Daily Bible Readings – Monday, December 16, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 41

Prayer Point. God blesses those who have regard for the weak, but what hope is there if we have sinned? Hope survives because in verse 9, David’s voice gives way to voice of Jesus, who entered our world, was cursed for our sin and earned us the blessings of God. Confess your sin and appeal to God, not on the basis of your goodness, but on what Jesus has done for you.

Matthew 24:15-31

Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you are reading.

Read. Read the passage slowly either alone or in a group and answer the following questions:

Listen. What is the passage saying? What are the main points? Using the following background as a guide.

Background. “The abomination that causes desolation” is reference to the prophecy of Daniel (see Daniel 9:27). In this case, Jesus is referring to the destruction of the temple. What are the disciples to do when the day of the temple’s destruction comes? We do know that when the Roman army came to destroy Jerusalem many fled to the city believing that God would not allow his temple to be destroyed. The Christians on the other hand remembered the words of Jesus and fled to the hills avoiding the ensuing massacre.

What should Jesus’ disciples watch out for? Who shouldn’t they listen to?

What will the true coming of Jesus (the Son of Man) look like?

Obey. What is God asking me to do?

Repent. How have I failed to obey what God is asking me to do? Confess those failures to God and ask for his forgiveness.

Believe. Which of God’s promises would I need to believe in order to obey and share what I have read?

Share. What can I share and with whom can I share it?

Final Prayer. Pray for the faith to believe the promises of God so that you might obey and share what you have learned.

Revelation 3:7-13

Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you are reading.

Read. Read the passage slowly either alone or in a group and answer the following questions:

Listen. What is the passage saying? What are the main points? You can use the following background to help you understand the main points of this passage.

Background. John, one of Jesus’ closest disciples, has been exiled to the island of Patmos for his faith. He is separated from the churches in Asia (Western Turkey) that he served and loved with all his heart. Like him, they are discouraged by the opposition they are faced from the Romans who appeared to be the undisputed powers of this world. But God sees the world differently and allows John to see a vision of Christ to encouraged him and the churches he served. Jesus commands John to pass on seven letters to the seven churches in Asia. Revelation 3:7-13, the letter to the church in Philadelphia is the sixth of these seven letters.

You may notice that John writes “to the angel of the church in Philadelphia.” This is not a guardian angel, the letters would not make any sense if this was the case, but a figure of speech referring to “the heart” of the local church. These letters are to be understood as personal messages from Jesus (“the words of him who is holy and true, and holds the key of David”) to each church.

Pay close attention to …

  • Why Jesus is so pleased with the church in Philadelphia. What the church of Philadelphia did despite their weakness.
  • How Jesus will vindicate the suffering church in Philadelphia.
  • What Jesus promises them if they continue to hold on in the face of persecution.

Obey. What is God asking me to do?

Repent. How have I failed to obey what God is asking me to do? Confess those failures to God and ask for his forgiveness.

Believe. Which of God’s promises would I need to believe in order to obey and share what I have read?

Share. What can I share and with whom can I share it?

Final Prayer. Pray for the faith to believe the promises of God so that you might obey and share what you have learned.

Zechariah 1:7-17

Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you are reading.

Read. Read the passage slowly either alone or in a group and answer the following questions:

Listen. What is the passage saying? What are the main points? You can use the following background to help you understand the main points of this passage.

Background. Like Haggai, Zechariah begins: “In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius…” (Zechariah 1:1 ESV). It is clear that both Haggai and Zechariah are addressing the ex-exiles at about the same time. The recurring theme is “return to me”. The LORD wants the people both to return to him and from their evil ways and deeds.

Zechariah experiences a vision of a man riding on a red horse. Naturally, Zechariah wants to know what this means. Also with the red horse were red, sorrel and white horses. Zechariah then asks “the angel who talked with me” “What are these, my lord?” (v. 9 ESV). The angel tells Zechariah that “these are they whom the LORD has sent to patrol the earth.” (v. 10 ESV) This actually harkens to Job 1:7 when Satan responds to God’s question: “‘From where have you come?’ Satan answered the LORD and said, ‘From going to and fro on the earth and from walking up and down on it.’” (Job 1:7 ESV) The similarities end there. These are angels patrolling through the earth reporting to the LORD that the world was as “rest”.

Why is the angel of the LORD troubled that by the report given by the man on the red horse that the world is at rest and peace? How does God feel about Jerusalem and Zion situation? Why does God’s anger burn against the nations (the nations that brought about Israel’s destruction)? How will God make things right?

Obey. What is God asking me to do?

Repent. How have I failed to obey what God is asking me to do? Confess those failures to God and ask for his forgiveness.

Believe. Which of God’s promises would I need to believe in order to obey and share what I have read?

Share. What can I share and with whom can I share it?

Final Prayer. Pray for the faith to believe the promises of God so that you might obey and share what you have learned.

 

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