Category Archives: VCY America

January 3: A 5 Word Prayer & Thanksgiving — VCY America

And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.

Luke 17:13

The ten lepers made a short prayer to Jesus, and He answered. The lepers point out to us the power of short prayers, but there’s more!

And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.

Luke 17:14-15

Jesus was glad to hear their prayer, but He was also glad to hear their thanks! As we pray – don’t forget to thank God for answered prayer!

And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Luke 17:17-19

January 3: A 5 Word Prayer & Thanksgiving — VCY America

January 2: So I prayed. — VCY America

As we’re starting the year, we’re looking at the short prayers of the Bible. For many of us we remember God right before a meal and right before bed. But God is always with us! 

Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven.

Nehemiah 2:4

Nehemiah was talking to King Artaxerxes, and he paused mid-conversation for a quick prayer. This week – let’s try to set a new habit in our lives of pausing this week at noon to pray.

As we intentionally pause for a moment at noon, we can ask God to help us pray throughout the day at other times too!

January 2: So I prayed. — VCY America

January 2 – Fall and a Promise — VCY America

January 2
Genesis 3:1-4:26
Matthew 2:13-3:6
Psalm 2:1-12
Proverbs 1:7-9

Day 2 – we’re glad you’re continuing on the challenge!

Some observations that many people skip over when they start in Genesis:

Genesis 3 – No sooner are we into paradise but we’re already into the fall – sin comes into the world and it just keeps spreading. But – we have a Promise. Genesis 3:15 is the Protoevangelium – the first reference to the Gospel, and is referenced in Romans 16:20.

Satan used the serpent to make Eve think her boss wanted to make her life miserable (Genesis 3:5). Today we have tale bearers and gossips in churches and Christian workplaces who just like the serpent are used by Satan poison people intentionally like Absalom (2 Samuel 15:2-6), or unintentionally like the co-worker who grumbles about the boss. I’ve worked in several settings – Christian and secular – and have encountered people intentionally and unintentionally trying to poison me to make me think that the boss wanted to make my life miserable, and I needed to trust them instead of the boss. We’ll even see people lying to children telling them that the governor/president/king did/will do something to poison them against their political authority. Be on the lookout for serpents in your workplace!

Where was Adam when Eve sinned? Most people think Eve was having a private conversation with the serpent while Adam was working the back 40 acres, but Genesis 3:6 says Adam was “with her.” As Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Or perhaps when good men do nothing, they are not good?

Genesis 3:24

Dexter Penwell shares with us this on Genesis 4:2:

Abel was a keeper of sheep. At that time, they were not allowed to eat meat. Therefore, there were only 2 things that the sheep would be used for. One is for skins to clothe themselves. However, it would not be worth keeping sheep every day just to kill one or 2 every few months for making clothing. That then means that the main reason for keeping sheep had to be as a way to have animals for sacrifices. (That also means that although the Bible does not specifically state that they knew that they were to use sheep for sacrifices, they had to know, or there would not be a real reason to keep sheep all the time.

Dexter Penwell

Speaking of the Gospel, Matthew 2 talks about the seed, coming out of Egypt, who will be called a Nazarene.

Psalm 2 is great comfort when you think you are oppressed – imagine all the kings of the earth ready to attack! But “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh!” Amen!

Earl Martin has a great memory verse song to go along with Proverbs 1:7:

And if you have parents, Proverbs 1:8 is a great verse to pay attention to.

Share how reading thru the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

January 2 – Fall and a Promise — VCY America

January 1: The Shortest Prayer in the Bible — VCY America

Pray without ceasing

1 Thessalonians 5:17

Growing in prayer isn’t about just praying longer, but more frequent. Today we’ll look at the shortest prayer in the Bible.

But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.

Matthew 14:30

Three words counted for a prayer, and that prayer worked! This year – before you commit to spending three hours each morning in prayer like Martin Luther, start by making sure that you don’t forget about God during the course of your day.

Here’s an easy way to get started! Whatever your smart device – iPhone, Google, Alexa, say “Hey Siri/Ok Google/Alexa, Set a daily reminder at noon to pray.

It’s amazing how fast the day can go by without a conscious thought of God. Every day at noon when your device beeps – stop and pray. It doesn’t have to be long, but it will start to change your life!

Counselman Collection

Share how the Prayer Encouragement Project has been a blessing to you! E-mail me at or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

January 1: The Shortest Prayer in the Bible — VCY America

December 31 – The Curse of the Old Testament, No Curse in the New Testament! — VCY America

December 31
Malachi 3:1-4:6
Revelation 22:1-21
Psalm 150:1-6
Proverbs 31:25-31

Malachi 3:1 – A messenger who shall prepare the way of the LORD? Not preparing the way of a mere prophet, but the way of Yahweh Elohim, the LORD God! When the messenger arrives, behold “He shall come!” This is the same promise that Isaiah 40:3 shares, and was fulfilled by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:3, Mark 1:2-3, Matthew 11:10, John 1:23).

Malachi 3:5 – Who will He judge? Interesting that its similar to Revelation 21:8 and Revelation 22:15.

Malachi 3:11 – Why was Israel beset with famine? As a judgment for sin (Deuteronomy 28:3-4). Malachi reminds us of the lesson from Elijah in 1 Kings 17:13, if you will trust God with your resources (that came from Him), He will provide all that you need!

Malachi 3:14 – Ever get depressed and wonder what benefit there is to serving God? Demas did (2 Timothy 4:10). It’s ok to be depressed, but don’t let Satan change your beliefs – true, serving the Lord is not the highest dollar return on your time, but are you laying up treasure here or in heaven? (Matthew 6:19-21).

Malachi 4:2 – “Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace! / Hail the Son of Righteousness! / Light and life to all He brings / Ris’n with healing in His wings!”

Malachi 4:5-6 – Elijah would come – John denied that he was Elijah (John 1:21), but Luke clarifies that he would come “in the spirit and power of Elijah” (Luke 1:17). Jesus Himself confirmed that John was the very messenger (Matthew 11:10) – “this is he.” And the Old Testament ends warning us that without repentance is “a curse.” (Malachi 4:6).

The Tree of Life”… A print from the Phillip Medhurst Collection of Bible illustrations in the possession of Revd. Philip De Vere at St. George’s Court, Kidderminster, England.

Revelation 22:3 – The Old Testament ends with a curse – but the New Testament ends declaring “there shall be no more curse!”

Revelation 22:10 – Notice four promises of the unsealed prophecy:

  1. Reward (Revelation 22:12) – 2 Corinthians 5:10 tells us that we will give an account of ourselves to God, and He will reward us (1 Corinthians 3:14-15).
  2. Reception (Revelation 22:14) – Jesus went to prepare a place for us (John 14:2-3), and He gave us power to become Sons of God (John 1:12) so we have the right to enter into the gates!
  3. Restrictions (Revelation 22:15) – Not everyone is going to heaven. Sin keeps you from heaven – even just one sin (James 2:10)!
  4. Return (Revelation 22:7, Revelation 22:12, Revelation 22:20) – Jesus is coming!

Yes – the Wonderful word of the King is that Jesus is coming again!

Revelation 22:16 – Only Jesus can be the root and the offspring – the Father of David (Luke 3:38) and His Son (Luke 3:23)! He is the Alpha and the Omega (Revelation 22:13).

Revelation 22:17 – The final invitation of the Bible is to you to Come. Take of the water of life freely! Where is the water of life / living water found? Jesus told the woman at the well that He gives living water (John 4:10). If you haven’t come to Jesus yet – come to Jesus before Jesus comes again!

Psalm 150:6 – As we end this year of 2018 – I don’t know if you’ve been as blessed reading Revelation 22 as I have – I’m glad we came to Psalm 150 – Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Proverbs 31:30 – Beauty pageants focus on the wrong aspects of womanhood. Praise is for those who fear the LORD!

December 31 – The Curse of the Old Testament, No Curse in the New Testament! — VCY America

December 31: Ending the Year in Prayer — VCY America

Editor’s Note – Spurgeon gives a passionate plea to his church to continue in prayer, noting the blessings in prayer they have received! What a great encouragement to us to end this year and begin the next in prayer!

Charles Spurgeon
Charles Spurgeon

And, now, I said I would say a word as to why WE ought to pray especially, and that shall close the sermon. Beloved friends, this church ought to pray without ceasing. We have been in years past notable for prayer. If ever a church has prayed it has been this church. I might find many faults with some who hinder prayer, but yet I must say in God’s sight I know and feel that there has been living prayer in this church for many years, and hence it is we have had many years of peace and prosperity.

We have lacked nothing because we have not lacked prayer. I do not doubt we might have had much more if we had prayed more; still prayer has been very mighty here. Now, brethren, suppose you had no pastor, suppose the preacher was gone from you, and that the black cloth upon this pulpit was not for a deceased elder of the church but for the preacher himself, you would pray, would you not? Will you not pray for me then while I live? If you would pray for another to come, will you not pray for me while I am here? I desire to discharge my office before you in God’s sight with all earnestness, but I cannot without your prayers, and as being gone from you, you would lift up many sighs, and you would with prayers ask for a successor, pray for me while I am yet with you.

Beloved, you have prayed very earnestly for the pastor when he has been sick, your prayers have been his consolation and his restoration; will you not pray for him now that he is able to preach the gospel, that his health may be sanctified to God’s service, and the ministry of the truth may be mighty in the winning of souls. I ask it of you, I think I might claim it of you. I do beseech you, brethren, pray for us.

Suppose again, dear brethren, there were no conversions in our midst, would not you pray? And since there are a great many conversions, should that be a reason for leaving off? Shall we worship God the less because he gives us moor? Instead of one prayer which would go up were there no conversions, there should be ten now that he continues to work salvation among us.

Suppose we were divided, and had many schisms, and jealousies, and bickerings, would not the faithful ones pray in bitterness of spirit? Will you not pray since there are no divisions, and much Christian love? Surely, I say again, you will not treat God the worse because he treats you the better. That were foolish indeed.

Suppose we were surrounded to-day with hosts of persecutors, and that error everywhere crept into our midst and did us damage, would you not pray, you who love the Lord? And now that we live in days of peace, and error, though it prowls around, is kept out of our fold, will you not commune with the Lord all the more? I will say yet a third time, shall we pray the less because God gives the more? Oh no, but the better he is to us the more let us adore and magnify his name.

Just now we need to pray, for some are growing cold, and turning to their old sins. We need to pray, for we are doing much for Christ. Every agency is in full work. We want a great blessing upon great efforts. We have had such results from prayer as might make a man’s ears to tingle who should hear of them for the first time: our history as a church has not been second even to apostolic history itself: we have seen God’s arm made bare in the eyes of all the people, and to the ends of the earth the testimony of this pulpit has gone forth, and thousands have found the Savior,-all in answer to many prayers.

Pray, then, without ceasing. O church in the Tabernacle, hold fast that thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Oh, continue to be a praying church that we together; when we shall stand before the judgement-seat of Christ, pastor and people, may not be accused of being prayerless, nor of being slack in the work of the Lord. I earnestly hope all this will tend to make to-morrow’s day of prayer more earnest and intense; but yet more do I pray that at all times all of us may be fervent, frequent, instant, and constant in prayer; praying in the Holy Ghost, in the name of Jesus.

December 31: Ending the Year in Prayer — VCY America

December 30 – Any ol’ Thing or Only My Best? — VCY America

December 30

Malachi 1:1-2:17
Revelation 21:1-27
Psalm 149:1-9
Proverbs 31:10-24 

Welcome to the last book of the Old Testament – Malachi! We’re just one day away from the end of the year – thank you for joining with us this year!

Malachi 1:2 – Stop and appreciate the first phrase of this declaration. “I have loved you!” God loves Israel, and God loves us!!

Malachi 1:13 – Have we ever thought going to church was “weariness”? Have we brought our best gifts to the LORD or have we brought our leftovers? As the satirical Patch the Pirate song reminds us, sometimes we say, “Any old thing will do for you

Our attitude should be, “Only my best will do for you!”

Malachi 1:14 – What does the LORD say about vows? Ecclesiastes 5:4-6 warns us that ”
Better is it that thou shouldest not vow.”

Malachi 2:7-8 – We see a strong warning for religious leaders. While we’re in the New Testament, we have similar warnings (James 3:1 – leaders will receive greater punishment, Luke 12:47 – shall be beaten with many stripes, Matthew 23:13 – problem with the scribes and Pharisees, 1 Corinthians 11:29 – “damnation to himself”).

Malachi 2:13 – Why won’t God receive our offerings? Peter tells us that if I am not “giving honour unto [my] wife” – my prayers will be hindered (1 Peter 3:7). Malachi elaborates on God’s hatred of divorce (putting away – Malachi 2:16). Jesus Himself reiterated this as well (Matthew 19:8). As we saw earlier, God’s treatment of us depends on how we treat our wives.

Revelation 21:4 – No more night, no more pain. No more tears, no more crying again!


Revelation 21:7 – Not all are God’s children, only those who overcome? Who are the overcomers? Those who believe (Revelation 21:8).

Revelation 21:12-14 – Notice how God is uniting Israel (Revelation 21:12) and the Church (Revelation 21:14) for eternity in the eternal New Jerusalem!

Apocalypse 42. A new heaven and new earth. Revelation 21 v 29.
Petrus van der Borcht. . Phillip Medhurst Collection

Revelation 21:23 – Yes in the New Jerusalem, there is “No need of moon or stars by night, or sun to shine by day;”

Revelation 21:27 – God can’t let any sin into His heaven, and you must have an RSVP to enter. If you don’t know for sure that your name is in the Book of Life, make sure of that today! We saw yesterday what happens to those whose names are not found in the book (Revelation 20:15).

Psalm 149:5 – Yes it’s ok to sing alone and aloud! Praise ye the LORD!

Proverbs 31:10 – The Sunrise Ruby, a 25.59-carat Burmese ruby sold at Sotheby’s in May 2015 for $25 million. I’m so thankful for my wife!

Proverbs 31:11 – We read earlier about the condemnation of men who cheat on their wives, and here we see praise for the woman who is safely trusted in by her husband. Jesus’ first miracle was at a wedding in Cana (John 2), He loves Christian marriages!

December 30 – Any ol’ Thing or Only My Best? — VCY America

December 30: The Blessing of Prayer — VCY America

Charles Spurgeon
Charles Spurgeon

“Pray without ceasing,” for you want a blessing on all the work you are doing. Is it common work? “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.” Is it business? It is vain to rise up early and sit up late, and eat the bread of carefulness, for without God you cannot; prosper.

You are taught to say, “Give us this day our daily bread,”-an inspired prayer for secular things. Oh, consecrate your seculars by prayer. And, if you are engaged in God’s service, what work is there in which you can hope for success without his blessing? To teach the young, to preach the gospel, to distribute tracts, to instruct the ignorant, do not all these want his blessing? What are they if that favor be denied? Pray, therefore, as long as you work.

You are always in danger of being tempted; there is no position in life in which you may not be assaulted by the enemy. “Pray without ceasing,” therefore. A man who is going along a dark road where he knows that there are enemies, if he must be alone and has a sword with him, he carries it drawn in his hand, to let the robbers know that he is ready for them. So Christian, pray without ceasing; carry your sword in your hand, wave that mighty weapon of all-prayer of which Bunyan speaks. Never sheathe it; it will cut through coats of mail. You need fear no foe if you can but pray. As you are tempted without ceasing, so pray without ceasing.

December 30: The Blessing of Prayer — VCY America

December 29 – Zechariah prophesied what the Angel said in Acts? — VCY America

December 29

Zechariah 14:1-21
Revelation 20:1-15
Psalm 148:1-14
Proverbs 31:8-9 

Zechariah 14:3 – Some think that the prophetic events were fulfilled in AD 70, but in AD 70 half the city wasn’t delivered by the LORD. According to Josephus, those who weren’t killed were enslaved (thanks to StackExchange for a great discussion). No, there’s coming a time when Jerusalem will again be under attack, and the LORD will defend them!

Zechariah 14:4 – Who will return to the mount of Olives? Acts 1:11-12 recounts the angels telling the disciples who were standing at the Mount of Olives , that Jesus who rose from the Mount, would return to the Mount!

Author’s Photo of the Mount of Olives

Zechariah 14:9 – In Mark 1:14 – Jesus began His ministry preaching the gospel of the Kingdom. But not until He returns again will the King reign on earth! And when the KIng reigns – there will be no more war (Zechariah 14:11).

Zechariah 14:12 – Calvary Chapel Jonesboro notes the similarities between this verse and a Neutron Bomb.

When this bomb blows the release of the neutrons are lethal to humans and any other animal life around it.  If you are within the radius of a neutron bomb you will be killed almost instantly.  If you are within the blast radius what will happen to you is eerily similar to what Zechariah describes in chapter 14 of his prophecy.  Any kind of flesh is destroyed by a kind of melting process as all the atoms are destroyed within it.  Thus Zechariah’s description of something that rots flesh, eyes, and the tongue are often compared to what happens at the detonation of a neutron bomb.

Zechariah 14:21 – No more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD? Hermenutics/StackExchange says:

The reason there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the Lord is: if he be of a Canaanite heart, then his refusal to come will see him destroyed by the plagues and panic and drought of the day of the Lord. If, however, his Canaanite heart were converted and he come to Jerusalem to worship the Lord and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, then he would no longer be of a Canaanite heart, i.e. not a Canaanite.

Revelation 20:4 – Many people hold to amillenialism – the view that there is not a literal ‘thousand year reign’ of Christ. However, six times in this one chapter we see recorded exactly one thousand years. And as we look around, it’s hard to argue that Satan is bound today. BibleStudyTools has a great chart of the attributes of the Millennium.

Revelation 20:8 – Notice that even though the Millennium is populated by faithful Jews and Gentiles, their offspring – even with Satan bound – will not all be faithful. God will allow Satan one last attempt to organize before the last judgment.

Revelation 20:10 – Hell is not forever. It will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14). God didn’t make the lake of fire to burn man in – it was made for the devil (Revelation 20:10). But if your name is not found written in the book of life (Revelation 20:15), you’ll be cast into the lake of fire.

We don’t know what the lake of fire will look like – but on earth we can see “lava lakes” that burn eerily.
These are the Lava fountains in the Halemaʻumaʻu lava lake, Kīlauea

Psalm 148:8 – Just like in Jonah, the stormy wind fulfills His Word! Why can’t we?

Psalm 148:14 – Let’s bring Glory to His Name!

Proverbs 31:8-9 – Today, there are poor and needy unborn children that are appointed to destruction. Let’s open our mouth for them!

December 29 – Zechariah prophesied what the Angel said in Acts? — VCY America

December 29: Why Pray? — VCY America

Charles Spurgeon
Charles Spurgeon

WHY SHOULD WE OBEY THIS PRECEPT? Of course we should obey it because it is of divine authority; but, moreover, we should attend to it because the Lord always deserves to be worshipped. Prayer is a method of worship; continue, therefore, always to render to your Creator, your Preserver, your Redeemer, your Father, the homage of your prayers. With such a King let us not be slack in homage. Let us pay him the revenue of praise continually. Evermore may we magnify and bless his name. His enemies curse him; let us bless him without ceasing. Moreover, brethren, the spirit of love within us surely prompts us to draw near to God without ceasing. Christ is our husband. Is the bride true to her marriage vows if she cares not for her beloved’s company? God is our Father. What sort of a child is that which does not desire to climb its father’s knee and receive a smile from its father’s face? If you and I can live day after day and week after week without anything like communion with God, how dwelleth the love of God in us? “Pray without ceasing,” because the Lord never ceases to love you, never ceases to bless you, and never ceases to regard you as his child.

December 29: Why Pray? — VCY America

December 28 – The King of Kings and the Lord of Lords! — VCY America

December 28
Zechariah 12:1-13:9
Revelation 19:1-21
Psalm 147:1-20
Proverbs 31:1-7 

Zechariah 12:1 -The thought dawned on me the other day. Why would the God that “stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth” care about man? Why would the King of eternity care about temporal man? So much that He became a man (John 1:14) and is still a man (1 Timothy 2:5). The “transcendence” of God is an easy concept (for me at least) – that He is Great! But that He is Good to me – don’t miss the message of the Old Testament – the great God has a word for Israel, and this message He has for you and me as well!

Zechariah 12:4 – Revelation 9:16 talks about an army of 200,000,000 horsemen – what will stop them when they attack Jerusalem? The LORD will smite the horse and his rider!

Zechariah 12:10 – “they shall look upon me whom they have pierced”? The word “pierced” actually means “pierced” by the way according to the Englishman’s Concordance. When has the LORD been pierced? By his people?

The Cruxifiction from Korzenna

In John 19:34, Jesus was pierced by the spear of the soldier. The very next verse John says “he that saw it bare record” – John can’t believe he saw it and then realized it was what Zechariah talked about almost 500 years earlier, and notes that (John 19:37).

But all Israel isn’t saved as Paul prays (Romans 10:1), but they will (Romans 11:26).

When Babylon has warred with the saints (Revelation 18:24), and attempted to war with Israel (Revelation 12:6), but the LORD protects Israel (Zechariah 12:7), then He will reveal Himself to them as He revealed Himself to Paul (Acts 9:5).

He will pour out “the spirit of grace and of supplications.” And they reference the “only son” – the “only begotten Son” (John 3:16).

Zechariah 13:6 – All of a sudden we see a shift from the false prophet that is thrust thru by their own parents (Zechariah 13:3), to the shepherd that is smitten and the sheep scattered (Zechariah 13:7). At first we think the whole passage is about false prophets – but Jesus quoted Zechariah 13:7 as about himself (Matthew 26:31). However where this verse falls is much debated. John MacArthur thinks it talks about the false prophet covering up the marks of cultism. Most commentators agree, but some see an allusion to the Messiah.

Zechariah 13:9 – As Hosea 2:23 declares – God will reach out and say “It is my people!” God will reconcile His people to Himself! His people will declare “The LORD is my God!” – watch how this ties into the NT reading!

Revelation 19:1 – What will they say? Alleluia (Praise Ye the Lord) (Revelation 19:1, Revelation 19:3, Revelation 19:4, Revelation 19:5, Revelation 19:6).

Revelation 19:6 – George Frederick Handel wrote the Hallelujah Chorus using the words from this verse, and when it was played, King George II stood. The King stood for the King of Kings! (Revelation 19:16).

Revelation 19:7 – This passage talks about us – we are invited as the spouse of the Lamb – our wedding feast that John the Baptist alluded to in John 3:29, and Paul talked about in Ephesians 5:22-23.

Revelation 19:16 – See the Hallelujah Chorus above!

Psalm 147:1

Psalm 147:6 – The Great LORD (Psalm 147:5) who knows the name of every star (Psalm 147:4), identifies not with the “great” but with the meek (Psalm 147:6). Because compared to Him, nobody is great. Yes – He loves us, not because of anything good in ourselves (Titus 3:5).

Proverbs 31:4 – As Billy Sunday said, “I am the sworn, eternal and uncompromising enemy of the liquor traffic.”

December 28 – The King of Kings and the Lord of Lords! — VCY America

December 28: Despairing of Prayer? — VCY America

Charles Spurgeon
Charles Spurgeon

Beloved brother, say unto thy soul, thus-“here have I come to the throne of grace to worship God and seek his blessing, and I am not going away till I have done this; I will not rise from my knees, because I have spent my customary minutes, but here will I pray till I find the blessing.” Satan will often leave off tempting when he finds you thus resolute in prayer. Brethren, we need waking up.

Routine grows upon us. We get into the mill-horse way-round, and round, and round the mill. From this may God save us. It is deadly. A man may pray twenty years with regularity, as far as the time goes, and the form goes, and never have prayed a single grain of prayer in the whole period. One real groan fetched from the heart is worth a million litanies, one living breath from a gracious soul is worth ten thousand collects. May we be kept awake by God’s grace, praying without ceasing.

And we must take care, dear brethren, again, if we would perform this duty, that we fight against anything like despair of being heard. If we have not been heard after six times we must, as Elijah, go again seven times; if our Peter is in prison, and the church has prayed God to liberate him, and he still is in fetters bound in the inner prison, let us pray on, for one of these days Peter will knock at the gate. Be importunate, heaven’s gate does not open to every runaway knock. Knock, and knock, and knock again; and add to thy knocking and to thy asking seeking, and be not satisfied till thou gettest a real answer.

December 28: Despairing of Prayer? — VCY America

December 27 – What is the “latter rain”? — VCY America

December 27
Zechariah 10:1-11:17
Revelation 18:1-24
Psalm 146:1-10
Proverbs 30:33 

Zechariah 10:1 – David Wilkerson believes the “latter rain” is spiritual, talking about a revival move of the Holy Spirit. While the timing of the “latter rain” is a matter of eschatological dispute, Wilkerson adds helpful caution to his desire for Holy Spirit revival: “Many so-called Holy-Ghost movements vanished quickly because they were man-centered — focusing on gifts, blessings, self-improvement, happiness.”

However, we’re probably safer taking a narrower interpretation – within the context of the chapter, it’s referring to God’s future dealing with Israel not the Church. As the latter rain follows the early rain, God will deal with Israel again as merciful as in the past. Note the frequency of the word “again.”

  • “I will bring them again… they shall be as though I had not cast them off” (Zechariah 10;6)
  • “they shall remember me… turn again” (Zechariah 10:9)
  • “I will bring them again” (Zechariah 10:10)

Zechariah 10:4 – John MacArthur identifies this as a Messianic prophecy.

  • He notes “the corner” is the “precious cornerstone” in Isaiah 28:16, and the “stumbling stone” of Romans 9:32, and described in 1 Corinthians 1:23, Ephesians 2:20, Daniel 2:34, and Matthew 21:44.
  • He compares “the nail” to Eliakim in Isaiah 22:23, but where “the Eliakim nail will be cut off, not the nail that is referring to Christ. “
  • He argues that the “battle bow” is identified with Zechariah 9:13 and Revelation 19:11.

Zechariah 11:12-13 – 1 Peter 1:11 comes to mind – Zechariah must have wondered why God included this – and it wasn’t until Matthew 27:9-10 that it was identified as a Messianic prophecy. The New Testament attributes it to Jeremiah, the first of the prophets in the Hebrew Bible.

Zechariah 11:16 – God is raising up a bad shepherd? Similar to the lying spirit of 1 Kings 22:23, to bring judgment upon His people.

Revelation 18:4 – In 2 Corinthians 6:17, God says to come out from unbelievers – if you lose your father He will be a father to you.

Apocalypse 28. The destruction of Babylon. Revelation cap 18. Mortier’s Bible. Phillip Medhurst Collection

Revelation 18:24 – Many people wonder why God doesn’t judge the wicked – the problem is their timetable isn’t God’s. God will judge the wicked – He keeps track of every wrong.

Psalm 146:4 – Note the contrast – man returns to his earth (dirt), as opposed to the Maker of the earth (Psalm 146:6). Trust in the LORD!

Proverbs 30:33 – As James 1:20 tells us, “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”

December 27 – What is the “latter rain”? — VCY America

December 27: Indolence and Indifference — VCY America

Charles Spurgeon
Charles Spurgeon

We must, dear friends, in order to pray without ceasing, strive against indolence in prayer. I believe that no man loves prayer until the Holy Spirit has taught him the sweetness and value of it. If you have ever prayed without ceasing you will pray without ceasing. The men who do not love to pray must be strangers to its secret joy. When prayer is a mechanical act, and there is no soul in it, it is a slavery and a weariness; but when it is really living prayer, and when the man prays because he is a Christian and cannot help praying, when he prays along the street, prays in his business, prays in the house, prays in the field, when his whole soul is full of prayer, then he cannot have too much of it. He will not be backward in prayer who meets Jesus in it, but he who knows not the Well-beloved will count it a drudgery.

Let us avoid, above all things, lethargy and indifference in prayer. Oh, it is a dreadful thing that ever we should insult the majesty of heaven by words from which our heart has gone. I must, my spirit, I must school thee to this, that thou must have communion with God, and if in thy prayer thou dost not talk with God, thou shalt keep on praying till thou dost. Come not away from the mercy-seat till thou hast prayed.

December 27: Indolence and Indifference — VCY America

December 26 – The woman rides the beast! — VCY America

December 26
Zechariah 9:1-17
Revelation 17:1-18
Psalm 145:1-21
Proverbs 30:32

Zechariah 9:5 – Ashkelon was finally destroyed in 1270 by the Mamluk sultan Baybars, and is now an archaeological site.

Zechariah 9:7 – Modern Ashkelon and Ashdod are now Jewish cities under the sovereignty of the State of Israel.

Jesus enters Jerusalem and the crowds welcome him, by Pietro Lorenzetti, 1320

Zechariah 9:9 – Notice: a) Rejoicing b) by Jews c) of Jerusalem d) the King e) having salvation f) riding upon the colt of an ass.

This verse is quoted verbatim in Matthew 21:5. Let’s see how it was fulfilled! (Salvation (e) was coming that very week!)

And brought the ass, and the colt (f), and put on them their clothes, and they set him (d) thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.And the multitudes (b) that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna (a) to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. And when he was come into Jerusalem (c), all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?

Matthew 21:7-9

Zechariah 9:10 – His dominion – this goes back to Balaam’s prophecy of one having dominion in Numbers 24:19, and Bildad the Shuhite who knew that “dominion and fear are with him, he maketh peace” (Job 25:2).

Specifically, this is the promise of Psalm 72:8 “He shall havedominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.” David wished that of his son, Solomon, but Zechariah says that it hasn’t been fulfilled at the start of the post-exilic time period. Jesus the peace has come, and will return for His Kingdom (Mark 1:15, Revelation 19:16).

Zechariah 9:16 – The LORD will save His people! In Romans 11:26, we see all Israel shall be saved. Later on in Zechariah 12:10 we’ll see how it will happen in an incredible prophecy.

Revelation 17:3 – Where today do we find a woman riding a beast?

the founding myth of Europa and the bull has frequently been alluded to in relation to the continent and by the modern European Union, and can thus be considered not only a piece of toponymy, but also as a semi-official symbol or supranational personification of the European region.
2 Euro Coin, Europa Riding the Bull

Revelation 17:6 – From John Walvoord: “Many expositors refer this to Rome. Seven hills formed the nucleus of the ancient city on the left bank of the Tiber. These hills received the names of Palatine, Aventine, Caelian, Esquiline, Viminal, Quirinal, and Capitoline.”

Revelation 17:10 – Also from John Walvoord:

What regal mountain, then, was in power at the time John wrote? There can be no question on that point; it was the Roman empire. Thus, then, we ascertain and identify the sixth in the list, which shows what sort of kings the angel meant. Of the same class with this, and belonging to the same category, there are five others—five which had then already run their course and passed away. But what five imperial mountains like Rome had been and gone, up to that time? Is history so obscure as not to tell us with unmistakable certainty? Preceding Rome the world had but five great names or nationalities answering to imperial Rome, and those scarce a schoolboy ought to miss. They are Greece, Persia, Babylon, Assyria, and Egypt; no more, and no less. And these all were imperial powers like Rome. Here, then, are six of these regal mountains; the seventh is not yet come. When it comes it is to endure but a short time.

Revelation 17:14 – The Lamb shall overcome! He is Lord of Lords and King of Kings! From our friend Patch the Pirate:

Psalm 145:3

Psalm 145:11 – While it’s considered a Christmas song, this song actually talks about the Second Coming of Jesus!

Joy to the world, the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And Heaven and nature sing
And Heaven and nature sing
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing

Proverbs 30:32 – Avoid pride, seek humility!

December 26 – The woman rides the beast! — VCY America

December 26: Are we too busy for prayer? — VCY America

Charles Spurgeon
Charles Spurgeon

Sometimes we think we are too busy to pray. That also is a great mistake, for praying is a saving of time. You remember Luther’s remark, “I have so much to do to-day that I shall never get through it with less than three hours’ prayer.” He had not been accustomed to take so much time for pray on ordinary days, but since that was a busy day, he must needs have more communion with his God.

But, perhaps, our occupations begin early, and we therefore say, “How can I get alone with God in prayer?” It is said of Sir Henry Havelock that every morning when the march began at six, he always rose at four, that he might not miss his time for the reading of the Scripture and communion with his God.

If we have no time we must make time, for if God has given us time for secondary duties, he must have given us time for primary ones, and to draw near to him is a primary duty, and we must let nothing set it on one side. There is no real need to sacrifice any duty, we have time enough for all if we are not idle; and, indeed, the one will help the other instead of clashing with it.

When Edward Payson was a student at College, he found he had so much to do to attend his classes and prepare for examinations, that he could not spend as much time as be should in private prayer; but, at last, waking up to the feeling that he was going back in divine things through his habits, he took due time for devotion and he asserts in his diary that he did more in his studies in a single week after he had spent time with God in prayer, than he had accomplished in twelve months before.

God can multiply our ability to make use of time. If we give the Lord his due, we shall have enough for all necessary purposes. In this matter seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Your other engagements will run smoothly if you do not forget your engagement with God.

December 26: Are we too busy for prayer? — VCY America

December 25 – Prophecies of Jerusalem — VCY America

December 25

Zechariah 8:1-23
Revelation 16:1-21
Psalm 144:1-15
Proverbs 30:29-31

On this day that people celebrate the Birth of Jesus – feel free to go back and read Luke 2 or Matthew 2 with your family!

Jimmy DeYoung Jr. teaching on the Mount of Olives, overlooking Jerusalem (author’s photo)

Zechariah 8:3 – Over 2,000 years after Zechariah wrote these words about Jerusalem, it is still a controversial city.

  • The LORD is jealous of Jerusalem (Zechariah 8:2)
  • The LORD will dwell in Jerusalem (Zechariah 8:3)
  • Old men and young boys will dwell there (Zechariah 8:4-5)
  • Jews will return to Jerusalem (Zechariah 8:8)
  • The Temple will be built (Zechariah 8:9)
  • God will bless the people of Jerusalem (Zechariah 8:12)
  • The Jews in Jerusalem will be a blessing (Zechariah 8:13)
  • Fasting will be joy (Zechariah 8:19)
  • Gentiles will seek the LORD in Jerusalem (Zechariah 8:22)

Zechariah 8:16 – Truth and Peace! As we’ve shown for the last few days, Jesus is the peace, and Jesus is the Truth! (John 14:6)

Zechariah 8:22 – In John 12:21, certain of the Greeks approached Philip and said, “We would see Jesus!” Yes – many people came to seek the LORD in Jerusalem – and once again they will come!

Zechariah 8:23 – We haven’t seen that happen yet – antisemitism is on the rise globally.

Revelation 16:1  – Sores, blood seas, blood rivers, scorching fire, darkness – notice the similarities between the 10 Plagues of Egypt: Sores/Boils (Plague 5&6), Water to Blood (Plague 1), Fire – fiery hail (Plague 7), Darkness (Plague 9).

Revelation 16:12 – The way of the Kings of the East. Some discuss whether or not it is the 200 million man army of Revelation 9:16. If so, the Chinese army is rumored to be around 200 million men. Others believe that it is a demonic army.

Revelation 16:15 – This is the fifth time that the LORD describes his coming as a thief. In 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 1 Thessalonians 5:4, 2 Peter 3:10, Revelation 3:3, Revelation 16:15, the coming is described as a thief – yet even some pre-tribulational experts say this refers to the Second Coming, not the Rapture.

The remains of the Tel Megiddo site in northern Israel

Revelation 16:21 – Instead of repenting, the men blaspheme God. It’s been said that the same sun that melts butter, hardens clay.

Psalm 144:1 – The Psalmist is thankful to the LORD for his offensive capability. then in the next verse for His defensive protection (fortress, tower, deliverer, shield).

Psalm 144:8 – We just read in Revelation 16:21 – that God will be judging those who blaspheme.

Psalm 144:15 – Are you happy?

Proverbs 30:31 – A king without insurrection – ah Rehoboam would have longed for that (1 Kings 12:16)

December 25 – Prophecies of Jerusalem — VCY America

December 25: Thankful for the Joy of Christmas! — VCY America

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

Luke 2:10

Regardless of what day Jesus was born in, it is an occasion for great joy!

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

John 1:29

This is the Greatest Story Ever Told!

Let’s thank God for His gift of love!

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:16

December 25: Thankful for the Joy of Christmas! — VCY America

December 24 – The Branch is King & Priest? — VCY America

December 24Zechariah 6:1-7:14
Revelation 15:1-8
Psalm 143:1-12
Proverbs 30:24-28 

On this day that many spend meditating on the coming of the Messiah – we’ll see an important truth about His Second Coming!

Zechariah 6:1 – Sometimes in Zechariah we notice similar motifs to Revelation, but they have different meaning. In Zechariah the horses were designated for directions, while in Revelation 6:1-8, they are seen visualizing consequences (conquest, war, famine, death).

Zechariah 6:12 – Jimmy DeYoung sees this passage as talking about the Millennium:

Messiah’s Temple is the “House of Worship” that will stand in Jerusalem in the Kingdom, a physical Kingdom yet to come, in the 1,000 year period following the return of Jesus Christ back to earth.Verse 12 reveals that Jesus Christ, the “Branch”, is the one who will build this Millennial Temple.

The “Branch” is the name for Jesus in the Old Testament, which can be found in Isaiah 4:2Jeremiah 33:15Zechariah 3:8 and here in our key verse for our devotional reading today, verse 12.

The key to this passage is noticing that the Branch will have a throne, will be a priest, and will be peace (Zechariah 6:13). A throne means a civil ruler like Zerubbabel (in Zechariah’s day), a type of David. A king was forbidden from being a priest (StackExchange notes the priesthood was restricted to Levi, while the kingship was restricted to Judah). Uzziah as king attempted to offer a sacrifice (2 Chronicles 26:16), and was cursed with leprosy (2 Chronicles 26:19-21).

What Prophesied Man could be both King and Priest? The Branch is The Peace – and as we showed earlier, that is Jesus! In the Milllennium He will build the Ezekiel Temple.

Zechariah 7:9 – What is the message that the LORD sent? Quite similar to Micah 6:8’s message – Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly.

Zechariah 7:10 – Why is God concerned about the widowfatherlessstranger, and the poor? God commands protection of the widow and fatherless (Exodus 22:22), states that He executes judgment of the fatherless and widow (Deuteronomy 10:18), curses those who perverts the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow (Deuteronomy 27:19). God is a “father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows” (Psalm 68:5), “he relieveth the fatherless and widow” (Psalm 146:9).

The widow, fatherless, stranger, and poor are often taken advantage of – especially by those who use “false balances” (Proverbs 11:1). God demonstrates His power not by helping the rich get richer – but by making the weak strong (2 Corinthians 12:10).

Zechariah 7:12 – As we read in Hebrews 3:8, “Harden not your hearts!”

Revelation 15:3-4 – Patch the Pirate’s song “Great and Marvellous” is based on these verses!

Revelation 15:7-8 – God’s wrath is tied to God’s glory.

Psalm 143:10 – We need God to teach us to do His will! Let’s pray for God’s instruction!

Proverbs 30:25 – Solomon talked about the ant back in Proverbs 6:6 as a wise creature. What’s the lesson from these four creatures?

Are you as smart as a coney? Wise Agur used four small creatures to teach his students great wisdom (Pr 30:1,24). The ants prudently save for the future (Pr 30:25). The locusts know the power of numbers (Pr 30:27). The spider by diligence goes where most cannot (Pr 30:28). The conies wisely avoid risk and loss by choosing safe and strong protection.

December 24 – The Branch is King & Priest? — VCY America

December 24: O Come, O Come Emmanuel — VCY America

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

On this, the day before the marking of Christmas, a carol sticks out. Calling for Emmanuel to come. And yet for many today, they have not the light of the Dayspring:

O come, Thou Dayspring, from on high,
And cheer us by Thy drawing nigh;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

And yet Jesus does not just bring us emotional help – rather He alone can bring us deliverance from the grave:

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory o’er the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

Matthew 9:37-38