Daily Bible Readings – Monday, January 14, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 9

Prayer Point. Why should God be thanked and praised? Psalm 9 reminds us that he secures justice for us (we don’t do it ourselves), he protects the oppressed, provides for the needy and gives hope to the afflicted and that is just the beginning.  Read through this psalm slowly and pick two or three examples that you have personally experienced and thank God for them.

Mark 3:7-19

Background. You might notice that Jesus is guarded about his identity. He is becoming quite popular as he heals the sick and demonstrates his power over demons. The people had not seen anything like it before and they would have taken up arms to make him king, if he had allowed them. Make no mistake, Jesus does consider himself to be a king, but more than an earthly emperor, he is Lord of all Creation and he will become king by going to the cross and rising from the dead, not by winning over the hearts and minds of the people with his miracles.

He will withdraw, gather and appoint an inner circle of apostles. An apostle was someone who was sent out to declare the message of another. These apostles will followJesus for the next three years to learn his teachings, witness his miracles, death and resurrection so that they could be sent out to the world and proclaim his message to the world. The number twelve is significant, because God’s people, Israel, was made of up of twelve tribes. Jesus is going to establish a new Israel through these twelve men.

Pay close attention …

  • Why the crowds are following Jesus.
  • What the demons call Jesus and how he responds to them.
  • Jesus’ purpose for his twelve disciples (see verses 14-15).

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)

Ephesians 4:1-16

Background. Paul is calling the church in Ephesus, the church to whom this letter was addressed, to live a “life worthy of the calling you have received.” This is key to understanding this passage. Paul is not saying, “do this and you will received God’s blessing.” He is saying, “you have received God’s blessing, now live a life worthy of that grace.” What is Paul talking about? In the first chapter of this letter he tells the Ephesians that they were chosen by God to be forgiven, adopted as his children and to become holy and good people. This is all grace in that these are blessings that were not earned, but freely given by God.

Having described that grace, Paul in Ephesians 4, describes what life should look like in response to that grace.

Paul will also use the word “grace” in a different sense in verses 7 and following. “Grace” in today’s reading refers to the spiritual gifts (abilities and talents that are sometimes ‘supernatural’) that the Holy Spirit gives to each Christian (verse 7). These gifts determined the roles (apostle, prophet, evangelists, pastors and teachers) people played in the church.

Pay close attention to …

  • How the Ephesians are commanded to treat each other (verse 2).
  • What they are to work hard to maintain (verse 3).
  • What unifies each Christian (verses 4-5).
  • What determines each person’s unique role in the church, the body of Christ.
  • The purpose of each person’s gift (grace).

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)

Isaiah 40:12-23

Background. In the early part of this chapter, the LORD (speaking through Isaiah) seeks to “Comfort, comfort my people…” with the good news (read “gospel”) “…that her sin has been paid for, that she had received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.” This was the gospel message which Jesus was commissioned to bring to the people. What better news could there be? Actually, a lot from what we observe among Jesus’ own disciples. They were looking for a military leader who would throw off the yoke of Rome from Judea and restore the kingdom. That is truly the short-term view of the world. The most serious infection in the world is sin. It appears that only God can see that! After all, we’re not that bad… and so it goes. Sin is the issue, it has always been the issue and, until Jesus came along to deal with it, would continue to be the issue. “Here is your God…” (v. 40:9b NIV) So the opening lines of this chapter are fitting.

Pay close attention to …

  • The questions which introduce this reading (vv. 12 -14) and how they tend
  • How the nations, when compared to God, are but a vapor (v. 15)
  • The conundrum: “To whom, then, will you compare God?” (v. 18)
  • The vain attempts of the nations to worship God or gods (vv. 19-20)
  • How glorious God presents himself (vv. 23-24)

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)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s