Family Devotion: How Loud Is Your Life?

Loud

If you ever met Andrew, you would never have guessed how loud he could be.  I met him the year I taught a 5th grade boys’ Sunday School class. In case you don’t know any 5th grade boys, let me assure you, they have no problem being loud.  It turned out, though, by the end of the year, Andrew was the loudest one of all.

But like I said, you would have never guessed it by meeting him.  Andrew wasn’t shy, but he was definitely soft-spoken, polite and never acted up in class.  One day, at the end of the school year, however, his mom took me aside and told me just how loud Andrew could be.  

She told me how his teacher asked him to stay after class one day because she wanted to talk to him.  If you’ve ever had a teacher want to talk to you after class, you know that rarely goes well, but Andrew’s case was an exception.

The teacher said, “I’ve been watching you all year, and you are different than every boy in this class.  When the other boys make fun of someone, you stand up for them. When others complain about homework, you don’t join in.  When I ask for someone to help, you’re the first person to volunteer. You’re kind and loving to everyone in class. I just have to know, why are you so different?”

Andrew shared with teacher that he loved Jesus and just tried to be like him and treat people the way Jesus would.  His teacher wasn’t friends with Jesus, but she asked Andrew where he went to church and said she’d like to visit sometime.  

That was twenty years ago.  I don’t know whatever happened to that teacher or to Andrew, but I bet he kept on being loud.   See, Andrew knew how to be loud even when he was being quiet. His life and actions told people about Jesus without even saying a word.  

The Bible talks a lot about living like Andrew.  Jesus’ friend Peter once wrote, “People who do not believe are living all around you. They might say that you are doing wrong. So live good lives. Then they will see the good things you do, and they will give glory to God on the day when Christ comes again” (1 Peter 2:12 ICB).

In a world full of selfishness, a person who lives a quiet life serving Jesus and others can really stand out from the crowd.  Think about your own life. If you had a been a 5th grader in Andrew’s class, what would his teacher have said about you?  What would your life tell her about God?   

This week, think about how you can be loud with your life without even saying a word.  Then, if you do get a chance to tell someone about the hope you have in Jesus, your life will prove that your words are true.

 

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Best Surprise Ever 7: Surprising Life

Surprising Life

This is Part Seven in a seven-part series of family devotions leading up to Easter.  Here is Part OnePart Two, Part ThreePart Four, Part Five and Part Six if you need to catch up.  

Verse to Remember:  The Spirit of the God who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you. So the God who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your bodies. He will do this because of his Spirit who lives in you.  – Romans 8:11 (NIrV)

Big Idea:  Jesus is alive forever, and I can live with him forever too.  

Have you ever had bad news turn into good news?  Imagine your mom made a fresh batch of cookies, but your brother or sister ate them before you could have any.  Bad news, right? But then what if your mom felt sorry for you and made a whole plate of cookies just for you? That’s good news.  

Or how about this?  Imagine you were supposed to go horseback riding, but the trip got rained out.  Bad news, right? But then, what if you got up the next day to discover that your grandpa bought you your very own pony?  Wow, that would be good news!

Jesus’ friends had to deal with some bad news too.  It was much worse than someone eating your cookies or a rainy day ruining your plans.  Their friend, their leader, their teacher, Jesus, was dead.

Jesus’ friends were so incredibly sad.  They had been following Jesus for years, watching him do amazing things like walk on water and heal sick people and even bring dead people back to life.  They had learned from him and laughed with him. They loved him, but now he was gone.

This wasn’t just bad news.  It was the worst news ever.

But then, something incredible happened.  The worst news of all time turned into the best news of all time.  

The Bible says on that first Easter morning, Jesus’ body lay dead in a tomb.  A massive stone sealed the entrance, and Roman soldiers stood guard outside. Jesus’ friends were scared and hiding.  All hope seemed lost.

Then God went to work.  The ground began to rumble and shake.  The soldiers didn’t know what was happening.  Suddenly, a strange warrior appeared out of nowhere, his clothes crackling with energy, the power and glory of God.  

When the soldiers saw the mighty angel, they were terrified and fell to the ground.  Then, the angel rolled back the stone that sealed the tomb, and revealed the best surprise ever waiting inside.  

Jesus was alive. 

The stone wasn’t big enough.  The guards weren’t tough enough and death wasn’t strong enough to hold Jesus back. Now Jesus is alive forever, and no one and nothing can ever hurt him again.  

You want to know the best part of the best surprise ever?  If we follow Jesus, that same power that raised him from the dead is inside of us.  So we don’t have to be afraid of bad news. We don’t even have to be afraid of death, because we will live forever with Jesus.

This Easter, party like you never have before.  Thank God for the best surprise ever. Celebrate what Jesus did for you on the cross, that he is alive, and you are alive with him today.  

Prayer

God, thank you for the best surprise ever.  Thank you that Jesus is alive, and I will be alive forever with him because of your love and power.  Amen.

Talk About It

  1. What is your favorite part about Easter?
  2. Can you think of a time you got some bad news?  
  3. How about some good news?
  4. What makes Jesus’ resurrection the best surprise ever?

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Best Surprise Ever 6: Surprising Price

SurprisingPrice

This is Part Six in a seven-part series of family devotions leading up to Easter.  Here is Part OnePart Two, Part ThreePart Four and Part Five if you need to catch up.  

Verse to Remember: God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life. – John 3:16 (NIrV)

Big Idea:  Jesus died to set me free.  

Have you ever tried to sell something you owned?  Maybe a baseball card or a comic book or even an old toy at a garage sale?  Or maybe you set up a lemonade stand on a hot, summer day and tried to sell drinks to your neighbors?  

If you’ve ever sold something, how did you decide what the price would be?  Did you ask your parents to look online to see how much your comic book was worth or ask a friend what they would charge for lemonade?

At the end of the day, though, it doesn’t really matter what you charged.  What mattered was how much someone was willing to pay. You could have said your baseball card was worth a million dollars, but if no one was willing to pay that price, it wouldn’t really be worth it.  

2,000 years ago, Jesus showed us how much we are worth to God.  He paid the ultimate price for you and me. He didn’t pay for us with money.  He paid for us with his life.

After Jesus was arrested and taken to Pilate, he was sentenced to die.  He hadn’t done anything wrong, but his enemies were jealous of him. They didn’t want the people to follow Jesus.  They wanted people to follow them.

So Pilate turned Jesus over to the soldiers who beat him and took him to a hill outside of the city.  They nailed Jesus to a wooden cross. Then, the one man who had never done anything wrong, the perfect Son of God, took the punishment for the sin of the world.  

But this was all part of God’s plan.  Jesus had come to earth for this very reason.  He came to earth to pay the price for the bad things you and I have done, so we don’t have to.  He died on the cross so we could be forgiven and free.

Now we can be friends with a perfect God even though we’re not perfect.  Now God’s power can change us to be more like Jesus each day. Now we can be a part of God’s family because Jesus paid the price for us.  

Want to know how much you’re worth to God?  Just look at the cross. Look at Jesus. Remember the price he paid for you and remember you are loved.  

Prayer:

Jesus, you are my Savior.  Thank you for paying the price for the wrong things I’ve done so that I can be a part of your family forever.  I love you, Jesus. Amen.

Talk About It:

  1. What’s the coolest gift you’ve ever received?  Who gave it to you? How did that make you feel?
  2. What gift did Jesus buy for you on the cross?
  3. How can we show Jesus we’re grateful for his gift this week?

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