Daily Bible Readings – Thursday, June 6, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 60

Prayer Point.  How do you pray when you feel defeated? Psalm 60 points the way. The enemies David speaks of are foreign nations, but in our walk with Christ, the enemy is most likely ourselves and the evil one who tempts us. Pray Psalm 60 either for yourself or someone you know who is discouraged.

Luke 18:1-8

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. Jesus will use a parable (story) to urge us to pray with urgency and persistence.

Pay close attention to …

  • What Jesus is telling us about our approach to prayer in the parable of the widow and the unjust judge. Compare this to Luke 11:5-12.

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 8:1-16

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. Grace normally is used to refer to the unmerited favor we receive from God but Paul, in today’s reading, uses it to refer to the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Each person who becomes a follower of Christ receives the Holy Spirit and with the Spirit comes spiritual gifts or “grace empowerments” that are to used for building up the church. The Spirit’s power enables us to do things that we could never do on our own.

The grace given by the Holy Spirit in today’s reading is needed to address a crisis. There is a famine in Judah and the “mother-church” in Jerusalem is on the brink of starvation. In a stroke of genius, God has turned the tables. Missionaries from the church in Jerusalem helped establish churches, such as the church in Corinth. Now it is the young churches who are called to rescue the church that had first given them the gospel.

Pay close attention to …

  • What grace enabled the church in Macedonia to do (verses 1-6).
  • What the church of Corinth excelled in and what they lack (verse 7).
  • How grace, not the demands of the law, motivates us to be generous (verses 8-9).
  • Paul’s view of Christian love and equality. What is the purpose of our plenty and why (verses 13-15).

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.

Ecclesiastes 11:1-8

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? Use the “Background” below to help you understand the main points of this passage.

Background. “Cast your bread upon the waters…” In keeping with the tenor of the Book of Ecclesiastes the ESV Study Bible writes on p. 1208: “11:1 To cast … bread up on the waters is a metaphor without any contemporary parallels [see what I mean?], so interpreters are uncertain about its meaning. Three suggestions are most common: (1) It refers to maritime commerce. (2) It refers to taking steps to spread out one’s financial resources in multiple directions [in today’s parlance: do put all your eggs in one basket]. (3) In older Jewish and Christian interpretation, it was taken to refer to giving to the poor, in which case finding it again represents others being kind in return [or in today’s parlance: what goes around comes around].”

Not satisfied with that I explored The Life Application Bible on page 1155 “11:1-5 In these verses Solomon summarizes that life involves both risk and opportunity. Because life has not guarantees, we must be prepared. “Cast your bread upon the waters” means that life has opportunities and we must seize them, not merely play it safe. Solomon does not support a despairing attitude. Just because life is uncertain does not mean we should do nothing. We need a spirit of trust and adventure, facing life’s risks and opportunities with God-directed enthusiasm and faith.”

Verse 2 suggests spreading the wealth around, to hedge your bets, as it were. Any investor will tell you the same thing, i.e. don’t put all your eggs in one basket [as indicated above].

What does verse 4 seem to be advising against? (Laziness)

What kind of imagery does Solomon use to drive home the point that we cannot understand the work of God? (“As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb…” (Eccl. 11:5a NIV))

What is the Teacher telling us in verse 6? (I think he is telling us that just because you plant, the work does not stop there. The fields will still need attention – they can’t take care of themselves.)

According to verse 8 why should a man remember “the days of darkness”? (Since “meaninglessness” is the running theme in this book, Solomon suggests that the dark days bring appreciation to a meaningless life. When things go well all the time, we begin to take the good times for granted. A rainy day, by contrast, enhances the splendor of a fair day.)

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.

Sirach 44:19-45:5 *Sirach is not considered to be Scripture, but is still worthwhile reading.

Chapter 44
Verses 19-23

19 Abraham was the great father of a multitude of nations,
and no one has been found like him in glory.
20 He kept the law of the Most High,
and entered into a covenant with him;
he certified the covenant in his flesh,
and when he was tested he proved faithful.
21 Therefore the LORD assured him with an oath
that the nations would be blessed through his offspring;
that he would make him as numerous as the dust of the earth,
and exalt is offspring like the stars,
and give them an inheritance from sea to sea
and from the Euphrates to the ends of the earth.

22 To Isaac also he gave the same assurance
for the sake of his father Abraham.
The blessing of all people and the covenant
23 he made to rest on the head of Jacob;
he acknowledged him with his blessings,
and gave him is inheritance;
he divided his portions,
and distributed them among twelve tribes.

From his descendants the LORD brought forth a godly man,
who found favor in the sight of all
Chapter 45
Verses 1-5
1 and was beloved by God and all people,
Moses, whose memory is blessed.
2 He made him equal in glory to the holy ones,
and made him great, to the terror of his enemies.
3 By his words he performed swift miracles;
the LORD glorified him in the presence of kings.
He gave him commandments for his people,
and revealed to him his glory.
4 For his faithfulness and meekness he consecrated him,
choosing him out of all mankind.
5 He allowed him to hear his voice,
and led him into the dark cloud,
and gave him the commandments face to face,
the law of life and knowledge,
so that he might teach Jacob the covenant,
and Israel his decrees.

Pay close attention to …

  • The people of faith in the early part of Israel’s journey
  • Who Abraham was (v. 44:19 )
  • What Abraham did (v. 44:20 )
  • The LORD’s response (v. 44:21 )
  • Where the covenant rests (vv. 44:22-23 )
  • How Moses is described (vv 44:23-45:1 )
  • What the LORD did for Moses and what he gave him (vv. 45:2-3 )
  • The reward for meekness (v. 45:4 )

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