Cast your cares on the Lord
and he will sustain you;
he will never let
the righteous be shaken. (Psalm 55:22, NIV)
What cares do you have that you would like to no longer weigh you down? What would it look like, in practical terms, to cast these cares upon the Lord?
How have you experienced the care of the Lord in your life and in times when you were burdened with the cares of this life?
Why is righteousness such an important part of being able to cast your cares on the Lord? In what ways can you increase your righteousness?
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. (Hebrews 12:14–15, NIV)
“Speaks of God’s will and guides for holy living.”
How hard is it to live at peace with everyone? How hard do you try to live at peace with everyone?
Why is holiness an important characteristic to see the Lord?
How do people fall short of the grace of God?
1 Samuel 1:1-2.11
After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. 25 When the bull had been sacrificed, they brought the boy to Eli, 26 and she said to him, “Pardon me, my lord. As surely as you live, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord. 27 I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. 28 So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there. (1 Samuel 1:24–28, NIV)
The story of Samuel’s birth is one of desperation, of love, of commitment to God, and one of God’s unfailing love to deliver what is promised, granting what has been asked of him.
As you read through the passages today, what emotions do you find? In what ways have you at times identified with each of these emotions in your life?
How willing do you think Hannah was to really believe what Eli promised her? Do you think this would have been easy for her or a challenge? Why do you think this is the case?
How difficult is it for us to turn over the things we have–at time precious, valuable things–to God for his purposes?
So we say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6, NIV)
In what ways has the Lord helped you?
What is the relationship between God being a helper and us being without fear?
Even knowing that God is Sovereign, why do we fear those around us? How can we trust God’s help more and fear less?
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
(Psalm 46.10, NIV)
“In a world full of busyness, I need a CONSTANT reminder to be still so I can hear him & be reminded he is in control.”
What areas of your life seem out of control and entirely too busy? How have you tried to address those areas?
In what ways is God exalted among the nations and in all the earth?
How does knowing that God really is God help us to be still?
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dreamed.
2 Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
3 The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.
4 Restore our fortunes, Lord,
like streams in the Negev.
5 Those who sow with tears
will reap with songs of joy.
6 Those who go out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with them. (Psalm 126:1–6, NIV)
Lives that have found the redemption that comes from God should be lives that demonstrate joyful celebration and a willingness to share that joy with others.
How has God given you laughter and joy?
What great things has God done for you?
How do others recognize the goodness of God based on your joy and laughter?
I delight greatly in the Lord;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10, NIV)
We recognize Isaiah 61 as the words of Jesus as he began his public ministry (See Luke 4). What is most striking is what this Redeemer, this Messiah, came to accomplish. For many, it was NOT what they expected the Messiah to do.
Make a list of all of the things the speaker of Isaiah 61 says he will do. How well do these actions describe those of your own life? What can you do to better be about doing these things?
How have you found following Jesus a reversal for your life, turning ashes into beauty, mourning into joy, etc.?
What are some of the ways you demonstrate your delight in the Lord to others?