Weekly Readings

Josh Arana   -  

Revenge is a trap.

God wants his people to…

  1. STAND out
  2. BREAK out
  3. CRY out

Heart Preparation: 

  • Begin your time with praise. Praise gets our hearts and minds focused on God and the things above. 
  • Confess any sin that might hinder God’s Word and God’s Spirit from working in your heart.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to transform your life through the Word of God.

Day 1 – Jesus’ example

As Jesus went to the cross for us, He faced unjust treatment. Let’s explore how He responded.

Read Matthew 27:27-31 and Mark 14:60-65?

What types of mistreatment did Jesus suffer? Let’s look at how Peter described Jesus’ response.

Read 1 Peter 2:22-23.

Make a list of things Jesus did not do when He was treated unjustly (22-23)?

What did He do instead (23)?

Application:

Picture yourself being stripped, mocked, beaten. What would be your natural response to the mistreatment?

Think of a situation you are facing or faced in the past.  How did you seek revenge? 

What would it have looked like to you to entrust yourself and your situation to Jesus? (To entrust means to put yourself in the care of another.)

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for being an example of how to face mistreatment. Forgive me for all the times I have sought revenge in my heart or with my actions. Teach me how to entrust myself and my difficult situations to You. I want my life to stand out for You. Amen.


Day 2 – Stand Out by being identified with Jesus

Acts 4:1-13.

  • Why were the religious leaders upset with Peter and John (1-2)?
  • What did they do to them (3)?
  • What was the amazing result of their teaching (4)?
  • When they called Peter and John before the High Priest, what did he want to know (7)?
  • Who guided Peter’s response (8)?
  • What did Peter reveal as the power for the healing of the lame man (10)?
  • What other bold statement did Peter make (12)?
  • To what did the religious leaders attribute Peter and John’s courage (13)?

Application:

If we are going to Stand Out, it starts by spending time with Jesus. As we spend time with Him, read His Word, look at His life, and learn to be filled and guided by His Spirit, we will begin to live differently. The more we live like Jesus, the more we will Stand Out.

One of the best ways to do this is to read through the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), a little bit each day. A few weeks ago, Pastor Steve encouraged us to make the First Word and the Last Word of our day from the Word of God. You might consider regularly reading through the Gospels to begin or end your day. Read until you observe something noteworthy about His life. Think about how you can live that way too. Then, put it into practice.

Prayer: Jesus, I want to be different because of the time I’ve spent with you. Help me make spending time with you a priority so that I can get to know You. Transform my life. Amen.


Day 3 – Stand Out by how you respond to mistreatment.

Read Romans 12:17-21.

  • How are we to respond to the evils done to us (17)?
  • How are we to live before people (17-18)?
  • What do we learn about taking revenge (19)?
  • How should we treat our enemies (20)?
  • Who do we need to trust will deal with the person (20)?
  • How are we to overcome evil (21)?

Application:

How have you been overcome by evil in the past?

How would NOT repaying evil for evil help you Stand Out in our culture today?

Think of someone that you have a difficult relationship with. What act of kindness can you do for them today?

Prayer: Father, I praise You that You are good, fair and trustworthy. Forgive me for all the times I have returned evil for evil. Help me to do what is right in Your eyes and learn to be kind to my enemies. Teach me how to leave the “revenge” to You. Help me learn to love people, especially difficult people, just like You. Amen.


 

Day 4 – Break Out of the cycle of revenge

Breaking out of the cycle of revenge starts with taking responsibility for our part in the conflict.

Read Jeremiah 17:9.

What is the condition of our hearts before Jesus begins to transform us (19)?

As we seek to break the cycle of revenge, we need to remember that those who do not know Jesus, function out of the evil in their hearts.They are acting consistent with their nature. We should not expect them to respond differently. As we allow Jesus to transform our hearts, we will become more like Jesus, less like the world. We’ll function out of the love He has put in our hearts as it replaces the evil that was there.

Read Romans 12:19.  

  • With whom do we need to leave revenge?

Read Psalm 139:23-24.

  • What did the psalmist ask God to do (23)?
  • What did he want God to reveal to him (24) ?
  • Where did he ask God to lead him (24)?

Read Proverbs 14: 2-3.

  • How are those who fear the Lord different from those who don’t (2)?
  • What is the difference between how the fool and the wise person act (3)?
  • What is the focus of the fool (3)?
  • What is the focus of the wise person (3)?

 

Application:

Spend some time in prayer today. Ask God to search your heart.

Evaluate your relationship with the Lord. Do you know Him? Do you let His Spirit guide you? Is He transforming your heart?

Ask Him to reveal any offensive ways in your life.

Ask Him to show you how pride might be fueling evil in your heart.

Ask Him to transform your heart and make it more like His.

Prayer: God, thank you for rescuing me from my sin. I want to break the cycle of revenge in my heart and my life. Search my heart. Forgive me for my offensive ways and the pride that fuels my flesh. Transform my heart. Help me to grasp that I don’t need to repay evil with evil. Amen.


Day 5 – Cry Out

Read Jonah 2:1-10.

Jonah is another example of someone who finally cried out to the Lord for help. God had asked him to go to the city of Nineveh to preach judgement against their wickedness. Instead, Jonah purchased a ticket on a boat going the opposite direction and ended up getting swallowed by a fish. From inside the fish, Jonah finally cried out to God.

How did God respond to his cry (1-2)?

Even though Jonah knew he was banished from the sight of God, what did he do (4)?

What circumstances was Jonah facing (5-6)?

What did God do (6)?

What did Jonah do when his life was ebbing away (7)?

What do those who worship idols do (8)?

What change happened in Jonah’s heart (9)?

In spite of what Jonah had done, what did God do (10)?

 

Application:

It is never too late to cry out to God. No matter what you’ve done, how ashamed you are about what happened, how guilty you feel about what you’ve done, God hears your cries, He forgives your sin, and He invites you back to walk with Him.

What thoughts have kept you from crying out to God?

How have idols (things that take your time, your money, and your mind) turned your heart away from God?

Both Samson and Jonah took responsibility for their sin as they cried out to God. What do you need to take responsibility for so that you can turn your heart back toward God?

Cry out to God for help.

Your circumstances may not change as you would like, but God will enable you to walk through whatever you face in His power and His will.

Prayer: Father, I praise You for being a God who hears and answers our cries for help. Forgive me for not turning to You sooner, for letting idols consume me rather than You and Your will. I cry out to You today. I need Your help. Help me to face what is before me in your strength and according to Your will.  Amen.