Devotionals

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Posted 7/24/14 at 9:37 AM | Children's Bible Hour

Mary's Disciple

Photo: Flickr/Alan Cleaver - Creative Commons

"Mary had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb . . ." Kelli stopped singing as she entered the kitchen. "Hi, Mom," she said. "I'm going to do my Sunday school lesson right now, and then I want to go play with Josie. Okay?"

"Sounds fine," agreed Mom.

Kelli resumed her song as she went to her room and got out her Sunday school book. "It followed her to school one day, school one day, school one day . . ." Then there was silence as Kelli got busy with her work.

Soon the song began again. "It made the children laugh and play, laugh and play, laugh and play . . ." In the kitchen, Mom smiled as the singing got louder. A minute later, Kelli stood in the doorway. "I'm all done, Mom," she said, grinning at her mother. "Mary had a good disciple, didn't she?"

Mom raised her brows. "A good what?" she asked.

"A good disciple. My Sunday school lesson is about Jesus' twelve disciples. It says a disciple is a follower--and Mary's lamb followed her wherever she went," explained Kelli. "The lamb was a good disciple." FULL POST

Posted 7/23/14 at 9:18 AM | Children's Bible Hour

Balancing the Account

Scales symbolize justice
Photo: Flickr/winnifredxoxo - Creative Commons

Steven burst into the family room. "Mom, Melissa hit me!" he yelled.

"He hit me first." Melissa followed close on Steven's heels.

"I owed you one from last time," Steven roared. "The Bible says if someone hits you, you have the right to hit him back!" He glared at his sister. "In the Old Testament it says, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' I read it myself."

"That passage isn't talking about personal vengeance," said Dad. "It was a civil law to ensure justice in the nation of Israel. People who return blow for blow find the score is never settled. Their actions are never balanced. Someone always owes someone else a blow. It's like . . . like your mother's checkbook and the bank statement." All heads--including Mom's--turned to him in surprise. FULL POST

Posted 7/22/14 at 9:13 AM | Children's Bible Hour

Broken Things

Photo: Flickr/Swaminathan - Creative Commons

 At bedtime, Toby listened, wide-eyed, as Mom read a chapter in a story about Jon, a boy who was Toby's age. "Jon was delighted when Mr. Rand, a gardener, agreed to let Jon do some work for him. These are special plants, Jon,' said Mr. Rand, pointing to some flowers. Hoe around them very carefully.' Jon nodded, but a few minutes later, he carelessly stepped right on one of those flowers." Mom paused to show the picture of the broken plant to Toby and his brother Seth.

"Did he get fired for breaking it?" asked Toby. "Read what happened, Mom."

Mom smiled and continued reading. "As Jon stared at the plant in dismay, a young man walked up to him. What's the trouble, bud?' the stranger asked. Jon told him what had happened. It will be all right--I promise you,' said the young man. Keep busy with your work, and I'll check on you later.' Jon sighed and got busy again, but he was sure he'd be punished when Mr. Rand heard about it. FULL POST

Posted 7/21/14 at 9:09 AM | Children's Bible Hour

Ask Then Act

Photo: Flickr/Kevin Shorter - Creative Commons

"After Sunday school today, Logan accepted Jesus as his Savior," Greg excitedly told his family on the way home from church.

Dad smiled. "That's great!" he exclaimed.

"Wonderful!" added Mom enthusiastically. "Your prayers have been answered."

But Greg's sister Erin frowned. "Why doesn't God answer my prayers, too?" she wondered. "I pray for my friend Lynn, but I'm not sure it does any good."

"Don't be discouraged," advised Dad. "Sometimes it takes a long time before a person will accept Christ."

"Yeah. I talked to Logan and invited him to Sunday school a whole year before he ever came at all," Greg reminded Erin. "It's only just lately that he's been coming regularly."

Mom nodded. She turned to Erin. "What kind of response do you get from Lynn when you talk to her about the Lord?" she asked. FULL POST

Posted 7/19/14 at 10:46 AM | Jack Wellman |

2 comments

What Did Jesus Teach About Marriage

What did Jesus teach about marriage? Did He forbid divorce under any circumstances or did He allow for exceptions? Here are some Bible verses about marriage from Jesus to see what He taught about marriage.
Marriage – A God-Ordained Institution

Genesis 2:24 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

There are many Bible verses about marriage but we are examining only those which Jesus taught about on the subject of marriage. First of all, marriage is a God-ordained, God-created institution that He blessed and saw as good. By God saying that “the two shall become one flesh” we could see this as intended to be a permanent situation where the two become one and stay as one and they become as “one flesh” meaning that they cannot (or at least should not) be separated (Matt 19:5). When Jesus quoted this verse He was establishing the fact that it was God’s intention to have the two be joined together and to stay together for life; the only exceptions would be for ongoing, unrepentant adultery or if one of the spouses would die. FULL POST

Posted 7/19/14 at 10:17 AM | Jack Wellman |

1 comment

5 People Close To Jesus During His Life On Earth

Who were among the closest five people to Jesus during His earthly ministry? Who would you think one of them were?

The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved

I am not ranking these from top to bottom or number one to five but surely, John was one of those who were five of the closest to Jesus. John, along with Peter was in the inner circle of Jesus’ closest associates among the list of 12 disciples. In the Gospel of John, the apostle referred to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23). John was not bragging that Jesus loved him more than the others but in his gospel he didn’t want to call himself “John” or “John the Disciple” because that would seem self-serving and it is rare for an author to actually be in an account where he is one of the major players so I think it was actually a sign of humility by John. Even so, John was often reclining on the bosom of Jesus which is a strong indicator of a very close intimacy that never happened, that we know of, with the other disciples. Jesus trusted John so much that He gave over to him the responsibility of the care of his own mother, Mary (John 19:26). This made sense too because John was one of the younger disciples and would live long enough to care for Mary until she died. Also, if it had been Peter, Peter was going to be martyred and perhaps while Mary was still living so Jesus knowing that John would outlive all the other disciples thought John was the one to care for his mother. That also meant that Jesus knew John well enough to know that he would take excellent care of his mother. Church tradition holds that John lived into the A.D. 90’s and outlived all the other disciples who died for the Lord in horrendous manners and he also likely outlived Jesus’ mother, Mary. John was also allowed to witness the Transfiguration along with Peter and James, indicating that he was among a select, tight-knit group of Jesus Christ’s and one of the closest to Jesus during His earthly ministry (Luke 9:28-36). FULL POST

Posted 7/18/14 at 6:10 PM | Joel Osteen |

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Bold Obedience

Photo: Wikipedia/Hequals2henry - Creative Commons

Back in the 1960's, Lakewood was still in its original building; a feed store that held 200 people. The church was really growing. They needed a larger auditorium. My father told the congregation that on a particular Sunday, he was going to receive a special offering for a new building. He asked them to pray about what God would have them to give. He encouraged them to stretch their faith, believe big and do their very best. He received the offering, and it was a little over $6,000. To them back then, that was like $600,000. Daddy was so excited. That was enough to pour the foundation and get the building started.

But one day driving home from church, my father passed a small Spanish church about six blocks from Lakewood. This Spanish church had been building on a little auditorium for years. They would do some construction, take time off, build some more, on and on. As my father passed, he heard the voice of the Holy Spirit inside say, "I want you to give that special offering to this Spanish church so they can finish their building." FULL POST

Posted 7/18/14 at 12:41 PM | Joyce Thrasher |

2 comments

The Forbidden "S" Word

Submission, Oh my, I have said it now - the forbidden “S” word!

But ladies, calm down. All submission means is to put someone else first. The first one we are supposed to submit to is God in Heaven. On earth we are to submit to our husbands. The Bible says if we submit to our husbands and his decisions, then our husbands will have to answer to God for the decisions they make. We are just called to submit to them, and they are in charge of answering to God.

Our husbands have a lot harder job than we do, just think about it. So many times I find myself not submitting to the small things in my marriage - what show to watch on TV, where to eat dinner, what to buy a relative for Christmas, etc. When I have a hard time submitting to the small things, then it’s even harder for me to submit to the big things in my marriage - paying bills, buying a house, or maybe even going to the church my husband loves - well, since he is a pastor, I have no choice in that! Not that I don’t love The Grace Place. I do! And I go not only because I literally sleep with the pastor, but because I love the people there. FULL POST

Posted 7/18/14 at 9:07 AM | Children's Bible Hour

Iron Shoes

Photo: Flickr/Procsilas Moscas - Creative Commons

"I need new gym shoes--my old ones are all worn out," announced Kurt after dinner one evening.

"I know they are. I noticed the holes in them," said Mom. "I declare--I believe you go through more shoes than a centipede!"

Dad laughed. "Maybe you should have shoes like Asher's," he suggested.

"Who's Asher?" Kurt asked.

Dad took the Bible from a shelf and handed it to Kurt. "You can read about him in Deuteronomy Thirty-three," said Dad. "Why don't you look it up."

Kurt found and read the passage. He grinned. "Asher's shoes were made of metals--iron and bronze!" said Kurt. "I'm sure he couldn't run very good in those!"

Dad smiled. "Actually, a lot of translations refer to iron and bronze bolts or locks on city gates instead of iron and bronze shoes," he said.

"That makes more sense," said Kurt. He sighed. "My shoes are really the least of my problems. Everything's going wrong lately. I can't understand math, I have to sit between two girls in band, and my friend Ian is moving away. Worst of all, Riley--my best friend--is still in the hospital. They think he might have something serious." Kurt was near to tears. FULL POST

Posted 7/17/14 at 8:51 AM | Children's Bible Hour

A Good Name

Photo: Eviatar Bach - Public Domain

"I just hate my name," Edna told her grandfather one day.

"Well now, I think Edna is a pretty name," replied Grandpa. "Your mom named you after your great-grandmother, whom she dearly loved."

"But I have to go to school with kids who have names like . . . like Griffin and Jacob," complained Edna. "I wish I had a name that wasn't so old-fashioned!"

"A lot of babies are being given old-fashioned names these days," Grandpa told her. "Take the name Jacob, for instance. That's a popular name now, but it's a very old one. Remember Jacob in the Bible?"

Edna sighed. "Yes, but I still wish I had a different name. I think I'll change it someday. After all, even the Bible says a good name should be chosen rather than riches, and I want to choose a good name!"

Grandpa smiled. "Oh, honey, that verse isn't talking about changing your name!" he said. "It's talking about what people think of you when they hear your name and think of your character." FULL POST

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