Scripture reading: Genesis 3-5, Mark 2
Key Scriptures: Genesis 3:7-9 “Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”
When the first man and woman sinned by disobeying God’s word, God took the initiative and went looking for them in the garden. He called out to them, not because He didn’t know where they were or why they were hiding. He exchanged their fig leaves for bloody skins. Similarly, Jesus Christ sought out lost children of God and called them to Himself, that they might be with Him and learn God’s heart for those caught in Satan’s snare! Through Jesus’ blood covering, all who responded would be healed from sin’s grip.
Mark 2:16-17 “And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that He was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to the disciples, “Why does He eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.””
Faith Confession and prayer: Lord, Here I am! I have strayed from You but through the call of Jesus Christ, I am now following the path of a disciple and learning Your ways. Send me out today in the power of Your Spirit to preach the Good News and call the lost home to You.
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 February 11th: Mark 2, Psalm 30, Proverbs 30
Key Scriptures: Mark 2:15-17 “And as he (Luke) reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and His disciples, for there were many who followed Him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that He was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to His disciples, “Why does He eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.””
Jesus called Levi, also known as Matthew, to follow Him and become a disciple. Levi responded quickly and hosted Jesus at his home, inviting many other friends to meet Jesus. This angered the religious folks, who had judged those attending as “sinners.” Jesus gently set them straight by explaining His mission; He was here to call sinners to repentance. This required humility to recognize that everyone is a sinner in need of the Great Physician.
Faith’s confession: I am thankful that Jesus came to save me, a sinner, in need of healing. I am blessed to join other “sinners” at the table with Jesus Christ, my Lord, Who has restored my life and healed me.
Psalm 30:2-3 “O Lord my God, I cried to You for help, and You have healed me. O Lord, You have brought up my soul from Sheol; You restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.”
Scripture reading for February 9th: Leviticus 12-15, Mark 2
Key Scriptures: Mark 2:15-17 “And as He reclined at table in His house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and His disciples, for there were many who followed Him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that He was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to His disciples, “Why does He eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Jesus chose to invite sinners to have fellowship with Him. He ate with them and even invited Matthew, a despised tax collector, to follow Him. The religious leaders questioned how Jesus could be willing to be with ‘sinners and tax collectors’ and Jesus spoke plainly to them. He had come to minister to those who were in need of healing, not those who did not need it. God taught His people in the Old Testament to minister to the unclean, lepers, and bring restoration.
Leviticus 14:1-3 “The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “This is the law of the leprous person for the day of his cleansing. He shall be brought to the priest, and the priest shall look. Then, if the case of the leprous disease is healed in the leprous person, the priest shall command them to take for him who is to be cleansed two live clean birds. . . “
Prayer: Holy Father, thank You for caring for the sinner and the hurting. May your compassion fill my heart today to bring healing, encouragement and hope. Amen.
Scripture reading for February 11th: Mark 2
Everywhere Jesus went, people were either amazed at His teaching and miracles or provoked by how unorthodox His methods and timing were. Religious leaders had the most difficult time when Jesus broke their customs and violated tradition. Common people felt welcomed and loved by Jesus and opened their hearts to Him. Those who encountered Jesus must decide where they stood for His teaching and miracles brought conviction!
“”As He walked along, He saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow Me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed Him. While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” were eating with Him and His disciples, for there were many who followed Him.” (Mark 2:14-15) This action of Jesus brought the Pharisees into a conflict with Jesus and His disciples. They were upset that Jesus was hanging around with known “sinners”. This would have been unthinkable to them. These people were “unclean” and would have contaminated them.
Jesus responded with a classic statement: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 1:18) Jesus’ mission was to reach lost people. In reality, all are lost! (Romans 3:23) But often religious people are self-righteous! They judge their righteousness by the rules they keep and by others lack of keeping their traditions. We must know we are sick to choose a doctor to help us! We must recognize we are sinners to go to The Savior! Check your heart today! If you are judging yourself by religious rules or traditions, rather than by your relationship with Jesus, the Savior, repent and get it right!
Scripture reading for January 10th: Matthew 9:1-17, Psalm 7:10-17, Proverbs 2:16-19
Have you ever been audited by the IRS? Did your IRS agent invite you over to his or her house? Jesus came by Matthew’s tax collection booth and called him to follow. Matthew responded by leaving and following Him. He invited Jesus to come over to his house and Jesus came and ate and laughed with Matthew’s “sinner” friends, causing quite a stir among the religious community!
“When the Pharisees saw this, they asked the disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:11-13) Jesus loved all men, but He could only bring health to those who realized that they were sick. Those who could not admit that they needed a doctor would not find healing. Likewise, those who could not confess sin would not find repentance.
This is the danger of religion. Religion reduces our righteousness or spiritual health to some man-made rules that we try to keep. We are told that if we just do this or confess to that, all will be well with our soul. The Pharisees of Jesus’ day meticulously tried to keep God’s law and judged those who did not do all that they had commanded. Their pride in their religious good works blinded them to their need to confess and repent from their own sins. (1st John 1:9)
Our Father sent Jesus to walk and live among His people, demonstrating His love and desire that all would repent and be made righteous. Our righteousness is a gift of God by grace through faith in Jesus, not the result of our keeping His laws or man’s religious rules. (Ephesians 2:8-10) Jesus loves all sinners, even tax collectors like Matthew! Responding to Jesus by repentance and faith leads to following Jesus and eternal life! Praise the Lord for His mercy! Thank God Jesus loved sinners enough to call them to follow Him and them eat and laugh with them! May we show Christ’s love to the lost and hurting people we come in contact with each day!
Scripture reading for June 4th: Psalms 1-6
Today we embark on a study of the psalms. The Book of Psalms was the hymnbook of the Hebrew people and was used in worship and prayer. The word “psalm” denotes a “song sung to the accompaniment of a plucked instrument.” These psalms had at least seven different authors and were written over nearly a thousand years, from the time of Moses to the return from exile in Babylon. David was one of the primary authors of the psalms. Many reflect his own prayers, worship, fears, and desires as he experience the full range of life in all it’s emotional ups and downs! As we study this book, let’s ask the Lord to open our eyes to see Jesus Christ and to know Him more intimately!
This book opens with a psalm about a man who is blessed by God. There are some things this man does not do. He doesn’t walk in the counsel of the wicked. He also doesn’t stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. What is wickedness? How do we know what counsel we should avoid? What is a sinner? What is the mocker mocking? That’s easy to know from this Psalm. This man knows because he delights in the law of the Lord! He is meditating on that law day and night. From that law he clearly understands good and evil, righteousness and wickedness. He understands sin by knowing God’s law!
This man who is blessed is pictured as like a tree planted by streams of water. This tree is always bearing fruit and is leafy and green because it’s roots are well supplied with moisture and nutrients. Even when it is dry and hot, it is not lacking because of the water supply it draws from. God abundantly supplies this man because of the Word he meditates on. Circumstances may change the climate, but the roots are well supplied! What an encouraging picture to begin worship with!
This blessed man is contrasted with the wicked man. The wicked man is pictured as the chaff off of the wheat. The wind comes and blows it away. It is good for nothing but to be burned up. Just like the chaff that is separated from the wheat by the wind, so the sinner and wicked man will not stand in the time of God’s judgment! They will be separated from the assembly of the righteous and blessed! God is watching over the righteous to provide and protect and ultimately reward them. God is also going to make sure the wicked perish!
This song about the blessed man is for us today! We are to meditate on the Word of God and focus on the living Word, Jesus Christ! Life flows from Him and in Him we find eternal life! Blessing is favor and a river of good flowing from the source of all blessing, God. God loves to bless those who sit at His feet, stand in His way and walk by faith in His Word.