Scripture reading for April 25th: 1st Samuel 9-10, Acts 8
Acts 8: 14-17 “Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for He had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.”
The world, and some in the church, often think that the things of God can be earned through good works or bought by money. Simon the former sorcerer, appeared to be converted, but still had a love for money and control. His heart was not right with God and as a result, he offered money to be able to lay hands on people to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. The unspoken evidence was most likely speaking in other tongues. Peter immediately rebuked him for this display of flesh and wickedness and called him to repentance and God’s grace for forgiveness. Money is worthless in purchasing anything from God or His people!
Acts 8:18-23 “Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your amazing grace, even towards those like Simon who appear to be in the church but have not repented of wickedness. Help me as a servant to be alert for those who have wrong hearts and to gently call them to repentance and life. Give discernment to Your church to guard against such attacks on Your salvation by grace through faith.
1st Samuel 10:6 “Then the Spirit of the Lord will rush upon you, and you will prophesy and be turned into another man.”
Scripture reading for April 15th: Judges 19-21, Acts 2
Acts 2: 37-41 “Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.”
Jesus had told His disciples before He ascended to heaven to wait in Jerusalem until they were clothed with power from on high. (Acts 1:8) After the visitation of wind and tongues of fire resting on the 120 disciples in the Upper Room, Peter began to preach to the crowd that had gathered for the celebration of the Jewish Feast of Pentecost. They fell under conviction of the Holy Spirit at the preaching of the Gospel and asked Peter what to do. He gave them the simple command to repent and then to be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ. He encouraged them to receive the gift of the Father, the Holy Spirit, Who was available to everyone! About three thousand responded in faith!
Acts 2:46-47 “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their home, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit and adoption into Your forever family. I thank You that this promise is all-inclusive and for all nations and peoples. Thank You that it is by grace through faith as we repent and believe. I am full of gratitude and want to give away Your gift to all You send me to. Day by day, add to Your Church those who are being saved! Not my will, but Yours be done!
Judges 21:25 “In those days thee was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
Scripture reading for December 6th: Revelation 3
Key Scriptures: Revelation 3:14-17 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The Words of the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the beginning of God’s creation. “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked.”
The final church Jesus addressed was found in Laodicea, a town known for its riches and mineral springs and its water supply–made lukewarm by routing through the aqueducts on the way to the city. . The church there had been affected by its culture and now reflected the culture more than the Savior. Jesus, in love, plainly called this church to address this problem through repentance and rededication. He even told them that He stood outside of their church at their door–knocking to gain an entrance! Those who would respond would be restored to table fellowship with their Lord and also obtain rulership in the age to come!
Revelation 3:19-20 “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father, thank You for a life-giving rebuke and for loving us enough to warn us about compromising with the culture of this world. Forgive me for complacency and a lukewarm attitude concerning my own life and Your mission. I need Your grace and zeal to finish well in this lukewarm culture of the last days.
Revelation 3:21-22 “The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with Me on My throne, as I also conquered and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Scripture reading for December 3rd: Revelation 2
Key Scriptures: Revelation 2:1-3 “”To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of Him Who holds the seven stars in His right hand, Who walks among the golden lampstands. “I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for My Name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.””
Jesus personally dictated to John the seven messages to the churches John was an overseer at. These are the things that are now in the general outline given to John. This first message, to Ephesus, has a pattern repeated for each church. There is a greeting to the ‘angel’ of the church, probably the pastor or overseer along with a title or description of Jesus Christ in His present ministry. Then there was a commendation of the church with encouragement for what they were doing right. This was followed by a rebuke or warning concerning needed repentance and growth. The last element was a promise of reward for those who would listen, learn and overcome. Some teach that these seven letters apply to dispensations of time leading up to the return of Jesus for His church. I believe that they all speak to various churches during the church age.
Revelation 2:4-6 “But I have this against you that you have abandoned the love that you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father, thank You for clearly addressing the Church You love. Give me ears to hear and a heart to apply what You reveal. Forgive me for a lack of love for You and for Your church and restore my love and zeal to do Your will. Let the lampstand and light of Your love and Gospel radiated from Your church reach into the world in darkness. We want to be among those that conquer!
Revelation 2:7 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”
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.”