WESTERN SPRINGS BAPTIST CHURCH | THE VILLAGE CHURCH

2021 Family Devotions

JOURNEY TO THE CROSS

When we consider the more important events in Christianity and the seasons of the year, Christmas and Easter top the list. All too often, Easter tends to quite literally spring up on us with little anticipation or preparation.

This year, we hope families of all ages, sizes, near or distant will find encouragement and discipleship moments through our Journey to the Cross: Family Devotions. The WSBC Kids team will launch a series of video devotions that will tell the Story of Redemption. A new devotion will be available right here and on our YouTube Channel:  youtube.com/c/wsbcvillagechurch each Sunday up to Palm Sunday, March 28. Starting on Palm Sunday there will be new devotion everyday of Holy Week through Easter Sunday on April 4.

Our prayer is that the Journey to the Cross will help you and your family know and grow God’s Story of Redemption. So get ready and join us for this incredible Journey to the Cross.


APRIL 4  

HAPPY EASTER!

JESUS IS RISEN!

JESUS ROSE FROM THE DEAD ON THE THIRD DAY JUST AS HE SAID!  HE IS RISEN!! HAPPY EASTER!!!

 

READ:

 

 


APRIL 3  

THE CAVE

Jesus' Burial

Today we will read about how Jesus' body was taken down off of the cross and placed in a tomb that was carved out of the rock. This cave was newly made and owned by a rich man which fulfilled a prophecy found in Isaiah 53:9.  God had every detail planned from the very beginning.  

READ: Matthew 27:57-66   

WONDER:  Some women were watching to see where Jesus was being buried so that they could return after the Sabbath to anoint Jesus' body with special perfumes and oils.  But there were also some others there at the tomb.  Do you remember who they are were?  I wonder why the Jewish leaders thought that someone might steal Jesus' body.  That seems like a very odd and gross thing.

Jesus did say several times that He would rise from the dead.  Perhaps they were worried that what Jesus said would actually come true, or at least Jesus' disciples might try to make it look like what Jesus said was true.  What do you think?  Would you have believed Jesus when He said that He would rise from the dead? 

MEMORIZEJohn 11:25-26a (review)

"Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. 

Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. 

Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die."

PRAY: Thank you, Lord, that all of this happened according to your plan.  Thank you for dying on the cross for me so that I can come to God and experience new life in Christ Jesus now and forever.  In Jesus' Name, Amen.

DO: Place the final symbol of the Cave with the Stone on your poster just down the hill from the cross.

 


APRIL 2  

THE CROSS

Jesus' Death on the Cross

Today is the day when we remember Jesus' death on the cross.  Today is Good Friday.  Why do we call it Good Friday when it is more sad and dark than it is good.  Can you think of the reason why Jesus' death is remembered and celebrated as good? 

READ: Matthew 27:32-56   

WONDER:  Take some time today to remember how much Jesus loves you and because He died for you and your sins, He made a way for you to enter into God's daily presence and he gives new life to all who believe that He is the Son of God.

MEMORIZE1 Peter 3:18a (review)

"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous

for the unrighteous, to bring you to God."

PRAY: Thank you so much, Lord Jesus, for dying on the cross for me so that I can come to God and experience new life in Christ Jesus now and forever.  In Jesus' Name, Amen.

DO: Today's symbol is The Cross.  Place the symbol on your poster at the top of the hill.



APRIL 1  

CROWN OF THORNS

Jesus on Trial & Mocked

Today is "Maundy Thursday."  The maundy is a Latin word that means mandate or command.  So, on this day as Jesus was with His disciples, Jesus gave His disciples a new command -- to love one another.  This was the actual night they celebrated the Passover meal together that we talked about on Monday.  Remember?  When Jesus broke the bread and gave them the cup to drink, He gave them this new command to love above all else. God's story of redemption is about Love even when it hurts.  Jesus was then put on trial before Pilate and the crowd of people cried for Him to be crucified.  Jesus was beaten, abused, whipped, mocked, spit on and a crown of sharp thorns was pressed down on His head.  Even in all of this pain and terribleness ... Jesus loves. 

READ: Matthew 27:11-31  

WONDER:  It was against the law for the Jewish leaders who hated Jesus to kill him, so they gave him to the Roman Governor and convinced the crowd to cry out, "Crucify him!"  I wonder if anyone was present who didn't want to see killed.  How do you think Jesus was feeling in that moment?  Jesus' love for us is so great.  Can you imagine loving someone like Jesus loved us?  In the end of this part of God's story, Pilate washed his hands and the crowd took the responsibility for Jesus' death sentence.  Do you think they knew what they were saying?  All of us and all of our sins our responsible for Jesus going to the cross.

MEMORIZEIsaiah 53:6 (review)

"We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all."

John 3:16

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

PRAY: Lord Jesus, help me to be strong for you and when others want me to do something wrong. Help me to love everyone like you loved even if it hurts. In Jesus' Amen.

DO: Today's symbol of a Crown of Thorns will remind us of how the Roman Soldiers mocked and hurt Jesus, and how we can love others.  Place the symbol on your poster as we continue our Journey to the Cross.



MARCH 31  

ROOSTER

Jesus is Arrested & Peter Denies Jesus

As Jesus was talking with His disciples in the garden, suddenly His betrayer arrived with soldiers.  They were led by Judas one of Jesus' friends and disciples. They came to arrest and take Jesus away because the Jewish religious leaders wanted Jesus to be put to death. They didn't want to do it themselves but wanted the Romans to do it.  They took Jesus to Pilate the Roman Governor and ruler who would have Jesus Crucified. 

God's story of redemption gets really interesting as we see how Peter reacts to Jesus' arrest and trial. Peter first wants to fight and then hurts one of the men that was arresting Jesus, and then he follows at a distance only to deny that he knew Jesus at all when asked 3 different times. 

READ: Matthew 26:47-75 

WONDER:  Peter's actions and words were not true, right, or good. I think we can relate to Peter because often our words and actions are not true, right, or good and we deny who Jesus really is to us.  Can you think of a time when you could have talked about Jesus, but didn't?

MEMORIZERomans 5:8 (review)

"But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us

while we were still sinners."

PRAY: Lord Jesus, help me to not be afriad to tell other people about who You are and what You have done for me.

DO: Today's symbol of a Rooster will remind us of how Peter denied Jesus 3 times and help us to be bold and tell others about Jesus and His Love before it is too late.  Place the symbol on your poster as we continue our Journey to the Cross.



MARCH 30  

PRAYING HAND

Jesus Prays in the Garden of Gethsemane

After Jesus celebrated the Last Supper , the Passover meal with His disciples, He took His disciples for a walk to the Garden of Gethsemane.  Jesus would often go here to pray in a grove of olive trees on the Mount of Olives just outside of Jerusalem.  God's story of redemption brings Jesus to the place where He needed to talk with God about doing this very hard thing -- die on a cross for all our sins..

READ: Matthew 26:36-46  

WONDER:  I wonder if you have ever fallen asleep during or right after a big meal or celebration like the disciples did.  Jesus needed to talk to God and he wanted His friends to talk to God, too, but they fell asleep.  How do you think Jesus felt when He found His friends sleeping?  Jesus was upset about what was going to happen to him.  He knew He was going to be betrayed, arrested, beaten, mocked, put on trial, crucified and die for the whole world.  This was a hard thing to do ... without God.  When we have hard things to do, we should pray to God and He will help us do what He wants for us to do even when we are upset and worried, like Jesus did.

MEMORIZE1 John 4:10 (review)

"This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son

as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."

PRAY: Lord Jesus, help us talk to you first when we are upset, worried or have something really hard to do. Help us to remember that You are with us and want to help us obey You.  In Jesus' Name, Amen.

DO: Today's symbol of a Praying Hand will remind us of how Jesus and His disciples went to the garden to pray before He was arrested.  Place the symbol on your poster as we continue our Journey to the Cross.

 


MARCH 29  

BREAD & CUP

Jesus Celebrates Passover

Today we will be looking at the story of Jesus' Last Supper and how Jesus celebrated this Passover meal with His disciples.  It is often called the Last Supper because it was the last meal He had with His disciples before He died.  This was a very special meal and it was probably the most important celebration in Jesus' life.

READ: Matthew 26:14-30 

WONDER:  Do you remember what Jesus and the disciples were celebrating?  No.  It wasn't a birthday.  It was how God rescued His people from slavery in Egypt.  Remember how they needed to paint the doorposts with lamb's blood so that the death would passover their home and family.  But as Jesus celebrated this meal on this night, He changed the meaning of what bread and cup symbolized.  I wonder what the disciple thought about that.  Kinda like if we changed the way we celebrate birthdays -- instead of getting gifts you had to give gifts to your mother when it is your birthday.  Can you imagine what that would be like?

Jesus knew His time was coming when He needed to die (His Body would be broken and His Blood will be shed) for all the sins of every person who has lived and will ever live, and he knew how difficult that would be. 

MEMORIZE1 John 4:10 

"This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son

as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."

PRAY: Lord Jesus, thank you for coming to live in our world and for letting Your body be broken and Your blood be shed for us and our sins.  In Jesus' Name, Amen.

DO: Today's symbol of the Bread & Cup will remind us of Jesus' last supper and passover meal with His disciples, and we can remember whenever we take communion in church that You died for all of us and our sins so that we can have eternal life with you.



MARCH 28  

PALM BRANCH

Jesus' Triumphal Entry

The Jewish people had been waiting for hundreds of years for the Messiah to come.  The Messiah was a special person anointed, chosen, and sent by God to save His people.  They thought that this person would become a great king who would make their country important and rich again.  The Bible told them that this King would come into Jerusalem riding on a donkey for a different pupose with a salvation of a different kind, eternal salvation.

READ: Matthew 21:1-11

WONDER:  Why do you think the people were so excited when they saw Jesus that day?

Jesus is that special King.  He came, not to make them important and rich, but to redeem them and save them from their sins.  What about Jesus makes you excited?

Today Jesus is the King of Heaven and Earth. But He also wants to be the King of our hearts and lives.  What does this mean for you and your family?  How can you let Jesus be your one true King?

MEMORIZEJohn 11:25-26a 

"Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. 

Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.

Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die."

PRAY: Lord Jesus, we're excited that You are the King of Heaven.  Help us to serve and obey You as our King.  In Jesus' Name, Amen.

DO: Today's symbol of a Palm Branch will remind us how the people lined the streets with their clothes and with palm branches to welcome Jesus as their King. Place this symbol on the poster, and as you do, notice how we are moving closer to the Cross on our Journey and praise Jesus as our true King.

 


MARCH 21  

PERFUME BOTTLE

Mary Anoints Jesus' Feet

So far as we have been taking this journey together, we have seen that Jesus came to this world with a purpose and a plan to sacrificially die for our sins so that we could be redeemed and brought close in relationship with our Creator God.  This week's story of redemption finds Jesus heading to Jerusalem where it would all happen.  The story we are about to read and hear about took place exactly one week before Jesus died.  Remember that Jesus knew what was going to happen to Him.  How do you think Jesus felt as He was having dinner with some of His best friends?

READJohn 12:1-9  

WONDER: Jesus was having dinner with His friends and one of His friends was Lazarus who Jesus raised from the dead not long before.  I wonder if they were talk about the that resurrection during their dinner.  Mary came out and opened her very expensive perfume and anointed Jesus’s feet. Don’t you wonder what the house smelled like when she rubbed the perfume into Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair?  I bet it was incredible.  Mary was willing to give up her most precious possession to show Jesus how much she loved Him.  How do you show Jesus how much you love Him?

But there were some who were very upset, like Judas, by what Mary had done.  Judas thought the perfume could have been sold to help feed the poor, but the Bible tells that Judas was a theif and he probably wanted to steal some of the money for himself.  Jesus always wants us to give up what we have as we worship Him instead of taking from others for ourselves.  What can you and your family give as worship to show Jesus how much you love Him?

MEMORIZE1 Peter 3:18a

"For Christ died for sins once for all,

the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God."

PRAY: Thank You, Jesus. You gave everything You had for me.  Now, I want to give you everything I have.  Please, take control of my life and help me to live for You and do what makes You happy.  Thank You for loving me so much! In Jesus' Name, Amen.

DO: Let’s place the symbol of the Perfume Bottle on the poster, and as we do, notice how we are moving closer to the Cross on our Journey.  This week when you look at the perfume bottle remember that Mary gave her very best and most precious thing she owned to Jesus because she loved Him so much.

 


MARCH 14  

GRAPES & DROP OF BLOOD

Parable of the Evil Farmers

This week's story of redemption comes from Jesus who told a story (a parable) to teach a lesson.  Some of the people who were listening to Jesus actually wanted to kill Jesus, and Jesus knew this.  He knew that He would have to die some day.  In fact, that was the whole reason why He came.  He told this story to show them that God sent Him and that He was truly God's Son.

READ: Matthew 21:33-46 

WONDER: Why would Jesus tell a story like this?

Think about those bad men that were planning to kill Jesus.  I wonder how they felt as Jesus told this story.  Since Jesus knew what they were thinking, I wonder how He could love them. Do you think Jesus loves everyone?

Are there people today who hate Jesus?  I wonder ... How can you show God's Love for them and how can you tell that Jesus loves them so much? 

Talk about this as a family and then pick 1 or 2 things you can do this week to love people for Jesus.

MEMORIZE: Romans 5:8

"But God showed his great love for us

by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners."

PRAY: Thank You, Jesus, for knowing why You had to come to earth. You knew that you had to die on the cross so that we could have a way to God and have eternal life.  Thank You for loving us so much! In Jesus' Name, Amen.

DO: Place the symbol of the Grapes & Drop of Blood on the poster as we keep moving closer to the Cross on our Journey.  When you look at it this week remember that Jesus was beaten and His blood was shed so that we can be saved.


MARCH 7  

BRONZE SNAKE

 

This week's story of redemption is about Moses and God's People, Israel, traveling through the Wilderness. God was showing them the way to the Promised Land the He was giving to them to live, prosper and grow up in. ON the way, they had to cross through a long desert and the people got tired, crabby, and began to complain. They did not trust Moses, God, and His way to the Promised Land.

READ: Numbers 21:4-9 

WONDER: Why were God's People dying? Could they make themselves better or heal a person who had been bitten by a snake? I wonder if you have ever complained while on a family road trip. Take some time to remember some family trips and then tell each other some stories about those trips. Moses prayed to God to help His People, and God told Moses to craft a bronze snake and raise it up on a pole so that God's People could look to it and be healed and live. God saved His People. In God's Story of Redemption, this story about a bronze snake on a pole is a picture of what Jesus looked like when He went to cross and died for you and the whole world. Read: John 3:14-17. If we look to Jesus and trust Him to save us, He will!

MEMORIZE: Romans 6:23 

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life 

in Christ Jesus our Lord."

PRAY: Heavenly Father and God of all things, thank You for sending your Son, Jesus, to save us from our sins. Without Jesus we are dying in our sins just like Your people, Israel, were dying from snake bites. I trust you and trust Jesus to be my Savior. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

DO: Place the symbol of the Bronz Snake on the poster as we continue our Journey to the Cross.  When you look at it this week remember that Jesus was lifted up on the Cross so that we can be saved.


FEBRUARY 28  

PASSOVER LAMB

 

Do you remember the story of Moses and the burning bush?  God spoke to Moses from that bush, and He told Moses to go to Egypt in order to talk to the Pharaoh.  Pharaoh was the bad king of Egypt and he was hurting God's people.  God wanted Pharaoh to let His people go so that they could worship Him at Mt. Sinai and move to the land that God had promised to Abraham's descendants.  But Pharaoh didn't want to obey God.  God gave him many chances to let God's people go from Egypt after each of the first nine plagues, but Pharaoh would not listen to God.  Finally, God had to take away something that Pharaoh loved very much.  The tenth plague that God sent was the angel of death to kill all the firstborn sons of Egypt including Pharaoh's son.  But had a special plan for the Israelites, God's people and he had them follow some important instructions so that their sons would not be killed.  

READ: Exodus 12:21-30 

I WONDER:  The Bible story we just read was about the Passover.  I wonder why it's called the Passover.  What do you think?

The lamb that was to be killed was supposed to be a pure, spotless, young male lamb with no defects.  I wonder if it was hard to find a lamb like that.  Later in God's Story, John the Baptist called his cousin, Jesus, the Lamb of God in John 1:29. How is the Passover Lamb like Jesus, the Lamb of God?

I wonder what the Israelites thought about painting their doorposts with the blood of a lamb (Ew ... Messy!), but that's what it took to be saved from the angel of death.  Did you know that Jesus' blood saves people from death even today?  Jesus wants you to believe and receive Him as your personal Savior., and He will save you from sin and death. 

This is story is a picture of how God used the blood of a lamb to save His people and He is still using the blood of His Son, Jesus, to save people today from sin and death.  What an awesome story of repemption and salvation!?

MEMORIZE: Isaiah 53:6 this week as a family. 

"We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all."

DO: Place the symbol of the Passover Lamb on the poster as we continue our Journey to the Cross.  When you look at it this week remember that God wants to save people just like you through the blood of Jesus.

PRAY: Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your Son, Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world through His blood!  In Jesus' powerful name, Amen.



FEBRUARY 21  

The ALTAR & FLAME

Abraham, Isaac & Sacrifice

A sacrifice was something that people gave or made to God -- to show Him that they loved HIm or that they were sorry for their disobeying Him.  Usually the sacrifice was a young animal that was killed and burned on an altar as an offering to God.  Today's story of God's Redemption tells how God asked Abraham to do a really hard thing, sacrifice something that he loved more than anything in the world -- his one and only son. 

READ: Genesis 22:1-14 

I WONDER:  Isaac was the special child that God promised to Abraham and Sarah who waited many many years for their son to be born and join their family.  I wonder how Abraham felt about what God had asked him to do.  How do you think Abraham (and Sarah, too) felt about sacrificing their one only son to God?

When Isaac asked about the sacrifice animal, what did Abraham tell him?  Was he right, did God provide?

This is story is a picture of how God gave His one and only Son, Jesus, to die as a sacrifice in our place.  Isn't it amazing to think about how this story happened about 2000 years before Jesus was born and even then, God knew exactly how to save people?  He was going to send Jesus to be our sacrifice and provided for us a way of salvation.

MEMORIZE: John 3:16 as a family this week. 

"For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life."

DO: Place the symbol of the Altar & Flame on the poster as we continue our Journey to the Cross.  When you look at it this week remember the sacrifice that God asked Abraham to make with Isaac and the sacrifice that God did make with His one and only Son, Jesus, for all of us. 

PRAY: Thank you, Father God, for loving us so much that You sent Your one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

 


FEBRUARY 14  

TREE OF KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD & EVIL

Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil

When God created the world, He made everything good. Adam & Eve loved God and never even thought of doing anything wrong or ever disobeying Him.  Until one day ... 

READ: Genesis 3:1-19 

GOD'S STORY OF REDEMPTION starts with Adam & Eve's SIN.  Their sin is our sin today, and we need help from a Savior to take from what is wrong to what is right.

I WONDER:  I wonder which is easier.  Is it easier to do the Right thing or the Wrong thing?  Do you think it was easy or hard for Adam & Eve to listen to the serpent, look at the fruit and choose to disobey God's command?  

MEMORIZE: Romans 3:23 as a family this week. 

"For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God"

DO: Place the symbol of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil on the poster to begin our Journey to the Cross.  When you look at the Tree this week remember that Adam & Eve's first sin is also our sin and we all need a Savior to help us from falling short of God's Glory and eternal life.




WESTERN SPRINGS BAPTIST CHURCH | THE VILLAGE CHURCH