GET ACQUAINTED:  What, if any, New Year resolution did you make?

SCRIPTURE: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soulHe leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.   Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”  (Psalm 23:1-6 )

GET IT:  Each Life Group member ought to understand God’s goodness and mercy toward those who love him.

OBSERVATION: All the benefits of Psalm 23 are for those who trust in the Lord as their shepherd.  In verse 6 the emphasis is on God’s goodness and mercy as His goodness watches over us, His grace works in us, and His glory waits for us.  We can live fully and fearlessly by staying grateful and generous, being gracious to everyone and living our lives for God’s glory.  His mercy and goodness are a constant in our lives as He follows us through this life and into eternity.  Even though bad things happen in life, God is there to bring good out of it when I walk in faith instead of fear, with a heart that is grateful and generous.

Feel free to select the points you want to discuss and adapt them to your needs.

  • I will have mercy on you through my grace.” (Isaiah 60:10 )  [TLB] Share a time when you were most aware of God’s ongoing grace and mercy.  Since we can expect both God’s provision and pardon all the days of our lives, discuss one or two ways to cultivate awareness of both.  What are some things that can prevent you from extending grace and/or mercy to friends, family, neighbors, or enemies?
  • “God wanted to reveal his abundant glory, which was poured out on us who are the objects of his mercy, and whom he has prepared in advance to receive his glory.” (Romans 9:23 )  Explain how God’s mercy has prepared us to receive His glory in heaven?  Describe how the promise of eternal life in heaven can give more meaning and purpose to your earthly life.
  • “Give thanks continually to the Lord because he is so good, and because his mercy will never run out.” (Psalm 118:29 )  What mental, emotional, and spiritual barriers can make it difficult for us to be both grateful and generous?  Name some ways these barriers can be broken down.  How do generosity and gratitude reflect our confidence both in God and in our future? 
  • “Be gracious and merciful to everyone, and forgive others, just as God has forgiven you because of Christ. (Ephesians 4:32 )  Share with your group how to be an example of God’s mercy and graciousness when interacting with others.
  • “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16 ) [ESV]  Share ways you can live your life for the glory of God.  

Digging Deeper (optional questions)

  1. Even though God’s goodness is watching over you doesn’t mean everything that happens in your life will be good.  Think back on a time when God created good out of a bad thing that happened to you.  Spend some time thanking Him for this blessing.  How can remembering this event help you when another storm strikes in your life?
  1. Psalm 23 ends with a picture of heaven.  Who do you want to see there; who needs to hear about Jesus this week?  When you reach out to them what will you say?  Pray and go tell them you want to see them in heaven.  Invite them to church.

Prayer: God, thank You for Your goodness and mercy to me.  I ask Jesus to be my Savior and Shepherd.  Thank You for Your grace that works in me, and the glory You have waiting for me in heaven when I leave this earth.  Help me forgive because I’ve been forgiven.  Help me live a life of graciousness, generosity, and gratefulness so others would see You in me and I would bring glory to You.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen