Letting Christ Transform You From The Inside Out
At the end of our second week's readings, we were encouraged to pray to be receptive to ways God is communicating with us. How has God been validating what you are reading about Him in the Bible? In what ways, this past week, has he shown you how much he truly knows you and loves you?
In your readings this last week, where did God use memorials (i.e. nature, altars, stone piles, or new names) to mark a change in someone's life?
This past week, what were some of your personal "aha" momets when God connected the dots for you , patted you on the back, or let you know that He knew what you were thinking?
Compare the lives of Joseph and Jesus.
God's words create life. We are made in God's image. Our words don't create life, but God says they are powerful. We have the power to bless or curse others with our words.
Consider the words God uses to encourage others to persevere.
Consider the words He does not say.
Initially, last week in Genesis 27 we saw that Jacob (influenced by his mother Rebecca) stole his father Isaac's blessing, which was meant for Jacob's brother Esau.
Compare Jacob's attitude towards the blessing in Genesis 27 with his attitude in both Genesis 32:22-32 and Genesis 35:1-15. How is it different?
What is Jacob willing to do to get God's blessing? What does he do after he gets it?
How has Jacob's character changed during the years he spent under Laban?
How has your character been molded through hardship?
Do you have questions about your conception or the circumstances surrounding how you came into existence? Were you unwanted by your parents? Were you the product of a rape? Have you felt worthless because of this?
Judah was guilty of a great wrongdoing in God's eyes by not giving his younger son to Tamar. Although we might not think that Tamar's approach was godly, she was culturally correct in trying to have a child that would continue the line of Judah.
In fact, Perez is listed as one of Jesus' ancestors in Matthew 1:3.
God understands how it feels to be judged because of questionable circumstances concerning one's conception. He felt this pain through Jesus, who was born through Mary, a virgin. Even though she was made pregnant by the Holy Spirit, most people didn't believe her until Jesus actually did rise from the dead, proving himself to be THE MESSIAH. Thus, all his life, there was gossip about whether or not Jesus was a product of an illicit affair between Mary and Joseph (before they were actually married).
Joseph was the first-born of Jacob's wife Rachel.
Jesus is the first-born Son of God.
How does Jesus statement here personally speak to you and bring you comfort?
What do you think of Jesus' perspective about the Sabbath in Matthew 12:1-14? Why do you think the Pharisees wanted to kill him?
Why do you think Jesus taught using parables?
What point is Jesus making here about "listening and absorbing"? Note: The New Living Translation of the Bible words this in a very clear way.
Using the Parable of the Soils (Gardening) - How might we approach detoxifying our Inner Selves using the following symbols:
The Weeds - the worries of this life and distractions
The Rocks - things, especially from our past, that we are still carrying. These things keep us stuck and paralyze us. We need the help of others to take out these rocks.
Compost - What experiences might we dig up and place in the compost pile, for others to benefit from?
Did the descriptions of any of the following “one another” relationships speak to your heart this last week? How does God work in their lives? What is God's solution to their dilemma? Could this be a solution to your own personal dilemma this week?
Jacob and Laban: God goes into an enormous amount of detail for us regarding Jacob and Laban's conflict. God also details some of Jacob's fear with respect to seeing his brother Esau again. How does God comfort Jacob with respect to his fear of Esau? After what monumental event does God change Jacob's name to Israel? What do you think about the Covenant Meal that Laban and Jacob shared? Isaac: (Ge 26:7-16)
Joseph and his brothers: God gives us details about Joseph's character when he was young. aJoseph was somewhat arrogant and spoiled when we first meet him. He and his brothers did not get along. Do you have siblings? Did any of this story speak to your heart?
What parallels do you see between the life of Joseph and the life of Jesus?
We will be finishing the Book of Genesis this week and starting the Book of Exodus. Some ideas to consider:
1. Keeping a journal (as a memorial) of your thoughts, questions and insights, which God gives you through His eye-opening Spirit, might be a way for you to encounter God and remember how He is working in your life.
2. Think about other ways you already remember special experiences (with God and one another) - please bring a souvenir or picture that has a happy memory associated with it. Come prepared to share about this.
3. Consider how you can become more like God with respect to how he has "vision" for others - long before they attain to that vision.
4. Pray that God will help you to have a soft heart where he can sow His seed.