As we enter into this new year, 2022, it is hard not to reflect on the last two years we have faced. It has, undoubtedly, been a difficult time for most. It is easy to enter into this year with hope for a better year than the last two years have been. However, the truth is that there is a better source of hope than our circumstances on this earth, and that is Jesus. Today, we will talk about how we face hard times and how we can have hope beyond our circumstances.
BREAK THE ICE
What are some things you think people are hoping for in 2022?
SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS
Bible Study Questions
1. Why does putting our hope in circumstances sometimes lead to disappointment?
2. Read Isaiah 43:1-3. What hope does God give His people in these verses?
1 But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
O Israel, the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
2 When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
3 For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom;
I gave Ethiopia and Seba in your place.
3. Look back at verse 3. According to this verse, what does God point to that gives them confidence in His presence and protection?
4. Read Romans 5:3-5. Why will the hope described in this verse not lead to disappointment?
Read Romans 5:3-5
3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
1. How have you found putting your hope in circumstances lets you down?
2. How does knowing that hope in Jesus does not lead to disappointment give you peace right now?
3. What difficulty are you walking through right now? What hope do the verses we have studied today bring you?
Commit as a small group to praying for each other throughout the year. Spend some time as a group now praying for each other about the challenges you are currently facing. After praying, commit to praying for each other every day this week. As you pray, you will find peace and hope as you pray for the needs of everyone in your group.
Scripture tells us about several people who placed their hope in Jesus, even in the middle of difficult, disappointing, or frightening circumstances. Let’s look at several of these people today and be inspired by their hope regardless of their circumstances.
o Read Genesis 12:1=4.
o What was God calling Abraham to do in these verses?
o What would have been difficult about this calling from God?
o What stands out to you about Abraham’s response?
o Based on His response, where had Abraham placed his hope?
· Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego:
o Read Daniel chapter three. Due to the length of the chapter, have each group members read individually and then come back together to discuss this passage of Scripture.
o Describe the situation these three men faced in this chapter.
o What stands out to you about how these men responded to their situation.
o Where did these men place their hope? How do you know?
· The Apostle Paul:
o Read Philippians 4:10-13. Keep in mind that Paul wrote this book of the Bible from prison.
o Describe some of the hardships and difficulties Paul faced in these verses?
o Where did Paul find his hope, and what was the result of the hope he had?
As we think about the difficult things we will be stepping into this new year, let’s commit to putting our hope in Jesus and finding peace and even joy in all of our circumstances. What is one way you can focus on putting your hope in Jesus this week? Maybe you can memorize Scripture, focus on listening to worship music throughout the day, or something else that comes to mind. Share with your group what you decide. Then, next week, share how you intentionally focused your hope on Christ and Christ alone with your group. He alone brings life, hope, peace, and joy.
MONTHLY MEMORY VERSE (Available for download on Sagebrush App)
So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
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