Zechariah 9.9-17 – February 17, 2020

Zechariah 9.9-17

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
(Zechariah 9:9, NIV)

The coming king comes to us in humility, riding on a donkey (not a powerful stallion!) and brings to us peace.

Thought Questions:

Describe the image one might expect of a conquering king entering into the land he just conquered. How does this compare or contrast to what you see from the passage we read here?

In what ways does Jesus bring peace into your life?

In what ways can your life bring peace to others?

Ephesians 3.20-21 – February 16, 2020

Ephesians 3.20-21

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3.20-21, NIV)

His power! At work in us! And yes, the glory goes to him!

Thought Questions:

If you could do anything for God with your life, what would you want to do? How does it feel to know that whatever you can think of, God can do even better?

How does it change your perspective to know that the life you live is powered by God? In what ways does this help you to think bigger and better than you might otherwise?

In what ways can you glorify God today?

Genesis 42.1-44.34 – February 15, 2020

Genesis 42.1-44.34

Now Joseph was the governor of the land, the person who sold grain to all its people. So when Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground. As soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them. “Where do you come from?” he asked. 

“From the land of Canaan,” they replied, “to buy food.” 

Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him. Then he remembered his dreams about them and said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see where our land is unprotected.” 

10 “No, my lord,” they answered. “Your servants have come to buy food. 11 We are all the sons of one man. Your servants are honest men, not spies.” (Genesis 42:6–11, NIV)

The story of Joseph and his brothers is a joy to read … if you are reading from our perspective. I can imagine that the brothers of Jospeh found no joy in their circumstances, and we will discover, saw their situation go from bad to worse. I wonder if God ever looks at our story and chuckles, since he knows our stories from a better vantage point than our own?

Thought Questions:

What do you think was going through the minds of Joseph’s brothers as they faced obstacle after obstacle in their quest to get food from Egypt?

Knowing he would reveal himself to his brothers and take them in, why do you think Joseph spent as much time as he did “playing them along?”

How would the lives of the Israelite people been different if Jospeh’s brothers had been faithful to God’s laws? If Jospeh had NOT been faithful to them?

1 Peter 1.13-16 – February 14, 2020

1 Peter 1.13-16

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1.13-16, NIV)

It is crazy to think that we can be holy like God is holy. No matter how hard we try, it seems impossible. Yet, perhaps it isn’t through our effort that we are made holy in the first place.

Thought Questions:

List all of the images that come to mind when you think of someone who is alert and fully sober.

How holy would you claim you are? In what ways do these verses seem to ask us to do the impossible? If it were impossible, why would we be asked to do it?

How does the hope of God’s grace transform our ordinary lives into holy lives?

2 Corinthians 3.18 – February 13, 2020

2 Corinthians 3.18

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3.18, NIV)

What an amazing thought: We are being transformed into glory!

Thought Questions:

What aspects about God demonstrate his glory to you today? How have you taken a moment to reflect on God’s glory?

How well do you reflect the glory of God? In what ways is it reassuring to know you are being transformed his image … that you look more and more like him?

How does knowing that it is through God and his spirit that we are transformed change how you go about trying to be more like God? In what ways are you letting him transform you, versus you trying to do it all yourself?

2 Kings 6.8-17 – February 3, 2020

2 Kings 6.8-17

Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, “I will set up my camp in such and such a place.”
The man of God sent word to the king of Israel: “Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there.” 10 So the king of Israel checked on the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he was on his guard in such places.
11 This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, “Tell me! Which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?”
12 “None of us, my lord the king,” said one of his officers, “but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.”
13 “Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back: “He is in Dothan.” 14 Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.
15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.
16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 
(2 Kings 6:8–17, NIV)

“Sometimes I need my eyes opened to see. Those that are with us are greater than those against us!”

Thought Questions:

What moments in your life have been “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” moments?

How did God open your eyes to see his working in those situations that seemed hopeless to you?

How does your day look different knowing you are surrounded by the Lord’s armies?

Acts 1.7-8 – February 2, 2020

Acts 1.7-8

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1.7-8, NIV)

We do not have to do this alone. Sometime you might need to wait on God, but he never sends you out without empowering you to go.

Thought Questions:

Why do you think people are so focused on when the end times will come? What might change if we knew the time of the end times? What would not change?

What things might you be able to do with the power of the Holy Spirit that you could never do on your own? How have you experienced the Holy Spirit guiding your life?

How can you be a witness of God today?