Living in a broken world, tough circumstances are inevitable. Can you think of a time when you were walking through a hard situation? How did you see God’s people respond gently, or how do you wish they would have? In John 11, we are reminded that not only does Jesus care about our tough circumstances, He enters into them with us. Because of that Truth, we can, in turn, respond gently when we see others in tough circumstances, too.
MEMORY VERSE: “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowances for each other's faults because of your love." Ephesians 4:2 (NIV)__
Lazarus, a dear friend of Jesus and brother to Mary and Martha, became sick and died. By the time Jesus arrived on the scene, Lazarus had been dead for four days. Jesus could have come earlier, but He chose to delay “for the glory of God” (John 11:4-6). When Jesus arrived, Martha showed her faith in His power through her statement, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21). Rather than bursting forth in anger or becoming frustrated at her limited understanding, Jesus responded gently to Martha by reminding her of the Truth she believed about Him. We have a wonderful example in Jesus of how to respond gently to others when they are in tough circumstances. May we pray for His wisdom and help as we meet people in their pain, and may we experience gentleness from others when we are hurting.
READ JOHN 11:17-27
READ JOHN: 11:32-44
How did Jesus show gentleness to Martha, Mary, and everyone else who mourned the death of Lazarus? (Jesus was kind and compassionate. He didn’t act like their pain was no big deal. He simply mourned with them and showed them a gentle spirit. He reminded them of the Truth about who He was and that even in trials, they can trust fully in Him.)
How can knowing that Jesus is master over everything, even death, give you peace and hope when facing touch circumstances? (Jesus loves us so much and is always with us even when we go through trials. We believe that Jesus conquered death on the cross and, if we accept His free gift of salvation, we get to live with Him forever in heaven, even after death!)
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READ JOHN 11:32-44Why do you think Jesus was so emotional? (He saw the hurt that sin and death brought His dear friends. He was upset that they had to live in a world that was broken and caused pain. He felt compassion and kindness for them in their sadness because He loved them.) Have you ever cried or been upset when someone you loved was hurting? Take some time to share as a family times you have gone through tough circumstances. Talk about ways others responded gently to you that you yourself can put into practice when you see someone in a tough circumstance.
As you drive around this week, take turns listing out characteristics that are true about God that would be encouraging when you are in hard times or that you can use to encourage others. Make it a game by playing the alphabet game (ex: A-Awesome, B-Bigger than my fears, C-Comforter, etc.), OR choose a word to make an acrostic with your character traits (ex: GENTLENESS . . . G-Good, E-Empathetic, N-Never leaves us or forsakes us, etc.). Assign one person in your car to be your scribe and write down a list as you go to post somewhere in your house!
Who do you know that is in the middle of hard circumstances and needs to hear the reason for your hope? Take some time to pray for anyone you know who is in a hard circumstance right now. Ask God to help you respond gently to others who need to hear the truth and hope of Christ this week.
From January 7 – February 11, we will be working on memorizing six verses from Romans. These verses make up what we call the Romans Road, and they are a great tool for sharing the gospel with others! This week, work on memorizing Romans 10:9-10. Click HEREfor flash cards to print out and use to help you learn! Don’t forget to check out Join the Journey as we go through the book of Romans this year!
Pray and thank God for those who have helped you when you were in a tough circumstance. Ask Him to give you opportunities to respond in a kind and careful way to those who are going through a tough time around you this week.
Next week, we will be continuing in the month of January with GENTLENESS. We are going to learn how to respond gently when other are against us.
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