Faith’s distractions!

Scripture reading for January 18th:  Matthew 14, Psalm 14, Prov. 14

Key Scriptures: Matthew 14:28-31 “And Peter answered Him, “Lord if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”  He said, “Come.”  So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.”  Jesus immediately reached out His hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?””  

Matthew recorded the story of Peter walking on the water.  Peter had responded to Jesus’ command to him to come by getting out of the boat and walking on the water.  His faith in Jesus brought results until he was distracted by the wind and waves.  He then began to sink and refocused on Jesus, asking Him for saving grace.  Jesus responded by grabbing his hand but rebuking him for his lack of faith.

Faith’s confession:  Lord, like Peter I believe Your word but I am often distracted by hostile circumstances and need You to save me from my own fears.  Strengthen my faith with Your Word and touch for I seek to please and obey You.

Psalm 14:2  “The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.”

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Good Soil for God’s Word

Scripture reading for January 17th:  Matthew 13, Psalm 13, Prov. 13

Key Scriptures: Matthew 13:20-23 “As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the Word, immediately he falls away.  As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the Word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the Word and it proves unfruitful.  As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the Word and understands it.  He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”  

Jesus used a parable, a story about something common, to teach His disciples about the kingdom of heaven.  The parable required thinking and discernment to find the truth being taught.  God’s Word was likened to seed sowed on various types of soil in the hearts of hearers.  Some was rocky and shallow and quickly dried up, aborting the growth needed for fruit.  Some was weedy and the Word was choked out before it produced.  Other soil was fertile and the Seed multiplied in harvest.

Faith’s Confession:  Father, thank You for considering my heart good soil.  I receive Your Word and desire to produce fruit–even a hundred-fold!

Proverbs 13:13  “Whoever despises the Word brings destruction on himself; but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded.”  

 

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The Abundance of the Heart

Scripture reading for January 16th:  Matthew 12, Psalm 12, Prov. 12

Key Scriptures:  Matthew 12:34-37 “You brood of vipers!  How can you speak good, when you are evil?  For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.  The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.  I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

The Pharisees had just condemned Jesus by attributing the healing of the deaf and mute man to the power of Beelzebub, the prince of demons.  Jesus called them a “brood of vipers.”  He explained that this evil thought came from an evil heart.  Every careless and evil word spoken would require accounting on the day when God would judge men.  It was a matter of the heart.  Evil people need a change of heart!

Faith’s confession:  Lord, I recognize You as the source of all good and healing.  Thank You for transforming my heart through faith in Jesus Christ, enabling me to speak from a good treasure of Your pure Word.

Psalm 12:6  “The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.”   

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Taking up Christ’s Yoke

Scripture reading for January 15th:  Matthew 11, Psalm 11, Prov. 11

Key Scriptures:  Matthew 11:27-30 “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.  Come to Me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”

Jesus revealed His great authority, given to Him by His Father.  He had known the Father and the Father knew His Son.  Jesus was able to reveal the Father to whoever He chose.  He then called all mankind to come to Him to receive the revelation of the Father’s love and His great authority.  All were invited to take the yoke of a disciple and learn from Jesus.  His way was gentle and brought people to find rest from the loads of life.  All anyone had to do was come to Jesus to learn His way.

Faith’s Confession:  Jesus, I come to You humbly, to learn more of My Father.  I find rest in Your yoke of discipleship and trust you for fruitfulness in winning souls.

Proverbs 11:30  “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures souls is wise.”

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Jesus is my Advocate!

Scripture reading for January 14th:  Matthew 10, Psalm 10, Prov. 10

Key Scriptures:  Matthew 10:29-32  “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.  So everyone who acknowledges Me before men, I also will acknowledge before My Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before My Father who is in heaven.”

Jesus prepared to send his disciples out two by two to share the gospel and heal.  Jesus prepared His disciples for the persecution and opposition that they would experience.  Knowing that they would be tempted to doubt their worth and even deny Him, He encouraged them of their great worth before God and the reward of staying true to their Master.  Their confession before men must ring out!

Faith’s Confession: I will acknowledge and confess my faith in Jesus Christ before men  without fear and rest in my Father’s great love and care, trusting Jesus to confess me before the Father as my Advocate.

Psalm 10:17-18 “O Lord, You hear the desire of the afflicted; You will strengthen their heart; You will incline Your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth, may strike terror no more.”

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Healthy Self-Talk!

Scripture reading for January 11th:  Matthew 9, Psalm 9, Prov. 9

Key Scriptures:  Matthew 9:20-22 “And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His garment, for she said to herself, “If I only touch His garment, I will be made well.”  Jesus turned, and seeing her He said, “Take heart, daughter: your faith has made you well.”  And instantly the woman was made well.”

Jesus was on His way to minister to the daughter of a ruler of the synagogue when He encountered this woman who had the long-time issue of blood.  This woman had decided by faith that if she could just touch Jesus’ garment, she would be healed.  She had confessed this to herself.  Healthy self-talk can promote faith–a deep trust in Jesus and His miraculous ability.  Jesus stated that her faith had made her well!  Healing happened instantly!

Faith’s Confession:  Lord I know that I can go to You with any need or health issue and You have the willingness and power to provide and heal.  (Faith Action:  Reach out to the Lord with a current need for you or a loved one, using a faith confession.  Talk to yourself about Jesus!)

Proverbs 9:10-11 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.  For by Me your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life.” 

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Faith and authority!

Scripture reading for January 10th: Matthew 8, Psalm 8, Prov. 8

Key Scriptures:  Matthew 8:5-9  “When He had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to Him, appealing to Him, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.”  And He said to him, “I will come and heal him.”  But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have You come under my roof, but only say the Word, and my servant will be healed.  For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me.  And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

Jesus Christ marveled at the confession of this Roman centurion.  This man understood delegated authority and the power of one in authority.  He knew that Jesus had authority to heal and deliver his servant.  He also humbly recognized his own unworthiness before Jesus.  So he asked Jesus to give the command and understood how that command would be sufficient.  “Great faith!” was Jesus’ declaration when he heard the centurion’s faith request!

Faith’s confession:  Jesus, I believe that You have authority to heal and deliver those who are sick or bound by disease.   I believe that as Your disciple I have authority to ask You in faith for healing.  (Action application:  Ask Jesus for healing for yourself or someone you know who is hurting.)

Psalm 8:3-6 “When I look at Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that You care for him?  Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.  Your have given him dominion over the works of Your hands; . .”  

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Beware of Pride and Presumption

Scripture reading for January 9th: Matthew 7, Psalm 7, Prov. 7

Key Scriptures:  Matthew 7:21-23  “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.  On that day many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your Name, and cast  out demons in Your Name, and do many mighty works in Your Name?’  And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness.'”

Jesus taught His disciples that confession of faith was not enough in and of itself to guarantee entrance into the kingdom of heaven.  Even works done in the Name of Jesus would not qualify a person for entrance.  Confession and good works must be accompanied by complete submission to God and yielding to His will in every area of life.  Faith confessions must be demonstrated by humble obedience to God’s will and word.

Faith’s confession:  Jesus, I confess that You are Lord of my life.  I pray that Your kingdom would come and Your will would be done in my life on earth as in heaven.  Deliver me from pride and presumption, and fill me with Your Holy Spirit that I may truly know You better each day.

Proverbs 7:1-3 “My son, keep My words and treasure up My commandments with you; keep My commandments and live; keep My teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.”  

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Talking to our Father in Heaven

Scripture reading for January 8th: Matthew 6, Psalm 6, Prov. 6 (Reading through the New Testament,  Psalms, and Proverbs one chapter a day, five days each week in 2019–please join me in the trek!)

Key Scriptures: Matthew 6:9-13 “Pray then like this:  “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name.  Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.””

Jesus taught His disciples a pattern of prayer.  Prayer was not to be empty repetitions and vain babbling.  Prayer is humble and vital communication with a loving Father who hears our every cry.  Prayer declares our alignment with the Father and His will and Word and our dependency on Him for daily provision, protection and deliverance from temptation and the evil one.  Prayer keeps our alignment right with God and others made in their Father’s image.  Prayer is the basic language of the kingdom of heaven.

Faith’s confession:  I believe that my Father in heaven hears and answers prayer.  I am dependent on Him for provision, protection and forgiveness of my sins and forgiving others.  (Action: Search your heart today for unforgiven sins or bitter roots and ask God and/or others for grace to let go and receive restoration.)

Psalm 6:9  “The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord accepts my prayer.”  

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I am blessed!

Scripture reading for January 7th: Matthew 5, Psalm 5, Prov. 5 (Reading through the New Testament,  Psalms, and Proverbs one chapter a day, five days each week in 2019–please join me in the trek!)

Key Scriptures: Matthew 5:10-13  “”Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven,  for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.””

Jesus took His disciples and others who had gathered to hear Him up on a hillside.  There He taught them about the kingdom of heaven and the blessedness of those who were included.  This blessedness called for joy and rejoicing and anticipation of the great reward that would come in God’s time.  It also included persecution and reviling from the world of sinful men on account of righteousness and their relationship with Jesus Christ.  Rejoice now in all things and count on great reward in the fullness of the kingdom of heaven!

Faith’s confession:  I am blessed with Christ’s righteousness and presence in me.  I joyfully endure any hardship or persecution today, knowing Whose I am.  (Action: Pray for God’s blessedness to come to anyone who may be mistreating you now for your love of Jesus.  Do an act of kindness to show them Christ’s love.)

Proverbs 5:21 “For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths.”  

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