Bring a squirrel puppet or a picture of a squirrel to show the children.
Do any of you have squirrels in your backyard? (Draw attention to the squirrel puppet or picture.) Have you ever watched them? How do squirrels move—quickly or slowly? (Allow children to answer.) What do you think those squirrels are doing out there? (Allow children to answer.)
Squirrels dart around in the fall because they are collecting acorns for the winter. They really, really want to get all the acorns they can. Squirrels look under leaves to find acorns. They run all around your yard and in parks looking for acorns. Squirrels love acorns!
What is something that you love as much as squirrels love acorns? Is there something you love to collect or gather? (Allow children to answer.) Did you know that Jesus loves you even more than (name some of the things the children said)? It’s true! Listen to this:
We love him, because he first loved us (1 John 4:19 KJV).
Jesus loved you so much that he left heaven, lived a perfect life on earth, died on the cross, and came alive again after three days. He did all of this to take your sins away.
Sins are the bad things we do that break God’s rules. We disobey our parents and teachers. We do naughty things. Have you ever been mad at or hit your brother or sister? Have you ever not done what your parents or teachers asked you to do? Maybe you were mean to your classmate or didn’t share with a friend. When we don’t follow God’s rules, we sin.
These are the kinds of things that could separate us from God. God hates sin! Sin is so tricky and so nasty that there is no way we can escape it on our own. We can try really hard to do the right thing, but eventually, we’ll mess up. We can never perfectly follow God’s rules. There was only one person who could do that—Jesus!
Because Jesus loves us so much, he came to earth and followed all of God’s rules perfectly. He never sinned! Jesus took all of our sins to the cross and he died there. But he didn’t stay dead—he rose again! Because of Jesus’ love, our sins are gone and we can be friends of God forever!
There are stories in the Bible that show us how much Jesus loves us, his children. In Mark, we read about a man named Bartimaeus. Bartimaeus was blind and didn’t have a job so he had to beg for money. Jesus loved Bartimaeus so much that he healed him. Jesus made blind Bartimaeus see again! In the Book of John, we read about a lady who had sinned. Some people wanted to punish her for her sins, but Jesus stepped in and forgave her. Jesus told her accusers to go away because everybody sins and needs forgiveness.
Jesus loves you just as much as he loved these people from the Bible. And if Jesus loves you that much, that means that you can love other people! Did you know that when a squirrel gathers acorns, it sometimes forgets where it put the acorns? Do you know what acorns are, besides squirrel food? (Allow children to answer.) Those acorns are actually seeds that sprout and grow into trees!
When Jesus lives in your heart, his love grows in you like a seed, getting big and strong while you share Jesus’ love with other people. Do you know a friend that needs to know about Jesus’ love? (Allow children to answer.) What could you do to show this person Jesus’ love? (Allow children to answer.)
Because Jesus loves you so much, you can love other people. You can love your family, your friends, your classmates—everybody!
Let’s pray: Dear Jesus, thank you for loving us. Thank you for showing us what love is by dying on the cross and rising again. I’m so thankful that you forgive me when I sin and break God’s rules. Help me show your love to everyone I see. Amen.
Editor’s note: Today’s devotion comes from one of CTA’s brand-new fall festival themes, Jesus Is Nuts about Me! Use this devotion and CTA’s kidmin resources this fall in your Sunday school or midweek Bible classes!
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