Scripture reading for July 19: 1st Corinthians 11, Psalm 144, Proverb 20
Key Scriptures: 1st Corinthians 11: 27-32 “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged.”
The Lord’s table is for all believers but is not to be taken lightly or without proper reverence and understanding. Each person should judge himself and repent of known sin or omission, recognizing that Christ Jesus took our sins in His own body on the cross. Another aspect is recognizing the corporate body of Christ, the Church. Repenting of division, strife, and lack of love also allows the grace available through Holy Communion to flow in our lives.
Faith Confession: I believe that I should judge myself and my need of God’s grace as well as any sins against others in Christ’s body by repentance before partaking of Holy Communion. It is a meal that heals for those who believe.
Psalm 144:1-2 “Blessed be the Lord, My Rock, Who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle; He is my steadfast love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield and He in whom I take refuge, Who subdues peoples under me.”
Scripture reading for May 28th: Acts 17, Psalm 106, Proverbs 13
Key Scriptures: Acts 17:29-31 “Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent, because He has fixed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom He has appointed; and of this He has given assurance to all by raising Him from the dead.”
Paul reasoned with the wise men and philosophers of Athens, proclaiming to them the One true God, Creator of all mankind and Jesus Christ, God in human flesh, crucified and risen from the dead. He warned them that God would judge all men on a day He alone had set. God was not an image of gold or silver or a creation of man’s imagination, but a Righteous Judge and Father who will hold all men accountable for their attitudes and actions concerning His Son. No one will have an excuse!
Faith Confession: I believe in the One True God, Jesus Christ, Creator of all mankind and my Creator and Father. I know there is a day of appointed judgment set by God for all mankind. Without repentance and faith in Jesus no one can stand at the judgment.
Psalm 106:48 “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! And let all the people say, “Amen!” Praise the Lord!
Scripture reading for May 7th: Acts 2, Psalm 91, Proverbs 29
Key Scriptures: Acts 2:36-39 “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified. Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself.”
As Peter preached the Gospel message of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection to the crowd gathered in Jerusalem for Pentecost, the Holy Spirit brought conviction on many in the congregation. They asked Peter what they could do, having taken part in this event. Peter told them plainly to repent–change their mind and their ways and identify with the crucified and risen Savior through water baptism (immersion). After that, they must receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, available to all who would believe and receive.
Faith Confession: I believe that the Holy Spirit convicts those who hear the Gospel and brings them to repentance. Those who hear must respond by repentance and faith, receiving the Holy Spirit and testifying by water baptism if possible.
Proverbs 29:25 “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.”
Scripture reading for October 12th: Malachi 3-4, Matthew 1-3:2
Key Scriptures: Malachi 4:5-6 “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.” Matthew 3:1-2 “In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
The Old Testament and the New Testament are separated by about 400 years as far as the writing of Malachi and the coming of Jesus Christ. Malachi’s last prophetic word was that the Lord would send Elijah back to warn the people before the coming of the day of judgment. Jesus Christ taught that John the Baptist, his cousin, was the fulfillment preparing the way for Christ. Prophetic voices prepare the way to help God’s people believe and receive the kingdom!
Thankful for Christ’s confirmation: “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. He who has ears, let him hear.” (Matthew 11:12-15)
Scripture reading for August 30th: Jeremiah 41-44
Key Scriptures: Jeremiah 42:19-22 “”O remnant of Judah, the Lord has told you, ‘Do not go to Egypt.’ Be sure of this: I warn you today that you made a fatal mistake when you sent me to the Lord your God and said, ‘Pray to the Lord our God for us; tell us everything He says and we will do it. I have told you today, but you still have not obeyed the Lord your God in all He sent me to tell you. So now, be sure of this: You will die by the sword, famine and plague in the place where you want to go to settle (Egypt).””
Jeremiah had been asked by the leaders of the remnant left in Jerusalem whether they should stay there under the Babylonian rule or go to Egypt. Jeremiah prayed and God answered: ‘Stay in Jerusalem.’ But the leaders knew better than God. God warned them what would happen if they went but they chose to disobey! Rebellion is stubborn and won’t listen to reason!
Lord, give me and obedient heart: “The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold silver, bronze, stone and wood–idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.” (Revelation 9:20-21)
Scripture reading for December 1st: Revelation 2
Key Scriptures for over-comers: Revelation 2:4-7 “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent, and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolatians, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”
These short letters to the seven churches of Asia, written at the instruction of the glorified Jesus Christ, contain a greeting, a word from Jesus concerning the deeds of the church, and a warning and promise to those who hear and heed. Jesus Christ knows all that goes on in His body. He loves His Church and commends them for the good but warns them about evil. The Nicolatians were involved in sexual immorality and continued sin would result in judgment. Repentance promised the reward of access to the fruit of the tree of life in the paradise of God!
Observations for over-comers: Our Lord reveals our strengths, good works, and needed changes to those who are teachable! “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer–may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love.” (Proverbs 5:18-19)
Scripture reading for May 16th: Acts 8
Key Scriptures for over-comers: Acts 8:18-22 “When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostle’s hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps He will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart.””
In this time of the last days, many false teachers are out for money. They are seeking power, new fads, or something that will help them make money. The apostles encountered Simon who had been making money off of sorcery. Simon saw what the apostles were doing by laying hands on the people and the resulting baptism of the Holy Spirit and he wanted in on the action. He offered money to get this power and was soundly rebuked by Peter for having a heart that was not right with God. Peter emphasized that this power was not for sale at any price! Simon’s best action would be repentance and prayer to God for forgiveness and a right heart!
Observations for over-comers: Beware of those who want the gift of the Holy Spirit for the wrong reasons! Don’t be quick to lay hands on everyone to receive this precious gift of power. Repentance and salvation must come first! “My son, pay attention to My wisdom, listen well to My words of insight, that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge.” (Proverbs 5:1-2)
Scripture reading for May 6th: Acts 2
Key Scriptures for over-comers: Acts 2:36-39 “”Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
Peter, on the day of Pentecost, stood up and preached a powerful message of the gospel concerning Jesus Christ. He preached to those who were gathered there, many who had participated in the crucifixion of Jesus and remembered the events of that day and those following. As he preached, the Holy Spirit brought conviction on the multitude and they cried out for instruction! Peter clearly told them how to respond! Repentance would mean turning from their old ways of rebellion and sin to Jesus Christ and asking Him to forgive them. Upon receiving grace and cleansing, they were to be baptized in water–immersed–as an act of public witness of their inner cleansing by faith in Christ. They would then receive the gift of the Holy Spirit–given by the Father to all who would believe!
Observations for over-comers: Repentance is the first step of clearing the conviction of the conscience from the weight of guilt as the Holy Spirit deals with a heart. King David gives us a great example of what that looks like in Psalm 51. “Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” (Psalm 51:1-2)
Scripture reading for May 28th: Acts 17
Paul and Silas took the Gospel to Athens, a center of culture and progressive thought. After going to the Jews and reasoning with them in their synagogue, they went to the marketplace and community. There was a meeting place there called the Areopagus where intellectuals and philosophers gathered to discuss the latest new ideas. Paul and Silas were invited to come and present their ‘new ideas’ before this group!
Paul spoke up, “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown, I am going to proclaim to you. “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything, because He Himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth: and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.” . . . but now He commands all people everywhere to repent. For He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the man He has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:22-26, 30-31)
Paul proclaimed God as creator and the One who is author of all life. He called these intellectuals to change their thinking–repent! He warned of a coming judgment and told of Christ’s resurrection! This Gospel is needed today in America!
Scripture reading for January 6th: Matthew 4
Jesus had an awesome spiritual experience at His baptism! He was filled with the Holy Spirit and got to hear His Father tell Him He loved Him and was pleased! Immediately, He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness and was tempted by Satan for forty days. Jesus had to face spiritual warfare and suffered temptations like all humans but unlike everyone else, He remained faithful to God and His Word! Jesus defeated each temptation with a Scripture quote telling the Devil truth. (Matthew 4:4,7,10) Satan had to withdraw and Jesus returned in the Spirit’s power to begin ministry to the lost! (Luke 4:1)
Jesus moved from Nazareth to Capernaum by the Sea of Galilee. He began to preach saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” (Matthew 4:17) He also healed every disease and sickness as He went preaching the good news of the kingdom. (Matthew 4:23) The good news was that God loved all men and desired to see them turn from their selfish ways. Repentance is a change of mind about who has the right to run your life. It may also be described as a change of Kings and kingdoms! In the kingdom of God, truth is the language of God. Jesus was the Truth in human flesh and lived by that truth. (John 1:12, John 14:6) We are born the first time under the kingdom of darkness and Satan’s lies. Repentance means turning from that kingdom to the kingdom of heaven!
Jesus brought the kingdom of heaven near to each person. We have opportunity to respond to the good news as long as Christ has not returned! Today is the best day to turn to Him! Now is the only time we know we have! If you have not responded, please do it now!