Daily Bible Readings – Thursday, October 24, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 37

Prayer Point.  The wicked will prosper in our world and it won’t change until Christ returns. What can change is our response. Psalm 37 lists several sinful responses to the presence of evil. Repent by confessing to God the ones you see in your life. Pray for the faith to trust God, delight in him, commit ourselves to following him and to place matters of justice into his hands.

Matthew 12:15-21

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? Using the following background as a guide.

Background. The Pharisees, who were regarded by the people as the guardians of Jewish Law, were threatened by Jesus. Outwardly they were moral people, but most were motivated by a desire for power and to be loved by the people. Jesus exposed them by healing a man on the Sabbath. The Sabbath was the last day of the week, Saturday. Jewish Law prohibited work on the Sabbath. It was a day devoted to the worship of God. The Pharisee’s considered healing someone to be work and so they tried to prevent Jesus from healing a man with a crippled hand on the Sabbath. Jesus healed him anyway with the words, “it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” The Pharisees were clearly embarrassed and they sought to get rid of Jesus.

The people have been won over by Jesus’ acts of power and kindness. They follow him and he heals many of their sick, but he warns them not to tell anyone who he was. Jesus was the Messiah, but if word got out prematurely, the people would attempt to make him king by force. Jesus will climb the throne, but only after he goes to the cross.

Pay close attention to …

  • Isaiah’s prophecy (see Isaiah 42:1-4 quoted in verses 18-21) and what it tells us about Jesus and his ministry. God is the speaker and Jesus is the “servant” described in verses 18-21.

Obey. What is God asking me to do?

Repent. How have I failed to obey 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?

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

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

1 Corinthians 16:1-9

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

Background. As Paul’s letter to the Corinthians comes to a close, we see a glimpse of his close relationship with that church.

The “collection for God’s people.” At the time this letter was written, a great famine was going on in Judea and the church in Jerusalem was on the brink of starvation. Paul was collecting money from the churches he planted to provide for their relief.

Where will Paul be spending his time during the winter? Why?

Obey. What is God asking me to do?

Repent. How have I failed to obey 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?

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

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

Ezra 1:1-11

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. The books Nehemiah and Ezra are closely linked and are thought to be authored by the same person.  “The events narrated in Ezra cover almost a century.  Jews had been taken into exile in Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C., but in 539 King Cyrus of Persia overthrew the Babylonian king, Nabonidus.  By doing so, he took control of a vast empire, including the territory of the former kingdoms of Israel and Judah.  In 538 B.C., Cyrus issued a decree that the Jewish exiles were free to return to their ancestral home.”  The ESV Study Bible, Introduction to Ezra p. 799.

It was believed in the Ancient world that when a people was defeated, it was because their gods had been defeated. How does God demonstrate that he is still God even though his people are in exile? Who caused the remnant of Israel to return to Jerusalem? How does Cyrus explain his decision to allow the temple of the LORD to be rebuilt? How right is he?

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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