Patience – Family Devotionals – Week of 4-2-17

We have been talking about Self-Control for a couple of weeks now. Related is patience. Continue to find ways to teach your children about the fruit of the Spirit as we learn together.

Lesson #1 – Abraham & Sarah

Open Discussion:
Q: Have you ever wanted something and just couldn’t wait?
Q: How did you feel when Christmas or your birthday was just a couple of days away?
Today, we are going to talk about Abraham. God had promised Abraham that he would have many dependents (children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren) but Abraham was old and his wife had never had a child.
Read Genesis 17:1-6, 17 – “When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, ‘I am God almighty; walk before me and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.’ Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, ‘Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall me Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you.’. . .Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, ‘Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?’” 
Q: How old was Abraham and Sarah?
Q: Can people that old have children?
Q: What did Abraham do when he heard God’s promise? Why?

Discuss: Sometimes God asks us to wait for something even though he’s promised it to us. God promised Abraham he would be the father of many people. But at a very old age, he was still without any children. Abraham and Sarah knew what God had told them but they had yet to see evidence of the promise in their lives. How could Abraham become the father of many when he didn’t have any children? Abraham and Sarah trusted God and they waited patiently for him. This doesn’t mean they waited perfectly. They took matters into their own hands at times. But God’s grace covered them and he still fulfilled his promise, in his perfect timing.

Use this story to share with your child that sometimes God and parents ask us to wait for things. We have to trust that they know what is best for us and will do what they promised. As we wait, it can be tempting to make things happen on our own or to run ahead. But waiting patiently means waiting without question or complaining. Doing so will make the blessing we receive so much sweeter.

Related verse: “I waited patiently for the Lord; he came towards me to me and heard my cry.” Psalm 40:1 (Explain to your child that this means God is near as we wait. He understands our struggle and will help us if we ask him to.)

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Lesson #2 – Joseph

Open Discussion:
Q: What if God told you today that you would be President of the USA when you grew up… What would you do tomorrow?
Q: What if I told you that I would give you $20 on Friday… Could you spend that money today?
Today we are going to talk about Joseph. God told Joseph in a dream that he would one day be a leader of many people – even his older brothers. Let’s find out what happened.
Read Genesis 37:23-24, 28, 38:1-2, 45:4-5, 7 – “So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the robe of many colors that he wore. And they took him and threw him into a pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it. . .Then Midianite traders passed by. And they drew Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. They took Joseph to Egypt. . .Now Joseph had been brought down to Egypt, and Potipher, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, had bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there. The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man. . .So Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Come near to me please.’ And they came near. And he said, ‘I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. . .And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors.’” (The story of Joseph is long and involved but such a powerful illustration of how God works as we wait. Consider reading the full story to your child in a storybook Bible.)
Q: What did Joseph’s brothers do to Joseph?
Q: Was Joseph a great leader of people when this happened?
Q: How long did Joseph have to wait until God kept His promise?
(until he was 30 – 13 years after being sold)

When we trust God in the midst of waiting, we allow him to work on our behalf. Joseph was his father’s favorite and because of this, his brothers did not like him. They wanted to hurt him and get rid of him. They chose to sell their brother and so he was brought to Egypt. While there, Joseph became very successful and helped the king. Later, during years of famine (or a shortage of food in the land), Joseph was put in charge of the grain available in Egypt. Joseph’s family was in great need of food so his brothers traveled to Egypt to find some. Little did they know; their brother was in charge of the food and would provide for them.

Use this story to share with your child that when we trust God while we wait, we allow him to work things out for us. Joseph could have been scared and angry at what his brothers did to him. But he faithfully worked with a good attitude while he waited through life in Egypt. He became friends with the king and God used his new relationships to provide for his family.

Related verse: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

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Lesson #3 – God’s Example of Patience

Open Discussion:
Q: Do I always stay calm when you don’t listen to me?
Q: Do I sometimes yell or lose my temper?
God is patient with us when we sin. He was patient with the Israelites for generation after generation. Let’s learn about one of those stories.
 
Read James 5:7-8 and Mark 4:18-19. “Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near…    Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.”
Q: How long does it take for a crop to grow?
Q: What would happen if the farmer tried to harvest his crop too early?
Q: What would happen if the farmer got tired of waiting and ploughed the field before it had a chance to rain?
Q: What kind of crop would God like to see growing in our lives?
Q: What kind of harvest does God want us to have?
Q: What stops our lives from being fruitful? (Mark 4:18-19)
 
Key concepts
– Our lives are like a different kind of farm.
– God wants us to be patient in helping Him bring in a harvest of people for His kingdom.
– Every time someone asks God to forgive their sins and tells Him they want Jesus Christ as the leader of their life, it is part of the harvest for God’s kingdom.
– When we show God’s love to others and/or tell them that God loves them, we are “farming” for God.

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Lesson #4 – Being Patient with Others

Open Discussion:
Q: Is it easy to wait on someone else when you want to go somewhere?
Q: How do you feel when you are waiting on your mother/sibling/me?
Q: Is it fun to wait on dinner to get ready when you are really hungry?
 
Read Psalm 37:1,3-5,7-8 and Colossians 3:13. “Do not [worry] because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong… Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture… Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this… Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not [worry] when people succeed in their… wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil… Bear with each other and forgive one another… Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
Q: When do you find it easy to get mad? / What gets you really upset?
Q: What do people do that bothers you and annoys you?
Q: What does the Bible say about getting mad and worrying/fretting?
Q: What did David do when he was frustrated with others?(prayed – wrote the Psalm)
Q: How will you remember to “put up with” that behavior or person in the future?
Q: What will you do to help you remember to go to God in prayer/for help?
 
Key concepts 
– It can get frustrating when it seems like someone else is “getting away with” causing trouble. Often, when someone does something wrong, we want to punish that person ourselves. But the Bible says that fretting and getting angry only leads to evil. When David got angry with people, he talked to God (Psalm 37:1-8).
– God wants us to put up with each other and forgive whatever complaints we have about each other. He wants us to forgive as He forgave us (Colossians 3:13).
– A suggestion to help your children remind themselves that they are “putting up” with someone is to have your children clench their hands into fists, as though they are preparing for a boxing match. Have them say, “David was a warrior, but he went to God in prayer!” Then have them fold their hands into a praying position and talk to God about what is bothering them.