Devotional teaching brothers and sisters to love each other

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Sibling Love (2 of 3): Survival

Devotional teaching brothers and sisters to love each other

For dad only:

Write to Them

The Apostle Paul was a “father” who wrote his “children.” He encouraged them in the right ways and corrected them about their mistakes. He spoke in love but he was firm. Some of the best teaching material in the New Testament comes from his writing to correct someone’s sinfulness.

Why don’t you become an apostle to your children? Sit down and write them a letter. Do not focus on negatives. But do not make it all warm fuzzies. Give them some meat to chew on. Give them something they can go back to and reread often.

Here’s some suggestions of how to write your children an epistle:

Praise and encouragement

Tell your child what you think he/she is doing well in. Uplift internal qualities and not just external performance. Do not inflate ego, encourage character. Teach brothers and sisters to love each other.

When you write, you will be tempted to use fluff. Fluffy writing is full of statements that apply to no one in particular. For example: “I like you.” You could say this to any and all of your children (and you should), but it is not meaningful or specific. Instead, say something like, “Your love of God’s Word inspires me.” Or maybe, “Thanks for protecting your sister; I am proud of your manliness.”

Correction and discipline

Perhaps you tend to nag your kids. Sit down and get to the point of what the child needs to work on. Instead of destructive statements like, “You annoy me,” try something more constructive like, “Turning up your mp3 player and ignoring your mother, hurts both her and me.”

When dealing with difficult to express concepts, use a word picture. Tell a story and then explain what it means in the child’s case. Be careful. Word pictures are powerful tools and if you are careless they can blow up on you. If you feel it might crush or permanently wound your child, throw it out.

Paul was not afraid to write hurtful things as long as they did no lasting harm. His writing did hurt the church in Corinth, but in the long run, it made them better (II Corinthians 7).

Purpose and future

Speak to the child’s destiny. Encourage him or her in the things you know God has gifted him or her in. If you know what the Lord is calling your child to, remind him or her about it.

Don’t worry about your children being too young to think about marriage, careers, or ministry. In some ways, it is healthy for children to realize life is bigger than themselves.

Wrap it up

Get to the point. Aim high.

Believe in them.

Model love.

Encourage purity.

The grace of God and our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Farewell.

_________

Read this to teach brothers and sisters to love each other:

Holed Up Together

Last time, Rusty and Misty got lost in a snow storm. They hid out in a storm culvert under the road to get out of the wind.

Misty shook all over. Rusty put his arm around her.

“Hey, you can’t go to sleep,” he said. “People who fall asleep when they are cold will die.”

“Where’s Mom and Dad?” she moaned.

“I’m sure they are looking for us. But the way this snow is coming down, they are not going to be able to drive very far.”

“I can’t get warm,” she said. Her teeth were chattering together.

Rusty closed his eyes and thought for a moment. “Okay, we need to pray.”

“Jesus, help us!” Misty blurted out.

“Lord, please help us get out of here,” Rusty said. “Help Misty get warm. Show Mom and Dad how to find us. Keep us safe. Amen.”

When Rusty finished he looked at Misty. Tears were flowing down her face. “Hey,” he said, “don’t do that. Your tears will make your face raw. Try not to cry.”

He reached over and wiped her face with the sleeve of his jacket.

“I need a tissue or something,” he said. He dug into his pocket and felt a plastic bag. Pulling it out he remembered putting it there. “Hey, look. My sandwich. I kept it for later because I wanted to go back and sled again. Here, eat my peanut butter and jelly sandwich, Misty. It might help you feel warm.”

He opened it up and let her take a bite. Her arms were wrapped around her legs to keep herself warm. “Thankth,” she said through her mouthful.

“I just wish we had some hot chocolate here, too,” Rusty muttered.

After she finished his sandwich Misty stopped shaking and chattering. The snow had packed in around the sled blockade at the end of the tunnel, and the wind had stopped howling through. Once Rusty was sure Misty was okay and not freezing to death, he decided to check out the situation outside.

“I am going to go see what I can find out there.”

“It is snowing and the wind is still strong.”

“I know, but if a vehicle comes down the road, I want them to find us.”

“Don’t go far and come back every minute,” she demanded.

Rusty looked into Misty’s eyes. She was worried about him. “Hey,” he said, glancing down, “I’m sorry about not thinking about you earlier. I was being selfish.”

“Not as bad as I was. I was happy to give the hot cocoa to the other boys but I made you get your own. I’m sorry.”

Rusty felt like crying, but he knew the tears would only chap his face. “It’s okay. It’s okay,” he said, turning to leave.

*       *       *

Dad had walked down the hill after Rusty and Misty did not show up at the top of it. Talking to Mom on his cell, he said, “I see their footprints—I think. It looks like they came down to the dry creek bed and then headed west… Yes, west—y’know, to the right?… Yeah. And they stopped at a fence, then turned around. The only other footprints I see are going up the hill. How did they miss us?… No, I don’t see any other sets of footprints leading away from here. The snow has really drifted already, though. This whole creek bed is full of snow now.”

After a while, Mom and Dad has split up to look for them. She took the minivan and he took his truck. At one point, mom found a side road where footprints came over to a fence. She looked on the other side of the road but did not see the footprints continue. She called Dad. “They may have come this way, but they must have either walked down this road, or… No, I don’t see any other car tracks—do you think they got in someone else’s car?… Maybe, the snow has drifted across parts of this road—I’m scared to drive out here. But a car could have come through here a while ago… What are the police going to do?… Okay, okay, I’ll try to be patient.”

*       *       *

“Okay, I won’t be gone long,” Rusty promised. He crawled through the tunnel and climbed out into the blowing snow. First, he climbed out of the ditch to look at the road. He saw tire marks in the road. A vehicle had come through there recently. Snow was already filling in the ruts.

“We didn’t even it hear it go over,” Rusty said. “This wind is too loud and the snow makes things so quiet.”

He looked up and down the road to see if another vehicle was coming. Nothing. He crawled back down to the culvert.

“How are you doing?” he asked.

“I’m all right. Did you find anything?”

Rusty shook his head. “No, but we have to listen really close—someone already drove by.”

“Maybe they will come back this way.”

“I don’t know—there is already a lot of snow on the road. It wasn’t safe when that car came through. I just hope—”

“You hope what?”

Rusty changed the subject, saying, “I hope I can find some wood. Maybe we can start a fire.”

He hurried out into the wind and looked around. He did not see any branches anywhere, but he walked up the fence line, looking. Soon, he came back to get out of the wind.

“If you find wood,” she asked, “How will you start a fire?”

Rusty shrugged. “Indians used to rub sticks together to start fires. Bet we could.”

He took off again, walking in the other direction. In the ditch he found a few long branches. He pulled them out of the snow and rushed back toward their shelter.

“Got some,” he said.

“I am getting cold again.”

“Here,” he said. He broke off a few pieces of wood and shuffled them in ahead of himself. “Take a couple and rub them together. I will do some myself. If we get a fire started, we will be warmer.”

Misty started rubbing the sticks together. “At least doing this makes me feel warmer,” she said after a while.

“That might be all it does,” he answered. “We probably shouldn’t burn anything in here, anyway—might die of monoxide poisoning.”

“Oh, yeah,” she said. “So what are we going to do?”

“Well, if we get a fire started, we can build it up outside. Maybe someone would see it and come to check it out. If not, we could sit in front of it to get warm.”

“Okay!” Misty rubbed her sticks even faster.

After a while, they both were quite warm. Misty even pulled off her scarf. But they still had no fire.

“I’ve been thinking,” Rusty said. “If someone came down this road again, I wonder if we would hear them.”

“Well, we can’t sit up in the road waiting for them,” Misty said.

“No,” Rusty said, as he picked up Misty’s scarf. “If we had a flag or something, it might let them know we are down here.”

“You want to use my scarf as a flag?”

“It’s bright pink. It might work.”

“Can you climb a tree or telephone pole out there?”

“No, but I had another branch, and it’s pretty long.”

“Do it!”

In a few minutes, Rusty had tied Misty’s scarf onto the stick and rammed the stick down between the wires of the fence beside the road. The stick was long enough that it hung up toward the road a little.

When he came back in, Misty asked, “Will it work?”

Rusty smiled for the first time since they left Rocket Hill. “Yes,” he said. “It’s perfect. We may not have a fire, but we have a bright pink flag!”

“There’s only one problem,” she muttered.

“What’s that?” he asked as he hunkered down next to her again.
“It’s almost dark.”

_______

Now discuss it!

Should you start an open fire inside a closed space?

 

What would you have done in their situation?

 

What changed about Rusty and Misty’s attitudes toward each other once they had to depend on each other?

 

Do you think they should have felt this way about each other without having to get lost in a storm?

 

How do you keep love in your heart for people you have to be with all the time? Why do people we are close to tend to annoy us?

 

Do you think Jesus’ brothers and sisters ever got annoying? What do you think He would do to keep loving others and not get selfish?

 

Do you think Misty will blame Rusty for getting them lost?

 

Do you think Rusty will blame Misty for getting them lost?

 

Would you blame someone or work out a plan?

_________

Read God’s Word to teach siblings to love each other:

Hated and Favored Brothers

Joseph, a young man of seventeen, took care of the sheep and goats with [his ten older brothers.] He brought bad reports to his father about what his brothers were doing. Jacob loved Joseph more than all his other sons, because he had been born to him when he was old. He made a long robe with full sleeves for him.

When his brothers saw that their father loved Joseph more than he loved them, they hated their brother so much that they would not speak to him in a friendly manner. One time Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him even more.

He said, “Listen to the dream I had. We were all in the field tying up sheaves of wheat, when my sheaf got up and stood up straight. Yours formed a circle around mine and bowed down to it.”

“Do you think you are going to be a king and rule over us?” his brothers asked. So they hated him even more because of his dreams and because of what he said about them….

When Joseph came up to his brothers, they ripped off his long robe with full sleeves. Then they took him and threw him into the well, which was dry. While they were eating, they suddenly saw a group of Ishmaelites traveling from Gilead to Egypt. Their camels were loaded with spices and resins.

Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain by killing our brother and covering up the murder? Let’s sell him to these Ishmaelites. Then we won’t have to hurt him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.”

His brothers agreed, and when some Midianite traders came by, the brothers pulled Joseph out of the well and sold him for twenty pieces of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt….

When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why don’t you do something? I hear that there is grain in Egypt; go there and buy some to keep us from starving to death.”

So Joseph’s ten half brothers went to buy grain in Egypt, but Jacob did not send Joseph’s full brother Benjamin with them, because he was afraid that something might happen to him. The sons of Jacob came with others to buy grain, because there was famine in the land of Canaan. Joseph, as governor of the land of Egypt, was selling grain to people from all over the world. So Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down before him with their faces to the ground.

When Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he acted as if he did not know them. He asked them harshly, “Where do you come from?” “We have come from Canaan to buy food,” they answered.

Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him. He remembered the dreams he had dreamed about them and said, “You are spies; you have come to find out where our country is weak.”

“No, sir,” they answered. “We have come as your slaves, to buy food. We are all brothers. We are not spies, sir, we are honest men.”

Joseph said to them, “No! You have come to find out where our country is weak.”

They said, “We were twelve brothers in all, sir, sons of the same man in the land of Canaan. One brother is dead, and the youngest is now with our father.”…

When Joseph got home, they took the gifts into the house to him and bowed down to the ground before him. He asked about their health and then said, “You told me about your old father—how is he? Is he still alive and well?”

They answered, “Your humble servant, our father, is still alive and well.” And they knelt and bowed down before him.

When Joseph saw his brother Benjamin, he said, “So this is your youngest brother, the one you told me about. God bless you, my son.”

Then Joseph left suddenly, because his heart was full of tender feelings for his brother. He was about to break down, so he went to his room and cried. After he had washed his face, he came out, and controlling himself, he ordered the meal to be served.

Joseph was served at one table and his brothers at another. The Egyptians who were eating there were served separately, because they considered it beneath their dignity to eat with Hebrews. The brothers had been seated at the table, facing Joseph, in the order of their age from the oldest to the youngest. When they saw how they had been seated, they looked at one another in amazement. Food was served to them from Joseph’s table, and Benjamin was served five times as much as the rest of them.

 (Genesis 37:2-8, 23-28; 42:1-13; 43:26-33, GNB)

_________

Let’s talk about it!

Joseph was a good man at work. However, He was holding feelings against some people. Who?

His brothers.

 

What had his brothers done to hurt him?

 

When his first son was born, according to Genesis 41:51, what did he name him and why?

Manasseh, because he had “forgotten” his family

 

Does God really want us to forget our brothers and sisters and ignore them when they have done us wrong?

 

As ruler in Egypt, Joseph served everyone in his country and helped people from other countries. Who were the only people he had a problem with serving?

His brothers.

 

One of His brothers was never old enough to cause him much trouble. How do you know he favored this brother over the others?

He wanted to see him, and gave him food and gifts.

 

Why is it easier to love younger brothers and sisters than older ones?

 

Joseph finally got over what happened to him as a child once he was an adult with kids of his own. Will you forgive your brothers and sisters now, or wait until you have your own kids?

 

Role play: Your brother makes fun of you in front of your friends. Then he falls, rips a hole in his pants, and skins his knee. Will you laugh and make fun to get even or will you help him get inside and wash it?

 

You get annoyed and yell at your older sister who wants to play a game with you, but your little brother wants you to read to him. How do you show them both love?

_________

Memorize it!

Proverbs 17:17

A friend loveth at all times,

and a brother is born for adversity.

 

Please leave a comment on what you think of this devotional teaching brothers and sisters to love each other.

2 comments to Sibling Love (2 of 3): Survival

  • Wes

    Ok..I have three boys and they did not want me to stop at the first section of the story. So tonite we read both sections and they can’t wait to hear what happens to misty and rusty. Love the devotion and loved starting conversations with my kids around the dinner table! Thank you and God bless!

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