Scripture reading for February 17th: Romans 7
Key Scriptures: Romans 7:21-25 “So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.”
Most commentators agree that Paul is here reflecting on his life as a strict Pharisee who loved God’s law and tried hard to apply it to his life. He wanted to obey and please God, but found within another law, that of sin and death, at work in his members. He ended up in a wretched condition feeling enslaved by the law of sin at work in spite of his desire to live in obedience to God. But thanks be to God Who by grace provided the remedy through Jesus Christ our Lord! Paul understood at last how to be free from the condemnation that trying to keep God’s law through human effort brought. By faith through grace He was set free! Thanks be to God!
Psalm 103:2-4 “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, Who forgives all your iniquity, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, . .”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your gift of grace to me and all who will believe. Thank you for delivering me from the law of sin and death and my flesh. Help me to live in the power of the Holy Spirit today in joy and freedom.
Galatians 5:16-18 “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”
Scripture reading for May 20th: 2nd Samuel 11-12, 1st Chronicles 20, Psalm 51, 32, Acts 27
Key Scriptures: Acts 27:34-38 “”Therefore I urge you to take some food. For it will give you strength, for not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you.” And when he had said these things, he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat. Then they all were encouraged and ate some food themselves. (We were in all 276 persons in the ship.) And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, throwing out the wheat into the sea.”
While on his journey to Rome, the ship’s captain that Paul had warned not to proceed had gone ahead anyway. A great storm arose at sea and all on board despaired of life. Paul was encouraged in a vision that none would be lost except the ship and that he would travel to Rome to testify there. Paul shared his vision with the crew and those aboard the ship and encouraged them to eat something. He took the bread, gave thanks, broke it and ate! This was a type of Holy Communion, a remembering of Jesus’ death and indwelling life!
Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I trust in Your broken Body and shed Blood for cleansing, healing, forgiveness and encouragement. Open doors today of encouragement and hope, where I can break the Bread of Life through sharing Jesus Christ and His mercy for those who are fearful in the midst of a storm.
2nd Samuel 12:13 “David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.”
Scripture reading for May 9th: John 6:1-21
“When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for He already had in mind what He was going to do. Philip answered Him, “Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite.” (John 6:5-7) Jesus liked to ask questions that provoked His followers to think. In this setting, they were away from town on a hill near the Sea of Galilee and had a large crowd of people who had followed Jesus there because they had seen His miracles of healing and were hungry for more. Jesus was not only interested in their souls, but also realized that they needed food. He challenged His disciples with the question about where they could get bread, knowing in His heart what He intended to do.
Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, found a young boy with five small barley loaves of bread and two small fish. He brought them to Jesus, wondering how this small amount might help in feeding so many. Jesus had them set the people down on the grassy slope and took the bread, giving thanks, breaking it and giving it to the disciples to distribute. He did the same with the fish. (John 6:10-11) When all had eaten all they wanted, the disciples gathered up twelve baskets full of leftovers! This so excited the crowd that they were speculating on who Jesus might be and Jesus knew that they wanted to make Him king by force! He withdrew to a mountain alone, probably to pray and resist temptation.
As we think about this miracle and Jesus question, we are reminded of several things. First, God knows and cares about our physical needs. Jesus taught His followers to seek first His kingdom, and what they had needed (physically) would be added to their lives. (Matthew 6:31-34) God cares for the birds and animals, and we are much more valuable than them! Second, if we are willing to give what we have to the Lord, He can multiply that money or food and use it to fulfill a greater purpose! God is a life-giver and loves to do more than we expect! The left-overs will be more than what we gave originally! Jesus is the bread-maker and multiplier!