Finding Life - thorns 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 23 Mon 7th March - Bread in the Garden
John 6.48-51 (NRSV) I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’
What memories dos the scent of baking bread bring to mind?
Day 24 Tues 8th March - The Thorns of Eden
Mark 15:17-20 (NIV)
They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.
What hinders you in pulling out the barbs and prickly spines in your life?
Day 25 Wed 9th March - Failure in Eden
Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NLT)
Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.
How and when has God brought fruit from your failures?
Day 26 Thurs 10th March - Failure Between the Gardens
Gal. 3:1-10 (MSG)
Something crazy has happened, for it’s obvious that you no longer have the crucified Jesus in clear focus in your lives. His sacrifice on the cross was certainly set before you clearly enough. Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you? Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it? Did you go through this whole painful learning process for nothing? It is not yet a total loss, but it certainly will be if you keep this up! Answer this question: Does the God who lavishly provides you with his own presence, his Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does he do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust him to do them in you? Don’t these things happen among you just as they happened with Abraham? He believed God, and that act of belief was turned into a life that was right with God. 7-8 Is it not obvious to you that persons who put their trust in Christ (not persons who put their trust in the law!) are like Abraham: children of faith? It was all laid out beforehand in Scripture that God would set things right with non-Jews by faith. Scripture anticipated this in the promise to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed in you.” So those now who live by faith are blessed along with Abraham, who lived by faith—this is no new doctrine! And that means that anyone who tries to live by his own effort, independent of God, is doomed to failure. Scripture backs this up: “Utterly cursed is every person who fails to carry out every detail written in the Book of the law.”
What have you learned about yourself, others, God in times of failure?
Day 27 Fri 11th March - Failure in Gethsemane
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NASB)
And He [the Lord] has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
Imagine yourself in Peter's place, meeting the Lord's eyes in the courtyard. What do you read in his gaze?
Day 28 Sat 12th March - Garden Exile
Psalm 147:2-3 (NASB)
The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
He gathers the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.
Have you sent someone else into exile?