At King Street Church, we believe that the Word of God is vital to a growing walk with Jesus.  We make reading the Bible a priority at our church with a new Bible Reading Plan every year.  It is our desire that the church body would read the Scriptures together, and come to a ever-deepening understanding of God’s purpose and plan for our lives.  We welcome others around the world to join us in this quest!   Scroll down to the bottom of the page to enter your email and receive the daily readings.

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2019 Focus

Our new Bible Reading Program for 2019 will feature readings each day from the Old and New Testament  as well as a reading from Psalm or Proverbs. In addition our pastoral team is providing directives and questions that will lead you in a deeper study experience each day. The first time you encounter a new book we will be including a short video from the Bible Project to help provide context.  Over the course of the year, we believe that you will see growth in your spiritual walk as you discover new truths about Christ!

Ways to Read

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  • – Visit 2019.kingstreetchurch.com daily to read the passage and respond to the questions. 

 

Thursday, December 12, 2019

AMOS 7-9

13 Your name, Lord, endures forever,
your renown, Lord, through all generations.
14 For the Lord will vindicate his people
and have compassion on his servants.
15 The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
made by human hands.
16 They have mouths, but cannot speak,
eyes, but cannot see.
17 They have ears, but cannot hear,
nor is there

Locusts, Fire and a Plumb Line

7 This is what the Sovereign Lord showed me: He was preparing swarms of locusts after the king’s share had been harvested and just as the late crops were coming up.
When they had stripped the land clean, I cried out, “Sovereign Lord, forgive! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!”
So the Lord relented.
“This will not happen,” the Lord said.
This is what the Sovereign Lord showed me: The Sovereign Lord was calling for judgment by fire; it dried up the great deep and devoured the land.
Then I cried out, “Sovereign Lord, I beg you, stop! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!”
So the Lord relented.
“This will not happen either,” the Sovereign Lord said.
This is what he showed me: The Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb line in his hand.
And the Lord asked me, “What do you see, Amos?”
“A plumb line,” I replied.
Then the Lord said, “Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.
“The high places of Isaac will be destroyed
and the sanctuaries of Israel will be ruined;
with my sword I will rise against the house of Jeroboam.”

Amos and Amaziah

10 Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent a message to Jeroboam king of Israel: “Amos is raising a conspiracy against you in the very heart of Israel. The land cannot bear all his words.
11 For this is what Amos is saying:
“‘Jeroboam will die by the sword,
and Israel will surely go into exile,
away from their native land.’”
12 Then Amaziah said to Amos, “Get out, you seer! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread there and do your prophesying there.
13 Don’t prophesy anymore at Bethel, because this is the king’s sanctuary and the temple of the kingdom.”
14 Amos answered Amaziah, “I was neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees.
15 But the Lord took me from tending the flock and said to me, ‘Go,prophesy to my people Israel.’
16 Now then, hear the word of the Lord. You say,
“‘Do not prophesy against Israel,
and stop preaching against the descendants of Isaac.’
17 “Therefore this is what the Lord says:
“‘Your wife will become a prostitute in the city,
and your sons and daughters will fall by the sword.
Your land will be measured and divided up,
and you yourself will die in a pagan country.
And Israel will surely go into exile,
away from their native land.’”

AMOS 8 

A Basket of Ripe Fruit

1 This is what the Sovereign Lord showed me: a basket of ripe fruit.
“What do you see, Amos?” he asked.
“A basket of ripe fruit,” I answered.
Then the Lord said to me, “The time is ripe for my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.
“In that day,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “the songs in the temple will turn to wailing. Many, many bodies—flung everywhere! Silence!”
Hear this, you who trample the needy
and do away with the poor of the land,
saying, “When will the New Moon be over
that we may sell grain,
and the Sabbath be ended
that we may market wheat?”—
skimping on the measure,
boosting the price
and cheating with dishonest scales,
buying the poor with silver
and the needy for a pair of sandals,
selling even the sweepings with the wheat.
The Lord has sworn by himself, the Pride of Jacob:
“I will never forget anything they have done.
“Will not the land tremble for this,
and all who live in it mourn?
The whole land will rise like the Nile;
it will be stirred up and then sink
like the river of Egypt.
“In that day,” declares the Sovereign Lord,
“I will make the sun go down at noon
and darken the earth in broad daylight.
10 I will turn your religious festivals into mourning
and all your singing into weeping.
I will make all of you wear sackcloth
and shave your heads.
I will make that time like mourning for an only son
and the end of it like a bitter day.
11 “The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign Lord,
“when I will send a famine through the land—
not a famine of food or a thirst for water,
but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.
12 People will stagger from sea to sea
and wander from north to east,
searching for the word of the Lord,
but they will not find it.
13 “In that day “the lovely young women and strong young men
will faint because of thirst.
14 Those who swear by the sin of Samaria—
who say, ‘As surely as your god lives, Dan,’
or, ‘As surely as the god of Beersheba lives’—
they will fall, never to rise again.”

AMOS 9

Israel to Be Destroyed

1 I saw the Lord standing by the altar, and he said:
“Strike the tops of the pillars
so that the thresholds shake.
Bring them down on the heads of all the people;
those who are left I will kill with the sword.
Not one will get away,
none will escape.
Though they dig down to the depths below,
from there my hand will take them.
Though they climb up to the heavens above,
from there I will bring them down.
Though they hide themselves on the top of Carmel,
there I will hunt them down and seize them.
Though they hide from my eyes at the bottom of the sea,
there I will command the serpent to bite them.
Though they are driven into exile by their enemies,
there I will command the sword to slay them.
“I will keep my eye on them
for harm and not for good.”
The Lord, the Lord Almighty—
he touches the earth and it melts,
and all who live in it mourn;
the whole land rises like the Nile,
then sinks like the river of Egypt;
he builds his lofty palace in the heavens
and sets its foundation on the earth;
he calls for the waters of the sea
and pours them out over the face of the land—
the Lord is his name.
“Are not you Israelites
the same to me as the Cushites?”
declares the Lord.
“Did I not bring Israel up from Egypt,
the Philistines from Caphtor
and the Arameans from Kir?
“Surely the eyes of the Sovereign Lord
are on the sinful kingdom.
I will destroy it
from the face of the earth.
Yet I will not totally destroy
the descendants of Jacob,”
declares the Lord.
“For I will give the command,
and I will shake the people of Israel
among all the nations
as grain is shaken in a sieve,
and not a pebble will reach the ground.
10 All the sinners among my people
will die by the sword,
all those who say,
‘Disaster will not overtake or meet us.’

Israel’s Restoration

11 “In that day
“I will restore David’s fallen shelter—
I will repair its broken walls
and restore its ruins—
and will rebuild it as it used to be,
12 so that they may possess the remnant of Edom
and all the nations that bear my name,”
declares the Lord, who will do these things.
13 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“when the reaper will be overtaken by the plowman
and the planter by the one treading grapes.
New wine will drip from the mountains
and flow from all the hills,
14 and I will bring my people Israel back from exile.
“They will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them.
They will plant vineyards and drink their wine;
they will make gardens and eat their fruit.
15 I will plant Israel in their own land,
never again to be uprooted
from the land I have given them,”
says the Lord your God.

PSALM 135:13-21

13 Your name, Lord, endures forever,
your renown, Lord, through all generations.
14 For the Lord will vindicate his people
and have compassion on his servants.
15 The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
made by human hands.
16 They have mouths, but cannot speak,
eyes, but cannot see.
17 They have ears, but cannot hear,
nor is there breath in their mouths.
18 Those who make them will be like them,
and so will all who trust in them.
19 All you Israelites, praise the Lord;
house of Aaron, praise the Lord;
20 house of Levi, praise the Lord;
you who fear him, praise the Lord.
21 Praise be to the Lord from Zion,
to him who dwells in Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord.

REVELATION 8

The Seventh Seal and the Golden Censer

1 When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.
Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne.
The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand.
Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.

The Trumpets

Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them.
The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down on the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.
The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
10 The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water—
11 the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.
12 The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.
13 As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!”

Amos 7-9 – In spite of all of the judgment and destruction that Amos describes, there is always a ray of hope. God doesn’t judge us because He hates us—He judges because He loves us (in the same way that a parent disciplines wayward children). What hope does God describe in Amos 9:11-15?

Psalm 135-13-21 – Verse 18 is a truly profound statement with respect to the idols we worship: “Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.” This is saying that we will eventually become just like the things we choose to worship. What are you choosing to worship? Are you OK with BECOMING just like what you’re worshiping?

Rev. 8 – How does the seventh seal set the stage for the seven trumpets of God’s wrath? According to Revelation 7, will the children of God be present for these waves (the 7 trumpets) of judgment?

Select a verse from today’s passage, and memorize it. Write it on a card where you can look at it throughout the day. Hide God’s Word in your heart.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

AMOS 5-6

A Lament and Call to Repentance

1 Hear this word, Israel, this lament I take up concerning you:
“Fallen is Virgin Israel,
never to rise again,
deserted in her own land,
with no one to lift her up.”
This is what the Sovereign Lord says to Israel:
“Your city that marches out a thousand strong
will have only a hundred left;
your town that marches out a hundred strong
will have only ten left.”
This is what the Lord says to Israel:
“Seek me and live;
do not seek Bethel,
do not go to Gilgal,
do not journey to Beersheba.
For Gilgal will surely go into exile,
and Bethel will be reduced to nothing.”
Seek the Lord and live,
or he will sweep through the tribes of Joseph like a fire;
it will devour them,
and Bethel will have no one to quench it.
There are those who turn justice into bitterness
and cast righteousness to the ground.
He who made the Pleiades and Orion,
who turns midnight into dawn
and darkens day into night,
who calls for the waters of the sea
and pours them out over the face of the land—
the Lord is his name.
With a blinding flash he destroys the stronghold
and brings the fortified city to ruin.
10 There are those who hate the one who upholds justice in court
and detest the one who tells the truth.
11 You levy a straw tax on the poor
and impose a tax on their grain.
Therefore, though you have built stone mansions,
you will not live in them;
though you have planted lush vineyards,
you will not drink their wine.
12 For I know how many are your offenses
and how great your sins.
There are those who oppress the innocent and take bribes
and deprive the poor of justice in the courts.
13 Therefore the prudent keep quiet in such times,
for the times are evil.
14 Seek good, not evil,
that you may live.
Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you,
just as you say he is.
15 Hate evil, love good;
maintain justice in the courts.
Perhaps the Lord God Almighty will have mercy
on the remnant of Joseph.
16 Therefore this is what the Lord, the Lord God Almighty, says:
“There will be wailing in all the streets
and cries of anguish in every public square.
The farmers will be summoned to weep
and the mourners to wail.
17 There will be wailing in all the vineyards,
for I will pass through your midst,”
says the Lord.

The Day of the Lord

18 Woe to you who long
for the day of the Lord!
Why do you long for the day of the Lord?
That day will be darkness, not light.
19 It will be as though a man fled from a lion
only to meet a bear,
as though he entered his house
and rested his hand on the wall
only to have a snake bite him.
20 Will not the day of the Lord be darkness, not light—
pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?
21 “I hate, I despise your religious festivals;
your assemblies are a stench to me.
22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them.
Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,
I will have no regard for them.
23 Away with the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
24 But let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream!
25 “Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings
forty years in the wilderness, people of Israel?
26 You have lifted up the shrine of your king,
the pedestal of your idols,
the star of your god—
which you made for yourselves.
27 Therefore I will send you into exile beyond Damascus,”
says the Lord, whose name is God Almighty.

AMOS 6

Woe to the Complacent

Woe to you who are complacent in Zion,
and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria,
you notable men of the foremost nation,
to whom the people of Israel come!
Go to Kalneh and look at it;
go from there to great Hamath,
and then go down to Gath in Philistia.
Are they better off than your two kingdoms?
Is their land larger than yours?
You put off the day of disaster
and bring near a reign of terror.
You lie on beds adorned with ivory
and lounge on your couches.
You dine on choice lambs
and fattened calves.
You strum away on your harps like David
and improvise on musical instruments.
You drink wine by the bowlful
and use the finest lotions,
but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph.
Therefore you will be among the first to go into exile;
your feasting and lounging will end.

 The Lord Abhors the Pride of Israel

The Sovereign Lord has sworn by himself—the Lord God Almighty declares:
“I abhor the pride of Jacob
and detest his fortresses;
I will deliver up the city
and everything in it.”
If ten people are left in one house, they too will die.
10 And if the relative who comes to carry the bodies out of the house to burn them asks anyone who might be hiding there, “Is anyone else with you?” and he says, “No,” then he will go on to say, “Hush! We must not mention the name of the Lord.”
11 For the Lord has given the command,
and he will smash the great house into pieces
and the small house into bits.
12 Do horses run on the rocky crags?
Does one plow the sea with oxen?
But you have turned justice into poison
and the fruit of righteousness into bitterness—
13 you who rejoice in the conquest of Lo Debar
and say, “Did we not take Karnaim by our own strength?”
14 For the Lord God Almighty declares,
“I will stir up a nation against you, Israel,
that will oppress you all the way
from Lebo Hamath to the valley of the Arabah.”

PSALM 135:1-12

A song of ascents.

Praise the Lord.
Praise the name of the Lord;
praise him, you servants of the Lord,
you who minister in the house of the Lord,
in the courts of the house of our God.
Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good;
sing praise to his name, for that is pleasant.
For the Lord has chosen Jacob to be his own,
Israel to be his treasured possession.
I know that the Lord is great,
that our Lord is greater than all gods.
The Lord does whatever pleases him,
in the heavens and on the earth,
in the seas and all their depths.
He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth;
he sends lightning with the rain
and brings out the wind from his storehouses.
He struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
the firstborn of people and animals.
He sent his signs and wonders into your midst, Egypt,
against Pharaoh and all his servants.
10 He struck down many nations
and killed mighty kings—
11 Sihon king of the Amorites,
Og king of Bashan,
and all the kings of Canaan—
12 and he gave their land as an inheritance,
an inheritance to his people Israel.

REVELATION 7

144,000 Sealed

1 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree.
Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea:
“Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.”
Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.
From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed,
from the tribe of Reuben 12,000,
from the tribe of Gad 12,000,
from the tribe of Asher 12,000,
from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000,
from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000,
from the tribe of Simeon 12,000,
from the tribe of Levi 12,000,
from the tribe of Issachar 12,000,
from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000,
from the tribe of Joseph 12,000,
from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000.

The Great Multitude in White Robes

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.
10 And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”
11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,
12 saying: “Amen!
Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.
Amen!”
13 Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?”
14 I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 Therefore, “they are before the throne of God
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne
will shelter them with his presence.
16 ‘Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,’
nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne
will be their shepherd;
‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’
‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’ ”

Amos 5-6 – God is imploring the Israelites to “seek me and live!” But instead, the people keep making their “holy pilgrimages” and attending their religious festivals. What is the difference between going to holy places to look for God—and actually looking for God in the depth of our hearts?

Psalm 135-1-12 – This psalm describes how God will do whatever He wants to do—nothing can stop Him. Do you believe this?

Rev. 7 – Who appears before God’s throne wearing white and crying out in a loud voice? How big is the crowd? Do you believe that you will be in that crowd?

Select a verse from today’s passage, and memorize it. Write it on a card where you can look at it throughout the day. Hide God’s Word in your heart.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

AMOS 3-4

Witnesses Summoned Against Israel

Hear this word, people of Israel, the word the Lord has spoken against you—against the whole family I brought up out of Egypt:
“You only have I chosen
of all the families of the earth;
therefore I will punish you
for all your sins.”
Do two walk together
unless they have agreed to do so?
Does a lion roar in the thicket
when it has no prey?
Does it growl in its den
when it has caught nothing?
Does a bird swoop down to a trap on the ground
when no bait is there?
Does a trap spring up from the ground
if it has not caught anything?
When a trumpet sounds in a city,
do not the people tremble?
When disaster comes to a city,
has not the Lord caused it?
Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing
without revealing his plan
to his servants the prophets.
The lion has roared—
who will not fear?
The Sovereign Lord has spoken—
who can but prophesy?
Proclaim to the fortresses of Ashdod
and to the fortresses of Egypt:
“Assemble yourselves on the mountains of Samaria;
see the great unrest within her
and the oppression among her people.”
10 “They do not know how to do right,” declares the Lord,
“who store up in their fortresses
what they have plundered and looted.”
11 Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“An enemy will overrun your land,
pull down your strongholds
and plunder your fortresses.”
12 This is what the Lord says:
“As a shepherd rescues from the lion’s mouth
only two leg bones or a piece of an ear,
so will the Israelites living in Samaria be rescued,
with only the head of a bed
and a piece of fabric from a couch.”
13 “Hear this and testify against the descendants of Jacob,” declares the Lord, the Lord God Almighty.
14 “On the day I punish Israel for her sins,
I will destroy the altars of Bethel;
the horns of the altar will be cut off
and fall to the ground.
15 I will tear down the winter house
along with the summer house;
the houses adorned with ivory will be destroyed
and the mansions will be demolished,”
declares the Lord.

AMOS 4

Israel Has Not Returned to God

1 Hear this word, you cows of Bashan on Mount Samaria,
you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy
and say to your husbands, “Bring us some drinks!”
The Sovereign Lord has sworn by his holiness:
“The time will surely come
when you will be taken away with hooks,
the last of you with fishhooks.
You will each go straight out
through breaches in the wall,
and you will be cast out toward Harmon,”
declares the Lord.
“Go to Bethel and sin;
go to Gilgal and sin yet more.
Bring your sacrifices every morning,
your tithes every three years.
Burn leavened bread as a thank offering
and brag about your freewill offerings—
boast about them, you Israelites,
for this is what you love to do,”
declares the Sovereign Lord.
“I gave you empty stomachs in every city
and lack of bread in every town,
yet you have not returned to me,”
declares the Lord.
“I also withheld rain from you
when the harvest was still three months away.
I sent rain on one town,
but withheld it from another.
One field had rain;
another had none and dried up.
People staggered from town to town for water
but did not get enough to drink,
yet you have not returned to me,”
declares the Lord.
“Many times I struck your gardens and vineyards,
destroying them with blight and mildew.
Locusts devoured your fig and olive trees,
yet you have not returned to me,”
declares the Lord.
10 “I sent plagues among you
as I did to Egypt.
I killed your young men with the sword,
along with your captured horses.
I filled your nostrils with the stench of your camps,
yet you have not returned to me,”
declares the Lord.
11 “I overthrew some of you
as I overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.
You were like a burning stick snatched from the fire,
yet you have not returned to me,”
declares the Lord.
12 “Therefore this is what I will do to you, Israel,
and because I will do this to you, Israel,
prepare to meet your God.”
13 He who forms the mountains,
who creates the wind,
and who reveals his thoughts to mankind,
who turns dawn to darkness,
and treads on the heights of the earth—
the Lord God Almighty is his name.

PSALM 134

A song of ascents.

Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord
who minister by night in the house of the Lord.
Lift up your hands in the sanctuary
and praise the Lord.
May the Lord bless you from Zion,
he who is the Maker of heaven and earth.

REVELATION 6

The Seals

1 I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!”
I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.
When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!”
Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword.
When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand.
Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”
When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!”
I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained.
10 They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”
11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.
12 I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red,
13 and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind.
14 The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.
15 Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains.
16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!
17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”

Amos 3-4 – These two chapters give us an interesting glimpse into the lives of the Israelites in the days leading up to their fall. We read about winter homes, and summer homes—and wives who oppress the poor and then say to their husbands, “Bring us some drinks!” What role does wealth and affluence play in all of this?

Psalm 134 – Is this psalm giving us permission to raise our hands in worship? Can you imagine yourself ever raising your hands in worship? Do you think you will in heaven?

Rev. 6 – This chapter describes the events leading up to the great and final judgment of God upon this earth. There will be war, and famine, and widespread death. There will be many martyred for their faith, and earthquakes, and strange sights in the sky. All of these things are leading up to verse 17—which describes the cause behind all of these events. What is that cause?

Select a verse from today’s passage, and memorize it. Write it on a card where you can look at it throughout the day. Hide God’s Word in your heart.

Monday, December 9, 2019

AMOS 1-2

1 The words of Amos, one of the shepherds of Tekoa—the vision he saw concerning Israel two years before the earthquake, when Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam son of Jehoash was king of Israel.
He said:
“The Lord roars from Zion
and thunders from Jerusalem;
the pastures of the shepherds dry up,
and the top of Carmel withers.”

Judgment on Israel’s Neighbors

This is what the Lord says:
“For three sins of Damascus,
even for four, I will not relent.
Because she threshed Gilead
with sledges having iron teeth,
I will send fire on the house of Hazael
that will consume the fortresses of Ben-Hadad.
I will break down the gate of Damascus;
I will destroy the king who is in the Valley of Aven
and the one who holds the scepter in Beth Eden.
The people of Aram will go into exile to Kir,”
says the Lord.
This is what the Lord says:
“For three sins of Gaza,
even for four, I will not relent.
Because she took captive whole communities
and sold them to Edom,
I will send fire on the walls of Gaza
that will consume her fortresses.
I will destroy the king of Ashdod
and the one who holds the scepter in Ashkelon.
I will turn my hand against Ekron,
till the last of the Philistines are dead,”
says the Sovereign Lord.
This is what the Lord says:
“For three sins of Tyre,
even for four, I will not relent.
Because she sold whole communities of captives to Edom,
disregarding a treaty of brotherhood,
10 I will send fire on the walls of Tyre
that will consume her fortresses.”
11 This is what the Lord says:
“For three sins of Edom,
even for four, I will not relent.
Because he pursued his brother with a sword
and slaughtered the women of the land,
because his anger raged continually
and his fury flamed unchecked,
12 I will send fire on Teman
that will consume the fortresses of Bozrah.”
13 This is what the Lord says:
“For three sins of Ammon,
even for four, I will not relent.
Because he ripped open the pregnant women of Gilead
in order to extend his borders,
14 I will set fire to the walls of Rabbah
that will consume her fortresses
amid war cries on the day of battle,
amid violent winds on a stormy day.
15 Her king will go into exile,
he and his officials together,”
says the Lord.

AMOS 2

1 This is what the Lord says:
“For three sins of Moab,
even for four, I will not relent.
Because he burned to ashes
the bones of Edom’s king,
I will send fire on Moab
that will consume the fortresses of Kerioth.
Moab will go down in great tumult
amid war cries and the blast of the trumpet.
I will destroy her ruler
and kill all her officials with him,”
says the Lord.
This is what the Lord says:
“For three sins of Judah,
even for four, I will not relent.
Because they have rejected the law of the Lord
and have not kept his decrees,
because they have been led astray by false gods,
the gods their ancestors followed,
I will send fire on Judah
that will consume the fortresses of Jerusalem.”

Judgment on Israel

This is what the Lord says:
“For three sins of Israel,
even for four, I will not relent.
They sell the innocent for silver,
and the needy for a pair of sandals.
They trample on the heads of the poor
as on the dust of the ground
and deny justice to the oppressed.
Father and son use the same girl
and so profane my holy name.
They lie down beside every altar
on garments taken in pledge.
In the house of their god
they drink wine taken as fines.
“Yet I destroyed the Amorites before them,
though they were tall as the cedars
and strong as the oaks.
I destroyed their fruit above
and their roots below.
10 I brought you up out of Egypt
and led you forty years in the wilderness
to give you the land of the Amorites.
11 “I also raised up prophets from among your children
and Nazirites from among your youths.
Is this not true, people of Israel?”
declares the Lord.
12 “But you made the Nazirites drink wine
and commanded the prophets not to prophesy.
13 “Now then, I will crush you
as a cart crushes when loaded with grain.
14 The swift will not escape,
the strong will not muster their strength,
and the warrior will not save his life.
15 The archer will not stand his ground,
the fleet-footed soldier will not get away,
and the horseman will not save his life.
16 Even the bravest warriors
will flee naked on that day,”
declares the Lord.

PSALM 133

A song of ascents.  Of David.

How good and pleasant it is
when God’s people live together in unity!
It is like precious oil poured on the head,
running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
down on the collar of his robe.
It is as if the dew of Hermon
were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
even life forevermore.

REVELATION 5

The Scroll and the Lamb

1 Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals.
And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?”
But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it.
I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside.
Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”
Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.
He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne.
And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.
And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased for God
persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth.”
11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders.
12 In a loud voice they were saying:
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!”
13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”
14 The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

Amos 1-2 – Amos articulates many of the sins that the nation of Judah—as well as the surrounding nations—have committed. He boils them all down to one primary offense in Amos 2:4. What is the sin that trumps all other sins?

Psalm 133 – How often do God’s people fail to live up to the desire of this psalm? Why is there such disunity among God’s people?                               

Rev. 5 – Jesus is described in this chapter as being both a lion, as well as a lamb. Why do you think that is? How can Jesus be both?

Select a verse from today’s passage, and memorize it. Write it on a card where you can look at it throughout the day. Hide God’s Word in your heart.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

JOEL 2:18-3:21

The Lord’s Answer

18 Then the Lord was jealous for his land
and took pity on his people.
19 The Lord replied to them:
“I am sending you grain, new wine and olive oil,
enough to satisfy you fully;
never again will I make you
an object of scorn to the nations.
20 “I will drive the northern horde far from you,
pushing it into a parched and barren land;
its eastern ranks will drown in the Dead Sea
and its western ranks in the Mediterranean Sea.
And its stench will go up;
its smell will rise.”
Surely he has done great things!
21 Do not be afraid, land of Judah;
be glad and rejoice.
Surely the Lord has done great things!
22 Do not be afraid, you wild animals,
for the pastures in the wilderness are becoming green.
The trees are bearing their fruit;
the fig tree and the vine yield their riches.
23 Be glad, people of Zion,
rejoice in the Lord your God,
for he has given you the autumn rains
because he is faithful.
He sends you abundant showers,
both autumn and spring rains, as before.
24 The threshing floors will be filled with grain;
the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.
25 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—
the great locust and the young locust,
the other locusts and the locust swarm—
my great army that I sent among you.
26 You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
and you will praise the name of the Lord your God,
who has worked wonders for you;
never again will my people be shamed.
27 Then you will know that I am in Israel,
that I am the Lord your God,
and that there is no other;
never again will my people be shamed.

The Day of the Lord

28 “And afterward,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
29 Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
30 I will show wonders in the heavens
and on the earth,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
31 The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
32 And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved;
for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem
there will be deliverance,
as the Lord has said,
even among the survivors
whom the Lord calls.

JOEL 3

The Nations Judged

1 “In those days and at that time,
when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem,
I will gather all nations
and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat.
There I will put them on trial
for what they did to my inheritance, my people Israel,
because they scattered my people among the nations
and divided up my land.
They cast lots for my people
and traded boys for prostitutes;
they sold girls for wine to drink.
“Now what have you against me, Tyre and Sidon and all you regions of Philistia? Are you repaying me for something I have done? If you are paying me back, I will swiftly and speedily return on your own heads what you have done.
For you took my silver and my gold and carried off my finest treasures to your temples.
You sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks, that you might send them far from their homeland.
“See, I am going to rouse them out of the places to which you sold them, and I will return on your own heads what you have done.
I will sell your sons and daughters to the people of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, a nation far away.” The Lord has spoken.
Proclaim this among the nations:
Prepare for war!
Rouse the warriors!
Let all the fighting men draw near and attack.
10 Beat your plowshares into swords
and your pruning hooks into spears.
Let the weakling say,
“I am strong!”
11 Come quickly, all you nations from every side,
and assemble there.
Bring down your warriors, Lord!
12 “Let the nations be roused;
let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat,
for there I will sit
to judge all the nations on every side.
13 Swing the sickle,
for the harvest is ripe.
Come, trample the grapes,
for the winepress is full
and the vats overflow—
so great is their wickedness!”
14 Multitudes, multitudes
in the valley of decision!
For the day of the Lord is near
in the valley of decision.
15 The sun and moon will be darkened,
and the stars no longer shine.
16 The Lord will roar from Zion
and thunder from Jerusalem;
the earth and the heavens will tremble.
But the Lord will be a refuge for his people,
a stronghold for the people of Israel.

Blessings for God’s People

17 “Then you will know that I, the Lord your God,
dwell in Zion, my holy hill.
Jerusalem will be holy;
never again will foreigners invade her.
18 “In that day the mountains will drip new wine,
and the hills will flow with milk;
all the ravines of Judah will run with water.
A fountain will flow out of the Lord’s house
and will water the valley of acacias.
19 But Egypt will be desolate,
Edom a desert waste,
because of violence done to the people of Judah,
in whose land they shed innocent blood.
20 Judah will be inhabited forever
and Jerusalem through all generations.
21 Shall I leave their innocent blood unavenged?
No, I will not.”
The Lord dwells in Zion!

PSALM 132:10-18

10 For the sake of your servant David,
do not reject your anointed one.
11 The Lord swore an oath to David,
a sure oath he will not revoke:
“One of your own descendants
I will place on your throne.
12 If your sons keep my covenant
and the statutes I teach them,
then their sons will sit
on your throne for ever and ever.”
13 For the Lord has chosen Zion,
he has desired it for his dwelling, saying,
14 “This is my resting place for ever and ever;
here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it.
15 I will bless her with abundant provisions;
her poor I will satisfy with food.
16 I will clothe her priests with salvation,
and her faithful people will ever sing for joy.
17 “Here I will make a horn grow for David
and set up a lamp for my anointed one.
18 I will clothe his enemies with shame,
but his head will be adorned with a radiant crown.”

REVELATION 4

The Throne in Heaven

1 After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”
At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it.
And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne.
Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads.
From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God.
Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back.
The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle.
Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying:
“‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come.”
Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever,
10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:
11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.”

Joel 2:18-3:21 – What does God desire of us in response to His tough love? (Hosea 2:12-13)

Psalm 132:10-18 – How do these verses point us directly to Jesus?

Rev. 4 – Wow! This is a majestic vision of the very throne of God! What stands out to you the most about this description?

Select a verse from today’s passage, and memorize it. Write it on a card where you can look at it throughout the day. Hide God’s Word in your heart.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

JOEL 1:1-2:17

The word of the Lord that came to Joel son of Pethuel.

An Invasion of Locusts

Hear this, you elders;
listen, all who live in the land.
Has anything like this ever happened in your days
or in the days of your ancestors?
Tell it to your children,
and let your children tell it to their children,
and their children to the next generation.
What the locust swarm has left
the great locusts have eaten;
what the great locusts have left
the young locusts have eaten;
what the young locusts have left
other locusts have eaten.
Wake up, you drunkards, and weep!
Wail, all you drinkers of wine;
wail because of the new wine,
for it has been snatched from your lips.
A nation has invaded my land,
a mighty army without number;
it has the teeth of a lion,
the fangs of a lioness.
It has laid waste my vines
and ruined my fig trees.
It has stripped off their bark
and thrown it away,
leaving their branches white.
Mourn like a virgin in sackcloth
grieving for the betrothed of her youth.
Grain offerings and drink offerings
are cut off from the house of the Lord.
The priests are in mourning,
those who minister before the Lord.
10 The fields are ruined,
the ground is dried up;
the grain is destroyed,
the new wine is dried up,
the olive oil fails.
11 Despair, you farmers,
wail, you vine growers;
grieve for the wheat and the barley,
because the harvest of the field is destroyed.
12 The vine is dried up
and the fig tree is withered;
the pomegranate, the palm and the apple tree—
all the trees of the field—are dried up.
Surely the people’s joy
is withered away.

A Call to Lamentation

13 Put on sackcloth, you priests, and mourn;
wail, you who minister before the altar.
Come, spend the night in sackcloth,
you who minister before my God;
for the grain offerings and drink offerings
are withheld from the house of your God.
14 Declare a holy fast;
call a sacred assembly.
Summon the elders
and all who live in the land
to the house of the Lord your God,
and cry out to the Lord.
15 Alas for that day!
For the day of the Lord is near;
it will come like destruction from the Almighty.
16 Has not the food been cut off
before our very eyes—
joy and gladness
from the house of our God?
17 The seeds are shriveled
beneath the clods.
The storehouses are in ruins,
the granaries have been broken down,
for the grain has dried up.
18 How the cattle moan!
The herds mill about
because they have no pasture;
even the flocks of sheep are suffering.
19 To you, Lord, I call,
for fire has devoured the pastures in the wilderness
and flames have burned up all the trees of the field.
20 Even the wild animals pant for you;
the streams of water have dried up
and fire has devoured the pastures in the wilderness.

JOEL 2

An Army of Locusts

Blow the trumpet in Zion;
sound the alarm on my holy hill.
Let all who live in the land tremble,
for the day of the Lord is coming.
It is close at hand—
a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and blackness.
Like dawn spreading across the mountains
a large and mighty army comes,
such as never was in ancient times
nor ever will be in ages to come.
Before them fire devours,
behind them a flame blazes.
Before them the land is like the garden of Eden,
behind them, a desert waste—
nothing escapes them.
They have the appearance of horses;
they gallop along like cavalry.
With a noise like that of chariots
they leap over the mountaintops,
like a crackling fire consuming stubble,
like a mighty army drawn up for battle.
At the sight of them, nations are in anguish;
every face turns pale.
They charge like warriors;
they scale walls like soldiers.
They all march in line,
not swerving from their course.
They do not jostle each other;
each marches straight ahead.
They plunge through defenses
without breaking ranks.
They rush upon the city;
they run along the wall.
They climb into the houses;
like thieves they enter through the windows.
10 Before them the earth shakes,
the heavens tremble,
the sun and moon are darkened,
and the stars no longer shine.
11 The Lord thunders
at the head of his army;
his forces are beyond number,
and mighty is the army that obeys his command.
The day of the Lord is great;
it is dreadful.
Who can endure it?

Rend Your Heart

12 “Even now,” declares the Lord,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
13 Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.
14 Who knows? He may turn and relent
and leave behind a blessing—
grain offerings and drink offerings
for the Lord your God.
15 Blow the trumpet in Zion,
declare a holy fast,
call a sacred assembly.
16 Gather the people,
consecrate the assembly;
bring together the elders,
gather the children,
those nursing at the breast.
Let the bridegroom leave his room
and the bride her chamber.
17 Let the priests, who minister before the Lord,
weep between the portico and the altar.
Let them say, “Spare your people, Lord.
Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn,
a byword among the nations.
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’”

PSALM 132:1-9

A song of ascents.

Lord, remember David
and all his self-denial.
He swore an oath to the Lord,
he made a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob:
“I will not enter my house
or go to my bed,
I will allow no sleep to my eyes
or slumber to my eyelids,
till I find a place for the Lord,
a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.”
We heard it in Ephrathah,
we came upon it in the fields of Jaar:
“Let us go to his dwelling place,
let us worship at his footstool, saying,
‘Arise, Lord, and come to your resting place,
you and the ark of your might.
May your priests be clothed with your righteousness;
may your faithful people sing for joy.’”

REVELATION 3:14-22

To the Church in Laodicea

14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.
15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!
16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.
20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.
22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Joel 1:1-2:17 – The prophets talk a great deal about judgment and impending destruction. Why do you think that is?

Psalm 132:1-9 – What an interesting way to begin a psalm: “Lord, remember David and all his self-denial.” What did David deny himself of? Why did he do it?

Rev. 3:14-22 – What do you think it means to be lukewarm? (v. 16) Are you?

Select a verse from today’s passage, and memorize it. Write it on a card where you can look at it throughout the day. Hide God’s Word in your heart.

Friday, December 6, 2019

HOSEA 13-14

The Lord’s Anger Against Israel

When Ephraim spoke, people trembled;
he was exalted in Israel.
But he became guilty of Baal worship and died.
Now they sin more and more;
they make idols for themselves from their silver,
cleverly fashioned images,
all of them the work of craftsmen.
It is said of these people,
“They offer human sacrifices!
They kiss calf-idols!”
Therefore they will be like the morning mist,
like the early dew that disappears,
like chaff swirling from a threshing floor,
like smoke escaping through a window.
“But I have been the Lord your God
ever since you came out of Egypt.
You shall acknowledge no God but me,
no Savior except me.
I cared for you in the wilderness,
in the land of burning heat.
When I fed them, they were satisfied;
when they were satisfied, they became proud;
then they forgot me.
So I will be like a lion to them,
like a leopard I will lurk by the path.
Like a bear robbed of her cubs,
I will attack them and rip them open;
like a lion I will devour them—
a wild animal will tear them apart.
“You are destroyed, Israel,
because you are against me, against your helper.
10 Where is your king, that he may save you?
Where are your rulers in all your towns,
of whom you said,
‘Give me a king and princes’?
11 So in my anger I gave you a king,
and in my wrath I took him away.
12 The guilt of Ephraim is stored up,
his sins are kept on record.
13 Pains as of a woman in childbirth come to him,
but he is a child without wisdom;
when the time arrives,
he doesn’t have the sense to come out of the womb.
14 “I will deliver this people from the power of the grave;
I will redeem them from death.
Where, O death, are your plagues?
Where, O grave, is your destruction?
“I will have no compassion,
15  even though he thrives among his brothers.
An east wind from the Lord will come,
blowing in from the desert;
his spring will fail
and his well dry up.
His storehouse will be plundered
of all its treasures.
16 The people of Samaria must bear their guilt,
because they have rebelled against their God.
They will fall by the sword;
their little ones will be dashed to the ground,
their pregnant women ripped open.”

HOSEA 14

Repentance to Bring Blessing

Return, Israel, to the Lord your God.
Your sins have been your downfall!
Take words with you
and return to the Lord.
Say to him:
“Forgive all our sins
and receive us graciously,
that we may offer the fruit of our lips.
Assyria cannot save us;
we will not mount warhorses.
We will never again say ‘Our gods’
to what our own hands have made,
for in you the fatherless find compassion.”
“I will heal their waywardness
and love them freely,
for my anger has turned away from them.
I will be like the dew to Israel;
he will blossom like a lily.
Like a cedar of Lebanon
he will send down his roots;
6  his young shoots will grow.
His splendor will be like an olive tree,
his fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon.
People will dwell again in his shade;
they will flourish like the grain,
they will blossom like the vine—
Israel’s fame will be like the wine of Lebanon.
Ephraim, what more have I to do with idols?
I will answer him and care for him.
I am like a flourishing juniper;
your fruitfulness comes from me.”
Who is wise? Let them realize these things.
Who is discerning? Let them understand.
The ways of the Lord are right;
the righteous walk in them,
but the rebellious stumble in them.

PSALM 131

A song of ascents.  Of David.

My heart is not proud, Lord,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore.

REVELATION 3:7-13

To the Church in Philadelphia

“To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:
These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.
I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.
I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.
10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.
11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.
12 The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name.
13 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

Hosea 13-14 – According to Hosea 14:2-3, what does God require of us in order to be forgiven and restored?

Psalm 131 – Do you ever worry about things that you have absolutely no control over? What does this brief psalm have to say about that?

Rev. 3: 7-13 – What hope does God offer to the genuine believers in the church in Philadelphia (not the Philadelphia in Pennsylvania—but the Philadelphia in ancient Turkey)?

Select a verse from today’s passage, and memorize it. Write it on a card where you can look at it throughout the day. Hide God’s Word in your heart.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

HOSEA 11-12

God’s Love for Israel

“When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
But the more they were called,
the more they went away from me.
They sacrificed to the Baals
and they burned incense to images.
It was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
taking them by the arms;
but they did not realize
it was I who healed them.
I led them with cords of human kindness,
with ties of love.
To them I was like one who lifts
a little child to the cheek,
and I bent down to feed them.
“Will they not return to Egypt
and will not Assyria rule over them
because they refuse to repent?
A sword will flash in their cities;
it will devour their false prophets
and put an end to their plans.
My people are determined to turn from me.
Even though they call me God Most High,
I will by no means exalt them.
“How can I give you up, Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, Israel?
How can I treat you like Admah?
How can I make you like Zeboyim?
My heart is changed within me;
all my compassion is aroused.
I will not carry out my fierce anger,
nor will I devastate Ephraim again.
For I am God, and not a man—
the Holy One among you.
I will not come against their cities.
10 They will follow the Lord;
he will roar like a lion.
When he roars,
his children will come trembling from the west.
11 They will come from Egypt,
trembling like sparrows,
from Assyria, fluttering like doves.
I will settle them in their homes,”
declares the Lord.

Israel’s Sin

12 Ephraim has surrounded me with lies,
Israel with deceit.
And Judah is unruly against God,
even against the faithful Holy One.

HOSEA 12

Ephraim feeds on the wind;
he pursues the east wind all day
and multiplies lies and violence.
He makes a treaty with Assyria
and sends olive oil to Egypt.
The Lord has a charge to bring against Judah;
he will punish Jacob according to his ways
and repay him according to his deeds.
In the womb he grasped his brother’s heel;
as a man he struggled with God.
He struggled with the angel and overcame him;
he wept and begged for his favor.
He found him at Bethel
and talked with him there—
the Lord God Almighty,
the Lord is his name!
But you must return to your God;
maintain love and justice,
and wait for your God always.
The merchant uses dishonest scales
and loves to defraud.
Ephraim boasts,
“I am very rich; I have become wealthy.
With all my wealth they will not find in me
any iniquity or sin.”
“I have been the Lord your God
ever since you came out of Egypt;
I will make you live in tents again,
as in the days of your appointed festivals.
10 I spoke to the prophets,
gave them many visions
and told parables through them.”
11 Is Gilead wicked?
Its people are worthless!
Do they sacrifice bulls in Gilgal?
Their altars will be like piles of stones
on a plowed field.
12 Jacob fled to the country of Aram;
Israel served to get a wife,
and to pay for her he tended sheep.
13 The Lord used a prophet to bring Israel up from Egypt,
by a prophet he cared for him.
14 But Ephraim has aroused his bitter anger;
his Lord will leave on him the guilt of his bloodshed
and will repay him for his contempt.

PSALM 130

A song of ascents.

Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.
If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.

REVELATION 3:1-6

To the Church in Sardis

1 “To the angel of the church in Sardis write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.
Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God.
Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy.
The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels.
Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

Hosea 11-12 – In these two chapters, God compares Israel to a child that He loves and has raised from infancy—but the child turns and follows a rebellious and destructive path. How can God’s response to this rebellion be viewed as “tough love”?

Psalm 130 – This is a psalm about hope. Even though our circumstances can be dire—we still have hope. According to verse 5, where is the psalmist putting his hope?

Rev. 3:1-6 – You’ve heard the phrase: “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” How does this apply to the church in Sardis? What did the cover look like? What was really going on?

Select a verse from today’s passage, and memorize it. Write it on a card where you can look at it throughout the day. Hide God’s Word in your heart.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

HOSEA 8-10

HOSEA 8

Israel to Reap the Whirlwind

“Put the trumpet to your lips!
An eagle is over the house of the Lord
because the people have broken my covenant
and rebelled against my law.
Israel cries out to me,
‘Our God, we acknowledge you!’
But Israel has rejected what is good;
an enemy will pursue him.
They set up kings without my consent;
they choose princes without my approval.
With their silver and gold
they make idols for themselves
to their own destruction.
Samaria, throw out your calf-idol!
My anger burns against them.
How long will they be incapable of purity?
 They are from Israel!
This calf—a metalworker has made it;
it is not God.
It will be broken in pieces,
that calf of Samaria.
“They sow the wind
and reap the whirlwind.
The stalk has no head;
it will produce no flour.
Were it to yield grain,
foreigners would swallow it up.
Israel is swallowed up;
now she is among the nations
like something no one wants.
For they have gone up to Assyria
like a wild donkey wandering alone.
Ephraim has sold herself to lovers.
10 Although they have sold themselves among the nations,
I will now gather them together.
They will begin to waste away
under the oppression of the mighty king.
11 “Though Ephraim built many altars for sin offerings,
these have become altars for sinning.
12 I wrote for them the many things of my law,
but they regarded them as something foreign.
13 Though they offer sacrifices as gifts to me,
and though they eat the meat,
the Lord is not pleased with them.
Now he will remember their wickedness
and punish their sins:
They will return to Egypt.
14 Israel has forgotten their Maker
and built palaces;
Judah has fortified many towns.
But I will send fire on their cities
that will consume their fortresses.”

HOSEA 9

Punishment for Israel

Do not rejoice, Israel;
do not be jubilant like the other nations.
For you have been unfaithful to your God;
you love the wages of a prostitute
at every threshing floor.
Threshing floors and winepresses will not feed the people;
the new wine will fail them.
They will not remain in the Lord’s land;
Ephraim will return to Egypt
and eat unclean food in Assyria.
They will not pour out wine offerings to the Lord,
nor will their sacrifices please him.
Such sacrifices will be to them like the bread of mourners;
all who eat them will be unclean.
This food will be for themselves;
it will not come into the temple of the Lord.
What will you do on the day of your appointed festivals,
on the feast days of the Lord?
Even if they escape from destruction,
Egypt will gather them,
and Memphis will bury them.
Their treasures of silver will be taken over by briers,
and thorns will overrun their tents.
The days of punishment are coming,
the days of reckoning are at hand.
Let Israel know this.
Because your sins are so many
and your hostility so great,
the prophet is considered a fool,
the inspired person a maniac.
The prophet, along with my God,
is the watchman over Ephraim,
yet snares await him on all his paths,
and hostility in the house of his God.
They have sunk deep into corruption,
as in the days of Gibeah.
God will remember their wickedness
and punish them for their sins.
10 “When I found Israel,
it was like finding grapes in the desert;
when I saw your ancestors,
it was like seeing the early fruit on the fig tree.
But when they came to Baal Peor,
they consecrated themselves to that shameful idol
and became as vile as the thing they loved.
11 Ephraim’s glory will fly away like a bird—
no birth, no pregnancy, no conception.
12 Even if they rear children,
I will bereave them of every one.
Woe to them
when I turn away from them!
13 I have seen Ephraim, like Tyre,
planted in a pleasant place.
But Ephraim will bring out
their children to the slayer.”
14 Give them, Lord—
what will you give them?
Give them wombs that miscarry
and breasts that are dry.
15 “Because of all their wickedness in Gilgal,
I hated them there.
Because of their sinful deeds,
I will drive them out of my house.
I will no longer love them;
all their leaders are rebellious.
16 Ephraim is blighted,
their root is withered,
they yield no fruit.
Even if they bear children,
I will slay their cherished offspring.”
17 My God will reject them
because they have not obeyed him;
they will be wanderers among the nations.

HOSEA 10

Israel was a spreading vine;
he brought forth fruit for himself.
As his fruit increased,
he built more altars;
as his land prospered,
he adorned his sacred stones.
Their heart is deceitful,
and now they must bear their guilt.
The Lord will demolish their altars
and destroy their sacred stones.
Then they will say, “We have no king
because we did not revere the Lord.
But even if we had a king,
what could he do for us?”
They make many promises,
take false oaths
and make agreements;
therefore lawsuits spring up
like poisonous weeds in a plowed field.
The people who live in Samaria fear
for the calf-idol of Beth Aven.
Its people will mourn over it,
and so will its idolatrous priests,
those who had rejoiced over its splendor,
because it is taken from them into exile.
It will be carried to Assyria
as tribute for the great king.
Ephraim will be disgraced;
Israel will be ashamed of its foreign alliances.
Samaria’s king will be destroyed,
swept away like a twig on the surface of the waters.
The high places of wickedness will be destroyed—
it is the sin of Israel.
Thorns and thistles will grow up
and cover their altars.
Then they will say to the mountains, “Cover us!”
and to the hills, “Fall on us!”
“Since the days of Gibeah, you have sinned, Israel,
and there you have remained.
Will not war again overtake
the evildoers in Gibeah?
10 When I please, I will punish them;
nations will be gathered against them
to put them in bonds for their double sin.
11 Ephraim is a trained heifer
that loves to thresh;
so I will put a yoke
on her fair neck.
I will drive Ephraim,
Judah must plow,
and Jacob must break up the ground.
12 Sow righteousness for yourselves,
reap the fruit of unfailing love,
and break up your unplowed ground;
for it is time to seek the Lord,
until he comes
and showers his righteousness on you.
13 But you have planted wickedness,
you have reaped evil,
you have eaten the fruit of deception.
Because you have depended on your own strength
and on your many warriors,
14 the roar of battle will rise against your people,
so that all your fortresses will be devastated—
as Shalman devastated Beth Arbel on the day of battle,
when mothers were dashed to the ground with their children.
15 So will it happen to you, Bethel,
because your wickedness is great.
When that day dawns,
the king of Israel will be completely destroyed.

PSALM 129

A song of ascents. Of Solomon. 

“They have greatly oppressed me from my youth,”
let Israel say;
“they have greatly oppressed me from my youth,
but they have not gained the victory over me.
Plowmen have plowed my back
and made their furrows long.
But the Lord is righteous;
he has cut me free from the cords of the wicked.”
May all who hate Zion
be turned back in shame.
May they be like grass on the roof,
which withers before it can grow;
a reaper cannot fill his hands with it,
nor one who gathers fill his arms.
May those who pass by not say to them,
“The blessing of the Lord be on you;
we bless you in the name of the Lord.”

REVELATION 2:12-29

To the Church in Pergamum

12 “To the angel of the church in Pergamum write:
These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword.
13 I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives.
14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality.
15 Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.
16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
17 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it. 

To the Church in Thyatira

18 “To the angel of the church in Thyatira write:
These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze.
19 I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.
20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.
21 I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling.
22 So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways.
23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.
24 Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets, ‘I will not impose any other burden on you,
25 except to hold on to what you have until I come.’
26 To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations—
27 that one ‘will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery’—just as I have received authority from my Father.
28 I will also give that one the morning star.
29 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

Hosea 8-10 – In Hosea 9:7, the prophet warns that “the days of punishment are coming, the days of reckoning are at hand.” How far do you think God let’s things go before He steps in and says, “Enough”?

Psalm 129 – How does the psalmist contrast the two metaphors in this psalm—first of a plowman who cuts long furrows, and then of grass that grows on a roof?

Rev. 2:12-29 – What do you think it might mean for “Satan to have his throne” in Pergamum?

Select a verse from today’s passage, and memorize it. Write it on a card where you can look at it throughout the day. Hide God’s Word in your heart.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

HOSEA 6-7

Israel Unrepentant

 “Come, let us return to the Lord.
He has torn us to pieces
but he will heal us;
he has injured us
but he will bind up our wounds.
After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will restore us,
that we may live in his presence.
Let us acknowledge the Lord;
let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises,
he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth.”
“What can I do with you, Ephraim?
What can I do with you, Judah?
Your love is like the morning mist,
like the early dew that disappears.
Therefore I cut you in pieces with my prophets,
I killed you with the words of my mouth—
then my judgments go forth like the sun.
For I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.
As at Adam, they have broken the covenant;
they were unfaithful to me there.
Gilead is a city of evildoers,
stained with footprints of blood.
As marauders lie in ambush for a victim,
so do bands of priests;
they murder on the road to Shechem,
carrying out their wicked schemes.
10 I have seen a horrible thing in Israel:
There Ephraim is given to prostitution,
Israel is defiled.
11 “Also for you, Judah,
a harvest is appointed.
“Whenever I would restore the fortunes of my people,

HOSEA 7

whenever I would heal Israel,
the sins of Ephraim are exposed
and the crimes of Samaria revealed.
They practice deceit,
thieves break into houses,
bandits rob in the streets;
but they do not realize
that I remember all their evil deeds.
Their sins engulf them;
they are always before me.
“They delight the king with their wickedness,
the princes with their lies.
They are all adulterers,
burning like an oven
whose fire the baker need not stir
from the kneading of the dough till it rises.
On the day of the festival of our king
the princes become inflamed with wine,
and he joins hands with the mockers.
Their hearts are like an oven;
they approach him with intrigue.
Their passion smolders all night;
in the morning it blazes like a flaming fire.
All of them are hot as an oven;
they devour their rulers.
All their kings fall,
and none of them calls on me.
“Ephraim mixes with the nations;
Ephraim is a flat loaf not turned over.
Foreigners sap his strength,
but he does not realize it.
His hair is sprinkled with gray,
but he does not notice.
10 Israel’s arrogance testifies against him,
but despite all this
he does not return to the Lord his God
or search for him.
11 “Ephraim is like a dove,
easily deceived and senseless—
now calling to Egypt,
now turning to Assyria.
12 When they go, I will throw my net over them;
I will pull them down like the birds in the sky.
When I hear them flocking together,
I will catch them.
13 Woe to them,
because they have strayed from me!
Destruction to them,
because they have rebelled against me!
I long to redeem them
but they speak about me falsely.
14 They do not cry out to me from their hearts
but wail on their beds.
They slash themselves, appealing to their gods
for grain and new wine,
but they turn away from me.
15 I trained them and strengthened their arms,
but they plot evil against me.
16 They do not turn to the Most High;
they are like a faulty bow.
Their leaders will fall by the sword
because of their insolent words.
For this they will be ridiculed
in the land of Egypt.

PSALM 128

A song of ascents. Of Solomon. 

Blessed are all who fear the Lord,
who walk in obedience to him.
You will eat the fruit of your labor;
blessings and prosperity will be yours.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
around your table.
Yes, this will be the blessing
for the man who fears the Lord.
May the Lord bless you from Zion;
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.
May you live to see your children’s children—
peace be on Israel.

REVELATION 2:1-11

To the Church in Ephesus

1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands.
I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.
You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.
Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

To the Church in Smyrna

“To the angel of the church in Smyrna write:
These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again.
I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.
10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.
11 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.

Hosea 6-7 – We see in chapter 7 that God desires mercy, not sacrifice. He prefers that we simply acknowledge Him, rather than our burnt offerings and outward acts of worship. Why do you think this is? What is God really looking for?

Psalm 128 – This Psalm declares that parents who fear God and walk in obedience to Him will be blessed by children who surround the dinner table “like olive shoots.” What do you think this means? Is God making a statement of absolute truth—or are there times when parents truly do fear and obey God, and their children don’t surround the table as olive shoots?

Rev. 2:1-11 – Ephesus is the first of seven churches that this Book is addressed and sent to. Despite some of the positives of this church—what are the negatives that God holds against them?

Select a verse from today’s passage, and memorize it. Write it on a card where you can look at it throughout the day. Hide God’s Word in your heart.

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