Beyond Sunday - Week 9

Beyond Sunday 
Week of March 17, 2024
“Looking at life through the Gospel Lens”
When in Rome, Week 9, Romans 5:1-11

I don’t know about you, but I left church on Sunday feeling incredibly grateful—for all those blessings we receive when we are justified through faith—and hopeful. Of the seven specific blessings Troy listed, I am focused on two, glorious hope and proven character. And both are represented dramatically in the life of Christian Author Joni Eareckson Tada.
Joni was a physically active young woman, enjoying riding horses, hiking, tennis, and swimming, until at seventeen, a diving accident left her paralyzed from the shoulders down. During her two years of rehabilitation, she experienced anger, depression, suicidal thoughts, and religious doubts. However, she learned to paint with a brush between her teeth and began selling her artwork. Using voice recognition software, she has written over forty books. She has recorded several musical albums, and starred in an autobiographical movie of her life, and is an advocate for people with disabilities. Her life experience has filled countless others suffering trials with glorious hope.
Scripture teaches that we should rejoice in our trials because of their beneficial results. We don’t rejoice in the trial itself, but in our confident expectation of the results, the development of our character and the equipping to “do even greater things” that comes from the trial. God does not ask us to rejoice because a relationship failed, or we have lost our job, or a loved one has been stricken with cancer. But He does tell us to rejoice because we believe He is at work through them for our ultimate good.
“Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it.” ~ Charles R. Swindoll

Read: Genesis 45:4-7, Psalm 119:49-50, Isaiah 53:3-5, Isaiah 55:8-9, John 9:1-3, Philippians 1:12-14, James 1:2-4

Discussion Questions:
•God the Father suffered unbearably as His Son died on the cross that we might be reconciled to God, that is “justified.” What does that reveal to you about the God we serve?
•Think about a trial you or someone you care about may be suffering or have suffered. How do these Scriptures help you see the situation through the gospel lens? What changes in how you see it? What changes in you?  
•One synonym for hope is confidence. How does enduring trials or hardships develop confidence in you?
•What other benefits come from successfully coming through trials or hardships?

Pray: Thank God for giving you peace and direct access to Him, and for sending His Holy Spirit to comfort, encourage, and strengthen you in the midst of trials. Pray for God to help you, or anyone you know who is going through a trial of any kind, to be able to see trials through the gospel lens.  

Next Steps:
•If you still have questions about how to view life through the lens of the Gospel, consider signing up for the Essentials class beginning April 7.
•If you know someone suffering some trial, consider reaching out to them, not to solve their problem, but just to be with them as were Job’s friends in Job 2:11-13.

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