Finding Life - exile and suffering
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 29 Mon 14th March - In Exile
Leviticus 26:44-45 (NIV) "Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them or abhor them so as to destroy them completely, breaking my covenant with them. I am the Lord their God. But for their sake I will remember the covenant with their ancestors whom I brought out of Egypt in the sight of the nations to be their God. I am the Lord."
What promises of God comfort and encourage you in times of 'exile'?
Day 30 Tues 15th March - Final Exile
Hebrews 13:11-14 (NIV) The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.
How are we called to bear Christ's disgrace outside the camp?
Day 31Wed 16th March - Rooted in Eden
John 16:22, 33(NIV)
"So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy...I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
What is your typical response to suffering and pain (your own, others')?
Day 32 Thurs 17th March - Pitfalls of Pain
2 Corinthians 4:7-10(NIV)
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
How have you experienced God's presence in painful times?
Day 33 Fri 18th March - Power of Pain
For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.
What has pain and suffering taught you about yourself? About God?
Day 34 Sat 19th March - Fruit from Suffering
Hebrews 12:5-7, 10-11(NIV)
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children...God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
In what wasy can your travail become a means of extending the love and grace of God to others?