Daily Bible Readings – Sunday, February 2, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 8

Prayer Point. If you need a bigger view of God and a smaller view of yourself then get outside at night and look up at the stars as David, the composer of Psalm 8 did. How is it that the God who made the stars even notices us?  How is it that our insignificant planet played host to Jesus, the Son of Man and the Son of God? Let the wonder of that move you to worship God in prayer.

Mark 8:22-30

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. Running in the background of toady’s reading is a distorted understanding of the Messiah, the future king who will rule over God’s kingdom. It was believed that the Messiah would be sent by God to overthrow the oppressors of God’s people Israel by military force and set up a kingdom for the benefit of Israel. Jesus clearly understands himself to be the Messiah, but not the kind of Messiah that the people of Israel were expecting. He does not want to be revealed as the Messiah until after he has been crucified on the cross .

Jesus takes the blind man by the hand and leads him out of the village. Why? Why does he tell the man not to enter the village? What does the miracle and Peter’s confession tell us about Jesus’ identity? What would have happened if word got out?

How does the Jewish expectations for the Messiah explain Peter’s angry response to Jesus’ teachings? Why does Jesus slap Peter down so forcefully?

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.

Galatians 5:13-25

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. There is a certain freedom in the gospel if we understand it correctly. Once we were alienated from God and under the curse of death because of our sin. But when we could not save ourselves, Jesus stepped out of heaven, lived the righteous life we did not live and died a death of judgment that we should have died. Jesus died to set us free. We do not have to pay for our sins. Our sins are forgiven. It is a free gift from God.

This is  a beautiful, but dangerous truth. It has been feared by Christian leaders for centuries. If you tell people they are free, won’t they just go crazy and do whatever they want?

What does Paul tell us that our freedom is for? How can you summarize God’s will for your life or his law in a single command? How can we live out this command? What power does God give us to walk this path?

What remains in us, even after we become Christians, that battles the Holy Spirit? What does the sinful nature (or flesh depending on your Bible translation) push us to do? How does these acts of the sinful nature contrast to the “fruit of the Spirit”?

Sometimes the struggle in being a Christian is to believe in who you are and what you already have because of Jesus. What has already happened to every Christian according in verse 24? How would our lives be different if we actually believed this?

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 18:16-33

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. What privilege does the LORD extend to Abraham?

[He is about to show Abraham what He is about to do.]

What claims about Abraham (and his descendants) does the LORD make?
[That Abraham will become great; that the LORD has chosen him; that Abraham “will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just so that the LORD will bring about what he has promised him.” vv. 18:18-19 NIV]

What exactly does the LORD share with Abraham about Sodom and Gomorrah?
[The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that the LORD wants to see it for himself.]

Abraham haggles with the Lord for Sodom.  How well does he do?
[He gets the Lord to spare the city of Sodom from destruction if fifty good men (souls) can be found in the city.  He haggles that number from fifty to just ten.]

Notice the increasing deference that Abraham’s shows as he continues to bargain for Sodom.

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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