Theme: Being open to God’s plan.
1. It’s said that “hindsight is 20/20”—which just means that it’s easier to see the big picture after something has happened rather than while it’s happening. Romans 8:28 says that God has a good plan for you in every situation, even though sometimes we can only see it when we look back. Can you think of a time when something good came out of bad situation in your life?
2. Paul and Silas were preaching in the busy market of Philippi when they were thrown into jail (Acts 16:16-34). What a terrible thing to happen! But they didn’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves. They prayed and sang songs to God so loudly that the other prisoners listened to them. Then Paul and Silas witnessed about Jesus to the head jailer and his family. Imagine all the people a Christian jailer could talk to about Jesus—both prisoners and their visitors! As you listen to this episode, think about places and times where you’re with other people. How could you show Jesus to them?
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”
In this episode, Liz and his friends use an unpleasant situation to encourage someone near them. God has placed us where we are for a reason, even if we don’t often understand what the reason is. Maybe it’s a big opportunity to proclaim his name to a friend or neighbor, like Paul and Silas had. Maybe it’s a small opportunity to show love to someone. In Matthew 10:42, Jesus points out that even just giving a cup of cold water to someone who needs it can be done in Jesus’ name.
How can we bless the people around us? Often we’re so busy looking ahead to the next thing in our lives that we ignore what and who are in front of us. Let’s start with a smile and a positive attitude. As Grandpa pointed out, we can be examples of praising God in any circumstance. Purposefully being an encouragement to those around us is one step in trusting that every detail in our lives is worked into something good.
It’s amazing what even a smile can do to make someone's day. Remind yourself to be an encouragement to others by making a smiley-face charm. Print out a picture or emoji and glue it onto a sturdy piece of cardboard or plastic. On the other side, put a picture of a cross or a heart to remind you that God’s plans are always for good. Cover it with clear tape to keep it protected, then attach it with a large safety pin to your backpack or bag. When you see it, think of the people God has placed around you who need a smile and a kind word. You may never know the impact you may have in their lives.