Scripture reading for November 15th: 2nd Peter 2, Psalm 85-86, Proverbs 13
Key Scriptures: 2nd Peter 2:6-10 “. . .if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes He condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if He rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard; then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.”
As Peter faced his own execution, he wrote to believers concerning God’s ability to punish the wicked and also to save and keep the righteous. God is faithful and is a righteous judge. He will punish the wicked who are captured by sinful flesh and resist and despise God’s authority. He will deliver the righteous from trials. The Lord is true to His Word!
Faith Confession: I trust God to right all wrongs and to keep me at peace in the midst of this world and it’s evil people. To Him be all glory and praise!
Psalm 85:8-9 “Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for He will speak peace to His people, to His saints; but let them not turn back to folly. Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, that glory may dwell in our land.”
Scripture reading for June 19th: Romans 5, Psalm 122, Proverbs 29
Key Scriptures: Romans 5:6-10 “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person–though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die–but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God. For if while were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life.”
Paul clearly stated that we are all sinners, for all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. In that state of sin and separation from God, when we were actually under God’s wrath against sin, Christ came at just the right time and died for all sinners. He did this to demonstrate God’s love to all sinners and provide a way for their salvation from God’s wrath. Christ’s death and shed blood bring justification and reconciliation. His resurrected life guarantees our salvation!
Faith confession: I receive justification, reconciliation and eternal security in the City of God through faith in Jesus Christ’s death and shed blood. I thank Him for resurrection life that His resurrection from the dead guarantees for me and all who repent and believe.
Psalm 122:6-7 “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you! Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!”
Scripture reading for August 30th: Psalms 136-139 and Ephesians 6
Key Scriptures: Ephesians 6:23-24 “Peace be to the brothers and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.”
Paul closed his letter to the Ephesians with a blessing. He gave them a blessing of peace. Our Lord Jesus promised His disciples that “in Me you may have peace.” (John 16:33) He gave them the blessing of “love with faith.” Love never fails and faith works by love. He blessed them with grace–grace that would cover all those who loved Jesus Christ, the loving and faithful Son of God.
Psalm 138:1-2 “I give You thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing Your praise; I bow down toward Your Holy Temple and give thanks to Your Name for Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness, for You have exalted above all things Your Name and Your Word.”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your love and faithfulness! I receive the blessing of Your peace, love, faithfulness, and amazing grace! Amen.
Scripture reading for July 2nd: Job 27-29, Romans 14
Key Scriptures: Romans 14:7-9, 17 “For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.” …”For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
Paul, writing to the Roman Christians, encouraged them to refrain from judging one another based on human rules and traditions. They were judging others based on their habits. The kingdom of God was not based on external habits, but brings the fruit of inner righteousness, peace and joy through the presence of God the Holy Spirit within. The Holy Spirit gives each person a healthy “fear of the Lord”.
Job 29:28 “And He said to man, ‘ Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.'”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for the indwelling Holy Spirit bringing us into Your kingdom. Let me share the righteousness, peace and joy with others. Amen.
Scripture reading for September 9th: Colossians 3
Key Scriptures for over-comers: Colossians 3:15-17 “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
Paul gave the Colossians simple advice about practically living in anticipation of Christ’s return. They were to rest in all that Christ had done for them and cultivate a thankful soul. Allowing God’s word to dwell in them, teaching others the word of God, and admonishing in love those needing correction would produce an atmosphere of continual peace. This would result in worship–both personal and corporate! Songs of worship and thanksgiving would flow from believers as they did their daily work with thanksgiving and great gratitude to God from whom all things flowed into their lives.
Observations for over-comers: A thankful heart based on living out the promises of God’s word produces abundant peace and rich worship to overcome the world, flesh and Satan’s traps! “If only you had paid attention to My commands, your peace would have been like a river, you righteousness like the waves of the sea.” (Isaiah 48:18)
Scripture reading for July 1st: Romans 14
Key Scriptures for over-comers: Romans 14:19-23 “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall. So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because it is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.”
In Paul’s time, eating meat sacrificed to idols was a big issue. Some believed that this meat would pollute them spiritually. Others were concerned that this would cause unbelievers to think that believers were serving idols too. Paul taught the law of love. When we love others, we do what is best for them and try and keep peace. Each person should serve God with a clear conscience, acting in faith in whatever they believe in these disputable matters. This doesn’t mean that we ignore sin and fail to lovingly pray for and confront believers that are still caught in sinful lifestyles. We must do all that we do to the glory of God and live by faith to please Him!
Observations for over-comers: “The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating or drinking, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit!” (Romans 14:17)“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to You.” (Psalm 51:12-13)
Scripture reading for July 2nd: Romans 14
“For by the grace given me, I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” (Romans 12:3) Paul had exhorted the believers to dedicate their bodies to God and renew their minds with His word. He had instructed them to think soberly about their own lives, calling, and gifts. Some, however, were not as strong as others in their faith and walk of liberty with the Lord.
“Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” (Romans 14:1-4) Some of the believers with ‘stronger’ faith were passing judgment on those who limited what they could eat to vegetables. Those with ‘weaker’ faith were also passing judgment on those who ate everything. Under Christ’s New Covenant of grace, each person would answer to God in matters like diet that were disputable.
As New Testament believers and children of God, we must seek to please the Father by walking in faith. It is Christ who will enable each believer to stand before the Father through what He has done on our behalf. We must not judge one another on matters that are disputable!
Scripture reading for July 31st: Romans 14:1-23
The body of Christ is composed of people from different walks of life and different spiritual experience. Some come from religious backgrounds. Others come with no spiritual training and are eager to learn what is expected. Paul knew that the church at Rome was very diverse, with many Jews and Gentiles of different backgrounds. He wrote to help them understand how to practice the command of Jesus to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Romans 13:9-10)
“Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant?” (Romans 14:1-4a) We enter into pride when we judge someone else. Some matters, such as eating meat sacrificed to idols, are disputable. The strong person knows that the idol is nothing and that the meat is made clean by prayer and thanksgiving. The weaker person may feel polluted by the meat and believe that they have sinned by eating it. As long as what they do is motivated by their faith, neither one is to judge the other and cause disunity or division over eating meat! We do not show love when bringing strife over matters like this.
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.” (Romans 14:17-18) The Holy Spirit wants to lead us in loving our brothers and sisters, not in judging them on matters of conscience that are not clearly dealt with in Scripture. We can please God by walking in love and faith that God will deal with each person according to their faith.
“So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.” (Romans 14:22-23) Be quiet and live by faith!
Scripture reading for October 1st: Zechariah 9-11
“Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.” Zechariah 9:9-10
Zechariah stated that the coming ruler who would be both a priest and a king. This coming one would not be a great conqueror who would ruthlessly devour the nations, instead, He would come gently, armed with righteousness and salvation. He would also be riding on the colt of a donkey. He would proclaim peace to all peoples and nations and His rule would extend to the ends of the earth! (Matthew 21:2-4)
This gentle King would also save and restore His people! Because of the blood of His covenant, He would free the prisoners! (Zechariah 9:11) Not only that, He would restore them double! The Lord would care for His flock like a shepherd and they would sparkle like jewels in a crown. (Zechariah 9:16-17)
The people of God were to ask the Lord for rain in the springtime. In response, He would raise up from Judah one who would be their cornerstone and tent peg. He would bring forth the battle bow and every ruler would come from Him. (Zechariah 10:4) This again is a reference to Jesus Christ, who came from the tribe of Judah and became the chief cornerstone of the new temple! He was a peg driven in a firm place and a mighty warrior!
When God wanted to emphasize His purpose He used “I will” statements . Included in these statements are promises to strengthen the house of Judah and have compassion on them. God promised to be their God and to hear and answer them. (Zechariah 10:6-12) He would gather them from where they were scattered and they would walk in His name!
A final reference to this king is found in Zechariah 11:12-13. Thirty pieces of silver was designated as a payment. It was to be thrown to the potter! This word was applied to Judas’ betrayal for the thirty pieces of silver! (Matthew 27:3-10) Our King is coming again! Are you ready?
Scripture reading for September 19th: Micah 3-5
“Because of you (prophets and leaders), Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble, the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.” Micah 3:12
Micah wasted no time in telling the leaders of Israel and Judah their sins. These leaders had loved evil instead of good and failed to provide justice for the land. (Micah 3:1-2) The prophets of the land were no better. If they were given food or pay, they would bring a message of “peace”, otherwise the message would be of coming war! The results of the failures of leadership were the destruction of the temple and of the city of Jerusalem. The leaders thought that they were safe because they called on the Lord and stayed near His temple. They were just going through the motions and under a delusion of safety.
Wise leaders live by God’s word and call the people to follow. Integrity is a mark of good leaders. As we look at our nation today, we find few leaders who really love God. Many claim to be Christians, but their actions deny God. Where are the godly prophets who will confront sin in the leadership of the land?
“In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come and say, “Come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us His ways, so that we may walk in His paths.”” Micah 4:1-2
According to Micah, God was going to provide a new time of peace in the last days. He would again establish Mt. Zion as the place of rulership for all nations. They would come to the Lord and desire to know His ways. There would be a time of universal peace and He would rule over the peoples from Mt. Zion. (Micah 4:6-7) But before this took place, Israel would go into captivity in Babylon.
Micah then spoke about Bethlehem in Judah. From this city would come one who would rule over Israel. He would shepherd the flock of God’s people and His greatness would spread to the ends of the earth! (Micah 5:2-4) Micah named the city of Jesus’ birth over 700 years before the event!