Scripture reading for October 23rd: Mark 3-7
Key Scriptures: Mark 3:24-27 “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. In fact, no on can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house.”
Jesus was accused of being demon possessed and that Pharisees claimed that Jesus cast out demons by the prince of demons, Beelzebub. Jesus went on to explain that no house divided against itself will stand. If He were using Satan’s power to cast out demons, his house could not stand. But in truth, Jesus, the Strong Son of God, disarmed the strongman Satan and plundered his house. He bought back the lost children of God with His own blood!
Rejoicing in our Strong Son of God: “Can plunder be taken from warriors, or captives rescued from the fierce? But this is what the Lord says: “Yes, captives will be taken from warriors, and plunder retrieved from the fierce; I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save. . . . Then all mankind will know that I the Lord, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.” (Isaiah 49:24-25)
Scripture reading for October 19th: Matthew 21-25
Key Scriptures: Matthew 24:15-16 “”So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken through the prophet Daniel–letter the reader understand–then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.” Matthew 24:30-31 “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”
Jesus responded to His disciples question concerning the when and what signs would mark the end of the age. He quoted from Daniel, Psalms, and His own knowledge of the Father’s plan. God always fulfills His holy word. Heaven and earth would pass away, but what God had spoken would be brought to pass. God would soon go public and the whole earth would see Him return–some mourning and others gathered in victory!
Thankful for Daniel’s writing: “He (the Antichrist) will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” (Daniel 9:27) “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)
Scripture reading for October 18th: Matthew 17-20
Key Scriptures: Matthew 17:18-21 “Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment. Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard see, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.””
Jesus was not happy that His disciples failed to drive out a demon. Jesus simply rebuked the demon, demonstrating the power of faith through speaking God’s word and the boy was healed. When they asked why they were unable, Jesus explained that all work in ministry is by faith. They lacked faith. Faith comes by hearing God’s word and Jesus was explaining truth to empower them to do the impossible through their trust in His word!
Thankful for our Powerful Savior: “Ah, Sovereign Lord, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for You!” (Jeremiah 32:17) “Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for Me?”” (Jeremiah 32:26) (NO!!!)
Scripture reading for October 17th: Matthew 12-16
Key Scriptures: Matthew 12:39-41 “He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented a the preaching of Jonah, and now One greater than Jonah is here.””
The Son of God, Jesus Christ used the prophet Jonah as an example of strong preaching and as a type of His own life, death and resurrection. The Ninevites repented in sack-cloth and ashes at Jonah’s preaching and were spared God’s imminent wrath . The people listening to the Son of God would be condemned for their lack of response by the people of Nineveh! Jesus would give them the ultimate miraculous sign, resurrection from the grave after three days!
Thankful for powerful preachers: “But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.” (Jonah 1:17) “Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. . . . .He proclaimed: “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.” The Ninevites believed God. they declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sack-cloth.” (Jonah 3:3-5)
Scripture reading for October 16th: Matthew 8-11
Key Scriptures: Matthew 11:28-30 “”Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
God had called out to His people through the prophets inviting them to find rest in Him. But the Jews rejected the invitation. Now Jesus called out to all those who were burdened by a load of guilt and sin as well as with the burden of religious rules and lack of knowledge of God. He invited all to come and learn from Him the way of grace and salvation. The desired rest was available and through the gentle and humble Jesus it would be provided to those who would receive!
Rejoicing to choose rest: Through Christ, we walk in the ancient path of obedience and find rest! “This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ I appointed watchmen over you and said, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But you said, ‘We will not listen.'” (Jeremiah 6:16-17)
Scripture reading for October 13th: Matthew 3-7
Key Scriptures: Matthew 6:25-27 “”Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?””
Jesus Christ taught the crowds that followed Him and His own disciples about the Father and His loving care for them. He pointed to the birds and how they are cared for. They don’t worry or fear for their next meal. God provides for the many creatures He has made. And man, made in God’s own image is much more valuable than the birds. We can depend on God’s care for our basic needs and obey His command to seek His kingdom and righteousness first of all.
Rejoicing in Father’s Care: “Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make music to our God on the harp. He covers the sky with clouds; He supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call.” (Psalm 147:7-9)
Scripture reading for October 12th: Malachi 3-4, Matthew 1-3:2
Key Scriptures: Malachi 4:5-6 “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.” Matthew 3:1-2 “In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
The Old Testament and the New Testament are separated by about 400 years as far as the writing of Malachi and the coming of Jesus Christ. Malachi’s last prophetic word was that the Lord would send Elijah back to warn the people before the coming of the day of judgment. Jesus Christ taught that John the Baptist, his cousin, was the fulfillment preparing the way for Christ. Prophetic voices prepare the way to help God’s people believe and receive the kingdom!
Thankful for Christ’s confirmation: “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. He who has ears, let him hear.” (Matthew 11:12-15)
Scripture reading for May 4th: John 21
Key Scriptures for over-comers: John 21:15-16 “When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love Me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed My lambs.” Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love Me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love You.” Jesus said, “Take care of My sheep.”
More than talent, gifts, or sacrifice, Jesus wanted to know if Peter really loved Him. Love is the key ingredient to being a disciple of Jesus. God is “Love” and Jesus knew that without love, Peter would not be able to perform his assigned ministry as an apostle. Peter was to feed the ‘lambs’ and care for the ‘sheep’ of Jesus! His job was that of an under-shepherd. Peter had denied Jesus three times and now Jesus asked Peter to affirm his love three times. Peter indeed did affirm his love and Jesus then gave him a word of knowledge about how he would eventually give his life for the cause of Christ! True love is willing to give all we have, including our life-blood, for the Master and those who need to know Him!
Observations for over-comers: Love and obedience go hand in hand! If we truly love Jesus, we will feed and care for His sheep and lambs and obey His call on our life! “Love the Lord, all His saints! The Lord preserves the faithful, but the proud He pays back in full.” (Psalm 31:23)
Scripture reading for May 3rd: John 20
Key Scriptures for over-comers: John 20:29-31 “Then Jesus told him, “Because you (Thomas) have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.”
Jesus showed Himself to the disciples the first day He arose and allowed them to touch Him and see the wounds. Thomas was not there the first time and consciously decided that he would not believe unless he also could touch the wounds and see for himself. A week later, Jesus came and went directly to Thomas and offered his wounds to be touched. He encouraged him not to be a doubter but to believe! Jesus then went on to state that those who would believe without seeing would be blessed as well. Jesus gave the rest of those who would follow Him the eye-witness accounts and also the written accounts of the many miraculous signs that Jesus did that they might have ample evidence to believe. Those who believe are blessed and will receive eternal life in His name!
Observations for over-comers: God always honors faith! It is the only way we can please Him! “Blessed are those You choose and bring near to live in Your courts! We are filled with the good things of Your house, of Your holy temple.” (Psalm 65:4)