Puppy Love

Five years ago my family blackmailed me into getting a dog.  They threatened me with a rabbit.  If I didn’t cave on the dog, we would have a long-eared carrot chomper stinking up a cage in my daughter’s bedroom.  I wasn’t about to let that happen.  

Don’t get me wrong, I love to see a cute bunny hopping around the yard as much as the next person.  I just didn’t want one as a roommate.  If we had a big house or a basement or a barn, it would be a different story, but we don’t.  When it came to Peter Cottontail, our house just wasn’t big enough for the both of us. 

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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. 


Love Seat


My wife has wanted Adirondack chairs for as long as I can remember, but we could never afford the fancy wooden ones.   When I spotted a couple of cheap plastic chairs on sale at Home Depot last week I decided to surprise her.  I couldn’t wait to see the look on her face.

I sneaked them into the yard, went in the house and dragged her out back for the big reveal.  It was like those car commercials you see around Christmas where the guy leads his wife into the driveway and unveils the new Lexus with a big, red bow on it.  She usually gasps, screams, hugs him, that sort of thing.  I didn’t have a red bow for the chairs, but thought it would go down pretty much the same way.

“Aw, that’s sweet,” she said, but she said it like a mom whose kids just served her burnt toast for Mother’s Day.  “I really appreciate it.”

I could tell a “but” was coming.

“But . . . I just don’t think brown is going to work back there,” she explained.  How could brown not work?  We had dirt, mulch and a wooden play-set.  Plenty of brown.
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