Bible Readings: August 14-20
Faith Bible Reading 2017
Our plan for 2017 will take you through the key stories of the Bible in one year. The plan calls for reading one chapter of Scripture a day for six days. There will also be additional readings from two other passages that are key cross references to the main chapter. This plan shows how the many individual accounts of the Bible make up one interconnected story-God’s Story. This reading plan is also online at www.ownit365.com. On Sunday, we will have a passage from the upcoming Sunday sermon along with questions for Faith Group discussion.
We also suggest having a notebook and pen for answering questions and recording your thoughts/insights. Bring this notebook with you to Faith Group for discussions and prayer times. Select a quiet place and consistent time to read and pray.
Download PDF: Faith Bible Readings 2017 Aug 14-20
Abbreviations: TAI – Think About It | PP – Prayer Points
MONDAY, AUGUST 14
Read Esther 5-7
TAI: What was “the third day” (v. 1; see 4:16)? Esther acts as she, Mordecai, and other Jews are fasting before the Lord. Why is that important to notice? Contrasted here are Queen Esther’s shrewd wisdom and Haman’s cruelty and conniving. Wisdom so often wins the day! Ponder James 1:5 and memorize it. Events turn in a stunning fashion. Even Haman’s wife and friends realize he will not overcome the Jew Mordecai…why not? God fulfills his promise.
PP: Pray James 1:5, asking our Father for a generous portion of wisdom. Ponder: are there challenges and difficulties in your life that require wisdom from God? Tell God about them, asking for a gracious dose of wisdom in each situation. Pray please for wisdom for our Faith Elder Council, pastors, and team leaders as they shepherd our ministry. Pray also about the 3 Directives. Pray for Esther-like leaders for our nation, including leaders who are willing to humble themselves by prayer with fasting to the Lord. Praise God for the third day resurrection of Jesus from the dead!
TUESDAY, AUGUST 15
Read Esther 8-10
TAI: The story of Esther is the remarkable account of a people’s history turning in dramatic fashion. These final three chapters detail the stunning transformation, from the Jewish people in exile and on the brink of extinction to being in power and thriving. Some even declared themselves to be Jews as a result (8:17). The fates of Mordecai and Haman are another reversal; Haman is dead and his family also, while Mordecai lives in his house and rides in his chariot. “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Hope in God!” (Ps. 42:5)
PP: What stunning reversal do you seek? Pray! Tell God all about it. We know Who holds the future! Recall God’s amazing track record of deliverance for his people (your very own Purim) and ask for his great work of grace in your life, your family, our church, our nation, and our world. Delight in the final deliverance promised to us in the new heavens and new earth, through Jesus Christ, and thank God for such hope and promises. Praise the Lord; laud him!
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 16
Read Ezra 1
TAI: ESVSB, p. 800: “The theme of Ezra is faithfulness to the Lord, both in worship…and in keeping the Torah, the Mosaic law.” God is faithful to his covenant people, fulfills his promise, and returns the exiled people to their homeland through the proclamation of a Persian king. Why did Cyrus do this? (Read Isaiah 45:1-7!) Not only that, Cyrus sends the Jews home with gold and silver and supplies. What is the point? Our God can do ANYTHING! Wow. He is faithful.
PP: As we previously read in Esther, God is able to turn the world on its head. He does just that with Cyrus. What do you long to see God do in our world today? In our nation? In our city of Sioux Falls? Pray, asking God to work mightily for his glory in all these spheres. Pray for the humbling of nations, the repentance of peoples, the spread of the gospel to every language. Thank God for his kindness to you in Jesus Christ. Express your heartfelt trust in him.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 17
Read Ezra 2
TAI: Be sure to read the additional readings today! God is a gracious restorer and reconciler. Things that are broken he puts back together! In this chapter, God’s fulfillment of his promise is written in detail. Names, families—God once again turns history in his direction to fulfill his promises and restore his people. How has God shown his grace to you, bringing restoration and wholeness to your life? Rejoice that God has a plan for your life, as he had a plan for Jerusalem and Judah. Trust him for your future and hope in him.
PP: What feels broken in your life? Pray about it. What feels torn apart? Pray about that too! Ask God to heal and restore through his Son, Jesus Christ. Thank God for the reconciliation that comes through the cross of Christ, that by faith we can have our walk with God restored and have peace with God. Pray for those on your Sacred 7 list to also be reconciled to God at the cross.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 18
Read Ezra 3
TAI: This chapter may be titled New Beginnings. The first waves of exiles are returning to their homeland, and begin to restore the Jewish traditions and temple foundation. The books of Ezra and Nehemiah belong together (and may have been compiled by the same writer) but cover an extended period of time, showing that the restoration of Jerusalem was a lengthy process. Here the vivid emotions of the returned exiles are chronicled, combining delight and weeping. What a worship service it was! Reflect on vv. 10-13. What interrupts this breakthrough in ch. 4?
PP: Jesus taught that true worship involves both heart (emotions) and mind (intellect, thoughtfulness). Have you ever experienced the depth of emotions in worship described in this passage? Praise God now. Tell him how much your salvation means to you! Thank him for a life of New Beginnings, and for fulfilling every promise he has ever made to his people.
SATURDAY AUGUST 19
TAI: Next week we will read more of the resumed rebuilding efforts from both Ezra and Nehemiah. These two verses in Ezra, along with the words of the “minor” prophets, represent the move of God to get the work going again for the good of God’s people and for his glory. The stalled work (Ezra 4) and strong opposition are no match for the God who made the world. Nothing stirs the efforts of God’s kingdom people like his promise, “I am with you!”
PP: When did Jesus also say, “I am with you” and how does that impact the church today? When you feel discouraged in your walk with our Jesus, do you remind yourself of that promise? Who or what can stop believers when God has said, “I am with you always” and “I will never leave you or forsake you”? Pray about any area of your life where you feel discouraged or face opposition. Trust in the Lord and soldier on! Ask God for grace and strength to walk in the obedience of faith.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 20
Read Psalm 90 and refresh your soul!
TAI & PP: What a marvelous psalm. Both v. 12 and v. 14 would be tremendous ones to memorize! We need to learn that life is short; the very realization gives wisdom that not a day should be wasted. And nothing satisfies in this world like the steadfast love and faithfulness of God. That is good reason to rejoice and praise Him today! Pray for our worship this day, and for our guest speaker, Christopher Simmons, church planting resident with the Converge Heartland district. Pray for the Simmons family as they settle down in Sioux Falls, as Anna anticipates the arrival of their baby boy in September, as Christopher finishes his final year of seminary on-line, and as they pursue their dream of starting a new church to the glory of God. (Christopher attended Faith as a college student at the University of Sioux Falls, and is the son of a Converge pastor in Wyoming.)