Posted 5/1/13 at 9:09 AM | Children's Bible Hour
Charlie pushed open the door that had a sign with Dr. David Brown--the name of his father--printed on it. As he entered the waiting room, the office nurse smiled at him. "Hi, Charlie," she said. "Your dad is almost done for the day. He'll be with you in a few minutes."
Soon Charlie and his father were in the car, headed for home. "Dad, I heard on the radio that the president was having his annual checkup today," said Charlie. "When people come in for a one of those, they usually feel okay, don't they? So how do you tell whether they're sick or not?"
"Well, we check a lot of things and may run some tests," said Dad with a smile. "Generally, if the vital signs are all good, the patient is healthy."
"Vital signs?" asked Charlie. "Like what?"
"Oh, things like blood pressure, heartbeat, and lungs," said Dad. "I also check the patients' height and weight and look at their ears, eyes, nose, and throat. I ask if they have any complaints at all. If I suspect there's any problem, I order other tests."
"And that's why a checkup is so important?" asked Charlie. "Because there might be something wrong even if you feel good?"
Dad nodded. "The sooner illnesses are detected and treated, the better the chance of a cure," he said. As he turned into the driveway, Dad added, "There's another kind of checkup that's even more important--and it's one we can give ourselves." FULL POST
Posted 5/1/13 at 2:51 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books
A few weeks ago, as we came back from a shopping trip, a driver in a van ran a stop sign on a side road. He crossed the highway only a few feet in front of my husband and I, riding in our almost twenty-year old pickup. My husband hit the brakes. Grinding crash as we collided with the van anyway.
Our seat belts held, but eyeglasses flew off our faces. Shaken, we picked them up, thankfully unbroken, and exited the car. I was aware of slight pain in my ankle, but I was grateful to be walking. We all, in fact, walked away from the accident with no serious injuries.
From the beginning, as I got out of our beloved pickup, the front now bashed in, I was aware of sadness—sadness that not everyone knew the blessings we did. Drunk drivers in our area recently caused several fatal accidents. Nobody wishes for accidents, but if accidents happen, I wish all would end as well as ours did. I wish all knew the kindness of strangers who stopped to make sure we were all right, to act as witnesses, and to direct traffic until the police arrived. I wish they all knew the professionalism of the emergency personnel and the policemen who took charge and of the hospital staff who later checked out our bruises. FULL POST
Posted 4/30/13 at 10:45 AM | Children's Bible Hour
"All together now!" Amanda called out. She and Grandpa sat in the back of a pedal boat; her sister Jessica and Grandma sat in the front. They started out all pedaling together.
They were having a good time, but when Jessica got tired, she lifted her feet. For a while, Grandma kept pedaling, but then she stopped, too.
"I need to give my knees a rest," said Grandpa a few minutes later. He stretched his legs out on the side of the boat, leaving Amanda to pedal alone.
"This is too hard since you all of you quit," muttered Amanda. She quit pedaling, and the boat soon drifted to a stop.
They enjoyed drifting for a little while; then Grandpa sat up straight. "Pedaling is harder than it looks," he said, "but are you all ready to tackle it again? If we don't work together, we'll sit out here all day."
"Yeah, and I'm getting hungry," said Jessica. She lifted her feet and began to pedal. The others did the same, and soon they were back at the boat dock.
"That was fun," said Amanda as they headed for a restaurant, "except when I had to pedal alone."
Grandpa smiled. "That reminds me of a Bible verse," he said. "Galatians 6:2 says, Bear one another's burdens.' How can we do that?" FULL POST
Posted 4/30/13 at 10:08 AM | Duke Taber
Have you ever struggled with doubts and unbelief? Have you ever felt bad because you had thoughts that something was impossible? Have you felt condemned because others told you that if you had doubts, God would not answer your prayer? I think we all have had at one time a struggle with unbelief and we have prayed the same prayer that the man who had a demon possessed son prayed in Mark 9:24.
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!"
The Christian faith is not a faith that goes by what we see or what we feel. It is a journey with Jesus Christ along the entire path of our life. It is a relationship not a formula and as such, struggling with unbelief is part of that journey and relationship. So let me try to encourage you today as you are working through that struggle, that your honesty and transparency will be what actually gets you over your unbelief and onto a path that just knows that God will do what He says. FULL POST
Posted 4/30/13 at 9:26 AM | Kyle Beshears
The reformer John Calvin famously wrote that the human heart is an idol factory. Humans have a proclivity to take things, even good things, and turn them into objects of worship. As I was reading through 2 Kings last week I found a powerful example of this – one I had never caught before.
Throughout 2 Kings we are witness to a series of bad kings pushing the nation of Israel towards worshipping local gods and breaking God’s covenant with His chosen people. But then, in 2 Kings 18:4, King Hezekiah comes along and has had enough.
“[Hezekiah] removed the high places and broke the pillars and cut down the Asherah. And he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it (it was called Nehushtan).” – 2Ki 18:4
The Israelites took a good thing that God used (the bronze serpent) and turned it into an idol. It happened slowly over time, but eventually a good thing God used replaced Israel’s worship of God Himself. FULL POST
Posted 4/29/13 at 10:20 AM | Children's Bible Hour
Troy struggled to unscrew the lid of a small bottle of paint he needed to use on a model airplane he'd gotten for his birthday. His face turned red as he tried with all his might to turn the lid. Finally, he took the bottle out to the garage, picked up one of Dad's screwdrivers, and tried to pry the lid off. The screwdriver slipped and jabbed his finger. "Ouch!" Troy cried as he watched a trickle of blood run from the cut. He put the bottle down and went into the house for a bandage.
When Troy returned to the garage, Dad had just gotten home from work. "What did you do to your finger?" Dad asked, looking at the bandage on Troy's hand. Troy explained about the lid. "Did you read the directions on the bottle?" asked Dad.
"Directions?" Troy frowned. "To open a bottle?"
Dad picked up the bottle of paint and pointed to the writing on the top of the lid. "It says to push down and then turn, Troy. Did you do that?"
Troy shook his head. "I didn't see that," he said. When he followed the directions, the lid came off easily. Troy laughed. "Next time I try something new, I'll know enough to read the directions. Want to see how far I've got my model done, Dad?"
"Sure," Dad replied, and they went into the house. "Good job," said Dad, admiring the model airplane. "I hope your sore finger won't bother you too much while you finish it." FULL POST
Posted 4/26/13 at 10:27 AM | Joel Osteen
When Victoria was pregnant with our son, Jonathan, the first few months after we found out were very exciting. For Victoria, it was a pretty easy time. But about six months in, she started getting uncomfortable. Her feet started to swell. By the seventh month, her back started hurting, and she couldn’t sleep very well at night. By the eighth month, she was saying, "God, I want to have this baby right now. I am tired of waiting." But, we know God has an appointed time. Our child was not ready. He was still growing and developing. If God let Victoria have that baby early, he wouldn’t be as healthy.
In the same way, sometimes we pray, "God, give me this promise right now. God, I’m uncomfortable. These people aren’t treating me right. God, business is slow." What we can’t see is that something in our life is not ready. Maybe it’s another person that’s going to be involved, and God is still working on them. Maybe it’s another situation that’s going to be a part of your destiny, and it’s not in place yet. Or, maybe God is doing a work in you, developing your character, growing you stronger in that process. FULL POST
Posted 4/26/13 at 10:15 AM | Children's Bible Hour
Elijah looked up when his grandma spoke. "Why so glum, buddy?" she asked.
"No one likes me," replied Elijah with a sigh. "The kids call me big mouth."
"And why is that?" asked Grandma.
"I . . . I said something about a guy on my soccer team, and he found out," said Elijah. "And then . . . well, I told a secret after I promised Patrick I wouldn't."
"Hm-m-m," murmured Grandma, taking a book of Chinese folk tales from a shelf. She settled into a chair near Elijah. "Maybe this story will help you," she said.
Grandma began to read aloud. "In a small Chinese village a woman known for her hateful way of talking about others, decided one morning to turn over a new leaf. She wanted to be remembered for good things. So she went to the wisest old man in the village. I don't want people to remember me as a hateful loud mouth,' she said. How can I make it right?'"
Grandma glanced at Elijah, then continued reading. "The old man stood up, looked around his small home, and picked up a pillow. Let's take a walk,' he said, ripping a hole in the pillow. As they walked all over the village, he held the pillow in the breeze and let the tiny white feathers inside float away.
"Puzzled, the woman looked at the old man. Aren't you going to tell me how to make things right with the people in this village?' she asked. FULL POST
Posted 4/26/13 at 2:27 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books
Praise is infectious! I've discovered that people either succumb to the disease or are repulsed by it, cowering away into the shadows.
I became more aware of this during one of our Subaru breakdowns on Rt. 419 a few years ago. Chuck and I were in the car coming home after work when we experienced some engine difficulties that necessitated a stop.
A few minutes after getting out of the car, a man and his ten-year-old daughter pulled up beside us and asked if we needed help. Chuck explained the problem and the man offered to give us a ride home. Chuck accepted the offer and joined the man in the front seat, while I slid in the back with his daughter.
After exchanging cordialities, Chuck witnessed to the fellow who turned out to be a Mormon. I took my cue and asked the little girl about her church and beliefs. I reciprocated with info about my church and beliefs.
The comment that followed revealed great insight on the part of this young girl. She said, "You know, I used to visit a Baptist church with my grandma. I liked it. It seemed so alive! Our church seems so dead." FULL POST