Sun, Aug 31, 2014

Reconciliation: real solutions to real problems

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  1. Telling the Story
    1. Healing takes time. (41:51-52)
    2. Past pain can bring deep emotions when it surfaces. (43:30-31)
    3. God tested Joseph through adversity; now Joseph will do the same for his brothers. (44:1-20)
    4. Restoration comes with great emotional release. (45:1-2)
    5. God’s purposes win the day over man’s motives. (45:4-8)
    6. God is keeping his promises. (46:1-4)
  2. Timeless Truth
    1. Healing takes time; don’t wait to reconcile. (Romans 12:18, Hebrews 12:14-15)
    2. Emotions often sneak up on us.
    3. God tests us through adversity. (II Corinthians 13:5-6, James 1:2-3, I Peter 4:12-13)
    4. Allow God to redeem difficult circumstances into something beautiful.
  3. Application
    1. Run to God in dealing with your past pain. Others can probably help, too.
    2. Release your circumstances to God, believing that He can and will redeem them.
    3. Trust in God’s larger plans; they include you but they are bigger than us.


Discussion Questions:

  1. Is time a friend or an enemy when it comes to healing wounds? If you ignore a problem is it more likely to grow worse or get better? Can you think of a personal story where ignoring something actually worked? Can you think of an example where ignoring real issues only made matters much worse? How do you know when to ignore something and when to engage?
  2. Have you ever been completely taken by surprise with how strong your emotions were? Can you share about that experience? Was it anything like Joseph needing to run to the other room to cry? What does it mean when we are surprised by our emotions?
  3. Is every hard circumstance a test? Is God always testing us? What do you think of God testing you? Does this fact affect your relationship with God in any way? What is the difference between a test and a trial or temptation? Are these different ideas and if so, how?
  4. How do you react to the idea that man may have motives but in the end God’s motives and purpose win the day? Is that comforting or upsetting, or something else?
  5. [Warning: big question!] Can you extend forgiveness to someone who is not interested in receiving it? Does the Bible call us to forgive differently than God? What passages can you think of that call us to forgive in this way?
    What implications does this question have for personal reconciliation?
    What if the person you are trying to “forgive” is dead? Can you still forgive them?
    Can you forgive someone with whom you have no contact?
  6. Are you willing to suffer even if you don’t know how it will all be redeemed? Do you trust God enough to do it without knowing or seeing the why?
    Do you have a story of how God has redeemed your suffering?
    How does knowing the why change suffering?


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