Scripture reading for January 4th: Matthew 4, Psalm 4, Prov. 4 (Reading through the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs one chapter a day, five days each week in 2019–please join me in the trek!)
Key Scriptures: Matthew 4:1-4 “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But He answered, “It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.””
Immediately following Jesus’ baptism, the Spirit lead Him to the wilderness where He fasted for forty days and nights. The devil came to Him at the height of His hunger and suggested He prove His divinity by turning stones into bread. Jesus responded with God’s Word: “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word from the mouth of God.” Jesus made a faith confession to defeat the devil’s temptation and the desire of His own flesh for food. We can do the same!
Faith’s confession: I believe that my life is not sustained by bread alone, but I live by every word God has spoken and rest in His grace. I am God’s child! (Action: Break any addiction today by standing on God’s Word and resisting the devil’s temptation.)
Psalm 4:8 “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
Scripture reading for January 3rd: Matthew 3, Psalm 3, Proverbs 3 (Reading through the New Testament, Psalms, Proverbs one chapter a day, five days a week in 2019–join the trek!)
Key Scriptures: Matthew 3:16-17 “And when Jesus was baptized, immediately He went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on Him; and behold a Voice from heaven said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.””
The story jumps from Jesus’ birth and early years to His baptism at the age of thirty by John the Baptist. John testified that Jesus’ ministry would come after his ministry and Jesus would baptize with the “Holy Spirit and fire.” Jesus then came to John to be baptized in order to identify with us and to “fulfill all righteousness.” The Holy Spirit descended on Him and the Father testified to Christ’s Sonship and pleasing obedience.
Faith’s confession: I believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, the three that are One. (Action: I follow Jesus in water baptism and seek Him for baptism in the Holy Spirit.)
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.”
Scripture reading for September 17th: Proverbs 29-31; Ecclesiastes 1; 1st Thessalonians 4
Key Scriptures: 1st Thessalonians 4:3-7 “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.”
The idols that the Thessalonians once served promoted sexual immorality. Their culture was very permissive. But Paul’s pastoral warning stood against this pervading sin in the culture. He was proactive and now reinforcing what he had earlier taught them. God would avenge all wrong of sisters and brothers through immorality! God calls all to holiness.
Proverbs 29:1 “He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing.”
Proverbs 30:20 “This is the way of an adulteress: she eats and wipes her mouth and says, “I have done no wrong.”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your loving reproof and solemn warnings against this sin of immorality. May I live to truly love You and as a result, my brothers and sisters, never violating them. Amen.
Scripture reading for September 14th: Proverbs 26-28, 1st Thessalonians 3
Key Scriptures: 1st Thessalonians 3:11-13 “Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.”
Paul eagerly desired to return to the believers at Thessalonica. He was encouraged by the report of their faith in the face of persecution and false doctrine. He prayed for a way to return and for their love to abound towards one another. Their faith in Jesus Christ would prepare them for Christ’s return and make them blameless in His sight.
Proverbs 28:1 “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.”
Proverbs 28:10 “Whoever misleads the upright into an evil way will fall into his own pit, but the blameless will have a goodly inheritance.”
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the gift of righteousness and for counting me among the blameless. I look forward to a “goodly inheritance.” Amen.
Scripture reading for September 13th: Proverbs 22-25, 1st Thessalonians 2
Key Scriptures: 1st Thessalonians 2:13-14 “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the Word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the Word of God, which is at work in you believers. For you became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea.”
Paul commended the Thessalonians for their faith in receiving the Gospel he preached as God’s Word. The Word of God was working inside these believers and producing the fruit of changed lives. We should thank God for faithful pastors and disciples of Jesus who proclaim God’s Truth to His people.
Proverbs 22:17-18 “Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to My knowledge, for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, if all them are ready on your lips.”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for sending me those who wisely preached the Word of God. Help me daily to hear Your Word and keep it in my heart, sharing it with others. Amen.
Scripture reading for September 12: Proverbs 19-21, 1st Thessalonians 1
Key Scriptures: 1st Thessalonians 1:8-10 “For not only has the Word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”
Paul commended the Thessalonians for their faith that exhibited itself in action. They had turned to God wholeheartedly from the idols they once served. They preached the Word to those around them. These works were because they believed in the return of their Lord Jesus from heaven to save them from judgment.
Proverbs 19:23 “The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.”
Proverbs 21:21 “Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness and honor.”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for the revelation of Jesus Christ as Savior, Lord, and coming King. Lead me into a life of resounding faith that draws others to You. Amen.
Scripture reading for September 11th: Proverbs 15-18, Colossians 4
Key Scriptures: Colossians 4:2-6 “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it, with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the Word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison–that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”
Believers are to be people of prayer. Pastors and missionaries need prayer and ask for it. Paul’s specific request was for open doors to preach God’s Word, the Gospel. He asked for boldness and clarity of speech for himself and for those he was writing to. Salt seasoning of speech is for all believers.
Proverbs 15:1-2 “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly.”
Prayer: Lord, I ask You for open doors for Your Word today. May my speech be bold for you yet filled with wisdom and compassion, seasoned with salt by the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Scripture reading for September 10th: Proverbs 12-14, Colossians 3
Key Scriptures: Colossians 3:12-15 “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another, and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these, put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”
Learning and living go together in our walk with Jesus Christ. As we follow Jesus, His example is to guide our conduct and His Holy Spirit is to fill us with the fruit of His Holy character. We are one with Christ and other believers in one body, His Church!
Proverbs 14:2-3 “Whoever walks in uprightness fears the Lord, but he who is devious in his ways despises Him. By the mouth of a fool comes a rod for his back, but the lips of the wise will preserve them.”
Prayer: Lord, clothe me today with Your Holy Spirit and Christ’s character so that I might reflect Your goodness to the people You love and died for. Amen.
Scripture reading for September 7th: Proverbs 8-11, Colossians 2
Key Scriptures: Colossians 2:13-16 “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”
Paul explained the amazing work of Jesus Christ through His sacrifice on the cross. The written code of the Law was nailed to the cross, so that it could no longer provoke us to sin. He defeated and disarmed our arch foe, Satan, and his demons. He triumphed over them through the cross! In Him we now have victory and empowerment to live righteously by faith.
Proverbs 11:3-4 “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity. Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for Christ’s amazing sacrifice for me. Through Him, I am saved from death and given life! Amen.