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Switch On the Light

Bible Reading:   Ephesians 5:8-14Though your hearts were once full of darkness, now you are full of light from the Lord.   Ephesians 5:8Picture yourself strolling through a portrait art gallery. The room lights are on, but the spotlights that usually shine on the various paintings are off.With the room lights on, you can see the portrait frames. You might even be able to make out some of the faces in the portraits. But only when the spotlights are flipped on and an intense light beams down on each painting can you see all the details—the facial expressions, the skin tones, the eye colors. Only when the spotlights are on can you see the people as the artists intended you to see them.God shines his light on you—a light that shows who he created you to be. But before you see yourself clearly, you need to know how to turn on the lights.You get light from three places:Jesus Christ is your first source of light.John said that Jesus “gives light to everyone” (John 1:4). Jesus called himself …
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Horse Sense

Bible Reading: 1 Peter 1:13-16Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.   1 Peter 1:13, NIVHAVE YOU EVER eaten so much you thought you were going to explode? Most of us have (eaten too much, not exploded!). But did you know that for some animals that is a real danger?For example, horses love oats. If a horse eats his fill of oats, the dry oats tend to make him thirsty. Then, while his stomach is full of dry oats, the horse will start drinking water. The water causes the oats inside his stomach to expand, like a bowl of oatmeal expands when you add water. Before long the horse “founders,” and becomes too sick to walk. He may even die if he doesn’t get help.Pretty gruesome, huh? Tell that to your mom the next time she tells you to eat all your oatmeal (just don’t tell her you read it here!). Seriously, though, here’s the point: An appetite that’s out of control is a dangerous thing.Of cou…

Who Knows You?

Bible Reading:   Psalm 91:1-12He orders his angels to protect you wherever you go.   Psalm 91:11Trevor couldn’t wait to reach middle school. He could finally take Tech Ed. He imagined that his first class project would be to put a loft in his bedroom. His next would be to build a house-sized half-pipe for backyard skateboarding. And his crowning achievement would be to erect an Olympic-sized ski jump on the empty lot behind his school.Trevor was totally disappointed when he learned that Tech Ed class only lasted forty-five minutes. He was wildly discouraged when his teacher said his first assignment was to make a little knickknack for home, picking from a half dozen designs for napkin holders, recipe boxes, and dresser organizers. But Trevor doubled over in dismay when he received his project back. The grading sheet attached by the teacher screamed “F.” At the top of the sheet was scrawled a question: “What is it?”If you’re looking at someone’s thingamabob school project and you can’t…

The Boy in the Mirror

Bible Reading:   Ephesians 4:26-32Don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you. Think about it overnight and remain silent.   Psalm 4:4AN OLD CHINESE folktale tells the story of a young boy who had never seen a mirror before. One day while the boy was playing outside, his father brought home a mirror and hung it on the wall of the house. Sometime later, after his father had gone back out to the fields to work, the boy came home.He saw the mirror on the wall but didn’t understand what it was. He looked with fascination at the boy in the mirror. He thought his reflection was a boy who had come to play with him. He waved, and the boy in the mirror waved back. He smiled, and the boy in the mirror smiled back. He said, “Let’s play!” and the boy in the mirror said, “Let’s play!” at the same time.When the boy walked out of the hut, he looked around for his new friend. But the boy in the mirror did not follow him outside. He waited, and the boy in the mirror did not come. Finally, he bega…

Poor Doubting Thomas

Bible Reading: John 20:24-29Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!   John 20:27Not many people have nice things to say about the disciple Thomas.After Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to the disciples behind closed doors, Thomas wasn’t with them. So when the disciples told Thomas that Jesus was alive, he didn’t believe them. “I won’t believe it,” he said, “unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side” (John 20:25). When Jesus later appeared to Thomas, the Lord took him up on his offer. He said, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” (verse 27).Talk about it: What do you think of Thomas? Is he a model for our faith—or would it have been better to leave his story out of the Bible?Okay, so Thomas wasn’t as bad as Judas, the guy who betrayed Jesus. He might not even have been as awful as Peter, who denied the Lord three times. But of…

A Difference That Counts

Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 6:11Now your sins have been washed away, and you have been set apart for God.   1 Corinthians 6:11Suppose you’re chatting with a non-Christian about Jesus. You think you’re getting your point across with your gentle and ultrawise persuasion—until you get bopped over the head with this line: “Well,” your friend smirks, “people who are dead stay that way. They don’t rise from the dead.”You can’t make Jesus rise again in a laboratory. But you can point to the Bible for evidence of the empty tomb. Along with that, you can supply an additional sign of life: the change that happens to people when they trust Jesus.Talk about it: Do you think that the changed lives of Christians prove anything about the truth of what we believe?Suppose you are a non-Christian. You have a friend who one day says, “You know, a year ago I trusted Jesus. He’s totally changed my life. I used to scream at my parents. I always trash-talked my little sister. I was totally selfish. I’m not…

Through the Knothole

Bible Reading: Romans 8:28-30And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.   Romans 8:28NORMAN ROCKWELL WAS a famous twentieth-century American painter. Many of his paintings were originally created for magazine covers, which made Rockwell one of the most famous artists of his time.One of Rockwell’s paintings depicted a little boy watching a baseball game through a knothole in the ballpark fence. The boy presses his eye tightly against the hole, but he can see only straight ahead. He can’t see anything to either side of the field, and he’s blind to anything that happens close to the fence. The players and umpires on the field and the spectators in the stands can see the whole game. But the boy looking through the knothole can only see a small part of what’s going on.We are like the boy looking through the knothole. Our view of life is like his view of that baseball game. We don’t know what g…

Bad Influences

Bible Reading: Psalm 1:1-6Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.   Psalm 1:1, NIVTHERE ONCE WAS a young woman who was being shown around a large coal-mining camp in West Virginia along with a group of businesspeople. All the others on the tour were dressed in jeans and work shirts, while she wore a sparkling white dress.As the group prepared to enter the rickety old elevator that would take them down a shaft into the underground coal mine, their guide paused and looked at the woman in the white dress.“Are you sure you want to go down to the mines, ma’am?” he asked her.The woman looked slightly offended. “Well, why not?”The man cleared his throat nervously. “You’re wearing a white dress,” he said.“Anyone can see that,” the woman answered. “There’s nothing to prevent me from wearing a white dress into a coal mine if I want to.”The man nodded and shrugged. “Yes, ma’am,” he said as he closed the door …

Believing Isn’t Rocket Science

Bible Reading: Matthew 28:1-7He isn’t here! He has been raised from the dead, just as he said would happen. Matthew 28:6A man and a woman wearing lab coats enter a laboratory. She holds a clipboard and pencil, and he clasps a small white rectangular object. The man puts the white object in a small glass tank filled with water. It bobs to the surface. The woman makes a note on her clipboard. The man again pushes the object to the bottom of the tank. It again bobs to the surface. The woman writes.After performing the event over and over, the scientists come to a stunning con­clusion: Ivory soap floats. It has been proven scientifically.True or false: A science experiment is the only way to prove if a fact is true.That’s absolutely false. The scientific method is a great tool for getting smart, but it isn’t the only way to prove something.If science experiments were the only way to get at truth, then you wouldn’t be able to prove that Abraham Lincoln was ever president of the United Stat…

The Game of Life

Bible Reading: Isaiah 64:4-5You welcome those who cheerfully do good, who follow godly ways.   Isaiah 64:5SUPPOSE YOU HAVE the opportunity to make up a game. You design your own playing board. You make playing pieces out of little trinkets you find around the house. You even write down the rules.Then two of your friends come over. You spread the playing board on the floor. You carefully explain the rules of the game. Then you generously allow someone else to take the first turn.Everything goes fine for a while. The game is even more fun than you thought. But then one of your friends makes an illegal move.“You can’t do that,” you say. “Remember the rules?”“I don’t agree with your rules. I think the game will work better if I get to use my own rules.”“Hey,” your other friend says, “if you get to make up rules, I should get to make up rules.”“But I already told you what the rules are!” you say. But it’s too late. Your friends aren’t listening. They’re playing by their own rules. And they…

Close Your Eyes to Blind Faith

Bible Reading: John 8:31-32You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.   John 8:32You’re trying to tell a friend about Jesus when she starts to sound like a college professor. “So,” she says with a creepy voice and one eyebrow raised, “can you prove with 100 percent certainty that Jesus rose from the dead?”You’re not sure where your friend suddenly got the jumbo-sized brain and smart-sounding question. Your answer comes out in a mousy squeak. “Umm, no.”Some people call our Christian belief in Jesus’ resurrection a “blind faith.” That’s a belief accepted without any proof. Or they slam our faith with nasty labels like “ignorant,” “irrational,” or “unreasonable.” Those are all big words that more or less mean the same thing as “dumb.” If someone puts you down this way, you’re probably left feeling red-faced. Odd. Stupid. Defeated.Some people figure that if a truth can’t be proven with 100 percent certainty, it’s useless or untrue. If Jesus’ resurrection or his claim to be …

Are You Sure You’re Sure?

Bible Reading: 2 Timothy 1:9-14I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return.   2 Timothy 1:12Night after night little Ricky was scared to crawl into bed. He struggled to go to sleep as spooky thoughts kept him wide-awake. He saw creepy shapes float across the ceiling. He feared that monsters hid in the dark shadows of his closet. He thought he could hear big-fanged creatures munch on the dust bunnies under his bed.Believe it or not, some of us are haunted by some even scarier spiritual questions. We might wonder, Am I really saved? Has anything in my life really changed? If I’m a Christian, then why don’t I feel any different? We might think, Maybe I’m not really a Christian. Maybe I didn’t do it right.Talk about it: Do you ever worry that you really aren’t a Christian?For Satan, the enemy of your soul, every day is Halloween. Satan is always on the job, trying to scare the truth out of you and make you…

Shine

Bible Reading:   Philippians 2:12-15You are to live clean, innocent lives as children of God in a dark world full of crooked and perverse people. Let your lives shine brightly before them.   Philippians 2:15A WEALTHY BUSINESSMAN in India was preparing to retire. He called his two sons into his office and told them of his plans.“Now, you are both good sons and capable young men,” he said. “I can’t decide who I should put in charge of my business and all my property. So, I have chosen a test for you.” He gave a coin to each son and said, “Take this coin and buy something that will fill this house.”Now, the coin he had given each of his sons was of little value and his house was large with many rooms. Each son knew the task would be difficult.The older son wasted no time. He hurried to the marketplace and began pricing all sorts of bulky materials. He soon decided that the cheapest and bulkiest thing he could buy was straw. So he bought as much straw as his coin would buy and carried gre…

Now or Later?

Bible Reading: Hebrews 10:32-36Do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord, no matter what happens. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now.   Hebrews 10:35-36YOU CAN GET a lot of things instantly these days: instant coffee, instant oatmeal, even “instant winner” lottery tickets. But there are still things that take time. You can’t get a high school diploma overnight. You can’t grow a sunflower in thirty minutes or less. You can’t lose weight instantly (no matter what the infomercials say!). You can’t even make instant Jell-O instantly; you have to put it in the refrigerator and let it gel.The problem is, all those things we can get instantly make it harder for us to wait for other things. We’re so used to “fast food” that we can’t stand to wait more than a few minutes for dinner in a restaurant (and if we do, we complain about the service!). We’re so used to “quick fixes” that we moan and groan when we unwrap a Christmas present that say…

Claim It and Enjoy It!

Bible Reading:   Hebrews 10:11-14

Our High Priest offered himself to God as one sacrifice for sins, good for all time.   Hebrews 10:12Trish told Angela a secret. Guess what? Angela told someone else. Ever since then, Angela has felt like a traitor, a two-timer, especially since Trish found out about it. Now every morning on the school bus, Angela apologizes to Trish.Finally Trish stopped her. “Angela,” she said, “I’ve already forgiven you.”“But I want to make sure that we’re still friends,” she insisted.“Of course we are,” Trish said. “I need you to believe that I’ve forgiven you.”Just like in our human relationships, some Christians have a hard time believing God has really forgiven their sins. They imagine God keeps a record of all our sins, waiting for the day when he will bring them up again and use them against us.To experience the freedom of God’s forgiveness, take these steps:Remember that God loves you unconditionally. You are God’s special child. He paid a high price for your …

The Disguise of Darkness

Bible Reading:   John 3:16-21

Those who do what is right come to the light gladly, so everyone can see that they are doing what God wants.   John 3:21WHEN DO YOU suppose most violent crimes are committed: during daylight hours or at night?When do you think burglars do their work: during daylight hours or at night?When do you imagine most vandalism (breaking windows, damaging property, and so on) happens: during daylight hours or at night?When do you think most arsonists (people who set fire to things on purpose) do their work: during daylight hours or at night?If you answered “at night” to all those questions, you’re correct. But why is that? Why do so many murders or muggings take place at night? Why do people wait until after dark to break windows or set fires?Because it’s dark, of course! People who don’t want to be caught doing something wrong will wait until it’s dark, so the darkness will disguise their deeds. That’s what Jesus meant when he said that people “loved the darkness m…

Love No Matter What

Bible Reading: Romans 5:6-11

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.   Romans 5:6Chris and Phil were lifelong chums, friends since meeting at the playground wading pool when they were two years old. They had never even had a fight—until eighth grade, that is, when Andrew Patterson walked into their lives. Andrew’s family had moved to their town from out of state at the beginning of the school year. One Saturday when Chris told Phil he would meet him at the roller-skating rink the way he always did, he was shocked. Andrew had already asked Phil to meet him there. And Phil had said yes!So will Chris still be friends with Phil, or will he yell, “You dirty rat!” and never talk to him again? The answer depends on whether or not Chris has learned how to love like Jesus loved—unconditionally—no strings attached.Jesus knows what it means to be let down and rejected by friends. When Jesus was arrested, “all the disciples deserted him and fled” …

Steer Clear!

Bible Reading: Proverbs 4:14-15

Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way.   Proverbs 4:14-15, NIVA WEALTHY MAN was once searching for a chauffeur to drive his limousine. Many people applied for the job, but the millionaire picked only a few to take a driving test.The millionaire sat comfortably in the back of the limousine and told the first applicant to begin driving. As they drove along a narrow mountain road, the millionaire called to the driver, “See how close you can steer us to the edge of the cliff without falling off.” The driver, eager to show his skill, steered the expensive car within a few feet of the dangerous bluff. When they returned to the mansion, the millionaire said, “Thank you. We’ll let you know.”The second driver then slipped behind the steering wheel. Again, the millionaire said, “See how close you can steer us to the edge of the cliff without falling off.” The driver,…

Loving People … Honestly

Bible Reading: Ephesians 4:14-16

We will hold to the truth in love, becoming more and more in every way like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.   Ephesians 4:15Talk about it: Suppose you spotted a friend asleep in the middle of the street and a car was approaching. What would you do?No question, right? You would run to the middle of the road and shake your friend awake—even if you had to slap him or splash a soda in his face. You would point to the oncoming car. You would grab him by the hand and run for safety.That one was easy. But sometimes we see our friends making poor choices—choices that in the long run can be just as destructive as waking up in the middle of a road to meet an oncoming car face-first. Maybe you have friends in the habit of lying, stealing, or disobeying their parents. Or perhaps you know someone interested in smoking or even doing drugs. You know what you shouldsay and what you want to say. But it’s a little harder to spit out the words, isn’t it?O…

What’s So Funny?

Bible Reading: Ephesians 5:4

Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God.   Ephesians 5:4So have you learned any good jokes in the locker room—or at a slumber party? Do you have any you’d like to share right now—during family devotions? Maybe not.You probably know firsthand how quickly guy-talk and girl-talk and even guy-girl talk can slide into the category of rudely crude. You’ve maybe heard some jokes that were hysterically funny—but that sizzled your ears.Talk about it: Is it okay for the same mouth that says “I love Jesus” to also say “Did you hear the one about. . .”? Why—or why not?Maybe you wonder what the fuss is about. Then answer this: If dirty jokes are no big deal, why don’t you run home to tell them to your mom? If you won’t share your most comic material with Mom, it’s good to understand why. Fact is, crude humor makes us think our bodies are dirty… that it’s okay to make fun of the opposite sex … and t…

Two Towers of Strength

Bible Reading: Jude 1:20-24

But you, dear friends, must continue to build your lives on the foun­dation of your holy faith. And continue to pray as you are directed by the Holy Spirit.   Jude 1:20THE GOLDEN GATE Bridge stretches across San Francisco Bay in California. This bridge, perhaps the most famous bridge in the whole world, was completed in 1937. It’s one of the longest suspension bridges in the world, stretching for 8,891 feet (or one and three-quarter miles—that’s almost thirty football fields long!).Now, the Golden Gate Bridge spans a channel where very strong winds blow. That area has been hit by many earthquakes, some of them strong enough to topple buildings and collapse expressways. Yet the Golden Gate Bridge has withstood those earthquakes and is as strong today as when it was built.You want to know how the Golden Gate can stand while many other structures all around it have cracked or crumbled?Part of the secret is in the foundation. You see, the builders of the Golden …

Bob’s Secret

Bible Reading: Psalm 44:1-8

Only by your power can we push back our enemies; only in your name can we trample our foes.   Psalm 44:5THE MOVIE What about Bob? starred Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss in an odd comedy about a psychologist and one of his patients, a man afraid of almost everything. Bob, the patient, follows the psychologist to his vacation home. The psychologist is angry at Bob, but the doctor’s family thinks Bob is fun. In fact, they even take Bob sailing—his first time—and tie him to the mast so he won’t chicken out!When Bob arrives back at the dock, he sees his psychiatrist and begins yelling excitedly, “I sailed! I sailed! I’m a sailor! I actually went sailing!” Later, a calmer Bob explains to the doctor’s son (who has a few fears of his own), “I just let the boat do all the work.. . . That’s my secret.”Bob’s “secret” is actually a lot wiser than it may sound.You see, a lot of people—people who love God and want to obey him—think it’s their job to do good things and a…

God’s Version of Superglue

Bible Reading:   Genesis 2:18-25

A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. Genesis 2:24There’s an incredible secret you need to know about married love. And you’re old enough to know all about it. Ready? Here it is: If you want to have a long-lasting, love-filled marriage someday, you need one special ingredient: superglue.You might be thinking, Whoa! God wants me and my spouse to glue our eye­brows together so we’ll always see eye-to-eye?Not exactly. God has a deeper kind of glue. Genesis 2:24 commands a man to be glued to his wife. That’s what “joined” means. When husband and wife are glued to­gether with God’s superglue, they become one in a marriage that will last.Falling in love—the emotional side of love—is a lot like the glue stick you have in your desk at school. It isn’t strong enough to hold a marriage together. Even in the best relationships, feelings come and go. They don’t make an unbreakable bond or a lifelong marriage.…

Jukebox Way

Bible Reading: James 1:19-25

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.   James 1:22, NIVYOU’RE ON VACATION with your parents. You wanted to go on a two-week tour of the best amusement parks in the world, but your mom and dad overruled you. You’re going to the International Jukebox Museum instead.You’ve been in the car with your parents and your little sister for four days, and if she sings “If You’re Happy and You Know It” one more time, you’ll knock yourself unconscious against the window. Your dad has stopped the car only once in those four days, announcing as you poured yourself out of the car, “We leave in three minutes.” Lately, however, you’ve noticed that the scenery seems to be repeating itself.“Are we lost?” you ask.“No,” Dad says in a voice of exasperation. “We’re almost there.”“Daddy, I have to go to the bathroom,” your little sister says.“Why don’t you just ask for directions?” your mom suggests.“I don’t need directions. I know where I’m …

Divorce Is a Dirty Word

Bible Reading:   Mark 10:1-10

Since they are no longer two but one, let no one separate them, for God has joined them together.   Mark 10:8-9Mike and Jessica were both high school students when they met in the supermarket where they worked as clerks. They started to date and fell madly in love. They married before graduation and before their first anniversary Jessica gave birth to an adorable baby. But during their second year, Mike and Jessica fell out of love almost as quickly as they had fallen in. They ended their Cinderella romance with a divorce.Most of us know some couples—acquaintances, neighbors, friends, maybe even parents—who have become victims of the divorce epidemic that rages in our culture. Sadly—and for a variety of reasons—divorce happens among Christians too. Divorce is a topic many Christians argue about today.Divorce was a hot issue in Bible times too. The Old Testament referred to a man divorcing his wife if he “discovers something about her that is shameful” (emp…

“Mister, Are You God?”

Bible Reading: Psalm 145:8-13

The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.   Psalm 145:13, NIVCHRISTIAN YOUTH SPEAKER and author Doug Fields has shared a story of an event that happened after World War II.At the end of that devastating war, much of Europe lay in ruins. Buildings had been bombed and burned out, streets lay under dust and rubble, and many orphaned children wandered the streets, picking among the ruins for clothes and food.Early one morning an American soldier was driving his jeep through the war-torn streets of London. As he turned a corner, he spied a little boy, dressed in rags. The boy stood with his nose pressed against the steamed window of a pastry shop. Inside, the cook was working a large lump of dough for a fresh batch of doughnuts.The soldier pulled his jeep to the curb and stopped. He got out, strode into the little shop, and bought a dozen doughnuts. Then he left the store and offered the bag of fresh doughnuts to the boy. “Here…

Soaring Above the Storm

Bible Reading:   Isaiah 40:25-31

Those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.   Isaiah 40:31Terry just got a D on his report card. Carlos was cut from the team. Shannon was back-stabbed by a friend. Situations like these can be heartbreaking. And for some the pain goes even deeper—like Melinda, whose mom and dad are going through a divorce. Or Suzanne, whose best friend was killed last month in a car accident. Or Corey, who was just diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.Have you ever noticed that no one escapes hard times? Some of those times are life-and-death situations. Others are just frustrations or setbacks. But without exception, they all cause agonizing pain. They make us feel like our world is caving in. And at times like these there is nothing we need more than an eye-popping look at who God is. Think about this wonderful description in Isaiah 40:• God is all-powerful…

Guessing Game

Bible Reading: Isaiah 46:3-10

To whom will you compare me? Who is my equal?   Isaiah 46:5IN THE MOOD for a quick guessing game? Let’s try it.You already know that a pattern is a form or a model that’s imitated in making something else. For example, you may use a pattern to make a dress. You may use a cookie cutter to make cookies in a certain “pattern.” Right? Well, let’s play a guessing game about different kinds of patterns. Circle the answers you think are correct.1. The pattern for the shape of an airplane isa. the shape of an ocean vessel.b. the human body.c. the body of a bird.2. The pattern for a duck hunter’s decoy isa. Donald Duck.b. Daffy Duck.c. a real duck.3. The pattern for everything that is “good” and “right” isa. individual opinion.b. human tradition.c. the nature and character of God.You probably don’t have to be told that the shape of an airplane is patterned mostly after the body of a bird, and that the pattern for a duck hunter’s decoy is the shape and coloring of a…

Being the Right Kind of Friend

Bible Reading:   James 1:17-18

Whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God above. . . . He never changes or casts shifting shadows.   James 1:17Emily’s fifth-grade class was in the middle of a math test when Mrs. Chen got called out into the hall. Emily noticed the teacher had left the room, but she quickly focused her brain back on the word problem she was working on.“Psst, Emmy,” she heard from behind her. She glanced over her shoulder and saw her friend Charlotte leaning forward trying to get her attention. “I’m stuck. What’s the answer on number five?”“Shhh,” Emily whispered. “I can’t help you. That would be cheating.”“Don’t be a dork,” Charlotte said. “You know I didn’t get a chance to study last night.”Emily turned back to her own desk, and then she heard the words she dreaded to hear: “Come on, Emmy. If you’re really my friend, you’ll help me with this test.”Talk about it: Was Charlotte right? Does true friendship really mean you’ll do whatever your friends ask, even when …

“The Smartest Kid in the World”

Bible Reading:   Proverbs 9:9-12

If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit. If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer.   Proverbs 9:12THREE PEOPLE—a minister and two kids—once went on a short sight-seeing flight in a small, four-passenger plane. One of the kids had just been honored in a national newsmagazine as “the smartest kid in the world.”Suddenly, the pilot shouted to his passengers over the roar of the engine. “We’ve got a big problem!” he said. “Our gas tank has a leak in it, and we’re going to run out of gas in just a couple minutes. We’re going to have to jump!”“That’s not so bad,” the minister said, forcing a nervous smile. “I’ve always wanted to learn to skydive!”The pilot shook his head. “We only have three parachutes. One of us isn’t going to make it! I’ve got a family. I can’t leave them alone without a father.”“Well, I’m the smartest kid in the world,” said the one kid. “I may be the only person who can discover a cure for cancer or AIDS or something l…

The Futility of Hoop-Jumping

Bible Reading:   1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes, or powerful, or wealthy when God called you.   1 Corinthians 1:26Have you ever seen pro athletes from rival teams being interviewed before a big game? They come on camera all pumped, talking up their team—and trashing the other guys. “We have the strongest defense in the nation,” they brag. “There’s no way they’re getting past us today.”Bragging is part of the game. But it’s pointless. No matter what athletes say and no matter how sure they are of stomping the other team, the game is still won or lost on the field.It’s easy to laugh at sports figures who try to impress others with their triumphs. But Christians often fall into the trap of relying on all the good things we’ve done to win God’s favor.Take a vote: Which of these great deeds are good enough to impress God—and maybe get someone into heaven?• I got straight A’s on all my Sunday school report cards.• I pl…

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  • The Soul’s Amen - Then I will keep the promise I swore on oath to your ancestors to give them a land flowing with milk and honey.” That is the very land that you still live ...
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  • When it is just you! - Passage: John 1140 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus l...
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  • The Length Of God's Love - By Rick Warren “I know that your love will last for all time, that your faithfulness is as permanent as the sky” (Psalm 89:2 TEV). There’s a limit to human...
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  • Tuhan yang Mempertobatkan - Zakharia 12:10-14 Kita yang sudah jatuh dalam dosa dan sudah mati kerohaniannya tidak mungkin dapat bertobat. Namun, jika Tuhan menghidupkan kerohanian kit...
    4 weeks ago