How To Handle Suffering

This week’s Bible Study deals with handling suffering and the importance of our children believing in Jesus Christ.

1 Peter Bible Study

Read 1 Peter 2:13 – 3:22

Reflect on this passage

He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. ~ 1 Peter 2:22-25 (ESV)

After reading this passage in context, jot down some of your initial thoughts.

Suffering is not absent from the Christian life. Our Lord and Savior, suffered even though He did not commit any sin (v.22), so why should we be surprised when suffering happens to us? One of the biggest Christian fallacies that churches propagate is that being a Christian means that God will bless you with health and wealth if one has the proper faith. But Jesus, who lived a perfect faith, had no wealth and was killed for that faith.

Question: How does the suffering of Christ impact your faith?

Suffering is not out of the question for a Christian, so one must prepare for how to live like Christ during the suffering. How did Christ react? He didn’t react with force. He didn’t react with threats? Instead, He trusted in God (v.23)

Read Psalm 5

Question: What can we learn about trusting God in our suffering from David’s lament?

For Parents 

Suffering will happen to us all and even our own children. One of the hardest things about being a parent is watching our children suffer. I have seen my share of parents sitting with their children in hospitals and it never gets easy. Almost every parent would change places with their suffering child if they could.

That is why it is important for our children to know Jesus as Lord. If our children learn about Jesus, then when suffering happens they will already know of the promise that awaits us. Will it make it easier to deal with suffering? I can’t promise you that, but I can promise you that a life without hope is a lot harder then suffering with hope.

Take time this week to read John 10:1-21 with your children and talk to them about following Jesus.

Family Devotion About Giving That Little Something Extra

Sometimes children can be too honest with their words.  This devotion is meant to help kids see the not so obvious thing that is needed.

Question: What is going on in this comic?  (Charlie Brown gets hit so hard is clothes get scattered)

Question: Is Lucy telling Charlie Brown something good? (Yes)

Question: It is important to have our clothes, but what does Charlie Brown need the most right now? (encouragement)

Some men brought to him a man who could not walk. He was lying on a mat. Jesus saw that they had faith. So he said to the man, “Don’t lose hope, son. Your sins are forgiven.”

Matthew 9:2 (NIrV)

Question: Why did this man come to Jesus (To Be Healed)

Question: What did Jesus do instead? (Forgive his sins)

Question: What is more important, walking or having sins forgiven? (forgiveness)

Sometimes in life, we need something different than the obvious. In the comic, Charlie Brown doesn’t need to know where his clothes have gone, he needs something different. Does he need his clothes back? Yes, but he needs more to be encouraged and built up from being totally embarrassed on the field.

In the Bible verse, the paralytic came to Jesus wanted to walk. It is obvious that this man wanted to walk, but instead Jesus sees his heart and forgives his sins. That didn’t fix the problem that presented, but Jesus knew he needed something more.

Sometimes you can tell people the truth, but they don’t need that at the right moment.  They need to have something a little extra.  Maybe when your (insert sibling) or (insert friend) does something they need to know how proud you are, instead of telling them that you are better.

Question: What can you do today that can give someone that little extra something? 

Additional Reading: Matthew 9:1-8


Submitting To Our Authorities

This week’s Bible Study deals with household slavery in ancient times, however, we can use these principles to learn how we can submit to authorities in our life.

1 Peter 2:18-21 Image

Read 1 Peter 2:1 – 3:7

Reflect on this passage

Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. ~ 1 Peter 2:18-21

After reading this passage in context, jot down some of your initial thoughts.

Peter was writing to a very different culture than the one in the United States.  During this time, slavery was abundant and it was not uncommon for households to have at least one slave.  Slavery was such a fixture in the society that Aristotle claimed that man was either born a slave or born free,

“For that some should rule and others be ruled is a thing not only necessary, but expedient; from the hour of their birth, some are marked out for subjection, others for rule.”

In the United States, we abolished slavery and it is something that is now against the law.  But, even if we do not have slavery in the sense of being owned as property, we are still subjects under someone.  For example, I am an associate minister, so I am subject to the head minister and a board of elders.  They don’t own me, but I work under their control.  With that being said, even though it is a different time and culture, we can learn how to live under the authority of another person.

Question: Why should we, as Christians, be subject to our authorities?  (vs. 18 – 19) 

When we are called to be submissive to others, it is not because we respect those people.  We submit, because we respect God.  Even though our faith makes us an easy target, we need to be submissive.  Because it conforms us to the teaching of Jesus Christ.

Read Mark 8:34-37

Question: While thinking of Mark 8, how is suffering for doing good a gracious thing in God’s sight? (vs.20)

Question: What does it mean to follow Jesus?

For Parents

As the spiritual leader in my home, I can easily look at this section of scripture and apply it to my children.  But one can’t apply this scripture onto others until you can apply it in your own life. “Do as I say, not as I do,” is not biblical, so the best way to teach submission is by showing submission.  In our children see disrespect of authorities, how will they learn to be respectful as adults?

Question: How can you be the example of godly submission to your children? 

Feel free to comment your thoughts below or maybe add your own tips of submission.

Joy Of Serving Others

Joy Of Serving Others

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”
So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. — Lk 15:1-7

We learn from an early age the joy of getting, and hopefully over years they will learn other joys in life, especially the joy of serving. 

Think back over your own life, do you remember everything you received?  If you are like me, you probably find things long forgotten every time you clean the basement.  But I bet you can remember the good times when you served someone.  Maybe it was volunteering at a local mission or going on short-term mission trip a long time ago.  But you can still remember the smiles from that experience.

Jesus’ joy came from finding the lost and the need, and helping them out.  This source of joy should not be absent from us in our life.  If you are joyless today, find a place to serve soon.  We are created in the image of God, and part of that image is the joy of serving others.

How To Conduct Ourselves When We Have Disagreements With Government

Read 1 Peter 2:1-3:7

Reflect on 1 Peter 2:13-17

This place is not our home. Peter calls us sojourners and exiles (2:11) that must remain in good conduct (2:12) and part of that conduct is how we treat the government that we are under. Now, I live under a government that doesn’t physically persecute someone for their faith The way that Peter’s government did. It should be easier to be subject under an institution that has religious tolerance.

What actions should I take as a Christian towards a government I may may at times disagree with?

How can I be subject to human institutions, especially when they commit evil acts against us?

As a parent, how can I teach my children obedience when I have strong disagreements?

Peter is the disciple that took a sword and chopped off a solider’s ear in order to stop Jesus from being arrested (John 18:10), so he was no pacifist. However, during the first ever nationwide persecution, Peter does not lead the charge with war but instead he leads the charge with peace.

Peace will always trump violence as an effective means of change. Compare Jesus Christ to Alexander the Great. Even if you don’t believe Jesus was the Messiah, his influence is still felt worldwide. Alexander the Great means nothing to those outside the areas of his conquest. Peace always trumps violence.

Living in obedience is part of God’s will, yet we are called to be obedient, not slaves (2:16-17). We are free to live life, but we are not to use our freedom for evil, because our freedom is not from this world, but the next. Instead we are commanded to live life with a high calling by honoring all, whether it be rich or poor. Ruler or servant. Honor is to be given to all.

In what ways do you show Christian obedience to your human institution online and at home?

Teaching Our Children About Contentment

Tax Day is coming up pretty quick, and you better start getting your papers in order. You probably are not fond of the idea of giving back to the government; I love this quote from an unknown author “People who complain about taxes can be divided into classes: men and women.”

Paying taxes isn’t a government thing, it is a personal issue. Money is a private matter to us and sometimes it can be hard to talk with our children about because of the personal side of it.

This month, I am talking about learning how to handle money and for many of us it brings up many emotional reactions. Some of us grew up without much, and some of us grew up never even thinking about it…until we had to. But no matter if you have a little or a lot, it is important for your teenager to know how to earn, spend, save, and handle their money in the right way.

We must first teach them the attitude they should have about money. In Philippians, Paul very specifically tells us to be content!

Philippians 4:11-12 says,

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or want.

That seems so simple yet so hard at the same time! If we are content, money can’t control us. According to the average credit card debt for undergraduate is $3200, and by the time they graduate will have almost $8000. That means young men and women are already behind in life, because they not content with what they have while in school.

If we are content, we can make wiser decisions with the money we have. But please know that contentment does not mean lazy or without drive. On the contrary! It just means you recognize the blessings that God has already given you.

Then we teach our teens that they must control their money or their money will most control them. And when money controls us, it limits our decisions and even our freedoms! Whether you believe debt is right or wrong doesn’t change the fact that it controls our friends, our churches and our government. We must not let debt control us, and we must teach our teens what debt is and how it can affect their lives. Immediate gratification is the birthplace of debt for many, and our teens need to know what that looks like!

The topic of money can be very arduous or can be very exciting, and I am learning it has a lot to do with our attitude towards it!

Take Heart!

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Think about the power that we have to encourage each other, to influence one’s life, to make life easier for others to live by simply say these two words, “Take Heart!”

Are you struggling? Take Heart!

Do you need peace? Take Heart!

How can these two simple words change our mood, life, and attitude?

Because, Jesus has overcome the world. Jesus has overcome death through the resurrection, and if we are believers in Him, we also can overcome spiritual death.

These two words can be given any believer as an encouragement because a kind word cheers other people up.

Next time your Christian friend is struggling, tell them to “Take Heart, for Christ has overcome this world!”


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