Scripture reading for August 14th: Psalm 94-97, 2nd Corinthians 13
Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 13:11-14 “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
As Paul closed his final letter to the Corinthians, after urging them to rejoice, he called them to take aim or to focus their life. The goal was restoration of the fallen brother and a flow of God’s comfort, peace and love in the body of believers. Father God, Lord Jesus, and Holy Spirit would be with them to help them hit the target! This calls for worship!
Psalm 96:6-7 “Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and beauty are in His sanctuary. Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the people, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength! Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; bring an offering and come into His courts.”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your promised presence with Your people. As we focus on You and Your will and Word, we are drawn to worship You, the Strong and Beautiful One. Amen.
Scripture reading for November 2nd: Luke 23-24, John 1-3
Key Scriptures: Luke 23:34-35 “Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up His clothes by casting lots. The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at Him. They said, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.”
John 1:14, 18 “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. . . .No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side has made Him known.”
Jesus was mocked and ridiculed as He hung on the cross for the sins of mankind. He prayed for mercy on those who crucified Him because of their ignorance. But to those who believed on Him, they got to behold the glory of ‘the One and Only’ who sits at the Father’s right hand! They could see Him and not die but live! Hallelujah!
Rejoicing in Christ Jesus: “Dogs have surrounded Me; a band of evil men has encircled Me, they have pierced My hands and My feet. I can count all My bones; people stare and gloat over Me. They divide My garments among them and cast lots for My clothing.” Psalm 22:16-18 “But,” He said, “you cannot see My face, for no one may see Me and live. Then the Lord said, “There is a place near Me where you may stand on a rock. When My glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by.” (Exodus 33:20-22)
Scripture reading for October 6th: Haggai 1-2, Zechariah 1-2
Key Scriptures: Haggai 2:6-9 “”This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory.’says the Lord Almighty. ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord.”
Haggai gave Israel a word of warning and encouragement. God was going to ‘shake the nations’ as well as the heavens and the earth. This would happen in ‘a little while’. After this shaking, the ‘desired of the nations’ would come. The Lord would fill His house with glory and grant peace there to His people. We are now awaiting the “Desired of the Nations” and the glorification of our bodies to be like His glorious body!
The Lord’s Glorious Return: “Immediately after the distress of those days, ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light’ the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.” (Matthew 24:29-30)
Scripture reading for June 26th: Psalms 93-96
Key Scriptures: Psalm 96:11-13 “Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy; they will sing before the Lord, for He comes, He comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in His truth.”
The psalmist brings forth a new song for the earth to sing. He commands the heavens to rejoice and the earth to be glad. He asks that the seas resound and those living in the ocean depths. He can see fields jubilant and and trees singing as the Lord God returns to the earth to judge the world and people in righteousness and truth! The people are to ascribe glory, strength and honor to the Supreme Ruler and Judge of all!
Let heaven, earth, and mankind rejoice: “Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: “To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever.”” (Revelation 5:13)
Scripture reading for December 7th: Revelation 5
The prophet Daniel saw the “Ancient of Days” (God the Father) seated on a throne and “One like a Son of Man” (Jesus Christ) coming with the clouds of heaven before that throne to receive authority, power, glory, and worship from all peoples in a kingdom that was eternal. (Daniel 7:9-14) Daniel’s vision was strikingly similar to what John saw!
“Then I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” . . .Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” (Revelation 5:1-2, 5) John wept when initially no one was found who could open the scroll. This scroll contained the inheritance of the kingdom for the Son of Man, the Lion of the tribe of Judah! Also involved was the plan of future events that would unfold this kingdom and reward the faithful Saints.
“Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. . . .He came and took the scroll from the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. And when He had taken it the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. . . ..And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, because you were slain, and you have purchased men for God from every tribe and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:6-7, 9-10) Amen!
Scripture reading for December 17th: 1st Peter 1-5
Before ascending to heaven, John recorded Jesus restoring Peter after serving him a breakfast on the shores of Galilee. He asked Peter three times if he loved Him. Peter responded “yes, Lord” to make up for the three denials! Jesus then told him how he would suffer and die for God’s glory. (John 21:15-19)
Peter mentioned suffering numerous times in his letters. Although Peter told his readers that they were a chosen people and royal priesthood, he warned them that they will be treated unjustly because Christ was also treated unjustly. (1st Peter 2:9) “For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. In this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving an example that you should follow in His steps.” (1st Peter 2:19-21)
Christ’s attitude in His own unjust suffering should be ours. ” He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth.” “When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, he made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly.” (1st Peter 2:22-23) He was perfectly obedient to the Father.
Suffering for Christ is a part of life as a true Christian in this world. (1st Peter 4:1-2) Suffering has a purifying effect when we have the right attitude. When we focus on Christ, His purposes become clearer. We cease from sin and live more fully for our Lord. We should be ready to share the reason for our hope with others who note our joy and calm demeanor in the face of suffering. (1st Peter 3:15)
” Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as if something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of Glory and God rests on you.” Rejoice today in your trials and expect blessing and glory!
Scripture reading for December 17th: 1st Peter 1-5
The writings of Peter are always encouraging to me. He was always optimistic, even to the point of being boastful! He sometimes spoke before he thought. Jesus chose him in spite of all his obvious flaws and he became the leader of the original disciples. Thankfully, perfection isn’t a requirement for discipleship!
Peter mentioned suffering numerous times in his letters. Although Peter told his readers that they were a chosen people and royal priesthood, he warned them that they would be treated unjustly. (1st Peter 2:9) “For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. In this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving an example that you should follow in His steps.” (1st Peter 2:19-21) He told them not to suffer for doing evil but to expect suffering for doing good!
Christ’s attitude should be ours. ” He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth.” “When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, he made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly.” (1st Peter 2:22-23) He was perfectly obedient to the Father and chose to act in love.
Suffering for Christ is a part of life as a true Christian in this world. Christ suffered in his body and we will too. (1st Peter 4:1-2) Suffering has a purifying effect when we maintain the right attitude. We cease from sin and live more fully for Jesus. Others will observe our joy and calm demeanor in the face of suffering and ask us why. This opens opportunity to share. (1st Peter 3:15)
In fact, Peter tells us how to face suffering. ” Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as if something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of Glory and God rests on you.” Rejoice today in your trials and expect blessing and glory!
Greeting on this day of rest in the finished work of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ! He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, and the punishment that brought us peace fell upon Him! By His stripes we are healed! We have a great King to worship!
As I look back over this past week, there are many passages of Scripture that we did not get to look into. One of the most encouraging chapters is the prayer of Jesus for Himself, His disciples, and all who would believe as a result of their witness. This prayer is the longest recorded of Jesus Christ in the Bible. It is given as Jesus approached the Garden of Gethsemane the night before He was crucified.
Jesus begins this prayer by looking up to heaven and addressing His Father. He is aware that, and states that, the time had come for His final work. His prayer acknowledged that God had given Him authority to give eternal life to those who believed on Him. Eternal life involved knowing the Father and Jesus Christ, His Son. Jesus asked the Father to glorify Him in His presence with the glory He had enjoyed before the world began. (John 17:1-5) Wow! What a personal request for Jesus to ask of His Father!
Jesus then prays for the disciples. He asks the Father to protect His followers who will remain in the world. This protection would come through the power of God’s name and the unity of Father and Son that they would themselves enjoy. (John 17:6-19) Jesus wanted them to be kept from the evil one, Satan, and given a full measure of His joy. He also wanted them to be sanctified in the Truth of God’s word. The reason for this was the mission that Jesus had given them to go into the world to preach and make disciples.
Finally, Jesus prays for the believers down through history until He comes again. (John 17:20-26) Jesus prayed for all to be one, brought into complete unity as He and the Father were in unity. Jesus prayed that all who would believe would be with Him where He was to behold His glory. The power of this prayer is drawing each one of us heavenward. We are being prayed for even now! The best is yet to come!