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. 


Best Surprise Ever – Family Easter Devotional

bestsurpriseWe all love fun surprises, don’t we?  About 2,000 years ago, God gave us the biggest and best surprise of all time.  Jesus is alive!

Help your family get ready to celebrate the resurrection with these seven devotions leading up to Easter Sunday.

Sign up to receive this seven-week e-mail series and other free family devotions here.  You will receive Best Surprise Ever delivered straight to your inbox each week starting Wednesday, February 14th and continuing through Easter.

Here’s what you can expect:

  1. Surprising Plan: John 3:16
  2. Surprising Courage: The Garden of Gethsamane
  3. Surprising Power: Soldiers Fall At Jesus’ Feet
  4. Surprising Patience: Peter Denies Jesus
  5. Surprising Kingdom: Jesus Before Pilate
  6. Surprising Love: Jesus Dies on the Cross
  7. Surprising Life: The Tomb Is Empty!

New Year Plans


This time of year most of us are thinking about the future.  We’re setting goals, dreaming dreams and planning all of the ways next year is going to be different than the last. Except for my family.  Over the New Year’s holiday we are generally recovering from a natural disaster.  

I don’t believe that any days are inherently unlucky, but if I did, I would say New Year’s Eve is our Friday the 13th.  It’s like magnet for catastrophe.  

In the past six years we have had a house fire, a water leak that ruined our living room floor and a gruesome emergency room trip when my wife lost a fight with an immersion blender.  I will spare you the details.  

As you can imagine, these curveballs played havoc with our New Year plans.  The year I thought we’d be hosting a New Year’s Day party, I found myself ripping up laminate flooring.  The year we were supposed to do Christmas with my mom, we spent hours getting my wife’s finger stitched up instead.  And the year we had the fire, it took weeks of dealing with insurance and home restoration people to get the house back to normal.  

The good news, though, is that these nasty surprises have taught me a valuable lesson about life that sets the tone for the new year.  Make all of the plans you want, but hold on loosely because you never know what the future holds.    

James 4:15-16 says “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, ‘If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that’” (NLT).

In other words it’s better to hold on to God than whatever plans we’re making for our lives.  Our circumstances are unpredictable, but God’s faithfulness isn’t.  It’s great to have to goals and dreams, but far to better to have a God who will walk with you whatever life throws your way.