Tuesday: Struggle

Pray:  Begin by making the sign of the cross and calling upon God’s name.

From God to us, from death to life, from me to you …
in the name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Mighty God, you share your Word of life with all people and in all languages. Help us to tell others about Jesus so that his good news would continue to spread throughout the world. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Listen: Listen carefully as these verses from the Bible are read aloud.

Acts 2:6-11
When they heard this noise, a crowd gathered. But they were surprised, because they were hearing everything in their own languages. They were excited and amazed, and said: “Don’t all these who are speaking come from Galilee? Then why do we hear them speaking our very own languages? Some of us were born Jews, and others of us have chosen to be Jews. Yet we all hear them using our own languages to tell the wonderful things God has done.” (CEV)

Engage: Talk about the Bible by having parents respond to children’s questions.

Child: Do you know anyone who can speak in another language? Where did they learn it?

Child: How do you think the people felt when they realized that they could understand one another’s languages without being taught?

Affirm: Pray for God to put his Word into action in your daily life.

God of wisdom, you know all things and you give us understanding through the power of your Holy Spirit. Help us to rely on your Spirit when we face decisions each day. Help us to turn all our questions over to you and trust in your wisdom. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Have each person in the family bless one another with these words.

May the God of all living beings bless you with new life and fill you with his Spirit. Amen.

2

Monday: Understanding

Pray: Begin by making the sign of the cross and calling upon God's name.

From God to us, from death to life, from me to you …
in the name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Heavenly Father, by the power of your Holy Spirit you gathered people together to hear your Word. Fill us with that same Spirit that we might hear and understand your Word to us today. We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Listen: Listen carefully as the Bible story for the week is read aloud.

Acts 2:1-11
On the day of Pentecost all the Lord’s followers were together in one place. Suddenly there was a noise from heaven like the sound of a mighty wind! It filled the house where they were meeting. Then they saw what looked like fiery tongues moving in all directions, and a tongue came and settled on each person there. The Holy Spirit took control of everyone, and they began speaking whatever languages the Spirit let them speak. Many religious Jews from every country in the world were living in Jerusalem. And when they heard this noise, a crowd gathered. But they were surprised, because they were hearing everything in their own languages. They were excited and amazed, and said: “Don’t all these who are speaking come from Galilee? Then why do we hear them speaking our very own languages? Some of us are from Parthia, Media, and Elam. Others are from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, parts of Libya near Cyrene, Rome, Crete, and Arabia. Some of us were born Jews, and others of us have chosen to be Jews. Yet we all hear them using our own languages to tell the wonderful things God has done.” (CEV)

Engage: Talk about the Bible by having parents respond to children’s questions.

Child: On the day of Pentecost, what did the people hear? What did they see?

Child: How do you think the people felt? Who or what was causing all this to happen?

Affirm: Pray for God to put his Word into action in your daily life.

Lord God, you are great and powerful, and you make things happen in ways that we never thought possible. Help us to understand that you’re a real, and that you are speaking and guiding us every day of our lives. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Have each person in the family bless one another with these words:

May the Lord God bless you with wisdom and understanding as you live and learn each day. Amen.

In this center section of Holy Families website, you will find our daily Scripture and Prayer resource for families. The current day will always be at the top (see below). If you are new and would like a little help getting started with "Holy Family Time" -- download this free PDF: Holy Family Time "How To" Guide for more information.

We are excited to be approaching the official release of the Holy Families initiative! The printed and downloadable studies are finished, and the website and video series are being given some finishing touches.

Congregations of the NALC will be receiving in the mail this month a free sample edition of the Bible Study "In the Luther Household" and the accompanying Leader's Guide, courtesy of the NALC and the Thrivent Foundation.

The daily devotional resource "Holy Family Time" will begin being posted on this website the week after Easter. Come on back!

On the Same Page ...  Topical conversation starters to help parents stay "on the same page" with each other and their families. Download a print-friendly version of this article here: Dealing with Change

How do we live as Holy Families when dealing with change?

Change is difficult for us all and often gets more difficult as we get older. Even our children have difficulty handling change. The truth is that the only one who really enjoys change is a baby with a dirty diaper!

Change can be hard and unnerving even for the strongest of families. Regardless of whether the change is good, bad or indifferent, change has a tremendous impact on us. So how do Holy Families deal with change?

The first and most important thing is to look to God as the source of constancy in our lives. God is the one constant in our lives and in the world. Malachi 3:6a reminds us, “I the Lord do not change.” In a world that is ever changing, our God remains the same. Looking to God as the source and giver of life, remembering that he is the one who gives all good gifts, reminds us that we are not alone. He is our sure foundation as we weather any kind of change in our lives and in our families.

Secondly, we look for God in the midst of the thing that is actually changing. Whether it is good change or difficult change, change we have chosen or change that we did not choose, we look for God in the midst of the circumstances. The Holy Spirit is constantly present and at work in our families and in the details of our lives. God has something for each of us in every situation, season and transition. God can and will do a good work in us. We must look for where the Holy Spirit might be moving in the midst of the change we face and ask God to reveal that work to us.

Thirdly, we ask God for help in the midst of change. So often when we face change, we try to handle it on our own or we wait to go to God as the last resort. God is always with us and cares about every aspect of our lives. It is in seasons of transition and change that we often need God the most. Prayer is essential to our lives, and it is essential in times of transition, uncertainty and change. We can go to God with any thought, feeling, joy, worry or fear we have. God hears us, understands us and cares about us. He embraces us in love without condition.

Finally, we must trust God because he can be trusted in all things. Trust is our one great act and God does the rest. Change can be good, it can be hard or it can sometimes be indifferent, but it is a reality of life. Regardless of the type of change we face, God is with us in the midst of it and in every season of life.

Things to Pray and Talk About:

a) How do you feel about change? How do you think others feel about change?

b) What are some ways you can ask God to help you in the midst of change?

c) What can we do as a family to rely on God during change?

d) How does your faith in God impact how you think about and deal with change?

Asking for God’s Blessing:

God, we thank you that you never change. Your faithfulness endures forever, and your love never fails. Help us to look to you in the midst of any change we may face. Help us to listen to the movement of your Holy Spirit and to trust you in all seasons of life. Open our eyes, our hearts and our minds to what you have for us. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Holy Families! Initiative © Sola Publishing, 2017 (www. solapublishing.com). Written by Marcus Carlson. Permission granted to copy for congregational and home use.

When the Holy Families website officially comes online the week after Easter 2017, this is the spot on the site -- front and center -- where you will find the daily Scripture and Prayer resource for use in the home by families, called "Holy Family Time." The resource can be accessed on computer, tablet, or phone.

Until then, as the Holy Families website continues to be developed, feel free to make use of the articles and links that are available below or accessed through the menus above. Please check back for more to come!

On the Same Page ...  Topical conversation starters to help parents stay "on the same page" with each other and their families. Download a print-friendly version of this article here: Dealing with Competition


How do we live as Holy Families when we win or don’t win?

The society we live in is a paradox when it comes to winning, achievements, and success. On the one hand, we live in a very competitive culture where winning seems to be everything. This is reflected in the saying, “Second place is just first loser.” On the other hand however, children and young people are often rewarded simply for showing up, no matter the level of effort put in. As Holy Families it is our job to help our children navigate that dichotomy and make sense of the mixed messages of winning versus losing, and success versus failure.

Perhaps the problem arises from a faulty sense of success and failure. Talking to young people about the meaning of success is important because the world says success is: money, fame, notoriety, lots of possessions, only A’s in school, and so on. And yet many of us will never live up to that standard, and frankly even Jesus wouldn’t have met those criteria!

So what does our Lord Jesus say about what success looks like? For that we can go to the Beatitudes in Scripture:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5)

Jesus’ definition of success is to do God’s work and live by his will. Even when we
fail completely or if we come in first place, have we done it for the glory of God -- or our
own glory? Failure simply means getting up and trying again, as many times as it takes. Failure is an opportunity to grow, learn, develop, trust, and persevere. Failure is only failure if we give up and never try again. We can win with humility and we can lose with grace because we are children of God who loves us no matter if we are number one or last. This frees us to win, lose, and try again knowing that none of that defines us. What defines us God’s love for us.

Things to Pray and Talk About:

a) How do you look at winning and losing in your family? What messages do you send to your children about competition?

b) How do the beatitudes shape your understanding of what success is as people of
faith? How is that contrary to how the world defines success?

c) How do you teach your children that working hard is its own reward, rather than always expecting something in return for their efforts?

Asking for God's Blessing:

Loving God, your Son Jesus taught that we are blessed when we are humble and serving others in your name. Remind us that we don’t have to win or be the best at everything in order to gain your love and approval. Fill us with your Spirit that we would be thankful in all circumstances, both winning, losing, or just playing along. Amen.

Holy Families! Initiative © Sola Publishing, 2017 (www. solapublishing.com). Permission granted to copy for local use.