Posted in From The Altar

Fruit of The Spirit Family Devotional: Week 9: Self-Control

fruit of the spirit verse

Read Galations 5:22-23 at least once during the week. Read it daily if you’d like! We’re wanting the kids to memorize The Fruit of The Spirit.

self control weekle verse

1 Corinthians 9:25 is the memory verse this week. Read the memory verse at the beginning of each devotional time. The goal is to have each member of your family memorize this verse to the best of their ability this week. I also use the weekly memory verse in our handwriting lessons. You can print out the image above or make your own- just try to get the written verse up on your wall this week. (Image is sized to print 5×7.)

Day One: Self-Control is Hard!

It is so easy to loose your temper, to give into temptation, to not fight the urge to eat all the Oreos. Self-control is hard, not doubt about that. What is easy is not always best. Sometimes we just have to do hard things. It is hard work to control yourself, your temper, your frustrations, your wants, your passions. But God calls us to do just that. He wants us to be free. If you’re always just reacting and doing the easy thing, you’re never really free. Remember that self-control is a gift from the Holy Spirit, ask God for it.

Activity: Coloring Page. Coloring Page.


Day Two: When I Wake Up

“First, upon awakening in the morning, turn your thoughts to God present everywhere; place your heart and your entire being in his hands. Then think briefly on the good you will be able to accomplish that day and the evil you can avoid, especially by controlling your predominant fault.” -St. Jane Frances de Chantal

When you wake up, start your day out right with prayer. Pray for all the good God will do through you that day. Pray for strength to stay away from evil. You get a clean slate every morning. Today, you can control yourself. Pray for God’s help. Just be prepared! When we pray for self-control, God will give us every opportunity to do so. The best way to GAIN self control is to practice it.

“When we once begin to form good resolutions, God give us every opportunity of carrying them out.”- St. John Chrysostom

Activity: It can be hard learning a new habit. So, let’s make signs to remind us to pray when we wake up! Grab canvas, canvas board, poster, paper- whatever you want to use to make your sign. Write “pray” on each sign in bold letters. Even kids who cannot read will remember what you said the sign says. Let the kids decorate their signs to hang in their room near the bed (or even on the ceiling above their bed) to remind them to pray!


Day Three: The Will of God

Sometimes we get so caught up in how things should go and how we want things done. We get so focused on what we want, we forget about what God wants. God wants you to have a heart as big as the universe. He wants you to have the fruit of the Spirit in your life. Sometimes we have to learn to let go of our plan, practice self-control, and let God’s plan happen in our life. “The goal of all our undertakings should not be so much a task perfectly completed as the accomplishment of the will of God.”- St. Therese of Lisieux. You may not be able to control everything, but you can control how you act.

Activity: Game! This game is like Simon says, only everyone gets to be Simon. Take turns going around the circle and saying, “If I had self-control, I would tell myself to ….” each person will add what they would do. Hop, yell, dance, spin, clap, stomp, whatever. And everyone else does whatever that person says.


Day Four: Stop!

The best thing you can learn to help you with self-control is to learn to Stop and Think. Instead of responding right away, stop. Think about what you want to do, not just what you feel like doing. Think about what God wants you to do. Your brother knocks over the Lego house you just spent forever building. Instead of reacting, stop and think. Would it be better to hurt your brother over a toy? Or would it be better to just tell your brother that they upset you? You don’t have to say it is okay, sometimes it isn’t. You can be upset and you can be mad- but you can also control yourself and tell them with your words that you are mad and upset. You are always responsible for how you act, no matter how you feel.

Activity: Game! This game is like Red Light, Green Light. Only we’ll call it “Stop! Think!” Line everyone up. Explain that when you yell “Stop!” They stop and yell, “Think!” and do their very best thinking pose. Instead of simply saying “go” again, tell them what to do next. (Crawl! Hop! Skip! Walk backwards! Hop on one foot!)


Day Five: Let Go

Sometimes we can’t control everything, and that makes us feel out of control. But we’ll be better people and learn self-control if we learn what we cannot control. We cannot stop the rain. But we can grab an umbrella. Sometimes another kid is mean to us. We can’t discipline them or hurt them back. But we can let a teacher or parent know and let them deal with it. We can’t change the hearts of other people. but we can pray that God will help us and them in the situation. “Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you, and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do, cause hate in your heart will consume you.”- Will Smith

Activity: What can I do, game? In this game, you make up a scenario and then ask the kids, “What can I do?” and let them come up with the solutions. If they come up with things you really cannot do or would not be best, play that out and help them come up with better solutions. They can be as ridiculous or common as you’d like. (See examples.)

“I am an alien and my ship is malfunctioning around the third planet called Earth. What can I do?” (Work to fix the ship. Crash land on earth. Call for back up.)

“I am playing at the playground and another kid keeps jumping in line for the slide in front of me without waiting! What can I do?” (Say, “I was in line.” Wait a little longer. Play with something else.)

“I want to play with the Batman toy, but someone else already has him. What can I do?” (Ask to play when the other person is done. Play with something else. Find the other Batman toy.)

“I am a farmer and my cows have all started dancing the conga! What can I do?” (Join them! Grab my camera. Move so they don’t step on my feet.)

Activity 2: Did you learn your memory verse? Share it!

Posted in Out Of My Head, With The Kids

Conversations On Missions

Imogene and I were talking last night about missions. It was a very interesting conversation that began with “Mom, what are bills?” It was news to her that we had to pay for the lights, water, gas, and food in our home. She asked if everyone had these things. I told her no, everyone does not have the same luxuries we enjoy. She asked about food. “Do some people not have food, Mom?” I told that some people do not have food. She asked why. I told her they didn’t have money for food. She said, “Well, can they gather grain, like Ruth, to make bread?” I told her that while some people could, that not everyone can. I tried to explain that proper farming for enough food to feed your family also costs money and sometimes things don’t grow. I explained that while she had her favorite foods, some children would be happy for any food. She said, “But Mom, there is plenty of food. I’ve seen it. Why can’t everyone have it?” I tried to explain that the world just doesn’t work that way. You are expected to either pay for your food or grow your own food. She said, “But Mom! Kids are starving. Kids can’t pay!” So, I let her brainstorm solving the world’s hunger problems. Which is how the conversation led to missions. She had the idea to send people to poor countries to help them learn to farm, take them food, and show them Jesus’s love. I explained that people already do that. They are called missionaries. She wanted to know more about these people. I explained missionaries do many different things depending on where God had called them.

Now, the conversation took a turn to knowing the will of God. Of course, the topic every Christian teen struggles with. What does God want ME to do? She asked if God had called me to anything. I explained that we are here, in Atlanta, because God called us. I told her we are here because God has called us to this kind of ministry. She asked how we knew this is where God called us. She said, “How do you know? How do you know what God is saying?” I told her, “At first, you just pray, ‘God, I know you want me to do something somewhere, I just don’t know what or where.” Then you feel somewhere inside you says ‘China.’ And you think, ‘Hmm. Maybe He wants me to go to China.’ Next time you pray, you say, ‘God. I know you have called me to do something, somewhere. Maybe in China.’ And then deep inside, your feeling for China grows. You keep your eyes and ears open. Next time you pray, you say, ‘God, I know you want me to do something and I think it is in China.” That deep feeling is getting warmer now. Next time you pray, you pray, ‘God, I know you want me to do something in China.’ So, you start planning to go to China. What you’ll do makes itself clear. That feeling deep inside is sure that you doing what God wants you to do. You listen to wise people around you. You use what gifts God has given you. And you go.” She said, “Mom. I’ll go where God wants me to, but I’m not going anywhere with mean people.” Now, I could have told her that mean people are everywhere, but I didn’t. She’ll learn that soon enough. Instead, I responded, “Imogene, that is exactly where you should go. You should go where people need to see the love of Jesus most.” She said, “But Mom, I don’t know all of the love of Jesus.” Imogene often says she feels Jesus hugging her when she closes her eyes. So, I asked her to close her eyes. I said, “Did you feel it?” She opened her eyes and smiled and said, “Yes! I feel the love of Jesus! I can go!”

Conversations with our children come as naturally as that. I often hear parents wondering how to approach certain subjects. I meet teens who have very clearly never had any conversations regarding spirituality with their parents. Parents to think that is the church’s job. Or they think they are showing their kids this by example. We uprooted our growing family and moved in a 2 week window to follow God. Our kids were with us and transitioned with us as we made the move, had The Pastor working two full time jobs, and lived in a tiny house. They were there, yet they didn’t know why we did that. Sometimes the example just isn’t enough. Of course, if we hadn’t moved and hadn’t followed God, it wouldn’t be of much value for me to tell Imogene that she should follow God when I am clearly not. It just takes more than the example. The church should absolutely be teaching children orthodoxy. But parents should be teaching their own children, as well. And it doesn’t take a book, lesson plans, or unlimited time. It just takes answering simple questions and giving honest answers.