Grow Deep - The Gospel in Seven Words Edition Week 3

Week 3: March 20 - 26

The Gospel in Seven Words Edition

Jesus Frees Us From All Our Prisons!

Hymn Verse Jesus, refuge of the weary,
LW #90 v.1 Blest Redeemer, whom we love,
Fountain in life’s desert dreary,
Savior from the world above:
Often have Your eyes, offended,
Gazed upon the sinner’s fall;
Yet upon the cross extended,
You have borne the pain of all.

I read a book recently set in the genre of historical fiction. The narrative followed the lifespan of two female protagonists set against the real history of Afghanistan beginning in the late 1960s. The evolution of government in this history shifted from monarchy to occupied anarchy to absolute theocracy to republic. The freedom experienced in this story ranged from bold support, education, and opportunity to complete subservient, often violent, oppression. It was an eye-opening perspective, and for much of the story, freedom was missing.

On the surface, reading a book like this leads to appreciative thoughts of the freedoms guaranteed in the United States. Freedom is in our culture; it’s the central theme of our national anthem. Speaking openly, with access to essential goods, moving about town, and meeting with friends of various backgrounds are activities we regularly do without concern.

Yet on a deeper level, freedom can sometimes be a relative falsehood. We are susceptible to different kinds of dangerous oppression that can imprison our emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Just like the ruthlessness of a deceptive ruler, things like greed, lust or desire for more stuff can dominate our lives. Such are the tools that distract our focus away from God.

God knew that our freedom would be constantly threatened. He knew that often our focus in Him would be challenged by the brokenness of the world. This is why His ultimate rescue plan to save us from imprisonment, and to offer us everlasting freedom, was and always is Jesus. As we follow Grow Deep this week, let us be thankful for the freedom Jesus brings, and let us pray for opportunities to share His freedom with those oppressed and in need of His grace.

Wednesday, March 20

Read: Luke 4:18-19
Because the Holy Spirit is upon us, we are anointed to share the good news! The imagery of freeing those oppressed with the Word of God is powerful.
Reflect: We give thanks to the Lord for the freedom He brings. How will you use this freedom? Can you think of someone who needs to be freed?

Thursday, March 21

Read: Psalms 102:18-20
This Psalm is speaking to us. It was written for future generations as instruction for a prayer of praise.
Reflect: God sought us out to save us. He chose us. As one chosen to be released (saved) from imprisonment, how does this make you feel? Doesn’t that fill your spirit with awe? Say a prayer of thanksgiving and let this inspire your day.

Friday, March 22
Read: Ephesians 3:12
Faith in God gives us freedom and confidence to approach Him.
Reflect: Isn’t it comforting to know that our faith grants us open access to God anytime? And not only access, but it is comforting to know that we can approach Him confidently as someone who belongs.

Saturday, March 23

Read: Psalms 69:33
The Lord is listening, without despite, for those who are captive.
Reflect: We are all His. Even those who are enslaved, who do not believe, are His. Does this inspire a new feeling of connection with community and beyond? Does it empower you ever so slightly? How will you use this feeling to connect with those oppressed?

Sunday, March 24

Read: James 1:18
God chose to make us reborn through the Word of truth (Jesus) which brings us back to the first fruits of His creation.
Reflect: Once again, our reading today highlights God’s love to save us and bring us back to His creation. How does this verse resonate within your spirit? Does the imagery of first fruits give you a special kind of hope?

Monday, March 25

Read: Romans 8:22
It is important to recognize the brokenness of this world. In today’s reading, Paul illustrates this conflict as groaning in pain.
Reflect: It was never supposed to be like this; that is, the world in chaos. From the moment it broke, God had a rescue plan. How does recognizing His ultimate plan highlight His love? Does knowing that He loved us so much inspire prayers and praise of thankfulness?

Tuesday, March 26

Read: 2 Corinthians 2:14
God leads us in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread His word!
Reflect: A keyword in this celebratory passage is “always.” God’s love for us never stops. Our belief in Him frees us from captivity. How does the steadfastness of His love inspire your day? How will your comfort in His love lead you in your daily march? How will you share Him with someone today?