Daily Bible Readings – Thursday, January 24, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 59

Prayer Point. David wrote this psalm while his enemies lurked outside his home looking for an opportunity to kill him. Notice whom David turns to for justice and for his security. He places those concerns in God’s hands. How do we pray this same prayer? By remembering that we were the enemies who found an opportunity to kill Jesus and when we nailed him to a cross, he said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Pray that we might trust God with our justice and security concerns and that we might have the forgiving heart of Jesus.

Mark 6:30-46

Background. Jesus just days before had sent his disciples out to carry out his ministry. They were given the authority to preach the good news of Jesus, heal the sick and cast out demons (see Tuesday’s reading, Mark 6:1-13). This was the purpose for which the disciples were called (see Mark 3:14): to watch and learn from Jesus and eventually to carry out his work when he returned to heaven. In today’s reading, the disciples have just returned from their first test mission.

Pay close attention to …

  • How Jesus models a way of life for his disciples. Look at what he asks his disciples to do when they return from their mission (Mark 6:30-31) and compare it to Mark 1:35.
  • How Jesus responds when the crowds interrupt their planned time of rest.
  • How he tests his disciples’ faith in verse 37 and how well the disciples respond.
  • The way Jesus performed his miracle and what that says about his ability to provide.
  • What Jesus does as the day comes to a close.

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)

Galatians 3:1-14

Background. Abraham was revered as the father of the nation of Israel. You can read his story beginning with Genesis chapter 12. It was to Abraham that God first appeared and gave him the promise that we now know as the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ. In Genesis 12:1-3 God promised to make Abraham’s family into a great nation complete with a homeland and God’s protection, but the last promise was the greatest, “through you all the nations will be blessed.” This promise was fulfilled through Abraham’s descendant, Jesus, through whom the whole world is offered God’s forgiveness and blessing.

The key to understanding what Paul is saying in today’s reading is his argument that Abraham was made right with God, not by what he did (keeping the law), but by what he believed (the promises of God). You become a true child of Abraham, that’s how the Jews regarded themselves, not by keeping the law, but by believing in the promises that God gave to Abraham and fulfilled through Jesus Christ.

Pay close attention to …

  • The contrast between how the Galatians began to follow Jesus (“believing”) to what they were now trying (“law keeping”).
  • The reason God gave the Holy Spirit to the Galatians.
  • How it was that Abraham was declared “righteous” (right with God).
  • What is true of all those who try to make themselves right with God by obeying the Law.
  • How Jesus saved us from the curse of the Law.
  • Why Jesus redeemed us.

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 45:8-17

Background. Here again it seems that the Lord has to remind us that ultimately he is in charge. Throughout all of this book we have read time and again: “I, the Lord, do all these things.” (v. 45:7); “I, the Lord, have created it.” (v. 45:8) We are reminded again about the potter and the clay and who has the right to question the potter. This is a lesson which needs to be re-taught time and again. I’m not sure we get it yet!

Pay close attention to …

  • The “freeness” of righteousness and salvation (v. 8) as though a natural inclination as opposed to “working” to be righteous.
  • The clay/potter interchange (v. 9)
  • Hands vs. work (v. 9)
  • Parent/child (v. 10)
  • The Lord’s response (v. 11)
  • Who created mankind/who made the earth (v. 12)
  • Cyrus and what he will accomplish (v.13)
  • The God who hides himself (v. 15)
  • The fate of the idol makers (v. 16)
  • Salvation is from the Lord (v. 17)

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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