So are you following along?
Last week in 101 Wednesdays, we looked at areas of our lives where God is perhaps asking us to believe in the impossible, like He did Abraham. We looked at how hard it is to understand how God sees us compared to how we see ourselves, and how we resist believing He calls us chosen and beautiful when our shortcomings haunt us. Leah was no stranger to this identity crisis, and we read about her story too. Then there was Joseph. He had the worst series of unfortunate events happen in his life maybe ever. Yet God saw the bigger picture, and was coordinating circumstances to bless Joseph and redeem his past way beyond what anyone could have guessed.
Each week, I pray our hearts are softening to different ways of seeing God and seeing ourselves. If you've been following, don't you agree that after you spend time reading and processing, it's like your spirit does a big sigh of relief? That's how I feel, anyway.
So this week, I've pasted the assignment below. I got a little flack for writing "hard" questions. But guys, this is the point. Not to confuse or frustrate you, but to encourage you to look inside your heart. Bring your issues to the table. Let God into your struggles. I want to make this short time each week worthwhile. It's not another activity to check off. It's meant to be powerful and equipping for our everyday lives. I really want for you to get a glimpse of how deeply God loves you and how relevant the Bible is to your life. Nothing else you spend time on during the week (unless you're going to church, I suppose) can fill you up in the same way. So yeah. The questions will make you think. Not sorry :)
Have a great weekend, friends.
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This week, I'm asking you to look up three verses in a regular Bible. Do you have one? If not, I suggest picking one up in an easy to read, modern language translation such as NIV (phrase by phrase translation) or ESV (word for word translation).
Chapters 10-13, to page 115, JSB
When you have a quiet half hour or so when you’re less likely to get interrupted, briefly ask God to open your eyes and ears to what He wants to show you. Then, in your notebook, answer these questions. Try to answer them as honestly as you can. Do the questions for yourself.
1. The story of Moses freeing the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt is one of the most important in the Bible mainly because of what it foreshadows. First, let’s talk about how God’s people were slaves. The Egyptian Pharaohs were harsh rulers, mercilessly oppressing the Israelite slaves for four hundred years. This whole scene will come to represent how without God, we all live in captivity to sin. And sin is a ruthless oppressor. In what ways do you at times feel oppressed by or captive to sin? (if you need help, think about how difficult it is to break a bad habit, or shake off guilt, or how discouraged you feel repeating the same mistake over and over…)
2. Look up John 8:31-34 where Jesus explains this to some skeptics. How does He say we can be freed from our captivity?
3. The last plague that God sent the Egyptians before Pharaoh finally let the people go was the plague of death. Once again, this is so important because of what it foreshadows. Moses told God’s people that during the night, the angel of death would take the lives of all the first born children of every home in Egypt EXCEPT those which had the blood of an innocent lamb painted on the doorposts. Those homes would be passed over by the angel (why the Jews celebrate Passover, and why they refer to the “Passover lamb”). The blood of the lamb on the doorposts that night in Egypt is what led to the slaves’ freedom from death and since it was the last plague, freedom from slavery. The Israelites walked out of the country that night, on their way to the promised land.
In John 1:29, what does John the Baptist call Jesus when he sees him for the first time?
In the exact same way, Jesus’ blood when He died on the cross became a covering for us, not only protecting us from (eternal spiritual) death, but also freeing us from the grip sin and darkness had on our lives. However, He doesn’t force us to accept this free gift of forgiveness. We are covered and freed if, and only if, we believe Him and entrust our lives to His care.
Have you entrusted your life to God and received His gift of forgiveness? If not, why not take a minute to talk to Him right now?
4. The stories about Moses parting the Red Sea, going hungry in the desert, the 10 commandments, and Jericho are all about God’s people facing impossibilities. Right after they were freed from slavery, they faced some HUGE challenges. God was certainly trying to grow their faith muscles now that they were walking with Him and giving them opportunities to trust Him in the face of impossible circumstances. Take a minute to recall three things you’ve experienced that may not have been pleasant at the time, but grew your faith in God. Are there any happening now?
Finish today by reading James 1:1-4 for one reason why trials are allowed in our lives.
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