Not a slave, but a son!

Scripture reading for August 20th:  Psalm 108-111, Galatians 4

Key Scriptures:  Galatians 4:4-7 “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.  And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!”  So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” 

Paul carefully explained God’s amazing plan to redeem those in slavery to sin under the law and it’s curse of death.  God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, born of woman, and born under the law.  He identified with sinful men, but was Himself without sin for He perfectly kept God’s law.  He did this to purchase with His sacrificial death the freedom of all who would believe on Him in faith.  All who believe receive the Spirit of God who bears witness in our hearts that we are God’s children and heirs with Christ.

Psalm 108:3-5 “I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to You among the nations.  For Your steadfast love is great above the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.  Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!  Let Your glory be over all the earth!”

Prayer:  O Father, Your amazing love and faithfulness to us brings the joy of being adopted into Your great household!  May Your glory be over all the nations as Your children share your love!  Amen.

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Christ Jesus took the curse for us!

Scripture reading for August 17th:  Psalm 105-107, Galatians 3

Key Scriptures:  Galatians 3:12-14  “But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.”  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us–for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.”–so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.” 

Paul carefully explained that keeping the law required total obedience.  This was impossible for any man because the law only revealed sin, it could not cure it.  Jesus Christ came and totally obeyed God’s law and then took the curse of the law upon Himself on the cross according to the plan of God.  This opened up the way of faith for Jew and Gentile to receive the promised Holy Spirit and our eternal inheritance.

Psalm 105:1-3 “Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His Name; make known His deeds among the peoples!  Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; tell of all His wondrous works!  Glory in His holy Name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!”

Prayer:  Oh Lord, we thank You for Your wonderful deeds of mercy towards all mankind through Jesus Christ, Your own Son!  You alone are worthy of worship and praise!  I rejoice in You and will tell others of Your works.  Amen.

 

Crucified with Christ

Scripture reading for August 16th:  Psalm 101-104, Galatians 2

Key Scriptures:  Galatians 2:20-21  “I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.  I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”  

Paul was writing to the Galatian church in response to some false teachers that were trying to get the church to add law-keeping to their faith in Jesus.  He explained how his identification with Jesus Christ in His crucifixion brought new life to him through faith, not trying to keep the law.  In fact, if he went back to trying to keep the law, Christ died in vain and grace would be nullified.

Psalm 103:1-5  “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy Name!  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, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

Prayer:  Thank You Lord, for salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, death, and resurrection.  I bless You for all Your benefits today!  Amen!

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In Awe of the Holy One!

Scripture reading for August 15th:  Psalm 98-100, Galatians 1

Key Scriptures:  Psalm 99:1-5 “The Lord reigns; let the peoples tremble!  The Lord is great in Zion; He is exalted over all the peoples.  Let them praise Your great and awesome Name!  Holy is He! The King in His might loves justice.  You have established equity; You have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob.  Exalt the Lord our God; worship at His footstool! Holy is He!” 

The psalmist calls God’s people to worship and holy awe because of Who He is.  He is the Holy One.  He is the Just One.  He is the fair and impartial judge of all mankind whose Name and reputation is awesome.  This calls for worship and reverence in contemplation of His holiness.

Galatians 1:3-5 “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to Whom be the glory forever and ever.  Amen.”

Prayer:  Lord, thank You for the grace extended to all mankind through the Lord Jesus Christ.  Your grace and holiness call me to worship You–now and forever!  Amen.

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Take aim–a call to worship!

Scripture reading for August 14th:  Psalm 94-97, 2nd Corinthians 13

Key Scriptures:  2nd Corinthians 13:11-14 “Finally, brothers, rejoice.  Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.  Greet one another with a holy kiss.  All the saints greet you.  The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”  

As Paul closed his final letter to the Corinthians, after urging them to rejoice, he called them to take aim or to focus their life.  The goal was restoration of the fallen brother and a flow of God’s comfort, peace and love in the body of believers.  Father God, Lord Jesus, and Holy Spirit would be with them to help them hit the target! This calls for worship!

Psalm 96:6-7 “Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.  Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the people, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!  Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; bring an offering and come into His courts.” 

Prayer:  Lord, thank You for Your promised presence with Your people.  As we focus on You and Your will and Word, we are drawn to worship You, the Strong and Beautiful One.  Amen.

 

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God’s sufficient Grace!

Scripture reading for August 13th:  Psalm 90-93, 2nd Corinthians 12

Key Scriptures:  2nd Corinthians 12:7-9 “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.  But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Paul experienced great revelations from the Lord.  The amazing things revealed were forbidden to be shared with others.  Paul felt that the Lord also allowed a ‘thorn’ to come into his flesh from Satan to afflict him.  The purpose of this ‘thorn’ was to keep Paul from becoming conceited.  Paul sought God for its removal on three separate occasions.  God told him that His grace was sufficient for him to endure.  God’s power is revealed through weak vessels made strong by His grace.

Psalm 91:1-2 “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.””

Prayer:  Lord, thank You for calling me to abide in Your family and household.  May I always remember Your grace is sufficient for me and Your power is displayed through my weakness.  Amen.

 

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Sincere devotion to Christ

Scripture reading for August 10th:  Psalm 86-89, 2nd Corinthians 11

Key Scriptures:  2nd Corinthians 11:2-5 “For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.  But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.  For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the One we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the One you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.”  

False teachers were after the Corinthian believers.  They came disguised as “apostles of Christ”.  They preached ‘Jesus’, but it was not Jesus Christ, Son of God, crucified and raised from the dead.  They had a ‘spirit’, but it was not the Holy Spirit of God.  They proclaimed a ‘gospel’, but it was not the pure Gospel of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  Paul was concerned for their souls and wrote to warn them.   Oh that men and women would listen to truth and discern the cunning serpent!

Psalm 85:8-9 “Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for He will speak peace to His people, to His saints; but let them not turn back to folly.  Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, that glory may dwell in our land.”  

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, give me discernment to know truth from error.  Open my ears to hear You speak and keep me from folly.  Amen.

 

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Mighty weapons for battle

Scripture reading for August 9th:  Psalm 83-85, 2nd Corinthians 10

Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 10:3-6 “For though we walk according to the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.  For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.  We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.” 

Paul was facing much opposition and had to walk through a spiritual battle.  The opposition was not flesh and blood, but wicked spiritual forces of evil putting out arguments and false doctrine to destroy faith of believers.  Paul knew he must rely on spiritual weapons to defeat spiritual strongholds.  He encouraged the Corinthians (and us) to take every though captive to the obedience of Christ Jesus.  Through focus on Christ Jesus, taking captive our thoughts, and obedience to truth, we will destroy the enemy and dance in victory.

Psalm 85:12-13 “Yes, the Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase.  Righteousness will go before Him and make His footsteps a way.”

Prayer:  Lord, thank You for the powerful weapons of truth, Your promises, Your Name and power.  Help me to walk in the victory already won through Jesus Christ.  Amen.

 

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Abundance through giving!

Scripture reading for August 8th:  Psalm 79-82, 2nd Corinthians 9

Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 9:6-8 “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”  

As Paul was encouraging the Corinthians to give an offering to help the needy in Jerusalem, he shared the spiritual law of sowing and reaping.  When you give, it is like sowing seed.  Seed that is sown has the potential of producing a harvest.  If God blesses the seed, it will increase and you will reap.  The more seed you sow, the greater the potential of great increase.  God loves to give increase and bless those who sow in faith into His kingdom.  They abound in grace and have sufficiency!

Psalm 79:13 “But we Your people, the sheep of Your pasture, will give thanks to You forever; from generation to generation we will recount Your praise.”  

Prayer:  Lord, thank You for Your great generosity in blessing Your people’s giving.  Help me to keep a generous spirit and be a cheerful giver.  Thank You for the abundant harvest.  Amen.

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Reaching the next generation!

Scripture reading for August 7th:  Psalm 76-78, 2nd Corinthians 8

Key Scriptures: Psalm 78:4-7 “We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and His might, and the wonders that He has done.  He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God but keep His commandments.”  

Sharing the Word of God and the history of God’s glorious deeds of salvation must be done to each generation.  It is like a relay race where the baton is passed to the next runner and again to the next until the race is completed.  It is easy to forget God.  Knowledge of God can quickly be dropped by failure to obey God and pass it on.  Each generation must take the baton and excel in passing it on.

2nd Corinthians 8:7 “But as you excel in everything–in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you–see that you excel in this act of grace also.”

Prayer:  Lord, I want the next generations to know the grace, love, and mighty deeds of our Lord Jesus.  Help me to excel in sharing with and reaching the next generation.  Amen.

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