Devotions

Author Archives: Pastor Tommy Youngquist

Baby Reasoning

More Than Baby Food | Devotion #3: Baby Reasoning
Tommy Youngquist | Children’s Pastor

It is incredible the change that happens in children when they start to realize there is wrong and right. You can see the hesitation in my daughter when she is about to do something that she knows is wrong. Heidi will try and be real sneaky, she will look left and right to make sure mommy or daddy are not watching, and she will contemplate whether or not she can get away with it. I have watched this contemplation process. It is comical to me. But it also has taught me an important lesson: Left or right does not matter; up matters.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”

When I read that phrase “reasoned like a child,” I thought of that left or right illustration. Children reason or contemplate based on the reward or punishment of their parents. They want to know if they are going to get caught if they do something wrong. On the other hand, they want to know what reward awaits them if they do something right. As we mature in our spiritual lives, this left or right reasoning should start to change. We should not care so much who knows what we do to the right or the left, but up. Ultimately, what God thinks of us is what should matter most.

The best example of this is Joseph in Genesis chapter 39. Joseph has been put in charge of Potiphar’s house because he trusts him and in verses 6-9, Scripture says, “Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. And after a time, his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, ‘Lie with me.’ But he refused and said to his master’s wife, ‘Behold, because of me, my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge. He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?’”

Lives would change if we could be a people that care more about what God thinks of us than others. Do not reason and contemplate like a child — reason like an adult, but more importantly, reason like a Christian. Look up; left and right is not as important.

Baby Thoughts

More Than Baby Food | Devotion #2: Baby Thoughts
Tommy Youngquist | Children’s Pastor 

Have you ever wondered what a baby dreams about? I have. There is no telling what goes on inside their head and what they think about. What are even the possibilities? Are they swinging in a giant baby swing? Maybe they are being held by grandma, but grandpa’s face is really on grandma’s body? Are they discovering they are covered in poop? Oh wait, that is a reality! Any parent out there knows this to be fact. Today, we are going to discuss the same Scripture that we did yesterday, 1 Corinthians 13:11, but from a different perspective. 

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”

Can we all agree that children and adults think differently? Our dreams are different than their dreams. The goals and systems for accomplishing those goals are different between the two. Problems that seem so monumental as a child pales in comparison to the problems you face as an adult. Our thought process matures, and that process starts to embrace life as it truly is. The same maturation process should occur in our spiritual lives. When you have that moment of belief and acceptance in Jesus and what He did for humanity, specifically you, you start the process of change. The change does not happen overnight; it takes time. It primarily occurs from discovering God’s guidelines and rules in the Bible.

For example, Scripture tells us in Hebrews 6:1-3, “Therefore, let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits.”

What on Earth is this verse saying? Mature yourself spiritually by going deeper into God’s Word. Find out what lies beyond your redemption and find out how you can help others become redeemed. Put away childish, “all about me,” selfish thoughts and start considering the needs of others. This is what true love is. This is God’s hope for your life that you will learn to love as He loves. He wants you to reciprocate His love and then show that love to others. Put away childish thoughts. Those are the thoughts that only consider your wants and needs. Mature, and start thinking in a way that is unselfish.

Baby Talk

More Than Baby Food | Devotion #1: Baby Talk
Tommy Youngquist | Children’s Pastor

Is it not crazy how a parent can understand their toddler’s jargon, but no one else can? For example, my now three-year-old, Heidi, had some coin phrases when she was two. They consisted of:

  1. “Sarugo Daddy” = “There you go, Daddy.”
  2. “Do do’s go nite nite” = “It’s dark outside now, and the birds have gone to sleep.”
  3. “That’s bebah!” = “That’s better!”

The difference that has happened in her speech between the ages of two and three is something special. She speaks so clearly now that pretty much anyone can understand what she is trying to articulate.

Paul states in 1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”

What if Heidi grew up and still referred to night time as, “Do do’s go nite nite?” I can hear the thoughts you think as you read this. That would be my thoughts exactly. It would be weird! What if she never practiced her words? We expect children to be able to articulate their words more clearly as they practice and use them.

Paul is using this principle to illustrate how we learn to communicate love. Specifically, it is how we communicate the love of God. Chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians, is known as the “love” chapter. In verse four the Bible states, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.”

You probably know the verses. You have heard them at every wedding you have attended. In this chapter, biblical love is spelled out and defined for all the world. At the beginning of the chapter, Paul says you could have all the knowledge and skill in the world, but if you say and do things without love, you are just background noise.

As we grow up (mature) in our Christian lives, we must learn how to effectively and clearly communicate the love of God. We must give up our childish, selfish communication of love and grow into a sacrificial expression of love. How do you do that? The key is practice. Consciously catch yourself when you are selfish, repent, and switch on the spot to sacrificial love. The more and more you do this in your day to day life, the more habitual, biblical love will become.

Practice Righteousness

Chain Reaction | Devotion #3: Practice Righteousness
Tommy Youngquist | Children’s Pastor

Everyone has heard of the saying, “Practice makes perfect,” right?  Yeah, I want to punch whoever coined that phrase right in the face. In my life, it seems like no matter how hard I practice righteousness, I never get better at it. How about you?

The Bible says in 1 John 3:7-9, “Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning since the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.”

That is an incredibly powerful Scripture! From what did Jesus save us? It was sin.  It is the very thing that separated us from God and condemned humanity to Hell in the first place. If we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior from sin, we begin to live in Him; we no longer continue to live for sin. We have the power, through Christ, to practice righteousness.

It is important to remember, God cares more about what is on the inside of a man than the outside. That means that God cares more about the motives of why you do what you do, instead of what you do. He wants to discern why you choose to obey or disobey Him. Now, we are all human, fallible, and sinful. Those who are genuinely saved still sin. It is one of the reasons we should be looking forward to the return of Jesus. Then we will no longer have to battle with temptation and choosing poorly. But those who are saved do just that; they battle with sin. When they disobey God, their hearts and minds are not right until they seek forgiveness and try again. John speaks clearly to this battle in our verses. Those whose motives are to please God, try to practice righteousness.

We can use these very verses as a barometer to measure within our hearts if we truly are different than natural man (those who have not believed in the Gospel).  Do you continue to sin and sin with no conviction from the Holy Spirit to practice righteousness? If you do, maybe you need to get to the root of your problem. Ask yourself this question: Do you truly believe with all your heart in Jesus and what He came to change? If the answer is yes, then that belief changes your motives. You no longer live for selfish desire, but for something bigger. It is something that is a greater cause than just your gain. You will start to outwardly express qualities like kindness, sacrificial love, and self-control.

Living for Christ almost always means denying self. I have a general rule I live by in my own life: If I want to do something, I should probably do the exact opposite. I know that seems weird, right? But it is true. Self-denial is the synonym of practicing righteousness. Man’s righteousness is as filthy rags. But Christ works in me daily. Therefore, it is like the motto that practice becomes perfect. Ok, I do not want to punch that person in the face anymore.

Wearing a Mask 

Radioactive | Devotion #4: Wearing a Mask
Tommy Youngquist | Children’s Pastor

My wife and I became homeowners in June of 2016. Shortly after that, we had our first child, Heidi Lou. She has filled our hearts with so much love; we cannot even contain it. We want the world for Heidi. We want to love her, take care of her, be there for her, and protect her. Now that she is walking around and wanting to be outside, I keep thinking to myself that I need to fence in the backyard. In case you have not noticed, we live in a crazy world. I do not want to constantly worry about something happening to Heidi while she is focused on fun and playing outside. I want to protect her from cars, stray dogs, other animals and honestly, creepers!  So, I will slave for multiple hours putting that fence up. Why? To protect her.

Let me ask you something. How come we, as parents, will go the extra mile to physically protect our children, but slack in the area of spiritual protection? I am guilty. I will let things into my home (the very institution structured to protect my family) that spiritually harm them in the form of movies, music, video games, and social media. In 1 Peter 5:8, it says, “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour!” Why do we let him prowl in our homes?

I recently counseled with a couple that needed help with their fourth-grade son. He was suspended from school because of a violent game he had created on paper to play with other kids during recess. The game involved multiple “weapons” to use to kill each other. The object of the game was to be the last person standing. When I asked the couple what types of video games he was allowed to play at home, I heard games like “Call of Duty, GTA, and Fortnite.” You could see the parents immediately put two and two together. They had allowed something into their home that was desensitizing their son to the value of human life. They had not spiritually protected him.

That is just one example. I could go on and on about movies that I hear elementary age kids talk about, lyrics I have heard them sing, and posts that I see on their social media accounts (How do they have these accounts when they are not even old enough?). We, as parents, are charged by God to protect them. The protection is not only physical, but emotional and spiritual as well. Most of the time, with children, protection means withholding something that they want because we know it is not good for them. Spiritual protection also entails teaching them to love God with all their heart, soul, and mind (see Deuteronomy 6:7).

It is not too late fellow parent!  You can make a change in your family today. It is my prayer that you place extreme importance on spiritual protection in your home. Lead your family. Set a godly example for them. Put a fence up around their hearts. Protect them from the enemy. Then watch God do amazing things with your children as they learn to love Him with all of their heart, soul, and mind.



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