Other Summer Reading Challenge posts: Introduction,
Week Three: off
Welcome to our Summer Reading Challenge devotional! As we’re romping through time this summer with Chitty, Rush Revere, and the Aldens among others, the goal here is to turn some of our energy and excitement to God’s word. Now, I know some people think of the Bible as a bunch of old, boring stories while others think of it as a thick list of rules that we have to keep. I don’t want to give you the impression the Bible doesn’t have stories or rules…but it’s also full of wonder and imagination! For instance, did you know that the Bible includes real stories of time-travel? And did you know that in His word, God helps us think about mind-blowing questions like, Did the world have a beginning or did it always exist? And where is time headed, year after year, as we humans swing around the sun on a little piece of rock called earth?
I love big brain-stretching questions like those, and we’ll be touching on quite a few of them this summer. But God’s word isn’t just about big questions. It’s also about what these truths mean to you and me. What am I doing with the time God has given me this summer? Can I really trust Him for today and tomorrow–to take care of me and meet my needs just as He feeds the sparrows and clothes the lilies? And how does the promise of eternity with God in the new heaven and new earth change how I’m living today?
As we study God’s creation of time and his redemption of it through Christ, I hope this devotional will help us do two things: 1) See just a bit more of how great God is, and 2) Help us trust Him a little bit more. So, put on your imaginary space suit and let’s start the count down to a summer of mind- and heart-changing fun!
TIME TRAVEL DEVOTIONAL #1: You Are a Time Traveler!
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved–and raised us up with him and seated us together with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. –Ephesians 2:4-7
What do you think of when I say, time traveler? Do you think of a man in a spacesuit, rocketing to far away times and places? Do you think of kids like Jack and Annie in The Magic Treehouse books, or maybe the goofy family called the Tootings in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? Well, actually, you and I are time travelers! Unlike the Tootings or Rush Revere, though, we are only going one way in time–forward. But we are still headed somewhere. Minute by minute, day by day, month by month, you are growing, changing, becoming….something! But what? And where is it all heading?
This week, we’ll be reading Ephesians, and right from the beginning, you’ll hear words like “before the foundation of the world,” and “the fullness of time.” The author, Paul, seems to be so amazed by what God is doing through history that he almost uses poetry!
Next week, we’ll talk more about what it means that God created time. For this week, like Paul, we want to focus on the big idea here: that God is working through time to do something great…for His glory and for us! Paul says God’s plan is so big, and wonderful and brain-bending, that it will “unite all things in Christ” and he calls what we’ll be given “riches of his glorious inheritance.”
I should probably stop for a minute and ask, Do you know what an inheritance is? It’s when someone promises to give you something, right? We usually use that word when someone dies; a son or daughter may get an inheritance of money or a house or something else. Usually with an inheritance, you have to wait a while to get it…like maybe thirty or forty years. Way longer than you would wait to open a Christmas present!
God’s plan for time–and for you and me–is kind of like that. As we travel forward in time, minute by minute, day by day, month by month, Christians are headed toward something great–as Paul calls it, a “glorious inheritance.” We may have to wait quite a while to finally get there. But when we do, it will be more interesting, more surprising, more inspiring than any Christmas present you could find under a Christmas tree! Chitty, the Aldens, and Rush Revere only wish THEY could be on a time-travel adventure as amazing as you are on!
Week 1 Bible Reading: Ephesians 1-2
Week 1 Activity: Make a Time Capsule
Parents: The goal here is for kids to practice delayed gratification and to see how they have changed and God has worked in their lives over the summer.
Have you ever heard of a time capsule? Basically, it’s just a box or bottle of some kind that people fill to be opened later. They might open it in six months or 75 years. In fact, there have been quite a few famous time capsules in history, which you can read about at this website. Some of them are pretty funny–one time capsule included predictions of the “vertical take-off crafts” we’d have in 2009, while another included recordings from the Paris Opera over a hundred years ago.
To make your own time capsule, find an old jar or box that can be closed tightly. (Make sure it’s clean and that bugs can’t get inside!) You can do one per person or one per family. Here is a list of some things you might want to include in your time capsule: 1) gifts you’d like to give yourself at the end of the summer, like hard candy (that won’t melt if you store outside) and few small toys; 2) not-too-messy experiments like a leaf or a piece of slightly rusty metal (what will happen to them over time?); 3) fill out the questionnaire below with information about yourself, including some prayer requests. (We’ll use them to see how you’ve changed and how God has been faithful through the summer.)
.doc file: Time Capsule Questions
(One hint about the questions above: I found that it was more fun to do one page together as a family rather than separate pages. )
When you’re done, just find a place to store your time capsule that isn’t too hot, too dirty, and too bug-friendly…but somewhere it will be out of sight and out of mind. And then, we’ll start the count down to opening our capsule in July!
What are you putting in your time capsule? Any suggestions on what to use and where to keep it? We’d love to hear how your family is making this your own!