Scripture reading for October 6th: James 2
Key Scriptures: James 2:1-4 “My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinction among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?”
James now begins to deal with the sin of discrimination in the church. There were those who were showing partiality to people of higher social and economic status and elevating them while treating people of poorer economic and social status with deference. James calls them out and tells them that they are acting as judges and that this type of thinking is evil. We can apply this teaching in many ways in our culture and time. We may discriminate against people on the basis of their race or ethnic background. We may show partiality to people of like political persuasion and shun or treat as second class citizens those we disagree with. As James says, this is wrong and we are acting in pride and judging people. Times may change but the sins are the same! The remedy is allowing God’s love for all to flow.
James 2:8-9 “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for the royal law of loving my neighbor as myself. I thank You also that You are not partial and that you show perfect love and justice and are the only One capable of judging. Forgive me for showing partiality and help me to value each person as precious and love them as my neighbor and myself.
James 2:13 “For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”
Scripture reading for July 6th: Matthew 6
Key Scriptures: Matthew 6:7-14 “”And when you pray do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. Pray then like this: Our Father in heaven, hallowed by Your Name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.””
In this Sermon on the Mount, Jesus covered many topics, but focused in on prayer. Prayer was not to be endless repetitions of empty phrases, but should be short and concise and focused on the basics of everyday life. Prayer admits dependency and begins with worship. The disciple is to know and address God as “Our Father”. They are members of a family where the Father is the provider, protector, and mediator of trouble. The Father has plans and purposes that family members know and support in agreement and unity. The Father instructs His children to forgive others their debts just as each of them has been forgiven. If there is no forgiveness, there is no understanding of God’s amazing grace and God cannot give us grace either. It is not salvation by works however, but always salvation and forgiveness by grace alone through faith in God’s mercy offered through the Cross of Jesus Christ. Asking and receiving are all by faith.
Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.’
Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for teaching us to pray simply for our basic needs. I need Your provisions for life and ministry, protection from evil and the evil one, mercy and forgiveness for my sins on a daily basis. I pray today this simple prayer: Our Father Who is in heaven, Hallowed by Your Name! Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom, power and glory! Forever and ever! Amen!
Scripture reading for January 4th: 1st Timothy 1
Key Scriptures: 1st Timothy 1:5, 12-14 “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. . . I thank Him Who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because He judged me faithful, appointing me to His service, through formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”
Paul’s letter to Timothy, a young pastor who Paul considered his “son” in the faith, was written to encourage Timothy to preach God’s Word and live it out as an example to those he ministered to. Paul testified of his own call and appointment to ministry by Jesus Christ, in spite of his egregious lifestyle of a blasphemer and persecutor of God’s people. Paul had been ignorant and had acted in unbelief and when he repented, Jesus gave him overflowing grace and new faith and a river of His love for the lost. No one is too hardened that God’s grace cannot save and bring needed transformation. Paul had a clear conscience and a pure heart through faith in Jesus Christ!
Psalm 51:1 “Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I thank You for calling me to salvation and to preach Your Word. This was in spite of my own sinful and selfish lifestyle. Help me to maintain a clear conscience and pure heart as I learn to fulfill Your calling and raise up others to serve You.
Matthew 4:19-20 “And He said to them, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.”
Scripture reading for January 1st: 1st Timothy 1, Luke 19
Key Scriptures: 1st Timothy 1:15-17 “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display His perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in Him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”
We begin this new year with a declaration by the Apostle Paul of the mission of Jesus Christ: to save sinners. We also hear afresh and anew Paul’s confession of his great sinfulness and need of Christ’s mercy. Paul praised Jesus’ perfect patience with his own sinfulness and how now, in his saved and transformed life, he was to become an example to all sinners of Christ’s patience and mercy. All Paul could do was worship and give all honor and glory to God and Jesus Christ! We begin our year declaring these truths for our own lives. We are sinners saved by Christ’s great mercy! Christ’s mission and now ours is to declare Christ’s saving mercy for sinners through the Gospel and through our own transformed lives. We declare Christ Jesus and God the Father as eternally worthy of our praise! We declare this to be a year of worship and salvation!
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, You are the King Eternal and the only God my Savior! Thank you for showing mercy to me, a foremost sinner and blasphemer. Help me to declare Your mission of mercy through my daily walk, words and service in 2021. I will do all as daily worship to the King Eternal!
Luke 19:9-10 “And Jesus said to him (Zacchaeus the tax collector), “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Scripture reading for July 28th: 2nd Chronicles 24, 2nd Kings 12, Psalm 50, Matthew 9
Key Scriptures: Matthew 9:27-30 “And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed Him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” When He entered the house, the blind men came to Him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, “See that no one knows about it.””
Jesus had just raised a dead girl to life and healed a woman who touched His garment of 12 years of hemorrhaging. As He moved on, two blind men followed crying out in faith to Jesus for their healing, using the divine title, ‘Son of David.’ Jesus asked them if they believed that He was able to do what they were asking and they replied in the affirmative. One touch from the Master Jesus and a Word brought instant healing! He sent them away warning them to tell no one!
Psalm 50:15 “. . . and call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will glorify Me.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe that You can do all things and that I bring You glory when I call on You for help, healing, or deliverance. Help me to humbly ask for help as I labor restoring Your House.
2nd Chronicles 24:13 “So those who were engaged in the work labored, and the repairing went forward in their hands, and they restored the House of God to its proper condition and strengthened it.”
Scripture reading for May 20th: 2nd Samuel 11-12, 1st Chronicles 20, Psalm 51, 32, Acts 27
Key Scriptures: Acts 27:34-38 “”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 enough, they lightened the ship, throwing out the wheat into the sea.”
While on his journey to Rome, the ship’s captain that Paul had warned not to proceed had gone ahead anyway. A great storm arose at sea and all on board despaired of life. Paul was encouraged in a vision that none would be lost except the ship and that he would travel to Rome to testify there. Paul shared his vision with the crew and those aboard the ship and encouraged them to eat something. He took the bread, gave thanks, broke it and ate! This was a type of Holy Communion, a remembering of Jesus’ death and indwelling life!
Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I trust in Your broken Body and shed Blood for cleansing, healing, forgiveness and encouragement. Open doors today of encouragement and hope, where I can break the Bread of Life through sharing Jesus Christ and His mercy for those who are fearful in the midst of a storm.
2nd Samuel 12:13 “David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.”
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 October 24th: Jeremiah 9-12, Hebrews 9
Key Scriptures: Hebrews 9:24, 27-28 “For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. . . “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him.”
Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, entered the actual Holy of Holies in heaven. He took the ultimate sacrifice, His own blood to atone for our sins. He is coming back to earth again a second time, not to deal with sin again, but to save completely those who are trusting in Him! What wisdom God and Christ have revealed to all who will hear!
Jeremiah 9:23-24 “Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your mercy to me to personally pay for my sins with Your own blood. Thank You for revealing Your mercy to me! Amen.
Scripture reading for October 16th: Isaiah 53-56, Hebrews 3
Key Scriptures: Hebrews 3:12-14 “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.”
The writer of Hebrews gave a pastoral warning to the members of the church. The sin of unbelief can take us away from Christ and cause eternal loss. Unbelief is deceitful and subtle. We must watch over our own soul and one another. Confidence in Christ must be maintained.
Isaiah 55:10-11 “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that He may have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your great mercy and for Your pastoral care for my soul and Your church. Help me to be careful and watchful, maintaining confidence in Christ’s sacrifice for me. Amen.
Scripture reading for July 27th: Psalm 51-54, 2nd Corinthians 1
Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 1:2-4 “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our afflictions, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
Paul sends grace to the Church at Corinth from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. He recognized that God was the source of all mercy and comfort. In fact, Paul calls God “The Father of mercies” and “God of all comfort.” Mercy is God’s unmerited favor of grace and forgiveness, given to sinners who deserve wrath. Grace is the opposite of what we deserve! Having received this mercy, we can now share that with others in need.
Psalm 51:10, 13 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” . . .”Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will return to You.”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your great mercy, beyond what I deserve. May I have grace overflowing today to share with others in need. Amen.