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 12th: 2nd Corinthians 11, Psalm 10, Proverbs 6
Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 11:13-15 “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.”
Paul exposed the false teachers that had come into the midst of the Corinthian church. These men were in disguise, masquerading as true ‘apostles of Christ’ and claiming to be servants of righteousness. They were leading the church astray with their lies and false doctrines and taking money from the church that should have been used to further the work of Christ in saving souls. Satan is a master of disguise, he comes only to steal, kill, and destroy–Christians beware!
Faith Confession: From God’s Word, I know that Satan is a master of disguise and God is Truth. Lord, open my eyes each day to Truth and guard me from deception, even from those claiming to be ‘apostles of Christ.’
Proverbs 6:16-19 “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.”
Scripture reading for September 20th: Ecclesiastes 9-11; 2nd Thessalonians 2
Key Scriptures: 2nd Thessalonians 2:9-12 “The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing; because they refuse to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
In the last days, unbelievers will be deceived by Satan through a man called “the lawless one.” This individual will have power and use false signs and wonders to dazzle and deceive. God will send this delusion upon those who refuse salvation and trust in His Word, the Truth. Believers will be protected by truth!
Ecclesiastes 9:1 “But all this I laid to heart, examining it all, how the righteous and the wise and their deeds are in the hand of God. Whether it is love or hate, man does not know; both are before Him.”
Prayer: Lord, thank You that You know all things are in control. Give me Your Truth each day as my daily food and drink! Amen.
Scripture reading for August 25th: Ezekiel 24-28
Satan is not often mentioned by name in the Old Testament. He was a fallen angel who inhabited the body of a serpent in the Garden of Eden and enticed Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. The serpent was told by God that the Seed of woman would crush his head and he would bruise the Seed’s heel. (Genesis 3:1-6, 14-15) In the oldest book of the Bible, Job underwent a trial as a result of Satan’s accusations of him. Satan was given permission by God to test Job by taking his possessions and children and then his health. In 1st Chronicles 21:1, Satan stood up against Israel and enticed King David to number the people and inciting pride in how many fighting men he had. In Zechariah 3:1-2, Satan accused Joshua, the high priest, and was rebuked by the Lord. The only other direct reference is found in Psalm 109:6 where the King James Version has “Satan” as the accuser.
There are two other passages that commentators believe refer to Satan because the descriptions go beyond that of an earthly man or king. One is found in Isaiah 14 and the other in Ezekiel 28:11-19. Ezekiel describes this ‘king’ as being the model of perfection and full of wisdom and beauty. He was in Eden, the Garden of God and covered with many precious stones. He was anointed by God to be a guardian cherub on the holy mountain of God. He walked among the fiery stones and was blameless from the day he was created. Wickedness was found in him and he was filled with violence. God drove him from the mountain of God because of the sin of pride. God threw him down to the earth.
This description seems to fit Satan and not just a man or earthly king. Satan is the king of pride and of all the proud of the earth. All mankind has fallen under his spell because of Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden. But God has provided one who has crushed the head of this serpent, Jesus Christ the Lord. The end of time will see Satan (the Devil) cast into the Lake of Fire forever! (Revelation 20:10) Jesus Christ is King of the humble!
Scripture reading for December 29th: Revelation 20:1-15
Not all are part of the heavenly army of the King of Kings. The first to be dealt with was the dragon, Satan. He was bound by a great chain and thrown into the Abyss to keep him from deceiving the nations. The set time was a thousand years or what we would call a millennium. (Revelation 20:1-3)
Next John witnessed a resurrection of the souls who had been beheaded for their testimony of Jesus. These souls came to life and were given authority to judge on the earth and reign with Christ for a thousand years. ” (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:5-6) This is the fifth ‘blessed’ statement of Revelation. These martyrs are now rewarded with rulership with Christ on the earth for his thousand-year reign.
The ‘second death’ is a term defined in this chapter for John. At the end of the thousand years, the devil is released for a short time. He goes out and deceives the nations again and the gathers them for battle. Fire comes from heaven and devours those who are deceived and the devil is thrown into the lake of fire along with the beast (Antichrist) and false prophet. This lake of fire and burning sulfur is the ‘second death’. (Revelation 20:14) This lake of fire has been long prepared for the devil and his angels who rebelled against God.
However, there will be multitudes of people who will also go to this horrible place of burning sulfur. John saw a great white throne and Christ as judge. Death and Hades were opened and a second resurrection company of those who had died in their sins were brought before the Judge. Books were opened that held the record of their evil deeds and sins. Another book, the Book of Life, was examined to find their names. “If anyone’s name was not found written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15) Each person must answer personally to God! Is your name in His Book of Life?
Scripture reading for January 2nd: Matthew 2, Psalm 2, Proverbs 1:
Satan, the ancient serpent of old, was put on notice in the Garden of Eden that the seed of woman would crush his head. Since that time, Satan has pursued the Seed to kill, steal, and destroy. He was particularly after the One that was promised and has left a trail of death throughout history. Cain killed Abel by Satan’s inspiration. In Moses’ day, all the Hebrew boys were to be thrown into the river and drowned.
In the time of Herod, a census was decreed by Rome and this brought Joseph and Mary to their place of registry in Bethlehem to pay their taxes. As they approached the town, Mary was ready to give birth. There was no place for them in the inns, so they took refuge in a stable and Mary gave birth to Jesus Christ, the Son of God!
Matthew recorded the visit of wise men from the East, following a star and looking for one who was “born King of the Jews.” When King Herod heard this news, he was disturbed and sought to find out where the Christ was to be born. “But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means among the least of the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the Shepherd of My people Israel.” (Micah 5:2) Herod lied to the wise men, asking to know who this child was. The found the child and worshiped Him, leaving gifts. They were warned in a dream not to tell Herod and returned another way.
Herod was furious and ordered the execution of all children in the area two years old and younger! Joseph and Mary had been warned in a dream to flee to Egypt and had done so! Such cruelty was directed towards Jesus at birth! Satan surely tried to kill Him then but failed! This story helps us to trust God in our journey through life. He can protect us from the wiles of Satan and guide us to safety until we finish our journey and purposes here. Like Joseph and Mary, we must listen and obey quickly to avoid the traps set for us by Satan. Delay can be fatal! Others suffered too, but God works all for good in His great plan of redemption!
Scripture reading for July 19th: Isaiah 13-16
Babylon was an ancient kingdom in the time of Isaiah. It rose to world-dominating status a few decades after the ministry of the prophet. The city of Babylon rose to legendary status with it’s massive walls and it’s hanging gardens. It was located in the present-day country of Iraq and was thought to be near to where the Garden of Eden was originally located. Babylon was characterized by pride, false religion, idolatry and man-centered achievement. God sent Isaiah a message for Babylon!
Isaiah warned Babylon of God’s army of “holy ones” who carry out His judgment. (Isaiah 13:3) God’s army would bring “the day of the Lord”, a day of wrath against all sinners. (Isaiah 13:6-9) This judgment would put an end to pride and arrogance and the evil of the wicked. It will be a day of trembling heavens and shaking on the earth! (Isaiah 13:11-13) This army of “holy ones” will be none other than the Medes! (Isaiah 13:17) Isaiah prophetically predicted what God would do over 150 years before it happened! Daniel the prophet got to read the handwriting of God on the wall of Babylon the night it fell to the Medes! (Daniel 5:25-28) The city would be destroyed like Sodom and Gomorrah, never to be inhabited again! (Isaiah 13:19-20)
Isaiah saw the day when God would again have compassion on Israel and settle them in their own land. (Isaiah 14:1-2) Israel would possess the nations that have taken them captive! What an amazing picture of hope to a people who would be judged and scattered throughout the world!
The rest of Isaiah 14 was a taunt against the “king of Babylon”. God, Himself, would break the power of this wicked king. He would be brought down to the grave and maggots and worms would cover him. All those leaders of the world now in the grave would respond to this ‘king’ in ridicule. (Isaiah 14:9-11) The ridicule then turns into what some believe is a description of Satan and his pride and fall. (Isaiah 14:12-16) God judged this “king” and brought him down to the grave!
Behind all earthly political power and humanistic pride lurks the evil influence of Satan! But God is in control and will bring down the proud and send them to eternal judgment! Those who trust in the Lord can take comfort in these ancient words that also speak to our time! God will triumph!
Scripture reading for February 26th: Mark 8:10-38, Psalms 42:1-11, Proverbs 10:17
“He (Jesus) then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that He must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him.” (Mark 8:31-32) Peter was not at all happy with Jesus when He told the disciples of the coming events that would culminate with His death. Peter began to scold Jesus and tell Him not to talk like that. Jesus then rebuked Peter with a stern command, “Get behind me Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” (Mark 8:33)
Jesus used this exchange to appeal to His disciples and the crowd that followed Him. If anyone wanted to follow Him, they must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow as well! Anyone wanting to save their life would lose it and anyone losing their life, would save it. Jesus knew the tendency of our flesh to want to preserve life as we know it. We all want to be in control and think that by our own efforts can have the best life. But we can’t have the world and it’s adulterous ways and Christ too! The way of the cross and death somehow leads to gain and life.
Jesus asked a question of the crowd and His disciples: “What good is is for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36-37) Our true life is eternal life and to enjoy that we must have our soul redeemed. We must lose our “life” here to gain “eternal life”. Jesus gave His listeners the answer, “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His Father’s glory with the holy angels.” In Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection, we have our only hope of redeeming our soul. We must die to our flesh and boldly stake our claim on Jesus and His words! He is coming again soon!