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, we ask you to settle our minds now. Help us to focus on your Word and learn all that you would have us know. We pray that your Holy Spirit would draw us together, so that we might serve you and one another. In Jesus’ name we ask these things. Amen.

Listen: Pay close attention as these verses from the Bible are read aloud.

1 Corinthians 1:10-17
Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth: My dear friends, as a follower of our Lord Jesus Christ, I beg you to get along with each other. Don’t take sides. Always try to agree in what you think. Several people from Chloe’s family have already reported to me that you keep arguing with each other. They have said that some of you claim to follow me, while others claim to follow Apollos or Peter or Christ.

Has Christ been divided up? Was I nailed to a cross for you? Were you baptized in my name? I thank God that I didn’t baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius. Not one of you can say that you were baptized in my name. I did baptize the family of Stephanas, but I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else. Christ did not send me to baptize. He sent me to tell the good news without using big words that would make the cross of Christ lose its power. (CEV)

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

Child: Why is it important for people in the church to get along with each other?

Child: Did you get into many arguments when you were young? Tell us about one of those, and share what you learned from it.

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

Holy God, sometimes it is hard to get along with others. Please teach us to forgive. Help us treat those around us with kindness and understanding. In Jesus’ name we ask these things. Amen.

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

May the peace of Christ be with you! Amen.

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.

O God, be with us now, as we hear your Word. Help us to focus on the story this week, and learn all that you would have us know. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Listen: Pay close attention as these verses from the Bible are read aloud.

Acts 28:1-9
When we came ashore, we learned that the island was called Malta. The local people were very friendly, and they welcomed us by building a fire, because it was rainy and cold.  After Paul had gathered some wood and had put it on the fire, the heat caused a snake to crawl out, and it bit him on the hand. When the local people saw the snake hanging from Paul’s hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer! He didn’t drown in the sea, but the goddess of justice will kill him anyway.”

Paul shook the snake off into the fire and wasn’t harmed. The people kept thinking that Paul would either swell up or suddenly drop dead. They watched him for a long time, and when nothing happened to him, they changed their minds and said, “This man is a god.”

The governor of the island was named Publius, and he owned some of the land around there. Publius was very friendly and welcomed us into his home for three days. His father was in bed, sick with fever and stomach trouble, and Paul went to visit him. Paul healed the man by praying and placing his hands on him. After this happened, everyone on the island brought their sick people to Paul, and they were all healed. (CEV)

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

Child: What do you imagine it was like on the island of Malta, where Paul and his friends visited? Have you ever traveled somewhere really interesting? When?

Child: Why did the local people think Paul was a murderer, and then a god? Was either idea right? Why or why not?

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

Lord God, be with missionaries and others who travel to far off places. Keep them safe, and keep us safe in all our journeys, as well. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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

May you travel safely through the week! Amen.

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.

O God, as we listen to your Word today, may we come to know you better. Help us to see that we can always count on you—even during the stormy times. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Listen: Pay close attention as these verses from the Bible are read aloud.

Acts 27:18-20, 39-44
[Paul and several other prisoners were sailing on a ship with some sailors when a storm hit]. The storm was so fierce that the next day they threw some of the ship’s cargo overboard. Then on the third day, with their bare hands they threw overboard some of the ship’s gear. For several days we could not see either the sun or the stars. A strong wind kept blowing, and we finally gave up all hope of being saved.

Morning came, and the ship’s crew saw a coast that they did not recognize. But they did see a cove with a beach. So they decided to try to run the ship aground on the beach. They cut the anchors loose and let them sink into the sea. At the same time they untied the ropes that were holding the rudders. Next, they raised the sail at the front of the ship and let the wind carry the ship toward the beach. But it ran aground on a sandbank. The front of the ship stuck firmly in the sand, and the rear was being smashed by the force of the waves.

The soldiers decided to kill the prisoners to keep them from swimming away and escaping. But Captain Julius wanted to save Paul’s life, and he did not let the soldiers do what they had planned. Instead, he ordered everyone who could swim to dive into the water and head for shore. Then he told the others to hold on to planks of wood or parts of the ship. At last, everyone safely reached shore. (CEV)

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

Child: Have you ever had to travel during a scary storm, like Paul did? What happened?

Child: Why might the Captain have wanted to save Paul’s life? Do you think God had something to do with that? Why or why not?

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

Lord God, when we are frightened, may we trust in your larger plan. Help us to remember that you are always with us, working for good. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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

May God give you peace in any storm. Amen.

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.

O God, guide us and make us into the people you would have us be. As we hear your Word today, help us to grow in faith. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Listen: Pay close attention as these verses from the Bible are read aloud.

Acts 24:5-16
[A lawyer named Tertullus, and several other leaders, went to the governor to present a case against Paul]: “This man has been found to be a real pest and troublemaker for Jews all over the world. He is also a leader of a group called Nazarenes. When he tried to disgrace the temple, we arrested him. If you question him, you will find out for yourself that our charges are true.” The Jewish crowd spoke up and agreed with what Tertullus had said.

The governor motioned for Paul to speak, and he began: “I know that you have judged the people of our nation for many years, and I am glad to defend myself in your court. It was no more than twelve days ago that I went to worship in Jerusalem. You can find this out easily enough. Never once did the Jews find me arguing with anyone in the temple. I didn’t cause trouble in the Jewish meeting places or in the city itself. There is no way that they can prove these charges that they are now bringing against me.

"I admit that their leaders think that the Lord’s Way which I follow is based on wrong beliefs. But I still worship the same God that my ancestors worshiped. And I believe everything written in the Law of Moses and in the Prophets. I am just as sure as these people are that God will raise from death everyone who is good or evil. And because I am sure, I try my best to have a clear conscience in whatever I do for God or for people.” (CEV)

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

Child: The community leaders wanted Paul to stop talking about Jesus. What does it feel like when a whole group is against you? Has that ever happened to you?

Child: When things go against us, how does trusting in God help us not to lose hope?

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

Lord God, be with those Christians around the world who are treated unfairly or even jailed for their faith. Strengthen them, free them, and let them know that they are not forgotten. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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

May you fearlessly share your faith! Amen.

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.

O God, life can be difficult. But with you by our side, we can face anything that comes along. Be with us now, and open our minds to understand your Word. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Listen: Pay close attention as these verses from the Bible are read aloud.

Acts 21:27-33
When the period of seven days for the ceremony was almost over, some of the Jewish people from Asia saw Paul in the temple [in Jerusalem]. They got a large crowd together and started attacking him. They were shouting, “Friends, help us! This man goes around everywhere, saying bad things about our nation and about the Law of Moses and about this temple. He has even brought shame to this holy temple by bringing in Gentiles.” Some of them thought that Paul had brought Trophimus from Ephesus into the temple, because they had seen them together in the city.

The whole city was in an uproar, and the people turned into a mob. They grabbed Paul and dragged him out of the temple. Then suddenly the doors were shut. The people were about to kill Paul when the Roman army commander heard that all Jerusalem was starting to riot. So he quickly took some soldiers and officers and ran to where the crowd had gathered. As soon as the mob saw the commander and soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. The army commander went over and arrested him and had him bound with two chains. Then he tried to find out who Paul was and what he had done. (CEV)

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

Child: In today’s story, people were saying untrue things about Paul. How do you think he felt?  Do you think Paul’s relationship with God helped him deal with this?

Child: The Bible tells us that “the people turned into a mob” and went after Paul. Have you ever gone along with a group that was being mean, and regretted it later? What happened, and what did you learn?

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

Lord God, it’s hard to be the target of cruel words. And it’s also hard to stand up when we’re in a group that is being mean. Help us when we are in these situations. Give us wisdom, and courage, so we know what to do.  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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

May you be brave enough to stand up for what is right. Amen.

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.

O God, as we read our Bible story today, show us the many ways you work in our world. Inspire us by your Word, and help us to trust you more each day. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Listen: Pay close attention as these verses from the Bible are read aloud.

Acts 20:7-12
On the first day of the week we met to break bread together. Paul spoke to the people until midnight because he was leaving the next morning. In the upstairs room where we were meeting, there were a lot of lamps. A young man by the name of Eutychus was sitting on a window sill. While Paul was speaking, the young man got very sleepy. Finally, he went to sleep and fell three floors all the way down to the ground. When they picked him up, he was dead.

Paul went down and bent over Eutychus. He took him in his arms and said, “Don’t worry! He’s alive.”  After Paul had gone back upstairs, he broke bread, and ate with us. He then spoke until dawn and left. Then the followers took the young man home alive and were very happy. (CEV)

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

Child: Have you ever done anything that you later realized was dangerous, like Eutychus did? How did God help you?

Child: Some people are afraid of heights. Some are scared of other things. What frightens you? How do you trust God with this fear?

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

Lord God, sometimes bad things happen, and we don’t understand why. Be with us in such times, and help us to remember that you can bring good out of everything, even if we can’t see it at first. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

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

May you know that God is always working for good. Amen.

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.

O God, turn our hearts to you. Give us understanding, so that we may know how you would have us live. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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

Acts 19:23-31
At that time there was serious trouble because of the Lord’s Way. A silversmith named Demetrius had a business that made silver models of the temple of the goddess Artemis. Those who worked for him earned a lot of money. Demetrius brought together everyone who was in the same business and said:

“Friends, you know that we make a good living at this. But you have surely seen and heard how this man Paul is upsetting a lot of people, not only in Ephesus, but almost everywhere in Asia. He claims that the gods we humans make are not really gods at all. Everyone will start saying terrible things about our business. They will stop respecting the temple of the goddess Artemis, who is worshiped in Asia and all over the world. Our great goddess will be forgotten!”

When the workers heard this, they got angry and started shouting, “Great is Artemis, the goddess of the Ephesians!” Soon the whole city was in a riot, and some men grabbed Gaius and Aristarchus, who had come from Macedonia with Paul. Then everyone in the crowd rushed to the place where the town meetings were held. Paul wanted to go out and speak to the people, but the Lord’s followers would not let him. A few of the local officials were friendly to Paul, and they sent someone to warn him not to go. (CEV)

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

Child: Why were the people in today’s story angry at Paul? What were they afraid they might lose?

Child: Have you ever worried about money? When? How did God take care of you?

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

Lord God, sometimes we get so focused on the things we want that we put those things first in our lives. Help us to stop doing that, and remind us that our relationship with you is our greatest gift.  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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

May you put God first, above all else. Amen.