Daily Bible Readings – Thursday, April 3, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 73

Prayer Point. We believe that God watches over his people, but it troubles us that the wicked seem to prosper.  Sometimes we envy them.  Meditate on this psalm and pray that God will give us the faith to say, even in difficult times, “Whom have I in heaven but you?  And earth has nothing I desire besides you …”

Mark 8:27-9:1

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 yesterday’s reading, Jesus compared the distorted visions of the kingdom of God, and the Messiah (Christ) who would establish it, to yeast. The Jews were expecting a conquering hero, but Jesus would win by dying on the cross.

Jesus asks his disciples, “who do people say I am ?” The responses are varied and rooted in their understanding of the prophets of the Old Testament. These prophets spoke of Elijah returning to Israel to prepare them for the coming of the Messiah. In today’s reading Jesus will use the word “Christ” which is the Greek translation of “Messiah.” John the Baptist was identified by Jesus as Elijah who had returned for he bore the spirit of Elijah (see Matthew 11:11-14).

Pay close attention to …

  • Who the crowds say Jesus is and how Peter identifies him.
  • How Jesus’ vision of the Messiah (Christ, Son of Man) compares to the disciple’s expectations.
  • How Peter reacts to Jesus’ explanation and the force of Jesus’ response.
  • What it means to follow Jesus as his disciple.

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 12:12-26

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. How does the church function like a human body? What is true of every Christian? In what way is each Christian unique? In Paul’s understanding of the church and the Christian faith is it possible to be a Christian all by yourself? What responsibility does each of us have to the church community?

American society values people based on what they do. Therefore a CEO is valued more than the night janitor. Different roles exist in the church. Some are leaders and some are more behind the scenes. In what way is the church different from our world? How are the ‘lesser roles’ to be valued by the church?  How are Christians to view the sufferings and successes of their fellow Christians?

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.

Exodus 1:6-22

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. We saw that when Israel left Canaan he had with him about seventy people.  Now a couple of hundred years later that number had significantly increased.  What was the Egyptian solution to a “growing” problem among the Hebrews?

[“So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor.” (Exodus 1:11 NIV)]

I suppose there are many ways to “protest” against government.  What did the Hebrews do once they realized why they were being enslaved?
[“But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly.” (Exodus 1:12-13 NIV)]

What diabolical plan did Pharaoh devise which may be likened to an official policy currently in effect in China?
[It was Pharaoh’s plan that the Hebrew midwives kill any male offspring and let the girls live.  The policy in China today is called “One Child”.  The Chinese will inflict hardships on Chinese couples who have more than one child.  The Chinese are not particular whether it is a boy or a girl. Just one child please.]
How successful is Pharaoh’s plan?
[Not very.  “The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live.” (Exodus 1:17 NIV)]

When called to give an account to Pharaoh for their behavior, what did the midwives say?
[“The midwives answered Pharaoh, ‘Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.’” (Exodus 1:19)]

How does Pharaoh sink deeper into depravity?
[“Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: ‘Every boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.’”  (Exodus 1:22 NIV)]

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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