Daily Bible Readings – Monday, June 3, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 44

Prayer Point.  Jesus spoke of two enemies of the soul, the rocks (our struggles) and the thorns (our triumphs). When we are successful, we forget that it was God, not us, that brought it about. When we struggle, it is easy to blame God and give up. Psalm 44 is a psalm for both the rocky and thorny periods of our lives. If you are struggling, or know someone who is, focus more on verses 9-26 and turn it into your own prayer for help. If life is good, meditate on verses 1-8 and turn it into a prayer of praise.

Luke 17:1-10

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. Sin and temptation are a normal part of our life experiences as fallen human beings. It is a struggle so deep, that none can overcome it without the help of his or her fellow Christians. We have a responsibility to each other; to avoid tripping each other up and to forgive each other.

The common teaching in Jesus’ day was to forgive someone three times for the same offense. Anything more than that was considered to be enabling sin.

Pay close attention …

  • The warning Jesus issues to those who cause someone to fall into sin.
  • How many times we are to forgive someone who sins against us. Notice what the disciples ask for in order to meet this standard.
  • The power of even a small amount of faith.
  • Verses 7-10. Is it possible to earn God’s love through our obedience? What is the best our efforts can achieve?

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?

Final Prayer. Pray for the faith to believe the promises of God so that you might obey and share what you have learned.

2 Corinthians 5:11-6:2

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 Scriptures often speak of the value of a healthy fear of God.

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.

Paul has just warned the Corinthian Christians that all will stand before the judgment seat of Christ and give an account of what they did in their life (2 Corinthians 5:10). This fear can move us to wisdom as it motivates us to please God in all that we do (2 Corinthians 5:9). It is this healthy fear combined with love and appreciation for what Christ did for us through his death that drives Paul to serve the Corinthians and the cause of spreading the Gospel.

Paul makes this argument because some Christian teachers came to the Corinthian church and tried to discredit Paul; implying that he lacked the credentials necessary to be a real Apostle.

Pay close attention to …

  • How the fear of God and the love of Christ moves Paul to serve the Corinthians (verses 11-15).
  • What sets Paul apart from those who wish to discredit him (verse 12).
  • What it means to see someone from Christ’s perspective as opposed to a worldly perspective (verse 16-17).
  • How our new calling or ministry is connected to Christ’s ministry (verses 18-20).
  • The “great exchange” in verse 21. What Jesus became and what we became as as result. Note that Jesus becoming sin means that he took on our sin as was punished on the cross as if he had committed them.
  • The call to respond to God’s grace in verses 1 and 2 of chapter six.

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?

Final Prayer. Pray for the faith to believe the promises of God so that you might obey and share what you have learned.

Deuteronomy 30:1-10

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. When I was in school, the good sisters used to tell us (regarding learning anything): “Three times for the normal mind!” That may be a good rule of thumb, but apparently Moses believed that three times was hardly enough. The book of Deuteronomy is a “re-telling” of the covenant (law) but considerably more than three times. He knew these people much better than we could. However, the principle remains as valid for us as for them. I have lost count how many times Moses encouraged the people to remember their covenant, but the most memorable (for me anyway) is found in Deuteronomy Chapter 6 (which I have harped on from the beginning — and I mean from when we began this adventure about two years ago) where it states: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on our hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” (Deut. 6:4-9 NIV) It is clear from this passage that virtually every thought shall be held captive to the love of God. When Paul was addressing some of the shortcomings of the church in Corinth (they had that nasty business of a man sleeping with his father’s wife…) he echoed this sentiment: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” This is how fervently we ought to treasure what has been delivered to us: the word of God.

Pay close attention to …

  • What Moses presumes (read: prophesies) about the people (v. 1 )
  • The next thing Moses presumes about the people (v. 2 )
  • The promise hanging out there (v. 3 )
  • The next promise (v. 5 )
  • The “surgery” called for (v. 6 )*
  • Who gets the “curses” now (v. 7 )
  • The remainder is a “re-telling” of the previous verses.

* Throughout all of Israel’s history the primary metaphor used against them is that their hearts were uncircumcised. Circumcision was an outward sign of a covenant between God and his people. Clearly, circumcision of itself can do nothing. The rite of circumcision only came along after Isaac was born. Abraham’s first son (by Hagar) was only circumcised once Isaac was born some thirteen years after Ishmael. [That is why Jewish boys go through the “Bar Mitzvah” at age thirteen.] Ishmael was the son of the “flesh” whereas Isaac was the son of the “promise”. Once God fulfilled his promise, he had it sealed by the act of circumcision. Circumcision is only a sign, it doesn’t do anything. Jeremiah appeals to circumcision this way: “Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, circumcise your hearts, you men of Judah and people of Jerusalem or my wrath will break out and burn like fire because of the evil you have done — burn with no one to quench it.” (Jeremiah 4:4 NIV) Jeremiah spoke this even as the barbarians were at the gates of the holy city.

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?

Final Prayer. Pray for the faith to believe the promises of God so that you might obey and share what you have learned.

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