Scripture reading for September 4th: Psalm 147-150, Philippians 3
Key Scriptures: Philippians 3:20-4:1 “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body. Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!”
As Paul was concluding his letter to the Philippians, he cast vision of Christ’s return and the expectation of believers. Christ’s return would bring the ultimate transformation of human flesh to those who trusted in Him. Lowly earthly bodies will be transformed into eternal heavenly bodies, just like Christ’s. This is vision that enables faith and a firm stand.
Psalm 148:13-14 “Let them praise the Name of the Lord, for His Name alone is exalted; His splendor is above the earth and the heavens. He has raised up for His people a horn, the praise of all His saints, of Israel, the people close to His heart. Praise the Lord!”
Prayer: Lord, we praise You and Your Horn, Jesus Christ our Savior. We look forward to Your return for us and the transformation that will take place at that time! Amen.
Scripture reading for June 17th: Acts 11:1-30
“Without a vision, people cast off restraint.” (Proverbs 29:18) Spiritual vision is the ability to see with the eyes of the heart what God is doing and where He is taking you. Accurate spiritual vision will always line up with the Word of God, which never changes.
The leadership of the early church was overwhelmingly devout Jews who had come to Christ. Their understanding of God’s plan was filtered through their religious training and traditions. God worked with Peter first, helping him to see the need to preach to the Gentiles. When the others in Jerusalem heard that Peter had gone to the Gentiles, they criticized Peter. (Acts 11:1-3)
Peter explained how God had helped him to see that the Gentiles were also to be saved. (Acts 11:14) God worked in such a miraculous and supernatural manner, that their eyes were opened to God’s bigger plan. When these Gentiles received the gift of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of tongues, all doubt was removed! (Acts 11:15-17) Those who heard the testimony began to praise God for granting the Gentiles repentance to eternal life!
With this new vision, the scattered church began to preach to the Gentiles in distant lands. Some went to Cyprus and Cyrene and Antioch preaching to the Greeks there. “The Lord’s hand was on them and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.” (Acts 11:21) God’s grace brought salvation to all who would believe! The disciples in Jerusalem sent Barnabas to find Saul and both went to preach in Antioch and instruct the believers there. Great numbers of people were brought to the Lord as these apostles taught in Antioch for a whole year together. It is recorded that Christ’s followers were first called “Christians” at Antioch! (Acts 11:26)
New vision, expanded ministry, and great numbers of people being saved brought excitement and joy to the early church. Men and women, full of the Holy Spirit preached and taught, bringing the Word of Jesus Christ to Jew and Gentile alike. God saved all who believed! This simple program is still in effect today! God wants to use you to reach the world you live in! Are you full of vision and equipped with the Holy Spirit?
Scripture reading for January 6th: Genesis 12-14
Abram and his nephew Lot were prosperous in the new land God had taken them to. Abram had built an altar to the Lord in Bethel and began to call upon the Lord. (Genesis 13:3-4) Lot and his herdsmen began to quarrel with Abram’s herdsmen. Abram was a peacemaker and decided they should separate. He gave Lot the choice of where he would settle. Lot had his eyes on the fertile plain and the city of Sodom. Sodom was a wicked city and the men there were sinning greatly in the sight of the Lord. (Genesis 13:13)
After Lot had moved, the Lord spoke to Abram, telling him to lift up his eyes and look in each direction. All that he could see would be given to him and his descendants forever! God reaffirmed that He would make Abram’s offspring as numerous as the dust of the earth. God encouraged Abram to walk through the land and survey it. Abram moved his tent near Hebron and built an altar to the Lord there. (Genesis 13:18) God blessed Abram for his faith and willingness to let God lead him to where he was supposed to be. This is a helpful hint for us in our walk. We can be selfish and reach out to take, or we can more wisely worship the Lord and follow Him!
Some time later, we find some kings attacking Sodom and carrying off Lot and his family, as well as the goods of Sodom. Abram took his men and went in pursuit. He recovered all the people plus the goods. (Genesis 14:16) As he returned, both the king of Sodom and Melchizedek, king of Salem (Jerusalem), came to meet Abram. Melchizedek, a priest of the Most High God, met Abram with bread and wine and blessed him. Abram responded by giving a tithe of everything to this mysterious priest and king. (Genesis 14:20)
Jesus Christ is said to be a priest after the order of Melchizedek, having the power of an endless life! (Hebrews 7:15-17) As a priest, Jesus intercedes for us before the throne. (Romans 8:34) He served His disciples bread and wine at the Last Supper and told them to do it often in remembrance of Him. (Matthew 26:26-29) He is also King of Kings and will reign in the Jerusalem during the millennium! (Revelation 20:4-5) Jesus alone is worthy of our worship, tithes, and dedication!
Scripture reading for April 21: 1st Chronicles 22-27
As I have attended and worked in different church families, one of the things that is often done poorly is the transition of leadership. Often the pastor resigns or sometimes is forced to leave because of some problem. No preparation or thinking has been done by the deacons or core leadership of the church and a crisis is at hand. People have different ideas and pastors are invited to come share their ministry and it becomes a popularity contest. It sometimes divides the church and there is great turmoil. Many people forget that God is a God of order and He has a plan of succession and a plan for success! We see such a plan in action in today’s reading!
David was old and “full of years”. (1st Chronicles 23:1) He made Solomon king over Israel. David’s son Adonijah had tried to make himself king and Bathsheba and Nathan worked together to redirect the situation according to the will of the Lord. (1st Kings 1:1-5) There was a power struggle here as well. People often want to be in charge and often seek to take power or to control the one who is in power. It is one of the strategies of Satan to bring division and confusion in a family, church, or nation. After installing Solomon, David wisely tried to help his son succeed in the tasks that he knew were important. One of these was the building of the temple for the Lord.
First David encouraged Solomon that it was God’s will that he build the Lord’s house. David had heard from the Lord! He knew the will of God and passed this on to Solomon. He was positive and encouraging and prayed for God’s wisdom and discretion that his son might keep the Law of God and have success! A father’s blessing and God’s blessing go a long way toward success! (1st Chronicles 22:11-13)
Next, David assembled materials for the Temple. He generously provided from his own treasury for God’s house! He set a good example for his son and the nation of generosity and focus on what was important. When God’s house was cared for, God would bless and the people would be focused on what should be central. (1st Chronicles 22:14-16)
The last thing David did was to gather the key leaders of Israel together and encourage them to support Solomon. David cited the Lord’s victories and how God had given the people rest. He encouraged the leaders to seek the Lord with all their heart and soul and to begin building. This transition would continue the vision of the Lord through David and insure the accomplishment of God’s will and purposes. (1st Chronicles 22:17-19)
I believe God wants thoughtful and peaceful transition of leadership. Pray for your family, church family and nation for the leaders and those in authority that they would be thoughtful and purposeful in this area. God’s purposes are eternal! We should keep them in focus!