Scripture reading for September 14th: 1st Corinthians 15
Key Scriptures: 1st Corinthians 15:3-8 “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then He appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared also to me.”
As Paul was concluding his letter to the church, he emphasized the importance of the Gospel message as recorded in Scripture and fulfilled. The Gospel includes the death of our Lord on the cross for our sins, His burial in a tomb for three days, and His glorious resurrection and many confirmation appearances to His followers. Without the resurrection, our faith would be on shaky ground. If Jesus were not raised from the dead, we could not have assurance that we would also be raised. Jesus was raised in a glorious body, bearing the scars of His crucifixion. Death could not hold Him because He was the sinless Son of God. His resurrection stands as a beacon of what is to come for all who follow Him and believe the Gospel message!
1st Corinthians 15:14-16 “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that He raised Christ, Whom He did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father God, I thank You for the Gospel message and the resurrection of Christ Jesus from the dead. In Him I have hope and confidence. I believe the Scriptures and the many witnesses to Christ’s resurrection. I look forward to seeing Jesus when He comes and enjoying a glorified body, like His glorious body. Help me to clearly preach this powerful Gospel that brings hope and salvation.
1st Corinthians 15:51 “Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall all be changed.”
Scripture reading for May 16th: Acts 9, Psalm 98, Proverbs 5
Key Scriptures: Acts 9:39-42 “So Peter rose and went with them. And when he arrived, they took him to the upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping and showing tunics and other garments that Dorcas made while she was with them. But Peter put them all outside, and knelt down and prayed; and turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. And he gave her his hand and raised her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.”
Tabitha, a beloved disciple who was a seamstress suddenly died. The other believers washed her body and sent for Peter to come quickly. Peter put all the widows and others out and alone with the body, he knelt to pray. After prayer, Peter turned to the body and spoke the woman’s name: “Tabitha, arise.” He made a simple faith confession or command as a result of his faith in His Lord Jesus. This miracle caused many to believe in Jesus Christ!
Faith Confession: I believe in the resurrection power of the Name of Jesus Christ. Lord, help me to seek You at every need You bring before me in order to do Your will and enable me to speak in faith that many will believe in You.
Psalm 98:1-2 “Oh sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous things! His right hand and His holy arm have worked salvation for Him. The Lord has made known His salvation; He has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations.”
Scripture reading for April 12th: John 6, Psalm 74, Proverbs 12
Key Scriptures: John 6:35-40 “Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to Me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and whoever comes to Me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will but the will of Him who sent me. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that I should lose nothing of all that He has given Me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day.”
The Father’s will was a key thought in Jesus’ life. Jesus came to earth do do the Father’s will, not His own. Those who choose to believe in Jesus come to Him and will be eternally cared for, never to be lost, hungry, or thirsty again. They come because the Father decreed that anyone who looks on His Son and believes would have eternal life and resurrection to life!
Faith Confession: Jesus, thank You for the Father’s will! I joyfully look on You and believe, receiving eternal life, satisfaction of my hunger and thirst, and security!
Psalm 74:12 “Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.”
Scripture reading for April 11: 1st Samuel 20-23, John 5
Key Scriptures: John 6:28-29 “Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear His voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.”
Jesus told His disciples that He would be the source of resurrection and eternal life. His voice would bring people out of their graves. But not everyone would enjoy eternal life, some who had done evil would suffer judgment and eternal punishment. God knows how to protect His people and punish those who do evil!
1st Samuel 23:14 “And David remained in the strongholds in the wilderness, in the hill country of the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God did not give him into his hand.”
Prayer: Father, thank You for the promise of resurrection life and reward and Your protection in this life. Help me to live in faith and make You my “Stronghold”. Amen.
Scripture reading for May 19th: Job 17-20
Key Scriptures: Job 19:25-27 “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see Him with my own eyes! How my heart yearns within me!”
Job was kept through his terrible suffering during this test by revelation knowledge of a God who was alive and a redeemer! He so trusted in his Redeemer that he believed that even if he died and his body was consumed by the grave, that one day, in his body, he would see God with his own eyes! Job had resurrection faith!
Rejoicing in our Redeemer: Jesus promises to redeem all those who believe on Him from the penalty of sin–eternal death! “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”” (John 11:25-26)
Scripture reading for May 18th: Job 12-16
Key Scriptures: Job 14:13-15 “If only You would hide me in the grave and conceal me till your anger has passed! If only You would set me a time and then remember me! If a man dies, will he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait for my renewal to come. You will call and I will answer you; You will long for the creature You hands have made.”
Job was so miserable that he longed to die and asked God to hide him in the grave until the time of His anger had passed. He asked God to set a time and then to remember him, even to call him up from the grave in order to have fellowship with him, God’s creature and creation!
Rejoicing in God’s coming Renewal: God has set a time to bring about the greatest renewal ever seen! “For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever!” (1st Thessalonians 4:15-17)
Scripture reading for April 20th: John 11
Key scriptures for over-comers: John 11:25-27 “Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord,” she told Him, “I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who was come into the world.””
Jesus tried to console Martha with promise of resurrection for her brother, who had been in the tomb for four days. Martha stated she believed in resurrection and then Jesus made an amazing promise. He stated one of the “I AM” promises recorded by the Apostle John, “I Am the Resurrection and the Life.” He stated that anyone who lived and believed in Him would never die and if you died believing you would live again. Mary told Jesus that she believed this too, because she believed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God! Jesus then proved He had power to raise the dead by calling Lazarus from the grave!
Observations for over-comers: Faith in Jesus Christ, Son of God is the bedrock of resurrection life for each person. This truth is echoed by Job in the Old Testament! “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see Him with my own eyes, I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me.” (Job 19:25-27)
Scripture reading for June 9th: Acts 25
Politics and religion are ways of the world that men use to gain control over others. It was no different in Paul’s day. After he had spent two years in jail as a result of a politician, the Roman governor Felix, a new leader took his place. Felix kept Paul, looking for a bribe. Now as the new governor, Festus, visited Jerusalem he was confronted by the Jews concerning the prisoner Paul. They felt he should die because of their original charges and Festus offered them opportunity to again make their case.
Festus convened the hearing in Caesarea. “When Paul appeared, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many serious charges against him, which they could not prove.” Then Paul made his defense: “I have done nothing wrong against the law of the Jews or against the temple or against Caesar.” Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there on these charges?” (Acts 25:7-9) Paul stated that he was willing to die if he had done anything worthy of death, but as a Roman citizen, he appealed to Caesar. Festus declared that that was where he would be sent!
Festus was visited by King Agrippa and his wife. Festus shared Paul’s case with the king and discussed the lack of clear charges with him. “When his accusers got up to speak, they did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected. Instead, they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive.” (Acts 25:18-19) In the midst of political and religious disputes, God was at work through Paul sharing the good news with all!
Scripture reading for July 12th: Romans 1:1-17
Paul’s letter to the Romans is a wonderful exposition of the gospel message and salvation by grace through faith. Paul wrote this letter from jail to a Roman church that he had never visited. The term ‘gospel‘ is used twelve times in the letter and is used six times in first seventeen verses!
I was out sharing the gospel in the park with a team from our church. There was a man with a tee shirt that quoted Romans 1:16: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. . .” I asked this young man if he knew what the term ‘gospel’ meant and he said he would have to go look that up. That opened the door for me to share with him and his friends the gospel message!
Paul loved the gospel. The gospel was promised by God through the prophets concerning the Son of God who was to be a descendant of David. This Son was none other than Jesus Christ, “who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by resurrection from the dead.” (Romans 1:4) The gospel was good news for both Jew and Gentile. They could receive grace and forgiveness of sins by faith.
Paul considered the gospel of Jesus Christ the power of God for salvation. He was not ashamed of that message, but instead was bold to share it whenever and where ever God would open the door. This gospel revealed the righteousness of God that is received by faith in both Jew and Gentile. Paul quotes Habakkuk 2:4 in saying, “The righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1:17b)
Paul declared how the gospel saved him from working to try and earn righteousness through the law! He knew the futility of his own works and how this good news brought him rest and grace. He wanted everyone to know that grace and believe in Jesus Christ! (Acts 26:29)
If you were asked to explain what ‘gospel’ means, would you be able to? Have you experienced the power of the gospel to save you? Are you able to say with Paul, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel!”? Sharing the Gospel is the duty and privilege of every believer in Christ!