Gareth Sherwood – Amonsgt the many excellent guest speakers, tutors, coaches & volunteers, casX is very pleased to have Gareth Sherwood taking our children through the morning devotions (9:15 – 10:15 am). As parents, please do follow these devotional sessions with us so you can be a part of your child’s daily developments. (We are sure they will attempt to share the excitement of all the various musical sessions with you after the conference 🙂 )
We are aiming to stream the Devotionals to our casX Facebook page or our website (more info to follow).
God Loves Us
Love is a word we use often in English, we describe our love for cars, food, holidays and so many other things we enjoy.
What do you love?
When we talk of God’s love, it is almost always His love for us. Like the love of a father for a son, or the love of a husband for a wife. But all of these examples are just that, examples that help us to understand something of God’s love but they do not fully describe it. In this Psalm we see the writer trying to describe how God’s love for us is displayed.
- God’s love for us is shown in creation v 4-9
- God’s love for us is shown when he delivers us from captivity and sin v 10-16
- God’s love for us is shown by keeping his promises v 17-22
- God’s love for us is shown in how he sees and identifies with our needs v 23-25
The result is that God’s love for us causes us to praise him v 1-3 and 26
The songwriter is using an example to help the worshiper comprehend the greatness of God’s love for us. God’s loving kindness is everlasting, is always towards us and is totally dependable. God’s love is unconditional, not depending on who we are, where we are, what we are doing or how we feel. God’s love is enduring, patient and unstoppable.
What things in your life can you think of that demonstrate God’s love for you?
Can you think of any other Bible verses that speak of God’s love?
Take some time together to write like the Psalm you just heard describing in your own words or draw a picture about God’s love…
God Saves Us
Can you think of a time in your life when you needed saving? It could be a sickness that you needed a doctor for or a dangerous situation. Maybe for you, it was an exam you were facing or a challenging time in your life. Often we want to run from danger or things that make us afraid. It is natural to want to run and hide. But where do we choose to hide? To what do we run to?
Where do you feel the safest?
Who makes you feel safe?
When we talk about being safe, we often speak of where we feel most at home, where people care about us, where someone bigger than our problems is there for us and able to keep us from harm. There is no-one bigger than God, no place is safer than in His presence, not even death can overcome us there. Yesterday we looked at how much God loves us, this care for us extends to God being there to save us. This song is about God saving us, and we see one line repeated again and again, “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble; He saved them out of their troubles.”
This song speaks of many things God has saved people from:
- Saved from the enemy
- Saved from destruction
- Saved from isolation and separation
- Saved from being lost
- Saved from hopelessness
- Saved from sickness and death
- Saved from fear
- Saved from feeling abandoned
It also speaks of how God saves:
- He led them by a straight way
- He brought them out of darkness
- He broke their bands apart
- He sent His word and healed them
- He caused the storm to be still
- He changes a wilderness into a pool of water and a dry land into springs of water
What things in your life has God saved you from or protected you from?
What else does God save us from?
Take some time together to write a few lines in your own words or draw a picture about our God who saves us…
God Is With Us
‘It is not good for people to be alone.’ The earliest declaration in the Bible of something that is not good, nor supposed to be the case in all creation. We were created to be people who were in community, friends with others, in a family. The most joyful times in our lives are times we share with others. Football stadiums have a special atmosphere because of the crowd.
Can you think of great times in your life that you have with friends and family?
The best part of this is that we were also created to be friends and family with God Himself. God did not want us to be alone, He wanted us to be present with Him for eternity, enjoying all the love, goodness, safety and provision that comes with His presence.
Perhaps the best-known Psalm in the world, this song of David connects us with the God who is closer than a friend, who never lets us go and never lets us down.
- He is with us to lead us
- He is with us to provide
- He is with us to refresh us
- He is with us to keep us safe
- He is with us to comfort and strengthen us
- He is with us to bless us
- He is with us to bring us to His heavenly home forever
Notice how the song begins with ‘He’, switches to ‘I’ and then to ‘You’. It is almost as if the song is reflecting a life that is getting closer to God; beginning by speaking of God, then reflecting on the self in the presence of God, and finally speaking to God as if face to face over a dinner table.
The poetry in this song is remarkable and that is probably why it is many people’s favourite Psalm.
Have you had any times in your life when you have known the close presence of God?
Where do you most expect to find the presence of God?
Take some time together to write some lines in your own words or draw a picture about being in the presence of God…
God Has A Plan For Us
Psalm 139: 1-18
God created us; He loved making us, loved dreaming us up. He couldn’t think of anyone better to make in the whole world the moment He made you. The Bible tells us that God has a plan for our lives, that He made us with a unique purpose, not one that is better or worse than the person next to us, but one that is special to us and brings glory to Him. Nobody on earth can be you better than you, and God enjoys walking with you as you find out all that He dreamed for you. Did you know that God made the entire universe because He dreamed of making you?
Do you always feel special or unique?
What dreams do you have in life?
In this Psalm we learn:
- God knows everything about us
- God knows our hearts and minds, not just what we say and do
- God knows where we are all the time and we cannot hide from him
- No matter where we are, what we are doing or who we find ourselves with, God is closer to us than the breath we breathe
- God has a clear plan and very real hopes and dreams for our lives
- God thinks about you all the time
- God’s plans for us are amazing and eternal
It can be hard to understand or even find out what God plans for us in life. Often it feels like we are a bit lost or that God may even keep changing His mind. We can also often wrongly feel like maybe God made a mistake with us and only wants to use other people. But this is wrong, as the Psalm says, God knows everything about us, His thoughts towards us outnumber the stars in the sky and hairs on our head. God does indeed love us, save us, walk with us and dream great dreams over us.
The way God leads us is step by step, a bit like walking a couple of steps ahead of us. He asks us to trust Him because He loves us, has saved us and is with us. All we have to do in life is look for the footprints of God and step into the next one in front of us. We don’t have to see the whole journey to follow the one who knows the way.
So lets take one step today:
Tell the people around you what you think is so amazing about them…
What are you good at? What gets you excited about life and you know brings joy to both you and God?
Take some time together to write some lines in your own words or draw a picture about being in the care and dreams of God over your life or the people around you.