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.”
Scripture reading for March 22: Luke 15, Psalm 59, Proverbs 28
Key Scriptures: Luke 15:8-10 “”Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost. Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.””
In response to the grumbling of the Pharisees about Jesus’ eating with sinners and tax collectors, Jesus told several parables to explain God’s heart for those that were lost. The first was about a sheep that was lost out of a flock of one hundred. The shepherd searched until he found it and held a celebration when he did. Next, a woman had ten silver coins and lost one. She searched until she found it and had a party of celebration afterwards. Jesus said this was how it was in heaven when one lost sinner repented!
Faith Confession: Lord, I rejoice when anyone that is lost finds Jesus Christ as savior! It is comforting to know that You and heaven’s angels rejoice as well! Action step: Share the Gospel with someone you know is lost today, with joy and expectancy that they will obtain mercy!
Proverbs 28:13 “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”
Scripture reading for November 20th: Romans 5-9
Key Scriptures: Romans 5:9-11 “Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life! Not only is this so, but we rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”
Paul clearly taught justification by faith in the death of Jesus Christ, God’s only Son. It was through the shed blood that our sins were atoned for, saving all believing sinners from God’s wrath. It not only saved us by His death and blood, but we were reconciled to God and restored through Jesus’ resurrection to eternal life! God’s mighty deeds and acts of love on behalf of His people bring songs of praise that will echo throughout eternity!
The rejoicing of the Redeemed: “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say this–those He redeemed from the hand of the foe,. . . He sent forth His Word and healed them; He rescued them from the grave. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men.” (Psalm 107:1-2, 20-21)
Scripture reading for October 5th: Habakkuk 2-3, Zephaniah 1-3
Key Scriptures: Zephaniah 3:14-15, 17 “Sing, O Daughter of Zion shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away your punishment, He has turned back your enemy. The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm. . . .The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”
Zephaniah saw a day coming when God would rescue His people and end their time of punishment. He would defeat their enemy and be revealed as their great King! Fear would be removed forever and God’s Presence would comfort and enfold His people as He took great delight in them and rejoiced over them! What a beautiful picture of prophetic encouragement! Believers await that day when the Great King is revealed and He surrounds them with His great love and joy!
Rejoicing in eternal joy: “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be nor more death, or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4)
Scripture reading for May 4th: 2nd Chronicles 35-36, Ezra 1-3
Key Scriptures: Ezra 3:10-11 “When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the Lord, as prescribed by David, king of Israel. With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: “He is good; His love to Israel endures forever.” And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.”
Ezra and Zerubbabel organized the workers to rebuild the temple of the Lord at the decree of King Cyrus. They began the work in the second month of the second year of their arrival. The first stone laid was the cornerstone and then the rest of the foundation. When this was laid, the Levites and priests blew trumpets, crashed cymbals, and raised a great song of praise to God for His goodness and love!
Rejoice in our foundation: “For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious Cornerstone, and the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.” Not to you who believe, this stone is precious. . .” (1st Peter 2:6-7)