Daily Bible Readings – Thursday, August 1, 2013

Psalm Prayer: 70

Prayer Point. Are you or someone you know in a place where the only prayer that comes to mind is “help”? Psalm 70 is one of those “help” prayers. Offer Psalm 70 on behalf of yourself or someone you know that is in this desperate place.

Mark 7:1-23

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 background  to help you understand the main points of this passage.

Background. It is important to remember that Jesus is not standing against the Old Testament law, but the interpretation of those laws by the Jewish religious leaders which he calls, “traditions.” The rigorous regulations related to hand-washing was simply their interpretation of the law, not what the law said itself. Why is this a problem? Sometimes the traditions themselves can get in the way of obeying the heart of God’s law which is simply, “love God with all your heart, mind and soul and love your neighbor as yourself.”

One example is verses 9-13. The fifth commandment (Exodus 20:12) commanded Israel to “honor their father and mother.” Honor included supporting parents in their old age as well as treating them with respect, but the teachers of the law found a work around. They followed the letter of the law, but violated its heart which is predicated on one word, “love.”

Pay close attention to …

  • What the people do with their lips, but fail to do with their hearts.
  • How the traditions gave the people a loophole to avoid loving their mother and father.
  • What makes someone clean or unclean according to verses 14-23.

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.

Acts 16:25-40

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 to help you understand the main points of this passage.

Background. Paul and Silas were stripped, beaten and thrown into prison for healing a girl who, through her demon possession, made a sizable profit for her masters. How did Paul and Silas respond to their suffering? Who notices their unusual reaction? How did God demonstrate his power over the Roman authorities?

The Philippian jailer cries out in fear as the prison has collapsed around him. The Holy Spirit has orchestrated it all bringing this man to the ultimate question, “What must I do to be saved?” How do Paul and Silas answer him? To whom is salvation offered? Where does the jailer take them? What happens to his household?

Notice that the apostles continue to follow the pattern Jesus gave them in Matthew 10:11-13. The Philippian jailer is the man of peace who opens to the door to his household, his network of family and friends. The apostles enter the house, preach the gospel and the entire household comes to faith in Jesus Christ together.

The magistrates, who were quite fearful at this point because of the earthquake, are eager to get rid of Paul and Silas but there is a problem. Paul, as a Roman citizen, could not be legally imprisoned or beaten without a trial. If Rome found out about their handling of Paul’s case, these officials would have been in serious trouble. Why do you think Paul asserted his rights as a Roman citizen here? What opening did Paul’s citizenship give for spreading the gospel in Philippi?

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 Samuel 4:1-12

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

Background. With Ish-Bosheth now dead, no one stands in between David and the throne of Israel. Why isn’t David grateful to the men who murdered Ish-Bosheth?  Look back at 1 Samuel 24:16-21. David never once lifted his hand to kill Saul, the Lord’s Anointed, nor his sons. Justice and God’s promise that David one day would be king were things he left for God to fulfill.

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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