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 December 7th: Colossians 4, 1st Thessalonians 1-3
Key Scriptures: 1st Thessalonians 3:12-13 “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May He strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all His holy ones.”
Paul desired greatly to come and minister again to the Thessalonians. He had asked God to make a way, and for God to increase their love for each other through His indwelling presence. Paul wanted them to be blameless and holy when Jesus Christ returned to earth with all His holy ones to take His Bride away! This prayer for them would inspire them to seek God for His righteousness and to live holy lives in expectancy!
Joyful in hope at Christ’s return: “Yes, Lord, walking in the way of Your laws, we wait for You; Your Name and renown are the desire of our hearts. My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you. When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness.” (Isaiah 26:8-9)
Scripture reading for March 13th: Judges 18-21
Key Scriptures: Judges 18:18-20 “When these men went into Micah’s house and took the carved image, the ephod, the other household gods and the cast idol, the priest and said to them, “What are you doing?” The answered him, “Be Quiet! Don’t say a word. Come with us, and be our father and priest. Isn’t it better that you serve a tribe and clan in Israel as priest rather than just one man’s household?” Then the priest was glad. He took the ephod, the other household gods and the carved image and went along with the people.”
The tribe of Dan had turned to idolatry and a form of religion. They had no King or did not remember the Lord and His Word. This story tells of an idolatrous family and tribe whose priest served for dishonest gain!
Thankful for godly leadership: God commands leaders to live godly examples and not work for money but for Him! “Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed.” (1st Thessalonians 22:9-10)
Scripture reading for October 7th: Titus 1
Key Scriptures for over-comers: Titus 1:6-9 “An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless–not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.”
Every organization needs sound leadership. The Church of Jesus Christ is no different and Paul instructed Titus about choosing sound leaders that could be entrusted with God’s word and work. First, the elder-leader must be above reproach in the community and family that he leads. He must be the husband of ‘one’ wife! He should have taught his children to believe and instilled God’s word in their lives. His personal habits and character will be known by those living near him and he must have a good reputation–not doing things that are destructive and doing good to his family and others. He must have a good grasp of God’s word and sound doctrine.
Observations for over-comers: Information and application of God’s word go hand-in-hand with an over-coming life. Believers should strive for a blameless reputation. “I will be careful to lead a blameless life–when will You come to me? I will walk in my house with blameless heart. I will set before my eyes no vile thing.” (Psalm 101:2-3)
Scripture reading for September 29th: Philippians 1:1-26
Paul wrote this letter to the Philippian church while in chains imprisoned in Rome. Paul was himself practicing what he wrote to the church he had founded, by maintaining a positive tone and encouraging words. He viewed himself to be a prisoner for Jesus Christ! (Philippians 1:13) The letter was written to the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi and the overseers and deacons to encourage them to persevere. Christ had begun His work in them and He would see it through to completion! (Philippians 1:6)
Paul prayed a beautiful prayer for these saints. “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11) Paul’s heart for this church was that they grow in love. This love would come from an understanding of God’s will for purity and holiness in their personal conduct. God wants to use each person to bring glory to Himself. Jesus Christ is the only source of true love and righteousness. The day of Christ’s return will bring rewards to those who are by choice living to please and glorify God.
Paul encouraged the Philippians to understand that even suffering and persecution can work out God’s plans. What he was enduring in the Roman jail was furthering the cause of the Gospel. Many in the Roman guard got to hear because of his imprisonment. Other believers were encouraged to be bold because of Paul’s attitude and joy to serve God even in prison.
Paul made a conscious choice to rejoice! He understood that through prayers and the Holy Spirit everything would turn out for his deliverance. He was not sure what that deliverance might look like at that moment. “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:20-21) Oh that we might grow in grace to embrace such an attitude and make a daily choice to rejoice!
Scripture reading for August 4th: 1st Corinthians 1:1-17
Corinth was a modern commercial center of Paul’s day. It was a city with many different people and cultures and full of paganism and idolatry. Paul had planted the church there in that culture on his second missionary journey recorded in Acts 18. He warned them of coming troubles when he left them in Acts 20:29-31. This letter was an attempt to deal with problems that arose and keep the church moving forward.
Paul opens his letter with a greeting and thanksgiving for the church in Corinth. The greeting helps them center on Paul’s understanding of their calling. “To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ–their Lord and ours: Grace and Peace to you from our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (1st Corinthians 1:2-3) These believers were set apart to be holy by their Lord, Jesus Christ. They were a part of a larger family consisting of all those who believe in Jesus.
These believers were precious to Paul because it was by his testimony and ministry that they were saved. God had poured out on them the Holy Spirit and the gifts and given them the hope of eternal life. They understood that Jesus was going to return and awaited Him. However, there were problems that needed correction and the apostle Paul sought to address them quickly in this letter.
“My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” (1st Corinthians 1:11-12) This division was not from God, but was a result of their elevating men who served Christ. They had favorite teachers and made serving Christ something that was dividing them instead of unifying them.
Today we have hundreds of denominations and many more sects that have split off of these. We elevate certain teachers who have charisma and a message we like to hear. Many in the church are divided from others who may not believe exactly like them. We fail to live in the unity that Christ prayed for! (John 17:21) Check your own life today. Are you living in unity with those who call Jesus Christ Lord?