Family Devotional about “Identity”
Since we have decided to cancel our worship services on March 15, 22 and 29, and are only holding them via live stream, we recognize that watching a full worship service on YouTube might be difficult for some of our younger congregants.
Therefore, each week we will provide a ‘family devotional’ resource to be used either on Sunday morning, or another time through the week. This is something we have created ourselves.[For a printable pdf version of this resource click here: Family Devotional – Identity – Westminster- 2020 03 15.]
For March 15, 2020 it is called “Identity” and is in-step with Pastor Ruttan’s message on Ephesians 1-2. It includes instructions, takes about 20 minutes, and lists the materials you need. Here it is:
This devotional can be used to help you grow as Christians together. Just follow the steps
1. Parent(s): Read this ahead of time to prepare
Knowing who we are is important. Sure, we know what our name is. But who are we really? If we don’t know who we really are—deep down inside of us—we will start to believe the wrong things, and we will start to get affirmation and our sense of worth from the wrong places—perhaps from friends who may or may not have truthful or positive things to say, or by basing it on our looks or popularity, or by many likes or follows we get on social media.
Age suggestion: This depends on the child(ren). It may be appropriate to do it with them, or if they’re older, to explain it to them, and have them complete the activity themselves with their own Bible. Ensure to have the time for discussion and prayer at the end.
a. Parent(s): Decide on a time of about 20 minutes to spend with your child(ren) for this activity.
b. Parent(s): Ensure you have (i) a modern translation of the Bible (or print out the text from the bottom of this post), (ii) a piece of paper and pen or marker to write down some ideas, (iii) sheets of colouring paper, pencil crayons and/or stickers for your child(ren).
c. Parent(s): In your own words, explain to your child what their “identity” is. It has to do with who they think they are. To get them thinking, ask your child(ren) how they would describe themselves to a new friend so that the friend could get to know them better.
d. Parent(s)/Child(ren): Slowly read through Ephesians 1:1 – 2:10. It’s written by Paul in the early 60’s to the believers in ancient Ephesus. One of the beautiful things about this passage is that the insights he offers for God’s people then continue to apply to God’s people today! Before you start, ask your child(ren) to stop you and tell you every time they hear a word that is supposed to be true about who Christians are. In the lower portion of this post the reading is listed from the New Living Translation (NLT) of the Bible. Examples are words like “faithful,” “blessed,” “chosen,” and “saved.” Pause and help them if they need prompting to get the hang of it for the first few times. Write down what they say on the piece of paper so they can see you are valuing their input.
e. Parent(s): At the end, explain how these are parts of their identity from God himself—and continue to be true for us as followers of Jesus today.
f. Parent(s)/Child(ren): Decorate a sheet of paper with the biblical word(s) that they like the most. Hang it some place special, at least for the week, as a reminder about their true identity.
g. Parent(s)/Child(ren): At the end, together say a Thank You prayer to God for who he has made us to be. Include some of the words that were important to your child(ren).
Parents, remember that you don’t have to be a Bible expert. One of the things that will resonate most with your child(ren) is that you took the time to do this important activity with them!
Ephesians 1:1 – 2:10 (New Living Translation)
This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus. I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus,[a] who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus. 2 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. 3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. 4 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. 5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. 6 So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.[b] 7 He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. 8 He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. 9 God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan. 10 And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. 11 Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God,[c] for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan. 12 God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. 13 And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own[d] by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. 14 The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him. 15 Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere,[e] 16 I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, 17 asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom[f] and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. 18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.[g] 19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. 21 Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. 22 God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. 23 And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself. 2 Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world.[h] He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. 3 All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. 4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. 7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. 8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
March 31, 2021