The Question this week is: How can I be a good friend?
Read Proverbs 11:12-14; 17:17; 18:24; 27:5-6,9-10,17; 28:23; 29:10.
How can support from a friend be an encouragement to you?
Jonah Pournazarian is 7-years-old and has a really amazing best friend named Dylan Siegel. Jonah has a rare genetic disease called Glycogen Storage Disease Type 1B. His 6-year-old best friend, Dylan, wanted to do something to help so he wrote a book called, “Chocolate Bar” and his family sold it at a school fair. They raised $6,000 and sold all 200 books they had printed. “Chocolate Bar” has become so popular that there is a website and proceeds have reached $200,000. The money will go to research for Jonah’s disease and Dylan hopes it will help his best friend feel better. The two have been best friends since they first met when they were three.
How does the friendship of Dylan and Jonah encourage you in your friendships?
When was the last time you were encouraged by a friend when you were facing something difficult?
How can you be loyal to your friends no matter what?
(Mary Murray, “Two best friends, ages 6 and 7, raise $200,000 to fight rare disease,” NBC Nightly News, 9 May 2013 [10 May 2013].)
The question this week was: How can I be a positive influence for others?
The answer is: My pursuit of Christ allows me to be a positive influence to friends and family.
One student has chosen to be a positive influence to those around her, despite a cancer diagnosis.
Carley Allison is 17-years-old and loves to sing. She’s posted seven videos of her singing on YouTube. The two most recent videos show evidence of the tracheotomy that was done in February. A golf-ball sized tumor was found in Carley’s neck that affected her breathing. Doctors have determined that the tumor is a rare form of cancer. Despite a tracheotomy and chemotherapy treatments, Carley’s love of singing has not faded away. She’s become an encouragement and inspiration to many in her school, community, and beyond. Her response to the cancer has been a positive influence for many.
Do you think it would be difficult to choose joy while enduring medical treatments for cancer?
How does Carley’s positive attitude encourage other people?
Why is it so important to be a positive influence to those around you?
(Henry Hanks “Cancer won’t stop teen singer’s music,” CNN, 6 May 2013 [6 May 2013].)
The Question this week is: How can I be a positive influence for others?
Read Proverbs 6:6-11,16-19,23-27.
How can one student with a positive attitude influence others?
Trevor Hancock was recently crowed prom king at West Bladen High School. Trevor suffers from a rare disorder called Smith-Magenis Syndrome. Though he as lived with this disorder his whole life, Trevor’s joy and love for his classmates has never been affected. He brings happiness wherever he goes and is a positive influence on his friends and family. When he was crowned prom king recently, he was overjoyed. His school and community have been a great support for Trevor and his family.
Have you ever met someone whose joy can light up a room?
How does having a good attitude positively influence others?
Why is it important to choose joy in all circumstances?
(Rob Demetrious, “Special Needs student inspired classmates, named prom king,” WECT, 2 May 2013 [6 May 2013].)
The question this week was: Why does my family need to be better connected?
The answer is: God allows our families to display Christ’s love to the world around us.
For children battling cancer, sometimes the best thing for them is to feel like normal kids and have fun with their families.
A camp in Eau Claire, Wisconsin called “Joshua’s Camp” recently held its second event. For one fun-filled weekend, kids with cancer and their families were able to spend time together and meet other families with the same struggles. The camp is completely free and provides a wonderful time away from doctors, hospitals, and pain. Families get to have fun and grow closer together as they relax for a weekend and enjoy life together. The camp was a dream of a little boy named Joshua who passed away from cancer in 2008. He told his family that he hoped someday to create a place for families to come together and have fun.
For a family experiencing such a difficult situation, how can time together be a part of the healing process?
When you’re facing something difficult, do you run away from your family or do you draw closer to them?
What could you do this week to spend more time with your family?
(“Joshua’s Camp give kids with cancer and families a place to connect,” WEAU.com, 27 April 2013 [29 April 2013].)
The Question this week is: Why does my family need to be better connected?
Read Proverbs 31:10-12,15-20,25-31.
How does faith in God keep a family strong even in the most difficult times?
The Watson family has experienced great loss and heartache. Chad Watson lost his wife, Nicole, five years ago to cancer. His sons, Cayden and Gavin, were very young when their mother passed away. Through all of the pain, God has been Chad’s rock. He’s also had incredible support in raising his boys with the help of his mother and mother-in-law. Chad’s mom admits that this would all be so much more difficult if he didn’t have God in his life. This family trusts God completely and resting in His love and faithfulness.
Has your family ever experienced a significant loss or difficult time?
How has God been a comfort and rock during difficult times?
Why is important for a family to stick together during both good and bad times?
(Susan Smiley-Height, “Faith in God helps Watson family move forward,” The Gainesville Sun, 28 April 2013 [29 April 2013].)
The question this week was: Why should I trust God?
The answer is: Trusting God allows us to experience guidance, wisdom, and grace.
How does trusting God in all times bring about hope?
On April 21st, several West, Texas church congregations met for the first time since the fertilizer plant explosion that took the lives of 14 of their neighbors. The First United Church of Christ invited West Brethren Church, whose church was destroyed in the blast, to join them for services on Sunday. First Baptist Church’s building sustained damage that was too bad to allow them to be in their building for service so they met in an open field for church. Senior Pastor John Crowder spoke from the flatbed of an 18-wheeler and shared a message of hope and encouragement with his church family. The community of believers in West came together to worship God and trust in His faithfulness to carry them through this tragedy.
How do other believers encourage you to trust God?
How can a community coming together to worship God bring about healing during such terrible pain and hurt?
How does hope in God bring comfort and peace during tragedy?
(Joe Holley, Kiah Collier, and Kolten Parker “Survivors of West blast find solace in each other,” Beaumont Enterprise, 21 April 2013 [22 April 2013].)
The Question this week is: Why should I trust God?
Read Proverbs 3:5-8,13-18,31-35.
Why is it so important to trust God not only in the good times, but also the confusing and scary times?
Kim Gallimore had finished running the Boston marathon 45 minutes before the bombs went off. Though he was not right the finish line when the blasts happened, he spoke with several other runners who were close by. Gallimore explains that this is the kind of thing that no one expected to actually happen. It’s the kind of thing we see on TV, but suddenly it became a terrible reality. As a believer, Gallimore shares that he began the day of the marathon trusting God’s strength to keep him going through the race. By the end of the day, he was trusting God with is life and safety. He’s learned a lot about faith and trusting God through this very painful time.
How has your faith grown during seasons of trusting God more deeply?
What area of your life do you need to trust Him with today?
(Chanel Davis, “High Point Runner trusted God to get through bombing,” High Point Enterprise, 15 April 2013 [22 April 2013].)
The question this week was: Why is holiness worth it?
The answer is: When we pursue holiness God blesses us with His presence and restoration.
What does it mean to walk with God?
To walk and talk with someone is a special connection. You get to know the other person more deeply. It’s a way to build a relationship. The Bible says that a man named Enoch walked with God (Gen. 5:24). He had a close relationship with God. How do we walk with God today? We get to know Him through His Word. We spend time learning from and about Him in the Words He gave us. We journey through life in prayer and the study of the Bible. We gather together with other believers and walk with God together. God is always walking with us through our days. He is with us every moment. We just have to be intentional about drawing closer to Him and getting to know Him more and more.
Do you spend time reading and studying God’s Word?
How has He spoken to you through His Word?
When have you realized that God is right there with you?
(Chap. (Maj.) Terry Romine, “Walking with God possible for modern-day man,” The Fort Campbell Courier, 4 April 2013 [14 April 2013].)
The Question this week is: Why is holiness worth it?
Read Leviticus 26:3-8,12,14-17,40-42,45.
Have you ever received encouragement when you really needed it most?
The American Center for Law and Justice is currently planning a major letter-writing campaign to encourage an American pastor who is currently in jail in Iran. Pastor Saeed Abedini has been imprisoned since September. His family has received word that he is being abused and suffering greatly while in prison. The ACLJ hopes to encourage him by sending a large number of letters to him on his birthday. It will also be a message to those holding him as a prisoner that Americans will not forget that he is there. When Abedini was arrested, he was in Iran helping to build an orphanage. He is a messenger of the gospel who is currently enduring great suffering. He will definitely be blessed with encouragement from others as he endures such pain.
Why would it be so important for this pastor to receive encouragement during this painful time in his life?
How will it encourage his family to know others are reaching out to him?
How can God use you to bless and encourage a fellow believer to keep going even when life is so difficult?
(Stoyan Zaimov, “Pastor Saeed Adedini Birthday Letter-Writing Campaign to Flood Evin Prison, ACLJ Hopes,” Christian Post, 9 April 2013 [14 April 2013].)
The question this week was: If holy means to be set apart, what am I set apart from?
The answer is: Living in holiness with God means living set apart from sin and the world.
How would your faith be different if you lived it with the passion and focus of an athlete?
With March Madness season on our heels, it’s a great time to stop and think about some of the similarities between how to live a holy life devoted to Christ and how some of the players in the Final Four live a focused and passionate pursuit of victory. One example is the reality that sometimes “defense is the best offense.” Often in the Christian life, much like a game of basketball, you have to focus on defense. You have to know where you struggle and actively choose to not allow that sin to be a part of your life. Another example is to never “neglect the fundamentals.” Athletes have to stay committed to the basics as they train and prepare to excel. The same is true for the Christian. We must stay rooted in God’s Word and His commands as we live this life.
What other similarities can you think of between a devoted athlete and a Christian seeking to live a more holy life?
Why is it important to be so intentional and focused in your walk with Christ?
How can you better “train” this week to pursue Christ more in your everyday activities?
(Jayne Davis “Faith and the Final Four,” ABP News, 5 April 2013 [8 April 2013].)