We’re on our third week of study as we continue our discussion of “Joseph, the Journey to Forgiveness” by Melissa Spoelstra. You’re half-way through the study- congratulations! If you’ve been involved in our small groups then you know we’ve had some incredible conversations. I’ve observed that we resisted the pity-party in our conversations (though we have many reasons to create one) and put the focus on God instead, just like Joseph. You’re demonstrating great wisdom and spiritual growth.
After reading the study book you now realize that forgiveness without God is virtually impossible. We depend on Him for healing the hurt and rewriting the past. We depend on Him for mending a bruised heart. We depend on Him for redesigning our words from poison to fruit (see Proverbs 18:21). True forgiveness is centered in Christ, not ourselves.
I’m raising teenagers and one recently said, “Mom, you’re always forgiving me even when I really mess up!” While her offenses do involve consequences…one consequence is that I will not bleed bitterness into her heart. “I forgive because I am a follower of Christ,” is my often repeated response.
Perhaps since we started this study, you’ve had a few unexpected opportunities to practice forgiveness? You may be in a testing season, refined by experiences you never desired to have in your life. Are you going to throw the book away and say, “That stuff is not for me!” Or are you going to say: “I forgive because I am a follower of Christ.”
You’re at a week three crossroad in your life. You can go back to the path of unforgiveness, and carry the hurt inside your heart for the remainder of your life. You can follow the footsteps of Jesus and the Hall of Faith-ers from Hebrews 11 of the Bible. What path are you on in this season of your life.
It’s tempting to hurt back, seek revenge, gossip, or play a few social games with someone who hurts us. What if you waited like Joseph, before you respond. Pause and pray. Are you willing to place seeds of forgiveness inside your heart and live more like Jesus? Pray and ask God for clarity on your forgiveness chart.
Keep working through the study…you are loved~
BIBLE STUDY TIP: This is the time when you may feel tempted to drop out. You’re starting to create the habit of daily study, 20-minutes a day with the Lord. Changes must be made in your daily schedule and inside your heart. If you don’t adjust and create a routine of daily study, then you’ll slip into the temptation to quit. Resist the devil when he makes you feel discouraged, distracted, or doubtful! Ask your small group leaders to pray for you and persevere through the next three weeks of study.
Assignment For the Week
- Read Week Four: The Rollercoaster Ride in your study book and complete the daily lessons.
- Optional: Watch video session one if you are using the DVD set- available at Amazon
Discussion Questions – Answer in your small group or post a comment below
- We saw this week that Joseph waited two more years in prison before he received blessings and fulfillment of his dreams. Have you ever experienced a waiting season, where God’s delays were not His denials? Can you think of a time when you thought something would never happen but then it did? Briefly share your testimony (page 70)
- Complete these statements from page 77: It is beyond my power to _____________( insert your present situation). But God ___________( insert what He is doing in that situation). Example: It is beyond my power to heal my child, but God has her under His wing.
- Melissa writes on page 78, “His confidence is not in himself but in the God who has helped Joseph take steps toward forgiveness.” What might happen if Joseph tried to forgive on his own, without God? How does that apply in our own lives?
- Do you agree or disagree with this statement from page 82 in the study book: “We are active participants in God’s divine plan.” Let’s take it a bit further and talk about significance or insignificance in the Kingdom of God. Where do you see yourself right now? Why?
- What is a key concept that you discovered this week in your study? What advice on forgiveness would you tell a friend, based on what you’ve learned so far?
Praying for you,