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Soldier4Christ
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« Reply #5535 on: February 26, 2009, 08:15:11 AM »

"Pass the Chips"

“Mommy, may I have some pop? Lisa made me thirsty!” complained Kyle. “She gave me potato chips.”

Lisa grinned at her little brother. “You didn’t have to eat them, Kyle.”

Kyle pouted. “But she made me want them, Mommy,” he insisted. “That’s why I ate so many. Lisa said they were so good, and she kept eating ’em and eating ’em.”

“Were they good?” asked Mom.

“Yes.” Kyle nodded and repeated, “But now I’m thirsty.”

“You can have some juice,” said Mom, getting out two glasses. “By the way, did you know that Christians are supposed to be like potato chips?”

“Mom! That’s silly,” protested Lisa as she took her glass of juice. “How can anybody be like a potato chip?”

Kyle grinned at his big sister. “I’d sure be thirsty if I ate a potato chip as big as you, Lisa,” he said. “That would be a giant one!”

“Yes, it would,” agreed Mom. “It might make you thirsty for a whole gallon of juice.” Smiling, she gave Kyle a playful jab. “Well, that’s exactly the way in which you’re supposed to be like a potato chip—you should make people thirsty for Jesus.”

Lisa frowned. “I’m not sure I understand that,” she said, taking a few more chips.

“Potato chips make you thirsty because they’re so salty, and Jesus called His followers the ‘salt of the earth,’” explained Mom. “If we’re salt, we should make people thirsty for Him—thirsty to know Jesus.”

“I still don’t know how to get them to want that, though,” said Lisa.

“Kyle said you made him want the potato chips by telling him how good they were, right?” asked Mom. “He also saw you keep eating them—he saw that you enjoyed them.”

“I think I get it!” exclaimed Lisa.“We should tell our friends how great it is to know Jesus, and let them see that we’re happy as Christians.”

“That’s it—that’s the way you ‘pass the chips’ to them,” agreed Mom. “You want to make them be thirsty for Jesus—to want what you have.” Mom crunched a chip and smiled.


HOW ABOUT YOU?
Are you a salty Christian? Do your friends see that you enjoy learning about Jesus in church and Sunday school? Do they see joy in your life? Do they see attitudes that are pleasing to Him? Do you tell them what He’s done for you? As you show your faith in Jesus each day—even though you have struggles and problems—your friends may become “thirsty” for Him. They may want what you have.


TODAY'S KEY VERSE:
You are the salt of the earth. Matthew 5:13

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« Reply #5536 on: February 27, 2009, 10:01:23 AM »

"New Glasses"

Staci skipped down the sidewalk toward Grandpa and Grandma’s house. Her new glasses felt strange, but she was amazed that she could see things so much better—like individual leaves on the trees and even the letters on the stop sign at the far corner. Staci laughed in delight. She walked faster as she got closer to her grandparents’ house and saw Grandpa working in the yard.

When they went into the house a little later, Grandpa grinned at Staci and Grandma. “We have one excited girl here,” he said. Staci eagerly waited to hear what Grandma would say about her new glasses.

Grandma smiled and gave Staci a hug. “I can still remember when I got my first glasses,” she said. “They make a wonderful difference, don’t they? And they look great!”

“And I remember when I got my spiritual glasses,” added Grandpa.

“Spiritual glasses!” exclaimed Staci. “What are spiritual glasses?”

Grandpa smiled. “Well, when people who don’t know Jesus read the Bible, it often seems strange to them, and they can’t understand what it’s all about. But when you know Jesus as Savior, it’s as though He opens your spiritual eyes—sort of like those glasses help your eyes,” explained Grandpa. “You begin to see—or to understand—what He says in His Word.”

“And that’s a wonderful thing,” added Grandma. “To understand the things of God is to have the best sight of all.” She looked at Staci. “Will you leave those glasses on the shelf sometimes, or do you plan to wear them every day?” she asked.

Staci laughed at the silly question. “Of course I’ll wear them every day,” she said. “What good would they do on the shelf?”

“None at all,” said Grandma. “God gives us spiritual sight so we can enjoy the things He has for us every day, too. So be sure you don’t just leave your Bible on the shelf. Read something from it each day and think about it. ‘See’ what God has for you to learn.”


HOW ABOUT YOU?
Do you enjoy spiritual sight every day? Do you think about the things God has said and ask Him to help you understand and apply them to your life? Or do you think that once a week—probably Sunday—is often enough to look at what He has to say? Ask God to open your eyes and show you some special lesson or promise each day. Ask Him to show you what you need to do in order to obey Him. Then do it!


TODAY'S KEY VERSE:
Open my eyes, that I may see     wondrous things from Your law. Psalm 119:18

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« Reply #5537 on: February 28, 2009, 09:03:47 AM »

"Behind Castle Walls"

“Hurry! Hurry! Pull up the drawbridge, Seth!” called Mitchell, hurrying into the cardboard castle in their basement. “The enemy is coming!”

Seth pulled up the bridge, and both boys peered through narrow slits in the walls. “Now they won’t be able to cross the moat,” said Seth. “Or if they do, our strong walls will keep us safe.”

Dad smiled. “Right. You’re safe for now,” he said. “And it’s time for a rest.” He went up to the kitchen and came back with a bowl of popcorn. They all sat in the courtyard of their castle, eating popcorn and admiring the corner towers made by big refrigerator boxes. The towers were connected by cardboard walls.

“This is fun, Dad,” said Mitchell. “Thanks for helping us build our castle.”

The boys’ sister joined them. “I like castles, too,” said Jill, “but not your kind. I like nice, big, beautiful palaces with lots of rooms.”

Dad smiled. “The castles the boys like are really fortresses,” he said. “Castles of that kind were used years and years ago to protect people from their enemies.” He paused, then added, “Did you know that God is described as a fortress?”

“He is?” asked Seth. “How can He be a fortress?”

“Remember when we were listening to the news on the radio this morning and the announcer described a school shooting?” asked Dad.

Jill nodded. “It scared me,” she said.

“Me too,” agreed Seth. “What if someone does that at our school?”

“We live in a sinful world, and bad things happen all around us,” said Dad. “But we can find peace by running to our fortress—by drawing close to the Lord and trusting Him to take care of us.”

“But . . . when we’re attacked, we might get hit by an enemy arrow, even inside our castle,” said Mitchell. He looked at the imaginary enemy outside their walls. “But it’s a lot safer in here than out in the open.”

“That’s right,” agreed Dad. “And sometimes even Christians get hurt, but when we’re taking refuge in the Lord, we can have peace knowing He’s defending us. We can be sure that even if an ‘arrow’—some ‘bad’ thing—strikes us, God will somehow use it for good. We need to trust Him to do that.”


HOW ABOUT YOU?
Has something in the news scared you lately? The Bible says you’ll hear of “wars and rumors of wars.” It says there will be famines and earthquakes, and there will be an increase in wickedness on earth. What do you do when you hear of bad things? Does that frighten you? Or do you run to the “fortress”—to God? He promises never to forsake you. Go to Him in prayer today. Ask Him to keep you safe behind His “castle walls.” Trust Him to do that, no matter what.


TODAY'S KEY VERSE:
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer. Psalm 18:2

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« Reply #5538 on: March 01, 2009, 09:46:39 AM »

"Perfect Balance"

"That was a great circus show, wasn't it, Dad?" asked Brandon as he and his father made their way to the car. Brandon's eyes were wide with excitement. "Especially the high-wire act!" he added. "I really liked that!"

Dad grinned. "That was pretty exciting," he agreed, "but it was kinda scary when one man was riding on the other's shoulders."

"Yeah!" Brandon nodded. "I was surprised they didn't both get hurt when the one carrying the other guy lost his balance and they both fell. Good thing there was a net to catch them."

"Yes," said Dad, starting the car. "Without the net, that could have been a real tragedy."

"That's for sure!" exclaimed Brandon. "Those guys have a lot of nerve. I sure wouldn't want to ride on anybody's shoulders way up high off the ground! In fact, I don't think I'd want to be up on a high wire at all."

Dad smiled. "Well, I'm glad to hear that," he said. After a moment, he added, "But you know what? That high wire act is a little bit like life in general."

"It is?" asked Brandon. "What do you mean?"

"Well," said Dad, "the man on the other person's shoulders was putting all his trust in his partner's ability to safely walk the rope, right?"

Brandon nodded. "Yeah, but that guy couldn't do it," he said. "If the net hadn't caught them, they might have been killed!"

"Well, we're all something like the man who trusted his partner," said Dad. "We all put our trust in someone or something. Some of us put our trust in other people to help us through the dangers of life. Some of us put our trust in money or in our jobs. But when those things fail . . . well, tragedy often follows."

Brandon looked out the window as they drove along the streets. He thought about his Sunday school lesson the week before. "That's kinda like what my Sunday school teacher told us," he replied. "She said we should always trust Jesus to take care of us because He never fails."

"Right." Dad nodded. "The Lord Jesus can be trusted to carry us through life's troubles. He'll never lose His balance."


HOW ABOUT YOU?
Who or what are you trusting in-now and for eternity? Do you trust your parents to care for you? They'll surely do their best. Do you think you'll be fine so long as you have enough money? It comes in handy, no doubt. Do you think a good job is all you need? It's a nice thing to have. But people and things can help you only for a short time. Jesus is the only one who will never fail-not even in all eternity. Put your trust in Him today.


TODAY'S KEY VERSE:
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God. Psalm 20:7

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« Reply #5539 on: March 02, 2009, 08:47:18 AM »

The Game of Life

For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Mark 8:34-35 (NIV)

Do you like to play board games? Some of the most popular board games are Checkers, Chess, Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, and Clue just to name a few. One of the most popular board games of all time is called "The Game of Life." It was first introduced in 1860. Wow! That's almost 150 years ago!

The "Game of Life" is played very much like real life. At the beginning of the game, each player must choose what path he or she is going to take in their journey through life. They choose whether they are going to go to college or go out and get a job. As the game goes on, each player spins the wheel and moves his car the number of spaces on which the spinner stops. The space where your car lands gives you directions on what to do. On some spaces, you MUST follow the directions. On other spaces you only have to follow the directions if you want to. Just as in real life, you have many choices along the way, but what happens to you in the "Game of Life" depends on the choices you make. At the end of the game, the player with the most money wins. Is that true in real life? Do you think that when life is over, the one with the most money wins? Today we will see what Jesus had to say about that.

In our Bible reading today, Jesus was teaching his followers about life. He said to them, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel, you will save it. After all, what good is it if you gain the whole world, but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your own soul?"

Some people live as if the most important thing in life is getting more stuff -- big houses, fancy cars, and pretty clothes. Others live as if the most important thing in life is following Jesus and serving him. How do they do that? By loving other people and doing good things for them. When Jesus lived on earth, everything he did was for others. If we follow his example, he promised that we will be the winners in "The Game of Life."

How about you -- do you want to be a winner in the "Game of Life?" Then stop thinking about yourself and start thinking about others.

Dear Father, we want to follow the example that Jesus set. We want to give up our selfish ways and give our lives in love and service to others. In Jesus' name, Amen.
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« Reply #5540 on: March 02, 2009, 08:48:26 AM »

"No Mistakes"

As Emily and Nina started home, they ran into Justin-a school bully. "Hey, Nina, where'd you get this red hat?" asked Justin as he grabbed the cap from her head and tossed it down on the sidewalk. Nina stared blankly at him.

"Stop that!" commanded Emily, darting toward the cap. She returned it to Nina. "You leave her alone," ordered Emily, glaring at Justin.

"Thank you," said Nina, smiling as she placed the cap back on her head. Justin walked away, grinning broadly.

When the girls reached Nina's house, she smiled at Emily. "Wanna walk to school together tomorrow?" she asked.

"Sure," said Emily, and she hurried on to her own home.

"What's up?" asked Mom when she saw the expression on Emily's face.

"I'm just thinking about Nina Jarret," said Emily glumly. She plopped down onto the couch. "She's not very smart, and some of the kids tease her." She sighed. "Why did God create some people with problems like hers? Did he make a mistake?"

"A mistake?" echoed Mom.

"Well . . . it doesn't seem like life can be much fun for her," said Emily. "She has to work so hard to learn even simple things."

"Yes, she does," agreed Mom, "and because of that, Nina's parents are extremely proud of all she can do. Nina is the joy of their lives."

"Yes, but . . ." Emily paused. "Think of her," she added. "She can't be having much fun."

"I am thinking of Nina," said Mom. "Her mom tells me how much Nina looks forward to going to school each day. She's so easily pleased and proudly shows her coloring papers to everyone. Nina is a happy girl who loves all the kids-and I'm glad to tell you that she often talks about her friend Emily."

"Really?" asked Emily in surprise. Mom nodded.

"Always remember that God has made each one of us, and He has a purpose for all He does," said Mom. "Even if we don't understand His purpose, we can be sure He knows what He's doing. God never makes a mistake."


HOW ABOUT YOU?
Does it seem like God is occasionally mistaken in what He allows to happen? You may not understand the reason for many things. People you read about in today's Scripture wondered why a man was born blind. Jesus said it was so that the "works of God" would be shown in what happened. You can be sure He has a purpose for all He permits, so trust that what He does is always best. God never makes mistakes.


TODAY'S KEY VERSE:
Who has made . . . the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? Exodus 4:11

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« Reply #5541 on: March 03, 2009, 09:09:09 AM »

"Whose Rules?"

"Jenna!" called Mom. "Please turn off the TV. Tessa will be here any minute, and you said she's not allowed to watch television, right?"

"Yes, but . . ." Jenna turned off the TV and went to the kitchen where her mother was working. "Can't Tessa and I watch that movie I was telling you about? It's on tonight, and my teacher says it's a really good kids' movie-without violence or swearing or anything."

"But that isn't the point," said Mom.

"What is the point?" asked Jenna.

As Mom started to speak, Jenna's brother Sam came in. "Hey, Jenna, I want to use Ben's baseball mitt," he said as he got out a glass of milk. "Run up and get it from his room for me. Please?"

Jenna shook her head. "Ben says he made a rule that nobody can take things from his room without asking him first, and he's not here right now."

"Come on," coaxed Sam. "I have to get some other stuff together, and the guys are waiting for me." Jenna shook her head. "Ben won't care," Sam insisted. "He lets me use his mitt all the time. I'll take the blame if he gets mad."

"He might never trust me again," replied Jenna.

"Oh, all right," grumbled Sam. He turned and ran up the stairs to get the mitt himself.

Jenna sighed. "Now I suppose Sam will be mad at me, but I promised Ben I'd leave his stuff alone." She frowned. "I don't think it was fair for Sam to ask me to do that."

"I agree," said Mom. "It was unfair to ask you to go against Ben's rules and risk losing his trust. So . . . do you think it would be fair to ask Tessa to go against her parents' rules?"

Jenna was surprised. "I . . . I guess not," she admitted. "If she does, she might lose their trust, too."

"That's right," said Mom. "She has a responsibility to obey the rules her parent give her, and we have a responsibility to help her do that."

"Okay," said Jenna. Then she smiled. "I know what we can do," she added. "Tessa hasn't played my new game, yet-the one I got for my birthday. We'll start with that." Jenna ran to answer the doorbell. "And here she is!"


HOW ABOUT YOU?
Do your friends have different rules from those your parents give you? Christians don't always agree about things the Bible doesn't specifically mention. But it does give definite instructions on some things. For example, Ephesians 6:1 says children are to obey their parents. And verses in Romans caution against causing others to "stumble"-to do something wrong. Be sure to obey those instructions given by the Lord.


TODAY'S KEY VERSE:
Resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way. Romans 14:13

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« Reply #5542 on: March 04, 2009, 08:52:47 AM »

"Loaves and Fishes"

"We had my favorite Bible story today-the one about the boy with the loaves and fishes," said Robby as he helped his mother set the table for Sunday dinner. "I wish I could be like that boy and share my lunch with Jesus."

"When I hear that story, I always wonder why a kid would have so many loaves of bread in his lunch," said Robby's brother Mitch. "We couldn't even eat one whole loaf. And those fish-they probably would have been in the hot sun a long time. Wouldn't they have stunk?"

"The Bible doesn't say they were fresh fish. My guess is that they were dried or smoked," said Mom as she placed a salad bowl on the table. As for the loaves of bread-in Bible times, they were probably smaller and flatter than those we have today. The little boy might have been carrying loaves about the size of . . . oh, maybe about the size of our hotdog buns-maybe even smaller."

"Well, Robby, if you want to be like that boy, I guess you'll have to start carrying five hot dog buns around with you," teased Mitch. "Maybe you could use a can of tuna or sardines for the fish."

"Robby doesn't need bread and fish to be like that boy," said Mom. "He can share other things." She smiled at Robby. "Watch for ways you can share," she advised. "I'm sure you'll find them."

"Okay," said Robby, and all that week, he did find times when he could share his toys and books or his pencils and paper. One day, he even shared his food. On the way to the cafeteria, he noticed a new boy looking unhappy and uncertain. "What's the matter, Tyler?" Robby asked.

"I forgot my lunch," mumbled Tyler, "and I don't have money for the cafeteria. Mom's not home today, and I'm hungry."

"Shall I ask my teacher if . . ." began Robby. He stopped. "Wait! You can share my lunch," he suggested. "It's pizza day, so we can split it and all the other stuff, okay?" Tyler grinned and nodded.

That evening, Mom heard how Robby had shared his lunch. "Good for you," she said as she gave him a hug. "I saw you sharing things with your brothers and sisters this week, too. You remind me of another boy-one who shared his lunch with Jesus!"


HOW ABOUT YOU?
What have you shared recently? Do you ever share your lunch, pencils, or paper with your classmates? At home, do you share with your brothers and sisters? Do you let other kids play with your toys or sit in your favorite spot for watching TV? Sharing is one way to show that you love God and others. What will you share today?


TODAY'S KEY VERSE:
Let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:18

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« Reply #5543 on: March 05, 2009, 06:54:46 AM »

"Leader or Follower?"

Shannon felt guilty. She knew she shouldn't have scratched names on the bathroom doors, but the girls had dared her to do it. I hate to always be different from other kids, she thought. They would have laughed and made fun of me if I didn't write some names like they were doing. She felt bad about it now, though. Shannon sighed. Oh, well. Those doors needed to be painted anyway, she told herself.

When Mr. Lewis called on her to give her science report, Shannon made her way to the front of the classroom. "My report today is on the processional caterpillar," she said, and she began reading it to the class. "These caterpillars are called 'processionaries' because they always follow a leader and do exactly what he does."

Shannon gulped. I was like that when I wrote on the doors, she thought. Taking a deep breath, she went on with her report. "Henri Fabre, a French naturalist, put a number of these caterpillars on the rim of a big stone jar in his garden. Each caterpillar apparently thought the one ahead of him was the leader and followed him faithfully. For several days, the caterpillars crawled around the rim of the jar, going in circles. They kept following the leader, who wasn't really a leader at all. Finally, one of the caterpillars decided to strike out on his own. Right away, he became a leader because the rest followed him."

When she finished the report, Shannon returned to her seat. The next report was on katydids, but she didn't even hear it. Her mind was filled with thoughts of the caterpillars that blindly followed each other-and of the one that finally struck out on his own and became a leader. That was the one she wanted to be like, and she knew what she had to do.

Please, dear God, please forgive me, Shannon prayed silently. Give me courage to confess what I did and pay for it or do whatever I need to do to make it right. Most of all, help me be like the caterpillar that dared to strike out on his own. Help me to follow You and lead other girls to do the right thing instead of following someone doing bad things.


HOW ABOUT YOU?
Who do you follow when there's a choice to be made? Do you follow God and do what is right instead of blindly "following the leader" in doing things you know are wrong? Dare to do the right thing even if it means being "different" from the other kids. Dare to do what God wants you to do even if other kids tease or laugh. Make sure He's the one you follow, and then be a leader for Him by helping other kids choose the right thing to do.


TODAY'S KEY VERSE:
If sinners entice you, do not consent. Proverbs 1:10

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« Reply #5544 on: March 06, 2009, 09:24:11 AM »

"The Golden Rule"

Mom surveyed the living room with dismay. Jason's little cars were parked under the couch, and a toy airplane had landed on the television. Wooden soldiers surrounded the lamp and held it under siege. A Lego collection was on the bookcase, and Mom's handmade blanket lay in a heap on the floor. Soda glasses and popcorn dishes decorated the end table.

Mom frowned and sighed. But then she grinned; she had an idea. She scooped up some army men, cars, and Lego pieces. As she lifted the aquarium lid, her apology to the fish went unnoticed. A guppy swished to one side, and a bright, colorful fish darted to the other as the handful of toys sank to the bottom.

An explosion erupted when Jason went to feed his fish after school. "What's all this junk doing in my fish tank?" he yelled. "I just cleaned it Saturday afternoon!" He stormed into the kitchen where Mom was fixing supper. After dumping the dripping toys on the table, he put his hands on his hips. "What's going on?" he demanded. "If it's a joke, I don't think it's funny."

"It's not a joke, Jason," said Mom calmly. "Isn't a tankful of toys mixed with fish what you want?"

"What I want? Of course not!" exclaimed Jason.

Pointing to the Bible on a shelf, Mom said, "Well, when you were studying your verse for Sunday school last week, you said you wished people would live the way that verse says they should. Say the verse for me, please."

Jason hesitated a moment, then he slowly quoted Matthew 7:12: "Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them."

"That's right, Jason. That's also called the "Golden Rule," said Mom. "And while you cleaned your aquarium, I cleaned the living room. Then last night you left your things all over the room. If you were treating me like you want to be treated, it must mean that you would like me to clutter up your aquarium."

Jason felt foolish. He knew he'd been pretty vocal about people not living up to the verse. "I . . . . ah . . . I'm sorry," he apologized. He scooped up the wet toys from the table. "I'll go take care of this stuff," he added, "and then I'll come and wash your table."

"Good," said Mom with a smile. "I can see that you're doing better already."


HOW ABOUT YOU?
Do you expect as much from yourself as you expect from other people? Are you considerate of your family and friends? Next time you're unhappy with the way someone treats you, take a good look at how you treat that person. Think about it. Do you treat him or her the way you like to be treated? Learn today's Key Verse and follow the advice God gives you there.


TODAY'S KEY VERSE:
Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them. Matthew 7:12

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« Reply #5545 on: March 07, 2009, 09:35:27 AM »

"A Doll and a Monkey"

Kurt had wanted a pet monkey ever since Dad's job had sent him and his family to South America for a year. "Rico told me how to catch one," Kurt told his sister one day. "I made a hole in a big gourd and put a banana in it. When a monkey reaches in to get it, he'll be caught because the hole isn't big enough for him to get his paw out while he's holding the banana. Rico says the monkey won't let go." Kurt grinned. "I'll fasten this gourd to that tree at the back of the yard. Maybe it will catch a monkey by the time Dad and I get back from the village."

Katie smiled, but her thoughts were not on monkeys. They were on a doll. During a recent visit from a Spanish lady and her little daughter Rosita, the girls had played together with a doll Rosita had brought. I wish I had a doll like that, Katie had thought. And when the visitors were leaving, she noticed that Rosita didn't have her doll. Katie didn't say anything about it. Instead, she had waited till they were gone, then quietly scooped up the doll and hid it beneath clothes in her dresser drawer. She took it out only when no one was around. She was sure that if her mother saw it, she'd be punished and she'd have to return the doll to Rosita. But playing with it isn't much fun, she thought now. It just makes me feel guilty!                               

Katie was almost finished with her chores that afternoon when she heard an awful commotion outside. She ran out and saw a monkey with its paw inside Kurt's gourd. The monkey was jumping around, trying to get free-and screeching all the while. Katie felt sorry for the howling creature. "Let go of the banana and you'll be free," she called out. "Let go! Otherwise Kurt will catch you when he gets home." But the monkey would not let go of his prize, and Katie was sure Kurt would soon have the pet he wanted.

Suddenly Katie thought about Rosita's doll. I . . . I'm as bad as that monkey, she thought. I need to let go of Rosita's doll and be free of my guilty feelings!

Katie hesitated only a moment; then she ran into the house to get the doll. Silently, she asked God to forgive her. I'll ask Rosita to forgive me, too, she told the Lord. As she pulled the doll out of its hiding place, she felt the guilt start to melt away. She felt relieved even though she knew there would still be consequences.


HOW ABOUT YOU?
Are you miserable because you're trying to hide some sin? Are you afraid you'll be punished if you confess doing a wrong thing? Well . . . you're not happy now, either, are you? In the Bible, God tells you the way to be out of your misery. He says to let go of your sin by confessing it and asking God-and perhaps others-to forgive you. He says to not only confess it, but to also forsake it. That means to stop doing it. Will you do that? It's the only way to real peace and joy.


TODAY'S KEY VERSE:
He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy. Proverbs 28:13

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« Reply #5546 on: March 08, 2009, 11:02:49 AM »

"Truthful Answers"

"Danielle!" exclaimed Paige. "What are you doing?" Paige stood and watched as her cousin tumbled over after standing on her head. Danielle had been braced against her bedroom wall.

Looking up from the floor, Danielle smiled. "I've been learning yoga," she explained. She pulled herself to a sitting position and tucked her legs under her. "I was meditating."

"Oh, no-not another fad," groaned Paige. "I thought you were a Christian."

"I am," said Danielle.

Paige groaned again. "Last week you were playing with a Ouija board," she said accusingly, "and the week before that, you were trying to find someone who could read tea leaves. You always read horoscopes, too, don't you?"

"Well, I think it would be cool to get answers to some things," said Danielle. She pointed to a pile of books on her desk. "I've been reading about different things people use to help them know what they should do . . . and to help them relax and enjoy life." She shrugged. "But that's enough about that. You came over to see if I could help you with your math, right?"

"Yep," agreed Paige. "The problems we're working on now leave me clueless. Since you're in high school already, I figured you'd know how to do them. I brought my book."

"Okay, let's take a look," said Danielle, but then she laughed as she glanced at the book Paige handed her. "If you want help with math, what are you doing with your social studies book?"

Paige looked at the book. "Oh, no!" she moaned, but she joined her friend in a good laugh. "Hey!" she said, "you can laugh about me, but you're even worse. I may not have the right book for learning math, but you're not using the right book to find out how to live." She pointed to Danielle's pile of books. "While I go get my math book, why don't you get rid of those? Any answers you get through them won't be from God. His answers are found in His book-the Bible. "


HOW ABOUT YOU?
Where do you look to find answers for your life or for your future? Do you look in wrong places or at wrong things? It's so easy to be misled. Many sources claim to have answers-some of them are even religious organizations. But unless they point you to God, the only one who knows the future, they should be avoided. He has all the answers Christians need. As you study God's Word and trust Him to lead you, He gives the answers at the appropriate time.


TODAY'S KEY VERSE:
Avoid . . . profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge. 1 Timothy 6:20

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« Reply #5547 on: March 09, 2009, 09:39:17 AM »

Cleaning House

In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!" John 2:14-16 (NIV)

Mops, brooms, sponges, a dust cloth... what do we use these things for? We use them when we clean house, don't we? Do you ever help your mom with the cleaning around your house? I don't know about your mom, but there were many times when my mom thought our house needed cleaning when it looked just fine to me. Well, how do you know when it's time to clean house? Well here are some signs that will definitely let you to know that it is time to clean house.

    It is time to clean house when your feet stick to the floor when you walk through the kitchen.

    It is time to clean house when your mother can't find you when she comes into your room to wake you up in the morning.

    It is time to clean house when the kids in the neighborhood use their fingers to write "wash me" in the dirt on your windows.

    It is time to clean house when there are more dishes in the kitchen sink than there are in the cabinets.

    It is time to clean house when you have enough dust bunnies under your bed to start a bunny farm.

Well, I think you get the idea! I know that your house never gets THAT dirty, but the truth of the matter is, we all need to do a little house cleaning at times.

Today we are going to learn about a time when Jesus did some house cleaning. It was time for the annual Passover celebration, so Jesus traveled to Jerusalem. When he arrived in Jerusalem, Jesus went to the temple. He couldn't believe what he saw. Right there in the temple area he saw people who were selling cattle, sheep, and doves to be used as sacrifices in the temple. There were even tables set up where men were changing money so that people could pay their temple taxes. It looked more like a flea market than a house of worship.

Jesus did not like what he saw. He was so angry that picked up a piece of rope, made a whip, and drove the the cattle, sheep, and those who were selling them out of the temple. Next, he went to the money changers and turned their tables over, scattering coins all over the temple floor. To the ones who were selling the doves he said, "Get out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market." I would say that Jesus did some serious house cleaning in the temple that day!

As we think about Jesus cleansing the temple, we should also be reminded that there is some other cleaning that needs to be done. The Bible tells us that we are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in us. (1 Cor. 3:16) The season of Lent is a good time for us to look inside ourselves and see if there is anything in us that needs to be cleansed. Are there some areas of your life where you need to do some house cleaning? I know there are in mine!

Father, help us to remember that we are your temple and that your Spirit lives in us. Help us to keep our lives clean and useful for service to you. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
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« Reply #5548 on: March 09, 2009, 09:40:24 AM »

"Leftover Candy"

"How about going to Sunday school with me tomorrow?" Paul asked his new friend, Darren. "I think you'll like it."

Darren shook his head. "No way!" he said emphatically. "I don't want anything to do with religion."

Paul was surprised. "But . . . don't you want to know God and go to heaven someday?" he asked timidly.

Darren shrugged. "There's plenty of time to think about that," he said. "Right now I want to have a good time and do whatever I feel like doing." Paul didn't say anything more just then, but he was determined to not give up on Darren.

 One day, Paul got an idea from something his pastor said. Darren loves candy, thought Paul, so I'll get him some. He took some of his money, went to the store, and bought a bag of candy. "I bought some M&Ms¨ for you," he told Darren.

"Really?" exclaimed Darren. "Where are they?"

"At home," said Paul. "I'll bring them someday."

After that, Paul referred now and then to the candy he had bought for his friend, but he gave the same answer whenever Darren asked him why he hadn't brought it with him. And every day Paul ate some of the candy himself. When there was only a small amount left, he finally took the bag of candy with him and gave it to Darren.

"Oh, wow! Thanks a lot!" exclaimed Darren, but when he saw the package, he frowned. "Did you eat my candy?" he asked. When Paul nodded, Darren looked surprised. "Well," he muttered, "thanks for these few, anyway."

Paul grinned. "I just wanted to show you how you're treating God," he said. "You said you'd think about God someday-probably after you've had a good time. You want to give God a leftover life, just like I gave you leftover candy."

Darren was quiet for a long moment. When Paul repeated the invitation to attend Sunday school, Darren hesitated only a moment. "Okay, you win," he said. "I'll come this time. Who knows? Maybe I'll like it so much I'll keep coming." Then he dug out an M&M¨ from the bag.


HOW ABOUT YOU?
Have you trusted Jesus as your Savior? If not, when do you plan to do so? Do you plan to wait until you've done the things you want to do? Lived the way you want to live? Remember that life is uncertain-it could end at any moment. But even if you live a long, long time, think about the fact that Jesus gave His best for you when He took the punishment you deserve. Give Him your best, too. Accept Jesus today and live a life of service to Him.


TODAY'S KEY VERSE:
Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 2 Corinthians 6:2

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« Reply #5549 on: March 10, 2009, 09:29:35 AM »

"The Secret"

"Andy brought Mexican jumping beans to school today," said Seth one evening. "They look like regular beans, but then they move all by themselves. Andy wouldn't say what made them move-he said it was a secret. But I looked it up in a book and found out. I don't know why Andy didn't just tell us. It's no secret!"

"So what makes them move?" asked Seth's sister, Kim.

"Moths," answered Seth. "The book says Mexican jumping beans are three-celled bean pods and that they house moths. The jumping is caused by the moth larvae moving inside."

"E-w-w-w! Gross!" squealed Kim.

When it was time for family devotions that evening, Dad looked thoughtful. "I was just thinking of Seth's story about the jumping beans. As he said, the reason they move is not a secret, but I'm reminded that there's something we often keep secret," he said. "Moths in the bean pods makes them jump, and we have something in us that makes us choose to do the things we do, but we often don't tell anyone what it is."

"Well, what is it?" asked Seth in surprise. "I don't know, either."

Dad smiled. "It's the love of Jesus in our hearts," he said. "For example, I remember that you refused to join some of your classmates in making fun of that new boy at school. What reason did you give for that?"

"Well . . . I just said I thought it was wrong," replied Seth.

"And when I was so sick," continued Dad, "God gave me a miraculously quick recovery. But I wonder how many of us told our friends that God had answered our prayers?"

"I didn't," admitted Kim.

"It's almost as though we're keeping it a secret that we know Jesus," said Dad, opening his Bible to the fourth chapter of Acts. "We'll read about some men who didn't keep it a secret that they knew Him. Here . . . how about reading it for us, Seth? Read verses sixteen to twenty." After Seth finished reading, Dad added, "Peter and John couldn't keep from telling others what God had done. Let's join them-let's tell everyone what He's done for us, too."


HOW ABOUT YOU?
Do you tell others about Jesus? Don't keep it a secret that you know Him. Tell other kids when you're thankful for something God has given you or done for you-everyday things like seeing a great baseball game, enjoying a trip, or getting a passing grade. Speak up if there's an opportunity to let others know that Jesus loves them. They may want to know Him, too. What are some other things you could tell them about?


TODAY'S KEY VERSE:
We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. Acts 4:20

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