Red Letters - Reading Plan

Psalm 23 The Divine Shepherd, A Psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.

Yea, 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 before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

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 Weekly Study Content & Questions

  • Introduction


    This week we'll start by asking the question, "What is my foundation?" Many of us were taught to stand on our own two feet and pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. Others of us were taught to believe we were screw ups and there was no real hope for us. But what if both are inaccurate? What if our only real chance at successfully surviving the storms of life is to make Christ our anchor and foundation?

    Read this week's Scripture: Matthew 7:24-29

    Day 1: Proverbs 3

    • Who do you allow to influence what you believe?
    • What causes you to trust or not trust?
    • Based on your reactions when things get difficult, what/who are you really trusting in?
    • This passage compares wisdom and wickedness. Which one influences your life more? What evidence do you have?
  • Week 1: What's My Foundation?

    What's My Foundation?

    This week we'll start by asking the question, "What is my foundation?" Many of us were taught to stand on our own two feet and pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. Others of us were taught to believe we were screw ups and there was no real hope for us. But what if both are inaccurate? What if our only real chance at successfully surviving the storms of life is to make Christ our anchor and foundation?

    Read this week's verse: Matthew 7:24-29

    Day 2: Hebrews 10

    • People used to offer sacrifices to try to please and connect with God. Though you don’t sacrifice animals, what do you try to offer God instead of your devotion?
    • If you had to sum up where your faith lies in one sentence, what would it be?
    • Verse 35 says, “do not throw away your confidence [in Christ]”. What causes you to throw away your confidence?

    Day 3: Hebrews 11

    • After reading verse 1, would you describe your belief in God as “faith”?
    • The people listed in this passage allowed their faith to take action. What actions has your faith taken?
    • The last few verses describe persecution people faced for their faith. This requires serious commitment. What kind of persecution are you willing to face for your faith?

    Day 4: Ephesians 3

    • What truth do you find in this passage on which you can build your faith foundation?
    • Paul, the author of the passage, says God’s grace was given to him even though he is the “least of all God’s people”. What comfort or assurance does that give you?
    • Take a moment to pray for yourself and your loved ones that, like verse 18 says, you would grasp, “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ”.

    Day 5: Philippians 3

    • In verse 12, Paul describes himself as “pressing on” to reach a goal. What goal are you moving towards? Do you have any type of faith goal?
    • When you add verses 13 and 14 to 12, we’re assured that our pursuit of our faith and purpose in Jesus is an ongoing process. Where are you in that process?
    • In verse 1 Paul is unapologetic about his repetitive message of God’s grace. What message are you repeating to others?

    Day 6: 1 John 2

    • Verse 3 explains how we will know if we have truly made our faith in Christ our foundation. What does it say?
    • Is that proof evident in your life? If so, why? If not, why not?
    • When we love the things of the world we are not loving God well. In what ways do you struggle with loving the things of this world?

    Day 7: Matthew 7:24-29

    • What 3 things stood out to you about today’s sermon?

    Day 8: 1 Corinthians 3

    • What are you building your life on?
    • When life gets difficult or you get stressed, where do you tend to turn?
    • What steps do you need to take to ensure Christ is your foundation?
  • Week 2: Who was David?

    Who was David?

    This week, in Hello Hurricane, we’re going to get to know the man who wrote Psalm 23, the familiar Scripture we’ll focus on for the next three weeks. David was the youngest son of an unglamorous Israelite, who started as a shepherd and later became king. He was the only person in Scripture described as “a man after God’s own heart,” and he wrote Psalm 23. In fact, he wrote about half of the Psalms.

    Read this week's Scripture: 1 Samuel | 2 Samuel

    Day 9: 1 Samuel 16

    • Why was David initially overlooked for anointing?
    • In what ways does it play out in your life that we look at outward appearances but God looks at our hearts?
    • In what ways was David shaped to be king in this chapter?

    Day 10: 1 Samuel 17

    • Though you’ve probably heard this story many times, what was new information or a new insight for you this time?
    • What does this story tell you about who David was?
    • What does verse 45 tell you about how you should approach your daily challenges (this question does not assume that we’re always automatically on God’s side…something to think about)?

    Day 11: 1 Samuel 24

    • In this passage, David proved his opponents wrong. How did he do so? How can you stand up against opposition by being trustworthy or blameless?
    • Saul is so moved by David’s mercy that he eventually blesses David. What godly act could you offer someone who currently opposes you?
    • What traits about David stand out in our readings so far?

    Day 12: 2 Samuel 2

    • Think about all the events and time passed between David’s anointing and taking the throne. Is there anything you’re waiting on God to do? Does seeing David’s timeline and ultimate success encourage you?
    • David offers kindness to those who treated Saul with kindness. Under what circumstances might you repay kindness for kindness shown to your enemy?

    Day 13: 2 Samuel 5

    • David is now king of both Judah and Israel. Things are going well for him. How do you normally deal with God when everything is going right for you?
    • David got a specific answer from God when asking how to handle the Philistines. What are you looking for when you ask God for specific things?
    • What are specific prayer requests God has answered for you in the past?

    Day 14: 2 Samuel 11

    • David’s situation with Bathsheba is one of his all-time lows. What have been yours?
    • If you had known what David was doing with Bathsheba and Uriah at the time it was happening, what would you have thought or done about it?
    • How closely can you relate to David’s selfishness and deceit? Why?

    Day 15: 2 Samuel 12

    • What emotions rise in you as you read Nathan’s story?
    • David pays dearly for his wrongdoing. How much do you think about consequences for your actions?
    • Having spent this time getting to know David, how would you describe him? Why do you think he’s known as such a great king? Why do you think he’s known as a man after God’s own heart?
  • Week 3: How to prepare for the storm

    How to prepare for the storm

    This week, in Hello Hurricane, we’re going to prepare. The best way to prepare for life’s storms and struggles is to shore up your faith foundation before it even feels necessary. We’ll read Scriptures that encourage us to get to know the voice of God, our Shepherd, to put our trust in God, to practice asking God for help so he can prove his faithfulness to us, and to relinquish fear and rest in the knowledge that we’ve been redeemed.

    Read this week's Scripture: Psalm 23:1-3

    Day 16: John 10

    • What significant attributes does the “good shepherd” have?
    • When thinking about verse 10 in relation to your life, where have you seen evidence of God’s work and the thief’s work?
    • Knowing the attributes of God as the good shepherd and seeing the evidence in your life, how does this comfort you and give you peace?

    Day 17: John 20:19-31

    • Jesus’ resurrection was proof that Jesus does what he says he will do. What assurance does that bring you?
    • In this passage, Jesus gives his disciples the Holy Spirit. What does the Holy Spirit represent to you?
    • Thomas doubted. What doubts do you have? Are you willing to offer them to God to see if he will assure you?

    Day 18: Jeremiah 17:1-14

    • We may not worship and/or trust in Asherah poles anymore, but we certainly put our trust in places/things that aren’t God. Where do you place your trust other than God?
    • What are the benefits of trusting in God?
    • Trees planted by water are able to withstand adversity because of where they’ve been positioned. Part of preparing for storms is positioning yourself to succeed through adversity? What are specific ways you can do that?

    Day 19: Matthew 8:1-27

    • What’s the general theme of what’s going on in this passage?
    • We see Jesus faithfully serving these people in difficult positions. How does Jesus’ attention to these peoples’ needs assure you that he will attend to yours as well?
    • Like we’re able to look at Jesus’ faithfulness to others, we can also look to his faithfulness to us in the past. Take a few minutes to reflect on and allow God’s faithfulness in your past to build faith for the future.

    Day 20: Isaiah 43:1-13

    • What are the fires and rushing rivers in your life that threaten to overtake you?
    • Verse 1 is one of the most comforting verses in all of Scripture. Write this verse down and place it somewhere you might normally experience anxiety (i.e. your wallet, your cubicle, your dashboard). Allow it to bring you peace in your anxiety.
    • The final line of verse 13 reminds us of God’s unmatched power. As you prepare for the inevitable storms of life, what does this knowledge do for your confidence?

    Day 21: Psalm 23

    • What 3 things stood out to you about today’s sermon?

    Day 22: Matthew 6:25-34

    • What are some of the minor things you worry about or stress over?
    • What promise does Jesus make to us if we seek God first and how might that play out in your life?
    • What one worry or stressor can you actively give up today so you can seek God first?
  • Week 4: How to weather the storm

    How to weather the storm

    This week, as you read through the Scriptures and think about the storms you’ve survived as well as those up ahead, try to see where God is working. He is working. You have nothing to fear.

    Read this week's Scripture: Psalm 23:4

    Day 23: Psalm 143

    • When, in life, would you have cried out, “listen to my cry” or “come to my relief?”
    • In verses 8-10, each request is followed up by a personal action or commitment. When you cry out for help from God, what efforts do you make to pursue and/or cling to him?
    • Remember, we’re in the storm now. It will be difficult, but take a few minutes to think back on last week. What prep work was already done to make you ready for this storm?

    Day 24: Psalm 69

    • What causes your struggles to feel all encompassing?
    • Verse 5 claims some responsibility for wrongdoing whether it caused the current situation or not. Are the storms you face caused by your wrongdoing (not all are)? If they are, what would it look like to repent and rectify the situation?
    • Reread verses 30-33. Since praising God’s name is more pleasing to him than other efforts we might make, commit to a daily routine of praising God’s name.

    Day 25: Isaiah 28:14-29

    • Often times, we bring life storms upon ourselves. What would it look like to turn and cling to Christ, the cornerstone, even in the midst of our self-inflicted storms?
    • In verse 23-29 Isaiah describes the care with which each fragile herb is planted and harvested. Do you trust that the Lord knows how to grow and take care of you even in your fragility?

    Day 26: Acts 4

    • Peter and John faced hardship and persecution, but, in verse 4, what was the result of their hardship? Do you ever think of how your difficulties could possibly draw others to Christ?
    • Like us, Jesus faced storms. The quotation in verse 11 makes that clear. How is it helpful to know that Jesus faced hard times as well?
    • When Peter and John returned to the other believers, their faith was strengthened. How can you use your difficulties to strengthen the faith of other believers?

    Day 27: Isaiah 25

    • Verse 4 describes God as a shelter from the storm. During your difficulties, do you ever take the time to thank God for what he’s protecting you from? How can you shift your focus in order to still have an attitude of praise?
    • This Psalm also speaks of the future and how God will bless and take care of us long term. How can this knowledge help you have patience through the storms of your life?
    • When you’re struggling, read verse 9 to yourself several times. Let it be a reminder to trust in God and lean on your salvation despite your circumstances.

    Day 28: Psalm 23

    • What 3 things stood out to you about today’s sermon?

    Day 29: Lamentations 3

    • To lament is to cry out in sorrow. Struggling through difficulties is nothing new to humanity. While struggles are never fun, what can you learn from the author of this chapter and how he handled his struggle?
    • Reflecting on verse 22, why would the “Lord’s great love” keep us from being consumed?
    • Though it will not necessarily end your struggle or fix your problems, take a few minutes to listen to “Great is Thy Faithfulness” and be reminded that God’s compassion for us is new every morning.
  • Week 5: How to recover from the storm

    How to recover from the storm

    This week, as we wrap up our Hello Hurricane series, we’re focusing on the necessity of recovery after a storm. King David describes it as God preparing a table before us and dwelling in God’s house forever.

    Read this week's Scripture: Psalm 23:5-6

    Day 30: James 1

    • James suggests that our trials can actually be beneficial to us long term. Can you look back and see how you benefitted from a trial you’ve gone through?
    • We’re also reminded that all good gifts come from God. Though God doesn’t put us through our storms, he does make good gifts out of them. Take a few minutes to list some of the good gifts you’ve received and praise God for them.

    Day 31: Psalm 118

    • After major traumas, many of us just move along to the next item of business. What is your normal reaction when you survive a storm?
    • Reread verses 5 and 6. What difficult situations has God pulled you out of for which you still owe him thanks and praise?
    • Even when we’ve been shaken, we can fall back on God’s unchanging, constant love. Take a few minutes to contemplate and thank God for his unchanging love.

    Day 32: Revelation 1:1-8

    • How is God’s constancy reassuring as you recover from a trial?
    • All the way from Genesis to Revelation, God explains, in a variety of ways, that he is the same yesterday, today, and forever. In our preparation, endurance, and recovery from storms, we can always look for the same God. In the peace of recovery, take time to refocus on who and where God is.

    Day 33: Romans 5:1-11

    • By now, you’ve probably praised God for sustaining you through your storm, but have you thanked him for the storm itself?
    • Jesus died for us when we were sinners and not really worthy of being saved. Clearly Christ is no stranger to struggle. How does this assure you as you recover?

    Day 34: Psalm 27

    • As you recover and use this time to draw closer to God, use verses 4 and 5 as motivation to do so.
    • Often, as we reflect on difficult times, we begin to worry that they’ll come back – another diagnosis, a toxic relationship, etc. – how do verses 1-3 encourage us?
    • Verse 14 encourages us to “wait for the Lord.” Recovering from a storm is the perfect time to rest and wait on the Lord and allow him to restore you. Take a few minutes to ask the Lord to restore you where you’re broken and allow him to do so.

    Day 35: Psalm 23

    • What 3 things stood out to you about today’s sermon?