Finding Life - sacrifice in the garden
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 17 Mon 29th - Shameless strategies
"The LORD your God... has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed. Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed" (Joel 2:26-27 NIV)
How do you give grace, embrace others in the loving acceptance of God, and resist the temptation to shame another?
Day 18 Tues 1st March - Sacrifice in Eden
"Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear...The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm achieved salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him. " (Isa. 59:1-2, 15-16 NIV)
What has God done to bring you back?
Day 19 Wed 2nd March - The Sacrificial System
“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him." (John 3:16-18 MSG)
What superficial sacrifices have you offered?
Day 20 Thurs 3rd March - The Final Sacrifice
"First he [Christ] said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” —though they were offered in accordance with the law. Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy." (Heb. 10:8-14 NIV)
Take time, in silence, to meditate on Christ's sacrifice for you.
Day 21 Fri 4th March - Our Sacrifices Today
"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. "(Gal. 2:20)
"For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. (2 Cor. 5:14-15)
Which sacrifices come naturally to you?
Day 22 Sat 5th March - Sweat in the Garden
"The mystery... is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me... And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (Col. 1:26-29; 3:17 NIV)
When is your everday work transformed into a lightness and joy, an offering to God?