Scripture reading for March 1st: Mark 16, Psalm 44, Proverbs 13
Key Scriptures: Mark 16:14-16 “Afterward, He appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and He rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw Him after He had risen. And He said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.””
Jesus appeared to His disciples after His resurrection from the grave. His first words to them were a rebuke, a word of chastisement, for their unbelief. According to Jesus, this was hardness in their hearts to believing truth that was revealed to them by His own prophetic words and those who saw Him after He arose. He then sent them on a world-wide mission of preaching or proclaiming the gospel. How people received it or rejected it would determine eternal salvation or eternal condemnation.
Faith Confession: I believe Jesus Christ as God’s resurrected Son and obey Him by going into the world He placed me in to share and proclaim the gospel. The results are up to each person and God.
Psalm 44:7-8 “But You have saved us from our foes and have put to shame those who hate us. In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to Your Name forever.”
Scripture reading for May 11th: Nehemiah 12-13, Esther 1-2
Key Scriptures: Nehemiah 13:17-18 “I rebuked the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What is this wicked thing you are doing–desecrating the Sabbath day? Didn’t your forefathers do the same things, so that our God brought all this calamity upon us and upon this city? Now you are stirring up more wrath against Israel by desecrating the Sabbath.”
Nehemiah had gone back to Persia for a period of time and while he was away, God’s people began to slip away from their obedience to God. They were working and doing business on the Sabbath, in rebellion to God’s law. Nehemiah called them out with a public rebuke! He reminded them of past consequences of such actions and called them to repentance!
Thankful for needed rebukes: Godly leaders reprove and rebuke those who are in known sin and warn the congregation concerning sin’s consequences. “These then are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.” (Titus 2:15) “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.” (Revelation 3:19)
Scripture reading for December 2nd: Revelation 3
Key Scriptures for over-comers: Revelation 3:19-22 “Those I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door; I will come in and eat with Him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I over-came and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear; let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Jesus, Himself, overcame this sinful world, the devil’s schemes and temptations, and even death, hell, and the grave! He stands as an example for all who trust in Him. Jesus desires a personal relationship with each of His disciples. He is not pushy or dominating, but patiently knocks at the door of each heart and calls out their name. If they hear Him and respond to His call, He will come in and have a meal. This teaching requires ears that want to hear and respond!
Observations for over-comers: Being filled with the Spirit of Jesus Christ gives us the heart of an over-comer! “You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. With Your help, I can advance against a troop; with My God I can scale a wall.” (Psalm 18:28-29)
Scripture reading for October 6th: 2nd Timothy 4
Key Scriptures for over-comers: 2nd Timothy 4:1-5 “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”
Paul’s final instructions to Timothy were plain and to the point! As a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Timothy must preach the Word and fulfill the calling that God had placed on his life. Paul reminded Timothy that Jesus would judge all men and would appear suddenly to manifest His kingdom. He warned Timothy that preaching would be more difficult in the last days. He must not scratch ‘itching ears’ but give them the truth with great patience.
Observations for over-comers: The last days will be difficult for believers who are preaching and living the truth. Press on to fulfill your calling because the reward will be worth it when Christ appears! “Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom and all rulers will worship and obey Him.” (Daniel 7:27)
Scripture reading for October 7th: 2nd Timothy 4
“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. but you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” (2nd Timothy 4:1-5)
As Paul concluded his final letter, he reminded Timothy of Christ Jesus’ return and His judgment of the living and the dead. All believers will stand before the Lord to give an answer for the deeds done in the body at the judgment seat of Christ described in 2nd Corinthians 5:10. All the lost will stand before Him at the Great White Throne described in Revelation 20:11-14.
Because of this, Paul charged Timothy to preach the Word of God tirelessly. Patience and careful instruction would bring salvation and healing to those who listened and believed. Others would turn away from the sound doctrine of God’s Word and want to hear something that would tickle their ears. These truths keep us informed about today and the times we live in. Believers and especially ministers must preach the unadulterated Word of God. The work of evangelism must go on until Christ appears. May He find us all doing what He called us to do!
Scripture reading for October 28th: Titus 3:1-15
Paul concluded his short letter to Titus with an encouragement to preach and live out the word of God. Jesus Christ, our blessed Hope, would suddenly appear for those who were working and watching. ” These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you. Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility to all men.” (Titus 2:15-3:2)
Jesus was Paul’s example of true humility. Jesus left the glories of heaven to take human form, even being born as a baby! He lived a normal human life as God in the flesh in order to serve all mankind by revealing the Father. He humbled Himself by completely obeying His Father and offering His body and blood as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. God exalted Him to the highest place, giving Him the Name above all names! (Philippians 2:3-11)
Paul exhorted Titus to teach Jesus’ followers to show true humility to all men as Jesus did. As Jesus gave up the glories of heaven, Jesus’ followers were to give up the glories of man ruling his own life on earth. They were to submit to all rulers and authorities and be completely obedient. They were to be ready to give aide to those in need and do good deeds with their talents and possessions. They were to live in peace, being considerate of the needs of others. This demonstration of true humility was to be a way of life marking true followers of Christ! The reward of true humility was and is sharing Christ’s glory for eternity!
Paul instructed Titus to avoid foolish controversies and arguments about the law. “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful, he is self-condemned.” (Titus 3:10-11) Those not living in true humility and claiming to be part of the church needed to be dealt with. Pastoral ministry must humbly confront those dividing the body. Christ Jesus is coming to reward those living in the grace of true humility!
Scripture reading for October 25th: 2nd Timothy 4:1-22
Paul’s closing instructions to Timothy encouraged this young pastor to use a simple strategy of ministry. “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage– with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn to myths.” (2nd Timothy 4:2-4) There is never a season when the Word of God will not be appropriate. The Word is the complete prescription for correcting and encouraging the people of God. It is full of sound doctrine and if patiently taught is able to save and equip people for works of service and prepare them for the coming of the Lord.
However, in the last days, many will not receive sound doctrine. They want to design their own god and make their own spiritual program. People will find teachers that will tickle their ears with things that sound good to them, but are really false doctrines of demons. This teaching will only lead to bondage and death. Timothy was to keep his eyes on the Lord and the Word and fully preach the Word.
Paul, knew that his departure was near. He was ready to meet the Lord. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day–and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing.” (2nd Timothy 4:7-8) Paul was soon to face the guillotine. He spoke of being poured out like a drink offering! Yet he also knew by faith that his head would wear a crown in glory! His journey through life was a fight of faith. He had finished well and was expecting a reward from his Lord!
Paul’s attitude and final instructions to Timothy model the way to victory for those still fighting the good fight. Death brings reward, and is nothing for the Christian to fear. We must continue to preach the Word and live by faith! The best is yet to come!