James 1:5-8 {5 Minute Devo}

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in 5 Minute Devotions, Blog

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If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. (James 1:5-8 NIV)

 

When we lived on the beach, I enjoyed going to the shore and watching the lapping waves.  It was clear when there was something under the surface by observing how the waves reacted.  When there was a rock in the way, the waves would part and swirl around the sides.  When the water became shallow, the waves would break, forming a white cap on the surface.  Far out in the distance, where the sea runs deep, the waves would gently swell, but were overall quite calm.  During a storm, the turbulent waves would bring destruction to plants and animals in their path.  God’s creation reveals so much to us, even in a simple walk on the beach.

 

Like the waves, without wisdom and trusting prayer, we can lose our calm during turbulent times.  When an obstacle blocks our way, we can lose our direction and focus like water swirling out of control.  When the world crowds in on us, like the sand below the wave, we can become ashamed of our faith and lose our boldness to move forward on our mission.  The winds of life toss us to and fro and cloud our purpose.

 

 

When we need wisdom in making a decision, where should we go? 

 

Doesn’t God want to lead us and direct the paths in which He wants us to go?

 

How does God give us wisdom?

Through our parents, spiritually mature people, through His Word, His Holy Spirit.

 

How does James describe someone who doubts that God will answer their prayers?

A wave, tossed and blown by the wind, double minded, unstable….

 

 

When God answers the doubter’s prayers, do they believe it was He?

Maybe. Maybe not.  It could increase their faith (seeing God answer prayer.)  But James also knows, if we really don’t believe God will come through for us, we probably would not give God the credit when He does.

 

I must add that James is referring to the person that really does not believe God will come through.  There is a difference between this and a person that totally believes in God, but doesn’t know how God is going to come through.  This is not doubt.  This is being uncertain of the way God is going to answer a prayer. Big difference.

When you pray, do you pray knowing that God will answer you? 

 

Does it mean He always answers the way we want, hope or think? 

 

Can we trust Him, that He will come through no matter what the outcome will be?

Part 2: James 1:1-4 {5 Minute Devo}

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in 5 Minute Devotions, Blog

(Click here for the download of this devotional: English, French, Russian, and Spanish.)

 

(PART 2)

 

Read James 1:1-4

 

Would you consider practice (of a sport, or music, or even studying) to be a happy thing? 

No.

 

Then why practice?

There is joy knowing you are seeking to accomplish something you wouldn’t have otherwise. I.e: Winning or developing a skill.  It’s practice that produces results. When the coach pushes you, you get better. You may feel sore, but you know this tough time will result in greater ability.

 

The tough times we experience in life develop our faith muscles. 

 

What is the result of having joy through difficult times? (See Verse 3)

 

How does going through trials “produce perseverance?”

 

Hopefully you can see how God has provided, so the next time you face a difficult time, you will have a deeper trust that He will come through for you.

 

How do tough times affect our faith?

  1. It can cause doubt and discouragement OR
  2. It can increase our faith as we trust and rely on God to come through for us.

 

When are we more inclined to turn to God: when everything in life is going great or during a tough time?

 

Oftentimes, it is the trials that turn us back toward God.

 

When do we usually feel closest to God?

Lots of times it is in the difficult situations.  If this is truly the case, would God withhold those times? 

 

 

Have you had an experience when you just knew God was close to you during a difficult situation?

 

Your difficult time might be when your brother teases you and you want to get him back…OR… it might be that you forgot to do something your dad told you to do and you know if you lie, you might be able to get out of a spanking…. (You can add you own example here.)

If you really trust God, what should you do?  

 

Part 1: James 1:1-4 {5 Minute Devo}

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in 5 Minute Devotions, Blog

(Click here for the download of this devotional: English, French, Russian, and Spanish.)

Part One

Read James 1:1-4

What is the difference between being happy and being joyful?  Can you give an example?

 

Being happy refers to being pleased or glad about something.  Joy is an “emotion of great delight caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying.” (dictionary.com). For example: you could be made fun of at school because you helped someone who was bullied.  This won’t make you happy, but you can have joy knowing that you did what was right.)

 

How can you have joy in the midst of tough times?

You can knowing that God is protecting you, watching over you: knowing His plan will come through… and it is Him we are serving…Not ourselves. 

 

Do you agree or disagree with this statement?  If you are living to please yourself, if you are so concerned about wanting to be happy, there is no way to experience joy in the midst of trouble.

If you have the attitude that everything should be about you, your happiness, making you feel good, then you will be upset and hurt and complain when things are going badly.

 

Illustration:

Think of someone who has had incredible faith during a tough time… It may be someone your family knows or may be someone in your family.  It could be someone from church or a missionary you have read about or seen in a movie like THE END OF THE SPEAR (This would make a great family night for age appropriate children. The film is about missionaries who were killed on a journey and the incredible way God worked through this terrible situation.).

 

You could also use the story of Joseph who was sold into slavery by his own brothers (Genesis 37:12-36). He in turn became very respected for his hard work and integrity, but was imprisoned because of a lie.  God rescued him again and made him one of the greatest men; second in command of the whole nation.

 

-Ask this question about Joseph: Was Joseph happy about being in prison because somebody told a lie?

 

-Maybe share a tough time that you went through, trusted in God, and how, looking back on it now, you saw Him at work….

 

-You can use this personal story of Rusty, a man dealing with cancer, as a personal testimony of joy and perseverance: Rusty Escandel on JOY (English)(Spanish)(French)(Russian)

 

Whoever you use to illustrate this, you could ask: Was (so-and-so) happy as they were going through a difficult time?

 

Was JESUS happy he was on the cross?

No, but there was joy knowing He was rescuing humanity from sin!

 

Did Jesus promise us that, as Christians, we would have an easy life?

Nope. “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NLT)

 

How can God expect us to have joy even in difficult times?

Because he who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. 

In the midst of trouble, we can still depend upon Him.

 

We can do all things through Him who gives us strength.

 

We can have joy knowing that God is bigger than anything we will go through.  We can trust Him, even if facing death (like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego).

 

We may not know why we are going through a difficult time, but we can rely on God.

 

Is there a situation you are going through where you are finding it hard to completely trust in God?  Why?

 

A Question for the little kiddos: When do find it difficult to trust God?

 

Finish this sentence: It is hard to trust God when….

 

 

Seeing and Believing {5 Minute Devo}

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in 5 Minute Devotions, Blog

(Click here to download the editable version of this devotional: EnglishSpanishFrench, and Russian)

Can you imagine that even a disciple didn’t believe it when his buddies for the last three years (the other disciples) told him they had seen Jesus?

 

Do you know who I am talking about?

(Doubting Thomas.)

 

Read or have someone read: John 20:24-31

 

When Jesus says, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”  Who is He talking about?

(Us. All those who believe in Him after He goes back to be with the Father.)

 

Why did John write these things?

(That you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God…)

 

What does John say is the result of believing, of having faith?

(That we may have “life in His name.”  Life eternally with Him and life here on earth: a life with meaning, purpose, peace, confidence; “abundant life,” etc.)

 

Is it hard for you, like doubting Thomas, to have a strong faith?  Why?

 

What are ways we can increase our faith?

(Talking about God with others, praying and seeking God for answers and help, trusting in Him in the little things, being obedient (the true sign of our faith is in our obedience), reading the Bible on our own, etc.)

 

What are you going to do today/this week to increase your faith?

Dead Faith Walking {5 Minute Devo}

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in 5 Minute Devotions, Blog

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Download PDF here: Dead Faith Walking

DEAD FAITH WALKING

Read James 2: 14-17

ASK THE KIDDOS:

  • What can a dead thing do?
  • What is meant by “works” or “deeds?”  (The things we do to put our faith in action.  What we do because of our faith, the fruit of our faith…)
  • Do you know someone (don’t mention names) that claims to be a person who really believes in God, but they don’t have much action to back it up, they don’t live it out? Is their faith making a difference?
  • Do you know a person who is a Christian and who puts his/her faith into action?
    • How do you think they are impacting the people around them?  (People probably like being around them, they probably help people, they are probably nice to others and people can probably tell they love God.)
    • How do you put your faith into action at school? At church? At home? At work? Etc.

How can we, as a family, put action to our faith? In our neighborhood?  At a nursing home? At church? Etc.  (Come up with at least one way you can put your faith into action in your neighborhood, they will see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.  (Matthew 5:16)

 Memory Verse: Matthew 5.16

 Close in prayer. You can say, “God help us to put our faith into action.  Help us to see the needs of others, so they will glorify You!”

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