Daily Bible Readings – Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 118

Prayer Point. Psalm 118 is a song of praise welcoming the Messiah, the Savior, to Jerusalem. It’s true meaning was not realized until the crowds sang it as Jesus rode peacefully into Jerusalem on his way to the cross. Praise God because when we cried out for help, he sent Jesus to die for our sins. Because of Jesus, God’s love  endures forever.

John 1:1-18

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. John begins his gospel or biography of Jesus by retelling the story of creation which is recorded in Genesis chapter 1. From Genesis we learn that God spoke the universe into existence. We understand through John that the Word God spoke was an actual person, “the Word,” whom we know as Jesus. Jesus will be compared to light (verses 6-9). There are two groups of people mentioned in verses 10 and 11. The world refers to humanity in general, while “his own” refers to Israel, God’s chosen people.

John introduces us to another John, John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus and not the author of this book.

Pay close attention to …

  • The Word’s (Jesus’) role in the creation of the world.
  • How Jesus the light is received by a world that is plunged in darkness. How Jesus is received by his own people.
  • What is promised to all those who receive Jesus.
  • What the Word does in verse 14 and how it changes the way we know God.
  • John the Baptist’s relationship with Jesus the Word. How he understands himself, how he understands 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.

Luke 24:13-25

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.  On the Road to Emmaus

Jesus appears to two of his disciples who clearly don’t recognize him. They had believed that Jesus was the one who was going to redeem Israel. What had just happened that in their minds ruled out this possibility? What news had they just received that makes their sadness even more unbelievable? What was the teaching that the disciples had missed according to Jesus?

In verse 26 Did not the Christ have to ______________________ and then _____________________.

Once again Jesus has to open their eyes. The scripture here also says that he opened the scriptures to them. What did Jesus do to open the eyes of the two disciples? What happened to their hearts as they talked with Jesus on the road?

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.

John 20:19-23

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 guide you.

Background. It is the evening of the first Easter Sunday. The disciples have already heard the report from Mary Magdalene that she had seen Jesus alive. What makes you think that the disciples are having a difficult time believing the good news? What do the disciples finally see that causes them to believe?

Does Jesus disown his disciples for their pitiful lack of faith? What mission does he give them despite their flaws? What power do they receive to carry out Jesus’ mission?

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 12:1-14

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. Very briefly, the Hebrews celebrate the Passover complete with the blood on the doorposts and lintels of their homes.  What month is the Passover to begin?  Why so much detail?  Why is the blood so important? Read chapter 4:18-23.

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.

Isaiah 51:9-11

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. What is Isaiah asking the LORD to do?  Just to let you know, Rahab is a nickname for Egypt.  (This Rahab is not to be confused with the Rahab whom Joshua will encounter in his battle of Jericho.)  What is being described in verse 10?  What is the great promise outlined in verse 11?  How does this connect with Easter?

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 – Saturday, January 11, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 148

Prayer Point. All of creation praises God. If we were quiet enough we could hear the melodies pouring out of heaven and rumbling from the depths of the sea. Be quiet for a while. Get outside if you can. Look at the world that God has made and join the praises of all creation.

John 14:6-14

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.  Jesus revealed himself in a series of important “I am” statements that are recorded in the gospel of John (see John 6:35; 6:51; 8:12; 9:5; 10:7, 9; 10:11, 14; 11:25; 15:1, 5). In today’s reading he declares himself to be “the way, the truth and the life.”

This conversation between Jesus and his disciples Philip and Thomas takes place on the night of Jesus’ arrest and the evening before his death. The disciples believe that they are the verge of a great victory which will topple the Romans and end with Jesus on the throne. They don’t understand that Jesus’ road to victory will go through the cross, the grave, his resurrection and his return to heaven and so they are devastated to hear that he will be leaving them. Jesus reassures them that one day they will be with him where he is going (heaven) and that they know the way. Thomas is confused for he knows neither the place where Jesus is going, nor the way. Jesus then responds, “I am the way, and the truth and the life.”

Pay close attention to …

  • Where the way of Jesus leads (verse 6).
  • What Jesus the truth reveals to us. If you really knew me, you would know … “ (verse 7)
  • Jesus’ relationship with God the Father and how they work together.
  • What is true of those who have faith in Jesus and what they will be able to do when Jesus leaves.

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.

Colossians 3:1-17

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. There is a pattern to Paul’s teaching in today’s reading:

1. This is who you are because of Christ.
2. Now be who you are.

Verse 1a: This is who you are because of Christ … _________________________________________

Verse 1b-2: Be who you are by … _______________________________________________

Verses 3-4: This is who you are because of Christ … ______________________________________

Verses 5-10: Be who you are by …___________________________________________
(What do you put to death? What do you put on?)

Verse 11-12a: This is who you are because of Christ … _______________________________________
(Therefore as _________________)

Verses 12b-17: Be who you are by … __________________________________________

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 55:3-9

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. We see David mentioned again here with “my faithful love promised to David”. What is the faithful love promised?  What does the Lord advise (or command) so that “your soul may live”?  Of whom is Isaiah (the LORD) speaking in verse 4? [I believe the LORD is referring to David. For all his faults, David was viewed as faithful to God and righteous and upright in heart. See 1 Kings 3:6 ] In verse 5 things shift a bit. Who is being addressed here? [The Messiah – calling all both Jew and Gentile.] “For he has endowed you with splendor…” What do you understand that to mean? [If this refers to Jesus, then it is echoed by Paul in Philippians Chapter 2 verses 5-11 “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” NIV]

Verse 6 encourages us to ____ ___ ____ and ____ __ ___. What is beautifully described in verse 7?  What is promised next?  Describe what verse 8 means to you: “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord.”

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, January 9, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 123

Prayer Point. Meditate on the image of the slave and his master and the maid and the mistress as it reflects the true state of our dependence on God. From this place of humility, ask God to provide us with our daily bread (what we need for today) and his mercy.

John 8:12-19

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 guide you.

Background.   Jesus revealed himself in a series of important “I am” statements that are recorded in the gospel of John (see John 6:35; 6:51; 9:5; 10:7, 9; 10:11, 14; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1, 5). In today’s reading he declares “I am the light of the world.”

You will notice that the Pharisees challenge Jesus’ authority on two grounds: the identity of his witnesses and the identity of his father. Jewish Law, in which the Pharisees were regarded as experts, required that all testimony needed to be confirmed by two or three witnesses in order to be considered valid.

Second, you might remember that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit before his mother, Mary, married Joseph. Jesus’ detractors are questioning the legitimacy of his birth by asking, “who is your father?”

Pay close attention to …

  • What Jesus being the light of the world” means for those who follow him.
  • The witnesses which Jesus appeals to in validating his testimony.
  • How Jesus handles the question of the identity of his Father.

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.

Colossians 1:24-2:7

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. Paul sees himself as a servant of the Gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ.  His desire is to see Gentiles, like the Colossians, come to believe the gospel, receive its hope and forgiveness and become followers of Jesus Christ.  This is everything for Paul.

Pay close attention to …

  • The cause that Paul gladly suffers for.
  • The mystery that God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles through Paul.
  • The purpose of Paul’s proclamations, admonishments and teachings.
  • Why Paul wants these Christians to know the extent of his sufferings on their behalf.
  • If we began our journey with Christ through faith.  How do we continue to walk with Christ? (verses 6-7)

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 45:14-19

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 guide you.

Background. Chapter 45 opens with the LORD commissioning Cyrus to carry out God’s plan. Cyrus is not a Jew, is not among the “Chosen People”. This will set the theme of the chapter. Clearly God can use anyone he needs to achieve his ends. What is the LORD doing in verse 14? {Look at Exodus 12:33-36 “The LORD had made the Egyptians favorable disposed toward the people…” NIV} [A similar thing; the Israelites regarded favorably by the “nations” and their wealth given to them.”] What do the “nations” acknowledge with respect to the LORD (see verse 14b)?  Now look at Exodus chapter 33 verses 17-23. [Moses hidden in the cleft of the rock while the glory of the LORD passes by…] How does verse 15 in Isaiah chapter 45 square with what is written in Exodus? [“‘But,’ he said, ‘you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.’” Exodus 33:20 NIV] So God “hides himself”, why? [So that we will not be destroyed and that he is the Savior of Israel. v. 15.] What is the fate of the unbeliever or idolater (see verse 16)?  What great promise is made in verse 17?  To whom is this promise made? [I believe the Israel spoken of here is that of the millennial period. That is why they “will never be put to shame or disgraced to ages everlasting.” v. 17b NIV j.t.]

Verse 18 sounds like a catechetical question: Why did God create the heavens and the earth? How does verse 19 indicate that “men are without excuse” (see verse 19 and Romans 1:20)? Where does truth come from?

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 – Monday, January 6, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 46

Prayer Point. It is easy to despair over the evil in our world. We fear for our safety. The wicked prosper and the righteous suffer. The economy is uncertain. Psalm 46 calls us to fix our eyes on another reality, God’s reality. Pray that we might know that God truly is “our refuge and strength” so that “we will not fear, though the earth give way.”

Matthew 12:14-21

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. The Pharisees, who were regarded by the people as the guardians of Jewish Law, were threatened by Jesus. Outwardly they were moral people, but most were motivated by a desire for power and to be loved by the people. Jesus exposed them by healing a man on the Sabbath. The Sabbath was the last day of the week, Saturday. Jewish Law prohibited work on the Sabbath. It was a day devoted to the worship of God. The Pharisee’s considered healing someone to be work and so they tried to prevent Jesus from healing a man with a crippled hand on the Sabbath. Jesus healed him anyway with the words, “it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” The Pharisees were clearly embarrassed and they sought to get rid of Jesus.

The people have been won over by Jesus’ acts of power and kindness. They follow him and he heals many of their sick, but he warns them not to tell anyone who he was. Jesus was the Messiah, but if word got out prematurely, the people would attempt to make him king by force. Jesus will climb the throne, but only after he goes to the cross.

Pay close attention to …

  • Isaiah’s prophecy (see Isaiah 42:1-4) and what it tells us about Jesus and his ministry. God is the speaker and Jesus is the “servant” described in verses 18-20.

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 21:22-27

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 Apostle sees a vision of a new heaven and new earth that will come Jesus and God the Father returns to this world. This earth, the home of God’s people is symbolized as a city. One final note that will make this passage easier to understand: the Lord Almighty is God the Father and the Lamb is Jesus, the Son of God.

In the Old Testament, the temple was a place where the people went to meet God and offer sacrifies.

Pay close attention to …

  • What is not in the city and why.
  • What is never shut and why.
  • What will never be allowed to enter the city.

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 49:1-7

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. Isaiah’s message is to spread hope to a people who are despondent. Throughout Chapters 51 and 52 Isaiah is exhorting the people to “Rise up”. “Woe” and judgment have been a prevailing theme in Isaiah thus far but now the message is turning.

Pay close attention to …

  • Those whose feet bring the good news and who bring glad tidings. who proclaim salvation (v. 7)
  • The watchmen (v. 8)
  • What the watchmen see with their own eyes (v. 8)

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, January 1, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 103

Prayer Point. Are looking for a reason to praise God? Psalm 103 gives you a number of options. Concentrate on two or three and offer your own prayer of praise.

Matthew 1:18-25

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. The births of Isaac, Abraham’s son, and Samson were both miraculous and announced by an angel as Jesus’ was. What sets Jesus apart is that he is conceived by a virgin through the power of the Holy Spirit. This is a critical part of Jesus’ identity and his mission.

The central dilemma of the Bible is that humanity, because of our sin, owes God a debt that not even eternity in hell could pay. No one but a human could pay the debt, but no human was capable of paying the debt. That is until Jesus came to earth. Because he is born of a virgin, Jesus is both fully God and fully man. As a man, Jesus has the right to pay humanity’s debt. As God, he has the capability of paying it.

This is who Jesus was, but God chose to set this plan in motion in partnership with an ordinary couple, Mary and Joseph. Put yourself in Joseph’s shoes for a moment. His fiance is pregnant and he is not the father. If he goes through with the marriage he will bring great shame upon himself.

Pay close attention to …

  • Joseph’s great faith and courage even before the angel appears to him.
  • The angel’s message to Joseph which confirms his faith.
  • The connection between Jesus’ name which means “the Lord saves” and his mission.

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 19:11-16

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?You can use the following background to guide you.

Background. John sees a vision of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. The gospel of John refers to Jesus as the “Word of God” as he is in Revelation 19:13. What strikes you about this image of Jesus? In what ways is it reassuring? In what ways is it terrifying?

Why do you think we need to know Christ in this way?

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 62:1-5, 10-12

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. Take a look at Revelation 22:16 and compare that with “her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch” in verse 1. [“I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” Revelation 22:16] “The nations will see your _____________, and all kings your _____.” [v. 2 righteousness; glory] “You will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow.” We saw this earlier (actually later) in Chapter 65. Why are names so important? [Names are important because God’s name is supremely important. In the OT names also convey the character of the named. Examples: Hannah = gracious; Job = one persecuted; Samson = like the sun; Samuel = heard of God.] Refer to Revelation 2:17 for another reference to the name given by God. How are God’s people described in verse 3? [A crown of splendor, a royal diadem] According to verse 4 what shall we be called? [Hephzibah and Beulah – my delight is in her and married] It’s very nice that Isaiah tells us what these names mean (also in verse 4). What is the imagery in verse 5? [Married; marriage] Have we seen this before? [Hosea uses marriage throughout as a metaphor. Hosea was told to marry a harlot (Gomer) as an object lesson to Israel – a demonstration that Israel had given herself over to false gods (harlotry) but that God loved her anyway. Read all about it in Hosea. On many occasions Jesus referred to a bride and bridegroom, his first sign as reported by John in Chapter 2 was at the marriage in Cana. A coincidence?? And, of course, in Revelation we have the famous Marriage of the Lamb Chapter 21:2.] Verses 6 and 7 exhort us to do what? [Wait and watch, be vigilant] In verses 8-9 the Lord swears by his right hand to do what? [Never again will enemies, outsiders, and the nations conquer the LORD’s land and harvest it.]

Verses 8 and 9 speak of grain (bread) and wine. What do the grain and wine symbolize? [Bread and wine refer to life-giving substances. In the Old Testament the bread and wine were the principal ingredients in the Passover meal. In the New Testament they refer to the life-giving body and blood of Christ.]

The imagery in verse 10 is very similar to that of Isaiah Chapter 40:3-4 “A voice of one calling: ‘In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.’” What is the only difference between these passages of Isaiah to those of Chapter 40? [Verse 10 refers to the people of God whereas in Chapter 40 verses 3-4 the preparation is for the coming of the LORD.] Which advent is Isaiah referring to in verses 11-12? [An argument could be made for both the one when Jesus was born and his second coming.]

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 – Sunday, November 24, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 145

Prayer Point.  Psalm 145 gives us a number of reasons that God is worthy of praise. Pick one or two that resonate with you and use them to worship God. Pray that these things will be remembered and passed on to our children.

Luke 19:11-27

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 key to understanding this parable is to recognize that Jesus is the nobleman who goes away to be crowned king (Jesus died, rose again, ascended into heaven to be crowned kind and we wait for his return), and we are the ones who are left with the kings resources while he is away. The mina was a Roman coin worth approximately three months wages.

Pay close attention to …

  • What prompts Jesus to tell this story (verse 11).
  • What this parable teaches us about how we are live while we wait for the return of King Jesus.
  • Which servants are rewarded and why. What is the nature of their reward?
  • What the third servant believed about the nobleman that caused him to bury the mina.
  • The fate of the third servant and why.

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.

Romans 15:5-13

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. Every church will have strong and weak Christians. In a world where the weak are always forced to serve the strong, Paul calls us to something different.

Pay close attention to …

  • How strong Christians are called to treat weak Christians and why (verses 1-4).
  • How Jews and Gentiles are called to treat each other in the church and why it is so important.

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 19:19-25

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.

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.