Scripture reading for October 19th: Isaiah 64-66, Jeremiah 1, Hebrews 6
Key Scriptures: Hebrews 6:10-12 “For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for His name in service to the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
After warning them again of the dangers of falling away from Christ, the writer of Hebrews encourages them to steadfast service and full confidence in Christ and His promises. They were to guard against sluggishness (spiritual laziness) by imitating those who set a good example of faith and patience. God’s promises are awaiting their faithful perseverance.
Isaiah 64:8 “But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay and You are our Potter; we are all the work of Your hand.”
Prayer: Lord, help me to keep my confidence in You and Your promises firm and growing. As clay, I need You as the Potter in my daily life. Amen.
Scripture reading for October 17th: Isaiah 57-59, Hebrews 4
Key Scriptures: Hebrews 4:14-16 “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Jesus Christ is our great “High Priest” Who is our Intercessor before God. Jesus understands us perfectly and is able to represent us before God because He was tempted as a man but overcame and returned to heaven to help us through His priestly intercession. We can draw near in confidence! Amen.
Isaiah 59:16 “He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then His own arm brought Him salvation, and His righteousness upheld Him.”
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for coming to earth as a human and identifying with us. Thank You for Your victory over sin and death and the confidence we can now have to approach You for help in times of need. Amen.
Scripture reading for October 16th: Isaiah 53-56, Hebrews 3
Key Scriptures: Hebrews 3:12-14 “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.”
The writer of Hebrews gave a pastoral warning to the members of the church. The sin of unbelief can take us away from Christ and cause eternal loss. Unbelief is deceitful and subtle. We must watch over our own soul and one another. Confidence in Christ must be maintained.
Isaiah 55:10-11 “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that He may have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your great mercy and for Your pastoral care for my soul and Your church. Help me to be careful and watchful, maintaining confidence in Christ’s sacrifice for me. Amen.
Scripture reading for August 31st: Psalm 140-142 and Philippians 1
Key Scriptures: Philippians 1:27-30 “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the Gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the Gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in Him but also suffer for His sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.”
Paul was in prison and not sure whether he would live or die for the Gospel. He wrote to the church at Philippi to encourage them to stand firm in their faith and not be afraid. Faith in Christ often involves suffering for His sake. There is a spiritual conflict that comes with belonging to Him, but we can have great confidence in our final outcome.
Psalm 140:12-13 “I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and will execute justice for the needy. Surely the righteous shall give thanks to Your Name; the upright shall dwell in Your Presence.”
Prayer: Lord, empower me today to stand firm in the conflict and suffering that comes to those who believe. Thank You for the encouragement of Your Word and past apostles and saints. Amen.
Scripture reading for June 5th: Psalm 24-28
Key Scriptures: Psalm 27:1-3 “The Lord is my light and my salvation–whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life–of whom shall I be afraid? When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.”
David faced many enemies and obstacles from his enemies. He learned that his real ‘stronghold’ was the Lord Himself and His flawless word. There was no need to live in fear. The light of God’s truth would enable him to face whatever trouble might come with strong confidence and calm assurance!
Rejoicing in confidence: “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like Him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1st John 4:17-18)
Scripture reading for May 3rd: 2nd Chronicles 31-34
Key Scriptures: 2nd Chronicles 32:7-8 “”Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said.”
King Hezekiah was faithful to the Lord but Israel still came under attack by Sennacherib, king of Assyria. The king of Israel built up fortifications, made more weapons, and appointed military officers to positions. But it was not these preparations that would bring victory! King Hezekiah knew that the Lord was with them–the greatest power on earth! This gave him and the people confidence!
Thankful for God’s presence and power: “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” (2nd Corinthians 10:3-4)
Scripture reading for November 25th: 1st John 5
Many in our world and even in the Church are fearful for their ultimate acceptance by God and their actual future experience of eternal life. John had told them that Christ’s perfect love drives out all fear. (1st John 4:18) God wants His children confident of their salvation and able to boldly share the Gospel with others. John closes his letter with strong encouragement and confidence in Christ!
“Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe has made Him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about His Son. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1st John 4:10-13)
Jesus Christ and the Apostle John want us to know that we have eternal life! The test is simple: If you have the Son of God, you have life; if not, you are lost! Faith in Jesus Christ as God’s Son secures eternal life. After we believe on Christ, God gives us a testimony in our hearts by His gift to us: The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we belong to God. (Romans 8:15-17) We know our new identity as a member of God’s family with God’s eternal life abiding in us through the down-payment of the Holy Spirit. Thank God we can know this truth!
Scripture reading for November 23rd: 1st John 3
“See how great is the love that the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! . . .Dear friend, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (1st John 3:1-3)
John encouraged the Church with a revelation of their identity–children of God! What great love that believers have had ‘lavished’ on them: Adopted into God the Father’s family and given an inheritance in His eternal kingdom! We don’t yet fully comprehend all that this means. The full revelation will come when Jesus Christ appears again and we will be instantly changed to have glorious bodies like His body! (1st Corinthians 15:51-54) The hope of His appearing should result in an eager desire in each believer to be pure and holy when He comes. “Without holiness, no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14)
Practical holiness involves love. “This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. . . . .We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.” (1st John 3:11,14) Love of our brothers is not an option in the kingdom of God and Christ. We are deceiving ourselves if we say we love God and hate our brothers. Jesus laid His life down for His brothers and we must do likewise. We can test ourself: Do I love my brother (or sister?) Our identity leads to this response to Christ’s love: “Love one another!”
Scripture reading for October 27th: Hebrews 10
Jesus Christ came into the world to do the will of God. God knew that sacrifices of bulls and goats did not meet the deeper inner needs of man for cleansing and for a relationship with Him. He sent His Son to earth in a human body to meet man where he was and to identify with him. Jesus did the will of God by completely obeying His Father while in a human body. He perfectly kept God’s law and then willingly offered Himself, His own body and blood, as a sacrifice for man’s breaking of God’s law. Under that Old Covenant, sin was punishable by death. “Then He said, “Here I am, I have come to do Your will.” He set aside the first(will or covenant) to establish the second (New Covenant). And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10)
Because Jesus is now alive and seated at God’s right hand, we who believe in Christ are now made holy by Christ’ sacrifice. He offered His body and blood once for all men and sat down. He is waiting for His enemies to be made a footstool for His feet. (Psalm 110:1) We can have strong confidence to enter the Most Holy Place through the blood of Jesus and through the curtain, which is His body! (Hebrews 10:19-23) We can now draw near to God without guilt or shame. Our sins are forgiven and washed away! We must gather together and encourage each other. We must hold these truths as present reality because God, Himself is faithful to His Word! “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded!” (Hebrews 10:35) Jesus is coming soon!
Scripture reading for November 11th: Hebrews 10:19-39
Once a person understands the new covenant and the benefits of believing on Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sins, there is a choice to be made. We must either draw near to God through Jesus Christ or choose to go our own way. The writer of Hebrews plainly lays out the choice in the passage we are reading today. We can choose freely, but the consequences of our choice will come as stated by Scripture!
“Therefore, brother, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is His body, and since we have a great priest over the house of god, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:19-23) The logical choice is drawing near to God by faith in Jesus’ sacrifice and priesthood! We are free from sin and condemnation and are made pure through His blood. (Hebrews 9:14) He promised that those who would believe on Him would be saved completely! (Hebrews 7:25)
“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. . . .It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10: 26-27, 31) This warning concerned the sin of unbelief in God’s final Word, Jesus. Willful rejection is the same as willful sin under the old covenant. Sacrifice could be made for sins in ignorance and they would be accepted by God. But willful, defiant sinning was punishable by death. (Numbers 15:27-31)
Who in their right mind would shrink back from the promise of eternal life, a clean conscience, rest from religious labors and freedom from the fear of death? Who would choose standing before God and having to answer for their own sins? So we are encouraged not to throw away our confidence by shrinking back, but to go on towards Jesus who is our reward! The best is yet to come for those who hold fast! (Hebrews 10:35-29)