You First (Valentine’s Day)

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You can read the devotion below or listen to the audio in iTunes.  

Verse: We love because he loved us first. – 1 John 4:19 (NIrV)

Big Idea:  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 loved 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. Continue reading “You First (Valentine’s Day)”

The Big Game

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Holidays and special events are a fun excuse to get your family talking about faith.  Gather your family together for the following devotion time before the big game.

Verse: Training the body has some value. But being godly has value in every way. It promises help for the life you are now living and the life to come.” – 1 Timothy 4:8 NIrV

Big Idea: Jesus wants to train us to be like him.

It’s almost time for the biggest football game of the year. Two teams. 60 minutes of game time. Millions of fans watching around the world. Everything comes down to this one big day to see who will become the ultimate champions.

What do you think it would feel like to play in such a big game? Would you be excited? Scared? Nervous?

What would you do to get ready? Would you work out and practice with your team or just sit around and eat donuts and watch TV?

You’d practice, of course! You’d train, lift weights, run drills, eat the right foods, watch game videos and, basically, do whatever your coach told you to do.

If you were playing in the biggest game of your life, you’d do everything you possibly could to train yourself to win.

The Bible says that following Jesus is a little like that. Every day of our lives is a big deal, bigger than any game. Every day we’re either choosing to live life God’s way or just live for ourselves. When we live life God’s way, people around us see Jesus in us and have the chance to become friends with God too.

Continue reading “The Big Game”

God Is Everywhere

GG4You can read the devotion below or listen to the audio in iTunes.  Here’s Part One, Part Two and Part Three if you need to catch up.

Verse: “Am I only a God who is nearby?”  announces the Lord. “Am I not a God who is also far away?” – Jeremiah 23:23 (NIrV)

Big Idea: God is everywhere, and I can always turn to him for help.

Have you ever played hide-and-go-seek? How good are you at hiding? Do you have special hiding places where no one can find you or do you get caught right off the bat?

Even if you have the hiding skills of a ninja, there’s someone you can never hide from. That’s God. Why? Because God is everywhere all the time.

If you try to hide from God under your bed, guess what, he’s already there. If you sneak into your backyard and crawl beneath the bushes, God is already there too. Even if you hop on an airplane and fly to the other side of the planet, take a jeep into the deepest, darkest jungle, and then climb down into a cave until you are miles underground, you would discover that God is already there too.  

In fact, if you blast off in a rocket and zoom through a wormhole to the other side of universe, guess who would be waiting for you when you arrive? God. He is everywhere, and there is no place we can go where God isn’t present. Continue reading “God Is Everywhere”

God Knows Everything

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You can read the devotion below or listen to the audio in iTunes.  Here’s Part One and Part Two if you need to catch up.

Verse: Great is our Lord. His power is mighty. There is no limit to his understanding. – Psalm 147:5 (NIrV)

Big Idea:  God knows everything, and he always understand me.  

Who’s the smartest person you know? Your best friend? One of your parents? Your teacher?  Or maybe it’s you. Some people seem to know everything. They can name all the U.S. Presidents and the capital of every country in the world and even tell you who won the very first World Series in 1903.

Other people know a lot about science or medicine or cooking or how to build incredible sculptures out of LEGO bricks.

God has filled the world with smart people, but even the smartest people on earth don’t know everything. The only one who knows everything is God.  

Psalm 147:5 says, “Great is our Lord. His power is mighty. There is no limit to his understanding” (NIrV).  No limit!

God created the universe so he knows everything about how it works. He’s a scientific genius.  He designed your body and mind so he’s the ultimate medical expert. God’s seen everything that’s ever happened so he knows every detail of the history of the world.   Continue reading “God Knows Everything”

God Can Do Anything

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You can read the devotion below or listen to the audio in iTunes.  Here’s Part One if you need to catch up.

Verse: Jesus replied, “Things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” – Luke 18:27 (NIrV)

Big Idea: God can do anything, and I can ask him for help.

You can do a lot of cool things, can’t you? Maybe you’re a really fast runner or you’re awesome at video games or maybe you’re an artist or a math ninja. Or maybe you’re good at making people laugh or just helping people whenever you see a need.

I’m sure there are tons of things you’re great at. That’s how God made you, but no matter how talented you are there are some things we just can’t do on our own.

Have you ever tried to lift something that was too heavy to move? Or tried to get something down that was too high to reach? Or solve a problem that was too tricky to figure out?

At times like this we all need help. Sometimes we need someone stronger than us, bigger than us or smarter than us to lend us a hand and help us to do things that are too hard to do alone.

For example, there was a couple in the Bible who needed some help too. Their names were Abraham and Sarah.  They didn’t have any children and wanted to have a baby more than anything else in the whole world.  Unfortunately, they were way too old. There was no way they could ever have a child on their own.

But one day, God appeared to Abraham and told him they were going to have a baby. In fact, God said he would return in a year, and when he did, Sarah would have a son. When Sarah heard this, she laughed out loud. This sounded absolutely crazy. She knew there was no way an old lady could have a baby. It was impossible.

Here’s what the Bible says happened next, “Then the Lord said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, “Can an old woman like me have a baby?”’ Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:13-14a NLT)

The answer, of course, is no. Nothing is too hard for God.

God did what he said he would do. It didn’t matter that Abraham and Sarah were too old. God created Abraham and Sarah, so they could do anything God wanted them to do.

A year later Sarah had a son, and they named him Isaac, and Isaac’s family eventually became the nation of Israel. Out of Israel would come the most special baby of all, Jesus.

Jesus once told his followers, “Things that are impossible with people are possible with God” Luke 18:27 (NIrV). That’s good news for us.

Think About It

When we need help, we have a God who can do ANYTHING, and he’s always just a prayer away. So the next time you need help, ask God. He’s bigger, stronger and smarter than any of us, and he loves to help his kids.

Remember, though, just because God can do anything, doesn’t mean he will do anything. He’s not a genie who grants three wishes. He’s not our butler who obeys our commands. He’s a wise King and a good Dad. He gives us what we need, when we need it, and we can always trust Him to do what’s best for us because he loves us so much.

Pray About It

God, you are all-powerful. You can do anything. I am blown away by how amazing you are. Thank you for helping me to do things I could never do on my own. Amen.

Talk About It

  1. What are some things that are impossible for people to do, but possible for God?
  2. What would you do if you were all-powerful like God?
  3. What’s one impossible thing you need God’s help with today?

For Grown-Ups

Do you believe that God really can do anything? Or is there something in your life that you think is beyond God’s ability to change? Maybe it’s a broken relationship or a situation that seems hopeless or something you would like to change about yourself. Don’t give up praying. Invite the God of the impossible to do something amazing today.

Don’t miss a devotion. Sign up to receive Family Jetpack devotions sent straight to your inbox.

 

Great Big God

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Today we are kicking off a brand-new devotional series for January called Ginormous God.  In the next few weeks we will take a look at what the Bible says about how big God truly is. 

You can read the devotion below or listen to the audio in iTunes.

Big Idea:  God is big and wants to be your friend.

Verse: Great is our Lord. His power is mighty. There is no limit to his understanding. – Psalm 147:5 (NIrV)

What’s the biggest object you can imagine? A tall building? A roller coaster? A planet?  

Scientists tell us there are objects out in space that are way bigger than any of those things, things like stars and black holes and galaxies. But there is one thing that is so big it blows all of these others away.

God. God is ginormous! He made the universe, including the biggest objects in space, and that means he is bigger than all of them.  

But just how big is God? That’s tough to say, because we can’t measure God. We can’t use a ruler or a yardstick of even a tape measure to discover his height.

Why? First of all, God is a spirit. That means he doesn’t have a body. But even if he did, we couldn’t measure him because there’s no end to God. He just keeps going on and on and on. In that way, he’s very different from us.   Continue reading “Great Big God”

Family Christmas Devotions on iTunes

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Christmas may be the most wonderful time of the year, but when you have kids at home, it can also be the craziest.  It’s hard to find time in the busy holiday season to make sure Jesus is the center of your celebration.

I just uploaded a new series of Christmas devotions on iTunes to make that a little bit easier.

Whether you’re traveling with your family or just on the go, you can listen to the Backstage Bethlehem whenever it’s convenient.

Episode 1 – No Ordinary Baby

We’re all familiar with the cute image of baby Jesus at Christmas, but there’s so much more to Jesus than that.  In this episode we will pull back the curtain on Christmas and take a look at who Jesus really is.

Listen in iTunes.

Episode 2 – Best King Ever

Jesus isn’t just a King, but the King of Kings, the best King ever!  In this episode we will discover what it means in our lives that Jesus is still on his throne.

Listen in iTunes.
Continue reading “Family Christmas Devotions on iTunes”

Savior

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Don’t miss a devotion. Sign up to receive Backstage Bethlehem sent straight to your inbox.

Big Idea: Jesus came to save us from sin. 

Verse: So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. – John 8:36 (NIV)

Have you ever been stuck? Maybe you were climbing a tree but couldn’t get down. Or maybe you reached through the banisters on the stairs but couldn’t get your arm out. Or maybe you got your hair caught in something or accidentally glued your fingers together. 

There are all kinds of ways to get stuck. 

Sometimes when we’re stuck, we can get ourselves out of the mess, but other times we may be stuck so bad we can’t save ourselves. That’s when we need someone who’s not stuck to set us free.  

That’s what Christmas is all about. God’s people weren’t stuck in a tree or in the banisters on the stairs. They were stuck in sin. Sin is when we do bad things. It’s when we do things our way instead of God’s way.  

God can’t stand sin, but thankfully he loves us. That’s why he sent Jesus. Jesus came to earth to free us from our sin, and a group of shepherds were the first ones to hear about this good news. 
Continue reading “Savior”

God With Us

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Don’t miss a devotion. Sign up to receive Backstage Bethlehem sent straight to your inbox.

Big Idea: Jesus is God with us.  

VerseThe Word became a human being. He made his home with us. – John 1:14 (NLT)

Who are your favorite people to spend time with? Your parents? Your brother or sister? Your best friend? 

When we spend time with our favorite people, it doesn’t really matter what we’re doing. It’s just fun being together. The “what” doesn’t matter nearly as much as the “with.” 

God loves being with his people. In fact, that’s the whole point of Christmas.
Continue reading “God With Us”

Best King Ever

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Don’t miss a devotion. Sign up to receive Backstage Bethlehem sent straight to your inbox.

Big Idea: Jesus is the King of Kings.

VerseNow he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. – Ephesians 1:22 (NLT)

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of a king? A crown? A throne? A castle? 

How about a baby? We don’t usually think of babies and kings together, do we? Yet, that’s exactly what Christmas is all about. Jesus, born in a manger, is also the King of Kings. Kings may be important people and rule over their kingdoms, but Jesus is the King who rules over everything.  

Several months before Jesus was born, an angel appeared to a young girl named Mary and told her some surprising news. He said Mary was going to have a baby, but this baby would be special. He said, “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High God” (Luke 1: 32 NIrV). God’s Son was coming to earth!
Continue reading “Best King Ever”