Daily Bible Readings – Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 119:121-144

Prayer Point. Sometimes life is difficult even when you do the right thing. This section of Psalm 119 shows you how to pray when you are in this situation. Look at the requests David makes in this psalm and follow those requests into your own time of prayer for either yourself or someone you know that is in this situation.

Mark 8:11-26

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. We have seen Jesus’ willingness to perform miracles for those who come to him in faith. Is Jesus willing to perform miracles to convince those who don’t believe him and only want to test him?

As Jesus gets into the boat he warns his disciples to watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and Herod. The disciples would have considered Herod and the Pharisees to be on opposite ends of the political spectrum. Herod was a Roman puppet, while the Pharisees encouraged a strict adherence to Jewish Law with the hopes that God would come and deliver his people from Roman rule.

Jesus sees them as the same yeast despite their differences. Yeast was a symbol of the corrupting effects of sin. A small amount quickly spreads and changes the whole batch of dough. N.T. Wright points out that both Herod and the Pharisees had a distorted view of God’s kingdom that Jesus needed to confront. Herod was attempting to establish himself and his line as the true kings of Israel. The Pharisees envisioned a kingdom where God saved only those who strictly adhered to Jewish Law as they interpreted it. Jesus’ kingdom was something different.

Pay close attention to …

  • How Jesus responds when the Pharisees demanded a miraculous sign.
  • How the disciple’s failure to understand Jesus’ miraculous feeding of the four thousand is connected to their misunderstanding of Jesus’ warning against the yeast of Herod and the Pharisees.
  • How Jesus’ method of healing the blind man is connected to the blind man’s request. Compare this to the healing in Mark 7:32-35.

Obey. The three steps of Gospel obedience

  • Walk. 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 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 12:1-11

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 impossible without the power of the Holy Spirit (see verse 3)? “Jesus is Lord” was no idle statement. In Paul’s day, “Caesar is Lord” was the pledge of allegiance of the Roman Empire. To declare “Jesus is Lord” was considered to be an act of treason.

While all Christians have the same Spirit, and the same Lord, how is each follower of Jesus unique? Why is each Christian given “spiritual gifts” by the Holy Spirit? What examples of spiritual gifts does Paul give us? For a fuller list of spiritual gifts see 1 Corinthians 12:27-31; Romans 12:1-8; Ephesians 4:11-13; and 1 Peter 4:10-11. How would you define spiritual gifts? Which gifts do you think you have?

We live in a society where gifts and talents are a means to enriching the self. Who is to benefit from our unique set of spiritual gifts?

Obey. The three steps of Gospel obedience

  • Walk. 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 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 50:15-26

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 were Joseph’s brothers still afraid of?  How do they plot to “disarm” Joseph?

[Joseph’s brothers thought that because their father was dead that Joseph would now take his revenge on them.  They said that their father left instructions that Joseph was to forgive his brothers for all that they had done to him.]

What was Joseph’s reaction to the message sent to him by his brothers?
[Joseph wept.]

How is Joseph quite sensitive to his brothers’ fears?
[“But Joseph said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid.  Am I in the place of God?  You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. …  I will provide for you and your children.’” (Genesis 50:19-21 NIV)]

What does Joseph’s believe about God that makes him able to forgive his brothers?

How old was Joseph when he died?  What did he ask to be done to him?
[Joseph was one hundred and ten years old when he died and he asked that his remains be carried from Egypt when the Lord would bring all of the Israelites out from there.]

What kinds of characteristics do you see in Joseph from our look into his life?
[I see things like perseverance; honesty; faithfulness; trust; love; honor; faith; righteousness among others.]

Obey. The three steps of Gospel obedience

  • Walk. 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 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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