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2017 Theme: Joy and Thanksgiving!

Scripture reading for 2017:  The Holy Bible–Genesis through Revelation.

Breakdown:  With God’s help, a reading plan for five days per week breaking at chapters will begin on Monday January 2nd, 2017 and end on Friday, December 29th, 2017.

Devotion:  A devotion will be presented from each day’s reading, Monday-Friday, focusing on developing thankfulness and joy in our lives.  This will be featured on my blog site:  www.Bibletrektoday.com

Invitation:  I am joyfully inviting my family, friends, and anyone who will to join me in my ninth trek through God’s Holy Bible in 2017.  As you read, ask God to fill you with a knowledge of His holy character and with a joyful and thankful heart.  Ask Him to increase your awareness of His presence in your life and allow you to share your joy and hope with others.  Exciting things happen when we pray and read God’s Word!

Key Verses:  “Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared.  This day is sacred to our Lord.  Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”  Nehemiah 8:10

“Shout for joy to the Lord all the earth.  Worship the Lord with gladness, come before Him with joyful songs. . . .Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and  praise His Name.”  Psalm 100:1-2,4

“If you obey My Commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commands and remain in His love.  I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”  (Jesus) (John 15:10-11)

 

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God is impartial!

Scripture reading for May 18th:  Acts 10

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Acts 10:44-48  “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.  The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles.  For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.  Then Peter said, “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water?  They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.”  So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.”

The early church came mainly from converts among the Jews.  Peter was a devout Jew, as were most of the other apostles.  When God called him to go to the home of Cornelius and preach to the Gentiles gathered there, it was a shock to his cultural upbringing.  But he took other Jewish believers with him as he obeyed the vision given him by the Lord.  As he preached the Gospel to them, the Holy Spirit fell upon these Gentiles and they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in tongues and praising God.  Peter then understood that God had given them the same gift and they should also be baptized and brought into fellowship of the Church!   Peter had actually prophesied this on the day of Pentecost when he said this gift of the Holy Spirit was for those who were “far off”!  (Acts 2:39)

Observations for over-comers:  God’s ways are often much higher than ours.  We must stay teachable and obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit and not be over-come by our own cultural prejudices.   “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.”  (Deuteronomy 10:17)

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Good Seed for good soil!

Scripture reading for March 14th: Luke 8

Key scriptures for over-comers:  Luke 8:8-9,15  “Still other seed fell on good soil.  It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”  When He said this, He called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”  His disciples asked Him what this parable meant. . . .But the seed on the good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”

Jesus taught the people as well as His disciples with parables.  These were stories about common events and illustrations take from the culture and time they lived in.  These stories contained spiritual truths that only those with humble and teachable hearts could grasp.  Those who were proud and arrogant could not understand the truth and would not come to Jesus for help in understanding.  His disciples asked for help and found understanding.

Hearts that are like the ‘good’ soil are open to listen to Jesus and the stories He told.  They listen with hungry hearts to learn more and apply it to their own lives.  They lay hold of the truths (the Good Seed) and retain them, patiently working them into their thinking.  This produces a crop over time that is multiplied ‘a hundred times’ what was sown!  In other words, receiving Jesus’ word brings awesome rewards!

Observations for over-comers:  A humble and teachable heart that receives God’s word and seeks to understand and apply it is precious in God’s sight.  As you persevere, He will reward you with a great harvest!  “Then He said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.”  So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.”  (Ezekiel 3:3)

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Lavishing Love on Jesus!

Scripture reading for March 12th:  Luke 7

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Luke 7:44-47  “Then He turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman?  I came into your house.  You did not give Me any water for My feet, but she wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.  You did not give Me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing My feet.  You did not put oil on My head, but she has poured perfume on My feet.  Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–for she loved much.  But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”

Jesus visited the home of a Pharisee for dinner and a woman came and lavished perfume and a foot-washing on Jesus.  The Pharisee and his friends were looking with disdain on this development, knowing the past of the lady involved.  Jesus told a story and then applied it to the situation.  The Pharisees could not miss this teaching and its application.

What would Jesus say about us?  All who have been ‘born-again’ have welcomed Him into our ‘house’.  Do we lavish praise and worship on Him when we gather with God’s people?  Do we humbly ‘wash’ His feet by serving others in need?  Are we lavish with our precious treasures, giving generously to His kingdom work?  Do we truly understand how much we have been forgiven?

Observations for over-comers:  Good works and lavish worship won’t save us, but they are a good indicator of our understanding Christ’s forgiveness of our many sins!  “When those who were carrying the ark of the Lord had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf.  David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the Lord with all his might, while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.”  (2nd Samuel 6:13-15)

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A student will become like his teacher!

Scripture reading for January 14th:  Matthew 10

Key scriptures:  Matthew 10:24-25, 28  “”A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.  It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master.  If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household. . . .  Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Jesus plainly taught His disciples that persecution would be their lot from others, often members of their own household.  After all, Jesus was a Jew and His own countrymen turned on Him, some accusing Him of being demon-possessed and others plotting His murder–for religious reasons, of course!

However, Jesus’ disciples must continue to share the good news and preach truth without regard for those who opposed them.  Their fear or respect for God must always be above a fear of man–even their own family!  The fear of man could be the snare of the enemy that would take Jesus’ followers to their destruction in Hell!  Jesus taught them that hell was a real place where the devil and his followers would spend eternity suffering for their lack of fear of God.

Observation for over-comers:  As we follow Jesus, we are being transformed to be more like Him each day.  This brings persecution from those in rebellion.  Don’t fear their taunts, Christ has overcome! “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord will be kept safe.”  (Proverbs 29:25)

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Good Tidings of Great Joy!

Scripture reading for December 25th:  Luke 2:8-14

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified!  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.  This will be a sign to you;  You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.””  (Luke 2:8-14)

To the humble shepherds, an angel of the Lord appeared in radiant and blinding glory.  They were tending their flocks, protecting them from the predators of the night and the sight was terrifying!  The angel reassured them with one of the 365 “fear not’s” of the Scriptures.  His message was “good news of great joy” for all people of the earth, Jew and Gentile!  (Luke 2:29-32)  This “Good News” was that a Savior, Christ the Lord,  had been born in the town of David–Bethlehem!  This fulfilled what was spoken by Micah the prophet! (Micah 5:2)  These shepherds were told they would find this child wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.

A great company of heavenly hosts (angelic beings) appeared with the angel of the Lord to these shepherds.  They were praising God and giving glory to God in the highest heaven and proclaiming peace on earth to all men who would believe and receive the “Good News”!  Today is still a time of God’s favor and His peace is available to all who will repent of their sins and receive Jesus Christ as Lord!  This Good News is for you and all men today!

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Seasoned with salt!

Scripture reading for September 11th:  Colossians 4

Hearts were warmed!

Scripture reading for October 29th: Luke 22-24

Luke told the story of the two disciples who were walking on the road to Emmaus on Sunday afternoon after the resurrection of Jesus Christ earlier that same day.  One was named Cleopas and the other disciple is not named.   These two disciples were walking along discussing the events of the Passover week that had just finished.  They were disciples of Jesus who were still reeling from their Master’s sudden crucifixion.  And now, that morning, the women came and told them that Jesus was risen!  (Luke 24:9-12)  Peter went and found only the grave clothes lying there by themselves.  All were perplexed and wondered what had happened.  As they were walking and talking, Jesus joined them on the road and walked with them.  They did not initially recognize Him, but He struck up a conversation.

They began to tell Him their experience of the past week as He asked them what had happened.  They told Him the whole story about the crucifixion of Jesus and the empty tomb.  Jesus then spoke clearly to them from the Law and the Prophets, showing them how the Messiah must suffer and die and enter His glory.  I imagine it was an interesting Bible Study on that road that day and the time passed quickly.  Suddenly, they were at their destination and they had hardly begun.  They invited Jesus to stay and eat with them.

As they sat at the table, Jesus took the bread, and gave thanks, and broke it to give to them.  As soon as He did this simple act of fellowship around the table, their eyes were opened and they beheld Him!  He then disappeared from their sight!  They recognized how their hearts had burned when Jesus had opened the Scriptures and talked with them.  (Luke 24:30-32)

This story is heart-warming for us even today!  What a gracious Savior we have who would care so dearly for His followers!  As we read the Scriptures, we now have the Holy Spirit living in us who will take these words and unveil them in our hearts!  (John 16:13-16)  He sets our hearts on fire for Him daily!  Each time we partake of the “Lord’s Supper”, we have Him revealed to us afresh and in a new way! (Luke 22:17-19)  We are so blessed to know Him and enjoy His heart-warming love!

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Sunday rest and reflection!

Sunday June 22nd, 2014

Dear Friends,

Mary and I would like to thank all who prayed and sent us notes and encouragement this past week.  My father went home to the Lord last Saturday night and we had a wonderful home-going service on Wednesday.  We could feel the prayers and God’s presence was with us in a special way.  My mom, after 68 years of marriage,  is working through this with God’s help.

Jesus is the Hope of all the earth!  In Him, all families of the earth find true blessings of righteousness and peace!  His Kingdom is a kingdom of righteousness and peace based on His eternal love and faithfulness!  Let us gather to worship, pray, and honor His Word as it is taught and preached!  The King is coming soon!

In His Love,

Pastor John and Mary

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Sunday rest and reflection!

Sunday May 11th, 2014

Dear Friends,

Today is a day to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead!

It is also a day we honor our mothers, who sacrificially carried us and cared for us that we can enjoy physical life on earth!  I must boast of a wonderful mother who blessed me and our family by her loving, caring, serving example of our Lord.  She taught the Bible in word and deed!  She has blessed her family and God’s family is richer because of her!  May God bless her today and always!

Join with the church today as we worship, pray, and listen to God’s Word!  May eternal praise be given to the One who gives us eternal life!  God bless our mothers!  May Jesus Christ be praised!

In His Love,  Pastor John and Mary

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