Bible Readings: Mar 16-22 2020


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!

Download PDF: DBR 2020 Mar 16-22

Monday, March 16

Read Acts 14:1-28, James 1:1-27

THINK: What spiritual conflict arose in Iconium? How did Paul and Barnabas respond? What were Barnabas and Paul called at Lystra? Did they allow this to continue? Reflect on v. 22. What hardships have you gone through in your way to the kingdom? Note: in each place they appointed elders to shepherd the church. Compare Acts 14:22 with James 1:2-3. Who is the Source of wisdom? How do we get it? [James 1:5 is a verse Pastor Dana prays OFTEN! It’s worth knowing!] The rest of James 1 is a series of exhortations: which one does God want you to apply to your life today?
PRAY: It is crucial we recognize that spiritual conflict is part of our Christian life, individually and as a church. Ask God to give you grace and power to walk with Jesus through such conflict. Going through hardships and trials? Tell it to your Heavenly Father and count it all joy that God is producing perseverance in you! Ask God for wisdom for your day. Express confidence in God that he is able to provide for you and meet your every need. Tell God about any struggle you have currently with temptation. Thank him for his gifts.

Ask for help to be a do-er of God’s word, “doing” true religion.

Tuesday, March 17

Read James 2:1-3:18

THINK: Why is it wrong for churches to draw distinctions, show partiality, or dishonor the poor? What is the royal law? Why is it crucial for Christians to show mercy? Put some thought into it, then write down the relationship between faith and works.

What imagery does James use to describe the tongue? Does your tongue pour out blessing or cursing? Compare and contrast earthly and heavenly wisdom. Are you a peacemaker?

PRAY: James is chock full of practical Christianity! It describes in some detail the walk of faith in Christ. Simply pray through these two chapters, line by line, applying the words of James to your own life as you pray, and also applying them to our church. In particular, ask God for grace in the use of your tongue to be a blessing and source of heavenly wisdom for others.

Wednesday, March 18

Read James 4:1-5:20

THINK: Why do people murder? Why do they quarrel? Who is an enemy of God? Grace! To whom does God give grace? “Submit and resist”—a wise strategy! Why would James want his readers to “be wretched and mourn and weep”? Why do we sometimes judge others? Who is the judge? Why should we say, “If the Lord wills…”? Ponder v. 17 and take it to heart. James reserves harsh words for…whom? For what does he accuse them? What is “at hand” and how should we wait for it? Why do people sometimes say, “I swear it on a stack of Bibles!”? Is that wrong? Have you ever called on the elders to pray for you? What should we do for a wandering soul?
PRAY: As we said yesterday, James is full of practical advice for believers! It describes in rich detail the walk of faith in Christ. Simply pray through these two chapters, line by line, applying the words of James to your own life as you pray, and also applying them to our church.

Special note: as our nation and world and community deals with this current Covid-19 crisis, be much in prayer about it. Pray for our staff and elders and teams as they deal with details and make vital decisions. Pray for our local leaders as well.

Thursday, March 19

Read Acts 15:1-41

THINK: What problem did the early church have to confront? Who made the decision that the gospel would be preached to the Gentiles? What yoke was Peter speaking about? The gospel of grace! What a beautiful and wonderful and life-changing truth! What testimony did Paul and Barnabas offer to support God’s work of grace among the Gentiles? What OT prophecy did James cite? What was in the letter sent to the church at Antioch? What sharp disagreement caused a multiplication of missionary teams?
PRAY: Isn’t it amazing how God both confirmed the work of grace to the Gentiles and also protected the gospel of grace from harm? We are the beneficiaries of this. Thank God for the gospel of grace and for the work of the Holy Spirit in us. Thank God for saving you! Pray for the further spread of the gospel to peoples who have never heard and for the planting of new churches around the world. Praise God that even when the apostles disagreed, he was able to multiply the workers. Pray for our gospel ministry right here in Sioux Falls.

Friday, March 20

Read Acts 16:1-40

THINK: Why do you suppose Paul had Timothy circumcised when the Jerusalem council in the last chapter made clear it was not necessary for salvation? God’s Spirit clearly redirected the missionaries to Macedonia, though the text does not make clear how he did this. How did Lydia come to believe the gospel when she heard it? (see v. 14) What upset the abusers of the young slave woman at Philippi? Where did Paul and Silas end up as a result? How did God deliver them, and who got saved as a result? Note the emphasis on baptism after saving faith in this chapter. What led to an amazing apology?
PRAY: Consider how Timothy went from being a young Christian to a vital pastor and leader in the early church (I & II Timothy). Pray for God to move in the hearts of young people in our church as well! Pray for God to graciously move in the hearts of lost people so that we see our own group of Lydias, slave girls, and jailers converted and then baptized as they begin to follow Jesus. Paul and Silas went through so much, but the fruit was glorious! Ask God to give us courage to suffer for Christ and joy to see gospel fruit as well.

Weekend, March 21-22

Read Genesis 21:1-21

  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: The happy day has finally arrived! It’s a boy!! How old was Abraham when Isaac was born? Remember what the name Isaac means? What does this event reveal about God? This calls for a celebration, but the celebration took a disappointing turn. What happened? What was Abraham’s reaction? What did God instruct Abraham to do? What assurances did God give Abraham concerning Hagar and her child? What happened in the wilderness? How did God provide for Hagar? Again, what does this reveal about God? How has God been faithful in providing for you?  
  PRAY: Praise God for the fact that nothing is impossible for Him. Praise Him for His faithfulness and that he can be trusted with the promises that He makes. He has a plan that goes far beyond our ability to comprehend. He knows what we need before we even ask. Are you in the ‘wilderness’ needing God’s provision or direction? Pray! Has He shown Himself faithful to you in meeting your needs? Thank Him! Pray for our pastors as they preach on this message this Sunday.  
  FAITH GROUP: Share in your Faith Group a time where you were in the ‘wilderness’, and God provided for your needs. Perhaps some of you are there now. Can you share those needs with your group? Pray for each other concerning these situations. Pray together for others you may know of who are in difficult situations, needing provisions or direction. Are there ways you as a group can reach out to them and help? Pray for God’s wisdom and direction.