A Bible Study for New Beginnings
A Look at the Future - A Promise of Hope
It's hard to believe 2016 is here. The beginning of the New Year is a wonderful opportunity to look at the promises and blessings that God wants to pour out on his people.
Whether you're still working on getting a start on a new year, a new season or have another "beginning" in your life, this study is for you! Based on Jeremiah 29:11, this study was created to remind you of the promises that God has for you as you consider your future . . . especially the promise of a Hope and a Future!
This study was originally written for the first of the year, but you could use it anytime a group is starting, at the beginning of a new season or school year or at a time when folks wanted a new look at things. You'll find the entire study in the boxes below and the Leader's Notes HERE.
A New Season . . .
A Renewed Hope
OPEN: What is your favorite promise in the scripture and why?
The scripture we'll look at today was written by Jeremiah as a message from to the people of Israel when they were exiled in Babylon. God had planned for the King of Babylon to attack the nation of Israel and carry off many from the country so they could learn to truly serve God and love Him. This was written about 10 years after Babylon originally attacked Israel. False prophets were telling the people of Israel that the exile wouldn't last long, but Jeremiah had a different message.
READ Jeremiah 29:10-14
This is what the LORD says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place.  For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile." NIV
- How long did Jeremiah tell the people they would be exiled? How do you think that made them feel considering the false prophets were telling them "any day now"?
- What did Jeremiah would say would happen following the exile? They'd already been in Babylon for about 10 years, do you think the people of Israel were encouraged by God's promise through Jeremiah?
- What kinds of situations make us feel as though we are exiled today? (think about things that you do yourself as well as things you have no control over) (See Matthew 2:13-23 for help)
- We can't always control or even know how long we will be in "exile," but we can know that God promises to bring us back to a place where we feel "at home." How does that fact make you feel? Are you convinced or skeptical?
- Reread verse 11. How does this verse make you feel? Is it difficult or easy to believe? Who is this promise for?
- What comes to mind when you think that God "knows the plans" He has for you?
- What kind of hope does it give us to realize that God knows exactly where we are, the fact that He has a plan for us and promises to bring us home?
- How do you think these words changed the way the Israelites felt about their situation in life?
- How can having a true hope in the promises of God change our life?
More Bible Studies to Help You Grow in Christ
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A Renewed Hope . . .
A Bright Future
OPEN: What do you think of when you hear the word prosper?
Review Jeremiah 29:10-11 from last week's lesson
- The word "prosper" used here is translated from the word "shalom" in Hebrew. It actually means "make whole or complete, fulfill, or unimpaired relationship with God and others." How does this definition of "prosper" differ from what we talked about earlier?
- What the first thing you think of when you think about your future? Do you believe that God can and/or will make you complete and give you an unimpaired relationship with him in your future?
- What would your life "complete and whole" look like?
- The exiles knew there would be at least 60 more years before Jeremiah's promises came true. What did that mean for the captives who were 20 years old, 40 years old, 60 years old?
- What do you think they might have done to keep their hope alive in spite of the fact their "future" was at least 60 years down the road?
- Are you living like you have any hope in your future? Why or why not?
- How would your future outlook be different if you knew for sure you had 70 years left to fulfill God's purpose and live in the hope of His promise?
- How would your life attitude change if you lived like you believed you truly have a future and a hope that God wanted to give to you?
- What can you do this week to increase your outlook in a bright future?
Another Link to Help You Grow in Christ
- Jesus, Why the Fascination?
This page contains a review and commentary of the book by Tim LaHaye, "Jesus, Why the World is Still Fascinated by Him." If you are curious about who Jesus is and why so many people (even those who don't follow Him) talk about Him, this is for you
A Bright Future . . .
The Promise of Deliverance
OPEN: When do you feel closest to Christ?
Read Jeremiah 29:12-14
- What does God tell the people of Israel will happen with they call upon Him and pray?
- What will happen when they seek him with all their heart?
- What does this seeking and finding seem to have to do with their deliverance from captivity?
- What kinds of things should we call on God for today?
- How exactly do we truly "seek" God?
- How can you tell that you've "found God"?
- Compare God's promises in these verses with what we talked about last week about the word "prosper"?
- How can seeking God, calling on Him and finding Him help us be "delivered" from the place we feel "exiled"?
- What can you do this week to seek God more than before?
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© 2009 Lynne Modranski