Jesus Loves Me, This I [Still] Know (Prayer Devotional for the week of March 22, 2015)

Sing along with me: “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so …” It’s unfortunate how we sometimes lose sight of the simple truths of God’s word as we become adults. Kids take things at face value, as you can see from the song. The Bible says that Jesus loves us, so he does. It’s as simple as that. Right?

Well then, what happens as we get older to make us question God’s love for us? How do we go from knowing that we know that we know Jesus loves us to doubting our worth in his sight?

The next verse goes: “… little ones to him belong; they are weak but he is strong …” Kids know they are weak, but it doesn’t keep them from dreaming of becoming super-strong when they grow up. One of my nephew-sons is anxious for the day when he can start working out on weights with the big kids so that he can build 17” biceps like his Daddy had. There is absolutely no doubt in his mind that he will grow up to become strong and buff!

Perhaps the problem arises when we grow up and realize that we’re still weak – perhaps not physically anymore, but spiritually, emotionally, relationally, etc. We’re taught from an early age to be strong and independent, so the idea of relying on someone else and entrusting our lives to someone else (even though that someone is God Almighty) requires being weak and letting him be strong for us. That’s a counterintuitive concept in a lot of ways.

The nursery rhyme wraps up with this declaration: “… yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! Oh, yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so.” The same God who you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt loved you at age 5 still loves you at 25, 45, 65, 85, and into eternity. As Paul recorded in Romans 8:38-39, “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Are you convinced of that truth, like Paul was? Don’t ever doubt God’s unconditional love for you. The Bible not only tells us how much Jesus loves us, but he demonstrated it himself on the cross.

Radio Static (Prayer Devotional for the week of August 3, 2014)

There is a stretch of about 4-5 blocks along my morning commute where the radio turns to static. I don’t know what causes the interference, but invariably, I’ll be driving along and suddenly lose my music in the same spot every day. I usually just turn off the radio, but one morning I left it on because I knew that the static wouldn’t last very long. It was interesting how I could still make out the song behind the garbled airwaves. It was difficult to understand and rather annoying, but I could still hear it.

Isn’t that how our spiritual lives are, sometimes? We go through patches that feel like static – nothing seems to be getting through during our prayer time, and the background noise feels overwhelming. And yet, if we concentrate, we can still listen amid the chaos.

One of my kids is dealing with a lot of static right now; in fact, he’s been handed more chaos in his young life than many adults I know could cope with. Sometimes the static makes it difficult to make good choices, and he feels overwhelmed. We sat together one evening and talked about prayer as a way to help him make better decisions, a way to cut through the distractions and temptations. We talked about James 4:7, which says that when you take a stand against Satan, he runs away like a coward. We also talked about Philippians 2:9-10 that tells us the name of Jesus is so powerful that every creature in heaven and earth must bow to his authority.

Guess what, friends? Satan is a big loser, The End. I’ve read the last chapter, and I know that Christ conquers! But what do sore losers do? They try to drag others down with them, don’t they? Satan wants us to feel overwhelmed by life’s static. He wants us to get distracted from our faith-walk and lose sight of God in the midst of the chaos.

Yet, through our faith in Christ, we have the mightiest weapon of all in our arsenal: the name of Jesus. When you don’t know what else to say, where else to turn, where to even begin, call out to Jesus. Say his name aloud, in bold defiance of the enemy that seeks to devour you (1 Peter 5:8). Cry out to him in the quietness of your heart (Psalm 34:17-18). Then listen for his voice through the static.