August 20 – 26

Week 1 – Wimpy Choices

“Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him .…”  - 1 Corinthians 7:17

I have been blessed with a great family. My wife and children have moved with me from city to city several times over the years. In fact, if we kept a diary of all the places we have lived, it would show that we have lived in cities that stretch from one coast to the other: Chicago, Illinois; Potosi, Missouri; Baltimore, Maryland; Rochester, New York; Irvine, California, and St. Louis. Each time we moved, the surroundings were strange. At first, we didn’t know anyone. Our children were apprehensive. They did not know what their school would be like; they did not have playmates in the neighborhood. As parents, we also felt apprehensive. What was the neighborhood like? Who would be our friends? What could we do for our recreation as individuals and as a family?

But each time we moved, God used those first, anxious days in a new city to draw us closer to Him and closer together as a family. As God provided for us through one another, we found that we each had unique roles to fill within our family. We provided friendship to one another. We discovered God’s wisdom through our family. Our support system was found in each of us as each member of the family encouraged another to reach out and meet new friends. We explored the neighborhood together. We helped one another to get settled in our new house. We worked together to make it a home. We laughed together, and we listened to each other as we talked about how we missed our friends in our former home town. Our new surroundings soon provided new adventures as we chose to live out God’s plan for us.

This week in our readings, see how God worked through families to strengthen family members to do what was not easy. See how families worked as they were challenged by God to do His ministry. You will find the source of all wisdom and how it is used as choices are made.

 

Sunday, August 20

Read: Luke 5:1-11

Luke Chapter 5 recounts how Jesus called His disciples from their work as fisherman into His ministry. He used their everyday experience to paint a picture of mission to them (v.10). Jesus has a mission for each of us, too. As He did for His disciples, He uses our life circumstances to paint a picture of our mission and to offer us the choice to follow.

Reflect: How did Jesus support His disciples as they went about spreading the Word of God? Was it an easy decision for them? What encouraged them? How can we equate the disciples with a family?

For the Family: God created families so that we would not be alone. We love each other, we care for each other, and we help each other. How did the disciples become Jesus’ family? What makes us part of God’s family?

 

Monday, August 21

Read: Genesis 13

There seems to be a falling out in the family between Lot and Abram. The herdsmen of Abram and Lot begin to quarrel because God has so richly blessed them that the land cannot support all their flocks. Confident of God’s provision, Abram makes a choice to be content with whatever land he has. In contrast, Lot chooses the land that looks the best.

Reflect: What was the problem between Lot and Abram? What was the tough decision that had to be made? What was God’s response to Abram? Do families have arguments like this today? Think of a time when God provided for you when you chose to follow Him.

For the Family: Why were the families of Abram and Lot fighting? Lot selfishly chose the land that looked better. But was it a good choice? How did God bless Abram and his family?

 

Tuesday, August 22

Read: Exodus 18

The family of Moses came to Egypt to support him in his work. God gave Moses a choice. Moses chose to listen to the godly wisdom of his father-in-law, Jethro. As a result, he learned how to delegate responsibility and teach others how to serve the people along with him. God gives us His counsel through the godly people He puts in our lives. Like Moses, we have a choice whether we will listen and learn.

Reflect: How do you think Moses felt when his family came to join him in the desert? What support did Jethro give to an overworked Moses? How do you think Moses felt about his father-in-law making suggestions about how to handle all the work? What does this say about our reactions to suggestions made by the senior members of our family?

For the Family: God blessed Moses as he led the children of Israel out of Egypt to the Promised Land. When his family joined him, they helped Moses. What can you do at home to help your family?

 

Wednesday, August 23

Read: Matthew 7:13-14

Jesus gives us two paths that may be followed. Many will choose the path that is self-serving and leads to destruction and hell. But others of us will make the choice to let God transform us and make us into a new being by renewing our minds and changing the way we think and act (Romans 12:2).

Reflect: How would you define the path that has the narrow gate? What would prevent us from using the narrow gate? How can we seek support from our family to follow the narrow path on a daily basis?

For the Family: Which choice is easier--a choice that follows God’s will or a choice that follows the pleasures of the world? What are some examples? Pray that God will help you make the choice that pleases Him.

 

Thursday, August 24

Read: Jeremiah 1

God called Jeremiah to spread His Word among the people. Jeremiah responded immediately with a “wimpy” rebuttal concerning his worthiness for the call God had placed on his life. God encouraged Jeremiah with affirmation of His presence and equipped him as Jeremiah chose to follow God’s plan.

Reflect: How did Jeremiah react to God’s plan for him and the job God gave him? What was the source of the strength he received to do the “difficult” task God had given him? What is God’s promise to us as we follow His plan and speak His Word to others?

For the Family: God was not happy with the disobedience of the children of Israel, and He wanted Jeremiah to warn them of His punishment. Was this an easy thing for Jeremiah to do? Why? What did God promise Jeremiah?

 

Friday, August 25

Read: 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Paul admonishes the Corinthians to consider their calling … in other words to consider who they were at the time Christ entered into their lives and claimed them as His own. In the same way, He asks us to consider our calling. It is Christ who calls us. It is Christ who strengthens us when we respond to His call and choose to follow His plan for our lives.

Reflect: How does Paul describe us before God works in us? Can you use four words to describe us before God? Can you find four more words which describe us as God works in us?

For the Family: You may feel wimpy, but God has chosen YOU as His child to spread His kingdom. How does God make you ready to do His will? How can your family help to spread God’s kingdom?

 

Saturday, August 26

Read: Proverbs 16:12-23

Wisdom guides choices that we must make in our lives. Wisdom comes from God and is of greater value than silver or gold.

Reflect: From where does wisdom come? How does God teach us to be wise? Are you lacking in wisdom? If so, pray for God to give you His wisdom.

For the Family: Wisdom is a gift from God. Wisdom helps us to make godly decisions and can change you from wimpy to strong. Thank God for all His gifts.