the “Shema”, which means “listen”. The Shema is quoted twice daily by devout Jews around the world reminding them of the importance of a relationship with the One true God. This passage was quoted by Jesus in part when he was asked which was the greatest commandment. He answered with “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38) This ancient word from a sermon of Moses around 1500 years before Christ was foundational in the devotional life of God’s people and has great application for believers today.
Hearing is important! God wants us to have ears to hear His voice! Remember that the nation of Israel did not want to hear God’s voice speaking His commandments. They had asked Moses to hear for them so they would not die. Moses was repeating what God had told him. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God! (Romans 10:17) God sends His people out to speak His Word to bring faith and obedience and the resulting blessing.
There is no other God but God! He is the creator of heaven and earth. He is holy and complete in Himself. He desires the love of His children and loves them infinitely, desiring the best for them. His love is expressed in his Word and commandments. When we love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, we will actively respond to His Word in a life of daily obedience. (John 15:9-11) If we love Him, we will pass them on to the next generation. His joy will be in us and our life will be full!
How would you evaluate your hearing of God’s Word? How do you show your love for God and seek to impress it on the next generation? Take time this week to listen to God’s Word and take action towards one of your offspring, if you have them.
Scripture reading for March 23rd:Deuteronomy 15-18, Psalm 115, Luke 9
Key Scriptures: Luke 9:23-26 “And He said to all, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in His glory and the glory of the Father and the holy angels.”
Deuteronomy 18:15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers–it is to Him you shall listen–“
Moses of old prophesied that God would raise up a prophet–from among the Israelites, and the people must listen to Him. As the answer of God, Jesus came to His own brothers and called them to follow Him, forsaking all else. Accepting Jesus and His Words would mean acceptance by Jesus when He came in glory to earth. Listening and obeying brings great reward!
Faith Confession and prayer: Lord, thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ as the final prophetic Word from heaven. I am not ashamed to belong to Jesus and I love His Word. Open doors to share the Word today!
Psalm 115:1-2 “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your Name give glory, for the sake of Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness. Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Our God is in the heavens; He does all that He pleases.”
Scripture reading for September 17th: 1st Thessalonians 4, Psalm 36,, Proverbs 1
Key Scriptures: 1st Thessalonians 4:3-8 “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives His Holy Spirit.”
Our sanctification, or the process of being set apart for God and made holy, is progressive. We should be learning how to control our body and its appetites. We come to understand the law of love which recognizes the worth of each person and how wrong it is to take advantage of another person sexually in adultery or fornication or any form of sexual perversion. Paul stressed that God Himself was the avenger of these sins. That should make each of us take note. God demands holiness for anyone to see Him when He returns.
Faith Confession: I understand that God is the avenger of sexual sins. Sexual sin hurts the other partner and brings impurity into our lives. Lord, help me to control my body and appetites and to be holy set apart for Your use.
Proverbs 1:32-33 “For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them; but whoever listens to Me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”
Scripture reading for August 8th: 2nd Corinthians 9, Psalm 8, Proverbs 4
Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 9:11-15 “You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the Gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!”
Paul explained how the cheerful and generous giving of the Corinthians brought a harvest of thanksgiving to God. People receiving the gift and ministry it supported thanked God for the givers and the gifts. The Apostles and ministers thanked God for the harvest made possible by the giving. All the saints thank God for His inexpressible “Gift”, Jesus Christ, Son of God!
Faith Confession: Lord, thank You for those who gave support and prayers for me to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Thank You for Your amazing Church and Jesus Christ, my Savior and Lord!
Proverbs 4:10-12 “Hear, My son, and accept My Words, that the years of your life may be many. I have taught you the way of wisdom; I have led you in the paths of uprightness. When you walk, your step will not be hampered, and if you run, you will not stumble.”
Scripture reading for November 2nd: Jeremiah 34-36, James 3
Key Scriptures: James 3:6-9 “And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.”
James, pastor of the Jerusalem church and half-brother of Jesus Christ, loved to give practical wisdom to God’s people. He cautioned them concerning the tongue. Our speech gets us into trouble with God and others. We cannot tame the tongue ourselves. Only God by His grace and the power of the Holy Spirit can enable us to speak righteously and obey Him.
Jeremiah 35: 15 “I (God) have sent to you all My servants the prophets, sending them persistently, saying “Turn now every one of you from his evil way, and amend your deeds, and do not go after other gods to serve them, and then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to you and your fathers. But you did not incline your ear or listen to Me.”
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for using my tongue to do evil and harm others. Help me to listen to You and live by faith in every Word. Amen.
Scripture reading for March 16th: Luke 10
Key scriptures for over-comers: Luke 10:39-42 “”. . He (Jesus) came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me.!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Life in our culture is busy! There are many distractions that cause distress and worry. In the church, we go from one event to another and the pastor is always preparing for something urgent and for the upcoming ‘urgents’ that will soon be upon him. In the home and family, families are busy and meals come three times a day and cleaning is never done permanently! In business, deadlines and pressure push management and workers with lots of distractions. Jesus is aware of the ‘urgent’ we all face daily!
This short story and Jesus’ response to Martha should speak to all of us about our choices. We may still have to do those ‘urgent’ things, but the better choice is to sit for a time at Jesus’ feet and learn from Him. Listening to His wisdom puts the ‘urgent’ in its proper order and enables us to rest in His provision.
Observation for over-comers: To avoid being over-come by distractions and distress in a busy world, take time each day to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen! “Listen to my instruction and be wise: do not ignore it. Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway.” (Proverbs 8:33-34)
Sunday February 23rd, 2014
Greetings in the Wonderful Name of Jesus Christ! What a wonderful day to gather with God’s people and worship our Lord! What a privilege to call on His Name in prayer, knowing that He has told us that we can ask Him for anything and He will do it! What exciting kingdom vision and understanding we will gain by faith as we listen to God’s Word! Our world will be changed as we gather to worship, pray and listen!
God bless you and your family! May the blessings of our Lord make you rich in faith to do His will on earth as it is in Heaven! In His Love, Pastor John
Scripture reading for July 4th: Proverbs 1-4
I have personally read Proverbs dozens of times over the last thirty years. For many years I read the entire book of Proverbs each month as a daily discipline. For the past 8 years, I have read the chapter of Proverbs for that day at the bi-weekly men’s accountability breakfast that I am a part of. Even though I have read or heard Proverbs many times, I am still impressed at how they speak freshly to us about our daily lives. Wisdom is a bubbling brook!
Hearing and listening can be two different things. Almost everyone can hear what is being said but listening in order to learn and apply truth is a different process requiring humility and a teachable spirit. As we begin the book of Proverbs, take a moment to check your hearing and listening abilities. Put your mind in a learning mode. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you new insights about successful living and decision making as well as who God is.
Solomon is the author of many of the proverbs. He was David’s son through his wife Bathsheba. Solomon was visited by God and given an opportunity to ask for anything he desired. He asked for wisdom to rule God’s people. God was pleased and the proverbs are some of the written record of the wisdom God blessed Solomon with. Solomon wanted to pass that wisdom on to his sons. These early chapters talk about the benefits of wisdom and how it may be found. The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord. (Proverbs 1:7) There are those who either don’t want wisdom or are so enthralled with their own way that Solomon gives them names. Simple, fool, and mocker are the three names of those who refuse to listen and learn! (Proverbs 1:7, 22) Thankfully, those names are not descriptive of any of us!
Listening to wisdom has many blessings. It brings knowledge and discretion to the young as well as guidance. (Proverbs 1:4-5) It brings safety to those who listen and they have rest and no fear of harm. (Proverbs 1:33) A person who listens to wisdom understands the fear of the Lord and finds knowledge of God. (Proverbs 2:5) Your soul will find joy and you will rest in God’s protection. You will be kept safe from wicked men who are on crooked paths leading to destruction. (Proverbs 2:12-15) You will also avoid the adulterous woman and her path that leads to death. (Proverbs 2:16-19) Listening and keeping wisdom brings long life and prosperity. (Proverbs 3:2) Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her and they will be richly blessed! (Proverbs 3:18)
Wisdom is to be prized above any other treasure. (Proverbs 3:13-15) We must lay hold of wisdom by taking hold of the words given by the Father. (Proverbs 4:1-5) We must prize it and faithfully esteem wisdom. We must hold onto instructions of wisdom and guard them. Wisdom is our life and health to our whole body! (Proverbs 4:22) Wisdom is to reside in our heart! (Proverbs 4:23) Wisdom sounds a lot like Jesus Christ, in whom is hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge! (Colossians 2:2-3)
Scripture reading for March 4: Joshua 6-8
Have you ever faced an impossible situation? My life has been a series of various impossible situations that God has brought me through and as I look back, I am amazed! One such situation was a crisis of debt in my personal life. My wife and I had started a farm business from scratch with the help of my father. We had borrowed a lot of money and found ourselves nearly $600,000 in debt in 1981. The farm economy took a turn for the worse and we had purchased land in 1979 for $2000 per acre. By 1982 it was only bringing $600! The interest rate went from six percent to sixteen percent! We were hurting and in a mess! I saw many farmers lose farms because of this crisis. We turned to the Lord in repentance for our bad decisions and asked for help. In seven years of following instructions, we were debt-free! That made us shout!
In our reading today, Joshua faced a tough, walled stronghold just inside the “promised land”. As he contemplated what to do, he met up with an interesting person. He was not sure who this person was at first, and asked him who’s side he was on. The answer “neither” is interesting. God is for all men but is working out His purposes to save as many as will respond! Joshua removed his shoes as sign of holy respect when asked by the Lord and listened for instructions. The battle plan for this stronghold included all the Israelites. They must march around the city each day for six days. (Joshua 6:2 -5) The Ark of God was to lead the procession with seven priests carrying trumpets. On the seventh day, they were to march around seven times and the priests were to blow the trumpets. As they completed the journey, there was to be a loud trumpet blast and a great shout by the people. God promised that the walls would fall! What strange instructions!
When they obeyed, God gave them the victory! He promises us this very same thing today. It is important to seek the Lord when facing a stronghold. Ask for wisdom! (James 1:5-8) Listen closely! Be strong and full of courage and act on what He says. Let God lead the way. You follow Him closely. When the trumpet sounds, shout the victory! The walls will fall! Note that God saved Rahab, the prostitute because of her obedience in gathering her family into the room in the wall and tying the red cord to the window! God is in the saving business and loves to give victory! Face whatever stronghold is in your life today with courage and confidence! The Lord will bless you with a victory!