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!
Sunday September 14th, 2014
The times we live in are similar to those of the minor prophet Amos. He was a simple man who spoke a plain message of warning to people who were living in times of prosperity and declining attention to God. The people were going through the motions of religion, but not ready to meet God!
Let me call you as believers in Jesus Christ to come and meet with God’s people and with God this Sunday! We live in a time where the grace of God is flowing! If you have been back-slidden or neglecting corporate worship, God is merciful! Repent and follow the Holy Spirit back into the rhythms of His people. The Church of Jesus Christ needs you and you need the Church! Your family and friends do too! Invites someone to join you and attend today!
In His Love, Pastor John and Mary
Scripture reading for May 22nd: Job 11-14
“Know this, God has even forgotten some of your sin.” Job 11:6b
“Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” Hebrews 10:17
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sin, God is faithful and just and will forgive us our sin and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1st John 1:8-9
Job’s friend Zophar was frank in his accusation that Job needed to repent. He was certain that Job had sinned and that God was being merciful even in this harsh trial. He stated that God had probably forgotten some of Job’s sins or it might be worse! (Job 11:6) If Job would just repent of his sin, God would be merciful to him. (Job 11:14-15) Zophar could not get away from the common understanding of God’s justice that said trouble and suffering were a result of sin in a person’s life.
Job, however, knew of no specific sins and did not want to fake a repentance or manufacture some sin just to manipulate God or appease these friends. Job did know his need for God’s covering of his sins. He wrestled with how he could meet with God and what would happen after death. Finally, Job made a statement of faith concerning his own life and sins. It is in the form of a prayer discourse with God. (Job 14:13-17) Job asked God to hide him in the grave until His anger had passed and then “to set a time and remember me”. He asked that if a man died, would he live again? He stated that he expected to hear a call from God and to respond from the grave because God longed to have fellowship with the “creature He has made”. Job expected by faith that all his sins would be sealed in a bag, covered over and not remembered!
Jesus Christ came as the “mediator” and gave His life for our sins, promising to come again and remember us! He forgave our sins and remembers them no more! We will live with Him forever! This is available now to all who will repent and confess their sins to the Lord! (1st John 1:7-9)
Scripture reading for December 12th: Revelation 3:7-22
The last of the seven letters Jesus dictated to John on Patmos was to the church at Laodicea. Imagine being a part of this church, thinking that you knew and loved Jesus, and then hearing from your bishop that He was actually outside your door knocking to gain entrance!
“These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of My mouth.” (Revelation 3:14b-16) Jesus called Himself three powerful names. As the ‘Amen’, He had said ‘yes’ to God’s Word and made it available to us through His sacrifice. He was the ultimate faithful ‘Witness’ of God’s goodness and mercy. He was also the ultimate and final ‘Ruler’ of God’s creation. From this unique position of authority, Jesus made a startling revelation to this church family: they were ‘lukewarm’ in their love for Him!
Jesus looks carefully at the heart of each of His beloved followers. He desires full and complete devotion! He was fully and completely devoted to the Father’s will on our behalf. 2nd Chronicles 16:9 states that God’s eyes search the earth looking for those who are fully sold out to Him in order that He might show Himself strong on their behalf!
These believers were deceived about their spiritual state. They were evidently blessed financially by the economy of Laodicea. They had good jobs and were prosperous and well-supplied. But Jesus warned them of their spiritual poverty and nakedness. They did not see the true condition of their hearts and in His love, Jesus called out to them. He always rebukes those He loves and disciplines the children He wants to receive. (Revelation 3:19) (Hebrews 12:5-11)
“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.” (Revelation 3:19b-20) Repentance is a change of mind which results in a change of action. Jesus knows our deeds and is looking for complete change. Examine your own life today in light of these verses! Hopefully, Jesus has already found an open door!