Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tuesday Family Devotion - The Greatest Commandment

Scripture Reading - Matthew 22:34-40

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 

"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'  This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Thought of the Day
We know that there are 10 Commandments that we are supposed to follow, but Jesus knows that 10 can be a lot of rules to follow so he breaks it down for us. Instead of 10, there are 2 things that we are called to do.
1. Love God
2. Love God’s People
These can be hard things to do all the time but God knows that if we do this we will live good lives. When we love God, we keep Him first in our lives and know that He is important. And when we love God’s people as we love ourselves, then we think about what other people would want when we make decisions. If the whole world followed these two commandments what a great world it would be!

Discussion questions
1. Which of these commandments is easier? Loving God or God’s people? Why?

2. What are some ways we can show God we love Him?

3. What are some ways we can show God that we love His people?

Dear God,
Following rules can be hard. Thank you for simplifying things and sending Jesus to help teach us to love you and your people. Give us the strength to think about you and your people as much as we do ourselves. AMEN.

Friday, January 8, 2010


It seems as though I have been Missing In Action lately but I haven't forgotten about you out there.  The reality of coming back from 12 days of vacation means that there are some piles to dig through and unfortunately it has taken me longer to dig out than I'd hoped.

If I had been more on top of it I would have asked you all about your Christmas'.  Did you start a new faith tradition this year?  But Christmas has come and gone and so has New Year's.  But I think that a week into the New Year is still an ok time to talk about resolutions.

Most of us make resolutions this time of year.  It is a chance for us to reflect on the year past and what changes we want to make.  It is a natural time to pause and take stock of what is important.  Below are the top ten most common New Year's resolutions.  Do you see something missing?

1. Stop smoking 
2. Get Fit
3. Lose Weight 
4. Enjoy Life More 
5. Quit Drinking 
6. Get Organized 
7. Learn Something New 
8. Get Out of Debt 
9. Spend more time with the Family 
10. Help Others

These are some wonderful resolutions and they serve a purpose - to make our lives more as we would wish them to be.  We want to be happier, healthier and more secure in our lives and these resolutions help thatBut there is something that is missing...there is nothing on there about improving on your relationship with God.  Now in particular spending time with your family and helping others are often products of a full life with God but they are not the same thing. 

It takes courage to admit that you are not always in a faithful state of mind.  THis is not to admit that you never have doubts or questions about God and faith, rather this is a state where God doesn't even register on our radar screens for the day, week, month or year.

Most Christians would agree that a relationship with God is an important thing, so why are we not resolved to start the year off and make it so?  We've just witnessed the miracle of Christmas - the birth of a Savior in the stable - will that affect your life this new year?  Or is it something you pack away with the Christmas lights or leave on the curb with the dry tree?

I say that we should resolve to make God in our top ten at very least.  It may not be a complicated resolution.  It may be as simple as resolving to pray before each meal, or before bed, or to put the sign of the cross on your children each day and remind them of their baptism.

What might your resolution be to bring yourself closer to God in 2010?

P.S.  Mine? I resolve to share my faith openly and honestly with you here on this blog.  My struggles and successes,  because sharing here makes me think again and in a new way about my own need for Salvation and God's grace that has been given to me.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tuesday Family Devotion

Scripture Reading - Matthew 19:13-15

 Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them.  Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.

Thought of the Day
Last time we learned that we are all called to spread God’s Word in the world. We know that Jesus meant this for all people, including even the smallest children because of this story. Jesus knew that children are important and he paid attention to them and loved them. He wouldn’t let the disciples send them away but welcomed them. In our world sometimes children are ignored. You may have been told, “I’ll tell you when you are older,” more than once. But Jesus knows that you are always old enough to learn about God and to help spread His Word.

Discussion questions
1. When is a time when you felt left out because you were a kid?

2. What are some special ways that kids can help tell about God’s Word?

3. How would you have felt as a kid if Jesus had come to talk to you personally?

Loving Jesus,
You see the good and value in everyone, even the smallest people. Thank you for loving the children and taking time to be with them. Help us to recognize that all kids can hear about you and share your Word because you love them. Thank you for loving us. AMEN.