ELEMENTARY KIDS & FAMILIES date
THANKFULLY THERE’S ONE PLACE WE CAN GO TO RECEIVE THE WISE COUNSEL WE NEED: GOD.
Inspire (for parents) As parents we’re inundated with advice from every source imaginable from the moment of conception all the way to birth. Moms-tobe get advice on what to eat while pregnant, which birthing method to use, whether to nurse or bottle-feed, what kind of diapers are best—and the list goes on and on. Meanwhile, dads get bombarded by everything from how to save for college to how to be a support in the delivery room. As our children grow, we hear opinions on everything from how many words our children should be speaking by the time they’re toddlers to whether we should spank or use timeouts. Unfortunately, this mostly unsolicited advice never ends, and in the whirlwind of counsel, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Thankfully there’s one place we can go to receive the wise counsel we need: God. His Word is wise and will never fail. Consider the words of Deuteronomy 6:6–8: “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your
hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.” The “commandments” He gives are clearly found in His Word. When we turn to God, He sends the Holy Spirit to counsel us and give us peace as we face the questions and concerns that plague us. We may not hear clearly about whether we should sign our kids up for soccer or for swimming, but we’ll definitely receive His wise Word on how to cultivate their hearts toward God. by Debbie Guinn
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Equip (for parents) Equip is additional background information that will help you introduce this Scripture passage to your children this week. God’s Word is powerful! And the God-inspired letters of Paul and James, included in His holy Word, the Bible, speak about the power of faith and works in our lives. Both the letters of Paul and the letter of James speak to this idea, but in very different ways—a few of which include the audience, the form, and the context. While James’ letter was intended for general circulation, Paul’s letters were addressed to a particular church or person. James’ letter appears as a carefully structured outline of his sermons or sayings, pieced together to form a cohesive tract. Each of Paul’s letters appears to be one stream of consciousness, dictated in one sitting. Also, James wrote his letter for a primarily Jewish audience, while Paul wrote his letters to a primarily Gentile audience. James wrote to those who trusted in their knowledge of God (or the Law) instead of submitting to God’s power to transform their lives. Paul wrote to those who believed they must “earn” their salvation through works. James’ audience tended to identify faith as intellectual acknowledgment. So James pointed out that faith only becomes complete when it produces outward acts of obedience. Paul’s audience tended to identify the ability to “try harder” to do good works with saving faith. So Paul explained that the Spirit produces fruit in the believer—actions showing the faith living on the inside (Galatians 5:22). The letters of James and Paul complement each other. James said actions will show a person’s faith, while Paul said faith will cause the person’s corresponding actions. Both said if a person’s faith doesn’t lead him to share with
EMB “I am ER V t ERS h e Who E ligh nev ever f t of th er o e will walk in llows m world. hav e th darkne e will e ss, b Joh light of lif ut n 8: 12 e.” his destitute neighbor or hold his tongue when he’s angry, there’s something desperately amiss.
Support (for parents & kids) JUST FOR FUN this week, have each family member write a letter filled with good advice. (Let your kids know they won’t actually send this letter.) Before writing, spend some time together thinking about what would be encouraging and helpful to your friends. Then, as a family, read your letters to each other. After sharing your letters, tell your children you’re going to read a part of The Big God Story in which James wrote a letter of wisdom and encouragement. Read James 3. Ask your children what they think James meant when he said the tongue is like a fire or a rudder that guides a ship. Then discuss how our words can be used to encourage each other or tear each other down. Share that we can call on God to help us tame our tongues before we speak. Remind your children that what they just heard is part of The Big God Story, and they will hear more in church this week about how wise God’s Word is.
© 2012 David C. Cook. TruResources are developed in partnership with ROCKHARBOR Church and a national network of family and children’s ministry leaders. All rights reserved.