Read an Excerpt
Shine Your Light Devotional
By Sheila Walsh, Jean Fischer, Natasha Kuricheva
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2013 Sheila Walsh
All rights reserved.
You Are God's Special Creation
Do you know how special you are? There is no one in the whole world exactly like you. You are one of a kind, wonderful, and amazing. Even better, you are a precious child of God.
God's book, the Bible, can help you learn about God and yourself. It says that God made you. He knew you even before you were formed inside of your mom's body, and He made you exactly the way that He wanted. God chose the colors of your eyes, hair, and skin. He chose your parents, grandparents, sisters, and brothers. He knows your family and friends because He made them too. God already knows everything that will happen in your life, the special skills and talents you have, the kind of work you will do when you grow up, and the person you might marry someday. Nothing about you is a secret to God. When He looks at you, He sees somebody awesome. He promises to be with you each and every day, and God will never, ever stop loving you.
The next time you look in the mirror, think about how wonderful you are. Then say a little prayer to God, and thank Him for making YOU!
"You made my whole being. You formed me in my mother's body. I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What you have done is wonderful. I know this very well."
Ask an adult to help you make a mirror. You will need:
* A piece of white cardboard 12 inches square
* A piece of aluminum foil 11 inches square
Paste the dull side of the foil onto the cardboard, leaving a white border all around. Smooth out the wrinkles. If you want, write Look Who God Made or God Says I'm Beautiful on the border, and decorate the border with your crayons. Now look in your mirror and see the special person God made! Isn't she lovely?
Thank You for making me and for making me special. I love You so much! Amen.
Shine your LIGHT
Think of several reasons why your parents and family are extra special. Does your dad ride bikes with you? Does your papa cheer when you score a goal? Is your mom the best cookie decorator in the world? Draw a picture that shows your family why they are special. If you want, write You Are Special on the picture.
Only One God
God made you in His image. That means He made you to be like Him. God made you to be loving, good, kind, fair, honest, and caring. But just like you are a one-of-a-kind person, God is a one-of-a-kind God. He didn't make you like Him in every way. God is perfect, and no one can or ever will be as perfect as He is. He can do many things that you can't.
The God of the Bible is the one and only God. He is perfectly good and kind and also very strong and powerful. There is nothing that He can't do. He has the amazing power to see and hear everything and be everywhere all at the same time. He knows everything that happens, and He knows about it before it happens. God is the great King of everything. He is in charge of heaven and earth, the sky and stars, you, me, animals, angels, everything.
Words can't describe how much God loves you and how much He wants you to love Him back. There are many ways to do that. You can tell God you love Him in your prayers, sing songs to Him, read the Bible, and tell others about how wonderful He is. Can you think of other ways to show Him your love?
Read the devotional again to find the answer to this question: What are some things God can do that you can't do?
Shine your LIGHT
God loves it when a family prays together. Thanking God aloud in prayer is one way to speak about His one-and-only greatness. Get your family together, and teach them to say this prayer: "We thank You, God, for the world so sweet. We thank You, God, for the food we eat. We thank You, God, for the birds that sing. We thank You, God, for everything." Get in the habit of praying together every morning or every night at bedtime.
With All My Heart
How big is your heart? Make a tight fist. It's about that big. But the word heart means more than the organ in your body. It also means the center of who you are, your deepest thoughts and feelings.
The Bible says you should love God with all of your heart. In other words, you should give God your very best love all the time. Think about who or what you love the most. God wants you to love Him even more. You can give God your best love not only by worshipping Him but also by loving others the way He does. God always loves people no matter what they say or do. He may hate how they behave, but He loves them, and that is how He wants you to love.
How much love do you think your heart can hold? God made your heart so special that it can hold all the love you can imagine and more, and God wants to fill it up. Ask Him today to fill up your heart with His love.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and strength."
Draw a big heart. Inside of it, print the words God's Love. That's where God's love is, inside your heart!
Thank You for filling up my heart with Your love. I love You too! Teach me to share Your love with everyone I meet. Amen.
Shine your LIGHT
Did you know that your heart can never be too full of love? There is enough room in your heart for all the love you can imagine! This week, see if you can find a new person to love. Make a new friend, and show him or her God's love by being kind. By the end of the week, you'll find that your heart has grown even bigger!
The Best Gift Ever!
The world was messed up with sin. People did bad things that upset God and made Him sad. No matter how hard they tried, people just couldn't stay away from sin, so God made a plan to help them.
God loved the people of the world so much that He decided to give them a very special gift—His Son, Jesus. God sent Jesus into the world as a baby. When Jesus grew up, He taught the people about God, and He did amazing miracles. Before long, thousands of people followed Him to see what He would say and do, and many believed in Him.
But not everyone was happy with Jesus. Some did not believe that He was the Son of God. They worried that He was becoming too popular. They wanted to kill Him, and that's just what they did. They killed Jesus by nailing His hands and feet to a big, wooden cross.
Jesus could have asked God to save Him, but He didn't. Jesus wanted all of us to live with Him and God in heaven someday, and He knew that sin had no place in heaven. So He agreed to die as punishment for our sins—all the bad things we would ever do. If we believe that Jesus took the punishment for us and we follow Him, then we can go to heaven one day and live forever with Jesus, God's best gift to us. He is our only way to heaven.
You might feel sad that Jesus died, but there is a happy ending. Jesus didn't stay dead for long. God brought Him back to life so people could see that He really is the Son of God. Then Jesus went up into heaven to make a special place for us to live someday.
Think about how Jesus died on the cross so God could forgive your sin. Wasn't that an amazing act of love?
In the Spotlight
Sin: the many ways that people disobey God
"For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son. God gave his Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life."
You will need at least 20 blank note cards. On all but one card, paste or draw a picture of an animal (dog, cat, wolf, lion). On the remaining card, paste or draw a picture of the earth. Shuffle the cards picture-side down and put them in a stack. Take turns with a friend drawing a card from the top of the stack. Don't let your friend see what it is. If you draw an animal card, act it out. If your friend can guess the animal, he or she earns 2 points. If you draw the earth card, you must recite John 3:16, and you earn 5 points. Keep playing until one player earns 25 points.
Shine your LIGHT
Ask a parent to help you find John 3:16 in your Bible. (Hint: It's in the New Testament.) Then share the message with your friends. Tell them that God sent Jesus to the world to save us all from our sins. Good news like that is easy to share!
Jesus—The Light of the World
Can you imagine a world without light? People would be bumping into each other everywhere and stumbling over anything that got in their way. Everyone would feel grumpy living in the darkness. Sound crazy? Even before He made people, God knew that they would need light. He didn't want His people tripping and falling all the time, and He knew we would need light to live. So, on the very first day, God made light, and He said, "Light is good!"
God sent another kind of Light into the world—Jesus. When people don't know God, it is like they live in darkness. Jesus came to fix that. He said, "I am the Light of the World." He came to save people from the darkness of living in sin apart from God. When people believe in and love God, then their world feels brighter.
Do you love God? His light can shine through you, and you can bring more light into the world by telling your friends all about Him.
In the Spotlight
Darkness and Light: The Bible calls sin "darkness." When you live with sin, it is like stumbling and bumping around in a dark forest. You can't see right from wrong or find your way. Jesus said that He is the Light of the World because His love for you shines big and bright. Jesus is like a light that helps you to see right from wrong. His light shows us the way out of darkness and toward Him and heaven instead.
Turn on a flashlight. Shine its light up close on different objects. Try a book, a piece of paper, your hand, a towel, and a rock. Do you see how the light shines through some objects and not others? When you believe in and love God, His light shines through you like a warm, bright light shining into your heart!
Thank You for being the Light of my world. I want to be a light for You too. Help me bring God's love into the world, and teach me to brighten the lives of others by telling them all about You. Amen.
Shine your LIGHT
Think about one or two people you know who might need some of God's light. Maybe they are sad, sick, or lonely. Give them a few rays of God's light this week—share a Bible verse, tell them a great story, or give them a flower to brighten their day.
Just Like Jesus
You are watching a video with your little brother. Suddenly he gets up, takes out the DVD, and puts one in that he wants to watch. He does that a lot lately because he just learned how to use the DVD player. What should you do? You could get mad and yell at him. You could put the DVD you want to watch back in the player and give his DVD to the dog as a Frisbee. Or you could gently remind your little brother about sharing. That's showing patience and kindness—just like Jesus would!
Jesus tried to make the world a better place wherever He went. He always acted in ways that were kind, gentle, loving, helpful, and forgiving. And when He saw people doing wrong, He taught them to do what is right. Everything Jesus did pleased His Father, God.
You are God's child too, and He wants to be pleased with everything you say and do. God is happy when you act like Jesus. Being like Him will make your light shine brightly wherever you go. How much do you know about Jesus? What words can you think of to describe Him? The more you learn about Jesus, the easier it is to become more like Him.
Have a patience contest with a family member. For a whole day, keep track of times when you are patient (write them down so you won't forget). At the end of the day, the two of you can share your lists and see whose list is longer. But remember, God loves you both the same!
Be on the lookout today for people who act in helpful ways like Jesus would. Can you find three people acting helpful? How about five?
Shine your LIGHT
During the next few days, look for ways to be kind like Jesus. One simple way to be kind is to smile. How many different people can you smile at? Your teacher? The lady at the grocery store? What about the boy next door, even on days when he is grumpy? Let others see Jesus in you!
The Bible Is Our Lamp
Have you been overnight camping or had a sleepover outside in a tent? Was it really dark but really fun? Maybe you had a campfire, flashlight, or lantern to help you make the dark seem more like daytime and to light your way as you walked through the dark.
The Bible is like a flashlight or lantern that shines in a dark place and makes it brighter. It uses God's own words to brighten your way through life and lead you in the right direction. The Bible teaches you right from wrong and shows you how to act around others. Best of all, it tells you about Jesus and helps you understand God better and how very much He loves you.
The Bible has many words, and God doesn't expect you to know all of them by heart. But when you hear a special verse that makes you feel closer to God, memorize it. The more of His words you store in your heart, the brighter your life will be because you will be filling it with His light!
Thank You for the Bible. Whenever I read it I feel closer to You. It's like You have written those words just for me! Amen.
"Your word is like a lamp for my feet and a light for my way."
Can you find Psalm 119:105 in your Bible? Hints: The book of Psalms is very near the middle of most Bibles. You will find it in the Old Testament between the books of Job and Proverbs.
Shine your LIGHT
Make bookmarks for your friends. Ask an adult to help you cut thick paper into 3-by-6-inch rectangles. Write Psalm 119:105 on each one, and decorate them any way you want. When your friends use their bookmarks, they will be reminded of God's light!
What Should I Do?
Pretend that you and your best friend are playing checkers. It's your move, and then you see it—you're stuck. You have three checkers left, and it seems like whichever one you move, she will be able to jump you. Maybe there's a way out. You wish you knew more about playing checkers. Then you would have a better chance of staying in the game. Finally, you move a checker, and your friend jumps you—not once or twice, but three times! All your checkers are gone, and she wins the game. How are you going to act when you lose?
God gave us the Bible for learning how to get out of sticky situations. The Bible is useful for showing people what is wrong in their lives and teaching them how to get along and learn to live right. The Bible won't tell you how to win a game of checkers, but it will show you how to be an honest player and a good loser. It will teach you to get along with your friends without arguing or getting mad. The Bible says to try to get along with people all the time as best as you can.
So what would you do when your friend wins the game? Would you tell her, "Good job," or would you get mad and refuse to play with her anymore? Knowing what God says in the Bible can help you decide.
"All Scripture is given by God and is useful for teaching and showing people what is wrong in their lives. It is useful for correcting faults and teaching how to live right."
2 Timothy 3:16
Each question below has a Bible verse that holds one of God's answers. Ask a parent to read these answers for you.
* What should I do when I feel angry? Proverbs 15:18
* What should I do when someone is mean tome? 1 Peter 3:9
* What should I do when I don't know what to do? Luke 6:31
I want to learn all about You. Please help me understand Your words in the Bible and behave the way You want me to. Amen.
Shine your LIGHT
God's answers for life's problems are in the Bible, but if you don't read it to find out what's inside, you won't know what God wants you to do. Ask your mom or dad to help you memorize one or two Bible verses every week. The more you know about God, the easier it will become to know what to do.
Let It Shine!
Jesus often told little stories. Some were like riddles because they made people think. In one of His stories, He said, "No one takes a light and puts it under a bowl or hides it. Instead, he puts the light on a lampstand so that the people who come in can see" (Luke 11:33).
What do you think Jesus' story about the lampstand means? It would be crazy to take something as wonderful and necessary as light and hide it under a bowl where no one could see it. It would be just as crazy to hide God and all of His goodness. God wants everyone in the whole world to know Him. When you obey Him and share Him and the wonderful things He says and does, it is like putting a lamp on a stand where it lights up a room.
Telling your friends about God and showing His love by setting a good example shines God's light on them. God brightens a person's life, just like a light on a stand brightens a room. Ask Him to help you live the way He wants you to live. Then His love will shine through you like a very bright light!
Excerpted from Shine Your Light Devotional by Sheila Walsh, Jean Fischer, Natasha Kuricheva. Copyright © 2013 Sheila Walsh. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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