Daily Bible Readings – Saturday, February 15, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 136

Prayer Point. God deserves our gratitude because he is both our Creator and our Savior. Make this psalm your own by meditating on God’s creation and remembering the times he has rescued you and offering your thanks in response.

John 8:47-59

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. How does Jesus explain the unbelief of his hearers? Notice that this explanation further infuriates the crowd. Remember that they believed that they were “all set” because of their status as biological descendants of Abraham. They believed that pagans like the Romans, prostitutes, and tax collectors were the real sinners. But Jesus goes after these religious and moral people and boldly says, “No, the enemy lies within.” That’s why the wild charges start flying. “You are a Samaritan [fighting words for a Jew in those days] and demon-possessed.”

How does Jesus answer the charge of being demon-possessed? What is his mission? What motivates him?

“Are you greater than our father Abraham?” That indeed is the central question. If the answer is “yes” then Jesus is indeed God and must be followed and obeyed. If your answer is “no” then Jesus was either a lunatic or a bold-faced liar. As GK Chesterton and CS Lewis pointed out, there is no middle ground. There is no possibility that he was just a nice teacher. Jesus’ life and ministry does not leave open that possibility.

The phrase “I am” was one of the sacred names of God. What is Jesus claiming when he says, “before Abraham was, I am!”?  The penalty under the Law of Moses for blasphemy (claiming to be God when you are not is a good example) was death by stoning. How did the crowds interpret what Jesus claimed? How does Jesus get away?

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.

Romans 14:1-23

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. In a church there are going to be some people who have stronger faith and others who have weaker faith.  For Paul, strong faith is related to a better understanding of Jesus, the gospel, and how it is lived out. In this chapter, those with stronger faith understood that there is no problem with eating meat or that the special holidays from Judaism no longer needed to be honored. But those of weaker faith had not yet come to that level of wisdom.So what do you do if there is a difference of opinion?  How are those of strong faith to treat those of weak faith?  Why?

What freedom has Paul chosen not to exercise?  Why?  For what purpose are we sometimes called to give up our rights and freedoms?

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 24:28-38, 49-51

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. Hospitality is shown to Abraham’s servant (quite unlike the kind of hospitality we are accustomed to today).  The servant then replays the events that had just happened outside.  Whom do we meet for the first time?

[We meet Rebekah’s brother Laban.  He will be instrumental in the story of Jacob many years later.]

What is Laban and Bethuel’s response to the servant’s offer of Isaac as husband to Rebekah?
[“Laban and Bethuel answered, ‘This is from the LORD; we can say nothing to you one way or the other.  Here is Rebekah; take her and go, and let her become the wife of your master’s son, as the LORD has directed.’” (v. 24:50-51 NIV)]

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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