July 1: God’s Handwriting
1. Describe the handwriting of a loved one. What do you think this person’s handwriting reflects about their personality?
2. What reflections of God do you see around you? How can you learn more about God by studying the strokes of God’s hands? How will you make time to study God’s handiwork today?
3. Today’s writer describes ways we can come to know God more. What other ways can you think of to grow closer to God? In what ways can these practices help you?
4. How do your relationships with others help you to see God’s handiwork? How do your interactions with nature do this? Do you find that you need to look intentionally to see reflections of God, or do they show up when you least expect them?
5. What do you hope to reflect to others? What can you do to intentionally reflect these qualities? How would your community change if everyone focused on reflecting God?
July 8: Standing Up
1. When have you chosen not to do something for someone and later regretted your decision? What do wish you had done differently? How did you learn and grow from this experience?
2. Do you naturally feel pulled to defend and help others, or do you often need to convince yourself to step in? Why do you think this is? What helps you choose to aid others when you might prefer to stay out of the situation?
3. Name biblical characters who inspire you to reach out to those who are being bullied or need help. What do you admire about them? How do their examples affect your choices?
4. What small acts have you witnessed that have ultimately had a big impact on a person? What can you do to make a difference like that in someone’s life?
5. In what ways do you reach out to and stand up for those in your community? How do your loved ones and your church encourage you in your efforts? How can you support others as they also reach out and stand up for those around them?
July 15: Just as I Am
1. Have others ever made you feel like you needed to change parts of your personality? If so, what brought you comfort during that time? How can you encourage someone who is experiencing similar pressures?
2. Do you think Christians should behave a certain way — calm and quiet, loud and inquisitive, or somewhere in between? Or do you think Christians should embrace their natural personality traits? How would your church community change if every member either embraced their natural personality or adopted a specific way of behaving?
3. Do you know who you are in God? If so, how has that helped you reach out to others? If not, what do you think will help you discover who you are in God?
4. What scriptures remind you of the importance of accepting and loving others as they are? When you find it difficult to accept someone, what prayers help you overcome such feelings?
5. How does it encourage you to know that God loves you even when you don’t love yourself? What helps you remember that? How can you remind others that God loves them?
July 22: Coming Near to God
1. Describe a time when you realized your need for a disciplined approach to a task or situation. How did changing your method help you reach your goal? How can you apply what you learned from that experience to other situations?
2. What spiritual disciplines bring you closer to God? How do you remain committed when beginning a new spiritual practice? Do you think there is a time or place for spirituality without specific disciplines? Why or why not?
3. What changes do you see in your life and your relationship with God when you direct your heart toward God? What happens when you lose focus on God? How do you refocus on your relationship with God when you get distracted?
4. What does it look like when God comes near to you? How do you know when God is near? In what ways are you comforted by knowing that God is close?
5. What spiritual disciplines does your church prioritize? What spiritual disciplines would you like to see more of in your congregation? How can you participate more actively in the spiritual practices your church offers?
July 29: Taste and See
1. Today’s writer remembers a special time with her family. What special times bring you closer to your family? Talk about a time spent with your family that is particularly memorable.
2. Name some people whom you tend to avoid or overlook based on outward qualities or first impressions. How have you found these first impressions to be inaccurate? What can you do to help others see that they are valued?
3. Have you ever been put off by something Jesus does in scripture? Why? What in the story challenges you most? What has the story taught you about how Jesus wants us to treat others?
4. Describe a time when you tasted God’s goodness. Did that taste make you desire to follow Jesus? What does it look like for you to follow Jesus wherever he leads?
5. How can you share the goodness of God with others? What specific actions and services can you do for those in your community to give them a positive impression of Jesus?
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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