Scripture reading for April 17th: Ruth 3-4, Psalm 37, Acts 4
Key Scriptures: Acts 4:32-35 “Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’s feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.”
The early church brought many diverse people together in unity around Jesus Christ and His vision to reach the world and make disciples. Material things took a lower priority and believers shared their goods. Great power and grace rested on the apostles and their preaching brought new souls into the kingdom. Believers’ hearts were filled with generosity and love for each other.
Faith Confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for this amazing revelation of the early church and its love and generosity. Help me to be powerful in Your grace through the Gospel message and generous to those in need.
Ruth 4:13-14 “So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her, and the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son. Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, Who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, . . .”
Psalm 37:4 “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.”
Scripture reading for March 9th: Numbers 15-18, Psalm 113, Colossians 3
Key Scriptures: Colossians 3:12-16 “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the Word of Christ dwell in your richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
Paul lists many character and behavior traits of Christ Jesus that should now be “put on” by His disciples. Christ-followers have a desire and spirit-given ability to be like Him. Forgiveness and love are not accessories but staples of Christian character. They produce peace and thankfulness. As Christ’s Word indwells us, our hearts begin to sing songs of worship and adoration to God! What a blessed way to live!
Numbers 15:40-41 “So you shall remember and do all My commandments, and be holy to your God. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I am the Lord your God.”
Faith Confession and prayer: Lord, help me today to put on the clothing of Christ Jesus, my Lord. I want to allow His Word to dwell in me and sing praises to His Name forevermore!
Psalm 113:2 “Blessed be the Name of the Lord from this time forth and forevermore!”
Scripture reading for September 10th: Colossians 3, Psalm 31, Proverbs 27
Key Scriptures: Colossians 3:14-17 “And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
God is Love. Love is a basic covering for those in Christ Jesus. When we live in love, there is harmony and peace in our hearts and between other believers. Thankfulness and faith go hand in hand and pleases God. We can easily be thankful when we let Christ’s unchanging Word dwell in our hearts and flow through us to inform our actions and to share with others. God’s Word is wisdom, melody of song, and rich instruction for hungry hearts.
Faith Confession: I am clothed with love as I am filled with the Holy Spirit. God’s peace fills my heart and I seek to allow the Word of God to dwell within me and come out of my life and mouth in thanksgiving, praise, and godly instruction in wisdom.
Psalm 31:19 “Oh, how abundant is Your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!”
Scripture reading for August 26th: Ephesians 2, Psalm 20, Proverbs 16
Key Scriptures: Ephesians 2:4-9 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved–and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works so that no one may boast.”
Paul shared with the Ephesians the richness of God’s heart of mercy and the gift of His grace through His amazing love for us as sinners. He forgave our sins through Christ’s sacrifice and then raised us up with Christ, seating us in the heavenly realms in Him. We can claim no merit or credit for these gifts. All boasting is in God’s great grace and mercy and love!
Faith Confession: I boast in God’s mercy shown me (and the world) in Christ Jesus. I repent (turn away) from my sins and I accept with thanksgiving the gift of forgiveness of my sins, eternal life and resurrection from death.
Proverbs 16:6-7 “By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.”
Scripture reading for August 14th: 2nd Corinthians 13, Psalm 12, Proverbs 8
Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 13:11-14 “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
Paul ended his letter with final instructions and a benediction or blessing. He was a loving pastor who wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to instruct God’s church in restoring a repentant brother and healing divisions in the church caused by false teachers and people following men. Joy was prescribed and a focus on restoration and peacemaking. Tenderness and affection was to flow from all saints to all fellow believers. This was enabled by the grace of our Lord and God’s love and gift of the Holy Spirit to help us.
Faith confession: I thank You God for the grace of our Lord Jesus and the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of the precious Holy Spirit enabling me to live life in joy and maintaining the unity of the Trinity in the Church.
Proverbs 8:35-36 “For whoever finds Me, finds life and obtains favor from the Lord, but he who fails to find Me injures himself; and all who hate Me love death.”
Scripture reading for July 26th: 1st Corinthians 16, Psalm 149, Proverbs 25
Key Scriptures: 1st Corinthians 16:13-14, 22-24 “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. . . .If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. Our Lord, come! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.”
Paul loved concise final words and encouragement. These short sentences summarize points he had brought up in the longer body of the letter. He encouraged watchfulness against divisions and judging others. They were to remain strong in faith so he again brought up love and its supreme importance in all things. Faith works by love. Our love for Jesus is foundational as well as our love for each other. Paul sent his love as well!
Faith Confession: Lord, thank You for these short and plain reminders of what is important. Thank You for Your love and the love of other believers that encourages my faith. Help me to be a faithful and loving messenger.
Proverbs 25:13 “Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest is a faithful messenger to those who send him; he refreshes the soul of his masters.”
Scripture reading for July 23rd: 1st Corinthians 13, Psalm 146, Proverbs 22
Key Scriptures: 1st Corinthians 13:4-8 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. . . .”
As Paul writes to the Corinthians about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, he adds this special word concerning love. The love that Paul speaks of is God’s amazing love given to believers as a fruit of the Holy Spirit indwelling them. This love is patient and kind not arrogant or boastful. It rejoices in truth and goodness. This love is not pushy, irritable or resentful. It bears all things and believes all things. Grounded in hope, it never fails or ends but confidently waits for God’s Word to come to pass.
Faith Confession: Lord, thank You for Your amazing love, shed abroad in my heart by the Holy Spirit empowering me to live and act in the manner of Jesus Christ.
Psalm 146: 4-7 “Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry.”
Scripture reading for July 16th: 1st Corinthians 8, Psalm 141, Proverbs 17
Key Scriptures: 1st Corinthians 8:9-13 “But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.”
Christ Jesus delivers us from bondage to the Law and gives us His law of love. We are to love God fully and love our neighbor as our very self. Paul taught what this looked life for him in the culture of idolatry he lived in. He was free in Christ to eat anything, but did not want to cause any new believer or potential believer to stumble and return to idolatry. He limited his ‘rights’ and ‘freedoms’ in Christ for the sake of the salvation of others. This is love in action as the Holy Spirit leads.
Faith Confession: I can limit my liberty in Christ as the Holy Spirit directs in order to help weaker believers or potential converts. Help me today to love others as You do in this time and culture.
Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity.”
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.”
Scripture reading for September 10th: Proverbs 12-14, Colossians 3
Key Scriptures: Colossians 3:12-15 “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another, and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these, put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”
Learning and living go together in our walk with Jesus Christ. As we follow Jesus, His example is to guide our conduct and His Holy Spirit is to fill us with the fruit of His Holy character. We are one with Christ and other believers in one body, His Church!
Proverbs 14:2-3 “Whoever walks in uprightness fears the Lord, but he who is devious in his ways despises Him. By the mouth of a fool comes a rod for his back, but the lips of the wise will preserve them.”
Prayer: Lord, clothe me today with Your Holy Spirit and Christ’s character so that I might reflect Your goodness to the people You love and died for. Amen.