Daily Bible Readings – Saturday, December 21, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 55

Prayer Point. What are you afraid of in this world? What concerns do you carry with you every day? The opposite of living in perpetual fear is a life of continual prayer. Try praying throughout the day. Put this verse into practice: “Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice.”

Matthew 25:31-46

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. Matthew 25:31–46 Judgment at the End. Jesus’ disciples are to wait patiently in anticipation of reward at his return, when the unprepared and unrepentant will receive only judgment [ESV Study Bible Notes]

According to this passage both the sheep and the goats are surprised by the shepherd. They both did not know what was to come.

What is the difference between the sheep and the goats relating to the heart? Who are the sheep? Who are the goats? What is the sheep’s reward? Why do they receive this reward?

Matthew 25:40 In the context of the parable the least of these refers to those who are most needy among Jesus’ brothers—a reference most likely to Jesus’ disciples and by extension all believers. The “sheep” are commended for their great compassion for those in need—for the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger; for those who are naked, sick, or in prison. The righteous will inherit the kingdom not because of the compassionate works that they have done but because their righteousness comes from their transformed hearts in response to Jesus’ proclamation of the kingdom, as evidenced by their compassion for the “least of these.” In caring for those in need, the righteous discover that their acts of compassion for the needy are the same as if done for Jesus himself (you did it to me) [ESV Study Bible Notes].

What is the goat’s punishment? Why do they receive this punishment?

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 6:1-17

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. As all of God’s creation worships at the throne of God, Jesus, the lamb of God, sets God’s final plan of redemption into motion. He opens the first of seven seals of the book which represents God’s plan to redeem his people and restore Creation. Who are summoned by the living creatures as Jesus opens the first five seals? What do they do?

Who are the souls under God’s altar? What do they ask God? Can you imagine John, who was exiled because of his faith on the Isle of Patmos, asking the same question? How does God respond to the saints calling for an end to the violence and persecution of the church? Why does God wait?

With the opening of the sixth seal by Jesus, the lamb of God, God is ready to vindicate his people. Just as God rescued Noah by shielding his family from judgment with the ark leaving them in a new purified world, so God will rescue his people through bringing judgment on their oppressors. What will happen to the powerful of the earth? How is this message comforting to John and his churches, who were being persecuted by what appeared to be an invincible Roman Empire?

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 8:9-17

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. In verse 9:“This is what the LORD almighty says: ‘… Let your hands be strong…” Why? Why could no one go about his business beforehand? [For I have turned every man against his neighbor.] What does the LORD promise to do now for the remnant of his people?

“As you have been an ______ __ _______ among the nations, O Judah and Israel, so will I save you and you will be a ________.” (v. 13)

Why had the LORD determined to bring disaster upon his people and to show them no mercy? [Because their fathers had angered the LORD by their earlier idolatry and sins.] Now since the Lord was determined to do good for his people, what changes does he expect of them? [“These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; do not plot evil against your neighbor, and do not love to swear falsely.” (v. 16-17)]

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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