Scripture reading for April 12th: John 6, Psalm 74, Proverbs 12
Key Scriptures: John 6:35-40 “Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to Me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and whoever comes to Me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will but the will of Him who sent me. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that I should lose nothing of all that He has given Me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day.”
The Father’s will was a key thought in Jesus’ life. Jesus came to earth do do the Father’s will, not His own. Those who choose to believe in Jesus come to Him and will be eternally cared for, never to be lost, hungry, or thirsty again. They come because the Father decreed that anyone who looks on His Son and believes would have eternal life and resurrection to life!
Faith Confession: Jesus, thank You for the Father’s will! I joyfully look on You and believe, receiving eternal life, satisfaction of my hunger and thirst, and security!
Psalm 74:12 “Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.”
Scripture reading for April 11: 1st Samuel 20-23, John 5
Key Scriptures: John 6:28-29 “Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear His voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.”
Jesus told His disciples that He would be the source of resurrection and eternal life. His voice would bring people out of their graves. But not everyone would enjoy eternal life, some who had done evil would suffer judgment and eternal punishment. God knows how to protect His people and punish those who do evil!
1st Samuel 23:14 “And David remained in the strongholds in the wilderness, in the hill country of the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God did not give him into his hand.”
Prayer: Father, thank You for the promise of resurrection life and reward and Your protection in this life. Help me to live in faith and make You my “Stronghold”. Amen.
Scripture reading for May 19th: Job 17-20
Key Scriptures: Job 19:25-27 “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see Him with my own eyes! How my heart yearns within me!”
Job was kept through his terrible suffering during this test by revelation knowledge of a God who was alive and a redeemer! He so trusted in his Redeemer that he believed that even if he died and his body was consumed by the grave, that one day, in his body, he would see God with his own eyes! Job had resurrection faith!
Rejoicing in our Redeemer: Jesus promises to redeem all those who believe on Him from the penalty of sin–eternal death! “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”” (John 11:25-26)
Scripture reading for May 18th: Job 12-16
Key Scriptures: Job 14:13-15 “If only You would hide me in the grave and conceal me till your anger has passed! If only You would set me a time and then remember me! If a man dies, will he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait for my renewal to come. You will call and I will answer you; You will long for the creature You hands have made.”
Job was so miserable that he longed to die and asked God to hide him in the grave until the time of His anger had passed. He asked God to set a time and then to remember him, even to call him up from the grave in order to have fellowship with him, God’s creature and creation!
Rejoicing in God’s coming Renewal: God has set a time to bring about the greatest renewal ever seen! “For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever!” (1st Thessalonians 4:15-17)
Scripture reading for April 20th: John 11
Key scriptures for over-comers: John 11:25-27 “Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord,” she told Him, “I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who was come into the world.””
Jesus tried to console Martha with promise of resurrection for her brother, who had been in the tomb for four days. Martha stated she believed in resurrection and then Jesus made an amazing promise. He stated one of the “I AM” promises recorded by the Apostle John, “I Am the Resurrection and the Life.” He stated that anyone who lived and believed in Him would never die and if you died believing you would live again. Mary told Jesus that she believed this too, because she believed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God! Jesus then proved He had power to raise the dead by calling Lazarus from the grave!
Observations for over-comers: Faith in Jesus Christ, Son of God is the bedrock of resurrection life for each person. This truth is echoed by Job in the Old Testament! “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see Him with my own eyes, I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me.” (Job 19:25-27)
Scripture reading for June 9th: Acts 25
Politics and religion are ways of the world that men use to gain control over others. It was no different in Paul’s day. After he had spent two years in jail as a result of a politician, the Roman governor Felix, a new leader took his place. Felix kept Paul, looking for a bribe. Now as the new governor, Festus, visited Jerusalem he was confronted by the Jews concerning the prisoner Paul. They felt he should die because of their original charges and Festus offered them opportunity to again make their case.
Festus convened the hearing in Caesarea. “When Paul appeared, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many serious charges against him, which they could not prove.” Then Paul made his defense: “I have done nothing wrong against the law of the Jews or against the temple or against Caesar.” Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there on these charges?” (Acts 25:7-9) Paul stated that he was willing to die if he had done anything worthy of death, but as a Roman citizen, he appealed to Caesar. Festus declared that that was where he would be sent!
Festus was visited by King Agrippa and his wife. Festus shared Paul’s case with the king and discussed the lack of clear charges with him. “When his accusers got up to speak, they did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected. Instead, they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive.” (Acts 25:18-19) In the midst of political and religious disputes, God was at work through Paul sharing the good news with all!
Scripture reading for July 12th: Romans 1:1-17
Paul’s letter to the Romans is a wonderful exposition of the gospel message and salvation by grace through faith. Paul wrote this letter from jail to a Roman church that he had never visited. The term ‘gospel‘ is used twelve times in the letter and is used six times in first seventeen verses!
I was out sharing the gospel in the park with a team from our church. There was a man with a tee shirt that quoted Romans 1:16: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. . .” I asked this young man if he knew what the term ‘gospel’ meant and he said he would have to go look that up. That opened the door for me to share with him and his friends the gospel message!
Paul loved the gospel. The gospel was promised by God through the prophets concerning the Son of God who was to be a descendant of David. This Son was none other than Jesus Christ, “who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by resurrection from the dead.” (Romans 1:4) The gospel was good news for both Jew and Gentile. They could receive grace and forgiveness of sins by faith.
Paul considered the gospel of Jesus Christ the power of God for salvation. He was not ashamed of that message, but instead was bold to share it whenever and where ever God would open the door. This gospel revealed the righteousness of God that is received by faith in both Jew and Gentile. Paul quotes Habakkuk 2:4 in saying, “The righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1:17b)
Paul declared how the gospel saved him from working to try and earn righteousness through the law! He knew the futility of his own works and how this good news brought him rest and grace. He wanted everyone to know that grace and believe in Jesus Christ! (Acts 26:29)
If you were asked to explain what ‘gospel’ means, would you be able to? Have you experienced the power of the gospel to save you? Are you able to say with Paul, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel!”? Sharing the Gospel is the duty and privilege of every believer in Christ!
Scripture reading for November 26th: 1st Corinthians 15-16
One of the stumbling blocks for intellectuals is the resurrection. The resurrection is foreign to anything our mind can truly understand. To the natural eye, death appears to be irreversible. Doctors can treat a person, but they can’t keep them from dying or permanently raise them to life.
“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, He appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.” (1st Corinthians 15:3-6)
The resurrected Jesus appeared alive to Mary at the tomb. (John 20:13-18) Then Peter saw the Lord and then the Twelve, minus Judas, saw Him (Mark 16:14) The two disciples saw Him on the road to Emmaus. (Luke 24:31-32) Thomas got to put his fingers in the holes of Jesus’ resurrected body and became a believer. (John 20:26-28) Finally, Jesus appeared to over 500 brothers at the same time! (1st Corinthians 15:16) These men and women were either lying or telling the truth. If they were lying, many of them went to their death rather than change their story!
Not only has Christ been raised from the dead, but all who believe in Him will also be raised from the dead! Resurrection is a key truth of the Christian faith. “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” (1st Corinthians 15:20-22)
Paul compares resurrection to planting of a seed. A seed is planted in the ground and at the proper time it germinates and resurrects. Likewise, our body is sown in the grave but it will be raised in glory! It was sown a natural body, but will be raised a spiritual body that lives forever! (1st Corinthians 15:42-44) This change will happen at the “last trumpet”! Death will be swallowed up by victory in Christ’s eternal life! What a glorious day that will be!
Scripture reading for August 27th: Ezekiel 37-39
God used His word to create the world out of nothing. He tells us that our words have the power of life or death! In today’s reading, God showed Ezekiel a valley full of very dry human bones. God asked Ezekiel if he thought the scattered and dry human bones could live again. Ezekiel cautiously answered: “O Sovereign Lord, you alone know.” (Ezekiel 37:3) With God, all things are possible and Ezekiel made room for every possibility.
The Lord then spoke to Ezekiel: “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin. I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.'” (Ezekiel 37:4-6) When Ezekiel spoke, there was a noise and rattling sound as the bones came together. Then the tendons and flesh appeared and finally the skin covered them. He spoke next to the four winds to come and enter the slain. These newly formed bodies came to life and stood up on their feet, a mighty army.
God’s message of hope and restoration was given to the people who were scattered in foreign lands because of their sins and the judgment of God. God was showing His ability and plan to restore them. It would be according to God’s powerful Word and the power of the Holy Spirit that it would be accomplished.
We can also see the fulfillment of God’s promise as it took place in history past. God restored his people to the land and the temple was rebuilt. Jesus Christ, the Messiah, came to that temple and offered Himself as a sacrifice for sin to totally restore all of humanity. He sent the Holy Spirit as a wind from heaven to bring new spiritual life to His dead people. One day we will have a resurrection body when Christ returns! Life and death are in the power of our tongue! When we confess the Lordship of Jesus Christ with our mouth and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, we are saved! (Romans 10:9-10) What an awesome God we serve!