Finding Favor with the King: Week 5February 15, 2009
Chapters 7 & 8
Thank you for the many blessings you have bestowed on us. Thank you for this bountiful universe, this beautiful life-giving planet, our very existence. We are grateful for the myriad small ways you enrich our lives, so many that we often don’t even take time to notice. You cherish us, forgive us, and try to protect us even as we ignore your words and fight against your will. Thank you for giving us the opportunity each day to take up our plate of life and use it to nourish ourselves so it can help us grow stronger physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Something came to light this week that I think we all wrestle with because we are human. How do we choose to deal with the problems that living presents to us? Do we walk around with the “dark cloud of disaster” looming over our heads waiting for the next problem, the next irritation, the next stumbling block on our path? Do we constantly and continually find ourselves “butting our heads” against the same wall of controversy, never trying to seek a different road? Do we optimistically dump all our problems in God’s lap, hoping that He will deal with them? Or do we seek God’s guidance and strength to choose how we will react, how we will resolve, and how we solve the problems? I’ve always heard the saying that, “God never puts more on your plate than you can handle,” but at times this doesn’t seem to be the case. Sometimes we seem to be surrounded by one problem after another heaped onto to our plate threatening to overwhelm us. Sometimes people simply refuse the whole plate and run away from the table of life; other times they sit there forlornly and shovel in each problem, complaining the whole time about the awful taste, the lack of appetite, or the upset its causing our system; and then there are the people who choose what they will accept to be heaped onto their plate, what they will choose to eat first, what they need to season with God’s extra blessing, and even what they may share with someone else in order to clean their plate. Although we didn’t seem to address any of the study questions in Chapters 7 and 8, we did because it became clear that the first and most important step to dealing with our daily problems is to say the blessing first. Thanking God for “our plateful” may seem strange to some, but what better way to center your heart, mind, and body for the daily serving of life. Thanking God for all the things for which we are grateful can help to re-establish a more positive outlook, calm our anxious hearts, and strengthen our spirit so we can choose which problems we must take on our plate and which we can leave on the serving dish because there are no resolutions for them, season those problems that need an extra dash of God’s strength to resolve, and share the burden of those problems that seem too heavy, too overwhelming for us alone. Because we don’t know when or if we will ever have to “risk everything” to become the very thing we are suppose to be, we need to practice now, like Esther shows us, how to handle the banquet of life.
What follows are the study questions for Chapters 9 & 10
Chapter 9 – LEARN TO WORSHIP WITH YOUR ENEMY
But Keep Your Eyes on the King
1. What do you do when someone who opposes you or seems to hate you without cause occupies an office or shares your workspace, sits behind you in class, or moves into the house next door?
2. When you are faced with a problem like the one above, do you focus on the problem or the solution? Explain why.
3. When your life and livelihood are place at risk by the threats and plots of other people, how will you handle the situation? Explain
4. Which do bring more of to the Lord, praise or problems? Why?
5. Have you established a reputation in heaven through your worship on earth?
Chapter 10 – DIVINE INSOMINIA
Indulgent Worship Creates a Sleepless King
1. Have you ever been in a situation where it took a crisis in the situation before you were able to figure out how to go about solving the problem? Explain.
2. Have you ever had “one of those sleepless nights” that you later discovered were sounding the “warning” of some problem with a family member or friend?
3. What do you prepare for God to feast on?
4. Do you think God has ever left a worship encounter with you thinking, “Wow, I’m stuffed!”? Why or why not?
5. Do you believe that God is doing the worrying about your life for you? If you answered yes, then are you still worrying about those same problems? Why? If you answered no, why?
posted by Bonny.