How to live for God series

Talk to God every day

Proverbs 8:34 Blessed is the one who listens to me,
watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors.

What if you only talked to your parents once a week or even less than that? How would you tell them what you need or want? How would they tell you what you need to do? How would you say that you love each other if you didn’t talk very often? It would be crazy to only talk to your parents that often, right? But some of us do that with God.

The way that we know about God and who He is, and also what He wants us to do, is by reading what He has to say in the Bible and by praying. We talk to Him and tell Him our needs and wants when we pray, but if we don’t take the time to do it, we can be a big mess. I know that when I don’t pray I get a bad attitude. How about you?

It’s important that we talk with God everyday, just like it’s important to talk with your parents. It might seem like prayer is hard, but it’s really not as hard as we sometimes make it seem. Practice praying by just telling God what you liked about your day, thanking Him for those things. Tell Him what you didn’t like about your day and ask Him to help you with those things. It can be as simple as that. There aren’t any magic words or special ways to talk. Just talk to God. If you still don’t know what to say, ask God to help you pray. He says that He will.

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. (Romans 8:26, NLT)

Now, do this. After you’re done reading this, ask your parents to pray with you. Let them pray some, but you should also take a turn. Will you try praying every day this week?

How to live for God series

Read the Bible and do what it says

Psalm 1:1-3 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

How do you know what God wants you to do? Is it by doing what adults tell you God wants you to do? That’s good if the adults know for themselves what that is, but what if they don’t? What if they’re just as curious as you are what it is God wants from you?

The great thing is that God has told us all about himself and what He has done for us and wants us to do. We just need to read what He has to say in the Bible. We call the Bible God’s Word because He had people write down what He wanted all of us to know. Lots of the Bible is simple to understand, but some of it gets pretty confusing if we don’t know what to look for. That’s why it’s important that we don’t just read it, but actually study it. The difference is that we try to figure out what the Bible has to say about itself when we study.

Once we are clear on what God has said, it’s important that we obey Him. Knowing what to do and not doing it is sin (James 4:17). God doesn’t punish us when we mess up, but He does want us to follow Him and live the lives He created us for. Life is so much better when we obey Him!

Can you think of something right now that you know you’re supposed to obey because God said to do it? I’ll give you my example: I know that right now God wants me to teach you what I know about Him because He said in 2 Timothy 2:2 to pass along to other people what we’ve learned about Him. If I don’t do that, I’m not obeying. Now it’s your turn. What has God said in the Bible that you need to obey? What steps can you take right away to start doing that?

How to live for God series

Love Jesus more than anything

Mark 12:30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

Someone once asked Jesus what God’s most important rule was (Mark 12:28). He answered that it was to love God more than anything else. That’s a pretty big thing to ask!

Think about some things that you love. You love your family. You may have a pet that you love. Maybe there are some toys that you just really love playing with. Or there could even be things that you love to do, like sports or games. God is saying to love Him more than you love anything else. Do you think that might be hard? Think about your parents. They’re supposed to love God even more than they love you!

There was another person in the Bible that asked Jesus what He had to do to get into heaven (Matthew 19:16). Jesus answered Him that he had to give up all of the things that he loved more than he loved Jesus. The man thought that was too hard so he didn’t give up anything and he went away from Jesus very sad. What that man needed to realize was that Jesus is better than anything that he loved in his life.

We should love Jesus so much that we want what He wants. We should want to be like Him and want to do what He did. When we make Him most important in our lives, we’re starting to really live for God.

Will you pray about this with your parents? Ask God to make your heart love Him more than anything else. If you ask Him for help doing that, He’ll definitely help you because it’s what He wants most!

How to live for God series

How to live for God: 7 keys things

When I was a kid like you, I used to wonder what it was that God wanted from me. I learned about God on Sundays and heard different stories about men and women in the Bible who followed after Him, but I wasn’t quite sure what He wanted from me. I wasn’t supposed to build an ark or kill a giant with a slingshot and some stones, but there was something God wanted me to do; right?

Let me just tell you that a lot of adults still wonder about what God wants from them. There are still times I ask Him to show me again because I’ve gotten too busy or distracted to remember. I’ve learned 7 key things that God wants from everyone and I’m going to teach you those, but I’ll take time to do each one at a time. Here I’ll just take a minute to tell you what they are, then I’ll go into more about each one at a later time.

The 7 key things we all need to do in order to live for God are:

  1. Love Jesus more than anything else. (Mark 12:30)
  2. Talk to God every day. (Proverbs 8:34)
  3. Read the Bible and do what it says. (Psalm 1:1-3)
  4. Love other people. (Mark 12:31)
  5. Give to God. (James 1:17)
  6. Serve other people (Mark 10:45)
  7. Share the Good News about Jesus (2 Timothy 2:2)

Take some time to talk about these with your parents and next time we’ll get more into loving Jesus more than anything else.

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Do you love?

Galatians 5:22-24 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

When we follow Jesus, there are some things that God wants to see in our lives. It’s not just about what we do, but about how we are. We call this our character. Your character is who you are as a person and the way you act and treat other people is because of your character. Character can be good or it can be bad.

When you show someone love, that’s an action, when you are loving, that’s part of your character. It’s possible to do the action without having the character. Someone who isn’t a loving person can show love to someone. But God is more concerned with us being loving than He is with us occasionally doing something for someone else. Actually, He wants both.

If you’re a loving person, but never do anything to show it; what good is that? It’s possible to be loving and to show love through your actions. If you’re thinking that sounds hard, it is. But the good news is that you don’t have to do it on your own. If there’s ever anything that God has said He wants you to do or to be, you can trust that He is ready to help you.

If you don’t think you’re the kind of loving person God wants you to be, ask for His help. Pray and ask Him to help you have a heart that loves. Ask Him to help you to show love to the people you see everyday.

What are some ways you can think of to show people that you love them?

How do you think a person who has a loving heart thinks differently than someone who doesn’t?

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The way of love

1 Corinthians 13:1-3  If I speak human or angelic languages but do not have love, I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body in order to boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.

What do you think the most important thing is to God? What does He most want us to obey? Did you say love? Of all the things in the Bible God told us to do, He tells us that loving Him and loving other people is the most important (Matthew 22:36-40). Jesus even said the rest of the commands God gave us would all be taken care of if we’d just love God and other people.

The Apostle Paul wrote about love because it’s so important. The people in the church of Corinth (a city that he visited) were getting a lot of things wrong so Paul taught them about the importance of love. He told them that even all the good stuff they were doing was worth nothing if they didn’t also show love to people. Can you imagine? You go to church, read your Bible (and maybe even memorize verses), volunteer to help with things, and you’re told that it’s no good because you’re not loving? That had to get their attention!

This happens a lot thought. Poeple do a lot of things for God and think they’re making Him happy, but they forget to do the most important part of what He said to do – love. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. You can make loving God and loving people an important thing in your life right now. What things can you think of to do today that will show God’s love to someone around you?

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The Fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22-24 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Following Jesus makes us different from the people in the world who don’t. The way we act is different. The way we talk and even the way we treat others is also different. When we begin to follow Jesus, He gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit. That means Jesus is living inside of us and He helps us to live the lives that God wants for us.

There are certain things that God expects from His people. Not just rules He wants us to follow, but specific characteristics He wants us to have. Because we get help from the Holy Spirit to show those tings, we call them the Fruit of the Spirit. Like fruit grows from a tree and certain trees produce certain fruit (You woulnd’t see a banana on an apple tree!), Christians produce certain “fruit.”

None of these things are just for the benefit of ourselves. They all have an effect on other people and the big idea is that other people will know God more because of us. We should want to live in a way that shows people the Fruit of the Spirit so that they will love God and follow HIm.

The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We’ll talk about each of them and how they help other people to know God. Only one person was ever perfect at showing all of them at the same time – Jesus. We’ll be looking at His example and just how He showed the Fruit of the Spirit.

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Cain and Abel

The story of Cain and Abel can be found in Genesis 4. Take some time to read it and get familiar with the story.

Genesis 4:9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?”

Cain and Abel were brothers. Do you have any brothers or sisters?  Maybe just some close cousins or friends? Do you ever get mad at them for anything they do?  Do you ever get SO mad that you would actually hurt them? I hope that would never happen, but it did with Cain and Abel.

If you read the story of Adam and Eve’s sons, they were two very different guys. One worked in the field while one kept the sheep. One was eager to please God and the other was more selfish. God expected the same from both of them; He wanted them to give Him an offering of their best. For Abel that would mean he was to sacrifice his best lamb to the Lord and for Cain that would mean he would sacrifice from his best crops. Abel’s heart for the Lord caused him to give of that sacrifice with great pleasure. Cain, though, didn’t want to give his best, so he gave less than what God required. When Abel’s offering earned God’s praise, it made Cain very angry.

What’s the angriest you’ve ever been with somebody?  Why was it that you became so angry?  I’ll bet it probably wasn’t because they sacrificed a better lamb to God!  I’m also willing to bet that no matter how mad you became you weren’t willing to kill your brother or sister or friend over whatever happened. But that’s just what Cain did, he killed Abel.

When God called out to Cain, asking him where his brother was, Cain lied. He said he didn’t know where Abel was. One sin turned into another. That’s the way sin often works.  It doesn’t even appear that Cain was sorry about what he had done. As much as God doesn’t like it when we sin, what He really doesn’t like is when we’re not even sorry for it.  Cain is an example of someone who didn’t repent. To repent means to be sorry for doing something to the point that we never want to do it again. When we repent, we ask God for forgiveness.

Can you think of something you’ve done that you need to ask forgiveness for?  Maybe there’s someone whose feelings you hurt and you need to ask them to forgive you. If that’s true, think about how to talk to them and tell them you’re sorry. The people in your life are more important that anything that could come between you, whether it’s a sheep or something else like a toy or a something.

The other thing you need to know about this story is that God is loving and He didn’t just give up on Cain and kill him. Even though He punished Cain for his sin and made him leave, He also watched over him and protected him so that no one could hurt Cain. Even when we sin, God still loves us and looks after us. He still sent Jesus for us even though we continue to sin just like Adam, Eve, and Cain did. That’s some serious love.

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Adam & Eve

I’m going to guess that you know who I’m talking about what I say Adam and Eve.  Who were they? They were the very first people that God created after making the world!  They were the first husband and wife, the first father and mother, and the first people to sin.

This week we’re going to find out more about Adam and Eve and what their roles were supposed to be, their relationship with God, what their sin meant for them and means for us, and how their story connects to Jesus.  Can you look ahead of time for some of that?  Try looking it up in the book of Genesis in the Bible.  It’s the very first book.

Adam and Eve are just the beginning of a great story, one that takes many pages, many authors, and 66 books to tell.  The Bible is exciting from beginning to end, and it all starts with Adam and Eve.

Are you ready?  Let’s review 1 Corinthians 15:22 today: “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. “

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Temptation and sin

Yeah, Adam and Eve had it made in the Garden of Eden.  They were in charge of all the animals, they got to walk and talk with God, and they could eat anything they wanted, except for the fruit of one tree.  But the first humans made a choice to go against God, and they lost everything they had.

Why did Adam and his wife choose to disobey God?  Why would anyone give up the perfect life they had just to eat a piece of fruit?  The reason is because they were tempted to sin and they gave in to that temptation.  Do you know what it means to be tempted?  The serpent in the garden convinced Eve that it was okay to eat the fruit even though God had said not to.  That’s usually what happens when we’re tempted to do something.  We find a way to make it seem like it’s not a sin.

While God had told them that eating the fruit of the tree He said not to eat from would make them die (Genesis 2:17), it didn’t seem like they died after they  ate it.  What happened though, was that they died to the lives they once had.  While they probably would have gone on to never die, no matter how long they lived, they eventually grew old and they did die.  Adam and Eve’s sin also brought sin into the world for everyone else, even you and me. Read the rest of that story in Genesis 3.

Let’s finish this week strong with memorizing Genesis 3:20 “The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.”