Bad Families and God\'s Will

Day 1

(Today's devotion written by Pastor Tom Jones)
Read Acts 16:16-34

It can be thought that unless everything is going as we desire, God must not be taking care of us. However, as we see in today’s reading, the Lord was with Paul and Silas in the midst of what must have seemed to be a very chaotic time. They had been arrested, beaten, and jailed for no wrong doing on their part.
Paul and Silas had a choice to make. They could focus on how unfairly they were being treated, or they could praise Him in the moment. They chose the latter. The result was God showing up in a miraculous way. 
While our circumstances likely do not parallel that which Paul and Silas were experiencing, the challenges we face are very real. We, too, have a choice. We can focus on how unfairly WE are being treated, we can focus on the CHALLENGE, or we can praise the LORD.

  1. When facing challenges, what do you notice your pattern of response to be? 

  1. Do you tend to complain, or do you tend to worship?
  2. Think of a time when you were facing a challenge and you worshiped the Lord. How would you describe the experience?

Day 2

(By Pastor Tom Jones)

Read 3 John 1

John is likely referring to his “children” as those over whom God has placed him as a shepherd. Whether we are parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousins, friends, or neighbors, we all have people we care for. John declared that he had no greater joy than to know that his children were walking in truth. Familiarity of scripture makes quite clear the benefit of walking in truth, as well as the gravity of walking in a way that is not with the Lord.
The bible tells us that it is not the will of the Lord that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). In a chaotic world which seems to be drifting further away from God’s truth, it can be easy to get drawn into the chaos. Intentionality seems to be one of the primary components of staying focused.

  1. What do you find your focus being drawn toward as you live your daily life?

  1. When you notice your focus is moving toward chaos, what is a step you can take to regain focus?
  2. What kind of example are you exhibiting to those around you?
  3. Why not take the time to share some thoughts from today's devotions on the app under the messaging thread "Five Day Devotions Discussions"?

Day 3

(Today's devotions written by Pam Jones)

Read 1 Samuel 3:11-21

The rise of the boy Samuel to a prophet in Israel and the fall of Eli and his household is a contrast of two completely different attitudes toward the things of God. As was discussed in the sermon last week, Samuel was doing all the right things to please God and Eli and his sons had a total disregard for God in their attitude and actions.

One must think after reading this account that Samuel’s upbringing by his parents made all the difference in his life. Samuel’s mother, Hannah, was so distraught about not having a child of her own. She took this anguish to God instead of running to other people. Hannah went to the only place she knew would make a difference. After God granted her request for a child, she fulfilled what she had promised Him that day, to take that child back to the temple and allow him to be raised there. She gave Samuel back to the Lord as the Lord had given Samuel to her. What an amazing sacrifice that truly was! Samuel wanted to please God and in stark contrast, Eli’s spoiled rotten kids only did what pleased themselves. Surely, they must have thought that they could get by with whatever they wanted because after all, they were the priest’s sons. God however, thought differently and grew weary of the evil actions of those boys and because Eli did not put an end to their blasphemy, He decided to put an end to it. So, while Samuel grew physically and spiritually, Eli’s house was imploding.

Why do you think Eli did not discipline his children as he should have? Were they just spoiled? Do you think Eli blamed himself for how his children turned out?

In your opinion, was God a little harsh?  Have you ever witnessed a circumstance that is similar?

Day 4

(Written by Pam Jones)
Read I Samuel 4:1-11

In this reading, we see the fulfilling of the prophecy spoken to young Samuel. The Israelites had gone to battle with the Philistines and Israel was defeated. After 4,000 Israelite soldiers were killed, they were scratching their heads not understanding why this was happening to them. They didn’t say that the Philistines defeated them but were asking why the LORD had defeated them. They decided that it was because they had not carried the Ark of the Covenant with them. Treating it like a good luck charm instead of the presence of God, they went back to the camp to retrieve it.  Now, armed with the Ark, they headed back to the battle and there was a loud shout in the Israeli camp, and it scared the Philistines. But they fought valiantly and defeated Israel. The Bible indicates that they were not only defeated but it was a very great slaughter!!  It was like sizing up the Steelers with a class A football team. 30,000 Israeli soldiers fell in one day! The Philistines captured the Ark and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phineas died as well. Galatians 6:7 says, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap”.

What in your opinion was the reason behind Israel’s defeat in this story?

Do you think God brings judgment on a nation because of leadership?

What does this spark in your own prayers today?

Day 5

Read 1 Samuel 4:12-22

The book is called “Samuel” and it tells the story of Samuel in these first few chapters, but then transitions to the story of David and Saul and all the rest.  I am so glad it is not called the book of Eli.  Try for a minute to imagine hearing that story and nothing more.  What a tragic tale of a man who was given responsibility and position, only to waste it on selfish living and have it all come crashing to a tragedy of death and destruction because of your choices.   Before his family is the story of the family of Elkanah, Samuel’s dad, and after his is the story of David’s family that turns into an incredible adventure. As is the way of the Biblical authors, these stories are told in the display case of their family.  I know that for some of you that is a heavy thought to think through, while others you are experiencing a bit more stability in your family, so this does not bother you to think through.

What do you see as the lesson of Eli as the opening of the book of Samuel?

What do you think, based on what you read here, was the biggest problem with Eli’s family leadership?

How does this make you pray for and about your family today?

What specifically is your role in the spiritual development of your family at this stage in your life and how are you doing that?

Why not share some of the thoughts from above with the messaging group so that other people can learn from the stage you are in and see how they could better lead as well?

No Comments





no tags