My husband, Glenn, is sharing these daily lessons from Philippians 4:8 for our West Huntsville family as we are necessarily (because of the virus) spending less time physically together in worship, study and fellowship. We may be “socially distanced,” but we’re a close-knit family and we want to keep it that way! One way to stay on track together, spiritually, is to think about a common passage and make applications for our lives together even when we are unable to assemble as frequently. I’m sharing these daily family lessons here for those in other places, whose families (or even congregations) might benefit from a common study in these uncommon days of semi-quarantine. Blessings.
Wednesday Boost –Whatever is just:
The Greek word that Paul wants us to think about is dikaios, translated “just” or “righteous,” and it describes a person who is governed by righteousness—the will to do the right thing every time. With the Golden Rule Jesus taught us the greatest ethical standard ever imposed. He told us to decide our treatment of others based on how we’d like to be treated, ourselves (Matt. 7:12). That ethical tool will work regardless of age, gender, economic level, or geographic location. Anyone can use this and the end result can usually be described as just. A just man will treat you fairly. If he sells you his used Ford he will tell you all the truth about the car, just as he would want you to tell him if you were selling the car to him. You will sense that he is a good and honest man.
Enjoy with me a list of verses where this just is found:
Joseph, the future husband of Mary is described as a just man in the way he treated her (Matt. 1:19).
Jesus used it to describe righteous people versus those who were unrighteous (Matt. 5:45). He said that, in the judgment, the angels will come and separate the wicked from the just (Matt. 13:49).
In Matthew four, Jesus told a parable of a landowner who hired workers with this pay offer: “You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you’ (Matt. 20:4). The word right is the same Greek word as just.
Hypocrisy is when a man appears to be just/righteous on the outside, while inside, he is he is full of lawlessness (Matt. 23:28).
Pilate’s wife told him to have “nothing to do with that just Man” (Matt. 27:19). She was describing our Lord. When Pilate washed his hands, he used the same word to describe Jesus (Matt. 27:24).
Herod Antipas feared John the baptist because he knew John was a just and holy man (Mk. 6:20).
Jesus said there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance (Lk. 15:7).
The centurion at the foot of Christ’s cross saw Jesus breathe His last breath, saw the darkness, felt the earth tremble and exclaimed, “Certainly this was a righteous Man!” (Lk. 23:47).
While considering these examples and people, think of how valuable just people are in this world. Today, think about how grateful you are for people in your life in whom you can place complete trust. Use the word just to characterize them. After that, ask God to help you be just in all aspects of your life, in all interactions with people and with God.
Tonight’s Story Time
Additionally, I’d like to challenge those of you who have children to use this time to build family closeness in the Lord. For that reason I’m also suggesting that all our WH families be on the same nightly “story time” character: Joseph. He, like us, faced times that must have felt surreal.
Prepare by reading Genesis 40. Tell your children the details of what happened to Joseph while he was in prison. Then begin your discussion with these leading questions:
1. When Joseph was about to interpret the dreams of the butler and baker, he said, “Do not interpretations belong to God?” Why didn’t Joseph just say the interpretation was from him? When would it be good for us to say to others, “God did this”?
2. Joseph told the butler very good news, but he told the baker very sad news. Can you think of times when it is important to tell people bad news even though it may make them sad?
3. Joseph made the butler very happy by telling him what his dream meant. Joseph asked the butler to talk to Pharaoh about his unfair treatment and to tell Pharaoh that he wanted to be released. What are reasons it is very bad to tell someone we will do something, and then not do it?
4. Talk about how the butler failed to be fair to Joseph. Show them how the butler was happy for Joseph to help him, but he did not remember to follow the Golden Rule toward Joseph.
Have your small children practice the golden rule by repeating it several times, explaining it again and…
Having a plate of cookies or fruit and allowing the children to determine who chooses the first serving. See who does the best job of following the Golden Rule.
Having a bedtime story and determining who chooses the book.
Deciding who gets to sleep with a favorite stuffed animal.
Have each child quote or begin to memorize the Golden Rule.
Practice the KidSing Rule from yesterday.
Pray together, remembering to pray that the Golden Rule will always be “our family’s rule for how we treat each other.”