We encourage you to purchase the e-book Finding Life: From Eden to Gethsemane - the Garden Restored. (kindle or epub). This week we are reading days 11-16. Otherwise read the following verses and the question under each day, below or on Facebook. You are invited to upload any insights to the relevant post on our facebook page.
Try this way of meditative reading (based on lectio divina) (1) ask God for insight (2) slowly read-aloud the passage a couple of times: what do you notice? Try to picture yourself in the story. (3) read a third time. As you notice words or thoughts, pause and ask "what might God be saying to me?" (4) pray: stay with and draw from the emotions they evoke, respond to their challenge; thank God for what he is showing about himself. (5) just be silent before God, resting in his presence.
Day 11 Mon 22nd - Violence
He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is lead to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth." (Isa. 53:7)
When have you encountered violence (or it's potential) within yourself? How have you responded, how has God responded?
Day 12 Tues 23rd - Night
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38–39).
When have you experienced God reaching out to you, calling you by name, establishing a connection with you?
Day 13 Wed 24th - Groans
“The joyful anticipation deepens. All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy. Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves … and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is working into something good” (Rom. 8:21–28 MSG).
How are you at hearing the groanings of others, and how do you respond?
Day 14 Thurs 25th - Shame in the garden
“Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; and do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; but you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. For your husband is your Maker, whose name is the LORD of hosts; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, who is called the God of all the earth” (Isa. 54:4–5).
How often is your shame reaction based on old messages rather than current messages?
Day 15 Fri 26th - Shame between the gardens
"The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory;he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing as on a day of festival. I will remove disaster from you, so that you will not bear reproach for it. I will deal with all your oppressors at that time.And I will save the lame and gather the outcast,and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth." (Zeph.3:17-19)
When has shame become a tool for growth? How?
Day 16 Sat 27th - Shame in the second garden
“Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame” (Ps. 34:5 NIV).
How does Christ’s enduring the cross, despising the shame, impact you?