Memorize 1 John 4:4
Little children, you are from God, and have conquered them;
for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world (NRSV).
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them,
because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world (NIV).
Reflect on 1 John 4:4
- For context read 1 John 4 in the NRSV, the NIV, or The MESSAGE.
- Who are the three players in this verse?
- Because we are God's children we have overcome "them." Who are they?
- Who is the one in you? Who is the one who is in the world? Who is greater? More importantly, what does this mean for your life?
Memorize Jeremiah 17:7
Blessed are those who trust in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD (NRSV).
But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him (NIV).
Reflect on Jeremiah 17:7
- Read Jeremiah 17:5-18 for context in the NRSV, the NIV, or The MESSAGE.
- What does it mean for your to consider yourself blessed?
- What does it mean for you to trust God?
- Think about a person in whom you have confidence. What actions gave you confidence in that person? What actions give you confidence in the LORD?
Memorize Psalm 32:8
I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you (NRSV).
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you and watch over you (NIV).
Reflect on Psalm 32:8
- Pray to god using Psalm 32 in the NRSV, the NIV, or The MESSAGE.
- As you pray the psalm consider the following questions:
- Who are the happy / blessed / lucky ones (verses 1-2)?
- When I offer my sin and failures to God what happens (verse 5)?
- The psalmist trusts that God is a ________ (verse 7)?
- The psalmist promises that God's hesed (steadfast love) surrounds those who trust in him. Where have you experienced this in your life?
Memorize Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths (NRSV).
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight (NIV).
Reflect on Proverbs 3:5-6
- Read Proverbs 3 in the NRSV, the NIV, or The MESSAGE.
- Who are we to trust? How are we to trust?
- When I am not trusting God, who/what am I trusting?
- Reflect on the following quote:
The mission is God's. We are joining in with God's activity, not God with ours … . To forget this is make our practices an idol. God becomes controlled by our programs and expectations and thus no god at all (Pete Ward, God at the Mall: Youth Ministry that Meets Kids Where They're At, [Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1999], page 99).
Memorize 1 John 2:17
The world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God live forever (NRSV).
The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever (NIV).
Reflect on 1 John 2:17
- Read 1 John 2:7-17 from the NRSV, the NIV , or The MESSAGE.
- When the Bible talks about "the world" to what is it referring?
- How are you influenced by "the world?"
- Do you remember the bumber sticker which said, "The one who dies with the most toys wins!" Is this in line with John's word about who finds eteranl life?
Memorize John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life (NRSV).
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (NIV).
Reflect on John 3:16
- Read of Jesus' encounter with Nicodemus in John 3:1-21 in the NRSV, the NIV, or The MESSAGE.
- God gave his only Son for you and for me. How does that make you feel?
- What gift does God offer for our belief in Jesus?
- John restates this understanding this way, "God's love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:9-10, NRSV). What new insights do you receive from this passage?
Memorize Hebrews 2:14-15
Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death (NRSV).
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death — that is, the devil — and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death (NIV).
Reflect on Hebrew 2:14-15
- Read the second chapter of Hebrews from the NRSV, the NIV, or The MESSAGE.
- What do you learn from reading verses 10 and 11 about Jesus' role in our salvation?
- Who/what does Jesus conquer by his sharing in our humanity?
- Today's verses remind us that Jesus triumphs over our slavery to the fear of death? What else in your life holds you captive?
- Henri Nouwen observed, "I am increasingly aware that conversion is individual version of revolution." What does that mean for you?