The following is the second installment in a weekly Lenten devotional for families, by Mary Jane Pierce Norton of the UMC’s Discipleship Ministries. We hope it helps you to know God a little better during these solemn forty days of repentance and preparation.
Week 1 — Week of March 5: Jesus Is Tempted
Scripture: Matthew 4:1-11
Discussion & Activity: Read together Matthew 4:1-11. When we read about the temptations of Jesus, we are reminded that we all face temptations in our lives.
Pass the rock around among family members. Encourage them to think about how hungry Jesus might have been and how tempting it would have been for him to have turned the rock into bread.
Talk together about what temptations each family member faces at home, at school, at work, or in the community. Those temptations may lead you to identify what you would like to give up during the season of Lent. You may choose to give up certain foods or treats that tempt you to eat too much, or hobbies that cause you to spend too much time on an activity, or actions or patterns that make you think only of yourself instead of others. You might want to give up sweets, or give up texting for one day a week, or give up a cup of coffee, or give up a television program. Consider assessing a money value for each thing family members give up. Save this money; then at Easter, give the money saved as an offering for church or for a community project that serves those in need.
Decorate an empty plastic container with symbols, pictures, and words that remind family members of the temptations of Jesus and of your family’s temptations. Place this on your dining table or in another place where everyone in the household can see it. Each day, place into the container money that you would have spent on the activities that family members have given up.
Gracious God. Just as you were with Jesus through his temptations, we know you are with us as well.
Help us to remember we are not alone.
Help us to share this knowledge with others so that they, too, can know your love and care.
The following is the first installment in a weekly Lenten devotional for families, by Mary Jane Pierce Norton of the UMC’s Discipleship Ministries. We hope it helps you to know God a little better during these solemn forty days of repentance and preparation.
Ash Wednesday — March 1: Do Not Worry
Scripture: Matthew 6:25-35
Discussion & Activity: If you are able, attend an Ash Wednesday Service at your place of worship. Talk together about the service and what it meant to you.
In reading Matthew 6:16-35, we are reminded that God is there for us. Through the entire season of Lent, we will be seeking ways to help one another remember that God is with us.
Pass the flower from one person to another. Think about the beauty of the flower and how God has created it so that we see that beauty and life. Talk about the ways each person can use Lent to help us stay focused on God’s presence in our lives.
Often, Lent is seen as a “giving up” time. Plan ways that Lent can be an “adding life” time. Prepare a list with each person’s name on the list. Together, decide what each person will do to add life during Lent. Think about such things as:
- recycling items;
- reading Scripture daily;
- sending a note of thanks each week to someone who has helped you feel God’s love;
- adding a household task that helps everyone enjoy the home more;
- exercising each week.
Dear God: As we begin our Lenten observance, we are reminded that you created us just like you created the flowers.
We owe our beauty and our life to you.
Keep us from needless worry and open our eyes to ways we can more fully enjoy the life you have given us.
Day #27 – Friday, 11/30 – What a Difference this Month has Made… Take time to reflect on the many ways you have given thanks this month. May we continue to practice the art of a thankful life!
Day #26 – Thursday, 11/29 – What I Like About You… Today, take a few minutes and make a list of the things you like about your immediate family members. Share your list with your family sometime during the day – and thank them for those things!
Day #25 – Wednesday, 11/28 – Exercise! After the past few days, you’re probably in need of burning off some calories. Enjoy a walk, take a hike, or do whatever you can do and like to do. Thank God for your physical abilities. We might not be in the best physical condition, but we can still give thanks for the capabilities we do have!
Day #24 – Tuesday, 11/27 – Experience the Moment! Too often, we focus more on what we need to do tomorrow or next week than we do on what’s happening today. Today, live in the present and be thankful for it – from raking the leaves to planning your upcoming holiday season.