Youth 5-Day Devos

April 1-5

Week 43

Devotion 1

"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." - John 16:33

You're going to continue to hang out in Paul's letters this week, and a little bit of next week. Paul wrote most of the New Testament, so giving his words a little more time than others is probably not a bad idea. You'll be looking at Paul's words in Corinthians, as well as parts of his letter to the Ephesians. Paul's letter to the Ephesians - as well as letters he wrote to the Philippians, Colossians, and Timothy - was written while Paul was in prison in Rome. He had been imprisoned because of his faith.

Paul suffered tremendously for the Gospel. He was chased out of most cities he visited. He was beaten, imprisoned, and almost murdered along the way. And he would ultimately be killed for his faith. But Paul understood this was part of the role he was playing. Jesus understood this too. Jesus' words in John 16:33 should come as a comforting reminder for us when we experience hardship. If we're living for Christ, life will be tough at times. But Jesus assures us that in the end He's already conquered.

If you get the chance, memorize this verse this week.

Devotion 2

"We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. - 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Think about the last time a tech-company launched a major new device, whether it was a phone, a tablet, or some other incredible new product. What were the commercials like? How did the company promote the product on social media and online? Chances are, they pulled out all the stops, and did everything they could to convince you how amazing their product was. When a company wants to convince you to buy something, they do their best to make their product look perfect. But have you ever noticed that God doesn't work the same way?

Read 2 Corinthians 4:7-12. Paul has endured a lot as he's travelled thousands of miles to tell everyone he can about Jesus. He's been beaten, ridiculed, and experienced natural disasters.

By our standards, much of what he did was a failure because he didn't gain a lot of popularity.

But as far as Paul was concerned, all that failure was a part of God's plan.

God didn't want to package the Gospel-the incredible good news that God gave His own son to die so that we could live-in slick packaging, and market it so that we were tricked into buying something we didn't want. Instead, God entrusted His message to real people who experience real difficulties. Paul calls us clay jars, which is the modern day equivalent to a cardboard box.

Not the most precious container for such valuable truth!

God's entrusted His message to you. Yeah, you might be broken, dusty, and imperfect. Life has probably knocked you around a bit. But God wants to use you just as you are. That way it will clear that it's about God and not about you. But God's promise is that He won't abandon you, or let you be destroyed. And God always keeps His promises.

Something to think about...

  • What difficult circumstance in your life do you think God could use to help someone meet Jesus for the first time?

Devotion 3

Have you ever been put in charge of an important task? If you have a job, maybe your boss had to leave for a little while and you had to run the store for a few minutes. Or maybe your mom or dad left for the day and left you in charge. Sometimes we take those opportunities seriously, and sometimes we don't.

Read 2 Corinthians 5: 16-21. If the Gospel could be summed up in a few short sentences, this paragraph might be it. Paul makes some incredible statements: You're forgiven. We have a restored relationship with God, all because Jesus paid the debt of our sin by dying on the cross.

To top it off, when God looks at us, He doesn't see our sin, but rather Jesus' righteousness.


But this short passage contains something even more incredible than that. God has entrusted you with the most important task you've ever been given. You are Christ's ambassador, and God is making His appeal to the world through you. Sort of makes babysitting your little brother seem like small potatoes, doesn't it?

You are God's "Plan A" to share this incredible news with those around you. There is no Plan B.

You're God's ambassador. Your job is to tell people that they can be reconciled to God because of what Jesus did for them on the cross. And because Jesus has already done it, you've got the easy part: spreading the word. The only question is, "Are you willing"?

Something to think about...

  • How does it make you feel to imagine yourself as God's ambassador? Excited?
    Nervous? Scared?
  • Who is one person in your life God is leading you to tell about Jesus' love for him/her?

Devotion 4

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk with them." - Ephesians 2: 8-10

We live in a culture that is used to the saying, "Nothing is for free." If someone wants to give us a gift for no reason at all we ask, "What's the occasion"? We are used to everything being a transaction. We put the ATM card in, and the money comes out. If I'm good to my friends, then my friends will be good to me. However, Jesus sort of broke the rules on this entire idea.

Read Ephesians 2: 1-10. As you do, underline the word "grace" every time you see it, and circle the words "saved" or "salvation." The passage unfolds by talking about our sin. It uses words like "disobedience," and "dead." Yet, do you also see that it uses words like, "used to"? If you have a highlighter looking at the first three verses, highlight all of the times it says, "used to." Before Christ, we were stuck in our sin. All of us. When we have a relationship with Jesus, we are different now.

Finally, reread verses 8-10. It discusses grace. Grace is a gift we can't earn. We can't take credit for what God did. In other words, we can't put our prayers, good deeds, or anything before God, and get anything in return. He loves us just because He made us. He loves us just because. This might be the hardest concept for any of us to truly understand. Focus on verse 10. Grace is free, but when we accept it, then we are new. This changes everything. Grace motivates us. Grace compels us to want to live as children of God. It isn't a transaction at all. Our relationship with God is founded on and motivated by grace.

Something to think about...

  • What is grace according to this passage?
  • Do you keep thinking you have to be "good enough" for God?

Devotion 5

"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." - Ephesians 5:1-2

Have you ever heard anyone say, "You're a child of God?" Maybe. Maybe not. At church we like to tell kids we are ALL His children. This statement is "sort of" true. Yes, since we are all created in His image, technically we are all His kids. However, the Bible is clear that we are given the "right" to be called His children when we have a saving relationship with Him.

It's an interesting concept. See what Ephesians 5:1-7 has to say about being God's children. When we know we are His children and what this means, it also comes with some hard responsibility. Our Father wants us to live like Him. That means we can't do whatever we want. It's not meant to be a checklist of "do's and don'ts," or to feel like we can't have fun. Instead out of our love and respect for our Father, we want to live close to Him.

Does this mean if you make a mistake God will turn his back on you? No! This passage is about people who want to do their own thing and then say they love God. When you truly have a love for your parents, you don't WANT to hurt them. Others are always going to distract us, and tell us that life with Jesus is too much work. They are going to tell you their life is more enjoyable living the way they want. Yet, when you live as a true child of the Lord, you know that the rewards of love, peace, and hope far outweigh any good time that could be had.

Something to think about...

  • What do you think it truly means to "be in the light"?
  • How can the world recognize you are a person filled with light?
  • Do you ever struggle with wanting to do things that seem more "fun," but aren't what God wants? Why do you think that is?