Scripture reading for November 18th: Daniel 10-12, John 20
John 20: 19-23 “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, even so I am sending you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
The resurrected Jesus Christ, Son of God, came to His disciples as they were hiding in fear behind locked doors. Jesus came into the room, in spite of the locked doors, and spoke a Jewish blessing of peace over them. He showed them His nail-scared hands and His spear-pierced side. The disciples were over-joyed. Jesus then spoke peace again and reminded them that He was sent by the Father to save lost mankind and now He was sending them. Following this commission, Jesus personally breathed on these disciples and commanded them to receive the Holy Spirit–the power and authority of God. Grace and peace with God was to be their message and their mission was to reach all mankind.
John 20:30-31 “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His Name.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for the amazing resurrection, foretold in Your Word through Daniel and others. The promise of resurrection and everlasting reward is my heart’s desire. I have received Your Holy Spirit and am born again and empowered with Your Life. Use me today to share the Good News and turn many to righteousness through Jesus Christ, the Son of God!
Daniel 12:2-3 “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, but some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”
Scripture reading for September 20th: 2nd Kings 21, 2nd Chronicles 33, Psalm 71, 2nd Corinthians 3
2nd Corinthians 3:7-12 “Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters of stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because the glory that surpasses it. For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory. Since we have such a hope, we are very bold. . .”
Paul explained to the believers in Corinth the amazing truths concerning the glory of the ministry of righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ. Under the old covenant, the Law, the glory on Moses’ face after meeting with God was fading away and Moses used a veil to shield the people from that fading glory. The Law could only reveal sin and bring condemnation before God. Its glory was fading because it was temporary until Christ was revealed and the New Covenant of righteousness by faith. Paul explained that this Covenant comes with far-exceeding glory that instead of fading away grows ever brighter in intensity on those following Christ by faith! Amen!
Psalm 71:14-16 “But I will hope continually and will praise You yet more and more. My mouth will tell of Your righteous acts, of Your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge. With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come, I will remind them of Your righteousness, Yours alone.”
Prayer: Holy Father, You alone are God and Your amazing mercy to forgive us all our sins and wickedness and to give us Your gift of righteousness is worthy of all praise. Your promise of ever-increasing and far-exceeding glory to those who humbly follow Jesus stretches my mind! I vow with the psalmist, “I will praise You yet more and more!”
2nd Chronicles 33:12-13 “And when he was in distress, he entreated the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. He prayed to Him, and God was moved by his entreaty and heard his plea and brought him back again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.”
Scripture reading for August 25th: Isaiah 17-19, Psalm 62, 1st Corinthians 1
1st Corinthians 1:20-25 “Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
Paul reasoned with the Corinthians concerning his message of salvation. Paul preached Christ Jesus as crucified for the sins of mankind. His cosmopolitan audience in Corinth consisted of Greeks and Jews and other Gentiles from various parts of the world. The Greeks put a premium on wisdom and human intellect. Jews were open to God, but constantly wanted signs. Jesus gave them the ultimate ‘sign’, comparing his death and time in the grave to Jonah’s three days and nights in the big fish. But God’s ‘wisdom’ is actually the power of God for salvation. “And because of Him, you are in Christ Jesus, Who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1st Corinthians 1:30)
Psalm 62:5-7 “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from Him. He only is my Rock and my Salvation, my Fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty Rock, My Refuge is God.”
Prayer: Father God, Your amazing wisdom to bring salvation to all through Your Son is my only hope and my Refuge. Thank You for Your salvation and for giving all men opportunity to hear and know You and experience Your gift of righteousness and being set apart for Your forever family. Use me to preach Christ crucified, resurrected and coming again in the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ is my only boast!
Isaiah 19:19-21 “In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the Lord at its border. It will be a sign and a witness to the Lord of Hosts in the land of Egypt. When they cry to the Lord because of oppressors, He will send them a savior and defender and deliver them. And the Lord will make Himself known to the Egyptians, and the Egyptians will know the Lord in that day and worship with sacrifice and offering, and they will make vows to the Lord and perform them.”
Scripture reading for May 27th: 2nd Samuel 24, 1st Chronicles 21, Romans 4
Romans 4:1-5 “What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in Him Who justified the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, . .””
Paul was explaining the amazing truth of justification by faith to Gentile believers as well as Jews. Here he showed how God used Abraham’s faith to call him ‘righteous’ before the law or circumcision was given. This man Abraham simply believed God’s promise that he would become the father of many nations, even when his wife Sarah had been barren for many years. Abraham was 99 years old and Sarah was 90 and beyond the years of childbirth, but by faith they conceived and Sarah had a child as God had promised. This child and his offspring would become a nation, Israel, that would be marked by God’s presence in their midst. However, Abraham’s simple faith made him the ‘father’ of all from every nation who will believe and received the gift of righteousness! Amen!
Romans 4:16-17 “That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring–not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”–in the presence of the God in Whom he believed, Who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.”
Prayer: Father God, Thank You for giving all who believe in You and Your Son, Jesus Christ, the gift of Your righteousness and the forgiveness of our sins, guilt and shame. I am humbled and grateful to be filled with Your Presence. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and power to declare this “good news” to all people, nations, tribes and tongues that all might enjoy grace and eternal life in Your presence.
2nd Samuel 22:24-25 “But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.” So David built there an altar to the Lord and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord responded to the plea for the land, and the plague was averted from Israel.”
Scripture reading for May 26th: 2nd Samuel 21-23, Psalm 18, Romans 3
Romans 3:21-26 “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it–the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, Whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over former sins. It was to show His righteousness at the present time, so that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
Paul taught the Romans about justification through faith. God can declare us righteous because of the death, burial and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ. All who believe on Jesus have received mercy through His shed blood. We receive justification–God declaring us righteous in His sight through the gift of His grace by our faith. Because of God’s divine forbearance through Christ, He has blotted out our sins and remembers them no more. Now by Jesus Christ we can say with King David, “By Him I can run through a troop, by Him, I can leap over a wall!” God’s Word is indeed true! Christ is our shield of refuge and worthy of all praise in that He has saved us from all our enemies and accusers!
Psalm 18:29-30 “For by You I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall. This God–His way is perfect; the Word of the Lord proves true. He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for covering over and removing our sins by the blood of Your Son. Thank You for justifying me and all who call upon You through faith in Jesus Christ. I proclaim Your praise and call upon You to pour out Your grace on the lost as Your Gospel is preached and people are set free from their enemies!
2nd Samuel 22:2-3 “He said, “The Lord is my rock and my deliverer, my God my Rock, in Whom I take refuge, my Shield, and the Horn of my salvation, my Stronghold and my Refuge, my Savior; You save me from violence. I call upon the Lord, Who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.””
Scripture reading for February 19th: Romans 9
Key Scriptures: Romans 9:30-33 “What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame.””
Paul was a Jew and would have given his own life and salvation for that of his Jewish brothers and sisters. He understood the futility of trying to keep the law for righteousness. He had tried and failed and knew that his brethren had also failed. It was only by faith that righteousness could be obtained as a gift, not as wages earned. This was the stumbling stone, Jesus Christ–one descended from David perfectly kept God’s law and offered Himself as a sacrifice by giving His body and blood. Faith in Him alone would bring the gift of righteousness.
Romans 3:28-30 “For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes of Gentiles also, since God is One–Who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for revealing the way of faith and grace to obtain justification and righteousness. I believe in Jesus Christ and will not be put to shame! Open doors for me to proclaim the Good News of Your grace gift today.
Romans 4:3-5 “For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in Him Who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness. . . .”
Scripture reading for February 16th: Romans 6
Key Scriptures: Romans 6:11-14 “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”
Paul was explaining the reality behind the sacrament of water baptism. In water baptism, the one being baptized is plunged under the water identifying with Jesus’ death and burial. The old carnal man has died with Jesus on the cross and was buried with Jesus. But as Jesus Christ did not stay in the grave, but was resurrected on the third day, so the baptismal candidate comes up out of the water a new man, out of death’s reach and freed from the grip of sin. Grace abounds through repentance and submission to Jesus Christ. But we still have a responsibility to choose daily to offer our bodies and its members to Christ as redeemed from death and alive in Him. Sin now has no dominion over us as a slave-master. We are dead to sin and no longer under law either. Grace is our new master through faith in Jesus!
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I thank You that you have told me to declare my old man as dead and buried. I was baptized in obedience and trust in my resurrection to a new life and eternal life with You. Help me each day to count my members dead to sin and alive to You for worship and service.
Jeremiah 31:33-34 “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put My law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity and their sins I will remember no more.”
Scripture reading for February 12th: Romans 4
Key Scriptures: Romans 4:19-24 “He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in Him Who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, Who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”
Paul used the father of faith, Abraham as a teaching point on justification by faith alone. Abraham was counted righteous when he believed God’s promise of offspring and inheritance despite the condition of his body or Sarah’s womb. This was 430 years before the giving of the Law and before circumcision. Abraham simply believed that God was able to fulfil His promise no matter what he thought or his physical condition. Because of his faith, God gifted him ‘righteousness’. This was written down for the Jews and for Gentiles of every age. Through faith alone by grace alone we are justified–made just before God. We should be fully convinced that God will do what He has promised for He is totally faithful. We have an inheritance awaiting us!
Romans 4:13 “For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord, thank You for saving Jew and Gentile by faith and giving all promise of eternal inheritance in Your family! I am fully convinced You are faithful to Your promises and will share the Good News today with others! Grant me open doors and grace!
Genesis 15:5-6 “And He brought him outside and said, “look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then He said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” And he believed the Lord, and He counted it to him as righteousness.”
Scripture reading for February 11th: Romans 3
Key Scriptures: Romans 3:21-26 “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it–the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, Whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over former sins. It was to show His righteousness at the present time, so that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
God’s amazing wisdom and grace for righteousness was made available to Jew and Gentile. Although they were all sinners under God’s wrath, God provided redemption through His Son’s blood to all who would believe on Jesus Christ. God demonstrated his righteousness and divine forbearance-patience in delaying justified judgment–by justifying those who came to faith in Jesus. The Jews had the Law and Prophets that bore witness to God’s righteousness. They still could not keep it by their works. The Gentiles had their conscience where God’s Law was written and nature that declared God’s power and authority but they could not earn righteousness. But God gave freely to all who believe in Jesus the free gift of His grace!
Psalm 103:2-4 “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, Who forgives all your iniquity, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy. . .”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the covering of Your blood over my sins and Your patience with me and other sinners. Give me grace today to patiently declare Your righteousness and amazing grace through Jesus to those You send me to.
Romans 3:10-12 “as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”” (Psalm 14:1-3)
Scripture reading for October 21st: Jeremiah 50-51, 2nd Peter 3
Key Scriptures: 2nd Peter 3:9-13 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.”
Mankind is very short-sighted. They tend to live for each day and many worry about the future, but fail to prepare for it. Peter called the believers to patient endurance. The Lord is patient with each person, and He wants none to perish. The Day of the Lord’s return will come suddenly and bring everlasting destruction to the earth and the unsaved. But followers of Jesus are looking forward to a New Heaven and New Earth and eternal righteousness! It will happen suddenly too! Amen!
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, help me daily to see the big picture and Your amazing mercy and patience with the lost. Use me to help others see Your patience and prepare them for Your sudden return!
Jeremiah 51:6 “”Flee from the midst of Babylon; let every one save his life! Be not cut off in her punishment, for this is the time of the Lord’s vengeance, the repayment He is rendering her.””