Daily Bible Readings – Thursday, April 4, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 148

Prayer Point. All of creation gets into the act of praising God with this psalm.   Look around you today, notice the beauty of all that God has made. Stars, planets, whales, oceans, mountains, lions, squirrels and eagles all exist to reflect the creative glory of God our Lord and Creator.  Join with God’s creation today in praising him.

John 15:12-27

Background. This is Jesus’ last night with his disciples before his crucifixion.  He trained these men for three years for this very moment.  He is going to die, rise from the dead and return to his Father, while they will remain on the earth to carry on his mission.  This is the night where students (disciples) will graduate and be considered friends and colleagues of the Son of God. He leaves his disciples with one final command.

John will speak of the world in today’s reading.  World is probably best translated as “world system,” that is the traditions, politics, morality (or lack thereof) and economics of a humanity that is alienated from God.

Pay close attention to …

  • Jesus’ final command to his disciples.
  • The definition of love and how Jesus embodies it.
  • How the disciple’s relationship with Jesus has changed as they go from servants to friends.
  • Jesus’ purpose in choosing his disciples.
  • What the Father will give Jesus’ disciples when they bear fruit.
  • How the disciples’ relationship with Jesus will impact their relationship with the world.
  • Why those who reject Jesus’ message are morally responsible for their decision.
  • The Holy Spirit’s mission when he comes into the world and how it parallels the disciples’ mission.

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)

Acts 3:11-26

Introduction to Acts 2-4

Background.  There is pattern with each story in the book of Acts.  The Holy Spirit acts through the disciples. The crowds’ witness the miracle and ask for an explanation. The Apostles explain what they have just seen always tying the event back to Jesus who was crucified and raised from the dead.

Today’s reading is no different.  Peter has just healed a man that was born crippled and the crowds at the temple have witnessed him running and leaping around the temple and shouting out praises to God. The crowd wonders what this all means and Peter is in position to explain it to them.

To understand the impact of Peter’s words you must understand that the just months before these same people had demanded Jesus’ crucifixion.

Peter will quote a prophecy of Israel’s great leader Moses in verse 22. The original prophecy can be found in the book of Deuteronomy:

Deuteronomy 18:15 The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers. You must listen to him.

The people revered Moses, but Peter will demonstrate that they had rejected the one Moses had commanded them to watch for and submit to.

Pay close attention to …

  • The power to which Peter attributes the miracle.
  • What the people had done to Jesus, and where Jesus was now and why.
  • How Jesus’ suffering was according to God’s plan.
  • What the people are called to do in light of the fact that they had killed the author of life.
  • How long Jesus will remain in heaven and what will happen when he returns (verse 21).
  • The warning to those who refuse to acknowledge Jesus.

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)

Ezekiel 37:1-14

Background. In Chapter 36 Ezekiel had described how the LORD will cleanse the land to make it fit for habitation by his people.  This cleansing is more in the nature of “restoration” as in the days of the Garden of Eden.  All too often the Jews treated “restoration” more in the nature of the glory days of yore.  There may not have been widespread belief in life after death.  The first instance in the Bible of resurrection comes to us from Job (generally thought to be the first book of the Bible written down.)  “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.  And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God;  I myself will see him with my own eyes — I, and not another.  How my heart yearns within me.” (Job 19:25-27 NIV)

Ezekiel’s vision in Chapter 37 is far more graphic.  It is only fitting that as we celebrate the resurrection of Our LORD, that we consider how this doctrine unfolded.

Pay close attention to …

  • The LORD ‘s question to Ezekiel in v. 3
  • Ezekiel’s brilliant reply (v. 3 )
  • What Ezekiel prophesies to the dry bones (v. 5 )
  • The bones reaction to Ezekiel (vv. 7-8 )
  • The breath (v. 9 )*
  • What happens next (v. 10 )
  • Whom the bones represent (v. 11 )
  • The promise (v. 12, 13 )
  • The Spirit (v. 14 )

* The breath.  This is something we all take for granted.  Please remember that when God created Adam (he had formed him out of the dust of the earth — not spoken into existence as was everything else) Adam did not become a living soul until God breathed into him the breath of life.

The Holy Spirit is also the “breath” of God.  “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV)

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