Faith shows in Action!

Scripture reading for November 6th:  Jeremiah 41-43, James 5

Key Scriptures: James 5:13-16 “Is anyone among you suffering?  Let him pray.  Is anyone cheerful?  Let him sing praise.  Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.   And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up.   And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.  Therefore, confess you sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”

James concluded his letter to the church with practical instructions on living by faith with corresponding actions.  No matter what the circumstance, prayer, praise, thanksgiving and actions prompted by faith will bring God’s response.  Faith shows itself by corresponding actions!  The people who came to Jeremiah for God’s direction, however, did not want to obey God!

Jeremiah 42:2-3 “. . .and said to Jeremiah the prophet, “Let our plea for mercy come before you, and pray to the Lord your God for us, for all this remnant–because we are left with but a few, as your eyes see us–that the Lord your God may show us the way we should go, and the thing we should do.”  

Prayer:  Lord, thank You for Your promises of response to the faith of Your people.  Keep me from unbelief and failing to act on Your instructions.  Amen.

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Grace to the humble!

Scripture reading for November 5th:  Jeremiah 37-40, James 4

Key Scriptures: James 4:6-10 “But He gives more grace.  Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Be wretched and mourn and weep.  Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.” 

Pride is a terrible sin.  It got the devil kicked out of heaven as he is the ‘king of the proud.’  Pride keeps us from admitting that we are sinners in great need of God’s amazing grace.  It keeps us from true repentance and life.  The remedy is to resist the devil and draw near to the throne of Grace by Jesus Christ.  Humble repentance will bring cleansing and exaltation.

Jeremiah 37:19-20 “Where are your prophets who prophesied to you, saying, ‘The king of Babylon will not come against you and against this land?’ Now hear, please, O my lord the king:  Let my humble plea come before you and do not send me back to the house of Jonathan the secretary, lest I die there.”  

Prayer:  Lord, I humbly draw near to You, the only King who can save me.  Help me to resist the devil and the pride that easily ensnares me and receive Your abundant grace.  Amen.

 

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Listen before you speak!

Scripture reading for November 2nd:  Jeremiah 34-36, James 3

Key Scriptures:  James 3:6-9  “And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness.  The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.  For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue.  It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.  With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.”  

James, pastor of the Jerusalem church and half-brother of Jesus Christ, loved to give practical wisdom to God’s people.  He cautioned them concerning the tongue.  Our speech gets us into trouble with God and others.  We cannot tame the tongue ourselves.  Only God by His grace and the power of the Holy Spirit can enable us to speak righteously and obey Him.

Jeremiah 35: 15  “I (God) have sent to you all My servants the prophets, sending them persistently, saying “Turn now every one of you from his evil way, and amend your deeds, and do not go after other gods to serve them, and then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to you and your fathers.  But you did not incline your ear or listen to Me.”  

Prayer:  Lord, forgive me for using my tongue to do evil and harm others.  Help me to listen to You and live by faith in every Word.  Amen.

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Faith and Works!

Scripture reading for November 1st:  Jeremiah 30-33, James 2

Key Scriptures:  James 2:20-24 “Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?  You see that faith was active along with his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”–and he was called a friend of God.  You see that a  person is justified by works and not by faith alone.”

James stressed that true faith was demonstrated by corresponding works.  If anyone truly believes God and trusts His Word, that person must act on what God has said.  Abraham was told to offer his son to God and he obeyed, demonstrating that his faith was authentic.  Faith that shows no corresponding actions is dead.

Jeremiah 33:16-17  “Thus says the Lord:  “Keep your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears, for there is a reward for your work, declares the Lord, and they shall come back from the land of the enemy.  There is hope for your future, declares the Lord, and your children shall come back to their own country.””

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, help me to live by faith today and do the works that You have laid out for me.  I believe You for the salvation of my children and grandchildren and those to come!  Amen.

 

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The Crown of Life

Scripture reading for October 31st:  Jeremiah 27-29, James 1

Key Scriptures:  James 1:12-13  “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him.  Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and He Himself tempts no one.  But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.  Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”  

James was the pastor of the church of Jesus in Jerusalem.  Most of his congregation were of Jewish background.  He encouraged them to maintain their faith during trials.  The trails may have included family members enticing them to come back to Judaism.  Paul warned them that God tempted no man, but desires come from within and sin is acting on the desires.  Sin would lead to death, contrary to God’s good plan of salvation through faith.

Jeremiah 29:11  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”    

Prayer:  Thank You Lord for Your good plans and encouragement from Your Word and promise of eternal reward.  Deliver me from evil, for Yours is the Kingdom, power and glory forever!  Amen.

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Strengthened through Grace!

Scripture reading for October 30th:  Jeremiah 23-26, Hebrews 13

Key Scriptures:  Hebrews 13:7-9  “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the Word of God.  Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.  Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them.”  

The writer of Hebrews concludes his letter with an encouragement to the believers to remember and obey and imitate their leaders.  Their main Leader, Jesus Christ, was unchangeable!  Godly living was through the grace found in Jesus Christ, not in what a person ate or in strange teachings.

Jeremiah 23:18  “For who among them has stood in the council of the Lord to see and to hear His Word, or who has paid attention to His Word and listened?”  

Prayer:  Lord, thank You for godly leaders who stand in the council of the Lord and teach His Word.  May I pay attention and listen.  Amen.

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His Unshakable Kingdom!

Scripture reading for October 29th:  Jeremiah 20-22, Hebrews 12

Scripture reading:  Hebrews 12:25-29  “See that you do not refuse Him who is speaking.  For if they did not escape when they refused Him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject Him who warns from heaven.  At that time His voice shook the earth, but now He has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”  . . .”Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”  

God spoke to His people in the Old Testament from the cloud and the fire of Mt. Sinai and in the New Testament through Jesus Christ, God’s Son and final Word from God in Heaven.  The earth shook at Mt. Sinai and God promises that He will shake the earth once more at the return of Jesus Christ for His Church.  His people receive an “unshakable Kingdom,” but those who have rejected His Word will be shaken out!

Jeremiah 20:13  “Sing to the Lord; praise the Lord!  For He has delivered the life of the needy from the hand of evildoers.”  

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, help me to proclaim Your Word to those in the world who have not heard His voice.  I worship You with reverence and awe for Your great mercy and deliverance!  Amen.

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Faith’s vision!

Scripture reading for October 26th:  Jeremiah 16-19, Hebrews 11

Key Scriptures:  Hebrews 11:13-16  “These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.  For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.  . . .But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city.”  

All the great men and women of faith from the Old Testament saw in their spirits the fulfillment of God’s promises.  They never experienced the fulfillment while on earth, but died in anticipation of a heavenly country where God was King.  God, seeing their faith, has prepared a Heavenly City, the New Jerusalem, just for these faithful, and all who trust in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Jeremiah 17:12-13  “A glorious throne set on high from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary.  O Lord, the Hope of Israel, all who forsake You shall be put to shame; those who turn away from You shall be written in the earth, for they have forsaken the Lord, the Fountain of Living Water.”  

Prayer:  Lord, my soul sees Your promises and truth and longs for the coming of Jesus Christ and His righteous rule.  Come, Lord Jesus!  Amen.

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God’s Faithful Word!

Scripture reading for October 25th:  Jeremiah 13-15, Hebrews 10

Key Scriptures:  Hebrews 10:23-27 “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.  For if we go on sinning deliberately, after receiving a knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.”

God honors faithfulness and application of truth revealed.  Christians have a great responsibility to live in obedience and hold Christ’s return in their thinking and actions.   God is faithful and also just!  Willful sinning when the knowledge of God’s truth has been received will bring judgment and eternal loss.  What a joy to delight in His Word!

Jeremiah 15:16  “Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your words  became to me a joy and delight of my heart, for I am called by Your Name, O Lord, God of Hosts.” 

 Prayer:  Lord, Thank You for Your faithfulness and Holy Word of encouragement and warning.  May I always delight in Your Word and be called by Your great Name!  Amen.

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Steadfast Love and Mercy!

Scripture reading for October 24th:  Jeremiah 9-12, Hebrews 9

Key Scriptures:  Hebrews 9:24, 27-28  “For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. . . “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him.”

Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, entered the actual Holy of Holies in heaven.  He took the ultimate sacrifice, His own blood to atone for our sins.  He is coming back to earth again a second time, not to deal with sin again, but to save completely those who are trusting in Him!  What wisdom God and Christ have revealed to all who will hear!

Jeremiah 9:23-24 “Thus says the Lord:  “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth.  For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”  

Prayer:  Lord, thank You for Your mercy to me to personally pay for my sins with Your own blood.  Thank You for revealing Your mercy to me!  Amen.

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