A short adult devotional to help you and your team get ready to lead.
This, the sixth in a series of 6 RaiseUP devotions, can be shared amongst team and used individually ahead of the children’s meeting – for example, at home in the week before church. Alternatively, they could be used as a team devotion and a focus for prayer shortly before the children arrive for the session.
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What aspect of God’s love has stood out to you over this unit?
[For team reflection] In twos or threes, share something that has either encouraged or challenged you as you’ve explored God’s love anew.
God’s love is vast, epic, HUMONGOUS… supply your own description! But God’s love is not intended to be one-sided. Our Father invites a response from us: to love Him in return with all that we are and all that we have.
‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.’ - Deuteronomy 6:5
Love God with heart, soul and strength. It’s one of the most famous commands in Scripture, spoken by Jesus himself. When asked to name ‘the greatest command,’ this is the one Jesus turns to, which – along with its sister command to love your neighbour as yourself – ‘sums up the law and the prophets’ (Matthew 22:37-39).
This is our call as followers in a nutshell. But it doesn’t feel like an easy one. For one thing, it feels overwhelming. God is asking us to give all we ARE and all we HAVE to Him. But we live such busy lives, with so many duties and obligations competing for top spot. We have jobs to do, and kids to look after, and parents to check in with, and church to help with.
This is real life. Does God demand more of us than we’re willing or able to give?
A look back into Deuteronomy, where the command first appears, changes the feel of these words. Rescued from slavery in Egypt, sustained by God in the desert, the Israelites are learning what it means to live in relationship with God.
God has proven His love for them in ways that are impossible to doubt. Now He shares with them the bright vision He has for their future. Within this bigger picture, these words are a call for His people to put their hope in God and find life in all its fullness.
And the same is true for us, today. We’ve explored the case for God’s amazing love. Our Heavenly Father shows us time and again – in Scripture and in our daily experience – how much He cares for us. To love Him in turn, to join in with His plans and purposes, is not a dutiful sacrifice. It’s an invitation to discover again and again just how rich we are – something that benefits not only us but enriches the entire world.
Love so amazing, so divine
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
(From ‘When I Survey the Wondrous Cross’ by Isaac Watts)
Spend some time reflecting on the amazing love of God. Praise Him and thank Him for His unending love. Give Him your heart as You pray and praise.
As you reach the end of this unit, pray over the children by name: that the truth of God’s amazing, unconditional, never-ending love for them will become real in their hearts and lives.
Dear Father God,
Thank you for Your incredible love for us. Thank you that, in You, we find treasure beyond measure.
Help us and all the children we serve ‘to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge’* in our hearts and in our lives – today, tomorrow and always.
*Ephesians 3:18-19 - NIV.
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