Scripture reading for July 31st: 2nd Corinthians 3, Psalm 2, Proverbs 28-29 (two chapters of Proverbs today to enable going to odd Psalms every other day)
Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 3:3-6 “And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”
Paul, writing again to the Church in Corinth, contrasted his own ministry with those who boasted of their own sufficiency. His ministry had produced the fruit of changed lives through the work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit had written God’s law of love on human hearts to bring about the change. Effort to keep the letter of the law produced only death but the Spirit gave life. The only boast Paul had was in God’s faithfulness and work by the Holy Spirit.
Faith Confession: I thank God that He has declared me sufficient as a minister of the new covenant of the Holy Spirit. He works through me by the Holy Spirit and God’s Word to bring about heart change in those who believe.
Proverbs 29:25 “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.”
Scripture reading for January 14th: Matthew 10
Key scriptures: Matthew 10:24-25, 28 “”A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household. . . . Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Jesus plainly taught His disciples that persecution would be their lot from others, often members of their own household. After all, Jesus was a Jew and His own countrymen turned on Him, some accusing Him of being demon-possessed and others plotting His murder–for religious reasons, of course!
However, Jesus’ disciples must continue to share the good news and preach truth without regard for those who opposed them. Their fear or respect for God must always be above a fear of man–even their own family! The fear of man could be the snare of the enemy that would take Jesus’ followers to their destruction in Hell! Jesus taught them that hell was a real place where the devil and his followers would spend eternity suffering for their lack of fear of God.
Observation for over-comers: As we follow Jesus, we are being transformed to be more like Him each day. This brings persecution from those in rebellion. Don’t fear their taunts, Christ has overcome! “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord will be kept safe.” (Proverbs 29:25)
Scripture reading for July 22nd: Isaiah 17-20
“Those who trusted in Cush and boasted in Egypt will be afraid and put to shame. In that day the people who live on this coast will say, ‘See what has happened to those we relied on, those we fled to for help and deliverance from the king of Assyria! How then can we escape?” (Isaiah 20:5-6)
The fear of man is a snare that many men and women fall into. People look to a leader or a nation for help or protection. They rely on military power, political influence, or money to provide them a measure of safety and security. Most believe that ‘might makes right’ and that the ‘fittest will survive’. This appears to be the smart way to live successfully in this world.
We in the United States of America have had a lot to boast about in this regard. We have the most powerful military in the world. We have vast resources and technology that enables us to protect ourselves and to free oppressed peoples. But can these give us true safety and security? The Bible says that security is found in God alone!
Egypt was a powerful nation during this period of time. They were a nation of idolaters who consulted sorcerers and mediums instead of God. God’s prophet Isaiah warned His people that they would find these leaders very unreliable. (Isaiah 19:1-4) God would cause drought and famine to reduce the nation to despair. He would expose their politicians and officials as senseless and fools! (Isaiah 19:5-14) God would pour on them a spirit of dizziness causing them to stagger in their own vomit!
God’s mercy would be extended to those in Egypt as well. If they would turn to the Lord, He would have mercy on them! (Isaiah 19:19-22) He would raise up a deliverer and make Himself known to them. This passage ends with God declaring a blessing over Egypt and Assyria: “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.” (Isaiah 19:25)
God’s amazing mercy and love for all nations cause us to worship Him and willingly serve Him! Take time today and repent of any ‘trust in man’ and thank God that He is trustworthy! He alone is our source of protection and our way of escape!