Daily Bible Readings – Thursday, January 17, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 37

Prayer Point. Wicked men and women will continue prosper in our world and wield power.  That will not change until Christ returns.  What must change is our response to it.  Psalm 37 lists several sinful responses to the presence of evil. Repent by confessing to God the ones you see in your life.  Pray for the faith to trust God, delight in him, commit ourselves to following him and to place matters of justice into his hands.

Mark 4:21-34

Background. Jesus used simple stories, sometimes called parables, to describe what life is like under the rule of God, or, as Jesus referred to it, “the kingdom of God.” There are four parables in today’s reading.

Pay close attention to …

  • If you consider that the lamp represents the message of Jesus, what does the parable of the lamp tell us about what we are do with it in God’s kingdom.
  • The connection between hearing carefully and measuring, and what this says about what we are do with the message of God’s kingdom which Jesus has given us (verses 24-25). 
  • What the parable of the seeds (verses 26-29) tells us about how the message of Jesus spreads. Look carefully at what the farmer controls and what he does not understand.
  • What the parable of the mustard teaches us about the pattern of growth in God’s kingdom.
  • What Jesus says to the crowds and what he explains to his disciples (verse 33-34).

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 5:15-23

Background. By God’s grace and through faith in Jesus Christ we have become God’s dearly loved children and children of the light. Life is different for us now that God has given us a new identity. As children of God we are called to imitate him. As children of light we are to live a children of light. Ephesians chapter 5 is a description of that new life which is continued in today’s reading.

Pay close attention to …

  • What the Ephesians should be careful not to do and what they should fill their lives with instead.
  • How husbands and wives should relate to each other.

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 41:17-29

Background. So Israel is to go into exile and then she is to return to her own land. Cyrus will set the Jews free and even commission them to rebuild the temple which Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed in his rampage against Jerusalem. No bed of roses is promised here.

Pay close attention to …

  • Who meets the needs of the “poor and needy” and why (vv. 17, 20)
  • How useless the idols are (vv. 21-24)
  • The “one from the north” [we’re still talking about Cyrus] (v. 25) and what he is doing
  • Who prophesied that this would happen (v. 26)
  • Who is false (v. 29) and what they are like

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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