Scripture reading for May 14th: 2nd Samuel 6, 1st Chronicles 13, Psalm 60, Acts 23
Key Scriptures: Acts 23:8-11 “For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. Then a great clamor arose, and some of the scribes of the Pharisees’ party stood up and contended sharply, “We find nothing wrong in this man. What if a spirit or an angel spoke to him?” And when the dissension became violent, the tribune, afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him away from among them by force and bring him into the barracks. The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about Me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.””
Paul, led by the Holy Spirit, testified of his hope in the resurrection. As a Pharisee, he was a believer in the supernatural but the Saducees did not believe. Paul used this to divide the Jews who had come to accuse him. The result was a great argument that brought the Roman officials to take Paul out of the courtroom. Jesus appeared again to Paul as he was under house arrest. Jesus instructed him to be courageous. He would be used to testify to the facts about Jesus in Rome as well.
Psalm 60:12 “With God we shall do valiantly; it is He Who will tread down our foes.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord, fill me with the power of the Holy Spirit and I will testify to the facts of Jesus Christ before all men. I will testify of Jesus Christ with all my might as an act of worship.
1st Samuel 6:14 “And David danced before the Lord with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod.”
Scripture reading for June 5th: Acts 23, Psalm 112, Proverbs 19
Key Scriptures: Acts 23:9-11 “Then a great clamor arose, and some of the scribes of the Pharisees’ party stood up and contended sharply, “We find nothing wrong in this man. What if a spirit or an angel spoke to him?” And when the dissension became violent, the tribune, afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them commanded the soldiers to go down and take him away from among them by force and bring him into the barracks. the following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about Me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.””
Religious folks are sometimes argumentative and violent. Paul used the religious divide between rival factions in the Jewish ruling party to give opportunity to share the Gospel. This also got him in prison on this occasion. But Jesus stood by Paul and gave him a word of encouragement that helped Paul stand firm and walk through the trial.
Faith Confession: Thank You Lord that You are always with me to guide me and encourage me in every trial and test. You are always working out Your plans for Your glory and my good, encouraging me.
Psalm 112:6-7 “For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever. He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is fir, trusting in the Lord.”
Scripture reading for June 5th: 2nd Chronicles 27-30, Acts 23
Key Scriptures: 2nd Chronicles 30:8-9 “Do not be like your fathers and your brothers, who were faithless to the Lord God of their fathers, so that He made them a desolation, as you see. So not now don’t be stiff-necked as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the Lord and come to His Sanctuary, which He has consecrated forever, and serve the Lord your God, that His fierce anger may turn away from you. For if you return to the Lord, your brothers and your children will find compassion with their captors and return to this land. For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful and will not turn away His face from you if you return to Him.”
Hezekiah lead Israel in a revival of worship and repentance. He urged the not to be stubborn, but to seek the Lord for His mercy by returning to God. God was merciful and full of compassion to those who humbly repented. God stands by His people and gives courage!
Acts 23:11 “The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage for as you have testified to the facts about Me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your great mercy and for standing with Your people. Give me courage today. Amen.
Scripture reading for October 22nd: 2nd Timothy 1:1-18
Paul’s second letter to Timothy turned out to be his last letter before he was martyred for serving Christ. He knew that his time on this earth is short and wanted to pass on important pastoral encouragement to his young friend and co-w0rker. Timothy was the pastor of the church that Paul had founded in Ephesus and also faced increasing persecution. His youth and somewhat timid spirit may have hindered his ministry.
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me His prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done, but because of His own purpose and grace. (2nd Timothy 1:7-9) The Holy Spirit brings us power to live a life of love and self-discipline. God’s purpose is to use us as a witness of this love through our godly living and through our witness. He chose us Himself and through grace saved us.
This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.” (2nd Timothy 1:9b-10) God’s plans were put in place before the beginning of time. God lives in the realm of eternity and sees all of time. He and His Son determined the proper time to reveal His grace by Jesus Christ, the Son, coming to earth as a man. Through Christ’s life and atoning death, the way for all men to receive God’s grace was made available. Now through preaching this Gospel, the gift of eternal life and the path to immortality with God has been opened to all who will believe!
“And of this Gospel I was appointed a herald, an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day.” (2nd Timothy 1:11-12) Paul assured Timothy that God would be faithful to keep them both!