Devotions

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Fear Not

“We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.” -2 Thessalonians 1:3

These are unprecedented times, and it’s been inspiring to see so many neighbors, churches, communities, and companies stepping up to meet the challenges we are all facing. When news first broke of businesses and churches closing to prevent the spreading of Coronavirus (COVID-19) there was some panic. For some, that panic did not result in fear for themselves, but rather fear for their elderly neighbors, school aged children who lack resources for food, and downtown neighbors who depend on churches  and nonprofits for meals. In the midst of panic and fear of the unknown, many individuals have expressed love and faith for their brothers and sisters when it is needed the most. I cannot imagine a greater love for one another than an act of selflessness during a global pandemic. Fear is only time wasted because God tells us to "fear not," his message encouraging us to have faith in him instead. For he knows what has been, what is, and what will be. Our intentions during this time, our actions during these challenges demonstrate an opportunity to creatively show that our faith has no boundaries. So instead of fear, share kindness. Instead of greed, share grace... instead of desperation, share hope. Although we might not be together, you brothers and sisters are in our prayers. May your faith be growing and your love for one another be increasing to sustain us through this tough time.

-Kimberly Liebowitz

Posted by Kimberly Liebowitz with

The Lord is My Shepherd

Bible Background: Psalm 23

From the Spark Storybook Bible: David, the shepherd, loved his sheep. He led them to beautiful fields where they ran, played, jumped, and kicked up their heels. They ate the lush green grass and feasted on delicious berries. They drank from cool mountain streams and splashed in refreshing waterfalls.

David cared for each and every lamb. If one wandered over the hill, David was quick to go and find it. He put the lost lamb on his shoulders and sang sweet songs and hummed soft melodies. Sometimes he played his harp to help the tired lambs fall asleep.

During times of danger, David fought against wild animals with only a slingshot and some stones. His sheep were not afraid because David was always with them.

David thought about what he did as a shepherd, and thought that God cares for people in many of the same ways that he cared for his sheep. One day, David wrote a song to tell everyone God is like a shepherd. God loves and cares for each and every one of us.

God is my shepherd; he gives me all I need. He gives me wonderful places to rest and sleep. He lets me splash and play in cool, clear waters. He helps me do what is right. I am not afraid even in the darkest nights because you are with me, God, and your protection comforts me. When danger comes, you give me strength. My life is filled with your love, and all I want is to be with you my whole life long.

David sang his song to his sheep, thankful for all the ways God loved and cared for him.

Have a conversation:

  • In this Psalm, David says that he is not afraid because God is with him. God is always with us, so we do not have to be afraid. What reminds you that God is always with you, protects and comforts you?
  • Think about how shepherds, like David, care for their sheep. Shepherds feed their sheep, make sure they are safe, keep the herd together, and the sheep listen to their shepherd’s voice. In what ways does God, our Shepherd, care for us?
  • David wrote this song to praise God and to thank God for all of the good things He has given David. If you were to write your own Psalm, what would you thank God for? How would you praise God?

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank you for the many ways that you care for us as our Good Shepherd. You always deserve our praise and thanksgiving.

Activities

  • Create your own Psalm (a Psalm is a song or poem written to worship and praise God). You can do this as a family or have each child write their own. Children can draw their Psalm, or sing what comes to their heart!
  • Play a game! Take turn being the shepherd and have everyone else in the family be sheep.  Have the sheep go out into the yard or around the house to hide. The shepherd will go around and find all of the hidden sheep. For younger children, the sheep can take turns saying “baa” to help guide the shepherd.
  • Psalms show us that no matter how we feel, if we are happy, sad, scared, or excited, we can always praise God. Have a family praise and worship dance party! You can find a playlist of familiar Sunday School and VBS songs on Spotify when you search Athens First UMC Children.

 

Posted by Jennifer Golden with

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