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Soldier4Christ
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« Reply #5550 on: March 11, 2009, 07:29:58 AM »

"An Original"

Amy sat at the kitchen table, carefully writing her book report for school. "When this is finished, I get to use the copy machine at school to make a copy of my report for everyone in class," she said. "All the kids in my class are doing it."

"Sounds good," said Mom. "Then when you're done, you'll each have a stack of twenty-six different book reports, right?"

"Yes," said Amy, "and we get to vote for the five books that we think sound the most interesting to read."

The next day, the school secretary showed Amy how to use the copy machine. Amy eagerly followed her directions, and soon warm copies filed out.  They all look just exactly like the original one, thought Amy as she took them to her teacher.

"Thank you, Breanna," said Mrs. Peters as she took the reports.

"I'm not Breanna," replied Amy firmly. She didn't like it when people confused her with her older sister, but it happened quite often.

Mrs. Peters smiled. "I'm sorry," she said. "Please excuse the mistake . . . Amy. You and your sister are so much alike."

Out on the playground a little later, Amy complained to her friend Kayla. "My teacher thinks my sister and I are alike, but we're really not alike at all," said Amy. "She called me 'Breanna' again."

"You think that's bad?" asked Kayla. "Not only do I get called by my sister's name, I even get called by my brother's name sometimes. And people assume that I should be good in sports-just because Ann and Nick are."

"It seems like some people think God uses a copy machine when He makes brothers and sisters," said Amy. "I guess they think we're a bunch of identical copies, hot off the press."

"Yeah," agreed Kayla. Then she grinned and added, "But my mom says I shouldn't worry about people mixing me up with my relatives. She says the God of the whole universe knows me as Kayla. No copies here! I'm the original!"

After recess, Mrs Peters held up the stack of book reports. "I noticed that each of you chose a different book," she said. "It's interesting how we each have our own interests and personalities. Even our very own names." And she winked at Amy.


HOW ABOUT YOU?
Are you sometimes compared to someone else and called by the wrong name? If that happens, and if it bothers you, remember that God never confuses your identity. He made you very special, and you're the only one in the world who is just exactly like you! In God's eyes, you are a very precious, one-of-a-kind person.


TODAY'S KEY VERSE:
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14

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« Reply #5551 on: March 12, 2009, 07:40:52 AM »

"Good Friends"

When the school bell rang, the kids sprang from their seats and headed for the door. "Hold it a minute, Ryan," said Mr. Clark. "I want to speak with you."

Ryan frowned. "Yeah? What did I do now?" he asked.

"Well, I've noticed that your grades have been dropping lately-but I'm even more concerned about something else," replied Mr. Clark. "I'm afraid the guys you're hanging around with after school will cause you problems."

"You mean like Jase and Spike?" asked Ryan.

"I believe those boys belong to a gang," said Mr. Clark. "I don't think they're a good influence for you. They have a record of getting into trouble."

"Aw, they're okay," mumbled Ryan. "They don't do any really bad stuff."

"Ryan, do you remember our science experiment with mold on a piece of bread?" asked Mr. Clark.

"Yeah, I remember," replied Ryan. "What's that got to do with the guys?"

"The mold started off small, didn't it?" said Mr. Clark. "It was a tiny spot-but within a week it covered the whole slice of bread. It changed a delicious piece of bread into a gross looking pile of scum, right?" Ryan nodded. "I'm afraid something like that could happen to you," said Mr. Clark.

"How do you figure?" asked Ryan.

"The influence of kids you hang out with is like that mold," replied Mr. Clark. "It increases over time, and you may feel more and more pressure to go along with what they do-whether good or bad. I hope you're right when you say those guys don't do 'really bad stuff,' but that could change. They already get into a lot of trouble."

Ryan shrugged. "They treat me good," he said.

Mr. Clark nodded. "I know, but kids who are a good influence will treat you good, too. Think about it. Look-the youth group at my church is having an ice-skating party this Friday. Why don't you come? I think you'll meet some kids who could be very good friends. We'd love to have you hang out with us."

Ryan looked uncertain, but he nodded hesitantly. "I'll think about it," he said.

Mr. Clark smiled. "All right," he replied. "I'll check back with you later this week. I hope you'll decide to join us."


HOW ABOUT YOU?
What kind of kids do you spend most of your time with? Do they encourage you to obey the rules your parents and teachers give you? To learn about God and obey Him? To do right things? Or do they pressure you to join them in activities that get you into trouble? If you want to have fun and be accepted, hang around kids who love the Lord. They're the best kind of friends to have.


TODAY'S KEY VERSE:
We, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Romans 12:5

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« Reply #5552 on: March 13, 2009, 05:55:45 AM »

"God's Address"

"What are you doing with the telephone directory, Mandy?" asked Mom.

"She must be looking up the name of somebody to call," said Max, who was helping his mother clear the table. He grinned as he added, "Of course, that's kinda hard when you can't read yet." Mandy scowled at her brother. "Who do you want to call?" Max asked. "Not a boyfriend, I hope. Five years old is pretty young to be calling boyfriends."

Mandy grimaced. "I'm not calling anyone," she said. "I want to find an address . . . but I don't know how."

"I thought you had our address memorized," said Mom.

Max nodded. "Yeah, Mandy. You should know that. It's 445 Alice Aven . . ."

"I know our address!" interrupted Mandy indignantly. "I want to find God's address." Mandy turned a page in the phone book.

Max exploded with laughter. "Mandy, you're goofier than I thought," he said. "God doesn't have an address! You're wasting your time looking in that book."

"Now I wouldn't be too sure about that, Max," said Dad, who had been listening. He pulled out a chair and sat down next to Mandy. "Would you like me to help you?" he asked. Mandy slid the phone book toward her father. "Well, let's see," said Dad. He thumbed through the pages. "It should be in several different places." He ran his finger down the page slowly, then stopped. "Yep," he said. "Just as I thought. Here's one of them!"

"See!" exclaimed Mandy, giving her brother a triumphant look.

Max was puzzled. "This I've got to see," he said, walking over to the table and peering over his father's shoulder. "Hold it!" he exclaimed. "That's our address!"

Dad sat back and smiled. "Yes, that's our address, but God lives in our lives and in our home. That makes it His address, too." Dad closed the phone book. "Hopefully, anyone who enters our house will be able to tell that God lives here."


HOW ABOUT YOU?
Does God live at your address? Would others be able to see that He lives in every part of your home-even in your room? Are the books and magazines you have lying around the kind Jesus would be comfortable with? Would He be happy with the condition of your room? Make your address-especially the rooms and stuff for which you are responsible-an address that obviously belongs to God.


TODAY'S KEY VERSE:
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15

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« Reply #5553 on: March 14, 2009, 07:18:06 AM »

"The Boss"

"Hey!" called Bryan as he ran into house. "I got a job! I'm going to mow Mr. Radcliff's lawn every week, and he's going to pay me!"

"That's great," said Dad, "but right now, I have a job for you. The garage needs to be cleaned. It needs to be swept, and there are tools that have to be put in place. I think you can handle that."

"Are you going to pay me?" asked Bryan.

"Sure we are," said Mom. "We'll give you a bed to sleep in and clothes to wear and food to eat and . . ."

"Aw, Mom," murmured Bryan, but he went out to the garage. He started sweeping, but he worked slowly and carelessly. When Dad came to see how it was going, the work was not nearly finished.

"Bryan," said Dad, "I was hoping you'd show me that you're ready for your first job outside the family. But I'm afraid you're not."

"Sure I am," said Bryan. He frowned. "I'll do better when I'm getting paid."

"Why is that?" asked Dad.

"It . . . it will just be different," murmured Bryan. "Like I said, I'll be getting paid."

"Mom pointed out that payment can come in different forms," said Dad.

"Yeah, but . . . well, Mr. Radcliff will be checking to see how I do. With my boss watching, it will just be . . . ah . . ." Bryan's voice faded out. He didn't know what excuse to offer.

 "No matter what job you're doing or what the pay will be, someone is always watching," said Dad.

"Do you mean . . . God?" asked Bryan. "Is He my boss, too?

"You could call Him that," said Dad. "That's who you're really working for, no matter who pays you-or who doesn't pay you."

"I . . . I guess so. I never thought of Him like that before," murmured Bryan. "I guess-like you and Mom-He pays in other ways than in money, right?"

Dad nodded. "Actually, God is the one who provides all the material blessings we have-like money, food, clothes, and shelter. But He gives us far greater rewards than dollars and cents. He gives joy and peace and contentment-and best of all, eternal life." Dad smiled as he added, "Always do your best for the Lord!"


HOW ABOUT YOU?
Does your attitude toward work depend on the circumstances-on whether you're getting paid or who you're working for? Remember that God is the "boss" who really matters. He sees what you're doing and He knows if you're doing your best. He may sometimes reward you by having others give you money or material things. Perhaps He'll more often reward you by giving a sense of joy and satisfaction in this life-and even greater rewards in heaven some day.


TODAY'S KEY VERSE:
Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men. Colossians 3:23

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« Reply #5554 on: March 15, 2009, 09:37:40 AM »

"So Much to Say"

Jodi had spent most of the evening phoning one friend after another. "Can I  first call Betsy real quick?" she asked when her mother told her to get ready for bed. "I want to see if she's as nervous as I am about tryouts for the play."

Mom shook her head. "You've already talked to her tonight-and to lots of other friends," she said. "It's bed time."

"Okay. But . . . can I please call Lynn for two seconds-just to be sure she'll save me a seat on the bus tomorrow?" begged Jodi.

"Bed!" Mom said firmly, pointing down the hall.

Jodi went to get ready, mumbling her complaints about not being allowed to make any more calls. She was crawling into bed just as her mother appeared in the doorway. "Ready to sleep?" asked Mom. "Have you prayed already?"

"Oh, I forgot!" Jodi sat up. "I really don't have anything to say, except to ask God to take care of everyone, and He already knows that," she added.

Mom sat on the side of Jodi's bed. "If I handed you the phone and gave you permission to call Betsy, would you have anything to say to her?" she asked.

"Of course! Can I call her?" asked Jodi eagerly.

"Friends share their interests and feelings and activities, don't they?" asked Mom. "They share their hopes and dreams and secrets. They talk about fun and fears."

"Yeah!" agreed Jodi, hoping to use the phone again. "Friends need time to talk, Mom."

"Well . . . is the Lord your friend?" Mom asked. Jodi nodded. "Then why don't you have anything to tell Him? Think about it." She kissed Jodi, turned out the light, and left.

Jodi did think about it. She knew her mother was right, and after a moment, she decided to talk to a friend she had been forgetting lately. She slipped out of bed and knelt down. Dear Jesus, she began. As she paused and thought about Him, she prayed the words of a song she had heard. Thank You, Jesus, for all You've done. Thank You, Lord. Then she shared some of her anxieties and dreams with the Lord. When I think of You as my friend, prayed Jodi, I really do have lots of things to say. Thanks for listening and caring. Goodnight.


HOW ABOUT YOU?
Do you wonder what to say to God? What do you say to your friends? Do you talk about schoolwork and school activities? Do you tell them what you'd like to have happen and who you hope to see? Do you share problems and dreams for the future? Do you talk to good friends more than once a day? Remember that Jesus is the best friend you could possible have. He wants to be included in every part of your life. Talk to Him often about all the things you would share with a true friend.


TODAY'S KEY VERSE:
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8

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« Reply #5555 on: March 16, 2009, 09:32:10 AM »

Measuring God's Love

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NIV)

One of my favorite Bible verses begins, "For God so loved the world." I was thinking about that verse and wondering -- just how great is God's love and how could we measure it? This morning I brought several things that we often use in measuring other things. I thought they might help us measure God's love.

Sometimes we use a measuring cup to measure things. If I were making some cookies, I would use a measuring cup to make sure that I put in exactly the right amount of flour, sugar, and milk. I wonder if we might use a measuring cup to measure God's love? The Bible says, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want....my cup runneth over." (Psalm 23:1,5) Well, if our cup runs over with God's love, I don't guess we could use a measuring cup to measure it.

If we were building something, we might use a tape measure to measure the length, width, and height of different things. I wonder if we might use a tape measure to measure God's love? The Bible tells us that God's love is higher than the heavens. (Psalm 108:4) If God's love is higher than the heavens, I don't think we could use a tape measure to measure it, could we?

We use a watch to measure time. There will probably be some people here this morning who will use their watch to measure how long the pastor's sermon lasts. I wonder if we could use a watch to measure how long God's love will last. The Bible tells us that God's love is from everlasting to everlasting. (Psalm 103:17) Wow! If God's love is from everlasting to everlasting, I don't guess we could measure it with a watch.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." How do you measure a love like that? We can't measure it -- we don't need to -- but we do need to experience it.

My prayer for you today is, "That you may understand how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. May you experience it, though it is so great you will never fully understand it." (Ephesians 3:18-19)

Heavenly Father, we thank you for your love -- a love so great that you gave your one and only Son so that we could have eternal life. Amen.
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« Reply #5556 on: March 16, 2009, 09:33:16 AM »

"The Doll House"

"Hi, Grandma!" exclaimed Tanya as she stepped off the bus. "I'm glad I can spend the weekend with you."

"I am, too," said Grandma, giving Tanya a hug. "How is everything at home?"

Tanya frowned. "I thought it was great that Dad got married again," she said, "but now I don't like Monica."

"Oh, that's too bad," said Grandma as they put Tanya's luggage in the car. After a moment she added, "You know, Tanya, the Bible says to honor your parents. That means your stepmother, too."

"Well, she doesn't honor my mother, so I don't see why I should honor her," declared Tanya stubbornly.

Grandma raised her brows. "What's the problem?"

"She's changing everything," complained Tanya. "Mom had our house just perfect, but Monica moves the furniture and the pictures all around. It's not fair. First I lost my mother, and now I'm losing my home." Then Tanya changed the subject.

After dinner, Grandma took Tanya up to the attic. "Before your mother died, honey, she asked me to give you this when you were old enough," said Grandma, pulling the dust cover off a large object.

"Her doll house!" exclaimed Tanya. "Mom told me how she used to play with it all the time." She  clapped her hands in delight. "I love it! Can I paint it, Grandma? I want the bedroom to be pink, and the old-fashioned parlor can be a rec room."

"Really?" asked Grandma. "But your mother liked it the way it is. Won't your plans dishonor her?"

"I don't see how," protested Tanya. "I'm just . . ." She paused, then said, "Grandma, you gave me this doll house today because of Monica, didn't you?"

Grandma nodded. "God blessed you with a lovely Christian stepmother," she said. "I hope this helps you realize that she is not dishonoring your mother even though she isn't doing things exactly the way your dear mother did."

"I know you're right, Grandma," admitted Tanya with a sigh. She paused. "I need to work harder to obey and honor Monica, too."


HOW ABOUT YOU?
Do you have a stepparent or grandparent? Does it sometimes bother you that things aren't done the same way your biological parent or grandparent would do them? Does it make you angry? Do you feel like causing problems and unhappiness for your stepparent or grandparent? That would not please God. He wants you to show honor and respect to your parents, whether they're your biological parents or stepparents. Honor God by honoring them.


TODAY'S KEY VERSE:
Honor your father and your mother. Exodus 20:12

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« Reply #5557 on: March 17, 2009, 08:32:54 AM »

"Holiday Cover Ups"

"Ow!" yelped Katie. "Quit pinching me, Drew!"

"It's St. Patrick's Day, Katie, and you're not wearing green," said Drew. "That means you get pinched!"

"I am wearing green!" Katie insisted. "My shirt is green. You just can't see it because my sweater is covering it up." She turned to her mother. "Mom, why do people wear green for St. Patrick's Day? Was that his favorite color?"

"It's because he was from Ireland, the Emerald Isle," said Drew. "And St. Patrick found a four leaf clover, which was green. And he drove all the snakes out of Ireland and found a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and . . ."

"Hold on a minute, Drew," said Mom. "Historians tell us Patrick actually grew up in England, but as a teenager he was captured by Irish raiders. He was held as a prisoner for many years. When he finally escaped, he returned to England."

"Wow!" exclaimed Drew. "I bet he was glad to be free! Did he ever go back?"

"He did," said Mom. "It's believed he became a Christian during the time he was a captive, and that after his escape, he felt God leading him back to Ireland as a missionary. Patrick returned to tell them about Jesus."

"Did the people listen to him?" asked Katie.

"Not always," said Mom, "but according to a book I read, he stayed faithful to God. In time, many Irish people turned to the true God and found salvation through Jesus."

"Really? Well, what about stories of him driving snakes out of Ireland and finding four leaf clovers and gold at the end of the rainbow?" asked Drew.

"Those are fables, though I've read that he used a three-leaf clover to help the people understand the Trinity," said Mom. "But the world likes to cover up the real meaning of Christian holidays. Don't let their silly ideas hide the true story-like Katie's sweater is hiding her green shirt."

"I bet it was hard for St. Patrick to forgive the people who hurt him," said Drew. "But he did good to them!"

"Exactly," agreed Mom. "Perhaps that's the real miracle associated with him."

"Yeah," said Katie. She glanced at her brother as she added, "I'm sure St. Patrick didn't pinch people for not wearing green!"


HOW ABOUT YOU?
Have you noticed that the world tries to cover up the true meaning of holidays? Around Easter, did you see much in stores to remind you that Jesus died for you and rose again? Or were the stores filled with bunnies and chicks and eggs and things that have nothing to do with the real meaning of Easter? What about Christmas? Do trees and bells and gifts get more of your attention than the birth of Jesus does? Be sure to learn and remember the true meaning of Christian holidays!


TODAY'S KEY VERSE:
Shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. 2 Timothy 2:16

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« Reply #5558 on: March 18, 2009, 07:56:46 AM »

"Fire! Fire!"

Six-year-old Tony tiptoed into the kitchen. He got a book of matches and a bag of marshmallows. Then he hurried back outside, where his friend Gabe was waiting. Choosing a sandy spot, Tony piled up paper and sticks. Then he lit a match and started a small fire. "We'll roast marshmallows just like Mom does," he told Gabe. But as he spoke, a gust of wind blew pieces of burning paper onto the roof of an old shed in the back yard.

Look!" yelled Gabe in horror as he saw that some of the old wood shingles were beginning to burn. "Fire!"

"Fire! Fire!" screamed Tony, rushing into the house.

Soon fire engines came roaring down the street. The firemen put out the blaze, but not before the shed and some of its contents were badly damaged.   

"I'm s-so s-sorry, Mom," sobbed Tony. "I'll never play with fire again."

That night after everything had calmed down, Tony's older brother told his parents about things that were going on at school and about the behavior of some of his classmates. "Those kids are only twelve or thirteen years old, just like me," said Aaron, "but you should hear them brag about kissing and stuff, Dad. They say it's okay to fool around because everybody's doing it, but it's really not okay, is it?"

Dad shook his head. "If all the kids on our block played with fire, would that make it okay?" he asked.

Aaron laughed. "No way!" he replied. "They'd probably burn down all our houses."

"Well, 'kissing and stuff' is like playing with fire. It can easily get out of control," Dad told him.

"And cause a lot of trouble, like Tony did when he played with fire, right?" asked Aaron.

Dad nodded. "Far worse trouble," he agreed. "Disobeying God about sex can have very serious results. Before you know it, you could be doing things the Bible says are for a husband and wife only. You need to promise God that you'll keep your body pure and not use it in ways that displease Him."


HOW ABOUT YOU?
Do kids your age do things that should wait until they're older-or specifically until they're married? Are you tempted to try some of those things? It's very dangerous! God wants you to keep your body pure and give your special love and affection to the person you marry. Obey Him on this important issue. You'll always be glad you did.


TODAY'S KEY VERSE:
Keep yourself pure. 1 Timothy 5:22

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« Reply #5559 on: March 19, 2009, 08:40:13 AM »

"Tea Party"

"Everything is ready," said Jessica as she twirled around in her pink princess dress. "Teddy Bear is waiting for us." Jessica had helped prepare a tea party for her bear and her friend Lily.

"Okay," said Mom. She set a plate of fancy cakes on the dining room table. It was decorated with a lacy tablecloth and set with Jessica's favorite tea set. "Now all we have to do is pour hot water into the pot and let the tea bags steep."

"What does steep mean?" asked Jessica, watching as Mom poured hot water over pouches of raspberry herbs.

"It means the bags of tea must sit in the hot water for a while to bring the raspberry flavor out of them," replied Mom.

After a minute, Jessica sighed impatiently. "Isn't it ready yet?" she asked.

"I don't think so," replied Mom, "but you may try it." She poured a little into each cup. Jessica blew on it to cool it, then pretended to give a sip to Teddy Bear.

Lily took a sip from her cup. "It tastes like water," she said.

Jessica tried hers and made a face.

"We'll let the tea steep a few more minutes," said Mom. As they waited, she smiled at the girls. "You both like Bible stories, don't you?" she asked. They nodded. "Steeping the tea reminds me of the way we should read our Bibles," Mom said. "If we don't think about the Bible stories and what God is saying through them, they're like the weak tea. They don't add much to our lives." Mom lifted the lid and stirred the tea bags. "Now, ladies, the tea looks ready," she announced.

Mom poured the tea, and the girls tried it again. "I can taste raspberries now," said Jessica. "It's much better, isn't it Lily?"

"Much better!" Lily said with a smile.

"We need to give tea enough time to steep, and when read the Bible, we need to spend enough time thinking about what it says," said Mom.

Jessica tasted the tea again. "When we're done with our tea, let's read a Bible story and let it 'steep' by thinking about it," she said with a grin. "Okay, Lily?"

"Okay," agreed Lily. She glanced at the weak tea remaining in Teddy Bear's cup. "Let's pour Teddy a better cup of tea," she added, "and then he can listen, too."


HOW ABOUT YOU?
Do you think about what you read in your Bible? Do you consider what lesson God may want you to learn from a Bible story or verses you've read? Don't hurry through Bible reading or Bible lessons. Slow down and pick a verse or two for your mind to dwell on. Let them steep. Think about the lesson God has for you. You'll find that you can learn something from God's Word every day.


TODAY'S KEY VERSE:
Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. Psalm 119:97

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« Reply #5560 on: March 20, 2009, 06:47:01 AM »

"No Shipwreck"

Brad nodded as he listened to Pastor Smith. "You need to be anchored in Jesus to withstand the storms of life," said the pastor. I know just what he means, thought Brad. That's like when Dad and I went on that deep-sea fishing trip. His thoughts continued to go over the things that had happened.

Brad recalled that dark clouds had gathered in the sky as the charter boat they were on sailed for home. Soon stabs of lightning flashed, followed by loud booms of thunder. "This storm is coming up really fast," the captain had told the passengers, "and the Coast Guard says we're in for some severe weather. We could try to make it to port, but it would be safer to anchor near the coastline and ride out the storm, so that's what we'll do."

   The passengers had huddled in the ship's cabin as torrents of rain poured down and lightning flashed. At last the captain let down the anchor a little way out from the rocky shore. But the wind and monstrous waves still tossed the boat about as though it were a toy. "I'm scared, Dad," Brad had murmured. "What if we crash into those big rocks?"

   Dad had put his arm around Brad. "Don't worry, Son," he said. "I talked with several crew members, and they told me they've anchored here safely many times. We have a good captain. We can trust him. He knows what he's doing."

Dad was right. Brad thought now. It wasn't very long before long the storm let up and we were back on shore.

Brad's attention turned back to what Pastor Smith was saying. "There's something even worse than a shipwreck at sea," the pastor continued. "It's the shipwreck of a person's soul. You could compare your soul to a ship, and your life on earth to the sea. Perhaps you've experienced difficulties, like sickness, death of loved ones, loss of a job, or disagreements. Such things make life pretty stormy, so you need an anchor. The only anchor that will hold you safe through the storms of life is the Lord Jesus Christ. Put your faith in Him. Trust Him as your Savior."

Brad nodded. He thought of problems he'd had at school with tests and bullies and temptations. Life can be stormy even for kids like me, he thought. I'm glad Jesus is my anchor. He'll see me safely through the storms.


HOW ABOUT YOU?
Are you trusting in Jesus-is He an "anchor" for you? Or are you "sailing through life" with no sure anchor? When difficult things happen, do you feel like you're being tossed about? You need Jesus as an anchor throughout your life, and especially when life on earth ends. Without Him, your soul will be "shipwrecked." Trust in Jesus today, and then someday God will bring you safely to heaven to be forever with Him.


TODAY'S KEY VERSE:
This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast. Hebrews 6:19

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« Reply #5561 on: March 21, 2009, 09:09:38 AM »

"Stop Signs and Christians"

"Look!" exclaimed Kevin as he pointed toward the ditch. "Somebody knocked that stop sign down again."

Dad pulled to the side of the road and got out of the car. "I wish people would learn to slow down when they come around this corner," he said.

Kevin and Marshall got out, too. "What are you going to do?" asked Kevin.

"We'll see if we can put the sign back where it belongs," replied Dad. "If drivers don't stop at this corner, there could be a serious accident." He walked down into the ditch. "Help me carry this back to the road, boys," he added.

"Okay. We're right behind you," said Marshall.

Together the three of them lifted the sign and carried it to the corner. They tried to stand it up against the jagged pole still sticking out of the ground, but it kept falling over. Dad frowned. "Let's lay it down against the pole," he said. "That will have to do until the Highway Department fixes it properly."

"But when we put it down like this, the word 'stop' is sideways," said Kevin. "Won't it be hard for people to read?"

"Yes," said Dad, "but drivers can recognize it by its shape and color, not just by what it says."

"Hey, that's something like what Mr. Pell told us in Sunday school last week," said Marshall. "He says there are ways people can recognize us as Christians besides just hearing what we say. I guess it's sort of like the way people can recognize this sign."

"They can recognize us by our shape and color?" asked Kevin with a grin. He knew that wasn't right.

Marshall laughed. "No, but people can recognize Christians by what they do as well as by what they say-or sometimes by what they don't do or say.  Mr. Pell says we can't expect others to know we're Christians if we swear or lie or cheat like lots of kids do."

"Mr. Pell is right," agreed Dad. "People should know we're Christians by our words-but in addition, our attitudes and actions should show that we belong to God."


HOW ABOUT YOU?
Can people recognize you as a Christian by the way you live? It's great to tell others that you belong to Jesus-you certainly should do that. But remember that living your faith is important, too. Make sure people can see that you're a Christian by the way you behave.  Are you cheerful? Do you cooperate with others? Are you understanding when people share their concerns? Those are a few of the things Jesus would do.


TODAY'S KEY VERSE:
I will show you my faith by my works. James 2:18

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« Reply #5562 on: March 22, 2009, 10:35:19 AM »

"Glasses and Goblets"

"Mom, I told Mrs. Adams I'd help in the nursery on Mother's Day, but I really don't want to. I want to wear my new dress and be in the church service with you that morning." Kristy's expression was downcast.

"I know, but I'm pleased that you agreed to help-and I'm sure the Lord is, too," said Mom as she dusted the China cabinet. She picked up a long-stemmed crystal goblet. "Isn't this just lovely?" she said as she set it on the dining room table with some other crystal pieces. They were all antiques from Kristy's great grandmother, and they sparkled in the sunlight.

"Wow! They look like they're made of diamonds!" Kristy exclaimed. "I wish we could use them at every meal instead of just on special occasions."

Mom smiled. "If we did that, I'm afraid they'd soon be broken," she said, touching them gently. She placed the fragile objects back in the cabinet and closed the glass doors. "Come on, honey," she said. "Let's have lunch."

While her mom made sandwiches, Kristy filled two glasses with milk. She took a big swallow from one and then filled it again. "I guess I like these glasses best after all," she said with a smile. "At least I don't have to worry about chipping an edge or breaking a stem."

Mom set a plate of sandwiches on the table. "Goblets and glasses can be called vessels, and the Bible compares us to vessels," she said. "We tend to use goblets for beauty and ordinary water glasses for usefulness. But as vessels of the Lord, we can be both beautiful and useful. Second Timothy says that if we keep our lives clean and pure, we'll be a 'vessel for honor . . . useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.'" Mom smiled at Kristy. "Beautiful and useful," she murmured again. "Like wearing an old shirt over a new dress."

Kristy laughed. "That's a good idea!" she exclaimed. "Then I could still help in the nursery without worrying about ruining my new dress. I may even start a fashion trend!"

Mom laughed, too. "Remember, Kristy," she added, "Jesus rewards us when we work for Him. The things we do may seem ordinary to us, but they're beautiful in His sight."


HOW ABOUT YOU?
Are you willing to do work that isn't always to your liking? Even if it means you need to change your plans? God uses and rewards those who are willing to do work for Him-even the  "ordinary" jobs. Jesus spent His life serving others. Let Him be your example. What is one thing you can do for someone else today?


TODAY'S KEY VERSE:
Be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. 2 Timothy 2:21

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« Reply #5563 on: March 23, 2009, 08:27:18 AM »

The Power of His Love

"But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself." John 12:32 (NIV)

As you see, we have several small metal objects today. Here's are some paper clips, a washer, a nail, some staples, and a lid from a jar. What else do we have? (Hold up the magnet.) We also have a magnet. What do you think will happen if we hold the magnet over the different objects? Let's try it and see. Oh my! Look how those paper clips are drawn to the magnet! The entire stack is clinging to the magnet. Let's try some of these other items. Do you think the magnet will draw the washer? You are right. How about the staples? Right again. You can probably guess what will happen with the lid from the jar, can't you? Well, you are right. The lid is attracted to the magnet too. The magnet has great power and will draw many objects to itself.

The drawing power of this magnet reminds me of something that Jesus taught about himself. The people who were following Jesus didn't understand why Jesus had come to earth. They thought that he had come to set up an earthly kingdom. But Jesus didn't come to build up an earthly kingdom. His kingdom is in heaven. He came to earth to die for our sins so that we could join him in his heavenly kingdom. Jesus knew that the day of his crucifixion and return to heaven was near, so he spoke to his followers, "I am very troubled," Jesus said. "What should I do? Should I pray to the Father and ask him to save me? No, this is the very reason that I came, and when I am lifted up, I will draw everyone to myself." The Bible tells us that he told them that so that they would know how he was going to die.

The drawing power of this magnet is very strong, but it is nothing compared to the drawing power of Jesus. He willingly died on the cross to pay the price for our sin. When we see his great love, we are drawn to him and when we trust in him, we receive the right to become the children of God.

Even after we become God's children, there may be times when we stray from his teaching and do things that we know are not pleasing to him. Does Jesus stop loving us? No. His love for us is so strong that he draws us back into what he wants us to do.

There is no power stronger than the love of Jesus. He was lifted up on the cross so that everyone would be drawn to him -- and everyone includes you and me.
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« Reply #5564 on: March 23, 2009, 08:29:07 AM »

"Repotted to Grow"

Austin sighed as he flung his backpack to the kitchen floor. His family had moved from Hillsdale to Mapletown, and he missed his old school and all the friends he'd left behind. "Did you have a good day?" his mother asked cheerfully.

Frowning, Austin shook his head. Mom handed him some milk and a cookie. "I know it's hard for you, Son," she said. "Adjusting takes time, but soon you'll be used to your new teacher, and you'll make new friends. And don't forget that one of your old friends is always with you. Jesus is just as close to you here as He was in Hillsdale. Trust Him-He can help you."

"I suppose," said Austin, taking a bite, "but I don't think I'll ever like my new teacher as much as I liked Mr. Jackson. And the kids here play games I never heard of!"

"Well, give your new school a chance," said Mom. "You've been there only a couple of days." She opened the patio door. "How about coming out and helping me fill the planters with the flowers I bought today?" she invited.

"Okay," agreed Austin. They got to work, and when the planting was finished, Austin stood and admired the bright petunias and geraniums.

When Austin came home from school the next day, the plants were drooping. "Mom, what's wrong with the flowers we planted?" he asked.

"Their roots had a bit of a shock when we repotted them," said Mom, "but they'll be all right. They'll adjust, and soon they'll look better than ever." She smiled at Austin. "How was your day?" she asked.

"Well . . ." began Austin. He paused as he recalled things that had happened that day. He smiled, remembering that when he handed in a neat math paper, his teacher had said, "Good job." And at recess time, two boys had asked him to play with them. Maybe it won't be so bad here, after all, he thought.

"You know what?" said Austin with a grin. "I think I'm something like those flowers! Moving here shocked my 'roots,' but I'm adjusting. It's not super-great yet, but maybe I'll really like it here after a while!"

"Good," said Mom. "Keep talking to Jesus about it and trusting Him to help you." She smiled. "I can see that He is helping you already."


HOW ABOUT YOU?
Have you had to move recently or had some other "shock to your roots"? It's normal to "droop" a little at first-to feel lonely or sad for a while. But be patient and learn to trust God for help in adjusting to your new situation. He hasn't changed, and He's with you wherever you are. Talk to Him about your difficulties and ask Him to help you see good things in what's happening in your life. Grow stronger as you learn to accept all the things God lets you experience.


TODAY'S KEY VERSE:
I (God) am with you and will keep you wherever you go. Genesis 28:15

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