Daily Bible Readings – Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 145

Prayer Point. This psalm invites us to meditate (think about, turn over in our minds) about the greatness of God.  Pick one or two things that are mentioned in Psalm 145, meditate on them throughout the day and offer God your own prayer of thanks.

John 16:22-30

Background. On Jesus’ last night with his disciples, he prepares them for life without him. Jesus will go to the cross the next day, die, rise from the dead and then 40 days later return to heaven. The disciples are rightly crushed by the news, but Jesus explains how his absence will impact their relationship with God the Father for the better. He is also speaking of the fifty days he will spend with his disciples between his resurrection and return to heaven. This is a time of special teaching that laid the groundwork for much of the New Testament (see Acts 1:1-3).

Pay close attention …

  • How prayer will be different for the disciples once Jesus leaves.
  • How Jesus’ teaching about the Father is about to change.
  • Why God the Father has chosen to love the disciples.

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)

Colossians 2:6-12

Background. The church in Colossae was founded when a man named Epaphras heard the Apostle Paul preach the good news of Jesus Christ, believed it and brought the message to his home city. The good news is that through Jesus’ death men and women can receive God’s forgiveness and be reconciled to him through faith in Jesus (see Colossians 1:21-23). The Colossians began their new life in following Jesus when they believed this message.

There appears to be some false teachers that are threatening the faith of these young Christians. It appears to be connected to the Jewish faith because Paul mentions circumcision in verses 11. The earliest Christian controversy was whether Gentiles could be real Christians without being circumcised and living the life of a devout Jew. Circumcision was the way one began the life of a Jew (at least for the men anyway) just as baptism is the way someone begins the life of a Christian.

Pay close attention to …

  • The connection between the Colossians are to live as Christians and the way they began their journey (verses 6-7).
  • What the Colossians are to watch out for (verse 8).
  • Jesus’ identity and authority (verses 9-10).
  • The difference between Jewish circumcision (“circumcision done by the hands of men”) and circumcision (“done by Christ”).
  • The connection between the circumcision done by Christ and baptism (verses 12).

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)

Genesis 17:1-12, 15-16 – Circumcision and a new name.

Background. If we look at Abram’s life before he turned eighty, it might be thought of as dull; but after eighty things really pick up. Abram had been hand-picked by God to leave his father and brothers and to journey in the land of Canaan. He had no posterity (sons) which was ever so important at that time else his inheritance would be left to a non-family member. When God called Abram out he promised him that he would indeed “father” many offspring. Well, at eighty-seven Abram is still waiting. And then Sarai, Abram’s wife devises this wonderful scheme whereby her maid (Hagar) would be given to Abram as wife in order to give him his long-desired son. It is from this plan where Ishmael originates. Naturally enmity arises between the two wives of Abram.

We take up the story some thirteen years later. Ishmael is thirteen years old (significant among modern day Jewish boys) and Abram is ninety-nine. Here the story takes on an interesting twist.

Pay close attention to …

  • The terms of the covenant (vv. 2-8)
  • The name change (both Abram and Sarai) (vv. 5 and 15)
  • The promise of the land of Canaan (v. 8)
  • The physical sign of the covenant (Ouch!) (v. 10)
  • The length of the covenant (v. 13)
  • The promise of a son by Sarah (v. 16)

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)

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