Daily Bible Readings – Saturday, December 14, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 30

Prayer Point. How did God turn “our wailing into dancing”? The moment that Jesus was raised from the dead. Pray today that we might know the hope of the resurrection so that it changes our outlook on life and causes us to worship God with our lives.

Matthew 24:1-14

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? Using the following background as a guide.

Background. As Jesus leaves the temple, he prophesies its destruction which was fulfilled decades later when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD. He gives this prophesy in order to prepare his disciples for the coming trouble.

What are the warning signs that the temple is about to be destroyed? What will happen in the world? What will the disciples experience? What promise is given to those who endure these hard times? What will happen in verse 14 despite the suffering?

Obey. What is God asking me to do?

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

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

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

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

Revelation 3:1-6

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

Background. John, one of Jesus’ closest disciples, has been exiled to the island of Patmos for his faith. He is separated from the churches in Asia (Western Turkey) that he served and loved with all his heart. Like him, they are discouraged by the opposition they are faced from the Romans who appeared to be the undisputed powers of this world. But God sees the world differently and allows John to see a vision of Christ to encouraged him and the churches he served. Jesus commands John to pass on seven letters to the seven churches in Asia. Revelation 3:1-6, the letter to the church in Sardis is the fifth of these seven letters.

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

Pay close attention to …

  • What Jesus sees in the church of Sardis despite their reputation.
  • What they are commanded to do to restore their church.
  • Why Jesus finds a glimmer of hope in this church.
  • What is promised to those who follow in the footsteps of Sardis’ faithful few.

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.

Haggai 2:1-9

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 help you understand the main points of this passage.

Background. Interestingly the opening words of Haggai begin with: “In the second year of Darius the king…”  Well, wouldn’t you know it, the word of the LORD came to Haggai in the second year of Darius the king.  As we have seen, the people in Judah have been told that they may not rebuild their temple nor their city.  Evidently, however, they have been allowed to build their homes and to make improvements to them.

Why has the remnant that returned to rebuild Jerusalem harvested little? Why are they unable to quench their hunger and thirst? Why can’t their clothes keep them warm? Why is their money never enough? How did the people respond to the LORD’s admonition?

How does God encourage those who were old enough to remember the old temple? What does God promise for the future? Who do you think the ‘desired of nations’ is? What is this new temple that the LORD speaks of? See Acts 2:1-3 and Revelation 21:1-27. One thing that may help is to remember that the temple is not so much a building, but the place where God lives with his people. In Israel’s past, God dwelt first in the tabernacle (a tent), then in the temple. Then it was Jesus. Then it was the Holy Spirit living in the hearts of Jesus’ followers. And then at the end of time, God himself will make his home on earth at the restoration of all things.

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 28, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 52

Prayer Point.  David, an innocent man, is on the run from king Saul, has been betrayed by Doeg. In prayer he does not seek vengeance. Instead he remembers who he is in the eyes of God: “an olive tree flourishing in the house of God” (see verses 8-9). Meditate on that for a while and pray that you will be able to trust God and praise him from the midst of your fear.

Matthew 12:43-50

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 speaks primarily as a prophet in the final days of his ministry. He targets the religious and the moral people and not the dregs of society that we would expect. The religious have a fatal flaw. While they are devoted to keeping the law meticulously, they have rejected the giver of the Law, the Son of God, Jesus Christ (see Matthew 12:38-42).

What danger is there in “sweeping the house clean” (living morally), “getting rid of an evil spirit” without acknowledging that Jesus is God?

What does it take to be a part of Jesus’ true family?

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 1:4-20

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.

Background. The church was in trouble. It’s people were being persecuted, and John, perhaps the last remaining of the original 12 apostles, has been arrested and exiled to the Island of Patmos, an island in the Aegean Sea off the Turkey’s western coast.

You can imagine that John is discouraged, he is cut from the churches he loved and served. The churches he writes to are mourning the loss of their beloved leader. It is in this setting that John sees a vision of Jesus and his message of one of courage and hope for his beleaguered apostle and churches.

Keep in mind that the book of Revelation is a collection of God-given visions. These aren’t photographs or videos, but dreams filled with symbols that point to a deeper meaning. We use the rest of the Bible to help us decipher the meaning of these symbols. Here are a couple that appear in today’s reading:

Lampstands were present in Israel’s temple and they are symbolic of God’s presence with his people. In this case, the lampstands represent God’s Holy Spirit which lives in each local church. There is one golden lampstand for each of the seven churches (Revelation 1:11).
Son of a man is reference to Christ’s divinity. See Daniel 7:13-14.

Pay close attention to …

  • Compare Jesus’ appearance in today’s reading to Daniel 10:4-10.
  • How John reacts to this vision of Jesus and compare it to Daniel 10:7-9.
  • What Jesus says to John and how it would have given courage to John and those who read this book. Think about why John needs a terrifying and powerful 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.

Zechariah 1:7-17

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

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

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

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

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

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

Obey. What is God asking me to do?

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 – Palm Sunday, March 24, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 24

Prayer Point. “Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? He who has clean hands and a pure heart.” Who can make such a claim? Only Jesus can. He is the King who entered the gates of Jerusalem and offered himself as a sacrifice for our sins. Thank God for opening the door to know and enjoy him through Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Matthew 21:12-17

Background. There are unfulfilled dreams for the temple which drives Jesus’ anger.  He quotes Isaiah 56:7 as he overturns the tables of the sellers and moneychangers.

Isaiah 56:6-7 And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD to serve him, to love the name of the LORD and to worship him … these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house [temple] will be called a house of prayer for all nations.

In the temple of Jesus’ day, there was only one place where Gentiles could come to worship God and that was the outer court called the Court of the Gentiles. That was the place where the moneychangers and sellers set up shop effectively shutting out the Gentiles from worshiping God. These conniving opportunists had all but killed God’s dream that the nations of the world worship him there.

It gets worse. These moneychangers and sellers also gouged the pilgrims who had no choice but to purchase their wares. Jesus shows particular anger towards those who sold doves, which were the offerings given by the poor when they couldn’t afford a lamb. In God’s house, the poor were exploited and foreigners were excluded.

Pay close attention to …

  • The contrast between the moneychangers and the dove sellers and Jesus.
  • What the children can see that the chief priests and teachers of the law could not. Note that Son of David was a title for the Messiah.

Listen. Believe. Obey. Share.

What is the passage saying? About God? About ourselves? (Listen)
What is God asking us to believe? (Believe)
What is God asking us to do? (Obey)
Who can we share this with? (Share)

1 Timothy 6:12-16

Background. 1 Timothy is a personal letter from the Apostle Paul to Timothy, a young missionary that Paul mentored.  Timothy after serving with Paul on his missionary journeys was left behind in Ephesus to oversee the churches that were established there.  Paul writes to encourage and instruct his young protege.

Pay close attention to …

  • The fight Timothy is called to fight.
  • What he is to hold on to.
  • How long he is to keep the commands of God.
  • The hope that makes the struggle worth it.

Listen. Believe. Obey. Share.

What is the passage saying? About God? About ourselves? (Listen)
What is God asking us to believe? (Believe)
What is God asking us to do? (Obey)
Who can we share this with? (Share)

Zechariah 9:9-12; 12:9-21; 13:1, 7-9

Background. Much of what we look at today will have a ring of familiarity about it because today is Palm Sunday which launches us into Holy Week.  We refer to Jesus entry into Jerusalem as the “triumphal entry”.  That could mean any of several things, but it is quite significant that Jesus is atop a donkey.  This marks the “triumphal” aspect for if the king is riding on a donkey then he has been victorious and comes in peace.  A king seated on a war horse, obviously, is off to battle.  Not so here.

Pay close attention to …

  • These readings and how they relate to all the activity going on in Jerusalem as Jesus lives through these prophecies.
  • The emotion being encouraged (v. 9:9 )
  • What is being proclaimed (v.9:10 )
  • “…blood of my covenant…” (v. 9:11 )*
  • “Prisoners of hope…” (v.9:12 )

*The writer of Hebrews tells us “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins…” (9:22 NIV)  Indeed anything needing purification in the Old Testament required some amount of animal blood.  It would be a safe guess that there was enough blood shed in the thousands of sacrifices during the Old Covenant to float Noah’s ark.  Still that was insufficient.  The importance of blood in the scripture extends even to food.  Blood = life thus it was forbidden for anyone to eat food with blood in it.

John the Baptist first referred to Jesus as “the lamb of God”.  This lamb, like the hundreds of thousands before him, will have to surrender his life (blood) which will prove to be a sufficient sacrifice.

Continuing… (Zechariah 12:9-11)

  • “They will look on me, the one they pierced (v. 12:10 )**
  • Weeping in Jerusalem (v. 12:11 )

** Psalm 22:16-18 (NIV) “Dogs [Gentiles] have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet.  I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me  They divide my garments among them and cast lost for my clothing.”

“Dog” was a common epithet for anyone who was a non-Jew.  Jesus also used it when he was asked to heal a Canaanite woman’s daughter of demon possession.  “The woman came and knelt before him. ‘Lord help me!’ she said.  He replied, ‘It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.’  ‘Yes, Lord, she said, ‘but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.’  Then Jesus answered, ‘Woman, you have great faith!  Your request is granted.’  And her daughter was healed from that very hour.”  (Matthew 15:25-28 NIV)

Not finished yet… (Zechariah 13:1, 7-9)

  •  The sheep (v. 13:7 )

Listen. Believe. Obey. Share.

What is the passage saying? About God? About ourselves? (Listen)
What is God asking us to believe? (Believe)
What is God asking us to do? (Obey)
Who can we share this with? (Share)

Daily Bible Readings – Tuesday, December 25, 2012 – Christmas Day

Prayer Psalm: 110

Prayer Point: On Christmas we celebrate the coming of our King and we look forward to his return. Take time today to pray that Jesus’ kingdom will break into our world, that he will beat back the forces of evil and bring justice and hope to the widow, orphan and all the oppressed.

John 3:31-36

Background. The speaker in today’s reading is John the Baptist, the prophet who was sent by God to prepare his people for Jesus’ coming. John is the “one who is from the earth” and he is comparing himself to Jesus, the “one who come from above (heaven)” and “testifies to what he has seen and heard.”

Pay special attention to …

  • How John compares himself to Jesus, the one from above.
  • Jesus’ (the Son’s) relationship with the Father (God the Father). Look specifically for who leads, who follows and what the Father has given to the Son.
  • What is true of those who believe the Son’s testimony and how many will accept it.

Listen. Believe. Obey. Share
What is the passage saying? About God? About ourselves? (Listen)
What is God asking us to believe? (Believe)
What is God asking us to do? (Obey)
Who can we share this with? (Share)

1 John 4:7-16

Background. John understands Jesus and in particular his life, death and resurrection to be the ultimate expression of God’s love. This act of love can not be understood apart from what it means for Jesus to be an atoning sacrifice. An atoning sacrifice is one that turns aside the wrath of God. God’s anger burned hot against us for our failure to love him and our neighbor, but through Christ and for those who belong to him by faith, that anger is gone.

Pay close attention to …

  • The connection between loving others and knowing God and in particular knowing that God the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.
  • The connection of Jesus’ sacrifice and the love we are to show others.
  • Whose love came first, God’s love or our love.

Listen. Believe. Obey. Share

What is the passage saying? About God? About ourselves? (Listen)
What is God asking us to believe? (Believe)
What is God asking us to do? (Obey)
Who can we share this with? (Share)

Zechariah 2:10-13 “… in that day.”

Why are the people encouraged to “sing [shout – NIV] and rejoice”? (“… for behold, I come and I will dwell in your midst, declares the Lord.” (Zechariah 2:10 ESV))
Who is speaking, as it were, through Zechariah? (The Messiah is “speaking” here. “And I will dwell in your midst, and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.” (Zechariah 2:11b ESV))

Daily Bible Readings – Saturday, December 1, 2012

Prayer Psalm: 144

Prayer Point:When you think about how brief and small our lives are in comparison to our eternal God it makes you wonder, “O, LORD, what is man that you care for him, the son of man that you care for him?”  Take some time to thank God that he hears our cries for help, that he split the heavens and came down to earth through Jesus Christ. Pray for the faith to be patient while we wait for Jesus’ return.

Luke 19:41-48

Jesus begins to weep openly for Jerusalem as he approaches the city. What has Jerusalem missed? What is in their future?

There was a market in the temple which sold animals to pilgrims for the sacrifice. The market was set up in the outer court of the temple, the only area in the complex that was open to Gentiles.

Why does Jesus drive the sellers out of the temple (see Matthew 21:12-16; Mark 11:15-17)? What was Jesus trying to teach the people about the temple’s purpose (see Isaiah 56:7)? Can you imagine a Gentile trying to worship God in the midst of a busy market?

How do the chief priests and teachers of the law respond to Jesus’ action?

Philippians 2:1-11

What is the life pattern that Christ left for us to follow? Where did he begin? Where did he go? Where did God the Father take him in the end? What would it would like for you to follow that same life pattern (go back and look at verses 2-4)?

Zechariah 14:12-21

If Jerusalem will be secure, what will things be like for her enemies? (“This is the plague with which the Lord will strike all the nations that fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. On that day men will be stricken by the LORD with great panic. Each man will seize the hand of another, and they will attack each other.” (Zechariah 14:12-13 NIV))

Why will the survivors go up to Jerusalem? (“Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.” (Zechariah 14:16 NIV))

What happens to those who choose not to go to Jerusalem? (“If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, they will have no rain.” (Zechariah 14:17 NIV) Life will not be all that pleasant.)

What will be the nature of things, even ordinary things in Jerusalem in that day? (Everything will become holy to the LORD Almighty. The LORD’s presence will thus sanctify everything.)

What is significant about the bells of the horses? (“On that day HOLY TO THE LORD will be inscribed on the bells of the horses…” (Zechariah 14:20) Interestingly enough, this was the exact phrase to be inscribed on the gold plate on the turban of the high priest as describe in Exodus 28:36-38. What does that say?)

Daily Bible Readings – Friday, November 30, 2012

Prayer Psalm: 140

Prayer Point: This psalm is a prayer of the oppressed asking God for the justice that is too often denied to the poor and the needy. Pray this psalm on behalf of an oppressed person or group of people, but keep this in mind: God, not us executes judgment. We would deserve this same judgment had Jesus no died for our sins. Pray also that oppressors will also come to faith in Jesus Christ so that they will receive the same forgiveness we have received.

Luke 19:28-40

How does Jesus demonstrate his kingly authority in the way the donkey was secured for his entry into Jerusalem

Jesus fulfills the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9 of the Messiah riding into Jerusalem on a colt of a donkey. Kings rode horses into battle, but donkeys in peacetime.

What message is Jesus sending to Jerusalem by riding on a donkey?

Who is in the crowd? Why are they so excited?

The Pharisees are worried that talk of a Jewish king will arose the suspicions of the Romans and so they order Jesus to silence his disciples. Why do you think Jesus refuses to silence his disciples?

Romans 15:7-13

The Roman church was an eclectic mix of people. Some had been raised as pious Jews well versed in Jewish Law and Tradition and familiar with the Old Testament. Others were Gentiles and lived the immoral lifestyle of a Roman pagan. Needless to say there was a culture clash in this church.

How were the Jewish and Gentile Christians called to relate to each other? How is Jesus’ treatment of us the pattern for how we are to treat others?

It was difficult for Jewish Christians in Rome to view their Gentile brothers as their equals. Gentiles knew less of the Bible. They did not follow the Jewish law and consequently were viewed as morally loose. How would the Jewish believers’ love for their Gentile brothers and sisters fulfill God’s purposes?

In verses 9-12 Paul quotes the Jewish Scriptures (the Psalms and the prophet Isaiah). What was God’s purpose all along for the Gentiles? One thing that may be helpful to know is that the “Root of Jesse” in verse 12 is a reference to Jesus.

The miracle of the early church was that through the gospel of Jesus Christ, the dividing wall that had existed between Jew and Gentile was destroyed. In the church there was one people of God made of up Jew and Gentile and that demonstrated to the world the reconciling power of the gospel.

Zechariah 14:1-11

What is happening in verses :1-2? (It appears that the LORD is going to muster many armies to Jerusalem to meet them in battle. Alas for them this will not be a good day.)

What happens when the LORD “touches down”? (“On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.” (Zechariah 14:4 NIV))

Describe the day and the events taking place. (“On that day there will be no light, no cold of frost. It will be a unique day, without daytime or nighttime — a day known to the Lord. When evening comes, there will be light. On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in summer and winter. The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord and his name the only name.” (Zechariah 14:6-9 NIV) [Compare this with Revelation Chapters 21 and 22.])

“Jerusalem will be secure.” (Zechariah 14:11 NIV)

Daily Bible Readings – Thursday, November 29, 2012

Prayer Psalm: 131

Prayer Point:   Our fears often come when we assume too much responsibility and seek too much control. Meditate on this psalm and allow it humble you and free you to rest in the power of God.

Luke 19:11-27

The key to the meaning of this parable is to recognize that Jesus is the man who goes away to be crowned king (Jesus died, rose again, ascended into heaven to be crowned kind and we wait for his return), we are the ones who are left with the king’s resources while he is away. What were the servants supposed to do with the money entrusted to them by the master? What did the third servant believe about the nobleman that caused him to bury the mina? Was it true?

Like the nobleman in this story, the Lord has given us gifts to use for the benefit of his kingdom. How can you best invest what God has entrusted to you?

Ephesians 1:15-23

How does Paul pray for the church in Ephesus? What does he ask God the Father to give them and do for them? What two things does he want them to know, not in an academic way, but in a heartfelt way? What is the incomparably great power that is available for those who believe? How would our lives be different if we believed we had this power?

Where is Jesus Christ right now? What kind of authority does he have right now? Who are we, the church, in relation to Jesus?

Zechariah 13:1-9

How will the LORD cleanse the house of David? (“‘On that day, I will banish he names of the idols from the land, and they will be remembered no more,’ declares the LORD Almighty. ‘I will remove both the prophets and the spirit of impurity from the land. And if anyone still prophesies, his father and mother, to whom he was born, will say to him, “You must die, because you have told lies in the LORD’s name.” When he prophesies, his own parents will stab him.'” Zechariah 13:2-3 NIV))

What will the prophets do in that day? (They will deny they are prophets so that they don’t prophesy falsely. Evidently the prophet wore garments depicting him as a “seer”, these he won’t wear any more. He will avoid all appearance of being a prophet.)

Who is this shepherd, the one who is struck? (Actually, his personal identity we do not know. He is a good shepherd, but this is the verse Jesus quotes on the night before he dies, while on the Mount of Olives, to foretell to his disciples that he would be taken and that they would scatter. You may remember that Jesus referred to himself as the “Good Shepherd” in John 10:11-18. This is no coincidence!)

The remainder of the chapter is not all that encouraging. It looks like two-thirds of the “whole land” will be struck down. What is to become to the remaining third? (“… yet one third will be left in it. This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. [See Peter 1:7 about refining fire — j.t.] They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.'” (Zechariah 13:8b-9 NIV))