Scripture reading for July 22nd: 2nd Kings 4-6, Matthew 5
Key Scriptures: Matthew 5:10-12 “”Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.””
Jesus had gathered a great crowd of people and he began to teach them. The Sermon on the Mount is the longest recorded message of Jesus and one of the most famous. Jesus taught that it was a blessing to be persecuted for “righteousness sake.” He went on to elaborate what this meant. Those who followed Him would be reviled and persecuted and blasphemed against. Those who follow Jesus live righteous lives and preach repentance from evil. This brings persecution and sometimes death. Followers can rejoice because they have a great reward and they join with a long line of persecuted prophets.
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I will gladly and with rejoicing take persecution because of You. Help me to stay true to You and Your Word in my actions, words and deeds.
2nd Kings 6:31 “—and he (Joram king of Israel) said, “May God do so to me and more also, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today.””
Scripture reading for January 17th: Matthew 13, Psalm 13, Prov. 13
Key Scriptures: Matthew 13:20-23 “As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the Word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the Word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the Word and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the Word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
Jesus used a parable, a story about something common, to teach His disciples about the kingdom of heaven. The parable required thinking and discernment to find the truth being taught. God’s Word was likened to seed sowed on various types of soil in the hearts of hearers. Some was rocky and shallow and quickly dried up, aborting the growth needed for fruit. Some was weedy and the Word was choked out before it produced. Other soil was fertile and the Seed multiplied in harvest.
Faith’s Confession: Father, thank You for considering my heart good soil. I receive Your Word and desire to produce fruit–even a hundred-fold!
Proverbs 13:13 “Whoever despises the Word brings destruction on himself; but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded.”
Scripture reading for January 7th: Matthew 5, Psalm 5, Prov. 5 (Reading through the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs one chapter a day, five days each week in 2019–please join me in the trek!)
Key Scriptures: Matthew 5:10-13 “”Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.””
Jesus took His disciples and others who had gathered to hear Him up on a hillside. There He taught them about the kingdom of heaven and the blessedness of those who were included. This blessedness called for joy and rejoicing and anticipation of the great reward that would come in God’s time. It also included persecution and reviling from the world of sinful men on account of righteousness and their relationship with Jesus Christ. Rejoice now in all things and count on great reward in the fullness of the kingdom of heaven!
Faith’s confession: I am blessed with Christ’s righteousness and presence in me. I joyfully endure any hardship or persecution today, knowing Whose I am. (Action: Pray for God’s blessedness to come to anyone who may be mistreating you now for your love of Jesus. Do an act of kindness to show them Christ’s love.)
Proverbs 5:21 “For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths.”
Scripture reading for December 29th: Revelation 18-22
Key Scriptures: Revelation 22:12-15 “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with Me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of Life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.”
The last words of Jesus Christ recorded by John, the beloved disciple are “I am coming soon!” Jesus promises that His reward is with him. He will justly reward all who are His through the washing of their robes in His blood. Those who overcome will have access to the Tree of Life and freely go in and out of the New Jerusalem. Those who will be shut out are those who have not repented of sins and have garments stained by them!
Rejoicing in our Reward: “See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and His Arm rules for Him. See, His reward is with Him, and His recompense accompanies Him. He tends His flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young.” (Isaiah 40:10-11)
Scripture reading for April 10th: 2nd Kings 7-11
Key Scriptures: 2nd Kings 8:5-6 “Just as Gehazi was telling the king how Elisha had restored the dead to life, the woman whose son Elisha had brought back to life came to beg the king for her house and land. Gehazi said, “This is the woman, my lord the king, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life.” The king asked the woman about it and she told him. Then he assigned an official to her case and said to him, “Give back everything that belonged to her, . . “
The Shunammite widow who had give the prophet Elisha a place to stay had obeyed Elisha and left the country during a seven year famine. When she returned, she went to beg the king for her property back. God so arranged that the king was listening to the account of her son being raised from the dead. She recovered all that belonged to her!
Rejoice in reward: God rewards those who trust Him and live generously towards His people! “Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, . . . And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is My disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.” (Matthew 10:41-42)
Scripture reading for October 27th: Hebrews 11
Key Scriptures for over-comers: Hebrews 11:1-3,6 “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. . . . And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”
God is invisible to sinful man. Because of sin, mankind has been cut off from beholding God for his own good and well-being. Sin cannot exist in the holiness of God’s glorious presence. But those who have had a relationship with God since Adam have come to Him by faith. They trust and are certain of God’s person and goodness. They believe that God created the visible world out of nothing at His own command. They understand that God is good and will reward those that believe although they cannot visibly see Him.
Observations for over-comers: Our faith will be rewarded eternal life and beholding God face to face in His glory! “Then Moses said, “Now show me Your glory.” . . . “But,” He said, “you cannot see My face, for no one may see Me and live.” (Exodus 33:18, 20)
Scripture reading for October 20th: Hebrews 6
Key Scriptures for over-comers: Hebrews 6:10-12 “God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.”
The writer of Hebrews reminds us of God’s promise to reward His faithful people with an eternal inheritance in His presence. The Hebrew believers had been a blessing to God’s people and were showing God’s love through faithful service. They were commended for this but also reminded not to become lazy in their service of their Lord. Perseverance in faith and patience would be required to actually receive this inheritance.
Observations for over-comers: Our flesh tends towards laziness and distractions from sincerely serving Jesus and His body the church. We must guard against laziness by maintaining active faith and perseverance. “Laziness brings on deep sleep, and the shiftless man goes hungry.” (Proverbs 19:15)
Scripture reading for March 19th: Luke 12
Key scriptures for over-comers: Luke 12:35-37,40 “Be dressed and ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. . .” “You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.”
Jesus knew all men and understood their tendency to become lazy and let down their guard. In many of His last teachings, Jesus emphasized the need for watchfulness and readiness when He returned for His followers. Unbelief in Christ’s return would produce this lax and lazy behavior in those who once were zealous. This would cause great loss because those found not ready would be left out completely!
No one knows the day or the hour of Christ’s return. (Matthew 24:36) He is coming back for those who are eagerly awaiting His appearing and doing the work He commanded them to do. There will be great reward for the faithful!
Observations for over-comers: Guard your soul against falling away and unbelief in Christ’s return by keeping an active faith and obeying Christ daily. The reward is out of this world! “For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity. In My faithfulness I will reward them and make an everlasting covenant with them.” (Isaiah 61:8)
Scripture reading for December 31st: Revelation 20-22
The end of the Bible tells of a new beginning! The faithful in Christ will live in a new heaven and new earth where righteousness dwells! John saw a Holy City, the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. This city was prepared like a bride for her husband. (Revelation 21:2) A voice from heaven announced that God would dwell among men. There would be no more tears, crying or pain. God would make everything new!
But some will be left out: The cowardly and unbelieving who have put off following the Lord! The murderers and sexually immoral will not be invited in either. Those practicing the occult and living lies will be sent to the lake of burning sulfur with all those shut out. This lake is the second death spoken of at the Great White Throne judgment. (Revelation 20:14-15)
The New Jerusalem contains the most precious treasures for the redeemed. There is the River of Life that flows from God’s throne. Its banks will be lined with the Tree of Life, bearing fruit each month with leaves for healing. But the best treasure of all will be God and the Lamb dwelling in their midst and all will see His face! Living in God’s presence will bring eternal pleasures and joy to all the redeemed! (Psalm 16:11)
“Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Blessed are those who wash their robes that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.” (Revelation 22:12-14)
Three times in this final chapter the Lord speaks of His soon return, and the final “blessed” concerns those who have their wedding clothes ready for His coming! The Spirit and Bride conclude with an invitation to all to come and join the Bridal party of those waiting for the soon return! Just reading the invitation to this party makes me want to be ready! May you be ready too! Amen! Come Lord Jesus!
Thank you for sharing this journey with me and please join me again next year as we focus on the New Testament in daily readings.
In His Love, Pastor John Morse