Scripture reading for January 1st: Matthew 1, Psalm 1, Proverbs 1 (Reading through the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs one chapter a day, five days each week in 2019–please join me in the trek!)
Key Scriptures: Matthew 1:18-21 “Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son and you shall call His Name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.””
The New Testament begins with a story that has its roots in the flow of the Old Testament. A genealogy from Abraham to Joseph begins the story. Joseph’s betrothal to Mary makes the story personal and about love. But Mary, a virgin, was pregnant before the marriage was consummated! Joseph had a plan, but angelic intervention brought needed information: the baby Mary carried was conceived by the Holy Spirit! The Name, “Jesus” was to be given to the child. He would save His people from sin! This story is made personal and current if you have believed in Him and received His love!
Faith’s Confession: I believe that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, conceived by the Holy Spirit, and was God’s Son in human flesh, and is my Savior from my sins.
Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Scripture reading for May 17th: 1st Chronicles 10-13, Acts 10
Key Scriptures: Acts 10:34-39 “So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him. As for the word that He sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ(He is Lord of all), you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”
Peter preached Jesus Christ as Lord of all to Cornelius, the Roman Centurion and his family. God graciously saved them and filled them with the Holy Spirit. God shows no partiality to those who will surrender to Him! He makes them mighty warriors for Christ, the Son of God, Son of David.
1st Chronicles 12:38 “All these, men of war, arrayed in battle order, came to Hebron with a whole heart to make David king over all Israel.”
Scripture reading for March 4th: Luke 1
Luke was a traveling companion of the Apostle Paul and of Greek origin. He was a physician and a man who was well-studied and articulate. God chose to use him to write an orderly account of the birth, life, death, and resurrection of His Son. Luke’s Gospel places an emphasis on the humanity of Jesus, the Son of God. Luke also wrote the Book of Acts which chronicles the early church and the spread of the Gospel throughout the known world.
Luke began his account with the story of two miraculous births to two different women. The first birth was that of John the Baptist. He was born to a godly couple, Zechariah and Elizabeth, who had been barren. Zechariah was a priest in Israel and was serving in the temple when an angel appeared to him telling him that his prayers for a son would be answered. Zechariah asked the angel how he could be sure of that, given he and his wife’s age. The angel identified himself as Gabriel, who stood in God’s presence. Zechariah would be mute until the birth of the child for his unbelief!
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, Gabriel the angel, made another appearance. This time to a young virgin named ‘Mary’ who was betrothed to Joseph. “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son and you are to give Him the name Jesus. He will be great and be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, His kingdom will never end.” (Luke 1:30-33) Mary accepted God’s favor and conceived the Son of God!
Scripture reading for January 5th: Matthew 3
John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus, came on the scene when Jesus was nearly 30 years old. He preached that the kingdom of heaven was at hand and that all men needed to repent. John wore the clothes of a prophet and lived in the lonely places of the Judean wilderness. Matthew records that he was the one spoken of by Isaiah, “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.'” (Isaiah 40:3) Many people came and confessed their sins and were baptized by John in the Jordan River.
When the Saducees and Pharisees came to observe, John warned them of their need to repent and be baptized. He told them that having a genetic tie to Abraham was not enough with God. God was looking for fruit of obedience in each life and would judge all who had none! He also warned them that there was one coming after him who would be more powerful and honored. The “Coming One” would baptize men with the Holy Spirit and with fire, not just water! This One would gather in the faithful, but punish the wicked! (Matthew 3:11-12)
Jesus then appeared to be baptized by John. John recognized Him as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29) Jesus was insistent and John baptized Him. As Jesus came out of the water, the Holy Spirit came down and rested on Him like a dove, and a Voice from heaven stated: “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well-pleased.” (Matthew 3:17) Water baptism is a step of obedience that all disciples should follow. But Jesus also is the Baptizer in the Holy Spirit and Fire! Go after all He has for you!
Reading for January 1st: Matthew 1
Dear Friends of Jesus,
As we begin our journey on the first day of a new year, I begin my seventh year of writing devotions through the Bible. This year we will try another reading approach to the New Testament. My plan is to read one chapter a day for five days each week. We will take Saturday’s and Sunday’s off to reflect and worship with our family and church family. May the Lord reveal His holy character and ways to each of you as you faithfully read.
The theme this year is simply “Jesus”! Jesus Christ is the central focus of the whole Bible and the New Testament begins with a record of the human lineage of Jesus traced from Abraham to Jesus’ earthly father Joseph. There were 42 generations in this record covering about 2000 years of human history. (Matthew 1:17) Matthew writes from a Jewish perspective and shows that Jesus was truly a son of David traced back to Abraham, the father of the nation.
Matthew recounts how Mary was found to be with child before the consummation of her marriage to Joseph. Joseph planned to divorce her quietly, but was told by God that he should go ahead and marry her. The child was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Joseph was given the Name “Jesus” to give to the child by the angel. “Jesus” would save His people from their sins! (Matthew 1:21)
Everyone needs a savior because all have sinned! (Romans 3:23) There is no other Name given among men that can bring salvation! (Acts 4:12) Why not start this new year committing your life to Jesus Christ? Would you dedicate time each day to read His Word and know Him? God bless you on your journey this year! Pastor John and Mary Morse
Scripture reading for October 25th: Luke 13-15
“Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear Him (Jesus). But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Luke 15:1-2
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to seek and save the “lost” of this world. No one is really right with God. Sin has come to every man because of Adam (not Eve!). (Romans 5:12-14) But not everyone is ready to recognize and admit that they are “sinners” and “lost”. Satan’s trick of blinding minds through pride and the lies keeps many in bondage. (2nd Corinthians 4:4) Jesus cannot save those who will not willingly come to Him.
When He walked the earth, He sought out people who were open to His message of the Kingdom. It was on one of those occasions that Jesus responded to the muttering of the religious leaders about His hanging around sinners. He told them three parables to help them understand the heart of God for the lost. The first parable was about a man who had a hundred sheep and found out that one of them was missing. He left the main flock to go and search for the lost sheep. When he found that lost sheep, he called friends and neighbors together and celebrated! The moral of this story was that there was joy in heaven over one lost person being restored! (Luke 15:7)
Another parable concerned a woman who had lost one of ten silver coins. She searched diligently in her house until finding it and then invited friends to rejoice with her for her restored savings! The same bottom line is emphasized. (Luke 15:10)
The final parable concerned a man who had two sons. One wanted his inheritance right now. His father gave him the money and he left to squander it on loose living. He got himself into a mess, even needing to eat with pigs to satisfy his hunger! This lost son decided to go back to his father and beg for mercy. The father was watching for his lost son, saw him coming, and ran to meet him. After a brief apology, the father restored this son and threw a party of celebration!
Jesus loves lost people! This “Man” will welcome you back with open arms!
Sunday March 2nd, 2014
Greetings on another Resurrection Day! We finished our journey through the Pentateuch, the Books of Moses. They covered many years of our early history from God creating the earth and heavens to Moses’ home-going! God was certainly patient with His people. Those who would lead His people had to learn obedience and patience too. Not even Moses got it all right! He lost entrance into the Promised Land by losing his temper!
We have one greater than Moses–Jesus Christ! He did get it all right! He prayed for mercy for those who crucified Him instead of losing His temper. He is the Son of God and came to be the Captain of our Salvation and demonstrate the love of the Father. Take time today to worship Him and offer Him the honor due Him! He is worthy!
In His Love, Pastor John
Scripture reading for April 1st: Luke 9:28-50
After Peter and the disciples acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ of God, Jesus told them that there were some who would not taste death until they saw the kingdom of God come. (Luke 9:27) Luke told the story of Jesus taking Peter, James, and John with Him up on a mountain to pray. As Jesus was praying, Moses and Elijah appeared there as well. These men all glowed with a glorious splendor that was like nothing on earth. (Luke 9:29-31)
Peter, James and John apparently were sleeping during this process. When they awoke from their “prayer nap”, they saw Jesus and the two men in their glorified state. As Moses and Elijah were leaving, Peter spoke up, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters–one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” (Luke 9:33) The Scripture notes that Peter did not know what he was saying. At this point, a cloud came over them and a voice came from the cloud saying, “This is My Son, whom I have chosen; listen to Him.” (Luke 9:35) After this, they found Jesus alone and were so puzzled that they kept this event to themselves and told no one about it.
As I ponder this amazing event, several things come to mind. First, I note how like the disciples I am when it comes to prayer. They had trouble staying awake and comprehending spiritual things. These three disciples in the inner circle failed to stay awake here and at the Garden of Gethsemane. My flesh is weak too, even when my spirit is willing and I often need reminding to watch and pray and stay awake.
Jesus met with Moses and Elijah to discuss His own departure. Moses was buried by God after being allowed to view the Promised Land. (Exodus 34:5-6) Elijah was taken to heaven by a whirlwind in a chariot. (2nd Kings 2:11-12) God had these two men of faith come and encourage Jesus, His Son, before His death in Jerusalem. Moses represented the Law and it’s failure to take man into the Promised Land and Elijah represented the faithfulness of God to honor His prophets. Both these men were now in Glory and for the sake of Jesus’ followers, were allowed to be seen. The Father, Himself, spoke confirming His Son! How God shows mercy to us who are weak!
Scripture reading for April 21st: 1st Chronicles 22-27
King David had it in his heart to build a house for the Lord. As King David approached the end of his time on earth, he sent for his son Solomon and commissioned him to build the house for the Lord. David had begun preparations for this house but a word from the Lord had stopped him from building it. Because David had been a man of war and had fought many battles costing many lives, God told him not to build His house. (1st Chronicles 22:8)
God told David that He would use his son Solomon to build the temple. Solomon would be a man of peace. God would grant him rest and peace with all his enemies. Israel would enjoy a reign of peace and during this time, Solomon could build the temple. Solomon would become a “son of God” and God would be his Father and establish his throne over Israel forever. (1st Chronicles 22:9-10)
David blessed his son and encouraged him to be strong and full of courage. He assured him of the great financial resources that he had provided for the temple. He also encouraged the people to support Solomon in the work. Best of all, David prayed that the Lord would be with Solomon in this undertaking. That help would make all the difference in the world!
As we reflect on this portion of Israel’s history, we can see definite parallels to the work of Jesus Christ in building God’s temple. Jesus Christ was a man of peace–“the Prince of Peace”. Jesus called people to come to Him and find rest for their souls. Jesus Christ defeated all of our enemies, even death, to provide this rest! God was Christ’s “Father” and Jesus was God’s “Son”! God established Jesus’ throne and kingdom forever! Jesus had success because he fully obeyed God’s commands and laws and was strong and courageous. God provided Jesus with many “brothers and sisters” as helpers in building the true temple. Jesus Christ would build the temple and the gates of hell would not prevail against Him!
This ancient record contains prophesy that is already fulfilled and also prophesy that will be fulfilled in the millennial reign of peace when Jesus takes the throne in Jerusalem and rules over a thousand years of peace! (Revelation 20:4-6) Praise the Lord for the Prince of Peace!