November 23, 2016 – Genesis 18

Read Genesis 18

Genesis is full of mysterious appearances of God and His work. This chapter includes some new things. Just to help jump-start our understanding, the three men are often considered to be the Lord and two angels.

There are two major sections – vv 1-15, and vv 16-33. While looking like distinct sections, they are related.

Take a look at the first section, vv 1-15.

  • Where does this narrative take place?
  • Did Abraham know who these three men were when he saw them?
  • Why did Abraham respond to their appearance the way that he did?
  • What did the men tell about Sarah, and how did Sarah respond?

Now move on to vv 16-33.

  • How did the Lord come to tell Abraham about his plans to destroy Sodom?
  • How did Abraham respond to the news? Why?

Looking back at this chapter, we can see a couple of important things. God was going to make sure that Abraham and Sarah knew that their son was from the Lord. They were both too old for normal child-bearing. Additionally, God is showing that he is holy, and that his patience with sin will only last for a time. Judgement will come to those who rebel against Him.

“I have singled him out so that he will direct his sons and their families to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just. Then I will do for Abraham all that I have promised.” -v19

Nov 22, 2016 – Proverbs 18

Read Proverbs 18

This chapter is packed full of thoughts about relationships and things that affect relationships – friends, wife, effect of speech, pride.

As you read, think about these questions…

  • What relationships do you see mentioned?
  • How can types of speech affect these relationships?
  • Why is wisdom important in relationships?
  • Friends are mentioned several times. What is said about friendships?

Everyone needs to evaluate their relationships to make sure their relationships are healthy. According to this chapter, what do you need to do to make healthier relationships?

And then my favorite verse is in here…

The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the LORD. -v22

Nov 21, 2016 – Psalm 9

Read Psalm 9

Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) is being celebrated this week. This Psalm is very appropriate.

Note that in the first verse, the writer says, “I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.” He is remembering the goodness of the Lord, and then lists several of these things.

Consider what you are thankful for. Why are you thankful for these things?

Be very specific with this exercise.

<pause to make a list>

Now, how can these things lead you to praise to the Lord?

Sing praises to the LORD who reigns in Jerusalem.

Tell the world about his unforgettable deeds. -v11

Oct 21, 2016 – 2 Timothy 2

Read 2 Timothy 2

Today’s reading is a continuation of Paul’s second letter to Timothy. Remember that Timothy was a young pastor who obviously had a close relationship with his mentor, Paul.

As you read this chapter, think about these things…

  • How would you describe the closeness between Paul and Timothy?
  • What illustrations did Paul use to help Timothy understand endurance or suffering?
  • Paul talks about why he is suffering. (Remember that Paul is in jail in Rome at this point.) From vv 8-10, why does Paul suffer?
  • Starting in v15 and going to the end of the chapter, Timothy is encouraged to “be a good worker”. What is the goal?
  • Describe are the characteristics of a diligent worker for Jesus that Paul lists.

That command to be a good worker is very much applicable to us. As you consider your service to the Lord, what is He showing you that you need to change? How can you be a better worker for the Lord?

Always remember that Jesus Christ, a descendant of King David, was raised from the dead. -v8

Oct 20, 2016 – Mark 9

Read Mark 9

What was your impression of this chapter? Did you notice anything that you’ve never seen before?

The action in Mark moves pretty fast, and this chapter is no different.

  • Why do you think the transfiguration (vv 1-13) took place?
  • Is there anything you can learn about how you should respond to Jesus?
  • Jesus also removes a demon from a boy. This has happened before. What is the purpose of this?
  • What did the disciples learn from this event?
  • The disciples were people. They had the same human struggles we have. What are your thoughts about vv 33-37?
  • Is this relevant to us today?

Jesus is the Son of God, and his authority is demonstrated in this chapter. Ask God to help you believe more fully in Jesus.

The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” -v24

Oct 19, 2016 – Genesis 17

Read Genesis 17

The story around Abram is building in this chapter. Pay close attention to these things…

  • God changes Abram’s name to Abraham, and changes Sarai’s name to Sarah.
  • God gives assurance that He will keep his promises of an heir via Sarah.
  • God assures Abraham that He will also make Ishmael a father of 12 princes and a great nation.
  • God tells Abraham to circumcise all male children as a sign of the covenant.
  • Abraham obeys, and he and Ishmael, along with other males in the household, are circumcised.

Some aspects of this account are unusual for us. Remember that there are cultural aspects to this account that occurred 3000-4000 years ago.

Here’s the key point to take away. Even when it seems otherwise, God is working to fulfill His promises and make His plan come to pass. Thank Him for the plan that He has for your life. Ask Him to give you patience while you wait for His plan to come to pass.

Then Abraham bowed down to the ground, but he laughed to himself in disbelief. -v17

Oct 18, 2016 – Proverbs 17

Read Proverbs 17

This chapter continues with ideas surrounding righteous living. Many topics are addressed.

Pick out one or two topics you see in this chapter, and think about these things…

  • Why does the author include that in this chapter?
  • How are doing with living according to the wisdom given?
  • How can you improve?

Did you have trouble finding a topic to think about? How about speech or quarreling or money?

It is safer to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than to confront a fool caught in foolishness. -v12

Oct 17, 2016 – Psalm 10

Read Psalm 10

Injustice is everywhere – across the globe, elsewhere in our country, and sometimes right in our home town. It seems like God doesn’t care, or isn’t there.

The writer of this psalm seems to have similar thoughts. This psalm is arranged in two sections – vv 1-11, and vv 12-18. The first portion expresses concern about the Lord letting the wicked oppress the poor, and the second section is the prayer of the observer or victim to God about the situation.

  • What is the attitude of the wicked toward God?
  • How does the writer see success for the wicked?
  • How would you describe the faith shown in the prayer in the last portion of the chapter?
  • What does the observer/victim realize about God?
  • When you seen real injustice or oppression, what is your response?
  • What actions should you take?

The LORD is king forever and ever! The godless nations will vanish from the land. -v16

Oct 14, 2016 – 2 Timothy 1

Read 2 Timothy 1

Paul wrote this second letter to Timothy while he (Paul) was imprisoned in Rome. Pay attention to the tone of the relationship between Paul and Timothy.

Paul talks  about serving God. What can we learn about motives for serving God?

Faith is also a topic in this first chapter. Look at vv 5-7. Why is faith important? Why does Paul tell Timothy to “fan the flame”?

How can you grow your faith? 

How does having faith relate to telling others about the Lord?

Whatever your level of faith, ask the Lord to increase your faith. Ask Him to not be afraid or ashamed of telling others about Him. Be strong!

This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. -v6

Oct 13, 2016 – Mark 8

Read Mark 8

The narrative in Mark 8 moves right along and the events change quickly. But, some important things happen here. 

Bread and food are used a couple of times in this chapter. Why is that? What did Jesus want to teach the disciples and other people with food/bread? What is He trying to teach you?

Jesus also wanted His disciples to develop a complete understanding of who He is. Who did other people say Jesus is? Who did Peter say Jesus is? How did Peter arrive at that conclusion?

Jesus talks about being a follower in vv 34-38. What does it take to be a follower of Jesus? Is this still relevant today?

Jesus wants, or rather expects, us to be followers of Him. After reading this chapter, are there any actions or attitudes you need to change in order to be a better follower of him?

Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Messiah.” -v29