Daily Bible Readings – Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 119:73-96

Prayer Point. The God who made us is  the God we must obey if we seek to live with wisdom. His law are the path to life. But there are obstacles that block our attempts to follow him: our own ignorance, sin, and the brokenness of our world. What is getting in your way as you try to follow Jesus?  Lift those to God, ask him to remove them that we might live according to his will.

Mark 4:1-20

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 used simple stories or parables to teach the people about God’s coming kingdom. He came to earth to re-establish God’s rule on earth (“your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” if you remember from the Lord’s Prayer) and prepare the people to enter this new kingdom.

Jesus often told those stories to the crowds, but in today’s reading, he waits until he is alone with his disciples to explain it. The emphasis is that no one will be able to receive Jesus’ teaching and enter his kingdom unless God enables him to do it.

Pay close attention to …

  • The identity of the seed, birds, soil, rocks, thorns and the good harvest.
  • What prevents the seed of God’s word from producing a harvest in a person’s life.

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 Corinthians 5:9-6:8

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. While Paul taught the Christians in Corinth not to associate with people who profess to be Christians and are blatantly immoral (and unrepentant), how were they to treat people who were immoral but did NOT profess to be followers of Jesus? Think about how Jesus treated unbelievers who were openly immoral (see John 4:1-26).

How are Christians called to handle disputes, even civil disputes that they might have with other Christians? What, in Paul’s eyes, is a better alternative than taking a Christian brother or sister to court and winning?

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 42:18-28

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 background to help guide you.

Background. What bargain do Zaphenath-Paneah and the strangers settle on?

[“Let one of your brothers stay here in prison, while the rest of you go and take grain back for your starving households.  But you must bring your youngest brother to me, so that your words may be verified and that you may not die.” (Genesis 42:19-20 NIV)]

What further advantage does Joseph have over his brothers?
[Joseph used an interpreter to talk to his brothers so that they would think that he could not understand them.]

What does Joseph learn from his brothers unbeknownst to them?
[“They (the brothers) said to one another, ‘Surely we are being punished because of our brother.  We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that’s why this distress has come upon us.’” (Genesis 42:21 NIV)]

What can we glean from what Reuben says “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy?  But you wouldn’t listen!  Now we must give an accounting for his blood.”?  (Genesis 42:22 NIV)
[I think that Reuben still does not know that Joseph was sold and believes rather that he is actually dead.]

Which brother is settled upon to remain in Egypt while the others return to Israel?
[Simeon is left behind.]

What bit of trickery does Zaphenath-Paneah play on these seekers of grain?
[All the money paid to Joseph was returned and hidden in the sacks of grains of his brothers.  Of course they did not know it.]

What is the reaction of the brothers once they make this discovery?
[I think it was one of panic.  The bible says: “Their hearts sank and they turned to each other trembling and said, ‘What is this that God has done to us?’”  (Genesis 42:28 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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