Scripture reading for October 19th: John 4, Psalm 59, Proverbs 23
John 4: 31-39 “Meanwhile the disciples were urging Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But He said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him Who sent Me and to accomplish His work. Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that the sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” Many Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony.”
Jesus was a a well in Samaria and His disciples had gone into town in search of food. Jesus has waited there to have a conversation with a Samaritan woman, asking her for a drink of water from the well. He ended up sharing the Gospel with this Woman, revealing that He was the Christ! She ran off to town to tell everyone about Jesus! Meanwhile, the disciples returned, urging Jesus to eat. But Jesus told them He had other food–doing the will of His Father! He pointed out the stream of townspeople coming out to meet Him, likening them to a field, white for harvest! This Samaritan women had become a sower of ‘Good News’ and was reaping eternal rewards! The sower and reaper rejoices together at the harvest!
Psalm 59:9-10 “O my Strength, I will watch for You, for You, O God are my Fortress. My God in His steadfast love will meet me; God will let me look in triumph on my enemies.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for this amazing story told by John about Jesus’ encounter with this sinful woman. In Your steadfast love, You met her and transformed her thinking and destiny. Thank You for doing that for me as well! Help me to see the white harvest fields through Your eyes and to faithfully sow Your Word and experience the joy of seeing You reap an eternal harvest! Amen! Amen!
Proverbs 23:19 “Hear, my son, and be wise, and direct your heart in the way. Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags.”
Scripture reading for June 20th: Philippians 4, Psalm 122, Proverbs 29
Philippians 4:4-8 “Rejoice in the Lord always ; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, my brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Paul concludes his short letter with an exhortation to rejoice with a double emphasis! He encourages the believers to live a life of continual rejoicing. If they have any worries or fears, they are to realize that the Lord is there with them and they need to cast these cares and fears on Him. Jesus will restore their peace and take away the fears. As the Jews were glad when they traveled to Jerusalem to visit the temple and experience God’s presence, the believer is to experience God’s peace because they are the ‘new temple’ of the Holy Spirit. Joy and rejoicing and peace are fruits of dwelling in God’s presence! Amen and amen!
Psalm 122:1-2 “I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem.”
Prayer: Father God, I am glad today that I am the temple of the Holy Spirit and that You dwell in me. Thank You for the privilege of coming to You with all my worries and cares and casting them on You. Thank You for the fruit of Your Spirit growing in my life as I focus on You and Your Word. Fill my life with continuous rejoicing as I grow in righteousness, peace and joy through meditation on Your promises!
Proverbs 29:2 “When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.”
Scripture reading for May 17th: Romans 2, Psalm 98, Proverbs 5
Romans 2: 2-5 “We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man–you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself–that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.”
It’s human nature to see the faults and sins of others and judge them harshly, often when we are involved in some of the same faults. This was the reasoning of Paul with the Roman believers who were judging others. God is the righteous Judge who sees each person and will judge each one impartially. He is also patient, giving time to each person to confess and turn from sinful practices. Paul emphasizes that many people judge God’s kindness and patience as approval and don’t change themselves. God’s kindness and patience is meant to lead them to repentance and deliverance from the final judgment in the day of God’s wrath. We are not to play games and blame others, but rather look in the mirror and act.
Psalm 98:3-4 “He has remembered His steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your kindness and patience with me, giving me time to repent instead of judging me. Forgive me when I have judged others or been impatient with them, yet tolerated sinful thoughts and behavior in my own life. Fill me with Your kindness and remember Your covenant of mercy and love through Jesus Christ to remove my sins and fill me with the joy of salvation.
Proverbs 5:21-22 “For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths. The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin.”
Scripture reading for February 9th: Acts 13, Psalm 29, Proverbs 29
Acts 13:44-49 “The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the Word the Lord. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, It was necessary that the Word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold we are turning to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, “I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth. And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the Word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. And the Word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region.”
Paul and Barnabas were sent out by the early church on a missionary journey to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They went from city to city, sharing the good news, first to the Jews because of their place in God’s plan of redemption. However, many Jews resisted the message and jealously opposed them and their preaching. As instructed by Jesus, they shook the dust off and went next to the Gentiles. God was not showing partiality to the Jews, but wanted all men to receive salvation and eternal life. As they preached the good news of Jesus, Son of God, God brought conviction and salvation to those who believed and the Word and voice of the Lord spread to the whole region causing joy and rejoicing!
Psalm 29:3-4 “The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord over many waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty!”
Prayer: Father God, through the Gospel message coming through those You sent to share with me, I was appointed to salvation and received the gift of eternal life! Thank You for Your mercy and grace! Thank You for speaking to my heart! Use me to speak Your Word to those still in darkness that the glory of Your voice may resonate in their hearts through the powerful Holy Spirit, bringing salvation and joy to them!
Proverbs 29:6 “An evil man is ensnared in his transgression, but a righteous man sings and rejoices.”
Scripture reading for January 30th: Acts 5, Psalm 21, Proverbs 21
Acts 5:38-42 “So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” So they took his advice, and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the Name of Jesus, and let them go. They left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the Name. And every day, in the temple and house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.”
The religious leaders were agitated at the apostles, who continued to draw crowds and faithfully preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They sought to take violent action against the apostles and had them thrown into jail but an angel of the Lord freed them and instructed them to continue preaching. When the religious leaders called for the apostles from their jail cell, the guards found it locked but no one there. Then they received a report of the apostles preaching again and they hurriedly brought them from there before the council. Gamaliel gave advice to the elders: let these men alone for if they are from God, you might be fighting against God! After warning them to stop, they had the apostles flogged and set free. They went on their way rejoicing in God’s salvation! Fear of man is a snare! We must, like the apostles, follow the counsel of God alone! Gamaliel also gave God’s truth.
Psalm 21:1-2 “O Lord, in Your strength the king rejoices, and in Your salvation how greatly he exults! You have given him his heart’s desire and have not withheld the request of his lips.”
Prayer: O Lord, like David of old, I rejoice in Your strength and wise counsel! Thank You for Your miraculous intervention in placing the apostles and me right where I can be Your witness and reach even those hardened by sin and religion. All victory belongs to You! Success belongs to You. Use me to give wise counsel and godly wisdom to those needing salvation and those making decisions about Jesus.
Proverbs 21:30-31 “No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the Lord. The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.”
Scripture reading for January 19th: Mark 14, Psalm 14, Proverbs 14
Mark 14: 22-25 “And as they were eating, He took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is My body.” And He took a cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And He said to them, “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew with you in the kingdom of God.””
As Jesus shared the ‘Last Supper’ with His disciples, He used the bread and sweet wine as a touchstone of remembrance and a prophesy of what was to come. He had told His disciples of His coming death and now broke the bread, giving thanks, telling them that it symbolized His body, broken for the world. He gave them the cup, after again giving thanks, telling them that this symbolized the (new) covenant with them made by the shedding of His own blood. He further told them that He would not drink this cup with them again until that day when He would drink it anew with them in His eternal kingdom! This cup also symbolizes the coming reunion of all believers when Jesus Christ takes us as His ‘Bride’ at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
Psalm 14:7 “Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the Lord restores the fortunes of His people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.”
Prayer: Oh, Father in heaven, we rejoice now with thanksgiving each time we partake of the ‘Lord’s Supper’ in Holy Communion! It is the Eucharist–(thanksgiving) and helps us remember Your Son’s death on the Cross for us and that last supper with His disciples. But our hearts long for the prophetic fulfilment when Jesus Christ comes again for us, His ‘Bride’ and we eat with Him anew in His eternal kingdom!
Proverbs 14:26-27 “In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.”
Scripture reading for May 30th: 1st Chronicles 22-25, Psalm 78, Romans 5
Romans 5: 1-5 “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produced endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
Paul expounded on the results and effects of our justification by God through faith. There was much cause for believers to rejoice and be filled with joy. They now enjoyed peace with God in that God’s gift of righteousness now took the place of guilt and shame and fear of judgment. Instead of God’s wrath, we now have a hope of beholding the glory of God and eternally reflecting His glory. We can even rejoice in our sufferings which were promised by Jesus for all who believe. These sufferings produce endurance, the ability to wait on God’s help and plan. They also produce character–the image of Jesus in our lives as a result of purification from sins and living in hope of eternal life.
Psalm 78:5-7 “He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments; . .”
Prayer: Father God, I rejoice in Your gift of righteousness and the hope of eternal life. Thank You for peace with God and rest from the striving to keep the law. Form Your character in me and give me endurance in suffering. Help me to declare this joy and peace through faith to my children, grandchildren and their children until You come again and inhabit Your royal throne here on earth and forever and ever!
2nd Samuel 22:9-10 “‘Behold, a son shall be born to you who shall be a man of rest. I will give him rest from all his surrounding enemies. For his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days. He shall build a house for My Name. He shall be My son, and I will be his Father, and I will establish his royal throne in Israel forever.'”
Scripture reading for June 30th: Matthew 2
Key Scriptures: Matthew 2:7-11 “Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose, went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary His mother, and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.“
Matthew alone records the visit of these wise men from the East, probably ancient Persia. These wise men were seeking one born “King of the Jews” and had come to Jerusalem seeking this child. They had followed a star that appeared to lead them there. King Herod and the city and temple officials were troubled by this entourage and their request. The temple officials stated that the Christ was to be born in Bethlehem. After inquiring, King Herod sent for them and questioned them about their mission. He told them to search diligently and report back to him so he might worship too. They listened and went to find the child, again following the star that led them to the exact place. These men rejoiced and when they saw the child, immediately fell down in worship. They opened their treasures and gave freely to honor this Child. But God warned them in a dream not to return to Herod. These Gentiles found another way home to their country, made truly rich by now seeing the “King of the Jews”. They went on their way rejoicing!
Matthew 2:12 “And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country another way.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for revealing Your Son to all nations, tongues and tribes and bringing the joy of salvation to all the lost of mankind. Help me to proclaim clearly the way home to “Father’s House” to those in my family and sphere of influence. Jesus alone is the Way to our eternal home!
John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Isaiah 35:10 “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”
Scripture reading for June 25th: Romans 9, Psalm 126, Proverbs 2
Key Scriptures: Romans 9:30-33 “What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith: but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame.””
Paul earnestly desired that the Jews, his own people, would be saved. But by God’s design, the only path to salvation and righteousness was by faith and not human effort and works. The Gentiles trusted in Christ and received salvation and righteousness as a gift. The Jews sought to keep the law and missed out, stumbling over the ‘stumbling stone’, Jesus Christ, Son of God. Faith is resting from our effort and works and trusting in Jesus alone.
Faith Confession: I believe in Jesus Christ, my Rock of salvation and righteousness. Lord, give me boldness to share Jesus’ message of grace to all I meet.
Psalm 126:5-6 “Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.”
Scripture reading for April 26th: John 16, Psalm 84, Proverbs 22
Key Scriptures: John 16:20-22 “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice and no one will take your joy from you.”
Jesus plainly told the disciples that they would experience a time of great anguish and sorrow as He was crucified and died. He likened it to a woman at the time of giving birth. He told them that the world would rejoice as they were in anguish. But that sorrow was not the end, they would see Him again and then they would have joy that no one could ever take away
Faith confession: Thank You Lord for the comfort of Your word! Even the times of sorrow that we have here while the world rejoices will soon be turned around. No one can take my joy away!
Psalm 84:5-7 “Blessed are those who dwell in Your house, ever singing Your praise! As they go through the Valley of Baca (tears), they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion.”