Stepfamily Rewards #Blended

Luke 4:18 tells us that he was sent to proclaim good news to the poor, the prisoner, the blind, and the oppressed. Jesus came to turn spiritual outsiders into insiders. All of us—you and me—were outsiders until his grace found us and made us his sons and daughters. One response of embracing this good news is humble gratitude.

 

 

When gratitude takes root in stepfamily members it can result in insiders (biological family members) making the powerful choice to embrace outsiders (stepfamily members). For example, when stepparents and stepchildren emulate Christ and invite one another in, something powerful happens. The uncomfortable outsider finds belonging, jealous and hardened hearts soften, selfishness dissipates in the face of sacrifice and love, and God is made central in that home. This is a profound reward every blended family would relish. But there’s more.

 

 

Healthy stepfamilies can experience many rewards including some of the following:

 

 

 

 

  • High quality marriages. Couples can create mutually satisfying, intimate, God-honoring marriages within stepfamilies.

 

 

  • A new marital heritage to celebrate. For children of divorce a healthy marital relationship can counteract the negative and destructive patterns of marriage they witnessed in their parent’s divorce.

 

 

  • Healthier kids. A loving, well-functioning stepfamily over time can negate many of the detrimental psychological impacts of divorce on children.

 

 

  • Shared respect and care between stepparents and stepchildren. Children, once empty due to the abandonment of a parent, can bloom under the loving care of a stepparent.

 

 

  • Experienced love, extended grace. When stepfamily members extend love and grace to one another and “bring the outsider in” they are emulating God’s grace to them. In so doing, children are blessed, hurts are healed, and the family is redeemed to God’s glory.

 

 

 

 

This is good news!

 

The Lord’s Spirit

has come to me,

because he has chosen me

to tell the good news

to the poor.

The Lord has sent me

to announce freedom

for prisoners,

to give sight to the blind,

to free everyone

who suffers

Reflections on Dad #AnchorMEN #FathersDay

Reflections on Dad  
Reflections on Dad
by Erin Mohring

Meet Erin Mohring

Meet Erin Mohring

I’m going to be honest: it’s not easy to get my boys to “reflect” on something. Reflecting requires quiet, stillness, uninterrupted thought… yeah, three boys under the age of eight don’t do much of those things!

With Father’s Day approaching, though, I knew it was important to help them spend some time thinking about the man they call Daddy and just why they love him so much.

We say I love you and go about our days, but the people we love are worth more reflection than just a few simple words. And this is even more significant to me as we raise boys.

They have an amazing, godly father who they love to the moon and back, but I want them to know just exactly what is so special about him, what they can admire and what can inspire them to be men of godly character, and the things that make him the the dad God had in mind for them from the beginning.

If you have boys, you probably know the answers that come first when a boy talks about what he loves about his dad…

“He is the best wrestler!” – Big J, age 8

“I love my daddy because he plays video games with me and I love him.” – Caleb, age 4

“He brings home candy from the hospital for me!” – Little J, age 5

“I love that my dad takes me to the park.” – Joshua, age 10

Sure, these things don’t necessarily require a lot of thought, but you know what they do show me? Boys that know their dads love them because they take the time to do fun things with them and think of them when they aren’t at home.

When my boys gave answers like these, I used to get frustrated because they weren’t really appreciating my husband for his best qualities. But to them, these are the important things. The things that make them feel loved and cherished by their fathers, just as the father does in the sweet book, I Love You All the Same.

As siblings can do, the little ones in this book want to be the best at the same things, but the sweet dad takes the time to share the unique things about each child that makes him love them all the same.

Good dads notice, appreciate, and help foster and connect over the special qualities and interests each child possesses, whether it be music, sports, games, or food!

Some of the deeper things I see my boys appreciate in their daddy aren’t mentioned when I ask them what they love most about him, but are noticed in the way they interact on a daily basis. After my husband had been running for about a year, our oldest asked if he could start running on the treadmill. He always wanted to know how many miles Daddy ran that day and would keep track of his own miles in a notebook. My son might not ever answer that he admires the way his father made his health a priority, but it has definitely been reflected in the way he lives!

Our five-year-old wasn’t sure what I meant when I asked what he admired about Daddy, so I gave him a few examples. After a little while, he came back to me and said, “I want to be smart and hard-working like Daddy when I grow up.” As he is just finishing up his kindergarten year and aiming for his dream to be a veterinarian some day, I love that he sees the value in education and diligence in the example my husband has set for our boys. And I’m hoping some of his diligence wears off on me, too!

And the very best? Seeing my boys pray with and for their dad.

The strongest man is one who knows his strength lies in God, and I love knowing my boys see this relationship with Jesus in my husband. Because of him, they know what a godly man looks like and they have a model of faith to build upon of their own faith.

In a culture that often belittles and ridicules the role of dad, I want my boys to think often of the characteristics that make their dad a godly man, an inspiration in their life, the one they love and are blessed to call Daddy. Let’s help them reflect on these things this Father’s Day and throughout the year!

Your Turn

What are some of your kids’ favorite reflections on dad? We’d love to hear what has come out of your little one’s mouth!

Helping Kids Caught in the Middle #Blended

To understand the behavior of children in stepfamilies (including adult stepchildren), you must understand loyalty and the natural tug-of-war it creates.

 

 

Cameron’s mom has been asking him for a month whether he wants to spend the majority of his summer vacation at his dad’s house or with his mom and stepdad, but she can’t seem to get a definite answer out of him. He talks in circles about where he’d like to be but won’t give her an answer. She’s growing impatient with him.

 

 

Loyalty refers to our devotion and attachment to the people we love. It refers to where we choose to put our allegiances. In stepfamilies, people generally place their first loyalty with their biological family members. Cameron feels caught between his biological parents and wants to spend his summer vacation with both of them. But to choose one means he can’t be with the other; it also it means jeopardizing the feelings of one parent should he choose to be with the other. For Cameron, choosing is a no-win tug-of-war.

 

 

Feelings associated with the loyalty tug-of-war often include feeling protective or defensive of one parent while spending time with the other, guilty for enjoying a stepparent knowing their biological parent feels left out, or sorrowful when embracing a new family means letting go of a deceased parent.

 

 

If a spirit of fear, that is, believing that loving one person will hurt another, places children in the tug-of-war, a spirit of love will take them out of many of their loyalty battles. Fear in adults dishonors the attachments of children, love honors them. Fear strives to keep children emotionally near for personal benefit (often an act of aggression toward an ex-spouse); love confidently gives them permission to love others knowing that they have enough love to go around. Fear pulls harder on the tug-of-war rope while love releases it. This is how you help your children find relief from the tug-of-war.

 

 

Biological Parents:

 

 

 

 

  • Give your children permission to like, respect, and love the many different members of their stepfamily. A mom might say, “I’m so glad you enjoyed your time with your dad and stepmom this weekend. I think that’s great.”

 

 

  • Ex-spouses should act civil toward one another. Criticism of the other parent, court battles, sarcasm, and an uncooperative spirit implicitly asks children to choose which parent they prefer or agree with.

 

 

 

 

Stepparents & Grandparents:

 

 

 

 

  • Don’t try to “replace” biological parents (living or deceased). The more you try to force your way in, the more resistant children tend to become.

 

 

  • Grandparents: affirm the new couple and family. Showing partiality to the original family signals to grandchildren that they should remain loyal to the previous family and not open themselves to the stepfamily.

Don’t mistreat someone who has mistreated you. But try to earn the respect of others, and do your best to live at peace with everyone.

Dear friends, don’t try to get even. Let God take revenge. In the Scriptures the Lord says,

 

“I am the one to take revenge

and pay them back.”

 

The Scriptures also say,

 

“If your enemies are hungry,

give them something to eat.

And if they are thirsty,

give them something

to drink.

This will be the same

as piling burning coals

on their heads.”

 

Don’t let evil defeat you, but defeat evil with good.

 

Step-by-Step Stepparenting #Blended

Stepparenting can be tough. Stepparents frequently report feeling confused about their role, displaced from their spouse when the stepchild is around, helpless to change the situation, and guilty because they know that God is expecting them to love their stepchildren, even though they sometimes don’t.

 

 

Finding an effective stepparent role is a challenge—you must persevere to find success. Here are some practical tips for the journey.

 

 

Relationship Building Tips for Stepparents

 

 

 

 

  • Play! Having fun is a great way to connect.

 

 

  • Track with them. Know what activities a child is engaged in and enter that world. Take them to practice, ask about an activity, and take interest in their interests.

 

 

  • Share your talents, skills, and hobbies.

 

 

  • Communicate your commitment. Let the child know you value and want a relationship with them.

 

 

  • Share the Lord and your walk. Shared spirituality can facilitate connection and a sense of family identity, but don’t be preachy. Instead share with humility your faith journey so they will experience you as a safe person.

 

 

  • The cardinal rule for stepparent-stepchild relationships is this: Let the children set the pace for their relationship with you. For example, if your stepchildren are open to physical affection from you, don’t leave them disappointed. If they remain aloof and cautious, respect their boundaries. As time brings you together, slowly increase your personal involvement and affections.

 

 

  • It’s important that stepparents not consider themselves failures if they do not form deep emotional bonds with every child. The length of time required to move into this role depends on multiple factors, most of which are beyond the stepparent’s control. Enjoy the relationship you have now and trust that investments made over time will increase affection and respect.

 

 

 

 

Do’s and Don’s for Stepparents

 

 

 

 

  • Early on biological parents must pass power to stepparents so that children understand that stepparents are not acting on their own authority

 

 

  • Parents and stepparents negotiate rulestogether behind closed doors and seek unity in leading the family. The biological parent then communicates the rules to the children with the stepparent’s support.

 

 

  • Stepfamilies, where both parents bring children to the stepfamily, still negotiate rules together, but each takes the lead role with their own children.

 

 

  • Over time as emotional bonds with stepchildren deepen, stepparents can become more authoritative and shows of affection can become more common.

 

 

  • Don&’t be harsh or punish in a way inconsistent with the biological parent. This tends to polarize parents and create marital discord.

 

 

  • Do focus on relationship building with each child. This is your long-term strength as a parent-figure.

Such a large crowd of witnesses is all around us! So we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially the sin that just won’t let go. And we must be determined to run the race that is ahead of us.

 

Protecting Your Stepfamily Marriage #Blended

God’s design for the family begins with marriage laying the foundation for the home.  But stepfamilies are at a disadvantage when they begin because the couple isn’t the foundation. Because parent-child relationships predate the new marriage and are bonded by blood, history, and family identity, the marital relationship is often a secondary relationship in the home instead of the foundational one. Unless your marriage becomes primary, you will continue to experience distress and instability in your home.

 

 

The process of establishing the couple as the foundation relationship of the home can feel like a win-lose situation for biological parents and children. It’s not. It’s a matter of significance.  Not that a spouse matters more than children, but rather that the marriage matters more to the stability of the home, than do children.

 

 

Children will never suffer neglect because their biological parent makes a strong commitment to their spouse, the stepparent. Couples in biological families where the marriage preceded children naturally sit “in the front seat” with one another yet still make plenty of sacrifices on behalf of their children. Even still the couple maintains their first-love commitment to one another.

 

 

A similar balance is healthy in stepfamilies.

 

 

Tips:

 

 

 

 

  • Set a regular date night and keep it. Prioritizing time for one another helps children see the importance you place on your relationship.

 

 

  • Support your spouse’s parental role with your children. Back them up and insist that your children treat them with respect.

 

 

  • Biological parents: spend regular one-on-one time with your kids and remain involved in their activities. This reinforces that they haven”t “lost” you and paradoxically makes acceptance of your marriage easier. This is the both/and balance.

 

 

  • Stepparents should insist out loud that the biological parent spend time with their children. This communicates that you are not in competition with the kids.

 

 

  • When children show signs of stress or anxiety as you “move your spouse into the front seat of your heart”, be sympathetic, but don’t let guilt put distance in your marriage.

 

 

  • When children challenge the role of the stepparent, respond firmly and with compassion. “You’re just changing the rule because she wants you to,” is a common complaint. Acknowledge the child’s confusion and move forward. “You’re right. Things are different now that Linda and I parent together. And if I were you, I’d be upset about this, too. But this is the new rule and I’m in agreement with it, so please abide by it. Let’s go.”

One day, Sarah noticed Hagar’s son Ishmael playing,and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that Egyptian slave woman and her son! I don’t want him to inherit anything. It should all go to my son.”

Abraham was worried about Ishmael.

 

How to cook a step family #Blended

 

Whether you realize it or not, you have a set of assumptions about how to cook your stepfamily. By that, I mean your approach to how your stepfamily “ought” to come together.  Brenda was cooking her family with a blender.

 

 

“It happened again the other night,” she began. “My 14 year-old son, Braden, walked in the living room and started asking me to help him with his math homework when his stepfather, Tim, who is much better at math than me, was sitting right there. Braden never asks Tim for help with anything. It makes me so frustrated. I told him he had to ask Tim for help.”

 

 

Obviously Brenda’s goal is to help her son connect with his stepfather. Her method of cooking is to force them together, much like what a blender does to the various ingredients, by pushing Braden to ask Tim for help. There is nothing wrong with Brenda’s goal, but there is something misguided about using a blender to force the ingredients together.

 

 

This “blender” cooking method attempts to force people to love each other, rather than allowing them responsibility to apply Christ’s command to love one another—in a gradual manner that is tolerable for them.

 

 

That’s the problem with many common cooking styles used by adults in stepfamilies: they tend to create pressure which inadvertently builds walls between the various “ingredients.” Food processor parents chop up one another’s history when they demand that stepchildren call their stepparent “daddy” or “mommy.”Microwave parents avoid labels like “stepfamily’ because they don’t want to be any different than biological families while pressure cooker parents insist that family members celebrate the holiday in the exact same manner.

 

 

Smart stepfamilies understand that relationships take time and that the forcing action of “blending” creates resistance, not connection. As the video suggests, they cook with a crock-pot. For example, if we could rewind Brenda’s run-in with her son, a crock-pot mentality might have calmed her anxiety and reminded her that since right now her son feels most safe with her, she should respond to his dilemma.  Over time, that might change as Braden shares more of himself with Tim and their relationship matures.  Asking his stepfather for help at that time will more comfortably flow from their bond.  Until then, Brenda should be patient with her son, not push too hard, and keep reminding herself that they aren’t finished cooking yet.

But I am giving you a new command. You must love each other, just as I have loved you.

 

Children Are Definitely Part of the Package #Blended

 

Couples who marry and form a blended family are often surprised to discover that stepfamily living is far more complex than they anticipated. They soon learn that their expectations for how quickly the family will harmonize were unrealistic.

 

 

 

 

  • Love doesn’t happen instantly.

 

 

  • Being previously married doesn’t necessarily equip you to be married to someone new.

 

 

  • Experience as a parent doesn’t adequately prepare you to be a stepparent.

 

 

  • Children are sometimes slow to embrace a stepparent’s authority and the new family as a whole.

 

 

  • And falling in love as a couple doesn’t mean children want to be a family.

 

 

 

 

Yes, children are most definitely part of the package.

 

 

Becoming stepfamily smart is how you prevent the unforeseen aspects of blended family living from sabotaging your home. This involves learning all you can about stepfamily dynamics and connecting with others in your church for mutual support. The trick is to work smarter, not harder, and walk with God each step of the way.

 

 

Your home can be a place of warmth, love, and grace. This series will help get you there.

 

 

Based on The Smart Stepfamily by Ron L. Deal. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Get smart about your stepfamily. Visit FamilyLife Blended™ at FamilyLife.com/blended

God loves you and has chosen you as his own special people. So be gentle, kind, humble, meek, and patient. Put up with each other, and forgive anyone who does you wrong, just as Christ has forgiven you. Love is more important than anything else. It is what ties everything completely together.

 

Blended Family: Becoming Stepfamily Smart #Blended #AnchorFAM

 

Devotionals for the week of June 1st – 6th

The Blended Family: Becoming Stepfamily Smart reading plan provides practical, realistic solutions to the unique issues that stepfamilies face. Integrating a stepfamily is rewarding and at times challenging; but the odds of your success increase dramatically when you see a picture of how a healthy blended family looks and acts. Each day starts with a video clip of stepfamily expert Ron Deal speaking and includes scripture and written content.

Please join us each night at 9pm for this informational guide to being a part of a blended family. Watch for the hashtag Blended, or subscribe via email. You can also stay up to date with our social media outlets;

FB.com/AnchorMEN116 + @SoulAnchorMusic

Controlling the tongue #WhoControlsYou

master-yourself

TALKING TO GOD

Thank God for His Word and for making you in His image. Take turns offering a prayer of praise for the many ways God has gifted you to communicate with each other.

DIVING IN

If possible, build a fire and enjoy the warmth together. If not, then simply recall a time when you enjoyed the warmth of a fire — whether during a special winter gathering or during a summer camping trip. Take turns describing your favorite fireside memories.

GOING DEEPER

The fireside memories that you cherish have one thing in common: control. Any fire that is out of control is far from a cherished memory because it is extremely dangerous. James, the brother of Jesus, teaches about the importance of watching your words. He writes, “Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark” (James 3:5). If left uncontrolled, your words have the potential to cause great damage, just as a spark can ignite a terrible fire. You keep fire contained to protect your family from harm; in the same way, you can exercise self-control in your choice of words to avoid hurting others.

TALKING TO EACH OTHER

What do you think James meant when he said that the tongue makes “great boasts”? Give some examples. – How have you experienced the hurt that can come from a few “out of control” words? – How can you be careful in your communication so you don’t hurt others?

Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble. - Proverbs 21:23

Who is your master? #WhoControlsYou

master-yourself

TALKING TO GOD

Thank God for being the Lord of your life. Ask Him to show you any areas where you have not yet made Him Lord. Trust Him for help to exercise self-control in these areas.

DIVING IN

Play a game of charades, and try to guess the title of popular movies or cartoon series.

GOING DEEPER

It’s fun to do things you enjoy, like watch your favorite television show or play your favorite games. But it might not be so fun if those things had control over you. In 1 Corinthians 6:12, the apostle Paul says: “ ‘Everything is permissible for me’ — but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible for me’ — but I will not be mastered by anything.” When something that you enjoy doing becomes something that you are driven to do, it may have control over you. This means that you’ve given up your ability to choose what is best. It’s important to only have one Master — God — and to make sure He comes first in everything you do.

TALKING TO EACH OTHER

What do you enjoy doing in your free time? – Name a few characteristics of a “master.” How can you tell if something in your life is becoming a master over you? – Discuss some ways that you can develop more self-control.

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money – Matthew 6:24 

Protecting what is precious in you #WhoControlsYou

master-yourself

TALKING TO GOD

Spend some time thanking God for the protection He provides.

DIVING IN

Play a game of capture the flag. Divide into two teams, with each team having its own “flag.” (You can use any item that can be easily carried.) After both teams have found a secure location to place their flag, the game begins. The object of the game is for family members to make their way into the opposing team’s territory, grab the flag and return to their own territory without being tagged. Each team will have to work both offensively and defensively.

GOING DEEPER

It’s important to have defenses in place to protect things that are precious to you. Proverbs 25:28 says, “Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.” The Bible teaches that developing self-control is a way to protect yourself from things that could harm you. When you practice self-control, you’re building strong walls that will keep important things safe — things like your love for God and for others.

TALKING TO EACH OTHER

Can you describe what walls around a city used to look like? How is self-control like city walls? – What kinds of things do you find in cities that need to be protected? What kinds of things has God placed in you that need to be protected? – In what areas do you have a hard time practicing self-control? How can these areas be strengthened so you are better protected from harm?

When I think on my ways,

I turn my feet to your testimonies;

I hasten and do not delay

to keep your commandments.

 – Psalm 119:59-60

Moving in the right direction #WhoControlsYou

master-yourself

TALKING TO GOD

Take turns thanking God for your favorite animals and for the wonder of His creation.

DIVING IN

Think of an animal that you would like to ride. Encourage the younger children in your family to act out the animal of their choice, then take turns talking about which animal you would choose to ride and why.

GOING DEEPER

Many different kinds of animals can be ridden: horses, llamas, donkeys, elephants, camels and even ostriches. And while it may be fun to ride these animals, it would be difficult to actually get anywhere without some way to control them. For many animals, a bit and bridle are used to apply pressure that will point them in the right direction. The Bible uses a bit and bridle as an illustration. “Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you” (Psalm 32:9). If you have trouble controlling yourself, you may feel the pressure of God’s discipline as He points you in the right direction. This discipline can come through parents or other authorities. However, when you choose to follow God’s Word and quickly obey Him, He’ll keep you on the right path.

TALKING TO EACH OTHER

If bits and bridles provide direction for animals, what kinds of things could be like “bits and bridles” for people? – List the many places and people from which you can get direction for your life. – How do you respond to God’s directions for your life (such as those found in the Bible)? Do you follow them easily? Why or why not?

A man without self-control
is like a city broken into and left without walls. – Proverbs 25:28

Sweetness for the soul #WhoControlsYou

master-yourself

TALKING TO GOD

While praying together, take turns thanking God for your favorite foods.

DIVING IN

Post a sheet of paper on the wall. Draw a simple platter on the paper and invite family members to draw their two favorite desserts on the platter. All of these desserts will combine to be one spectacular, yet imaginary, family dessert. Now ask your child to make up a name for this treat.

GOING DEEPER

It’s fun to imagine all your favorite desserts in the same place at the same time. And while this may be fun to imagine, it wouldn’t be healthy to actually eat all those goodies. Self-control keeps you from making poor eating choices; at the same time, it helps you learn to appreciate things that are better for you. Have you ever considered developing a taste for wisdom? Proverbs 24:13-14 says it like this: “Eat honey, my son, for it is good; honey from the comb is sweet to your taste. Know also that wisdom is sweet to your soul; if you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.” Just as eating your favorite desserts can be pleasant, so exercising wisdom in your choices can have a sweet influence on your life now and in the future.

TALKING TO EACH OTHER

How can wisdom be sweet to your soul in the same way desserts are sweet to your taste? – How can you find wisdom?

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. – James 3:17

God Created Land Animals #CreationOfNature

Play:

Play a game of 20 questions. Ask your child to think of a land animal. Other family members then ask yes-or-no questions in order to figure out what the animal is. (Does it live in Africa? Is it big?) The game ends with a correct guess or after 20 questions have been asked. Repeat so each family member gets a turn to choose an animal.

Talk:

God created all the animals on earth. Genesis 1:24-25 says God made livestock such as cows and chickens, creatures that move along the ground like snakes and lizards, and wild animals like zebras and lions. When God was done making the land animals, He saw that His creation was good. Of all the animals God created, which is your favorite?

Pray:

Thank God for all of the animals He created.

— Juliet K. Kennedy Copyrighted © 2013 by Focus on the Family.

 

The Sixth Day

24God said, “I command the earth to give life to all kinds of tame animals, wild animals, and reptiles.” And that’s what happened. 25God made every one of them. Then he looked at what he had done, and it was good.

God Created Fish and Birds #CreationOfNature

Play:

Challenge your children to name as many types of sea creatures as they can in 30 seconds. Then for round two, have them shout out every kind of bird they can think of in 30 seconds.

Talk:

God created the birds of the sky and the creatures of the sea (Genesis 1:20-23). God’s creativity is unmistakable! He has filled the water and the sky with all kinds of animals, from tiny goldfish to gigantic whales, from colorful toucans to soaring eagles. After creating this assortment of creatures, God saw that they were good and blessed them. How can we show God that we are thankful for the birds and fish He has created?

Pray:

Thank God for His creativity in forming all the different creatures that fill the earth’s sky and water.

— Courtney Black Copyrighted © 2013 by Focus on the Family.

 

The Fifth Day

20God said, “I command the ocean to be full of living creatures, and I command birds to fly above the earth.”21So God made the giant sea monsters and all the living creatures that swim in the ocean. He also made every kind of bird. God looked at what he had done, and it was good.22Then he gave the living creatures his blessing—he told the ocean creatures to increase and live everywhere in the ocean and the birds to increase everywhere on earth.23Evening came, then morning—that was the fifth day.

God Created Plants #CreationOfNature

Play:

In the car or on a walk, have your kids count how many trees you pass in one minute. Do it again, and see if you count more or less this time.

Talk:

Plants make oxygen for us to breathe, provide food for us to eat and add beauty to the world. Trees provide shade and lumber to build our homes. God created trees and many other kinds of plants in order to provide for our needs—and the needs of other living creatures (Genesis 1:11-13; 29-30). Name some of the ways you have used plants today.

Pray:

Thank God for creating the many different kinds of plants we use every day.

—Donna Brennan Copyrighted © 2013 by Focus on the Family.

 

11God said, “I command the earth to produce all kinds of plants, including fruit trees and grain.” And that’s what happened. 12The earth produced all kinds of vegetation. God looked at what he had done, and it was good. 13Evening came, then morning—that was the third day.

29I have provided all kinds of fruit and grain for you to eat. 30And I have given the green plants as food for everything else that breathes, including animals, both wild and tame, and birds. And so it was.

God Created Sky, Water and Land #CreationOfNature

Play:

Describe a number of living things that God has created, and ask your child to tell you whether they belong in the sky, water or land.

Talk:

The sky, water and land are full of living things, but this was not always so. Before the earth was ready to support life, God had a lot of preparation to do. This included separating the sky, water and land and placing them in exactly in the right spots (Genesis 1:6-10). God wants us to enjoy and respect the beautiful world He has created. What are some ways that we can care for the earth?

Pray:

Thank God for creating the sky, water and land.

—Naomi Cassata Copyrighted © 2013 by Focus on the Family.

 

The Second Day

6 God said, “I command a dome to separate the water above it from the water below it.” And that’s what happened. God made the dome and named it “Sky.” Evening came, then morning—that was the second day.

The Third Day

God said, “I command the water under the sky to come together in one place, so there will be dry ground.” And that’s what happened. 10 God named the dry ground “Land,” and he named the water “Ocean.” God looked at what he had done and saw that it was good.

God Created Day and Night #CreationOfNature

Play:

Ask your kids to close their eyes really tight, putting their hands over their face. Count to 10, then point out how dark it is. Now, say, “Light” and ask your kids to open their eyes.

Talk about how bright the light is after the darkness!

Talk:

In the beginning, before God made our world, it was very, very dark—just like when you closed your eyes and covered your face. In Genesis 1:3-5, we read that God spoke into the darkness and said, “Let there be light,” and there was light! God called the darkness “night” and the light “day.” God spoke, and light was created.

What are some activities that would be difficult to do without light?

Pray:

Thank God for making the light and the day so we can play and learn; thank Him for the dark night so we can rest.

—Danika Cooley Copyrighted © 2013 by Focus on the Family.

 

The First Day

3 God said, “I command light to shine!” And light started shining. 4God looked at the light and saw that it was good. He separated light from darkness 5and named the light “Day” and the darkness “Night.” Evening came, then morning—that was the first day.

Fear and Love #TowardAFearlessTomorrow

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Fear and Love in the Christian Life

It is often said that fear of God has no place in the Christian’s life because of 1 John 4:18.

But there are many commandments to fear in the New Testament; for example,Romans 11:20, “They [the Jews] were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast only through faith. So do not become proud but fear.” Similarly, Hebrews 3:12 warns against unbelief (although the word “fear” is not used): “Take heed, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil unbelieving heart leading you to fall away from the living God.”

But we shouldn’t get the idea that the writers of the New Testament are opposing one another, as if some are in favor of fear and some against. Here’s the solution: a sober fear of God will motivate us to trust his mercy shown in Christ, and then this “trembling trust” will gradually remove the fear that drove us to it as we see more clearly what our Lord has done for us.

Should fear, then, play a role up to a certain point and never again in the Christian life? The point after which fear will have no proper place in the Christian’s life is the point at which his love is perfected. But none of us is yet perfected in love; none of us is without moments in which his delight in God fades and the “things which are seen” become deceptively attractive.

Therefore, the second line of “Amazing Grace” is not merely a once-for-all experience. It is for our everyday:

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believed.


©2013 Desiring God Foundation. Find many other free resources by John Piper at desiringGod.org

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Scripture #HearingGodSpeak

Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action),
17 So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.

(2 Timothy 3:16-17)

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, “17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

That is a remarkable phrase: “every good work”! Everything good that God expects us to do, the Scriptures equip us to do. That is an amazing claim. How does it work? How does the Bible equip us for “every good work”?

It’s not by supplying specific lists that cover all possible situations. Thinking that way would be a mistake in two ways. It would be a mistake because there are hundreds of specific situations we are in that the Bible does not specifically address. There were no TVs, computers, cars, phones, birth control pills, Prozac, genetic engineering, respirators, bullets, bombs in Jesus’s day. The Bible does not equip us for every good deed by telling us the specific choice to make for every new situation.

The other reason it would be a mistake to think that way is that it leads straight to legalism — doing things because of outward conformity to a demand in the hope that performance will win approval. That is not Christian morality. Good works are done from a heart that treasures God and his help, and from a heart that loves to display the glory of Christ, else the good works are not good, no matter how they conform to external expectations.

The Scripture, day after day, reveals to us the greatness and the beauty and the power and the wisdom and the mercy of all that God is for us in Christ so that by the power of the Spirit we find our joy in him, and the ways of sin become distasteful — indeed ugly and repugnant. Yes the Bible gives us many specifics as pointers how to live. But most deeply the way the Bible equips us for every good work is by changing what we find satisfaction in so that our obedience comes from within freely, not by coercion from without. It does this when we read it and meditate on it and memorize it and meditate over it every day.

©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Find many other free resources by John Piper at desiringGod.org

Desire #HearingGodSpeak

Like newborn babies you should crave (thirst for, earnestly desire) the pure (unadulterated) spiritual milk, that by it you may be nurtured and grow unto [completed] salvation,
Since you have [already] tasted the goodness and kindness of the Lord. [Ps. 34:8.]

(1 Peter 2:2-3)

In this text God commands us not to be spiritual fatalists. The word for long here is very simply the word desire — it’s a command to desire.

What this means is that if you feel stuck because you don’t have the kind of spiritual desires that you should, this text says, You do not need to be stuck! It says, Get them! Get the desires you don’t have. If you don’t desire the milk of the Word, start desiring it!

Now, that is amazing. A command to desire! A command to feel longings we do not feel. A command to feel desires we do not have. Is anything more contrary to spiritual fatalism than that? Fatalism says, I can’t just create desires. If they’re not there, they’re not there. If I don’t feel things the way the psalmists seem to feel things when they say, “;As a deer pants for the flowing streams so my soul pants for you, O God’ (Psalm 42:1) — if I don’t feel that way toward God, then that’s that. I just don’t. I’m not like the psalmists. That’s the dangerous voice of spiritual fatalism.

But God says, Desire the pure milk of the word! Now before you raise all kinds of objections, like, How can you command me to have a desire? What can I do to obey a command like that? How do I just produce a desire? You may as well tell a lame man to walk.

Can you imagine such a thing — commanding a lame man to walk? Who could do such a thing? We know. Let us ask God to create in us the miracle of longing for his word.

Confidence #HearingGodSpeak

The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the [whole] person; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure and bright, enlightening the eyes.
The [reverent] fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, even than much fine gold; they are sweeter also than honey and drippings from the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is Your servant warned (reminded, illuminated, and instructed); and in keeping them there is great reward.

(Psalm 19:7-11)

The point of these verses is this: Because the Scriptures are the Word of God — the communication and revelation of the living God — they have effects on us that are better than the effects of anything else we can read or study or watch or listen to.

God understands you better than anyone else. He knows how people get to be the way they are and how they are affected by their surroundings. God understands society perfectly. God knows all facts about how the world works. God knows the future and how everything will come out in the end. God is wiser than any wise writer. God is more caring than any counselor. God is more creative than any artist. It simply stands to reason that what God says will be more useful to us than what anyone else in the universe has to say. Not to sit at his feet and soak our minds with his wisdom is sheer craziness

May God increase your confidence that the Bible is his very word! And may that persuade you that by meditating on it and following it there is great reward — greater than much fine gold. And may you discover every day the benefits of life and wisdom and joy!

Endurance #HearingGodSpeak

For whatever was thus written in former days was written for our instruction, that by [our steadfast and patient] endurance and the encouragement [drawn] from the Scriptures we might hold fast to and cherish hope.

(Romans 15:4)

All of us who have been born again are hungry to be encouraged by the Scriptures. Therefore we are often impatient with the need to be instructed by them. We would often rather have the fruit without laboring in the vineyard.

So the first lesson in this passage is that the Bible is for instruction. Literally: for teaching. We must be willing to learn what the Scriptures teach if we expect to be encouraged by its truth rather than reflections of our own ideas and desires.

When the teaching of the Scriptures is properly understood, it produces steadfastness and encouragement. Steadfastness means endurance. It’s what you have to have to keep on going in a path of obedience when you feel miserable and when you meet all kinds of opposition.

Where does endurance come from? It comes from the Scriptures.

This is exceedingly practical! Again and again the Scriptures gives you God’s perspective on things, and that biblical perspective will make a hard situation endurable. The Scriptures are given to us for our encouragement and our endurance in hard times.

If you want to have staying power, if you want to endure to the end in the path of costly obedience, then turn off the distractions and meditate on the word of God.

Holy implication #HearingGodSpeak

Your thoughts are far beyond my understanding, much more than I could ever imagine.

(Psalms 139:17 CEVUS06)

The Holy Spirit is the divine author of all Scripture. If this doctrine is true — and it is — then the implications are so profound and far-reaching that every part of our lives should be affected.

Because Holy Spirit is the author of Scripture, it is true (Psalm 119:142) and altogether reliable (Hebrews 6:18).

It is powerful, working its purpose in our hearts (1 Thessalonians 2:13) and not returning empty to the One who sent it (Isaiah 55:10–11).

It is pure, like silver refined in a furnace seven times (Psalm 12:6).

It is sanctifying (John 17:17).

It gives life (Psalm 119:37, 50, 93, 107; John 6:63; Matthew 4:4).

It makes wise (Psalm 19:7; 119:99–100).

It gives joy (Psalm 19:8; 119:16, 92, 111, 143, 174) and promises great reward (Psalm 19:11).

It gives strength to the weak (Psalm 119:28) and comfort to the distraught (Psalm 119:76) and guidance to the perplexed (Psalm 119:105) and salvation to the lost (Psalm 119:155; 2 Timothy 3:15).

The wisdom of God in Scripture is inexhaustible.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.

Spiritually inspired #HearingGodSpeak

But you need to realize that no one alone can understand any of the prophecies in the Scriptures. The prophets did not think these things up on their own, but they were guided by the Spirit of God.

(2 Peter 1:20, 21 CEVUS06)

This passage teaches that when you read Scripture, what you are reading does not merely come from a man but also from God. The Bible is the writing of many different men. But it is also far more than that. Yes, men spoke. They spoke with their own language and style. But Peter mentions two other dimensions of their speaking.

First, they spoke from God. What they have to say is not merely from their own limited perspective. They are not the origin of the truth they speak; they are the channel. The truth is God’s truth. Their meaning is God’s meaning.

Second, not only is what they spoke from God, but how they spoke it is controlled by the Holy Spirit. Men, moved by the Holy Spirit, spoke from God. God did not simply reveal truth to the writers of Scripture and then depart in hopes that they might communicate it accurately. Peter says that in the very communicating of it they were carried by the Holy Spirit. The making of the Bible was not left to merely human skills of communication; the Holy Spirit himself carried the process to completion.

©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Find many other free resources by John Piper at desiringGod.org

God makes us glad #PleasureInCreation

Psalms 104:31-34

Our Lord, we pray

that your glory

will last forever

and that you will be pleased

with what you have done.

You look at the earth,

and it trembles.

You touch the mountains,

and smoke goes up.

As long as I live,

I will sing and praise you,

the Lord God.

I hope my thoughts

will please you,

because you are the one

who makes me glad.

God rejoices in the works of creation because they point us beyond themselves to God himself.

God means for us to be stunned and awed by his work of creation. But not for its own sake. He means for us to look at his creation and say: If the mere work of his fingers (just his fingers! Psalm 8:3) is so full of wisdom and power and grandeur and majesty and beauty, what must this God be like in himself!

These are but the backside of his glory, as it were, darkly seen through a glass. What will it be to see the Creator himself! Not his works! A billion galaxies will not satisfy the human soul. God and God alone is the soul’s end. Jonathan Edwards expressed it like this:

The enjoyment of God is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. [These] are but shadows; but God is the substance. These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun. These are but streams; but God is the ocean.

This is why Psalm 104 (verses 31-34) comes to a close like this, with a focus on God himself. In the end it will not be the seas or the mountains or the canyons or the water spiders or the clouds or the great galaxies that fill our hearts to breaking with wonder and fill our mouths with eternal praise. It will be God.

Pleasures of God, Multnomah Books (Colorado Springs, CO), pages 94-95

::

God created all that is. He rejoices in his works and wants us to be stunned by them, but not for their sake. In this 3-day devotional, John Piper explains how creation points us beyond itself to God.

We would like to thank John Piper and Desiring God for providing this plan. For more information, please visit www.desiringgod.org

God has shown it all to them #PleasureInCreation

Romans 1:19-23

They know everything that can be known about God, because God has shown it all to them. God’s eternal power and character cannot be seen. But from the beginning of creation, God has shown what these are like by all he has made. That’s why those people don’t have any excuse. They know about God, but they don’t honor him or even thank him. Their thoughts are useless, and their stupid minds are in the dark. They claim to be wise, but they are fools. They don’t worship the glorious and eternal God. Instead, they worship idols that are made to look like humans who cannot live forever, and like birds, animals, and reptiles.

It would be a great folly and a great tragedy if a man loved his wedding band more than he loved his bride. But that is what Romans 1:19-23 says has happened.

Human beings have fallen in love with the echo of God’s excellency in creation and lost the ability to hear the incomparable original shout of love.

The message of creation is this: there is a great God of glory and power and generosity behind all this awesome universe; you belong to him; he is patient with you in sustaining your rebellious life; turn and bank your hope on him and delight yourself in him, not his handiwork.

Day pours forth the “speech” of that message to all that will listen in the day, speaking with blindingly bright sun and blue sky and clouds and untold shapes and colors of all things visible.

Night pours forth the “knowledge” of the same message to all who will listen at night, speaking with great dark voids and summer moons and countless stars and strange sounds and cool breezes and northern lights.

Day and night are saying one thing: God is glorious! God is glorious! God is glorious!

Pleasures of God, Multnomah Books (Colorado Springs, CO), pages 85-86

::

God created all that is. He rejoices in his works and wants us to be stunned by them, but not for their sake. In this 3-day devotional, John Piper explains how creation points us beyond itself to God.

We would like to thank John Piper and Desiring God for providing this plan. For more information, please visit www.desiringgod.org

God is in the heavens #PleasureInCreation

Psalm 115:3

Our God is in the heavens;
    he does all that he pleases.

This verse teaches that whenever God acts, he acts in a way that pleases him.

God is never constrained to do a thing that he despises. He is never backed into a corner where his only recourse is to do something he hates to do.

He does whatever he pleases. And therefore, in some sense, he has pleasure in all that he does.

This should lead us to bow before God and praise his sovereign freedom, that in some sense at least he always acts in freedom, according to his own “good pleasure,” following the dictates of his own delights.

God never becomes the victim of circumstance. He is never forced into a situation where he must do something in which he cannot rejoice. He is not mocked. He is not trapped or cornered or coerced.

Even at the one point in history where he did what in one sense was the hardest thing for God to do, “not spare his own Son” (Romans 8:32), God was free and doing what pleased him. Paul says that the self-sacrifice of Jesus in death was “a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2). The greatest sin and the greatest death and the hardest act of God was pleasing to the Father.

And on his way to Calvary, Jesus himself had legions at his disposal. “No one takes my life from me; I lay it down of my own accord” – of his own good pleasure, for the joy that is set before him. At the one point in the history of the universe where Jesus looked trapped, he was totally in charge doing precisely what he pleased – dying to justify the ungodly like you and me.

So let us stand in awe and wonder. And let us tremble that not only our praises of God’s sovereignty but also our salvation through the death of Christ for us, hang on this: “Our God is in heaven; he does whatever he pleases.”

“Psalm 135 and the Pleasure of God in All He Does”

::

God created all that is. He rejoices in his works and wants us to be stunned by them, but not for their sake. In this 3-day devotional, John Piper explains how creation points us beyond itself to God.

We would like to thank John Piper and Desiring God for providing this plan. For more information, please visit www.desiringgod.org

Anyone can be saved #BeThe3 #Anyone #trrts

This week’s point is: I’m on a mission to go people fishin’. Each day talk about how the scriptures you read and the videos you watch connect to this point! Jesus Chooses Four Fishermen 

All who call out to the Lord will be saved.

How can people have faith in the Lord and ask him to save them, if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear, unless someone tells them?

LG

Save the lost #BeThe3 #Save

This week’s point is: I’m on a mission to go people fishin’. Each day talk about how the scriptures you read and the videos you watch connect to this point! Jesus Chooses Four Fishermen 

The Son of Man came to look for and to save people who are lost.

LG

Help each other #BeThe3 #Help

This week’s point is: I’m on a mission to go people fishin’. Each day talk about how the scriptures you read and the videos you watch connect to this point! Jesus Chooses Four Fishermen 

This is why you must encourage and help each other, just as you are already doing.

LG

People fishing #BeThe3 #PeopleFishing

This week’s point is: I’m on a mission to go people fishin’. Each day talk about how the scriptures you read and the videos you watch connect to this point! Jesus Chooses Four Fishermen 

(Matthew 4.18-20, Mark 1.16-20, Luke 5.1-11)

18 While Jesus was walking along the shore of Lake Galilee, he saw two brothers. One was Simon, also known as Peter, and the other was Andrew. They were fishermen, and they were casting their net into the lake. 19 Jesus said to them, “Follow me! I will teach you how to bring in people instead of fish.” 20 Right then the two brothers dropped their nets and went with him.

LG

Forgive others #BeThe3 #Forgive

What conclusions have you drawn after this week’s study? Talk about what you’ve learned about this week’s point: Care, share, and just be there. How will you live differently because of what you’ve learned?

Rules for the New Life – Ephesians 4:32

Instead, be kind and merciful, and forgive others, just as God forgave you because of Christ.

LG

Love your neighbors as much as you love yourself #BeThe3 #LoveYourNeighbor

This week’s verse to remember is Luke 10:27. Take some extra time to read it, say it, and memorize it. Talk about how it connects to this week’s point: Care, share, and just be there. 

Luke 10:27

The man replied, “The Scriptures say, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind.’ They also say, ‘Love your neighbors as much as you love yourself.’ ”

LG

Care, share, and just be there #BeThe3 #Neighbors

This week’s Bible story is a story Jesus told to answer the question, “Who is my neighbor?” This is often called the parable of the Good Samaritan because a man from Samaria is the person in the story that shows us how to be a good neighbor. Talk about how this story connects to this week’s point: Care, share, and just be there. 

The Good Samaritan – Luke 10

25 An expert in the Law of Moses stood up and asked Jesus a question to see what he would say. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to have eternal life?”

26 Jesus answered, “What is written in the Scriptures? How do you understand them?”

27 The man replied, “The Scriptures say, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind.’ They also say, ‘Love your neighbors as much as you love yourself.’ ”

28 Jesus said, “You have given the right answer. If you do this, you will have eternal life.”

29 But the man wanted to show that he knew what he was talking about. So he asked Jesus, “Who are my neighbors?”

30 Jesus replied:

As a man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, robbers attacked him and grabbed everything he had. They beat him up and ran off, leaving him half dead.

31 A priest happened to be going down the same road. But when he saw the man, he walked by on the other side. 32 Later a temple helper came to the same place. But when he saw the man who had been beaten up, he also went by on the other side.

33 A man from Samaria then came traveling along that road. When he saw the man, he felt sorry for him34and went over to him. He treated his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put him on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. 35 The next morning he gave the innkeeper two silver coins and said, “Please take care of the man. If you spend more than this on him, I will pay you when I return.”

36 Then Jesus asked, “Which one of these three people was a real neighbor to the man who was beaten up by robbers?”

37 The expert in the Law of Moses answered, “The one who showed pity.”

Jesus said, “Go and do the same!”

LG

You have all the knowledge you need to teach each other #BeThe3 #Teach

 

ROMANS 15

14 My friends, I am sure that you are very good and that you have all the knowledge you need to teach each other.

LG

Accept each other #BeThe3 #Accepted

 

ROMANS 15

7 Honor God by accepting each other, as Christ has accepted you.

LG

Keep on encouraging each other #BeThe3 #Encourage

 

HEBREWS 10

24 We should keep on encouraging each other to be thoughtful and to do helpful things. 25 Some people have given up the habit of meeting for worship, but we must not do that. We should keep on encouraging each other, especially since you know that the day of the Lord’s coming is getting closer.

 

LG

You should do the same for each other #BeThe3 #DoTheSame

This week’s point is: Care, share, and just be there. Each day talk about how the scriptures you read and the videos you watch connect to this point!

 

JOHN 13:14

And if your Lord and teacher has washed your feet, you should do the same for each other.

LG

Anyone who doesn’t love others #BeThe3 #LoveOthers

What conclusions have you drawn after this week’s study? Talk about what you’ve learned about this week’s point: Sisters and brothers, let’s all love one another. How will you live differently because of what you’ve learned?

 

JOHN 4

8 God is love, and anyone who doesn’t love others has never known him. 9God showed his love for us when he sent his only Son into the world to give us life.10Real love isn’t our love for God, but his love for us. God sent his Son to be the sacrifice by which our sins are forgiven. 11Dear friends, since God loved us this much, we must love each other.

12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is truly in our hearts.

LG

Friends, we must Love #BeThe3 #EachAnother

This week’s verse to remember is 1 John 4:7. Take some extra time to read it, say it, and memorize it. Talk about how it connects to this week’s point: Sisters and brothers, let’s all love one another.

 

JOHN 4

7 My dear friends, we must love each other. Love comes from God, and when we love each other, it shows we have been given new life. We are now God’s children, and we know him.

LG

LET’S ALL LOVE ONE ANOTHER #BeThe3 #Love #OneAnother

This week’s Bible story isn’t really a story at all! It’s a song all about the “one anothers” found all through the New Testament. We are reading those verses throughout this reading plan. But today, spend some time talking about how those verses connect to this week’s point:

Sisters and brothers, let’s all love one another.

 

JOHN 13

34 But I am giving you a new command. You must love each other, just as I have loved you. 35 If you love each other, everyone will know that you are my disciples.

1 PETER 1

22 You obeyed the truth, and your souls were made pure. Now you sincerely love each other. But you must keep on loving with all your heart.

1 PETER 3

8 Finally, all of you should agree and have concern and love for each other. You should also be kind and humble.

LG

Forbear one another in love #BeThe3 #Forbear #OneAnother

Ephesians 4

2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love

 

LG

Don’t Cause Problems for Others #BeThe3 #GuidedByLove

This week’s point is: Sisters and brothers, let’s all love one another. Each day talk about how the scriptures you read and the videos you watch connect to this point!

Romans 14

13 We must stop judging others. We must also make up our minds not to upset anyone’s faith.

LG

Your love for each keeps growing #BeThe3 #GrowLove

This week’s point is: Sisters and brothers, let’s all love one another. Each day talk about how the scriptures you read and the videos you watch connect to this point!

2 Thessalonians – When Christ Returns

3 My dear friends, we always have good reason to thank God for you, because your faith in God and your love for each other keep growing all the time.

LG

Get along and live peacefully with each other #BeThe3 #LivePeacefully

This week’s point is: Sisters and brothers, let’s all love one another. Each day talk about how the scriptures you read and the videos you watch connect to this point!

2 Corinthians 13 

11 Goodbye, my friends. Do better and pay attention to what I have said. Try to get along and live peacefully with each other.

Now I pray that God, who gives love and peace, will be with you.

LG

Let love be your only debt #BeThe3 #LetLove #OnlyDebt

What conclusions have you drawn after this week’s study? Talk about what you’ve learned about this week’s point: I am better than nobody, but nobody is better than I am. How will you live differently because of what you’ve learned?

Romans 13 – Love

8 Let love be your only debt! If you love others, you have done all that the Law demands.

LG

Don’t think you’ better than you really are #BeThe3 #UndeservedGrace

This week’s verse to remember is Romans 12:3. Take some extra time to read it, say it, and memorize it. Talk about how it connects to this week’s point: I am better than nobody, but nobody is better than I am.

Romans 12

3 I realize God has treated me with undeserved grace, and so I tell each of you not to think you are better than you really are. Use good sense and measure yourself by the amount of faith that God has given you.

LG

When your friends are in need #BeThe3 #LoyaltyToRoyalty

This week’s Bible story is about King David and his friend Mephibosheth. King David had a lot more stuff than Mephibosheth so it’s easy to think about how he could help Mephibosheth. But this story also shows how Mephibosheth was able to help King David too. He was loyal to David at a time when other close friends turned their back on their king. Talk about how this story connects to this week’s point: I am better than nobody, but nobody is better than I am.

2 Samuel 9

3 David asked, “Are any of Saul’s family still alive? If there are, I want to be kind to them.”

Ziba answered, “One of Jonathan’s sons is still alive, but he can’t walk.”

4“Where is he?” David asked.

Ziba replied, “He lives in Lo-Debar with Machir the son of Ammiel.”

5-6David sent some servants to bring Jonathan’s son from Lo-Debar. His name was Mephibosheth, and he was the grandson of Saul. He came to David and knelt down.

David asked, “Are you Mephibosheth?”

“Yes, I am, Your Majesty.”

7David said, “Don’t be afraid. I’ll be kind to you because Jonathan was your father. I’m going to give you back the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul. Besides that, you will always eat with me at my table.”

8Mephibosheth knelt down again and said, “Why should you care about me? I’m worth no more than a dead dog.”

9David called in Ziba, Saul’s chief servant, and told him, “Since Mephibosheth is Saul’s grandson, I’ve given him back everything that belonged to your master Saul and his family. 10You and your 15 sons and 20 servants will work for Mephibosheth. You will farm his land and bring in his crops, so that Saul’s family and servants will have food. But Mephibosheth will always eat with me at my table.”

11-13Ziba replied, “Your Majesty, I will do exactly what you tell me to do.” So Ziba’s family and servants worked for Mephibosheth.

Mephibosheth was lame, but he lived in Jerusalem and ate at David’s table, just like one of David’s own sons. And he had a young son of his own, named Mica.

2 Samuel 19

24-25 Mephibosheth, the grandson of Saul, also came to meet David. He had missed David so much that he had not taken a bath or trimmed his beard or washed his clothes the whole time David was gone. David asked him, “Why didn’t you go with me?”

26He answered, “Your Majesty, you know I can’t walk. I told my servant to saddle a donkey for me so I could go with you. But my servant left without me, and 27then he lied about me. You’re as wise as an angel of God, so do what you think is right. 28After all, you could have killed my whole family and me. But instead, you let me eat at your own table. Your Majesty, what more could I ask?”

29David answered, “You’ve said enough! I’ve decided to divide the property between you and Ziba.”

30Mephibosheth replied, “He can have it all! I’m just glad you’ve come home safely.”

LG