Scripture reading for July 20th: Matthew 16
Key Scriptures: Matthew 16:15-22 “He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father Who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then He strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that He was the Christ. From that time on Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord. This shall never happen to You.””
Peter responded to Jesus’ question for His disciples concerning Who they thought that He was. “Your are the Christ the Son of the living God” was Peter’s response that Jesus attributed to revelation from God the Father. Jesus went on to say that through this revelation, His disciples would receive the keys to the kingdom of heaven. They would obtain authority to unlock doors and shut doors in the spiritual realm on earth. On the “rock” of Peter’s confession, Jesus would build His church, a called out people of faith who would believe on Jesus the Christ by revelation through the Father. As Jesus further shared how His life on earth would end, Peter rebuked Him as He shared about his death and resurrection. Jesus then rebuked Peter and Satan for denying God’s plan for Jesus sacrificial death. We must be careful to listen to Jesus and believe, because we may be listening to another spirit instead–Satan!
Matthew 16:23 “But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a hindrance to Me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.””
Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for revealing Your Son, Jesus, as the Christ to me. I believe in Jesus Christ and want to hear His voice and obey but sometimes allow the flesh and Satan to bring confusion. Forgive me, Father, and help me focus through the Holy Spirit and Your Word on the things of God not the things of men or Satan, the fallen angel.
Ephesians 6:12 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
Scripture reading for August 6th: Hosea 1-3, Matthew 16
Key Scriptures: Matthew 16:15-19 “He (Jesus) said to them (disciples), ” But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter Replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father Who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.””
Jesus was questioning His disciples at a location in Israel known for its idolatry. He asked them who people said He was and then who they said He was. Peter answered boldly: “You are the Christ, Son of the living God.” Jesus confirmed his answer as a revelation from God, and stated that the declaration would be the ‘rock’ on which He would build His Church! Hell and idolatry would not prevail against those who proclaimed “Jesus is the Christ!”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Christ, Son of the living God! I thank You for revealing God to me, building Your Church, and protecting it from Hell’s domination. Use me to share the Good News that Jesus is the Christ!
Hosea 2:19-20 “And I will betroth you to Me forever. I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord.”
Scripture reading for October 4th: Isaiah 25-28, 2nd Timothy 3
Key Scriptures: 2nd Timothy 3:14-17 “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writing, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God, and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
Paul told Timothy to hold fast to God’s sacred Word and profit by allowing it to make him wise for salvation. Not only that he was to use the Word to minister to others, equipping them for every good work. It is through the Word that we are brought into perfection and enjoy the peace of those taught by the Lord.
Isaiah 26:3-4 “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock.”
Prayer: Lord, I trust in You today. You are my Rock. Your sacred Word equips me for every good work. Breath on me today. Amen.
Scripture reading for August 1st: Psalm 62-64, 2nd Corinthians 4
Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 4:16-18 “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
Paul was encouraged and shared how he kept his own spirit up. If he focused on the external things that he saw, he could easily become discouraged. His own body was growing older and wasting away. He suffered afflictions and persecutions. Not everyone that he preached Jesus Christ as Lord to treated him with respect. But he looked at the unseen realities of the spiritual realm and was renewed inside each day! These things were eternal while the visible world was transient!
Psalm 62:1-2 “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation. He alone is my Rock and my Salvation, my Fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for encouraging me and renewing me inside with vision and understanding of the eternal realities of Your presence and glory. I can say with David, You are my Rock! Amen.
Scripture reading for June 24th: Romans 9
Key Scriptures for over-comers: Romans 9:30-33 “What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith, but as it were by works. They stumbled over the “Stumbling Stone.” As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.”
Many people are like the Jews of the time of Jesus and Paul. They in their human pride think that by their own works and keeping God’s Law that they can assure themselves salvation. Jesus came to fulfill the Law of God by perfectly obeying it and all His Father’s decrees. Jesus was and is the only way to find true righteousness but the Jews rejected Him, stumbling by trying to find it through works–the keeping of the Law. But those who trust in Jesus Christ will never be put to shame or stumble into judgment!
Observations for over-comers: Over-comers avoid the trap of human works or religious rules to obtain right standing with God. They fully trust in Jesus Christ and stand firm on the Rock of their salvation! “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior–from violent men you save me.” (2nd Samuel 22:2-3)
Scripture reading for January 11th: Matthew 7
Key Scriptures: Matthew 7:24-25 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who build his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”
To have a home that stands the tests of water, storms, and wind, it must have a strong foundation. To have a life that stands the tests of the world, flesh, and the Devil, that life must be anchored to the Rock of Jesus Christ. According to Scripture, Jesus Christ is our Wisdom from God! (1st Corinthians 1:30) These verses promise everyone a guarantee of a life-foundation that will stand up to any test! Hearing God’s Word and putting it into daily practice will never fail to anchor our lives to the One who spoke the word in the first place. His words are true in floods, storms and winds! This foundation will stand up to anything coming against it.
Contrasting this was the man who built his house on the sand as a foundation. To have a sand foundation was to hear the word of God and ignore obedience. When the storms came, this fool’s house fell with a great crash! Jesus was warning against any foundation other than the applied word of God!
Observation for over-comers: Check the foundation of your life–are you hearing and applying the word of God to all areas of your life? “By Wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.” (Proverbs 24:3-4)
Scripture reading for January 9th: Matthew 7
Jesus concluded His message to the people on kingdom living with an encouragement to seek God. They must be people who would be persistent to find what they needed from God. They must ask! They must seek! They must knock! All these verbs are in the continual sense of ‘ask and keep on asking, etc’. “Everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:8) God is a loving Father who will give good gifts to those that seek Him!
But Jesus also warned His followers early in His ministry to watch out for false prophets. He likened them to wolves dressed up as a sheep! What an example Jesus used in that rural cultural setting! He told them that they would know the false prophets by their fruit. Bad trees don’t produce good fruit! “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21) False prophet may do miracles and prophesy in His Name, but will go to hell!
Every person is building a spiritual house. You can hear the Word of God and not do it! That person is building on the sand! Those that hear and then apply it to their lives are likened to a man building his house on a rock. Storms of life come and test the foundation. Those on the sand collapse under the pressure and are destroyed. Those on the rock survive every storm! Which kind of builder are you?
Scripture reading for July 30th: Isaiah 44-48
God is a God of all comfort and one of the ways He comforts us is to encourage us to let go of fear and trust Him. It is said that the term “fear not” or variations of this phrase is used 366 times in the Bible. This means that there are enough verses for every day of the year–even leap year! Let’s look as some things God encourages us to not be afraid of and see our hope begin to rise!
In Isaiah 43:1-3, God told His people to not be afraid when they passed through the rivers or walked through the fire. He had redeemed them and they belonged to Him. He promised to be with them and protect them no matter what the trouble. He would ransom them and gave His word!
In Isaiah 44:1-5, God told His people not to fear for their children! We can trust the Lord to pour out His Spirit on our offspring and His blessing on our descendants. When we follow the Lord and live by faith, God takes care of our kids. He is able to guide them and help them to choose to walk by faith too! Let’s say “amen” to this promise!
In Isaiah 44:6-8, God encouraged His people to not be afraid of the future. He was their redeemer and the Almighty Lord who has all power and knowledge. He knows the future and holds it in His hands. He will be a Rock for those who fear of the future. Trusting in Him can make us truly free!
We can give up fearing old age and the weakness and frailty associated with it. “Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all you who remain of the house of Israel, you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, have carried since your birth. Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am He, I am He who will sustain you, I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” (Isaiah 46:3-4) What’s there to be afraid of anyway? We are people of faith and please God by trusting Him in everything! “Fear Not!”
Scripture reading for January 8th: Matthew 7, Psalm 6, Proverbs 2:9-11
Jesus liked stories that His listeners could identify with. He was good at picking out simple stories that illustrated his teaching. Jesus had been talking about what life in the kingdom of heaven was like and how people who were seeking that kingdom would conduct their lives. Kingdom life is all about living in obedience to God by faith. The world lives by the senses and the flesh and has its own way of doing business. The people of God’s kingdom follow the Lord and His holy word.
In Matthew 7, Jesus covers instructions for some common worldly ways of doing business. His people are not to judge others and condemn them, for with the measure they give, they will be judged. (Matthew 7:1-2) Judging others and finding fault with others is sinful because we cannot know the heart of another person and how they really stand with God. Only God has this ability and it is best left to the One who knows everything perfectly.
God’s people ask Him for their needs. This kind of asking is persistent in that it seeks an answer and knocks hard on God’s door. God promises that one who asks will receive and find an open door. God is good and willing to be entreated, but this doesn’t mean He is like a heavenly slot machine that dispenses miracles according to a formula. God is a loving Father who knows all things and sometimes answers in ways we did not expect or even says “no” or “not now”.
Jesus warned his followers to stick close to His teaching and to Him because the gate is narrow leading to life and few find it. Jesus is that gate! (John 10:7) The broad way is heavily populated and many are on their way to destruction. In fact, those who hear the word and obey it, putting it into practice are likened to a builder who built on a rock. The house will stand against any storm. Those who hear but don’t apply His teaching are like those who build on the sand. A storm comes and the house comes down with a great crash! (Matthew 7:24-27) Just hearing the teaching is not enough. The key is in applying the word to daily life. Our house are being built daily. Is yours on a rock or sand? A great storm is coming!