Joy In Jesus

{We are going through a study with the kids in our Jr. Church program and I absolutely love the simplicity, straightforwardness, and practical application of it. (If you are looking for something for your own church I highly recommend it. You can find Rock-Solid Followers here.) I want to share with you weekly the main scriptures from the lessons. These kids (I teach 3-5 year olds) are soaking this stuff up and are making such an impact on me, and I want to share the Jesus love!}

Philippians 4:4, Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! (New Living Translation)

Acts 16:16-40 (New Living Translation)

Paul and Silas in Prison

16 One day as we were going down to the place of prayer, we met a demon-possessed slave girl. She was a fortune-teller who earned a lot of money for her masters. 17 She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, and they have come to tell you how to be saved.”

18 This went on day after day until Paul got so exasperated that he turned and said to the demon within her, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And instantly it left her.

19 Her masters’ hopes of wealth were now shattered, so they grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them before the authorities at the marketplace. 20 “The whole city is in an uproar because of these Jews!” they shouted to the city officials. 21“They are teaching customs that are illegal for us Romans to practice.”

22 A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. 23 They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. 24 So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.

25 Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. 26 Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! 27 The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. 28 But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!”

29 The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” 32 And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household. 33 Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized. 34 He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God.

35 The next morning the city officials sent the police to tell the jailer, “Let those men go!” 36 So the jailer told Paul, “The city officials have said you and Silas are free to leave. Go in peace.”

37 But Paul replied, “They have publicly beaten us without a trial and put us in prison—and we are Roman citizens. So now they want us to leave secretly? Certainly not! Let them come themselves to release us!”

38 When the police reported this, the city officials were alarmed to learn that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens. 39 So they came to the jail and apologized to them. Then they brought them out and begged them to leave the city. 40 When Paul and Silas left the prison, they returned to the home of Lydia. There they met with the believers and encouraged them once more. Then they left town.

Life Focus:

In any situation, I can praise Jesus and remember that He gives me joy.

Week One: Saved By Jesus

Week Two: Help From Jesus

Week Three: Sent By Jesus

Week Four: Loved By Jesus 

Week Five: Guided By Jesus

Sent By Jesus

{We are going through a study with the kids in our Jr. Church program and I absolutely love the simplicity, straightforwardness, and practical application of it. (If you are looking for something for your own church I highly recommend it. You can find Rock-Solid Followers here.) I want to share with you weekly the main scriptures from the lessons. These kids (I teach 3-5 year olds) are soaking this stuff up and are making such an impact on me, and I want to share the Jesus love!}

Romans 1:16, For I am not ashamed of this Good News of Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes- the Jew first and also the Gentile. (The New Living Translation)

(Acts 13: 1-5, 13-52 New Living Translation)

Barnabas and Saul Are Commissioned

 Among the prophets and teachers of the church at Antioch of Syria were Barnabas, Simeon (called “the black man”), Lucius (from Cyrene), Manaen (the childhood companion of King Herod Antipas), and Saul.  One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Dedicate Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them.” So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid their hands on them and sent them on their way.

Paul’s First Missionary Journey

 So Barnabas and Saul were sent out by the Holy Spirit. They went down to the seaport of Seleucia and then sailed for the island of Cyprus.  There, in the town of Salamis, they went to the Jewish synagogues and preached the word of God. John Mark went with them as their assistant.

Paul Preaches in Antioch of Pisidia

 Paul and his companions then left Paphos by ship for Pamphylia, landing at the port town of Perga. There John Mark left them and returned to Jerusalem. But Paul and Barnabas traveled inland to Antioch of Pisidia. On the Sabbath they went to the synagogue for the services. After the usual readings from the books of Moses and the prophets, those in charge of the service sent them this message: “Brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for the people, come and give it.” So Paul stood, lifted his hand to quiet them, and started speaking. “Men of Israel,” he said, “and you God-fearing Gentiles, listen to me. “The God of this nation of Israel chose our ancestors and made them multiply and grow strong during their stay in Egypt. Then with a powerful arm he led them out of their slavery. He put up with them through forty years of wandering in the wilderness.  Then he destroyed seven nations in Canaan and gave their land to Israel as an inheritance.  All this took about 450 years. “After that, God gave them judges to rule until the time of Samuel the prophet.  Then the people begged for a king, and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, who reigned for forty years.  But God removed Saul and replaced him with David, a man about whom God said, ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.’ “And it is one of King David’s descendants, Jesus, who is God’s promised Savior of Israel!  Before he came, John the Baptist preached that all the people of Israel needed to repent of their sins and turn to God and be baptized.  As John was finishing his ministry he asked, ‘Do you think I am the Messiah? No, I am not! But he is coming soon—and I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the sandals on his feet.’ “Brothers—you sons of Abraham, and also you God-fearing Gentiles—this message of salvation has been sent to us!  The people in Jerusalem and their leaders did not recognize Jesus as the one the prophets had spoken about. Instead, they condemned him, and in doing this they fulfilled the prophets’ words that are read every Sabbath.  They found no legal reason to execute him, but they asked Pilate to have him killed anyway. “When they had done all that the prophecies said about him, they took him down from the cross and placed him in a tomb.  But God raised him from the dead!  And over a period of many days he appeared to those who had gone with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to the people of Israel. “And now we are here to bring you this Good News. The promise was made to our ancestors,  and God has now fulfilled it for us, their descendants, by raising Jesus. This is what the second psalm says about Jesus: ‘You are my Son. Today I have become your Father.’ For God had promised to raise him from the dead, not leaving him to rot in the grave. He said, ‘I will give you the sacred blessings I promised to David.’ Another psalm explains it more fully: ‘You will not allow your Holy One to rot in the grave.’ This is not a reference to David, for after David had done the will of God in his own generation, he died and was buried with his ancestors, and his body decayed.  No, it was a reference to someone else—someone whom God raised and whose body did not decay. “Brothers, listen! We are here to proclaim that through this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins.  Everyone who believes in him is declared right with God—something the law of Moses could never do.  Be careful! Don’t let the prophets’ words apply to you. For they said,  ‘Look, you mockers, be amazed and die! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it.’” As Paul and Barnabas left the synagogue that day, the people begged them to speak about these things again the next week.  Many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, and the two men urged them to continue to rely on the grace of God.

Paul Turns to the Gentiles

  The following week almost the entire city turned out to hear them preach the word of the Lord.  But when some of the Jews saw the crowds, they were jealous; so they slandered Paul and argued against whatever he said. Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and declared, “It was necessary that we first preach the word of God to you Jews. But since you have rejected it and judged yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we will offer it to the Gentiles.  For the Lord gave us this command when he said, ‘I have made you a light to the Gentiles, to bring salvation to the farthest corners of the earth.’” When the Gentiles heard this, they were very glad and thanked the Lord for his message; and all who were chosen for eternal life became believers.  So the Lord’s message spread throughout that region. Then the Jews stirred up the influential religious women and the leaders of the city, and they incited a mob against Paul and Barnabas and ran them out of town.  So they shook the dust from their feet as a sign of rejection and went to the town of Iconium.  And the believers were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

Life Focus:

I can be part of God’s plan to tell others about the good news of Jesus.

Week One: Saved By Jesus

Week Two: Help From Jesus


Help From Jesus

{We are going through a study with the kids in our Jr. Church program and I absolutely love the simplicity, straightforwardness, and practical application of it. (If you are looking for something for your own church I highly recommend it. You can find Rock-Solid Followers here.) I want to share with you weekly the main scriptures from the lessons. These kids (I teach 3-5 year olds) are soaking this stuff up and are making such an impact on me, and I want to share the Jesus love!}

Romans 12:10, Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. (The New Living Translation)

(Acts 9:23-31 New Living Translation)

After a while some of the Jews plotted together to kill him. They were watching for him day and night at the city gate so they could murder him, but Saul was told about their plot.  So during the night, some of the other believers lowered him in a large basket through an opening in the city wall. When Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to meet with the believers, but they were all afraid of him. They did not believe he had truly become a believer! Then Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them how Saul had seen the Lord on the way to Damascus and how the Lord had spoken to Saul. He also told them that Saul had preached boldly in the name of Jesus in Damascus. So Saul stayed with the apostles and went all around Jerusalem with them, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord.  He debated with some Greek-speaking Jews, but they tried to murder him. When the believers heard about this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him away to Tarsus, his hometown. The church then had peace throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, and it became stronger as the believers lived in the fear of the Lord. And with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it also grew in numbers.

Life Focus:

When I have problems and need help, one of the best ways Jesus helps me is through His followers.

Week One: Saved By Jesus

Saved By Jesus

We are going through a new study with the kids in our Jr. Church program and I absolutely love the simplicity, straightforwardness, and practical application of it. (If you are looking for something for your own church I highly recommend it. You can find Rock-Solid Followers here.) I want to share with you weekly the main scriptures from the lessons. These kids (I teach 3-5 year olds) are soaking this stuff up and are making such an impact on me, and I want to share the Jesus love!

Ephesians 2:8-9, God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. (The New Living Translation)

(Acts 9:1-22 New Living Translation)

Saul’s Conversion

 Meanwhile, Saul was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers. So he went to the high priest.  He requested letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, asking for their cooperation in the arrest of any followers of the Way he found there. He wanted to bring them—both men and women—back to Jerusalem in chains. As he was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him.  He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?” “Who are you, lord?” Saul asked. And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting!  Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” The men with Saul stood speechless, for they heard the sound of someone’s voice but saw no one! Saul picked himself up off the ground, but when he opened his eyes he was blind. So his companions led him by the hand to Damascus.  He remained there blind for three days and did not eat or drink. Now there was a believer in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord spoke to him in a vision, calling, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord!” he replied. The Lord said, “Go over to Straight Street, to the house of Judas. When you get there, ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying to me right now. I have shown him a vision of a man named Ananias coming in and laying hands on him so he can see again.” “But Lord,” exclaimed Ananias, “I’ve heard many people talk about the terrible things this man has done to the believers in Jerusalem!  And he is authorized by the leading priests to arrest everyone who calls upon your name.” But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel.  And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake. ”So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”  Instantly something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized.  Afterward he ate some food and regained his strength.

Saul in Damascus and Jerusalem

 Saul stayed with the believers in Damascus for a few days.  And immediately he began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is indeed the Son of God!” All who heard him were amazed. “Isn’t this the same man who caused such devastation among Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem?” they asked. “And didn’t he come here to arrest them and take them in chains to the leading priests?” Saul’s preaching became more and more powerful, and the Jews in Damascus couldn’t refute his proofs that Jesus was indeed the Messiah.

Life Focus:

I can trust that Jesus is the only One who gives salvation and who can make a difference in my life every day.

 

How to Enjoy your family

April 28, 2009

How to Enjoy Your Family

Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

Proverbs 31:11-12; 30 (NIV) “Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm. A woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”

Friend To Friend

Family means different things to different people. What is a family? Well, I can tell you that it is not what it used to be. Family is no longer simple, but blended and complex. It has changed to include many different relationships of people who live together.

· Couples with children

· Couples with no children

· Single women with children

· Single men with children

· Grandparents with children

· Parents with grown children who have left and come back home

· Close friends living together

· Unrelated people living together

And they are all family! Family is a group of persons belonging to or forming a household. We’ve looked at what a family is, but more important is the question, “What is the purpose of family?” There are no perfect families. There never have been. However, the purpose of family is to illustrate the nature and character of God. In other words, family is the primary place we learn about God.

A Sunday school class of first-graders was asked to draw a picture of God. When the pastor stopped by to inspect their work, the children were happy to show him their drawings. One child had drawn God in the form of a brightly colored rainbow. Another had drawn the face of an old man coming out of billowing clouds. One drawing looked a lot like Superman, but perhaps the best picture was the one proudly displayed by a girl who said, “I didn’t know what God looked like exactly, so I drew my daddy!”

Children get their first impressions of God from their parents. The family is important to God. In fact, He created it before He created the church and, as with each of His creations, He made a plan for it to succeed. At the heart of that plan is love. To be part of a family is to be loved. So the challenge before us today is how should we love our family?

I know we all want to be part of a family where we give and receive love. Proverbs 31 tells us how. This chapter, a portrait of a wife and mother, was painted by a King as the kind of woman his mother wanted her son to marry. It is a standard of excellence, not only for women, but for every member of every family. Over the next three days, we will find seven ways in the life of this woman to love your family.

1. Build trust

Proverbs 31:11 tells us that “her husband has full confidence in her.” “Full confidence” literally means to trust, to take refuge in or to lean on. The Proverbs 31 woman spent a lifetime building trust. She trusted God and had a personal relationship with Him (vs. 30). We cannot be trustworthy if we are not trusting, and if we don’t trust God, we cannot truly trust others. If we are not “taking refuge” or “leaning on” Jesus Christ, when others take refuge and lean on us, we will crumble and fall. Trust shatters fear

Psalm 56:3 (NIV) “But when I am afraid, I will put my confidence in you. Yes, I will trust the promises of God. And since I am trusting him, what can mere man do to me?”

Trust is fragile and once broken, very hard to build again. When our daughter was a little girl, she constantly rode on the trusted shoulders of her dad, and loved it. Then, one day, at a church youth activity, one of the youth was playing around and punched Dan in the stomach. Dan was caught off guard and the youth hit him harder than he meant to. Dan doubled over and Danna tumbled down. The next time Dan tried to put her on his shoulders, Danna refused. It took months for Dan to earn his daughter’s trust again. To enjoy our family, we must first trust God, which then enables us to build trust in our family. Our family needs to be able to trust us, no matter what, without having to worry about stepping on emotional land mines. There will be no joy in our homes if there is not an atmosphere of trust. Family is a “team” idea and nothing is more deadly to the success of a team than a lack of trust. Trust God and then build trust in your family. Tomorrow, we will explore other ways to enjoy your family. Don’t miss it!

Let’s Pray

Father, thank You for the family You have given me. I want to love them like they need to be loved. Help me to build trust in them as I learn to trust You more. Lord, help me to be trustworthy and to be the woman You want me to be as I minister to my family. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

* Make a list of ways your family can trust and depend on you.

* Identify any areas where you can build trust.

* Have a family meeting to discuss what it means to be a team.

* Constantly look for ways to foster the mindset that your family is a team.

More From The Girlfriends

Everywhere I look, splintered and broken families abound. Why? I believe that somewhere along the way, trust was broken by an affair…a betrayal…a forgotten vow. What is even more frightening is the casual approach to that broken trust. My friend, God is calling us to trust Him and then to build that trust in our family. Right now, no matter how many times you have failed, begin again. We are with you!