Daily Bible Readings – Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 14

Prayer Point.  This psalm is David’s way of praying, “Father, your kingdom come.”  Think about people who are victims of injustice.  Rather than being consumed by anger, pray instead that God will intervene on their behalf.

Matthew 11:16-24

Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you are reading.

Read. Read the passage slowly either alone or in a group and answer the following questions:

Listen. What is the passage saying? What are the main points? You can use the following “Background” and “Pay close attention to …”  sections to help you understand the main points of this passage.

Background. The generation that Jesus speaks of in today’s reading is the people of Israel who were alive to witness his ministry.  The John that Jesus refers to is his cousin, the prophet John the Baptist, who was sent by God to prepare Israel for the coming of their Messiah. The Son of Man is the title Jesus most often used to refer to himself. “Son of Man” is an assertion of Jesus’ divinity (see Daniel 7:13-14).

Pay close attention to …

  • Jesus’ indictment of his generation and why they rejected both himself and John the Baptist for two very different reasons.

Share. What can I share and with whom can I share it?

Repent. How have I failed to obey and share what God is asking me to do? Confess those failures to God and ask for his forgiveness.

Believe. Which of God’s promises would I need to believe in order to obey and share what I have read?

1 John 5:1-12

Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you are reading.

Read. Read the passage slowly either alone or in a group and answer the following questions:

Listen. What is the passage saying? What are the main points? You can use the following “Background” and “Pay close attention to …”  sections to help you understand the main points of this passage.

Background. Most Jewish people in John’s day believed that membership among the children of God was a birthright. You were born into it and unless you lived an exceedingly sinful life you stayed in your entire life.  Your identity as a member of the nation of Israel was more than enough. John, who was Jesus’ disciples for three years, saw it differently.  A person becomes a child, not by birthright, but by miracle.  That person is literally “born again” or “born from above” or “born of God.”  John described it this way in the first chapter of his Gospel.

John 1:12 Yet to all who received him [Jesus], to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

This new birth will be connected to believing Jesus is the Christ. Christ is the Greek translation of Messiah, the hope of Israel.  Devout Jews in John’s day were waiting for the arrival of this Messiah.  The Messiah was the promised king sent by God to rescue his people and re-establish God’s peace and justice on the earth.  This new kingdom was often called by Jesus, “the kingdom of God” and the “kingdom of heaven.”

John will also talk about the “water,” “blood,” and “spirit” which testify to Jesus’ identity.  The water refers to Jesus’ baptism where the Holy Spirit descended on Him.  The blood is the blood he shed on the cross.  The Spirit is the Holy Spirit which Jesus poured out on the church after he ascended to heaven.

Pay close attention to …

  • What is true of everyone who believes Jesus is the Christ.
  • What a believer will do with regards to God’s children.
  • How obedience to God and love for God are connected.
  • Why God’s commands are not burdensome for those who are born of God.  Note that the world John refers to is sinful humanity that is separated from God.
  • What three things testify that God has given us eternal life through Jesus.
  • What is true of all those who have and do not have the Son.

Obey. What is God asking me to do?

Share. What can I share and with whom can I share it?

Repent. How have I failed to obey and share what God is asking me to do? Confess those failures to God and ask for his forgiveness.

Believe. Which of God’s promises would I need to believe in order to obey and share what I have read?

Deuteronomy 4:25-31

Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you are reading.

Read. Read the passage slowly either alone or in a group and answer the following questions:

Listen. What is the passage saying? What are the main points? You can use the following “Background” and “Pay close attention to …”  sections to help you understand the main points of this passage.

Background. We saw in yesterday’s reading that the LORD’s desire for the people is that they become his inheritance.  We will learn today that what is given can be lost.  Moses will revisit the issue of idol worship.

Pay close attention to …

  • Moses’ promise/threat (?) if the people become corrupt and make for themselves “any kind of idol, doing evil in the eyes of the LORD” (vv. 26 )
  • What else the LORD will do if the people corrupt themselves (v. 27 )
  • The hope extended to the idol worshippers once they are removed (v. 29 )
  • What this says about the LORD (v. 31 )

Obey. What is God asking me to do?

Share. What can I share and with whom can I share it?

Repent. How have I failed to obey and share what God is asking me to do? Confess those failures to God and ask for his forgiveness.

Believe. Which of God’s promises would I need to believe in order to obey and share what I have read?

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