Scripture reading for February 18th: Mark 7, Psalm 35, Proverbs 4
Key Scriptures: Mark 7:18-23 “And He said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart, but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.) And He said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, and out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and they defile a person.””
Jesus was responding to the Pharisees question about why His disciples ate with defiled hands, not properly washing. The Pharisees were more concerned with keeping their rules than the inner holiness God demanded. It’s good to wash hands and observe rules, but God wants a change of heart. Defilement is in the heart, not the stomach!
Faith Confession: Lord, I need Your mercy to reveal my need of inner cleansing from besetting sins and attitudes that defile my spirit. I place my trust in Jesus Christ’s shed blood to cleanse my heart and gift me His righteousness.
Proverbs 4:23-24 “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you.”
Scripture reading for February 15th: Mark 6, Psalm 34, Proverbs 3
Key Scriptures: Mark 6:53-56 “When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore. And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized Him and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard He was. And wherever He came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored Him that they might touch even the fringe of His garment. And as many as touched it were made well.”
As Jesus’ reputation spread among the people, crowds gathered wherever He went. They came to find mercy, healing and wholeness. They were brought by friends in faith. They reached out to touch Jesus by faith and implored His mercy. Those who touched even His garment were healed! All of them!
Faith’s confession: I believe that I can touch Jesus’ heart now by asking in faith for His healing mercy. I ask with expectancy, trusting in His willingness and power to heal me. (Action Step: Ask if you can help a sick or hurting friend to take their burden to Jesus.)
Psalm 34:17-18 “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”
Scripture reading for February 11th: Mark 2, Psalm 30, Proverbs 30
Key Scriptures: Mark 2:15-17 “And as he (Luke) reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and His disciples, for there were many who followed Him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that He was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to His disciples, “Why does He eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.””
Jesus called Levi, also known as Matthew, to follow Him and become a disciple. Levi responded quickly and hosted Jesus at his home, inviting many other friends to meet Jesus. This angered the religious folks, who had judged those attending as “sinners.” Jesus gently set them straight by explaining His mission; He was here to call sinners to repentance. This required humility to recognize that everyone is a sinner in need of the Great Physician.
Faith’s confession: I am thankful that Jesus came to save me, a sinner, in need of healing. I am blessed to join other “sinners” at the table with Jesus Christ, my Lord, Who has restored my life and healed me.
Psalm 30:2-3 “O Lord my God, I cried to You for help, and You have healed me. O Lord, You have brought up my soul from Sheol; You restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.”
Scripture reading for February 8th: Mark 1, Psalm 29, Proverbs 29
Key Scriptures: Mark 1:7-11 “And he (John the Baptist) preached, saying, ‘After me comes He who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’ In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when He came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on Him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are My Beloved son; with You I am well pleased.””
Mark, a first-generation believer, was a church leader in the church in Rome. He wrote this gospel account of the life of Jesus Christ to tell the love story of Jesus to Gentiles. He wrote this as an action account. Here he lays the foundation of our faith understanding about who Jesus Christ is: God’s beloved Son. He relays how John the Baptist prepared the way by preaching repentance and pointing to the coming Messiah.
Faith Confession: I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God the Father, and that Jesus Christ baptizes me in the Holy Spirit. (The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophesy.)
Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.”
Scripture reading for February 7th: Matthew 28, Psalm 28, Proverbs 28
Key Scriptures: Matthew 28:17-20 “And when they saw Him they worshiped Him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.””
Matthew records Jesus’ final words to His remaining eleven disciples. This instruction is known as the “great commission” and is really a continuation of Jesus’ mission to seek and save lost people. Jesus will now complete His mission through those who worship Him and keep faith in His death and resurrection. Jesus promises to be with them always, in every place and circumstance, right up until He returns!
Faith’s confession: Lord Jesus, I believe in Your coming to earth as a man, Your sacrificial death, and Your amazing resurrection from the dead, crowned with all authority in heaven and earth. Help me to obey Your instructions as I know that You are with me always! Amen! Action step: Ask the Lord to give you opportunity to share the Gospel with someone or show the love of Jesus to an unbeliever.
Psalm 28:8-9 “The Lord is the strength of His people; He is the saving refuge of His Anointed. Oh, save Your people and bless Your heritage! Be their Shepherd and carry them forever.”
Scripture reading for February 6th: Matthew 27, Psalm 27, Proverbs 27
Key Scriptures: Matthew 27:51-54 “And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!””
Matthew described the events that took place immediately after Jesus cried out for the last time and gave up His Spirit. First, the temple veil was torn, from top to bottom revealing the Holy of Holies. Then there was a great earthquake, shaking rocks to pieces and opening sealed tombs, as well as a resurrection of saints from those tombs who showed themselves to many in the city. The centurion and troops overseeing the crucifixion saw these events and made a faith confession: “Truly this was the Son of God!”
Faith’s confession: I believe that the death of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, opened the way for me to experience the presence of God. I have a down payment now with the Holy Spirit in me but will fully experience Jesus at the resurrection and rapture.
Proverbs 27:12 “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.”
Scripture reading for February 5th: Matthew 26, Psalm 26, Proverbs 26
Key Scriptures: Matthew 26:39-43 “And going a little farther He fell on His face and prayed, saying “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And He said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again for the second time He prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, Your will be done.” And again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy.”
Jesus was preparing for the most difficult part of His mission here on earth. He faced the time when He must lay down His own life for those He loved as well as for sinners in all the world. He drew aside with His trusted disciples to pray; Judas had already left to betray Him for a bribe. He asked them to watch and pray with Him, but their eyes were heavy and they fell asleep. It would be prayer that kept Jesus from temptation and His followers must learn from Him.
Faith confession: Jesus, I am weak in my flesh and need Your faithful example and the sacrifice of Your life to cover my weakness. Empower me through the Holy Spirit and to watch and pray and avoid temptation.
Psalm 26:9-11 “Do not sweep my soul away with sinners, nor my life with bloodthirsty men, in whose hands are evil devices and whose right hands are full of bribes. But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity; redeem me, and be gracious to me.”