Daily Bible Readings – Monday, December 30, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 20

Prayer Point. Our greatest hope is  that Jesus will be victorious.  That’s why Jesus taught us to “pray, your kingdom come, your will be done.” Pray today that Christ will bring his kingdom into the broken places of our world. Pray for the faith to trust not in military and political power (chariots and horses) but that our faith will rest on the name of the Lord our God.

John 4:46-54

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 guide you.

Background. Jesus returns to the scene of his first miracle, Cana in Galilee (see John 2:1-11), where an opportunity for his second miracle presents itself. A royal official pleads for the life of his ailing son. Most likely this man was a Roman Centurion (officer over one hundred men) and not a Jew.

Pay close attention to …

  • Jesus’ criticism of the crowds who came to witness another miracle.
  • The royal official’s response to Jesus’ initially harsh answer and what it tells you about his faith.
  • The method Jesus used to heal the official’s son and what it tells you about his power.
  • The impact of the boy’s healing on the official and his household.

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.

3 John

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 guide you.

Background. 3 John is a personal letter from the Apostle John to Gaius, a missionary that John has left behind to pastor one of the churches that John planted. You’ll notice that John calls the people of Gaius’ church “my children” in verse 4. What does John’s greeting in verses 2-4 tell us about the nature of his relationship with Gaius and the disciples in that local church?

How does John describe the Christian life in verse 4? You’ll notice that this phrase also appears in 2 John. What is that gives John the greatest joy? Notice that John celebrates something that is ongoing, not something that occurred in the past. What does John warn Gaius against? What evil example is Gaius in danger of following? What was happening in Gaius’ church that should not have been happening?

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 Kings 17:17-24

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 guide you.

Background. It happened that the widow’s son became ill unto death. “And his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him.” (1 Kings 17:17 ESV) The poor widow now is now faced with a crisis of faith. Her memory became selective in the face of the death of her son. “And she said to Elijah, ‘What have you against me, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance and to cause the death of my son!’” (1 Kings 17:18 ESV) She was preparing her last meal when Elijah arrived and he brought her through and now her son dies and she blames Elijah for this tragedy.

[ESV Study Bible Notes p. 633 “17:13 first make me a little cake. Against all parental instinct, the woman is asked to give Elijah something to eat first, before feeding herself and her son. This is to ask for a great step of faith.

“17:15 she and he and her household ate for many days. God looks after people not only in Israel but also on the Phoenician coast.

“17:18-20 You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance and to cause the death of my son! The widow appears to have been convinced of the truth of Elijah’s religion by the demonstration of God’s power in vv. 8-16. When death does eventually catch up with the family, she knows that it must be the LORD’s doing; she blames God’s prophet for reminding God of her sin. Elijah concurs with her view about who is the ultimate cause (have you brought calamity … by killing her son?), but in his prayer he makes no comment on whether the widow’s sin was the human cause. In a world where there is only one true God, everything must in the end lie in his power.”]

Now Elijah has to do something to fix this problem. Elijah takes the boy up to his room and stretches him out on his mat and then prays: “‘O LORD my God, have you brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by killing her son?’ Then he stretched himself upon the child three times and cried to the LORD, ‘O LORD my God, let this child’s life come into him again.’ And the LORD listened to the voice of Elijah. And the life of the child came into him again, and he revived.” (1 Kings 17:20-22 ESV) No witnesses! Similar to when Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5:22 ff.) with only Jairus, his wife, and Peter, James, and John with him.

Elijah returns the boy to his mother who is understandably grateful: “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth.” (1 Kings 17:24 ESV)

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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