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Obtaining What Wasn’t Ours

Longing For Redemption

The Daniel Diet

The Benediction

Moses' Wish Fulfilled

Jesus Christ Today

Christ’s Witnessing and Ours

The Rejection of Saul

He Who Is Without Sin


Gifts For God






Obtaining What Wasn’t Ours

Read Romans 4:18-25 - What does it mean for a Christian to have “the faith of Abraham”?  What things do you believe in “against all hope”?

Read Galatians 3:9-14 - Who are God’s chosen people today?  Who are the people he blesses?

Read Ephesians 3:1-6 - Paul says that a great mystery has been revealed during the age of The Church - that Gentiles are heirs of God’s promises along with Israel in Christ.  Hints of this can be found in the Old Testament, but it was made explicit in the New Testament.

Read Ephesians 2:11-12 - Does Paul mean to cause us to despair when he says that we Gentiles were once excluded from God’s Kingdom and without hope in the world?  Or does he mean for us to rejoice now that we have been brought near?  How does Jesus bring Jews and Gentiles together?

Read Ephesians 3:7-9 - Why does Paul call his ministry to the Gentiles a grace that was given to him?

Read Isaiah 52:13-15



Gifts For God


Read Psalm 51:10-17 - What does the Lord want us to bring to him?


Read Malachi 1:1-14 - How can we honor the Lord with our gifts today?  How do we dishonor the Lord at times?


Read Matthew 2:7-11 - What does it mean to worship a baby?  How do you think the Magi did it?  What was Herod going to pretend to do?  How can we worship Jesus?


Read Revelation 21:1-5 - Our calendar has changed over to 2009.  But has much really changed in our world?  How new is the New Year, really?  But one day God will bring something new!


Read Matthew 25:31-46 - We can still give gifts to Jesus Christ even though we weren't alive when he was present bodily on Earth.  How can we do this?


Read Matthew 2:1-12


He Who Is Without Sin


Read John 5:1-15 - This is a familiar story told in Sunday School classes.  But what may not be so familiar is the ending.  What do you make of Jesus' last words to this man?


Read John 4:4-18, 39-42 - Why did Jesus bring up the woman's previous marriages and current sexual relationship?  Was it just so he could impress her and the townspeople by knowing things he shouldn't have been able to know, or was there something more behind this?


Read John 8:1-11 - Many people know the story in today's scripture lesson, but they only remember Jesus' famous line, "he who is without sin, let him cast the first stone."  We easily forget that Jesus also told the woman not to sin anymore.


Read John 9:1-11 - When bad things happen, are they always signs of God's judgment?


Read Jonah 3:1-10 - What was the purpose of Jonah's harsh prophecy?  Does God delight in punishing the wicked?

Read Luke 13:1-9



Longing For Redemption

Read Romans 8:18-21 - Are you looking forward to the day the creation will be liberated from its “bondage to decay”?  What do you think that means?  Do you believe that whatever present sufferings you are experiencing, they won’t compare with the glory that will be revealed in us?  If we believe that, why do we focus so much on our suffering?

Read Romans 8:22-25 - Have you ever experienced the kind of inward groaning Paul is talking about here?  What are you hoping for most in life?

Read Psalm 51 - David feels his sin very acutely.  Have you ever felt as David does about your own sin?

Read Psalm 56 - Even though David was currently experiencing suffering at the hands of others, he still hoped for better days.  How do you think he was able to do this?

Read Psalm 67 - The Psalmist asks for his people to be blessed in order that they would, in turn, be able to bless others.  And when the world praises God, God’s people will be blessed again.  Do we desire that the nations praise God?

Read Psalm 130


The Daniel Diet

Read Nehemiah 1:1-4 - Nehemiah was an official in a foreign king’s court.  And he lived a good life.  Why then was he concerned with what was happening at Jerusalem?

Read Nehemiah 2:1-6 - The king is generous and will let Nehemiah go and rebuild Jerusalem.  But who is really the one behind it all?

Read Nehemiah 5:14-19 - Why did Nehemiah abstain from eating “the food allotted to the governor”?  Doesn’t rank have its privileges?

Read Nehemiah 9:1-3 - Could you ever imagine us having such a day of confession?  And why do the Israelites confess not only their own sins, but also the sins of their fathers?

Read Nehemiah 13:23-27 - Is Nehemiah a bigot or a xenophobe?  Why is he so upset here?

Read Daniel 1


The Benediction

Read Genesis 1:1-2 - Notice that at creation, God is mentioned, but His Spirit is also said to be involved.  The Spirit hovers, or broods, over the waters like a bird waiting for its eggs to hatch.

Read Proverbs 8:22-31 - These verses are a poetic personification of Wisdom.  But could they also be describing Jesus Christ, the second member of the Trinity?

Read John 1:1-3 - Here we are told that another member of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, was involved with creation.  How do these verses tie in with the verses from Proverbs we read earlier?  Jesus is both the Word of God and the Wisdom of God.

Read Acts 9:1-17 - Why do both Saul and Ananias call Jesus “Lord”?  What does this term mean?

Read Colossians 1:13-20 - Prayerfully consider all that these verses tell us about Jesus.  Is there anyone else like Jesus?  Is there any other god like Jesus?

Read 2 Corinthians 13:11-14.




Moses' Wish Fulfilled


Read Acts 2:1-4 - Why do you think God used such dramatic signs to signify that the Holy Spirit was coming upon the believers?  What do the signs mean?


Read Acts 2:5-11 - The gospel message was being spoken in many languages to people from many nations and regions.  Was this the start of The Church's world mission?


Read Acts 2:12-13 - How is being filled with the Holy Spirit like being drunk?  Or are there any similarities?  Were the mockers just looking for some way to dismiss what was happening?


Read Acts 2:14-21 - What significance is there to Peter quoting a prophecy about the last days and saying it was fulfilled on Pentecost?  What significance is there to the fact that the Spirit is being poured out on young and old, male and female?


Read Acts 2:22-24 - How does Peter, who ran away in the Garden of Gethsemane and who denied Jesus three times, now have the courage to say what he is saying?


Read Numbers 11:24-30





Jesus Christ Today


Read Matthew 28:16-20 - What does Jesus mean when He says that all authority has been given to him?  How does this relate to his command to go out into all the world and make disciples?


Read Luke 24:36-49 - How important is it that Jesus had a real flesh and bones body after the resurrection?


Read Luke 24:50-53 - Jesus, with his flesh and blood body (see yesterday's reading), ascended into heaven.  This means there is hope for real human beings like us!


Read John 20:10-18 - Jesus was not just ascending to "the gods," but to a specific God.  He calls him "my Father and your Father, my God and your God."  What is the significance of this?


Read Luke 1:1-11 - How important is this story (of the ascension of Jesus) to the Christian Faith?  Why?


Read Ephesians 1:15-23





Christ’s Witnessing and Ours

Read Luke 24-45-48 - What things concerning Jesus are you a witness of?

Real Acts 1:7-8 - Do you think these verses applied to only the apostles, or do they apply to us as well?  Are you called to be one of Christ’s witnesses?  How can you get the power necessary to live out your calling?

Read Acts 6:8-15 -What do you think Stephen’s face actually looked like?  How could he be calm when false accusations were being made against him?

Read Acts 7:54-56 - Why was Jesus standing up as Stephen was about to be martyred?

Read Acts 7:57-60 - Sometimes witnesses for Jesus are called to die.  How could Stephen forgive those who were stoning him?  Why does the Bible say “he fell asleep,” rather than, “he died”?

Read 1 Peter 3:13-22



The Rejection of Saul


Read 1 Samuel 15:24-31 - Saul had disobeyed the Lord's command to utterly destroy the Amalekites.  Instead, the people kept the best of the enemy's animals as plunder.  This could make it seem as though the Israelites waged war for personal gain and not as instruments of God's vengeance.  So, the Lord was rejecting Saul as King.  Why is God called "The Glory of Israel?"  Why does Saul call God, in effect, Samuel's God?  Why doesn't he say, "My God?"  And why does he want to worship the Lord even though God has taken his kingdom from him?


Read 1 Samuel 15:32-35 - Notice that, although Samuel knows what the Lord has done is right, he still grieves for Saul!  We can accept what happens to us and to others in life as the Lord's will, but still be saddened by it and react emotionally to it.


Read 1 Samuel 16:1 - Both the Lord and Samuel now move on from Saul.  After periods of mourning, there comes a time when people must get on with life and do the next things.  Not that they won't carry grief around with them, but that the Lord will enable them to function.


Read 1 Samuel 16:4-7 - What does the Lord see when He looks at your heart?


Read 1 Samuel 16:8-13 - God chooses the least likely of Jesse's sons to be the new king.  This is good news to us because, apart from God's grace, sinners like us are unlikely candidates to be admitted to God's Kingdom.  And God's Spirit equips David, just as He equips us.





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