A 365 Day Devotional Journal
Scripture: Psalm 8:1-3; Matthew 21:15-16; 1 John 3:1-3, 18; Ephesians 5:1-9; Philippians 2:14-16; 1 John 2:11-13, 27-29; 3 John 1:3-5.
Little children, let us not love [merely] in theory or in speech but in deed and in truth (in practice and in sincerity).1
I love it when God uses a child to remind me of His unfailing love.
The Children’s Choir sang in both services for Mother’s Day. Now I don’t know about you, but working with sixty-five or so children ranging in age from first through sixth grade can either be exhilarating or exhausting, sometimes both, as on days when they sing in multiple services. Such was the case yesterday.
We arrived at church around 7:30 to meet and hear Miss Amanda’s pep talk and warm up the children. After our sound check at 8:15, we led them over to the “tent” (a permanent separate building from the church) for a drink and bathroom stop, waited until it was time, and then escorted them back into the main building and down a long hallway, until we arrived at a side door to the sanctuary we would enter when it was time for them to sing.
Something powerful happens when you watch sixty-five angels holding sixty-five multicolored carnations sing a contemporary version of ‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus to a sanctuary filled with 5,000 or so people. Twice. And they did it using the same flowers both times, with only a few casualties.
That is a miracle, and I am not speaking about flowers.
After singing in the first service, we led the children upstairs while several moms, with the help of a few older children, served the children juice, oranges, and a wide variety of breakfast foods. Then Diane led the younger ones into a separate room to color Mother’s Day cards while Amanda rehearsed an upcoming song with the third through six grade children.
I loved watching Amanda work with the kids. Her dedication to them and their love for her is a blessing. As pianist for the choir, my job is to assist Amanda in choral parts and when called upon to accompany their performances. Other than that, I am there, like any volunteer, for tasks that need doing so the director can concentrate on, well, directing.
Children are unique in that, unlike adults, they are undiscriminating in their love of people. They don’t care if you are nice looking or not, young or old, or whether or not you are popular. It doesn’t matter to them how many possessions you have or what position in life you hold, for they love unreservedly. Only one thing matters to a child: your time.
So it was, as we escorted the Children’s Choir to their second time of singing in the living room, as we liked to call our sanctuary that I walked alongside the last child who would step up onto the stage and sing, a first grade girl. The back five or six children and I had been having a friendly chat about nothing, really, when this girl looked up at me and said “Mama, I love you, Mama.”
And Jesus replied to them, Yes; have you never read, Out of the mouths of babes and unweaned infants You have made (provided) perfect praise?2
She took me by surprise. I looked down at her with a big smile and responded that those were the nicest words she could have said to anyone.
She smiled sweetly and again said, “I love you, Mama,” then took hold of my hand and held my hand in hers until we reached the sanctuary door.
It was a simple act but a powerful statement.
I love you, Mama.
It might as well have been God speaking at that moment, for I heard the Holy Spirit echo the words in my heart, I love you, Mama.
God is so good to me. He used a small child to give me the greatest blessing I could have received on Mother’s Day in the simple words, “I love you, Mama.”
It was also during this time of setting aside a day normally reserved for being honored as a mother instead to serve that I learned of a man who, as best as I could tell, has slipped through the cracks of the modern church system. He is a single dad who is dedicated to being a dad, loves his children and takes them to church and children’s choir and whatever else they may be involved in, but he does not himself attend. Instead, Sunday after Sunday, he sits outside the sanctuary on a couch drinking coffee and listening to the sermon on the speaker.
He admitted to my husband and me in a moment of candidness that he is all for God but against religion, and then he added that the most hurt he has ever received came from people in the church.
I love you, Daddy, I heard God say to him, but he did not hear because hurt had plugged his ears. But his hurt smote my heart because this is not the first time I have heard such a sentiment spoken in the body of Christ.
I love you, daughter.
I love you, son.
Imagine what would happen if we became like children. I believe all things are possible.
THEREFORE BE imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]. And walk in love, [esteeming and delighting in one another] as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a slain offering and sacrifice to God [for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance.…For once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of Light [lead the lives of those native-born to the Light]. For the fruit (the effect, the product) of the Light or the Spirit [consists] in every form of kindly goodness, uprightness of heart, and trueness of life.³
Read: Psalm 8:1-3; Matthew 21:15-16; 1 John 3:1-3, 18; Ephesians 5:1-9; Philippians 2:14-16; 1 John 2:11-13, 27-29; 3 John 1:3-5. Journal your private thoughts.
Abba Daddy, we love you because You first loved us. Heal our heart of the pain of the past and fear of the future. Make each of us like a child again. Tear the walls down. Help us to love as You love, for this fulfills Your greatest commandment. For Jesus’ sake, and the kingdom’s, amen.
¹1 John 1:18. Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.Lockman.org
²Matthew 21:16b. Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.Lockman.org
³Ephesians 5:1-2, 8-9. Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.Lockman.org
Copyright © 2011, Érin Elise