Daily Bible Readings – Sunday, December 22, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 24

Prayer Point. “Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? “ He who has clean hands and a pure heart.” Who can make such a claim? Only Jesus can. Without Jesus we have no hope of entering God’s city. King Jesus entered the gates of Jerusalem and offered himself as a sacrifice for our sins. Thank God for opening the door to know and enjoy him through Jesus’ death and resurrection.

John 3:16-21

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. Here Jesus is having a conversation with Nicodemus a Pharisee and a ruler of the Jews. Nicodemus came to Jesus by night as you would expect Nicodemus would not want to be caught with Jesus as he was a trusted ruler of the Jews. What follows is a discussion about spiritual rebirth.

John 3:16 and following is the most famous summary of the gospel in the Bible.

What is the purpose for God sending his Son into the world? What is the the reward for believing in the Son? What is the consequence for those that do not believe in the Son of God?

Who is the light that has come into the world? Who comes to the light? Who hates the light and why?

Do you believe in Jesus as the light of the world and the Son of God?

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 12:1-10

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 to help you understand the main points of this passage.

Background. Revelation 12 is one of several visions in the book that tell the story of human history from the perspective of heaven. There are three central characters that must be identified: the woman giving birth, the child, and the dragon.

The woman. Compare John’s vision of the woman to Joseph’s dream recorded in Genesis 37:9-11. What images are present in both dreams? How did Joseph’s father, Jacob, interpret the images in his son’s dream? How does that shed light on the identity of the woman in Revelation 12? Based on the parallels between the two dreams and the details of the story that unfolds in chapter 12, we will identify the woman with God’s people. She is Israel before the coming of Jesus and the church after his coming.

The child. In the background of John’s dream is the promise God made to Adam and Eve. “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your [the serpent – identified with the dragon in Revelation 12] offspring and hers; he [the child] will crush your heel and you will strike his head.” (Genesis 3:15) Who is this offspring? None other than Jesus Christ, who will destroy the dragon by his crucifixion and resurrection and rule as king forever.

The dragon. The dragon throughout the Bible represents the kingdoms that opposed God’s people, but most importantly the power behind these kingdoms, Satan. John and his readers would have identified the dragon with Rome and the power behind Rome, the Devil.

What does the dragon attempt to do to the child when he is born? What event in Jesus’ life do you think this is referring to? When was Jesus snatched up into heaven? What happens to woman after the birth of the child?

Compare the 1260 days to the 42 months (1260 days) that the witnesses are protected in Revelation 11:2-3. What is God promising to do for his faithful people (Israel, the church) during this 3 ½ years of trouble (1260 days)? How would this give hope and courage to John and the seven churches receiving this revelation?

The name ‘Satan’ is actually a title meaning “prosecutor or accuser.” Before the coming of Christ where was Satan? Where is he now? Who has taken the prosecutor’s place (see Romans 8:31-34)? The opponents of the early Christians would have attributed their suffering to the fact that they had abandoned the gods of their ancestors. How does God explain the church’s present suffering? Why is there hope?

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.

Zechariah 8:9-17

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. In verse 9:“This is what the LORD almighty says: ‘… Let your hands be strong…” Why? Why could no one go about his business beforehand? [For I have turned every man against his neighbor.] What does the LORD promise to do now for the remnant of his people?

“As you have been an ______ __ _______ among the nations, O Judah and Israel, so will I save you and you will be a ________.” (v. 13)

Why had the LORD determined to bring disaster upon his people and to show them no mercy? [Because their fathers had angered the LORD by their earlier idolatry and sins.] Now since the Lord was determined to do good for his people, what changes does he expect of them? [“These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; do not plot evil against your neighbor, and do not love to swear falsely.” (v. 16-17)]

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.

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