Devotions

Showing items filed under “Jennifer Golden”

Zacchaeus

Bible Background: Luke 19:1-10

From the Deep Blue Storybook Bible: Jesus was walking through the town of Jericho. A tax collector named Zacchaeus was there in Jericho and wanted to see Jesus walk by. He was too short to see over the crowd, so he ran ahead and climbed a tree.

When Jesus got to the tree Zacchaeus has climbed, Jesus looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down. I must stay at your home today.”

Zacchaeus immediately climbed down the tree, happy to welcome Jesus to his home.

The crowd was very unhappy with Jesus for being a guest of a tax collector. They grumbled because tax collectors were known for being unfair.

Zacchaeus heard what the crowd was saying. He looked at Jesus and made this promise, “Lord, I will give half of everything I own to the poor. And if I have cheated anyone, I will repay them four times what I have taken.”

Jesus knew Zacchaeus meant what he said. Jesus said “Zacchaeus, today you have been saved.”

When Zacchaeus met Jesus, his life changed forever. Zacchaeus cared about other people!

Have a conversation:

  • Zacchaeus had never seen Jesus before. He saw the crowd gathering and heard someone say that Jesus was coming to their town. With the crowd that had gathered, Zacchaeus thought that Jesus must be a very important person. When Jesus called Zacchaeus by name and told him that he was coming to his house, how do you think that made Zacchaeus feel? (Scared… Excited… Special?) Jesus knows your name too! He knows what you need and He cares for you!
  • In the story, it says that the people in the town were not happy that Jesus was going to Zacchaeus’ house because a lot of people did not like Zacchaeus. He was a tax collector, and often was unfair to the people in the town. Jesus offered Zacchaeus forgiveness and loved Zacchaeus anyway! Jesus loves everyone and wants everyone to believe in Him! How can you share this same love with others and encourage others to believe in Jesus?
  • When Zacchaeus met Jesus, his life was changed forever. Zacchaeus cares about other people and wanted to help them by giving back four times what he took from them. Jesus calls us to help and care for others, who can you help and care for today?

 Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank you for calling us by name as your children! Thank you for your love and forgiveness that never run out! Help us to show this same love and forgiveness to others so that they can come to know you! In you name we pray, amen!

Activity:

  • Mission Project: Decorating Lunch bags for Sack Lunch Ministry
    • On Sundays when we are worshiping at the church, we have a ministry called Sack Lunch Ministry! Church members and families volunteer to make 40 sack lunches that are served to our community guests who are in need of a meal.
    • We invite you to join in this ministry by decorating paper lunch sacks with scripture and messages of God’s Love! We will share the decorated bags with volunteers to be filled at a later date!
    • Bags can be given to Kimberly, Katie Ryan, or Jennifer when we return to the church!

 

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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.

 

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