Category: General epistles-BibleTrekToday
Scripture reading for December 25th: 3rd John, Jude, Revelation 1-2
Key Scriptures: Jude 20-21; “But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith, and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.”
Revelation 1:7 “Look, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of Him. So shall it be! Amen.”
Both Jude and John, author of the Revelation, encouraged the church to watch and be ready for the return of the Lord Jesus. For those who believed on Jesus Christ and were cleansed by His blood, Christ’s return would bring eternal life and the riches of God’s presence forever! For the world and the unsaved of the earth, Christ’s return with the clouds of believers would be a cause for mourning as they would know the judgment of God was at hand!
Visions of Christ’s return: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven.” (Daniel 7:13) “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on Me, the One they have pierced, and they will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for Him as one grieves for a firstborn son.” (Zechariah 12:10)
Scripture reading for December 22nd: 1st John 2-5, 2nd John
Key Scriptures: 1st John 3:16-18 “This is how we know what love is; Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and set our hearts at rest in His presence, . . “
John, the Apostle whom Jesus loved, taught the church what love looked like in daily application. He used his background in the Old Testament to define love towards others as Jesus taught and demonstrated in His life and teachings, and ultimately His substitutionary death. If we have means and see a brother in need, love will motivate us to help them! Love is an action verb!
Love in action in Deuteronomy: “If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs.” (Deuteronomy 15:7-8)
Scripture reading for December 21st: 2nd Peter 1-3, 1st John 1
Key Scriptures: 2nd Peter 2:6-9 “. .if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)-if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment while continuing their punishment.”
Peter, writing to the church, encouraged them in the suffering that they were then enduring. He used the example of Sodom and Gomorrah. God rescued Lot and his daughters from that wicked city and then burned it to ashes. God is powerful, yet just and punishes the wicked, keeping them for the final judgment at the end of time! Believers can rest secure in God’s justice and His mercy toward His own!
God’s mercy towards Lot: “When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful towards them. . . .Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah–from the Lord out of the heavens. Thus He overthrew those cities and the entire plain, including all those living in the cities–and also the vegetation in the land.” (Genesis 19:16, 24-25)
Scripture reading for December 20th: 1st Peter 1-5
Key Scriptures: 1st Peter 2:9-10 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
Peter wrote to the Jewish believers to encourage them that God had indeed chose them to belong to His family through faith in Jesus Christ. Believers are “chosen people” and a “royal priesthood” that continually offers praise to the One who called them out of the darkness of sin and fearful religion to a glorious holy people! “How wonderful! How marvelous, is my Savior’s love for me!”
Praising the Lord our God: “To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. Yet the Lord set His affection on your forefathers and loved them, and He chose you, their descendants, above all the nations, as it is today. . . . Fear the Lord your God and serve Him. Hold fast to Him and take your oaths in His Name. He is your praise; He is your God, . .” (Deuteronomy 10: 15, 20-21)
Scripture reading for December 19th: James 2-5
Key Scriptures: James 5:14-18 “Is any one of you sick? He should call for the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the Name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess you sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again He prayed, and the heavens gave rain and the earth produced its crops.
James encouraged the church to pray in each and every trouble and attack. With sickness, the elders were available as men and women of faith. They were told to anoint with oil and pray a prayer of faith and God would do the rest. If there was known sin, confession would also bring healing. Elijah was cited as an example of an elder with powerful prayers affecting nature and nations!
Thankful for powerful prayers: “Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.” (1st Kings 17:1 “But Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees.” “Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain came on. . .” (1st Kings 18:42, 45)
Scripture reading for November 28th: 3rd John
Key Scriptures for over-comers: 3rd John 2-4 “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. It gave me great joy to have some brothers come and tell about your faithfulness to the truth and how you continue to walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
John’s final letter is written to a believing friend, Gaius. This personal letter contains a short prayer for his friend’s health and prosperity. John prays that he may enjoy good health and prosperity as his soul is prospering. John encourages his friend to continue in faithfulness and applied truth. These things bring health, wealth, and joy to a pastor’s heart as well as God’s heart!
Observations for over-comers: Our walk and talk must always line up with the Truth of God’s word and Spirit. This brings well-being and health! “My son, pay attention to what I say, listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body.” (Proverbs 4:20-22)
Scripture reading for November 25th: 2nd John
Key Scriptures for over-comers: 2nd John 7-9 “Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.”
John the elder’s second letter warns the church to watch out for deceivers that are teaching a different gospel; denying that Jesus came in the flesh as God’s Son and Messiah. They appeal to human reason that no one could be raised from the dead. We must continue in sound doctrine and believe truth or we may lose our reward when Christ appears! Trusting that Christ Jesus came as a man and died and rose again is the foundation of our salvation and alone can save us.
Observations for over-comers: Deception will mark the last days before Christ returns. Hold on to truth! “Send forth Your light and Your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to Your holy mountain, to the place where You dwell.” (Psalm 43:3)
Scripture reading for November 24th: 1st John 5
Key Scriptures for over-comers: 1st John 5:2-5 “This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out His commands. This is love for God: to obey His commands. And His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God, over-comes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”
John’s desire was that the churches he served would be over-comers. Love is the only pathway to overcoming the world, flesh, and the devil. We do this by faith in God’s Word and commands. Our faith brings loving obedience and perseverance in trials. We obtain the victory here through faith and ultimately the victory of eternal life in God’s presence! Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of our faith!
Observations for over-comers: Faith motivated by God’s conquering love brings over-coming victory to those who believe in Jesus Christ as God’s Son. “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; love and faithfulness go before You. Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim You, who walk in the light of Your Presence, O Lord.” (Psalm 89:14-15)
Scripture reading for November 23rd: 1st John 4
Key Scriptures for over-comers: 1st John 4:7-11 “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but the He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
“Dear friends” is the term of endearment used by the elder John to address members of Christ’s Church that he was writing to. His emphasis was on love as a fruit of the Spirit and a conscious choice of believers to develop. God, Himself, is Love therefore His children must reflect His basic nature. He sent His Son into the world to show us what real love looked like–laying our life down for others! Anyone not showing love and growing in expression does not know God.
Observations for over-comers: Members of Christ’s body are to show love as a conscious decision and fruit of His Spirit. “Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in His presence concerning those who feared and honored His Name.” (Malachi 3:16)