Faith At Home Summer Devotions Summer 2016: WATER Written by: Marilyn Shults, Director of Family Ministry, Shepherd of the Valley, WDM
This Faith At Home Summer Devotions focus on Bible stories with water. Water is an important part of summer fun. But, what can we learn from the Bible about water?
These 13 devotions can be used in any order. The idea is to read God’s Word, talk about God’s Word, pray together and have fun with learning. After a few devotions your family may want to create your own devotion by picking a story/verse that has water, asking a few questions, pray together and then have fun. Be creative! Change any of the following devotions to fit your family.
May water and God’s Word work powerfully in your lives and hearts! In Jesus’s love! Marilyn Shults
Devotion 1 Read Genesis 1: 1-2 “In the beginning God created.” God exists. He is. He is present and He is creative. This is the first thing we learn about our God. The earth is formless and empty. God created the world out of nothing. God’s first act of creation is an act of grace. Making the world very good reflects God’s character to act freely. God intentionally called and directs the order of the cosmos. 1.Where is the word “water” used in these verses? 2.What do you learn about God from these verses? 3.Why is God’s creation important to your life? Prayer – Mark each other’s foreheads with a cross then thank God for being creative. Have a popcorn prayer (any person says their thoughts without having a certain order) listing all the things that you are thankful for. Activity –Draw what you envision the world looking like in Genesis 1: 1 – 2. Scratch art paper & scratcher or make your own. Fill the paper with crayon shapes and patterns, pressing hard (best to use light colors). Then color heavily over the whole paper using black crayon. With a popsicle stick or paper clip, scratch the design into the black crayon.
Devotion 2 Read Genesis 1: 6 - 10 In God’s creative process He separates water from water then water from dry land. God makes water above and water below. The water above is in the sky and the water below is beneath the surface. God scoots water away to make dry land and bunches it together to make oceans. Isn’t it amazing the God creates out of nothing! Anything you or I create is out of something God has made. 1.What are some of the things you have made or created? 2.What is the most amazing thing God has created? 3.What is something new you discovered today? Prayer – Mark each other’s foreheads with a cross. Thank God for creating water. Thank God that water sustains our world, body and also our spirit. Activity – Use a computer to make discoveries about water. The adult human body is about 50-65% water. A child’s body is approximately 75% water. Find a web site that teaches about water. Or, try one of these web sites: http://water.usgs.gov/edu/propertyyou.htmlhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfG7fB2RDJA
Devotion 3 Read Genesis 7 or a Picture Bible about Noah and the flood What God created was good at creation. Water is now used to get rid of the evil and sinful people of the world. What a change! God’s plan from the beginning was for his people (you and me) to be pure and holy like Him. Noah was right with God so Noah and his family are saved. All the rest of the world is killed by drowning. 1.What are some of the details of this story? (Noah’s age, sons names, way did the animals go into the ark (vs 16), how long did it flood, how deep were the water, how long were the waters on the earth) 2.Why does God write this story in His Word for us? What are we to learn from this story? What do we learn about God? 3.How is your relationship with God today? Prayer Mark each other’s foreheads with a cross. Thank God for His plan to make His created people right with Him. Ask God to soften your heart to be healthy and right with God. Activity Find a big box or rearrange the furniture to act out the story of Noah and the ark. Be creative! Bring out all your stuffed animals and dolls. Yes, adults join in the fun! Playing with your children nurtures faith growth.
Devotion 4 Read Exodus 2: 1 - 10 or a picture Bible to learn the story of baby Moses This is an interesting water story. First, the Egyptian women bathed in the Nile River because they thought the water has special powers to make them fruitful and would give them a long life. Since the king is killing babies the Nile is an interesting place for Moses’s mother to place him to keep him alive. When the Princess finds Moses and has compassion on him Moses’s sister pops up and offers to get a net nurse. A wet nurse is a mother who is producing milk and is available to feed and nurse a baby. Who does sister Miriam get to nurse Moses? Moses’s mom! The Bible even says she was paid to feed Moses. Pharaoh’s daughter, the princess, adopts the baby and names him Moses. Moses means “drew out of the water”. Water saved Moses life. The water of baptism saves our life as well! 1.Do you have any interesting stories of when you were a baby? Any interesting Baptism stories? 2.Miriam and Moses’ mom were important people during Moses early years. Who are key people in your life? Why? 3.Who are you an important person for? Prayer Mark each other’s foreheads with a cross. Thank God for giving us new life through baptism. Thank God for the people who have and still help nurture your faith. Activity If it is a warm day, go outside and play in the water (sprinkler, water balloons). If it is not an outside water day, take time to create a thank you note to send or give to the important people in your life.
Devotion 5 Read Exodus 14: 16 – 21 Crossing the Red Sea Do you know the story about the children of Israel and how God saved them from bondage to the Egyptians? Do you remember some of the plagues? If not, look in your Bible at the headings from the last several chapters. God has rescued His People and is leading them to a new home. But, the people look ahead and see their route is deep water. They look behind and the Egyptians are chasing after them with 600 chariots. What do they do? Listen to Moses because God is giving him the plan to save the people. God has a plan for save you and I too. 1.What does Moses do to save God’s people? 2.What has God done to save you and I? 3.How can you save another person? Prayer Mark each other’s foreheads with a cross. Thank God for having a plan to save us. Ask God to help us to be hungry for His Word and to live a life for God. Activity Take a paint sponge, a container of water and go outside to the driveway or sidewalk. Paint with water to make a picture of today’s story.
Devotion 6 Read Psalm 1: 3 The tree in this Bible reading is planted by streams of water. Plants and trees need some water and nourishment to grow and be healthy. This tree is so healthy that is yields fruit (reproduces). Even in the adverse circumstances of the trees life….it produces fruit that benefits others. This plant prospers (thrives and flourishes). So, think of yourself as a tree (or a plant). 1.What kinds of tree or plant would you be? 2.What things feed and nourish you to producing fruit? 3.Have you considered our spiritual health? What nourishes or feeds it to reproduction? 4.If you are a tree/plant the verse talks about “prospering”. This prospering is not an earthly or physical prosper. Our spirit prospers even when we have hard situations. Give examples of spiritually prospering. Prayer Mark each other’s foreheads with a cross. Thanks God for the promise that when we draw near to Him – He blesses and prospers us. Ask God to make us hungry for His Word, prayer and Christian friends. Activity Take the seeds in your container and plant them. Nurture them and watch them grow. OR, it may be a good day to do some yard work or gardening.
Devotion 7 Read Matt 3: 1 - 12 or the story of Jesus’s baptism John the Baptist was a preacher. He preached that people should repent. Repent means to admit our sin and change. John wants people to change from unbelief to faith. John knows he is doing God’s work but Jesus comes along and He is more important that John. John said he should not even pick up Jesus’ dirty stinky sandals. John lays the message out for people. Repent and be baptized or be eternally (forever) punished in hell. But, why did Jesus get baptized? He is sinless. The baptism of Jesus was part of God’s salvation plan. Jesus did not need to repent as he was sinless. But He did it for us. Jesus surrendered to God’s will and got baptized by John to take the sins of the world on Him. Baptism starts the process to the cross. 1.Share stories about baptisms you have seen. When, where, what happened, and why is this important? 2.If you have a hymnal, look up the service for Holy Baptism in the front liturgy. What do the parents promise? What do the sponsors promise? What does the congregation promise? 3.Why do people being baptized wear special clothes? Why are they often dressed in white? (white is color of purity) Prayer Mark each other’s foreheads with a cross. Thank God for His plan to save us from our sin. Thank God for Baptism and the water of forgiveness. Activity Think of songs used at a baptism or songs containing the word “water”. Have a sing along! Some possible songs: Down to the river to pray; God, my Children, with my Blessing; I am trusting you, Lord Jesus; Borning Cry!; Children of the Heavenly Father; Oh, happy day!; As the deer; Trust & Obey; Father welcomes
Devotion 8 Read Matthew 10: 42 or Matthew 10: 40-42 In this chapter Jesus is talking and teaching his disciples. Jesus is training his disciples to be messengers, people to take the good news of Jesus to the world. It is not clear whether Jesus is talking directly about little children or if Jesus is referring to people who have a child-like faith, but anyone who performs an act of faith will be rewarded. God is pleased! 1.Name some “acts of faith” you or your family has done in the past. 2.Name some “acts of faith” you could do this coming week. 3.When has someone offered you “a cup of cold water” or done something to take care of you? Who did the act? What did they do? Prayer Mark each other’s foreheads with a cross. Pray that God would open our eyes to ways to serve Him, prepare our hands to serve, and move of hearts & mouths to speak of Jesus. Activity Put a label (see inside this kit) on a water bottle and give the bottle of water away. Have a couple bottles of water with you at home or in your car. Make your own label by drawing a picture or writing a Bible verse. Attach the labels to your water bottles. Watch for people who could use a “cup of cold water” and offer it to them. Ideas for labels: Enjoy Jesus Christ!; Jesus never thirst again; I’ve been Sonkist; Thirst after Jesus He is the Living Water John 4: 10; God Bless you!
Devotion 9 Read Matthew 14:22- 33 What a water story! Let’s review the sequence of events. The disciples get in the boat and head out across the water. Jesus dismissed the crowd then goes up the mountain to pray. Jesus usually prays before something big happens. Sometime between 3 and 6 a.m. Jesus heads out walking on the water. This proves he is not just an ordinary man but God’s Son (divine). The disciples see Jesus’s figure and think it is a ghost. They were spooked! Jesus say, “Take heart. It is I. Don’t be afraid”. (“It is I” in Greek is like what God calls himself with Moses, “I am who I am”) I am sure the disciple recognized Jesus’s voice and words. I am sure they breathed a sigh of relief.
Then Peter says, “if it is you, Jesus, let me walk on the water to you.” He gets out of the boat and walks on the water. After a bit he gets afraid of the wind and rough waves….and he starts sinking in the water. He asks Jesus to save him…and Jesus takes hold of his hand and lifts him up.
When they are all in the boat the storm stops. All the disciples know that Jesus if the Son of God. Not an ordinary man. 1.The disciples were afraid of ghosts. What things scare you? What can you do when you are afraid? 2.Jesus protected Peter and kept him safe when he was walking on the water. When Has God protected you? 3.Sometimes life throws storms at us….literally (thunderstorms) and figuratively (sickness, finance problems, broken relationships). Life isn’t always easy. Jesus is always with us through any storm. That is a promise from Jesus! Repeat Jesus’s words: “Be brave. It is I! Don’t be afraid!” Prayer Mark each other’s foreheads with a cross. Ask God to help you remember He is with us and that we don’t need to be afraid. Activity Slip and slide day in your backyard! Or, go to Legion Park Sprayground (301 Vine Street, WDM) and have fun in the water.
Devotion 10 Read John 2: 1 – 12 Water to Wine Weddings in a Bible were different than they are today. A wedding usually lasted about seven days. Quite a party! Many people would be around to celebrate with the new family. During this celebration time wine was served. It was a big mistake to run out of wine and that is what happened at this wedding. Mary, Jesus’s mother, shows us her faith in her son. Mary tells the workers to do whatever Jesus asks.
Jesus asks the workers to fill six big water containers with water. Each container holds 20-30 gallons of water. A standard tub holds 24 gallons of water when filled to the rim. The Jewish people poured water from these containers to clean themselves because during daily living they became ceremonially unclean. There were many rules about “clean” and “unclean” that people lived by.
Jesus has a worker take a glass of the water to the person hosting the feast. This person tastes it and discovers this wine is great. This wine is better than any other wine that had been served. Certainly, Mary knew a miracle had just happened. The workers knew this was a miracle that the water turned to wine. This was Jesus’s first sign that he was more than a man…he is God’s Son. 1.Mom and Dad, what kind of drinks were served at your wedding? Talk about the importance of marriage and weddings. Tell about your celebration. 2.Water was needed to make people clean. Guess at how many times a day you use water to be clean. 3.No ordinary man could change water to wine. What other amazing things has God done for you and your family? Prayer Mark each other’s foreheads with a cross. Thank God for being a man and God. Thank God for all the amazing things he has done for you. Activity Go into your kitchen and check the cabinets for all the different kinds of drinks in your house. Make a list of different drink possibilities. How many use water? How many do not use water? Make a special drink for everyone to share.
Devotion 11 Read John 4: 13 – 14 a spring of living water or John 4: 1-30 Jesus comes to the city well and asks a Samaritan lady to give him some water. This is odd since Jewish people have a history of not liking or talking with people from Samaria. You’d think this is just a water story to take care of thirst. Then the story takes a twist. Jesus offers to give the lady “living water”. This water will spring up in her to eternal life. This Samaritan woman recognizes that this man, Jesus, is someone special. Maybe he is a prophet. She even has heard that “the Messiah” (or Jesus Christ) will come to teach. Jesus says that he is the Messiah. 1.What would you do if Jesus came to you? This lady went all around town and told people to come and meet the man who is Jesus Christ. 2.What does Jesus give us? (different answers such as eternal life, peace, promises to be with us…) The living water he offers nourishes our spirit so we have life forever with Him in heaven. Jesus gift to us is the Holy Spirit which is like a spring of bubbling water. 3.How do you get filled with living water? (read the Bible, pray, sing faith songs, Christian friends, baptism, Holy Communion, etc.) Prayer Mark each other’s foreheads with a cross. Thank Jesus for giving us living water…or different ways to get to know and love Him. Activity Living water and spring of water suggests bubbles. So, take some time to do bubbles outside. Or, try bubble art. See http://artful-kids.com/blog/2012/02/02/3-ways-to-paint-with-bubbles/ Supplies needed: dish soap, food coloring, straw and a paper. Combine a small bowl add a small amount of water with dish soap and food coloring. Using a straw, blow lots of bubbles (make bubbles rise over the rim). Lower the paper on top of the bowl, leave for a second and then lift off. Repeat process using different color of bubbles. Let paper dry.
Devotion 12 Read Mark 4: 35 - 41 Jesus rebukes the wind and water I, Marilyn Shults, was on Lake Michigan with my daughter one afternoon when a fierce storm came up. The Captain moved all the people to the inside of the boat (not wanting us to be near the edge and get tossed into the water). The boat rocked and with every motion water came over one side or the other of the boats edge. As the Captain motored our boat back to shore the thunder was loud, lightening was frequent, and even hail balls were tossed at our boat. Today we laugh that we paid for quite an adventure. In the story today the disciples are with Jesus in a boat. I am sure they are all tired. Jesus is even asleep on a cushion. As the boat crossed the lake a major storm come up. It is so fierce the boat is getting flooded with water and the disciples panic. They wake Jesus asking him if he isn’t concerned about drowning. Jesus wakes his sleepy head, stands up and tells the wind and wave to “Quiet! Be still!” Instantly it is calm and peaceful. The disciples surely looked at each other and were shocked. This man even controls nature. 1.Have you ever been in a storm that scared you? Tell about it. 2.During our lifetime we will have many storms. Some of these life storms will be uncomfortable, shocking, maddening and saddening. (deaths, sickness, loss of stuff) Parents, share some of the life storms you have gone through. What did you do to get through? How did your faith in God help? Prayer Mark each other’s foreheads with a cross. Thank God that he listens to all our prayers. Thank Him for being powerful enough to stop and quiet any storm. Activity Take playdough (or use the recipe to make playdough) then construct a boat on rough water. Practice saying, “Quiet! Be still!”
Devotion 13 Read Revelation 7: 17 This one verse has so much to tell us. Let’s take this verse apart. First, “the Lamb” is Jesus the one who sacrificed himself for our sin to give us eternal life. Jesus is at the center of the throne in heaven. Jesus is a shepherd to all who believe. He leads and guides us on our faith walk. He is the one we follow. Jesus leads us to “spring of living water”. In devotion 11 we talked about living water. “Water” is the eternal life and salvation we have through faith in Jesus. With that faith the Holy Spirit fills us like springs of water, bubbling up to overflowing. Jesus leads us to faith and the Holy Spirit. And God wipes away all tears that are in our eyes. God loves us and cares enough to comfort us in any hurt or situation. 1.Name some of the good times in the last few days. Remember, God is there in good times. 2.When have you been hurt, sad, lonely or in need of care? Remember, God is there in bad and hard times too. 3.What do you think heaven will be like? Heaven is our eternal home. Prayer Mark each other’s foreheads with a cross. Thank God for loving and caring for you in good times and bad. Thank God for the gift of Jesus so we can live forever with him in heaven. Activity Water Limbo: Get a garden hose and turn it on full. Put your thumb over the left or right half of the opening to create one jet of water. Players limbo under the water stream. Each time players have gone through you lower the water. The loser is obvious because they get soaked.