Devotionals

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Posted 9/19/14 at 9:07 AM | Children's Bible Hour

The Right Bait - Part Two

Photo: Pixabay - Public Domain

"May I go fishing this afternoon?" Natalie asked, grinning as she climbed into the car after church. "My Bible class teacher said I should."

Dad laughed as he started the car. "You hate fishing, so there's got to be a catch," he said. "Are you going to tell us what it is, or must we guess?"

"Well, our lesson was about being fishers of men," explained Natalie. "I told the class how you use the right kind of bait when you go fishing for bluegills, and we decided we should think about what would be the right bait to use when we fish for people."

"Interesting," murmured Dad, "but do you think anything would be more wonderful to offer than what Jesus offers--eternal life in heaven?"

"No, that's the best thing, of course," said Natalie, "but Mrs. Parsons pointed out that lots of people live so much in the present, as she put it, that they don't really pay attention when we talk to them about heaven. So we decided we should also use some other bait to make people want to listen when we talk about God and being a Christian." FULL POST

Posted 9/18/14 at 10:24 AM | Victoria Osteen

Becoming Immovable

Photo: Flickr/sjoe - Creative Commons

I have this plant in my yard called a Bougainvillea. When I first got it, I put it in a pot and set it in the flower bed so that it could be watered with the rest of the plants when the sprinklers came on.

One day I looked out, and it was blooming beautifully! The Bougainvillea is a bushy type of plant with gorgeous pink flowers all over it. I decided to move the pot to our back porch so that I could see it better and enjoy the blooms. I walked outside and gave the pot a good tug, but it didn't budge. Now that surprised me because it wasn't that big. I tried harder to lift it, but I still couldn't move it. Then I realized what had happened. The roots had broken through the pot and grown down deeply into the flower bed. That pot wasn't going anywhere!

That moment reminded me of a scripture. The apostle Paul said in Ephesians 3, "I pray that you be rooted and grounded in love." God wants us to be like that pot. He wants our roots to go down so deep that nothing can move us! Not criticism nor trials nor fears. No matter what the storms of life bring, we can stand strong just like that pot when our roots are strong. FULL POST

Posted 9/18/14 at 9:25 AM | Children's Bible Hour

The Right Bait

Photo: Pixabay - Public Domain

Natalie slammed her books down on the kitchen table. "That Lonnie!" she exclaimed. "I know he was saved just last month, and I know it will take a while for him to learn a lot of things about living in a way that pleases God. But honestly! I asked him a question a few minutes ago, and he swore at me!"

Mom looked up from her work. "That's too bad," she said. "Maybe you should talk to him about it. Then be sure to pray for him and try to help him as you wait for him to improve."

"But, Mom," said Natalie, "why would he even want to talk like that? I can't imagine ever saying those words--even if I weren't a Christian!"

"Maybe it's the way he's always talked," put in her brother Gavin.

"That's true. He may do it without even thinking--out of habit," agreed Mom. "When he's with his friends, maybe it makes him feel like he's one of the guys." Mom smiled. "I'm glad that using bad language is no temptation to you," she added, "but remember . . . the things that tempt you probably don't tempt him." FULL POST

Posted 9/17/14 at 9:04 AM | Children's Bible Hour

Tongue Guard

Photo: Katie Tegtmeyer - CC

Renee sat at the kitchen table, criticizing and complaining to anyone who would listen. "I just hate school! Mr. Martin is a jerk--and so are Patti and Nina! They're both so stuck-up. They think they're better than anyone else."

Mom frowned. "Renee, that's enough!" she said sternly. "You . . ."

"Got anything to eat?" Blake's entrance into the room interrupted her. As he took an apple from a bowl on the counter, he talked excitedly. "Eli and I are doing a science project about air waves. We found a book that says scientists believe every word that's ever been spoken is still somewhere in space--and someday they may find a way to make it possible to hear it again."

"Ah-h-h," Renee scoffed, "I don't believe that."

Blake pulled up a chair. "Well, I don't know," he said. "Eli read a story once about some astronauts who heard a radio program that had been aired twenty years before. Wouldn't it be cool to develop a device that could pull voices out of the air?" He grinned at his sister. "Would you like people to be able to hear everything you've ever said?" FULL POST

Posted 9/17/14 at 1:23 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

Riding

Most Americans spend a lot of time riding in cars. A lot of empty time that seemingly can’t be used for anything else. But the fact is that this time can be used for very effective prayer.

As I was riding the other day I was struck by how many road signs reminded me of people. The Dominos Pizza sign reminded me of when I named Ann Simpson’s horse Domino and got paid $5 for it. So I prayed for Ann Simpson. The No Parking sign reminded me of a retired school teacher that we called Miss Noe. I prayed for her. The Conway truck that passed us reminded me of Bart Conway that I went to grade school with and hadn’t thought about for many many years. Once again I prayed for this ghost from my past. You get the idea.

It doesn’t have to be signs. It could be landmarks like the parking lot where you fell down when you were five and a nice lady helped you up. You don’t know her but God does. It could even be a color. The red sports car reminded me of my sister’s friend Scarlet. FULL POST

Posted 9/17/14 at 1:08 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

Standing on the Brink

I’ve always loved the story of Joshua and Caleb, two of the 12 scouts who were sent by Moses to check out the land God had promised the Israelites (Numbers 13-14). When the scouts returned, they reported: “It is indeed a magnificent country—a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is some of its fruit as proof” (NLT).

But just as the people salivated over that sweet fruit and the promise of such a bountiful land, the scouts’ next statement was grim: “But the people living there are powerful, and their cities and towns are fortified and very large.” Translation: “Even though God promised us this land, we’re afraid of what the big, bad guys could do to us.” The naysayers were in full swing, and their words and attitude spread rampantly through the camp like a disease.

Such a report didn’t stop Joshua and Caleb, though. They stood out from the crowd, encouraging the people not to be afraid. After trying to quiet the mutterings, Caleb declared enthusiastically, “Let’s go at once to take the land. We can certainly conquer it!” FULL POST

Posted 9/16/14 at 9:25 AM | Children's Bible Hour

Worth Waiting For

Photo: Flickr/Simon Cousins - Creative Commons

Tears trickled down Emily's cheeks as she repeated her argument. "Like I said, it wouldn't be a real date--just Jeff and Shana and Mark and me. And Jeff's parents would be there with us."

Mom sighed deeply. "Emily, I'm sorry. But twelve is too young, even for a chaperoned double date." Mom put her arm around Emily's stiff shoulders.

Emily twisted away. "I'm too young for everything!" she mumbled. "Can I at least make some fudge?"

"Sure," said Mom. "If you need help, call me. I'll be in the backyard."

Mom went outside, and Emily got out the things she needed for her fudge. As she worked, she sniffed, muttered, and slammed pans.

The fudge was in the refrigerator, and Emily was reading a book when Mom came in with a pail of pecans from their own tree. "Do you remember when we planted our pecan tree, Emily?" asked Mom. FULL POST

Posted 9/15/14 at 7:25 AM | Children's Bible Hour

Flea Market Bargain

Photo: Flickr/fourthandfifteen - Creative Commons

Cassie stood at the entrance to the flea market and gazed at the noisy scene. Vendors and customers were talking loudly to be heard, and booths full of dishes, toys, books, and furniture spread out through the whole building. "Wow! What a lot of stuff!" she exclaimed as she ran to catch up with her mother. "Are you looking for something special?" asked Cassie.

"Aunt Helen's birthday is next week, so I thought maybe we could find a candy dish for her," replied Mom. "She likes old fashioned things."

"Yeah, she says they have character." Cassie nodded. "The booth over there has dishes," she added, pointing. So they went to look and soon found one they liked.

"I'm ready to go," said Mom after paying for the dish. "How about you?"

"Can I look at those books first?" asked Cassie, pointing toward another booth. FULL POST

Posted 9/15/14 at 12:07 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

You Are All My Reasons

One of my favorite movies is A Beautiful Mind based on the real life story of John Nash, mathematics professor, 1994 Nobel Memorial prize recipient in economics, and schizophrenic. Though reportedly Hollywood’s account is a skewed version of biographers, I enjoyed the film primarily for one element: his wife’s devotion to him even in his darkest moments, especially in his darkest moments. While the real story ends in divorce, the movie version shows a devoted husband and wife, working out the serious ramifications of mental illness. When Nash, now an old man, accepts his prize at the podium, he scans the audience. His eyes rest on his wife, Alicia, and he delivers the closing line of his address. “You are all my reasons.” Meaning, she was the one who ultimately kept him going when all else failed, even medication.

I love that line. I love the portrayal of marital commitment. It spurs me on to be a better wife to Chuck. But as much as I love my husband, the line impacts me for a more compelling reason. FULL POST

Posted 9/13/14 at 8:37 PM | Children's Bible Hour

Dangerous Combinations

Photo: Flickr/johnharveytolson - CC

"We're going to start doing experiments in science class!" Jared announced excitedly at the dinner table. "But not dangerous ones like Mr. Romano did today."

"Dangerous?" Mom raised her eyebrows. "He did a dangerous experiment?"

"Yeah! He dropped a tiny piece of sodium in a bucket of water, and it exploded! It was really cool!" Jared grinned. "I guess it actually wasn't dangerous for him to do it, but it could have been if he hadn't known what he was doing."

"Then it's a good thing he didn't let you do it," said Jared's sister Naomi.

Jared ignored Naomi. "Sodium combines so quickly with oxygen that it explodes in water," Jared explained. "But when sodium combines with chlorine, ta-da . . ." Jared paused dramatically and scooped up the salt shaker. "It makes salt. Mr. Romano said when elements combine, their characteristics change. I'm glad salt doesn't explode." He grinned as he sprinkled salt on his potato. FULL POST

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