Innocence, Hope and Forgiveness

Posted Aug 4, 2018

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This week's Small Group Guide is composed of questions from this week's GPS Guide. The questions relate to the Scripture for that particular day. You can download the full week's GPS as a printable document for the context of each question below (in the printable version, the recommended small group questions are marked with a special bullet point).

From Tuesday's Reading: Matthew 5:43-46

How do you understand “love your enemies”? Do you believe Jesus meant altering your emotions toward them to be more affectionate, or reaching beyond your emotions to act for their good? What kind of character and maturity growth does it take to love your enemies? Jesus said God makes it rain on the just and the unjust alike. How can you become more like God in your willingness to bless anyone who needs it?

From Wednesday's Reading: Luke 23:34, 47

Too many Christians just ignore injustices like the one Pastor Burton suffered—as long as they don’t happen to them. Jesus rebuked very pious people in his day for carefully giving a tenth of even tiny herbs like mint “while neglecting justice and love for God” (Luke 11:42). In what ways each day, in regular or volunteer activities, could you bring about greater justice? Are you willing to consistently make justice a priority?

From Friday's Reading: Jeremiah 29:4-14

In his letter, Jeremiah told the Israelites (on God’s behalf): “When you search for me, yes, search for me with all your heart, you will find me” (verse 13). In what ways was the quality of their connection with God essential to them being able to be good neighbors and live in trust even when in exile? What do you believe it would mean for you to seek God “with all your heart”? How might that reshape some of your ways of relating to others?

From Saturday's Reading: Psalm 116:12-14, Deuteronomy 10:14-20

“Using the terms ‘widow’ and ‘fatherless’ together may have been a way of designating disadvantaged classes in general. Groups other than true widows and orphans easily might have fallen into this category.”* In virtually every nation and culture, those who are “weaker,” “outsiders” or “different” face prejudice because of ethnicity, poverty, lack of education or many other markers of “otherness.” When have you seen “disadvantaged” people ignored or treated with contempt? Has that ever happened to you? How can you make things better rather than worse when such ugly actions happen? How can you faithfully serve “the great, mighty, and awesome God who doesn’t play favorites”?

* HarperCollins Christian Publishing. NIV, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, eBook: Bringing to Life the Ancient World of Scripture (Kindle Locations 46022-46023). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

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GPS Guide

Whether you’re just starting to explore the Christian faith, or you’re a long-time Christian, we want to do everything we can to help you on your journey to know, love and serve God. The GPS (Grow, Pray, Study) Guide provides Scripture and insights to enhance your journey. If you have a question or comment about the GPS Guide, please send it to