(The following is a family devotional guide with suggested questions and scriptures.)
Focus Verse: Brothers and sisters, continue to think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected. -Philippians 4:8
T-Talk About It Topic
Tell me about a time you heard or saw something that bothered you. What about it bothered you?
Everything we see or hear makes an imprint on us – that means, those experiences help shape our hearts, positively or negatively. The bad thing is: Our brains don’t “forget” the bad, the ugly, or the traumatic – those memories are there forever. But, we can dilute those moments with good things for us to see and hear, especially with God’s Word.
A-Anchor To The Bible
In the Old Testament, God put a dream into one man’s heart: Go back home and rebuild his city’s walls. You see, this man, Nehemiah, was a servant in a foreign country. More than that, he was a cupbearer to the King, which means he also had daily access to the king. When Nehemiah’s brother came back from visiting his homeland in Jerusalem, he had bad news about how ruined it had become. So, Nehemiah got enough courage to ask the King to go back home and help rebuild it. You see, Nehemiah knew one thing: Not having walls up around the city made it vulnerable to enemy attack. As a result, Nehemiah was on a mission to help protect the small remnant of Jews who lived there. He knew that building walls protected them. He knew that having gates would help the residents be picky about who they let into the city. So, walls and gates were good things for Jerusalem. And you know what? They are a good thing for us, too! We don’t live in cities with walls and gates, but we can take this idea of protection and apply it to our hearts. Like Nehemiah building walls to protect the Jews, God wants us to build walls around our hearts to protect them. Our eyes and ears are gates to our hearts, so He desires we use our gates wisely by being picky about who or what we let have access to our hearts. It’s really important we guard the things we see and we hear because they can directly influence our hearts
What are some things we can see or hear that would be good for our hearts? What are some things that we can see or hear that would be harmful for our hearts?
Things that we see or hear produce thoughts. Whatever we think about often will produce actions. So, good shows, good song lyrics, and good advice can motivate us to do good in our lives; however, questionable shows, questionable lyrics, and questionable advice can encourage us to do questionable things. We are what we let have access to our hearts.
L-Learn God’s Word
Our focus verse this week encourages us to let good in, and not just the good, let in praiseworthy things, things that are true and right, and things that are beautiful and respected. These are all vitamins for our hearts! That just means, we will think about more on the good than the bad or questionable and the more we think good, the more we will likely do good. It’s a beautiful cause-effect relationship! Here is a simple way to remember this truth: Protect your eyes, protect your ears, protect your heart.
K-Keep Each Other Accountable
Here are a few ideas to keep everyone in check with this week’s TALK:
Talk more about the bad habits you and your people have and make goals to overcome the bad habit with a good habit. For example, if your bad habit is running late to things, a good habit to overcome that would be to start showing up 5 minutes early. A habit is established by doing something consistently over 60 days. Make a list of one bad habit each person wants to work on – post it up somewhere visible. Hold each other accountable for the next two months to change it into a good habit using Philippians 4:13. Cheer each other on in the moments of indecision or weakness. Pray for each other to use Jesus’ power to overcome this bad habit. Become each other’s cheerleaders to establish this good habit…and then, when the two months are up, repeat the process and see how your family can live out Philippians 4:13!
Motivate each other to memorize our focus verse this week. Write the memory verse on a chalkboard and display it by the door. Have them say the verse each morning and initial they did so.