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)
Scripture reading for March 29th: 2nd Samuel 11-14
In my years in the church, I have witnessed a number of moral failures. Many of these have been in ministry and were men and women of God who had powerful ministries and were great people of influence in the church and community. Those in ministry have caring hearts and are often the target of Satan. Satan knows that if he can get a man or woman of God to compromise, he has an opportunity to trip up many in the church. These moral failures were often a result of pride, success, and lack of accountability.
In today’s reading, King David decided to stay home from the battlefield and take a break. He was about 50 years old at this time, has had great success. While resting at home, he saw his neighbor’s wife bathing and sent for her. They have a sexual encounter and a child was conceived. (2nd Samuel 11:4-5) When David was notified, he sent for her husband, Uriah. David hoped to have Uriah spend time with his wife but Uriah had made a vow of abstinence while fighting. King David sent Uriah back with orders for his army commander Joab to have Uriah killed in battle.
Sin always takes one farther than they want to go! David’s failure to restrain his passions brought an unwanted pregnancy. David essentially had Bathsheba’s husband murdered. (2nd Samuel 11:25-27) David then married Bathsheba. This turn of events displeased the Lord!
What lessons are here for us today? First, sexual sins are always deadly! God’s Word warns us that we must not commit adultery! God has joined the man and woman together as one. They are a picture of Christ and His bride, the Church! (Ephesians 5: 31-32) When we separate what God has joined together, we open the door to violence between the parties involved. (Malachi 2:15-16) David was moved on by Satan to have Bathsheba’s husband murdered and the child that was conceived died as well.
It has been said that we often overestimate our ability to resist temptation. Have you been looking at things you should not be looking at? Have you entertained temptation rather than resisting it? Are you emotionally involved with someone who is not your mate? Flee temptation today and turn to the Lord for forgiveness and help! King David’s own advice can be found in Psalm 32: 1-6!
Scripture reading for July 12th: Proverbs 25-29
Solomon’s instructions to his sons included warnings about sexual temptation, alcohol addiction, and lots of sayings about laziness. God’s people are to be workers, using their talents and abilities diligently. When Jesus Christ picked his twelve disciples, they were all working a jobs and busy. Jesus, Himself, was always about His Father’s work and used time wisely for productive purposes.
“The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road, a fierce lion roaming the streets!” As a door turns on its hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed. The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth.” (Proverbs 26:13-15)
A sluggard is a lazy person who is always making excuses. Some excuses may make sense, but many are irrational justifications for not doing anything productive. The sluggard in Solomon’s example is worried about a fierce lion that could possibly attack him. He uses this as an excuse to stay in bed. Sleep is a way to pass time without having to face life and use talents and abilities. Solomon pictures this sluggard as one who grabs food out of a dish, but then is too lazy to eat it for nourishment. All he does is take up space and waste resources that could help another be a blessing. The sluggard is also wise in his own eyes, making correction of his ways impossible. (Proverbs 26:16) The sluggard goes hungry and his family suffers, too.
On the other hand, the wise person keeps close watch over their herds and flocks. They diligently care for them by harvesting hay to feed them and shearing their sheep for wool. The wool provides clothing for the family and God replenishes the hay and the wool. The flocks can be sold for money to buy land and your flocks and family will have plenty of food. (Pr0verbs 26:23-27) God works with those who will themselves work. He blesses their efforts and multiplies seed sown and efforts invested in honest labor.
Many in our land have become passive and will not work. Welfare has given them this option and their time is wasted. God has strong warnings in His word about laziness and passivity. Those who will not work should not eat! (2nd Thessalonians 3:10) Life is miserable for them and their families. God is glorified when we work! Check out your life today!
Scripture Reading for February 13: Numbers 9-12
In today’s reading, the Israelites are ready to move out from Mt. Sinai after receiving the ten big ones. They have just eaten the Passover meal on the first anniversary of leaving Egypt. They have been traveling and camping in the wilderness for a year now and are ready to go to the land of promise. What excitement must have filled their hearts as they prepared to follow the cloud of God to their new home! The tribes were set in order and the trumpets were ready to sound and call the people to move out. (Numbers 10:1-7) The Ark of God was carried by the Levites and went in the lead with the cloud overshadowing them. What a sight! Nearly 3 million people and animals moving through the desert!
Shortly after moving out from Mt. Sinai, the rabble began to cause trouble by murmuring and complaining. The rabble were people who lived on the fringes of the camp. They were often not true Israelites and were of mixed descent. They followed God’s people, but really did not have a relationship with this God of Israel. They experienced the miracles and deliverance, but weren’t really believers. When the manna got old, the wilderness got hot and dry, and the journey got long and tiring, these “rabble-rousers” began to cause trouble. They began craving the foods of Egypt, remembering that the food there was “free”. (Numbers 11:4-6) They were tired of the manna and let God and Moses know about it!
God sent fire, burning up some of this group and Moses prayed for them. (Numbers 11:1-3) The people began wailing and complaining and Moses became distraught with God for all the trouble. Rabble-rousers have a tendency to stir up a stink!
Life is no different today. There are those in the church who like to complain and belly-ache! They are not happy unless they stir up some trouble. Their pastor never does anything right. God has brought them to this point to let them die. They don’t like the music. They don’t like the youth pastor. The pastor’s wife is cold and aloof! Nothing is as good as it used to be with the last pastor! The sermons are too long, the drums are too loud, and the pastor walked right by me and didn’t say hello or shake my hand!
When we complain, we are actually accusing God of failure to take care of us and do right by us. This complaint makes God angry! (Numbers 11:10) The leader usually feels bad too. When things don’t go as you expect or desire, avoid the temptation to complain. Instead, pray for your leadership. Ask them how you might help them. Look for something good to say and encourage them. Be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem. Remember that rabble-rousers always end up taking the heat! (fire from God!)