ECME Devotions

Stand Firm – Week of September 18, 2017

Stand Firm – Week of September 18, 2017


Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
I Corinthians 15:58



Images can be powerful. Do you recall the iconic picture from June 5, 1989 of a young man in Tiananmen Square in Beijing standing in front of a row of tanks? He stands there with bags of groceries possibly, facing what seemed most likely fatal for him. During a time of unrest, he stands there alone and seemingly determined. Whatever his reasons may have been, his convictions over-ruled his concern for his safety. He took a stand against those who appeared far more powerful than he. We don’t know what happened to the man after that day but the photograph has been seen around the world.

The verses for today’s reading include two words of encouragement, “stand firm”. This verse begins with the word, “therefore”. This tells us to go back and see why we can stand firm. If we look at the text just before this one, we see a number of verses on the victory Jesus won for each of us through his death and resurrection. Because he died for us and in our place, we don’t need to fear death. Heaven is ours. Because he rose from the dead, we know that we will also live forever in his loving presence in heaven. Because of this, we can look at the challenges and disappointments of this world and know that they are temporary. They won’t last forever (even if sometimes they may appear to) but our home in heaven will last forever.

So, what does that mean for today? As you go about preparing your lessons and materials for the day, how does this verse apply? You and I have work to do. There are centers to be organized, observations to be documented, newsletters to be written and shared, books to be read, and so on. There’s lots to do. But you and I are so blessed to have more to do than these tasks. We are privileged to have the opportunity each day to share the amazing story of God’s grace to the children in our classrooms. We strive to build trusting relationships with the parents and families of the children so that we can support them in their God-given role and share the gospel with them as well. There are days when we are blessed to see the fruits of those efforts. But more likely, most days those fruits are not as evident. It can be easy to be discouraged. It can be easy to slip into more focus on the earthly tasks then the spiritual opportunities. But take heart. While God does not promise that we will always see the fruits of the work of the Holy Spirit, he promises in Isaiah 55:11, “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” We can carry on with all the tasks we have and the amazing privilege of sharing the gospel knowing that our work is not in vain. While we may not always see the results, the Lord can and will bless our sharing of his precious message of salvation through him. So, stand firm. Take on each day, each task, each opportunity with the confidence that you know how this ends. The Holy Spirit is at work. Heaven is yours.



Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, some days the work I do is hard. I can become discouraged and distracted from the privilege and opportunities to tell others of your grace. Forgive me in those times. Remind me of your promises and your faithfulness. Help me to stand firm on your promises and to eagerly share that with those around me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

A Question to Consider: It’s hard to avoid discouragement and easy to give up. What are things you can do in anticipation of those times? Is there someone who can be an encourager for you? Is there someone for whom you can be an encourager? What other Bible verses can be reassuring to you and others?



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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.



No Cape Needed – Week of September 11, 2017

No Cape Needed – Week of September 11, 2017


I can do everything through him [Christ] who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13



He sports his colorful super-hero cape. One bold fist is raised while the other is planted on his hip. With confidence like only a super-hero might have, he proclaims, “I can do everything!”. He can fly. He can see through walls. He can hear conversations miles away. He can lift cars and trucks. He can save a cat stranded in a tree or someone held captive by the villain. He is amazing! He can do anything.

He isn’t real.

But you are real and so are the challenges that are a part of each and every day. You may face a room of crying infants or a toddler in a tantrum. Your car may need costly repairs or need to be replaced altogether even if it’s not in the budget. Your enrollment is short again or your waiting list is longer than the number of staff needed to serve. You are facing such dry conditions that wildfires threaten or the threat of a hurricane or its aftermath loom. Get the cape, right? If only it were that simple.

Today’s verse is such a statement of confidence. But this is one that can be misunderstood. “I can do anything.” What does the apostle Paul mean by that statement? Let’s start with what it doesn’t mean. I’m sorry to tell you but you can’t fly. You can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound. You can’t heal your ill child. You can’t stop a storm. Having faith in Christ does not grant super powers. No cape.

So, what does it mean? To help understand what Paul is referring to, we take a peek at the verses just before this one. He’s thanking the Philippians for their help and their concern for him. He shares that he’s learned contentment whether he’s in need or has plenty, fed or hungry, living in plenty or living in want. Why? Because Christ is with him in all things. Christ isn’t the magic that takes away any struggle or challenge. This side of heaven, in our sin filled world, heartache and troubles will always be part of our lives. However, like Paul, we can have the confidence and the contentment or peace that comes from knowing that Christ is always with us. With him, we can do things that are God pleasing. We can’t fly, but we can forgive. We don’t have X-ray vision, but we can see evidence of God’s love and grace in his Word and in our lives. We can’t stop a storm, but we can reach out to others, reflecting God’s love for us and help in times of needs small or great. We can’t save others from their sin, but we can share the message of God’s grace with them. We may not have a cape, but we have the forgiveness of sins and are robed in Jesus’ righteousness. And knowing we are forgiven, that heaven is ours through Jesus, that we are God’s dearly loved child is better than any super power. We can face each day with Christ at our side in whatever that day brings. We can live in joy and peace and confidence through Christ who gives us strength! No cape needed!



Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, thank you for the peace and strength that I can have because of you and all you have done. In your name I pray. Amen.

A Question to Consider: Take a few minutes to think about times of struggle in your life. What blessings can you see that came because of the struggle? Write them down and include a prayer of thanks for those. How does this help when new challenges come your way?



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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.



Do Not Fear – Really? – Week of September 4, 2017

Do Not Fear – Really? – Week of September 4, 2017


So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10



Wind. Water. Harvey. Fear.
There was another verse and devotion planned for today. However, the news of this past week could not go unmentioned. Hurricane Harvey. This epic storm is one that will be remembered in our nation’s history. It continued to shatter records as the storm raged on. Day after day, you and I saw and heard story after story of heartbreak: people rescued from the roofs of their homes, mandatory evacuations, tornadoes, homes and buildings destroyed, lives lost, and on and on. “Do not fear”? Are you kidding?

No. He’s not kidding. From the beginning, when Adam and Eve sinned, God knew the havoc that sin would play in the lives of his people. He knew the hurt, the pain, the destruction it would have. Out of love for his people, he also knew the comfort and encouragement his people, including you and I, would need. The words, “do not fear” appear in the Bible many times. Over and over, God reassures us that we don’t need to fear. “But this thing I’m facing is frightening!” There are absolutely times in our lives that are frightening and can lead to anxiety and fear. But the Lord tells us not to fear and not to be dismayed.

Do you recall as a child a time when you were particularly afraid? Perhaps you were like so many young children who were frightened of the darkness of your room. But when your mom or dad came in the room, even if they didn’t turn on the light, you felt calmer and safer. The darkness was still there, but you knew that with them there, you would be ok and you would fade off into sleep. While disasters like Harvey and the tragedies that accompany it are very real, God’s presence and promises provide reassurance and hope even more than that of an earthly parent.

The words from Isaiah today were written about the people of Israel who had escaped years of captivity. They could so easily fall into despair. They could simply look around and wonder how this could possibly work out. And yet, these words provide comfort and encouragement to them and to us. God is telling them that he’s with them through it all. He’s there to comfort and help. It’s not a trite pep talk—“You’ve got this!” It’s a promise from a God who never breaks a promise—“I am with you…I am your God…I will strengthen you…help you…uphold you.” This is not a promise that we will be able to decipher the meaning of disasters. It’s a promise that we can trust God even when we can’t make sense of life or see the future. Fear is a natural response in the face of tragedy. “Do not fear” means that we do not need to remain captive to our natural fears. God’s promises for ultimate victory put these into perspective.

So it is for us in the times that our own Harvey rages. What is your “Harvey”? While it may not be on the scale of this historical storm, is there a storm in your life? Pain. Hurt. Loneliness. Perhaps your Harvey is a relationship that is strained or broken. Test results. Waiting. Treatment. Maybe illness of some kind is your Harvey. Debt. Bills. Budgets. Financial struggles can weigh so heavily. Guilt. Discouragement. Despair. Maybe your Harvey is a sin that you want so desperately to overcome and the cycle of slipping back continues. “Do not fear”? Are you kidding?

No. He’s not kidding. Even more than a parent holding the hand of their child, God holds each of us with his “righteous right hand”. This represents God’s power and strength and his amazing promise to save us from our sin by making all things right through Jesus’ death and resurrection. God gives us his grace, and in that grace is the peace that only God can give in the midst of the storm. We have peace knowing that our God loves us, he is with us, and heaven is ours.

The storms of our life, while they can seem overwhelming, are temporary. The storm will stop. A city and people will rebuild. But God’s grace and mercy and promises continue to all eternity and they’re yours and they’re mine. He is your God, your strength, your help in all things.



Prayer: Dear God of all things. This has been a week with stories of heartache and fear. Through it all, you are there with your grace and your mercy. We struggle with fear. Help and remind us that you are always with us. Calm our hearts with the peace that comes from knowing that you have called us to be your child. Be especially with those who are struggling as a result of last week’s storms. Be their comfort. May all of this bring people closer to you and your gift of grace. In Jesus we pray. Amen.

A Question to Consider: Young children can be very aware of significant events like Hurricane Harvey. What are ways that you, your early childhood ministry, your pastor can calm their fears and concerns?



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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.



I Thank God for You – Week of August 28, 2017

I Thank God for You – Week of August 28, 2017


We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
1Thessalonians 1:2-3



Will you permit me to start today with a few statistics? Did you know that there are close to 400 early childhood ministries in our Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod? Those ministries serve almost 11,000 children and their families. There are WELS early childhood ministries in 30 states plus three in the Caribbean: one in Antigua, one in St. Lucia, and one in Grenada. In addition, over 70 congregations have reported that they have a Mommies and Me program of some kind. What a blessing! What an opportunity! What a responsibility! And you are part of all of that! Whether you serve as a director, a teacher, an aide, support staff, volunteer, or are a parent, you are part of this ministry that seeks to share the precious gospel with young children and their families!

The verses from Thessalonians in today’s devotion were written by the apostle Paul. He served and travelled as a missionary to the city of Thessalonica. This was a congregation that existed in a community that often opposed and persecuted Christianity (read Acts 17:1-9). And yet, this congregation held firm. In the beginning of this letter to them, Paul shares not only that he is grateful for them but that he includes them in his prayers of thanks continually. He goes on to note their “work produced by faith”, “labor prompted by love”, and “endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ”. God had worked faith in their hearts and this faith motivated their deeds of kindness and obedience. All their labor was motivated by the love that God had shown in the gift of salvation. They were moved to share this love with those in need as well as efforts to share the gospel with all around them. Their work was not easy. But they had hope—hope that is sure and confident in God’s promises, particularly God’s promise of heaven.

While you may not feel the same kind of persecution that they did in Thessalonica, your work can be challenging. Working with young children is full of the unexpected. Much of it is joyful and exciting but at times, it can be stressful. Trying to understand the needs of a crying infant or toddler, having the patience to help a child learn to share and take turns, a sick child, staffing, budgets, and on and on. And then there are the moments that remind you why you do what you do. In the midst of a busy room, you notice a child quietly rocking a doll singing, “Jesus Loves Me.” You are not alone in all you do. First, you have a loving God who cares for you enough to send Jesus. The heart of what you do is to tell the children and families about his grace and mercy. But also, you have colleagues—lots of them. Many of them are praying for you, just like Paul prayed for those in Thessalonica. I’m praying for you—prayers of gratitude and prayers that God will bless all that you do and that you continue to grow in God’s grace. I encourage you to pray for each other as well. Pray for those with whom you serve and pray for those you don’t even know. What a privilege it is to do what you do each day. May the Lord give you joy, patience, and confidence in serving him and in serving the young children and families in your early childhood ministry. “We always thank God for you.”



Prayer: Dear Father, thank you, thank you for all those who serve young children and their families throughout our church. Thank you for their dedication, for their love of young children, for their commitment, for their joy in sharing your message of salvation. Keep their faith strong and bless them as they grow in faith through your Word. In your Son, Jesus’ name. Amen

A Question to Consider: Is there someone on your staff or who you know that could use encouragement? How can you and your staff be intentional about praying for each other?



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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.



He is Faithful – Week of August 21, 2017

He is Faithful – Week of August 21, 2017


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.
1Thessalonians 5:23-24



If you say the name Bridget around my husband and his brothers, they all sigh—especially my husband. Bridget was one of the family dogs when they were growing up. But Bridget was special, particularly to my husband. The story goes that Bridget would walk along with him to school each morning and wait outside the school until the end of the day to walk home with him. I know, it sounds like a sappy children’s book, but each of the brothers would tell you that she was the epitome of a faithful companion.

Today’s reading begins with a prayer. The prayer is for fellow believers. It asks God to “sanctify” them “through and through”. In this context, the word sanctify simply means “to set apart”. God has freed them and us from sin through Jesus. The writer is asking God to keep them (and us) faithful to an ongoing life set apart for God. Because of all that God has done for us through Jesus, we can live a life of joy, a life of peace, confident in his love and grace. That joy and peace encourages us and motivates us to be faithful in our study of his Word. As we grow in our knowledge and understanding of all that God has done for us, we reflect that joy and peace to others.

The prayer goes on to remind the reader and each of us where our confidence lies. “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” He is faithful! Those words may be few but they are mighty! God is faithful. God is faithful all the time. He always keeps each and every promise. His love for us is perfect and constant and immeasurable. His faithfulness gives you and me confidence in his promises, in his forgiveness, in his love. We don’t need to live wondering if God loves us or if he forgives us or if he will hear our prayers. He is faithful. He loves us. He forgives us. He hears and answers our prayers, always.

A loyal and faithful companion like dear Bridget can be such a blessing. As a young boy, knowing that his precious friend was waiting for him every day was a rare gift. But even more, the gift we all have knowing that God is faithful, God loves us, God forgives us, and God hears us, gives us the confidence and the peace that only he can give. May the Lord grant you that peace. May you continue to grow in grace and in understanding of all that God has done for you. May all you do each day with the young children you serve as well as their families, reflect that confidence, joy, and peace in God’s grace.



Prayer: Dear Father, bless me and all those around me with the peace that only comes from you and knowing that we are your dear children. Thank you for your faithfulness, for your love, for your forgiveness, for Jesus. Help me reflect your love in all I do each day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

A Question to Consider: What are examples where you see God’s faithfulness in your life? Make a list and share it with a colleague or friend. Thank God for his faithfulness in those situations.



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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.



Immeasurably More – Week of August 14, 2017

Immeasurably More – Week of August 14, 2017


Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21



Last week we talked about lists. As you prepare for the year, you likely have lists. We also talked about prioritizing those lists and making sure that our time in the Word never gets crossed off the list. Today, let’s talk about prayer. There are all kinds of prayers. Prayers can be full of thanks. Prayers can be centered on repentance. Prayers often include requests. In our prayers, we reach out to our heavenly Father. How incredible that our heavenly Father not only allows, but encourages us to speak to him in prayer. Even more than our earthly fathers, he is always eager to hear. No prayer, no need, no expression of gratitude is too small or too large for him.

There are two phrases in today’s verses that always jump out for me. The first is: “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.” “Immeasurably more!” You can’t measure it! What can seem insurmountable to you and me, the things that pull the rug out from under us, the things that can lead to discouragement and even despair, are not even close to a challenge for our heavenly Father. When we pray, we can look back at the Old Testament and stand in awe of the God who brought the people of Israel through the Red Sea, who conquered Jericho, who aided young David in defeating Goliath, who then sent the only son he has as a young helpless baby to take all of our guilt on his shoulders. This is the God who listens and answers our prayers. The immeasurable love that sent Jesus for us is the same love that listens as you and I pray. If he loves us that much, we can pray boldly and with confidence that he will hear and that he will respond. While his response may be “yes”, it may be “not now”, or it may be “no”, you and I can be confident that his will is motivated by the love that sent Jesus.

The other phrase that stands out for me is “to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations.” We can be so self-focused in our prayers. Here’s what we want to say, here’s what we need, here’s what we want. But, when we look at this phrase, “to him be the glory”, it is an incredible reminder of God’s goal for our lives as his child. We are here to give him glory and to reflect that to all around us. Consider how our prayers are changed when they all lead to asking God to use all that we say and do, every circumstance in our lives, to give glory to him, to reflect that glory to others. Consider how our confidence in his response to our prayers shifts when it’s no longer about us, but about him. This prayer is one of confidence that the God who loves us so, will be with us, will listen and answer out of love, so that he can be glorified.

So, my dear colleagues, pray boldly knowing that he can do and has done immeasurably more than we can imagine. And pray with confidence and gratitude that those challenges in your life, those painful circumstances, and the joyful blessings are all ways to give glory to him who loves us beyond our understanding.



Prayer: Dear Father, thank you for allowing and encouraging me to come to you at any time in prayer. May my prayers to you be full of thanks, full of awe of all you have done for me, and be bold and confident knowing you hear and respond and that you can do this and immeasurably more. May all I do in my home, in my classroom, and in the world, reflect your love and give glory to you. In your dear Son Jesus’ name. Amen.

A Question to Consider: You may have heard of prayer journals. While they can vary in format, a prayer journal can be a personal reminder of God’s answers to prayer. Try noting the content of your prayers for one week including what you are grateful for, what you praise God for, what you seek forgiveness for, and what requests you brought. Then be sure to go back and note how God answered those prayers when it is evident. To him be the glory!



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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.



Making a List and Checking It Twice – Week of August 7, 2017

Making a List and Checking It Twice – Week of August 7, 2017


And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3:17



I love lists. Nerdy perhaps, but I love them. Like many other list lovers, I think my love comes more from crossing off completed items than anything else. I do love the process of writing a list and having a visual of what needs my attention. While not foolproof, I’m less likely to forget a task if I have it on my list. But oh, the crossing it off! It’s a sweet, sweet moment.

Even if you are not a list lover, this might be the time of year where you have an extensive to-do list. As you plan for the upcoming school year or the transition from a summer program to a school year program, that list seems to be a part of planning. August can be an incredibly busy month. There are class lists to prepare, home visits to schedule and complete, supply lists to be drafted and filled, cleaning, organizing, and decorating your classroom (with endless options thanks to Pinterest!), staff meetings, back to school events, and on, and on. It’s a time of the year when “what’s possible” motivates a spirit of optimism and excitement. There’s a feeling that no matter what hurdles are encountered, things will go well. You’re prepared.

The verse from Colossians is a wonderful reminder to stop and review your plans. Why do you do what you do? Why does your early childhood ministry exist? What are the early childhood ministry goals for the year? What are your goals for the year? “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed…” “Whatever you do” covers, well, everything you do! Lesson planning, conversations with new families, setting up each learning center, planning events for the year—everything! It can be easy to get so focused on the tasks and daily activities, that you fail to stop and refocus on why you are doing what you do and for whom you serve. Stop today, and each day and spend time, dedicated quiet time, with Jesus in his Word. Pray for his blessing on your day, on your planning, on your tasks, on every word and every deed. Pray that all you do reflects his incredible love for you. Thank him for the privilege to serve and for each child, family, and colleague you serve. Thank him especially for Jesus in whose name you pray and whose indescribable gift of salvation is yours.

So, as you compose that list, start at the top with your time in the Word and in prayer. While it’s a delight to cross off cleaning, organizing, decorating, lesson planning, never cross off your time with your dear Savior. May his love permeate and motivate all that you do this and every year!



Prayer: Dear Father, with you I begin the tasks for this year. When I think about it, I am overwhelmed that you have given me the privilege and joy to share your incredible story of salvation with the children, families, and colleagues in my ministry. I am easily distracted by the tasks of the day. Forgive me and help me to stay focused on you, your love for me and all those around me. Bless all I do that it gives glory to you and leads others to you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

A Question to Consider: It can be challenging to find a time with an early childhood staff to pray together, have a devotion together, or study the Word together. What are some creative ways to address this vital goal?



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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.



To Him Be the Glory – Week of July 31, 2017

To Him Be the Glory – Week of July 31, 2017


Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds;
Help us grasp the heights of your plans for us.
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time,
That will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we’ll stand on your promises,
And by faith we’ll walk as you walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, as your Church is built
And you fill the earth with your glory.
Christian Worship Supplement 735:3



The conventional wisdom for a while has been to treat people like they are uneducated. Don’t use big words. Don’t give people too much at once. It’s good advice for communicators but rarely do we seem to move beyond the basics. I wonder if the awe of the church’s message has sometimes been reduced to some trite phrases that sound like faith and a few songs that warm the heart but have no more lasting power than the latest ditty on the radio.

Our hymn writer today tries to break this self-imposed glass ceiling of mediocrity and calls for God to “Help us grasp the heights of your plans.” This is grandiose stuff these “truths unchanged from the dawn of time, that will echo down through eternity.” This message of Christ, this message of heaven and earth crashing together at his birth, this message of the world forever changed at his crucifixion, this message of death defeated at his resurrection, this message is the greatest movement the world will ever witness.

And here is the wildest part about that whole situation: the message has been placed on our lips. Do you realize that you speak the same message that Peter and Paul spoke? That you are one in mission with the martyrs of the early church and the martyrs of today? Do you realize that you recite the same words of the creeds, and pray some of the same prayers, and sing some of the same songs that Martin Luther did, that the Emperor Constantine sang, and Charlemagne chanted and countless others from all over the world and throughout time? Do you realize that as small as you are that you are a part of this, this message echoed down through all eternity? That when you pass this on to young ears they too are lifted above the trite and the small, the insignificant and the mundane to heights perhaps never thought possible by their parents or grandparents? We should never treat young children as small or insignificant. If God graces their souls with the most earth shattering movement ever, then they are worthy of our best. And if God uses you to be a part of the same, well, it means your work is pretty important, don’t you think?



Prayer: Savior of the world, you crashed into the world on the very first Christmas. Crash into our hearts with your Word so that we may be a part of your grandiose plan of salvation. 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.



To Him Be the Glory – Week of July 24, 2017

To Him Be the Glory – Week of July 24, 2017


Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21



One of the tests to detect false doctrine is whether a teaching gives maximum glory to Christ or not. It’s not the only test but it is a pretty accurate one. If a teaching puts the burden of salvation on man instead of Christ, it diminishes Christ. It is as if to say, “Thanks Jesus for dying on the cross. That was nice, but I got it from here.” Not only is it wrong, but it takes away from Christ’s true glory, that is, his love and mercy at the cross for us sinners.

We may not fall into the outright false teaching of work-righteousness (that we make ourselves right/righteous by our own efforts) but we do diminish Christ when we show a lack of trust. Earlier this month we talked about anxiety. We made the point that worry often comes because we care and isn’t necessarily a sinful lack of trust in God. At the same time it can be just that, a sinful distrust of God.

Paul said that Christ can do so much more than what we ask for or even can imagine. Do we not rob him of his majesty by not putting before him our greatest problems and our most needed requests? He can do so much more (and does so much more) than we even understand. Can he not also take care of our problems today? I know that sometimes we think that our requests and problems are better kept to ourselves as if we shouldn’t bother our Lord but he wants to hear them. Remember he can do more than we can imagine. Sure, the answer might often be “No” but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t persistently come to him with our deepest concerns. He loves us. He wants to hear us and he can do more than we think.



Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, remove all fake humility from our hearts and bend our knees before you so that we are free to ask you, our dear Father, anything that troubles our hearts.

A Question to Consider: What does Matthew 25:34-40 tell us about how we serve Christ and give him glory?



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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.



To Him Be the Glory – Week of July 17, 2017

To Him Be the Glory – Week of July 17, 2017


For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord

Romans 8:38-39



Confidence is important. The smartest girl in the class can fall apart when asked to stand in front of a room and speak. The best shooter on the team can freeze at the free throw line. Confidence is important. Of course there is a fine line between confidence and conceit. As Christians we boast in the Lord. It’s not our glory but his. Yet his glory is not what we think glory might look like. His glory is found at the cross first and foremost. This is where we see love like nowhere else. But it is also found in our love of others, another cross. Notice that we give God glory not only with our praises but also, and I would say primarily, in our love of neighbor.

So our confidence is not really in our public speaking ability or shooting skills but in our Lord. This faith in him is translated to love in our lives. We are confident that he has saved us from sin, hell, death, and the devil. We are confident that he will take care of us in the future. We are confident that he will use us for good. We are confident. So much so that we can be bold in our confession to the world and bold in our defiance towards the devil and the death he wants for us. And the confidence is great. You can hear the confidence grow in the words of Paul:

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

These can be our words too. Bring it on world! We know where we are going. We know who is on our side. We know the truth. Bring it on. We have the Lord on our side. We boast in the Lord.



Prayer: Dear Holy Spirit, guide us in faith and give us true confidence in our Lord.

A Question to Consider: Self-esteem is a big deal but the source of that self-esteem is the key to it all. Do we “give everyone a trophy” to build students up artificially or do we teach them their value in Christ?



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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.



To Him Be the Glory – Week of July 10, 2017

To Him Be the Glory – Week of July 10, 2017


Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

1 Peter 5:7



Grandma worries. She worries a lot. It’s not depression. She just has a lot of time on her hands and so she thinks and thinks and thinks. Some days she gets herself worked up beyond belief about the tiniest of matters. Does she sin by worrying so much? Shouldn’t she just trust God? I suppose so. But I know that she worries because she loves. If she didn’t care about her children, her grandchildren, her world, she wouldn’t worry so much.

Such is the life of a Christian. We go back and forth between worry and trust. We can’t help it. It’s a part of being a caring person. It’s a part of being a person who is cared for. St. Peter in this verse does not say that worry is wrong. It certainly can be, but here he doesn’t criticize us anxious souls. Rather he says throw those worries on Christ. Notice that he does not try to fix the problem by changing our attitudes. He does not say, “Here is a program for you to become less anxious. Step one…” No, he says throw it on Christ, the one who will take care of it all and in fact, already has. Don’t waste any time convincing yourself that you don’t need to worry, rather just throw the worry on Christ. That’s how it works. That’s how your faith responds.

Just consider what Christ has done for you. He lived in your place. He died an embarrassing and painful death. He rose from the dead. He ascended into heaven. He rules all things at the right hand of the Father for your benefit. He has prepared a place in heaven just for you and he promised to come to get you and take you to heaven. Considering what he has already done for you and how much he has invested in you, do you really think that he could forget you? Never! Do you really think that he will not also take care of the little things? Of course he will. Cast, then, all your anxieties on him.



Prayer: Dear Jesus Christ, we look to you and realize all is done. By faith we need not ask what needs to be done but look to you and see it already done. Help us cast all our anxieties on you. 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.



To Him Be the Glory – Week of July 3, 2017

To Him Be the Glory – Week of July 3, 2017


O Lord of nations, hear our prayer.
We thank you for this land most fair,
Created by your might.
For mountain sunset, lake at dawn,
For woodland bloom and robin song,
For stars that lace the night,

Most grateful, gracious God, are we
That in this country we are free
To worship you above.
We gather here to speak your name,
Then leave this place to spread your fame
That all may know your love.

Christian Worship Supplement 785:1,3



It has been said that the Grand Canyon is one of the few places where reality surpasses the hype. A child on family vacation may yawn at the ocean – “I have seen this on TV” – but no picture of the Grand Canyon can do it justice. The gaping chasm echoes the glory of our creator God as does the smallest insect. But neither can tell of the love of God. In fact nature is as much about wickedness as it is about beauty. The Rocky Mountains are magnificent but its winter storms kill without mercy. The oceans are wondrous unless you are caught in an undertow. If we only have nature to tell us about God, then we must be honest, nature kills indiscriminately. Nature is a beautiful siren that lures us in but can turn on us in a moment.

So God gives us more. He gives us his Son. He gives us his Word. And in his Son and in his Word he is hidden. Mere ink and paper, the gentle voice of a preschool teacher or the stumbling voice of a preacher cannot compare to the Sequoia trees of California. And the bloody scene of the cross is the opposite of the beauty of a field of wild flowers on the American Plains that seems to go on for miles. Yet this is how he comes to us. He hides. He hides to be close to you. He hides to be revealed. There beneath the blood and the dirt, beside the insults and the injustice, there on the cross is the glory of God. That he would love you and I that much. And that forgiving love gives us the peace and freedom to live a life of love and to enjoy his beautiful creation without fear.



Prayer: Dear Creator God, move us to see your glory in this beautiful creation of yours. Help us protect it, preserve it, and enjoy it. Yet push us to the cross where we see your true glory on display, the mercy of Christ. Amen.

A Question to Consider: If the natural law of God (the order of creation) cannot be the full story but must be coupled with his grace of the cross, how does this change the way we should educate little ones?



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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.



Not Done Growing! – Week of June 26, 2017

Not Done Growing! – Week of June 26, 2017


But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

2 Peter 3:18



The shiny pair of flats had a pretty teal and pink design on them, but they cost $40. My mom would not buy them because, as she said, my feet were “not done growing”. Years later, how happy I was when I was finally able to buy shoes that I wouldn’t grow out of!

Are you “done growing”? What about your spiritual growth? You know that Jesus died for you, and that we are saved from our sins through his coming back to life. You read the Bible stories with the children, and you know that you will be with him in heaven one day. So, are you done growing?

God tells us to keep growing! The end of the world, judgement day, should always be in our minds. One way that Satan can ruin our relationship with God is to make us believe that we don’t need to be close to God and his Word. Satan wants to separate us from God by separating us from his Word. This can happen even to you, even as you are daily surrounded by children that sing his praises. This can happen to you, even as you daily teach Bible truths in a Christ-centered environment.

Keep growing! Study his Word, attend church services, surround yourself with friends that also live for him. Grow in his grace, knowing that you are saved because of it! Grow in the knowledge of Jesus, all he has done for us in the past and promises to do for us in the future.



Prayer: Dear Father, thank you for giving us all that we need to know in your Word, the Bible. Help us continue to grow in you through faith in Christ Jesus. Amen.

A Question to Consider: Think of the opportunities in your life that will help you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord. Is there a Bible Study you can join? Can you start a Bible reading routine? Is there someone on your staff or in your church that can help you get started?



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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.



He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands – Week of June 19, 2017

He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands – Week of June 19, 2017


As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.

Genesis 8:22



It was dark around the clock; the sun had not been seen for over a month. There was no escape from the smell of manure, and the cramped conditions made it hard to sleep. This is how I imagine it was for Noah as the forty days of rain were coming to an end. Noah, a believer in God and his promises, had faithfully loaded the animals and his family onto an ark, where they would remain for several months while the earth was destroyed. Perhaps the animals were hibernating, but there still must have been some care that was needed during this time, and it couldn’t have smelled good. It was a difficult time to trust, and yet God showed Noah, and us, that he has all the power.

God always keeps his promises. God spoke the words in our reading “in his heart” after the flood. During those rainy days, the entire earth was destroyed, as were the normal patterns of the earth such as the seasons and daylight. God saw that these patterns are needed for our daily well-being, and he promised that we can depend on them “as long as the world endures.”

We are also reminded that the world will end. From other parts of scripture, we know that the earth has an expiration date that has not been revealed to us. But we know that God will be with us, until the end and beyond. God is with us when we work through our daily challenges. He is with us as we rest or play, when we eat and sleep. He promises to fill our needs, although perhaps not in a way that we planned. God filled our most desperate need of all by providing forgiveness and new life through the death and life of Jesus Christ.



Prayer: Dear Father, thank you for keeping the world and everything in it in your hands. Thank you for keeping all your promises, including the promise fulfilled in the gift of your Son, Jesus, who redeemed us from this world of sin. Amen.

A Question to Consider: How do the changing seasons and other earthly patterns give you comfort that God is in control?



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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.



Our Superhero – Week of June 12, 2017

Our Superhero – Week of June 12, 2017


The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31



He asked to be called Spiderman. He wore the same pajama top every day, the one with a spider web in each armpit. When there was anything out of reach, he told the other children, “I’ll get it!” and then pointed his “Spidy” fingers at the object and squinted his eyes as if he were aiming and casting a web on the target. For months, he believed he was Spiderman, with super-human speed, skill, and intelligence.

We often forget who the real superhero is! The words from Isaiah show us four “superhero” characteristics about our God.

First, God created all things. He created the world, all living creatures, everything “to infinity and beyond”.

Second, God does not become tired or weary—he is everlasting! Unlike all that he created, God is always strong, always ready, and always willing to help us.

Third, our God has “understanding no one can fathom”. His wisdom and power is so great, that His creation humbly bows down before him in wonder.

Finally, these words tell us that God gives strength to those who need it. Our creator, the ever-strong, all-powerful, all-knowing, can help us when we feel tired, broken, disappointed, and sad.

When we feel that we just don’t want to get out of bed, he is ready to help us take that step. When we don’t want to confront a co-worker or parent, he gives us the words to say. When we feel defeated by our own sins and failings, he reminds us in his Word that we are forgiven through Jesus.
We sometimes forget that our God, our creator and protector, is in control of all things. He loves us always, not just when things in our life are going well. He knows everything—we do not! We humbly ask God for the strength we need, and he hears us, every time!



Prayer: Dear Father, I praise you for your mighty works, O Lord! You are in control, and I am not. You are all-knowing, and I am not. Help me to look to you for true rest, true comfort, and true peace. Amen.

A Question to Consider: How can you use these thoughts to encourage a co-worker, early childhood program parent, or friend that shows signs of weariness?



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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.



Jesus, Our Window Friend – Week of June 5, 2017

Jesus, Our Window Friend – Week of June 5, 2017


On what has now been sown
Your blessing, Lord, bestow;
The pow’r is yours alone
To make it spring and grow.
O Lord, in grace the harvest raise
And you alone shall have the praise!

Christian Worship 322:1



Have you taken the time to watch an infant or toddler play in a mirror? It is fascinating to watch a young child play with a “window friend” when the child is not yet cognitively aware that he is seeing his own reflection! And if you happen to see the very moment that the child figures out that he is seeing himself in the mirror, you witness a beautiful learning experience.

Whether your early childhood program closes for the summer or you continue the curriculum year-round, this time of year is a time of reflection. We look at the past few months and think about all the blessings God has given and the challenges that he has carried us through.

What do you see when you look in the mirror? Fatigue? Have you lost the joy and zeal to do your work well? Do you feel that you have failed to meet a child or parent’s needs?

The hymn of praise we read today reminds us that God blesses our work, despite our failings. It is God’s power, and his alone, that makes the seeds we plant “spring and grow”. God sent his son, Jesus, to rescue us from the sins that we trap ourselves in, the sins that keep us from living as he asks us to live. Because Jesus lived and died for us, God sees Jesus in us. Because Jesus lived and died for us, God sees him when we look in the mirror. Jesus is our “window friend”. To God be the glory!



Prayer: Dear Father, we know that it is only with your help that we carry out your mission to reach all children and families with your Word. Give us time for reflection and rest, knowing that we are saved through your Son, Jesus Christ.  To you be the glory! Amen.

A Question to Consider: Reflect on the past few months of your personal ministry. In what ways have you seen evidence of God at work?



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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.



Our Shield – Week of May 29, 2017

Our Shield – Week of May 29, 2017


O Trinity of love and power, your people shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe, protect them all where’er they go;
Thus evermore to you shall be, glad praise from air and land and sea.

Christian Worship 517:4



I don’t know about you, but usually I think of Memorial Day as a nice break from the regular school routine, or maybe the beginning of summer vacation. It is so much more, however; it is an opportunity to remember the ultimate sacrifice those in the military make for our country. We thank God for those who gave their lives to keep our country safe.

God also protects his people. As Moses and the Israelites found themselves trapped between the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s army, God shielded his people with a pillar of cloud while making a path through the Red Sea. God was constantly with his people as they fought to overcome the Canaanites and take possession of the Promised Land. God used leaders like Samson, Gideon, and Deborah to rescue his people from their enemies. Ultimately, God even sent his only son into battle. Jesus gave his life to liberate all people of all time from the deadly forces of sin, death, and the devil. God continues to shield and protect us each and every day.

Today we thank God for those who served and gave their lives for our country. We pray for those who continue to serve. We know God will be their shield and ours as well. “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.” (Psalm 28:7)



Prayer: O God of love, O King of peace, make wars throughout the world to cease;
Our greed and sinful wrath restrain. Give peace, O God, give peace again.
Whom shall we trust but you, O Lord? Where rest but on your faithful Word?
None ever called on you in vain. Give peace, O God, give peace again.
Amen.
Christian Worship 519:1, 3



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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.



I’m Praying for You! – Week of May 22, 2017

I’m Praying for You! – Week of May 22, 2017


For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
Ephesians 1:15-19




ECME Devotion – May 22, 2017

Devotion based on Ephesians 1:15-19

See series: ECME Devotions

The end-of-the-day prayer time is one of my favorite parts of my teaching day. I get to pray with my students, and they share special requests resting on their hearts. We’ve prayed for dads in the military, sick friends, broken toys, and one young man declared he had learned plenty and prayed that God would let him stay home with Mom. Just yesterday, one student looked at me and said, “I’m praying for you!”

Just think about that for a moment. Working with young children is a huge responsibility. We teach them letters, sounds, and numbers. We marvel at God’s creation as we study plants, animals, and other science topics. Students learn how to get along with each other and function in a classroom. Most importantly, we teach them about Jesus and his love for us. I’m not sure I can do all of that, at least not as well as I’d like. But I have someone praying for me.

You have someone praying for you too. “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” (Romans 8:26). When I don’t know where to turn next with whatever issue I’m facing, the Holy Spirit does know, and he prays for me.

Just as Paul prayed for the Ephesians, we can pray for each other. I don’t know you, but I’m praying that God will bless your ministry, that he’ll guide you as you teach your little ones about Jesus, that he’ll give you grace and wisdom. I trust you’ll pray for me as well.



Prayer: Dear ascended Lord, bless our churches and schools. Guide us as we share your Word with our students, and give us wisdom as we work with children and their families. Help us remember that the Holy Spirit prays for us, and we can pray for each other. In your holy name we pray. Amen.



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



Our Hero – Week of May 15, 2017

Our Hero – Week of May 15, 2017


Shout with joy to God, all the earth! Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works on man’s behalf! Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. Praise be to God who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!
Psalm 66:1, 5, 16, 20 (NIV 1984)




ECME Devotion – May 15, 2017

Devotion based on Psalm 66:1,5,16,20

See series: ECME Devotions

Children love stories with a hero, someone who swoops in and saves the day. Outside, they’ll play superheroes or cops and robbers, making sure the good guy always wins.

Psalm 66 recounts a time when the bad guys were crushed by God. Moses and the people of Israel were trapped at the Red Sea, with Pharaoh’s army fast approaching. We know how the story ends, with the Israelites safe on the other side of the sea and Pharaoh’s army destroyed. God prevailed.

As teachers, we get to tell our students about God’s awesome deeds: his almighty power in creating the world, his loving kindness in rescuing his people, his concern for the sick and those in need. Jesus truly is a hero who cares for each of us personally. We teach our students what Jesus did for others and how he helps each of us now. We teach them to take their problems to Jesus and trust him to do what is best.

Our hero, Jesus, after all, rescued us from the most powerful enemies: sin, death, and the devil. He took our sins to the cross and took our punishment as he suffered, abandoned by God. He crushed the devil and obliterated death, then just a few days later he rose from the dead. Jesus took care of our worst problems, and now lovingly helps us through our day-to-day difficulties.

So, with your students, sing and pray to our hero. “Shout with joy to God, all the earth! Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works on man’s behalf!” (Psalm 66:1, 5)



Prayer: Yours forever, Lord of life! Shield us through our earthly strife.
You, the life, the truth, the way, guide us to the realms of day.
Yours forever! You our guide, all our needs by you supplied,
All our sins by you forgiven, lead us, Lord, from earth to heaven. Amen.
Christian Worship 426:3, 5:1, 2



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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.



Knit Together – Week of May 8, 2017

Knit Together – Week of May 8, 2017


For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Psalm 193:13-14 (NIV 1984)




ECME Devotion – May 8, 2017

Devotion based on Psalm 139:13-14

See series: ECME Devotions

My guess is that this week your class has been busy making gifts for moms. Children’s eyes light up with anticipation, and they take special care to make this surprise for Mother’s Day. And no matter what these creations look like, each mom treasures what her child made for her.

God also took great care in creating each person: the children in your classroom, their parents, your co-workers, and you. Each person he knit together in the mother’s womb. How awesome is that! God cares enough to personally form each individual and give special gifts and talents to everyone.

And God doesn’t stop there. Earlier in Psalm 139, David wrote, “If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” (Psalm 139:8-10). The Psalm gives comfort to us by focusing us on the attributes of God. Are you scared and alone? He is with you, not to destroy you but to save you. Are you uncertain about your tomorrow? He knows all things, and promises them for your good. Are you weak? He is strong. Do you worry and wonder about your gifts or your lack of them? “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

Moms will cherish the gifts their children make. This week we thank God for mothers, for parents, for relatives, friends, teachers, and other mentors through whom he blesses us. Above all—we thank him for who he is and who he has called us to be: his own child in his dear Son.



Prayer: O For Christian homes, O Lord, we pray, that you might dwell with us each day.
Make ours a place where you are Lord, where all is governed by your Word.
We are children of your grace; our homes are now your dwelling place.
In you we trust and daily live; teach us to serve and to forgive. Amen.
Christian Worship 500:1, 2



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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.



To All Nations – Week of May 1, 2017

To All Nations – Week of May 1, 2017


May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.
Psalm 67:1-2 (NIV 1984)




ECME Devotion – May 1, 2017

Devotion based on Psalm 67:1-2

See series: ECME Devotions

In my classroom this year I have students of many nationalities: Korean, Chinese, Eastern European, Filipino, Hispanic. For several students, English is their second language. It’s a wonder to see these students change as they grow in their ability to understand and eventually speak English. God’s gift of language learning is amazing!

It’s amazing also to consider that God is bringing the nations right into our classrooms. Mission work begins with us. We get to bring the incomparable news of Jesus’ love and salvation to all our students. No matter what language they speak, children understand and treasure the words, “Jesus loves you. Jesus is with you. Jesus takes your sins away.”

We have the responsibility to bring this news to children, not only during Bible time, but throughout the day. We model love and forgiveness to the rebellious child. We gently guide children to be kind and compassionate. We pray together, sing together, and grow as God’s children together. We know that the Holy Spirit will guide and help us in this huge endeavor and forgive us when we fall short.

Children in turn become missionaries as they retell Bible stories at home, sing songs in church, and deal with each other in love and forgiveness. God graciously makes his ways known through us and the little ones we teach. The next time your students break into Jesus Loves Me as they work, smile and know that God is using you to bring his news of salvation to all nations.



Prayer: O God of mercy, God of might, in love and mercy infinite,
Teach us, as ever in your sight, to live our lives to you.
All are redeemed, both far and wide, since Jesus Christ for all has died;
Grant us the will, and grace provide, to love them all in you. Amen.
Christian Worship 499:1, 4



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



Childlike Faith – Week of April 24, 2017

Childlike Faith – Week of April 24, 2017


Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
John 20:28-29 (NIV 1984)




ECME Devotion – April 24, 2017

Devotion based on John 20:28-29

See series: ECME Devotions

In today’s world we have access to various types of information with the click of a button. The internet and social media have transformed the way we communicate and stay up-to-date on current events. It is not hard to find what is “trending”, which college friend had a baby, or who just went on vacation. In fact, the days of calling friends and family to make an announcement are practically over. Today, many choose to post their news on social media, because they know many will see it in just minutes. If we do not see a message or announcement online, we may not think it is true.

Thomas and the disciples did not have such easy methods of communicating during their time on earth. Delivering messages to others could take multiple days, and sometimes the message may not get delivered at all. When Jesus rose from the dead, he could not just post it on social media for all to see. When Thomas heard from the disciples that Jesus rose, he did not believe the message until he saw Jesus alive with his own eyes. Like Thomas, many find themselves doubting the gospel message because they did not see Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection with their own eyes. Many might turn to the internet and the world for answers, but we know from Romans 10:17, “faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” We may not see with our own eyes, but through the work of the Holy Spirit, we believe the message.

One can find many videos online that friends, family, or even strangers put up of their young children professing their faith through songs or Bible passages. We have the blessing of seeing this child-like faith every day in our classrooms as we share the gospel message with the children in our care. Children do not doubt their sins are forgiven. Children do not doubt Jesus died for them. Children do not doubt Jesus rose again. Children do not need to see something posted on the internet for it to be true, but rather they trust in the messages we share with them. May we be like little children as we hear God’s word and believe it without a doubt.



Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me a childlike faith that does not doubt your Word. Help my faith grow and become unwavering. 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.



Don’t Be Alarmed – Week of April 17, 2017

Don’t Be Alarmed – Week of April 17, 2017


But when they looked up, they [Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome] 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. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’” Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb.
Mark 16:4-8 (NIV 1984)




ECME Devotion – April 17, 2017

Devotion based on Mark 16:4-8

See series: ECME Devotions

“Don’t be alarmed.” The angel uttered this phrase as the women approached Jesus’ tomb. Those who work with young children probably find themselves saying similar phrases on a regular basis: “Don’t worry, it’s just a scratch,” or “It’ll be okay, your mom will be back later.” Children are easily scared and concerned from life’s challenges that are thrown their way, both big and small.

Perhaps you have found yourself feeling scared and worried lately and needing comfort. Maybe your busy schedule is leaving you feeling guilty over the small amount of time you have to spend with friends and family. Maybe someone you love is fighting a losing battle with an illness or addiction. A sin-filled world brings many reasons to grow concerned and feel down. Quite frankly—there are many things that cause fear and alarm. But praise be to God that we have hope amidst these challenges.

Don’t be alarmed! Jesus? The Nazarene? The crucified one? He has risen! He is not here! What a comfort this is for us as well! The Easter message, “He has risen! He is not here!” gives us hope that the sin and suffering of this world is only temporary, but the gift of heaven is everlasting.
Just as the angel told the women to spread the message of the resurrection to Peter and the rest of Jesus’ disciples, what joy is ours to speak the same: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. In him there is no reason to fear. Happy Easter!



Prayer: He lives, all glory to his name! He lives, my Jesus still the same. Oh, the sweet joy this sentence gives: “I know that my Redeemer lives!” Amen.
Christian Worship 152:8



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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.



The Ultimate King – Week of April 10, 2017

The Ultimate King – Week of April 10, 2017


Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Zechariah 9:9 (NIV 1984)




ECME Devotion – April 10, 2017

Devotion based on Zechariah 9:9

See series: ECME Devotions

Many of today’s popular children’s shows and movies revolve around royal characters. Children love putting on dress-up clothes that make them look like kings, queens, princes, or princesses. In fact, they may even be more likely to try food if it is shaped like their favorite prince or princess or has a picture of him or her on the box. As adults, we are not much different. When a member of a royal family gets married or has a baby, the world is watching. When a princess wears a designer dress, it is likely to sell out by the next day because many women want to dress like her. In fact, some of the most popular movies or television shows involve kings and queens. No matter one’s age, there is a certain excitement and interest that comes with royalty.

We have one king that deserves more honor, more praise, and more attention than all the rest: Jesus. As Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, men, women, and children praised and admired him, laid down their coats for him, and watched in awe as their king passed by. Jesus was and is unlike any king of this world. Jesus is king of heaven and earth. As we begin this Holy Week, we too stand in awe of who our King is. The Righteous One! The One bringing salvation! A King who reigns not by force but by laying down his life at the end of this week.

As you see your children admire kings, queens, princes, and princesses, you also have opportunity to point them to a greater King. A King who loves them enough to ride into Jerusalem to go to Calvary’s cross. Let sweet hosannas ring! He has answered our prayer, “Hosanna! Lord save us!”



Prayer: All glory, laud, and honor to you, Redeemer King, to whom the lips of children made sweet hosannas ring. You are the King of Israel and David’s royal Son, now in the Lord’s name coming, our King and blessed one. Amen.
Christian Worship 131 v. 1



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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.



Set Me Free – Week of April 3, 2017

Set Me Free – Week of April 3, 2017


For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.God.
Hebrews 9:15 (NIV 1984)




ECME Devotion – April 3, 2017

Devotion based on Hebrews 9:15

See series: ECME Devotions

Spring is an exciting time of the year, especially for those living in areas that see a long winter. After a winter filled with snow, bare trees, and dead plants, seeing green life spring up is a refreshing sight. Those who work with children also understand that warmer temperatures bring the escape from the many minutes it daily takes to help children into their snow pants, boots, coats, and gloves. Seeing children run outside on their first coat-free day of the year is a fun sight to watch. Sheer joy fills their faces as they are able to run free without the restraints of heavy winter gear. A weight is literally lifted off their shoulders, making outdoor play even more enjoyable.

If you live in a warm climate year round, you may never experience the restraints of winter gear. However, perhaps you see something else weighing on children’s shoulders: parents who are constantly fighting, a family member in jail, families not having enough to eat, a new baby to share attention with, and the list could continue. We want the children we care so deeply for to be free from such hardships, but sin affects the lives of all with no exceptions.

It’s not just the hardships we see ‘out there’; but the burden of sin in our own lives. Thank God for his answer. It is unfathomable. A ransom. A payment. Jesus Christ—dead and an eternal inheritance freely given. This season of Lent we again rejoice in who he is and what he has paid that we would live in such freedom. We also rejoice that he has given us a time and place to speak such freedom to the children in our care. Jesus Christ. Your ransom and theirs! And in him an eternal inheritance!



Prayer: Loving Savior, we praise you for setting us free from our sins by your sacrifice on the cross. Bless us as we share the peace that comes from your death and resurrection with the children in our care. Amen.



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