Scripture reading for January 10th: Matthew 8, Psalm 8, Prov. 8
Key Scriptures: Matthew 8:5-9 “When He had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to Him, appealing to Him, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” And He said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have You come under my roof, but only say the Word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
Jesus Christ marveled at the confession of this Roman centurion. This man understood delegated authority and the power of one in authority. He knew that Jesus had authority to heal and deliver his servant. He also humbly recognized his own unworthiness before Jesus. So he asked Jesus to give the command and understood how that command would be sufficient. “Great faith!” was Jesus’ declaration when he heard the centurion’s faith request!
Faith’s confession: Jesus, I believe that You have authority to heal and deliver those who are sick or bound by disease. I believe that as Your disciple I have authority to ask You in faith for healing. (Action application: Ask Jesus for healing for yourself or someone you know who is hurting.)
Psalm 8:3-6 “When I look at Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that You care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. Your have given him dominion over the works of Your hands; . .”
Scripture reading for December 17th: Jonah 1-3, Revelation 13
Key Scriptures: Revelation 13:1, 5-8 “And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. . . . And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming His Name and His dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. Authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on the earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.”
Earth dwellers don’t know about heaven and live by their flesh under the control of the devil. Those living in heaven, marked on earth by the Holy Spirit are persecuted by the earth dwellers. In the last days, a beast-like ruler will arise and be allowed to make war on the saints and conquer them. The heaven-dwellers (saints) will not worship this beast, but keeping their vows, only worship the Lamb.
Jonah 2:9 “But I with a voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord.”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for the Holy Spirit and Your Word of truth. I chose to worship You alone with thanksgiving! Salvation belongs to the Lord Jesus alone! Amen.
Scripture reading for September 25th: Song of Songs 7-8, Isaiah 1-2, 1st Timothy 2
Key Scriptures: 1st Timothy 2:1-4 “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
Paul encouraged Timothy to teach the church to pray. Prayer for those in authority was to be foundational to the church being able to function under the world and government structures and fulfill the mission of God–preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all men that all might be saved and know Christ. The church must pray first of all and obey His voice.
Song of Songs 8:13 “O you who dwell in the gardens, with companions listening for your voice; let Me hear it.”
Prayer: Lord, I pray today for our government leaders, church leaders and all in authority in home, work and government. Let them rule under Your authority and may the Gospel go forth to all people. Amen.
Scripture reading for January 12th: Matthew 8
Key Scripture: Matthew 8:13 “Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go, It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour.”
Rome had placed units of their army in Judea and Galilee to keep peace and protect the land from insurrection. A Roman centurion was a commander of a hundred men and was under direction of military officers. The centurion in this story came to Jesus out of deep concern for a servant of his that was paralyzed. He had evidently heard about Jesus’ ability to heal and came believing in Him. After Jesus agreed to go and heal the servant, the centurion told Him not to bother coming but to just speak the word! Jesus was amazed at this Gentile’s faith! He simply told him to go and it would be done as he believed! The results were immediate!
As we walk through this year, we will face many difficult situations and attacks of the enemy against us and our loved ones. Jesus is honored as we call on Him and believe in the authority of His powerful Word! Let’s make Jesus marvel at our faith each day as we ask and believe for the miraculous!
Observations for over-comers: Let your compassion for hurting people move you to ask Jesus to heal and to claim His Word as authority over the attacks of Satan! “. . .and call on Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor Me.” (Psalm 50:15)
Scripture reading for March 4th: Mark 11:26-12:17, Psalms 47:1-9, Proverbs 10:24-25
“They arrived again in Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you authority to do this?” (Mark 11:27-28)
Jesus had just cleansed the temple, overturning the tables of the money changers and teaching the people about God’s house being a house of prayer. This caused the religious authorities to begin looking for a way to kill Him. They feared Him because all the people were amazed at His teaching and were drawn to Jesus. They did not understand why Jesus felt that He had authority to take charge in their assigned domain of the temple. They were insecure and felt threatened and their worldly way of handling this was murder! This was in the face of the Son of God and directly opposed to the commandment of God that told them “Thou shall not murder.” (Exodus 20:13)
These men came to Jesus and asked Him where He got His authority. “Who do you think you are?” would be a modern day translation of this confrontation. Jesus answered them with another question and told them He would reveal His source of authority if they could or would answer His question. “”John’s baptism, was it from heaven, or from men?” Tell Me.” (Mark 11:29b) These leaders discussed their possible answers. They could have said “from heaven” and Jesus would have asked them why they didn’t believe John’s word that Jesus was the “Lamb of God”. They feared saying that it was from men, because the people all believed that John was a prophet who spoke from God. So they simply avoided an answer and Jesus refused to give them an answer directly.
Jesus was really probing what they really believed and getting at the root of all faith. Who do you really believe that Jesus is? Where do you think Jesus got His authority? It comes down to a matter of faith and God will give us all the evidence we need to believe if we open our hearts and want to know. If we are really plotting Jesus’ destruction, even the truth standing in front of us won’t matter! Have you settled this question in your heart? Today is a good time!
Scripture reading for October 24th: Luke 10-12
We are in a war and often our lives here on earth resemble a war zone! The Kingdom of Heaven is in direct opposition to the kingdom of the devil. The devil’s kingdom is one of dominance, manipulation, fear, and deceit. God’s Kingdom is one of love, compassion, faith, and truth. The devil uses sickness, oppression, depression, and poverty to imprison those made in God’s image. God sends His people out under His authority to heal the sick, deliver the oppressed, preach good news to the depressed and hopeless, and share His great riches with all who will receive! These kingdoms are in conflict that is raging around the earth each day.
In our reading today, Jesus sent out seventy-two disciples into this conflict. (Luke 10:1-4) They were not to take a purse, bag, or sandals. They were not to greet anyone on the road because they had a mission. They were armed with His Word and authority and had prayed that the Lord would send out workers. Jesus then sent them! Be careful what you pray for– you may be the answer!
They were to live by faith and trust God for whatever they needed in the way of daily provisions. As they entered a town, or a house, and were welcomed, they were to speak ‘peace’ to those who dwelt there. They were to eat and have fellowship with those who welcomed them. They then were to heal the sick and tell them of the Kingdom of God. (Luke 10:8-9) However, if they were not welcomed, they were to shake the dust from their feet and warn the people that the Kingdom of God had come near to them and their dust would be a witness against them on judgment day. (Luke 10:10-12) It was a simple assignment!
As the seventy-two returned to Jesus, they were full of joy and rejoiced at their results! The demons had fled, sick people were healed, and Jesus’ authority had given them victory after victory! Jesus Himself remarked: “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:18-20) Jesus was filled with joy at these disciples’ success and their understanding, for the Father had opened their hearts and given it to them. He cautioned them not to become proud, but to remain humble about God’s grace gift to them.
As we reflect on this passage and on our own lives, we realize that each day we are sent into this conflict. We have the Holy Spirit and the Name of Jesus Christ. Authority is ours to plunder the enemies’ camp! All power of the enemy can be overcome by faith and the Word of God. We must remain humble and under His authority. Go out with humble boldness today and bring joy to God’s heart!
Scripture reading for March 12: Judges 9-12
All authority come from God and the Bible declares that God places people in authority. (Psalm 75:6-7) When God places someone in authority, His anointing and counsel guide that person. The person must stay under God’s anointing and follow His directions closely. As we have observed the various leaders so far in Scripture, we see how God has placed them where He wanted them and used them as they followed Him.
For example, Gideon was a man placed by God in a position of leadership. Gideon interacted with God to be certain of what to do and how to do it. He certainly was not perfect and made some glaring mistakes, but brought peace to the land for a period of time. He had 71 sons and a large family. When Gideon passed away, a leadership crisis arose. The Israelites went back to idol worship and one of Gideon’s sons sought to take over.
Abimelech arose to take over his father’s place. Abimelech was the son of a slave girl. He had 70 brothers who were produced through his father by other mothers. He went to his mother’s town and relatives and proposed to take over leadership. They paid him some money from an idol temple and he hired mercenary soldiers. They then killed 69 of his seventy brothers. Jotham, the youngest, was the only one who escaped. Jotham spoke a word of prophesy from Mt. Gerazim at Abimelech’s coronation ceremony then quickly escaped. He basically pronounced a judgment on Abimelech’s leadership and those who followed. (Judges 9:7-21)
The Scriptures state that God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the citizens of Shechem. God did this to avenge the shedding of innocent blood of the seventy brothers. Abimelech and the citizens of Schechem had conspired to commit that murder and now they would become enemies themselves! (Judges 9:22-24) This evil spirit would destroy them both and was God’s judgment on a self-appointed leader and those who joined with him in rebellion!
What can we learn from this today? God does place people in leadership for our good, protection, and blessing. When a leader follows the Lord, the people and leader are blessed. When someone tries to place themselves in leadership by his own power, craftiness, or manipulation, then both the leader and those who scheme with him come under God’s judgment! We must be vigilant today in our country. Politics and media are always at work trying to manipulate people. Politicians use religion and try to destroy their rivals. In the workplace, people scheme and plot to get advantage. In the church at times, people seek to appoint themselves. Beware– God’s judgment will come on those who appoint themselves!
Shechem’s punishment: “So all the men cut branches and followed Abimelech. They piled them against the stronghold and set it on fire over the people inside. So all the people in the tower of Shechem, about a thousand men and women, also died.” (Judges 9:49)
Abimelech’s punishment: “Abimelech went to the tower and stormed it. But as he approached the entrance to the tower to set it on fire, a woman dropped an upper millstone on his head and cracked his skull. Abimelech had his armor-bearer kill him so he did not die at the hands of a woman.
Scripture reading for January 28: Exodus 25-27
Do you like to follow directions? Men are particularly prone to trying to put something together from trial and error. We like the adventure and take pride in being able to do complex projects from our memories or experience. We often feel that instructions are unnecessary. This attitude usually gets us into trouble and we either get lost or end up with left over parts from the project!
Moses was given a pattern for the Tabernacle. God gave him specific instructions as to how this “dwelling place” was to be constructed. He told them numbers, lengths, weights and the type of materials for each part. God left nothing to chance when it came to His first dwelling here with His people on earth. It was a mobile dwelling because God was moving with the Israelites and leading them as they journeyed. He moved in the cloud by day and pillar of fire by night. Four times in our reading today God re-emphasizes the need to make everything after the pattern shown on the mountain. (Exodus 25:9,40; 26:30; 27:9) It may be that God knew Moses was a typical man!
The instructions for this Tabernacle starts with the Ark of the Covenant! Everything begins with God at the center! God’s dwelling place was a special representation of a heavenly reality. It was a chest of acacia wood about 4 feet long. It was to be coated with pure gold. Two gold cherubim were to be beaten out for each end and they were to face the lid of this box. The box was to have two rings on each side where poles of acacia wood would be used to transport it. Everything was coated with pure gold. It was to be carried by priests who were consecrated for this job. The tablets of Testimony, the ten commands, were to be placed inside of this box. Later a jar of manna was placed there as well as Aaron’s rod that had budded and sprouted in God’s presence. (Hebrews 9:1-5)
This ark of the Covenant represents Jesus Christ, God dwelling with us. John 1:14-15 tells us that Jesus came and “pitched his tent” (tabernacled) among us. We beheld His glory! Jesus kept the law of God, the tablets of Testimony. He was the only man who has ever lived who fully obeyed the Law and was without sin. (Hebrews 4:15-16) He was the living bread (manna) come down from heaven, that if any man eat of this bread, he would never die! (John 6:47-50) He was the one chosen by God to have all authority in heaven and on earth! (Aaron’s rod!) (Matthew 28:18) He was worshiped by angels at his birth, and now is in the presence of holy angels in heaven. (Revelation 4:12) This is an awesome object lesson meant to teach the Israelites of that day and us today about Jesus and his glory.
We who are saved and in relationship with Jesus have his glory in our earthen “tents”. (2 Corinthians 4:7) We are being transformed by that glory into God’s image! (2 Corinthians 3:17-18) The Spirit is God with us! We are made holy by the blood of Jesus Christ and desire to keep his law in obedience with grace.(Hebrews 8:10-11) We receive authority to pray and witness in His name! (Luke 10:19-20) We are destined for the gold streets of Glory and to see the face of Jesus! Thank him today for his perfect plans!