The Bonds of Peace – Week of January 16, 2017

The Bonds of Peace – Week of January 16, 2017


I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Ephesians 4:1-3




ECME Devotion – January 16, 2017

Devotion based on Ephesians 4:1-3

See series: ECME Devotions

When I consider the highs and lows that I have felt through previous school years, December was more often a challenging time. I faced the lows, feeling overwhelmed, being behind in my lessons in the middle of a full holiday schedule, and facing student or parent issues coming to a head at the end of the semester. I always needed Christmas break – a well-timed respite. After that break, January has regularly been a high point.

Maybe you have noticed a regular pattern similar to mine, or maybe it’s different for you in January. And even if you haven’t seen a pattern develop year to year, you certainly have experienced life’s roller coaster ride of highs and lows. Good classroom experiences can be followed by center challenges. Thinking, “I’ve got this; I can do this!” is soon followed by, “Why would God allow me to go through this?”

God tells us in Ephesians to be humble, gentle, patient, loving, and live in unity. Wow! That command can bring us back to our low feelings. How can we live that way all the time? We lose our patience with a parent who was irritated this morning. We are still upset and holding a grudge with our coworker who didn’t finish a project on time. We think we are better than our coworker who is facing a temptation. It is easy to use this verse to look ourselves in the mirror and become discouraged or want to give up!

Paul’s words to the Ephesians remind us of the important constant that does not change; God has called you. Wherever you find yourself on life’s rollercoaster, his love for you remains constant. You are living under his constant grace. He has called you, undeserving as you are because of sin, to believe that Jesus Christ has rescued you from the penalty for your sins. You have been called to be a member of God’s family. When you know the calling you have received, you have a motivation and a power to make every effort to live up to the wonderful calling you have received. By faith we eagerly “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” with all those around us.



Prayer: Jesus, forgive me for the times I have not been gentle, humble, and loving. Remind me it is not my faithfulness and my ability that makes you love me. Your loving grace called me to faith. I pray that you strengthen my faith and so empower me to be completely humble, gentle, patient, and loving to those around me. Amen.

A Question to Ponder: In a previous devotion, we talked about finding ways to pray for each child in our classrooms on a regular basis. How can we do the same for those with whom we serve and for the parents of the children in our rooms?



Creative Commons LicenseEarly Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Sharers Together – Week of January 2, 2017

Sharers Together – Week of January 2, 2017


This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 3:6




ECME Devotion – January 2, 2017

Devotion based on Ephesians 3:6

See series: ECME Devotions

Happy New Year! It’s a time where many make New Year resolutions. New Year’s resolutions – have you ever noticed how they can easily become self-centered. I want to do this, or that – or accomplish my goal. Even as you resolve, “I want to be a better person”, selfish pride shows his arrogant head.
In our text today, Paul speaks of a mystery. The mystery Paul speaks about provides a wonderful and unselfish starting point for a Christian resolution, “Lord, let me be a sharer!” What we do in our classrooms, homes, and churches this year is not about us being better. It’s about the promise of Christ bringing people together on the way to heaven.

Permit me to tell you about Katherine. She sat in my class each day with her big, brown eyes filled with reverence. She was being raised in a combination of cultures and languages: one parent from the Middle East and the other from Latin America, yet living in the Southern United States. Katherine was taught to be submissive. She was about half the size of her fellow first graders – frail, her legs dangling from the smallest chair we had in the room. She did not speak unless spoken to, and then it was in the quietest whisper voice.

Katherine had never been introduced to this Jesus we talked about every day. When it was time to study the history of Jesus’ death and resurrection, she was obviously anxious. Our story ended with Jesus hanging on the cross . . . the next day we would study the resurrection. However, for Katherine, the suspense was too great. She could not wait until tomorrow. During math class she nervously held the Bible story book on her lap, trying to keep it hidden from me. She would never think of disobeying during class time and not paying attention, however, she was desperate. She needed to know how the story ended. I saw her – her eyes intently reading the next part of the story. I did not stop her. In fact, I smiled at her and gave her an approving nod. How could I make math class more important than the resurrection of her Lord and Savior?

So, our resolution for this year? “Let me be a sharer!” As you look at each child in your room or classroom, consider the amazing story of Jesus’ grace and mercy for each child, each family, each staff member, and you! Like little Katherine, may we never lose that sense of urgency to know more and to share more about our precious Savior.



Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for making each of us sharers of the mystery of salvation. Empower me to take this promise you have given to me and share it with others this year, and always. Amen.

A Question to Ponder: Consider each child and family in your room or classroom. Beginning by praying for each of them on a regular basis can help you to be more aware of ways to share the gospel with them. Are there ways to be sure to pray for each child and each family individually? Would a calendar work? Or a prayer partner on your staff? Or?



Creative Commons LicenseEarly Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Joy to the World? – Week of December 26, 2016

Joy to the World? – Week of December 26, 2016


“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth.  I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
Matthew 10:34




ECME Devotion – December 26, 2016

Devotion based on Matthew 10:34

See series: ECME Devotions

So, how was your Christmas dinner discussion?  If your Christmas discussion went great, then be thankful for that.  Some of you reading this possibly didn’t have a very good Christmas discussion.  I know that some of you out there found yourself in a discussion (argument?) about Christian truths and values.  Some of you may have even found yourselves defending the Christmas message, the very reason for your gathering, against the attacks of your own families!

Let’s move this discussion away from the Christmas dinner table for a second.  How have your Facebook discussions gone?  Have you found yourself in a similar argument on the internet?

At this time of Christmas, we often talk about peace and joy.  The heart of faith finds these in the message of the Gospel.  When the world around us is crashing down, we find safety, security, and spiritual peace in the fortress of God’s Word.  But why do we often find the exact opposite of peace and joy–hatred and discord–seemingly everywhere?  Didn’t Jesus promise that he would bring peace to the earth?

Yes, he did.  He promised peace on earth between God and his believers.  But that same Jesus also promised enmity and hostility between his people and the unbelieving children of Satan.  In fact, when the believer lives according to the Word, he often finds himself in conflict with others, even those who are closest to him.  The words of Jesus in our passage above remind us that we can’t expect peace and joy when we follow his commands.  Instead, we can expect to get challenged every step of the way.

In our schools and childcare centers, we are preparing the next generation to know God’s Word.  We want our young ones to know Christ, but we also want them to make him known.  That might put them in situations where they are hated, put down, and left feeling defeated.  That’s OK-Jesus promised the believer to expect exactly that.  That is why we also teach our children to find refuge in the saving message of the Gospel.  We want them to remember the words, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)



Prayer:
Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let ev’ry heart prepare him room
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n and heav’n and nature sing.
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal 62)



Creative Commons LicenseEarly Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Gentle Mary Laid Her Child – Week of December 19, 2016

Gentle Mary Laid Her Child – Week of December 19, 2016


“And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.  She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
Luke 2:7




ECME Devotion – December 19, 2016

Devotion based on Luke 2:7

See series: ECME Devotions

For all intents and purposes, the entire night was underwhelming. A poor husband and wife returned to the town of their ancestors to be counted for a census. There was no room for them in the town to stay, so they stayed in a stable with animals (and everything that comes with animal housing). While they were there, the poor mother gave birth. With nowhere else to put her newborn son, she lay him in a manger, a place where cattle eat.

Yes, the events of the evening were underwhelming–even that might be an understatement. And, yet, here we are, 2,000+ years later celebrating the events of that night. Who in the world would ever come up with such a cockamamie story about the salvation of the world? Well, no one in the world would–the story is literally “out-of-this-world”. This story doesn’t come from the mind or the pen of a human being. This story is told by the master of the universe, God himself.

God, in his infinite wisdom, knew what we needed for the cure of sin. He knew that his anger needed to be appeased by a human being–after all, it was human beings who misused their free will to rebel against him. And God, in undeserved and immeasurable love, provided the salvation for those very rebels. It was a plan that no man would ever devise, which makes it so perfect.

When Mary laid her son in that manger, he was a stranger to everyone except those who looked with eyes of faith. When we lay the Christ child in the manger by telling the story again, we pray that our young ones look to him with eyes of faith. This Christmas and always, we pray that the Holy Spirit create and strengthen the faith of others, that they may always look with eyes of faith to the manger and say, “There is the Savior. For me!”



Prayer:
Gentle Mary laid her child Lowly in a manger;
There he lay the undefiled, To the world a stranger.
Such a babe in such a place–Can he be the Savior?
Ask the saved of all the race Who have found his favor.
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal 56)



Creative Commons LicenseEarly Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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I Am So Glad When Christmas Comes – Week of December 12, 2016

I Am So Glad When Christmas Comes – Week of December 12, 2016


But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
Luke 2:19




ECME Devotion – December 12, 2016

Devotion based on Luke 2:19

See series: ECME Devotions

Have you ever collected something?  Maybe it was coins or seashells.  When I was growing up, I collected baseball cards.  I had a joint collection with my brother and my father.  At our highest point, we had somewhere between 3,000-4,000 baseball cards.  There was one card that we treasured more than any other card.  It was the 1989 Ken Griffey, Jr., Upper Deck rookie card.  That card was one we wouldn’t have traded for anything.  We put it in a hard plastic case so it would stay in mint condition and we put it in a safe place away from all of our other cards.  You’d think, since we treasured that card so much, I would know where that card is today.  Truth be told, I have no clue.  It could be somewhere between the three houses we all call home, but I have no idea the exact whereabouts of that card.  It could be lost, never to be seen again.

Mary treasured and collected something that she would never lose track of.  The life stories of her son, our Savior, Jesus, were her prized possessions which could never be taken from her.  With a heart of faith, Mary pondered the events of that first Christmas, and no doubt the rest of her son’s life, and locked them away where they were safe, in her heart of faith.

Do we follow Mary’s example from this passage?  Do we ponder and keep in our hearts the words and works of “God made flesh”?  Do we walk away every single Sunday in awe of God’s grace, that he gives us through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus?  If we don’t, why not?  Let’s make this even more seasonal.  Do we look forward to Christmas with a childlike faith, not because of the meals, family, and presents, but because of the simple, pure, and unadulterated message of sins forgiven through that babe in the manger?

At this point in December, you are probably either preparing or putting the finishing touches on your individual Christmas services.  Every day, you have the awesome privilege of teaching children where they can find something that can never be lost, no matter what forces try to have us lose it.  Every day, you take your children to the feet of Christ, where they learn of sin and grace; love and mercy.  You give them the most valuable collection they can ever have–a collection of 66 love letters from the God of the universe.

This Christmas, and always, may we ponder in our hearts of faith all that the Lord has done for us.  Especially, let us never forget where to find that precious Gospel message.  For that is a message that can’t be lost or stolen from us.



Prayer:
I am so glad when Christmas comes,
The night of Jesus’ birth,
When Bethl’em’s star shone as the sun,
And angels sang on earth.
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal 51)



Creative Commons LicenseEarly Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Your Little Ones, Dear Lord, Are We – Week of December 5, 2016

Your Little Ones, Dear Lord, Are We – Week of December 5, 2016


“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
Mark 10:14




ECME Devotion – December 5, 2016

Devotion based on Mark 10:14

See series: ECME Devotions

“Children should be seen and not heard!” This phrase, though readily accepted by many, is a sad commentary on how some view the presence of children, especially young ones. It is somewhat surprising to see this attitude in the twelve disciples. In their view, and in the view of some that we come into contact with today, the implication is this: Children are too immature to profit from the Lord’s attention.

Jesus’ words in our passage above are a comforting reminder of how highly Jesus, the ruler of creation, loves and treasures each of his children. How highly? So highly that he says, “The kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Why is it that our Savior holds these children in such high esteem? The key to answering that question comes from a different portion of Scripture. In Matthew 18:2, Jesus says, “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Faith alone grants entrance into the kingdom of heaven. So why is it that all people must become like children in their faith? The faith of a believing child is unquestioning! It simply trusts what God has to say, never once doubting that God’s promises hold true.

As a worker in an early childhood ministry, you see that faith on display every day. When your children loudly sing the songs of Jesus’ love, they don’t care what others think about them. When they go home and tell their unbelieving parents–or even their believing ones–what they learned about Jesus that day, they teach us a lesson about going and telling. When they fold their hands at the lunch table, even when you don’t remind them, they serve as a good reminder to stop and say thanks for all that you have been given.

Hopefully, we haven’t ever hindered a little one from coming to the feet of Christ. Jesus’ words to us in this passage do serve as a gut check for us as we witness and reflect the love of Christ to our children, our co-workers, and our parents. Do we ever act like the disciples in one way or another by preventing others from seeing the love of Christ? Chances are, there are times when we have. But be assured, dear reader, that Christ’s blood covers up those times we have done just that. And we ourselves remain a child of Christ.



Prayer:
Your little ones, dear Lord, are we
And come your lowly bed to see;
Enlighten ev’ry soul and mind
That we the way to you may find.
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal 46)



Creative Commons LicenseEarly Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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My Heart Leaps – Week of November 21, 2016

My Heart Leaps – Week of November 21, 2016


The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.
Psalm 28:7




ECME Devotion – November 21, 2016

Devotion based on Psalm 28:7

See series: ECME Devotions

There is nothing quite like the zeal and passion we see on a child’s face as they sing praises to Jesus. At times I have wished I could let go of inhibition and dance and sway during particularly moving hymns that accompany our service. What stops us from doing this? What stops us from demonstrating our thanks to God with our whole bodies? We tend to get more animated at sporting events or more emotional at the movie theater than we do in response to the message in church on Sunday. While customs and personality play a part, could it also be that sin has dulled our zeal? This is an area where we can appreciate the little children of our congregation, and even learn from them. Appreciating their joy is the first step. What follows is incorporating a child-like faith by putting our desire to praise God into action.

My heart leaps for joy—what an amazing proclamation! I doubt that David sat still as he sang about his heart leaping with pure delight. Just as we witness children’s ability to proclaim their love for Jesus while dancing or shouting praises to our God, likely so was David as he pondered Christ’s strength and goodness in his life. While we may not physically dance or sway, that overwhelming zeal comes from knowing God’s grace, that he is our strength, our shield, and we can trust in him. What a wonderful thing to be excited about! It is only right we declare with enthusiasm the love that Christ has shown to us and share that incredible message with the young children and families we serve, our own families, friends, and acquaintances.



Prayer: Dear Lord, my heart leaps with joy as David’s did when I think of your goodness in my life. Please help me demonstrate my zeal for you to all those around me in all that I do, reflecting you and your love. I pray in your name. Amen.



Creative Commons LicenseEarly Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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My Room – Week of November 14, 2016

My Room – Week of November 14, 2016


“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
John 14:1-4




ECME Devotion – November 14, 2016

Devotion based on John 14:1-4

See series: ECME Devotions

My two 4-year-old sons have lots of questions, some of which I feel unprepared to answer. Recently the topic of Jesus being in heaven came up and one of them expressed fear over going to heaven stating, “I don’t want to go to heaven to be with Jesus. That is scary for me!” I could relate. I recall being nervous on several occasions when I was confronted with near death experiences. How could I blame my boy for feeling the same way?

Then I recalled the comforting passage in John about Jesus preparing a room for us in heaven. What a beautifully simple analogy! I read it to them and we talked about the coolest room they could possibly imagine. We pictured Jesus getting it ready for them and how he was taking great care to make sure it was welcoming, special, and far better than anything we could even dream of. And we talked about the best part of all-Jesus will be there! When we were done my son exclaimed, “I miss Jesus; I want to visit him now!”

That discussion really turned their thoughts towards death being something desirable for a Christian. Now when the topic of death comes up, we recall with anticipation the room that Jesus is preparing for us in heaven. Heaven is our home and our Father is waiting excitedly to greet us rather than a distant God who will usher us into the unknown. I am happy that my boys can share with me in the knowledge and reassurance of Jesus’ promises.



Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, thank you for the promises you have given me about my heavenly home. Please help me remember that heaven is my home and it is far greater than anything I have here on earth, especially knowing you will be there. I pray in your name. Amen.



Creative Commons LicenseEarly Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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He Will Be with You – Week of November 7, 2016

He Will Be with You – Week of November 7, 2016


The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
Deuteronomy 36:8




ECME Devotion – November 7, 2016

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 36:8

See series: ECME Devotions

It is fairly easy to grow discouraged in day-to-day life. Whether it be a co-worker complaining, a disturbing story on the news, or a family issue that is plaguing your heart, reasons to become disheartened or even afraid are plentiful. Our sinful nature latches onto these situations and our mind runs wild with anxiety.

We cannot change the sinful nature we were born with. However, we can rewire our thoughts and center our hearts on Jesus and his promises. Deuteronomy 36:8 tells us that we do not need to be afraid or discouraged because the Lord will never leave us. What a reassuring thought! No matter what challenges we are going through our Lord is standing by our side, waiting for us to turn to him for the strength and courage we need to continue. When we remember that we do not walk this path of life alone the journey becomes less daunting. When we fix our eyes on Jesus it becomes easier to put our day-to-day hardships into perspective. Our confidence comes from him, from what he has done and what he continues to do for us.

He is with us now as we experience this earthly life. He will stand by us as we leave this earth and he will greet us with open arms in heaven one day. What a comfort!



Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you for the reassurance that you are always by my side. Help me to remember your protection when my heart is filled with anxiety. I pray in your name. Amen.

A question to consider: Are there any worries in life that you need to turn over to Jesus? If so, how can you do so?



Creative Commons LicenseEarly Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Grace – Week of October 31, 2016

Grace – Week of October 31, 2016


For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9




ECME Devotion – October 31, 2016

Devotion based on Esphesians 2:8-9

See series: ECME Devotions

One of my favorite things about early childhood is watching each child approach a task in their own way. I especially love it when they are given a blank piece of paper and crayons or paint. Some get right at it as if they’ve been planning for this all day. Some may sit and think about what to create and where to begin. Some may need some nudging. Then there’s the moment of completion. When are they done? For some, it’s a quick process and they are satisfied before some children have even put brush to paper. Some are methodical and will work step by step, carefully reviewing their work before determining they are finished. Still others will paint and paint until the paper is worn through.

Our reading today reminds us of the gift of grace. We are saved by that grace through faith. We know that. We know that God has done it all for us. We know that what Jesus did on the cross, in the grave, on Easter morning and at Ascension has completed everything for us. That is amazing! But as human beings, sinful human beings, this is so hard to grasp!

Sometimes we can be like the children in their work at creating their painting. We keep working and working, striving and striving, so often led by guilt or a feeling of not having done enough. We want to please God, and that’s a wonderful goal. But our works, our efforts, are not a means to draw us closer to God or heaven. All that we do should be a reflection of what God has done. It’s never about us. It’s always about him. We help the struggling child and use words of comfort to point them to Jesus’ comfort for them. We reach out to a family in need to reflect Jesus’ heart of love for all. We strive to provide excellence in our classrooms so that nothing gets in the way of the children hearing about their loving Savior. This side of heaven, it’s hard to grasp and understand this. But his grace is sufficient; his grace has done it all. We get to live a life of joy and peace because of what he has done. Put your paintbrush of good work down. Your painting of forgiveness has been completed by Jesus. Instead, live each day rejoicing in that gift of his grace and sharing it with others.



Prayer: Dear Father, you provide a peace that is beyond human understanding. That peace is in the grace you have given to us through faith. “Thank you” seems so inadequate but our gratitude is overwhelming when we consider all your grace has given us. Help us to live as a reflection of your grace, pointing to you. In your name we pray. Amen.



Creative Commons LicenseEarly Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Trust in the Lord – Week of September 26, 2016

Trust in the Lord – Week of September 26, 2016


Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6




ECME Devotion – September 26, 2016

Devotion based on Proverbs 3:5-6

See series: ECME Devotions

Two-year old Milly worked at it and worked at it. You could see the determination on her face with furrowed brow and pursed lips. Finally, her mom walked over and offered to help. “I do it myself”, Milly said with conviction. She was certainly working at it with all her heart. Don’t you love the tenacity? Don’t you love her “I can” attitude? But I wonder if her mom might have been able to give her an idea of how to get it done a little easier or provided the support she needed to accomplish her task?

How often are we just like little Milly? Do you sometimes find yourself struggling on a problem for days? Do you find yourself spending time stewing over the same thing day after day? Has a problem or issue ever woken you up in the middle of the night at a time when the problem seems to fill the room? And is it then that finally the lightbulb comes on and you find yourself with hands folded in prayer? Does your prayer begin with the heartfelt expression of your need for God’s help and an admission that your self-reliance is too often focused on you and what you can do rather than what he can do?

If you’re like me, that prayer most often begins with a penitential sigh that asks for God’s forgiveness. I too often think that I have the answers or the ability to solve everything that comes my way. Too often I neglect turning to him and the Word. Too often I rely on myself. It’s a challenge to balance leaning on God’s guidance and taking action. We don’t want to find ourselves sending up a prayer and then sitting passively waiting for God to fix things. But we also don’t want to take it all into our own hands and avoid reliance on him.

The solution? It’s the Word. As we continue to be in the Word we are reminder over and over of God’s incredible grace for us. We learn of the struggles of others in both the Old and New Testament and God’s guidance for them. He loves us so and wants to hear from us. He wants us to always be growing more and more in his grace. He wants us to come to him in prayer and lean on him. Like little Milly, we need to be working at it with all our heart as we prayerfully lean on him, acknowledging his love, his forgiveness, and his guidance for our path. You can trust in him with all your heart!



Prayer: Dear Father, I can so easily become overwhelmed by the tasks and challenges before me. Forgive me when I become self-reliant and help me to continually look to you for guidance and direction. Bless all that I do in your name. Amen.



Creative Commons LicenseEarly Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Establish the Work of Our Hands – Week of August 29, 2016

Establish the Work of Our Hands – Week of August 29, 2016


May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children. May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us: establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.
Psalm 90:16-17




ECME Devotion – August 29, 2016

Devotion based on Psalm 90:16-17

See series: ECME Devotions

As a new school year is upon us, this prayer from Psalm 90 becomes ours. The daily teaching, preparation, and cleanup fill our days. There is so much to be done and our active hands will accomplish many tasks before this school year ends.|

To establish that work, to make the accomplishments last, God must be involved. To be more precise – we are involved in God’s work, not God involved in ours. As we do his work, what deeds of God will be revealed to his servants in the coming months?

We’ll review the Bible history lessons and teach the little ones to praise and pray. God establishes that word as the Holy Spirit works and strengthens faith in those pint-size hearts through the gospel.

We’ll see God’s hand at work as he blesses the lives of his children. They will learn their letters, colors, numbers, and sounds. If we’re lucky, they might even learn to sit still for ten minutes at a time. Above all, God’s work of faith can show itself in the songs and prayers they take home to their families.

In the coming school year, we can expect to see challenges that make it feel like God no longer looks at us with favor. Kids get sick; maybe a serious illness or disability is diagnosed. Our church or school could hit a rough patch as well. Yet when we say, “May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us,” we are not offering a weak request or a flimsy hope. The Lord’s favor does rest upon us because of Christ Jesus. No sickness can change it. No ministry challenge can end our favorable status in Jesus. We know he will strengthen his people for the challenges that he sends their way. Yes, Lord, establish the work of our hands this year and always.



Prayer: Oh Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, show me your gracious deeds and establish the work of my hands. May it all be to your glory! Amen.



Creative Commons LicenseEarly Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Whatever You Do – Week of August 15, 2016

Whatever You Do – Week of August 15, 2016


Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Colossians 3:23-24




ECME Devotion – August 15, 2016

Devotion based on Colossians 3:23-24

See series: ECME Devotions

Why do we do what we do? Our early childhood ministry is building a great reputation with the community so that everyone knows us as the church that cares for kids. But then again, we just had to deal with another parent who didn’t agree with the way we discipline. How great it is to be greeted every morning with numerous smiles from all the children! But that joyful feeling evaporates as quickly as it takes a smiling face to become a tearful mess when, “All the red gummy bears are gone and I don’t want a green one!” The paycheck is nice, but is it really worth all the effort and energy it takes to educate and care for little children for hours every day? There are many jobs that pay much better than being a preschool teacher or aide.

St. Paul’s words to the Colossians point us to the highest motivation. When we serve Christ, we can give it all for the one who gave it all for us. He gave his everything to stand up to the devil’s temptations without sin. Those are the very temptations that we fail to stand up to. Jesus not only gave all of his beating heart for us, he gave all of his dying heart so that we would not have to die eternally.

If the praise doesn’t come from the parents and the smiles just aren’t big enough to be contagious, we are still working for the Lord. The reward he gives is a reward of grace. That means we didn’t earn it. He earned it for us by paying for all our sins, removing the guilt of all our failures, and bringing us into a good relationship with God the Father.



Prayer: Almighty God, thank you for the inheritance of eternal life through Christ Jesus. Empower me to live in thankfulness so that all that I do today may be done in your service. Amen.



Creative Commons LicenseEarly Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Full Life – Week of August 8, 2016

Full Life – Week of August 8, 2016


I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
John 10:10




ECME Devotion – August 8, 2016

Devotion based on John 10:10

See series: ECME Devotions

In the blink of an eye, it all came crashing to a halt – literally! A truck traveling at highway speed veered onto the shoulder and crashed into the trailer. Amy’s parents jumped to safety just before the collision. The rest of the family didn’t. Amy suffered broken legs and other serious injuries. The healing and return to the fullness of life would take some time. But her grandfather was killed. Amy would never forget that holiday weekend hayride!

It is a natural question to ask why. In so many ways, tragedies seem inconsistent with how we think our loving Lord should let us experience life. Yet Jesus’ words remain true, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Fullness of life does not consist of merely having fun, laughing, and enjoying quality time with the family. While such blessings come from God, they are incomplete if the knowledge of why Jesus has come is missing. True fullness of life includes knowing that Jesus came to rescue the world from sin and defeat death forever. He came to be the answer for every tragedy that crashes into life.

Four-year-olds like Amy aren’t exempt from needing to know where to find true fullness of life. Christian teachers, even preschool teachers, won’t dance around and avoid talking about death thinking it’s too deep a subject for our young students. The deep subject of death is answered by simple truths. God loved the world enough to send his Son into the world. God’s Son, Jesus, lived without ever sinning so that he could die to pay for all the bad things we have done. After he died, he came back to life to prove that all who believe in him will live with him forever in heaven.

What is fullness of life for Amy, in terms a four-year-old would use? “Grampa went to be with Jesus. And Jesus is with me while I get better, until I see Grampa again in heaven.”



Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are life. You give us life. Answer our tragedies by turning our eyes to you, your forgiveness, and life with you forever. In your name, we pray. Amen.



Creative Commons LicenseEarly Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Proclaim the Christian’s Freedom – Week of July 4, 2016

Proclaim the Christian’s Freedom – Week of July 4, 2016


The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me.  He has sent me…to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.
Isaiah 61:1




ECME Devotion – July 4, 2016

Devotion based on Isaiah 61:1

See series: ECME Devotions

When the smoke cleared on the morning of September 14, 1814, the battered American flag still stood. This sight of victory caused Frances Scott Key to write what eventually became our national anthem, the “Star Spangled Banner”. That anthem is now proudly sung across the entire United States, a reminder of our freedoms.

When the smoke cleared on that first Easter morning, the once battered and crucified Savior stood victorious over sin, death, and the devil. Because of that victory, you are now dedicating your lives to telling others about that message. Your life is a religious “national anthem” of sorts.

There are many children and families in your care that don’t’ know what it’s like to be free. They still don’t yet know the message of the crucified and risen Savior. The message of the gospel is still hidden behind a veil of despair or pride for some of those we serve. The Sovereign LORD has called you to pull back that veil, so that they may see the victory is won. Those unbelievers whom we serve still strive and grasp about, blindly seeking the “meaning of life”. The LORD has sent you to provide for them THE meaning of life. Praise and thanks to God for giving you that opportunity.

That sounds like a tall order, doesn’t it? Thankfully, God our Savior does all of the work for us. We merely carry out our duties faithfully, and the LORD of all creation does the rest. That glorious gospel message has the power to work faith. Take heart, even your meager, stumbling efforts do not come back to the LORD empty. Trust the power of God’s Word!

On this Independence Day, take a moment to thank God for your freedoms. Thank him for the opportunity that he has afforded you to “proclaim freedom for the captives”. Especially thank him for the faith that he has already worked in your hearts—the faith with which you reach out and receive the gift of sins forgiven and eternal life.



Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the freedom that we have through Christ.  Help me to faithfully proclaim that freedom to those in my care. Amen.



Creative Commons LicenseEarly Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Reflect – Week of June 27, 2016

Reflect – Week of June 27, 2016


Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
Hebrews 10:23




ECME Devotion – June 27, 2016

Devotion based on Hebrews 10:23

See series: ECME Devotions

Reflecting on our year is not always easy. It can make us anxious as we remember interactions with parents or children that were difficult. It can make us sad as we think of the students who are moving on to a different classroom or school. It can make us joyful as we remember all the silly things that only young children will say. Reflecting is hard because it is looking backwards. Whatever emotions it brings to the surface, they can be hard to manage because those things are in the past. They cannot be changed and we cannot go back to them.

In our passage from Hebrews today, we are asked not to look back but to look forward. That word “hope” is a word used in anticipation. We are eagerly awaiting something that will happen in the future. And we are not hoping in the sense that we really want something to happen but are not sure that it will. We are hoping in the sense that we have complete trust in God that it will happen.

The hope we profess is that Jesus will come again and take us to our true home someday. Through Jesus’ blood on the cross he has won us a place in heaven, where we will spend eternity with him. Every promise that God made about heaven will come true, for he is faithful to his promises. There will be no more pain, crying, or death (Revelation 21:4); no hunger or thirst (Revelation 7:16-17); there will be nothing impure (Revelation 21:27); we will have our very own house built by God (John 14:2, 2 Corinthians 5:1); and best of all, we belong there with Jesus (Philippians 3:20.)

As we reflect on the past year and even look ahead to the next year, let us not lose sight of what is still to come for us, an eternal home in heaven.



Prayer:
Jesus, your Church, with longing eyes
for your expected coming waits.
When will the promised light arise
and glory beam from heaven’s gates?

Teach us in watchfulness and prayer
to wait for your appointed hour,
And fit us by your grace to share
the triumphs of your conqu’ring pow’r.
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal-9 v. 1 & 5)



Creative Commons LicenseEarly Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Review – Week of June 20, 2016

Review – Week of June 20, 2016


Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
Isaiah 43:1b




ECME Devotion – June 20, 2016

Devotion based on Isaiah 43:1b

See series: ECME Devotions

The end of a school year often finds teachers reviewing their year. They look back on the things that went well and find satisfaction. They look back on the rough parts and decide what can change and improve for the upcoming year. As you do this, you may be tempted to fall into one of the following ditches:

1) You may look at all that went well during the year and think, “I am an awesome teacher. I have accomplished so much, and I am a professional that others should learn from. I will give myself a pat on the back.”
2) You may look at all that did not go well and fall into despair. You may say, “Why am I a teacher? There are so many things that I failed to handle with grace and professionalism. I can’t even begin to imagine doing this all over again next year.”

The problem with both of these scenarios is that we are trying to find our identity within ourselves. We are measuring our worth by our own outward accomplishments or failures, and this creates fear. We fixate on our mistakes because we fear that others will see us as failures. Even in our successes, we put more pressure on ourselves to repeat them and fear the ridicule if we don’t.

We need to look at ourselves as God looks at us. Isaiah says to FEAR NOT, because God has redeemed us. Christ went to the cross and erased all the pride and all the self-pity with which we fill our minds. When we were baptized, we became God’s very own child; he claimed us. We find our identity in Christ, and when we do, we see a God who loved us enough to die in our place. We see a God who calls each of us personally by our name. How special we are to him!



Prayer:
Go, my children, with my blessing,
Never alone.
Waking, sleeping, I am with you;
You are my own.
In my love’s baptismal river
I have made you mine forever.
Go, my children, with my blessing–
You are my own.
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal-332)



Creative Commons LicenseEarly Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Renew – Week of June 13, 2016

Renew – Week of June 13, 2016


May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13




ECME Devotion – June 13, 2016

Devotion based on Romans 15:13

See series: ECME Devotions

Americans are addicted to work. When meeting up with a friend for coffee, often the common question is, “How have you been?” The common answer is, “Busy.” We take pride in our busyness. We somehow feel that the busier we are, the more important we must be. Being a hard worker is a quality personality trait, but being a workaholic is not.

It is important during these quieter summer months to take time to renew your mind, body and faith. Your job of training young children to follow Jesus is so important. Being overworked, stressed and letting our faith grow weak is not being a faithful servant. There is only one solution to this: Jesus

We can find comfort in Jesus’ life. Jesus was a hard worker. He preached from dawn until dusk. He went from town to town healing, teaching, and training his disciples. His work was very important, but even Jesus took time away from his work. He would go somewhere secluded with his friends or even wander off alone to speak with his Father. He needed to renew his strength and faith so he could continue to serve others. That life is YOUR life. Jesus lived it perfectly for you and it became your life at your baptism when Jesus took his perfection and put it on you.

We can find comfort in Jesus’ death. There Jesus paid for all sins for all time, which also became yours at your baptism. He forgives us for the times we fail to trust in him. He forgives us for the times we forget to draw from God’s word.

The hope that we find in Jesus’ life and death fills us with peace and joy. Only when we are filled with those things will they overflow onto the children that we teach.



Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, continue to fill me with your love, joy, and peace. May I be a light to others as I go about my work of teaching little lambs. Amen.



Creative Commons LicenseEarly Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Relax – Week of June 6, 2016

Relax – Week of June 6, 2016


Set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Colossians 3:1-2




ECME Devotion – June 6, 2016

Devotion based on Colossians 3:1-2

See series: ECME Devotions

Ahhh! It’s summer vacation! We’ve made it through another year…at times we thrived and at times we survived!

As we look back and reflect on our year, it is easy to say, “I deserve a break. I faithfully kept X number of kids alive, fed, shared Jesus with them, and maybe even taught them a few things. I am ready to take time away from it all, and RELAX. And that is perfectly fine. You should take some time with your family, get out of town for a while, and just stay away from 2 year olds for a few days (for your sanity’s sake).

Sometimes though, when we take a break from our jobs, we tend to take a break from everything. We set our hearts on beaches, time with family, camping, the lake cabin, etc. and we forget to continue to set our hearts on God. Throughout the school year we meet weekly with faculty around God’s word. We study Bible Stories daily to teach to our students. We pray for patience and wisdom. Then summer comes, and the temptation is to forget about God for a while. Weekends become filled with activities, and we might miss church. Our kids are out of school, so we don’t make time for those quiet morning devotions.

Paul tells us in the letter to the Colossians to set our hearts on things above. It is not wrong to dream about our summer getaway, but we need to remember what is most important. What is up above? Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Christ, our Savior, who pleads for us in front of the Father every time we lose our patience with a student. Christ, our Redeemer, who gives us peace and rest at the end of every stressful week when we doubt whether or not we are making an impact. Jesus forgives us for every mistake we make, and he forgets every time we put our summer plans before him.

So let’s not forget him this summer. Make time for Jesus and his Word in your summer vacation.



Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank you for guiding me through another school year. Be with me during the summer months, and help me to continue to seek you in your Word each and every day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.



Creative Commons LicenseEarly Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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I Thank God for You – Week of May 30, 2016

I Thank God for You – Week of May 30, 2016


I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:3-6




ECME Devotion – May 30, 2016

Devotion based on Philippians 1:3-6

See series: ECME Devotions

Thank you notes. Such a simple gesture. You have likely gotten a variety of thank you notes. There are the ones from your students that are handmade and full of their love for you. You may get notes this time of year from parents that express their gratitude for your loving attention to their child. You might be working with your students on thank you notes to send to volunteers and others who have contributed in some way to their classroom this year. While it may be simple, a thank you note can encourage and touch the hearts of the recipient.

As the year draws to a close, we often reflect on the children and families we serve. We thank God for the opportunity and privilege to partner with parents and to share the gospel with the children and their families. We thank God for the blessings of relationships built and strengthened this year. Among those relationships may be those with whom we serve. Philippians 1 is a wonderful reminder for us to also take the time to stop and thank God for those with whom we serve. Those individuals may be in our classrooms and centers, at our own congregation, at a neighboring congregation, in our district, or in a congregation we don’t even know. You may serve in a center with just you or in a center with a number of staff members. You may have another center nearby or maybe the nearest center is hours away. But in each of those centers are people like you whose goal is to share the precious gospel with young children and their families. What a blessing! Today’s verses remind us of the fellowship we share with others who serve as teachers, directors, aides, and volunteers in early childhood ministries each day. The verses also provide the comfort and encouragement that we can be confident as this year draws to a close and each day that God is the one to carry our work on to completion. It is he who blesses all we do.

So today we send a thank you note of prayer. It is simple, it is sincere, and it is full of joy. We thank God for the privilege of serving, for those we are blessed to serve, and for those with whom we serve. Today I send a thank you note of prayer to God for each of you and pray that he continues to bless his work through you.



Prayer: Dearest Lord, I thank you for the privilege of sharing your gospel each day. I thank you also for all those who serve in the preaching and teaching ministry. Bless them, guide them, strengthen them, and give them the joy and confidence that it is you who blesses all that they do. In your name we pray, Amen.



Creative Commons LicenseEarly Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Goodbyes – Week of May 23, 2016

Goodbyes – Week of May 23, 2016


As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.
Joshua 1:5b




ECME Devotion – May 23, 2016

Devotion based on Joshua 1:5b

See series: ECME Devotions

Our grandchildren (and their parents) live in different states from us. Sunday family dinners are not part of our tradition. Facetime is. Almost every Sunday, we find ourselves completely focused on the precious faces and voices on our phones. Once, maybe twice a year, we are all together. The days are filled with laughter, games, great food, noise-filled rooms, and lots of hugs and cuddle time. And then it comes-like an unwelcomed guest-the time to say good-bye. The hugs are still there but the laughter is replaced with attempts to hold back the tears. As the car pulls away or they walk off to check in at the airport, there’s a lump in the throat and attempts to hide how difficult this farewell continues to be each time. And with that moment comes a prayer: “Hold them always close to you, dear Lord.”

Goodbyes are seldom easy. Distance from ones we love is often hard. Goodbyes come for many reasons. Children are grown and return to their own homes. Children grow and are ready to move away to school. Our students move to another classroom or even school. Ones we love move to another city, state, or even another country. This weekend we also remember those who leave to serve our country. The goodbyes are hard. And yet, we are reminded in Joshua of the promises of God. This promise was made to those in the Old Testament and are true for us as well. We recall how Moses left his home filled with faith in God’s plan and promises for him. We may be the one leaving or the one saying goodbye as someone we love. The promise is the same for us and for those we love. As he promised Moses and kept that promise, God will be with us and those we love. He is with each of the children we serve and their families. He is with our own family, our colleagues, and our congregation members. He is with our friends and acquaintances. He promises to never leave us, never forsake us. And he is faithful. He keeps each and every promise.

So as goodbyes continue to be a part of our lives here on earth, we take comfort and encouragement from the promise of God that he will not ever leave us or those we love. He also promises us a time when there will be no more goodbyes when we are all home with him in heaven. So we dry our tears, continue to pray for those we love, and go forth with our confidence in God’s faithful promises.



Prayer: Dear Father. My prayer is that you continue to be with the children I serve, their families, my own family, colleagues, and friends. Each day bring them closer to you, confident in your promise of salvation. In your name I pray. Amen.



Creative Commons LicenseEarly Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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We Have Seen His Glory! – Week of December 21, 2015

We Have Seen His Glory! – Week of December 21, 2015


She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.
Matthew 1:21




ECME Devotion – December 21, 2015

Devotion based on Matthew 1:21

See series: ECME Devotions

Have you ever asked a group of young children what they think that first Christmas was like? Very likely they try to fill in some of the missing details. Perhaps they have extreme concern over the sheep that the shepherd likely left when they “hurried off” to see Jesus–they wonder if the angels stayed and looked after them, or, at the very least, scared off the wolves so that the sheep would be safe. Another child might envy the shepherds, the first visitors of Jesus, because “after everyone else found out about Jesus there was a very long line to hold that baby”.

God doesn’t give us every detail about that first Christmas, but we can be assured that everything we need to know is written down for us in his Word, the Bible. When we look in his Word, we see that he was more than just a baby. We needed Jesus to come! We fail to live as we should. We gossip or tell lies about people. We try to manipulate situations to work for our good and to someone else’s disadvantage. We live for ourselves.

And yet we see His glory. We see that God became a baby, a human, one of us. God sent his Son, who never did wrong, to be a part of our dirty, sinful world. Jesus was all God and all man. Jesus did all the things people do–he ate, slept, cried, felt emotional and physical pain. And he died.

The only “human” trait Jesus did not have was sin. He never lied, never gossiped, never disobeyed God. God’s glory was revealed to us through Jesus’ sinless life and his death on the cross. And now we have seen his glory! We share in his victory because he has taken our sins upon himself and has given us the crown of life. God’s glory is ours through Jesus!



Prayer: Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning! Jesus, to thee be all glory given, Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing. Oh, come let us adore him! Oh, come let us adore him! Oh, come let us adore him, Christ the Lord! Amen

Christian Worship 55 v 4



Creative Commons LicenseEarly Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Grow in Grace – Week of September 7, 2015

Grow in Grace – Week of September 7, 2015


Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever!
2 Peter 3:18




ECME Devotion – September 7, 2015

Devotion based on 2 Peter 3:18

See series: ECME Devotions

No matter how much we might want to try and stop it, kids grow up. They get older, wiser, taller, faster, and bolder. It’s a fact of life: kids will grow up. We are the proof of that aren’t we?

The kids in our classroom are going to grow while they are in our care, too. They will be able to do things at the end of their time with you that they were not able to do in the beginning. And they will grow in their faith as we teach them about Jesus. What a joy to watch these children in our care grow!

You and I have some growing to do, too. Peter encourages us, “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” We who teach can grow as we learn more about our Savior. Through our personal devotions, going to church, attending Bible study, teaching God’s Word, and more, we will grow in the grace and knowledge of our Savior.

Growing in grace and knowledge and teaching others to grow can be hard – especially when a teething toddler is throwing a tantrum or a feisty five-year-old is fighting. But God’s message to us is clear: Jesus is our Savior from sin, death, and the devil. So as we grow in grace and knowledge we will live every day in a way that shows our love and thankfulness for this free gift of grace. This gives him glory.

Grow in grace, dear Christian friend. Grow in faith. Grow in wisdom. Grow in compassion as you teach children in your care to grow in grace… and that will give God glory now and forever.



Prayer: Dear Jesus, be with us as we grow in your grace.  Keep us strong and steadfast in your Word. Grant that all we do in our classrooms brings glory to you.  In your name we pray, Amen.



Creative Commons LicenseEarly Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.