Scripture reading for April 26th: Acts 15
Key Scriptures: Acts 15:36-41 “And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the Word of the Lord, and see how they are.” Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. And he went through Syria and Cilia, strengthening the churches.”
Even among strong believers there can come some sharp disagreements on methods and outreach partners. In this chapter, Paul and Barnabas were discussing the need to revisit the churches that they had founded on their first journey together. On that journey, John Mark had initially joined with them to help with the work, (Acts 13:5) but for some unknown reason deserted the mission to return home. (Acts 13:13) When Barnabas wanted to take John Mark with them again, Paul was opposed, so much so that they separated into two different missions. Thank God, Spirit- filled followers of Jesus can still have disagreements and be used by God!
Growing in grace is a progressive learning experience. We are all in process and this example from the apostle Paul’s life and ministry helps us understand that some things have to be worked through over time. Disagreements and differences of opinion are going to be part of ministry. Paul was not wanting to give John Mark another chance since he failed the first time. Barnabas, a natural encourager, saw the potential in John Mark and took him under his supervision on a separate outing. The church committed them both to God’s grace and sent them out. Ministry was multiplied and John Mark was restored. He eventually wrote the Gospel of Mark and was restored to Paul’s favor.
Romans 12:16-18 “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to live peaceably with all men, even in the sometimes sharp disagreement on methods and partners. May the grace of God fill my life with patience and restoration of those who have not met expectations.
2nd Timothy 2:1-2 “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
Scripture reading for September 23rd: 2nd Chronicles 34-35, 2nd Corinthians 6
Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 6:16-18 “What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make My dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me, says the Lord Almighty.”
Under the New Covenant, there is a new temple. The new temple isn’t a building of brick or stone, but it is made up of living stones that are filled with the presence of God. God promised to make His dwelling place among men. He calls men and women to come out from entanglement with the world and it’s human-centered philosophies. No more idols are to defile His temple. God welcomes us as sons and daughters, a living temple where He dwells with us!
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, there is no agreement between Your temple and idols! Deliver me from Your wrath. Fill Your temple (my body) with Your Holy Spirit and dwell in me. I joyfully accept adoption as Your son.
2nd Chronicles 34:25 “Because they have forsaken Me and have made offerings to other gods, that they might provoke Me to anger with all the works of their hands, therefore My wrath will be poured out on this place and will not be quenched.”
Scripture reading for March 6th: Luke 3, Psalm 47, Proverbs 16
Key Scriptures: Luke 3:15-17 “As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, John answered the all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, to clear His threshing floor and gather the wheat into His barn, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.”
John the Baptist was a fiery preacher who spoke plainly to the people. He was the ‘voice crying in the wilderness’ calling people to repentance in preparation for the coming Messiah. John deflected attention given to him and speculation that He was the One. He spoke of the coming One who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. There would be a separation of wheat and chaff. The ‘wheat’ would go into Messiah’s ‘barn’, but the ‘chaff’ would be burned up.
Faith Confession: Lord thank You for baptizing me with the Holy Spirit and placing the fire of Your love and holiness in my heart. Help me to lovingly warn all people of Your gift of the Holy Spirit and the coming judgment.
Proverbs 16:2, 14 “All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit. . . .”A king’s wrath is a messenger of death, and a wise man will appease it.”