Avoiding temptation through prayer and submission!

Scripture reading for April 9th:  Judges 7-8, Luke 22

Key Scriptures:  Luke 22:40-45 “And when He come to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”  And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if Your are willing, remove this cup from Me.  Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.”  And there appeared to Him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him.  And being in an agony, He prayed more earnestly; and His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.  And when He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, . . “

Jesus went to His designated place of prayer and asked His disciples to watch and pray with Him to avoid temptation.  He withdrew by Himself and was praying with great agony and intensity, asking His Father to remove the cup of coming suffering, if it were possible.  But Jesus submitted completely to the Father’s will.  An angel from heaven appeared and strengthened Him.  He prayed again, more passionately than ever, even to the point that drops of His blood mingled with sweat coming from His brow.  When He returned, He found sleeping disciples!

Faith confession and prayer:  Lord, You alone can deliver me from evil and temptation.  Thank You for the Holy Spirit and the strength You give.  Help me to be watchful and in prayer for me and my family as the terrible times of trouble come in these last days.  Keep me from the snares of this world.

Judges 8:27 “And Gideon made an ephod of it (gold spoil), and put it in his city, in Ophrah.  And all Israel whored after it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and to his family.”  

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Standing before the Son of Man!

Scripture reading for April 8th:  Judges 4-6, Luke 21

Key Scriptures:  Luke 21:34-36 “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.  For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth.  But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”  

Jesus closed out His time of ministry by preparing His disciples for the temptations and trials that would accompany the time just before He would return.  Watchfulness was required of each believer because of the temptations and wickedness that would abound before Christ’s return.  These temptations would attack all who dwelled on the earth.  Prayer and alertness was required to escape the temptations and to stand before “The Son of Man” when He returned to receive His own and judge the wicked.  Those not able to stand would be cast out of His presence forever.

Faith Confession and prayer:  Lord Jesus, temptations and seduction fill the world in this time that I live.  Give me Your strength to stand firm and encourage the brothers and sisters and warn those who are not right with God.  May none in my family circle and my friends fail to stand before You when You return.

Judges 5:31 “”So may all Your enemies perish, O Lord!  But Your friends be like the sun as he rises in his might.”  And the land had rest for forty years.”  

 

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Giving God His Due!

Scripture reading for April 7th:  Judges 1-3, Psalm 16, Luke 20

Key Scriptures: Luke 20:21-25 “So they asked Him, “Teacher, we know that You speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God.  Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?”  But He perceived their craftiness, and said to them, “Show Me a denarius.  Whose likeness and inscription does it have?  They said, “Caesar’s.”  He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s”

Some religious Scribes came to Jesus to try and trap Him by asking a leading question concerning paying taxes to Caesar.  Jesus was not fooled by their trickery, but turned the tables on them, asking them for a Roman coin, the denarius.  He asked them to read the inscription and state what likeness it contained.  It was a likeness of Caesar, the Roman ruler.  He then instructed them to give to Caesar what belonged to Him and to God what He rightfully had coming.  That would be respect and obedience!

Psalm 16:11 “You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” 

Faith confession and prayer:  Lord, thank You for Your precious Word, teaching me truth to live by.  May I always please God my Father by giving Him what is due and respect earthly authorities He ordained.

Judges 3:1,4 “Now these are the nations that the Lord left, to test Israel by them, that is, all in Israel who had not experienced all the wars of Canaan.  . . .They were for the testing of Israel, to know whether Israel would obey the commandments of the Lord, which He commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.” 

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Knowing the time of our visitation!

Scripture reading for April 6th:  Joshua 22-24, Psalm 116, Luke 19

Key Scriptures:  Luke 19:41-44 “And when He drew near and saw the city, He wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace!  But now they are hidden from your eyes.  For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side, and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you.  And they will not leave one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”  

Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem.  He was ready to enter it to cleanse the temple to begin the last week of His life before dying as our Passover sacrifice.  But the people of Jerusalem were unreceptive of the truth of Jesus Christ and God’s amazing plan revealed by Jesus, Himself.  The would reject Him and have Him crucified.  This would bring about the destruction of the city and the people and their children.  When Jesus returns at the end of the age, those rejecting Him will miss the time of their visitation.

Psalm 116:1-2  “I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy.  Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call on Him as long as I live.”  

Faith confession and prayer:  Lord Jesus, I ask you for mercy for those who do not yet know you.  I weep for the lost and those who harden their hearts concerning Your visitation bringing salvation.

Joshua 24:14 “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and in faithfulness.  Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.”  

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Living by Faith in the unfailing promises!

Scripture reading for April 3rd:  Joshua 18-21, Psalm 15, Luke 18

Key Scriptures:  Luke 18:6-8  “And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says.  And will not God give justice to His elect, who cry to Him day and night?  Will He delay long over them?  I tell you, He will give justice to them speedily.  Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?”

Jesus told a parable to His disciples to reinforce His teaching that men ought “always to pray and not faint.”  He told of a widow that came repeatedly to an unjust judge asking for “justice against her adversary.”  She came so often that the judge finally agreed to help her to get her off his case.  Jesus used the reluctant judge to contrast with God’s speedy answers to His own people when they called in faith.  The question is, would Jesus find people asking for justice and honestly seeking God’s help when He returned for them?

Psalm 15:1-2 “O Lord, who shall sojourn in Your tent?  Who shall dwell on Your holy hill?  He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; . . .”

Faith confession and prayer:  Lord Jesus, I desire to dwell with You eternally.  Help me to walk in faith today and obey Your holy Word trusting in all Your good promises.  You, alone, will bring justice to the earth!

Joshua 21:45 “Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.”  

 

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Possessing the full inheritance!

Scripture reading for April 2nd:  Joshua 14-17, Luke 17

Key Scriptures:  Luke 17:3-6  “”Pay attention to yourselves!  If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’  you must forgive him.”  The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”  And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.””  

Jesus was teaching His disciples about the need to keep their hearts free from offense.  It would require attention to their own hearts when brothers or sisters sinned against them.  These offenses must be dealt with in a timely manner in the day they happen (Ephesians 4:26).  To this teaching, the disciples cried, “Increase our faith!”  Jesus said that the faith needed was available in seed form.  It may appear small, like a mustard seed, but when they spoke to the problem, the problem would be removed.  Much like Caleb of old, ‘give me this hill country’ came from the seed of faith in God’s promises.

Joshua 14:10-12  “. . .And now behold, I am this day eighty-five years old.  I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming.  So now give me this hill country of which the Lord spoke on that day, . .”  

Faith Confession and prayer:  Lord, increase my faith daily that I may attentively guard my heart against offenses and unbelief!  Give me my full inheritance and renewed strength in old age to take possession of it!

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Much land to possess!

Scripture reading for April 1st:  Joshua 9-13, Luke 16

Key Scriptures:  Luke 16:10-13 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.  If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?  And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?  No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and money.”  

Money is also a necessity of life to buy what we need.  It is not evil in itself.   Jesus taught His disciples that the “very little”, money, was a test for all men of their faithfulness.  Their honesty in dealing with money, their own and others, showed where their heart really was.  When money was the center and people spent all their time serving money and controlling it, they would not be right with God and could not serve Him.  He did not say it was hard to serve God and money, but it was impossible!  Choosing to put God at the center is possessing the ground of our heart.

Faith Confession and prayer:  Lord Jesus, forgive me for trying at times to serve You and money.  In my old age, there is still much for me to possess of Your truth in my own soul.  Jesus Christ is Lord of all!   Money is “very little” but God is everything!

Joshua 13:1 “Now Joshua was old and advanced in years, and the Lord said to him, “You are old and advanced in years, and there remains yet very much land to possess.”

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Joy in heaven!

Scripture reading for March 31st:  Joshua 5-8, Psalm 14, Luke 15

Key Scriptures:  Joshua 6:23-25 “So the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and mother and brothers and all who belonged to her.  And they brought all her relatives and put them outside the camp of Israel.  And they burned the city with fire, and everything in it.  Only the silver and gold, the vessels of bronze and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord.  But Rahab the prostitute and her father’s household and all who belonged to her, Joshua saved alive.  And she has lived in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.”  

Joshua entered the promised land and faced Jericho.  God gave him a plan to take the city.  But the spies had been hidden by Rahab and she had tied the scarlet cord on her window and gathered her family inside.  Joshua give instructions to the spies to go and bring her and her family out before destroying the city.  God delights in saving the lost who come to Him by faith!

Psalm 14:7 “Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!  When the Lord restores the fortunes of His people, Let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.”  

Faith confession and prayer:  Lord, thank You for Your great compassion for the lost sinner and for making provision through faith.  Help me to bring many out of strongholds of sin into the safety of Your covenant through the Gospel!

Luke 15:6-7 “. . ., rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.  Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”   

 

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Lead Me on Level Ground!

Scripture reading for March 30th:  Joshua 1-4, Psalm 143, Luke 14

Key Scriptures: Luke 14:25-30  “Now great crowds accompanied Him, and He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.  Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.  For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?  Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.'”

Joshua 1:8-9 “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.  For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”  

Jesus taught that there were priorities that must be decided upon if a person chose to become His disciple.  Family could not be first.  Our own life in soul and body must be placed lower than following Jesus.  There was a cross for each disciple that they must chose to bear.  Successful discipleship would come by full surrender and obedience to God’s Word and Christ’s teaching.

Faith confession and prayer:  Lord, I have set You and Your Word as my priority in my life.  Help me to keep Your Word in my heart and on my lips as I walk with You to the promised land.

Psalm 143:10  “Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God!  Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground!”  

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Discerning our ‘latter end’!

Scripture reading for March 27th:  Deuteronomy 32-34, Psalm 13, Luke 13

Key Scriptures:  Luke 13:26-30 “Then you will begin to say, “We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.”  But He will say, I tell you, I do not know where you come from.  Depart from Me, all you workers of evil.”  In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out.  And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God.  And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”  

Jesus, in response to the question, “Will those who are saved be few?”, told them that the way of salvation was a narrow door (relationship with Jesus).  There would be few to which the door would be opened because those wanting in lacked real relationship with God.  Without a relationship, they would be shut out and left in a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth (hell).  Some who thought they were in would be left out while others that some judged would be left out would be let in.  Discernment was required!

Deuteronomy 32:29  “If they were wise, they would understand this; they would discern their latter end!”  

Faith confession and prayer:  Lord Jesus, I enter into a relationship with You through repentance and faith.   You have dealt bountifully with me!  Help me to tell others about this narrow way today!

Psalm 13:5-6 “But I have trusted in Your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.  I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.”  

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