Scripture reading for August 23rd: 2nd Corinthians 1, Psalm 18, Proverbs 13
2nd Corinthians 1: 8-11 “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God Who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us. On Him we have set our hope that He will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.”
As believers, we don’t get a pass on suffering or persecution. Paul and his ministry team went through a trial where they despaired of life itself. They felt under the sentence of death and that there was no escape. However, God strengthened them and delivered them from the deadly peril. It was Paul’s faith in God that caused him to declare that God would do it again as well. But Paul encouraged the believers to pray for them and bring help as many agreed together. This would bring thanksgiving from those helped through the prayers. Prayer is an amazing help and comfort to those in despairing trials. God is faithful to hear and answer us and those praying for us and with us. To Him be all glory in heaven and on earth!
Psalm 18:4-6 “The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction assailed me; the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From His temple He heard my voice, and my cry to Him reached His ears.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for the testimony of these who have gone before me and have suffered in great despair. Your promise of hearing our prayers and delivering us brings comfort and faith. I pray for those in my life that I know are going through despairing trials and what looks hopeless. Use me to pray for them and to encourage them that You are faithful. Thank You for Your amazing faithfulness to us!
Proverbs 13:21 “Disaster pursues sinners, but the righteous are rewarded with good.”
Scripture reading for April 13th: Matthew 6, Psalm 74, Proverbs 12
Matthew 6: 7-13 “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 be 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.”
Jesus continued to teach His disciples about how to live the blessed life of His kingdom, beginning now on earth and continuing forever. He was the Way to the Father and He taught His disciples how to approach the Father and seek Him for their daily needs, forgiveness of sins, and protection from their adversary, Satan and his schemes. He gave them a simple pattern of prayer, approaching God through a relationship of child to Father. It was a humble attitude of worship, dependence and faith in His kingdom, power and provision. He cautioned them about one possible trap, that of forgiving others. If they wanted their sins forgiven by God’s grace, they must give grace to those offending them. If this request from the merciful Father was ignored or refused, their own forgiveness could not happen!
Psalm 74:12-13 “Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth. You divided the sea by Your might; You broke the heads of the sea monsters on the waters.”
Prayer: Father God, in heaven, You are Holy, Holy, Holy! I humbly acknowledge my need of daily bread, forgiveness of sins, and protection from the evil one and his schemes. You are my Father and King, working salvation among all the lost. Help me to demonstrate Your grace to others who have offended me. I want nothing to block Your mercy in my life and to keep me from the path of eternal life.
Proverbs 12:28 “In the path of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death.”
Scripture reading for March 2nd: Acts 28, Psalm 44, Proverbs 13
Acts 28:7-10 “Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the chief man of the island, named Publius, who received us and entertained us hospitably for three days. It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery. And Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him healed him. And when this had taken place, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases also came and were cured. They also honored us greatly, and when we were about to sail, they put on board whatever we needed.”
Paul and the 275 on board the ship were all safe on an island and wintered there. Soon after escaping the shipwreck, the chief man of this island took Paul and several from his party into his house and showed them hospitality for three days. During this time, Paul found out Publius had a sick father. He asked to go pray for him and God healed him. This brought people from all over the island to receive prayer and God healed them. When they were ready to set sail after winter, these islanders loaded Paul and those of his party with all they needed for their journey! The law of sowing and reaping is demonstrated here! Bless and you will be blessed–abundantly! We give You thanks forever and ever!
Psalm 44:7-8 “But You have saved us from our foes and have put to shame those who hate us. In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to Your Name forever.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for showing such love for the lost that You would even send one of Your servants to them through such a manner as this: a prisoner on a ship that wrecked! Thank You for the healings and many who were blessed with the Gospel message in that remote place. Thank You that the law of sowing and reaping holds true. May I always sow blessings and our Lord bring in a harvest!
Proverbs 13:12 “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”
Scripture reading for January 16th: Mark 11, Psalm 11, Proverbs 11
Mark 11: 21-25 “And Peter remembered and said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that You cursed has withered.” And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
Jesus taught His disciples the power of prayer and the power of our mouth and tongue to bless or curse. He used His own cursing of the fig tree that had no fruit but only leaves to illustrate the power of faith and of our words. Like the disciples of old, we face many mountains and obstacles during our pilgrimage on earth. We often fail to ask God for help or to believe His Word and speak in faith to the mountains. Jesus used an illustration visible right there to these disciples in that Herod had literally moved a mountain over about 10 years with many slaves to build his palace. Jesus likely referred to this human feat and the Dead Sea glittering in the distance to impress a vital truth on the hearts of his disciples.
Proverbs11:11-12 “By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is overthrown. Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent.”
Prayer: Father God, I choose again today to ask for Your forgiveness for my lack of faith and sometimes my failure to forgive others and belittling them. Fill me with grace and faith in Your Word that I may ask You for strength to remove and move mountains of difficulty, bitterness, and unforgiveness. May they all be cast into the sea of Your grace! May my mouth bring blessings to my family or help me remain silent!
Psalm 11:7 “For the Lord is righteous; He loves the righteous deeds; the upright shall behold His face!”
Scripture reading for April 5th: Joshua 18-21, Psalm 15, Luke 18
Luke 18:1-8 “And He told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’ And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to His elect, who cry to him day and night? Will He delay long over them? I tell you, He will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?””
Many times in our world it looks like the ‘bad guys’ always win. The circumstances of life are stacked against us. We look for an advocate, but they are few and far between. The woman in this parable of Jesus’ may have felt that way, but her faith caused her to appeal to the ‘unjust’ judge. She did this again and again and got his attention. The ‘unjust’ judge finally granted her justice just to get some peace. Now Jesus turned this parable around for us. God is not ‘unjust’ but the all-powerful Just and True Judge. We have been given access through prayer to His throne. Like the woman, we should be crying out day and night in faith, not fainting under the load of fear or trouble. Jesus promises a speedy answer! Why not believe Him and begin asking in faith?
Psalm 15:1-2 “O Lord, who shall sojourn in Your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; . .”
Prayer: Father God, the times we live in are filled with injustice and Your people are often mistreated. Give us more grace to pray instead of fainting. Help us to live by faith, despite hostile circumstances and persecution. We desire a ‘full inheritance’ and want to be found with faith when You return.
Joshua 19:49-50 “When they had finished distributing the several territories of the land as inheritances, the people of Israel gave an inheritance among them to Joshua the son of Nun. By command of the Lord they gave him Timnath-serah in the hill country of Ephraim. And he rebuilt the city and settled in it.”
Scripture reading for February 2nd: Exodus 7-9, Psalm 105, Ephesians 1
Ephesians 1:16-20 “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which He has called you, what are the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His great might that He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, . . .’
As Paul began his letter to the Ephesian church, he recited to them the great blessings of salvation and then broke into prayer for them. Paul knew that prayer brought the Lord’s attention and action from heaven on earth. He did not ask for their temporal needs, however. He prayed for the Holy Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. He prayed for deeper understanding of God’s plans and purposes for them. He prayed for greater release of God’s power in their lives to bring transformation and the abundant life God provides. It was deeper thinking than Pharaoh’s pleading with Moses to have God remove the thunder and hail. Paul prayed for the life of joy and faith that results in eternal riches beyond our current understanding! He believed that God heard him and would act.
Exodus 9:27-28 “Then Pharaoh sent and called Moses and Aaron and said to them, “This time I have sinned; the Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. Plead with the Lord, for there has been enough of God’s thunder and hail. I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer.”
Prayer: Father of Glory, Thank You for those in the Church family that you have used to pray for me and help me to grow in experiencing the joy and peace of the abundant life. Fill me again today with the Spirit of wisdom and revelation of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. I offer my body to be used to share this knowledge and the power of the resurrection of Jesus to bring new life and transformation to those under God’s judgment.
Psalm 105:37, 43-44 “Then He brought out Israel with silver and gold, and there was none among His tribes that stumbled. ” . . “So He brought His people out with joy, His chosen ones with singing. And He gave them the lands of the nations.”
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 April 9th: Acts 4
Key Scriptures: Acts 4:27-31 “. . for truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, Whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant Your servants to continue to speak Your Word with all boldness, while You stretch out Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the Name of Your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the Word of God with boldness.”
Peter and John had just been before the Sanhedrin and were warned to never again speak or teach in the Name of Jesus. They told the Sanhedrin that they must listen to God and speak what they saw and heard from Him. After more severe warnings, they were let go for the man that was healed of his lameness from birth was over 40 years old. They went back to the gathering of disciples and shared what had happened. They all began to lift their voices in prayer and thanksgiving to God, declaring God’s plans and asking protection and power to speak His Word even more boldly! In answer, God shook the gathering place and they went out in great power.
Acts 4:33 “And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, shake my house and my church house as Your people gather to praise You and ask for more boldness! Work with us in signs and wonders to draw sinners to Jesus and heal broken people. Make me bold as the Lion of Judah! Amen! Let it be so!
Proverbs 28:1 “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.”
Scripture reading for December 7th: Nehemiah 1-3, Revelation 5
Key Scriptures: Revelation 5:11-13 “Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb Who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To Him Who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”
Worship in heaven is awesome to behold and enter into. John was shown the throne room of heaven and the activity going on there. There was a seven-sealed scroll in the right hand of God. The question went out as to who was worthy to open the scroll and break the seals. No one in heaven or on earth was able to open the scroll or look in it. Then one of the elders spoke, “Behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah, has conquered, so that He can open the scroll and its seven seals.” As John looked, he saw “a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain,” the Lord Jesus Christ alone was worthy! Worship flowed as Christ Jesus took the scroll!
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, You alone are worthy to receive all my worship, allegiance, and service, now and forever and ever! You are the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and the Lamb slain for my sins and the sins of the world.
Nehemiah 1:5-6 “And I said, “Oh Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God Who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those Who love Him and keep His commandments, let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, to hear the prayer of Your servant that I now pray before You day and night for the people of Israel Your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against You. Even I and my father’s house have sinned.”
Scripture reading for October 15th: Lamentations, Psalm 137, 1st Peter 4
Key Scriptures: 1st Peter 4:7-10 “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep on loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s grace; . .”
Peter recognized the signs of the last days in his last days on earth. He warned and encouraged the church to stay on track with their heavenly calling to honor Jesus Christ as Lord. They must be vigilant and watchful in order to pray effectively. They must major on love. Loving God with all the hearts and loving one another as the highest proof that Jesus is Lord. Love covers a multitude of sins. Christ Jesus demonstrates this selfless love when He died on the cross for our sins and now welcomes us into His household for eternity. We should serve others and show hospitality as He did.
Psalm 137:4-5 “How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land? If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill!”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I am watching for Your return and see the signs of the last days in my last days. Fill me again with Your Spirit of love and a servant’s heart that I might honor You and serve Your gracious purposes on earth.
Lamentations 3:21-23 “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”