Daily Bible Readings – Thursday, October 31, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 50

Prayer Point.  We’d like to think that God only judges “bad people,” but this psalm reminds us that “good people” (verses 7-15) and “bad people” (verses 16-23) alike stand in need of God’s mercy Where do you see yourself in the descriptions of the wicked and the good? Confess those areas of your life to God and pray for the faith to take your cares to him and cultivate a heart of gratitude.

Matthew 13:18-23

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? Using the following background as a guide.

Background. Jesus explains the parable of the sower now that he is alone with his disciples.

Which type of soil represents someone who never accepts or understands the message of Jesus’ kingdom?

How many types of soil initially receive the message of Jesus? How many types of soil actually produces a crop? What sorts of things prevent the seed from becoming a mature plant in the rocky soil and the soil with thorns? Which of these have been obstacles to your own faith?

What does a healthy follower of Jesus look like? What will be present in their life?

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.

Revelation 5:11-6:11

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. Like ripples on the water, worship of Jesus, the lamb of God, begins at the throne and moves out to fill the whole universe. Who surrounds the 24 elders (God’s redeemed people – Israel and the church who have died) and the four living creatures (symbolic of the creatures of the earth)? What do they sing? Remember that God’s plan of salvation goes beyond saving people, but includes the restoration of all Creation. How do the creatures of the sky, the earth and the sea get in on the act?

As all of God’s creation worships at the throne of God, Jesus, the lamb of God, sets God’s final plan of redemption into motion. He opens the first of seven seals of the book which represents God’s plan to redeem his people and restore Creation. Who are summoned by the living creatures as Jesus opens the first five seals? What do they do?

Who are the souls under God’s altar? What do they ask God? Can you imagine John, who was exiled because of his faith on the Isle of Patmos, asking the same question? How does God respond to the saints calling for an end to the violence and persecution of the church? Why does God wait?

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.

Nehemiah 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. What I know of Nehemiah can be summed up in the phrase “cupbearer to the king”. This says a great deal about what influence Nehemiah had with the king. A cupbearer was a bit more than a food taster – though that was not insignificant. The cupbearer had to be a person of trust for he held the king’s life in his hands as it were. When you add to that that this cupbearer was a foreigner and a captive indicates to me that Nehemiah had found great favor with the king.

While Nehemiah could have lived out his days comfortably, what news does he receive that changes the trajectory of his life? What does he do first with the news and for how long? How would you outline his prayer?

Section 1 (5-6a) __________________________.

Section 2 (6b-7) _________________________________.

Section 3 (8-11) _________________________________.(How does Nehemiah know what to ask for in verses 8-11?)

Are you facing something that breaks your heart? Try following Nehemiah’s pattern of prayer.

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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