Bible Readings: Mar 9-15 2020

LOVE GOD’S WORD & PRAYER

New Testament Challenge 2020

At Faith Baptist Fellowship, we Love God’s Word and Prayer. Hearing a sermon at church on Sunday mornings alone isn’t enough to be considered a healthy diet of God’s word and prayer. We strongly believe that every growing disciple of Jesus needs to be regularly hearing from God through his word and personally speaking back to God through prayer.

We are challenging everyone to read through the entire New Testament in 2020 – one chapter per day, five days per week. If regular Bible reading is not yet a habit of yours, this is a great way to get started! As always, we will provide devotional thoughts and helpful prayer points on the passages. The weekend material will prepare you for the upcoming Sunday sermon as well as provide some discussion help for Faith Groups.

We recommend you set aside at least 15-20 minutes a day for this plan and prayer. If you fall behind, just start on the current day. Try to develop the habit of reading at the same time and place. We suggest having a journal and pen for answering questions and recording your thoughts and insights. Happy Bible Reading!

Monday, March 9

Read Acts 8:1-40

THINK: Stephen lies dead and Saul leads a ravaging of believers. Philip extends the reach of the gospel to Samaria with great response. What kind of man was Simon in Samaria? How did Philip impact him? What was the flaw in Simon’s thinking? What did Peter tell him he must do? Why is it significant that the gospel spreads to Samaritans and then to an Ethiopian? What Scripture did Philip find the Ethiopian reading? How did the eunuch respond to the gospel? What is the implication of “they both went down into the water”? If you have not been baptized by immersion, what prevents you?
PRAY: Rejoice that the gospel of Jesus Christ is for all the peoples of the earth, not only Jews but Gentiles as well. The gospel has been in Ethiopia since Acts 8, but it remains a needy land. Pray for the growth and strength of the church there and in all of east Africa. Ask God to give us boldness to share the good news of Jesus Christ and ask him to open wide doors of opportunity. Pray for persecuted Christians around the world (like Stephen, many have recently paid the ultimate price for their faith)—for courage, endurance, and faith.

Tuesday, March 10

Read Acts 9:1-43

THINK: Why was Saul headed for Damascus? Who met him on the way? What reality must have truly blown Saul’s mind when he realized who was speaking to him? What was the outcome of this encounter? When Ananias was hesitant to go to Saul, what did God assure him about the blinded man? What more did Saul receive beside sight? What 3 things did Saul immediately proceed to do? What preparation now helped him prove that Jesus is the Christ? What two miracles further strengthened the spread of the gospel?
PRAY: God intervenes in a most dramatic way and both Saul and history are never the same! Praise God for his life-altering power and grace. Thank him for granting you salvation in his Son. Thank him for sending the Holy Spirit to draw us to himself. Thank God for the amazing impact of the life of Saul/Paul, author of so many NT epistles and missionary to the Gentiles! Pray for God’s drawing power in the lives of your unsaved loved ones and friends. Pray for the gospel growth of our church! Hallelujah—what a Savior!

Wednesday, March 11

Read Acts 10:1-48

THINK: What three unusual details does Dr. Luke note about the gentile soldier Cornelius? What does an angel tell him to do? What amazing experience prepared Peter to meet with Cornelius? Why did Peter stop the soldier from bowing down to him? When Peter began to speak, how did he interpret the vision he had received? What details does Peter find important to include in his gospel message to Cornelius and his household? What happened to these new Gentile believers? Why was water needed?
PRAY: Both in our Sunday messages from Genesis and from these chapters of Acts the message is repeated again and again: the gospel of Jesus Christ is for all the nations, for through Abraham “all the families of the earth will be blessed” and the life-changing power of the gospel comes to the Gentiles like Cornelius and his household. Praise the Lord that no people group is excluded! Thank him for sending his Son to save “some from every tribe and tongue and nation.” Pray for the spread of the gospel today, including praying for our missionaries Ted and Dawn Siemens and Micah who depart today for Cyprus and Andi Voss who departed yesterday.

Thursday, March 12

Read Acts 11:1-12:25

THINK: Who was the circumcision party? Why did they criticize Peter? When relating his story, what statement of Jesus did Peter recall? What clear statement summarizes this section of Acts? [Cyprus! We helped send the Siemens to Cyprus yesterday!] Who did the church send to check out the happenings in Antioch? What kind of man was he? Who did Barnabas bring to Antioch to help him teach the people? What name for believers was coined there? Why did the disciples take up an offering? Who was in prison and why? What was the church doing while the angel delivered Peter? Did they believe that God would answer their prayers? Herod—Oh my!
PRAY: Pray through this chapter, rejoicing in the grand news of the gospel and its power to save and transform, thanking God for the gift of the Holy Spirit, asking God to be filled with the Spirit and faith and to be an encourager like Barnabas, willing to give generously to the work of the Lord and as special circumstances arise. Ask God to help us pray with faith believing that God is able! On this Friday the 13th, we are thankful that our lives are not ruled by superstition or myth but by the Lord God who reigns in the universe! Pray for Angela Myers and her VBS team as they finalize plans.

Friday, March 13

Read Luke Acts 13:1-52

THINK: Verses 1-3 are vitally important. The church was already a multi-racial, multi-ethnic collection of people. What was the church doing when the Lord spoke? How did the church respond? Note: the world would never be the same! Cyprus again is the context for an amazing scene. Who did Paul rebuke and why? What was the outcome? Analyze the extensive content of Paul’s gospel message in the synagogue. Why did he emphasize the history of Israel? Why did he quote extensively from the OT scriptures? Notice how Jesus Christ, the cross and resurrection are the culmination of the message. What did you learn from this? What upset the Jewish leaders? Why were the disciples rejoicing as the chapter closes?
PRAY: Ask God to help you develop your own gospel testimony so that you can tell others about Jesus and what God has done for you. Ask God for open doors to share the gospel. Pray for your family and friends who need the Lord. Ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Weekend, March 14-15

Read Genesis 20  

If you’ve fallen behind this week, consider using these extra days to catch up. You can also prepare your heart and mind for this Sunday’s worship service. Read the planned sermon text above and the thoughts below in advance of Sunday morning’s message. If you are in a Faith Group, consider discussing the questions below together.
THINK: You would think Abraham would have learned! What error of judgment did he make for the second time? How does Abimelech have a total change of perspective? Why was Abraham and Sarah’s story a half-truth? How did this unusual chain of events in the end result in blessing?

   Note: God is able to turn our poor decisions into blessing. We should not let past judgments become a millstone around our necks; God can and will take our sins and mistakes and bring new life, new hope, new joy as we trust in Jesus Christ. God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly beyond all we ask or imagine!

PRAY: Thoughtfully reflect on times in your life when God has rescued you from poor judgment and brought blessing out of it. Pray a prayer of humble thanksgiving to God for doing so!

   Pray for our pastors as they preach on this passage on Sunday. Pray for our young people as they make crucial life choices; pray that they come to know the forgiveness and lovingkindness of our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ.

FAITH GROUP: Share in your group stories of being rescued from poor choices by the grace of God. Pray together for those who have yet to experience God’s forgiveness and grace in such situations. How can you as a group reach out to them? How can you help? PRAYER and LOVE is always a wise first step!