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Remember the saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”? We all know by now that this sentiment is not true. Words can hurt. The tongue is such a small part of our body yet yields such big results. If you have lived any amount of time on planet Earth, you have experienced consequences, good or bad, in regard to words. Today we are going to learn how our words are directly linked to whether we believe the truth or whether we believe lies.
- In what way do you underestimate the power of your words?
What do we do when a football is coming toward our face? We put our hands up to catch it, right? Otherwise, the ball would hit us in the face. We are doing this to protect ourselves. This quick response is more of a reflex than an action. In the same way, we eat if we are hungry or drink when we are thirsty. And this is how God wants us to respond to our spouse: without delay, as if it is second nature to us, and certainly how we would respond to ourselves if we were the one in need.
- In what ways do you struggle with being selfish, or are you good about putting others first?
Have you ever seen injustice? Something you knew was wrong, but then nothing happened to punish the wrongdoing? I think it is safe to say we have all seen this in our lifetime, and we all want to see wrongs made right. So far in chapters one and two, we have learned of Habakkuk's complaints and God's response: "the righteous shall live by faith." We will continue down this road of hearing God's response to Habakkuk. Keep in mind that woes are warnings or judgments. Let us see what God has in store for us today.
- When have you wanted to see justice done in a situation?
Have you ever received a gift you didn't like? Have you ever given a gift that wasn't well received? It's not fun to be on either end. In our passage, the Lord received a gift from one of his beloved and his disciples did not react as they should have. But God saw the true intentions of everyone’s hearts in this story. Let’s dive in and see what God wants to teach us today.
- When have you misjudged the actions of another?
I remember a birthday party I was attending a few years back. I saw someone doing something that the Bible says is wrong. I tattled to my husband and asked what we should do. He wisely told me to enjoy our time with our dear friends and celebrate this life milestone rather than be so worried about another's actions. Today in our reading, we will encounter the infamous Pharisees doing just what I did and being more concerned with others than themselves.
- In what situations are you tempted to judge the behavior of others?
Have you ever messed up? I mean epic fail. Something you wish you had never done or said and, if at all possible, could take back? We all have, according to God’s holy Word (Romans 3:23). Even the king of God’s chosen people failed epically. Today we will see a man reflecting on his life, not just as a king but as God’s Chosen One—a simple man looking back on his life and the future of his family line.
- When you reflect back on your own life, how do you see God at work?
We are all bombarded with life at times. We are all busy and have many commitments. We struggle with balance and priorities, especially when it comes to our relationship with God. We do not always give it the priority it deserves in our lives and, over time, this neglect allows room for sin to take hold in us. Today we will read about a specific sin from which the Israelites needed to repent.
- What could be a hindrance for you in your relationship with God?
“Give me your eyes for just one second. Give me your eyes so I can see, everything that I keep missing, give me your love for humanity.” These prayerful song lyrics by Brandon Heath are an honest admission that we do not have a clue how to really love each other. We need Jesus to guide us. We need his help.
- Jesus is passionate about loving people. What does this mean for those of us who follow him?
Have you ever bought or received something you were so excited to have and really wanted, but then were so disappointed after you received it? During this holiday season, we can get so wrapped-up, no pun intended, in the world. We are all prone to wander. It is so easy to succumb to the ways of this world out of laziness. That is why the Christian life has been called, “The Fight.” It is not meant to be easy. Following Christ is always going against what we/our flesh would do/choose outside of him. We are not to look like the world.
- In what ways are we called to be different as believers?
Our plans do not always work the way we hope they will. Have you experienced this? I sure have! Today we are going to see two apostles experience something different than they expected. In the passage yesterday, the apostles were in Thessalonica preaching to the Jews in the synagogue. A few of the Jews were receptive, but the apostles faced major persecution because the Jews were jealous, and so the apostles had to leave Thessalonica. Let's see what happens next as Paul and Silas continue to spread the message of Christ across Macedonia.
- Where do you turn when new information is presented to you that needs to be verified?