Daily Bible Readings – Thursday, March 20, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 74

Prayer Point. How do you pray when you lose something you believed was forever? That is the dark place this prayer originates. Asaph laments the destruction of his beloved city, Jerusalem, and God’s temple. He asks, “why have you rejected us forever, O God?” Think of someone in your life that is in this place and pray psalm 74 on their behalf.

Mark 4:21-34

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, sometimes called parables, to describe what life is like under the rule of God, or, as Jesus referred to it, “the kingdom of God.” There are four parables in today’s reading.

Pay close attention to …

  • If you consider that the lamp represents the message of Jesus, what does the parable of the lamp tell us about what we are do with it in God’s kingdom.
  • The connection between hearing carefully and measuring, and what this says about what we are do with the message of God’s kingdom which Jesus has given us (verses 24-25).
  • What the parable of the seeds (verses 26-29) tells us about how the message of Jesus spreads. Look carefully at what the farmer controls and what he does not understand.
  • What the parable of the mustard teaches us about the pattern of growth in God’s kingdom.
  • What Jesus says to the crowds and what he explains to his disciples (verse 33-34).

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 6:9-30

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. Paul, in verses 9 and 10, paints a contrast between who the Corinthians were and who they have now became because of Christ. What was their old life? Who are they now because of Jesus? How was this new identity to affect the way they lived?

How does what is permissible for a Christian compare to what is beneficial? How can you know if good things like food and sex have become twisted?

What picture does Paul use to describe a Christian’s relationship with God? Who does a Christian belong to and why? How is believer connected to God? Where is it that the Holy Spirit lives? How should all of this affect the way we live in our bodies in the world? How does it affect the way we see sex?

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 42:29-38

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. Jacob’s sons report to their father all that had happened in Egypt.  The news is grim but it gets worse.  The brothers discover that all of their silver was returned in the sacks.  This prompts Jacob to do what?

[Since Joseph and now Simeon are lost, Israel is determined that Benjamin will remain with him; he cannot risk losing him too.]

What offer does Reuben make to his father?
[“Then Reuben said to his father, ‘You may put both of my sons to death if I do not bring him (meaning Benjamin) back.’” (Genesis 42:37 NIV)]

Why, do you suppose, Reuben makes this particular offer to his father?
[I think that Reuben still feels very guilty over the “death” of Joseph, which he had hoped to prevent so many years before.]

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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