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It All Matters to Jesus
Devotional for Girls Mean Girls, Manicures, and Mondays ... He Cares About It All
By JoAnne Simmons
Barbour Publishing, Inc.Copyright © 2016 Barbour Publishing, Inc.
All rights reserved.
How Much Is All — And How Much Does It All Matter?
Raise your hand if you like math. I'm sitting hard on my hands because I completely don't, but I sure hope some of you do because the world needs lots of people who are great at math.
Whether you like numbers or not, can you count to all?
That's like asking if you can count to infinity. You just can't do it. Well, you could try, but then you'd spend the rest of your life counting and you'd still never reach the end because (duh!) it's infinity — and who wants to count forever, no matter how much you like numbers?
The title of this book says it all matters to Jesus, emphasis on all. That means there is no number limit to what matters to God, and there are no limits on the types of things that matter to God.
If you're not a number lover, then maybe you're a word lover, and you like dictionaries. If you check the dictionary, you'll find definitions of all include "the whole, entire, total amount, quantity, or extent of" and "every" and "any whatever." That pretty much covers every single thing we could think of, right? There is nothing that matters to us that does not matter to God.
And it's not true just because it's here in this book; it's true because God's book, His Word, the Bible, says it's true. Check out these verses:
First Peter 5:7 (NLT) says, "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you." Does it say just our big worries? No. It says all.
In Psalms we read, "Our LORD, we belong to you. We tell you what worries us, and you won't let us fall" (Psalm 55:22 CEV). We have all sorts of things that worry us, from superstressful things to things not quite so serious, but we can tell them all to God, and He won't let us down about them.
And no matter what, we can totally trust that "God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19 ESV). Every need, every worry, every fear, every problem, every frustration, every anger, every thought. It all matters to Jesus.
Every joy does, too.
Your worries and problems aren't the only things that matter to God. The happy things in your life — joy over getting a new pet, or excitement over an upcoming birthday party for a friend, or an accomplishment like finally sticking that landing in gymnastics — all those types of things matter to Him, as well. He wants to share in your joy, and He wants you to thank and praise Him in all things, just like these verses say:
The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. Psalm 28:7 NLT
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Psalm 100:1–2 NIV
Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6 NLT
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 ESV
So now you might be wondering how much the things in your life, good or bad, matter to God. Just a little bit? Or a lot? The best way to answer that is to focus on how much God loves you. When someone really loves you, then every single aspect of your life, big or small, matters to that person in a big way. And God sure does love you in a ginormous way. You can't ever really wrap your mind around it, actually, but you can keep coming back to the following verses about God's love, reading them and memorizing them to help you remember just how much every detail of your life matters to God.
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 ESV
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38–39 ESV
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him. Psalm 103:11 ESV
And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Ephesians 3:18–19 NLT
This is real love — not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 1 John 4:10 NLT
How great is God's love for all who worship him? Greater than the distance between heaven and earth! Psalm 103:11 CEV
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. John 3:16 NIV
And if there's any doubt left in your brain about how much God cares about any and every little detail of your life, then think about something for a moment. Do you think you could ever count all the hairs on your pretty head? They won't go to infinity, of course, but still — what a long and boring task that would be! I'm sure you can think of much more fun things to do like baking cookies with your BFF and eating gobs of chocolate chip cookie dough. (Will you save me some? Yum!)
God has done it, though. He cares so much about every detail of your life that He's counted the exact number of hairs on your head. That's pretty detailed.
You are extremely loved by God, and everything about you matters to Him.
Aren't two sparrows sold for only a penny? But your Father knows when any one of them falls to the ground. Even the hairs on your head are counted. So don't be afraid! You are worth much more than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29–31 CEV
It All Matters to Jesus
* Every worry you have matters to Jesus.
* Every problem you face matters to Jesus.
* Every fear that scares you matters to Jesus.
* Every frustration that bothers you matters to Jesus.
* Every anger you feel matters to Jesus.
* Every sorrow you suffer matters to Jesus.
* Every thought you think matters to Jesus.
* Every joy you experience matters to Jesus.
* Every accomplishment you achieve matters to Jesus.
* Even the number of hairs on your head matters to Jesus.CHAPTER 2
Can't Live with 'Em, Can't Live without 'Em
It's true — your family will absolutely drive you crazy sometimes, maybe even a lot of the time. Sometimes we feel like we just can't live with them anymore, but we sure can't live without them, either! Maybe your little brother constantly messes with your stuff — even though you've made clear it's off-limits. (Didn't he see the huge sign on your door to KEEP OUT?) Maybe your teenage sister just doesn't understand you're not trying to bother her; you just think she's supercool and you want to know all about her. (Well, okay, maybe you shouldn't have been sneaking to read all the texts on her phone.)
Maybe you don't have siblings, but your parents are always on your case about homework or music practice when you just want to chill. Maybe your parents are divorced and you're tired of shuffling back and forth and being stuck in the middle.
Or [insert your own stressful family situation here]. Maybe it's none or all of the above, but we all have ways that our family members make us want to scream. And crazy or not, they're the people in our lives who've always got our backs, the people we love the very most, the people God has purposefully placed us with.
So, does Jesus care about your family? Does He care if you fight with your siblings? Does He care that it's hard to obey your parents sometimes? Does He care about the things that cause worry and stress and pain in your family? Does He care when you're missing your cousins you only get to see on Thanksgiving? Yes, yes, yes, and yes!
God's Word says in 1 Timothy 5:8 (CEV), "People who don't take care of their relatives, and especially their own families, have given up their faith. They are worse than someone who doesn't have faith in the Lord." Those are strong words, and they make it pretty clear how important family is to Jesus and how important our family should be to us.
So, if you have siblings, how's that going? Do you fight a little or a lot? What ways could you work harder to get along with them? Start by looking for more ways to show love and respect for them.
If a little brother wants to be in your stuff, try to find some extra time to share your things with him. He might just want some attention from you. And if your sister wants you to stop bugging her, try talking things out and telling her why she's so fascinating to you.
Things won't ever be perfect, and your siblings will hurt your feelings and you'll both pick fights at times. But look up 1 Corinthians 13 in your Bible and work harder at loving them in the way those verses talk about love. Don't get upset too easily, and be quick to forgive and forget. God will bless your efforts for trying to do things His way, living in peace and love with your family members. And remember, don't ever stop asking for His help!
Here are some more excellent verses to encourage you in getting along with your siblings:
Ask God to bless everyone who mistreats you. Ask him to bless them and not to curse them. When others are happy, be happy with them, and when they are sad, be sad. Be friendly with everyone. Don't be proud and feel that you are smarter than others. Make friends with ordinary people. Don't mistreat someone who has mistreated you. But try to earn the respect of others, and do your best to live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:14–18 CEV
Now, your parents ... how well do you get along with them? I know it sometimes seems like they never get off your back. There are so many chores and homework assignments and a bazillion times when you have to be patient or on your best behavior. You probably wonder sometimes, Why can't I just do whatever I want? But stop and think about all that your parents are doing for you. There's a lot of work and responsibility that goes into keeping you fed and clothed and learning and healthy and safe — and I bet you do have tons of fun in the midst of all that, too, because your parents love you and want to give you nice things and good experiences. Be sure you show not just obedience and respect for your parents, but love and appreciation, too. The Bible has a lot to say about how to treat your parents....
"Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you." Exodus 20:12 NKJV
"Each of you must show great respect for your mother and father." Leviticus 19:3 NLT
My children, listen when your father corrects you. Pay attention and learn good judgment. Proverbs 4:1 NLT
Obey the teaching of your parents — always keep it in mind and never forget it. Their teaching will guide you when you walk, protect you when you sleep, and talk to you when you are awake. Proverbs 6:20–22 CEV
A wise child brings joy to a father; a foolish child brings grief to a mother. Proverbs 10:1 NLT
Children with good sense accept correction from their parents, but stubborn children ignore it completely. Proverbs 13:1 CEV
Don't be a fool and disobey your parents. Be smart! Accept correction. Proverbs 15:5 CEV
Pay attention to your father, and don't neglect your mother when she grows old. Invest in truth and wisdom, discipline and good sense, and don't part with them. Make your father truly happy by living right and showing sound judgment. Make your parents proud, especially your mother. Proverbs 23:22–25 CEV
Sometimes you might have a major worry for a family member — do you have a loved one who is sick? Maybe an aunt who's fighting cancer or a grandparent who has to live in a nursing home? Jesus cares so much about them, and He is working on a place for us where there will never be any more pain and sickness and suffering.
Then I saw "a new heaven and a new earth," for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Look! God's dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 'He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death' or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Revelation 21:1–5 NIV
If you have loved ones who are suffering, do you know if they've accepted Jesus as their Savior? If not, think of ways you could share His love and the Gospel with them. (If you need help with this, go to page 25 on how to be sure you have Jesus as your BFF.)
It All Matters to Jesus
* Your family matters to Jesus.
* Giving time and attention to a little sibling matters to Jesus.
* Respecting an older sibling's stuff and space matters to Jesus.
* Obeying your parents, even when it's hard, matters to Jesus.
* Your family members who are sick matter to Jesus.
* Your family's financial needs matter to Jesus.
* Missing your family who are far away matters to Jesus.
* Appreciating and showing love to your family matters to Jesus.
* Forgiveness matters to Jesus.
* Taking care of each other matters to Jesus.CHAPTER 3
BFFs and Bullies and Everyone in Between
Who's your BFF? Do you have just one or a whole bunch? Or maybe you're wishing you could find one. Well, before we go any further, don't ever forget who wants to be your #1, Top-of-the-List, Best Friend Forever —
Just so we have this clear, have you asked Him to be your BFF? If you haven't, do you know how? It's so simple and fantastic to accept His love and forgiveness and ask Him to be your Savior and your very best friend. If you never have, then pray a prayer like this right now:
Dear God, I need You. I know that I mess up and do the wrong thing, but I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins, and then He rose again and is alive right now. Please forgive me for all my mistakes and be my Savior. Please be my best friend forever and help me to follow You! Thank You for loving me and helping me. Thank You that everything about me matters to You. In Jesus' name, amen.
(Check out these scriptures to help you understand — John 3:16, Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Romans 5:8, Romans 10:9–10.) When Jesus is your BFF, He wants to help you in all your other friendships, too. Have you had a fight with a friend recently? Has someone you thought was a good friend been ignoring you lately? Has a friend started acting so differently that you're not even sure you want to be friends anymore? Has a close friend moved away and you miss that friend terribly?
All these things matter to Jesus.
Or maybe you're blessed and nothing is going wrong with your friends right now, and you are thrilled to have one awesome BFF or maybe more than one! Great! Jesus wants us to have good friends, get along with them, love them, and live in peace with them. Check out these verses from His Word:
A friend loves at all times. Proverbs 17:17 NIV
There are "friends" who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24 NLT
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17 NLT
The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. Proverbs 27:9 NLT
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 NIV
Excerpted from It All Matters to Jesus by JoAnne Simmons. Copyright © 2016 Barbour Publishing, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
How Much Is All — And How Much Does It All Matter?,
Can't Live with 'Em, Can't Live without 'Em,
BFFs and Bullies and Everyone in Between,
Everything You're Thinking About,
What Goes In,
What Comes Out — Your Words,
What Comes Out — Your Actions,
Color with Love,
The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth,
In the Mirror,
Gimme, Gimme, Gimme!,
From Pet Peeves to Seeing Red,
Flying Monkeys and Other Fears,
Live and Learn,
Busyness and Breathers,
Joy, Joy, Joy!,
A Tongue Twister: Practice Pleasant Patience,
Don't Be a Meanie!,
From Another World,
Don't Eat All the Chocolate,
Strengths and Weaknesses,
The "B" Word,
Hold On Lightly,
Content, Not Comparing,
Find the Good Fruit,
Be Bright, Not Blue!,
Somewhere over the Rainbow,
Thanksgiving All Year Long,
God and Others First,
Truth Trumps Feelings,
Never, Ever, Ever Give Up!,