ECME Devotions

Peace Be with You! – Week of April 12, 2021

Peace Be with You! – Week of April 12, 2021



On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

John 20:19-23



Peace – that’s not the first word most teachers associate with a busy classroom. Children play, shout out answers, sometimes argue. The classroom can be a joyful, noisy place, but peaceful? Not so often.

Peace – that’s probably not how the disciples were feeling that first Easter evening. They saw their Savior put on trial, crucified, and buried. Would they be next? Then some women told them that Jesus was alive. But that would be too good to be true. Confused, sad, scared – that’s what the disciples likely felt.

Peace – that was the first word Jesus said to his astonished disciples when he appeared to them in that locked room. With the realization that their Savior was alive, the disciples truly could have peace in their hearts. This peace was better than any earthly peace. Before his death, Jesus had told his disciples, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Jesus brings everlasting peace. Troubles of this world will fade away, but we have what we need for eternity. We are washed clean of our sins, we will conquer death, and we will join Jesus in heaven. That is peace.

Jesus told his disciples not to keep this peace to themselves. “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” (John 20:21). The disciples’ lifework became sharing that peace with the world. We also are sent to share God’s peace. Every day we get to share the special news with our students: “Jesus loves you. Jesus took your sins away. Jesus will always be with you.” And they share that peace with us too. When they sing their Jesus songs and proclaim their faith, they strengthen us. And when they go home and share what they’ve learned, Jesus’ peace is spread even further.

Peace isn’t a quiet classroom. Peace is a classroom of people who talk about Jesus, who know his love and share that love with others, who sing and pray and praise God. Peace be with you.



Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you for bringing me true peace through your death and resurrection. Let that knowledge strengthen me so I can share your peace with others. 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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


My Redeemer Lives! – Week of April 5, 2021

My Redeemer Lives! – Week of April 5, 2021



But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.”

Mark 16:4-6



Have you ever been to a funeral? My father passed away several years ago, and the day of his funeral is still sharp in my mind. I remember looking at him for the last time, and having many join me in saying good-bye to him. It was not an easy day.

On Easter morning, some women expected to say good-bye to Jesus. They wanted to honor his body by anointing it with spices, but had to wait until the Passover was finished. With heavy hearts, they approached the tomb wondering how they would roll the huge stone away. But that’s not what happened.

The stone was already moved, and an angel spoke to them. Jesus wasn’t in that tomb. Jesus wasn’t dead. “He has risen! He is not here,” the angel proclaimed. Hearts that ached became joyful. Death couldn’t hold on to Jesus; he was victorious! The women even saw their resurrected Lord on the way back to tell the disciples this most wonderful news.

Jesus’ victory is our victory. He paid for our sins when he suffered and died for us. He proved that he conquered sin, death, and the devil when he rose from the dead. His resurrection guarantees ours. Jesus has a room ready for us in heaven, where we will see him with our own eyes. With Job we can exclaim, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes – I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me.” (Job 19:25-27).

Because Jesus wasn’t in the tomb that first Easter morning, we know we never have to say good-bye to him. He is with us always. And to those believers who have passed away, we can say, “I know I’ll see you again.” With joyful hearts we look forward to an eternity with our Savior.



Prayer: Dear Jesus, I praise you for your triumph over sin, death, and the devil. I know that your victory is my victory. Comfort me with this sweet knowledge and help me boldly proclaim, “I know that my Redeemer lives.” 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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


The Next Chapter – Week of March 29, 2021

The Next Chapter – Week of March 29, 2021



But he was pierced for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The punishment that brought us peace was on him,
And by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to our own way;
And the Lord has laid on him
The iniquity of us all

Isaiah 53:5-6



Have you ever been unhappy to finish a good book? As you move through the pages, you become emotionally invested. Chapters go by until finally, the ending looms and the journey is complete. You are left with only heart-felt memories and an anxious hope that the author will continue the narrative in another volume.

Without a doubt, the Bible is incomparable to other texts with its holy author and divine purpose. But readers can still be emotionally engaged when reading it. It would be difficult to read any verse in Isaiah 53 without being drawn in by the prophet’s description of Jesus. Our text cuts directly to Calvary’s hill in the final moments before Jesus’ death.

We find Jesus bearing God’s judgement all on his own. Jesus was pierced. He was crushed. He was wounded. God laid on him the sins of us all. In Isaiah’s description, our Savior is finishing his work with no one there to help him. Oh, we are present in Isaiah’s account, but our role is not to help Jesus. We could not help Jesus. We are the very reason Jesus is in this circumstance. So, Isaiah rightly compares us to sheep that have gone astray. It is our waywardness that God cannot tolerate. It is, in fact, our punishment that our Great Substitute is accepting.

Further in Isaiah 53 we see that Jesus accomplished his divine mission with his death. Our Great Substitute died. Under normal circumstances, the last chapter would quickly follow. But this is God’s book with God’s words describing God’s plan and promises. God does not close his book here and leave us emotionally spent. If he did, that would surely be our finale as well. No, there is another chapter. Spoiler alert! In that magnificent chapter, God accepts Jesus’ sacrifice and Jesus rises. Jesus is not dead! He is alive!

That leads to the next chapter for us too! His death is our death. His life is our life. Just as Jesus was not left alone on Calvary’s hill, our death will not be the end of our story either. God promised us another chapter in our lives. Because of Jesus, we anxiously wait for our faithful God to deliver that promise of life in heaven. This time though, God will not need to describe it to us. Because of Jesus, he will allow us to experience it for ourselves! What a profound experience that will be!



Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you for being our Great Substitute!  Thank you for fulfilling God’s promises so that we can experience the next chapter of our lives- in heaven with you!  Amen!

Questions for Reflection: How do I look forward to my life in heaven that is to come?  How do I help the children in my care look forward to their life with Jesus?

Want to know more?  What is heaven?  From WhatAboutJesus.com



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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


My Hiding Place – Week of March 22, 2021

My Hiding Place – Week of March 22, 2021



Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief. Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you.

Psalm 143:1-2



Young children are terrible at hiding, aren’t they? Their inability to keep quiet gives them away almost immediately. They hide behind things that are too small to cover their entire body. Little children will even use their own hands to hide. As they chatter away from behind their own fingers, they reason that if their eyes cannot see you, then you cannot see them. This seems irrational to adults. Yet, games of peek-a-boo or hide-and-go-seek are forever entertaining generations of children.

Consider also how many generations of immature, little transgressors have tried to hide from authority in similar ways? Fear launches guilty hearts into instant panic. After a misdeed has been committed eye contact is avoided, a favorite blankie covers the head or a corner of the room is occupied. This all seems irrational to adults because eventually, justice will be delivered.

Are we much different than our irrational children? After we commit our sins, whatever they are, do we not try to hide? The devil, our accuser, drags us before our holy judge and points his wicked finger at us. He lays the evidence of our self-centered pursuits, our time-wasting thoughts, our disparaging remarks before God and clicks his malicious tongue at us. Fear kicks in and our irrational reaction is to hide our guilt from the almighty God. We avoid church where we hear his Word and connect with his people. We fill our schedule with business to escape time with him. We cover our sins with pathetic excuses. In the end, we know justice will be delivered.

What a relief that God’s justice was, indeed, delivered! Our Judge has also sent our Savior and accepted his perfect sacrifice for our sins on his cross. God delivered the judgement meant for us onto Jesus. We no longer have to fear our Judge. In Jesus, God actually provided the place for us to hide- in the security of his Son’s cross. In Jesus, the fervent prayer of the psalmist is our prayer- “Hear me! Come to me! Help me!” Our guilty hearts find cover in Jesus!

Now, our accuser cannot convict us! Our guilt cannot shame us! Fear does not compel us to avoid God for he sees us hiding in the very place where he wants us- in the shadow of Jesus’ cross! Praise be to our faithful God for keeping his promises in his Son, Jesus!



Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you for being my substitute on the cross.  Thank you for being my hiding place.  Help me draw near to you and your forgiveness in your Holy Word.  Amen!

Questions for Reflection: How do I avoid God in my life?  What is one way I can draw near to him?

Want to know more?  How can I live in the presence of God?  From WhatAboutJesus.com



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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Our Spiritual Spring – Week of March 15, 2021

Our Spiritual Spring – Week of March 15, 2021



Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions- it is by grace you have been saved.

Ephesians 2:4-5



I love spring!  After a frigid winter with only brown grass, dried up stalks in the fields and skeletal trees on the horizon, seeing skinny, green shoots and plump, colorful buds appear is comforting!  The lawns change color.  Trees fill out.  Gardens and fields become promising again.  What a relief we are not stuck in the season of winter forever!  Life comes again- full of purpose and activity!

Our text for this week talks about our spiritual spring.  “Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our sin.”  We were dead.  In reality, we were even more barren than our winter gardens.  Our sinful hearts, even more withered than a December tree.  Our spiritual potential was even more depleted than a field of expired stalks.  We were dead!  Mired in only our own filthy sins.  No potential.  No purpose.  No activity.

We would have certainly stayed that way too if God’s merciful love had not given us life.  Though we did not earn or deserve it, God loved us!  As we lay wasted, God sent his Son, Jesus Christ!  Yes, even while we were still ensnared in our own sin, God changed our direction completely!  Now, through Jesus, we have a spiritual springtime! In Christ, our sins are forgiven, and our dead hearts are now alive!  Jesus melts our winter into life.  Life produces.  Life has purpose and identity.  Life is beautiful!

Because of Jesus, our new hearts produce thankfulness that honors God by serving others around us.  It might be that our service calls us to be patient as we work with children and assist our families in their training.  Because of Jesus, our new lives have purpose.  What an honor to be called, “teacher” as our daily activities prepare little hearts and hands and voices to know their Savior.  Because of Jesus, our identity has been transformed.  Faith in our Savior now identifies us as a child of God, and we work tirelessly with the littlest in his family.  Because of Jesus, our life is stunningly beautiful and only becomes more so as our faith grows!

Our spring has come!  Grow by hearing his Word.  Shake off your winter and welcome the opportunities God puts before you to love others.  Serve them in Jesus’ name.  New life in Jesus is beautiful!



Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you for giving my life purpose and identity.  Help me to use my life to honor you.  Amen!

Question for Reflection: How do I use my daily activities to serve God and others?

Want to know more?  What is my purpose in life?  From WhatAboutJesus.com



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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Foolishness – Week of March 8, 2021

Foolishness – Week of March 8, 2021



We preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

I Corinthians 1:23-25



Recently, I purchased a different phone.  I am not completely tech illiterate, but that phone had me confounded!  Buttons were in different places, swipes triggered different actions, connections were not established. Noting my frustration, my husband shared some good advice he received from his co-workers- “Give it to your daughter.  She’ll figure it out!”  Our daughter is nine!  How foolish that a nine-year-old can figure out this complicated instrument more efficiently than an adult!

In our text for this week, God’s plan for our salvation is referred to as foolish.  God’s plan of salvation, his plan to save sinful mankind from eternal destruction was this: To take His own words and form them into the gurgling of a fragile baby. This baby, Jesus, would be raised by insignificant humans and grow up to teach about God’s love in a scrubby region of the world.  As a man, Jesus would be tempted by others and even by the lord of lies himself, the devil.   Jesus would be able to resist each temptation.  He would allow himself to be captured, then abhorrently tortured.  Finally, he would hang on a cross as mankind’s substitute while he suffered the unspeakable torments of hell and isolation from God.  There he would die.  Three days later, Jesus would rise again to show that God accepted his perfect sacrifice.  This was God’s plan of salvation, our one chance for eternal survival.  Human reason says, “How foolish!”

Yet, human reason is no match for God’s perfection and faithfulness!  God’s foolishness is even wiser than man’s wisdom and his weakness is stronger than man’s strength.  God promised this plan and he delivered.  God had perfect confidence in his only Son and his Son executed the plan perfectly.  It worked with no hitches or flaws.  Jesus never once fell into temptation.  Jesus never once disobeyed or strayed from God’s perfect plan.  Jesus fulfilled God’s plan to the letter.

Now, when God looks at each one of his family members, he will not thunder, “Get away from me!”  Now when he looks at each of his family members, God sees our substitute Jesus.  His foolish plan worked!  God will greet each one that believes with, “Come!  I see Jesus in your heart!  Welcome to my kingdom!”

As you continue through Lent, fix your eyes on God’s foolish plan.  Come before God’s only Son, who stood in our place.  Marvel at God’s weakness that took one baby and raised a Savior!



Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your perfect plan of salvation.  Help me to lean not on my own understanding but rest securely in your promises fulfilled in Jesus.  Amen!

Question for Reflection: Even the little children in our care are wiser than many smart grown-ups.  How can I nurture their trust in Jesus and make them wise for salvation?  (2 Timothy 3:15)

Want to know more?  Why does God love sinners?  From WhatAboutJesus.com



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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


How Are You Doing? – Week of March 1, 2021

How Are You Doing? – Week of March 1, 2021



Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.”

Mark 8:34-35



How are you doing?  If you gave up something for Lent, are you still holding strong or have you abandoned your sacrifice?  The tradition of denying something of pleasure for the six weeks leading up to Easter has been a challenge taken on by millions over the generations.  The motivation to sacrifice chocolate, as an example, is supposedly to lead the self-disciplined individual to remember Jesus’ suffering and ultimate sacrifice on the cross.  Six weeks does not sound that long!  A small sacrifice should not be that difficult!  Yet, for many the Lenten denial is surrendered in favor of the easy way out.

It is challenging to give up something you love, to deny yourself what you want.  Sometimes, we even act like our children when we must sacrifice something we value.  However, in our text we see Jesus gather up his followers for a special tutorial on discipleship instructing them to do exactly that.  “… deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

To be sure, denying ourselves- taking up our cross and following Jesus, is vastly different than sacrificing a pleasure for six weeks.  Denying ourselves is understanding that nothing in this life is more important than our faith in Jesus and the salvation of our souls- not money or property or personal connections.  Heaven is not gained with those.

But how are you doing?  Are you taking your faith life seriously or are you, like me, hanging your head in shame over the time you binge watched a TV series but did not find time to have a personal devotion?  Are your shoulders slumping, like mine, over the time you did not feel well enough to attend worship but work was too important to miss?  Do your eyes lower, like mine, over all of the times you prioritized this life instead of your eternal life.

We groan, “God forgive us!”  Then Jesus lifts our sin-weary head and takes our wretched hands and says, “You are forgiven!  Look!  See the cross I took up for you?  That is where I spread my arms to bear each time you denied me instead of this world.  That is where I give you strength to live for me!”

So how are you doing?  Well, on our own, we fail!  Only in Jesus do we have the strength to deny ourselves, bear our cross and follow him.  Draw near to Jesus.  Hear his Word.  Receive his forgiveness.  Then bear your cross with his strength.



Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you for forgiving me when I deny you!  Help me remember your cross as I daily live for you!  Amen!

Question for Reflection: What part of my day denies Jesus?  How can I move forward in Jesus’ forgiveness and strength?

Want to know more?  I’m not perfect; I make mistakes!  So what?  From WhatAboutJesus.com



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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


God Has Mercy on Me, A Sinner! – Week of February 22, 2021

God Has Mercy on Me, A Sinner! – Week of February 22, 2021



“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Luke 18:13-14



“I want to be the mom. I know the most about taking care of babies!”
“I’m putting the last block on the tower, so it doesn’t fall!”

In a room filled with children under the age of five, you’ll hear sentiments like these all day long. Many children think they are the very best at, well, everything!

As grown-ups, we know better. Given thirty seconds to think, we could come up with a pretty good list of things that aren’t our strengths. That said, aren’t there so many times when we are just like the kids? Prideful thoughts and attitudes can sneak in so easily. It might sound like:
“Why does she always hold him like that? It never helps him to calm down.”
“I play on the floor with the kids all morning, while he pulls up a chair and just sits and watches.”
“She always wants to do all these art projects, and they’re amazing, but I’m always left cleaning everything up.”

In each of these examples, we’re not only complaining, we’re pridefully thinking of ourselves as better than someone else.

In the verses for today, Jesus was telling a story to those who were “confident in their own righteousness.” Jesus cuts right to our prideful hearts. Even while we know Jesus is our Savior, our sinful nature loves to puff itself up and put down those around us.

Jesus knew this about us, so in his love, he came to think, speak, and act differently in our place. Instead of choosing to stay in the perfection of heaven, Jesus became a lowly human. He perfectly put others before himself, always!

Then, Jesus gave the ultimate gift of humble service by giving his life for all, so that now, when we recognize the sin of pride and pray, “God forgive me. Have mercy on me, a sinner,” we can leave that prayer with this solid promise in our hearts, “God has had mercy on you, a sinner, for Jesus’ sake.” Knowing this precious truth fills our hearts with peace and moves us forward in humble service to others, in Jesus’ name.



Prayer:
Dear Jesus, it can be so easy to fall into the sin of pride. Thank you for being perfectly humble in our place, and for dying for us so that this sin could be forgiven. Help us now, with hearts of faith, to work each day to think of others ahead of ourselves. In your name we ask this, amen.

A Question to Consider:
Pride often comes when there is a misunderstanding of others’ gifts or abilities or a different value system given to those diverse gifts. Take a moment to jot down the names of your coworkers. What are some of the strengths you see in their work each day?



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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


All Things for All! – Week of February 15, 2021

All Things for All! – Week of February 15, 2021



I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

1 Corinthians 9: 22b-23



Home visits and parent orientations are always exciting. You’re getting ready to start a new year or a child is about to join your classroom for the first time. But there can be some anxiety, too, as teachers get confronted with ideas from families of all backgrounds and opinions.

The writer of our verses today, Paul, was no stranger to handling such things. Throughout his ministry, he worked with people of a variety of backgrounds, cultures, and ideologies. How did Paul handle such a challenge? Our verses tell us that Paul “became all things to all people.” Why? So that through the good news about Jesus, he “might save some.” God had given Paul a heart that was so excited to share about Jesus that he was willing to do almost anything (without changing God’s message) to do just that.

God has given us hearts to share the love of Jesus, too. But sometimes our perceptions can make that a struggle. We see parents’ practices and thoughts about eating, sleeping, toilet-training, academic learning, etc. and it can be a challenge to meet them where they’re at!

That’s when Paul’s words and Jesus’ ultimate carrying out of those words can help us pause. How perfectly Jesus carried out these words for us! The way we (and all people) thought and did things couldn’t have been further from what God had intended when he first created this world. Yet Jesus left his glorious home in heaven and literally became one of us. He preached to people of all backgrounds, to people who agreed with his words and violently disagreed. Then he reached his final goal: becoming the sacrifice for all people, so that through giving his life on the cross he might not only save some, but all!

This love makes our hearts desire to be all things to others, too. We look at the mom who grew up in a different culture, and we seek to understand and build a relationship with her, so that maybe the good news about Jesus can be shared. We listen to the parents concerned about their child’s academic growth, and we look for opportunities to encourage their family in the most important growth of all, growth in the knowledge of their Savior.

Our efforts to be all things to all people will only bear fruit as God wills, but when they do, Paul reminds us that we, too, will get to share in the blessings. What better blessing than to witness another soul knowing Jesus!



Prayer:
Jesus, how often we have looked down upon others who are different from ourselves! Forgive us! In your grace, you became everything to all people so that we could be saved. Help us to find ways to be all things to those around us so that we might share the ultimate blessing of the hope of heaven with them. In your name we ask this, amen.

A Question to Consider:
Identify one family in your setting who might be able to use some extra consideration and understanding from your staff.  What could that support look like?  What deliberate steps could you take to build that relationship so that the gospel can be shared?



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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Blessed in the Word – Week of February 8, 2021

Blessed in the Word – Week of February 8, 2021



Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.

Psalm 1:1-3



You’ve seen it happen. One toddler starts loudly banging her spoon and pretty soon, there’s a whole chorus of spoon-banging going on. Kids love to imitate each other’s behavior!

Adults do this, too, sometimes without even realizing it. That’s why God is clear in our verses today about where he does and does not want his children to be on their walk toward heaven. First, God addresses where he does not want us to be. He says, “[do] not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers.” What does that really look like?

Think back to those toddlers at the beginning. None of those 14-month-olds went into the day with a spoon-banging plan, but when they were surrounded by others doing just that, it had an impact on their behavior, too. That can so easily happen to us as well. Maybe it’s that we continue to spend time with friends who encourage us to misuse alcohol, and it’s just too hard to say no. Maybe it’s that one show, that “guilty pleasure,” and before we know it, our thoughts and attitudes are beginning to reflect ideas that don’t align with God’s will. Maybe it’s those posts that we continue to click on that disrespect officials in our government (on either side of the aisle) and soon, our mouths are spouting that same rhetoric.

God has a better way for his children. Instead of immersing ourselves in the sinful surroundings of this world, he tells us to delight in his law, to be in his Word. God wants us to hear about our sin and how it separates us from him so that we don’t make light of it, and so we know that we could never possibly get to heaven on our own. He also wants us to hear again and again the gospel, which tells us Jesus lived for us perfectly and died for us willingly, giving his spotless life in exchange for ours. God wants us to hear how we can live each day in thankfulness for all he has done for us, and he wants us to hear his forgiveness when we fail. There are so many things with which we can fill our hearts and minds as we walk the road toward heaven. But our Savior longs for us to be in his Word. He promises that when we are, we will be blessed!



Prayer:
Jesus, you know just how often we surround ourselves with everything but your Word. Forgive us for so often having misplaced priorities and for even choosing sinful things over time with you. As we continue in this new year, give us hearts that want to study your Word regularly, knowing each time we do, you will bring blessings. In your name we pray, amen.

A Question to Consider: At the end of the psalm verses above, God compares the believer to a tree planted by streams of water. The tree is connected to a steady supply of exactly what it needs to grow. Think through your week. In addition to church, how can you connect to what your heart needs, time with Jesus in his Word?



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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


God’s Grace is for All! – Week of February 1, 2021

God’s Grace is for All! – Week of February 1, 2021



Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh.  Now Nineveh was a very large city; The Ninevites believed God.  A fast was proclaimed and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.  When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened. 

Jonah 3: 1-3a, 5, 10



“You can’t play with us.  Only girls wearing pink can use the dress-up right now.”

Does it ever take you by surprise when your sweet students show such unkindness to one another?  Even when we’re little, our hearts love to set up dividing lines between “us” and “them.”

In our verses today, God had commanded Jonah to preach his Word in a city called Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian kingdom. The Assyrians were no friend of Jonah’s people.  When God gave Jonah this directive, Jonah chose to run.  Just after our verses above, we find the reason for Jonah’s avoidance: because he knew that God was a “gracious and compassionate God.”  Jonah, God’s very own prophet, did not want to share God’s message with “them.”

We can find this attitude leaking into our lives, too.  It can be difficult to share God’s forgiveness with the little boy who has tested our patience all morning long.  Our hearts may think, “Does he really deserve this, again?”  Or, while we may chat eagerly with one mom, taking the time to build a relationship, we quickly bustle out the mom who arrives a hot mess at 5:36, and we sidestep the dad who questioned us earlier in the week altogether.

Thank the Lord that he is so unlike each of us!  Though the Ninevites had been bitter enemies of his people, God longed for them to turn to him.  That kind of grace is unfathomable to our human logic!  But doesn’t it also bring us such joy?  Because, if God’s grace is truly for all, even those whom most regarded as outside God’s circle, then God’s grace is for us, too.  When Jesus died on the cross, he gave his life for the sins of the little girls in the opening story and for the little boy who tried your patience today. He died for the moms and dads who make our work a joy, and the moms and dads who don’t do things quite as we’d like or who even confront us regularly.  He died for the teacher who shared his grace today, and he died for the teacher who forgot, put self above the needs of another, or avoided the opportunity altogether.  Jesus died for you!  God’s undeserved love, his grace, is for you!  What an awesome opportunity we have each day to share his grace with others!



Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for your undeserved grace.  As I look into the faces of those you have given me to serve, whether big or small, help me to see them with your eyes, as individuals you died for and dearly love.  When I fail, remind me of your unwavering grace for me and give me renewed energy to try again.  In your name I ask this, amen.

A Question to Consider: God’s grace, his undeserved love, binds us to each other.  Think about the families in your care.  How can you be a purposeful witness of God’s grace to both the easy and the more challenging families you serve?



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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


All Ears – Week of January 25, 2021

All Ears – Week of January 25, 2021



Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. The LORD came and stood there calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

1 Samuel 3:9-10



“Does anyone hear me?”

I often feel like screaming these words from the rooftop. Seriously, sometimes I just want to know if anyone is listening to the words that I am saying.

I know that my son heard me ask him to hang his coat on the hook, but it’s on the floor, so while he may have heard me, I don’t think he actually listened to what I said.
I know that my daughter heard me say to brush her hair before heading off to school, however, I’m noticing a few more tangles than a brushed head should have.
I know that my students heard me tell them that this is a quiet time, yet the noise level in the classroom is deafening.

I get frustrated with the lack of listening. I wonder if God does too. He says, “Do not worry.” And yet, I worry. “You are beautifully and wonderfully made.” Oh, sure, I hear him, but then I see myself in the mirror and I don’t see what he sees. Instead, my head is filled with insecurities and lies. “Plans to prosper…” yet sometimes I focus on only what is harming me.

God wants us to be good listeners. We know how good it feels when we’re not only heard, but actually listened to.

Samuel did a good job of listening. He not only heard the words of Eli, but he listened to them. He also had a desire to listen to the words of God. He said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
We would do well to do the same. Listen to the words of our Father. He tells us so many wonderful things. He shows us his faithfulness. He provides us with words of comfort, words of relief, words of hope.

When our hearts seem to be overwhelmed with the lack of hearing, maybe it’s time for our ears to perk up and do some listening.

Give your time to him and his Word. He has so much to tell you.



Prayer:

Speak, O Savior; I am listening , as your servant to his lord.
Let me show respect and honor to your holy precious Word.
That each day my whole life through, I may serve and follow you.
Let your Word e’er be my pleasure, and my heart’s most precious treasure.a

Christian Worship 283:1

A Question to Consider: What are some listening tricks you have learned throughout life? Share them with a friend and put them into practice this week.



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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Unstoppable – Week of January 18, 2021

Unstoppable – Week of January 18, 2021



At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

Mark 1:9-11



My oldest child almost didn’t get baptized. Ok, that might be a bit drastic. I should say, our original date for her baptism almost got cancelled. Of all days, a blizzard raged on and our pastor called off church. We had family in town and my post-partum emotions were drowning in sadness at the fact that our “special day” wasn’t going to work out the way we thought. Then it happened…a “Baptism Day” miracle! Our pastor called and told us that he was going to make the trip to our house, in a middle of a monster snowstorm, to baptize our daughter. What a guy.

That’s not the only miracle that happened that day. God’s amazing grace washed over my daughter through the sacrament of Holy Baptism. She was stamped as one of his own. It was one of the best days of my life. Most definitely of hers as well.

There is nothing that can stop the Holy Spirit from doing what he is going to do. He is that powerful. No circumstance. No weather pattern. No emotional meltdown. The power of the Holy Spirit can do the unimaginable.

Even John the Baptist tried to stop a baptism. The baptism of Jesus! In the account in Matthew 3:14, we read, “But John tried to deter him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’” Basically saying, “Who am I, to baptize YOU?”. But the Holy Spirit prevailed. Nothing can stop him from what he is going to do.

Take comfort in that, friends! He is powerful.

As you teach God’s little lambs think of that power. Think of that faith that he’s strengthening day in and day out, using you as one of his tools. What a privilege it is to preach the gospel. The faith that he’s working in their hearts is new, but oh, so strong. What an awesome job we have of telling the truths of God’s Word to these little ones. We are merely the mouthpiece, but the Holy Spirit is the POWER that causes his Word to take root in their little hearts.



Prayer:

Holy Spirit, I am in awe of your power. Please continue to strengthen my faith and the faith of my students. Lord, help me to stay in your Word and faithful in my devotion to you. I cling to your unstoppable power. Amen

A Question to Consider: Who do you know that could use the reminders and encouragement of these verses? Consider sharing them with them by forwarding this devotion and perhaps including a personal word of encouragement.



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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Wake up! – Week of January 11, 2021

Wake up! – Week of January 11, 2021



Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the people, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

Isaiah 60:1-3



Three days a week, I drive to an exercise class at 5:15 in the morning. I live in the country, so the darkness of the sky surrounds me during my drive. I usually turn my bright headlights on so that I can see as clearly as possible. The light is good.

Then…I get to my class. For thirty minutes, I dance like no one is watching and then I get back in my car to head home.

By this time, usually the sun is coming up. The light is making itself known for the day. I love it. I find so much peace in knowing that the light has, once again, taken over for the next several hours.

When I get home, I usually have about 10-15 minutes before I hear the footsteps of my children coming down the stairs for breakfast. Have you ever seen a child’s face right when they are waking up? It is usually scrunched up with their eyes squinted. The light! It’s so bright. Staying in the dark might make for a more comfortable situation, but then…as they get used to the light, they realize that that is where they want to stay. Being in the light is the absolute best place to be.

“The LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you.” Amazing. How wonderful to be in the Light.

This world sure could use a little bit more Light. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I, a believer, can struggle with seeing the Light. I can get overwhelmed with my day-to-day responsibilities. My smile can fade when something of this world tugs at my heart more than the promise of my Savior. Sometimes the darkness is so thick that I forget that the Light has already been won for me.

Sure there is darkness. But, friends, there is light. That Light, that glory of our LORD, is found in Jesus our Savior. It rises upon us, basking us in the warm glow of forgiveness and spiritual understanding to see life clearly by the brightness of God’s shining promises. It’s where we want to be. It’s where we need to be. It’s the privilege of what we get to share! The Light! We don’t just teach our kids cute songs about having a little light of their own to shine because it’s fun. We teach them songs about sharing their light because this world needs the Light! The darkness will come. It will try to steal the joy, but the Light wins! The Light has won!

So when the sun sets, use the darkness for rest. Then use the energy from that rest, to shine the Light!



Prayer:
Arise and shine in splendor;
Let night to day surrender.
Your light is drawing near.
Above the day is beaming,
In matchless beauty gleaming,
The glory of the Lord is here
Christian Worship 81:1

A Question to Consider: How can you be the light for your students this week?



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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Happy New Year! – Week of January 4, 2021

Happy New Year! – Week of January 4, 2021



But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be our peace.

Micah 5:2,4-5a



10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1…Happy New Year!

Isn’t is fun to count down and wonder what’s coming next? I suppose if surprises aren’t your thing, maybe the countdown doesn’t bring such joy. Maybe you used to like countdowns, but 2020 changed you mind. It’s understandable.

Last year, I remember getting my colorful dry-erase markers out and making my calendar look perfect and cute as I filled in all of the fun things to look forward to. The calendar sure did look great, that is, until the end of March. My calendar was extremely confused at the end of March. Nothing I planned was happening. April and May seemed to be confused as well. So yes, if 2020 changed your mind about countdowns, I fully understand.

There’s good news though, friends. Get excited, because whatever 2021 has in store for you, you are in the best hands. If you think you’re too weak and can’t handle what’s coming, guess what…you have the strength of the Lord on your side. If you think the darkness of the world is taking over, go ahead and stand in awe of his majestic name. If you’re struggling with the unrest of the past, bask in the peace in knowing that we live SECURELY in the greatness of our God found in the one sent to Bethlehem’s stable, Jesus our King and Savior.

As we welcome God’s littlest of lambs back to the classroom this New Year, let us shower them with the truth that he will be our peace in whatever comes our way. Instill in them the confidence that though they are small, they are mighty in the One who whose greatness reaches to the ends of the earth.  Let us encourage each other to praise his Holy Name and thank him for his continued faithfulness in our lives.

I will probably still try to make my calendar look perfect and cute this year. I can’t help it. I love color coding! I will say though, I will have my eraser ready and tackle each day with the confidence in knowing that He is in control.

Stay in the Word, friends. Daily be immersed in his promises. In Truth!
May God bless you today and always.
Happy New Year!



Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for being my strength. Help me look to you throughout this year and find comfort in your promise of peace. Amen. 

Question to Consider: Do you have “Praise God” written on your calendar anywhere? It’s not something typically you’d see written down, but maybe pick a day or two a month and jot it down as a reminder to intentionally praise his Holy name. Dance to a Christian song. Pick up that old instrument that you used to play and worship him. Say a prayer of thanksgiving. Praise him all year through!



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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


An Unforgettable Christmas – Week of December 28, 2020

An Unforgettable Christmas – Week of December 28, 2020



The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:14



We have seen his glory, and this is his glory. He took on flesh for us. Where is God when I needed him?  He’s not on some far away planet. He actually came here, dwelt (literally tented) among us. Crucified, the God-man who comes to seek his own.

We have seen his glory, and here’s his glory—to seek and to save you! So this unforgettable Christmas:

  • I think of a dear saint getting up there in years, wondering—will this be her last Christmas? I think of her missing all the loved ones who have gone before; I think of the quiet confidence and hope that is hers in God who called Bethlehem’s manger his home.
  • And I think of little ones who fill our classrooms and sometimes our churches, and the ones who mom still carries in the car seat, and all that lies in the future for them. That God would love them this much? To be joined to their humanity? To take on flesh and blood? For them?
  • And I think of hospital beds you’ve stood next to; the funerals you’ve endured; the graves you’ve travelled to; and those you miss terribly today. And I think of the joy that ends all sadness; the peace which will never disappoint; the choir that gathers in heaven singing his praises evermore and evermore.
  • And I think of those who suffer this Christmas; who are in the midst of a battle of the wills; who are struggling to love; and I find love in a manger; love on a cross.

This is a Christmas that will not be forgotten.  In varying degrees, it’s a struggle for each of us. For all of us there is something not quite right, something you wish were different, someone who is missing, something un-resolved, something not finished or fixed. Christmas arrives with worry, loneliness, fear.

But this: The Word became flesh.

But this: Your God became man for you.

But this: I know what my God is like. God is no longer angry with you. This baby, the world’s Redeemer, revealed the face of God to us! A face of love and mercy and forgiveness that knows no end!

But this: Christmas means we can be honest and say some things we cannot fix; but Jesus can.

This Christmas is an unforgettable one, because Christmas means Someone loves you so much that he would rather die than hold your sins against you. So the One who was near the Father, who was God and is God, took on flesh, because he wanted you Home.

And that is a Christmas not to be forgotten!



Prayer:

The world may hold her wealth and gold; But you, my heart, keep Christ as your true treasure.
To him hold fast until at last a crown is yours and honor in full measure. Amen.
(Christian Worship 40:5)



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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


An Advent Promise—No Word from God Will Ever Fail – Week of December 21, 2020

An Advent Promise—No Word from God Will Ever Fail – Week of December 21, 2020



But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end. …For no word from God will ever fail. “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her

Luke 1:30-33, 37-38



For no word from God will ever fail. As you read through the Old Testament, see how many times it looked like God’s word was going to fail. See the centuries of sinners in the line of your Savior. How desperately they need him.

For no word from God will ever fail. But it looks like it might, as we look at our own lives. For as ugly as the history of the people of God in the Old Testament, my history, my past history, my current history, is no prettier. Or yours.

For no word from God will ever fail. The one who enters the virgin’s womb is the one who enters Bethlehem’s manger, enters Jerusalem’s gates on Palm Sunday, enters into death, even death on a cross, enters into a tomb only to leave it empty again. For me.  For you!

For no word from God will ever fail.  The same Word which healed lepers and caused the blind to see and called the dead forth out of the grave. This Word spoken to you. “I forgive you.” For no Word of God fails. Nothing is impossible with God.

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.”  Mary did not demand a diagram or an explanation or a contract from her Lord. She demanded nothing. She believed.

I am the Lord’s servant. God works such faith in you as well. How could you know all that’s coming? For all of our planning and wisdom, tomorrow can change everything; indeed, tomorrow may never come. We don’t know all that the Lord has in store for us, this much we do:

  • The virgin conceived and gave birth to a son.
  • Our brother. And he will save the people from their sins.
  • Nothing is impossible with God.

For no word from God will ever fail.  The stuff in your life, the big stuff, the stuff that feels like too much, the struggles, the doubts, the fears.  God and his word will not fail. I am the Lord’s servant Lord, open our lips to speak with such confidence! For he has shown you his favor! Jesus is His name!



Prayer:

Come, Lord Jesus, come. Take away the burden of our sins and make us ready for the celebration of your birth! 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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


An Advent Promise—God is Faithful – Week of December 14, 2020

An Advent Promise—God is Faithful – Week of December 14, 2020



May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24



I think of you this busy Monday. I think of the final things that fill an educator’s calendar (and the other vocations God has called you to). I recognize that your minutes are precious right now, and so many good and godly things that are desirous of and demanding of your attention. So may I give you a gift, a gift that requires nothing from you?

Today’s gift is bought by the Christ and carried to you through the Holy Spirit.

  • It’s a gift of peace, when peace seems so fleeting. (A peaceful ECM classroom the week before Christmas?!?) It’s a gift of peace. Jesus Christ is his name, yours through the powerful working of the Holy Spirit. Peace! That’s God’s gift to you this very day!
  • It’s a gift of being found blameless, now and at the day of the Lord’s coming. While your conscience accuses you. (Yes Lord, forgive me, I’m all too aware of the evil I have done and the good I have failed to do.) The Spirit testifies: you are blameless. Wrapped in Christ Jesus, who was and is blameless for you, you are all blameless. All of you, “your whole spirit, soul and body.” You are blameless! That’s God’s gift to you this very day!
  • It’s a gift of joy. Not a joy that is fleeting, mind you, a joy that the comes from sins forgiven; a joy that can’t be robbed this hectic December day. Joy! That’s God’s gift to you this very day!
  • It’s a gift of our God who is faithful, the one who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. A God who continues to call after you in his precious word of forgiveness, a God who leaves no question as to whether he will do for you what he says he will do for you. God is faithful! That’s God’s gift to you this very day!

I think of all you have to do this day, this week. This Word of promise is for you, dearly loved child of God, not as something for you to perform but as something that comes from him freely, signed, sealed and delivered by the Holy Spirit who is pleased to call you his! May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.



Prayer:
Lord Jesus, into your hands I place all my worries, all my unfinished tasks, all that would accuse me or blame me. Thank you for your promise and your faithfulness, which fails me never. 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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


An Advent Promise—The Lord is Patient – Week of December 7, 2020

An Advent Promise—The Lord is Patient – Week of December 7, 2020



The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance

2 Peter 3:9



The irony is not lost on me—that this devotion, designed for educators of God’s littlest lambs, preaches patience. Those dear little ones are so ready for what’s coming in a few weeks: “Is it here, yet? Is it time, yet? When do we get to open presents?” Patience, dear one, patience.

And just when will the Lord Jesus show up anyways??? “Come, Lord Jesus, come” his little church has prayed for two millennia. What is taking so long?!?

St. Peter puts a finger to his lips and says to all of us who ache and who long for Jesus and his reappearing today: it will be ok. “Why is it so slow in coming?” I wonder, and St. Peter reminds me: He’s not. He’s not slow in keeping his promise, as it may seem according our itty-bitty understanding of time and our itty-bitty understanding of the way things ought to be. He’s not slow. He’s patient.

He’s patient—and that is for our good. He is patient—and for all I do not understand about the here and now, that’s a promise to rest in. He’s patient—eagerly desiring your salvation; and not only yours, but all whose lives you are blessed to touch as teacher, as parent, as friend, as child, as spouse. He’s patient, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (sorrow over sin and trust in God’s promise of forgiveness in Jesus).

Tom Petty would have us believe that waiting is the hardest part. Your students likely agree this week! And everything around us, the struggles of this year and the struggles of this week, they all scream the same. Here is an Advent promise, for you: The Lord is patient! His timing is good, for you. His desire is good, for you, not wanting you to perish, but repentance and life in him.

To one who preaches patience time and again, you can rest this day in God’s patience.

To one who preaches patience time and again, you can rest this day in the joy that comes from belonging to Him.

To one who preaches patience time and again, you can rejoice this day in the opportunities he gives you to proclaim The Lord is patient!



Prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, whose patience in keeping your promise is what is good for me and for all, strengthen me this day to live and to hope and to love, and all the more as I long for your reappearing. 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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Be Ready! – Week of November 30, 2020

Be Ready! – Week of November 30, 2020



[Jesus said,] “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”

Mark 13:35-37



A four-year-old bounded down the hallway to her toddler brother and announced “Hey, you are going to heaven!” This might have been an endearing moment, had she not added, in a sing-song voice, “but first you have to die…“ The parents overhearing this were first filled with joy at the tender announcement and quickly switched to shock over the blunt morbidity of the second statement. How can a young child so easily speak the sad truth that we will all die- and present it without fear, but with joy?

Yes, we will someday die. When Adam and Eve committed the first sin at the very beginning of the world, God promised that they would surely die for their disobedience. God also promised that someday, he would send Jesus to take away their sins and all the sins of their decedents.

The end of the world has been wrongly predicted by scientists, archeologists, religious leaders, and philosophers for the past several hundred years. Some predictions were made based on ancient calendars, others on signs of nature, and some predictions were even based on parts of scripture.

But we know this for sure: we do not know when Jesus will return! Earlier in the chapter, Jesus even says that only God himself knows the date of his return (Mark 13:32). It is not our job to try to figure out when he will come. In fact, it could even be dangerous, spiritually, for us to know the day or time. We might allow ourselves to become immersed in the sins of the world, knowing that we “have time to repent”. Purposely waiting our last moments of life to ask for forgiveness is very dangerous, indeed.

God tells us that our job is to “be ready”. He wants us to come to him in prayer, and he wants us to read about his promises in his Word. He talks to us every time we read the Bible, and he offers us comfort. God always keeps his promises, and we eagerly await the fulfillment of his “ultimate promise”, when he comes back to take us to the mansion in heaven that he is preparing for us. God promised that the entire world would be redeemed through the precious blood of his Son, and this promise was fulfilled on the first Easter weekend when Jesus died, beat the devil, and came back to life. We are ready for our Savior to come again!



Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for giving us time on this earth to enjoy your creation and do the work that you have given us. Help us not to fear death, but to see the opportunity that you have given us to use our time to study your Word and proclaim your love to others. We look forward to the time that you will come again to bring us to our true home, heaven, where there will be only joy. 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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Our God, Our King- Week of November 23, 2020

Our God, Our King- Week of November 23, 2020



Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. For the LORD Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth. He subdued nations under us, peoples under our feet. He chose our inheritance for us, the pride of Jacob, whom he loved.

Psalm 47:1-4



“Our King is coming!”, said the pastor one Sunday morning. A 3-year-old scrambled out from under a pew, jumped on to the seat, looked out towards the back of the church and shouted “Where? Where’s the king? I want to see the King!”

Where’s the king? Many are asking that today. We see communities ruined by economic stress, social unrest, and natural disasters. Many feel a sense of hopelessness and abandonment. Where is God? Did he leave us? Oh, how we want to see our King!

But our Lord is the King over all the earth! He IS here, and he never left us. The pages of the Bible are filled with examples of God’s power over the world. First, he made the entire world-the heavens and the earth-with just his power and his words. We saw God flood the world in Noah’s time, and with this same power he made the waters evaporate. We saw God win battles for His people and send food to them when they were in the middle of the desert. Through Jesus, we saw God heal the sick and bring people back to life. Our God IS king over heaven and earth.

We often feel as though we need a king to rescue us from this world—from natural disasters, physical pain and disease, and from the sins of others. But truly, we need someone to save us from ourselves. We are sinful. We are the problem with this world. We need someone to save us because we are evil. Sin is not just a product of the world around us, it is not something that someone is doing to us, it is a product of ourselves, from within ourselves.

On judgement day, the last day of the world, God will return. All people will submit to our King, who defeated the darkness of sin on our behalf. Our King over heaven and earth will come back to rescue us from this dark world and bring us to the eternal light of heaven. Our king IS coming! He is our Savior. We rejoice as we look forward to the day when he returns and his name is proclaimed everywhere as ruler of all. We do as the Psalm says and clap our hands and shout with joy! God IS King and has given us heaven, our inheritance.



Prayer:

Dear God, our King,
Thank you for the reminder that you are in control of all things in this world. I rejoice that you are our King of this world. I am sorry for my sins, for all that I do to bring hurt and sadness into this world. Help me to forgive others as you have forgiven me and help me to show others that you are our Savior. Amen.

A Question to Consider:
The power of God over this world often can be seen in nature. How have you seen God’s power in the world around you?



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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Our Eternal God – Week of November 16, 2020

Our Eternal God – Week of November 16, 2020



Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

Psalm 90:1-2



We are entering the 9th month of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it seems to have no end. When will the masks be in the garage sale pile and the Clorox wipes be on sale again? When will we be able to hug our friends and shake hands with a stranger? And when, oh when, asks my 4-year-old, will indoor playgrounds and the Icee machine at Target be open again? It feels like these “uncertain times” have been going on forever!

But the only one who knows the true feeling of “forever” is God. In the beginning, before anything was made, God was there (Genesis 1:1). God has no beginning and no end, which means he always was, and always is. God’s power has never changed, either. God has always been, and always will be all-knowing and all-powerful. In a world that always changes, God never does.

While God is eternal, we are not. Because of our sin, we will someday die. Because of our sin, life on earth will be filled with sorrow and pain. Because of our sin, because of our parents’ sins, and because of the sins of every generation before and after, we deserve the punishment of death and the punishment of eternal separation from God in hell.

When we suffer in this life, we forget that God is in control and will never leave us or forsake us. We sin when we forget that our God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and unchanging. We also sin when we trust anything over God. In these “uncertain times” we can sometimes put our trust into worldly things such as science, social organizations and people, or even ourselves. Sometimes we place these worldly things above God.

But our loving, all-knowing, all-powerful, eternal God is the “remedy” for our sin. He is our “dwelling place”, as the Psalm says, our shelter. He sent his son, in our place, to die for our sins, our parent’s sins, and the sins of every generation before and after. Because of Jesus, when God looks at us he sees purity and righteousness. Because of Jesus, we have been freely given a place in heaven, where we will live eternally with Him.



Prayer:

A beloved hymn, “Our God, Our Help in Ages Past” was written based on Psalm 90. In this hymn, we thank God for being our shelter in this world and for giving us the hope of heaven, our eternal home. We pray:
Our God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast, and our eternal home.
Before the hills in order stood or earth received its frame,
from everlasting you are God, to endless years the same.
Our God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come,
still be our guard while troubles last and our eternal home! Amen.

Christian Worship 441:1, 3, 6

A Question to Consider:
What “stormy blasts” have come your way in 2020, and how has God provided shelter and hope in your trials this year?



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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Our God, Our Judge – Week of November 9, 2020

Our God, Our Judge – Week of November 9, 2020



(Part of the story of The Sheep and the Goats) The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

Matthew 25:40



“Give Back”.” Pay it forward”. “Spread kindness like confetti.” Have you noticed any other “goodwill movements” in the news or on social media? As Christians, we have our own. We show love to others because God loved us first and gave us more than we deserve when he sent his son to die for us.

When Jesus comes again he will rule as judge. All people, those still on earth and those that have died, will be judged on the last day. Some people will go to heaven, and some people will go to hell. He will look into the heart of each person that ever lived and send them to live eternally with him in heaven or to be eternally separated from him in hell. Not everyone will be saved. Both heaven and hell are eternal and permanent. Sounds harsh, doesn’t it? That in one instant our eternity will be decided by one person?

This truth sounds harsh because it is contrary to what the world tries to tell us. The world tries to tell us that whatever a person believes is “their truth”. In this time of tolerance, the world wants us to believe that “everyone has a little good in them” and that everyone has a right to “their truth”. But not everyone will go to heaven. Not everyone believes the real truth that will give them a place in heaven.

Jesus describes this “last day” at the end of his ministry, as recorded in the book of Matthew. Jesus says that he will remember our time on earth and wants us to live a life of service for others. He wants us to help people by caring for them physically, emotionally and spiritually.

It is important that we note that Jesus is not saying that we can earn heaven by serving others. The path to heaven is through the blood of Jesus alone, not by any good we do on this earth. And yet, showing love to others by serving them is evidence that we have faith in Christ. When Jesus says “whatever you did for the least of my brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” he means that even the simplest of acts that we do for those he puts in our homes and community will show our faith. We are so thankful for the grace that God showed us by forgiving our many sins, that we want to serve others. By serving others, our love for God shines through.



Prayer: Dear God,
Thank you for the mercy you have shown me by sending Jesus to save me from my sins. Help me to show my love for you by caring for others. Amen.

A Question to Consider:
What opportunities has God given you to care for people in your life? Is there someone that needs help finding resources to care for their physical or emotional needs? How can you help connect the people in your life to God’s Word?



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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


A Mighty Fortress – Week of November 2, 2020

A Mighty Fortress – Week of November 2, 2020



God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Psalm 46:1-3, 11



Fires raged through California, storm after storm formed in the Gulf, and the Coronavirus pandemic almost stopped the world completely. We have seen some extraordinary things this year, haven’t we? In addition to witnessing these natural disasters, we have felt the strain that comes with a struggling economy, job insecurity or loss, and the emotional and physical separation from family and friends.

It has felt as though the world might be falling down around us. And, in a way, it is! Sometimes we call these tragic experiences of nature “pictures of the end times”. We know that this world will not last forever, and that sin will always be a part of it. We know that we, and all people born into this world, will never be able to live the perfect life that we would need to live to go to heaven. Only Jesus lived that perfect life, for us. He earned our way to heaven.

Why doesn’t God stop the fires and storms? And couldn’t he rid the world of disease at one command? Yes, he could. Yet there is a purpose when he doesn’t. We are reminded of our own sinfulness and the sins of this world when he does not stop the hardships that come our way. God does not promise that we will never experience tragedy in this life, but we do know that God keeps every promise that he does make. God promises to be our shield in this world and to bring us to the next, our final home in heaven.

So God says in the Psalm that even though the world will not last, we will not be afraid. God is always with us, he is our fortress, or refuge, our strength. We look forward to the day when Jesus will take us home with him in heaven and we can leave all the pain and destruction behind forever.

The hymn “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” was written based on Psalm 46. We thank God for protecting us from harm, for giving us his Word, and sending his son, Jesus, to win heaven for us. Listen to some of the words from this timeless hymn:
“And do what they will-hate, steal, hurt or kill—Though all may be gone, Our victory is won! The kingdom’s ours forever.”(Christian Worship 200:4)

God is our fortress! He is with us, though the world may crumble around us. Although there is evil and destruction in this world, “though all may be gone”, God has won the battle over sin for us. He has won the victory for us and freely gives us his kingdom, heaven.



Prayer: Dear God, our Mighty Fortress,
Thank you for giving us the comfort of your Word in this Psalm during the challenging times of this world. Help us to remember that you are our refuge, you are our strength, and that you will always help in times of trouble. 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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Waiting for the Lord – Week of October 26, 2020

Waiting for the Lord – Week of October 26, 2020



I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

Psalm 27:13-14



There is nothing worse than waiting. Well, maybe there is but when you are waiting for something, nothing else seems to matter at that moment. And yet you teach your children how to wait. It is an important life lesson, isn’t it? Patience is a virtue. Patience with grace is a high virtue. The reason we struggle with waiting is that we think of ourselves as very important. “Doesn’t the DMV clerk know whom I am and that I am super important matters to attend to? If he did, he would get this line moving.” Waiting is a harsh law. It turns out you and I are not that important. A humbling experience for the both the adult and the preschooler.

And yet we all know good things come to those who wait. Another lesson you hope to teach your students. When we take our time with our work, better results occur. When we save up our money to make a big purchase, there is a sense of satisfaction (as opposed to the guilt of credit!).

We are told to wait for the Lord. It can be a painful experience. But it is also a delight. It is a delightful experience because we are confident in the Lord. In our saddest moments we might cry out, “Come, Lord Jesus, come!” But in our happiest moments we simply delight in life now and the life to come. It is a win-win situation for us. No matter what, Jesus will give us life.

This is the source of all confidence, another characteristic you hope to instill in your students. King David was confident in the midst of a chaotic political situation because he believed in the resurrection from the dead. He knew that he would see the goodness of God in the land of the living (even if he died in battle). He knew that he had the ultimate victory over death. This made him confident in all things. He could take chances. He could venture all things. He didn’t have to rely on dishonorable tactics. He could do what was right even if he was persecuted or defeated in an unfair world.

So it is with us. Your confidence and the confidence of your students is in Christ. If Christ has taken care of our biggest problem (sin and death), then what do we need to be timid about? This relaxes our tension and allows us to be free. We are confident. And with this confidence we wait for the Lord in delight, enjoying the gift of life now and confidence in God’s gift of eternal life to come.



Prayer: Come, Lord Jesus, come, and take us to our heavenly home. Until then guide us in your light and give us the confidence in faith grounded in your unending love and protection. 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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


The Face of God – Week of October 19, 2020

The Face of God – Week of October 19, 2020



Hear my voice when I call, LORD; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, LORD, I will seek. Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, God my Savior. Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me. Teach me your way, LORD; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.

Psalm 27:7-11



The face of God can be a terrifying thing. Moses was forced into a cleft of a rock and only the backside of God passed by him. He could not see the face of God and live. It would have been too much for a mere mortal.

In the same way we can only see glimpses of a hidden God. God hides. That sounds awful but it is true. God hides. But he paradoxically hides in order to be revealed. He does not show his glorious face to us because it would be too much. His glory would blow away sinners like us. So he hides. And when he hides, he becomes intimate. We do not stand in the glory of God wondering if we will be blown away. We go about our business every single day with God right next to us. It might sound like a consolation prize to have a hidden God instead of experiencing the full glory of the Almighty, but this is not true. He is close to us and that is a gift of God’s grace.

God hides so that he might be found on his own terms. He wants to be found in the most hidden of all places, the cross. Who would look for a glorious God in that godless scene? David sought after the face of God. He wanted God to look on him with favor, that is, to look at him and not turn away. We want the same. But the face of God does not look glorious—it looks like a man dying on the cross. Here is where we see the Father turn his face away from his Son so that he can turn his face towards us in mercy. Christ gets the justice we deserve and we get the kindness Christ earned for us.

But where do we look for the face of God today? Still at the cross of course but also in the people we serve. Having been spared wrath and given love, we now go into the world to love. When we love others, we love God. So where is the face of God in your life right now? The students looking to you every day. God saved you and now uses you to love his children. You are the face of God to them and they are the face of God to you.



Prayer: Jesus Christ, you are true God and fullness of the deity in bodily form. Help us to be your ambassadors in the world. Move us to see your face in all we serve so that in turn, they may see your loving face in our actions. 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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


The House of God – Week of October 12, 2020

The House of God – Week of October 12, 2020



One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.

Psalm 27:4-5



King David, the author of Psalm 27, wanted to build the Temple. He wanted to build, quite literally, a house for God. But he was not able to build the house of God because he was a man of war and God didn’t want his conquests (godly though they were) to be associated with the building of his house of worship. Instead David’s son, Solomon, would build the Temple of the Lord. Yet thoughts of God’s house were never far from David’s mind. It’s not hard to imagine that he dreamed it, planned it, and even sketched it out.

David was not only concerned with the house of God and the worship of Israel. He also concerned himself with a royal palace and the patriotism this might engender in the people of Israel. So he built himself a palace that would have been very close to the palace of God, the Temple. Two houses in close proximity to each other but with two purposes. One was for worship, the other for national pride and strength. Guess which one David sings about in Psalm 27? Not the house of power he built for himself but the house of God.

David ultimately knew that the splendor of God’s grace was far better than the splendor of any earthly kingdom. David knew it in his heart, but it did not always show in his actions, as we know. We struggle with this too. It’s not just our castles, that is our homes, versus our churches, that is God’s house, but rather where we seek God.

Do we seek him in power or in suffering? Do we find him in majestic and glorious vistas or at the ugly cross? Do we encounter him by ourselves or in his house where his Word is read and preached and his meal served? David wrestled with that question and so do we.

We find God at the cross. And he is delivered to us in his Word, Meal, and Baptism. Here we see true love. This is the beauty of God’s Temple: a church made of forgiven sinners. This is God’s house: a place where all people are loved on account of Christ no matter what their background or track record. No, it is not the grandeur of King David’s Palace. It’s not even the grandeur Solomon’s Temple, long destroyed. It is the forgiveness of sinners.

This is when the house of God becomes a home. A safe place. A comforting place. A place of forgiveness and peace. This is ultimately what David meant as he, no doubt, compared his palace to the coming Temple. He was comparing this fleeting world to the safety of God’s loving protection. When we compare our worldly home to God’s house let’s see the loving forgiveness of God’s home as our greatest treasure.



Prayer: Holy Spirit, dwell in us with your Word so that we may always find comfort in the hands of a loving God and peace in his home. 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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


The Lord Casts Out All Other Fear – Week of October 5, 2020

The Lord Casts Out All Other Fear – Week of October 5, 2020



The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 27:1



Fear does not play favorites. While specific fears might differ among us, if we’re honest we have to admit that we all fear something. Sometimes that fear can be irrational like farfetched conspiracy theories. Sometimes that fear can be perfectly rational like cancer which is a very real possibility for all of us. But what is really happening when you fear something? You are making whatever it is bigger than God and therefore, in your mind, it cannot be stopped. If you give that kind of power to whatever it is, that fear will destroy you. It will dominate your life. It will consume you.

King David wrote Psalm 27 at a time when he had many enemies conspiring against him. He had every earthly reason to fear. And so do you. I am sure that you can recite in your mind the things you fear the most on a daily basis. But notice how David saw all those potential fears in comparison to his LORD! His LORD was a light that chased away darkness in his heart. His LORD brought rescue from every foe. His LORD was like a mighty stronghold which could never be breached. And if a loving God is bigger than anything one might fear (and he is), then you can sing with King David, “Whom shall I fear?” and “Of whom shall I be afraid?” The answer is nothing.

So David went confidently onto the battle field and into the political arena of his day. He took his lumps (we all do), but ultimately, he was given a true victory for all eternity – salvation in God. This same God who was a light to David and drove away all fear is your God. The same God who was David’s salvation is your God. So whom shall you fear? Nobody and nothing but a loving Father in heaven who has your eternal best interests in mind.



Prayer:Heavenly Father, be a light for our path. Drive away all dark fear from our worrisome hearts. Be our rock and fortress in which we find peace from all our enemies. 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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


I Forgive You, Too – Week of September 28, 2020

I Forgive You, Too – Week of September 28, 2020



[Joseph’s] brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said. But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them. 

Genesis 50: 18-21 



“She was mean to me!” Betsy cried out to you. Not having seen the incident, you bring both of the little ones together to find out more. You quietly ask each child to share what they did to the other one. Emma had lashed out at Betsy with words that hurt. As you talk together, Emma starts to understand that she had hurt Betsy with her words. “I’m sorry,” Emma says with tears. And then you wait. How will Betsy respond?

Can you imagine the guilt Joseph’s brothers had been carrying? For well over 30 years, they knew what they had done to Joseph. They alienated him. They threw him into a pit. They sold him into slavery. For all those years, they had no idea what had become of him—until now. Here they were at his mercy. The famine had led them to Egypt to hopefully get supplies that could be found nowhere else. Through a series of events, they had come to realize that the powerful leader that had control of the supplies they needed was none other than their brother, Joseph. If they had been able to push the guilt down over the years, it all came to the surface and their remorse flooded out. They admitted all they had done and begged for his forgiveness.

If anyone had an opportunity for pay back, it was Joseph. He had the authority to do almost anything. He could repay them with a similar fate. He could exile them. He could have them imprisoned or worse. What was his response? “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God?”

Did they hear that right? Was he forgiving them? Yes. He was indeed. Why? Joseph knew God’s love and forgiveness in his own life. He knew that God had brought blessings through challenge after challenge to fulfill God’s plan. His heart was forgiving and loving, and he shared with them the precious words of forgiveness.

Each of us has someone in our lives who has hurt us in some way. This hurt can fester and drive a wedge between you and them. We also have caused hurt, especially to God each time we sin. In our devotion last week, we were reminded how God in love, washes each one of our sins completely away. He does this over and over and over. He does this without an expectation of anything but faith in him through Jesus. We don’t deserve it. By God’s grace, we have it—forgiveness from him.

As we consider this overwhelming free forgiveness, we can consider those we know. When someone comes to us with a broken heart, we can recall God’s love for us. Just as God forgives us, we too can say, “I forgive you.” What a gift we have from God. What a gift we can share with each other.



Prayer: Dear Jesus, your forgiveness for me is unexplainable except for the love you have shown for me and for all people. Out of gratitude for all you have done, create in me a loving and forgiving heart. In your name I pray. Amen

A Question to Consider: Sometimes the hurt we have experienced is significant and can cause lasting effects. Forgiveness will always be the foundation of healing in those situations. However, it is also sometimes helpful to seek the advice and counsel of a Christian counselor who can help us to work through these deep hurts.  May the Lord bless your relationships with one another and provide healing for all. Above all, may the Lord draw each of you closer to him.



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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Washed Perfectly Clean – Week of September 21, 2020

Washed Perfectly Clean – Week of September 21, 2020



Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
Psalm 51:1-2



What is it about red juice and little ones? You can give them a cup of water and the spills will be minimal. But when red juice is involved, it seems like the possibility of spills grows exponentially! And when it spills, it’s as though it is drawn to anything white or light colored. The stains are brutal, and often no matter what you do a hint of the stain lingers as a constant reminder.

Our verses from Psalm 51 were written by David. David had committed adultery with Bathsheba and had given orders that her husband should be sent to the front lines of battle where he was killed. Nathan the prophet had come to David to confront him regarding his sin. David was overwhelmed with grief and penitence. He felt the stain of sin covering him. He pleaded to God for his forgiveness with words such as: “Have mercy on me,” “blot out my transgressions,” “wash away all my iniquity, “cleanse me from my sin.” He repeated his plea four times in this short section highlighting the intensity of his grief.  David had sinned.  He had rejected God and his will.  Sorrow filled his heart and he felt a deep need for forgiveness.

Notice in the verses how David included what he knew about God’s mercy. He asked for God’s forgiveness because of God’s “unfailing love” and his “great compassion”. While overwhelmed in sadness over his sin, David prayed for God’s mercy, his love, and his compassion. What an amazing statement of God’s love for David and for all sinners. God hates sin and expects perfection. Yet God also dearly loves his people to the point of sending Jesus to wash away every sin. And when God forgives sins, David’s and our own, they are gone…washed away…covered with God’s grace. There is no hint of stain left in God’s eyes. Because of Jesus, God looks at us and sees his dearly loved and redeemed children. No greater statement of love has ever been made than when Jesus washed away our sins on the cross.

You and I can scrub all day and some of those red juice stains are there permanently. You and I have times where sin and guilt can be overwhelming. We can struggle with where to turn and how to resolve our guilt. It’s then that we turn to God just as David did. When we go to God in faith, his mercy and grace are ours because of Jesus. We are perfectly clean in God’s eyes and at peace with him. Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23) Thank you, dear Savior!



Prayer:
Dear Father, when I am overwhelmed by my sins, remind me of your mercy, compassion, and grace. Thank you for washing me clean of my sins through Jesus. Help me to reflect your grace in all I do. In Jesus’ 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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email