Best Surprise Ever 2: Surprising Courage

SurprisingCourage.pngVerse to Remember: No one takes my life from me. I give it up willingly! – John 10:18 (CEV)

Big Idea: Jesus is courageous and can help me to be courageous too.
What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?  Maybe you stood up to a bully or stayed in your bed even though you were scared of the dark.  It could be the time you told the truth even though you knew you would get in trouble.  Or the day you chose to do the right thing when everyone around you was doing what was wrong.

Being courageous isn’t easy.  Sometimes it means doing hard things or scary things even when we don’t want to.

Jesus had to decide once if He was going to be courageous.  His Father had sent Him to earth to save the world, but there was only one way to do it.  He would have to die in our place.  See, everyone on earth had done wrong things, and those wrong things kept us from being friends with God.

The only way to save us was for someone to take the punishment for the bad things we’ve done, someone who had never done anything bad himself.  Jesus was the only person qualified to do the job.  He was the only sinless human ever, and he is the Son of God.

Jesus knew if he went through with God’s plan, he would be beaten, nailed to a cross and, worst of all, be separated from his Father for the first time ever.

Jesus had a big decision to make.  He went to a garden to pray and talk to his Father about it.  He said, “My Father, if it is possible, take this cup of suffering away from me. But let what you want be done, not what I want” (Matthew 26:39 NIrV).

That was a courageous prayer.  Jesus asked God three times if there was another way to save the world, and three times he told his Father that he would do whatever God wanted him to do.

There was no other way, so Jesus did the courageous thing.  He obeyed his Father and carried out his plan.  He died on the cross for you and me.  He took the punishment for every wrong thing we would ever do so that we can be forgiven and be friends with God forever.

Jesus’ courageous choice saved the world.
 

Prayer
God, thank you for sending Jesus.  Thank you that he made the courageous choice to die for me.  Please help me to have the courage to do hard things too.  Amen.

 
Talk About It
1. How do you think Jesus felt when he was praying in the garden?
2. When has it been hard for you to do the right thing?
3. How can we follow Jesus’ example when we have a tough choice to make?

 

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Best Surprise Ever 1: Jesus Is Alive

BSEBANNER1Verse to Remember: And what is eternal life? It is knowing you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. – John 17:3 (NIrV)

Big Idea: Getting to know Jesus will change your life.

 
Life is full of surprises, isn’t it? Can you remember the last time you were surprised? Was it a good surprise like a cookie in your lunchbox or was it a bad surprise, like a surprise test at school?

Some surprises are bigger than others. A friends stopping by your house to play might be fun, but a friend inviting you go to Disney with them would be absolutely amazing.

In the history of surprises, however, there is one surprise that is the biggest and best surprise of all time. It is the reason we celebrate Easter and the reason we can celebrate every day of the year.

That surprise is that Jesus is alive. He was alive on that first Easter morning 2,000 years ago, and He is still alive today.

Jesus showed us once and for all that He is the Son of God. He showed us that He is stronger than evil, more powerful than death and bigger than anything we could ever fear.

Best of all, Jesus made a way for us to be alive too. Forever. And that wonderful life with God begins here and now.

Over the next seven weeks we are going to look at the best surprise ever and discover many other surprising things about Jesus along the way. Get ready, because when you take a good look at Jesus, it will change your life.
 

Prayer
Jesus, thank you for the best surprise ever. Please help me to get to know you better over the next several weeks and get me ready to celebrate Easter with you. Amen.

 
Talk About It

1. When was the last time you had a fun surprise?
2. What’s the best surprise you can remember?
3. How do you think Jesus’ friends felt when they found out he was alive?
4. How do you get to know your friends better?  How could you get to know Jesus better?

Don’t miss the next devotion in the Best Surprise Ever series.  Subscribe here.

Family Valentine’s Day Devotion – He Did It First!

1John419Verse to Remember:  We love because he loved us first. – 1 John 4:19 (NIrV)

Terrific Truth:  We can share Jesus’ love by putting others first.

If you have a brother or sister, you know how important the word first can be.  After all, siblings can be really competitive.  Maybe you’ve heard some of these phrases around your house:

  • I want to go first.
  • I get first pick.
  • Let me have the first piece.
  • No fair!  Why is she always first?

Or how about this one?  Have you ever blamed something you did on your brother or sister because they did it to you first?  Whether it was saying unkind words, making mean faces or hitting each other, kids having been using that excuse for years.

It goes like this.  One kid yells, “Mom, she pushed me!”

Immediately the other replies, “Well, she pushed me first!”

Like that makes it okay!  We all know it doesn’t, but sometimes we use that excuse anyway to try to get ourselves out of trouble.

Okay, so those are some bad ways we use the word first, but what would you say if I told you you could actually use the word first in a good way?  In fact, the Bible tells us that the phrase, “He did it first!” can be an excuse to do all kinds of good things.

1 John 4:19 says, “We love because he loved us first” (NIrV).  Jesus’ friend John wrote this about Jesus.  He’s saying that Jesus’ love should be our example for how we treat others.

Remember, Jesus loves people who no else loves.  Jesus loves people who were mean to him.  Jesus loves people who’ve done wrong things.  Jesus loves everyone all the time no matter what.

Here’s the crazy part.  Jesus’ love gives us the power to love others in the same way.

One simple way to love others is by putting them first.  Let your brother have the first piece of cake.  Let your sister pick the first toy.  Let someone else go first in the board game.

They may look at you like you’re crazy, and may be confused why you are being so kind and loving.  If they are, just point to the Bible and explain, “He did it first!”

Put It Into Action:  Take a whole week letting others go first and see what happens.

Prayer:  Jesus, thank you for loving me every day no matter what.  Please help me to love other people in the same way.  Amen.

Sign up for Jason’s Family Devotional Newsletter to receive free family devotions delivered straight to your inbox.   The seven-week Easter series, Best Surprise Ever, starts February 14th. 

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