April 6: Forgiveness
1. What does it feel like to hear the words you are forgiven? What does it feel like to say those words to someone? Why do you think there is so much power in forgiveness?
2. Do you find it easier to hold on to guilt and regret or to confess and ask for forgiveness? Why? How does confessing and letting go of your sins change your situation?
3. How do the many examples of Jesus’ offering forgiveness to people — even up to the moment of his death — affect the way you forgive others? What do these examples teach you about forgiveness and the way God forgives us?
4. In what ways are you comforted knowing that God always forgives us? Does that security make it easier for you to confess your sins to God? Why or why not?
5. Whom do you need to forgive today? Whose forgiveness do you seek today? What prayers and scripture passages give you courage and strength to confess and to forgive?
April 13: Thinking on Target
1. The writer of today’s meditation talks about target fixation. In addition to our focus on God, name some ways that this can apply to the spiritual life.
2. When you are faced with a challenge, do you tend to focus on the problem or to look ahead? Why? How does this affect the outcome of your situation?
3. Who in your life helps to guide you through the obstacles you encounter? In what ways do they help you? How has their influence improved your life?
4. Which of God’s promises brings you the most hope and peace right now? Why? What spiritual practices help you to keep that promise of God in focus every day?
5. How does spending time in community with other Christians help you to refocus on God’s presence and promises? What differences do you notice in your mindset when you are unable to spend time with your faith community?
April 20: Careful Witness
1. Are you close with people who do not share your faith? What is that relationship like? When do your faith differences seem like a challenge?
2. In what ways do you strive to witness to others through your words and actions? Do you find that your actions often make a bigger impact than your words when witnessing to others? How does that change the way you witness?
3. What does it look like for you to make the most of every opportunity to share your faith? How are you careful about the way you witness to those around you?
4. How do you respond when your efforts to witness to someone do not bear the fruit you hoped? What scripture verses encourage you to keep witnessing? In what ways do you see God working in the lives of those to whom you witness?
5. Who has been the greatest Christian witness to you? What did they do that made such a difference in your life?
April 27: Rebuilding God’s House
1. Have you ever experienced division or a split among a group of believers? If so, what was that experience like? Describe the situation. How was the division resolved?
2. Why do you think Christian communities sometimes fall apart? What do you think helps keep them together? How does your faith community deal with internal disagreements?
3. Why is it so easy to attend to our own desires and to “hurry off to our own houses”? What is there about focusing on our own desires that makes building community difficult?
4. Name some ways that you help to foster faithful community. How do these things nourish your faith? In what new ways would you like to start fostering community?
5. Name some ways your church works to create peace and unity in the congregation. How could your church improve? What can you do to support those improvements?
The Upper Room lifts the spirits of residents I serve as a correctional chaplain. Christians and non-Christians read the devotions, reminding them of an alternative path to a loving God that will walk alongside them through the good and ugly of life.”
The Upper Room Chaplains’ Ministry provides military, VA hospital, and prison chaplains copies of the daily devotional for their ministry. Give today to support the Chaplains’ Ministry.