What a beautiful day we had for walking this week It was fun to admire the many shades of green found only in springtime, to see all those wildflowers poking out along the trail and listen to the birdsong. With all that beauty all I could think about was how merciful our God is. Only He would create so much beauty for people so undeserving. It brings to mind verse 8 "Though you have not seen Him, you love Him and even though you do not see Him, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy"
Our joy is inexpressible. There aren't enough words to explain all that God has done and has planned for our lives. We can face horrible tragedy with the knowledge that God works all things together for our good. And we can hang onto hope when others would cave in from their sorrows.
Peter was a man well-familiar with sorrows. After years of walking side by side with Jesus, sometimes on land sometimes on water. After vowing he would never betray his friend- look at their last moments together. Jesus asks Peter for prayer support in the garden and Peter falls asleep on the job. Jesus asks him to calmly accept how His life on Earth would end and Peter chops off the ear of the nearest soldier. Peter vows to love Jesus forever and the last words Jesus hears Peter say are "I don't know this man you're talking about"
I love that Jesus didn't leave Peter to stew in his guilt for long. But I also love that He gave His fiend a season of sorrow. From the cross He told John to watch out for His mom but He never asked John to watch out for Peter. Peter needed to experience humility, sorrow and anguish in order to truly grasp the inexpressible joy of being lifted from his pit of despair. Without that sorrow we don't have these words "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us a new birth into a living hope".
We need these words, and all the ones the follow in this sweet letter. How fun it'll be to walk them out with you
Love, as always, Renée
Now on to this week's lesson
Read 1 Peter 1;13-2:10
Memory verse 1:21 "Through Him you believe in God who raised Him from the dead and glorified Him, so your faith and hope are in God"
1. Society often views Christianity as a cult and Christians as blind followers. How does this passage negate those beliefs?
2. How might you respectfully challenge false assumptions about your faith?
3. Our memory verse says that through Him (meaning Jesus) we believe in God. How do these words empower and embolden you to correct wrong thinking that there's any other way?
4. Who has been a shining example of sincere, deep, heartfelt love in your life?
5. What does personal holiness look like to you?
6. How successful have you been when it comes to ridding yourself of all malice, deception, envy and slander?
7. Are there certain individuals who make this process more difficult?
8. Who in your life is still stumbling over the Cornerstone and how might God be using this lesson to help you counsel them?
For personal growth:
Here we go again taking a look at predestination. 1Peter 2:8 tells us "They stumble because they disobey the message-which is also what they were destined for" Another translation reads "so they meet the fate that was planned for them". And in The Message it says "They trip and fall because they do not obey , just as predicted". What exactly do you believe and how did you reach that conclusion? Do you think God specifically chooses His followers or does He just know who'll follow and who won't? Does this concept make you bolder in sharing your faith? What if God has chosen you to be the one to call your friends and family members out of darkness? If they are predestined to respond to truth, what if you fail to share it? How does this tie in with your concept of free will? Did you choose to follow Christ because you wanted to or because it was God's plan all along? How does this change or strengthen your view of who God is and what He does?
For the good of the group:
I propose a math problem. At the time of sale, most market lambs weigh 140 lbs and go for an average of $3.25 per pound. Using these numbers calculate how much it would have cost to buy one unblemished lamb per year for every year that you've needed your sins forgiven