CcOoNnFfUuSsEeDd?

The following devotional was taken from "In Our Father's Hands" and written Tyrel Hatfield.

Fathershandsreview
January 5
Daily Bible Reading: Genesis 10-11; Matthew 5:1-16

CcOoNnFfUuSsEeDd?
Devotional Text: Genesis 11:1-9


Here’s a fun group exercise everyone will enjoy. For the next two minutes, each person in the group needs to make up their own language. Think of fun, unique words that no one else will understand. On the count of three, begin speaking to one another in your own language. Give someone directions, tell them how your day went, tell someone how much you love them. Just communicate the best way you can. Now, on the count of one, two, three…..!

Making up words is fun, isn’t it? Did anyone figure out what you were trying to say? Did you understand anyone else? Think of how the room sounded when everyone was talking at once. Chances are it was loud and confusing. That’s exactly what the descendants of Noah heard when God confused their language while they were building a great tower and city. But why confuse their efforts when they were just working to be closer to God?

First, it was always God’s intention that man multiply on the earth (Genesis 8:17). Second, man’s efforts to build a great city and tower were not to glorify God, but are summed up in these words, “Come let us build for ourselves...” (Genesis 11:4).

They were building a great tower to be closer to the heavens, but it was really for their own glorification, not for the glory of God. Our God is mightier and more powerful than anything man can build. That’s why our God had to “come down” (Genesis 11:5) in order to see the highest thing that man could build. God imposed His will and man was forced to scatter abroad. When you begin to delight in your own accomplishments, don’t be confused about who’s in control.
|

Sometimes It's Hard

The following devotional was taken from "Strength for the Journey" and written by David Deffenbaugh.

StrengthforJourneyreview
January 2
Daily Bible Reading: Genesis 3-4; Matthew 2

Sometimes It’s Hard
Devotional Text: Matthew 2:16-18


A recent survey conducted by a major news magazine has found that 79% of Americans believe in the virgin birth of Jesus. Sure, it would be nice if that number were higher, but it is rather astounding considering the consistent bashing the Bible and Christianity have taken in the mainstream public for many years. Though many aspects of Jesus’ life and teaching have not attained such a high level of acceptance, the accounts of His birth are widely acknowledged (witness the Christmas celebrations each December).

The arrival of Jesus on earth is a story that continues to thrill the human heart. But let’s not be too taken by all of this. Not everyone is excited to hear about Jesus’ arrival. What was good news to the magi (wise men) was troubling news to Herod and turned into very sad news in Bethlehem. The excitement of the birth of the king of the Jews was soon drowned in the tears of “weeping and great mourning.”

Not everyone is glad to hear that Jesus has come. To those who love the darkness rather than the light, to those who would love their lives rather than loose them, to those whose treasures are on earth rather than heaven, news of Jesus arrival is not well received.

Blessedness, joy, and peace are all part of the Christian experience, but there is a hard side as well. Jesus talked about his followers being hated, insulted, ostracized and persecuted (Matthew 10:22; Luke 6:22; Matthew 5:10-11). We should not pursue the former and be surprised when we find the latter as well. If all we want from our faith is pleasantness and tranquility, following Jesus will be a bitter disappointment. It is not this life, but the next, that promises “joy inexpressible” and “an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (1 Peter 1:8; 2 Corinthians 4:18).
|

Take time to pray

This video is taken from our Danny Do-Right & Dastardly Phil DVD and is a part of our Righteous Roundup VBS.
To review Righteous Roundup, visit our VBS website.

“Take Time to Pray”
It’s snack time! But when Danny Do-Right encourages the young boys to first thank God for their blessings, he quickly discovers someone else has different plans. No matter how hard Dastardly Phil tries to distract them, Danny’s persistence to thank God wins. A hilarious and delightful film for everyone!

|

A Need to Escape

The following devotional was taken from "Strength for the Journey" and written by David Deffenbaugh.

StrengthforJourneyreview
December 1
Bible Reading Schedule: Ezekiel 46-48; 2 Peter 1

A Need to Escape
Devotional Text: 2 Peter 1:4


How likely is it that a person will escape danger if they are unaware the danger exists? Pretty slight, huh? And what if that person actually views as good that which is in reality a danger? This is precisely the scenario regarding man’s spiritual condition living in this world. Peter says that corruption is in this world and that it must be escaped. Wouldn’t corruption be obvious to all and easily avoided? The problem is that this corruption is “by lust.” That is, by our fleshly desire. The fundamental struggle of human existence is between the flesh and the spirit. They are “in opposition to one another” (Gal. 5:17). Fleshly lusts “wage war against the soul” (1 Pet. 2:11).

The world preaches indulgence. God teaches self-control. When we embrace the corruption that is in the world by lust we have befriended the world and thus become God’s enemy (James 4:4). When we embrace the world, we love it and therefore are without God’s love (1 John 2:15).

So, in order to escape, we’ve got to be “partakers of the divine nature.” That sounds like an awfully tall order. But the fact is Peter explains how this happens: when we are diligent to supply moral excellence to our faith, and to that, knowledge, and to that, self-control, and so on (2 Pet. 1:5-7). In that way, we are able to make sure we are both fruitful and useful (v. 8).

Ironic isn’t it? People embracing what needs to be escaped and people loving what makes them God’s enemy?
|

Captain VBS vs. Grouchy Rooster

Many of you participated in Christian Academy last year. Help us spread the word about Captain VBS, the Grouchy Rooster, and this great VBS program by sharing our You Tube video promo. Any comments you would like to make about your VBS success will go a long ways in helping us promote this material. Thanks for your support!

|

Righteous Roundup VBS

Hello everyone,

We apologize for being so quiet lately. We have been very busy putting the final touches on our fourth VBS program, Righteous Roundup. We are so excited about this year's VBS and pray that it will be a blessing to all that use it. Along with this year's VBS we have put together 4 short films to promote each day's theme. Here is Day two's, "Bearing Good Fruit", starring Danny Do-Right & Dastardly Phil. Enjoy!



To review Righteous Roundup, visit our VBS website.

God Bless!
|

The rooster will not crow

The following devotional was taken from "In Our Father's Hands" and written by Justin Hatfield.

Fathershandsreview
November 1
Daily Bible Reading: Jeremiah 37-38; John 13:18-38

The rooster will not crow
Devotional Text: John 13:36-38


In the old mystery spy movies, the characters were always saying cryptic things like, “The sun eats the stinky cheese.” Or you might hear a mysterious man in the shadows say, “If you’re looking for Sam, you’ll have to watch for the white canary to carry the lizard over the pepperoni gate.” None of what they said ever made any sense. You were always trying to figure out what was going on. Jesus, at times, said some things that were just as puzzling.

On one particular occasion Jesus said something to Peter that not only puzzled him, but probably hurt him a little as well. Jesus had said, “Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later” (John 13:36). Peter, not understanding what Jesus meant replied, “Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for you” (John 13:37).

Jesus’ reply was very confusing. “Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you, a rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times” (John 13:38). What did that mean? You can imagine that Peter was hurt and confused by Jesus predicting Peter’s denial. Why did Jesus think Peter would deny him? Had Peter ever done anything to suggest he was not loyal to Christ? We all make mistakes. Jesus knew that Peter in a moment of weakness would deny Him. It could be that Jesus told Peter what would happen so that when it did Peter would realize his mistake and learn from it.


Discussion for the family:
How can we learn from our mistakes?
|

A Word from the Lord

The following devotional was taken from "Strength for the Journey" and written by David Deffenbaugh.

StrengthforJourneyreview
November 1
Bible Reading Schedule: Jeremiah 37-38; John 13:18-38

A Word From the Lord
Devotional Text: Jeremiah 37:17


It was troubling times for God’s people. Their beloved Jerusalem had been under attack from the Babylonians. A brief reprieve followed when the Egyptians diverted the attention of the attacking army. Jeremiah took the opportunity to leave the city to tend to some business. He didn’t make it far. He was arrested as he left Jerusalem, accused of treason, beaten, and thrown in a dungeon.

Surprisingly, the king intervened. Zedekiah removed Jeremiah from his bondage and brought him to the palace. There, in a secret meeting, the king asked the man of God, “Is there a word from the Lord?”

The king knew these were desperate times. He knew Babylon’s attention would soon fully return to Jerusalem. He knew they were in trouble. And now he wanted to know what the Lord had to say. The problem was that God had had something to say for a long time. There seemed to be little interest in hearing what that was until it was too late. When God speaks and we consistently refuse to listen, the time will come when we will speak to Him, and He will not listen to us (Zech. 7:13).

“Why doesn’t God say something?” “Why doesn’t God do something?” These are not unusual reactions to the mess that is our world today. The fact is, God has said something and He has done something. If we’re asking today, “Is there a word from the Lord?” the answer is the same that Jeremiah gave to Zedekiah: “There is!” Only, we may not like that word any more than the king then did. God has spoken (Heb. 1:1-2).
|

Charge it

The following devotional was taken from "In Our Father's Hands" and written by Justin Hatfield.

Fathershandsreview
October 1
Daily Bible Reading: Isaiah 33-35; Philemon

Charge it
Devotional Text: Philemon 1:17-18


I was walking behind my parents. Dad was off to the side checking out the sales on the two liters of soda, while Mom was up ahead with the cart busily selecting items from the shelves and checking them off her list. Having been excluded from this absurd ritual known as “Grocery Shopping,” I was completely bored. To amuse myself I began poking holes in packages of hamburger meat in the display case. (To this day I don’t exactly know WHY I thought this would be a good idea.) Mom, wondering what I was doing, turned around and my hamburger package destroying days came to a screeching halt. Too late, the damage had been done. Ten packs of thoroughly poked hamburger meat lay before me.

I couldn’t afford to pay for all of that meat, so my parents paid it for me. My wrong was charged to my parents. In Paul’s letter to Philemon he writes about Onesimus, “if he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge that to my account” (Philemon 1:18). Amazingly, Paul says he wants to be charged for wrong things that Onesimus has done. Like my parents, Paul is willing to pay the price for something he didn’t do. Does this attitude remind you of anyone? Exactly! Christ has done the same thing for us!

Christ has taken the blame for us. We’ve messed up and poked holes in the hamburger of life, but Christ is the one who is paying for it and He has done so willingly. Why do you think my parents paid for all of that hamburger meat for me? Why do you think Paul was willing to take responsibility for Onesimus’ wrongs? Why did Christ pay the ultimate price for so many people? The answer is the same, because of love. Love is the reason that Christ has looked at our sins, yours and mine, and said “Charge it, to MY account.”
|

“Having Loved This Present World”

The following devotional was taken from "Strength for the Journey" and written by Bill McFarland.

StrengthforJourneyreview
October 1
Daily Bible Reading: Isaiah 33-35; Philemon

“Having Loved This Present World”
Devotional Text: Philemon 20-24


One of the tragic characters of the New Testament is Demas. There are three references to him in Paul’s letters, but those three statements have a story to tell. In the first instance Paul included Demas in a list which he called “my fellow workers” (Philemon 24). In the next reference he was simply “Demas” (Col. 4:14). On the third mention the imprisoned Apostle said, “Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me” (2 Tim. 4:10).

The story of Demas is the sad history of a worker for the Lord who was led astray by his love for this material world. Every servant of the Lord should learn some lasting lessons from him.

Love for the world will cause one to forsake the Lord. By “the world” we do not mean mankind nor God’s creation, but the way of life which leaves God out. John defined all that is in the world as “the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life” (I Jn. 2:16). No wonder the apostle wrote, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (I Jn. 2:15).

The love of the world captures people gradually. Demas had evidently not caved in to materialism all of a sudden. Paul’s statements paint the picture of one who drifted away step by step. He was first Demas the fellow worker, then Demas, then Demas who loved the world. Worldliness has a way of creeping up on us.

The danger is real, no matter how diligent one has been. The tug of the world is so powerful that it captured Demas even though he had been a fellow worker with Apostle Paul.

The love of the present world will disappoint. There is something better to love. Let us set our affections on things above.
|

Daily Devotionals

The following devotionals were taken from "Strength for the Journey" & "In Our Father's Hands." Check back each week to read a new devotional. Book(s) can be pre-ordered at Little Acorn's online store.

The following devotional was taken from
"Strength for the Journey" and written by David Deffenbaugh.

StrengthforJourneyreview
February 1
Daily Bible Reading: Exodus 9-10; Matthew 21:33-22:14

A Wedding Rejection
Devotional Text: Matthew 22:1-14


We’ve all heard stories of brides and even grooms being left at the altar. Perhaps it is that since a wedding is among the most significant occasions of acceptance, that rejection in that setting is so dramatic. In Jesus’ parable of the wedding feast, we’re met with wedding customs different than our own. But the rejections on this joyous occasion are no less striking. The guests originally invited to the wedding reject the call to come when the wedding day arrived. The father of the groom rejects those same guests in rather dramatic, and violent, fashion. A spontaneous and gracious invitation to previously uninvited persons resulted in a full wedding hall. Both the evil and the good responded. This is a remarkable turn of events. Jesus said this parable, like so many of His, was to teach the nature of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 22:2).

God’s gracious invitation to all humanity to participate in the joys of His kingdom, as depicted in this parable of a wedding feast, is not without its own rejection. The king rejected a guest who had come to the wedding to enjoy its pleasures, but had refused to wear a provided wedding garment. In that day more than just the attendants were provided with appropriate clothing for the wedding. Here was someone who presumed to enjoy what the king provided (a wedding feast) without submitting to the king’s terms (wearing the supplied wedding clothes). That person was rejected.

The message is pretty straightforward. If we wish to enjoy the blessings and privileges God provides, it will only be on His terms. Therefore, we cannot presume to come to God on our own terms. It is His or nothing at all. Despite our culture’s message and emphasis, we are not the measure of all things and we are not the final arbiter. We comply to God’s wishes, not He to ours. Simple enough.

The following devotional was taken from "In Our Father's Hands" and written by Tyrel Hatfield.

Fathershandsreview
February 1
Daily Bible Reading: Exodus 9–10; Matthew 21:33-22:14

The chosen few
Devotional Text: Matthew 22:1-14


Picture yourself at a school gym. Several kids are standing before the class surveying everyone. “Bobby,” one of them calls out. A kid named Bobby runs over to the other side. “Oh, pick me! Pick me!” you mutter under your breath. “Susan!” A little girl with long curly hair skips over to the other side. There’s not much time now. If they don’t pick you, it will be too late. You wait, longing to hear your name. You anxiously watch a short little kid in braces as his gaze moves from person to person. He smiles, laughs, then shakes his head at the many attempts from others to win his vote. Finally his eyes rest on you! Could this be it? Will you be the last one picked? The anticipation is killing you. His gaze moves on. “Oh no!” you say, “he’s not going to pick me!” Then with a flash he looks back at you and says your name! You’ve been chosen!

After waiting anxiously for so long, when we finally hear our name, we are so excited! We feel appreciated, validated, loved, admired and respected. Isn’t it a great feeling to be chosen? You bet it is! We would do just about anything to be chosen.

Did you know that God calls all of us to his team, but Jesus says in Matthew 22:14, “few are chosen.” Why? Why would He call us all to him and then not chose us? That’s easy to answer. There are a couple of conditions that must be met for us to be chosen. First, we must be willing to accept the invitation. If we do not accept, we won’t be chosen. Second, those who accept the invitation must then live by God’s word (Hebrews 12:14-17). If they don’t, then they, too, will be rejected. You have been offered the invitation. Will you accept it? Will you live by the word of God? If so, then you too can be among the chosen few!
|