Through the New Testament In One Year Reading Plan

 

 



  



June

2019:


Jonathan Norton

June 3-June 7
Acts 21-Acts 25


Rev. JT Overby

June 10-June 14
Acts 26-Acts 28

Romans 1-Romans 2

 

Dr. Kevin Calhoun

May 27th- May 31st

June 17-June 21

Acts 16-20
Romans 3-Romans 7

 

Dr. Craig Bowers

June 24-June 28
Romans 8-Romans 12

 

 

 

 

 


  • May 27, 2019 


    by Kevin Calhoun                                                                                                       

    Read Acts 16


    In Acts 16 we read about the early stages of Paul’s second missionary journey. As Paul arrives in Philippi, a number of events take place. He receives a vision calling him to Macedonia, Paul and Silas are put in  prison for preaching the Gospel, and while they are in prison a jailer and his entire family are converted to faith in Jesus. The activity is non-stop.

     

    However, I am continually drawn to verse 14 in this chapter. Lydia, a seller of purple fabrics, is listening to Paul’s teaching when the Bible tells us, “and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.”  Oh, how the grace of God amazes me.

     

    I (we) must remember it is the Lord who opens the hearts of people to believe. It is the Holy Spirit’s role, not mine, to convict and draw people to God through faith in Jesus. I am called to be a faithful witness to what Jesus has done in my life. Then I trust God for the results. 

     

    Understanding this truth has been one of the most freeing lessons I have learned as a child of God. As you and I share our faith with others, we can trust God for the results. God draws people to Himself. He convicts them of sin.  He opens their hearts to truth.  It is God who saves, not us.  Thanks be to God!

     

    Application:

    List some areas in your life where you need to trust God more. ________________________________________________________________

     

    ________________________________________________________________

     

    List some ways you can be faithful to God today. ________________________________________________________________

     

    ________________________________________________________________

     

     

    Prayer:

    Lord, I want to be a faithful witness for You today.  Lead me to someone who needs to hear of Your love.  Help me to trust You for the results!  Amen!

         


  • May 28, 2019


    by Kevin Calhoun


    Read Acts 17


    It is here in Acts 17 we read about Paul’s sermon at Mars Hill. As he spoke to the people Paul began by making reference to their altar to an “Unknown God.” Paul then began to share with them about God’s redemptive plan through Jesus. Paul shared God’s call for people to repent because God will judge the world in  righteousness (vss. 30-31).  Furthermore, God has demonstrated His plan by raising Jesus from the dead (vs. 31).

     

    I find verses 32-34 to be quite revealing. Verse 32 states, “Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer . . .”   Then in verse 34 we read, “But some men joined him and believed . . .”

     

    The same is true today as we share our faith. Many will hear what we have to say and turn away in disbelief. Others, however, will hear and believe. But, as I shared in yesterday’s devotion, it is God who opens the hearts of people to believe. 

     

    As a child of God, I am called to be faithful in sharing my faith with others.  Some will refuse to believe what I share while others may turn to God through faith in Jesus. I may have the joy of seeing many of these people trust Jesus while others might not do so for years to come. But my calling is to be a faithful witness.

     

    Application:

    List the name of one person with whom you are sharing your faith:

    ________________________________________________________________


    ________________________________________________________________

     

    Say a prayer for that person asking God for an opportunity to share with him/her today.

     

    Prayer:

    Lord Jesus, I pray for ______________ today. Please give me an opportunity to share with him/her today.  I trust You to open his/her heart to Jesus.

     


  • May 29, 2019

     

    by Kevin Calhoun


    Read Acts 18


    I have always enjoyed reading this passage about Apollos (vss. 24-28).  Apollos is  described as an “eloquent” man who was “mighty in the Scriptures.”  The Bible also tells us he was “fervent in spirit,” and he was “speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus.”  However, in verse 26 we read, “. . . when Priscilla and  Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more  accurately.”  If he was speaking and teaching accurately, why was there a need to  explain the way of God more accurately?

     

    I believe the answer is simple. There is always more we can learn in order to understand the truth of Scripture more accurately.  I know and understand much more today than I did when I first believed in Jesus as an 11 year old boy. I also pray I will understand and know more in five years than I do now. Growth and development in the Christian walk is essential.

     

    In 2 Peter 3:18 we are instructed to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” This growth takes place through the process of discipleship. New believers need mature believers to disciple them in their faith.  Apollos needed Priscilla and Aquila to disciple him so he could understand Scripture more clearly. Apollos was then equipped to disciple others in their faith.

     

    Application:

    Who has helped disciple you in your faith? ________________________________________________________________


    ________________________________________________________________

     

     

    Would you be willing to lead a group of people in discipleship?  If so, who? 

    ________________________________________________________________


    ________________________________________________________________


    Prayer:

    Dear Lord, thank you for men and women who taught me the truth of Scripture when I was a new believer!  Lead me as I seek to disciple others each day.  Amen!  

     


  • May 30, 2019

     

    by Kevin Calhoun


    Read Acts 19


    There are two verses in this chapter I find quite challenging as I seek to live and share my faith each day. The first is verse 10, “And this took place for two years, so that all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.” The second is verse 20, “So the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing.” I find great joy in reading about the spreading of the Gospel in the early church. At the same time, I find it challenging and convicting as I reflect upon the efforts of the church today to share the “Good News.”

     

    As I read about the early church, I see a group of people who were transformed by God in such a way that they sought to reach everyone with the message of Jesus. I am not sure we have that same concern in the church today. I sometimes wonder if our interest in our own comforts and desires outweighs our desire to reach others for Christ. I know I often find reasons (excuses) to do other things.

     

    What do you suppose would happen if we were dedicated to reaching as many people as possible with the hope we have in Jesus? Would we find the word of the Lord “growing mightily and prevailing” in our community today?  It is something to think about. I know it challenges me.

     

    Application:

    List some activities that can easily get in the way of our witness. 

    ________________________________________________________________


    ________________________________________________________________

     

    What changes will we make in order to share our faith more?  

    ________________________________________________________________


    ________________________________________________________________

     

     

    Prayer:

    Lord, I want You to be first in my life. Show me where I fall short. Give me strength and courage to be faithful to You each day. Amen.

     

     


  • May 31, 2019

     

    by Kevin Calhoun


    Read Acts 20


    What are some of your goals for your life? I know I have had several goals through the years: get a solid education, find employment in a church, be a faithful husband to Susan, be a father who provides for his children and sets a good example for them through word and deed, and now I look forward to the privilege of being a Grandfather. It is interesting to see how our goals may change throughout our stages of life.

     

    Toward the end of Acts 20 Paul is giving a word of farewell to the church in Ephesus.  During his address Paul states, “I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God,” (vs. 24). Wow! Paul’s singular focus to be faithful to the call God placed upon him when his life was transformed by Jesus.

     

    I read these words from Paul, and I think about the life I have lived thus far, and I   realize my ministry is not finished yet!  I believe there is much the Lord would have me to do in His Church. Therefore, I want to be found faithful to Him.  I long to hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant . . . enter into the joy of My kingdom,” (Matthew 25:23). Until then, I want to keep serving my Lord. Will you join me?

     

    Application:

    What can you do today to serve the Lord?  ________________________________________________________________

     

    ________________________________________________________________

     

    List one person you can minister to today. ________________________________________________________________

     

    Prayer:

    Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace today. May I bless someone today in the name of Jesus.

     

     


  • June 3, 2019

     

    by Jonathan Norton

     

    Read Acts 21

     

    I remember when the Lord called me to ministry after 20 plus years in the coaching profession. Some of my closest friends and even some in my family asked a lot of questions out of concern if I was truly making the right decision. As my wife and I prayed through this major life change, there were times when the human advice we were receiving seemed to be going against what we felt was a divine direction. After praying, studying the scriptures, and listening to Godly counsel, I learned through that process that hearing the Word of God through the Holy Spirit is not our primary problem as believers. The greater challenge is heeding the Word of God and following the Holy Spirit, trusting Him with an unknown outcome.

     

    In Acts 21, Paul became what Warren Weirsbe calls the “Misunderstood Missionary”. Paul’s friends misunderstood his plans in verses 1-17, the church in Jerusalem misunderstood his message in verses 18-26, and the Jews misunderstood his ministry in verses 27 – Acts 22.  The lesson here is how did Paul respond? Paul responded by pressing on “for the name of the Lord Jesus” (v. 13). Paul did not become paralyzed with indecision, he stayed committed to the Lord. He understood that even if you end up making a bad decision in good faith, the Lord will honor your trust in Him, and He will use the circumstances for your good and His Glory. Paul knew that danger and suffering were waiting for him in Jerusalem (v. 23), but he could not deny the prompting of the Holy Spirit. The warnings simply gave him the opportunity to count the cost of obedience. What a powerful example for us to follow!    

     

    Application:

    How do you respond when those close to you question if you are following the will of God? 
    ________________________________________________________________


    ________________________________________________________________

     

    Do you struggle more with hearing God’s Word or heeding the Word? 
    ________________________________________________________________


    ________________________________________________________________

     

    Prayer:

    Lord, thank you for the example of Paul and his faithfulness. May we be listening and following the prompting of the Holy Spirit daily. Amen


  • June 4, 2019

     

    by Jonathan Norton

     

    Read Acts 22

     

    We read about four keys that describe Paul in this chapter. His Conduct (vs. 1- 5), his Conversion (vs. 6-16), his Calling (vs. 17-29) and his Challenge (vs. 30-23:11). Luke has already told us about Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus in Chapter 9. Now we hear Paul’s personal testimony about this incredible transformation here in chapter 22. Paul used his Jewish credentials to build a bridge of communication. Then he gives a powerful testimony of his conversion and his calling to really get their attention. Chuck Swindoll says “that an honest testimony is both powerful and our responsibility, but the response of those we are sharing with is not our responsibility”. 

     

    As Paul experienced, not everyone will like what you have to say. But our job is not to change their minds, it is simply to proclaim the truth. Paul believed evangelism was his sole purpose for living, so he viewed every circumstance as an opportunity to witness and challenge others with the Gospel. Even when others were trying to kill him or he was in prison, he was always looking for opportunities to testify to his faith in the Lord.

     

    In verse 10, we read where Paul asked “What shall I do Lord?” And the Lord said to Paul “Rise and Go”. Again Paul is providing us with a great model for what we should be asking in prayer and also how we should respond once the Lord answers. Rise and go in Christian Conduct, tell others your personal testimony of your Conversion and Calling, and then Challenge those around you with the Word and the Gospel. We are not responsible for the results, God is.                

     

    Application:

    When is the last time you asked “What shall I do Lord”?  ________________________________________________________________


    ________________________________________________________________

     

    How often do you share your personal testimony? 

    ________________________________________________________________


    ________________________________________________________________

     

    Prayer:

    Heavenly Father, please give me the strength to challenge others in the right conduct as you provide divine opportunities to share my personal testimony. Amen.   

     


  • June 5, 2019


    by Jonathan Norton


    Read Acts 23


    Two truths really speak to me in this passage. The first truth is “The Grace of God can gives us a Clear Conscience”. Paul uses the word conscience 20 times in his letters. Our conscience is the inner judge that approves or disapproves with our actions. Remember that when Paul stood before Sanhedrin, he had not interacted with these men since leaving Damascus 20 years earlier-when he left to persecute Christians. Even after all the wrong Paul had done, he now stood before the council and declares “Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day” (v.1). Only the grace of God gave him permission to say something so bold. Friends, that same grace frees us to do the same today. I encourage you to stop listening to others condemn you and take your stand on God’s grace with the apostle Paul.

     

    The second truth is “The Power of God can overcome any scheme against us”. If you have trusted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then you stand before God as His child with a divine purpose. If you are in God’s will, then please know that you have an invincible plan! His power is unfailing. He sees before we do what threatens His plan, and nothing can stand in His way. He is committed to you, so stay committed to Him!         

     

    Application:

    Can you stand on the grace of God with a clear conscience today? If not, what do you need  to repent of and break free from? 

    ________________________________________________________________


    ________________________________________________________________

     

    How often do you rely on the power of God to develop your plans?

    _____________________________________________________________________________________________



    _____________________________________________________________________________________________

     

    Prayer:

    God, I thank you for your grace and power. My prayer is that I rely on both daily. Amen


  • June 6, 2019


    by Jonathan Norton


    Read Acts 24


    We see three very different men in today’s text. Tertullus, the flattering and accusing lawyer, Paul, the faithful witness with no lawyer, and Felix the corrupt and failed governor. We can learn the most, of course, from Paul, and how he responded to his critics and their false accusations. In chapter 24, we see three ways Paul responds to criticism that we can all learn from:


    First, Paul does not respond with emotion. He remained calm, pleasant and professional in a time when most of us would have been spitting mad. He never gave his critics a chance to see him lose control.


    Second, we see Paul simply state the facts. He explains events, points out specific dates and denies the charges (vs. 11-13). As we read yesterday, we see again today, Paul tells the truth with a clear conscience (v. 16).


    Paul’s third response was his refusal to give up. Remember Paul spent two years in limbo. He wasn’t free nor was he totally captive. He was able to receive visitors, but unable to minister to his full potential. But Paul waited on the Lord. God had promised Rome, so Paul patiently waited. Paul would not give up! Like Paul, whenever we find ourselves being criticized or falsely accused, we must stay faithful to the Lord. Find the truth of God’s Word and stand on it!



    Application:

    Do you respond like Paul when criticized or wrongly accused of something?

    ________________________________________________________________


    ________________________________________________________________


    As you pray today, ask God to reveal an area you can improve in as you respond to criticism. 

    ________________________________________________________________


    ________________________________________________________________


    Prayer:

    Lord, I pray I respond like Paul whenever criticized or wrongly accused of something. I pray my response is biblical and points my accusers to you Jesus. May you use those moments to draw me closer to you. Amen.


  • June 7, 2019


    by Jonathan Norton

    Read Acts 25


    Here Paul goes again. After two years in prison, Paul is no closer to Rome, even though the Lord promised him that Rome would be in his future (Acts 23:11). Now here in chapter 25, Paul has to start over with his defense. But God’s sovereignty can be seen in Paul’s life from start to finish.

     

    As we study the apostle Paul here in Acts, we see an incredible example of how to respond to the stress of life when experiencing trial after trial. I am reminded that God applies disciplines and suffering in our lives to assure us of His steadfast love (Hebrews 12:5). An example I think of is that of an athlete. Most athletes know that if a coach stops correcting or challenging them, that means the coach has stopped investing in them as an important part of the team. As Christians, we have God’s assurance that He will never give up on us. He will always invest in us spiritually so we can continue to grow and become more like Him. Like Paul, many times that investment comes through trials and challenges.

     

    I am also reminded that every time we are rebuked it usually carries a Godly message. When you think back to the times you have come through a challenging life experience, hopefully you realize God used that experience to transform your life. Now everything you do: work, serve, learn, discern, communicate and love; you do so more effectively for His Glory.         

     

    Application:

    If you find yourself stranded like Paul, are you resentful? Or do you see new lessons and opportunities that God is revealing to you? 

    ________________________________________________________________


    ________________________________________________________________

     

    Prayer:

    Father God, thank you for your disciplines and your rebukes. Thank you for never    giving up on me!  May I allow the trials in life to transform me to be more like you. Amen. 


  • June 10, 2019


    by JT Overby


    Read Acts 26

     

    The world will put us on trial for our faith. Our enemy is the great accuser of the saints. He wants to try us, persecute us, steal, kill, and destroy us. He wants to question us, get us to give in to doubt, and place our faith elsewhere.


    Paul is on trial, giving a defense for his actions and beliefs. In front of the most intelligent and powerful people of his day, against accusations of being crazy, Paul is unashamed of the gospel of Christ. In his defense, he is even persuasively speaking truth in hopes that those hearing would turn to Jesus. Paul’s life went from being a man doing all he could to stomp out Christianity, to being one who would joyfully die for it. Why?

     

    Paul came to see the riches of God’s glory in the face of Jesus. He came to see that everything in God’s word, the prophets and Moses, all pointed to Jesus. Jesus was God in the flesh, who came to take away the sins of the world, to bring reconciliation to a lost and broken world, to be a Savior to Jew and  Gentile. Jesus was worth it all.

     

    The world will put us on trial, but in Christ, when we stand before the Father, there will be no condemnation, but life, joy, and pleasures forevermore in  Jesus.

     

    Application:
    Do you see the all-surpassing beauty of Jesus? Do you see how great his love is for you? Do you see the glory of what is to come? Or are the trials or  temporary pleasures of this life blinding you? 
    ________________________________________________________________


    ________________________________________________________________

    Prayer:
    Give me eyes to see Your greatness. Give me eyes to see the salvation that is in You, no matter what accusations the enemy throws at me. Give me eyes to see Your glory.


  • June 11, 2019


    by JT Overby

     

    Read Acts 27

     

    Whenever we face great and fearsome storms in our lives, it is so easy to feel like God is absent. This isn’t a crazy feeling. The world wasn’t meant for storms and suffering, but we live in a fallen and broken world, and storms and suffering are inescapable. It’s not crazy to ask, “God, where are you?” in the midst of the storms. The Psalms are filled with prayers from God’s people crying out, wondering where He is, and wondering if the suffering would end.


    One thing everyone in Scripture has in common is that they all suffer. It is a result of the world we live in. Everyone suffers. Everyone experiences storms in this life. With or without Christ, we will experience hardship.


    In Acts 27, Paul is in a grueling experience, as he is in a literal storm. It seems unending. It seems hopeless for the crew. All feels lost. Yet, Paul is a rock for the crew. How?


    Paul knows we all suffer, but what matters is God’s presence in Paul’s life. God comforted Paul, He held him fast, He sent word through an angel to speak words of encouragement to Him. Paul remembered the promise from God that he would go to Rome (Acts 23). God, and God through His word strengthened Paul in the suffering. We all suffer. Are we being anchored by God and His Word (Hebrews 6:19)?

     

    Application:
    God brought salvation through the suffering of Jesus. How does it strengthen you to know we have a Savior who knows how to help and comfort in the midst of pain? 
    ________________________________________________________________


    ________________________________________________________________


    Prayer:
    God, give me grace to know You as the anchor of my soul. May I not be anchored by what I have, by my talents and abilities, but by You and Your word alone.


  • June 12, 2019


    by JT Overby

     

    Read Acts 28

     

    And just like that, the incredible book of Acts comes to an end. Paul makes it to Rome, he meets with the local Jews, he shares the gospel, and goes on telling people about the Kingdom of God. It seems like there should be a more dramatic ending to such a dramatic book, but many believe this is exactly how it should end.


    Remember from Acts 1, how Luke wrote about how in the gospel of Luke he had written about all that Jesus “began” to do, as if to say that what he was going to write in Acts is what Jesus would continue to do through the apostles and his people. Now what is going to happen?


    Paul spoke about the Kingdom. The Kingdom is the place of God’s rule and reign. Jesus announced that it was coming, the apostles carried that on as it spread throughout the world, and now we are part of carrying that out. The church is now called to carry out the works of Jesus-- the spreading of God’s Kingdom throughout the world. The church is called to speak the gospel, the Good News of salvation to all who believe. The church is called to carry on the mission of the gospels and Acts.


    We are part of the story. We are the hands and feet of Jesus.

     

    Application:
    How are you as an individual seeking to live out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20)? ____________________________________________________________


    ________________________________________________________________


    How are we as a church (and you being part of that) seeking to carry on that good news to the community around us and the world in which we live? 

    ________________________________________________________________


    ________________________________________________________________


    Prayer:

    God give me grace to see that I am part of Your story, that I am not the center of the world. Give me grace to carry out the mission of Acts and seek to share the gospel where You lead.


  • June 13, 2019


    by JT Overby


    Read Romans 1


    The last half of Romans 1 spells out the condition of all humanity, and how it is they got there. They suppressed knowledge of the truth about God because they desired to worship created things, and worship their own passions and desires, instead of  worshiping the Creator. Because of this sinful rebellion, their hearts and minds are given over to what they want.  They become darkened, foolish and hardened towards God.


    They do exactly what they were created not to do. Instead of living to glorify God and be a reflection of His glorious character in the world (Genesis 1:27), they glorified themselves and the things of the world, falling short of the glory they were created to reflect (Romans 3:23). Because of this, the wrath of God is justly coming into the world.


    The first half of Romans 1 is filled with the Good News! God’s righteousness has been revealed, and it is all about faith in Jesus. Jesus is the royal King in the line of David, but also the Son of God, perfect and holy who came to take our sin and the wrath of God upon himself. He was faithful where we failed.


    We deserve the full wrath of God, as we are the ones who have fallen short of God’s glory. But Jesus is our Savior and King who came to defeat sin and death, and give us new life.

     

    Application:
    Do you see yourself still struggling with sins listed in Romans 1?  Why is that?  

    ________________________________________________________________


    ________________________________________________________________


    Have you grown callous to the gospel due to familiarity with it? What can you do to remove some of that callousness? 

    ________________________________________________________________


    ________________________________________________________________


    Prayer:
    God give us grace to live our lives completely and totally by faith in Jesus. Give us grace to not be callous to the gospel but to live every day realizing that apart from You we are under Your wrath and completely hopeless. Thank you for Jesus and the cross!


  • June 14, 2019

     

    by JT Overby

     

    Read Romans 2

     

    The problem we see in Romans 2 is with the Jews. Because they have Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, they have Moses and David, they have the Law and the rest of God’s inspired word, they think of themselves as better just because they have those things. They look at all the nations around them and think of them as being so depraved, and think of themselves as being good because of all they have and all they can claim.


    And partly, they are right. Paul says fair enough, God will judge everyone based on their works. He will judge everyone equally. He will judge the Gentiles on how they did without the Law and how the Jews did with the Law. Here is the problem though, the Jews couldn’t keep the Law. The very things they judged the Gentiles for, they did. They broke the Law and couldn’t keep it. They find themselves just as lost as the Gentiles. They find themselves under God’s judgment, just like the Gentiles.


    Where is the hope for the Jew and Gentile? We saw it in chapter 1, but it won’t be revealed to us fully until chapter 3. Our hope is in the person and work of Jesus. He was the Jew who perfectly kept the Law, deserving all its blessings, but took on himself all of its curses, so that we could have life and righteousness in God. He is the hope of salvation for all-- Jew and Gentile alike.

     

    Application:

    Do you look down on people who live a really sinful and depraved life? Do you feel superior just because of who you are and where you’ve come from, just like the Jews did? Religious pride can infect us all!  

    ________________________________________________________________


    ________________________________________________________________

     

    Prayer:

    God give me grace to understand that salvation is Your gracious gift to us. I do not deserve it. Give me grace not to look down on those living in sin, but to love them and seek to share the good news that saves, just as others did with me when I was lost.

     


  • June 17, 2019


    by Kevin Calhoun


    Read Romans 3


    A number of years ago a popular television commercial was easily        recognizable by the phrase, “We make money the old fashioned way, we earn it.” The philosophy of this phrase is what drives many of us today.  We are convinced we must earn everything we achieve in this life. We are  driven by our desire to work for our accomplishments.

     

    However, when it comes to salvation from our sin and living in a new        relationship with God, hard work is not the answer. In Romans 3, Paul wants us to understand we cannot earn our salvation through our works and/or efforts. Paul clearly explains we are all sinners and there is nothing we can do to earn or merit our salvation. Salvation comes through faith in Jesus.

     

    We are all familiar with Romans 3:23, “. . . for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God . . .“  This is one of the first verses many of us may have memorized.  However, we often fail to look further at verse 24, “. . . being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Jesus Christ . . .” Paul goes on to say this gift is received through faith in the blood of Jesus.

     

    We cannot earn our salvation. We do not inherit our salvation. Nor do we merit salvation through good works. It is entirely a gift from God through faith in Jesus.

     

    Application:

    Have you placed your faith and trust in Jesus?  ________________________________________________________________

     

    If not, will you do so today? 

    ________________________________________________________________

     

    Prayer:

    Lord Jesus, I turn to You today by faith. I turn from my sin, and I turn to You, trusting fully in You as my Lord and Savior! Amen.

     


  • June 18 , 2019


    By Kevin Calhoun                                                                     


    Read Romans 4


    In yesterday’s devotion we learned that we are all sinners. Furthermore, there is nothing we can do to remedy that problem. Salvation comes by faith, not by works. 

     

    In today’s reading, Paul illustrates this truth by referring to the life of Abraham. We read in verses 3-5,

     

           “For what does the Scripture say? ‘AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD,            AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

            Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but          as what  is due.

     

            But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies            the un godly,


            His faith is reckoned as righteousness.”

     

    Then, in verse 16 we read, “For this reason it is by faith, that it might be in accordance with grace, in order that the promise may be certain to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.”

     

    What a wonderful promise this is for us! God, in His amazing grace, provides salvation for us through His Son, Jesus. As we turn to God by faith in Jesus, we are forgiven not because of our own works but by the perfect, sinless sacrifice of Jesus. It is no surprise then that Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:57, “Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

     

    Application:

    List any areas in your life where you still try to earn God’s approval.  

    ________________________________________________________________


    ________________________________________________________________


    Will you turn to God today trusting in Him, and Him alone, for your salvation?  

    ________________________________________________________________


    ________________________________________________________________

     

    Prayer:

    Lord Jesus, help me to walk today by faith in You! You, and You alone, are my strength and salvation!  Amen!

     


  • June 19, 2019


    by Kevin Calhoun                                                      


    Read Romans 5


    In our first two readings this week, we learned that salvation comes by faith in Jesus, not by works.  Today, Paul begins to tell us about the results of this justification. In  Romans 5:1 Paul writes, “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Wow!!!!  Peace with God!  Can you believe it?

     

    It seems like our lives today are often filled with anything but peace.  Yet, Paul promises us peace with God.  Then Paul writes, “Through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the  glory of God,” (vs. 2).

     

    I am reminded of the words of the familiar hymn, “He Touched Me,”

     

    “Shackled by a heavy burden

    'Neath a load of guilt and shame

    Then the hand of Jesus touched me

    Now I am no longer the same.

     

    Since I met the blessed Saviour

    Since He cleansed and made me whole

    I will never cease to praise Him

    I'll shout it while eternity rolls.

     

    He touched me, oh He touched me

    And oh the joy that floods my soul

    Something happened and now I know

    He touched me and made me whole...”

     

    Application:

    List areas in your life where God has given you peace with Him (and with others). 
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    How can you bear witness to this truth today? 
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    Prayer:

    Lord Jesus, I pray my life will bear witness to Your grace in all that I say and do today! Amen!

     


  • June 20, 2019       


    by Kevin Calhoun                                   


    Read Romans 6


    As Paul travelled from city to city proclaiming salvation by grace through faith in Jesus, he faced many questions and challenges. One of these questions was, “If we are saved by grace, wouldn’t it make sense to sin more often so that God’s grace might abound?” Pauls’ response was, “By no means!” In fact, he said to do so would be a distortion of God’s grace.  In Romans 6:13-14 Paul writes,

     

           “And do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin                   as  instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God           as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of             righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you           are not under law, but under grace.”

     

    Paul wants us to understand that our new LIFE in Christ gives us a victory over the power of sin. The words we hear when someone is baptized reflect this assurance of faith, “We are buried with Christ in baptism, we are raised to walk in newness of life,” (cf. Romans 6:3-5).

     

    This new life in Christ begins the moment we turn to God by faith in Jesus.  Jesus stated in John 10:10, “I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” Our life in Christ is not a weak, anemic, thin-blooded life.  We have an abundant, joy-filled life in Christ. 

     

    Application:

    How has faith in Christ made a difference in the way you live each day? 
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    How can you demonstrate the joy you have in Christ today? 
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    Prayer:

    Lord Jesus, thank You for providing victory over sin in my life.  I rejoice in the new life I now have through faith in You!  Guide my steps today as I live for You!  Amen!

     


  •  

    June 21, 2019                                                                                                                             

    by Kevin Calhoun


    Read Romans 7


    In this chapter Paul states he knows what he should do, but that is not what he does. Also, he knows what he should not do, but that seems to be the very thing he does.The question for many is whether Paul is speaking about his life before he came to know Jesus or after he became a child of God. 

     

    We will not settle this debate in this devotion. I do, however, want us to look at Paul’s statement in verses 24 & 25.

     

             “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of                  this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!  So                then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of            God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.”

     

    Each of our readings this week has placed a focus on the work of Christ.  We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. To God alone be all the glory!  Paul makes this abundantly clear throughout this letter to the Roman churches. Furthermore, he makes it very clear that a saving faith in Christ makes a life-changing difference in our daily walk with Him. You cannot believe in Jesus without experiencing a change.

     

    Oh, how I give thanks each day for the saving grace of God in Christ Jesus!

     

    Application:

    What struggles with sin do you face each day? 
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    Will you turn to God daily for strength in the midst of these struggles? 
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    Prayer:

    Lord Jesus, thank You for Your amazing grace!  I commit my life to You today, and pray my life will be a witness to others of the faith I have in You!  Amen!

     


  • June 24, 2019 


    by Craig Bowers                                                                                                      

    Read Romans 8


    How can we make sense of horrid tragedy? Natural disasters? Diseases? Extreme   immoral behavior that directly impacts others? If the rivers of the world were ink, man would dry them trying to write an explanation. However, the truth remains that the resulting curse of the fall has produced continued heartache and tragedy.

     

    In the middle of the junk of life, God makes a beautiful promise to Christ followers. “For God causes all things work together for good…” verse 28. Please do not misunderstand the promise. First, God does not cause sin and immoral behavior. The mud we romp in is our own doing. Second, God works in the middle of our muck to accomplish HIS purpose! What is that purpose? Third, that in the arena of our love for Him, He works. What is that work? Fourth, He files, sands, molds, chisels that which is unlike Jesus. He opens our eyes to see what Jesus sees. He opens our hearts to willingly trust in Him during the toughest times of life. He transforms our minds so that we begin to think eternally.

     

    When does He do these things? When the bottom falls out, the walls close in, the news is worse than we ever imagined. In that context, when we can’t figure it out, we trust Him because we know Him and love Him. Only then do the tragedies of life become tools in His hand to accomplish in us what He purposed before the foundation of the world - that we be restored to our original purpose prior to the fall. The very consequences of the fall are used by the Creator to restore that which is  fallen.

     

    Application:
    Instead of fighting to control and insulate your life from pain, fearing the worst, commit today to trust God regardless of what happens! Write out or say HOW you will focus on His hand at work. 

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    Prayer:
    Sovereign Lord, my trust in You is not contingent upon my understanding of why things happen or how You will use them in my life. I love you and I trust you. Work in me to conform me to the image of Jesus Christ.


  • June 25, 2019


    by Craig Bowers


    Read Romans 9


    The last chapter ended with the assurance that God’s love cannot be broken. Even when we don’t understand the events of life, we can trust Him and know that He loves us. That truth raises a great question: What about the “chosen people”? Does God no longer love them?

     

    Chapters 9-11 give us a picture of God’s love and mercy towards Israel. He still loves them! While it appears that He has cast them aside, He has not. Chapter 9 begins with Paul’s expression of love for the Jewish people. Then he focuses on the sovereignty of God. He chose Abraham...Isaac….Jacob. Each individual represented the nation. There was nothing about any of them that caused God to choose them.

     

    They responded to His grace and love in faith! But not all of their physical descendants put their faith in God. Not all were part of the “spiritual Israel.” Israel refused to believe in Messiah. He, Jesus, became a stumbling block to them. Why? Because they did not walk by faith but sought to obtain their righteousness through works.

     

    The choices of God demonstrate His grace and love. Some take exception to the words, “Jacob I love, but Esau I hated.” They think that God felt hatred toward Esau. That is absolutely not true. God did not “hate” Esau. The Old Testament quote is a Hebrew idiom that means by comparison, one is highly exalted over the other. We see the idiom used in the New Testament when Jesus says that we are to hate our father and mother in comparison to our love for Him.

     

    God created a nation in order to prepare the world for the Messiah. Even though they rejected the Messiah, He continues to love them.

     

    Application:
    Are you fulfilling the purpose of God to represent Him in a world that does not know Him? 

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    Prayer:
    My King, as I live by faith may others see my love for them because of Your love for all.

     


  • June 26, 2019


    by Craig Bowers


    Read Romans 10


    You could write the word “RIGHTEOUSNESS” across this chapter. Israel chose a righteousness of their own! However, their “righteousness” led to their ruin. Anytime we establish our own worth before God by our religious acts and  accomplishments, we demonstrate our ignorance of the purity, justice, and righteousness of God.

     

    Israel was not rejected by God. Instead, Israel rejected the righteousness of God that only comes by faith. How does faith come? By hearing the word of the Lord! At the heart of the chapter and the very heart of the Gospel we read, “If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.” Romans 10:9-10 CSB

     

    Salvation begins in the heart as you confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is the Lord God. Your mouth simply speaks that which is in the heart. You must believe that Jesus died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead. Righteousness does not come from religious works but from believing in Christ as the King of Glory.

     

    Application:
    How do your actions stack up against your confession?   

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    Prayer:
    Lord, You are Lord and King of all. I pray that others can see that You are Lord and King of my life as I demonstrate Your love toward others.

     

     


  • June 27, 2019


    by Craig Bowers


    Read Romans 11


    The Jewish people continue to be hated by so many in the world. However, Paul clearly responds in chapter 11 that God has not rejected them. Not at all. They are His chosen people. The rest of us have been “grafted in.” God is creating in the hearts of the Jewish people a jealousy through the salvation of the Gentiles.

     

    Paul writes in verse 25, “I don’t want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you will not be conceited: A partial hardening has come upon Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” What does this mean? It simply means that at some point in time in the future, the epoch we are currently in, this dispensation of the “Gentiles” will come to an end. When it does, the next verse teaches us that all of Israel will turn to Christ.

     

    Here’s what will happen. At a day only known to our Lord God, He will take the Church from this world. At that time Israel will take center stage again in God’s dispensation. They will realize that Jesus Christ is indeed the Messiah. Israel will turn to Him. This will be a great time of tremendous revival on the earth while it will also be a time of great tribulation. Many will trust Christ and many will grow hard!

     

    The sands of the prophecy hourglass are quickly moving to the “fullness of time.”

     

    Application:
    How urgent are you when you know an incredibly important deadline is looming? How urgent are you in the approaching end of the dispensation of the Church age? 

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    Prayer:

    King Jesus, may the advancement of Your Kingdom be my urgent priority.

     


  • June 28, 2019


    by Craig Bowers


    Read Romans 12


    When you were saved, God immediately gave you a new heart. Instantly, your legal standing before Him went from being condemned to justified. However, there is something about us that is a work in progress - our minds. Based on the tremendous truths in the first 11 chapters of Romans, Paul writes in the first two verses of this chapter, “Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”

     

    The only way to really worship God is to be a living sacrifice. Some want to restrict worship to an event that happens maybe one day a week. The Scriptures teach that worship happens every day as we crucify our fleshly desires and live by faith. That is only possible as we join God in a work that changes our thinking. Your mind was not supernaturally replaced when you were saved. We all have some real junk in our brains. Some call it “stinking thinking.” Ha.

     

    How to do worship God? Your part is to renew your mind by taking captive every thought, saturating your mind with truth by reading the Scriptures, practicing the truth as you apply it daily, and humbling yourself before God. We humble ourselves as we confess that the way we think about life, God, ourselves, others, etc., is probably skewed. Maybe even terribly skewed.

     

    Stay in the Word of God. Allow God’s word to transform the way you think. You will see it in the way you behave - and so will others!

     

    Application:
    Since daily surrender to the King is really worship, how often am I worshipping Him? 

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    Prayer:
    Lord, may the meditations of my mind and the words of my mouth be acceptable in Your sight.