Jesus falls the third time
He weeps with you and with you he will stay
When all your staying power has run out
You can’t go on, you go on anyway.
He stumbles just beside you when the doubt
That always haunts you, cuts you down at last
And takes away the hope that drove you on.
This is the third fall and it hurts the worst,
This long descent through darkness to depression
From which there seems no rising and no will
To rise, or breathe or bear your own heart beat.
Twice you survived; this third will surely kill,
And you could almost wish for that defeat
Except that in the cold hell where you freeze
You find your God beside you on his knees.
Questions to Go Deeper in your Faith
How many new year's resolutions have you made that you have not kept? Do you have a funny story about a failed resolution?
Read Luke 4:16-30.
Jesus quotes from the scroll of Isaiah, that speaks of what the Messiah will do. According to his reading in Luke 4:18-19, what will the promised Messiah do? From what you know about Jesus how does he fulfill this promise?
Optional Deeper Reading
Read Isaiah 61, which Jesus quotes here to get the full context.
How do the people react to Jesus saying he will be the one to fulfill this passage?
What does examples does Jesus allude to in response, to explain who God shows favor to? (See v. 25-27)?
For deeper context read the stories Jesus alludes to in 1 Kings 17 and 2 Kings 5.
How do you respond when you find out Jesus loves people you may not like?
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What Had happened at Grace this week.
Babylon is over; the Persians are no longer in charge. King Darius loves Daniel because he has an amazing spirit of the Lord and is able to help the king do his job well. But the other leaders don’t like Daniel and create a rule to bring him down. How will Daniel react; will it be with panic and anger, or will he trust in the Lord no matter what may come?
Fast forward 20 or 30 years. The current king of Babylon is not a good one. There are drunken parties every night, even though there is trouble at the gates. But when will this king open his eyes? Perhaps when the writing is on the wall. Or perhaps his heart will always be hard.
The king wakes up in a cold sweat, another bad dream. A huge tree that touches the sky is cut down and is prevented from growing out of the ground again. What does it mean, and will the king listen? Or will the king keep up his behavior of glorying his own image and become no different than a beast in the field?
The king sets up a huge image, and when the music plays, you are to make yourself reverent towards that image and join in worship. Daniel's friends respectfully decline, which enrages the king so much that we see his value of the image of God: human life.
The king wakes up and yells for his wisest men. They run in and see a distraught and angry king. He had a terrible dream and wants to know what it means or he will kill all of his wise men. Is this what true power looks like -- that it can wake up on the wrong side of the bead and end life in whomever it chooses? Perhaps Daniel’s description of the dream will bring comfort to the king, but maybe not.
Daniel and his 3 friends are the best of the best. They are all royal Hebrews: handsome and filled with wisdom. But when they are taken captive by Babylon, they are put in a place meant to demean them. They are given new names glorifying false gods and are given food sacrificed to those gods. How would you handle this situation? It’s interesting to see what Daniel does.
At the closing of the book of Acts, Luke beckons us to look back, not only looking at the successes and failures of the church but to look at them through the life of Paul. We see where challenges and struggles with eyes that will not see and ears that will not hear take place. Yet, Paul, in chains, still preaches without hindrance. He continues to say, “Here am I! Send me!” May we face the challenges with the same creed.
Paul has been passed from local official to local official. No one knows what to do with him; they think he is innocent, but he wants to stand before Caesar. This sends Paul into the chaos of the sea, riding a ship from the outskirts of the empire to the center of Rome. But along the way there are problems. Huge storms and a shipwreck show us God’s love and guiding grace among difficult times.
Paul wants to go to Jerusalem to visit the church there; however, on his way, folks keep talking about Paul in chains down in Jerusalem. When he arrives, a riot immediately ensues, forcing the rioters and the government to act in the only powers they know. Paul is showing them and us a different way, where we don't have to worry about what the opposition will do to us. Paul is showing us the way of the kingdom.