31 ways for kids to show God’s love #AnchorFAM

20140801-101558-36958519.jpg

31 Ways For Kids to Show God’s Love
by Traci Little

There is a sweet elderly lady on our street that just had to send her husband to a nursing home. He has dementia and was wandering off.

You can see the sadness in her eyes.

A few nights ago, my children saw her out weeding her garden. They said, “Mommy, we feel so sorry for her; she looks so sad! Can we please go say hello and cheer her up?”

I love these teachable moments where the Holy Spirit grabs a hold of our little ones’ hearts and plants tiny seeds in their souls. It’s those tiny seeds that, over time, will grow mighty with roots that dig down deep into the soil of their hearts.

Psalm 1:1-3 says
Blessed is the man

who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,

nor stands in the way of sinners,

nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

but his delight is in the law of the Lord,

and on His law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree

planted by streams of water

that yields its fruit in its season,

and its leaf does not wither.

Our goal as parents is to raise our children with solid convictions, so that when the temptations come, they have a firm and solid foundation.

Here are 31 ways children can finish off the summer well and give back to others by showing God’s love:

1. Write a letter to a friend and put it in the mailbox.

2. Draw a picture and mail it to your teacher to tell them that you miss them and are thankful for them.

3. Bless the mailman/woman by leaving them a gift and thanking them for their hard work.

4. Do some yard work for a neighbor.

5. Volunteer at a soup kitchen with your family.

6. Organize a toy drive for the children’s wing at your local hospital.

7. Participate in a 5K walk as a family to raise money for cancer or another important cause.

8. Bake cookies for a family at your church you want to encourage.

9. Paint a picture for your grandparents and mail it to them.

10. Help a sibling learn how to read.

11. Make a tutorial video about something you are gifted in.

12. Put together a box full of goodies for a person in the military and mail it to them.

13. Help out with a ministry at church.

14. Get together some neighborhood friends and clean up trash.

15. Make some crazy loom bracelets and raise money for a favorite charity.

16. Make a get well box for someone who is sick.

17. Write out special prayers for children in need.

18. Write thank you cards for your pastor/deacons.

19. Take turns cleaning your siblings’ rooms.

20. Offer to help your parents babysit for another family’s children.

21. Give up all electronics for one day and spend time doing things for others.

22. Go on a local missionary trip as a family.

23. Pay for someone behind you at a drive through. Leave a tract with the cashier to give to them.

24. Start a kindness jar. Place ideas of ways to be kind and take turns picking from the jar and exhibiting those acts of kindness.

25. Invite friends to Vacation Bible School.

26. Bring someone wild flowers to your teacher at church.

27. Listen without interrupting or arguing back.

28. Continue clipping box tops to bring back to school.

29. Write a sidewalk chalk message to a family member to express your love for them.

30. Teach your children to hold the door open for people and praise them when they do.

31. Help your parents make a meal for a family who just had a new baby.

These are just suggestions. Replace any with your own creative ideas that fit your own family dynamic.

One of the biggest struggles our children will face is learning to be content and thankful. If our children can grasp the spiritual discipline of contentment, they will be able to see beyond themselves, and reach out to others.

The book The Blessings Jar is an excellent book about this very topic. One day a little girl named Alexa Grace is having a grumpy day. Her grandmother introduces a blessing jar idea to her. The blessing jar is a way for Alexa Grace to count her blessings by placing them in a jar. Alexa Grace goes on an adventure, looking for all her many blessings. Soon, the jar is overflowing with goodies, and she realizes how truly blessed she is.

Here is our daughter reading The Blessings Jar to her brothers:

Isn’t that the truth? Sometimes we don’t realize how very blessed we are until we look around and count our blessings. Consider getting this book for your own family. Maybe you could create a blessings jar and go on a little adventure of your own? You could even use the above “31 Ways List” and when you do something on this list, write it down and place it in your very own blessings jar! Write a little note on the back of how God blessed you and your children by blessing others.

Your Turn

How do you teach your children to have a heart of compassion for others? Have you been able to witness the Holy Spirit working in the hearts of your kids through reaching out to others? How have you helped your kids to show God’s love?

Don’t bear false witness, that goes for lying too!

http://youtu.be/Mz_F_Dna7Rg

God tells the Israelites to not bear false witness about their neighbors. So what does this mean? It means we should not lie to or about our neighbors! Similar to how God asks us to always honor His name in the third commandment, we should be careful with how we speak to other people. We should also be careful how we speak about other people when they are not around! God wants us to care for our neighbors in the words that we say. He also wants us to always tell the truth, because He is a God who loves truth and always tells the truth to us.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor

Don’t steal! Don’t even steal back from what’s been stolen from you

http://youtu.be/AvHTnp0wqbk

God tells the Israelites not to steal. When you think of stealing, you may think of a bank robber stealing money – which is against God’s commandment. But all forms of stealing from our neighbors are against this commandment. We shouldn’t steal things that belong to other people, but we also shouldn’t steal ideas or cheat people out of things that are rightfully theirs. This is another commandment that God uses to remind us to honor and love our neighbors!

You shall not steal.

Don’t even lust in your hearts!

 

God tells the Israelites not to commit adultery. This means that when we are committed to another person through marriage, we should stay true to him or her and not fall in love with someone else. God gave us the gift of marriage, and He wants us to honor that commitment because it is a way of honoring Him. God asks us to put Him first, and to not stray and worship other gods or idols. Just like that, God asks us to put our marriage first before all other human relationships, and we are not supposed to stray from it either!

You shall not commit adultery.

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 Is Light #ActsOfRepentance

Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 11.51.04 AM

Repentance results in forgiveness. We repent and God forgives. Repentance and forgiveness are not difficult concepts. Repentance is our action and forgiveness is God’s reaction to us out of His perfect love for us. While the process is simple, the power of God’s forgiveness is unfathomable. God’s forgiveness eliminates all darkness in our lives and brings us into the light no matter what sins we have committed. God’s forgiveness covers ALL sins including yours. How has the redemptive power of God’s forgiveness changed and impacted your life?

 

God Is Light

5Jesus told us God is light and doesn’t have any darkness in him. Now we are telling you.

 6If we say we share in life with God and keep on living in the dark, we are lying and are not living by the truth. 7 But if we live in the light, as God does, we share in life with each other. And the blood of his Son Jesus washes all our sins away. 8If we say we have not sinned, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth isn’t in our hearts. 9But if we confess our sins to God, he can always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away.

10If we say we have not sinned, we make God a liar, and his message isn’t in our hearts.

Turn Back To God #ActsOfRepentance

Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 11.51.04 AM

What side are you on? That is the question Jesus is asking in Luke 13:1-8. Are you on the side of right or wrong? The right side leads to eternal life, while the wrong side leads to destruction. Jesus’ message is simple: all you have to do is repent of your sins in order to have new life. If you don’t repent, then you will perish. God does not desire to cut us down, but rather He loves us and desires us to bear fruit. What fruit are you bearing in your life currently? What sins do you need to repent of in order to start bearing the kind of fruit God desires?

 

Turn Back to God

1About this same time Jesus was told that Pilate had given orders for some people from Galilee to be killed while they were offering sacrifices. 2Jesus replied:

Do you think that these people were worse sinners than everyone else in Galilee just because of what happened to them? 3Not at all! But you can be sure that if you don’t turn back to God, every one of you will also be killed. 4What about those 18 people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them? Do you think they were worse than everyone else in Jerusalem? 5Not at all! But you can be sure that if you don’t turn back to God, every one of you will also die.

A Story about a Fig Tree

6Jesus then told them this story:

A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard. One day he went out to pick some figs, but he didn’t find any.7So he said to the gardener, “For three years I have come looking for figs on this tree, and I haven’t found any yet. Chop it down! Why should it take up space?”

8The gardener answered, “Master, leave it for another year. I’ll dig around it and put some manure on it to make it grow. 9Maybe it will have figs on it next year. If it doesn’t, you can have it cut down.”

When did Jesus of Nazareth really die? #PassoverLamb #GoodFriday

We are approaching Passover as well as Good Friday, and after recently learning about Exodus and the first Passover, I have became extremely interested in the traditions and festivals that Jewish people celebrate as well as holidays Christians celebrate nowadays. As a Christian, I barely know when, and why this all began. After going through Exodus and listening to sermons, I have even searched online for some additional information. I find it extremely interesting that Jesus is referred to as our Passover Lamb by Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians. How likely is it? And why don’t Jewish people realize this celebration and tradition all points to Jesus, the Messiah as our Passover Lamb. Even how God laid down the rules for the selection of the lamb in Exodus reveals He is implying and actually applying this to His son. Crazy, right?

 

So, before we celebrate Passover on the 14th day of Nisan for 7 days, and before we come across Good Friday, let us look and the clues and facts that lead us to find out when Jesus was crucified and punished for all of the sins of the world. Once, and for all!

 

The following is not my research, but that of Jimmy Akin. Please be a Berean when it comes to digesting spiritual information. See if it adds up for yourself. Be your own detective. Please let us know what your thoughts and feelings are on the subject. Please note: all hateful and inconsiderate comments will not be shared or posted. Thank you!

 

 

Image

 

We all know that this happened in Jerusalem in the first century.

That separates Jesus from mythical pagan deities, who were supposed to live in places or times that none could specify.

Just how specific can we be with the death of Jesus?

Can we determine the exact day?

We can.

And here’s how . . .

 

Clue #1: The High Priesthood of Caiaphas

The gospels indicate that Jesus was crucified at the instigation of the first century high priest named Caiaphas (Matthew 26:3-4John 11:49-53).

We know from other sources that he served as high priest from A.D. 18 to 36, so that puts Jesus’ death in that time frame.

But we can get more specific. Much more.

 

Clue #2: The Governorship of Pontius Pilate

All four gospels agree that Jesus was crucified on the orders of Pontius Pilate (Matthew 27:24-26Mark 15:15Luke 23:24John 19:15-16).

We know from other sources when he served as governor of Judea–A.D. 26 to A.D. 36–so we can narrow down the range by several years.

But how are we going to get it down to a specific day and year?

 

Clue #3: After “the Fifteenth Year of Tiberius Caesar”

The Gospel of Luke tells us when the ministry of John the Baptist began:

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar . . . the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness [Luke 3:1-2].

This picks out a specific year: A.D. 29.

Since all four gospels depict the ministry of Christ beginning after that of John the Baptist had begun (Matthew 3Mark 1Luke 3John 1), this means that we can shave a few more years off our range.

The death of Christ had to be in a range of seven years: between A.D. 29 and 36.

 

Clue #4: Crucified on a Friday

All four gospels agree that Jesus was crucified on a Friday (Matt. 27:62Mark 15:42Luke23:54;  John 19:42), just before a Sabbath, which was just before the first day of the week (Matthew 28:1Mark 16:2Luke 24:1John 20:1).

We know that it was a Friday because it is referred to as “the day of preparation”–that is, the day on which Jews made the preparations they needed for the Sabbath, since they could not do any work on that day. Thus thus cooked food in advance and made other necessary preparations.

The Jewish Encyclopedia states:

Friday, as the forerunner of Shabbat, is called “‘Ereb Shabbat” (The Eve of Sabbath). The term “‘ereb” admits of two meanings: “evening” and “admixture” (Ex. xii. 38); and “‘Ereb Shabbat” accordingly denotes the day on the evening of which Sabbath begins, or the day on which food is prepared for both the current and the following days, which latter is Sabbath.

The idea of preparation is expressed by the Greek name paraskeué, given by Josephus (“Ant.” xvi. 6, § 2) to that day (compare Mark xv. 42; Luke xxiii. 54; Matt. xxvii. 62; John xix. 42). In Yer. Pesaḥim iv. 1 the day is called “Yoma da-‘Arubta” (Day of Preparation) [Jewish Encyclopedia, s.v., "Calendar"].

That eliminates six of the days of the week, but there were still quite a few Fridays between A.D. 29 and 36.

Can we figure out which one?

 

Clue #5: A Friday at Passover

The gospels also agree that Jesus was crucified in conjunction with the annual feast of Passover (Matthew 26:2Mark 14:1Luke 22:1John 18:39).

Here we encounter a momentary complication, because Matthew, Mark, and Luke describe the Last Supper on Holy Thursday as a Passover meal (Matthew 26:19Mark 14:14Luke 22:15). That would suggest that Good Friday was the day after Passover.

However, when describing the morning of Good Friday, John indicates that the Jewish authorities had not yet eaten the Passover meal:

Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the Praetorium [i.e., Pilate's palace]. It was early. They themselves did not enter the Praetorium, so that they might not be defiled, but might eat the passover. So Pilate went out to them [John 18:28-29a].

That suggests that the Passover would have begun on sundown Friday.

There are a number of ways of resolving this. For example, some have suggested that Jesus and his disciples used a different calendar than the Jewish authorities, and we know that there were different calendars in use in first century Judaism.

It’s also possible that Jesus just advanced the date of the Passover celebration for him and his disciples. I mean, they were already convinced he was the Messiah and the Son of God. If he says, “We’re celebrating Passover today,” and it’s a day earlier than most people, they’d just go with that. (Note that he made other modifications to the ceremony, such as instituting the Eucharist in the midst of it.)

And there are other solutions.

However, regardless of what Jesus’ movement did, we can look to John’s statement about the Jesus’ captors as an indication of what the Jewish authorities or the mainstream Jewish practice was: They were celebrating a Passover beginning on what we would call Friday evening.

That lets us narrow down the range of possible dates to just a few. Here is a complete list of the days between A.D. 29 and 36 on whose evenings Passover began:

  • Monday, April 18, A.D. 29
  • Friday, April 7, A.D. 30
  • Tuesday, March 27, A.D. 31
  • Monday, April 14, A.D. 32
  • Friday, April 3, A.D. 33
  • Wednesday, March 24, A.D. 34
  • Tuesday, April 12, A.D. 35
  • Saturday, March 31, A.D. 36

As you can see, we have just two candidates left: Jesus was either crucified on April 7 of A.D. 30 or April 3 of A.D. 33.

Which was it?

The traditional date is that of A.D. 33. You will find quite a number of people today advocating the A.D. 30 date.

Do the gospels let us decide between the two?

 

Clue #6: John’s Three Passovers

The Gospel of John records three different Passovers during the ministry of Jesus:

  • Passover #1: This is recorded in John 2:13, near the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.
  • Passover #2: This is recorded in John 6:4, in the middle of Jesus’ ministry.
  • Passover #3: This is recorded in John 11:55 (and frequently mentioned afterwards), at the end of Jesus’ ministry.

That means that the ministry of Jesus had to span something over two years. A fuller treatment would reveal that it spanned about three and a half years, but even if we assume it began immediately before Passover #1, the addition of two more Passovers shows that it lasted more than two years at a bare minimum.

That means the A.D. 30 date is out.

There is not enough time between the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar–A.D. 29–and the next year’s Passover to accomodate a ministry of at least two years.

The numbers don’t add up.

As a result, the traditional date of Jesus’ death–Friday, April 3, A.D. 33–must be regarded as the correct one.

Can we be even more precise?

 

Clue #7: “The Ninth Hour”

Matthew, Mark, and Luke each record that Jesus died about “the ninth hour” (Matthew 27:45-50Mark 15:34-37Luke 23:44-46).

“The ninth hour” is what we, today, would refer to as 3:00 p.m.

This allows us to narrow down the time of Jesus’ death to a very specific point in history: around 3:00 p.m on Friday, April 3, A.D. 33.

Of course, there are a lot of detailed arguments that I haven’t taken space to deal with here. But this is the thrust of things.

This is when it happened. 

 

Fear and Love #TowardAFearlessTomorrow

20140330-092235.jpg

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

20140330-093324.jpg

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

Where do you think you came from? #FreeYourMind

From the goo

to the zoo

to you.

Wow, so you evolved from slime,

now you’re cutting off people in line,

what a crime. 

Funny how schools teach kids they come from slime and then they get upset when they are being slime during recess. Then we blame guns and the psychosis for their behavior when they shoot up their classmates.
How do you think they got there?
They evolved. They were taught they came from nothing. So they think they are nothing. And if they have no value for human life, they won’t value a human’s life.
Just like girls terminating a human’s life before it can become a burden. We just don’t address this because it isn’t a mass murder. Just singular.
And you wonder why these this happen! 
I would suggest we cry out to GOD instead of crying out to other people. People can’t fix us. Only GOD can. He created us. Let’s embrace His truth instead of trying to suppress it and deny His importance in our lives.

God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness – Romans 1

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

What in the world are you smoking?

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

The most important commandment #BeThe3 #LoveGod

This week’s point is: The most important commandment. Love the LORD your GOD! Each day talk about how the scriptures you read and the videos you watch connect to this point!

The Most Important Commandment

(Mark 12:28-34; Matthew 22.34-40; Luke 10.25-28)

28 One of the teachers of the Law of Moses came up while Jesus and the Sadducees were arguing. When he heard Jesus give a good answer, he asked him, “What is the most important commandment?”

29 Jesus answered, “The most important one says: ‘People of Israel, you have only one Lord and God. 30You must love him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.’31 The second most important commandment says: ‘Love others as much as you love yourself.’ No other commandment is more important than these.”

32 The man replied, “Teacher, you are certainly right to say there is only one God. 33 It is also true that we must love God with all our heart, mind, and strength, and that we must love others as much as we love ourselves. These commandments are more important than all the sacrifices and offerings that we could possibly make.”

34When Jesus saw that the man had given a sensible answer, he told him, “You are not far from God’s kingdom.” After this, no one dared ask Jesus any more questions.

LG

I am better than nobody #BeThe3 #Nobody

This week’s point is: I am better than nobody, but nobody is better than I am. Each day talk about how the scriptures you read and the videos you watch connect to this point!

Matthew 22

36“Teacher, what is the most important commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus answered:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. 38This is the first and most important commandment. 39 The second most important commandment is like this one. And it is, “Love others as much as you love yourself.” 40All the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets are based on these two commandments.

LG

WOMEN

 

CJ

WOMEN

Midday. By midday, the sun is at its hottest. A Samaritan woman comes to the well to fetch water and finds a stranger sitting there—a Jew. He speaks to her. He asks her for a drink. A single Jewish man talking to an un-chaperoned woman! And a Samaritan at that! Doesn’t he know the rules?

That was probably what a lot of people in that area thought when they saw Jesus talking to the woman at the well. But Jesus didn’t often follow the rules. Throughout his ministry, he showed a special regard for women. Women were among his followers (Luke 8.1–3). They came to listen to him (Matthew 15.38). They supported him—even when his closest followers, men, had deserted him (Mark 14.50). He rewarded their faith (Matthew 9.20–22). Jesus gave women a value and attention that was radically different in the socially rigid hierarchies of first-century Israel. Why? Because the water of life was for everybody. Of that, Jesus was certain.

In some parts of the world, women are denied education and employment, status and respect; some are little more than slaves. But Jesus came to remind them of their beloved status. Those who trust him are his children, and therefore worthy of respect.

How did Jesus show his concern for the woman at the well? How did the woman respond to Jesus’ offer of living water? What does her response tell you about her thirst?

Consider the women among your family and friends. What are their goals and dreams? How can you lead them to the Lord and support them in their goals? Also, think about contributing your time and resources to aid oppressed women in other countries. Pray: Lord, you created every person in your image and you’ve given each of us special gifts. Help us to value ourselves and one another. Help us to ensure that no one is denied a chance to contribute to the great work of loving and serving you.

Jesus and the Samaritan Woman

 

Jesus left Judea and started for Galilee again. This time he had to go through Samaria, and on his way he came to the town of Sychar. It was near the field that Jacob had long ago given to his son Joseph. The well that Jacob had dug was still there, and Jesus sat down beside it because he was tired from traveling. It was noon, and after Jesus’ disciples had gone into town to buy some food, a Samaritan woman came to draw water from the well.

 

Jesus asked her, “Would you please give me a drink of water?”

 

“You are a Jew,” she replied, “and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink of water when Jews and Samaritans won’t have anything to do with each other?”

 

Jesus answered, “You don’t know what God wants to give you, and you don’t know who is asking you for a drink. If you did, you would ask me for the water that gives life.”

 

“Sir,” the woman said, “you don’t even have a bucket, and the well is deep. Where are you going to get this life-giving water? Our ancestor Jacob dug this well for us, and his family and animals got water from it. Are you greater than Jacob?”

 

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again. But no one who drinks the water I give will ever be thirsty again. The water I give will become in that person a flowing fountain that gives eternal life.”

 

The woman replied, “Sir, please give me a drink of that water! Then I won’t get thirsty and have to come to this well again.”

 

Jesus told her, “Go and bring your husband.”

 

The woman answered, “I don’t have a husband.”

 

“That’s right,” Jesus replied, “you’re telling the truth. You don’t have a husband. You have already been married five times, and the man you are now living with isn’t your husband.”

 

The woman said, “Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. My ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews say Jerusalem is the only place to worship.”

 

Jesus said to her:

 

Believe me, the time is coming when you won’t worship the Father either on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans don’t really know the one you worship. But we Jews do know the God we worship, and by using us, God will save the world. But a time is coming, and it is already here! Even now the true worshipers are being led by the Spirit to worship the Father according to the truth. These are the ones the Father is seeking to worship him. God is Spirit, and those who worship God must be led by the Spirit to worship him according to the truth.

 

The woman said, “I know that the Messiah will come. He is the one we call Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

 

“I am that one,” Jesus told her, “and I am speaking to you now.”

 

The disciples returned about this time and were surprised to find Jesus talking with a woman. But none of them asked him what he wanted or why he was talking with her.

 

The woman left her water jar and ran back into town, where she said to the people, “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! Could he be the Messiah?” Everyone in town went out to see Jesus.

 

While this was happening, Jesus’ disciples were saying to him, “Teacher, please eat something.”

 

But Jesus told them, “I have food you don’t know anything about.”

 

His disciples started asking each other, “Has someone brought him something to eat?”

 

Jesus said:

 

My food is to do what God wants! He is the one who sent me, and I must finish the work that he gave me to do. You may say there are still four months until harvest time. But I tell you to look, and you will see that the fields are ripe and ready to harvest.

 

Even now the harvest workers are receiving their reward by gathering a harvest that brings eternal life. Then everyone who planted the seed and everyone who harvests the crop will celebrate together. So the saying proves true, “Some plant the seed, and others harvest the crop.” I am sending you to harvest crops in fields where others have done all the hard work.

~ John 4:3-38 ~