Scripture reading for July 22nd: 2nd Kings 4-6, Matthew 5
Key Scriptures: Matthew 5:10-12 “”Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.””
Jesus had gathered a great crowd of people and he began to teach them. The Sermon on the Mount is the longest recorded message of Jesus and one of the most famous. Jesus taught that it was a blessing to be persecuted for “righteousness sake.” He went on to elaborate what this meant. Those who followed Him would be reviled and persecuted and blasphemed against. Those who follow Jesus live righteous lives and preach repentance from evil. This brings persecution and sometimes death. Followers can rejoice because they have a great reward and they join with a long line of persecuted prophets.
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I will gladly and with rejoicing take persecution because of You. Help me to stay true to You and Your Word in my actions, words and deeds.
2nd Kings 6:31 “—and he (Joram king of Israel) said, “May God do so to me and more also, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today.””
Scripture reading for November 7th: 1st Peter 1, Psalms 73-74, Proverbs 7
Key Scriptures: 1st Peter 1:3-7 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this your rejoice, through now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith–more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire–may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Peter begins his letter to the church with rejoicing in Jesus and joy at believers ‘new birth’! This new life is brought about by faith and is laid hold of by faith. Faith must be proved genuine and is often tested by trials and temptations here on earth. Genuine faith will result in “glory, honor and praise” at the return of Jesus Christ for His Church! We will be caught up in His glory forever!
Faith Confession: I have been born again into a living hope through faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I rejoice in the coming inheritance I will receive, at the revelation of Jesus Christ when He comes for me and all His people of faith.
Psalm 73:24 “You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will receive me to glory.”
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 March 15: Luke 10, Psalm 54, Proverbs 23
Key Scriptures: Luke 10:17-20 “The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your Name!” And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Pride is a subtle thing. Religious pride is deceitful and dangerous. Jesus rejoiced in the work of His disciples as they obediently had gone out two by two to confront the powers of darkness by healing the sick and casting out demons. Jesus said that He saw the forces of Satan fall like lightning as they ministered. But Jesus cautioned them to focus instead on the grace of God for salvation that they had received, being careful not to begin trusting in their own power or goodness.
Faith confession: Lord, I rejoice that my name is written in heaven because of Your great mercy to me. Thank You for the power of Your great Name to destroy the works of darkness and bring freedom to captives. To You be the Glory forever and ever.
Psalm 54:6 “With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to You; I will give thanks to Your Name, O Lord, for it is good.”
Scripture reading for May 18th: 1st Chronicles 14-16, Acts 11
Key Scriptures: Acts 11:21-24 “And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith.”
God granted the early church a harvest of souls from among the Gentiles. The Gospel had power to bring faith and repentance. Barnabas, a man full of the Holy Spirit, was sent to encourage these new believers in faithfulness and grace.
1st Chronicles 16:8-9 “Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His Name; make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wondrous works!”
Prayer: Lord, we thank You for the harvest of souls from Jew and Gentile! Your works are wonderful! Amen!
Scripture reading for March 14th: Deuteronomy 32-34, Luke 9
Key Scriptures: Luke 9:20-22 “Then He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.” And He strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, “The Son of Man just suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.””
Jesus told His disciples on several occasions what would happen to Him in Jerusalem. He told them plainly of His suffering, sacrificial death and the resurrection that would follow three days later. He also told them to tell no one about this at that time. All things must be accomplished first in God’s plan.
Deuteronomy 32:39, 43 “‘See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god beside Me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of My hand.'” . . . .”Rejoice with Him, O heavens, bow down to Him, all gods, for He avenges the blood of His children and takes vengeance on His adversaries. He repays those who hate Him and cleanses His people’s land.”‘
Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your willing sacrifice of Your Son to cleanse Your people and their land. May I walk in that truth today. Amen.
Scripture reading for October 13th: Matthew 3-7
Key Scriptures: Matthew 6:25-27 “”Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?””
Jesus Christ taught the crowds that followed Him and His own disciples about the Father and His loving care for them. He pointed to the birds and how they are cared for. They don’t worry or fear for their next meal. God provides for the many creatures He has made. And man, made in God’s own image is much more valuable than the birds. We can depend on God’s care for our basic needs and obey His command to seek His kingdom and righteousness first of all.
Rejoicing in Father’s Care: “Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make music to our God on the harp. He covers the sky with clouds; He supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call.” (Psalm 147:7-9)
Scripture reading for October 10th: Zechariah 8-11
Key Scriptures: Zechariah 9:9-10 “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your King comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on the foal of a donkey. I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.”
Zechariah called God’s people to rejoice greatly! This was because of the coming King. This King would be righteous and gentle and be marked by riding on the foal of a donkey. This was a contrast to the conquering kings who rode horses of war. This King would proclaim peace and His rule would cover the entire earth! He is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ!
Rejoice in the gentle King: “The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the King of Israel!” Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written, “Do not be afraid, O daughter of Zion; see, your King is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” (John 12:12-14)
Scripture reading for June 23rd: Psalms 88-92
Key Scriptures: Psalm 91:9-12 “If you make the Most High your dwelling–even the Lord, who is my refuge–then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”
The psalmist knew true security was found in those who made the Lord their refuge. God was able and willing to protect His people from all harm and disaster. His angelic forces were on call for those who looked to God to rescue and deliver, even picking us up in their strong arms!
Rejoicing in our Refuge: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. . . .What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all–how will He not also along with Him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:28, 31-32)
Scripture reading for June 22nd: Psalms 84-87
Key Scriptures: Psalm 87:5-7 “Indeed, of Zion it will be said, “This one and that one were born in her, and the Most High Himself will establish her.” The Lord will write in the register of the peoples: “This one was born in Zion.” As they make music they will sing, “All my fountains are in you.””
God’s people had great joy at being registered as a citizen of Zion, God’s holy city! They believed that God kept a register of those born in Zion. They sang and worshiped God because of their names written in God’s holy Book! All who believe on Jesus Christ and are “born again” can rejoice that their names are written in that holy Book!
Rejoicing in God’s Holy Register: “He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot his name from the book of Life, but will acknowledge his name before My Father and His angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 3:5-6)