Daily Bible Readings – Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 5

Prayer Point. “In the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” Before you begin your day today, give your concerns to God, lay them at his feet and then sit in silence.  Having sat quietly, now go through the day with an expectation that God can and will act.

John 14:18-31

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? You can use the following background to guide you.

Background.  This is Jesus’ last night with his disciples before his death. He will be leaving, but he has promised to send the Holy Spirit in his absence. This is why Jesus says in verse 18 that I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” That coming refers to the Holy Spirit, and that is how the disciples will “see him” and “live” even though he is gone.

What will Jesus’ followers understand about his relationship with the Father through the Holy Spirit? How will they be related to Jesus through the Holy Spirit? What is the connection between obedience to God and love for God? What does God promise to do for those who love him?

Jesus easily could have revealed himself to the world through some incredible miracle as Judas wanted to see, but he chooses not to. Look to see how people come to know God and his teachings in the coming verses.  Jesus gives these teaching to his disciples directly because he is still with them. Who will teach the disciples once Jesus returns to his Father?

Why should the disciples be glad that Jesus is returning to his Father? Why did he feel the need to tell his disciples of his departure ahead of time?

Think about the context for a moment.  This is the Last Supper.  That night Jesus will be betrayed and arrested.  He is going to be crucified the next day.  What do you think Jesus means by ‘the prince of this world is coming’?  How is Christ the example of what it means to love and obey God?

Obey. The three steps of Gospel obedience

  • Walk. 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 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.

1 Peter 1:13-25

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 guide you.

Background. Now that Peter’s readers have received the good news of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, how are they called to live in response? Who do they imitate? (See verse 16 Be holy because ______)

Whom do they now belong to? What was the purchase price?

Lambs were an important part of Israel’s story. It was a lamb that was sacrificed on the night Israel became a free people. The lamb was killed, the blood of the lamb was put on the doorposts of every Jewish house. When the Angel of Death came through, he “passed over” the homes with the blood of the lamb, but in the Egyptian homes without the lamb’s blood every first born son died.

Jesus is now being compared to that first born son. We are free not because God killed the firstborn son of our enemies, but because he sacrificed his firstborn son for our sakes. That was the purchase price of our forgiveness.

How do we purify ourselves through Christ (see verse 22)? What is the most important in our obedience to God according to Peter in verse 22. How is such a life possible according to verse 23?
Here is where it gets interesting, Jesus not only died to buy us back from death (verse 18-19), but Jesus also lived that we might be changed forever (verse 23).

Obey. The three steps of Gospel obedience

  • Walk. 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 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.

Exodus 15:1-21

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 guide you.

Background.  What is this song about?  (The song is about the final defeat of the Egyptians by the LORD in the Red Sea.)

Why is this history delivered in song?  (Events are easier to remember if they are put to song.  Songs are used to tell stories, history, even theology.  Also songs are easier to convey from one generation to another.)

Who is the focus of this passage?  (The LORD is the central focus of this song.)
Which verse is repeated as “bookends” to this psalm?  (Verses 1 and 21)
What kind of a relationship is inferred beginning in verse 2?  (The relationship is more personal: “The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.  He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” (v. 2 NIV))
Pharaoh’s chariots and his army have been hurled into the sea. (v. 4)  Why does this have a wider significance than just to the Jews?  (At that time Egypt was the “superpower” in the world.  An Egyptian defeat would send a strong message throughout the civilized world: who is this God of Israel? (v. 11)  See vv. 14-16)
Who, in this battle between Egypt and the LORD, is not mentioned?  (The Israelites are not mentioned.)
What were these people doing while all this was going on?  (They were spectators.  I think the point was that the people would see the awesome power of God and that they would then submit to him.  It proved to be wishful thinking.)
What is the destination of the people (the Israelites)?  (In this case, the destination is “the mountain of your inheritance – the place, O LORD, you made for your dwelling, the sanctuary, O LORD, your hands established. (v. 17))

Obey. The three steps of Gospel obedience

  • Walk. 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 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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Daily Bible Readings – Monday, April 28, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 2

Prayer Point. It is easy to forget about the power of God when we watch news or read the papers. Psalm 2 reminds us that Jesus, the Anointed One, is on the throne.  He is in control. Pray that these words might become real to us, that we might live in our world with bold, fearless love.

John 14:1-17

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 guide you.

Background.  The setting of today’s reading is Jesus’ final meal with his disciples before his crucifixion the next day.  He has just informed them that he will be leaving, which greatly troubles them and he now seeks to calm their fears.

Pay close attention to …

  • Why Jesus’ departure and return to his Father should cause the disciples to rejoice.
  • The only way to know and go to the Father.
  • Jesus’ relationship to his Father.
  • The evidence that confirms that Jesus is who he says he is.
  • What is promised to those who put their faith in Jesus.

Obey. The three steps of Gospel obedience

  • Walk. 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 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.

1 Peter 1:1-12

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 guide you.

Background. 1 Peter was a circular letter written by the Apostle Peter and passed among the churches in what we call Western Turkey today. The church was rapidly expanding during this time and the Apostles oversaw and cared for growing numbers of churches scattered around the world. Letters such as these were a means for the Apostles to guide these churches while they were away.

What does Peter call these Christians in verse 1?

Peter mentions all three members of the Trinity (the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) in relation to this church. Notice how the three members of the Trinity work together:

_____________ according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.
through _________________________________ of the Holy Spirit.
For ________________________ to Jesus Christ and ______________________.

Peter’s letter in typical fashion of his time follows a familiar pattern: Author, recipient, greetings and now in verse three Peter begins with a blessing.

What has God the Father done that causes Peter to praise him? What are we born into through Christ? What is special about the inheritance we receive? How does this inheritance give Peter’s readers hope even though they are presently suffering? What good can come of trials?

When Peter speaks of prophets, he means the prophets of the Old Testament (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Moses, etc.)  What guided these prophets? What two things did they point to? Whom were they serving?

Obey. The three steps of Gospel obedience

  • Walk. 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 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.

Exodus 14:21-31

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? You can use the following background to guide you.

Background.  When last we left our heroes (the Israelites), they were poised between Pharaoh’s army and the Red Sea.  Things look hopeless.  What does the LORD do?  (He divides the sea in twain as an escape for the Israelites; he throws the Egyptians into confusion.)

The Egyptian host pursues the Hebrews.  Let’s allow that you don’t know the rest of the story of the flight from Egypt.  Why do you think Pharaoh continued to follow the Israelites?  Does this seem reasonable to you?  (Pharaoh pursued the Jews because the LORD had hardened his heart (Exodus 4:21; and 14:8).  It is unreasonable to me that Pharaoh would follow after the Israelites simply because of the wonders done in Egypt culminating with the death of the firstborn of the land.  Have you ever been so “mad” that you cannot think straight?  Pharaoh would have been so blinded to his own limitations (and his own sin) that he would do something so irrational as to pursue the Hebrews into the sea.)

What moment of sanity do the Egyptians demonstrate in a vain attempt to salvage their mission?  (They say, “Let us get away from the Israelites!  The LORD is fighting for them against Egypt.” (Exodus 14:25 NIV))  How successful are they?  (Not very.  All of the Egyptians in pursuit of the Hebrews were drowned in the midst of the sea.)

What (temporary) ray of hope do the Israelites display regarding their faithfulness to the LORD, as a result of this final encounter with the Egyptians?  (“And when the Israelites saw the great power the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.” (Exodus 14:31 NIV))

Why do I think that this display of faith is temporary?  (The history of the Israelites with Moses shows that they will not remain faithful.  Moses demonstrates the power of God to the people in an effort to secure their trust in God, but time and again they complain and seek to return to Egypt.)

Obey. The three steps of Gospel obedience

  • Walk. 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 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.

Daily Bible Readings – Good Friday, April 18, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 54

Prayer Point. What does David believe and pray for when he is attacked by his enemies? Meditate on David’s answer and allow the psalm to help you address your fears with prayer.

John 13:36-38 (Morning), 19:38-42 (Evening)

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 guide you.

Background. (Morning) On the night Jesus was betrayed, he tells his disciples that he is leaving for a place where they cannot come.  This is quite distressing because Jesus’ disciples believe that he is about to be crowned king.

Where is Jesus going that Peter cannot yet go?  Why do you think Jesus predicts that Peter will disown him?

(Evening) The Jewish Day of Preparation was the day before the Sabbath (Friday).   The day of preparation ended at sun down so both men would have had little time to complete the burial, therefore they buried Jesus in a tomb nearby.  Both Nicodemus (you can read his story in John 3) and Joseph of Arimathea were secret disciples of Jesus.  Why do you think they chose this time to come out in the open?

Obey. The three steps of Gospel obedience

  • Walk. 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 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.

1 Peter 1:10-20

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 guide you.

Background. When Peter speaks of prophets, he means the prophets of the Old Testament (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Moses, etc.)  What guided these prophets? What two things did they point to? Whom were they serving?

This teaching did not originate with Peter. He was with Jesus after the resurrection and before his return to heaven. Here is what Jesus taught Peter and the other disciples concerning the Old Testament.

Luke 24:46 … This is what is written [in the Old Testament]: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Now that Peter’s readers have received the good news of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, how are they called to live in response? Who do they imitate? Who do they now belong to? What was our purchase price?

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.

Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-33

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 background to help guide you.

Background. Compare verses 1-9 of Chapter 3 with the first two Chapters of Job.  What is the principal difference?

How would you describe the great shift of attitude beginning in verse 19ff?   Can you see another parallel with Job?  How is hope rekindled beginning in verse 31?  Can you see a difference between the LORD’s attitude in Chapter 2 and here (vv. 31-33)?

Obey. The three steps of Gospel obedience

  • Walk. 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 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.

Daily Bible Readings – Saturday, November 30, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 104

Prayer Point. Why is God worthy of our praise? He created our world; the valley, the mountains and the seas.  He has given rhythm to our world with days, nights, weeks, seasons and years. He is our provider and he is our Savior. Think about the world God has made, meditate on Jesus’ death and resurrection and offer God your own psalm of praise.

Matthew 20:29-34

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 Son of David was a title for the Messiah. The Jews believed that a descendant of King David would come and restore Israel’s kingdom and reign forever. What do the two blind men see in Jesus? What do they believe he can do for them? What do these two men do when they receive their sight?

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.

1 Peter 4:7-19

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. There are many people, including some Christians, who obsess about the end of the world. Since we know that the end is near, but don’t know when, what are we to do as the end approaches?  What is the purpose of this lifestyle?

Why should Christians NOT be surprised when they suffer? Many people in Peter’s day, and even our own, consider hardship as a sign of God’s displeasure. How does Peter interpret suffering that comes from doing what is right? How do we handle suffering according to verse 19? Compare this to Jesus’ experience in 1 Peter 2:21-23?

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.

Micah 7:11-20

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.

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.

 

Daily Bible Readings – Friday, November 29, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 143

Prayer Point. Does God hear the prayers of sinful people? This psalm reminds us that we would have no hope if he didn’t, for all people are unrighteous in the eyes of God, and yet he answers all those who call on him in faith. How are you empty today? What are you afraid of? Where do you need wisdom in your life?  Take these all today to our gracious God.

Matthew 20:17-28

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 disciples and most Jews in Jesus’ day believed that the Messiah would destroy the Roman occupation force and reestablish a kingdom of Jewish kings who would bring peace, justice and prosperity to the world.  How is Jesus’ vision for becoming king different from the popular view?

Jesus has just announced that he will be betrayed and die before he is crowned king. How does the request from the mother of Zebedee’s sons (James and John) show that she doesn’t get what Jesus is saying about the kind of king he will be? The cup Jesus refers to us is the cup of God’s wrath that he will drain for us on the cross. How do we know that James and John don’t get it either? For that matter, how do you that the other disciples don’t understand what it will mean for Jesus to become king?

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.

1 Peter 3:13-4:6

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. What is generally true for those who do good (verse 13)? How should we react if we do suffer for doing right? How does Christ’s suffering serve as an example of how we should live in this life? How does Christ’s suffering give us the power to suffer while doing good?

What benefit is there to suffering in 1 Peter 4:1? How did the people Peter is writing to live before they encountered Christ? What new life were they living now? How are these different?

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.

Isaiah 24:14-23

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.

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.

 

Daily Bible Readings – Thursday, December 28 2013 Thanksgiving

Prayer Psalm: 135

Prayer Point.  Fear reigns in our hearts when we forget and our God becomes small.  This psalm reminds Israel of the miracles God performed on their behalf.  How has God worked miracles in your life? Remember and thank God for them.  Confess your fears to God. Pray for the faith to trust him and not the false gods we turn to when we are afraid.

Matthew 20:1-16

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.  Jesus often told stories or parables to describe the kingdom of God, the community where God’s will is followed and obeyed. This story speaks to how God rewards the subjects of his kingdom.

Considering that a denarius was the common wage for a day’s labor, is the landowner unfair in what he pays his workers? Why then do the workers who worked a full day get upset with this landowner? Can you think of a situation where God’s generosity to someone who didn’t deserve it angered you?

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.

1 Peter 2:11-25

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 yesterday’s reading we learned that Christians are God’s living temple and holy priesthood. Who are Christians with regards to the world? What Peter calls the world are human societies, cultures and communities that are still alienated from God.

How are we to live as aliens and strangers in this fallen world? How are we live under fallen and possibly evil governments? What two things are we in verse 16? How do you think these two things go together? How are Christians to live if they are caught in slavery? Why? Whose example are we to follow when we are unjustly persecuted? How was Jesus able to live like this? Look closely at verse 23. What impact does Jesus’ sacrifice have on the way we live our lives today?

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.

Zephaniah 3:1-13

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.

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.

 

Daily Bible Readings – Wednesday, November 26, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 130

Prayer Point.  We have created the oceans of pain and misery in this world. So how can we expect God to hear us when cry out for mercy? Because with God there is forgiveness. Follow Psalm 130 in prayer today by lifting up to God the pain of your life and brokenness of our world. Thank him for his forgiveness. Make space in your life to wait quietly for his answer.

Matthew 19:23-30

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.  Many Jews in Jesus’ day fully expected the Messiah to come and establish God’s kingdom on earth. The question on everyone’s mind was who was going to be allowed to enter this kingdom of heaven? Out of the crowd steps a young man who is both wealthy and devout which would have made him a likely candidate to enter Messiah’s kingdom.

How does Jesus answer the young man’s question, “what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”

Jesus answer would not have caught his hearers off guard. Most Jews would have believed that some obedience to the law of Moses would have been required. Jesus quotes most of the second half of the Ten Commandments which is summarized in the one command, “love your neighbor as yourself.” What’s interesting is that Jesus leaves off the last commandment, “do not covet” and the first half of the 10 commandments which are four commandments describing what it means to “love God with all your heart, mind and soul.”

How does the young man react to Jesus’ requirements? What is the young man lacking? Why do you think Jesus sets the bar so high? Why can’t the young man reach Jesus’ bar? Could you live up to this standard? Do the disciples think they can?

If anyone was going to be allowed in the kingdom of God, it was this man. He was a law keeper and he had the wealth to show evidence of God’s blessing in his life. If he can’t get in, who can? How does Jesus answer this question? Whose power will cause people to enter God’s kingdom?

What does Jesus promise Peter and those like him who give up everything to follow Jesus?

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.

1 Peter 2:1-10

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 chapter 1 we learned that Jesus is two things:

Jesus is the lamb of God through which God the Father redeemed us. (1 Peter 1:18-19)
Jesus is the word of God through whom we are forever changed. (1 Peter 1:23)

How are we called to live in response to Jesus in 1 Peter 2:1-2? What do we get rid of? What do we fill ourselves with?

Identity in America is thought of in terms of “I”.  “Who am I?” With Peter, identity is a community thing. Who are Christians together? Who is Christ? Why is Jesus a stumbling stone for some and a cornerstone for others? How are we formed into a community?

Peter draws these images of a “spiritual house” and “a royal priesthood” from the Old Testament. Before Christ, the temple was a tent and then a building of stone where the people went to worship God. The priests were those who offered sacrifices on behalf of the people.  Now that Christ has come … Who is the temple? Who are the priests? What are the priests called to do?

We see another reference to the Old Testament in verse 10. Before God rescued Israel from slavery in Egypt, they were “not a people”, just a group of slaves.  They became a people when God set them free. What caused us to become “the people of God”? Did we make it happen ourselves?

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.

Obadiah 15-21

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.

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.