Scripture reading for July 2nd: Matthew 4
Key Scriptures: Matthew 4:12-17 “Now when He heard that John had been arrested, He withdrew into Galilee. And leaving Nazareth He went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, and in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles–the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and the shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.” From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.””
Jesus Christ heard that John the Baptist had been arrested by King Herod for preaching repentance and confronting Herod’s sinful sexual life. Jesus withdrew to His own childhood region of Israel but moved to another town from Nazareth, Capernaum by the sea. This area was on a trade route where peoples from all over the world would visit on their way to trade in other parts of the world. It was known as “Galilee of the Gentiles” but had been the home property given to Zebulun and Naphtali, tribes of Israel. Isaiah the Prophet had spoken about this area in Isaiah 9:1-2, about 700 years before Christ’s birth. Jesus began preaching right where John the Baptist left off. He began where the land of the Jews was particularly darkened by the shadow of death and brought great light by preaching the Word of God. God’s Word would bring deliverance from death and its dark shadow and the dawning of a new day! Herod’s kingdom of darkness and death would be overcome by the kingdom of Light!
Isaiah 60:1-2 “Arise, shine, for your Light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon You, and His glory will be seen upon You. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of Your rising.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for sending Jesus to light up my world of darkness! Thank You for loving Gentiles as You loved Jews. Through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, Your light shines through me. Let the preaching of repentance, faith and miracles of healing flow through my life and today’s ministry opportunities.
Matthew 4:23-24 “And He went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the Gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. So His fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and He healed them.”
Scripture reading for April 28th: Acts 17
Key Scriptures: Acts 17:16-21 “Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”–because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean. Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.”
Driven to Athens by the persecution and death threats, Paul was vexed in his spirit as he saw that this city was full of idols. His remedy was to present the truth of Jesus Christ to whoever would hear him. He first went to the Jews in the local synagogue. He started there because they were his own people and the Old Testament Scriptures were a great opening to preach from. He then went to the marketplace and shared with whoever God put in his path. There he ran into the intellectuals of the city who invited him to come to what was the town square or people’s university and to share his new teaching. This group was always out for something new, just for the sake of being “woke” in their day. Oh that God’s people today would engage with our time and culture with Christ’s Gospel and reveal the true and living God Who supplies all our needs!
Acts 17:29-30 “Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent, . .”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, fill me with the Holy Spirit and boldness to confront in love the idolatry of our time and culture with the truth of Your Gospel of Jesus death and resurrection. May all people everywhere repent as You have commanded and avoid eternal death!
Luke 13:3 “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
Scripture reading for March 23rd: Luke 15
Key Scriptures: Luke 15:18-24 “I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.” And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.”
Jesus gave a series of parables about lost things. There was the lost sheep, one out of a hundred. There was the lost coin, one out of ten silver coins. In each of these parables, there was great rejoicing as the lost was found. Jesus said these represented the joy in heaven over a sinner who repents. And then there was the story of the lost son, one of two, who chose to take his inheritance from his father and wasted it in the far country. This son was reduced to feeding pigs and at that point came to himself. He decided to go home and beg his father for mercy. The father was watching, and saw the returning son. He ran to greet him, hugging and kissing him. When the son confessed and asked for a slaves job, the father restored him to sonship and threw a party! Lessons on our Father’s heart abound in this amazing story!
Luke 15:7 “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for revealing our Father’s great compassion and heart to restore what as sinners we foolishly wasted. May the joy of heaven be increased through my life and sharing of this Good News!
Psalm 86:15 “But You, O Lord are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”
Scripture reading for March 19: Luke 13
Key Scriptures: Luke 13:5-9 “No, I tell you, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. And He told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.”
Jesus used the local news of the death of some Galileans by Herod’s forces and the accidental death of eighteen people in the fall of a tower to punctuate the need of all men to repent or they too would suddenly perish. He told a parable of a man who planted a fig tree in his vineyard. Each year, for three years, he came seeking fruit but found none. He ordered the vinedresser to cut it down as it was wasting valuable space in the vineyard. The vinedresser asked for more time. He would dig around it and put manure on it. Maybe it was lacking in water penetration or in nutrients from the rocky soil. If ultimately there was no fruit, it would be cut down. This parable shines light on each person and their need to repent and show fruit of repentance. God’s patience is amazing, but not unlimited!
Luke 11:32 “The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, realizing that You greatly desire true fruit of repentance in my life, thank You for Your patience with me. Dig around in my life where necessary with Your Word and the Holy Spirit. Bring the ‘manure’ of life that will produce greater fruit, to Your glory.
Job 23:10-11 “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tried me, I shall come out as gold. My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and have not turned aside.”
Scripture reading for January 18th: Mark 1
Key Scriptures: Mark 1:9-11, 14-15 “In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when He came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on Him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son; with You I am well pleased.”. . . .”Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the Gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel.””
Mark wrote this Gospel account of Jesus’ life with much of the eye-witness information gotten from the Apostle Peter, one of the original twelve disciples. He wrote this for the believers in Rome, many who were Gentiles and not acquainted with Jewish history or customs. He records the story of Jesus beginning with John the Baptist and Jesus’ baptism. John baptized in water and called all Jews to repent for the forgiveness of their sins in preparation for the kingdom of God. Jesus was baptized, not because He had sin, but to identify with all sinful men that He might offer Himself on their behalf. Jesus was baptized and heaven opened with God’s voice declaring, “You are My beloved Son, with You I am well pleased.” God confirmed Jesus’ Sonship with the Holy Spirit descending and resting on Him! After this, Jesus was tempted for forty days and then after the temptation and John the Baptist’s arrest, He began His ministry with John’s message of repentance and a call to believe the Gospel. The kingdom of heaven was at hand and the King was inviting all!
Isaiah 40:3 “A voice cries; “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.””
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe You are God’s beloved Son and I have repented of my sins. Thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit and the mission to testify and preach the Gospel of the King Jesus to the world. Let Your voice be heard through me today!
Matthew 24:14 “And this Gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
Scripture reading for October 28th: Ezekiel 13-15, Psalm 136, John 5
Key Scriptures: John 5:24-27 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears My Word and believes Him Who has sent Me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. Truly, truly I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son also to have life in Himself. And He has given Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man.”
Jesus spoke the truth plainly to those accusing Him of breaking the Sabbath by healing and calling God His Father. He claimed equality with the Father in having eternal life in His own Person. He also claimed authority to execute judgment, something reserved for God alone. Hearing Jesus and believing the Father Who sent Him results in escape from judgment (death), and entry into life eternal. Jesus emphasized these truths by double-stating “Truly, truly!” He speaks these truths today to us afresh! Amen! Amen!
Psalm 136:1 “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, and His steadfast love endures forever.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God, sent by the Father as Savior of all who will believe. Thank You for Your good gift of Eternal Life and Your steadfast love for ever and ever! I repent of my sins and rest in Your promise.
Ezekiel 14:6 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: Repent and turn away from your idols, and turn away your faces from all your abominations.”
Scripture reading for July 20th: 2nd Chronicles 19-20, 2nd Kings 1, Psalm 20, Matthew 3
Key Scriptures: Matthew 3:11-12 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but He Who is coming after me is mightier than I, Whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will clear His threshing floor and gather His wheat into the barn, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.”
John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin, was called by God to a prophetic ministry in Israel similar to that of Elijah. John, dressed in camel’s hair with a leather belt, called all people to repentance in preparation for the coming Messiah. The repentance was acted out through water baptism by all who received his message. But John spoke of the One coming after him, Who would be greater than him. This One would baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire! He would gather His wheat into the barn but burn the chaff with unquenchable fire. The Messiah would be judge of all!
Psalm 20:6 “Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed; He will answer Him from His holy heaven with the saving might of His right hand.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire. Purify my heart and life today and empower me to proclaim Jesus as Messiah and Lord.
1st Kings 1:8 “They answered him, “He wore a garment of hair, with a belt of leather about his waist.” And he said, “It is Elijah the Tishbite.””
Scripture reading for June 5th: Proverbs 6-7, Psalm 7, Romans 11
Key Scriptures: Romans 11:5-10 “So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.” and David says, “Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them; let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and bend their backs forever.””
Paul explained to the Romans how God chose grace as the means of salvation for all people, Jew and Gentile. If we could work for our salvation, grace would not be grace! Those who believed the Gospel obtained grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Those who refused to believe but sought to keep the law by human effort were hardened and were overcome by a spirit of stupor. They would miss the grace of God freely offered.
Psalm 7:12-13 “If a man does not repent, God will whet His sword; He has bent and readied His bow; He has prepared for him His deadly weapons, making His arrows fiery shafts.”
Faith confession and prayer: I believe in salvation through grace by faith as Your plan for all men. I have repented of my own dead works and trust Jesus Christ as Lord. Help me warn and preach Your Gospel that all may avoid Your wrath.
Proverbs 6:23 “For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life, . . “
Scripture reading for May 19th: 2nd Samuel 9-10, 1st Chronicles 18-19, Psalm 89, Acts 26
Key Scriptures: Acts 26:19-23 “Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance. For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: that Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, He would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”
Paul was able to testify before King Agrippa, presenting his own testimony of encountering Jesus and how Jesus Christ came to save both Jew and Gentile. Paul was in jail because of the Jews’ resistance to the message. Paul was standing before King Agrippa because of God’s direction and help. Repentance and turning to God was required of all who would believe and respond!
Psalm 89:1 “I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever; with my mouth I will make known Your faithfulness to all generations.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for my testimony of being confronted with Who You are, Lord and Savior! Open doors for me to courageously share this message with small or great in the power of the Holy Spirit.
2nd Samuel 10:12 “. . .Be of good courage, and let us be courageous for our people, and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to Him.”