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).
Artists and photographers know that often how we frame a picture alters what we focus on in it. Paul urged a kind of framing in Philippians 4. “When we bring the things that cause us stress into prayer, we put ourselves and our troubles inside a much bigger picture: the story of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ…. And that leads to thanksgiving.”* What helps you remember to look at life’s big picture more than the unpleasant little details?
Starting in verse 9, “God’s care for the land now becomes the focus of the psalmist’s meditation. The verb for ‘visit’ in verse 9 means ‘to attend to, to care for.’ As a result of God’s provision, the rains come and the earth is fruitful.”** In what ways can you take your gratitude beyond words and into actions, and make wise choices to help God sustain our planet rather than acting in ways that deface or deplete it?
Some of us are musically gifted, and we like the idea of “sing to the Lord a new song.” Others, of course, tend to suffer in silence through the singing parts of worship, whether traditional or contemporary. Regardless of our musical aptitude or tastes, what is the heart attitude expressed by the poetic imagery of singing to the Lord a new song? How can all of us join in that spiritual experience?
Jesus called his followers to have the same positive impact on our world as light in a dark place, or salt on flavorless food (Matthew 5:13-16). In what ways is your life brighter (not flawless, but brighter!) because of God’s love, forgiveness and presence with you? In what ways does the promise of an eternity of praise and gratitude shine into your life, your heart from day to day? How can you refract the light of God’s eternity in ways that brighten the lives of others, and add zest and joy to their world? Ask God to direct you to at least one person for whom you can be God’s gratitude-inspiring presence in this holiday season.
* Cynthia M. Campbell, sidebar article “Stress” in The CEB Women’s Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2016, p. 1492.
** Donald Williams, The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Volume 13: Psalms 1–72. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1986, p. 473.
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