Scripture reading for May 4th: Acts 21
Key Scriptures: Acts 21:10-14 “While we were staying for many days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘This is how the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'” When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the Name of the Lord Jesus.” And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, “Let the will of the Lord be done.””
Paul was set on going to Jerusalem and on the way, stopped by Philip the evangelist’s home and stayed there many days. A known prophet from Judea came by and in a prophetic act and word, told Paul what was coming as he would reach Jerusalem. The disciples and Philip tried to talk Paul into avoiding Jerusalem. Paul, although moved by their concern, knew the will of the Lord. He was ready to face whatever lie ahead for the Name of Jesus, even death as a martyr. Those there recognized that God’s will must be done, no matter how they felt emotionally about Paul or how much Paul loved them.
Mark 14:36 “And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from Me. Yet not what I will, but what You will.””
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for being with us and strengthening us for coming times of trial. Thank You for prophetic words and warnings. May I always follow Your will, no matter what my personal feelings or even urgings of my own family and friends.
Matthew 16:21-22 “From that time 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.””
Scripture reading for February 18th: Romans 8
Key Scriptures: Romans 8:14-18 “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by Whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of adoption given to all who trust in Jesus Christ. From inside we now know God as our Father and call Him “Abba!” (Daddy) The Holy Spirit leads us to know God and His Word and helps us apply it to our life. He reveals our inheritance as children of God. He helps us to endure suffering and persecution here on earth while we await the fullness of redemption–our brand new bodies! He provides vision of the coming glory and gives us power to pray when we don’t even know how to pray. Faith drives out fear as the Spirit of adoption reveals Whose we are and what God has planned for us!
John 6:63 “It is the Spirit Who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The Words that I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the Holy Spirit that cries “Abba! Father!” within me. Fill me with the Holy Spirit afresh today that I might walk in my inheritance and fulfill Your will here on earth until I have the fullness in Your eternal presence and behold Your glory.
Ezekiel 36:27 “And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes and be careful to obey My rules.”
Scripture reading for December 2nd: Esther 4-6, Revelation 2
Key Scriptures: Revelation 2:8-10 “”And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The Word of the First and the Last, Who died and came to life. “‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
John was given dictation by the risen Jesus Christ to write down for the seven churches. Jesus identified Himself as the One Who died and came to life. He gave a Word of knowledge to this body of believers. Jesus wanted them to know that He knew about their tribulation and the poverty that also had beset them. He reminded them they were really rich! He also knew about the slander of the false teachers who claimed to be Jews but were really tools of Satan. Jesus told them not to be fearful about the coming trial of suffering and persecution. Satan was behind it but God would reward the faithful with a crown of life eternal!
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I am thankful You are alive from the dead and know all things. At Your Word, I will not be fearful about future suffering or even of death. I look forward to the crown of life eternal!
Esther 4:16 “”Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night of day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.””
Scripture reading for February 21st: Leviticus 12-14, Psalm 111, Hebrews 5
Key Scriptures: Hebrews 5:7-9 “In the days of His flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to Him who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered. And being made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, . . .”
Although Jesus Christ was God’s Son, He came to earth as a man in human flesh. As a man, He experienced pain, temptation, and human fears. But Jesus never gave into sin. Instead He called out to His Father and steadfastly obeyed in the face of the fires of great suffering and death because He took upon Himself all our sins. Through this obedience, Jesus is now the only source of eternal salvation to all who believe on Him and obey His Word.
Faith Confession and Prayer: I trust fully in Jesus Christ, my High Priest, who identified with me and bore my sins in His body on the cross, offering Himself as the sin offering and making atonement for me. Lord, help me to walk in obedience and faith through my trials today, praying without ceasing for Your grace.
Leviticus 14:20 “And the priest shall offer the burnt offering and the grain offering on the altar. Thus the priest shall make atonement for him, and he shall be clean.”
Psalm 111:1-2 “Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation. Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them.”
Scripture reading for October 18th: Hebrews 5, Psalm 59, Proverbs 24
Key Scriptures: Hebrews 5:7-9 “In the days of His flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to Him who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered. And being made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.”
Jesus was the Son of God, but came to earth in a human body, subject to all its weakness and limitations. Jesus relied upon prayer and reverent submission to His Father in heaven and obeyed Him perfectly. He learned obedience through suffering because of it. Because of His willing and perfect obedience, He could become the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him!
Faith Confession: I believe in Jesus Christ, Son of God and my Savior and freely choose to obey His Word. He is the source of my salvation from the consequences of sin and my power to live a life free from sin by obeying Jesus. I bow in reverence to Jesus Christ, my Savior!
Psalm 59:9-10 “O my Strength, I will watch for You, for You, O God, are my Fortress. My God in His steadfast love will meet me; God will let me look in triumph on my enemies.”
Scripture reading for October 15th: Hebrews 2, Psalm 56, Proverbs 21
Key Scriptures: Hebrews 2:9-10 “But we see Him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that He, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.”
The writer of Hebrews shared how God the Father sent His Son from heaven to earth, to take a position lower than the angels. Jesus willingly suffered death, taking the penalty for our sins upon His own body and suffering that taste of death for each one who would believe on Him. God then crowned His own Son with glory and honor, declaring Him perfect through His obedient life, by raising Him from death. Jesus is the founder of all salvation!
Faith Confession: I believe in Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man, who is the source of all creation and the founder of all salvation. I am a son destined for glory through His suffering on my behalf.
Proverbs 21:21 “Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.”
Scripture reading for November 12th: Lamentations 3-5, Ezekiel 1, 1st Peter 4
Key Scriptures: 1st Peter 4:12-14 “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.”
Life will have its trials and tests. We will be called upon to suffer because we bear the Name of Jesus Christ as our Lord. When we suffer for doing good or as a believer, we can rejoice and be glad. God will bless us with His Spirit of glory resting upon us to give us grace to endure and the sure hope of eternal reward in God’s presence.
Lamentations 3:22-23 “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your faithful mercies and mighty Hand! Help me to rejoice in suffering and trials, relying on Your steadfast love and new mercies each day. Amen.
Scripture reading for November 8th: Jeremiah 48-50, 1st Peter 2
Key Scriptures: 1st Peter 2:21-25 “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in His mouth. When He was reviled, he did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but continued entrusting Himself to Him who judges justly. He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live for righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”
Suffering was a part of Christ’s life on earth. His suffering set an example of patience and faith for all His followers. Suffering will be a part of every believer’s life on earth as well. We must keep our eyes on the Great Shepherd Jesus Christ and allow His healing wounds to steadfast faith.
Jeremiah 50:4-5 “”In those days and in that time, declares the Lord, the people of Israel and the people of Judah shall come together, weeping as they come and they shall seek the Lord their God. They shall ask the way to Zion, with faces turned toward it, saying, ‘Come, let us join ourselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant that will never be forgotten.'”
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for showing me and Your followers the Way to Zion! Thank You for the everlasting covenant through the blood You shed. By Your stripes I am healed. Amen.
Scripture reading for November 14th: 1st Peter 5
Key Scriptures for over-comers: 1st Peter 5:8-11 “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
Peter understood spiritual warfare and the true nature of the enemy. Satan, the devil, is always looking for openings to attack believers. Over-comers are always on the alert for spiritual attacks and know how to stand firm in their faith. They know that this war is going on everywhere that God’s people reside. Suffering is usually temporary and will soon pass. God restores us and strengthens us as we trust Him.
Observations for over-comers: Over-comers live in a state of alert, ready to stand in truth for their faith. “Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in His commands. . . He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.” (Psalm 112:1,7-8)
Scripture reading for November 11th: 1st Peter 4
Key Scriptures for over-comers: 1st Peter 4:12-17 “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, don not be ashamed but praise God that you bear that Name!”
Peter encouraged believers not to be shocked at the suffering that would come their way because of their faith. This is normal because Jesus Himself suffered. In fact, you are blessed if you suffer for Christ and godly living because the Holy Spirit rests on you. Believers should never be involved in sin and and then call the consequences of that persecution!
Observations for over-comers: Suffering will come to believers living dedicated lives for Christ! “Trouble and distress have come upon me, but Your commands are my delight. Your statutes are forever right; give me understanding that I may live.” (Psalm 119:143-144)