Preschool Devotions

Cultivating Relationships

By All Means Emphasis

Preschoolers are pros at cultivating relationships. Have you ever watched them on the playground? From about the age of 3 and on up, they love to play with their peers. You can see them learning together as they pick up a leaf and peer at its veining. You can watch their delight as they chase a butterfly or compare snowflakes that have fallen on their gloves. When another child falls, preschoolers will rush to the child to help them up. They don’t discriminate based on age or race or gender or socioeconomic situation. Preschoolers just have a natural love for each other, even when they are meeting for the very first time.

Missionaries become pros at cultivating relationships, too. Wherever they go, that is their missions field. At the coffee shop, they are looking for 1 who looks lost or alone. At the laundry, they look for the single parent who needs a special touch. On campus, they seek out those who may be homesick or lonely. In the park or the athletic field, they connect with families who don’t know the Lord.

By All Means

By All Means Graphic

My brother-in-law, Kyle, is the best at making connections with people. Within a few minutes of meeting someone, he will make the connection that he knows their great aunt’s cousin’s nephew. If he doesn’t connect through someone they know in common, he makes a connection through a common place by telling a story about someone he knew from the place where the person is from. Kyle seldom meets a stranger because he knows how to make these connections with people.

Paul talks about making connections and cultivating relationships with people in 1 Corinthians 9:22–23: "I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings." As we look to what it means to share Christ with the world around us, making connections with people is crucial. The connections we make are openings that lead to conversations, and our conversations can lead to sharing about Christ.

Step Into the World: Love in Action

As we enter February, our thoughts move from the Christmas season to the celebration of Valentine’s Day. During this month, we spend time thinking of ways to demonstrate our love for friends and family. It is a season filled with beautiful opportunities to step into the world around us to share God’s love with others.

Dictionary.com says that the phrase step into means to “Involve oneself or intervene” in a situation. So, saying that we will step into the world to show Christ’s love infers much more than simply saying “I love you.” Stepping into the world means that we put our love into action.

John, the beloved disciple, said, “Dear Children, let us not love with words or speech, but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18 NIV1).

Step into the world. Develop a Christ-centeredness that flows into an others-centeredness. Let’s place our selfish concerns, including our fears, behind us and step out in courage and boldness. Instead of thinking of stepping into the world as a duty, begin to look at it as a privilege.

By All Means

By All Means

A new year brings thoughts about resolutions to eat better, exercise more, and get organized. Some people make New Year’s resolutions to get out of debt or do better at time management. Other people’s resolutions involve doing a specific task, such as walk 3 times a week. One friend resolved to try a new recipe every week. I knew another person whose New Year’s resolution was to read a book every month. I have a friend whose resolution 1 year was to run in a half marathon. She made it, too!

Many of our resolutions are about bettering ourselves, which is good. As this year begins, consider making a resolution about being involved with others in the world around you. What could you do this year to get to know the families of your Mission Friends better? It may mean stepping out to sit with a family at their preschooler’s T-ball game or taking a meal to a family with a new baby. Resolve to step out within your neighborhood to get to know families with preschoolers. You will have to be intentional about coming alongside people in order to get to know them and share your faith with them.

Step Out and Shine

Step out and Shine

“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 peoples; but the Lord rises upon you and His glory appears over you” (Isa. 60:1–2 NIV1)

What a beautiful prophecy of the coming of our Lord. As we continue pondering how to step out into our world, we must immediately turn our thoughts to Jesus, our Light, who stepped from the ethereal beauty and safety of His heavenly kingdom to bring hope and life into a world overcome by darkness and fear. He stepped out boldly and with great love for his people.

During this Christmas season, spend time meditating on His willingness to step out for us. But, don’t stop there. Meditate, too, on His command that we are to “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven” (Matt. 5:16 NIV).

Allow Christ’s words to spur you to acts of compassion and service.

By All Means

By All Means

Throughout Jesus’ ministry on earth, He took people as they were and showed them through His words and deeds the new life they could have as believers. As we seek to follow Jesus’ example, take a look at the way He met people where they are. He did not say to Zacchaeus, “You need to straighten out your life and give back all the money you cheated from people, and then I will come into your home.” No, Jesus looked up in the tree along the streets of Jericho and said, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today” (Luke 19:5 NIV1). By the end of their visit, Zacchaeus’s heart and life were changed.

Spend a few minutes this month looking at the examples Jesus gave us. Look up these other verses in the Gospel of Luke. Note how Jesus met each person, and how their lives were changed.

Following Christ's Example

Servanthood

Servanthood. Living humbly. Denying self. None of these are attitudes or attributes that people clamor to develop today. And, yet, these are exactly the attributes that Jesus displayed for us as He walked this earth. Does it amaze you to consider how Jesus continually turned human perspective upside-down?

On the night that He would be betrayed, before the Passover Feast, Jesus rose and began to wash the disciples’ feet. Following this outrageous act of humility, Jesus said to them, “You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you” (John 13:13–15 NIV1).

Jesus was their Lord and their Teacher, yet he knelt before them in humble servitude. As he began to wash their feet, I wonder if the disciples reflected on other words He had spoken, “the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve” (Matt. 20:28). “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all” (Mark 9:35). “The greatest among you will be your servant” (Matt. 23:11).

By All Means

By All Means

“I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings” (1 Cor. 9:22–23 NIV1).

“Camp is for the camper.” I heard that statement many times from our GA/Acteens camp director, Ruth Bagwell, as I served as a camp counselor while a college student. When she said this, the camp counselors knew she meant that camp was not about us, but was about those girls who were coming to experience camp. As a camp counselor, that might mean getting up early when the girls in your cabin voted on a breakfast cookout, being in a silly skit to make the girls laugh, or sharing your testimony in front of a group of campers. It meant that we sometimes had to get out of our comfort zone to do things that would most benefit the campers.

All for You

“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’” (Mark 8:34 NIV1).

Debbie Akerman closes her book Secrets to Surrender with these words: "We each have only one life to offer Jesus our Lord and King. What will our final words be at the close of our life? Will they reflect a life surrendered completely to Jesus? Will our final words be of the joy of giving our all as a living sacrifice? Will they be an encouragement to others to serve the Lord with all their heart, soul, and mind until Jesus returns? Will they reveal an all-for-You life?"

All for You—Surrender, Sacrifice, Serve

Follow Me

In the world of social media you can like, comment, share, repin, or retweet the people whom you follow. To follow someone takes on a whole new meaning in social media. When you follow a person or become a friend, it means you keep up with that person. Their posts come into your newsfeed, and you can see what the person has been up to. Sometimes it is mundane day-to-day happenings, such as a photo of a plate of their food at a restaurant. Other times you learn exciting news about the person you follow, like where they are on vacation or the arrival of a new baby.

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