May 29, 2012

Devotion for the week of May 28

Bible Point: God gives us the Holy Spirit to help us.

Key Verse: "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you" (John 14:26).

Read this quote and talk it over with your family.
"All along [Jesus] had planned to depart in order to carry on his work in other bodies. Their bodies. Our bodies. The new body of Christ... As Augustine put it, 'You ascended from before our eyes, and we turned back to grieving, only to find you in our hearts.'" - Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew

  • How is Jesus able to finish his work through us?
  • What important part does the Holy Spirit play in that job?
  • How does the presence of God inside of you change how you act?

May 08, 2012

Devotion for the week of May 21

Bible Point: Christians should encourage each other in faith.

Key Verse: "But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness" (Hebrews 3:13)

Read this quote and talk about it with your family.
"As I have come to know, reaching out to others in the name of God can be one of the most deeply rewarding experiences any person can enjoy."
- Former US President Jimmy Carter, Living Faith

  • When have you reached out to help another Christian? Was it a rewarding experience? Why or why not?
  • Which is easier for you: having close relationships with other Christians or keeping your faith to yourself? Why?
  • Read Hebrews 3:13. Why is it important to encourage others, even when it's challenging?
  • What should be our motivation when we try to encourage others in faith?

Devotion for the week of May 14

Bible Point: God wants us to tell everyone about Jesus.

Key Verse: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20)

Read this quote and talk it over with your family.
"Trying to destroy Christianity by killing Christ was like trying to destroy a dandelion seed head by blowing on it." - Walter Wink, Engaging the Powers

  • Dandelions grow when the seeds of one blow away. How do new Christians "grow"? How do people become Christians?
  • How does the good news of Jesus spread from one culture to another?
  • How can you spread the good news?

May 07, 2012

Devotion for the week of May 7

Bible Point: Follow where God leads.

Key Verse: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Read this quote with your family and talk about it.
"I will have to discern between an authentic call from God and what might simply be a foolish impulse on my part. Courage alone is not enough; it must be accompanied by wisdom and discernment." - John Ortberg, If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat

  • How can you distinguish between a call from God and a foolish impulse?
  • Have you ever gotten the two mixed up? What happened?
  • How can you gain the wisdom needed to hear God's call?
(Anne's note: This is something I've always struggled with... is this God's will or my will? It doesn't necessarily mean it's "foolish" if it's my will, but it is important to distinguish between the two. I heard a woman in her 80s say that she still struggled with this question. I don't think it's something we'll ever have completely figured out...)

April 30, 2012

Devotion for the week of April 30

Bible Point: Trusting in God makes us courageous.

Key Verse: "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1:9).

Read this quote and talk it over with your family.
"'Be strong and courageous!' (Joshua 1:6,7,9). Are you? Honestly now - are you?... The real tests of courage are much broader...much deeper...much quieter. They are the inner tests, like remaining faithful when nobody's standing alone when you're misunderstood."
-Charles R. Swindoll, Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life

  • When have you had an opportunity to be courageous, and how did you handle it?
  • What does it take to be courageous?
  • How can you depend on God's strength to be courageous?

April 23, 2012

Devotions for the week of April 23

Bible Point: God gives people different gifts for serving him.

Key Verse: "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do"
- Ephesians 2:10

Read this quote with your family and talk it over.
"I believe God has gifted each person uniquely, but not completely; we need one another." - Kurt Johnston

  • What do you think the author means when he says God has gifted each person uniquely but not completely?
  • What are some gifts you believe God has not given you?
  • How can you as a family work together and use your different gifts to serve God?
Daily Challenge
  • Put your gifts into motion. For instance, if your gift is encouraging, make it a point to encourage three or four people. If your gift is service, serve God by caring for someone else's physical needs.

April 15, 2012

Devotion for the week of April 16

Bible Point: Faith is believing in Jesus even though we can't see him.

Key Verse: "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrew 11:1

Read this quote as a family and discuss it.
"Faith is a lot like hiking on a trail at night, guided only by the beam of a flashlight. You have just enough light for your next step." (DC Talk, Like Like a Jesus Freak)

  • How good are you at giving God areas of your life and then leaving them with God? Why is it hard to trust God with the REALLY important things?
  • Is it harder to have faith in God to handle things when you can't see what God is doing? Why or why not?
  • If faith is trust in action, what can you do to remind yourself that God is in control even when you don't see any more than one step at a time?

April 02, 2012

Devotion for the week of April 2

Bible Point: We can honor Jesus with words and actions.

Key Verse: "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." - Philippians 2:10-11

Read the following and discuss as a family.
"The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism." - Norman Vincent Peale

  • We all like to hear praise. We love to hear that others appreciate us. Do you think that's what motivates Jesus to desire that his followers honor him? Why or why not?
  • Why is Jesus worthy of praise and honor?
  • How can you begin to honor Jesus more as a family?

March 26, 2012

Devotion for the week of March 26

Bible Point: God wants us to give cheerfully.

Key Verse: "You must give according to what you have inwardly decided — not sadly, not reluctantly, for God loves a giver who gives cheerfully." (2 Cor. 7, Inclusive Bible)

Read Mark 12:41-44 again. Then read this quote and discuss with your family.
"The cash value of her gift compared to the gifts of the wealthy was hardly enough to notice, but the devotion behind it was another matter. That devotion, beginning there and spreading through the world, has built hospitals and helped the needy, fed the hungry and encouraged the imprisoned." -Edith Deen, All of the Women of the Bible

  • What of your time, talents, and resources are you giving to God?
  • What more could you give, and why would you give it God?
  • What motivates you to give?

March 12, 2012

Devotion for the week of March 12

Bible Point: God wants sincere worship.

Key Verse: "Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker" (Psalm 95:6)

Read this quote with your family and then talk it over.
"It is only when [people] begin to worship that they begin to grow."
- Calvin Coolidge, Speech, July 6, 1992

  • What happens when we fail to sincerely worship God?
  • Why does God want us to worship God with sincerity?
  • In what ways do you think we begin to "grow" when we worship God out of sincere hearts?
A few time this week, take some time to just be silent in the presence of God. 

March 05, 2012

Devotion for the week of March 5

Bible Point: Following Jesus takes commitment.

Key verse: I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes; first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. (Romans 1:16)

Try This!
In many cultures, history is passed along orally. That is, there isn't a written history, just a series of stories that captures events from the past. Have each family member place one item that reminds him or her of a family story in a shoe box or other container. Maybe it's a baby shoe that's long been outgrown and is a reminder of someone learning to take a first step. Or it might be a check piece from an old game that used to be the family pastime. Whatever the item, ask the person who picks it to tell the story. Keep the box where you can add items now and then to create an "oral history" starter for your family.

February 27, 2012

Devotion for the week of February 27

Bible Point: Jesus meets our needs.

Key Verse: "He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit." Titus 3:5

Try This!
As a family, go through your photo albums. As you look at the pictures, look for ways Jesus has shown your family he cares about you. Remember needs your family has had and talk about the ways Jesus met those needs. Then give thanks in prayer!

February 21, 2012

Devotion for the week of February 20

Bible Point: Jesus forgives us.

Key Verse: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sons and purify us from all unrighteousness." -1 John 1:9

Read this quote and talk it over with your family:
"To err is human, to forgive, divine." -Alexander Pope

  • Can you describe a time you needed forgiveness?
  • What makes it hard to forgive? to ask for forgiveness?
  • What are some steps you can take to receive forgiveness?
Daily Challenge:
  • Confess your sins to Jesus, and ask for his forgiveness. 
  • Think of a person who you've hurt and ask for that person's forgiveness. 
  • Tell a friend how great it feels to be forgiven. 

February 13, 2012

Devotion for the week of February 13

Bible Point: We should turn to Jesus when we're afraid.

Key Verse: "Cast all your anxiety on him for he cares for you."
1 Peter 5:7

Read this quote and talk it over as a family.
"Fear has nothing to do with cowardice. A person is only yellow when she lets her fear make her quit." - Jerome Cady (editor's note: I changed the gender in the quote)

  • Why do some people think that being fearful and being a coward might be the same thing?
  • Why do you think Jerome Cady said that people are cowards only when their fear makes them quit?
  • How do we conquer fear?
Daily Challenge:
  • Pray to Jesus telling him what you fear most.
  • Face one of your fears this week asking God for support. 
  • Praise God for being bigger than your fears. 

February 06, 2012

Devotion for the week of February 6

Bible Point: Jesus cares for us.

Key Verse: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28).

Read this quote and talk it over with your family.
"In our efforts to avoid the necessary pains of discipline we miss the easy yoke and light burden." - Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines

  • What in the world does this quote mean?
  • What are some areas in your life i which you are being tempted to go the "easy" (undisciplined) way because all your friends seem to be going that "easy" way?
  • In reality, is it way or hard to avoid the "necessary pains of discipline"? Explain. 

January 30, 2012

Devotion for the week of January 30

Bible Point: Jesus is all-powerful.

Key Verse: "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, not anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)

Daily Challenge

  • Think about a problem you're facing this week. Ask Jesus to give you the strength to handle it well. 
  • Thank Jesus that he used his power to forgive your sins. 
  • Pray to Jesus about your fears. Then trust him to be more powerful than anything that frightens you. 

January 23, 2012

Devotion for the week of January 23

Bible Point: Follow Jesus.

Key Verse: "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." -Mark 1:17

Think about this...
What does is mean to be a follower of Jesus today? Does Jesus expect you to be perfect or is it more about doing your best to love everyone, even your enemies?

Daily Challenge:

  • Share your faith with a friend this week.
  • Join other members of your church on a service project like serving at a soup kitchen. Or signing up for the 30 Hour Famine and ASP!
  • Give you your TV or computer time this week and spend time helping your parents instead. 

January 17, 2012

Midweek Devotion

Bible Point: Jesus knows all about us.

Key Verse: O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. YOu know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. -Psalm 139:1-3

Read the quote and then talk it over. 
"A little knowledge of God is worth more than a great deal of knowledge about God." -J. I. Packer, Knowing God

  • Who are the people in your life who teach you the most about God?
  • How can you move from knowing "about" God to knowing God more?
  • What are some ways we as a family can help one another know God?
Try This!
Often we know more about the members of our family than we actually know them. This week try to get to know someone in your family better. Go out to eat with a family member and ask that person some questions that will help you bet to know how he or she feels and thinks. Some questions might be "What is your best memory?" or "What's on your bucket list?"

Midweek Devotion

Bible Point: God sent Jesus.

Key Verse: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Read this quote with your family and then talk it over:
"Faith is like muscle, which grows stronger and stronger with use, rather than rubber, which weakens when it is stretched." - J.D. Frasier

  • What are some ways our faith is stretched?
  • Why does God stretch our faith?
  • Talk about a time when your faith was stretched.
Daily Challenge
  • Be kind to someone you don't particularly like...each day this week!
  • Participate in a charity drive or service project with church (like bringing in craft supplies for the girls at the Madison Detention School!). 
  • Talk to three people this week whom you don't usually talk to. Ask them about their hobbies and their families.