Scripture reading for January 17th: Mark 12, Psalm 12, Proverbs 12
Mark 12: 38-40 “And in His teaching He said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widow’s houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
Jesus taught His disciples to be discerning and watchful. In this world and even among religious folks, pride and love of position often is a trap of the devil to catch men. The Scribes wore religious clothing and symbols of their piety, but stole goods from the widows. They loved seats of honor, and prayed long prayers to show off. But their hearts were far from God and His commandments. God will arise and care for the poor and needy, widows, and orphans. God protects and defends them. He promises safety and deliverance to the righteous. They can count on having joy from their pure hearts and will delight God in their faithfulness. His Word is pure, tried and tested!
Psalm 12:5-6 “”Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the Lord; “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.” The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.”
Prayer: Father, thank You for reminding me that You care for the poor, needy, widows, and orphans. Your Word is pure and true for all generations. Help me to walk by faith. Forgive me for the times I have been like those scribes, prideful and self-righteous. Use my lips to declare Your pure Word, warning and calling those lost in this world and deceived in Your church to peace and faithfulness, Your delight and my joy!
Proverbs 12:20-22 “Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but those who plan peace have joy. No ill befalls the righteous, but the wicked are filled with trouble. Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are His delight.”
Scripture reading for March 8th: Luke 4
Key Scriptures: Luke 4:42-44 “And when it was day, He departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought Him and came to Him, and would have kept Him from leaving them, but He said to them, “I must preach the Good News of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.: And He was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.”
After returning from the 40 days of temptation by Satan, Jesus proclaimed the anointing of the Holy Spirit on His life in His home-town synagogue. He was to proclaim “Good News” to the poor, liberty to the captives and oppressed and recovery of sight to the blind, announcing the year of God’s favor. The people there tried to stone Him, but He passed by untouched. He went to Capernaum and began to teach and heal and cast out demons. He tried going to a deserted place to be alone with the Father, but the crowds found Him and pressed Him to stay. He then announced that He must go to other towns and preach the Good News. This was the purpose that God sent Him to earth for and He was set in His heart to fulfill God’s will. More preaching in other places followed!
Matthew 11:4-5 “And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John (the Baptist) what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have the good news preached to them.””
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for doing God’s will and preaching the Good News to the poor like me. I have been given liberty and sight and walk with You in sharing the “Good News” of a merciful Savior Who cares!
Psalm 136:23-24 “It is He Who remembered us in our low estate, for His steadfast love endures forever; and rescued us from our foes, for His steadfast love endures forever; . .”
Scripture reading for September 29th: Zechariah 7-8
“Then the word of the Lord Almighty came to me: “Ask all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted? And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves?'” Zechariah 7:4-6
Many times the Lord’s children go through the motions of worship or serving the Lord. We do what is expected or required, but don’t really put our hearts into it. I have done that before with fasting. As soon as I seek to fast, my flesh acts up and distractions come faster than ever before! I have a hard time focusing for prayer and thoughts of food or irritations come to distract me. My heart isn’t in it.
God used Zechariah to preach to His people on this subject as they returned to work on the temple. You see, God did not want them just to not have food, He wanted them to administer justice and show mercy to one another. He wanted them to care for the needy and poor and help the widow and orphan. He wanted their hearts to truly love each other instead of thinking evil. (Zechariah 7:8-10) It would produce positive results and progress in godliness.
But God’s people just went through the motions. He became angry with them, and scattered them among the nations. This is why the land became desolate and rested for the seventy years. Hard hearts and disobedience had brought inevitable consequences.
But now, God was again jealous for Jerusalem! He would now show good and blessing to this city. God would gather His people again back to the land and many peoples and nations would also come and join themselves to the Jew! (Zechariah 8:15-23) Fasting has always been a way for God’s people to draw closer to Him and find their true appetites satisfied. A true fast brings cleansing to body and soul. The body cleanses itself from toxins and waste as we quit eating and drink lots of water. The soul quits focusing on bodily appetites and focuses on the Lord and His will. Toxins of the soul include bitterness, depression, apathy, unforgiveness, and injustice.Take time soon for a true fast! It will work wonders for body and soul!