Daily Bible Readings – Wednesday, January 2, 2012

Prayer Psalm: 33

Prayer Point. Why should God be praised? He spoke the world into existence.  He keeps the world together and foils the plans of evil men even today. He is also our hope who will restore our creation.  What has God created that inspires you?  Thank him for what he has made. How is God intervening in your life?  Thank him for what he is doing.  What promises has he made?  Ask God for the faith to hope in him.

John 6:34-42, 48-51

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 declares “I am the bread of life.”

In declaring himself to be the “bread of life” Jesus is making an allusion to Israel’s desert wanderings which you can read more about in the book of Exodus. God freed Israel from 450 years of slavery in Egypt, but 40 years of wandering in the desert laid between them and the promised land. It was in the desert that God’s people learned to trust him as water and food were scarce in the wilderness. God split the rocks and provided water for his people when they were thirsty. He provided them daily bread or manna when they were hungry.

Those were miracles, vital parts of Israel’s history, but the arrival of Jesus is something bigger. Israel had daily bread in the wilderness, but Jesus is THE bread of life.

Pay close attention to …

  • What is true of those who come to Jesus and believe in him.
  • Why some will accept Jesus’ teachings and why others had a hard time believing him.
  • How Jesus, the bread of life, is a greater miracle than the bread God provided in the wilderness.

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)

Hebrews 11:1-12

Background. Hebrews was written to encourage a group of Christians of Jewish ancestry who were considering giving up following Jesus. They were experiencing persecution, suffering that would cease if they returned to returned to Judaism. The writer inspires them to hang on by pointing to heroes of the faith that have gone before them.

Pay close attention to …

  • The definition of faith in verse 1.
  • How the lives of Abel, Enoch, Noah and Abraham exemplify this faith.
  • The only way sinful people like us can please God (verse 6).

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 12:1-7

Background. Abram was living comfortably in a place (city?) called Haran. (And just to make things really confusing Haran is also the name of one of Abram’s brothers — in this case, Lot’s father. Lot, you may remember, was Abram’s nephew). Once Abram’s father Terah died the LORD told Abram to “come follow me” as it were. The LORD sends Abram off to Canaan but not without a carrot! The carrot offered here is that Abram, who is childless, will become the father of many nations and that all the world will be blessed through him. One other thing: “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse.” (Genesis 12:3 NIV)

Pay close attention to …

  • How old Abram is (v. 4)
  • What Abram does (v. 4)
  • Who joins him (vv. 4 & 5)
  • What God promised Abram (v. 7)
  • What Abram does once he arrives in Canaan (v. 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)

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