Daily Bible Readings – Monday, March 24, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 79

Prayer Point. Asaph stood among the ruins of what was Jerusalem, the capitol of Israel, and cried out, “How long, O Lord? Will you be angry forever?” You probably know someone, who, like Asaph, is mourning the ruins of their life and wondering if God has abandoned them. Pray this psalm on their behalf.

Mark 5:21-43

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 had just sailed across the lake, the Sea of Galilee, to cast a legion of demons out of one Gentile man. While he was away, Jairus, a synoguge ruler (think elder or pastor), anxiously waits for Jesus’ return. But Jairus is just one of many. Crowds mobbed Jesus thinking if they could touch him they might be healed.

This presents a problem for the woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. She was ceremonially unclean. She could not go to the temple to worship God. Anyone she touched became unclean as well. Imagine living for twelve years having to avoid human contact. Think of the loneliness and the shame.

Pay close attention to …

  • Jairus’ test of faith. Imagine what he must be thinking when Jesus stops to heal the bleeding woman. Imagine what is going through his mind when he finds out his daughter is dead.
  • How desperately the bleeding woman wanted to be well and what happens when she touches Jesus.
  • How the woman responds when Jesus notices that she touched him.
  • The reason Jesus gave the woman for her healing.
  • Who is allowed and not allowed to witness the miracle of the child’s resurrection.
  • The instructions Jesus gives to those who witnessed the girl’s resurrection.

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 7:25-31

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 is Paul’s advice to those who are single? Married? We normally see singleness as a ‘problem’ to be solved. How does Paul view it? Why does Paul encourage single people to stay single, even though he says it is not a sin to get married?

How does Paul call us to view our lives and the stuff or our world? How do we view our marriages? Our happiness or sadness? Our possessions? Why?

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 44:18-34

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 background to help guide you.

Background. When last we left our hapless Hebrew travelers, Joseph (Zaphenath-Paneah) had decided to release all of the brothers (including Simeon) and only keep Benjamin with him.  This stirred in Judah a desire to do whatever it took to get Benjamin released; he offered himself as a substitute for his younger brother.  There are any number of reasons for Judah to do this.  Chief among them is a deep concern for Israel’s well-being.  Judah knows that if Benjamin does not return to his father that it likely would kill Jacob.  Let’s allow that that is the principal reason motivating Judah.  Consider also that it would be Judah who would have to report to Israel all that had transpired and that he (Judah) was personally responsible for Benjamin’s welfare.  There is yet another aspect to consider here: Judah wants to take Benjamin’s place, who by all appearances was actually guilty of the charge of stealing, while he, Judah, was not.  What must this remind us of?

[This reminds us of the trade that Jesus makes for all who believe in him.  He was actually innocent of any sin and yet he takes our sin so that he can atone for it in our place.]

Hear Judah’s remarks at the close of Chapter 44.  “Now then, please let your servant remain here as my lord’s slave in place of the boy, and let the boy return with his brothers.  How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me?  No!  Do not let me see the misery that would come upon my father.” (Genesis 44:33-34 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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