Scripture reading for November 20th: Romans 5-9
Key Scriptures: Romans 5:9-11 “Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life! Not only is this so, but we rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”
Paul clearly taught justification by faith in the death of Jesus Christ, God’s only Son. It was through the shed blood that our sins were atoned for, saving all believing sinners from God’s wrath. It not only saved us by His death and blood, but we were reconciled to God and restored through Jesus’ resurrection to eternal life! God’s mighty deeds and acts of love on behalf of His people bring songs of praise that will echo throughout eternity!
The rejoicing of the Redeemed: “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say this–those He redeemed from the hand of the foe,. . . He sent forth His Word and healed them; He rescued them from the grave. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men.” (Psalm 107:1-2, 20-21)
Scripture reading for November 17th: Romans 1-4
Key Scriptures: Romans 1:16-17 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes; first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written; “The righteous will live by faith.”“
Paul was proud to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ because through the simple message of Jesus’ life, death, burial and resurrection, the power of God for salvation was released to all who would believe. This included Jew and Gentile as well as every race, social status, gender and people group! The gospel was inclusive because it was by faith that righteousness was granted as a gift! Faith is the great equalizer, available to all!
The simplicity of faith: “Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. “See, he is puffed up; his desires are not upright--but the righteous will live by his faith–” (Habakkuk 2:2-4)
Scripture reading for November 16th: Acts 24-28
Key Scriptures: Acts 26:28-29 “Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?” Paul replied, “Short time or long,–I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”
Paul was kept in prison for his faith for over two years while political wrangling was going on. Officials were hoping for bribes and kept Paul in prison for a favor to the ruling Jews. But Paul was a persistent and persuasive witness who always viewed his plight from God’s perspective! He was there to witness to the officials and the whole prison guard. God always has those who are sold out to Him who will witness and pray, no matter what, confronting sinners with their need for Jesus Christ! Thank the Lord Jesus!
A bold Old Testament witness: “So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets (of Baal) on Mount Carmel. Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing.” 1st Kings 18:20-21
Scripture reading for November 15th: Acts 20-23
Key Scriptures: Acts 22:6-10 “”About noon as I (Paul) came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, “Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute Me?’ “‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked. “‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,’ He replied. My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of Him who was speaking to me. “”What shall I do, Lord?’ I asked? “‘Get up’ the Lord said, ‘and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.'”
Paul shared his testimony of his own personal encounter with Jesus Christ. Paul was on his way to Damascus with warrants to arrest followers of Jesus. Jesus confronted him, and Paul was struck with blindness from the light of Christ’s glory. Paul was told to go into Damascus and there he would be told what God had assigned him to do! After his healing and conversion, Paul had his work laid out for him! God has plans for all His people!
God’s amazing plans: “The word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” “Ah, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you.” (Jeremiah 1:4-8)
Scripture reading for November 14th: Acts 15-19
Key Scriptures: Acts 18:9-11 “One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking; do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.”
Paul was a missionary who went to places where the Gospel had not yet been preached or the way of God taught. Sometimes he faced hostilities, persecution, and threats of death. But God gave him a vision and words of encouragement. He told Paul to keep on speaking and not to be afraid! There was a great harvest to be gained from this city where he was then ministering. God was with him to empower and protect him as he fearlessly preached and taught!
God’s word to Jeremiah–“Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them. Today I have made you a fortified city, and iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land–against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests and the people of the land. They will fight against you but will not overcome you for I am with you and will rescue you,” declared the Lord.” (Jeremiah 1:17-19)
Scripture reading for November 13th: Acts 10-14
Key Scriptures: Acts 13: 47-49, 52 “For this is what the Lord has commanded us: “‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'” When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed. The word of the Lord spread through the whole region. . . . And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”
Paul and Barnabas were sent out by the church in Antioch on their first missionary journey specifically to the Gentiles. They went to the Jews first and were opposed so they then preached Christ to the Gentiles. They reaped a harvest of Gentiles among those who believed! God’s big heart desired something big–the ends of the earth finding salvation! The word of Christ spread rapidly and this brought great joy and an new infilling of the Holy Spirit to the disciples!
Rejoicing in God’s Big Heart: “He (the Lord) says: “It is too small a thing for You to be My servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make You a light for the Gentiles, that You may bring My salvation to the ends of the earth.” (Isaiah 49:6)
Scripture reading for November 10th: Acts 5-9
Key Scriptures: Acts 7:36-39 “He led them out of Egypt and did wonders and miraculous signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the desert. This is that Moses who told the Israelites, ‘God will send a prophet like me from your own people.’ He was in the assembly in the desert, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; and he received living words to pass on to us. But our fathers refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt.”
Stephen was brought before the Sanhedrin and charged with blasphemy for preaching Jesus Christ as the Messiah. As Stephen made his defense, he quoted from the Old Testament Scriptures that the Jews had accused him of speaking against. He used Moses’ own words to show that God would send another ‘prophet like Moses’ to do miraculous signs and that he would be rejected just like Moses! God’s Word is always true! They refused to believe and Stephen became the first recorded martyr in the New Testament!
Rejoicing in our true Prophet: “For this is what you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.” The Lord said to me: “What they say is good. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put My words in His mouth, and He will tell them everything I command Him. If anyone does not listen to My words that the prophet speaks in My Name, I Myself will call him to account.” (Deuteronomy 18:16-19)
Scripture reading for November 9th: Acts 1-4
Key Scriptures: Acts 2:24-28 “But God raised Him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him. David said about Him, “I saw the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, because You will not abandon me to the grave nor will you let Your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence.””
Peter, in his sermon on the day of Pentecost, quoted from Psalm 16 to illustrate God’s foreknowledge of Christ’s resurrection from the dead. It was impossible for death to hold Him because He was walking in the path of Life–total obedience to His Father! David had written of this over 1000 years earlier and it now had come to pass! David held the hope of resurrection for his body as well and all Christians now share this same blessed Hope!
Rejoicing in God’s Promised Presence: “You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your Presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.” (Psalm 16:11)
Scripture reading for June 13th: Acts 28
Key Scriptures for over-comers: Acts 28:30-31 “For two whole years Paul stayed there (Rome) in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Paul made it to Rome as the Lord had promised him. Although a prisoner of Rome in chains, he was met there by some brothers and they obviously helped him rent a house while he awaited trial before Caesar. The court system there was also very slow, so Paul had time to visit, preach and write letters without hindrance! God is amazing in how He supplies and uses even things we might view as a hindrance to bring about His purposes and care for His people. Out of this time under house arrest, Paul wrote Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon! Also the whole Roman guard and some royal officials heard a bold proclamation of the Gospel. What a wealth of understanding and truth came from Paul as he followed the “Way”, Jesus Christ!
Observations for over-comers: We must never get worried over delays or circumstances that are not under our control. God is always working out His plans and stands beside us to guide and direct His will to be accomplished. “The Lord foils the plans of the nations; He thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.” (Psalm 33:10-11)
Scripture reading for June 10th: Acts 27
Key Scriptures for over-comers: Acts 27:34-37 “”Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.” After he had said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat it. They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves. Altogether there were 276 of us on board.”
Paul was a prisoner on a ship headed for Rome in the storm season of approaching winter. He had given the ship’s captain some advice–a word of knowledge about the fate of the journey. The advice was not taken and now trouble had come upon the ship and they had been storm-tossed for 14 days. Paul again gave insight by the Spirit about how to survive. They must all stay with the ship and they also must take some food. Paul demonstrated his faith and courage by taking bread, giving thanks, breaking it, and eating! This encouraged all on board and they all safely survived the breaking up of the ship!
Observations for over-comers: Over-comers take notice the pattern of Paul: taking, giving thanks, breaking, and eating! This was the pattern of Jesus at the Last Supper! He did this in front of the whole company on the ship and they were encouraged! “He spread out a cloud as a covering, and a fire to give light at night. They asked, and he brought them quail and satisfied them with the bread of heaven. He opened the rock, and water gushed out; like a river it flowed in the desert.” (Psalm 105:39-41)