Scripture reading for August 10th: Hosea 7-10, Matthew 18
Key Scriptures: Matthew 18:7-9 “”Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.””
Jesus had some hard teachings. In this passage he was warning His disciples of the dangerous consequences of leading innocent others into sin with your walk, actions, or what you are watching. Sin is serious business and has eternal destructive consequences–the ‘hell of fire!’ Jesus wasn’t teaching mutilation, but was illustrating the urgency and necessity of dealing with sin and leading others into sin that believers must have to avoid judgment.
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for delivering me from myself and the penalty and consequences of sin. Help me to be quick to depart from sin and to bring my body under Your control to avoid leading others into sin.
Hosea 10:12 “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, that He may come and rain righteousness upon you.”
Scripture reading for November 24th: 1st Corinthians 7-10
I chose my life theme from going through Army officer’s leadership school. A key leadership principle that stuck with me was “Set the Example!” I was taught that one of the most powerful influences that a leader can have on others is their example. I find this to be biblical as well. Jesus Christ modeled for us and his disciples the way to live. He lived a life centered on doing God’s will and serving others. The Bible records many examples that are not so good as well. Someone has said, “if you are not good for anything else, you can always be a bad example!” In today’s reading the Apostle Paul reminds the church at Corinth of examples that should help them and us to live a blessed life.
In 1st Corinthians 10, Paul uses the bad examples as warning for us today. There were three main things that Paul exhorted the Corinthians to remember about the Israelites of the Old Testament. They had some great spiritual experiences with the Lord leading them by the cloud and fire and taking them through the Red Sea in a type of baptism. They got to eat “manna” from heaven and drink water from the “Rock” for forty years while they wandered in the desert. They had God’s appointed leader, Moses, praying for them. However, God was not pleased with them! (1st Corinthians 10:1-5)
In spite of being supernaturally delivered by God from idolatrous Egypt, many of them brought their idols with them! They were taught by God to be true to their wives and to Him, but many were sexually immoral as they worshiped these idols and lived in fleshly indulgence. Most grumbled against God and His provision and died from the bite of poisonous snakes and by the destroying angel of death that they had opened the door to. Their hearts were not right with God in spite of all the supernatural power that they witnessed. They thought they were alright with God because of God’s blessings. They became examples for us!
We should learn from their example. (1st Corinthians 10:8-10) They did not keep God first. Idolatry and sexual immorality always go hand in hand. America is a land of idols! Sports stars, entertainment figures, soap operas, movie stars, popular music stars and the like all serve as idols. We are sexually immoral and glorify sexual freedom that mocks God and His word because we are idolatrous! The church is even full of idolatrous behavior and sexual immorality!
Grumbling against God because of unbelief was also a characteristic of the Israelites. That grumbling kept them out of the land of promise and got a whole generation killed off in the desert. The destroying angel, Satan, killed them because of their greed, idolatry, and sexually perversion. These examples should warn us today and drive us to Christ Jesus. He is our escape from sin, death and temptation. He is always faithful and delivers those who depend on Him!
Scripture Reading for March3: Joshua 1-5
Walking with God is not for wimps! God leads His people in paths of righteousness and truth. He is a mighty warrior and a conqueror! His reputation for war is known far and wide! He never loses or backs down, but often employs some very unconventional battle strategy (Joshua 6:2-5) and uses only those willing to follow His leadership. Today we begin our walk through the book of Joshua. God’s people finally get to go in and possess the land promised to them for so many years. We listen in as God finishes his preparation of Joshua, their new leader.
“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:6-9
Possessing your inheritance requires strength and courage, especially if you are in leadership! It requires strength because there is walking involved and the ground you cover includes mountains and valleys. There are obstacles and tough climbs. You must have strength of mind to keep your thoughts focused on God’s promises. You must possess strength of character and soul to keep from falling for the temptations of the enemy and the flesh that would trip you up. God will lead you and go with you, (Matthew 28:20) but you must have the strength of body, mind, and soul to keep up the pace and walk with Him.
Courage is another attribute of a leader blessed by God. Courage is the ability to face tough situations with confidence. Courage is not the absence of fear but the ability to face fear with truth and keep moving toward the goal. The confidence is not to be in your own strength, mind or ability, but comes from a relationship with God. When we know God, we come to trust and rely on His leadership and strength to get us through each obstacle. Joshua was told not to let God’s Law and Word depart from his mouth or mind. He was guaranteed prosperity and success as he meditated on the Word and was careful to obey. Faith is produced by this process and it pleases God! (Romans 10:17) (Hebrews 11:6)
Today, receive this reading from Joshua as a personal call from the Lord to walk in renewed strength and courage. Jesus Christ is our “Joshua” and has blazed a trail of perfect obedience to God’s Word. His leadership in our lives today will give us both the strength and courage to face the obstacles in our path! “Be strong and very courageous!”