Scripture reading for October 14th: 2nd Kings 24-25, 2nd Chronicles 36, Psalm 126, 1st Peter 3
Key Scriptures: 1st Peter 3:13-16 “Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your heart honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.”
Peter encouraged the church to do good works, even if it brought suffering. Suffering for righteousness was part of the package. There should be no fear of those who trouble us, because we honor Christ as Lord of all. He is holy and will protect and defend us. Our job is to be ready to make a defense when asked the reason for our hope and peace, and to make the defense with gentleness and respect. Honoring Christ as holy exalts Him and gives us a clear conscience.
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.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I honor You alone as holy and will be prepared to give a defense to all who ask the reason of my hope. Help me to humbly reflect Your holiness and character as I share the gospel. I look forward to the shouts of joy in heaven because of those who are saved!
2nd Chronicles 36:15 “The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent (His Word) persistently to them by His messengers, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place.”
Scripture reading for November 11th: 1st Peter 3, Psalm 77-8, Proverbs 9
Key Scriptures: 1st Peter 3:13-16 “Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.”
As followers of Christ Jesus, we are always to honor Christ as Lord by doing all to His glory. If we suffer for our faith and good deeds, it is Christ who will be honored if we treat our persecutors with gentleness and respect. We should always be ready to share the reason for our hope in Jesus Christ. If they reject our testimony and witness, the shame will rest on them, not us because we honored Jesus and acted respectfully.
Faith Confession: Lord Jesus, I desire to honor You as holy in my attitude, actions, and conduct. Help me to treat unbelievers with respect and gentleness, and always be ready to give a defense of my trust in Jesus Christ, that the persecutors and unbelievers may be saved.
Psalm 77:13-14 “Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders; You have made known Your might among the peoples.”
Scripture reading for November 10th: 1st Peter 3
Key Scriptures for over-comers: 1st Peter 3:13-16 “Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts set apart Christ as lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”
Believers are always being watched by the worldly people around them. We must seek to represent Christ Jesus in all we do, even if people of the world judge us harshly or even persecute us for our stands of faith or good works. We must also be ready to share our testimony and reason that we live such different lives marked by joy and good works. This sharing must be done with great respect and gentleness, seeking to win them over to the Blessed Hope we personally know!
Observations for over-comers: Our lives should be marked by joy and hope and faith in God’s Word. We must be prepared and ready to share our reasons for this joy! “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” (Isaiah 52:7)
Scripture reading for December 2nd: Ephesians 1-6
Ephesians is one of the most encouraging epistles of Paul. Written from prison, Paul shares the mystery of the church as the bride of Christ with all who read this letter. The letter is written , “To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 1:1) All who believe in Jesus Christ are considered “saints”, those set apart for the master’s use. Each saint was chosen by Jesus and blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms through relationship with Him. (Ephesians 1:3-14) Believers have been lavished with God’s grace through forgiveness of sins and adoption as sons. They have had the mystery of His will revealed to them. They have a down payment of future blessedness, the promised Holy Spirit!
Paul prays two beautiful prayers for the saints recorded in Ephesians 1:15-19 and 3:14-21. These prayers are models for our praying for spiritual insight into who we are in Christ and what He has given us. Christ’s love for those He has chosen is so high and long and wide and deep that only by personal revelation can it be fathomed! Paul bowed his knees before the Father in prayer and worship, praying from the depth of his heart. What encouragement for us to know that we have been prayed for in this manner! To consider that God can do “immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, according to the power at work in us,” (Ephesians 3:20) is exciting and opens up a new world for us.
Paul deals with practical matters of human relationships, including husbands and wives. Mutual submission to each other out of respect for Christ is a great foundation for marriage. (Ephesians 5:21) Wives should submit to their husbands as to Christ. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church and laid His life down for her. Paul states that these thoughts are a profound mystery! (Ephesians 5:32) Christ is the husband of His bride, the church and loves her as His own body! He is one with the church as a husband is one with his wife. Christ must be submitted to and reverenced by the church as the wife is to submit to and reverence her husband.
May we ponder this mystery today and apply the truths to our daily lives. Marriages are to be visual aides to understand Christ and the Church.