Monday, March 15, 2010

A big "but"

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to bow (Daniel 3) and they didn't care if the king gave them one more chance or 100 more chances, they weren't going to do it. They went so far as to say that God could save them from the king's big, scary, fiery furnace and that could've been enough to show their faith in God.

Then they took it one step further. Verse 18 says, "BUT even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." Those boys had decided in their hearts what lines they would not cross and when the time came they stuck with God, because they knew he would stick with them! And he did!

I encourage you to talk with your kids about the lines they will not cross (lying, cheating, stealing, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, playing the choking game, or anything else friends may try to pressure, dare or sweet talk them into) . We mentioned it in children's church yesterday but, of course, I didn't have time to talk with each of them one-on one. You know best what temptations your kids are prone to.

But don't just dwell on the negatives. Remind your kids that God is with them even in hard times! He will care for him as they trust in him. Sometimes, we end up in lousy situations because of things we have done; sometimes bad things just happen. Either way, we all know that hard times are going to come and we're going to have to go "through the fire". The question is "Are you going by yourself?" or "Have you invited Jesus to come along with you?"

Parents, lead by example. Tell your kids of a time that God brought you through a hard time. You do NOT need to tell them all of your burdens, financial woes, or issues - let them be kids! But you can point out God's faithfulness.

Have you decided to follow Jesus no matter what? If you have, you can show your kids how to.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Stand up for what's right no matter what

We are on a prophet binge in children's church . . .Elijah and Elisha, Isaiah, and this week Jeremiah. Jeremiah was called to follow God at a young age and he faced a lot of hard times, but he stuck with God and followed through on what God called him to do even when things got hard.

Our story this week was about how God gave Jeremiah a message which he wrote on a scroll to deliver to King Jehoiakim. But just like us sometimes, the king didn't want to hear what God had to say. He cut the scroll off with a knife and threw it in the fire, as if that would stop God's word from being right and true. We all know that God's word endures and God told Jeremiah to rewrite the scroll. Of course, God's words came true.

We know that God's way is the best way, it's up to us to choose to live his way even when it's not easy. Don't be wishy-washy. Like Mr. Miyagi said in Karate Kid, "walk left side, safe; walk right side, safe; walk middle, sooner or later, get squish just like grape." God wants us to choose, he doesn't want us to be middle of the road . . .that's just not safe! However, Psalm 33.18 says, "the Lord watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love."

Questions for discussion:
  • Parents, tell of a time when you had to stand up for what was right. How did it turn out? How did you know that God was with you?
  • What things can our family do to help us be strong when hard times come? How can we prepare for that?
  • If you're feeling a little creative, create a scroll (maybe pencils, some scotch tape and a strip of paper?) and write Psalm 33.18 on it for the family to learn together. Post it where everyone can see it or have someone "unroll the scroll" and be the leader at mealtimes.

We will continue our Jeremiah discussion tonight in Kids' Bible study! Hope to see you there!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sharing God's awesome truth

This week's scripture came from Isaiah 6.1-8. In this passage, Isaiah sees a vision that shows him how pure, awesome, and holy God is. In God's presence, Isaiah recognizes his own sinfulness and confesses it, then he his forgiven. Finally, Isaiah is called to go and be a messenger of God's truth and he responds, "Here I am! Send me!"

Through Isaiah we learned that we need to:
Remember - that we have disobeyed
Repent - turn away from our sinfulness and turn toward God
Receive - God's love and forgiveness
Rejoice - in God's goodness
Take Responsibility - to go and share God's truth.

By the way, when I spent a few minutes talking about God's awesomeness, holiness, and purity in the children's church lesson - there was a "holy hush" that fell over the room. The children were all very still and respectful . . .you have taught them well!

Some questions for discussion:

  • Who are the people with whom our family can share God's truth?
  • What would be our own special ways of doing that? What gifts/talents do we have? What do we enjoy doing and how can we turn that into sharing God's message of love and forgiveness?
  • How can we rejoice in what God has done for us?
  • Are there things that we need to remember and repent of so that we can keep our relationship with God on track?

On Wednesday night, we will continue exploring this lesson on Isaiah and how we can be messengers of God's truth!

Have a great week! You are loved!