Scripture reading for January 5th: Genesis 6-8, Psalm 104, Mark 3
Mark 3:13-15 “And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those whom He desired, and they came to Him. And He appointed twelve (whom He also named apostles) so that they might be with Him and He might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons.”
God didn’t design us to function alone. Sin’s original lie through the serpent, “you shall be as God”, implies that we need no one else. We alone can determine what is right and what is wrong for us. We can set our own rules and call the shots. Jesus invited those who responded to His call to follow Him and to “be with Him,” to spend time in His presence. Jesus desired their companionship and used that as a primary means of discipleship. As these disciples were ‘with Jesus,’ they saw Him model for them the ministry of preaching good news, of forgiveness of sins and the spoiling of Satan’s kingdom by casting out demons. Ministry is caught, more than just ‘taught’. He then sent them out to follow His example and to win new disciples for the kingdom of Heaven, bringing them to relationship with Jesus!
Genesis 6:9 “These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.”
Genesis 8:18-19 “So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his son’s wives with him. Every beast, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out by families from the ark.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your desire for relationships with sinners and Your stated purpose in choosing disciples to be with Jesus, Your Son. Forgive me for forgetting my responsibility to spend time with You and to be aware that You are with Me each day. Remind me when I lack awareness of Your Presence or fail to seek guidance for reaching out to my own family and the lost. Open opportunities today to preach the Good News and to cast out spirits of demons.
Psalm 104:33-34 “I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being. May my meditation be pleasing to Him, for I rejoice in the Lord.”
Scripture reading for January 8th: Genesis 18-21, Matthew 6
Key Scriptures: Matthew 6:9-13 “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 for give us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.””
Jesus, in teaching His disciples how to pray, gave simple instructions. He laid out a pattern for them. God was addressed as ‘Our Father in heaven’, implying family relationship. Really, the term ‘Father’ is more like ‘Daddy’! The priority was to His will being done, not ours! We were to acknowledge our dependence on Him for everything: provision, forgiveness, and protection from evil and the evil one.
Genesis 18:23-25 “Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will You indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will You then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from You to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked. Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?””
Prayer: Father, thank you for Your simple instructions and the ability of Your people to come before you and ask questions and declare our needs! In Your Holy Name, Amen.
Scripture reading for January 8th: Matthew 6
Key Scriptures: Matthew 6:9-13 “This, then, is how you should pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
Jesus taught His disciples how to pray. This prayer was not intended to be just some words prayed by rote memory. Jesus wanted the disciples to know God as their Father and have a relationship with others and the Father. He was to be addressed corporately as “Our Father”! We stand in relationship with others also praying to the same Father in heaven.
This Father is holy and His Name is to be reverenced. His disciples remind themselves of God’s holiness and their need of humility and reverence every time they approach God’s throne. The Father is also a King and has a kingdom. His children pray that Kingdom will come upon the earth and His will will be done here as it is done perfectly in heaven.
The disciples are also dependent on God for daily provision. We recognize God as our provider as well as the only One who can forgive us our sins. Forgiveness can only be granted to us as we release those who have offended us! God alone can protect us from our enemy, “the Evil One”, or Satan. We need this protection each day as well as provision and forgiveness.
Observations for over-comers: Prayer is the lifeline of disciples of Jesus. “But I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and He hears my voice. He ransoms me unharmed from the battle waged against me. .” (Psalm 55:16-18)