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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

What does healthy conflict look like?

Proverbs 15:1 (ESV)
A soft answer turns away wrath,
    but a harsh word stirs up anger. 

An oxymoron is when seemingly contradictory words appear together. Like jumbo shrimp. Pretty ugly. Virtual reality. Random order.

Get the idea?

At first glance, healthy conflict might seem like an oxymoron too. However, when we look at what the Bible says, healthy conflict is exactly what God had in mind.

In Matthew 18:15, Jesus said that if a brother or sister sins against you, you should go directly to that person and point at their fault—just the two of you.

This is the completely opposite of what we want to do when someone offends us.

And you know what we want to do? We either want to run or rant. When someone makes us mad, we either want to run away and avoid the problem, or we want to rant about that person to everyone but that person.

Jesus proposed a different way—a better way—which involves us confronting the situation at the root of the problem.

So, how do you confront conflict? Here are three ways:

1.) Go immediately. Ephesians 4:26 says to not let the sun go down while we’re angry. Confront the conflict as soon as possible.

2.) Go directly. When you and a friend have conflict, it’s tempting to go to everyone but that friend! But Proverbs 11:13 says that a gossip betrays a confidence. God dislikes gossip and spreading rumors.

3.) Go humbly. It may not have occurred to you, but you might not be in the clear. Be willing to admit that you were wrong, and be humble. Humility looks good on everyone. Proverbs 15:1 says that a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

So, how do we deal with conflict in a healthy way? We go. We resolve the conflict immediately, directly, and humbly. And when we do that, it honors God and starts healing our hearts.

Dear Lord, we pray that we would deal with the conflicts on our life now. Help us find ways to make things right. I the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, July 30, 2018

How does conflict affect our relationship with God?

Colossians 3:13 (ESV)
Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

When someone messes with your best friend, it’s hard for you to like that person, isn’t it? That’s the way God is with us—His kids. You can’t be right with God if you’re hurting one of His kids.

Your relationships with people and your relationship with God are directly connected. Basically, before making things right with God, we need to make things right with others.

In the Old Testament, people connected with God by offering gifts at the altar. People would travel for days to present their offering. By time they got there, they were likely exhausted.

With that context in mind, Jesus said in Matthew 5 that if you’re offering a gift at the altar and remember someone has something against you, you should go and fix that relationship first.

Did you catch that? Even if they had been traveling for days, they still had to go back and resolve conflict with the person that had something against them, which would have made their entire journey a waste of time.

That might seem a bit extreme, but Jesus wasn’t playing around. He knew something that we often forget: You can’t be right with God if you’re wrong with others.

Now we know what a big deal conflict is to God. Tomorrow we will take a look at what healthy, God-honoring conflict looks like.

Dear Lord, show us today those that we have conflict with and need to resolve it. Help us to get things right so we can be right with You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Why do we fear conflict?

2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV)
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

As we know conflict is unavoidable. So, why are we so afraid of it? Here are a few reasons we tend to fear conflict:

1. It makes us uncomfortable. Ultimately, conflict just isn’t fun. When we sense that something isn’t right, we know we need to do something about it, but sometimes we try to hide our feelings to avoid conflict.

2. It makes us feel out of control. When we experience conflict, we feel like we’re no longer in control of our lives. It’s the same reason we prefer to send a text instead of talking on the phone—we like to be in control of the conversation and the situation.

3. We’re not obeying God. Sometimes we fear conflict because we’re not doing what God wants us to do. When we trust God, we know that He wants our relationships to be in the right place. When we choose to avoid conflict and allow it to poison us, we’re hurting relationships that God wants us to make right.

Now that we know why we fear conflict, we can start to overcome it. God is bigger than your fears, and fear is not from God. So, when you’re worried about conflict, pray about it. Ask God to give you wisdom and to give you the right words to heal that broken relationship. Next, we will look at how conflict can affect our relationship with God.

Dear Lord, we pray that we will have the strength to overcome conflict. Help us to remember that You are bigger than any of our fears. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

What is conflict?

Hebrews 12:15 (ESV)
See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.

Have you ever noticed that your greatest pain and disappointments came as a result of a broken relationship?

When something isn’t right between you and someone else, we call that conflict. You know how it goes. It’s like that time you had a horrible fight with your parents, or when your friend spread rumors about you at school or a coworker talks behind your back. Or maybe, a friend unfriended you on FaceBook.

It’s not hard to figure out what conflict is because we experience it every day. The bad news is it’s also unavoidable. Why? Because we’re human, and humans mess up! None of us are perfect, and when imperfect people try to do things, conflict can easily come up.

But conflict isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, healthy conflict can lead to healthy relationships. But, when we don’t deal with conflict in a healthy way, it’s like a poison. It’ll slowly seep into our relationships, infecting everything and everyone we interact with. In the Bible, the writer of Hebrews knew this well. That’s why Hebrews 12:15 says this:  … Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.

It’s important for us to work through conflict, because the quality of our lives is only as good as the quality of our relationships.

The next four days, we’ll learn why we fear conflict, how conflict affects our relationship with God, and how to deal with conflict in a healthy way. Let’s each pray now that we will stop fearing conflict and start dealing with it so that you can build better, stronger relationships. 

Dear Lord, as we look at conflict help us to learn how we can stop fearing it and become stronger when we handle it the correct way. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, July 27, 2018

What holiness really looks like for our lives #5

Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Once we’ve begun to live holy lives set apart for God, we then need to learn to remain in Him, to seek Him every day, and let Him lead our lives.

When we remain in Him, we begin to grow fruit in our lives. Wait … what? Grow fruit!?

Well, yeah!

The verses we just read talk about growing fruit. But not like apples and oranges, that would just be weird, come on!

Galatians 5:22-23 talks about the kind of fruit we’ll produce when we remain in Christ. When we seek Him and spend time with Him every day, we will be more loving. We will have more joy in our lives. We will experience more peace in our days. We’ll have a little more patience for others. We’ll be able to be kinder to others, do more good in the world, and have greater faith.

Who wouldn’t want to live that way and be that kind of person?

That’s what happens when we remain in Christ throughout our days and live holy lives set apart for God.

Dear Lord, help us to remain in You all day. Help us to not wonder away from You in the business of the day. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

What holiness really looks like for our lives #4

Proverbs 13:20 (ESV)
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise,
    but the companion of fools will suffer harm.

So, to be set apart, we set apart time to get to know God and we act differently from the world around us. But that can be hard to do by yourself! God calls us to be different, but He doesn’t call us to be different alone.

If we’re going to live holy lives, we’re going to need other people. But not just anyone—we’re going to need godly people who can help us live the way God has called us to live.

We talked about how we become like who we spend time with. So, we should definitely spend time with God. But we also need to spend time with others! We’ll become like the people we hang out with, so we need to choose wisely.

Look for people who are pursuing God, spending time with Him, and serving others the way Jesus would. Then, choose to do those things together, because even though our relationship with Jesus is personal, it’s certainly not private.

So, who are those friends who bring you closer to Christ? What can you do to strengthen those relationships to help you live a holy life?

To be set apart for God, we’ll need other people to help us. 

Dear Lord, we pray for friend that will bring us closer to You. Also help us be the person that someone needs to bring them closer to You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

What holiness really looks like for our lives #3

2 Timothy 1:9  (ESV)
Who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.

A lot of people say they’re Christians, but not all of them live that way. They talk the talk, but they don’t walk the walk.

Would you say people know that you’re a Christian just because you say it, or do they know it because you live it? To be holy is to live your life set apart in such a way that people can tell there’s something different about you even without you telling them.

As Christians, we shouldn’t be doing what everyone else is doing. We shouldn’t just conform to what’s normal.

When everyone’s talking trash about someone, you choose to be their one and only friend. When others are sleeping with their boyfriend or girlfriend, you choose to wait for the person you’re going to marry. When people you know are making crude jokes or comments, you choose not to be a part of it.

Choose to live your life set apart for God. Be different in a good way. Choose to love better than anyone else. Choose to live your life with more joy, excitement, and contentment than everyone else. Choose to be someone who is known by what you’re for rather than complaining all the time.

What ways do you need to start living a life set apart?

When you start to live set apart for God, others will be drawn to God. 

Dear Lord, help us to live a life that is set apart so that the world around us will see You in us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

What holiness really looks like for our lives #2

1 Thessalonians 4:7 (ESV)
For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.

We must be holy and live holy lives! What does that even mean? Well, simply put, it means to be set apart—in a good way.

If you’re a Christian, that means you should think differently, act differently, and live your life differently. This is what it means to be set apart or holy. But in order to be set apart for God, we need to learn to first set apart time with God.

Life gets busy. There are so many things contending for our time and attention: school, homework, sports, friends, family, and the list goes on and on. God begins to get pushed to the back of our minds, and eventually we realize that we haven’t really spent time with Him in a while.

So if that’s you, here’s what you need to do: slow down, stop and put everything away, and set apart time for God. Get away from it all. Be silent for a moment. Go experience God in nature, read your Bible, journal, or pray.

What do you need to do less of to experience more of God in your life?

To be set apart we need to set apart time with God.

Dear Lord, we pray today that we would make it a priority to experience You more in every part of our life. Show is the things that we need to let go of so we can become closer to You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, July 23, 2018

What holiness really looks like for our lives #1

2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV)
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

One of the best ways we can start learning to be set apart for God is to spend time with Him, just like we talked about yesterday. But how do we do that? Prayer!

It seems like the classic Christian answer, but prayer is powerful, and it can transform your life in huge ways. Prayer can sometimes feel like this awkward experience where you’re talking to an empty void. But it doesn’t have to feel that way.

Think about a time you learned a new skill. Maybe it was a sport, a complex math problem, or a new hobby. It took time to learn how to do it well, right? Prayer is the same way. It feels awkward at first. But you have to embrace the awkward to get to the awesome.

Think about it like this. Imagine you needed to talk to a stranger for a minute. Just the thought of that seems awkward and stressful, right? Now, imagine you’re talking to your best friend for a minute. Totally normal.

That’s how prayer works. The less time we spend praying, the more time it’ll feel awkward. But, when we continue to pray, even when it doesn’t feel natural, we start experiencing God in ways we never have before.

The reality is that we become like who we spend time with. So, if we’re going to be set apart for God, we’ve got to get to know Him. We’ve got to talk with Him and listen to Him.

So, let’s practice. Today, spend just two minutes in prayer. You could write it down in a journal, draw it in a creative way, pray in your head, or speak it out loud. Try to do this every day for the next week and see if you don’t start experiencing prayer in a whole new way.

When you spend time praying to God, you’ll start becoming set apart for God.

Dear Lord, we thank You that we can talk to You. Help us to work on the skill of praying to You. Hep to become closer to You as we talk with You each day. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

What Does God Say About Speaking Up?

Proverbs 31:8-9 (ESV)
8 Open your mouth for the mute,
    for the rights of all who are destitute.
9 Open your mouth, judge righteously,
    defend the rights of the poor and needy.

God has given us a powerful way to help others, be bold and show kindness.

Speaking up for people means using your words to help them. Next time you’re at school, work, or church, be aware of when you should speak up for someone. If you see someone pushing or hitting another child, tell an adult. If you hear a classmate teasing someone on the playground, tell the bully why that’s wrong and then say kind words to the person being teased.

The tricky part is knowing when to speak up, and that comes with wisdom. You can gain wisdom by reading the Bible, listening to teachers, friends and parents, studying hard and praying.

How can you reach out to someone today?

Dear Lord, we are thankful that You gave us a voice to speak up for others. Please give us wisdom to know when to stay silent and when to use our words to defend someone from harm or show kindness. Please give us ideas for what to say and do to help the people we meet. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

What Does God Say About Staying Busy?

Proverbs 30:24-28 (ESV)
24 Four things on earth are small,
    but they are exceedingly wise:
25 the ants are a people not strong,
    yet they provide their food in the summer;
26 the rock badgers are a people not mighty,
    yet they make their homes in the cliffs;
27 the locusts have no king,
    yet all of them march in rank;
28 the lizard you can take in your hands,
    yet it is in kings' palaces.

Have you ever seen an ant marching on the sidewalk or in an anthill? Have you ever seen an ant just sitting around watching and waiting while all the other ants on the march do all the work? You can leave a bread crumb outside your home on the sidewalk or driveway for a few hours and watch to find out the answer!

Consider the ants! You can learn from them about keeping busy this summer. Here are some ideas.

If you see an empty soda can on the playground or left by the sofa, put it in the trash, even if you didn’t leave it there.

If your parents need help with the yard or garden, try pulling weeds or picking fresh vegetables! Maybe you can give the vegetables to a homeless shelter.

Did you sleep in and miss time with your friends? Get up earlier, and have a great day full of fun and friends!

How about being wise every day?

God is delighted when we are wise and productive — like the ants!

Dear Lord, thank You for giving us ants in Your Creation to help us become more like You. Help us to be more like the ants — to stay busy and wise for Your kingdom. Show us when and where to serve You by helping others and not giving up when there is a challenge. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, July 20, 2018

What Does God Say About True Treasures?

Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV)
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Modern-day treasure seekers think they have found the ship and sunken treasure of Captain Kidd, a famous pirate who sailed the high seas in the late 1600s. They think his ship got off course and sank off the coast of Madagascar near East Africa, and they hope to find gold when they explore it!

Sometimes we are looking for treasures, too, like a better bike, a new doll, a new car or a new house. But these aren’t true treasures. To discover true treasure, we need to set a course for God’s Word and start exploring!

Jesus is saying that a happy life doesn’t depend on the things we have. The true treasures that make us happy come from loving Jesus and loving others.

How can you find true treasure? Here are a few ideas!

• Make and give a gift to a friend.

• Share your things with someone who doesn’t have as much as you.

Dear Lord, thank You for all the good gifts You have provided for us and our family. Help us take care of them and know how to help others who have less. Thank You for teaching us about true treasures, like You, my family, friends and Your creation. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

What Does God Say About Serving?

Mark 10:43-45 (ESV)
43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Do you run to get "first dibs" on the front seat of the car when piling in for carpool? How does it feel to be first in line when you are hot and thirsty? Jesus had some curious things to say about first and last.

In the Bible, two brothers asked Jesus for a big favor. They wanted special seats, one on the right and one on the left of Jesus’ throne after He was anointed King! They said, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory” (Mark 10:37).

The other disciples heard about it, and they were mad. Maybe they wanted the best seats, too! Jesus decided to gather them all together to talk about it. How did He answer them?

In God's kingdom, the servant is the greatest.
How does Jesus want you to serve others? Here are some ideas!

Rake leaves for elderly neighbors or help them with trash.

In the lunch line, let others go ahead of you instead of wanting to be first.

Help a coworker with their backpack.

Do one of your chores before you are reminded.

Take out all the garbage in the house.

Dear Lord, thank You for teaching us how to serve. Help us forget about me and to start thinking about others. Thank You for the ways our family, teachers and leaders in our church show us how to be a servant-leader too. Help us to encourage others to be great leaders. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

What Does God Say About Special Needs?

2 Corinthians 4:16 (ESV)
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.

Are there kids in your school or church who are not able to catch a ball or run like the rest of the kids because they have special needs?

Is that kid you or someone in your family? God cares about ALL kids and gives us some good stories in the Bible to remind us to care for others!

In the Bible there was a boy named Mephibosheth (Meh-FIB-O-sheth) who had twisted feet because he had an accident when he was 5 years old. His daddy's name was Jonathan, who happened to be King David's best friend growing up. After Jonathan died in a battle, King David cared for Mephibosheth in a very special way. We can read all about it in 2 Samuel 9:1-13 to learn more.

Why was King David so kind to Mephibosheth?
In what ways did King David show him kindness?
We need to Dare to Care!
Sometimes people who have special needs look or act differently than others. Maybe they are lonely. Can you dare to be kind to those who need a friend? Maybe you can play a game with them, talk to them, or send a card.

Take a minute today to pray for a family with a special needs family member.

Dear Lord, thank You for loving everyone. We pray for those with special needs and might be really lonely today. Help us remember how You love those with special needs. Show us how You want us to “dare to care” for them. Thank You for showing us how to love and care for those who live right here and all around the world. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

What Does God Say About Guarding Your Body?

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (ESV)
19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Did you know your body is a holy temple? How can you guard and honor that holy place?

Mark 12:30 says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
Love the Lord with all your heart. Guard your feelings.
Ask God to help you love the people who annoy you or hurt your feelings.

Love the Lord with all your soul. Honor your time with God.
Read your Bible and think about what God says. Take time to pray every day.

Love the Lord with all your mind. Guard your brain and what you think about.
How can you solve problems, do your best where you are, and be a great leader?

Love the Lord with all your strength. Protect your body and be careful what you eat.

What foods and exercises make you strong and healthy? Try running around your home three times in a row. Touch your toes 20 times. Do 20 sit-ups. These are ways to build a “temple” that will serve God for a long time.

Dear Lord, thank You for giving us our wonderful body. Help us to act like our body belongs to You. Show us how to be the best temple we can be for You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, July 16, 2018

What Does God Say About Guidance?

Psalm 24:4-5 (ESV)
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
    who does not lift up his soul to what is false
    and does not swear deceitfully.
5 He will receive blessing from the Lord
    and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

Pretend you are in the following situations. How could a guide help you?

You get separated from your group during a hike through the Smokies.

You are visually impaired and you need to cross a street.

You are camping and it's your turn to build the campfire.

Who in your life shows you God's ways (vs. 4)? Write names of family members, teachers, or others who show God's guidance to you.

What can you read to teach you God's truths (vs. 5)? What favorite story in the Bible guides you to learn God's truths?

How can you hope in Jesus to be your Guide every day (vs. 5)? Think about where Jesus can guide you.

Dear Lord, we are glad You are our great Guide and we can count on You every day to help us make good choices. Please help us to hear Your voice, listen to Your guidance and to keep our eyes on You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

What Does God Say About Teamwork?

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (ESV)
9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 

Bees fly about 55,000 miles to make just one pound of honey. That’s more than two times around the world! God created these amazing insects to be great at teamwork. As many as 80,000 bees live in a hive, and a hive can produce more than 80 pounds of honey each year. That’s a lot of honey.

The incredible part is that each individual bee makes only 1½ teaspoons of honey during its entire lifetime. But bees can make a lot of honey because they work together! Teamwork also allows people to do more together than they could on their own.

A wise king named Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”
Think about the different kid of teams out there, for example sports teams or medical teams.

How do the members of this team work together?
Why is every member important?
What might happen if one or more members of the team were missing?
One of the most important teams is God’s team of believers, called the Body of Christ. What might happen if one or more members were missing?

God created us (and bees) to work together and support one another. When we do, the results are sweet!

Dear Lord, thank you for creating us to be part of a team. Thank You for giving us teammates in those around us. We pray that You would help us work together with others to do all You have for us to do. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

What Does God Say About Creativity?

Psalm 139:14 (ESV)
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

Psalm 139:14 shares a beautiful truth about how creative God is. He has made us to be creative too!

The psalmist is talking about how much he loves God: "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

God wants each of us to use our unique creativity to praise Him! Playing music is one way we can show God how much we love Him. This is what David did. You can learn about his life in many books of the Bible. He was the shepherd boy who killed Goliath the giant and grew up to become king of Israel.

David was also a talented musician. He played the lyre (a small harp) and wrote many songs to God. You can read them in the Psalms. Before David became king, King Saul brought David to his palace to play for him to help him relax.

How might God want to use the special creative gifts and talents He’s given you to praise Him and help others?

Even if you don’t sing or play a musical instrument, there are many other ways to praise God through your creativity. Write down or draw a few ideas on a piece of paper.

Dear Lord, thank You for making us creative! Help us think of ways to use our creativity to serve You and others. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, July 13, 2018

What Does God Say About Your Future?

Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Do you remember as a kid being asked what you want to be when you grow up? Maybe you wanted to be a doctor and help people who are sick. Perhaps you wanted to be an actor and appear in movies. Or maybe you wanted to be a firefighter and protect people from harm.

The Bible says that God has plans for each of us, and He wants to give us “hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Sometimes what we think we want to be when we grow up changes. This happened to Nate Saint, a famous missionary. From the time he was a young boy, Nate wanted to be a pilot. When Nate was 14, he cut his leg while sledding and got a serious infection. He had to spend many weeks in bed. Finally the infection healed. After high school, Nate joined the Army to train to be a fighter pilot. But one day before he started pilot training, the infection in his leg returned. The Army told him he would not be able to be a fighter pilot.

At first Nate was sad. But he still wanted to fly, so he got his pilot’s license and became a missionary pilot in the country of Ecuador in the 1950s. Nate delivered food and medical supplies to missionary families and flew others into the jungle to tell people, who had never heard the gospel, about Jesus. Because of his example, Nate’s sister, Rachel, and his son, Steve, later became missionaries in Ecuador. Nate didn’t get to do exactly what he had planned, but by following God’s plan for his life, many people came to know Jesus.

Having big dreams for your future is a wonderful thing! And God’s Word says only One Person truly knows what will happen.

Proverbs 16:9 says, “In your heart you plan your life. But the LORD decides where your steps will take you.”
Take some time to commit your dreams to Him today!

Dear Lord, thank You for giving use dreams and ideas for our future. We pray that You would help use walk in the steps You have planned for us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

What Does God Say About Belonging?

1 Corinthians 12:20-21 (ESV)
20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”

Have you ever felt left out, forgotten or unwanted? Maybe someone in your class or work had a get together and didn’t invite you. Or maybe your parents are divorced, and one parent doesn’t visit or call you. Or your children never reach out to you.

Sometimes it can feel like we just don’t belong. That’s when it’s important to remember this awesome truth: We all belong to God’s family, and our heavenly Father will never forget us! The Bible says that all the people in the world who love Jesus make up one big family called the Body of Christ.

Think about the many different body parts you have. Imagine what might happen if those parts didn’t work.

The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 12:20-21: “As it is, there ­are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’”
Just like our body parts work together to make one complete body, every person works together to make one healthy family or community at home, church, work and school.

Dear Lord, we are so glad that we are part of Your family and that we can talk to You when we are feeling bad. Please show us how to make other people feel wanted and included. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

What Does God Say About Caring for the Earth?

Psalm 24:1 (ESV)
The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof,
    the world and those who dwell therein.

What do you think would be the coolest job? Race car driver? Singer? Zookeeper? Adam, the first man who ever lived, had a pretty cool job. We read in Genesis all about it:

“Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.”
Wow! God let Adam name the animals. God also put Adam in charge of caring for a beautiful garden called Eden.

Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”
The Earth belongs to God. All of the animals and people are also His. When God asked Adam to care for His creation, He was asking him to be a steward and take care of His property.

We are called to be stewards, or caretakers, of God’s creation too. For example, not everyone in the world has enough clean water to drink, but others waste water every day without even realizing it.

Did you know that if you turn off the tap water while brushing your teeth, you can save about 7 gallons of water each day? Small changes can make a big difference.

What is one thing you could do to care for the Earth God created?
How might you help others who don’t have the same resources you do?
Each of us have been entrusted with taking care of the things on the Earth, such as water, plants and animals, that belong to God. And that’s a pretty cool job.

Dear Lord, thank You for creating a beautiful world for us to live in. Thank You for trusting us to care for the Earth and the things You have created. Show us how to be a good steward. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.