Family Devotional Topics

Losing Ourselves In The Service Of Others

INTRODUCTION

The teachings of Jesus can be summed up in the phrase “love God, love people”…in that order.  It’s important to understand that because our relationship with God affects how we treat the people around us.  In today’s passage, Jesus teaches about loving God, loving others, and who our neighbor is.

MUSIC

If your family enjoys singing, fire up a laptop or tablet.  The following songs are some that we sing at FBCH and can be found (with words) on YouTube.

GLASSES OBJECT LESSON

  • Roll a piece of paper starting at the corner. Form a funnel with a dime sized hole in the end. Cut off the tops so that the wider opening is all the same length. Tape paper so that the funnel will stay wrapped. Make enough so that each child has two.
  • Have them hold their funnels up to their eyes. These are their new glasses.
  • Give them an exact course to follow. It won’t be easy to see through such a small hole. They can only see what is directly in front of them. Make the course obstacle free and in a straight line. Tell them to walk slow and be careful.
  • When they arrive at their destination, everyone will be pleased with their ability to easily perform the task. Have them remove their “glasses” and turn back to look at the path they had just followed. Was there anything they missed seeing along their path?
  • Without knowing, did they pass another family member who might have needed their help?
  • Did they pass unfolded clothes or unwashed dishes? (mom may have needed their help today!)
  • Ask, “Why weren’t these things noticed?” “Were you totally focused on your own path/needs/course?”
  • Explain: these glasses represent living our lives focused only on ourselves and what we need to get done. While many of the things we do in life are very important, sometimes we only see our needs, and are blinded to all of the needs and ways we can be helping others. Simply opening a door for someone, or stopping to help someone will only take a little time, but can make a BIG difference.

LESSON

Read Luke 10:25-37

  • Children may need help locating the book of Luke in their Bible
  • Say, “The Bible is divided into two parts: the Old Testament and the New Testament. Luke is one of the 4 Gospels found in the New Testament.”
  • What is a “parable?” A simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson, as told by Jesus in the Gospels.
  • Why did Jesus teach using parables? It’s important to explain why Jesus taught his disciples using parables. Ask your child, “Do you like stories?” Jesus knew we all like stories and that it’s easier to remember and understand his truths if taught in the form of a story. In Matthew 13: 10-17 (following Jesus speaking to the large crowds in parables), the disciples asked Jesus, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” He went on to explain “why” to them.

After reading the Luke passage talk about the first 2 people passing and how they were wearing their “Selfish Glasses.” Perhaps they were “too busy” or had something they had to hurry and get to. Again, there is little purpose in all of the things we accomplish, unless we are willing to serve others along the way. Talk about how the Good Samaritan did more than just what was necessary by leaving money for the man to be cared for and then asking them to let him know if it cost more than what he gave. He wanted to come back through town and give them more to care for this man.

Think about and share with your family a time where you had the opportunity to serve others.

Was it convenient? Was there a time or money cost? Was it easy? How did you feel afterwards?

PRAY

  • Prayer Pot or Pail

Using craft sticks, slips of paper, etc. let each family member write down or suggest people or things your family can pray for (ie: Grandma, Mr. Jones down the street, The Lost) Put these in a pot or pail. Family members can select one and pray for whoever or whatever is listed. Use these prayer concerns throughout the week and allow children to add new names or concerns.

Questions to ask: “In addition to praying for _________, how can we bless and help them?”

  • Prayer Cards

Using index cards, write down ways our family can show compassion to others or people near and around us. If you have recent Christmas cards from family and friends, pick one each day and pray for this family God has placed in your life. When praying together, we also begin relating to God together.

This Week

God Sightings are those little moments along the way when God shows up in the circumstances of life. When we begin to recognize these teachable moments, they become opportunities for us to reveal the ways of God to our children and family. Below are examples of daily occurrences, similar to The Parable of the Good Samaritan, your family may encounter.

  • A homeless person holding a sign: Sometimes the homeless are referred to as “hobos” and our judgment as to why someone might find themselves in this predicament is verbalized to our children. Showing compassion is loving others the way God loves us.
    • Ask your child, “How might we help people and lessen the need for someone to stand on the side of the street?” Talk about local organizations set up to aid people in need. Discuss how your family and/or your church can help.
    • Let’s pray for them right now. We don’t know ALL that’s going on in their life, but God does.
  • Passing Ambulance: Pray for the person and family needing these services. Thank God for the EMTs for being an extension of God’s love in our community. How can we be an extension of God’s love in the community?
  • Funeral Procession: Talk about and pray for the family and friends who are celebrating the life of this loved one. “What are ways we can extend God’s love to people we know who are experiencing the loss of a loved one?”

WANT MORE?

  • Create Random Acts of Kindness Cards: Sample attached

As we begin being intentional about serving others, we also begin establishing patterns that display the priorities in our family.

  • Go to Pinterest and search “Crafts about Good Samaritan.” There are MANY to choose from.
Am I A Good Friend?

Music

If your family enjoys singing, fire up a laptop, tablet, or smart phone!  The following songs are some that we sing at FBCH and can be found (with words) on YouTube.

Introduction (Optional)

In the books and movies, The Lord of the Rings, Frodo Baggins is charged with the responsibility of destroying the last remaining ring sought by the evil king in order to conquer Middle-earth.  Although this is his task to complete, Frodo is not alone in his journey.  A courageous and committed friend, Sam, is by his side through each challenge.  At the end of the series, Frodo says, “I am glad you are here with me.  Here at the end of all things, Sam.”

A friend is defined as “one attached to another by affection or esteem.”[1]  This is someone with whom you have experienced victories, disappointments, boredom, and adventure.  Someone that you enjoy spending time with and that shares similar interests with you.  A friend is different than an acquaintance, who is described as “a person who one knows but who is not a particularly close friend.”[2]  These are the people that you work with or go to school with.  You may enjoy talking to them but don’t really spend much time with them.

Ask: Who are your friends?

Five Finger Friendship Challenge: Have each person trace their hand on a piece of paper. On each finger of your drawing write a way you can be a good friend. For example: be kind, show gratitude, give a gift, do a chore for them, share, etc.

In 1 Samuel 18, we are introduced to a very extraordinary friendship.  Jonathan was the son of King Saul and would have been crowned king himself after his father died.  David was selected by God to be the next king and had been anointed with oil by the prophet Samuel.  This unlikely duo became very close friends that cared deeply for one another.  In fact, when King Saul had become angry and jealous of David, it was Jonathan who stood up to his father, protected David, and warned him of his father’s plans to hurt David.

Read 1 Samuel 18:1-5; 19:1-7, 20:1-42

Discussion

  • Being a good friend…
    1. Requires self-sacrifice
      • Jonathan’s friendship with David was at the cost of his own career
      • Friendship is not about what they can do for you
    2. Requires loyalty
      • Jonathan openly defended and protected David from his father
  • Requires commitment
    • David and Jonathan took steps to keep their families from being rivals

Ask: How do you treat your friends?  Do you encourage them with words?  Are you kind to them even if they do something that upsets you?

What can you do this week to be better friends with the people that live around you?

(Parents, help your child think through a task to complete).

A wise man once said, “To have friends, you have to be a friend.”

Families With Teenagers

Use the passages to help your teen understand that our friends influence us.  In the same way, we influence our friends.  Engage your teen in discussion about their friends and how they see these two ideas in their friendships.  (Hint: parents, consider allowing teens to use generic terms rather than a friend’s name…especially if it isn’t the most positive friendship on the planet.)

Families With Children

Use the passages to help your child understand that our friends are a gift from God. We must be kind to them, pray for them, defend them, and seek ways to care for them.

Prayer

Dear God, I pray for my friend ___________. Thank you for giving me a good friend. Please help me be a good friend. In Jesus’ name, amen.

*For older children, teenagers, or adults encourage each to pray on their own using their own language. It’s important for each person to learn to verbalize their faith.

Want further study on this topic?

Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity.

Mark 2:1-12 is the story of four men lowering their paralytic friend through the roof of a house to be healed.

Proverbs 18:24 A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Proverbs 13:20 He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harms.

John 15:13 Greater Love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

Proverbs 22:24-25 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

[1] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/friend

[2] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/acquaintance

Giving Christmas Away

Opening Activity

Share these strange Christmas traditions from around the world. http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2013/12/24/35-weirdest-christmas-traditions-around-world.html

1. South Africa– Locals eat deep-fried caterpillars. EEWW!
2. Venezuela – Many residents in Caracas go to Christmas worship service on roller skates.
3. Germany – Germans hide a pickle in the Christmas tree and the first child to find it on Christmas morning wins a prize.

As a family, discuss what Christmas traditions you currently observe or something you grew up doing.
For example:
1. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
2. Do you go around the room and have each person share one thing they love about their family prior to opening gifts?
3. Do you attend the annual Christmas Eve service at FBCH with your family (Sunday, December 24 at 5:00PM).

*Youth and Adult Alternate Idea—Write Christmas Time on a piece of paper. Give three minutes to see how many words people can come up with using only the letters from Christmas Time. Splitting into teams is a good idea if you have enough people. For fun, offer a simple prize to the winner.

*Children Coloring Option— You may discuss traditions while your children color the nativity scene. Pick up a printed copy at the welcome centers or download your own http://www.biblewise.com/kids/fun/coloring/creating-christmas-nativity.php

Devotional Thought
Christmas time is filled with opportunities to create special memories for your family. One Christmas tradition that most families celebrate is the tradition of gift-giving. Giving gifts has a biblical connection. In the Christmas story (Lk. 2 & Mt. 2) the wise men brought gifts. The shepherds gave praise. Everyone in the Christmas story showed their love for the new-born Christ.

Read I John 3:16-17. What does verse 16 teach us about how we know what genuine love looks like? What does this passage teach us about loving and caring for others? Verse 17 teaches us two very important principles to remember year-round and particularly at Christmas.

First, we should seek to see people the way God sees them. God loves everyone and so should we. Every person has sinned and needs a savior (Jesus). Do you know anyone that may not know about Jesus? Would you be willing to share Jesus with them and invite them to church? Better yet, could you include them in your Christmas tradition? Second, the Bible teaches us to do something about the needs we see around us. As a matter of fact, the bible says, if we see the need and do nothing, the love of God is not in us. Wow. Let me say that with emphasis and backwards, WOW. This Christmas, let’s DO something to give Christmas away!!
So how does this impact the way we celebrate Christmas? Let me give you three ideas.

1. Take time to identify the needy people around you.
2. Choose to give Christmas away. Instead of focusing on the gifts you will receive, turn your attention to the joy of giving to others. Like Jesus, you will find greater joy in giving than in receiving (Acts 20:35).
3. Make Jesus the main point, the big idea, the focus of your holiday season. You will find that God always honors faithfulness and selflessness.

Further Scripture Reading

Luke 2:1-20 & Mt. 2:1-12 The Christmas story
Matthew 1:18-25 The birth of Jesus
Is. 9:6-7 & 11:1; Is. 40:1-11; Micah 5:2; Zechariah 9:9 OT prophecies of Jesus coming
Song: Matthew West and Amy Grant “Give This Christmas Away”
Video: Thailand https://vimeo.com/80841542


Ways to “Give Christmas Away” based on our Acts 1:8 missions strategy.

1. Jerusalem — make cards & cookies for neighbors including the story of Jesus’ birth.
2. Judea — go shopping and give to the local food pantry using a shopping list instead of a Christmas list. You can send cards, gift certificate, or gift basket to church planters.

Renew Church Refuge Church
c/o Checkerz Williams c/o Justin Haynes
106 Idaho Court 1131 Piety Street
Laplace, LA 70068 New Orleans, LA 71171

3. Samaria — Make blankets or clothes, make a donation to buy medicine for the Mexican Indian Training Center (MITC) medical team, or make a donation to help someone go to MITC.
4. Ends of the Earth — look through the Baptist Global Response gift catalog PastorGevan gave out Sunday morning for ways your family can give or check out thislink, https://gobgr.org/donate/giftcatalog. You can give towards purchasing water filters for East Asia or make a donation to help people go to Kenya by giving online at http://fbchaughton.org/about/tithes-e-giving/. You can also sponsor an orphan from Compel Outreach International http://www.compeloutreach.org/orphans.html.

God’s Plan for Women (and everyone else)

Introduction:

The tradition of celebrating Mother’s Day has been around for quite some time. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson officially marked the 2nd Sunday of May as a national holiday. Even before our “modern” way to celebrate, God has desired us to understand His plan for women, and the responsibility of being motherly, whether we have given birth to a child, adopted a child, or never had children. Becoming “motherly” is from God and honoring these special women in our lives glorifies Him.

Read: Titus 2:3-5, Proverbs 22:6  

Ask: What is the difference in motherhood and being motherly?

  • Webster’s Dictionary defines Motherhood as a noun meaning, “the state of being a mother” and Motherly as an adjective meaning, “of, resembling, or characteristic of a mother, especially in being caring, protective, and kind.”
  • Many women honor God by offering motherly love and guidance to others, not in their biological family.

Is there someone in your life who has offered godly advice, wisdom, and love? Children, give an example of why you love your mother?

What do the above scriptures say about motherhood?

  • Our society educates for every career with some form of training, but many times women enter adulthood, marriage, and/or parenting head first. God doesn’t leave us hanging. He tells us in Titus, and we learn by example, how to be reverent and to live a respectful lifestyle honoring Him.
  • In Proverbs, we are reminded the impressions and teachings taught in early years remain with children. But our children still choose whether or not to be faithful in these teachings.

What are some lessons we learn from women in the Bible?

  • Eve: Eve was the first woman created. She didn’t have a mother or anyone who could model what a godly woman should look like. She is unfortunately remembered as the woman who was tricked by Satan. We can learn from Eve’s life that Satan will always be scheming against us, our families, and the people around us. He will try by creating doubt in our minds concerning God’s Word. (Genesis 3:1-3)
  • Sarah: Sarah can be thought of as the “Mother of Nations,” and received this extraordinary honor from God. Unfortunately, Sarah’s impatience led to conflict. We learn from Sarah that God’s promises always come true AND his timing is always best. (Genesis 16 & 21:1-7)
  • Hannah: Hannah was a beautiful example of a woman who believed in the power of prayer. She prayed earnestly for a child, and God honored that prayer with a son. We can learn from Hannah’s life there is power in prayer. Her drive to pray came in the face of criticism, but she modeled the importance of giving every last shred of her emotions, thoughts, and will to the Lord. She left them at the feet of Jesus and modeled giving God glory as being more important than the desires of her heart. (1 Samuel 1:8-28)
  • Mary: We surely can learn from Mary, the mother of Jesus! She was given the responsibility to raise a baby whose destiny was to die and be resurrected for the sins of the world. We learn from Mary that being a parent, or investing deeply in the life of someone, can come with pain. Just as God was with Mary, he will be with each of us during the most painful moments of life. She taught us how to model God’s goodness in the face of pain and sorrow. (Matthew 1:20-21)
  • Jochebed, mother of Moses: She put her infant son in a waterproof basket and set it adrift on the Nile River when the Egyptians began killing the male babies of Hebrew slaves. Her name is first mentioned in Exodus 6:20 where the family line of Moses and Aaron is recorded. God arranged for Jochebed to be a part of her baby’s life on a day to day basis. She surrendered what she treasured most to the will of God. We learn from her that the heartbreak of giving up her child was balanced by God’s favor when she chose to make every effort for her child not to be killed. She also teaches us that the heartbreak of dreams not being fulfilled is bearable because God gives us himself, the most desirable dream we can imagine. (Exodus 2)

For Women: How can your life become a godly influence for others around you? Each stage of life offers us opportunities to reach out to younger women leading and guiding them in a way that benefits the kingdom of God. If there are women who have been instrumental in your life, tell or show them in upcoming days.

For Men:  As a husband, father, son, or friend, what are ways you can show appreciation to the women God has placed in your life? How can you honor them, and model love and respect towards them?

For Children/Teenagers:  How can you honor your mom, grandmother, and other women on this special day?

  • Make a video telling them why you love them, what is special about them, or why you are thankful God placed them in your life.
  • Make a card she will enjoy receiving, even if it’s next week.

**Many of our moms or special women in our lives have passed away. Honor and remember them by doing something you enjoyed together and pray thanking God for their influence in your life.

Pray:

As your family prays, be reminded there are many more examples of women in the Bible who left their mark on history. These ladies were examples of both positive and negative influence and, in many cases, didn’t model “How we should live,” but God used their life to show us “How not to live.” Whether you are a mom, a young girl, a teenager; whether you have children, hope to have children or exhibit “motherly” love to others, you are important to God.

For all of us, the Bible teaches that it is vital to be people of faith and model what it looks like to love and serve God. We should strive to point people towards Christ by praying for them, modeling faith and character, and training them in wisdom.

Freedom Isn't Free

Introduction

Memorial Day is about more than grilling, boating, and partying. Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day and began in 1868, three days after the Civil War ended. It was intended to be a day to decorate the graves of our fallen soldiers with flowers and flags. The goal, to celebrate and remember what our honored soldiers had died to defend.

Sadly, many Americans take the freedom we enjoy for granted as if this liberty were cheap. Take time to talk amongst your family about any family members that served in the armed forces. Did any of these lose their life defending our freedom? How does that make you feel?

Children Option

Find the words in the word search below. Parents talk with your child about what the words mean.

Click to download the word search

Youth/Adult Option

Consider purchasing small flags and decorate your house, business, yard, or driveway as you remember those who died for our freedom.

Songs

Listen to one or both of these songs. Consider the price that many have paid for our freedom.

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q65KZIqay4E Proud to Be An American by Lee Greenwood.
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-VfFTVu-6E Freedom Hymn by Austin French.

Scripture

The idea of remembering what others have done for us is not new to Christians. God reminded us several times in scripture to “not forget” the scriptural principles He gave us in the Bible.  Read these aloud:

Remember this, keep it in mind. take it to heart, you rebels. Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. Isaiah 46:8-9

11“Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, 12 lest—when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; 13 and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; 14 when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; 15 who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the flinty rock; 16 who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end— 17 then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.Deuteronomy 8:11-17

 

What does the author warn us to “not do” in verse 11?

What does verse 16 say that God will do if we will stay faithful and remember God during tough times?

Spend a few minutes talking about what God has done for you. Then, pray and thank God for your freedom as a Christian and as an American.

Action

Guide your family to complete one or more of these activities.

  1. Take flowers to the grave of a fallen soldier. If you cannot find a grave, consider bringing the flowers to the surviving spouse of a fallen soldier.
  2. Write a poem about the meaning of Memorial Day. Share it with family, your life group, and/or a church staff person.
  3. Make a patriotic fruit pizza/dessert. Google for directions. Invite friends over and AFTER you have explained the meaning of Memorial Day, eat.
  4. Visit a local cemetery or Memorial. Talk about what the soldiers sacrificed and how that makes you feel. Pray to conclude your time.

Northwest Louisiana Veterans Cemetery, 7970 Mike Clark Rd. Keithville, LA

Battle of Mansfield Memorial (Civil War) 15149 Highway 175 Mansfield, LA –Freedom Park/Veteran’s Park on Clyde Fant Parkway, Shreveport, LA.        

 -Visit with veterans at the Veterans Nursing home. Everybody has a story.

Family Worship – Father’s Day

Music

If your family enjoys singing, fire up a laptop or tablet. The following songs are some that we sing at FBCH and can be found (with words) on YouTube.
• Good, Good Father https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ak0OoFBw3c
• How He Loves https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzfPHnoT0-0

Introduction

In 1909, a Spokane, Washington woman named Sonora Smart Dodd, one of six children raised by a widower, tried to establish an official equivalent to Mother’s Day for male parents. She went to local churches, the YMCA, shopkeepers and government officials to drum up support for her idea, and she was successful: Washington State celebrated the nation’s first statewide Father’s Day on June 19, 1910.
(https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/fathers-day)

When God established the family he charged Dads with the responsibility to lead, provide, and care for the family. In fact, lots of research statistics (both positive and negative) highlight the importance of the father in the family. Dads are important!

Read Genesis 6:5-10; Titus 2:6-7

Compared to the culture around him, Noah’s life stood out. What an example! In verses 9 and 10 we discover that Noah had three sons. In only a few verses later, God asks Noah to take on a big task…one that would not be easy.

Ask: What is the big task that God asked Noah to complete? What are some things that would make this difficult?

In the story of Noah’s Ark (Genesis chapters 6-8), notice 4 ways that Noah led his family:
1. He prioritized his relationship with God (6:9) – “Noah walked with God.”
2. He listened carefully to God’s instructions (6:13-7:5) – “He did everything that God had commanded him.”
3. He led his family to obey God (7:13) – “Noah along with his sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth, Noah’s wife, and his three sons’ wives entered the ark with him.”

In Titus 2, Paul instructs men to be an example of integrity and hard work. It is important for adult men to teach young men to honor God, work hard, and lead well. 

Is there someone in your life who has provided godly leadership and encouragement during difficult times?

Men: How can you model Noah’s example of godly leadership in your family? Did your father (or another adult man) lead you in this way? Have you told him how thankful you are for that?
Women: How can you honor your husband today? Have you thanked him for his leadership in your family?
Children: What is a creative way for you to honor your Dad today?

• Make a video telling him why you love him and why he is special to you.
• Write 2-3 notes and put them in places he will find them over the next few days (examples: in his sock drawer, next to his coffee cup, etc.).
**Many of our Dads or men who have influenced our lives have passed away. Take time to remember their leadership in your life. Maybe write down a few of the things they taught you and thank God for what they mean to your life.

Prayer

• As you pray and thank God for your father, ask God to give him strength and courage to lead in a godly way.
• Thank God for being the Ultimate Father and for the tremendous blessings He gives to us.