40 Holy People: Week Six

40 holy people

Day 29: Maggie Gobran: Being The Help Needed

maggie

How many times do we see a problem or see a need and think, “Someone should really do something about that?” Maggie Gobran saw a need and instead of looking around to see who would do something, or praying that God would somehow intervene, did something herself. Mama Maggie, as she came to be known, grew up in the middle class in Cairo Egypt. She became a Coptic Christian. She was a marketing manager and computer science professor. In other words, she was living a middle class life and had no intentions of changing that. Then she visited the Cairo garbage slums (see picture below), where people lived among garbage heaps, many of them children and many of them Coptic Christians, just like Maggie.

cairoslums

Maggie gave up her middle class life, her jobs, her security, to go help those people she saw in the slums. She started Stephen’s Children (http://www.stephenschildren.org/index.php) to help the children and young people in those slums, and now other impoverished areas of Egypt. The organization seeks to show the children love, build self esteem, and hold onto the hope found in Christ. Maggie now has 1500 workers and volunteers working with her and they’ve reached more than 30,000 children and their families.

Have you noticed a need in your community? How could you meet that need?

“You know, we don’t choose where to be born, but we do choose either to be sinners or saints. To be nobody, or the heroes. If you want to be a hero, do what God wants you to do.” – Mama Maggie

Map of Egypt to Color.

Coloring Page. (A Coptic Cross)

Day 30: Shane Claiborne: Making Peace

shane

Shane Claiborne grew up in Tennessee. Shane is the started of a New Monastic movement. We read about some ancient monks and monasteries. Shane is spreading the same concept, in a modern way. He has traveled all over the world promoting peace and helping the poor. He has worked in Calcutta, Chicago, Rwanda, West Bank, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He now lives in Philadelphia in a faith community that help the homeless.

“Only Jesus would be crazy enough to suggest that if you want to become the greatest, you should become the least. Only Jesus would declare God’s blessing on the poor rather than on the rich and would insist that it’s not enough to just love your friends. I just began to wonder if anybody still believed Jesus meant those things he said.”

Would you be willing to travel the world to help promote peace? What is peace?

What could you do to help the poor in your community?

Coloring Page. 

Day 31: Mary: The Annunciation of Our Lord

Stained_glass_depicting_the_Virgin_Mary_holding_baby_Jesus

Annunciation is a big word that means to announce. Today, if you’re on time, is the day known as The Annunciation of our Lord. Why? Well, a pregnancy lasts 38-42 weeks, so today would have been about the time the angel came to Mary to tell her Jesus would be born.

Luke 1:26-38 (CEB)

When Elizabeth was six months pregnant, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a city in Galilee, to a virgin who was engaged to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David’s house. The virgin’s name was Mary. When the angel came to her, he said, “Rejoice, favored one! The Lord is with you!” She was confused by these words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Mary. God is honoring you. Look! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and he will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of David his father. He will rule over Jacob’s house forever, and there will be no end to his kingdom.”

Then Mary said to the angel, “How will this happen since I haven’t had sexual relations with a man?”

The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come over you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the one who is to be born will be holy. He will be called God’s Son. Look, even in her old age, your relative Elizabeth has conceived a son. This woman who was labeled ‘unable to conceive’ is now six months pregnant. Nothing is impossible for God.”

Then Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be with me just as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

An angel comes to tell Mary that her entire life is about to change. At first, she is confused, but the angel tells her all things are possible with God. She doesn’t fight it, she doesn’t argue with the angel, she fully accepts the will of God for her life. She gladly accepts this life changing news.

Coloring Page.

Day 32: John & Beth Muehleisen: Encouraging Others

donate_muehleisen_12

John and Beth grew up in America. They currently work on the mission field in Uganda. They have been missionaries for 28 years, raising their children on foreign soil to do the work of Jesus. The main focus of ministry for John is teaching, encouraging, and empowering the ministers God is raising up in Uganda. He is helping them plant more churches and strengthen their brothers and sisters.

The Muehleisen’s have spent their entire life answering God’s call on their life. That call took them far from home and far from their comfort zones. What will you do when God calls you?

John began using a puppet names Lazarus to minister to children in Africa early in his ministry. See a video of John and Lazarus here.

Day 33: William & Catherine Booth: Taking Jesus to The World

William and Catherine

William and Catherine Booth are the founders of something called The Salvation Army. William was a Methodist minister in England in the mid 1800s. The Salvation Army was created as a group of Christians taking the call of God’s salvation out to the world, relieving poverty, and other charitable causes. Not only does the Salvation Army take the word of God to people, they actually help them. The Salvation Army is now in 126 countries.

“While women weep, as they do now, I’ll fight. While little children go hungry, as they do now, I’ll fight. While men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight. While there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight. I’ll fight to the very end!”- William Booth

Coloring Page.

Day 34: James Hudson Taylor: Setting Self Aside

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As a young man, Taylor rebelled against the faith of his parents, who were Christians. But at the age of 17, his eyes were opened, and he accepted Jesus as his Savior. Shortly after, he felt God calling him to China.

James Hudson Taylor was a British Protestant missionary to China. He spent 51 years of his life living in China. He began China Inland Mission (now OFM International). The organization brought over 800 missionaries to China, began 125 schools, and led to 18,000 people deciding to follow Jesus.

While ministering in China, Taylor dressed and groomed himself like the Chinese. He realized his appearance was causing many of the Chinese people not to listen to what he had to say, so he dressed like them so they would hear his words.

His life and stories of his life inspired many people to pursue missions work full time, including Amy Carmichael and Jim Elliot, who we read about earlier in Lent.

Map of China to Color.

40 Holy People: Week Five

40 holy people

Day 23: John: Sharing The Story of Jesus

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John was a disciple of Jesus. We read in Matthew 4 of Jesus calling John and his brother James to follow him while they were repairing fishing nets with their father.  He wrote several New Testament books (John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and Revelation). He referred to himself as the Beloved Disciple, the one Jesus loved. He and his brother James are often called the “Sons of Thunder”. (If you and your siblings had a nickname, what would it be?)

John followed Jesus. He learned directly from Jesus. He saw the miracles Jesus performed. He even went out and performed miracles himself in Jesus’s name. John knew that just learning the good news for himself, seeing the miracles with his own eyes, that wasn’t enough. He had to share Jesus with others. He had to tell other what he saw and heard. So he shared. He wrote what he saw, what he heard, and you can read that today. After Jesus’s death, he traveled around, telling people about Jesus. It wasn’t enough that he knew the One True God- he had to tell others!

In Matthew 18:19-20a, Jesus says, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you.” And that is just what John did. You know about the life of Jesus today thanks to those first disciple writing down what they saw and heard. You know the good news because John did what Jesus commanded and shared it. Now it is your job to go out and do the same. Who will come to know the Good News because of you? Who will be introduced to Jesus through your life and your words?

Coloring Page.

Where in the world are you going to tell people about Jesus?

Day 24: Saint Patrick: Slave to Missionary

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If you’re doing these on time, today is Saint Patrick’s Day! Saint Patrick’s Day isn’t about luck, green eggs and ham, leprechauns, or green clothes. So why do we have a day to celebrate this man called Saint Patrick?

Born in England, Patrick (whose name wasn’t Patrick in those days) was brought up in church. He came from a Christian family that taught him about God. When he was still just a boy, he was captured and taken to Ireland to a life of slavery. During his slavery, he grew close to God through prayer as he worked as a shepherd. After six year in slavery, he heard a voice telling him it was soon time to go home. The voice came again and told him his ship was ready. Patrick ran to the sea, 200 miles away, where he found a ship with a captain willing to take him home.

Once back in Britain, Patrick studied Christianity. He had a vision about the Irish people asking him to return. So Patrick went to Ireland as a Missionary. Patrick shared God with the people of Ireland. As a result of his ministry, Ireland came to know God. (They previously knew nothing of Christianity.)

So, why the green? And why the shamrock? Well, Ireland is a very green country. (See the picture below.) So, on St. Patrick’s Day, we wear green, the color of Ireland. Patrick used the shamrock to teach the Druids about God. Remember learning about the Trinity in earlier weeks? Patrick used the shamrock as an example to teach people the Triune Nature of God. God is 3 persons, 1 God. Just as a shamrock has 3 leaves, but is one shamrock.

ireland

Patrick is recognized as a Saint by many Christian traditions.

Do you think it was easy for Patrick to go back to where he had been a slave?

Coloring Page.

Day 25: Cyril of Jerusalem: Feeding the Hungry

st_cyril_of_jerusalem

Cyril was a theologian in the early Church. (around 313-386 AD) (Theology is the study of or how we think of God.) In 351, Cyril saw a cross of light in the sky over Golgotha. (Golgotha was the hill where Jesus was crucified.) The entire city of Jerusalem saw the cross in the sky.

When the city of Jerusalem went through a food shortage, Cyril started secretly selling some of the items from the church to pay for food to keep the people from starving. This wasn’t allowed. But Cyril did it anyway, choosing to break the rules rather than see his people suffer. He was charged and lost his job in the church because of this, but was later reinstated. Though he was exiled twice by Emperors.

Cyril also wrote many things about the nature of God and of forgiveness. “The Spirit comes gently and makes himself known by his fragrance. He is not felt as a burden for God is light, very light. Rays of light and knowledge stream before him as the Spirit approaches. The Spirit comes with the tenderness of a true friend to save, to heal, to teach, to counsel, to strengthen and to console.”

Are there hungry people where you live? What could you do to help feed them?

Coloring Page.

cross in the sky

Day 26: Joseph: Doing The Difficult Thing

joseph

Matthew 1:18-24 introduces us to Joseph.

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. When Mary his mother was engaged to Joseph, before they were married, she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband was a righteous man. Because he didn’t want to humiliate her, he decided to call off their engagement quietly. As he was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child she carries was conceived by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you will call him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Now all of this took place so that what the Lord had spoken through the prophet would be fulfilled:

Look! A virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son,

And they will call him, Emmanuel.

(Emmanuel means “God with us.”)

 When Joseph woke up, he did just as an angel from God commanded and took Mary

as his wife.

This was definitely not the easiest path for Joseph to choose. He knew people would talk about he and Mary. He knew people wouldn’t understand what had happened. (After all, even he didn’t really believe it until an angel came and told him it was true!) But he chose to marry Mary and become Jesus’s earthly father. Joseph was the man who taught Jesus the things he needed to know to be a man. Joseph taught Jesus scriptures and how to work with wood. Joseph cared for Jesus and protected him, as a father should. He didn’t have to, but he chose to.

Sometimes the things God asks us to do are not easy. Sometimes they make people think we’re weird, strange, or just unlikable. But God calls us to do it anyway. Joseph listened to God through the angel in his dream and ended up a part of the greatest story ever told. What will happen when you listen to God?

Coloring Page.

Coloring Page.

Day 27: Francis of Assissi: Caring for God’s Creation

saint-francis

If you are doing these on time, then today is the first day of Spring! It is only appropriate that we talk about Francis of Assissi on such a day.

Francis of Assissi was born in 1181. He was the son of a wealthy merchant, and spent much of his youth living a very materialistic (putting importance on having things, buying things, and spending money) life. He did not think of others and lived only for himself and his own fun.

In 1204, Francis went off to war as a soldier for Assissi. He had a vision there, and lost his desire for worldly things. When he returned home, he gave up his wealth and treasures, began preaching in the streets, and developed a following. He founded an order of monks, who lived with no worldly pleasures. He cared for the poor, but also for animals and the world God had created. He saw the animals and plants as something good that God had created, and that we should take care of because it is from God. He often preached to animals.

When Francis died, it is said that birds came to be with him on his deathbed. Francis lived a simple life, but found that in the end, he was not alone. Many Christian traditions recognize Francis of Assissi as a Saint.

Activity: It is the first day of Spring! God for a walk in nature and look at the things God created. You can also plant some seeds in honor of St. Francis today.

Coloring Page.

Day 28: Elijah: Miracles, Even to The End

elijah

Elijah was a prophet during the 9th century BC. Elijah lived a life of miracles. God gave him messages for the people, which he delivered. During famine and drought, God fed Elijah by having ravens bring him food. (1 Kings 17.) Elijah raised a boy from the dead. (1 Kings 17.) Elijah challenged the followers of a false God and showed the nation that there was One True God. (1 Kings 18.) God fed him yet again in the wilderness. (1 Kings 19.) Elijah heard the still, small voice of God in the wilderness. (1 Kings 19.) Elijah pointed out the wickedness people tried to hide. (1 Kings 21.) He called down fire from heaven. (2 Kings 1.) When it came time for Elijah to die, well, he didn’t. A fiery chariot with horses came and took Elijah to heaven in a windstorm. (1 Kings 2.)

So, what made Elijah so special? Why was he at the center of all these stories? The truth is, that Elijah wasn’t at the center of the stories. Elijah wasn’t the main character in his own life. God was. Elijah did what God said and went where God told him to go. God was at the center, and that is what made Elijah’s life such a whirlwind.

Who is at the center of your story?

When God tells you to go, will you go?

Coloring Page.

Coloring Page.

40 Holy People: Week Four

40 holy people

Day 17: Ignatius of Antioch: Bearing  God

St. Ignatius_of_Antioch

Ignatius was born around 35 AD (that is a very, very long time ago!). He was a student of John the beloved disciple. Ignatius is also known as an Apostolic Father. The Apostolic Fathers lived during the New Testament times and were the bridge between the Apostles, who wrote the New Testament, and those who came after. (Polycarp, who we talked about previously, was also an Apostolic Father.)

Igantius referred to himself as Theophorus, which means, “God Bearer”. It is said that Ignatius was one of the children that Jesus took into his arms and blessed. (You remember the story in Matthew 19:13-15. Children were brought before Jesus, that he would bless them. The disciples got angry and told the people to go away, thinking Jesus was too busy and important for something so trivial. But Jesus welcomed the children into his arms and told those listening to let the children come and not hinder them, for the kingdom of Heaven belonged to them.)

Like Paul, Ignatius traveled and spread the good news of the Gospel. He wrote letters to churches, like Paul, too. Even though it was illegal and dangerous, Ignatius taught people about Christ in every city he traveled through. This led to his arrest and execution in 110AD. After being sentenced to be fed to lions for telling people about Jesus, Ignatius wrote, “I am writing to all the Churches and I enjoin all, that I am dying willingly for God’s sake, if only you do not prevent it. I beg you, do not do me an untimely kindness. Allow me to be eaten by the beasts, which are my way of reaching to God. I am God’s wheat, and I am to be ground by the teeth of wild beasts, so that I may become the pure bread of Christ.”

Ignatius is regarded as a Saint by many Christian traditions.

Why do you think Ignatius was willing to be eaten by lions to tell people the Gospel?

Do you think it was easy for Ignatius to bear God?

Coloring Page.

Day 18: Paul the Apostle: Making Things Right

St.Paul_apostle_circle

Paul’s name wasn’t always Paul, it was Saul. We read about his name change in the book of Acts, chapter 9. Saul is actively persecuting (punishing them for their belief) Christians. While he was on his was to Damascus to capture more Christians, he is visiting by Jesus. (Who was dead and risen at this point in time.) Jesus came to Saul and asked why he was persecuting him. Saul asked who he was. Jesus said, “ I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” Jesus tells Saul to do exactly as he says. He sends Saul into the city to wait to be told what to do. The men traveling with Saul heard the voice, but didn’t see Jesus. Saul, who had fallen to the ground, as most people would when visited by a dead man, rose from the ground and found that he couldn’t see. He was blind. The men with him let him to Damascus. For three days, blind Saul didn’t eat or drink anything. While all of this was going on, God gave a vision to a man in Damascus named Ananias. He told Ananias, who was a Christian, to go look for Saul. Once he found him, Ananias was to lay hands on Saul and pray for him that he might regain his sight. But Ananias knew who Saul was, that he was doing evil against Christians, and didn’t really want to go. But God told Ananias that He had chosen Saul to carry His name. So Ananias went. He found Saul, told him God sent Him, and he laid his hand on Saul and prayed that Saul’s sight would return and that he would be filled with the Holy Spirit. Immediately, scales fell from Saul’s eyes and he could see again. He was immediately baptized. Saul began proclaiming Jesus as the Son of God right away. But the people were pretty confused, since they knew Saul to be the one who hated Christians and sought to kill them. The Jews plotted to kill Saul, because he was telling people Jesus was the Son of God. Saul escaped with the help of Christians. Everywhere Saul went, he told people that Jesus was the Son of God. And everywhere he went, people were very confused because Saul had been killing Christians days before. Saul becomes one of the first missionaries, sent out into the world to tell people about Jesus. Somewhere along the way, Saul becomes known as Paul, and he continues to tell people about Jesus. Eventually Paul is killed because of his faith in Jesus. (This is called martyrdom.)

Do you think you could have listened to God, like Ananias, and gone to pray for someone you knew hated you?

What would have happened if Ananias refused to do what God told him? (Ananias teaches us how important we are to one another. We have the power to change people’s lives for the better, if we just listen to God.)

Do you think it was hard for Saul to realize he was wrong and change his ways?

Why do you think Jesus called Saul? Why not pick someone nicer?

Coloring Page.

Maps of Paul’s Missionary Journeys.

Day 19: Francis Asbury: Taking Jesus to The People

francis

Francis Asbury was born in England in 1745. His mother wanted him to become an Archbishop of Canterbury, so she read him the Bible, sang him hymns, and prayed over him. At the age of 18, Francis became a preacher for Methodist meetings. When he was 22, John Wesley appointed him as a traveling preacher. (You remember reading about Wesley last week.) In 1771, Francis traveled to America to preach the Gospel. In 1776, the American War of Independence broke out, and Francis was the only Methodist minister to remain in America. He traveled the country on horseback or in a carriage, preaching Jesus to every settlement he came to. Like Wesley, Asbury preached everywhere, not just in a church on Sunday mornings. He parched in fields, town squares, tobacco houses, courthouses, anywhere people were. The Methodist Church in American grew from 1,200 to 214,000 members with 700 ordained ministers. Francis Asbury ordained the first African American man in the United States, Richard Allen of Philadelphia. He died in 1816.

In those days, communication was much more difficult, so Francis Asbury traveled on horseback to tell people about Jesus. How can we communicate today to tell people about Jesus?

Colonial Map of America in 1776.

Coloring Page.

Day 20: Macrina: Encouraging Others

macrina

Macrina was the sister of Basil and Gregory, The Cappadocian Fathers we learned about 2 weeks ago. Macrina did not go the school and get the education her brother did. Basil went to great schools and learned many things, but wasn’t planning to use his education for God. Macrina told him that he had become vain (showing a very high opinion of himself) and should follow Christ. At first, Basil ignored her, thinking she was simply uneducated. But after the death of his brother, Naucratius, he went to Macrina and asked her to teach him the ways of a religious life.

Macrina was the religious guide and strength for her family after their father died. She became known as “the Teacher”, despite not having formal education. She also encouraged her brother Gregory, to follow Christ and do something for God. Though she didn’t do much in terms of church history  or worldwide significance herself, her encouragement of her brothers to follow Christ and stay the course paved the way for early Christianity. Macrina did create a monastic community for women, where they focused on serving others.

How can you encourage others to do something for God?

How can you encourage your brothers or sisters to keep faith in God?

Coloring Page.

Game Time: There is a little activity we like to do in our house. It is especially helpful on days that are full of bickering and arguing. We sit around the table and we say one nice thing about each person. So, we pick a person to go first, say Emery. Then we each go around the table and say something we really like about Emery. (Emery is a good leader. Emery always lets others have a turn. Emery is the best tree climber in the family. Etc.) Each person gets a turn having the others say something nice about them. Try it. It is very encouraging. Mom and Dad always think you’re the bee’s knees, but it is extra special hearing that your siblings really like you, too. Make sure you include Mom and Dad! It’ll warm (or tickle) your heart to hear what your kids see in you.

Day 21: Quintus Septimus Florens Tertullianus: Presenting God in My Language

tertullian

Known as Tertullian, born in 160 AD, he was a Christian author from Carthage. (Carthage is now Tunisia, which is in the northern part of Africa. At the time of Tertullian, it was under Roman rule.) He was the first Christian to write Christian literature in Latin. He was also an early Christian  apologist (someone who writes or speaks to defend Christianity) and tried to stop heresy (heresy is thinking and spreading wrong teachings). He was a defender of the Trinity, God is three person, one God. He is one of the early church fathers, paving the way for future Christians.

Why would it have been important that Tertullian wrote in Latin? Well, before that, the world was largely Greek speaking, but Latin use was rising, and continued to rise. (Many of our languages today are based largely on Latin.) Writing in Latin, meant more people could read and understand the teachings of Jesus and His Church. Imagine if we didn’t have Christian writings in English today. You wouldn’t be sitting here listening to this being read and you wouldn’t understand as well as you do in your native language. Tertullian defended the Trinity and defended Christianity, which we have talked about how important those things are to use today.

Do you ever feel like you need to defend Jesus?

How do we know what is true about Jesus?

Coloring Page.

Coloring Page.

**Note- Print both of these coloring pages. The first is in Latin, the second is in English. This will help press the point that ideas are easily expressed in our own language, but more difficult in another language.**

Day 22: Samuel: Listening To God

Samuel

In 1 Samuel 3, we learn of God calling the boy Samuel, who was about 12 years old.

“Now the boy Samuel was serving the Lord under Eli. The Lord’s word was rare at that time, and visions weren’t widely known. One day Eli, whose eyes had grown so weak he was unable to see, was lying down in his room. God’s lamp hadn’t gone out yet, and Samuel was lying down in the Lord’s temple, where God’s chest was.

The Lord called to Samuel. “I’m here,” he said.

 Samuel hurried to Eli and said, “I’m here. You called me?”

“I didn’t call you,” Eli replied. “Go lie down.” So he did.

Again the Lord called Samuel, so Samuel got up, went to Eli, and said, “I’m here. You called me?”

“I didn’t call, my son,” Eli replied. “Go and lie down.”

( Now Samuel didn’t yet know the Lord, and the Lord’s word hadn’t yet been revealed to him.)

A third time the Lord called Samuel. He got up, went to Eli, and said, “I’m here. You called me?”

Then Eli realized that it was the Lord who was calling the boy. So Eli said to Samuel, “Go and lie down. If he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord. Your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down where he’d been.

Then the Lord came and stood there, calling just as before, “Samuel, Samuel!”

Samuel said, “Speak. Your servant is listening.”

The Lord said to Samuel, “I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of all who hear it tingle! On that day, I will bring to pass against Eli everything I said about his household—every last bit of it! I told him that I would punish his family forever because of the wrongdoing he knew about—how his sons were cursing God, but he wouldn’t stop them.  Because of that I swore about Eli’s household that his family’s wrongdoing will never be reconciled by sacrifice or by offering.”

 Samuel lay there until morning, then opened the doors of the Lord’s house. Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. But Eli called Samuel, saying: “Samuel, my son!”

“I’m here,” Samuel said.

“What did he say to you?” Eli asked. “Don’t hide anything from me. May God deal harshly with you and worse still if you hide from me a single word from everything he said to you.” So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him.

“He is the Lord, ” Eli said. “He will do as he pleases.”

So Samuel grew up, and the Lord was with him, not allowing any of his words to fail. All Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was trustworthy as the Lord’s prophet. The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh because the Lord revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh through the Lord’s own word.”

The Lord spoke to Samuel, who was just a kid, and told him He was going to do something big in the nation of Israel. This revealing on God’s part made Samuel a prophet. A prophet is someone God used to tell the people messages from God. God continued to use Samuel to send messages to His people. Israel needed Samuel. They needed him to listen to God so they would know what the Lord was saying.

Do you ever hear God call your name? I’m not necessarily talking about in an audible way, but in your heart.

Do you stop and listen when you feel God calling you? Do you stop and listen to see if God is calling you?

Coloring Page.

Game: Practice Listening! Everyone closes their eyes. One person is chosen to speak (or make a sound). The person then whispers or makes their noise. Everyone has to repeat what they think they heard. If you want to make it more difficult, turn on the TV and see if anyone can hear over the noise. Have the kids do jumping jacks while they close their eyes and see if they can hear over their movement. Listening works best when we can get rid of all distractions and just listen.

40 Holy People: Week Three

40 holy people

Day 11: Fanny Crosby — Using What I Have for God

Fanny_Crosby

Fanny Crosby was born is 1820. Either she was blind from birth or she lost her sight shortly after.

At the age of eight, Fanny wrote her first poem. She was raised in a Christian home and by the age of fifteen had memorized the four Gospels, the Pentateuch, the book of Proverbs, the Song of Solomon, and many of the Psalms. She also learned to play the piano, organ, harp, and guitar.

In 1843, Fanny became the first woman to formally address the United States Senate. She advocated for the education of the blind.

Her first poem was published is 1841, and her first hymn was published in 1844. She continued to write hymns about her faith and country and poems about her convictions.

By the time she died in 1915, Fanny had written almost 9,000 hymns. Her goal was to win people to Christ through her songs. During the time of her hymn-writing, She lived in areas where she could help the poor and immigrants and was said to give away most of her money as soon as she got it. She kept only the money to pay for her basic necessities and gave away the rest to the poor around her.  Though she was blind, she used everything she had to point others to Jesus, whether in giving her money or time to help the poor or using her talents to write songs.

What do you do for God with what you have?

What could you do for others with what you have?

Activity: Listen to or sing one of Fanny’s hymns. (e.g., “All the Way My Savior Leads Me”, “Blessed Assurance”, “I Am Thine, O Lord”, “Jesus Is Tenderly Calling You Home”, “Near the Cross”, “Redeemed, How I Love to Proclaim It!”, “Rescue the Perishing”, “Take the World, but Give Me Jesus”, etc.)

“Blessed Assurance” sheet music — You can print this out for your kids to see what a hymn looks like in a hymnal. (Not all churches still have hymnals.)

Day 12: John Wesley — Taking Jesus to the People

John_Wesley_by_George_Romney

Born in 1703, John Wesley was the fifteenth child (of nineteen). His mother, Susanna, taught the children to read, speak Latin and Greek, and memorize much of the New Testament. His mother was very devoted to helping her children develop a relationship with God.

In 1735, John and his brother Charles made the trip from their home in England to Savannah, Georgia. He spent a few years in Georgia as Savannah’s parish priest, gathered together many holy men and women, and grew the congregation.

Upon returning to England, Wesley began “taking church” to the people. He would preach in streets and where people were instead of waiting for them to come to church. He felt the need to go out and meet those who didn’t know God and introduce them. He travelled on horseback, preaching two or three times a day. (To preach means to proclaim the Gospel, to tell people about Jesus.) Like Fanny, Wesley gave most of his money to the poor, keeping only what was necessary to meet his basic needs. He wrote books, peached sermons, met people where they were, and taught them about God and how to live a holy life.

Wesley died in 1791. His final words were, “Farewell, farewell. The best of all is, God with us.” He left 135,00 members and 541 preachers in the newly named “Methodist” churches.

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”

-John Wesley

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Day 13: Helen Roseveare — Do Something for God

helen-roseveare

Helen Roseveare was born in England in 1925. As a child in Sunday School, she first felt she might be called to live on a foreign mission field. Her father thought highly of education, and Helen became a doctor. She still felt called to missions while in school and said, “I’ll go anywhere God wants me to, whatever the cost.”

After six and half years of medical school, six months in a missionary training center, and six months in Belgium studying French and tropical medicine, she went on a five-week trip to the Congo before she finally found herself where God was calling her. She was the only doctor for 2.5 million people. She began her work in a mud and thatch hospital while she built the building she needed and learned to speak Swahili. In eleven years, she had a 100-bed hospital and maternity complex and saved thousands of lives.

In 1964, Helen was taken as a prisoner of rebel forces in the area and endured beatings and torture. Once released, she returned to England to tell the people there that God’s grace had been sufficient during her time as a prisoner. She returned to the Congo in 1966 and continued her work helping the sick and injured until 1973. Helen is still alive today, writing books and encouraging people to be the hands of Jesus and do something for God.

“If I truly believe in Him, I’ll trust Him to desire for me that which is for my highest good and to have planned for its fulfillment.”

-Helen Roseveare

“It would seem that God had merely asked me to give Him my mind, my training, the ability that He has given me; to serve Him unquestioningly; and to leave with Him the consequences….How wonderful God is, and how foolish we are to argue with Him and not to trust Him wholly in every situation as we seek to serve Him!”

-Helen Roseveare

What do you think you could do for God now?

Use this map to color and find the Congo on the map.

Day 14: Teresa of Avila — Visions of Castles

teresa of avila painting

Teresa of Avila lived during the 1500s. (1515-1582, to be exact.) She lived in Spain and grew up in a family who converted to Christianity from Judaism. Teresa became a Carmelite nun early in adulthood. These nuns were devoted to prayer, though they were pretty lax about it when Teresa joined. Teresa worked to reform and strengthen her Cloister. (A cloister is a group of people living in a place of seclusion, much like a monastery.)

Teresa sought a deeper relationship with God through prayer and encouraged those around her to do the same. She had many visions during her quiet time with God. One of her visions was that of a castle. She described the spiritual life as walking through a castle, getting closer and closer to Christ who awaits us at the center.

“Let nothing disturb you.
Let nothing make you afraid.
All things are passing.
God alone never changes.
Patience gains all things.
If you have God you will want for nothing.
God alone suffices.”

-Teresa of Avila

“Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks with compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes– you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”

-Teresa of Avila

Teresa of Avila is considered a Saint by many Christian Traditions. She devoted herself to prayer and to others finding a closer walk with God. Do you think you are devoted to prayer? Do you think you help others in their walk with God?

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Day 15: Samuel Kaboo Morris — A Prince with a Mission

samuel morris

Samuel Kaboo was born in Liberia in 1873 as a prince among his tribe. When he was fourteen, he became a Christian; during that same year, he was captured by a neighboring tribe. He was beaten daily and was used as ransom to get his tribe to bring riches to his captors. One night, Kaboo saw a flash, and a voice told him to flee. His ropes fell off, he felt strong, and he ran off into the jungle, where he wandered for several days. He finally found a plantation and stayed there to work.

Samuel later felt called to America to learn more about God. He met a missionary who told him all she knew. He asked the missionary who taught her, and she gave him the name Stephen Merritt. Samuel walked to the shore and prayed that God would send a ship to take him to America. He eventually saw a trade ship and asked the captain to take him to America. The captain said, “No.” However, several of the workers on the ship ran away, so the captain asked Samuel to come on board to work. When he first boarded the ship, the other sailors abused him and made fun of Samuel, but by the time they reached America, they were all praying and singing hymns together.

In America, he found Stephen Merritt, who then asked Samuel to wait for him at his mission. When Mr. Merritt returned, he found that Samuel had begun a prayer meeting and had lead almost twenty men to Christ. He met many people and showed love and passion for Christ.

Samuel was used by God to draw many people to the Lord. While he attended school, many students came to pray with him. People from around the world would come to hear him speak. He inspired people to simply do something for God.

Samuel wanted to go back to Liberia and tell the people there about Jesus, but when he was twenty, he developed pneumonia. He prayed for God to heal him, but God told him that his work was done and that it was time to come home. Though other students encouraged him to pray and said that he needed to get better so that he could go back to Liberia and spread the Gospel, Samuel replied, “It is not my work… It is His. I have finished my job. He will send others better than I to do the work in Africa.”

After his death, many of his fellow students felt God calling them to go to Africa to be missionaries. Today, 85.6% of Liberians are Christian.

Do you pray for your neighbors? Your city? Your country?

Do you think God is calling you to share Him with your neighbors?

Use this map of Africa to color and find Liberia.

Day 16: Perpetua — I Am a Christian!

Perpetua

In 202 AD, Christianity was illegal. Perpetua was a Christian. Perpetua was arrested as she was preparing for Baptism. Her father, a nobleman, asked her to say she was not a Christian so she would not be put to death. She replied, “Could this vase of water be called any name other than what it is?” Her father said it could not. She replied, “Well, so too I cannot be called anything other than what I am– a Christian.”

At first, Perpetua was held under house-arrest. She was baptized in the house while under arrest. She and her fellow Christians were then moved to a prison and locked in a dungeon. She was eventually moved to a better part of the prison where she could receive visitors. Perpetua was sentenced to death in an amphitheater. She told those with her, “You must all stand fast in the faith and love of one another, and do not be weakened by what we have gone through.”

Before her death, Perpetua asked God for a vision, showing if she would be condemned or freed. Perpetua received this vision from God: She saw a narrow ladder reaching to heaven, but only one person could climb up at a time. She saw a garden with a man dressed as a shepherd at the top of the ladder. Around the shepherd were thousands of people dressed in white. When the shepherd looked up and saw her, he said, “I am glad you have come my child.”

Perpetua and another young woman who was martyred with her, Felicitas, are recognized as Saints by many Christian traditions.

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40 Holy People: Week Two

40 holy people

Day 5: Polycarp — And the Fire Will Not Touch Him

polycarp

Polycarp was a disciple of John, the disciple whom Jesus loved. He lived in the second century. So, Polycarp was among the first Christians. Polycarp was one of the three Apostolic Fathers. The Apostolic Fathers lived during the New Testament times and were the bridge between the Apostles, who wrote the New Testament, and those who came after. During Polycarp’s life, there was much being said about Christ, but not all of it was true. Polycarp’s role was to keep the message of the Gospel true and not let others change it.

In his old age, it is said that Polycarp was burned at the stake for refusing to burn incense for the Roman Emperor. Polycarp said, “How then can I blaspheme my King and Saviour? Bring forth what thou wilt.” When the fire did not consume and kill Polycarp, he was stabbed. He is now regarded as a Saint in many Christian traditions. (A saint is a person who is recognized by the Church as someone who lived a very holy life. We also call those who die having faith in Jesus saints.) And we can thank Polycarp for keeping the story of the Gospel true and unchanged.

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Day 6: Athanasius — Defender of the Trinity

Athanasius

Athanasius was born around 296 AD. He was born into a Christian family in Egypt. As a child, Athanasius would baptize other children in the river outside of the church. When the Bishop of Alexandria saw, he declared that the baptisms done by Athanasius were genuine and invited the children to begin training for a clerical career.  In his young adulthood, he was a secretary for the Council of Nicaea, from which we get the Nicene Creed. (A creed is a basic statement of faith.) What we know today about the Trinity– that God is three Persons– well, you can thank Athanasius for defending that truth in the early Church. He wrote great truths and preached them, as well.

Nicene Creed

Athanasius was exiled five times, fleeing or being exiled by Emperors. After his fifth exile, he returned to Alexandria to resume writing and preaching, particularly about the Incarnation. (Incarnation is a big fancy word that means that Jesus was completely God and actually became a Man.) Quietly in his bed, Athanasius died in 373, surrounded by his clergy and faithful supporters. Athanasius is recognized by many Christian traditions as a saint, like Polycarp.

“Jesus, who I know as my Redeemer, cannot be less than God.”

-Athanasius at the Council of Nicaea (c. 325)

Map of Alexandria, Egypt

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Day 7: Jim Elliot — My Life for Yours

jimelliot

Jim Elliot was a Christian missionary to the Auca people in Ecuador. A missionary is someone who goes to another culture to spread the Gospel of Christ. As a child, Jim grew up in church and had a heart for people who died without ever hearing about Jesus. He knew from a young age that God was calling him to the mission field.

Jim first went to Shandia, Ecuador, to minister to the Quichas. After three years with the Quicha people, Jim felt God calling him to share Jesus with the Aucas, even though he knew the Aucas killed outsiders and had killed many Quichuas. To win the trust of the Aucas, Jim and fellow missionaries began dropping supplies to the Aucan people, using a bucket to lower the supplies down. After months of supply drops, the Aucas sent a gift back up in the bucket of the plane. Jim felt it was time to meet the people face to face.

Jim and four other missionaries were flown in and dropped off on the Auca beach. After waiting of four days on the beach, an Auca man and two women appeared on the beach. The missionaries tried to show them friendship and asked them to bring the others with them. For two days, the missionaries waited for the Aucas to return. On the sixth day, the Aucas returned but did not appear friendly. They came with spears raised. Though Jim carried a gun, he chose not to use it. He knew the Aucas did not know Jesus and did not want them to die without knowing Christ. Jim and his friends– Ed McCully, Roger Youderian, Nate Saint, and Pete Flemming– were all killed by the Aucas.

When the men did not call, a plane was sent out looking for them. Eventually, the bodies of the missionaries were found. Though this sounds very sad, the story is not over.

In less than two years, Jim’s wife and daughter, Elisabeth and Valeria, were able to move with Rachel Saint (Nate Saint’s sister) into the Auca village. Many of the Aucas became Christians and they are now a friendly tribe with missionaries, including Nate Saint’s son and family still living there. Though Jim and the other four missionaries died, the Aucas were still able to hear about Jesus because of them.

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

-Jim Elliot

Map of South America

Color and decorate this typography. Hang it somewhere to remind you of the boldness and heart that puts others before yourself.

Day 8: Anthony of Egypt — Running from Temptation

saintanthony3

Anthony of Egypt is known as the Father of All Monks. He was born around 251 AD. While not the first monk, he made it a habit of going out in the wilderness to be alone. Seeing the world full of snares and temptations, he ran to the wilderness to be closer to God. Most of what is known of Anthony was written in a biography by Athanasius. (Remember: we learned about him earlier this week.)

When Anthony was eighteen, his parents died. Shortly after this, Anthony decided to follow Jesus. He gave away and sold everything he had and donated the funds to help the poor. He followed the tradition of the hermit and went to live in the desert alone. (A hermit is a person who lives a simple life away from others for religious reasons.) The devil still fought to tempt Anthony through boredom, laziness, and phantoms of women, yet he overcame temptation through prayer. (There are many paintings depicting the temptation of Saint Anthony.)  It is said that, after this, Anthony went to live in a tomb, where local people would bring him food. In the tomb, the devil beat him till Anthony became unconscious, but his friends from the village found him and brought him to a local church.

Anthony then moved further into the desert, where again, Satan resumed his war on Anthony sending phantoms in the form of wild beasts, wolves, lions, snakes, and scorpions. As the beasts would attack Anthony, he would laugh at them and say, “If any of you have any authority over me, only one would have been sufficient to fight me.” And the phantoms would disappear like smoke.

the-temptation-of-st-anthony

In 311, Anthony traveled to Alexandria and visited those imprisoned for the sake of Christ and comforted them. The Governor told Anthony not to come back to the city, but Anthony did not listen and came anyway. When the Governor did not kill Anthony, he returned to the desert.

But this time, disciples followed him to the desert to be taught by him. A monastery developed around him deep in the desert and Anthony taught his disciples, now fellow monks, to pray and work. At his death, he was buried in an unmarked, secret grave.

Anthony of Egypt is recognized as a Saint in many Christian traditions.

Anthony ran to the desert to escape temptation (a strong urge or pressure to do wrong); how far would you go to escape temptation?

Anthony used prayer to overcome temptation; try praying for God to help you overcome temptations in your own life.

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Day 9: The Cappadocian Fathers — God in Three Persons

Cappadocian Fathers

First, where is Cappadocia? Well, it was just south of the Black Sea, near modern-day Turkey. (See the map.)

cappadocia map

The Cappadocian Fathers are three men. Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory of Nazianzus. They were all born sometime around 330 AD.  Basil and Gregory of Nyssa were brothers. Gregory of Nazianzus was their close friend. They helped finalize the 381 version of the Nicene Creed. (We read about the first version, from 325, when we talked about Athanasius.) They, too, were defenders of the Trinity– God in Three Persons.

In the early days after Jesus died and after all his disciples died, there were many wrong things being taught about the Gospel. People were trying to make Christ fit into the ideas they already had about religion and thought. They wanted to change Jesus to fit into what they already thought instead of letting Jesus change their minds. These early Church fathers were those who fought for the truth. We might think of them as people just sitting around thinking and writing, but they were actually working hard to preserve the truth of Jesus so that we could really know Him.

Back then, many people tried to say that Jesus was not God– that, sure, he was like God, but of course, he wasn’t really God. Some even said the Jesus wasn’t God at all– just a created man who God used. The Cappadocian Fathers insisted that people know the truth–that Jesus is fully God, that there is one God who is actually three Persons– Father, Son, and Spirit. They knew the truth, and they fought for it so that it would be passed down to you and me. Even now, their work actually helps us really know God.

Basil cared for the poor, and after his death, the poorhouse, hospital, and hospice of Ceasarea became the the lasting monuments of his life. Basil is considered a Saint by many Christian traditions.

Gregory of Nyssa is considered a Saint by many Christian traditions, though the year and cause of his death is unknown.

Gregory of Nazianzus is also considered a Saint. Gregory died of old age in Arianzum, six years after retiring from his work in the church.

Constanopolitan Creed

Day 10: Irenaeus — Standing for Truth

200px-Saint_Irenaeus

Iranaeus lived in the early 2nd century and is an early Church Father and Apologist. (An apologist is someone who defends or supports something that is criticized or attacked by other people. In this case, he defended the Gospel and the Church.) Irenaeus was a hearer (someone that listened) to Polycarp, about whom we read earlier this week.

Irenaeus’ main apologetic topic was against Gnosticism. ‘Gnosis’ means knowledge. Some people back then (and some people now) think the way to salvation is through intellectual knowledge (by learning more information than others). Irenaeus knew that the only way to salvation was through trusting what God did in and through His Son, Jesus. While the Gnostics say knowledge just comes to them through some secret teachings, Irenaeus used Scripture to defend his position– that salvation is available in Christ.

Just like many other Church Fathers, we remember and celebrate Irenaeus for his boldness to stand for truth. Thankfully, the truth of the Gospel was then passed down to you and me.

Nothing is known of Irenaeus’ death. Some say he was a martyr, that he died because of his faith in Christ. He was buried under the Church of Saint John in Lyons, which was renamed St. Irenaeus in his honor.

Standing for truth isn’t always easy. Sometimes it is hard to tell the truth or defend it. Have you ever found it tough to tell the truth? Have you ever had to defend the truth?

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40 Holy People: Week One

40 holy peopleThis first week is a short week, beginning on Ash Wednesday. Lent is a time of reflection, a time to recenter our lives. We look around, see what is necessary and what is extra. We give up some comforts and excesses. And we learn to thank God for enough. We deny ourselves and find we can see God a little more clearly. Each day brings us a little closer to the Cross. As we look at the lives of these extraordinary individuals, remember that, had they not focused on God, they wouldn’t be extraordinary. Extraordinary begins with steps outside the ordinary.

Day One: John the Baptist — Preparing the Way of the Lord

john-the-baptist fx

It is fitting that we begin this season of fasting with John the Baptist. Clothed in camel hair and eating locusts and honey in the wilderness, John the Baptist knew giving up worldly pleasures. John the Baptist was far from normal. His birth was foretold by angels. He was born to a barren couple. He was set aside from birth for a holy life. He was the one who prepared the way for Jesus. While still in the womb, he leapt at the presence of His Savior. He was “the voice crying in the wilderness”. Can you imagine that being the thing said about you? He preached of the coming Savior, and crowds followed him. You can read about John’s ministry in Matthew 3, Mark 1, Luke 3, and John 1. Even after John baptized Jesus, he continued to be the wild-haired desert preacher. He made some people very uncomfortable, even made some mad, but he continued to spread the word he’d been given. John the Baptist spoke the truth, and that isn’t always easy for people to hear. In Matthew 14, we read of John’s death, which was far from pleasant.

What worldly pleasures will you give up during this season of Lent as you prepare for the Lord?

What truth has God given you to share? How can your life point more toward Christ?

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Day Two: Dietrich Bonhoeffer — Courage for the Sake of Others

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was born February 4, 1906, in Germany. He was a pastor, theologian, and martyr. When the Nazis rose to power in Germany, Bonhoeffer spoke out against them. At the urging of friends, Bonhoeffer left his home for the United States, to escape persecution by the Nazis. However, he soon regretted his decision and decided to go back home to his people and stand with them. “I have come to the conclusion that I made a mistake in coming to America. I must live through this difficult period in our national history with the people of Germany. I will have no right to participate in the reconstruction of Christian life in Germany after the war if I do not share the trials of this time with my people… Christians in Germany will have to face the terrible alternative of either willing the defeat of their nation in order that Christian civilization may survive or willing the victory of their nation and thereby destroying civilization. I know which of these alternatives I must choose, but I cannot make that choice from security.” Bonhoeffer returned to Germany and continued to rebel against Nazi power, even helping in forming assassination attempts against Hitler.

On April 5, 1943, Bonhoeffer was arrested and imprisoned. In 1945, he was moved to a concentration camp. On April 9, 1945, two weeks before the United States liberated the camp he was in, Bonhoeffer was executed. “I saw Pastor Bonhoeffer… kneeling on the floor praying fervently to God. I was most deeply moved by the way this lovable man prayed, so devout and so certain that God heard his prayer. At the place of execution, he again said a short prayer and then climbed the few steps to the gallows, brave and composed. His death ensued after a few seconds. In the almost fifty years that I worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God.” (Eberhard Bethge, witness to the execution)

Bonhoeffer could have easily stayed in America, safe from the evil on the other side of the world. Instead, he chose to stand up against evil– to stand with his people. He suffered for it, but ultimately, it was the right thing to do. He insisted, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

“Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God’s will.” (Eric Metaxas) [If you’re interested in learning more about the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I recommend reading Eric Metaxas’ biography Bonhoeffer.]

Day Three: Amy Carmichael — Showing the Love of Christ

Amy_Carmichael_with_children

Amy Carmichael was born in 1867 in Ireland. She was the oldest of seven children. As a teenager, Amy started a Sunday morning group for mill girls which grew to over 500 participants. Amy first became a missionary to Japan but fell ill and had to return home after 15 months. She then went to Ceylon and finally to India, where she found her life’s work. She mainly worked with girls and young women who were forced into a kind of slavery to earn money for pagan temple priests. Children in India seemed drawn to Amy; when asked why, they would often say it was because of her love. Amy started a home for children in India, saving them from bleak futures in forced pagan temple service. She rescued more than 1,000 children in India. Amy died in India at the age of 83. Instead of a headstone, the children she rescued put a bird bath over her grave and labeled it “Amma” (the Tamil word for ‘mother’).

“One can give without loving, but one cannot love without giving.”

-Amy Carmichael

“Give me the Love that leads the way
The Faith that nothing can dismay
The Hope no disappointments tire
The Passion that’ll burn like fire
Let me not sink to be a clod
Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God.”

-Amy Carmichael

How could you show others the love of God?

How have you felt the love of God through someone else?

Map of India

Optional Craft: Make a bird bath. Using a terra cotta pot and a pot base (or you could use a glass bowl), paint or decorate the pot, remembering that it will be used upside down. Glue the pot base or bowl onto the bottom of the terra cotta pot. If your pot base has a hole, you’ll want to take some caulk or putty and cover the hole. Once the putty is dry, fill your bird bath with some water and put it outside for the birds to enjoy.

Day Four: Stephen — Love Your Enemies

the-martyrdom-of-st-stephenIn Acts 7, we read about Stephen, who was the first person to die for His faith in Christ after Jesus himself died. Stephen proclaimed the Gospel to those who had persecuted Jesus. He wanted them to see that the Messiah had come. They were angry with Stephen for what he said. When they drug Stephen out of the city, Stephen looked into the Heavens and saw Jesus standing next to God the Father, and he told them what he saw. The elders became even angrier, refusing to listen. Instead, they picked up stones and stoned him to death. While Stephen was dying, he prayed that God would not hold his death against those who were killing him.

We easily say, “Love your enemies,” but do you think loving his enemies was easy to do in Stephen’s case? His enemies were killing him, yet he still showed love.

How can you show love to those who wrong you?

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Optional Craft: Get large river rocks and using paint or Sharpies, write on the rocks, “Love your enemies.” It will be both a reminder of the love shown by Stephen and a reminder to love those who are against us. For younger kids, you may want to write on the rocks and then let them decorate with paint, stickers, or glued on gems.

40 Holy People

For Lent this year, our family devotional is centered around holy people… people that used their lives for others, people that inspire us to be more. Since there are 40 days in Lent (not counting Sundays), we’re looking at 40 Holy People. Some are Saints, some are missionaries, some are evangelists– all are examples of what we can do in Christ. I’m praying that the lives of these 40 individuals inspire my children (and honestly, myself) to get out of our comfort zones and do something for God, to deepen our faith, and to press us toward holiness.

40 holy people

Links will be updated throughout Lent.

Week One

Week Two

Week Three

Week Four

Week Five

Week Six

Week Seven