Category Archives: Preschool
Text: James 4:7-12
The word submit does not echo well in the ears of Americans. When we hear submit, we think about bad things. We think of slaves being forced to submit to their masters in the 1860s. We think of MMA fighters tapping out and losing a bloody battle. We think of weakness and inferiority.
But in the Bible, the word submit means something much different. It means to show humble love and respect toward someone. Submitting has nothing to do with race or social class. Submitting is something that Christians gladly do toward all other people.
Why? Why would we want to do that? That won’t get us ahead in life. That won’t get us a big mansion. That won’t get us any magazine covers. This is a dog-eat-dog world! Submitting will only lead us to be devoured by the bigger dogs!
However, God himself came to this world and submitted to the laws and rules he had made. He subjected himself to the governing authorities. He submitted to all the sinful people who so regularly disobey and defy him.
So as Jesus showed humble love and respect for us, we most certainly can do the same for him. And as we submit to our King of kings and Lord of lords, that humble love will pour out and result in humble love and respect for one another.
Read the words of the devotion text from James 4 again today. When you read them thinking of what Christ has done for you, it suddenly becomes a lot easier to want to do these things for others.
Keep the cross of Jesus before your eyes. He is your motivation and your model for humble love!
Prayer: Loving Savior, as you have loved me and lived for me, please help me to love others. Give me a humble heart that puts you and others ahead of myself. Grant me joy in serving and submitting. I pray in your name. Amen.
Text: Numbers 11:16, 24-29
“That’s no fair!”
If I had a dollar for every time I hear that every day of the week from my children, I would be writing this devotion from my vacation home in Tahiti right now.
“That’s no fair! How come I don’t get to stay up late?”
“That’s no fair! How come I don’t get three chicken nuggets?”
“That’s no fair! How come I don’t get to sit next to Daddy for supper?”
Half the time the requests and complaints are senseless and pointless. Yet the argument for “fairness” is made nevertheless. Children naturally are wired for jealousy because children naturally are sinful, too.
Unfortunately, our jealousy only gets worse as we get older. How many times have you watched a TV show that tours celebrity homes and thought, “That is no fair! How come I can’t have a life like that?” Maybe it’s just as simple as being jealous over what your neighbor has, “Why can’t I get a nice lawnmower, too?” or being jealous of your coworker, “Why should she get a raise instead of me?”
Moses would have had every right to be jealous when some of the Israelites also started prophesying. He was God’s chosen leader! General Joshua thought it would be best if they stopped, for the sake of Moses. Yet Moses rejoiced in the gifts and abilities of his fellow Israelites and encouraged their activity. Rather than a heart of jealousy, Moses had a heart of love and thanks.
When you happen to glance at the lifestyles of the rich and famous, or even the lifestyles of your semi-rich neighbors, be thankful for what God has given them. Be thankful for all the other gifts and abilities that God gives to other people.
But then, with a loving and content heart, be thankful for what God has given you, too!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, you pour out so many blessings upon me–more than I could ever count! Help me to recognize all that you give and to rejoice in the many things I have. Give me contentment to be pleased with whatever you bless me with. Give me thanks for all the blessings you give to others. In your name I pray, Amen.
I have been excited for this day for a while now. I have been very eager to push myself to read more of Scripture lately. I really enjoy these Bible reading challenges because you get a good sense of the “flow” of Scripture and each Bible book when you are reading big chunks at a time. I feel renewed and rejuvenated after reading so much in such little time as well. Finally, I was excited for today because I decided to read from the new 2011 NIV Bible for the first time.
Today I woke up at 5:30am. I would like to say it was planned so that I could get my reading in, but sometimes I just wake up and can’t go back to sleep. That was fine. I wanted to get started anyway!
Following the schedule I created, the first 14 chapters of Matthew were up for the reading today. I started off great. I had 7 chapters done in no time!
Then two-year-old daughter woke up early. I got her and put her in our bed with some more juice. She fell asleep again . . . for 20 minutes. Then I had to make her breakfast. Then my five-year-old son woke up. Then I had to make him breakfast. Then I needed to start getting dressed.
It was kind of typical I suppose. This is what happens so often in our every day lives. Perhaps we have good intentions for reading the Bible, but something always seems to come up to divert our plans. Of course, Satan is so pleased when that is the case!
But I snuck in a few more chapters here and there and finished the reading before 7:30am this morning. I read one chapter ahead and finished Matthew 15 as well.
I’ll keep a running total of my stats as I go just for fun. Here are my stats so far:
Day 1 Reading: Matthew 1-15
Total Time To Date: 58 minutes
Are you getting started today? I would love to hear from you along the way on your journey these 90 days!
Text: Jeremiah 11:18-20
It seems almost anti-Christian, doesn’t it? Asking God to take vengeance upon your enemies? What happened to turning the other cheek? What happened to forgiving and forgiving and then forgiving some more? Yet today we see Jeremiah calling upon the Lord to do just that–take vengeance upon his enemies that threaten him.
So was that right for Jeremiah to do?
Yes. We call these kinds of prayers–or psalms in the book of Psalms–imprecatory prayers. They are prayers that essentially ask for God to crush his enemies. Remembering that Scripture says that vengeance belongs to God and not us, imprecatory prayers ask that God continues to execute his will over and above all enemies.
So while we humbly show love to all, even to our enemies, we at the same time pray that God’s enemies be overcome and defeated. After all, God’s enemies restrict us and persecute us. They oppose the preaching of God’s Word. They work to stop the growth of God’s Church. Their defeat means more opportunities for God’s people and God’s Word to grow.
Finally, these words of Jeremiah remind us of our Savior Jesus. Just as Jeremiah was led like a lamb to the slaughter, so also the great Lamb of God was. Jesus suffered at the hands of his enemies and was finally killed. Yet in this suffering and death Jesus won the ultimate victory over all our enemies–Sin, Death, and the Devil.
Thanks be to God for his victory! Thanks be to God for his power over our enemies!
Entrust to him all your cares and concerns about our enemies of faith. Give to him all glory.
Prayer: All glory be to you alone, Lord God Almighty. Watch over me with your great power and might. Keep me safe from all enemies. Crush them with your mighty power, that all may see you as King of kings and Lord of lords alone. Amen.
Devotion Text: Psalm 31
Are you a “do-it-yourself-er?”
I’m not. I live in an apartment and never really acquired the life skills necessary to accomplish really cool DIY projects. I have, however, gotten really great at knowing when to call experts and which experts to call when things go awry. Still, I appreciate the DIY culture and often look upon those talented individuals with great respect and awe.
Sadly, however, that DIY attitude doesn’t just apply to leaky pipes but spills into our lives as a whole.
In Psalm 31, the Lord reminds us (through David) that our lives here on this earth are not on our own. We do not control our destiny and we cannot come to our own aid. Theologians have often called this concept the opinio legis of mankind–this idea that we can work out our own salvation. The law says “do,” so we must be able to do? Right? Wrong. One day spent under the demands of God’s law should make it abundantly clear we cannot do anything ourselves.
The great news is that God has sent his Son to do all good things on our behalf. He lived the perfect life we could not and died an innocent death on our behalf. This God who did immeasurably more than we could ask for continues to give us every perfect gift. He who saved us from our sin also protects us from all kinds of evil. He holds us in the palm of his hand–not to crush us, but to uplift us.
Praise be to the Lord, for he showed his wonderful love to me…to you…to all.
Prayer: Dearest Lord, thank you for everything you have done for me. You created me and all things. You have redeemed me from my own evil sin. You continue to intercede for my behalf and bless me with more than I could ever need or ask. For all this you deserve nothing by my praise. Forgive me for the times I ignore your help and seek to earn salvation on my own or ignore your truth for my own foolish lies or the lies of this world. Be with me Lord, my times are in your hands. Amen.