Daily Bread #11
Thought To Ponder:
“Beginnings are Scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s the middle that counts the most, try to remember that when you find yourself at a new beginning. Just give HOPE a chance to float up and it will.” -From the movie “Hope Floats”
In the 24th chapter of his gospel, Luke records a wonderful exchange between Jesus and two travelers. Unaware that they are walking with the Lord, Jesus asks them why they are upset. They tell Jesus about his own crucifixion and burial and one them says, “but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.”
Can you hear the despair? Can you hear the sadness? Can you hear the confusion? We hoped he was the one. We hoped he was going to redeem Israel. We hoped he was going to set everything right. They had focused all of their attention and all their hopes on their version of the Messiah that they missed the real Jesus. They missed him as he walked beside them.
They aren’t alone. Lots of people met Jesus in the flesh and missed him because he didn’t talk the way they thought he should have. Because he didn’t exclude the people that they were pretty sure God wanted excluded. Because he didn’t honor the people in positions of power. Because he asked them to do difficult things; love your enemies and pray for people who hate you. Because he didn’t act like the Savior they wanted him to be.
The same is true today. We want Jesus to hate the same people we hate. We want Jesus to come to same conclusions we’ve come to about life and God and how to follow him. We want Jesus to tell us everything about our life the choices we’ve made, the jobs we’ve pursued, the relationships we are in were all the right ones. But very rarely do we see Jesus rubber-stamping people’s lives.
Instead he pushes their long-held, hard-one beliefs and he pries open our tight-fisted grip on things and money and stuff and privilege.
Jesus asks hard questions. He blows up entrenched dogmas. He sometimes says mean things. And sometimes we need to have our minds blown.
Questions To Discuss:
1. What’s something you’d like to attempt that would be really difficult to achieve?
2. How would you feel once you accomplished this task? Who do you know that has accomplished an amazing feat?
3. Jeff talked about Moses going up the mountain to be with God. How would you feel to be invited to go and meet with God? What do you think it sounded like?
4. How do you feel about rules? What kind of rules do you like? What kind do you not like?
5. Why do you think the first rule starts with the phrase, “I am the Lord God who brought you out of Egypt…?” Why is that important to remember? What are some things God has done for us?
6. What are some of the gods we might serve today? Are they real or fake? How do they have power over our lives?
7. If you could rewrite the 10 commandments what would you change?
Scripture To Read:
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
A Prayer For Hope:
Lord, help me to hear you saying,
“I am your hope” over all the other voices.
Lord, your word says, you are the hope for hopeless
so I’m running to you with both hands
stretched out and grabbing on to you.
Fill me up with hope and give me
a tangible reminder today that hope
is an unbreakable spiritual lifeline.
God, you know those things in my heart
that I barely dare to hope for,
today I give them to you,
I trust them to you,
and ask that you because I know
that you can do more than I could ever guess,
imagine or request in wildest dreams.
God, you are my hope and I trust you. Amen.
Wendy Van Eyck