Posted 5/23/13 at 10:16 AM | Children's Bible Hour
When his mother called him into the kitchen, Steven reluctantly left his game. "What do you want?" he asked irritably.
"Please take care of your books and sweep up the cookie crumbs you left on the floor," said Mom. "And don't eat any more cookies. I have just enough for the meeting at church."
"Well, don't leave them out in the open if you don't want them eaten," grumbled Steven with a scowl.
"Steven! That was rude!" exclaimed Mom. "I expect an apology."
"Sorry," muttered Steven. He got the broom, and Mom left to do laundry.
When his sister Kara came into the room, Steven was still sweeping. "Why are you doing that?" she asked in surprise.
"Beat it!" Steven growled. "Who asked you to stick your nose in?"
"Excuse me!" said Kara dramatically. "I came to tell you something, but now I don't know if I will." Steven punched her on the shoulder, and she darted behind the table. "Your coach called today," Kara said. "Mr. Williams wants to hire you to do some yard work. And guess what! He said to be sure to tell Mom he appreciates your respectful attitude! What a laugh!"
"I don't know what's so funny," said Steven.
"You are," retorted Kara. "I heard your Sunday school teacher carry on about you, too--telling Dad all about what a fine Christian you are! I guess you've got 'em all fooled, but I think you're just a . . . a sometimes Christian! You'd better not invite any of your teachers to our house. If they see how you act around here, they'll know what a phony you are." Suddenly Kara snapped her fingers. "On second thought, bring one home every day. Then maybe you'll act as nice here as you do in other places." With that, she headed for the family room. FULL POST
Posted 5/23/13 at 1:14 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books
During a trip to Maui, I walked across the street from our motel. As I breathed in the ocean air and gazed at the sights around me, I suddenly looked at my feet and noticed a pair of sandals resting in the dark red powdery dirt. I looked up and saw a monument, actually a shrine dedicated to the lost extinct island of Moku’ula, a place where royalty and the gods assemble and kings are nurtured. I don’t know if the owner of the sandals merely forgot them or decided to leave them in honor of the many Hawaiian gods, but if he were here I would tell him about another episode in history where someone abandoned his sandals in reverence to deity. Only this deity was not one of many false gods. He was the one and only true God.
The time was about five thousand years ago. Moses was tending his father-in-law’s sheep on Mt. Horeb. It was a typical day for the sheep herder. Minding his own business, he encounters a blazing bush which tweaks his curiosity. He wonders why the bush burns but is not consumed. Drawing closer, he sees a figure in the midst of the fire. He had run away from a king only to encounter the King. God calls his name from the midst of the bush, and Moses responds, “Here I am.” FULL POST
Posted 5/22/13 at 10:40 AM | Children's Bible Hour
"Mom, just what is time?" asked Mitchell, setting his Bible down on the table.
His sister Jen looked up from the book she was reading. "Is this a joke?" she asked. "You know what time is. It's . . ." She shrugged. "How can anybody define it? It's a . . . a measurement, like from one o'clock to two o'clock. Or how long it takes you to eat breakfast."
"Well, how can time be redeemed?" Mitchell asked. "When we trust in Jesus, we say we're redeemed--or saved. But it says right here . . ." Mitchell held up his Bible. "This says, Redeeming the time because the days are evil.'"
"Oh, I see what you mean," said Mom. She thought for a moment. "Some words have more than one meaning," she added. "Take the word bark, for example. That can mean the sound your dog makes, or it can be the woody material around tree trunks and branches, right?Well, it's like that with the word redeem. The meaning of redeem in that verse isn't the same as Jesus saving us."
"Okay," murmured Mitchell, still feeling confused. "What does it mean then?"
"Well . . . it's kind of like my dad used to tell us when I was growing up on the farm," said Mom. "We raised hay. We had to mow it, let it dry, and get it into the barn quickly before it rained." FULL POST
Posted 5/21/13 at 2:02 PM | Karen Farris
I stand at my bedroom window and gaze out at the wooded valley. I can only see into the woods and nothing beyond. That’s the way life is too—peering through a narrow window trying to see ahead.
The storms that life has brought over the years are silent right now. I’m thankful for the peace—although many are suffering through trials today. My finger traces the window frame and I ponder the words of a young friend whose life is ebbing away. She looks through a window too—but this window is incredibly special.
Perhaps because she’s closer to heaven, she can now see things I cannot. Or perhaps it’s because she’s slowing down long enough to truly see. But through her window she can peer into a heavenly realm. She says she can place her prayers on a stick and put them through this heavenly window. The Lord receives each one. "You don't even have to wonder about your motives for asking. Just ask freely. God loves giving good gifts and He knows what is best." FULL POST
Posted 5/21/13 at 10:13 AM | Children's Bible Hour
"Look what Joshua did to my CD!" Nicole said angrily. "He's ruined it!" She turned toward her little brother, who sat at the table eating ice cream. "Don't you ever touch my CDs again!"
"I'm sorry, Nicole," Joshua said sadly. "It just broked."
"CDs don't just break!" Nicole argued. "You broke it. You were careless and now it's all scratched." She shook her finger at Joshua. "From now on, you leave my CDs alone!" she repeated as she went to her room to study.
The next afternoon Mom joined Nicole in her room. "How's the homework coming along?" asked Mom. "You had a test today, didn't you?"
"Yes, but most of us messed up on it," Nicole replied. "We didn't understand the problems very well, so Miss Nelson explained them again. We're having another test tomorrow. She's giving us a chance to bring our grades up." Nicole smiled. "Miss Nelson is a really nice teacher," she added.
Mom nodded. "I'd say it's good of her to give you a second chance," she said. A moment later she added thoughtfully, "Joshua sure could use a second chance, too."
Nicole looked puzzled. "Does Joshua have take tests in kindergarten? What did he mess up on?"
"I was thinking of your CD--the one he used yesterday--and I think he needs a second chance with you," explained Mom. "Don't you think you were a little hard on him? I don't think he's quite gotten over it--he's been very quiet today." FULL POST
Posted 5/20/13 at 10:17 AM | Children's Bible Hour
As Angela turned over a rock in the yard, she drew back. "Yuck! Look at all the icky bugs hiding under this rock, Mom!" she exclaimed. "They look like they're wearing armor.And they don't seem to like the light. I think they're looking for a dark place to hide."
Mom and Angela watched the bugs scurry around. "Those are sow bugs--or pill bugs--and I think you're right," Mom agreed. "The leader of my Bible study group used these bugs as an illustration a few weeks ago, and here they are!"
Angela glanced at her mother in surprise. "An illustration of what?"
"The lesson was on how we sometimes like to hold on to certain sins. Mrs. Denton pointed out that we scramble to find hiding places for the sin in our hearts just like these bugs are scurrying around, looking for dark hiding places," explained Mom. "We try to keep our sin in the dark--but God sees it!"
"You know what? My Sunday school teacher told us there are two kinds of sin," said Angela. "She said we commit sins of com . . . ah-h-h . . . commission and sins of omission." Angela was rather pleased with herself as she used the big words.
"And do you know what that means?" asked Mom with a smile.
Angela nodded. "Miss Laura explained the difference to us. The sins of commission are the bad things we think or do," answered Angela. "Like . . . it's a sin to cheat or lie or say something to hurt somebody." FULL POST
Posted 5/19/13 at 5:05 PM | Diane Castro |
Time and again the Lord gives us special gifts of providence that remind us of His ceaseless care over us. These are not the spectacular miracles that He also does from time to time, but rather His providential workings through the ordinary circumstances of life, whispering of His constant presence and His gracious kindness. We experienced one of these delightful conjunctions of events on the occasion of my daughter’s recent wedding. The tale of the veil is a story that will go down in the lore of this wedding.
Having hit horrendous traffic going into the city Friday night for the rehearsal, we left in plenty of time Saturday afternoon for the 3:00 wedding. We did have a scare Saturday morning when we got word that our 7-year-old granddaughter Emmy had thrown up everywhere. She had also had to go to the hospital the day before for a little surgery to cut a piece of pencil lead out of her leg—the result of an accidental stabbing with a pencil while playing at school! We were particularly nervous because her mom was an attendant in the wedding, but by early afternoon Emmy was doing better and they were also on their way. She had a bucket in hand but never needed to use it. It seemed that everything was on track. FULL POST
Posted 5/17/13 at 12:48 PM | Paul Louis Metzger
Now that the venerable holiday—Mother’s Day—has passed, I would like to reflect upon what I will call the Holy Mother’s Day. Typically, Mary, the mother of the Lord, is honored at Annunciation, which occurred this year on Monday, April 8, 2013. There is a sense in which every day should be this holy mother’s day, since she manifested the kind of radical obedience to God in honoring Christ that should be true of every Christian every day of the year.
Scripture records that when the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her that she would be the mother of the Lord, Mary responded: “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38, ESV). Every Christian—myself included—should respond in the same manner. Just imagine how unimaginable the call of the Lord was upon her life. No doubt, she was aware of the fact that her fiancé would be greatly troubled by the news that she was expecting a child and he wasn’t the father! No doubt, she was aware of the fact that people would gossip about her state long after the baby was born. No doubt, she doubted that she was up to the task of being the mother of the Lord, even as she marveled at the thought (Luke 1:46-49). Who wouldn’t doubt, given what she sensed? She is blessed among women, just as the fruit of her womb is blessed (Luke 1:42), and every generation will consider her blessed (Luke 1:48). How weighty and monumental! FULL POST
Posted 5/17/13 at 11:29 AM | Joel Osteen
There’s a young lady who had been attending Lakewood for about a year, but she couldn’t get her husband to attend. He wasn’t raised in church, and spiritual things seemed very foreign to him. Not only that, he worked on Sundays, and it was difficult for him to miss because they really needed the income. Every week, she would encourage him. Finally, he agreed to come. He went in very early to work one Sunday and then took off the rest of the day. His friends at work gave him a hard time. They couldn’t believe he was going to miss work and the income he could be earning to attend church.
During the service, they came down front for prayer. It just so happened that my friend Johnny prayed for them. When Johnny was praying, he felt impressed in his heart to give them a gift. He had five $20 bills and eight $1 bills wrapped all together in his front pocket. While he had one hand on the man’s shoulder praying, he put his other hand in his pocket and tried to separate the ones from the twenties. So he’s praying and trying to sort out this money. The couple didn’t know anything about it. Johnny finished praying, but he never did get the cash separated. So he pulled out the whole amount and discreetly put it in the man’s hand and said, "Here, I want to bless you with this." FULL POST
Posted 5/17/13 at 10:05 AM | Children's Bible Hour
"Who will volunteer to sign this?" asked Miss Steele, showing her Sunday school class a sheet of paper.
"What's it for?" asked one of the kids as several hands went up.
"Well, when you sign it, you will be agreeing to do whatever I write on the paper," said Miss Steele. The hands promptly went back down. "It could be something like . . . mow my lawn, give me your allowance next week, come to a party, or maybe invite five people to Sunday school," continued Miss Steele. "It might be something hard--or easy. But you'll be glad if you do it. Now . . . who will sign this?" There were several giggles, but no volunteers. "Isn't there anyone who trusts me?" Miss Steele asked.
Finally, Gina raised her hand. "I'll sign it, Miss Steele," she said.
After Gina signed her name, Miss Steele took the paper again and began writing. Everyone eagerly waited to see what she wrote. When she finished, she handed the paper to Gina. "Read it out loud," instructed Miss Steele.
"Go to the table in the corner," Gina read, "and pick up the Bible you see there. Whatever you find under it is yours to keep." Gina jumped up and hurried to the table. "Oh-h-h," she squealed as she lifted the Bible and uncovered some money. "Thank you, Miss Steele." FULL POST