Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A Great Cloud of Witnesses: A Devotional for Children

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. -Hebrews 12:1-3 

The apostle Paul wrote these words, encouraging believers in Jesus to run the race. Run the race of what? Of the faith.

Paul calls the testifiers to the faith a “great cloud of witnesses.” Who is he talking about? He’s talking about the greats of Bible history: Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Gideon, Noah, Joseph, and many others. These were men and women who had lots of problems. They were imperfect. They made lots of mistakes. Noah drank too much. Moses had anger problems, and didn’t think he could speak very well. Jacob was liar and a cheat. Yet they all had one thing in common: Their lives were transformed by faith in God.

What is faith? Faith is believing God instead of believing the world. Faith is believing God’s word instead of believing the television. Faith is believing in a God the world will make fun of you for believing in. And through faith, we can do things no one else can do.

Through faith we become like superheroes. We become like jedi knights, guardians of the souls of humanity.

Some of you in this room will choose the way of the world, you’ll toss aside God and choose to do things your own way. And your life will be a disaster. But some of you will choose God’s way, and you’ll look skeptically at the world. You’ll live a life of faith, standing out from the crowd of the world, so lost in sin and selfishness. You’ll be a hero, you’ll be a protector of freedom and carrier of the gospel.

The list that Paul writes in Hebrews 11 could be expanded to today. He talked about Abraham, Moses, and Joseph. But we could add many names. William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, by faith he started the Salvation Army. We could add Tim Tebow, quarterback, during a football game Tim Tebow put John 3:16 on the marks under his eyes. And it was discovered later that when the audience noticed that millions of people googled John 3:16 to read “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

The list goes on, George Washington our first president, Christian. John Adams, a crucial figure to help found our nation, dedicated Christian. Abraham Lincoln, Christian. Galileo, Newton, Collins. C.S. Lewis the author of Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, J.R.R Tolkien author of the Lord of the Rings. Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft has recently begun attending a church. Get this, even bad boy Justin Bieber recently got involved in a church.

Faith is real children. I want you to remember that. God is real. And we need people like you to run the race today, and tomorrow, and everyday. Because the truth is, much of our country is falling away from God, and it’s harming our society. We need young people like you to stand up and say, “We need God in America.” We need young people to dedicate their lives to Jesus Christ and carrying his gospel to the lost in our world. As you enjoy your activities today, be thinking about how you can be a light to the world. It’s hard. It ain’t easy. But you can do it. Just like when we run a race, or play a sports game, we get tired at times, we struggle at times, but we keep trying, because we want to win, we want to finish the race. Let's live for the glory and honor of our Lord Jesus Christ, not for ourselves, but for God.