Scripture reading for September 26th: Habakkuk, 2nd Corinthians 7
2nd Corinthians 7:1 “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.”
Paul instructs us in how to walk as people of faith. In Christ, we are new creations and God has transformed us inside and taken up residence through the Holy Spirit. Now that we are cleansed, we must do our part to keep our ‘house’ clean. We must break off any entanglements with unbelievers and not be yoked with them. (This did not include those already married to unbelievers, if the unbeliever wanted to stay in relationship. 1st Corinthians 7:12-14). Each believer must forgive those who wronged them and have repented. We must get rid of habits that have enslaved us and say ‘no’ to sin and worldly thinking. God’s Word written and applied brings godly grief that leads us to repentance and cleansing with no regrets! We are not just sorry we got caught but sorry enough to change.
2nd Corinthians 7: 8-12 “For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it–though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for all Your many promises of Your presence with us and eternal life with You for eternity. From Your Word, I understand that without holiness, I won’t see the Lord. Help me to apply Your Word through the power of the Holy Spirit and to cleanse myself of defilements from my past life and entanglements of this world and culture. Thank You for godly grief, leading me to repent.
Habakkuk 3:17-18 “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.”
Scripture reading for August 2nd: 2nd Kings 13-14; 2nd Chronicles 25; Psalm 53; Matthew 12
Matthew 12: 38-42 “Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered Him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from You.” But He answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 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. The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.”
Jesus Christ had preached repentance to all He was sent to. He had demonstrated that He was the Son of God by signs and wonders and miracles. Still, the religious leaders of the Jews demanded more signs before they would respond. Jesus answered them by telling them the greatest “sign” that He was the Son of God–His resurrection from the grave after three days and nights. He explained that this coming event was patterned after an earlier event in the life of the prophet Jonah. Jonah was in rebellion to God’s instructions to preach to the people of Nineveh. God appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah after he was thrown overboard. Jonah spent three days and nights in that fish before he was vomited out on Nineveh’s doorstep. He preached and they repented in a great revival.
Psalm 53:1-2 “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” they are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity; there is none who does good. God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for the preaching ministry of your prophets, apostles and of Jesus Christ, Himself. Forgive us for being like Jonah and running away from Your call to be witnesses of Your grace to those who are lost and mocking You. Help us to believe the greatest sign You have given us, the resurrection of Jesus Christ after three days. Empower me to preach this Good News to the lost today.
2nd Chronicles 25:14-16 “After Amaziah came from striking down the Edomites, he brought the gods of the men of Seir and set them up as his gods and worshiped them, making offerings to them. Therefore the Lord was angry with Amaziah and sent to him a prophet, who said to him, “Why have you sought the gods of a people who did not deliver their own people from your hand?” But as he was speaking, the king said to him, “Have we made you a royal counselor? Stop! . .”
Scripture reading for August 1st: Jonah, Matthew 11
Matthew 11:20-22 “Then He began to denounce the cities where most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you.”
Jesus called out those who were hard-hearted and resisted His Gospel message of faith and repentance preached with signs and wonders and significant miracles. The people saw the miracles and heard God’s call to repentance, but they resisted. Jesus said that the wicked cities of Chorazin, Tyre, and Sidon would have repented if those works were done in them. He stated that it would be more bearable for them on Judgment Day than for those who saw Jesus’ miracles and heard His message. Jesus called them to come to Him and find rest for their souls from the heavy yoke of sin and coming judgment.
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Prayer: Father God, Thank You for sending Jesus, Your Son to draw us to repentance and faith and to show us Your heart of love for lost and hurting man. I have found the rest of coming to Jesus Christ and following Him. His yoke is easy and His burden is light! Use me today to share the Good News and call all to find rest in following Jesus Christ! Judgment Day is coming and our Father wants all saved!
Jonah 3:3-5 “So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the Word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three day’s journey in breadth. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them.”
Scripture reading for July 21st: 2nd Kings 2-3, Psalm 48, Matthew 4
Matthew 4:17-22 “From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” While walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Jesus Christ began His ministry after spending forty days in the wilderness being tempted by the devil. His opening statement was “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Jesus, the King, had arrived on earth and was calling out to all who would listen and believe His Word. His next step was to begin to call individuals to Himself and train and equip them to reach lost people and spoil the devil’s kingdom. These first two He called, Simon Peter and Andrew, were brothers who were fishermen by trade. Jesus challenged them to fish for men! They dropped their nets and accepted His call to them. They changed their mind (repentance) concerned their occupation and calling and Jesus used their obedience to build His Church through calling and equipping disciples!
Psalm 48:9-10 “We have thought on your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of your temple. As Your Name, O God, so Your praise reaches to the ends of the earth. Your right hand is filled with righteousness.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for calling us to repentance and faith to follow Your Son Jesus Christ, our only Savior! Your steadfast love and faithfulness to us causes us to praise You! Your righteousness is made known through Your Son and those who in faith follow Him take His Name and praise to the ends of the earth! Teach me daily how to fish for men, casting the Gospel net to bring in a great catch!
2nd Kings 2:9-10 “When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me. And he said, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if you do not see me, it shall not be so.”
Scripture reading for April 12th: Judges 9-11, Psalm 17, Luke 23
Luke 23:39-43 “One of the criminals who were hanged railed at Him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?” And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And He said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.””
Jesus was crucified, an innocent man, to pay for the sins of all mankind. On His right and left, were two guilty criminals receiving what was due them under Roman law. As they hung there knowing death was immanent, one of the criminals mocked Jesus, ridiculing His claim to be Christ. The other criminal simply called out to Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom, indicating that he believed Jesus was a king and would be receiving a kingdom. Jesus gave an amazing response: “Today you will be with Me in Paradise.” This response gives hope to all lost sinners. If we will come in faith believing in Jesus, He will give mercy in abundance, just for the asking!
Psalm 17:1-2 “Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry! Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit! From Your presence let my vindication come! Let Your eyes behold the right.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your abundant mercy. We can trust You to forgive, heal, and deliver if we simply ask. You have done everything necessary for our salvation. Help me to simply ask and rest in Your provision and trust You to do whatever seems good to You. Open doors to share this simple truth and good news with those under the sentence of death.
Judges 10:13-16 “Yet you have forsaken Me and served other gods; therefore I will save you no more. Go and cry out to the gods whom you have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress.” And the people of Israel said to the Lord, “We have sinned; do to us whatever seems good to You. Only please deliver us this day.” So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the Lord, and He became impatient over the misery of Israel.”
Scripture reading for March 15th: Numbers 30-33, Psalm 35, Luke 3
Luke 3:15-18 “As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but He Who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of Whose sandal I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire, to clear His threshing floor and to gather the wheat into His barn, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.” So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people.”
John the Baptist was Jesus’ cousin, born slightly before Him. John was called by God to be a prophet and to prepare the way for Jesus Christ. In doing so, He confronted the sins of the people and called them to repentance and to baptism as an act of cleansing. This preparation was not the end, but the entrance into a new relationship with God. Jesus Christ would complete the work necessary for the cleansing of all mankind from sin and its power on the cross through offering His body and blood. He would take the keys of death and hell from Satan and open the curtain for all who would believe to be in God’s presence. He would baptize His followers with the Holy Spirit, the gift of the Father, and fire to deeply cleanse and empower them. This all was amazing ‘good news!’
Numbers 31:21-23 “Then Eleazar the priest said to the men in the army who had gone to battle: “This is the statute of the law that the Lord has commanded Moses: only the gold, the silver, the bronze, the iron, the tin, and the lead, and everything that can stand the fire, you shall pass through the fire, and it shall be clean.”
Prayer: Father God, I thank You for preparing the way for Your Son to bring salvation to me and all mankind. I know that my faith through Your grace has brought salvation. Repentance too is a gift of grace received humbly by faith. Help me to share the ‘good news’ with those headed for the fire of Your judgment, that they might receive the gift of eternal life and be filled with the Holy Spirit and holy fire.
Psalm 35:27-28 “Let those who delight in my righteousness shout for joy and be glad and say evermore, “Great is the Lord, Who delights in the welfare of His servant!” Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness and of your praise all the day long.”
Scripture reading for September 24th: 2nd Corinthians 7
Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 7:8-12 “For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it–though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a little while. As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter.”
Sin in our life or the church causes us or the church family grief. Sin, when confronted, also can cause grief to the individual who is harboring it or to the church family to whom the one caught in sin belongs. Paul had confronted the elders in Corinth of their need to discipline the man caught in sexual sin with his own mother-in-law. They had responded by putting him out of the body, as he recommended. In this letter Paul had asked them to receive back the one they had disciplined lest he be overcome with excessive grief. There are two kinds of grief–worldly grief is just sorry that they were found out. This kind of grief leads to more sin and eventually death. Godly grief leads to a deep regret that causes a change in mind, attitude and behavior and produces restoration and spiritual life. All discipline has the goal of restoration and life.
2nd Corinthians 7:1 “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of the Lord.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for being our Father and calling us to repentance and a life of holy separation to you. Thank You for a Father’s discipline that leads to godly sorrow, repentance and life. Deliver me from any worldly sorrow and always lead me in true repentance. Help me as a father, pastor and Christ-follower to call those caught in sin to godly grief and true repentance.
Psalm 51:10-12 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence, and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit.”
Scripture reading for August 13th: Hebrews 6
Key Scriptures: Hebrews 6:4-9 “For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the Word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding Him up to contempt. For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned. Though we speak in this way yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things–things that belong to salvation.”
The writer of Hebrews was concerned about believers that were being enticed by family and religious ties to go back to Judaism and forsake the life of faith they had experienced. He plainly laid out the end result of leaving the faith (apostasy). Although they had once repented, they would be unable to return again. Their action would hold the Savior up to contempt in the eyes of other unbelievers and hinder God’s work of salvation in their lives. Like land that was cultivated to produce a crop but only produced thorns and thistles, they would be destined to eternal destruction. Paul was warning the believers to hold fast to Christ Jesus and the grace that comes from faith. He encouraged them that they had better things ahead as they held fast. They could be eternally secure in Christ alone!
John 10:27-29 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, Who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father, thank You that I am eternally secure in Christ Jesus and Your Almighty Hands. Help me daily to hear Your voice and follow You in the power of Your Holy Spirit. I desire to be blessed by You and bear fruit for Your glory and kingdom. Give me discernment to warn those who are in danger of falling away in these last days.
1st Timothy 4:1 “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirts and teachings of demons, . .”
Scripture reading for July 1st: 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, was Jesus’ cousin and was called by God to be the prophetic forerunner of the Messiah. He lived in the desert and dressed in prophet’s garb. He called all the Jews to repentance and was noted as the one spoken of by the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 40:3, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.'” He was baptizing in the Jordan River all who responded to his message of repentance and preparation for the Messiah. But John never claimed to be anything but a ‘voice’ crying in the wilderness. He pointed everyone to the One that was to come, the Messiah. This Messiah would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. This Messiah would also come in judgment and reward towards His people. He would come to separate the wheat and the chaff to their eternal destinies. The ‘axe’ was laid to the roots of the trees that produced no fruit of repentance.
Matthew 3:10 “Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for preparing the way for me and all who will hear Your Word and repent. Thank You for Jesus Christ, Your beloved Son, my Savior Who baptizes with the Holy Spirit and fire. Fill me again with the Holy Spirit and the fire of Your passion and love for the lost and hurting. May I proclaim Your Word boldly and clearly in a manner pleasing to You as Your Son.
Matthew 3:16-17 “And when Jesus was baptized, immediately He went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on Him; and behold, a Voice from heaven said, “This is My Beloved Son, with Whom I am well pleased.””
Scripture reading for June 28th: Titus 3
Key Scriptures: Titus 3:3-7 “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, Whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
All believers have a past life. Paul described it in this passage and it is not very complementary. Paul says we were foolish, slaves, full of malice and envy and specializing in hatred and headed for God’s wrath and judgment. This was all that was possible in our sinful condition that we inherited from birth. But God through His Son, Jesus Christ, showed us His own goodness and kindness, leading us to repentance and faith. Through faith, not works, we gained mercy and were washed and renewed and filled with the Holy Spirit. God Himself, through Christ’s sacrifice, justifies all who believe and adopts them into His eternal family giving them an everlasting inheritance: the sure hope of eternal life! What a miraculous turn-around in our life and destiny because of God’s mercy in Christ! In response, we offer ourselves to God for His use in good works through faith.
Titus 3:14 “And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your great mercy and willingness to sacrifice Your own body on my behalf. Thank You for pouring on me and all who believe the Holy Spirit and revealing the hope of eternal life. In response to your great love, I give myself to You to be used as You will to accomplish Your great plan of salvation in all who will believe! To You be all glory, now and forever!
Romans 2:4-5 “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.”