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December 11, 2022

Keeping The Faith

Passage: Matt. 11:1-11, James 5:7-10, Is. 35:1-10, Ps. 146:5-10
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Have you ever known that something is going to happen, but not when? The check that is supposed to arrive soon, the job promotion you’re waiting for, the contractor who said they’d call you back. It can be nerve wracking because you don’t know if it will really happen, and so the wait can seem like forever. As Christians, we wait in anticipation for the return of our Savior, not with anxiousness, but with hope that is found in God’s faithfulness. This Advent season, we hope you join us as we look at how we are called to live a Christ-centered life in preparation for His return.

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We encourage you to spend some time with God this week and go a bit deeper on this topic. Please consider these study questions for further reflection:

Question 1
Read Matthew 11:2-11. John the Baptist was alone, in prison, and seemed to have doubt and unmet expectations of who Jesus was. "Are you the One?" Jesus didn't send back a message of condemnation, shame or blame - He sends back a message of hope for John's despair. God is not threatened by our doubts nor is he angry with us for being disappointed. He can handle our questions, our insecurities and even our anger.

  • Do you have any unmet expectations or disappointments in your life that you can bring to God?
  • What is one challenging situation in your life where you could invite God to use it to grow your Christ-like character?
  • What will it take to open your eyes (perspective) or open your hands (control) to God's glory in a particular hardship?

Question 2
When John received word that Jesus was the One (blind see, deaf hear, mute speak, lame walk, Good News is preached to the poor), what joy must have filled his heart! Even in the middle of a dark prison cell, the good news of Jesus can bring light and life. Read 1 Peter 1:6-9 and reflect on how difficulties and trials and lead to joy.

Question 3
Read Isaiah 34 and 35. What a contrast the prophet paints! Isaiah 34 is a picture of a desolate wasteland with dried up streams and parched lands. But suddenly, Isaiah interrupts all this despair and brings hope: "The parched land will be glad, the wilderness will rejoice, the crocus will burst into bloom, there will be rejoicing and shouting for joy!" When we are in difficult circumstances, we too should expect the unexpected.

Additional Scripture to study: Isaiah 34, 35:1-10, Psalm 146:5-10, Matthew 11:2-11, James 5:7-10, 1 Peter 1:6-9, John 6:35, 7:37-39

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