Scripture reading for May 13th: Acts 28
Key Scriptures: Acts 28:23-26 “When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Low of Moses and from the Prophets. And some were convinced by what he said, but others disbelieved. And disagreeing among themselves, they departed after Paul had made one statement: “The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet: “‘Go to this people, and say, “You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.”
After wintering on the island that they shipwrecked on, Paul continued on to Rome as a prisoner on another ship with the Roman soldier assigned to guard him. At Rome he was given the privilege of a private rented residence and a soldier to guard him but was otherwise free to meet with believers and others seeking God. Paul got together with the local Jewish leaders and shared the Gospel with them from the Old Testament Scriptures. Some believed and some did not but disagreed. Paul separated from them and announced a mission to the Gentiles and preached the Gospel with boldness for over two years as a prisoner but free. God’s provision and directions were received and followed.
Acts 28:30-31 “He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, it is amazing that Paul, a prisoner, is given such freedom and provision to do Your work. His bold preaching and steady witness is an encouragement to me. Let Your Word ring out from my lips each day no matter the circumstances.
2nd Timothy 4:1-2 “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, Who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.”
Scripture reading for April 30th: Acts 19
Key Scriptures: Acts 19:8-10 “And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus. This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the Word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.
Paul went to Ephesus and found disciples there who had not even heard about the Holy Spirit and had only been baptized with John the Baptist’s baptism of repentance. Paul explained their need to believe in Jesus Christ and they did and were baptized in the Name of Jesus. As Paul laid his hands on them, they were also baptized in the Holy Spirit and began speaking in tongues. He then entered the synagogue there and began ministry of the Word of Jesus. Some believed and some were hardened. This caused him to withdraw to another location with the disciples of Jesus. He stayed two years and God used him to preach, teach and perform extraordinary miracles and the whole of Asia heard the Word!
Acts 19:11-12 “And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for sending out missionaries who will preach and teach and raise up disciples. Give me boldness today and confirm Your Word with miracles that all the region where I am placed will hear Your Word and disciples will be made.
Ephesians 4:11-12 “And He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, . . .”
/Scripture reading for April 20th: Acts 11
Key Scriptures: Acts 11:19-25 “Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the Word to no one except Jews. But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he saw the grace of God, he was glad and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord, So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch.”
Luke now tells the story of how the Church spread out from Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. The persecution after Stephen drove disciples outward, and under the direction of the Holy Spirit they preached the Word to Jews and increasingly to Gentiles. The Jerusalem church heard about the salvations and sent a trusted leader, Barnabas, to check it out. Barnabas was an encourager and was a “good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith.” He exhorted the new believers to stay faithful but then went and found Saul (Paul) and brought him there to help disciple these Jew and Gentile converts. For a year they met together and taught the Word of God. It was here that disciples were first call “Christians.” Paul got experience teaching the new Gentile converts that he would be increasingly involved with as God had commissioned him.
Acts 11:26 “For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, making disciples of all men and teaching them to observe all that You taught is the mission of the church. Help Your church to keep the main thing the main thing. Fill me with the Holy Spirit and faith to fulfill Your mission.
Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Scripture reading for December 8th: 2 Timothy 1-4
The second letter of Paul to Timothy is widely believed to be the last written by the Apostle before his execution in Rome. His final words of encouragement to this young man should also be encouraging to us. We can easily be overcome by fear at the events unfolding around us.
“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:6-7) Timothy came from good stock. His mother and grandmother were both Jewish believers in Jesus Christ. They were not timid but were filled with power and love because of their personal knowledge of God. Paul had sensed the call of God on Timothy and had prayed over him for God’s gifts. Timothy’s gift was that of pastor and teacher.
“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:12-17) Paul warned Timothy of coming persecution and deception. The best life strategy was applying the word of God in daily living and ministry.
“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead and in view of His appearing and His kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction.” (2nd Timothy 4:1-2) Paul gave Timothy a simple charge: “Preach the Word.” The Word is always in season. It should be used to correct people, to rebuke those in known sin and to prepare for Christ’s coming. Take this simple charge to your heart today and let it move you to action! It’s the season to listen to reason!