Facing Hardships

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Family Devotional Adults 7-23-17Family Devotional Kids 7-23-17

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

When grief, poverty, stress, or other hardships press down on us, the pain can overshadow our identity. The truth is, God has created each of us with a unique identity and purpose; something no season of hardship can delete.

2. Bible Verse

Genesis 17:1-5 [GNT]  “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘I am the Almighty God. Obey me and always do what is right.  I will make my covenant with you and give you many descendants.’  Abram bowed down with his face touching the ground, and God said, ‘I make this covenant with you: I promise that you will be the ancestor of many nations.  Your name will no longer be Abram, but Abraham (which means, ‘father of many nations’), because I am making you the ancestor of many nations.’”


God spoke over Abram’s life and identity before his situation changed. He had a purpose for Abram’s life that infertility couldn’t overcome. It was a hardship, but it wasn’t his identity.

3. Application

Matthew 16:17-18 [ESV] 

“Jesus replied, ‘You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you… Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.’”

Jesus spoke over Peter’s life and affirmed his purpose, even knowing Peter would deny him 3 times. Even a hardship of Peter’s own actions couldn’t change God’s purpose and plan.

Q. Have you ever experienced a hardship that redefined your life? Do you think that situation shipwrecked God’s purpose for your life?

Q. God saw leadership in Peter, even knowing he would falter. When you miss the mark, does it change your identity in Christ? Does it change God’s purpose for you? 

Q. Think of someone in your life who has been redefined by hardship. What would you say to them about their identity and purpose? Do you think God feels the same way about you?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for giving you an identity and purpose. Ask Him to strengthen that sense of identity through seasons of hardship and to be a help to others walking through difficult seasons.

Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

“I Will Love And Pray For My Enemies!”

Luke 6:27  “…love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you.”  

This week we continue our series “Say What?” by talking about something very important, love.   Love is easy when it comes to people we like; our friends, our family, BUT it can be quite difficult when it comes to our enemies.  Jesus commanded us to love the people who hurt us.  We need to pray for them, even when it isn’t easy!  We must learn to love our enemies!

2. Discussion

Read:  Acts 9:1-20

But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

10 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” 13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 17 So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; 19 and taking food, he was strengthened.

Saul Proclaims Jesus in Synagogues

For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus. 20 And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”

Q. Who was the man Jesus sent to Saul to lay hands on him?  Do you think he was scared?

Q. What if he hadn’t obeyed God and gone because he saw Saul as his “enemy”?

Q. Do you believe God changed Saul’s heart?  How does that change who he was and how other’s should see him?

God changed Saul.  He went from being an enemy to being a follower of Jesus!  Paul was no longer anyone’s enemy because Jesus had changed him and his heart.  Jesus changed us, He changed Paul, and God can change others too!

3. Application 

Identifying Our Enemies:

Q. Do you feel like you have any enemies in your life?

Q. Who are they?  (It’s okay, have courage to name the people that you struggle with. There may be people who pick on you or who hurt your feelings.)

Q. How can we love our enemies and follow God’s plan for our lives like Ananias did?  (We can pray for them, show kindness, etc.)

4. Prayer Focus

Spend time praying together as a family for the people in your lives who may be enemies.  Pray God will help you love them with Christ’s love and show compassion to them!


Posted on Updated on

Family Devotional Adults 7-16-17Family Devotional Kids 7-16-17

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

Missions: The vocation or calling of a religious organization, especially a Christian one, to go out into the world and spread its faith. That is why Speed the Light exists, to make it so that missionaries around the world can go further and communicate clearer to spread the Good News of the Gospel. 

2. Bible Verse

Everyone is called to be a missionary.

Mathew 28:19 (NLT) “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

Luke  14:23 (ESV) “And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.”’

3. Application

God has given us a big responsibility. Are you willing to answer the call?

Isaiah 6:8 (ESV)  “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here I am! Send me.’”

Q. God is asking you to go!  In what relationships that you have in your life right now, is God asking you to be a missionary and tell them about Jesus?

Q.  Now that you aware that God has called us all to be missionaries to the people around us, how will you look at normal daily interactions with people differently?


4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for calling you to be a missionary to those around you. Ask Him to help you see those moments that He has set up for you to share your faith. You have the answer that people are looking for. 

Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

“I Won’t Worry ‘Bout A Thing!”

Philippians 4:6  “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.”  

WORRY is something we all deal with!  Kids have school, sports, tests, bullies, pressures, and friendships.  All kinds of things can cause worry.  It’s important to help our children realize that worrying and fretting doesn’t solve problems.  It’s only by prayer and going to God that they can find the answers and help that they need!

2. Activity


Have everyone sit together in a circle or small group.  Tell your kids to close their eyes.  Once they have done that, lead and instruct them in taking a few (maybe ten) deep breaths to help them relax.  Then, let them open their eyes.

Q. Did that help you relax?

Q. Did you know we all have different types of stress in our lives which makes it hard for us to relax and not worry?

Q. What are some of the stresses in your life right now?  (Take some time sharing with each other)

3. Application 

Read:  Luke 10:38-42

Now as they went on their way, Jesus[a] entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,42 but one thing is necessary.[b] Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Jesus told Martha she didn’t need to worry about anything but spending time with Him.  Jesus can fix everything.  He cares about every detail of our lives.  When we are stressed and worried, we can spend time with Him and relax in HIS presence.  Then, we can truly find the peace we are needing!

4. Prayer Focus

Pray and spend time as a family relaxing in God’s presence.  His presence is the only thing that can truly make our stress go away!

Hard Question: Can I have eternal security?

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Family Devotional Adults 7-9-17Family Devotional Kids 7-9-17

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

“Predestination” – the idea that God has already decided who to save – is a concept that has been debated by church leaders for nearly 1,000 years. Some Bible references seem to suggest this, but if we take a closer look, we’ll see a God who – while knowing the future – gives every person a choice to accept or reject His offer of salvation.

2. Bible Verse

God knows everything – not only the present, but the future.

Isaiah 46:9-10  [NLT] “…For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me. Only I can tell you the future before it even happens.”

No one can be saved unless God draws them.

John 6:44 [NLT] “For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up.”

God has called all people to repentance.

John 12:32 [NLT] “And I (Jesus), when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

3. Application


God saves those He chose.

Ephesians 1:11-13 [NLT] “Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan… And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago.”

God chose us… because we believed. We didn’t believe because He made us, we believed because, through Jesus’ sacrifice, He enabled us to. 

Q. God chose you, knowing in advance every time you’d make a mistake. How does that change how you view His grace? 

Q. Does knowing this make you feel less or more accountable for what you choose to do in life?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for calling you to repentance. Ask Him to empower you to keep living the life you’ve been called to, and to share the good news with others.

Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Activity

“Humble Yourself,  And The Lord Will Lift You Up!”

One way you can put others first is by serving others.  Let’s take time as a family and come up with ways together and individually we can serve  people.  (Use individual pieces of paper, poster board, markers, pens, etc. to make a list of ways you can serve others.)

2. Bible Verse

Luke 14:11 “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”  

This week, we continue our series “Say What?” by focusing on something that is hard for all of us to do:  putting others before ourselves!  Jesus wanted us to humble ourselves and always remember to put others first.  In this week’s lesson, we learn some valuable lessons from Jesus’ life on how we can do that!

Start by Reading Luke 14:1-14.

14 One Sabbath day, Jesus went to eat in the house of a well-known Pharisee. While he was there, he was being carefully watched. In front of him was a man whose body was badly swollen. Jesus turned to the Pharisees and the authorities on the law. He asked them, “Is it breaking the Law to heal on the Sabbath day?” But they remained silent. So Jesus took hold of the man and healed him. Then he sent him away.

He asked them another question. He said, “Suppose one of you has a child or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day. Wouldn’t you pull it out right away?” And they had nothing to say.

Jesus noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table. So he told them a story. He said, “Suppose someone invites you to a wedding feast. Do not take the place of honor. A person more important than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come to you. He will say, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then you will be filled with shame. You will have to take the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place. Then your host will come over to you. He will say, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests. 11 All those who lift themselves up will be made humble. And those who make themselves humble will be lifted up.”

12 Then Jesus spoke to his host. “Suppose you give a lunch or a dinner,” he said. “Do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, or your relatives, or your rich neighbors. If you do, they may invite you to eat with them. So you will be paid back. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite those who are poor. Also invite those who can’t see or walk. 14 Then you will be blessed. Your guests can’t pay you back. But you will be paid back when those who are right with God rise from the dead.”

Q. Did Jesus want the people to sit in the seat of honor?

Q. Why do you think He told them to give it up?

Q. What do you think it means, “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves with be exalted,” based on this story?

3. Application 

Jesus was teaching it is important to not make yourself more important than others, but rather, put others first.  Even the Pharisees in the story knew this was something hard to do.  This has always been difficult for followers of Jesus!

Q. Do you think this is something easy for you to do?  Why or Why not?

Q. When do you find it the hardest to not want to be #1?

Q. What is something you think you could do to help put others first?


4. Prayer Focus

Pray that God will help you as individuals and as a family to put others first and yourselves last!

Hard Question: Can I Trust the Bible?

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Family Devotional Adults 7-2-17Family Devotional Kids 7-2-17

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

The Bible has a lot to say about many things in life, but how can you be sure you can trust it? Ultimately, it comes down to a question of faith, but below are a few reasons to tip the scales in favor of trusting it as God’s word.

2. Facts

The names of over 40 different kings of various countries mentioned in the Bible have all been found in contemporary documents and inscriptions outside of the Old Testament, and are always consistent with the times and places associated with them in the Bible.

In 1947, archaeologists discovered the Dead Sea scrolls. They were 1,000 years older than the oldest copy to that point, and they were 99.5% identical, the only differences being in spelling and sentence word order.

We have 5,000 ancient copies of the New Testament, all identical, and the earliest existing copies are just 50-100 years after the events they describe.

Q. Before now, have you ever taken a serious look at the historical evidence/criticism of the Bible?

Q. Does research like this make you more confident or less confident in the Bible?

3. Bible Verse

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:18 [NLT] 

“The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.”

Jesus’ disciples didn’t take the gospel message lightly – they were willing to die for it. After Jesus commissioned them, Paul, along with 10 of the remaining 11 disciples, were speared, beheaded or crucified for their faith – hardly the sort of thing you’d do if you made up the story!

Q. Do you believe the Bible is the source of truth about God? If so, what evidence or factor was the most important in making your decision?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for telling us about Himself through the Bible. Ask Him to continue to speak to you as you study scripture, and to deepen your confidence in the Bible as the source of truth.

Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Activity

“With God Nothing is Impossible!” 

Write our power verse for this week on a piece of a paper and cut it up word by word.   As a family, work together putting the pieces of the power verse back together.   As you do, help your kids memorize this verse.  This verse is key to help them with any type of difficulty or challenge they may face!

2. Bible Verse

Luke 18:27 “…What is impossible for people is possible with God.”

This week we continue our series “Say What?” by talking about the “Impossible.” Many people say things like, “That’s impossible,” but it’s important our children learn all things are possible with God!

Start by Reading Matthew 19:16-30.

Just then, a man came up to Jesus. He asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to receive eternal life?”

17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only one who is good. If you want to enter the kingdom, obey the commandments.”

18 “Which ones?” the man asked.

Jesus said, “ ‘Do not murder. Do not commit adultery. Do not steal. Do not be a false witness. 19 Honor your father and mother.’ (Exodus 20:12–16; Deuteronomy 5:16–20) And ‘love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ ” (Leviticus 19:18)

20 “I have obeyed all those commandments,” the young man said. “What else do I need to do?”

21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell everything you have. Give the money to those who are poor. You will have treasure in heaven. Then come and follow me.”

22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad. He was very rich.

23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “What I’m about to tell you is true. It is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is hard for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. But it is even harder for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

25 When the disciples heard this, they were really amazed. They asked, “Then who can be saved?”

26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With people, this is impossible. But with God, all things are possible.”

27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What reward will be given to us?”

28 “What I’m about to tell you is true,” Jesus said to them. “When all things are made new, the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne. Then you who have followed me will also sit on 12 thrones. You will judge the 12 tribes of Israel. 29 Suppose anyone has left houses, brothers or sisters, father or mother, husband or wife, children or fields because of me. Anyone who has done that will receive 100 times as much. They will also receive eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last. And many who are last will be first.

Q. What do you think the word “impossible” means?

Q. What do you think is “impossible”?

Q. When it comes to God, is there anything that you think is too hard or “impossible” for Him?

3. Application 

In our story today, we learn that nothing is impossible for God.  Even when things seem difficult, Jesus can do the impossible!

Read Mark 9:14-29

14 When Jesus and those who were with him came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them. The teachers of the law were arguing with them. 15 When all the people saw Jesus, they were filled with wonder. And they ran to greet him.

16 “What are you arguing with them about?” Jesus asked.

17 A man in the crowd answered. “Teacher,” he said, “I brought you my son. He is controlled by an evil spirit. Because of this, my son can’t speak anymore. 18 When the spirit takes hold of him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth. He grinds his teeth. And his body becomes stiff. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit. But they couldn’t do it.”

19 “You unbelieving people!” Jesus replied. “How long do I have to stay with you? How long do I have to put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”

20 So they brought him. As soon as the spirit saw Jesus, it threw the boy into a fit. He fell to the ground. He rolled around and foamed at the mouth.

21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”

“Since he was a child,” he answered. 22 “The spirit has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us. Please help us.”

23 “ ‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for the one who believes.”

24 Right away the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe! Help me overcome my unbelief!”

25 Jesus saw that a crowd was running over to see what was happening. Then he ordered the evil spirit to leave the boy. “You spirit that makes him unable to hear and speak!” he said. “I command you, come out of him. Never enter him again.”

26 The spirit screamed. It shook the boy wildly. Then it came out of him. The boy looked so lifeless that many people said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand. He lifted the boy to his feet, and the boy stood up.

28 Jesus went indoors. Then his disciples asked him in private, “Why couldn’t we drive out the evil spirit?”

29 He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”

Q. What did Jesus say to the man in verse 23?  

Q. What does that verse mean to you?

Jesus healed the boy in our story because with Him nothing is impossible!  Whatever you need Jesus to do for you, or someone you love, Jesus can do it – because He can do the impossible if we just have faith and believe!

4. Prayer Focus

Ask your children what types of things they need Jesus to do for them or the people they love.  Pray together that He will do the IMPOSSIBLE!

Hard Question: Homosexuality

Posted on Updated on

Family Devotional 6-25-17 AdultFamily Devotional 6-25-17 Kids

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

Of all the controversial topics facing American Christians today, perhaps none is more fiercely debated than homosexuality. 

Cultural norms and values have been in a state of rapid change over the past few decades, but God’s view on it remains unchanged.  

Homosexual behavior is contrary to God’s teaching.

2. Bible Verse 

Leviticus 18:22  [ESV] “Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin.”

1 Timothy 1:10-11  [NLT] “The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders, liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed God.”

Q. God’s statements on homosexuality were separated by over a thousand years. Do you think they are tied to a cultural period, or are they meant to instruct all cultures and times?

Q. The Bible condemns many other practices beyond homosexuality. Why do you think the topic of homosexuality generates more controversy than other sexual sins?

3. Application

Homosexual behavior is contrary to God’s design.

Matthew 19:4-5 [NLT] “Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’ And he said, ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’”

Q. The traditional definition of a family has been changing in America for a long time. Do you think that change has affected the rise in acceptance of homosexual lifestyles? If so, how?

Q. Is someone who is living a homosexual lifestyle contradicting God’s family design more than someone who is addicted to pornography or engaged in an extramarital affair? Have you / the church typically acted like these sins were on the same level, or different levels?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for His wonderful design for human sexuality. Ask Him to help you live within His teaching and design, and to be loving yet truthful to those who are contradicting it.

Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Activity

Don’t store up treasure on earth.  Store up treasure in Heaven!

As a family, make a list, chart, or just plan how individually or as a group you can work to make Jesus more important than your stuff or just number #1 in your life.

2. Bible Verse

Matthew 6:21 “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”

This week we began a new series, “Say What?”  The kids learned an important lesson about the things they value and find important.  Nothing in life is more important than Jesus!

Start the lesson by Reading Matthew 19:16-30.

16 A man came to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to have eternal life?”

17 Jesus answered, “Why do you ask me about what is good? Only God is good. But if you want to have eternal life, obey the law’s commands.”

18 The man asked, “Which ones?”

Jesus answered, “‘You must not murder anyone, you must not commit adultery, you must not steal, you must not tell lies about others, 19 you must respect your father and mother,’[a] and ‘love your neighbor[b] the same as you love yourself.’[c]

20 The young man said, “I have obeyed all these commands. What else do I need?”

21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, then go and sell all that you own. Give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come and follow me!”

22 But when the young man heard Jesus tell him to give away his money, he was sad. He didn’t want to do this, because he was very rich. So he left.

23 Then Jesus said to his followers, “The truth is, it will be very hard for a rich person to enter God’s kingdom. 24 Yes, I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter God’s kingdom.”

25 The followers were amazed to hear this. They asked, “Then who can be saved?”

26 Jesus looked at them and said, “This is something that people cannot do. But God can do anything.”

27 Peter said to him, “We left everything we had and followed you. So what will we have?”

28 Jesus said to them, “When the time of the new world comes, the Son of Man will sit on his great and glorious throne. And I can promise that you who followed me will sit on twelve thrones, and you will judge the twelve tribes of Israel.29 Everyone who has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children, or farms to follow me will get much more than they left. And they will have eternal life.30 Many people who are first now will be last in the future. And many who are last now will be first in the future.

Q. What did Jesus tell the man in the story he must do with his possessions?

Q. How did this make the man feel?

Q. What did Jesus tell his disciples about someone who is rich?

It’s easy to want “stuff” but Jesus was teaching His disciples that the more things we have the harder it can be to give up everything and follow Him. 

Jesus never wants us to make money or things more important than Him!

3. Application 

Q. What is your favorite toy or game to play with?

Q. What if Jesus asked you to give that up or give it away to the poor, could you do it?  

Q. Would it be hard for you?Jesus may not ask you to give away your favorite toy, or all your money, but He doesn’t want anything to be more important than Him.  Jesus should be number one in our lives.  He is the most important, and if we obey Him, we will be blessed!

4. Prayer Focus

Pray for your children this week to make Jesus the most important part of their lives.

Hard Question: Divorce & Remarriage

Posted on Updated on

Family Devotional 6-18-17 AdultFamily Devotional 6-18-17 Kids

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

When you look across our culture, commitment seems to be at an all-time low, and the poster child for the problem is marriage.  God designed marriage to bless us, and even if it ends, His desire for us is peace and healing.  

God’s plan for families has always been committed relationships for life.  Look for those dynamics in the following verses:

2. Bible Verse 

Matthew 19:5-6 [ESV] “and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?  So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

1 Corinthians 7:15 [NIV] “But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.”

Q. God refers to marriage as a covenant – in what ways is marriage similar to His covenant with us?

3. Application

It takes 2 people to stay in a relationship, and sometimes, no matter how hard you try, things come to an end. Even then, we’re called to live in peace and to forgive, so everyone can heal and move forward in life.

Q. God permits divorce in some cases, but is that ever His preference? 

Q. Have you ever been hurt by a divorce? If so, how hard was it for you to offer forgiveness? Is there someone you still need to forgive?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for blessing humanity with marriage. Ask Him to help you to be faithful and support marriage – not only in your life, but in the lives of those around you.

Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Activity

“I will tell my friends about Jesus!”

Tell your children to imagine that they’re sick—so sick, in fact, that without help, they’ll die.  Ask them the following questions:  How do you think you’d feel emotionally if you were this sick?  What do you think you’d do to try to get better?

2. Bible Verse

Mark 16:15 & Romans 10:13  “Go into all the world and preach the good news…”

Tell your children that someone told them about a new cure for their illness. Have them imagine that they’ve undergone treatment and now they’re perfectly healthy.  

Ask them the following questions:

Q. How would you feel emotionally once you were healed?

Q. How would you feel toward the person who told you about the cure?

Q. How would you feel toward the person who actually found the cure?

Q. How would you feel if you found out there was a cure and a friend had known about it but didn’t tell you?


3. Application 

Next, have your children imagine that a friend has come to them describing some symptoms that are very similar to the ones they had.  After listening to this friend for awhile, they realize that he has the same disease that they did.  

Talk about the following questions:

Q. Would you tell your friend about the cure? Why?  What might happen to your friend if you don’t tell him about the cure?

Q. Can you force the person to undergo the treatment and take the medicine that will cure him?

Tell your children that all people have a disease that will eventually kill them: sin.  Sin is a disease that everyone is born with, and unless we seek the “cure”—Jesus—we will die an eternal death and be separated from God and everything that’s good.

4. Prayer Focus

Tell your children that thinking about sin as a fatal disease will help them see the importance of telling others about Jesus.  Our job is to tell them about Jesus and show them Christ’s love, so they’ll know about the cure. Pray with your family, asking God to open your eyes to the people around you who need to know about Him.

Waiting for God

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Family Devotional 6-11-17 Adult

Family Devotional 6-11-17 Kids

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

Sometimes it’s hard to wait. In a culture of microwave dinners, Keurig coffee brewers, and on-demand video content, it can seem downright criminal when God doesn’t answer prayers quickly. When the answer doesn’t come in the time we expect it to, though, the problem is not God’s timing… it’s ours.

2. Bible Verse 

2 Peter 3:9 [ESV] “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

God’s timing works differently than ours, with many factors we may not take into account. Remember, He’s patient, and He’s working for your good.

Q. What’s a prayer you’ve prayed that didn’t get answered as quickly as you wanted?

Q. What’s an example of a time when God was patient with you?

Q. Would you rather have God’s answers – and judgment – happen on your timetable, or on His?

3. Application

Matthew 7:11 [NLT] “So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.”

God will give good things to you, but He’s the one who determines what is truly good. If you find yourself not getting what you want, that thing you’re asking for might not be as good for you as it seems.

Q. What’s something that humans used to think was good or healthy, which we now understand is bad or unhealthy?

Q.  Is it possible that something that seems good for you could actually be bad for others? If God loves all humanity, could His delay in answering be for the greater good?

Q. Sometimes a good thing can become bad if it comes at the wrong time or in the wrong amount. Can you think of a few examples?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for caring enough about what’s good for you to answer prayers in His timing. Ask Him to give you patience to wait for His answers and to help you trust in His character while you’re waiting.

Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Activity

“I Will Worship God With All My Heart!”

Give everyone a pen and piece of paper and have them write down the name of their favorite celebrity—an athlete, a singer, an actor, a public figure, or whomever.   Once everyone is finished, tell them to imagine that they’ve been invited to spend an hour alone with this person.

2. Bible Verse

Psalm 100:2 “Worship the LORD with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy.”   

Then talk about the following questions:

Q. What is the first thing you would do when you saw this famous person?

Q. How would you feel while you were in this person’s presence?

Q. How do you think you would feel once you left this person’s presence?

Q. What are some of the things you might say to that person?

When you’re discussing some of the things you might say, suggest to your children that they may say something like:

“You’re the best quarterback ever.  The way you run the ball is awesome.”

“You’re so funny in all of your movies.  I love the way you can make me laugh.”

“The way you dress is so cool, I would love to look just like you.”

3. Application 

Tell your children that while they may never get the chance to be in the presence of their favorite celebrity, they always have the opportunity to be in the presence of God. 

Sometimes our biggest problem in worship is we can’t really think of anything to say other than, “Thank you, Jesus” over and over.  Maybe it’s because we aren’t paying enough attention to what God is doing in our lives every day.  As a family, make a commitment to praising God every day over the next week for something He’s done in your life that day.  It may be something simple like giving you the strength to resist temptation or giving you a sense of peace during a stressful situation. Whatever it is, make sure you spend some time praising God for it.

4. Prayer Focus

To end your devotion, have each person name one thing that God has done for them recently.  Then worship God together as a family, either silently or out loud, praising Him for all of the good things He does.