Scripture reading for January 20th: Genesis 32-34, Mark 13, Psalm 145
Key Scriptures: Mark 13:31-33 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My Words will not pass away. But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come.”
Genesis 32:24-28 “And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.””
Jacob was afraid of his coming meeting with Esau. He prayed for God’s help and favor but stayed up all night in a wrestling match with a ‘man’ who later was found to be God or an angel representing God. He did not sleep but kept alert in prevailing prayer. Jesus said that that was to be the posture of His disciples concerning His return in power and glory.
Faith Confession and prayer: Father, thank You for the examples and warnings of Scripture concerning the need for Your people to remain alert and ready, even wrestling to lay hold of the promised blessings. Keep me in Your Word and the power of the Holy Spirit so I might prevail!
Psalm 145:14 “The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.”
Scripture reading for January 15th: Genesis 26-27, Mark 10
Key Scriptures: Genesis 27:26-29 “Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come near and kiss me, my son.” So he came near and kissed him. And Isaac smelled the smell of his garments and blessed him and said, “See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field that the Lord has blessed! May God give you of the dew of heaven and of the fatness of the earth and plenty of grain and wine. Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be everyone who blesses you!””
Jesus’ disciples tried to keep parents from bringing their children to their Master. But Jesus rebuked them and welcomed the children, laying His hands on them and blessing them! In our Genesis reading, there is competition for the father’s blessing by Isaac’s two sons. Jacob schemes to lay hold and obtains it. Esau’s bitter cry is of a blessing missed!
Faith Confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I want Your hand of blessing laid on me with Your declaration of “Well done, good and faithful servant!” Let me help others to obtain your blessing!
Mark 10:13-16 “And they were bringing children to Him that He might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, He was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And He took them in His arms and blessed them, laying His hands on them.”
Scripture reading for August 30th: Ephesians 6, Psalm 24, Proverbs 20
Key Scriptures: Ephesians 6:1-4 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
Faithfulness to Christ involves all ages and begins in the family. The family is ordained by God to train and discipline children. To please God, children must honor their parents and obey them. This foundation will lead to a life of God’s blessing and a long life. Fathers are to take care not to treat children harshly and provoke anger, but to instruct them in the things of God under the direction of the Holy Spirit.
Faith Confession: Father, thank You for Your patient instruction and discipline of all Your children and the promise of eternal life! Help me to continue to instruct my children and grandchildren in the fear and love of our heavenly Father, that they might be blessed and have eternal life.
Proverbs 20:7 “The righteous who walks in his integrity–blessed are his children after him.”
Proverbs 20:11 “Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.”
Scripture reading for July 6th: Psalm 130-134
Key Scriptures: Psalm 133:1-3 “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows His blessing, even life forevermore.”
As the twelve tribes assembled, they became one family before the Lord. This psalm decreed the blessing of unity upon the brothers as they gathered to worship in God’s presence. The ultimate blessing that the Lord bestowed was eternal life in His presence! Sounds like what Jesus Christ prayed in his final High Priestly prayer before the cross!
The blessing of unity: “For Your granted Him authority over all people that He might give eternal life to all those you have given Him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.” . . . “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may know that You sent Me and have loved them even as you have loved Me.” (John 17:2-3, 20-23)
Scripture reading for June 20th: Psalms 75-78
Key Scriptures: Psalm 78:5-7 “He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which He commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget His deeds but would keep His commands.”
God wants the generations to know Him and His marvelous Word. His plan is for fathers and mothers to instruct the children who would in turn teach their children. It was like a relay race in passing on the knowledge of God and His Word! If one generation dropped the baton and failed, there would be eternal loss!
Thankful for God’s plan: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”–which is the first commandment with a promise–“That it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Fathers, do not exasperate your children, instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:1-4)
Scripture reading for February 8th: Numbers 6-10
Key Scriptures: Numbers 6:22-27 “The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: “‘” The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.” “So they will put My Name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.””
God gave specific instructions as to how Aaron, the appointed High Priest and his successors were to bless God’s people. They were to declare God’s blessing and protection over His people and declare His smiling face upon them and His grace and peace over them. This would mark God’s people with His Name!
Rejoice in God’s blessing: It will be the ultimate pleasure of all believers marked by God’s name through faith in Jesus Christ to see God’s face! “They will see His face and His Name will be on their foreheads.” (Revelation 22:4)
Scripture reading for January 5th: Genesis 14-18
Cause for Rejoicing: Genesis 14:16-20 “He (Abram) recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions together with the women and the other people. . .Then Melchizedek, King of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And Blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.”
Abram’s nephew Lot and his family and servants were taken captive by desert marauders. When Abram heard about it he pursued them and he recovered Lot and all that was lost! On his return, a mysterious king, Melchizedek met him with a meal of bread and wine and blessed him in the name of the Creator, God Most High. This so moved Abram, that he gave this Priest/King a tenth (tithe) of all the spoils. This came before the law about tithing!
Cause for rejoicing: God restores what is lost! He defeats our enemies and blesses us with a meal of bread and wine! We joyfully give our tithe and honor our Creator/Priest/King! “This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of the Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. first, his name means “king of righteousness” then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace. Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever.” (Hebrews 7:1-3)
Scripture reading for July 25th: 1st Corinthians 14
Key scriptures for over-comers: 1st Corinthians 14:26-29, 33 “What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. If anyone speaks in a tongue, two–or at the most three–should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God. Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said”. . . . “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.”
God made provision to strengthen His Church that He is building. He places each person in the Church as it pleases Him and then gives gifts to each member to be used to strengthen it. There are those that teach, prophesy, and are used in messages in tongues with interpretation. Respect for each other and taking time to allow each one to use the gifts they have make for an orderly and peaceful service that honors and invites the God of Peace to be enthroned on the praises of His people.
Observations for over-comers: The gathering of God’s people brings strength, encouragement, and a community of unity and peace when the Holy Spirit is in charge! “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! It is like the precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes. It is as the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows His blessing, even life forevermore.” (Psalm 133:1-3)
Scripture reading for June 17th: Psalms 67-72
The Aaronic blessing begins Psalm 67 as a prayer. God’s face is shining or beaming with a smile of love and joy as He beholds His own people. This smile means abundant provisions of food and water. It means health to our bodies and protection from enemies. It means love and fruitfulness in our relationships and homes and a sense of knowing God and walking in His will. The Hebrew word “selah” follows this first verse and is a term meaning to pause and ponder the thought that has been presented.
Why does God love to bless His people? Surely it is because he loves and delights in His people. But this psalm states another reason for the blessing. God wants to use a blessed people to share the knowledge of His ways among all peoples. (Psalm 67:2) God desires the worship of all who are made in His image! He is their guide, ruler and judge! We are blessed to be a blessing! Nothing really belongs to us. We must keep His blessing moving and not hoard it to ourselves and our own use!
The result of being a blessing is that the earth will yield its harvest. The harvest ultimately is souls that will come to know and worship the Lord through the witness of God’s people. God wants all the ends of the earth to fear Him! (Psalm 67:6-7) We set up a cycle of blessing when we give to the Lord of our tithes and offerings so that others may hear and learn! As we give, we become like God who is the ultimate giver of everything. As we give, God is worshiped and He moves upon the lost and draws them to salvation. As we give, we are blessed by God again with more abundance so that we can give even more to Him. The cycle goes on and multiplies!
“Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” 2nd Corinthians 9:10-11
Scripture Reading for February 12: Numbers 5-8
Everyone loves a blessing! Blessing assures us of something good coming our way that costs us nothing and that sometimes is the opposite of what we really deserve. God’s grace is a blessing to us who really deserve His wrath and punishment. Today’s reading contains the Aaronic blessing found in Numbers 6:22-27.
The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: ” ‘ “The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face towards you and give you peace.” ‘ “So they will put my name on the Israelites and I will bless them.”
God loves to bless His People. God wants His people to experience his joy, provision, and protection. “The blessing of the Lord brings wealth and he adds no trouble to it.” (Proverbs 10:22) He promises to “keep” us under His protective care and covering so no harm or evil can come on us.
My mother has the kind of smile that radiates acceptance and approval! God’s face shining on us does that same thing. When He is looking at us and smiling, we have peace that passes understanding. God is not angry with His people when they come to Him for forgiveness, fellowship or favors. It is a blessing to know that He loves us and is pleased with us. This pleasing doesn’t come from our perfect behavior, but in spite of our sin and rebellion! Jesus Christ has pleased the Father by His perfect obedience. When we trust in Christ and believe on Him, we are given a gift of right standing and the smile of God’s face can be turned toward us! God has been so gracious to us by sending His Son to restore the smile of God in our lives! May the Lord bless and keep you today, may His face smile lovingly on you and your family! May His peace fill your lives! May His name be upon you!