Daily Bible Readings – Friday, January 10, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 138

Prayer Point. Psalm 138 gives us a number of reasons to praise God. Pick one or two that speak to you and use those to offer your own prayer of thanksgiving.

John 10:7-17

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 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; 14:6; 15:1, 5). In today’s reading he is both “the gate for the sheep and the good shepherd.”

The central image is this passage is the village sheep pen that was common in Israel in Jesus’ day. Sheep owned by local shepherds were often kept in common pens during the night for safe keeping. In the morning, the shepherd came and called to his sheep and only the sheep from his flock, who recognized his voice, followed him out the gate and into the pasture.

Shepherding is used throughout the Bible as a metaphor for leadership whether it is religious leaders such as priests, scribes, Sadducees or Pharisees or political leaders such as kings.

Pay close attention to …

  • What is true of the person who enters through Jesus the gate. What is true of those who try to slip over the wall.
  • What sets Jesus apart as a good shepherd as opposed to the others who were thieves, robbers or hired hands.
  • How many sheep pens hold sheep from Jesus’ flock. What do the sheep from the different sheep pens have in common.
  • Why the Father loves his Son, the good shepherd.

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 2:8-23

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. Paul’s letter to the Colossian Christians was written in the midst of the first controversy that gripped the early church. The question was: “Do you need to convert to Judaism and become a practicing Jew in order to be a true follower of Jesus?” Those who insisted that Gentiles follow Jewish practices were called ‘Judaizers’. This question had profound implications for the many Gentiles members of the Colossian church. Would they need to be circumcised (a ritual that every Jewish male went through to demonstrate that he had entered God’s family)? Would they need to follow Jewish cultural practices: dietary laws, Sabbaths and festivals (see verse 16)?

Pay close attention to …

  • Where Paul comes down on whether the Gentiles need to follow Jewish laws and customs to be followers of Jesus.
  • Who lives in Jesus (verse 9) and what God has done for the Colossians (and for us) through Christ (10-12)
  • The contrast between circumcision done by men and the circumcision done by Christ and why Jesus’ circumcision renders the old circumcision unnecessary.
  • The connection between the circumcision done by Christ and baptism (verses 12).
  • What Jesus did for the Colossians (verse 13-15) and why they should not see themselves as “second class” Christians (verse 16).
  • The purpose of the old Jewish practices and their relationship to Christ (verse 17)
  • What have the Judaizers lost according to Paul? (verse 19)
  • What are rules and regulations unable to do for us? (verse 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.

Jeremiah 23:1-8

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 important to know that this passage in Jeremiah takes place before the people are carried away to Babylon.

Who are the shepherds of Israel? I don’t know. I know that the Levites were commissioned to “teach” the people the laws and ordinances of the LORD. Actually, I think that the shepherds of Israel are the leaders both religious and civil. What is the LORD’s complaint in the opening of this chapter?  What are the consequences to the shepherds?  What is the Lord’s solution to the problem of the errant shepherds?  What commitment does the Lord make to the sheep he has gathered?  Who is the supreme shepherd as described in verses 5 and 6? Compare with John 9:11-18.  What name does the Branch have? What does this name mean to you? Verse 7 talks of “the days are coming…” When will this be or has it happened already? [Actually, both. This was partly fulfilled when David’s eternal successor (Jesus) was born and when he returns to restore the earth to where it was before the fall.] Who are these “descendents of Israel”? [We are the children of Abraham – or the descendents of Israel – because of Christ.] This gathering of the Israelites can be seen both in their return from Babylon as well as when the Lord returns a second time to call his own. Why is David so important? See Luke Chapter 1 verses 67-75. [It is from a descendent of David that the Messiah will come.]

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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Daily Bible Readings – Monday, October 21, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 25

Prayer Point.  “To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God.” Are we ready to pray this? Are there areas of our lives that we will not lift up to God? Confess those parts of your life to God and pray for the faith to believe that “all the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful.”

Matthew 11:16-24

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 generation that Jesus speaks of in today’s reading is the people of Israel who were alive to witness his ministry.  The John that Jesus refers to is his cousin, the prophet John the Baptist, who was sent by God to prepare Israel for the coming of their Messiah. The Son of Man is the title Jesus most often used to refer to himself. “Son of Man” is an assertion of Jesus’ divinity (see Daniel 7:13-14).

Pay close attention to …

  • Jesus’ indictment of his generation and why they rejected both himself and John the Baptist for two very different reasons.

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 Corinthians 15:30-41

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 bkground to help you understand the main points of this passage.

Background. Apparently there were preachers at Corinth who denied the resurrection. What kind of life will we live if Christ’s resurrection and our resurrection is not real to us? What will we do? What will we avoid? (Look especially at verses 30-32.)

The idea of a physical resurrection was absurd to a Greek culture like the city of Corinth. The Greeks believed that the spiritual world was good, but that the physical world was bad. Salvation for the Greeks was when our good spiritual souls was liberated from our evil physical prisons, the body. Why would you want a new body, why would you want to be resurrected, if the physical world is what you want to be liberated from? For Christians, the physical world was created good and will be restored by Christ.

What does Paul point to show that resurrection is built into God’s creation? How is our life experience like that of a planted seed?

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.

Jeremiah 44:1-14

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 following background to help you understand the main points of this passage.

Background. The remnant of Israel, those left behind after the destruction of Jerusalem, lacked the faith to remain in Israel and instead fled to, of all places, Egypt. But God continues to pursue his people into Egypt through his prophet Jeremiah.

What is God’s message to the remnant of Judah (Israel) living in Egypt? What have they failed to learn from the destruction of Jerusalem? What is the remnant doing instead of returning to God? Where have they put their faith? What will happen to them because of their lack of faith?

Obey. What is God asking me to do?

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

Repent. How have I failed to obey and share 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?

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, October 20, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 150

Prayer Point. What better way to start the day than with praise. Think about what God has done in your life and in your world and join all of creation today in praising him.

Luke 10:1-12, 17-20

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? Using the following background as a guide.

Background. After spending some significant time watching, 72 of Jesus’ disciples are now ready to be sent out to do what Jesus had been doing.

Notice verse 3 where Jesus states, “Go your way; behold I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.” Here lambs implies that the disciples should not attempt to gain converts by force. The spread of the gospel is to come through the preaching of the “good news” of Jesus Christ and inviting hearers to respond willingly (ESV Study Bible Notes).

Why do you think Jesus sent the disciples out this way? Why do you think Jesus commanded them to be dependent upon the kindness of strangers?

In verse 9 we see Jesus give the disciple charge to heal the sick. This assumes that Jesus has given the same authority he gave to the apostles in Matthew 9:1. Notice has Jesus then charges the disciples to preach the kingdom of God has come near. What is the kingdom of God in which Jesus is speaking of?

Who are the disciples representing? If the disciples are being rejected, who is ultimately being rejected?

Notice how the 72 come back to Jesus. Why are they so thrilled? What does Jesus ask them to rejoice over instead?

Where is Satan according to this passage? Considering Satan was the prosecutor in heaven accusing followers of God, how does this give the disciples hope? Does it give you hope knowing that Jesus has overcome Satan?

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.

Acts 16:6-15

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 bkground to help you understand the main points of this passage.

Background. Why do Paul, Silas, and Timothy travel to Phrygia and Galatia instead of Asia? Who is leading to them? What is one way that the Holy Spirit communicated with Paul? Notice how he directs Paul to go to Philippi.

If you are a careful reader, which I am not, you may have noticed that the pronouns in this chapter have changed from “they” to “we.” Luke, the author of Acts, has now joined Paul’s missionary team for this portion of the story.

Paul and his companions went to the river intending to pray. What did the Holy Spirit have planned for them instead? What causes Lydia to believe Paul’s gospel message? What does this tell us about our role and God’s role in sharing the good news of Jesus? What happens to Lydia’s household (network of family and friends)? How is Paul’s team following the instructions of Jesus in Matthew 10:11-13?

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.

Jeremiah 29:1, 4-14

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 help you understand the main points of this passage.

Background. On Monday we saw that the LORD wanted the people to go into exile willingly, as it were, in obedience to the LORD.  Further, he promised that he would not abandon them once they got there but would keep a close eye on them to protect them.

Today’s reading is somewhat of a follow-up from the LORD through Jeremiah.  Jeremiah writes to the exiles (who, by the way, are doing much better than he) to encourage them to continue to live their lives and to “settle in”.

Pay close attention to …

  • How the LORD describes the “captivity” (v. 4 )
  • What the LORD wants the people there to do (vv. 5-7 )
  • Why the prosperity of the city is important to the LORD (vv. 7-9 )
  • The LORD’s plans for the exiles (vv. 11-13 )

Obey. What is God asking me to do?

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

Repent. How have I failed to obey and share 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?

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, October 18, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 17

Prayer Point. Who can say to God, “probe my heart and … though you test me, you will find nothing.” We know perfectly well what God would find if he searched our hearts and yet we are invited to pray this psalm. How? Because we pray through Christ who as sinless for us. We are heard because we belong to him. Pray this psalm knowing that Jesus is praying on our behalf.

Matthew 11:1-6

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? Using the following background as a guide.

Background. John the Baptist, the prophet who was sent to prepare the way for Jesus, has been thrown into prison for calling out the sins of King Herod. John had expected Jesus to usher in a new kingdom, but he is discouraged because the old kings cling to power while he rots in jail. The question is “are you the one or should we wait for another …”

Pay close attention to …

  • The evidence Jesus uses to confirm that he indeed is the one the world has been waiting for.

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 Corinthians 15:1-11

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 following bkground to help you understand the main points of this passage.

Background. What do you notice about Paul’s description of the gospel? Is it a set of ideas, or a story tied to historical events? What do you think Paul means by his being ‘abnormally born’? See Acts 9:1-19. Why does Paul consider himself to be the least of the Apostles? ‘Apostle’ means ‘one who was sent.’ In this context, an Apostle was someone who was a witness to the resurrected Christ and sent by Christ to spread the news.

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.

Jeremiah 38:14-28

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? You can use the following background to help you understand the main points of this passage.

Background. What is God’s final challenge to Zedekiah spoken through Jeremiah? What is promised to him? What will it take for him to obey the LORD’s instruction? How is Zedekiah’s struggle, our struggle?

Obey. What is God asking me to do?

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

Repent. How have I failed to obey and share 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?

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, October 16, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 18

Prayer Point. Although Psalm 18 arises out of David’s life experience, it belongs to his son, Jesus. It is Jesus who is suffering unjustly in our place. It is God the Father who rescues his Son from death and crowned him the King of Kings. Meditate on the love, forgiveness and power of God expressed through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.

Matthew 10:34-42

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. Why does Jesus say he “did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”? What does that mean? Who should our priority be according to Jesus? According to Jesus, what does it take to find one’s life? Jesus is flipping the traditional understanding of life upside down. What kind of commitment does it take to become a disciple?

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 Corinthians 14:26-40

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 bkground to help you understand the main points of this passage.

Background. What do you notice about Paul’s instructions for organizing a worship service? Who participates? How is each person’s participation related to their spiritual gift? How does this compare to the way we worship on Sunday mornings? Are we lacking anything?

How should the gifts of tongues and prophecy be practiced in the church? For a definition of the gifts of speaking in tongues and prophecy see the notes on 1 Corinthians 14:1-12.

Verses 34-36 are difficult to interpret for a number of reasons. 1. It violates our own cultural sensibilities when it comes to the equality between the sexes. 2. 1 Corinthians 11:5 clearly assumes that women did pray and prophecy in the church. The problem Paul is addressing is the lack of order in the Corinthian church. Everyone is out for themselves. Paul is not saying that women are not competent to speak, he is concerned that while prophecy was going on in the church service, there were women who were disrupting the worship service. Needless to say, Christians are deeply divided on this passage.

Paul’s chief concern is that the spiritual gifts were practiced in an orderly and selfless way that builds up the whole congregation.

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.

Jeremiah 38:1-13

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.

Background. Can you imagine being put in this situation? Your country is at war, but God has called you to prophesy against your own country and predict its defeat. Look at the advice Jeremiah is forced to give his countrymen. What charges are going to be leveled against him? Think about this. Is there a time when your loyalty to God trumps your loyalty to your home country? How do you see Zedekiah’s courage wavering again?

What makes this story especially troubling, is that it takes the courage of a Gentile, a non-Jew to rescue Jeremiah. Ebed-melech [“servant of the king”] is an Ethiopian and a eunuch who worked for the king is the her, while  the King of Judah is clearly not up to the job. The question for Israel, is where will we find a king that will the fulfill the promises God made to King David. Who will step up and be that king that will reign forever? Zedekiah, a son of David, is a huge disappointment. Is there another hope as night falls on Judah?

Obey. What is God asking me to do?

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

Repent. How have I failed to obey and share 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?

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, October 16, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 119:1-24

Prayer Point. The Law of God is more than a set of rules, it is the path to becoming fully alive. Pray that God will give you a desire to follow Jesus (who perfectly kept the Law), a heart that does not stray from God, and a love for God and his way of life.

Matthew 10:24-33

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? Using the following background as a guide.

Background. Jesus has sent out his disciples warning them of the persecutions that are to come. How will their experiences be similar to Jesus’? What does this passage say about fear? Why shouldn’t we be afraid? What does this passage say about the Father? Look at verses 32-33. What does this say about 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 Corinthians 14:13-25

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 bkground to help you understand the main points of this passage.

Background. See notes for 1 Corinthians 14:1-12 for an explanation of “tongues.” While tongues is a gift from the Holy Spirit, the Corinthians had an unhealthy obsession with it. It became about showing off, a status symbol, rather than a means to loving their neighbor and building up the church.

What should we pray for when someone speaks in tongues? Why? What is missing if there is no translation of what is spoken, prayed, or sung in tongues? Remember that tongues, like all the spiritual gifts, were not gifts for the benefit of the individual, they were gifts given to the individual for the benefit of the community.

What happens to a church when tongues are spoken, but there is no one to interpret? Which gift is more important for believers in Jesus, tongues or prophecy? 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.

Jeremiah 37:3-21

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.

Background. How is Jeremiah’s prophecy of doom received by the ruling elite in Jerusalem? Zedekiah, whose chief flaw is that he lacks courage, is fearful of the repercussions from mistreating a prophet of the LORD. What is he willing to do for Jeremiah? How could he have gone farther and possibly averted disaster if only he had the courage?

Jeremiah is allotted a loaf of bread every day until the city was taken. Even here in the midst of prison and mass starvation, the LORD is literally providing to Jeremiah his daily bread.

Obey. What is God asking me to do?

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

Repent. How have I failed to obey and share 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?

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 – Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 6

Prayer Point. Psalm 6 is proof that you can pray when you are suffering the consequences of your own sin. We can appeal to God’s faithfulness to save us from ourselves. Don’t be afraid to bring your shame and guilt to God.

Matthew 10:16-23

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? Using the following background as a guide.

Background. As the disciples of Christ ministered what kind of opposition were they up against? What would be the outcome for those who stand against this persecution? Standing firm is not the way to become saved, but the evidence of being saved. What does this passage tell us about God’s Spirit? Once again we see the Son of Man imagery in verse 23. This is a reference to Daniel 7:13-14 where Daniel describes the Son of Man as one who will be given everlasting dominion of the kingdom by the Ancient of Days. Here we notice that Jesus is telling his disciples to flee if persecuted. Why should they flee?

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 Corinthians 14:1-12

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 bkground to help you understand the main points of this passage.

Background. For Paul, love is paramount, not the spiritual gifts. The gifts are unique God-given abilities to be used to love and serve God’s church. What spiritual gift does Paul hold out as an example of a gift that benefits the church?

Prophecy is more than telling the future. It is a spiritual gift where one hears a “word” from God and passes that message on to the church. In some cases, the message was about the future, in other cases, it was a word of encouragement or warning (see Acts 21:10-11). Speaking in tongues is the ability to speak in a language that is unknown to the speaker. One example is Acts 2:1-9.

Why is prophecy considered to be a greater gift than speaking in tongues? What sort of gifts did Paul encourage the Corinthian Christians to pursue?

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.

Jeremiah 36:27-37:2

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 will judgment look like for King Jehoiakim? What do you think would have happened had he listened and repented as his court officials had urged him?

2 Chronicles 36:5-6 (ESV) sums up very briefly Jehoiakim and what happened to him. “Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD his God. Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar and bound him in chains to take him to Babylon. … Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, and the abominations that he did, and what was found against him, behold, they are written in the Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah. And Jehoiachin his son reigned in his place.”

Jehoiachin only lasted three months in Jerusalem then Nebuchadnezzar had him dragged off to Babylon. Next in line (note not Jehoiakim’s son) was Mattaniah the son of Josiah who was made king by Nebuchadnezzar. His name was changed to Zedekiah.

Obey. What is God asking me to do?

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

Repent. How have I failed to obey and share 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?

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