July 4: Free Sweet Corn
1. Acts 20:35 says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (NRSV). Tell about an experience when this was true for you.
2. Were you to switch places with the writer of today’s meditation, how would you have responded to the farmer’s offer? Would you have taken him up on it? Why or why not? Why do you think many people did not?
3. When has someone done a favor for you that was both unexpected and meaningful? What is most memorable about this favor? How has it made you a better neighbor to others?
4. When was the last time you gave generously without expecting anything in return? Are there times when we should expect something in return?
5. What do you think would happen if we showed generosity to another person each time someone showed generosity to us? What difference would it make in our communities?
July 11: Ebenezer
1. If you were to make a list of ten things that you are thankful for today, what would your list include?
2. Have you ever been in a situation where it was hard to sense God’s faithfulness? How would you encourage someone going through a similar experience? What would you do differently were you to be in a situation like that again?
3. Name some passages of scripture that illustrate God’s faithfulness to us. Which of these is your favorite? What parallels do you see between the ways God helped the people in scripture and the ways God helps you in your life today?
4. When on your walk of faith have you struggled with doubt? What helped you overcome your doubt? Is it okay to have times in our lives when we doubt God’s faithfulness?
5. Do you have an object that helps remind you of God’s faithfulness — a meaningful note written by a friend, a Bible given to you on a special occasion, a photograph? Why is this object a good reminder to you of God’s faithfulness?
July 18: Learning from Elijah
1. Do you feel that you can speak honestly with God about your fears? What would help you to be more honest with God?
2. The Thought for the Day says, “God already knows my weaknesses — and loves me anyway.” Tell a story from your life about a time when you felt clearly how much God loved you despite your weaknesses.
3. Have you ever felt abandoned by God? Do you think this is something that all Christians experience at some point? What should we do when we feel that God has abandoned us?
4. The writer of today’s meditation says, “I can be honest with God even when my emotions aren’t positive or reverent.” Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Use scripture to support your answer.
5. When has God worked through you to accomplish something, even though you did not feel up to the task? What did you learn from this experience?
July 25: Meaningful Work
1. When have you prayed for something specific only to have God give you something different? How did you feel about this at the time? How do you feel about it now? Why do you think God sometimes gives us something other than what we ask for?
2. Talk about a time when God used you to serve others in an unexpected way. How did this help you to understand the differences between your plans and priorities and the plans that God has for you? Was it easy or difficult for you to follow God’s plans over your own?
3. How should we respond to God when God leads us in a direction that we do not want to go or intend to go? Have you ever resisted God’s leading? Does God ever lead us in the wrong direction?
4. When have you been confused about the direction in which God was leading you? What gave you clarity? How can we be certain that we are doing what God wants us to do?
5. What do you do for a living? Do you enjoy your job? In what ways do you serve God at your place of employment? In what ways could you serve God better?
"Many of us are used to the idea that we might speak to God or to Jesus. Maybe at times it feels like shouting into the darkness or whatnot, but it’s not hard to do—at least as an imaginative exercise. What’s harder—even imaginatively—is to try to hear Jesus speaking to us. Are we just making things up? Are we just using Jesus as a puppet to say whatever we want to hear?" READ MORE