family devotions

Each week, CYPRESS CHAPEL will provide you with a devotion to center additional thoughts around the lesson that was shared on Sunday. Feel free to share them with friends!

Why are family devotions important? The hope of CYPRESS CHAPEL is that parents and kids are able to openly talk about their faith with each other.

the story of JESUS' baptism

september 27 weekly devotion

The people all went to the Jordan because John baptized with water that day.
He said, "God's Lamb is coming to give you His Spirit confess all your sins right away."

Now Jesus came too, but John stopped Him and cried, "I'm not fit to loosen Your shoe.
The Lamb sent by God should not come now to me, For I should be baptized by You."

Then Jesus said, "No, it is good that you do this. I must fulfill all that is right.
So John baptized Jesus, and when He came out, the crowd saw a wonderful sight.

The heavens were opened as Jesus was praying. He looked up and saw straight above,
The Spirit of God was descending upon Him; it came in the form of a dove.

A voice out of heaven then called from a cloud--it probably sounded like thunder--
"This one is My Son and in Him I am pleased." The people were flooded with wonder.

The story of Jesus' baptism by John marks the beginning of Jesus' earthly ministry. Up to this point (outside of the shepherds, angels and wisemen that we remember at Christmastime and a story of Jesus in the temple as a 12-year-old), we don't know a whole lot about the Son of God. He hadn't performed miracles, or spoken to crowds, or even told people who He was and what He came to do.

But John knew. As Jesus was approaching the crowd on the banks of the Jordan River, John called Jesus out. You may even remember that this is the second time John had a feeling about Jesus, even before they were formally introduced. Even when John's mom was pregnant, he 'leaped in her womb' when Mary came close to them. There was something special about Jesus that John was excited about!

When we become close to God when we are baptized, something special happens. God claims us as His own--separating us from the work of the devil and forgiving all our sins--and we have a place in His family. We may even have the same feelings as John when we are near God, at special celebrations like Christmas and Easter or when we receive the Lord's Supper.

When God is present in our lives, not only is the situation special--everyone who is part of the family is special, too. 

After all, you are God's child, with whom He is well pleased.

The italicized text is from The Story of Jesus' Baptism and Temptation ARCH book by Bryan Davis.

a note for parents

[ sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from HIM - Psalm 127:3 ]

If you read Psalm 127 in its entirety, it speaks of the blessings God provides--home, security, food, and children. In particular, children are referred to as a heritage--gifts not possessions. And entrusted with these gifts, parents become stewards.

What an awesome responsibility to nurture--to feed, nourish, sustain, maintain, cherish, and provide for these gifts from God. As parents provide for their material needs, it is essential that we also take into consideration their spiritual needs. It is indeed the work of the Holy Spirit to plant faith in the hearts of our children and to cause that faith to grow. But it is also an awesome privilege to be an instrument of the Holy Spirit, to hear the splash of baptismal water, and to trust in God's loving care and direction for our children as they grow.

This note today is taken from Baby Jesus Visits the Temple by Alice Earnheart Maas.