Monday, December 16, 2013

12/15: "The Royal Branch" (Isaiah 11:1-11)

1.  At the time Isaiah was written, the Israelites were experiencing a time of great despair. Yet, the Prophet Isaiah gives the Israelites hope by them that a promised redeemer is coming. As those who now live "between two Advents" how do we live patiently waiting for Christ's second coming? What things make you impatient?

2.  Isaiah 11:1-11 tells God's people of a coming "destination" that will be purged of all fear, danger, and evil. A place where believers from all nations will be gathered together. What things in your own life cause you to long for this promised “destination”? 

3.  How does Jesus’ birth act as a “signal” for God's people (v. 10)? 

4.  How are we to live in light of the promises that we see in this passage? How do these promises change your thoughts and affections?

5.  We know that Christ not only came to reconcile us to God, but also to restore all things. How do we display this restoration in our vocations and daily lives? How do our actions model God’s reconciliation to the world?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

12/8: "Jesus' Christmas List" (Isaiah 9:1-7)

1.  Christ came not only to forgive us of our sins, but also to deliver us from oppression and bring us freedom. Yet, as Ryan asks us, "Do we really believe that? Are we living that way right now?" How has Jesus freed you from the power, guilt, and shame of your sins?

2.  What things prevent you from realizing and laying hold of this truth?

3.  How are we assured that a day is coming when all suffering will end? How does this knowledge comfort you in your current struggles?

4.  In times of pain, suffering, and grief who or what do you find yourself turning to the most? In times of difficulty, in what things does the world tell you to place your hopes in?

5.  Over the years, how have you typically viewed Christmas? How has Isaiah 9:1-7 shaped your understanding of Christ's birth and its significance?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

12/1: "God With Us" (Isaiah 7:10-17)

1.  God has promised to be with us and to help us in our time of need. Do you find yourself placing your trust in Christ in times of distress and want, or is it easier to trust in what we can see? Are there any idols in your life give you affirmation? What are they?

2.   According to this passage, what was Ahaz's primary weakness? What is the sign that God promises to show Ahaz? Taking Ahaz's character into consideration, why does God's promise give us hope?

3.  Why is the promise of "Immanuel" significant for the Israelites? For us?

4.  According to Ryan, what does this "miraculous rescue" say about our own human weakness?

5.  Are there times when you wish God would grant you a sign? How does Christ satisfy this longing?