Scripture reading for May 24th: Acts 15, Psalm 104, Proverbs 11
Key Scriptures: Acts 15:7-11 “And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the Gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as He did to us, and He made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.””
Jewish believers in Jesus wanted to demand that all Gentiles be circumcised in addition to faith in Jesus. Peter refuted them with the fact that God shows no favoritism in giving the Holy Spirit to Jew and Gentile who believed by His sovereign grace. Salvation is by grace through faith for all who believe with no strings attached.
Faith Confession: Lord, Thank You for Your saving Gospel and the gift of faith and the Holy Spirit. Empower me with the ‘wind’ and ‘fire’ of Your Holy Spirit to reach out to the lost today.
Psalm 104:4 “. . He makes His messengers winds, and His ministers a flaming fire.”
Scripture reading for May 23rd: Acts 14, Psalm 103, Proverbs 10
Key Scriptures: Acts 14:21-23 “When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.”
Paul had been stoned at Lystra and left for dead. The believers gathered around Paul and he arose and went into the city. The next day they traveled to Derbe and preached the Gospel there with many responding for salvation. Paul encouraged the disciples that persecution and tribulation were part of the life of a committed disciple. Through prayer and fasting, elders were appointed to continue the pastoral work of building faith through God’s Word.
Faith Confession: Lord, thank You for those You send out to make disciples and encourage them. Thank You for allowing me to be one who encourages Your people. Help me to pray and fast for the continuation of Your work.
Proverbs 10:11 “The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.”
Scripture reading for May 22nd: Acts 13, Psalm 102, Proverbs 9
Key Scriptures: Acts 13:48-52 “And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the Word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. And the Word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”
Paul and Barnabas had been sent off by the church on a missionary journey to preach to the Gentiles. As they preached the Word of God, many Gentiles believed. This caused the Jews to incite persecution. Paul and Barnabas simply shook the dust off their feet as Jesus had instructed them and went on their way. Those who believed were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit! Unbelievers were filled with wrath!
Faith Confession: The Word of God brings salvation to the humble and causes persecution from the religious. Help me to respond appropriately to persecution and use me to spread Your Word throughout the place You put me. Thank You for filling me with joy and the Holy Spirit!
Psalm 102:12 “But You, O Lord, are enthroned forever; You are remembered throughout all generations.”
Scripture reading for May 21st: Acts 12, Psalm 101, Proverbs 8
Key Scriptures: Acts 12:1-5 “About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James, the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread. And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.”
King Herod hated the believers and followers of Jesus. He also wanted to please the Jews to appease them. So he violently seized James, the brother of John, and put him to death. He arrested Peter, but it was during the Passover celebration week. Not wanting to disrupt this, he decided to postpone Peter’s execution. But the church was praying! The result was an angelic intervention that freed Peter and brought about the death of his guards and the death of King Herod. God knows how to turn the tables when His people pray!
Faith Confession: Lord, thank You for Your care for Your people. I trust Your care and ways for both James and Peter and for me and Your church. Help me to always earnestly pray and seek You in times of persecution.
Proverbs 8:35-36 “For whoever finds Me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord, but he who fails to find Me injures himself; all who hate Me love death.”
Scripture reading for May 20th: Acts 11, Psalm 100, Proverbs 7
Key Scriptures: Acts 11:19-21 “Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the Word to no one except Jews. But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.”
Persecution broke out against the believers in Jerusalem following the stoning of Stephen. The believers were scattered and wherever they went, they ended up sharing the Word of Jesus Christ. Some spoke only to other Jews, but others spoke to Gentiles. God’s anointing was evident in that many believed and turned in repentance and faith to Jesus Christ as Lord.
Faith Confession: I believe that God’s Word is powerful to save both Jew and Gentile. Lord, let Your anointing and hand be upon me as I share each day. Let many turn to You in repentance and faith.
Psalm 100: 1-3 “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into His presence with singing! Know that the Lord, He is God! It is He who made us and we are His; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.”
Scripture reading for May 17th: Acts 10, Psalm 99, Proverbs 6
Key Scriptures: Acts 10:34-38 “So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him. As for the word that He sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all), you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”
Peter had been sent by the Holy Spirit to share the Gospel at the home of the Gentile centurion Cornelius. As he opened his mouth to share, he noted that God shows no partiality between Jew or Gentile, but accepts all who come to Him in repentance and faith. He simply shared Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection and that forgiveness of sins was available in His Name. The Holy Spirit filled this group of Gentiles and they began to speak in tongues!
Faith Confession: God is impartial and shows mercy to all who sincerely come to Him. Help me to clearly share the Gospel with those who are open. Send me to those needing understanding of Jesus Christ.
Proverbs 6:20-22 “My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching. Bind them on your heart always; tie them around your neck. When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you are awake, they will talk with you.”
Scripture reading for May 16th: Acts 9, Psalm 98, Proverbs 5
Key Scriptures: Acts 9:39-42 “So Peter rose and went with them. And when he arrived, they took him to the upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping and showing tunics and other garments that Dorcas made while she was with them. But Peter put them all outside, and knelt down and prayed; and turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. And he gave her his hand and raised her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.”
Tabitha, a beloved disciple who was a seamstress suddenly died. The other believers washed her body and sent for Peter to come quickly. Peter put all the widows and others out and alone with the body, he knelt to pray. After prayer, Peter turned to the body and spoke the woman’s name: “Tabitha, arise.” He made a simple faith confession or command as a result of his faith in His Lord Jesus. This miracle caused many to believe in Jesus Christ!
Faith Confession: I believe in the resurrection power of the Name of Jesus Christ. Lord, help me to seek You at every need You bring before me in order to do Your will and enable me to speak in faith that many will believe in You.
Psalm 98:1-2 “Oh sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous things! His right hand and His holy arm have worked salvation for Him. The Lord has made known His salvation; He has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations.”
Scripture reading for May 15th: Acts 8, Psalm 97, Proverbs 4
Key Scriptures: Acts 8:4-8 “Now those who were scattered went about preaching the Word. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ. And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip when they heard him and saw the signs that he did. For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was great joy in that city.”
Jesus had promised that His followers would suffer persecution. This happened after Stephen was martyred. The persecution caused the disciples to scatter out of Jerusalem into many other towns and regions. Philip, one of the first deacons, was scattered to Samaria. There he proclaimed Christ and preached the Word and God stretched out His hand in signs and healings and demonic evictions. Great joy was spread as the Word of God spread by those persecuted believers!
Faith Confession: Lord Jesus, help me to boldly proclaim Your truth wherever the Spirit takes me. I want the joy and light of Your truth and healing presence to flow among all people in my path.
Proverbs 4:18 “But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.”
Scripture reading for May 14th: Acts 7, Psalm 96, Proverbs 3
Key Scriptures: Acts 7:51-55 “”You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, Whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.” Now when they heard these things, they were enraged and they ground their teeth at him. But he, full of the Holy Spirit gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of the God.”
Stephen had the privilege of preaching the Gospel and declaring truth to some of the same crowd who had demanded Jesus be crucified. He did not back off, but was full of boldness by the Holy Spirit. But truth is not received by the proud and arrogant and they quickly became an angry mob with murder in their hearts again. In contrast, Stephen saw a vision of an open heaven and Jesus Christ standing beside the Father’s throne. As Stephen died, he prayed for their forgiveness as did His Lord Jesus.
Faith Confession: Lord, give me the kind of boldness and grace that Stephen had by filling me with the Holy Spirit. Help me to clearly preach and live by truth even in the face of unrepentant lost religious people.
Psalm 96:2-3 “Sing to the Lord, bless His Name; tell of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples!”
Scripture reading for May 13th: Acts 6, Psalm 95, Proverbs 2
Key Scriptures: Acts 6:2-6 “And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the Word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word.” And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, . . .”
As the number of believers multiplied and diversified, the apostles soon felt the need to multiply the leadership and spread out the duties of pastoral care. They gathered all the disciples and shared their priority of prayer and preaching God’s Word. They also shared their solution–the appointment of Spirit-filled helpers to serve the widows. They chose seven men–full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom to come along side and serve. Character was more important than talent.
Faith Confession: Thank You Lord for this insightful record of how You helped the leaders in Your church to keep their priorities straight and chose helpers full of the Spirit and wisdom. Give me wisdom to multiply those serving Your church.
Proverbs 2:6-8 “For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of His saints.”