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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, thank you for being with us. Help us to learn more about your mighty power as we study your Word today. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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

Luke 1:26-38
One month later God sent the angel Gabriel to the town of Nazareth in Galilee with a message for a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to Joseph from the family of King David. The angel greeted Mary and said, “You are truly blessed! The Lord is with you.” Mary was confused by the angel’s words and wondered what they meant.

Then the angel told Mary, “Don’t be afraid! God is pleased with you, and you will have a son. His name will be Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of God Most High. The Lord God will make him king, as his ancestor David was. He will rule the people of Israel forever, and his kingdom will never end.” Mary asked the angel, “How can this happen? I am not married!” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come down to you, and God’s power will come over you. So your child will be called the holy Son of God. Your relative Elizabeth is also going to have a son, even though she is old. No one thought she could ever have a baby, but in three months she will have a son. Nothing is impossible for God!”  Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant! Let it happen as you have said.” And the angel left her. (CEV)

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

Child: What do you imagine the angel Gabriel looked like? How do you think you might react if an angel showed up with a message for you? Why?

Child: Mary was likely a teenager when she was visited by Gabriel. Can you think of other stories in the Bible where God has chosen young people to do important things? What are they?

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

Heavenly Father, you are a God of surprises. Even when we may not understand your plan, help us to accept all that you bring into our lives, as Mary did. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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

May you believe in God’s good plan! 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 start this week of study and prayer, thank you for being with us and inspiring us. Please help us to better 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.

John 1:-14
In the beginning was the one who is called the Word. The Word was with God and was truly God. From the very beginning the Word was with God. And with this Word, God created all things. Nothing was made without the Word. Everything that was created received its life from him, and his life gave light to everyone. The light keeps shining in the dark, and darkness has never put it out.

God sent a man named John, who came to tell about the light and to lead all people to have faith. John wasn’t that light. He came only to tell about the light. The true light that shines on everyone was coming into the world. The Word was in the world, but no one knew him, though God had made the world with his Word.

He came into his own world, but his own nation did not welcome him. Yet some people accepted him and put their faith in him. So he gave them the right to be the children of God. They were not God’s children by nature or because of any human desires. God himself was the one who made them his children. The Word became a human being and lived here with us. We saw his true glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father. From him all the kindness and all the truth of God have come down to us. (CEV)

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

Child: Why does a light shining in the dark help people feel better? Tell about a time you were afraid of the dark and were comforted by the light.

Child: Jesus wasn’t welcomed by his own people. Have you ever felt like an outsider? When? Why does it help to know that Jesus understands that feeling?

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

Lord God, you know what it feels like to be misunderstood and rejected. Help us to remember that you love us, especially during those times when we feel like outsiders, ourselves. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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

May you always follow the light! 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.

Heavenly Father, as this new week unfolds, open our hearts and minds so we can learn from our Bible story and develop true faith. May your Holy Spirit guide us as we study, and help us to live good lives that are pleasing to you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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

James 2:14-18
James wrote to people of the Church:
My friends, what good is it to say you have faith, when you don’t do anything to show that you really do have faith? Can that kind of faith save you? If you know someone who doesn’t have any clothes or food, you shouldn’t just say, “I hope all goes well for you. I hope you will be warm and have plenty to eat.” What good is it to say this, unless you do something to help? Faith that doesn’t lead us to do good deeds is all alone and dead!

Suppose someone disagrees and says, “It is possible to have faith without doing kind deeds.” I would answer, “Prove that you have faith without doing kind deeds, and I will prove that I have faith by doing them.” (CEV)

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

Child: What does it mean to have faith in Jesus? Who gives us this faith?

Child: How can our love of God inspire us to do good things for others?

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

Holy God, we want to reach out and help others but sometimes we don’t know how to best do that. Inspire us and lead us, so that we might make a difference in this world for your good purpose. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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

May you serve God by helping your neighbor! 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.

Heavenly Father, as we begin this new week at work and school, we ask that you would lead us and guide us. Stir up your Holy Spirit. Help us to understand the Scriptures, so that we might live in a way that is pleasing to you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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

2 Timothy 1:2-8
Paul wrote to his friend, Timothy:
Timothy, you are like a dear child to me. I pray that God our Father and our Lord Christ Jesus will be kind and merciful to you and will bless you with peace!

Night and day I mention you in my prayers. I am always grateful for you, as I pray to the God my ancestors and I have served with a clear conscience. I remember how you cried, and I want to see you, because that will make me truly happy. I also remember the genuine faith of your mother Eunice. Your grandmother Lois had the same sort of faith, and I am sure that you have it as well. So I ask you to make full use of the gift that God gave you when I placed my hands on you. Use it well. God’s Spirit doesn’t make cowards out of us. The Spirit gives us power, love, and self-control.

Don’t be ashamed to speak for our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, just because I am in jail for serving him. Use the power that comes from God and join with me in suffering for telling the good news. (CEV)

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

Child: Why is it important to pray for people? Who do you mention in your prayers regularly?

Child: Was there a family member or friend who passed on the Christian faith to you? How did they do this?

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

Holy God, thank you for this day and for each person here. Bless our family members, and help us remember to pray for each other. Strengthen us, so that we might never be ashamed to share our faith. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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

May your faith grow stronger day by day! 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.

Heavenly Father, as we begin our school and work week, we have every reason for gratitude. Thank you for giving us this family and this day. Thank you for giving us your Word. Help us to understand it better each time we read it. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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

Galatians 2:11-16
Paul wrote to the Galatians: When Peter came to Antioch, I told him face to face that he was wrong. He used to eat with Gentile followers of the Lord, until James sent some Jewish followers. Peter was afraid of the Jews and soon stopped eating with Gentiles. He and the other Jews hid their true feelings so well that even Barnabas was fooled. But when I saw that they were not really obeying the truth that is in the good news, I corrected Peter in front of everyone and said:

"Peter, you are a Jew, but you live like a Gentile. So how can you force Gentiles to live like Jews? We are Jews by birth and are not sinners like Gentiles. But we know that God accepts only those who have faith in Jesus Christ. No one can please God by simply obeying the Law. So we put our faith in Christ Jesus, and God accepted us because of our faith." (CEV)

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

Child: Peter didn’t want people to look down on him or think he was breaking any rules. Have you ever worried that someone would think badly of you? When?

Child: Paul says that no one can please God by simply obeying the Law. What do you think this means?

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

Holy God, we want so badly to have the approval of others, yet what matters most is that we please you. Help us to look to you above all else and to have true faith in Jesus, who loved us enough to die for us. In his holy name we pray. Amen.

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

May your faith grow stronger every day! 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.

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.