Lenten Devotion Day 22

Not Listening!

The Temptation in the Wilderness

Think about it for a minute. All Jesus had to do was tell Satan to go away and leave Him alone. Jesus didn’t have to listen to Satan harassing Him. So why did He put up with Satan’s temptation?

In a presentation to a Promise Keepers audience, E.V. Hill said it was his belief Jesus took the time to listen and respond to Satan so we would know how to handle a similar situation. As Hill pointed out, when Satan confronted Jesus, Jesus responded with the Word of God. Jesus fought fire with fire.

We face temptation so often in our lives. Whether it’s spending too much time on social networks or indulging in high calorie foods or playing video games or texting or even worse temptations, we give in much too often. “Just one more minute” we tell ourselves only to realize 2 hours have gone by the next time we look at the clock.

Even worse, we scold our kids for their inability to resist temptation when they’re only following the example we’re setting for them. How then do we fight the urge to give in to temptation? By following the example set by Jesus in today’s story! Fight temptation with the Word of God.

Take time to search for verses that help you fight specific urges. When Satan used Scripture to tempt Jesus, Jesus came right back with an appropriate verse. You need to be forearmed to fight effectively. If you wait until you’re confronted by temptation, it’s too late!

Get ready ahead of time so you’re prepared. Then, teach your children how to use Scripture to fight temptation. Strengthen your entire family with the Word of God. It is the best weapon your family can have!

Discussion Questions

1. What are your temptations?

2. What verses can you use to fight each temptation?

3. What are your children’s temptations?

4. What verses can you offer them to fight their temptations?

5. How can you be sure each verse remains strong in your mind when you feel tempted?

Lenten Devotion Day 21

Never Underestimate a Child

Young Jesus and the Elders

Children are full of faith. They believe and, in their own way, understand more about God than the adults around them. As we grow older, I believe we begin to question faith issues and ideas too much. Children just accept it. They also seem to accept it at a deeper level than we do.

In my church, at Christmas, we have a ceramic nativity on a table just as you come in the door. The first Sunday it was on display, a little girl about 2 years old went over to the table, reached up and grabbed Baby Jesus. She hugged Him to her chest. Her parents had a hard time getting Jesus away from her. All the figures on that table, including cute animals and she knew which one was the most important!

In today’s story, Mary and Joseph had gone to the Temple in Jerusalem for Passover. On the journey back, after a few days, they realized Jesus wasn’t with the group. Returning to Jerusalem and the Temple, they found Jesus discussing faith with the elders. The elders marveled at His knowledge and His questions. Mary and Joseph scolded Jesus for causing them anxiety. He was confused. “Did you not know I must be in my Father’s house?”

As a young boy, Jesus had an adult understanding of His faith. Still, I believe all children have an innate understanding of God, Jesus and faith. We must nurture their faith and help it remain strong as the issues of the world begin filling them.

Today, ask your children about their faith. Have them talk to you about Jesus and what they think about Him. Listen to what they have to say. You may learn a thing or two!

Discussion Questions

1. How often do you talk to your children about faith?

2. Do you pray regularly with your children?

3. Do you read Bible stories to your children?

4. Do you discuss your beliefs with your older children?

5. Are you prepared to answer their questions?

6. How can you build your knowledge so you are prepared to help your children?

Lenten Devotion Day 20

“And He Was Standing on the Water!!”

Jesus Walks on Water

Some lessons have to be repeated for us to get the message. This story is an example. In an earlier devotion, I wrote about Jesus healing the blind man. Then yesterday, it was the story of the withered fig tree. Today, Jesus walks on water. How many miracles must Jesus perform for us before we accept His ability, His willingness to do anything for us?

Of course, we’re not the only ones to have doubts. The disciples, men that traveled everywhere with Jesus, who saw all the incredible things Jesus did, still had problems recognizing His ability. The strangest part of this story is the event that occurs right before Jesus walks on water.

Just before this incident, Jesus feeds the multitudes with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. He not only fed all those people but had enough left over to fill 12 baskets! Now, wouldn’t you think anyone witnessing this incredible event wouldn’t be surprised by ANYTHING Jesus did? And yet the verse tells us the disciples were “utterly astounded.” REALLY? Gee, guys, what did it take to finally convince you that Jesus is the real deal? Oh, yea, resurrection!

We’re even worse. Sure, the disciples witnessed Jesus miracles but we not only are able to read about all of them, we have the advantage of knowing how the story ends, or begins again. We know what happened on Easter. Yet, we still doubt Jesus ability, or willingness to help us when we need it most.

Take time today to read Mark 6. Go over all the miracles Jesus performs in this chapter. Then ask yourself, “What can’t or won’t Jesus do for me?” After all, He already did the hardest thing He could ever do when He went to the Cross.

Discussion Questions

1. What problems are you holding on to rather than turning them over to Jesus?

2. What prevents you from surrendering them to Him?

3. How can you get yourself to let go of them?

4. How can you help your family let go of their problems?

5. What verse or story can help you and your family strengthen your faith?

Lenten Devotion Day 19

Full Strength Faith

Withered Fig Tree

In the previous devotion, I talked about the story of Blind Bart. This blind beggar is healed, not by Jesus but by his own faith in Jesus ability. In the devotion, I discussed our lack of faith in our own lives. Consider what Jesus could do for us if only we believed!

Today’s lesson takes faith a step farther. In the story, Jesus tries to get fruit from a fig tree. When He sees the tree is not producing fruit, He curses the tree which immediately withers and dies. The disciples are stunned as they watch the tree wither and die right before their eyes. “How did You do that?!” Jesus is quick to explain that any of them is able to do the same thing, if only they have faith enough in their ability.

Think about it for a moment. All the miracles Jesus performed may be done by any of us if only we have faith enough. Jesus was able to perform all those miracles, not because He is God but because He had faith in the presence of God within Him and faith that He could do anything.

What an incredible idea it is! You can do anything if only you have faith. Scripture tells us: “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.” There aren’t any exceptions to this rule. I am overwhelmed when I consider all I could accomplish if I only had faith enough in Christ and in myself.

This story is the perfect opportunity for your family to discuss what each of them might attempt if they knew they could accomplish it. “Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive.” No exceptions. Dream Big!

Discussion Questions

1. In the past, what have you been afraid to try because you thought you would fail?

2. What are you afraid to try right now?

3. How can you overcome your fear?

4. How can you strengthen your faith?

5. How can you help your children have faith enough to try what they fear?