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 January 1st: Matthew 1, Psalm 1, Proverbs 1 (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 1:18-21 “Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son and you shall call His Name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.””
The New Testament begins with a story that has its roots in the flow of the Old Testament. A genealogy from Abraham to Joseph begins the story. Joseph’s betrothal to Mary makes the story personal and about love. But Mary, a virgin, was pregnant before the marriage was consummated! Joseph had a plan, but angelic intervention brought needed information: the baby Mary carried was conceived by the Holy Spirit! The Name, “Jesus” was to be given to the child. He would save His people from sin! This story is made personal and current if you have believed in Him and received His love!
Faith’s Confession: I believe that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, conceived by the Holy Spirit, and was God’s Son in human flesh, and is my Savior from my sins.
Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Scripture reading for September 4th: Psalm 147-150, Philippians 3
Key Scriptures: Philippians 3:20-4:1 “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body. Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!”
As Paul was concluding his letter to the Philippians, he cast vision of Christ’s return and the expectation of believers. Christ’s return would bring the ultimate transformation of human flesh to those who trusted in Him. Lowly earthly bodies will be transformed into eternal heavenly bodies, just like Christ’s. This is vision that enables faith and a firm stand.
Psalm 148:13-14 “Let them praise the Name of the Lord, for His Name alone is exalted; His splendor is above the earth and the heavens. He has raised up for His people a horn, the praise of all His saints, of Israel, the people close to His heart. Praise the Lord!”
Prayer: Lord, we praise You and Your Horn, Jesus Christ our Savior. We look forward to Your return for us and the transformation that will take place at that time! Amen.
Scripture reading for September 3rd: Psalm 143-145, Philippians 2
Key Scriptures: Philippians 4:5-11 “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the Name that is above every name, so that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Paul urged the Corinthians to put on the mind of Christ, which was available to them. This “Christ mind” was humble and serving and put God’s will and others before self. This way of thinking and living brings ultimate reward and glory to Christ and God our Father. This way pleases God and requires faith.
Psalm 145:2-4 “Every day I will bless You and praise Your Name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall commend Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for the mind of Christ and His example of humility and serving. Fill me with His ways. I will praise You and declare Your mighty acts! Amen.
Scripture reading for August 31st: Psalm 140-142 and Philippians 1
Key Scriptures: Philippians 1:27-30 “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the Gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the Gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in Him but also suffer for His sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.”
Paul was in prison and not sure whether he would live or die for the Gospel. He wrote to the church at Philippi to encourage them to stand firm in their faith and not be afraid. Faith in Christ often involves suffering for His sake. There is a spiritual conflict that comes with belonging to Him, but we can have great confidence in our final outcome.
Psalm 140:12-13 “I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and will execute justice for the needy. Surely the righteous shall give thanks to Your Name; the upright shall dwell in Your Presence.”
Prayer: Lord, empower me today to stand firm in the conflict and suffering that comes to those who believe. Thank You for the encouragement of Your Word and past apostles and saints. Amen.
Scripture reading for August 30th: Psalms 136-139 and Ephesians 6
Key Scriptures: Ephesians 6:23-24 “Peace be to the brothers and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.”
Paul closed his letter to the Ephesians with a blessing. He gave them a blessing of peace. Our Lord Jesus promised His disciples that “in Me you may have peace.” (John 16:33) He gave them the blessing of “love with faith.” Love never fails and faith works by love. He blessed them with grace–grace that would cover all those who loved Jesus Christ, the loving and faithful Son of God.
Psalm 138:1-2 “I give You thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing Your praise; I bow down toward Your Holy Temple and give thanks to Your Name for Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness, for You have exalted above all things Your Name and Your Word.”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your love and faithfulness! I receive the blessing of Your peace, love, faithfulness, and amazing grace! Amen.
Scripture reading for August 29th: Psalm 133-135 and Ephesians 5
Key Scriptures: Ephesians 5:18-21 “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence to Christ.”
Hearts that are filled with the Holy Spirit flow with heavenly words and music. There is thankfulness flowing to God and others for what Christ Jesus has done, is doing and will do. There is respect and honor for other members of Christ’s Body, the Church. Saints don’t need wine to give them joy! The Holy Spirit overflows them with His provision!
Psalm 133:1,3 “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! . . . .It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forever more.”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for the infilling of the Holy Spirit and songs of joy in my heart. Let that river flow in love and unity for the brothers and sisters and let it reach out to the lost to show them Your glory. Amen.
Scripture reading for August 28th: Psalm 129-132 and Ephesians 4
Key Scriptures: Ephesians 4:29-32 “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Christians are not under the law anymore, but under grace through faith in Christ Jesus. They have been forgiven of their sins and cleansed in their hearts. The Holy Spirit dwells inside them to lead them in the new life of grace. This changes our speech, attitudes and past anger and malice towards others. Our attitudes and actions should now reflect Christ Jesus living within our hearts.
Psalm 132:13-16 “for the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His dwelling place:”This is My resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it. I will abundantly bless her provisions; I will satisfy her poor with bread. Her priests I will clothe with salvation, and her saints will shout for joy.”
Prayer: Lord, dwell in me today, fill me with Your Holy Spirit and clothe me with salvation and joy! I will proclaim Your grace to others. Amen.