Scripture reading for February 25th: Mark 12, Psalm 40, Proverbs 9
Key Scriptures: Mark 12:28-31 “And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that He answered them well, asked Him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.””
Jesus was asked by a scribe to give His opinion on the most important commandment. Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Leviticus 19:18 about loving God and loving your neighbor. Love is foundational to faith. We can trust someone we love. We believe someone we love. Love always wants the best for the one loved. Love for God is first enabling love for your neighbor.
Faith’s confession: Lord, I love You with all my heart and soul and mind and strength and want to please You through obedience. Thank You for helping me love my neighbor as myself. I am still growing in both. (Action step: Show God or your neighbor you love them today in a tangible way.)
Psalm 40:8-9 “I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your law is within my heart. I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation.”
Scripture reading for October 18th: Isaiah 60-63, Hebrews 5
Key Scriptures: Hebrews 5:7-9 “In the days of His flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to Him who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence. Although He was a son, He learned obedience through what He suffered. And being made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.”
Jesus Christ, our High Priest, was a man of prayer during His time on the earth. He was reverent before His Father, learning obedience through what He suffered. His total obedience to His Father made Him perfect as our source of eternal salvation. He lives forever to intercede for us.
Isaiah 60:1-2 “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and His glory will be seen upon you.”
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for coming to earth as light from the Father and showing us Your glory. Thank You for Your reverence and perfect obedience. Help me to follow Your example. Amen.
Scripture reading for April 12th: 1st Samuel 24-26, John 6
Key Scriptures: 1 Samuel 26:23-25 “The Lord rewards every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness, for the Lord gave you into my hand today, and I would not put out my hand against the Lord’s anointed. Behold, as your life was precious this day in my sight, so may my life be precious in the sight of the Lord, and may He deliver me out of all tribulation. Then Saul said to David, “Blessed be you, my son David! You will do many things and succeed in them.””
David was being hunted by Saul, because Saul was jealous of David and had an evil spirit. David spared Saul’s life because he refused to touch the Lord’s anointed. He knew that only God could take vengeance of an anointed servant. Saul blessed David and prophesied his success. Jesus, a son of David and The Son of God, spared us!
John 6:56-57 “Whoever feeds on My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on Me, he also will live because of Me.”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your faithful obedience and honoring of mankind by offering Your own body and blood to give us life. Help me to honor and obey You today. Amen.
Scripture reading for October 26th: Luke 1-4
Key Scriptures: Luke 4:1-4 “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days He was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them He was hungry. The devil said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone.'”
Jesus had been baptized by John and the Holy Spirit filled Him and led Him into the desert for forty days of testing. Jesus fasted during this time and at its end, became hungry. The devil came to Him suggesting that He could turn stones into bread. Jesus, filled with the Spirit, reminded the devil that obedience to God’s Word was more important to life than food! God’s Word was Spirit and life eternal!
Thankful for living bread: “Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 8:2-4)
Scripture reading for April 20th: 1st Chronicles 18-22
Key Scriptures: 1st Chronicles 21:16-17 “David looked up and saw the angel of the Lord standing between heaven and earth, with a drawn sword in his hand extended over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell face-down. David said to God, “Was it not I who ordered the fighting men to be counted? I am the one who has sinned and done wrong. These are but sheep. What have they done? O Lord my God, let Your hand fall upon me and my family, but do not let this plague remain on your people.”
King David had given place to Satan and called for a numbering of the people. God gave him three choices and David chose to fall under three days of God’s chastisement. As the angel of the Lord was standing ready to strike Jerusalem, David and the elders called out in repentance for God’s mercy. David interceded for the people and asked God to punish him and his family!
Rejoicing in our Intercessor: “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from what He suffered, and, once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him . . ” (Hebrews 5:7-9)
Scripture reading for October 19th: Hebrews 5
Key Scriptures for over-comers: Hebrews 5:7-10 “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from what He suffered and, once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him and was designated by God to be High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.”
Jesus’ life, death and resurrection stand as a beacon light for those who by faith chose to follow Him. Jesus was a man of prayer–not just superficial prayer, but intense focused prayer. He prayed to know and submit to the Father’s will and purposes, even suffering. He was God’s Son, but was asked by His Father to suffer death on behalf of sinful mankind. His reverent submission to His Father’s will is instructive for all who follow Him. He is the source of eternal salvation to all who reverently submit to Him and obey His word!
Observations for over-comers: Through Christ, we who believe have become sons of God, adopted into His family. We also learn obedience and reverent submission to His will, even if it means suffering! “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn Your decrees.” (Psalm 119:71)
Scripture reading for May 4th: John 21
Key Scriptures for over-comers: John 21:15-16 “When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love Me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed My lambs.” Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love Me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love You.” Jesus said, “Take care of My sheep.”
More than talent, gifts, or sacrifice, Jesus wanted to know if Peter really loved Him. Love is the key ingredient to being a disciple of Jesus. God is “Love” and Jesus knew that without love, Peter would not be able to perform his assigned ministry as an apostle. Peter was to feed the ‘lambs’ and care for the ‘sheep’ of Jesus! His job was that of an under-shepherd. Peter had denied Jesus three times and now Jesus asked Peter to affirm his love three times. Peter indeed did affirm his love and Jesus then gave him a word of knowledge about how he would eventually give his life for the cause of Christ! True love is willing to give all we have, including our life-blood, for the Master and those who need to know Him!
Observations for over-comers: Love and obedience go hand in hand! If we truly love Jesus, we will feed and care for His sheep and lambs and obey His call on our life! “Love the Lord, all His saints! The Lord preserves the faithful, but the proud He pays back in full.” (Psalm 31:23)
Scripture Reading for March 3rd: Joshua 1-5
Walking with God is not for wimps! God leads His people in paths of righteousness and truth. He is a mighty warrior and a conqueror! His reputation for war is known far and wide! He often employs some very unconventional battle strategy (Joshua 6:2-5) and uses only those willing to follow His leadership.
“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:6-9)
Possessing your inheritance requires strength! The ground you cover will have both mountains and valleys. You must have strength of mind to keep your thoughts focused on God’s promises. You must possess strength of character and soul to keep from falling for the temptations of the enemy and the flesh that would trip you up.
Courage is the ability to face tough situations with confidence. Courage is not the absence of fear but the ability to face fear with truth and keep moving toward the goal. Confidence must not to be in your own strength, mind or ability, but comes from a relationship with God. Joshua was told not to let God’s Law and Word depart from his mouth or mind. He was guaranteed prosperity and success as he meditated on the Word and was careful to obey. (Romans 10:17) (Hebrews 11:6)
Let Joshua’s call to strength and courage become personal. Jesus Christ is our “Joshua” and has blazed a trail of perfect obedience to God’s Word. His leadership in our lives today will give us the strength and courage to conquer the obstacles in our path! “Be strong and very courageous!”
Scripture reading for December 1st: 1st John 2:1-17
Are you truly saved? How does a person know that they have passed from death to life? Is salvation as simple as just saying a prayer and putting your trust in Jesus Christ? Does God require us to change our way of living? These questions were on the mind of John as he wrote to the churches receiving his ministry letter. John wanted them to understand that salvation was receiving the life of Jesus and living as He lived!
Thank God for the grace of God coming through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ! “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1st John 2:1-2) Jesus paid the price to free us from our sins and their power. We should seek to live free from sin and not sin willfully or knowingly.
“We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands. The man who says, “I know Him,” but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys His word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in Him: Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.” (1st John 2:3-6) John plainly states what James stated, “In the same way, faith by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:17) When we truly know Jesus and love Him, we will listen to His word and obey. We do not obey to obtain salvation, but because we have been transformed already by repentance and faith in Christ! This change brings a new way to live and walk. If we don’t have a changed walk, we really haven’t known Jesus!
When we love God, the love of the world must be put to death. We cannot continue to live as we did when controlled by our flesh. “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” (1st John 2:17) Why not take time to examine your walk with Jesus in light of these scriptures?
Scripture reading for March 3rd: Joshua 1-5
God used an unusual mark for His people. All males were to be circumcised as a sign of the covenant that they had made with God. Moses, himself, had neglected to circumcise his son and God had tried to kill him for this oversight. ( Exodus 4:24-26) This happened after God had appeared to Moses and commissioned him to lead His people out of Egypt. The leader must be obedient to set a proper example. God takes relationships and covenant very seriously!
The Israelites had wandered for forty years in the dessert and had neglected to place this important covenant mark on those who had been born in the desert. As Joshua led them into the promised land, their first stop was at Gibeath Haaraloth. There the Lord spoke to Joshua about circumcision. (Joshua 5:2-4) He was to make flint knives and circumcise all the males who had not been marked in the desert. They were to stay there until they healed. Joshua obeyed and did this rather painful marking process. They were ready to come into their inheritance, but this painful process must come first.
“Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” So the place has been called Gilgal to this day.” (Joshua 5:9) God viewed this action as an act of separation from the corruption of Egypt. His people were set apart from the most powerful worldly nation by a mark that made them different and promoted cleanliness and safe sexual relations. This mark reminded them of the covenant they had with their God to be faithful to Him.
In the New Covenant that we have in Christ, circumcision is now of our hearts. The true life giving organ is not sexual, but the seat of control in our inner man. It is with our hearts that we believe and have faith. When we are born again, God gives us a new “circumcised” heart. The apostle Paul had a battle with the Jews who were promoting circumcision and the Law. He let them know that, “Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.” (Galatians 6:15)
We have the world’s reproach rolled away from our hearts in Christ alone. We are set apart in the New Creation as belonging to God. We are marked by the precious Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 1:13-14) Thank the Lord!