Daily Bible Readings – Sunday, January 19, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 114

Prayer Point. We are called to both fear and love God as Israel did. Psalm 114 explains why. It is the power of God that causes the earth to tremble, but it is that same power that breaks the power of oppression and sets us free. Pray that God will fill you with a reverent fear of his power, but also gratitude that this same power rescued us from slavery to sin and death.

Mark 3:7-19

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. Why are the crowds pressing to see Jesus? Where are they from? What do the healings and the casting out of demons tell us about who Jesus is? How does Jesus demonstrate his authority over the demons?

From the hundreds of people who followed him, Jesus chooses twelve to be his Apostles. The number twelve corresponds to the twelve tribes of Israel showing the continuity between the old religious system and the new one based on Jesus’ message. Many people followed Jesus, but these twelve received the most intense training. We see the impact of these men throughout the rest of the New Testament (NIV Life Application Study Bible Notes).

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.

Ephesians 4:1-16

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. Paul is calling the church in Ephesus, the church to whom this letter was addressed, to live a “life worthy of the calling you have received.” This is key to understanding this passage. Paul is not saying, “do this and you will received God’s blessing.” He is saying, “you have received God’s blessing, now live a life worthy of that grace.” What is Paul talking about? In the first chapter of this letter he tells the Ephesians that they were chosen by God to be forgiven, adopted as his children and to become holy and good people. This is all grace in that these are blessings that were not earned, but freely given by God.

Having described that grace, Paul in Ephesians 4, describes what life should look like in response to that grace.

Paul will also use the word “grace” in a different sense in verses 7 and following. “Grace” in today’s reading refers to the spiritual gifts (abilities and talents that are sometimes ‘supernatural’) that the Holy Spirit gives to each Christian (verse 7). These gifts determined the roles (apostle, prophet, evangelists, pastors and teachers) people played in the church.

Pay close attention to …

  • How the Ephesians are commanded to treat each other (verse 2).
  • What they are to work hard to maintain (verse 3).
  • What unifies each Christian (verses 4-5).
  • What determines each person’s unique role in the church, the body of Christ.
  • The purpose of each person’s gift (grace).

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.

Genesis 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 following background to guide you.

Background. This chapter provides more detail regarding what Noah is to do in terms of collecting all the animals. Of the clean animals there shall be seven (!) pairs; of the unclean just the one pair. How long will it rain? [Forty days and forty nights. This number forty will show up throughout all of scripture.] How old was Noah when he embarked onto the ark? [He was 600 years old.] How many people went with him? [His wife, his sons and their wives – (ahem) seven (!) in all.] How high above the mountains did the water rise? [More than twenty feet. v. 20] The fate of everything outside the ark was “wiped out”. That actually leaves us with an image of cleansing. The ESV employs “blotted out”. Where “wiping” may hearken to cleansing; “blotting out” is more akin to removing sin (or so says the psalmist). Now we are left with Noah and those with him who now have the inauspicious task (?) of re-populating the earth.

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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