Scripture reading for June 22nd: Song of Songs 4-6, 2nd Thessalonians 2
Key Scriptures: 2nd Thessalonians 1:2-5 “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering–. . ”
Paul was writing a second letter to the church at Thessolonica. He sent greetings of grace and peace from “God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” He thanked God for their growing faith and increasing love for each other. They were remaining steadfast and growing in the face of persecution and affliction. Even as the winds of adversity blew upon them, their faith and perseverance was evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work to prepare them for God’s eternal kingdom! The spices of their hearts brought a pleasant fragrance before God.
Faith confession and prayer: Father God, thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit living in me. I am trusting You today for grace and peace and to allow fragrant spices to flow from my heart. Help me to be steadfast in life’s daily afflictions and the persecutions of the last days. May Your kingdom come and Your will be done!
Song of Songs 4:16 “Awake, O north wind, and come, O south wind! Blow upon my garden, let its spices flow.”
Scripture reading for June 18th: Proverbs 29-31, 1st Thessalonians 4
Key Scriptures: 1st Thessalonians 4:3-8 “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives His Holy Spirit to you.”
Paul solemnly warned the Thessalonians against sexual immorality. God’s Word is very clear about what He considers “immorality”. Adultery is sexual immorality in a marriage covenant when one partner steps out on another. Fornication is any sexual acts outside of a marriage relationship. Homosexuality is any sexual acts between those of the same sex. Bestiality is sexual misconduct with animals. Pornography is lusting for sexual contact through images or imagination. These acts “transgress and wrong” those involved and they must and will answer to God. We disregard God Himself when we claim to be a believer and still continue in sexual immorality. Be warned: God will avenge!
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, have mercy on our land and its people. We have transgressed against Your Holy Word and Spirit and each other in these sins of sexual immorality. Help me to control my own body and thoughts and solemnly warn this people about Your plan for our sanctification in Jesus Christ. turning away Your wrath.
Proverbs 29:1 “He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing.”
Proverbs 29:8 “Scoffers set a city aflame, but the wise turn away wrath.”
Scripture reading for September 17th: 1st Thessalonians 4, Psalm 36,, Proverbs 1
Key Scriptures: 1st Thessalonians 4:3-8 “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives His Holy Spirit.”
Our sanctification, or the process of being set apart for God and made holy, is progressive. We should be learning how to control our body and its appetites. We come to understand the law of love which recognizes the worth of each person and how wrong it is to take advantage of another person sexually in adultery or fornication or any form of sexual perversion. Paul stressed that God Himself was the avenger of these sins. That should make each of us take note. God demands holiness for anyone to see Him when He returns.
Faith Confession: I understand that God is the avenger of sexual sins. Sexual sin hurts the other partner and brings impurity into our lives. Lord, help me to control my body and appetites and to be holy set apart for Your use.
Proverbs 1:32-33 “For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them; but whoever listens to Me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”
Scripture reading for July 5th: Job 37-40, 1st Corinthians 1
Key Scriptures: 1st Corinthians 1:28-31 “God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 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.””
Paul stated plainly that God chose the weak and lowly things of this world in order to shame the proud and those claiming to be wise. Through Jesus Christ, God’s amazing wisdom, abundant righteousness, sanctification and redemption are available to all who humbly accept. That’s something to humbly boast about!
Job 37:23-24 “The Almighty–we cannot find Him; He is great in power; justice and abundant righteousness He will not violate. Therefore men fear Him; He does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit.”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for Jesus Christ, our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption! Help me to humbly boast in Him alone!
Scripture reading for October 11th: 1st Thessalonians 4:1-5:2
“Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.” (1st Thessalonians 4:1) These believers had listened to Paul’s message of the Gospel and responded in faith. They had observed his example and teaching about how to live and began to do it. Paul’s letter was to encourage them to increase their obedience level. This wasn’t to please him, but to please God. This is how Jesus Christ lived! (John 5:30)
A specific area of obedience was in sexual purity. Sexual sin harmed others as well as a person’s own soul. The pagan and idolatrous culture was full of sexual immorality. Idol temples employed prostitutes and homosexuality and incest were common. Paul reminded them of God’s will for sanctification. Sexual purity would please the Lord and disobedience would bring His wrath. “The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. for God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you His Holy Spirit.” (1st Thessalonians 4:6b-8) God’s word is truth and the Holy Spirit lives in us to lead us into all truth.
Another area of obedience involved work. A number of Thessalonians felt that because Jesus was coming soon that they could be idle. What was the use of working, when the church members would take care of them? “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” (1st Thessalonians 4:11-12) Paul taught that a quiet life of work and caring for family was a good witness. Idleness was causing strife and bad reputations outside the church and inside!
Christ would come back and those who trusted Christ, whether alive or in the grave, would be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. No one knew the day or the hour, but they were all to be ready. This kind of faith pleases God and gives encouragement and hope.