Keys For Kids Ministries

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Keys For Kids Ministries is a children's ministry organization, offering Keys for Kids, Down Gilead Lane, and much more.

Keys For Kids Ministries

    • Sep 22, 2023 LATEST EPISODE
    • daily NEW EPISODES
    • 1,136 EPISODES

    4.6 from 275 ratings Listeners of Keys For Kids Ministries that love the show mention: homeschooling, influence, god, night, every day, reading, start, love, stories, story, help, thanks, good, listening, great podcast, life, time, show, thank you keys for kids, uncle charlie.

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    Latest episodes from Keys For Kids Ministries

    The Right Way

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 22, 2023

    Bible Reading: John 14:1-6As August walked down the hallway at school, he saw a little boy crying up ahead. An older girl August's age was talking to him. "Don't cry, I know how to get to Miss Shelby's classroom," August heard the girl say as he got closer. "You go that way until you get to the gym, then turn right and go three doors down, and that's Miss Shelby's room." August frowned. Those directions weren't right!As the girl went on her way, August approached the little boy. "Hey, you're new here, aren't you?" The boy looked at him, wide-eyed, and nodded. "That girl gave you wrong directions," said August. "You have to turn left at the gym, not right." The boy's lip began to tremble, and August patted his shoulder. "Look," he said, "I'll take you there. Okay?" The boy smiled and nodded, and soon August had delivered him to his classroom.When August got home later that day, he told his mom what had happened. "I'm glad you were there to help," said Mom. "By the way, Milo's mom texted me. Milo wants you to go to Bible club with him tomorrow night. I hope you'll go.""Okay," said August. "But Mom, I wish you'd quit worrying about whether I'm going to heaven." His mom had recently become a Christian, and she often tried to talk to him about trusting in Jesus too. "I'll be there," August said with a smirk. "Uncle Scott says I'm such a good kid that if anybody makes it to heaven, it'll be me!""Well, I agree with Uncle Scott that you're a good kid," said Mom. "But he's wrong about the way to heaven. I'm afraid you're like that little boy at school. He was ready to follow directions from someone who didn't really know the way." Mom paused for a moment. "God tells us how we can be saved and have eternal life. His Word--the Bible--says it's not people's goodness that will get them to heaven. You were that boy's way to his class--you took him there. And Jesus is the only way to heaven. We need Him to save us and make us right with God so we can spend eternity with Him."August was startled. Maybe Mom's right, he thought. I need to make sure I'm going the right way. - Mary Rose PearsonHow About You?Are you following the right directions to heaven? God's directions are the only ones that can be trusted, and they're found in His book, the Bible. He says Jesus is the way--the only way--to be saved from sin and have eternal life. Don't be fooled into thinking you can get to heaven any other way. Trust in Jesus today. (To learn more, click the "Good News!" button in the right column of this page.)Today's Key Verse:There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. (NIV) (Proverbs 14:12)Today's Key Thought:Jesus is the way to heaven

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    The Bear Facts

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 21, 2023

    Bible Reading: Ephesians 5:8-10, 15-17Brighton was excited as she and her father took their places on the tree stand. It was the first time Dad had taken her bow hunting. As Brighton squinted into the low sun, her gaze froze on something large and black among the trees. She nudged her father and whispered, "Dad, look! What's that? It's coming this way!"Just then the animal stood on its hind legs, and they saw that it was a large black bear. It raised its head and sniffed the air. Brighton and Dad quietly watched in amazement; this was a rare sight in that area. Still sniffing, the bear cautiously moved toward the edge of the woods. Sitting on its haunches where it could see the area beyond the woods, it gazed longingly at a field of unharvested corn. After several minutes of checking and smelling, the bear ventured cautiously toward the cornfield. It hesitated when it reached the edge of the field, then turned back to the safety of the woods. Driving home later, Brighton talked excitedly about the bear. "Did you see how much he wanted to get that corn? But he didn't go get it. I wonder why.""He probably sensed danger, and he was too smart to take a chance by going out into the open," said Dad. "We could learn a lesson from him." "We could?" asked Brighton.Dad nodded. "That bear was wise to avoid going into danger, and we need to be wise too. We need to think about how our actions affect others and avoid putting ourselves in situations where we might be tempted to sin. The Bible tells us to think carefully about the way we live, and we can do that because we trust in Jesus and have His Spirit in our hearts. He gives us wisdom and guides us in how to live so that others can see we belong to Jesus."When they got home, Mom asked about their hunting trip. "Don't make up some big story about hundreds of deer," she joked. "Just give me the bare facts."Dad grinned and winked at Brighton. "All right," he said. "We'll give you the bear facts!" - Lois A. TeufelHow About You?Are you careful about the way you live? Do you avoid putting yourself in situations where you might be tempted to do wrong? Do you think about other people's feelings before you say or do something that might be hurtful? If you know Jesus, you have the ability to turn away from sin and show others His love. Trust Him to help you make wise choices that reflect His light to those around you.Today's Key Verse:Be careful how you live. Don't live like fools, but like those who are wise. (NLT) (Ephesians 5:15 )Today's Key Thought:Live wisely

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    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 20, 2023

    Bible Reading: Psalm 139:13-14Hazel dropped her backpack by the door and trotted out to the garage to find Mom, clad in jeans and an old T-shirt, sitting at her potter's wheel. As she watched, her mom wet her hands, placed her thumbs near the center of the lump of clay, and pressed downward as it spun on the wheel. Before her eyes, the mass of clay became hollow, narrowed, and grew in height. "How was your day at school?" asked Mom.Hazel thought a moment before answering. "It was all right, I guess. My classes were fine, but some of my friends teased me because I'm the shortest."Moving her hands to the outside of the lump of clay, Mom applied a bit of pressure to the sides of her vessel as it spun on the pottery wheel, making the clay elongate dramatically and grow taller. "That wasn't very nice of them."Hazel sighed. "Yeah, well, I wish I was taller, but there's nothing I can do about it."Mom continued to gently push the sides of clay inward, making them rise even higher. Suddenly, the hollow column of clay that was forming bent over to the side and collapsed. "Oh no!" exclaimed Hazel. "Your vase is ruined! It can't hold any flowers now. It's all bent."To her surprise, Mom replied, "Who said it was a vase?"Looking confused, Hazel asked, "Well, what is it then? It can't be much good like that.""No?" asked Mom. "You can't see what I see because you're comparing it to what you think pottery should look like. But I see it in light of the purpose I designed it for, and I say it's perfect. And since I'm the one who created it, my opinion is the only one that counts.""Okay," said Hazel. "So what is it?""It's a metaphor," said Mom. "For my daughter. To show her how God sees her, and that His opinion is the only one that counts."Hazel rolled her eyes. "Okay, Mom, I get it. Your sculpture is beautiful because you created it, just like I'm beautiful, and the perfect height, because God created me. You don't have to hit me over the head with it."Mom smiled. "Sometimes I do." - Kelsie InghamHow About You?Do you ever wish that you looked different? It's easy to compare ourselves to everyone else and feel like we don't measure up. But guess what? Everyone else is usually doing the same thing! Instead, remember that God created you just the way He wanted you. He thinks you're beautiful, and His opinion is the only one that counts.Today's Key Verse:Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we all are the work of your hands. (CSB) (Isaiah 64:8)Today's Key Thought:You were formed by God

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    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 19, 2023

    Bible Reading: Luke 15:1-10Skye slipped out the front door and started down the sidewalk. Mom was busy working on her computer, so Skye had decided she'd go to the park and play for a little while, even though she wasn't allowed to go by herself. I'll get back before Mom even misses me, she thought.After turning a corner, Skye heard a dog barking behind her. She was afraid of dogs and began to run. She dodged through a side yard and came out on the next street. Skye was relieved to find that the dog had not followed. She kept walking down the street for a couple blocks before she realized nothing looked familiar. Where am I? she wondered with a feeling of terror."Hi there," said a man who was out working in his yard. "Are you lost?" Skye quickly took off in the opposite direction. She knew she wasn't supposed to talk to strangers. But where's the park? she wondered. After turning another corner, she stood still. Now she was definitely lost. Her eyes filled with tears as she sat down on the curb.After what seemed like a long, long time, a familiar car rounded the corner. It stopped, the door opened, and out jumped Mom. Skye burst into tears, and Mom gathered her into her arms. "I didn't think you'd come," Skye said, sobbing. "I thought you were busy working.""I was working," said Mom. "But when I realized you were missing, I left everything and came looking for you. Nothing could be more important." She looked at Skye. "I don't think I've ever been so glad to see anyone."Skye wiped her eyes. "Even though I did something I wasn't supposed to?""Even though you did something you weren't supposed to," said Mom.Skye burst into tears again. "I'm sorry, Mom.""It's okay," said Mom. "We'll talk more about it at home. Some of our neighbors are looking for you too, and I need to let them know you've been found."As Mom drove, Skye felt relieved she wasn't lost anymore. She remembered a story she'd heard at church about a shepherd who had gone to look for a lost sheep, and how that was like Jesus coming to save those lost in sin. I'm so glad Mom found me, Skye thought. And I'm so glad Jesus found me too. - Hazel W. MarettHow About You?Have you ever been lost? It's a terrible feeling, isn't it? Did you know that all people were born lost--lost in sin? But you're so important to Jesus that He left heaven and came to earth to find you. Trust Him to save you from sin. (To learn more, click the "Good News!" button in the right column of this page.) Then let others know you've been found!Today's Key Verse:The Son of Man [Jesus] has come to seek and to save the lost. (CSB) (Luke 19:10 )Today's Key Thought:Jesus is seeking you

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    No Giving Up!

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 18, 2023

    Bible Reading: Mark 1:16-20; 1 Corinthians 15:58"Oh no! A fish got my bait again!" Ryder exclaimed as he pulled his fishing line out of the water. "That's it. I give up!" Ryder laid his pole on the ground. "Okay if I go check the frog pond?" he asked. Dad nodded, so Ryder wandered off through the well-known woods on Grandpa's farm, leaving his father to fish alone.When Ryder returned a half hour later, Dad grinned at him. "Look, Ryder! I believe I've hooked something!" Dad tugged on his line and brought a flapping, struggling fish to shore. Ryder was surprised to see that there were also several other fish in his pail."How'd you do it, Dad?" asked Ryder."Just by keeping at it," Dad said. "You'll never catch a fish with your fishing pole on the ground."Ryder picked up his pole and baited his hook again. As they continued fishing, he said, "Maybe Callum and Max are like these fish you caught." Dad raised his brows. "I don't think your friends would be very flattered to hear you compare them to fish," he said. "What do you mean?""Well, more than once I've tried to tell them about Jesus--I guess I was fishing for people, like Jesus said we're supposed to do. But they never want to talk about God or come to church or anything." Ryder paused. "They don't seem interested at all, so last week I decided I'd just quit. It didn't seem like it was worth it to keep trying to help them know more about Jesus.""And now you're wondering about that decision?" asked Dad.Ryder nodded. "Maybe it's like our fishing today. Maybe I just need to keep at it a little longer.""That's good thinking," said Dad. "Jesus promises to help us share the good news that He died and rose again to save us with others, but it isn't something that can always be done quickly or easily. But don't give up--keep praying for your friends and letting them see what Jesus has done in your life, and trust Him to give you more opportunities to talk to them about Him.""Okay, I will." Suddenly, Ryder felt a tug on his line. "Dad!" he exclaimed. "I think I got one!" - Mary Rose PearsonHow About You?Have you tried to get somebody interested in spiritual things and gotten discouraged? Have you stopped trying to talk to someone about Jesus or inviting them to church, thinking it's just no use? Don't give up. It's God's job to open people's hearts to the message of the gospel, but He can use you to point them in the right direction. Keep doing what you can to point them toward Jesus and trust Him with the rest.Today's Key Verse:Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (NIV) (1 Corinthians 15:58)Today's Key Thought:Keep on sharing Jesus

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    Flying Too High

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 17, 2023

    Bible Reading: Proverbs 16:17-20; Romans 12:3"Mr. Hillis read another story from Greek mythology to our class today," said Weston one afternoon."Really? What was it?" asked Ander.Weston grinned. He knew his little brother loved stories. "These stories aren't true, you know. But this one was about a father and son--called Daedalus and Icarus--who were put in prison by the king. One day, Daedalus--the father--took feathers and made two pairs of wings so they could escape and fly away. He fastened the wings onto his son's back with wax--warning Icarus not to fly too near the sun because the heat would melt the wax and the wings would fall off." "Did they fly?" asked Ander, bobbing up and down in his chair. Weston nodded. "Yep, they both flew away. But as Icarus flew higher and higher, he started feeling so powerful that he forgot what his father had said, and he flew too close to the sun. Sure enough, the wax melted, just like his father had warned him. The wings fell off, and Icarus fell into the sea and drowned.""That's horrible!" cried Ander. A worried look crossed his face. "Do you think that could happen to us when we take the plane to visit Grandma next week?""Of course not," said Weston. "The plane's wings aren't fastened on with wax."Dad, who was also listening, chimed in. "Weston's right--you don't have to worry about the plane, Ander. But that story does remind me of what can happen if we try to fly too high in another way."Weston frowned. "Like in an air balloon?"Dad chuckled. "No, I'm talking about pride. Sometimes--especially when things are going well in our lives--we might think too highly of ourselves and start feeling powerful like Icarus did. It's a big mistake to think we can get along without God. We need to realize that we're dependent on Him for everything.""That's why we need to trust in Jesus!" said Ander.Dad nodded. "Right. We need to admit that we can't save ourselves from sin--only Jesus can save us. But even once we're Christians, we still need to depend on God every day. He promises to provide for us and give us strength and wisdom in everything we do. We need to trust and depend on Him, not ourselves." - Tanya FerdinanduszHow About You?Are you proud of your accomplishments--like doing well in school or winning games? It's okay to feel good about a job well done, but when you start depending on your own strength and ability to get you through life instead of God, you're flying too close to the sun. You needed Him to save you from sin, and you need His strength, guidance, and wisdom every day of your life. Trust Him to help you in everything you do.Today's Key Verse: God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. (NLT) (1 Peter 5:5)Today's Key Thought:Don't be proud

    Son Rise

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 16, 2023

    Bible Reading: Lamentations 3:22-23; Romans 6:10-11; 1 Peter 1:3"Dad, you've got to let me quit cello," said Quincy. "That was embarrassing.""What happened?" asked Dad. "It seemed like you weren't prepared for this concert.""It was awful! John and Tara were both out sick, so I was the only cello. There was no one to drown out how bad I sounded. I ruined it for the rest of the orchestra. I just want to go home, quit cello, and forget this recital ever happened."Early the next morning, Dad woke Quincy when it was still dark. "Wake up, Quincy. I want to show you something."They hopped in the car and Dad drove to the beach. When they got out, Dad laid out a blanket and told Quincy to watch the sky. It was dark."Now, tell me honestly--what went wrong yesterday?" Dad asked.Quincy sighed. "I haven't been practicing cello. I know I told you I've been practicing after school every day, but that's not true. I just said that so you would sign the practice sheet I have to give my teacher.""I see," said Dad. "No wonder you had such a hard time yesterday."Quincy nodded. "The others sounded great, so I've been playing softly and no one noticed that I wasn't prepared. I thought I could get away with it."The sky started turning yellow."But then, when the other cellists were absent, the entire orchestra depended on me for that part, and I blew it for everyone."The sky continued to light up, turning orange and pink as the sun came up."Well, it was wrong to make me and your teacher believe you were practicing when you weren't, but I don't think quitting cello is the answer." Dad nodded toward the brightening sky. "The sun rises each morning, ushering in a new day. It gives us fresh light, a new chance. We can learn from yesterday and try again today." He smiled at Quincy. "That's what God's Son, Jesus, does for us too. He died for our sins and rose from the dead to give us everlasting hope."Quincy grinned. "Like a Son rise! Because God's Son rising from the dead means each new day is filled with hope and light."Dad nodded. "Exactly. You learned from your mistake, so trust Him to forgive you and to help you walk in His light." - Kelly BakshiHow About You?Have you done something you're not proud of? Have your actions let others down? We all make mistakes and do things that are wrong, but Jesus offers us hope. He died to pay the price for our sins and then rose from the dead so we could be forgiven and change our ways. Be honest with Him about your sins, and He will forgive you. Then let Him help you start over and do what's right.Today's Key Verse:Because of his great mercy [God] has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (CSB) (1 Peter 1:3 )Today's Key Thought:Jesus brings hope each day

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    Plugging In

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 15, 2023

    Bible Reading: John 1:5-9; 1 John 1:5-7"Mom, my aquarium light is broken." Natalie tapped the top of her fish tank. "I guess my new guppy is going to be stuck in the dark."Mom set her coffee cup on the counter. "But that tank is brand new. It can't be broken.""It just won't turn on." Natalie clicked the light switch attached to the aquarium cord."Let me see." Mom checked under the aquarium. "It's plugged into the wall.""Maybe the light bulb burned out." Natalie shrugged.Mom shook her head. "It's an LED light. They're supposed to last a long time. When was the last time it worked?""Last night." Natalie clicked the cord switch again. "See. It doesn't work.""Wait a minute." Mom grinned. "The cord is plugged into the wall, but is it plugged into the aquarium?""Um…no!" Natalie found the plug had detached from the light. "It must have wiggled loose when I fed Shimmer his dinner.""Plug it in and try again," said Mom.The light clicked on, and Shimmer swished across the fish tank, expecting to be fed."That's it!" Natalie laughed. "It wasn't plugged in.""You know, people need to be plugged in too.""What do you mean, Mom?""A life without Jesus is a life spent in the dark. But when we turn to Him for forgiveness of our sins and trust Him as our Savior, it's like a light turns on in our mind and heart. We finally know who God is, and we become connected to Him.""Just like clicking on a light switch?""That's right, Natalie. But we need to be plugged in, or we'll be stuck in the dark.""How?""When we trust in Jesus, He gives us the Holy Spirit, who lives in us as proof that we belong to God. He connects us to Jesus and shines His light in our lives." Mom placed a hand on Natalie's shoulder. "Would you like to trust in Jesus, Natalie? I can pray with you if you want."Natalie watched Shimmer glide by in his tank and nodded. "Sure, Mom. I don't want to live in the dark." -Chanda GrieseHow About You?Have you trusted Jesus to forgive your sins and give you His light? If we aren't connected to Jesus, we are living in darkness. When we trust Him as our Savior, the Holy Spirit brings to light who God is and connects us to Him. He helps us walk in the light of Jesus by guiding us in God's truth and helping us show His love to others. Do you have the light of Jesus in your life? If not, trust in Him today. (To learn more, click the "Good News!" button in the right column of this page.)Today's Key Verse:[Jesus] said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. (NIV) (John 8:12)Today's Key Thought:Be connected to Jesus

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    Shelter in the Storm

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 14, 2023

    Bible Reading: Psalms 61:3-4; 121:1-8Dark clouds covered the sky, and thunder boomed in the distance. "Look at Henny-Penny, Mom." Josie pointed to the chicken near a little coop by the barn. "She's clucking for her chicks. I guess she wants to protect them from the storm." The mother hen stood in the doorway of the coop, clucking loudly, and the chicks ran to her from all directions. Josie watched as Henny-Penny led her chicks into the coop and settled down, covering them with her wings. A heavy gust of wind and a spattering of rain sent Josie and her mother scurrying into the house."There's a tornado warning for our area," Dad told them. "I just got a notification on my phone. Let's go to the basement."Even in the basement, Josie and her family could hear the storm increasing in fury. The wind raged and howled, thunder roared, and lightning flashed again and again. Josie moved close to her dad, and he put a strong arm around her, hugging her close to his side.At last the storm passed, and they all hurried upstairs, thankful the house was still intact. Josie went out to see if Henny-Penny and her chicks were all right. "They're fine," she reported a little later. She gave her father a hug. "I was really scared, Dad, but I felt safer with your arm around me. I guess I felt like the chicks, safe under their mother's wings.""Henny-Penny sheltered her chicks, Dad sheltered you--and God shelters all His children," said Mom."That's right," Dad said. "You'll go through many kinds of storms in life, Josie. There will be times when things get tough and scary, and I may not always be there to put my arm around you. But just remember what the Bible says about your heavenly Father. Psalm 91 says, 'He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge.'""God has feathers and wings?" asked Josie.Dad smiled. "God wants us to know that He's always there to watch over us in life's storms, so He gives an example He knows you and I can understand. We don't have to be afraid when bad things happen because Jesus has saved us and given us eternal life. No matter what storms we face in life, God is with us." -Mary Rose PearsonHow About You?Are you afraid of something--thunderstorms, the dark, a new school, getting hurt? Like storms in nature, the storms of life can be scary, especially if you try to handle them alone. Remember that God understands your fears, and He's right there with you. He promises to shelter you and take care of you. Trust Him to do that, no matter what situation you face.Today's Key Verse:He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge. (NIV) (Psalm 91:4 )Today's Key Thought:God watches over you

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    The Dirty Diaper

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 13, 2023

    Bible Reading: Titus 3:3-7"Ew, Dad, that stinks!" Kallie held her nose dramatically. Dad placed her baby brother on the changing table and unzipped his jammies. "Cash just needs a diaper change, that's all." He smiled down at the baby who wriggled on the mat. "Let's get you cleaned up, buddy."Kallie looked on as Dad worked on cleaning up the baby. She scrunched her nose and frowned. "I don't know how you can do that every day," she said. "Don't you and mom ever get tired of changing his diaper?"Dad chuckled. "Well, Kallie, I won't lie to you, I didn't always have a very good attitude about changing diapers. When you were a baby, I may have even grumbled a few times.""Was I as stinky as Cash?" Kallie asked."Maybe even stinkier!" Dad teased. "Why don't you still have a bad attitude?" Kallie asked.Dad fastened the new diaper onto his son and zipped up the jammies. "It wasn't anything I did," he said. "But over time, as I changed more and more diapers, the Lord reminded me of something." Dad picked up Cash and gave him a kiss on his chubby cheek. "He helped me realize that He does something similar for me."Kallie raised her eyebrows, confused about what Dad could mean."Cash isn't able to keep himself clean," Dad said. "He's just a baby! He needs someone to wash all the icky stuff off his skin and put him in a fresh diaper. That's sort of how it is with me. The Lord helped me realize that just like a baby needs someone to clean them, I needed Jesus to clean me of my sin. It's not something I can do on my own. Jesus washed me clean and made me a new person when I trusted in Him, and He continues to show me His grace and forgiveness each day.""And so you don't mind changing diapers now because doing it reminds you of Jesus?""That's right. It's always an opportunity for me to remember how much my Father in heaven loves me, and how His mercy and grace cleanse me from all my sin."-Emily TenterHow About You?Have you experienced the cleansing forgiveness of Jesus? It's impossible to clean ourselves from sin and make ourselves worthy of eternal life with God. Only Jesus can do that! Because of His life, sacrifice on the cross, and victory over death, He has the power to take away our sin and make us clean. Has he done that for you? (To learn more, click the "Good News!" button in the right column of this page.)Today's Key Verse:If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (NKJV) (1 John 1:9)Today's Key Thought:Jesus washes away our sin

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    God's Gear

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 12, 2023

    Bible Reading: Ephesians 6:13-18Tate walked into the house, his arms loaded. "Mom, I'm all signed up for football," he said, dropping a big pile of football gear on the table."Great!" said Mom. She picked up a mouthpiece from the table. "What's this?"Tate grinned. "It protects my teeth. We wear heavy padding, shin guards, helmets, mouthpieces--all kinds of protection.""I'm glad to hear that!" Mom said. "Don't forget any of it.""I won't," Tate assured her. "I've already learned how important it is. I forgot my mouthpiece when I went to practice the other day, and Coach Grimes wouldn't let me play without it, so I had to go get it. Good thing too. When I got back, I got a good knock on my chin in the very first play. I could have gotten hurt without it."That evening, Tate showed his football gear to his dad. "I wore all that stuff back when I played football too," Dad told him. "In fact, I still wear special protective gear." Dad grinned at Tate's look of surprise. "It's called the armor of God. Do you know what the various pieces are?""Oh, that," said Tate. "One of them is a helmet--the helmet of salvation. We get it by trusting Jesus to save us from sin."Mom nodded. "And one is called the breastplate of righteousness. We wear it by remembering that Jesus has made us right with God. Let's see…another says to buckle truth around our waists. That means we need to use God's truth to defend ourselves against Satan's lies.""And our feet need to be ready to take us places where we can share the good news of Jesus with others," added Tate."I know one!" five-year-old Larson said enthusiastically. "We need swords. My teacher said the Bible is our sword.""Good!" said Mom. "The Bible tells us the truth about God and who we are in Jesus. We also need the shield of faith so we can trust God no matter what.""Why do we need all that equipment?" asked Dad."Because Satan wants us to take our eyes off Jesus and give in to sin and doubt," said Tate. Dad nodded. "Right. The armor of God is even more important than your football gear, Tate. It protects us from Satan, our worst enemy." -Doris BantjesHow About You?Are you wearing the armor of God? Have you put on the helmet of salvation by trusting Jesus as your Savior? When Satan whispers lies and tries to get you to sin or doubt, do you stand firm in the truth of Jesus? Do you remember that He has made you right with God and have faith that He is with you no matter what? Do you share that truth with others? Put on God's armor so you can stand strong against the devil.Today's Key Verse:Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil. (CSB) (Ephesians 6:11)Today's Key Thought:Wear God's armor

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    Heavy Burdens

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 11, 2023

    Bible Reading: John 16:33; Revelation 21:1-5Rowan walked out of his bedroom and rubbed his eyes. He was surprised to see Mom sitting at their small kitchen table. Usually she was in bed by the time he woke up for school, but this morning she sat, still in her uniform, looking weary."Hey, Mom," he greeted her. "What are you still doing awake? Aren't you tired?" Rowan's mom was a paramedic, and she worked the night shift driving an ambulance.She gave him half a smile. "I wasn't ready to go to sleep," she said. "A lot of things happened while I was at work tonight, and I just needed a little time to…process all of them."Rowan nodded. Ever since his family had moved into the city, Mom's job had gotten a lot more difficult. She saw scary things every day. Sometimes he'd overhear his parents talking about his mom's job. Her ambulance was called to help people who were hurt from drugs or gunshot wounds or car accidents. He knew his mom had to feel scared or sad a lot of the time. He wrapped his arms around her. "I'm sorry, Mom." He wasn't sure how to comfort her. He hated seeing his mom so discouraged. When Rowan finally pulled away to grab himself some cereal, he thought about what might encourage him if he were in Mom's position, and then he smiled. "You know, Mom, Mr. Rob from church read us a cool passage from Revelation on Sunday. It was all about how when Jesus comes back there will be no more death or crying or pain. Mr. Rob told us that Jesus is going to make everything new."He watched his mom's eyes get misty, like she was right on the edge of crying."He also told us," Rowan went on, "that even though the world can be dark and scary and unfair sometimes, we have hope that Jesus will make everything perfect again someday because we trust in Him."Mom swiped at her eyes with the sleeve of her uniform. "I think the Holy Spirit brought the perfect encouragement to me this morning," she said with a shaky voice. "Thank you."Rowan smiled, and Mom hugged him again. "Maybe we can read that passage over breakfast, and then I think I'll get some rest." -Emily TenterHow About You?Are you ever discouraged by the things that are happening in the world? Sometimes all the brokenness around us can feel like heavy burdens on our shoulders. Does it encourage you to know that Jesus is coming someday to make everything perfect and new again? If you trust Him as your Savior, you have hope because He defeated sin and death and promises that you will share in an eternity with Him that is perfect and complete.Today's Key Verse:There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. (NIV) (Revelation 21:4 )Today's Key Thought:Jesus is going to make all things new!

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    Rumor Seeds

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 10, 2023

    Bible Reading: Psalm 19:12-14; Ephesians 4:15-16"There goes Jade, the new girl," Hadley said to her friends at recess. "I saw her dad pick her up at school yesterday. He has a big scar on his face and looks like a criminal.""What do you think he did?" asked Grace. Hadley shrugged. "Who knows? Robbed a bank maybe."As Hadley slid into her seat after recess, she heard Grace whisper to Payton, "Don't play with Jade--her dad's a bank robber."The rumor flew and grew until nearly everyone in the class was whispering about Jade and avoiding her. A little voice in Hadley's heart said, Hadley, what have you done? But she tried not to listen.When Hadley got home, she sprawled out on the lawn to enjoy the sunshine. She saw a dandelion that had gone to seed, so she picked it and blew on it. The seeds floated off into the air like dozens of tiny parachutes. "Oh dear!" said Mom, who had come out with a glass of lemonade. "Those little seeds are going to take root and create more pesky dandelions!""Oops!" said Hadley. "Sorry, but it's impossible to pick them back up. They're gone for good!"Mom sat down in a lawn chair. "Well, if you hadn't blown them, the wind would have." She took a sip of her lemonade. "Those little seeds always remind me of words. Once words come out of our mouths, they're gone for good too. The good ones build people up, but the bad ones tear them down." Hadley squirmed as she remembered what she had said about Jade's father. "Before we say anything," continued Mom, "we should ask ourselves, 'Is what I'm about to say true? Is it helpful to anybody? Does it sound like something Jesus would say?' He always speaks the truth to us in love, and He'll help us do the same."The little nagging voice of Hadley's conscience seemed to be shouting now. Her words about Jade's dad were definitely not kind or loving. They weren't even true! And even though she couldn't take back her words, she knew she had to do her best to make it right.Hadley sighed as she got up and headed for the house. "I'm going inside," she told her mom. "I've got some texting to do." -Matilda H. NordtvedtHow About You?What kind of words do you speak? Are they true? Kind? Do they build people up, or tear them down? Do they communicate the love of Jesus? Before you say anything, think about whether your words would be helpful or hurtful to others. Don't thoughtlessly blurt out anything that pops into your head. Instead, trust God to help you speak the kind of words He does--words that are truthful and loving.Today's Key Verse:Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips. (NKJV) (Psalm 141:3)Today's Key Thought:Speak kind words

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    Good Work Gratefulness

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 9, 2023

    Bible Reading: Romans 11:5-6; Ephesians 2:1-10Asher ran to the door when he heard boots on the stairs. "Dad!" he cried.Dad scooped Asher up into a big hug. "I've missed you!" Dad said. "My work trip was only a few days, but it felt too long." Dad hugged Mom, then bent to unzip his suitcase. "I've got something for you." Dad handed Asher a bag. Asher opened the bag. His face lit up when he saw his present. "Cool! Thanks, Dad!" Asher pulled out a small notebook with the Golden Gate Bridge on the cover."I thought you might like a new notebook for your drawings," Dad said.Asher grinned. The first thing he would draw would be a thank-you card for Dad. Before bedtime, Asher gave Dad the card."Asher, I love it! Thank you!" Dad said.Asher smiled, then worked up the courage to ask the question he had been thinking about all day. "Dad, I've been wanting to ask you something." Asher took a deep breath. "How can I ever be good enough to go to heaven?"Dad looked up from the card. "Why would you say that?""Because no matter how much good I do, I always do more bad things! Why would God let me into heaven if I can't do enough good things?" Asher asked."Asher, why did you give me this thank-you note? Why didn't you give me money instead to pay me back for the notebook?" "But it was a gift!" Asher exclaimed. "Exactly," Dad said. "Because it was a gift, you don't need to pay me for it. The same is true with our salvation. Jesus forgives our sins free of charge, just like a gift. All we need to do is receive His gift." Dad held up the thank-you card. "Our good works are just like this card. We can't use them to buy our way into heaven. Christians do good things because we are grateful to God for saving us and want to say thank you."Asher thought about what Dad said. "I want to do that too. Can I ask Jesus to save me and then thank Him for His forgiveness?"Dad smiled. "Let's pray." -Olivia SummersHow About You?Do you do good things because you want to get into heaven? The Bible says good works can't save us. The only way to be saved from sin and have eternal life is by trusting in Jesus, who died and rose again so our sins could be forgiven and we could have new life in Him. Trust Him to save you. (To learn more, click the "Good News!" button in the right column of this page.) Then you can use your good works to show your gratitude and bless others.Today's Key Verse: And if by grace, then [salvation] cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. (NIV) (Romans 11:6 )Today's Key Thought:Good works don't save

    The Duet

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 8, 2023

    Bible Reading: Ephesians 4:31-32Brooklyn plopped into a chair at the kitchen table and wedged her cheeks between her fists. "I was just at Quinn's and asked if she wanted to go for a bike ride, but all she wants to do is sit on her porch and read," she told her mother. "She never wants to do anything I want to do. It's like she doesn't even want to be friends anymore!"Mom wiped her hands on a dishtowel and took a seat next to Brooklyn. "Do you remember what happened when you and Quinn played your piano duet at the nursing home last month?""Yeah," Brooklyn grumbled. "Quinn lost her place in the music!"Mom nodded. "And what did you do?"Brooklyn thought for moment. "I kept playing. But what does that have to with riding bikes?""Well," said Mom, "sometimes, in the middle of a song--or even a friendship--our friends can forget how to play their music."Brooklyn listened intently as her mom continued. "I'm sure Quinn didn't mean to hurt your feelings. Maybe she just doesn't feel like going biking or something happened that upset her. What you need to remember is that you can't control what Quinn thinks or what she does. All you can do is keep playing your music.""I'm not sure I understand," Brooklyn said with a wrinkled brow."What I mean is, when things like this happen between you and your friends, all you can do is be sure you're making wise choices. You can choose to be patient and kind and have a good attitude even when things aren't going your way. You can choose to love your friend no matter what--the way Jesus loves us. Trust Him to help you take control of your thoughts and actions, and often the rest will fall into place." "Just like our duet! When Quinn got lost, I kept playing, and it helped her find her way. It only took a few notes and then we played perfectly together for the rest of the song!""My point exactly," Mom said as she squeezed her tight. "Why don't you go back over to Quinn's? Maybe she's ready for that bike ride, or you could take a book along and read with her. Either way, I think you two have a duet to finish." -Jennifer AllenHow About You?Have you ever had a friend hurt your feelings? Do you get frustrated when things don't go your way? Sometimes our friends disappoint us and do things beyond our control. Though we can't control the actions of others, we can control how we respond. The next time a friend upsets you, remember to respond with love. Trust Jesus to help you be a patient, loving friend like He is.Today's Key Verse:How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity! (NIV) (Psalm 133:1)Today's Key Thought:Seek unity in friendship

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    Guilty as Charged

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 7, 2023

    Bible Reading: Romans 3:10-12; 6:23"There has been a lot of note-passing going on lately," announced Mrs. Barnes. "Anyone I see passing a note from now on will stay in at recess." Cam nodded. He had noticed a lot of the kids passing notes too.The next day, Cam watched as Lincoln and Josiah passed notes back and forth. They'd better watch it, he thought, or they're gonna have to stay in for recess. He decided to write a note to warn his friends to be careful.As Cam slipped his note to Josiah, Mrs. Barnes looked up. "Cam, Josiah, and Lincoln--you will all stay in at recess today.""Me?" asked Cam. "What did I do?""I saw you passing a note," said Mrs. Barnes. "You will stay in with the other boys." And so the three boys spent afternoon recess at their desks.That evening, Cam complained about his punishment. "I wrote one note!" he grumbled. "The other guys wrote lots more. It's not fair!""How many notes did Mrs. Barnes say you could write?" asked Dad."Well…none. But I still think she could have let me play outside at least half the time since the others wrote so many more notes than I did!""Even though you only wrote one note, you were guilty as charged, weren't you?" said Dad. "I guess, but I still wasn't as bad as the others," Cam insisted."Your argument reminds me of people who think God should excuse them because they don't think they're as bad as other people they know," said Dad. "The fact is that everyone has sinned, and the Bible says that makes each one of us a sinner guilty before God, no matter how our sins compare to someone else's. You passed a note in class knowing it was against the rules, and you got the punishment you deserved."Cam sighed and propped his head on his elbows. "I guess I did deserve to stay in at recess," he finally admitted. He gave his dad a sideways glance. "You're gonna point out that we don't need to be punished for our sin though, aren't you?" Dad grinned. "I sure am! Even though each one of us deserves that punishment, Jesus died on the cross to save us from it. He took the punishment for our sin so we wouldn't have to!" -Hazel W. MarettHow About You?Do you think you're pretty good--better than a lot of kids you know? God says everyone is a sinner. We're all equally guilty of breaking God's law, and we all deserve to be punished. But the wonderful thing is that Jesus died to take the punishment for our sin. Instead of suffering the eternal death you deserve, you can have eternal life with God! Trust Jesus as your Savior today. (To learn more, click the "Good News!" button in the right column of this page.)Today's Key Verse:Whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. (NIV) (James 2:10 )Today's Key Thought:All sin deserves punishment

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    Worth More Than Sparrows

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 6, 2023

    Bible Reading: Matthew 10:29-31"But I'm so scared!" Rebecca's little sister cried."I'm sorry, Cara, but you have to go. You'd better get your shoes on. We leave in fifteen minutes," Rebecca answered.As Cara pulled on her clogs, she asked, "Rebecca, will it hurt very bad?""Well, it will hurt some. When the dentist pulls a tooth, it hurts for a little while. But the pain won't last very long," Rebecca tried to assure her sister.Tears filled Cara's eyes. "Rebecca, I'm really, really scared. Scareder than you've ever been!"Rebecca sat down on the bed. "Cara, do you want to know what you can do to help you not be so afraid?" When Cara nodded, she went on. "Whenever we're afraid, we can trust the Lord. We can pray He will help us remember that He's with us and that we can trust Him!"Cara looked up at her sister. "I thought we prayed to God for big things like when someone is really sick or dying. Are you sure He'd hear my prayer about having a little tooth pulled?""God hears every prayer," Rebecca said as she took her Bible from her desk. "Matthew 10:29-31 says, 'Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father's care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.' See, Jesus told us that God even cares for the sparrows. And you're way more important than a sparrow, Cara! God gave His own Son so you could be saved and belong to Him. He loves you and wants you to go to Him for help when you're afraid.""So God hears even the tiniest prayer?" "Yes!""All right," Cara said. "I'll pray and ask God to help me."Cara knelt down beside Rebecca's bed. "Dear God," she prayed, "please help me not be so scared when I go to the dentist. Please help it not hurt a lot. Thank you that I'm worth more than a sparrow. Amen."Just then Mom called, "Girls! It's time to go!"Cara jumped up and turned to Rebecca. "I'm so glad God cares about me!""Me too!" Rebecca answered. -Evie NewtonHow About You?Do you worry about little things? Do you ever pray about these things and wonder if God cares? He does care! God cares even for sparrows, and you are worth so much more to Him than they are! Jesus died for your sins so you could be God's child. Bring your worries to Him, knowing He cares and promises to help you. Today's Key Verse:Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (NIV) (Matthew 10:31)Today's Key Thought:God cares about you

    The Beehive

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 5, 2023

    Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:18-27"Whoa! Why the long face?" asked Bristol's dad as she came in the back door.Bristol frowned. "I was hoping to get a part in our youth pageant, but instead I have to make props. Carrie got picked for the lead." She saw that her dad was putting on his beekeeper's outfit and quickly changed the subject. "I want to go with you to the beehives!""Okay," Dad said, so Bristol quickly slipped into her own bee suit, and they went out to the hives.At the beehives, Bristol watched as Dad pulled a honeycomb from one of them. "Oh good!" he said. "There obviously are workers in this hive. I'm glad there aren't just queen bees here, aren't you?"Bristol was puzzled. "There's never more than one queen bee in a hive, Dad. You know that.""Yes, well, that's a good thing too. Queen bees don't make honey, and I like honey!" Dad checked each of the remaining hives and took out additional honeycombs. "As it is, you could say each hive is a self-sufficient super-organism."Bristol rolled her eyes. "English, Dad! You know I don't like talking scientifically."Dad chuckled. "How about biblically?""Biblically?" Bristol gave her dad a confused look as they walked toward the house.Dad nodded. "In the beehive, each bee needs to do its job so the whole thing works together efficiently. The bees can't all be drones. They can't all be worker bees either. And they can't all be queens. Each kind of bee is needed. It's that way in the church too--what the Bible calls the body of Christ. Jesus gives Christians different jobs to do so we can work together to share the gospel--the message of hope about what Jesus did to save us--with the world. Even in all the everyday things we do--schoolwork, chores, church service, or whatever--in everything, all kinds of workers are needed."Bristol sighed. "You're talking about our youth pageant, aren't you? You're saying the job of making props is just as important as the lead part, right?" Dad nodded. "By making props, you'll be doing your part to help share the love of Jesus with others.""Okay," Bristol said. "Then I'll be busy as a bee making props!" -Dolores A. LemieuxHow About You?Are you content with what God has given you to do? Or do you often wish for a better, more important position? The Bible says no position in God's family of believers is better than another. Each one of us is a sinner saved by His grace, and we've all been given different roles in helping more people know about Him. Do your part in whatever work He's given you so we can share the gospel as the body of Christ. Today's Key Verse:Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (NIV) (1 Corinthians 10:31)Today's Key Thought:All tasks are important

    The Right Treasure

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 4, 2023

    Bible Reading: Matthew 6:19-21, 33Miles dreamed about the hoverboard he was saving up for as he raked leaves in his grandmother's yard. His dad had agreed to pay him for his help since Grandma couldn't rake them herself, and Miles was brainstorming more ways to earn some extra money. Maybe some of his neighbors would pay him to rake their leaves.Just then, he noticed a large hole in the base of a big tree. "Look, Dad!" he called as he knelt to peer inside. "I never noticed this before. This would be a good place to hide stuff."Dad walked over to look. "Maybe there's a cache of jewels or a sack of stolen money inside," he teased. He poked his rake into the hole, and they heard a scraping sound as the rake hit a metal object."Something is hidden in there!" exclaimed Miles. Plunging his hand inside the cavity, he felt around and finally pulled out a small box. "Wow! A real treasure chest! I wonder who put it there." Miles eagerly opened the old box and looked inside. He felt a pang of disappointment when the treasure turned out to be a soggy pair of shoelaces, a rusty pocketknife, and a moldy book about fishing."Somebody must have hidden these things and then forgot about them," said Dad. "Now look at them. I hope whoever stored these here put most of their treasures in a better place.""Yeah. Somewhere they won't get ruined, like in a closet or one of those safe deposit boxes at the bank.""I was thinking of an even better place than that," said Dad. "Jesus said we should store our treasures in heaven, where they'll never be ruined or stolen." Dad shook his head. "We often put so much emphasis on material things like houses and clothes and cars…"And hoverboards, thought Miles. "We need to remember those things won't last," said Dad. "The only treasure that lasts is found in Jesus--being saved from sin and having a relationship with Him for all eternity." Miles nodded as he looked at the rusty pocketknife. I still want a hoverboard, he thought. But I'm glad I already have what really matters--treasure in heaven. He put the box back into the hole in the tree and picked up his rake. -Ellen C. Orr How About You?Is there something you really want? Maybe it's something your friends have or something you saw on TV. It's okay to enjoy things like that, but remember that treasures on earth don't last--anything you buy will eventually get old or wear out. The only treasure that lasts forever is free--eternal life with Jesus. When the focus of your life is on Him instead of material things, you are storing treasure in heaven, where it will last forever. Today's Key Verse:Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. (NLT) (Matthew 6:20 )Today's Key Thought:Store treasures in heaven

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    Cassidy's Questions

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 3, 2023

    Bible Reading: Romans 5:6-11"There you are!" Miss Jayla called brightly as Cassidy joined the other kids. Normally one of the first to arrive, Cassidy had been late to children's church that morning. She had tripped on the stairs while walking to class, and some of the kids had laughed at her. Embarrassed, Cassidy had sought a few minutes of alone time in the bathroom.Now, she plodded to her seat, where the day's activities dragged by as Cassidy waited to ask Miss Jayla the questions whirling in her mind."What's going on, Cassidy? You look troubled," Miss Jayla said when most of the kids had been picked up at the end of the morning."I need to ask you something. I know I could talk to my foster mom, but I don't want her to get mad at me." "Let's sit down." Miss Jayla directed them to bean bags by the door so she could watch for other parents arriving. "I need to know how God punishes us," Cassidy began. "I want to know if God is punishing me if I bump into a table and hurt myself. Or when I stub my toe. Or today…I stumbled on the steps. Does God let me get hurt because I did something bad?""I'm glad you asked! No, God doesn't let you trip on stairs or bang into a table to punish you, sweetie. Sometimes accidents happen. But those are not punishments for things we do wrong. Do you remember who Jesus is, Cassidy?""Jesus is God's Son who came down to earth, died on a cross, then returned to life," Cassidy answered. Miss Jayla nodded. "Do you know the reason He died?" Cassidy shrugged."Wrong things we do--what the Bible calls sin--must be punished because our sins go against what God says is good," Miss Jayla explained. "But God wanted to save us from that punishment, which is death and separation from Him. So He sent Jesus, who lived a perfect life, to take our place and pay for our sins so we can be forgiven." Miss Jayla smiled at Cassidy. "That's how much He loves us."Cassidy took a moment to think about that. "If Jesus died so I could be forgiven, I want to ask Him to pay for my sins too!" -Allison Wilson LeeHow About You?Do you ever wonder if God is punishing you when things go wrong in your life? We live in a sinful, broken world, and that means bad things just happen sometimes. But God loves us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to save us. Jesus took the punishment we deserve by dying on the cross for our sins. If you trust in Him, you can be confident that all your sins are forgiven by God! (To learn more, click the "Good News!" button in the right column of this page.)Today's Key Verse:But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (NKJV) (Romans 5:8 )Today's Key Thought:Jesus paid for our sins

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    God with You

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 2, 2023

    Bible Reading: John 14:15-27; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18Kenna wrapped her arms around Milo, her orange tabby cat. A single tear slipped onto her kitty's furry face. Kenna felt more tears inside her, but she was tired from crying every day for the past week, and she didn't know if any more tears would come. "God, I miss my Mom. Why did you take her to heaven?" Kenna's whispered words hung in the air.Mom had been sick for a couple of weeks, and everyone had been praying. Even when she went to the hospital, Kenna had been a little scared, but she really thought her mom would come home. "I feel so alone." Kenna rubbed her cheek against Milo's soft fur. She thought about her mom's smile--so bright, always full of joy, even when she had to go through her many surgeries over the years. Kenna remembered her mom reading the Bible to her just a few months back. "Kenna-girl, do you know how much God loves you?" Mom had cupped Kenna's face in her hands. "I want you to remember that He is always with you. What did we just read in John chapter fourteen about how we know God is with us?" "He gave us the Holy Spirit." "That's right! Because you belong to Jesus, you have the Holy Spirit in you to be with you and remind you of everything He has said. He will never leave you, and He gives you His peace." Kenna pulled out her pink Bible and found John 14. She read verse 18--I will not leave you as orphans. "God, I feel so alone because I really miss my mom. Will you keep reminding me of what You say--that You will never leave me? I'm not an orphan because I have You. Will you give my mom a big hug from me and tell her I'm going to shine my light for You just like she did?" Kenna hugged her cat close. "Milo, I'm sad Mom isn't here anymore, but I have hope because I know she's in heaven with Jesus, and He promises He'll never leave either one of us." Kenna scratched Milo's chin as he purred. "One day, I will see Mom again and give her the biggest hug ever! I may feel alone right now, but I know Jesus is with me." -Savannah ColemanHow About You?Have you ever lost someone you love? When someone close to you dies, sorrow and the feeling of being alone can seem like it's never going to end. If you're a child of God, you have hope to hold on to. You are never alone because Jesus is always with you. He will be with you in your loneliness and sorrow, and one day He will wipe all your tears away (Revelation 21:3-4). Today's Key Verse:The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (NIV) (Deuteronomy 31:8 )Today's Key Thought:God is with you always

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    Storing Up

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 1, 2023

    Bible Reading: Psalm 119:9-16"Look, Dad," said Tristan. "A chipmunk!" Dad joined Tristan at the window and together they watched the little creature strip an ear of corn from the compost pile. "Look at him peel off those kernels!" said Tristan. "He eats fast!""He's not eating them," said Dad. "He's stuffing the kernels into little pouches in his cheeks. Watch what he does with them now."Tristan watched as the chipmunk scurried over to the woodpile. He laughed when he saw what the little rodent did next. "He's using his hind foot to push the corn out of his cheeks!""He's storing it in spaces between the chunks of wood so it'll be there when he needs it later on," Dad explained. Tristan and his dad watched for several minutes as the tiny animal dashed back and forth from the ear of corn to the woodpile. "I can't believe how much he can store in his cheeks!" Tristan said after a few minutes. "He's got all the kernels stripped from the cob already."Dad nodded. "You know, Tristan, God has built a storage system into us too.""I don't have any pouches in my cheeks to carry food," said Tristan, laughing at the idea.Dad grinned at him. "I was thinking of a different kind of food--spiritual food. You store it in your heart, not in your cheeks.""Spiritual food?" asked Tristan. "Oh, you mean like the Bible verses I have to learn for church, right?""Exactly," said Dad. "The Bible calls it hiding God's Word in our hearts. As we meditate on God's Word by learning what the Bible says and storing its truth in our hearts, it helps strengthen us spiritually. When we store it away, God brings it back to our minds when we need it. It can help us in times of trial or testing--like when we're going through a difficult situation or when we're tempted to sin--by reminding us of God's love and the power and hope He's given us through Jesus."Dad nodded toward the chipmunk. "The corn being stored by that little guy will be there for him when he needs it in the cold winter months, and the verses we memorize will be there whenever we need them." -Trula H. BensingerHow About You?Are you storing God's Word in your heart? Are you reading the Bible, studying it at church, and memorizing verses so you can carry His truth and promises with you wherever you go? Memorizing verses is a great way to store God's Word in your mind and heart so it will always be there, ready for whenever you need it. A good way to memorize a verse is to read it out loud three times a day for a week--by the end of the week, you probably won't even have to look at the page!Today's Key Verse:Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you. (NKJV) (Psalm 119:11)Today's Key Thought:Memorize Bible verses

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    The Dynamite Blast

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 31, 2023

    Bible Reading: Psalm 34:4-9, 17-19; Romans 8:28Lucy didn't feel like going on the class field trip to the rock quarry. She just wanted Ginger, her lost cat, to come home and her dad to get his job back. I just want everything to be okay again, she thought as she got off the bus with the rest of the kids.The quarry foreman handed out hard hats to everyone. "We're going to have a dynamite blast today to loosen and break the stone in the quarry," he said, motioning to the other side of a large pit. A loud horn blared. "After the horn blasts three times, cover your ears!" the foreman called out. The horn sounded two more times, and then--BOOM! A loud explosion sent dust and rocks flying. Once the all-clear horn sounded, the foreman let the kids move closer so they could see what had happened. "Don't worry, kids. They've got it all under control," he said, pointing to the workers who controlled the operation and set off the blasts.When Lucy got home, she picked up one of Ginger's cat toys as she told her mom about the quarry trip. "Sometimes I feel like everything's being blown apart here at home too," said Lucy."I know, honey. When bad things happen it can feel like our whole world is being blown to pieces. Maybe that's when we should remember the workers at the quarry." "The workers?" asked Lucy. "Why them?""They made sure the blasts were safe and controlled, right?" asked Mom. Lucy nodded. "They remind us that someone is in control of our lives too--God. Nothing can happen to us unless He allows it, and He promises to be with us and see us through whatever experiences we face.""But why does He let bad things happen--like Ginger getting lost and Dad losing his job?" asked Lucy."Well, there's no easy answer to that, but remember the workers need the explosions in the quarry to loosen the stone, otherwise they wouldn't be able to get it out. Perhaps God allows explosions in our lives at times to loosen our hearts and get good things out--things like growing in our relationship with Jesus and showing His love to others who are going through hard times." -Nance E. KeyesHow About You?Have you had difficult things happen to you recently? It's okay to feel sad about it, but remember that God is in complete control. Jesus understands how you feel because He suffered too, and He'll be with you through whatever hard situations you have to face. Trust Him to bring good things into your life out of difficulties and to use them to make you more like Him. Today's Key Verse:The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all. (NIV) (Psalm 34:19)Today's Key Thought:God is in control

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    When You Hit a Curb

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 30, 2023

    Bible Reading: Luke 6:43-45; Galatians 5:22-23"Mom!" Tucker shouted as he dashed into the house. "A dump truck just hit the curb, and now there's a huge pile of gravel blocking our street! Come out and see it.""I can't leave this pizza sauce right now," Mom said as she sprinkled oregano into the bubbling red mixture she was stirring on the stove. "I'll come out as soon as it's finished.""Well, I hope they get rid of the gravel before Dad tries to come home," said Tucker. "He won't get past that pile on the road!""He may have to go a bit out of his way, but I'm sure he'll find a way to get here," said Mom. By the time Dad came home, the road had been cleared. Tucker was kneading dough for the pizza crust as he told his dad the story of how the dump truck spilled its load. "All that gravel fell out when the truck hit the curb," said Tucker. "Good thing they had a big scooper to clean up the mess." "Good thing." Dad nodded thoughtfully. "You know, people are like that truck.""What?" Tucker asked in surprise. "How?" "We all run into curbs at some point--bumpy times in our lives," Dad explained. "When we do, whatever is in our hearts comes spilling out." "That's right," said Mom. "If we trust in Jesus and depend on Him to guide the way we think and act, His love in our lives will be evident to others by the way we treat them, even when things aren't going so well. But if we ignore God and live life however we want, the pride and selfishness in our hearts comes spilling out when we face a difficult situation." Dad nodded as he tasted the pizza sauce and sprinkled a little more oregano into it. "When we hit a curb in life, the contents of our hearts spill out for everyone to see. That's why it's important to have a relationship with Jesus and trust Him to help us love others. Then when we face a bumpy situation, others will see that He's filled our hearts with good things." -Dalan DeckerHow About You?What happens when you hit a curb in the road of life? Do you look to Jesus for help? Or do you complain and lash out at those around you? You can often see the way people really are when they're going through hardship. If you know Jesus as your Savior, you have His goodness and love in your heart. Trust Him to help you show it through your words and actions, even when the hard times come along. Today's Key Verse:What people say with their mouths comes from what fills their hearts. (ERV) (Luke 6:45)Today's Key Thought:Show love in hard times

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    Only One Key

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 29, 2023

    Bible Reading: Matthew 1:21; Acts 4:10-12"Elliot, you can open the door to the house while I get the groceries from the trunk," said Mom. She pulled the keys from the ignition and held on to one as she handed them to him. "This is--"But Elliot grabbed the ring and scrambled out of the car in a flash. He ran to the door and eagerly shoved in a key. The lock wouldn't turn. He fumbled with the jangling keys and selected another one. It wouldn't even go in. Frustrated, he tried one more, then yelled, "Mom! Which one?"Mom gently took the key ring from him. "It's the one I was holding," she said. "I tried to tell you, but you bolted out of the car before I could finish." She held out a short silver key.Sheepishly, Elliot slid the key in and unlocked the door. He returned the key ring with a grin. "I guess there's only one key that will work."Mom smiled as she loaded his arms with groceries. "Yes, and that's true for more than one thing. Only one key for the house, one for the car--and even only one for heaven. And you know what? Many people--even adults--don't know what key is needed to get into heaven.""What do you mean?" asked Elliot as he followed his mother into the bright kitchen. Mom set the groceries on the table and began putting them away as she explained. "God sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins so we could be saved and have eternal life. But instead of receiving that key to salvation, people often try their own imitations." She turned to Elliot and dangled the key ring in front of him. "Remember how you felt when you tried to use the wrong keys?""Yeah--locked out!" said Elliot."If the key we use to get to heaven isn't the right one, we'll be locked out of there too," said Mom. "We may go to church and try to be good and do what looks to us like the right thing, but doing those things won't open the door to salvation and eternal life. Jesus is the only key--the only way--to heaven. No other key will work." -Jean A. BurnsHow About You?What key are you hoping will get you into heaven? Do you think going to church or being good will open heaven's door for you? Those are good things to do, but they won't save you. You can only get into heaven through Jesus. Trust Him as your Savior today and know for sure you have the right key. (To learn more, click the "Good News!" button in the right column of this page.)Today's Key Verse:I [Jesus] am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (NKJV) (John 14:6)Today's Key Thought:Jesus is the key to heaven

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    The Mangled Slipper

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 28, 2023

    Bible Reading: Ephesians 4:29; James 3:5-10"Look what Otis did!" Maria showed her father her soggy, torn slipper. "I scolded him and put him outside.""I'm sorry, honey," Dad said as he took the mangled slipper. "I can see that little puppy needs a lot more training."Mom spoke from the doorway. "Maria, Iris is on the phone for you." She held out her phone.A few minutes later, Maria's voice boomed from the kitchen. "You always want me to do all the work, Iris. You're so lazy! I'm never doing a school project with you again.""What was that about?" asked Mom when Maria returned her phone. "I thought Iris was your best friend.""She…she just caught me at a bad time," mumbled Maria."Did your sister catch you at a bad time too?" asked Mom. "I heard you yell at her this morning."Maria blushed. "She always bothers me when I'm tired. But I told her I was sorry." Maria brightened. "I'll call Iris back and apologize to her."Just then Otis whined at the door. "I think Otis wants to come in and apologize too," said Dad, handing the chewed-up slipper to Maria.Maria looked at it. "Don't let him in," she grumbled crossly. "My slipper is ruined because of him."Dad nodded. "You know, Maria, even if you forgive Otis and let him in, it won't fix your slipper. That's mangled for good." "I know that," said Maria. "That's why I'm mad at him!""Well, feelings can be mangled just like your slipper," said Dad. "Once you've said something, it really can't be taken back. You can be sorry and say so, but the words have already hurt. Often there is no way to repair the damage.""That's right," said Mom. "There are several people you need to apologize to, but even if they forgive you, you've still hurt their feelings. You need to be more careful to control your tongue and not say hurtful things in the first place.""But I…I don't know how," said Maria."Think before you speak," said Dad. "When you feel angry, count to ten before you say anything. Most of all, remember that Jesus gives you the ability to love others the way He does. Trust Him to help you speak in love, not anger." -Harriett A. DurrellHow About You?Do you say things you don't mean? It's so easy to do. The Bible has a lot to say about how much trouble your tongue can cause. It also gives the cure--let the love of Christ in your heart control what you say. If you've had trouble controlling your tongue, apologize to those you've hurt. Then use your words to encourage others and solve problems in a loving way.Today's Key Verse:The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (NIV) (Proverbs 12:18)Today's Key Thought:Use your words in a loving way

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    Escape Plan

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 27, 2023

    Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:11-13"Sarah, Lynn, you need to start packing," Mom said. "The hurricane has turned and is heading this way. They're evacuating the barrier islands."Sarah quickly jumped into action and started packing, but Lynn began to cry. "I'm scared!""It's going to be okay, Lynn," said Mom. "We'll be gone before the storm hits. We'll follow the escape plan and head north to Grandma and Grandpa's house."Once the car was packed and the house was boarded up, they got on the road. The traffic leaving the islands was already backed up for miles. It was going to take a while to reach the mainland, and from there it would take another four hours to get to Grandma and Grandpa's house. Good thing Lynn and Sarah packed a lot of toys.When they finally arrived, the girls gave each of their grandparents a big hug and then ran into the backyard to play. It felt good to be out of the car and running around again.The next day when Grandpa was watching the news, Sarah and Lynn saw the damage the storm was doing as it ripped through the islands. Then it showed footage of people being rescued from rooftops."I thought everyone had to leave the islands," Sarah said."They were supposed to, but some chose to stay," said Grandpa.Lynn frowned. "Why didn't they escape when they had the chance?""Some probably chose not to heed the warnings. Others probably didn't have a way to leave." Grandpa turned off the TV. "Did you know there's one situation where we always have the option to escape? The Bible says that whenever we're tempted to sin, God provides a way out.""He gives us an escape plan out of temptation?" asked Sarah.Grandpa nodded. "We have a choice to make whenever we're tempted to do something that's wrong. Do we choose God's escape plan and use the power He gives us to say no to sin, or do we choose to give in to the temptation and then face the consequences of our bad choices?""Well, I sure am glad Mom and Dad got us safely off the island before the hurricane hit," Sarah said."Me too!" said Lynn. "And next time I'm tempted to do something wrong, I want to follow God's escape plan." -Lisa FullerHow About You?Have you ever been tempted to do something that you knew was wrong? God always provides a way of escape for us when we are tempted to sin. If you know Jesus as your Savior, He has given you the power to resist temptation and say no to sin. Trust Him to show you a way out, then be willing to follow His plan.Today's Key Verse:God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out. (NLT) (1 Corinthians 10:13)Today's Key Thought:Choose to escape temptation

    Puzzle Pieces

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 26, 2023

    Bible Reading: Proverbs 3:5-6; Romans 8:28-32"Hi, Mom," said Clara as she walked into her mom's hospital room. It seemed so strange to see Mom in a hospital bed. "You feeling okay?" Mom nodded. "They only did tests today. The surgery isn't until tomorrow, but don't worry. I'm in very good hands." She pointed to a bag Clara was carrying. "What did you bring?""I brought a puzzle." Clara dumped the pieces onto Mom's bedside table. "It's just a small one, and I figured we could put it together.""Good idea!" said Mom, and they began searching for edge pieces.As Clara worked, so many questions filled her mind. Will Mom's surgery be really painful for her? Will it make her well? And the scariest question of all… Could Mom die during the surgery? But she didn't want to worry her mother, so she kept her thoughts to herself."I can't figure out where this piece goes," Clara said, frowning.Mom smiled at her. "I'm glad you brought a puzzle. It's kind of like my life right now. Being sick and needing surgery is like that piece of the puzzle. You don't know how it fits in the picture, and I don't know where this experience fits into the picture of my life. But knowing that God promises to work everything for good and seeing how He's already put some other pieces of my life together helps me trust Him now too." "What do you mean?" asked Clara."Well, one example is the way God worked when Dad lost his job," said Mom. "We couldn't understand how that would fit in the picture of our lives. Then God provided a job for him in this city where Dr. Campbell practices. He's the best doctor in the country for the surgery I need.""God is taking care of you, right?" said Clara slowly. "And He'll take care of you tomorrow, won't He?"Mom nodded. "Even if the surgery isn't successful, I know He'll take care of me because I belong to Jesus and will spend eternity with Him." She squeezed Clara's hand. "I don't understand how this fits into my life, but He does, and I trust Him to put the picture together for me. Will you trust Him too?" Clara nodded. She was finally able to give her mother a little smile. -Katherine R. AdamsHow About You?Are there events in your life that you don't understand? Take comfort knowing Jesus is with you in hard times and promises to work everything out, even though you may not understand it now. God sees the total picture of your life, and He's fitting the pieces--the events in your life--into just the right places. Even when bad things happen, you can trust Him to help you through them and bring good out of them.Today's Key Verse:We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. (CSB) (Romans 8:28)Today's Key Thought:Trust God to work for your good

    god jesus christ romans dad mom campbell devotional puzzle pieces cbh keys for kids keys for kids ministries childrens bible hour
    Who's Keeping the Kangaroo?

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 25, 2023

    Bible Reading: John 10:27-29"You look sad, Kevin. What are you thinking about?" Mom finished drying her hands on the kitchen towel she was holding and hung it back up on the rack. "Well…" Kevin gulped. "Remember how I got saved in Sunday school a few months ago? Well, I think I might not be saved anymore! I keep doing bad things. I disobey you all the time. I lied to my teacher about my homework. I said something mean to Justin when we were playing that video game the other day. Justin says I'm going to lose my salvation if I keep doing all these bad things!" Mom was quiet for a moment, then she said, "Let's go to the park."Kevin wiped his nose on his sleeve and slid off the couch. He grabbed his battered stuffed kangaroo and headed to the park with his mom. "Better leave Joey with me," Mom said when they got to the park. "You don't want to lose him on the playground."Kevin reluctantly handed his kangaroo over to his mom for safekeeping. Then he ran off to play.Later, at home, Kevin started crying. "Mom! I can't find Joey anywhere! I think I lost him at the park. Now he's gone forever and I'll never see him again!" "You didn't lose him. I was keeping him for you, remember?" She pulled the stuffed animal out of her bag and handed him to Kevin.Kevin grabbed Joey and squished him to his chest. He was so happy his favorite little friend wasn't lost!"Kevin," Mom said, "remember how you were asking about losing your salvation? This is a good illustration of how salvation works. When you trusted Jesus as your Savior, He forgave your sins and gave you eternal life as a child of God. That's what salvation is--the promise that we have been freed from sin's power and will live with God forever as His people. If you had to keep your salvation safe all by yourself, you would lose it. But Jesus not only gives us salvation for free--He is also the one who keeps it for us! You can't lose your salvation because Jesus is holding it for you." -Kristi Van WinkleHow About You?Are you afraid of losing your salvation? Do you worry that if you do too many bad things you won't be a Christian anymore? Your salvation is not based on anything you do--it's a gift from God, and you don't ever have to worry about losing it! You're God's child now, and nothing will change that. When you do something that's wrong, He will forgive you and help you do better. Jesus is the one who holds your salvation, and He promises to keep it safe.Today's Key Verse:I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. (CSB) (John 10:28 )Today's Key Thought:Jesus holds your salvation

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    Daddy's Girl

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 24, 2023

    Bible Reading: Romans 12:9-18; Galatians 4:6-7"Mom, who do I look like?" asked Avia while her mother braided her hair."Who do you look like?" repeated Mom. "Well, let's see." Mom gently tugged on Avia's hair. "Duck," she said."I look like a duck?" Avia laughed, knowing Mom meant for her to tip her head so she could braid the hair at the bottom of her neck.Mom laughed too, then took a long look at both their faces in the mirror. "Actually, that's an easy question. You look more like your father--more so every day." Avia's father had died when she was very small. "You remind me of your dad so much. You not only resemble him in appearance; you act like him too. You eat just as fast as he did," Mom teased as they walked to the kitchen to fix breakfast."Isn't it weird that I hardly knew Dad, but now I look like him and act like him?" Avia asked as she set the table. "You always say I like the same foods he did--asparagus and beets and even sandwiches with pickles and peanut butter on them! I wonder how come I'm so much like him when he's not here for me to copy?""I believe you do those things naturally because Dad is a part of you. He's passed on some of his characteristics to you--like similar taste buds," said Mom as she poured apple juice. "You also act like him in other ways because you've heard stories about him and have started doing some of the same things he used to do--like seeing how many old cars you can spot on a road trip." She smiled at Avia. "It's kind of like what happens when someone becomes a child of God.""You mean because He's our heavenly Father, but we don't see Him--just like I don't see Dad?" asked Avia.Mom nodded. "We don't see God, but we act like Him because the Holy Spirit--who is God--lives in us. We read about God in the Bible and see glimpses of Him in the lives of other Christians. And we talk about what He does in our lives." Mom squeezed Avia's hand. "With God's help, we become more and more like our heavenly Father every day!" -Dawn E. MaloneyHow About You?Can others tell that God is your heavenly Father by the way you live? Do your words and actions make it easy for people to identify you as a child of God? Today's Bible reading lists a number of things that describe how God's children should live. Trust the Lord to develop these characteristics in your life so others will see your heavenly Father in you.Today's Key Verse:Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. (NLT) (Ephesians 5:1)Today's Key Thought:Live like a child of God

    Instant Answers

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 23, 2023

    Bible Reading: Psalm 25:1-5; Lamentations 3:24-26"I don't really see the use of praying about things," Abigail said as she hobbled to the refrigerator one morning. "I've been praying my sprained ankle would heal, but God hasn't answered my prayer." She rummaged around in the fridge. "Where's the orange juice?" "I'm afraid we ran out," said Mom. "But there are some oranges in there--why don't you squeeze one of those?"Abigail shook her head. "That takes too long," she said, shutting the refrigerator door. "I'll just buy some from the vending machine at school.""Mom!" Jude called out from the family room. "The internet's not working again!" Mom and Abigail heard him get up to restart the wireless router. "This thing is so annoying," he grumbled loudly. Abigail groaned. "That router needs to be replaced. Even when it does work, the internet's really slow. It took me forever to look up facts about mammals for my science homework last night." "Really?" said Mom. "It took you forever?""Well, twenty minutes."Mom smiled and shook her head. "It sounds like our gotta-have-it-now culture is giving you and Jude an instant gratification mentality." She eyed Abigail thoughtfully. "And judging from what you said a few minutes ago, it sounds like that attitude might be creeping into your prayer life too!"Abigail frowned. "What's an instant gratification mentality?""It's when we're so used to having things right away that the smallest delay becomes unacceptable to us--like having an internet connection that's not lightning-fast or taking a few minutes to squeeze an orange," Mom explained. "It can make us think God should answer our prayers instantly too."Abigail shrugged. "Okay, but we're supposed to expect answers, aren't we?""Yes, but asking God for answers to prayer isn't the same as looking up answers to homework on the internet," said Mom. "God's timing doesn't always match ours--He is much more patient than we are. Jesus patiently walks with us through the difficult circumstances we face in life--such as a sprained ankle that needs time to heal--so we can learn to trust Him and become more like Him. When we remember how patient and caring He is with us, we can be patient and wait for His answers. They'll come when the time is right." -Tanya FerdinanduszHow About You?Do you have an instant gratification mentality? Do you always want things right now--if not sooner? There's nothing wrong with using modern conveniences that save us time and effort, but God's timing is different from our fast-paced world. Trust Him to help you be patient like He is as you bring your requests to Him in prayer and to answer at the time He knows is best.Today's Key Verse:Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; I wait for you all day long. (CSB) (Psalm 25:5)Today's Key Thought:Wait for God's answers

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    Swimming Upstream

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 22, 2023

    Bible Reading: 2 Peter 1:3-9Calvin waited with his father at the airport. Soon they were greeting their friend Mr. Sato, who had come from Japan to visit.When they arrived home, Mr. Sato handed Calvin a package. Calvin eagerly opened it, but he wasn't sure what it was. "I'll help you put that together," Mr. Sato said. "If it's okay with your dad, we can go out to the backyard and assemble it now.""Sure," said Dad, so they went out and got busy fitting pieces together. When it was finished, three plastic fish billowed in the wind at the end of a bamboo pole."In Japan we have a special day for children," Mr. Sato told them. "We set up a pole with a fish--a carp like this--waving from it. The carp is a determined fish. It swims upstream and overcomes obstacles. One of the things we teach our children is to be brave and strong like that." Mr. Sato paused. "But many kids in Japan don't know they need Jesus," he added sadly. "They don't know they need Him to set them free from sin and make them strong enough to swim upstream and do what's right even if other kids don't." He smiled at Calvin. "I'm glad you know Jesus, Calvin. I hope you'll remember to trust Him to give you the strength you need to swim against the current."When Calvin got into bed, he thought about the carp swimming upstream. I wonder if I'd be able to swim upstream if my friends tried to talk me into doing something I know I shouldn't, he thought. Some of the things we've been doing lately haven't been all that good, but I don't want them to think I'm a wimp. He was still wondering about it when he fell asleep.At school the next day, his friend Grant approached him. "Hey, some of us are gonna skip gym class and walk over to the park. Mr. Tillman never takes attendance, so no one will know. You in?"Calvin took a deep breath and said a silent prayer. Then he shook his head. "No, I'm not going to do stuff like that anymore." There, I said it! he thought. Thanks, Jesus, for helping me swim upstream.-Matilda H. NordtvedtHow About You?Do you do what other kids do because you're afraid they'll make fun of you if you don't? Any fish can float downstream, but it takes a strong one to swim against the current. If you know Jesus as your Savior, He has given you that strength. When you're tempted to do something wrong, trust Him to help you swim upstream and do the right thing. Today's Key Verse:Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. (NKJV) (Ephesians 6:10)Today's Key Thought:Say no to wrong things

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    The Purple Flower

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 21, 2023

    Bible Reading: Matthew 5:15-16On a sunny summer afternoon, Kayla and her parents decided to take a walk through the woods. When they first moved to the farm, Dad had cleared a path that looped through the woods at the back of their property.Kayla loved walking in the woods with her parents. She would often just stand still and take in the sounds and smells of the forest. It was always so peaceful and beautiful. As she rounded a curve in the path, something caught Kayla's eye. "Mom, Dad, come look at this!" she called.Mom and Dad walked over to where Kayla was standing. On the ground, nestled between a bunch of leaves and sticks, was a bright purple flower."Wow, that flower was hidden well," Dad said.Mom nodded. "If you hadn't been standing right there, we would have missed it.""It's too pretty to just leave hidden out here. Can I pick it and take it home?" Kayla asked.Mom checked her phone to make sure it was okay to pick, and then Kayla carefully picked the flower and held on to it as they continued on around the path. Once they reached the house, Kayla grabbed a vase from under the kitchen sink, filled it with water, and placed the flower in it. She set the vase on the table so they all could enjoy it."It's so beautiful!" Kayla exclaimed.During devotions that evening, Dad read some verses from the book of Matthew. "You know, that flower you found in the woods today is a good example of this Bible lesson," he said when he finished reading. "The flower was just so bright and beautiful that you couldn't leave it hidden in the woods. You wanted everyone to see it. Well, this verse is saying that's what we're like as Christians. We have the light of Jesus in us, and we shouldn't try to hide it. We need to shine bright like that flower so that others can see the beauty of His love in our lives."That night when Kayla went to bed, she prayed that the Lord would help her be a shining light for Him. She wanted others to see Jesus in her life. -Lisa FullerHow About You?Does your life reflect the light of Jesus? Can others see Him when they look at you? As Christians, it's important for us to be a light for Jesus. Others should be able to see His love and goodness in the way we treat them and know that He makes a difference in our lives. Don't keep your light hidden--shine brightly for Jesus today and every day!Today's Key Verse:You are the light of the world--like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. (NLT) (Matthew 5:14 )Today's Key Thought:Be a light for Jesus

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    Lost and Found

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 20, 2023

    Bible Reading: Luke 15:3-7"Stryker! Where are you?" Zion tried to hold back the tears as he searched the barn for his beagle pup. Zion had made the mistake of opening the front door before he'd placed Stryker in his harness. Now Stryker was gone. "Stryker, come here!" Zion looked in each of the open stalls, hoping to see that cute white snout and those curious brown eyes peek out through the hay."Did you find him?" Dad walked into the barn carrying a rain poncho and two flashlights."He's not in here, Dad." Zion wiped at his tears with his sleeve. "Where could he be? It's getting dark outside, and it's starting to rain."Squatting down to Zion's height, Dad looked him in the eye. "I don't think Stryker's gone far, Zion. We've got a big farm, and he's a little pup. But don't worry. We'll keep looking until we find him."Zion nodded, wiped his eyes once more, and followed Dad down the path toward the pond. The rain pelted his poncho, and the wind kept tugging his hood off his head, but Zion was determined not to go home without Stryker.Two hours later, Zion and Dad found Stryker huddled beneath a thicket of pine trees at the far end of the cornfield. His coat was covered with mud, but his tail beat a steady rhythm on Zion's chest when he scooped him up in a hug."Come on, buddy." Dad took Stryker in his strong arms. "Let's get home so we can all get warm and dry.""You know something, Dad," Zion said as he followed his dad home. "What we did tonight for Stryker is a lot like what God does for us.""You think so?""Sure." Zion looked at the moon that was now peeking out from behind the clouds. "God loves us so much that He doesn't want us to be lost and without Him. Jesus came to find us and save us." "That's right," said Dad. As they reached their front porch, Zion smiled as he opened the door. "It feels really good to be loved that much, doesn't it, Dad?"His dad smiled back. "It sure does." -Vickie Price TaylorHow About You?Do you ever feel lost or alone? God loves you, and He doesn't want you to be lost. He sent His Son, Jesus, to save you from sin and give you an eternal home with Him. He promises to always be there for you. You don't have to be lost and alone anymore. Trust in Jesus today. (To learn more, click the "Good News!" button in the right column of this page.)Today's Key Verse:The Son of Man [Jesus] has come to seek and to save the lost. (CSB) (Luke 19:10 )Today's Key Thought:Jesus came to find you

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    Tumbling Towers

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 19, 2023

    Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7; Ephesians 4:2"Your move, Tim," said Mom after she placed a wooden tile atop the precarious stack.Timothy picked a tile from the bottom of the tower and carefully wiggled it out. The stack swayed for a second before tumbling over, sending blocks all over the table.Mom began gathering the wooden pieces scattered across the table into a pile. "I got a call today from Adam's mom. She said Adam got in trouble today for fighting with a teacher. She told me your name came up once or twice. What happened?"Timothy stooped down to grab a wooden tile beneath his chair. "I know Adam is my best friend, but he's been so moody lately. Today he blew up when Mr. Green took his comic book. I told Adam he should put it away before Mr. Green saw him goofing off, but he didn't listen. I think Mr. Green heard me, which is how he found out about the comic book in the first place. Adam was really mad at me.""How about one last round before we call it a night?" Mom asked, stacking the wooden tiles into a tower on top of the table. "It sounds like Adam is going through a rough time. When I talked to his mom, she told me that her divorce was just finalized yesterday."Timothy pulled a piece from the middle of the tower and moved it to the top. "I don't know what to do for him. I don't even know if he wants to be my friend anymore.""It sounds like he needs a friend now more than ever," said Mom. "Adam's situation is a lot like this game." Mom picked up the piece that Timothy had just laid on top. "With everything he's going through, Adam probably feels like someone is taking tiles from his tower. But a good friend who's supportive and patient can put some stability back in his life." She slowly put the tile back in its hole."So you're saying I should be patient with Adam, even if he doesn't like me right now?" asked Timothy."It isn't just me who says it," Mom said. "God is always patient with us, especially when we don't deserve it. And He wants us to show love and patience to others." -Josh MoseyHow About You?Are you patient and kind with your friends, even when they aren't being very nice to you? Life can be hard, and sometimes it feels like someone is taking tiles from our towers. Those are the times when we need good friends the most. Jesus is that kind of friend--one who shows us patience and love when it seems like everything is tumbling down around us. Trust Him to help you be a good friend like Him. Today's Key Verse:A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. (NKJV) (Proverbs 17:17)Today's Key Thought:Be patient with your friends

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    Special Creation

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 18, 2023

    Bible Reading: Genesis 1:27; Psalm 139:13-16; Romans 5:6-8"Good morning," Mrs. Fields said to her class at Potter Christian School. "Mason, can you remind everyone what special thing we're going to do today?" Using his communication device, Mason answered, "We're going to Potter's Woods to pick wildflowers." "That's right," said Mrs. Fields. "We'll leave after morning recess."When the recess bell rang, Cody, a new member of the class, stayed behind while the other kids filed out of the classroom."Did you have a question, Cody?" Mrs. Fields asked.Cody nodded. "How can Mason pick wildflowers if he can't walk or use his hands?" "He can do lots of things, Cody. He has a special chair to help him go places and a special device to help him talk. He'll let us know if he needs our help.""Okay. Since I can do everything by myself, I'll help Mason if he can't do something," Cody said."Thank you, Cody, that's very kind of you. But don't forget that even though you can do many things by yourself, everyone needs help sometimes. We all have different abilities because God made each of us special. Think about the flowers we're going to pick. Do you think they'll all be alike?"Cody shook his head. "My sister's class had a field trip to the woods yesterday, and they found all kinds of different flowers.""I'm sure they did," said Mrs. Fields. "Flowers don't all look the same, but they're all beautiful. That's true of people too. We're all beautiful in God's eyes. He loves us all so much that He sent His Son to do what none of us could do ourselves--Jesus died and rose again to save us from sin. We all have equal need of His help, yet He created each of us with special abilities so we could help one another in different ways.""So Mason has special abilities too?" Cody asked.Mrs. Fields nodded. "Cody, like most of the class, you can do some things Mason can't do, but as you get to know him, you'll be surprised to see all he is able to do--even some things you can't do." She smiled. "I'll tell you one thing he's very good at. He spreads the joy of Jesus with his cheerful and loving attitude." -Beverly B. PapizanHow About You?Do you sometimes need help doing certain things? Because we live in a broken world, we all struggle with different things in our lives, but Jesus did what none of us could do--He died and rose again to save us and make us whole. Because of Him, we can use the different abilities God gave us to point others to Jesus. God says you are wonderfully made. He created you in His own image and gave you special abilities that you can use to help others.Today's Key Verse:When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. (NLT) (Romans 5:6)Today's Key Thought:There is beauty and ability in everyone

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    Changing Winds

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 17, 2023

    Bible Reading: John 3:1-8; Romans 6:3-10"Look at the wind!" exclaimed Clover as she stood at the window. "The trees are swaying back and forth, and some of the branches are breaking off.""Wow! It's really blowing hard!" said Beau as he came into the room. "I've never seen so much wind!"Dad joined them at the window. "You can't really see wind," he reminded them. "You can only see what it does.""It's making that garbage can roll down the street," Clover remarked.The three of them watched in silence for a few minutes, then Dad said, "Jesus compared the blowing of the wind to becoming a Christian. We can't actually see the wind, and we can't actually see Jesus coming into somebody's life.""It's His Spirit that comes in, isn't it? And spirits are invisible," said Beau. He looked at Clover. "That's why you still look the same," he told her. "You still have freckles, just like before you trusted in Jesus at Bible camp last summer." Beau loved teasing his sister about her freckles.Dad smiled. "We see what the wind does though, and we also see what Jesus does in a person's life. He changes that person. When someone becomes a Christian, they have a new desire to obey the Lord and show His love to others--and not do things that aren't pleasing to God."Clover nodded. "I still do bad things sometimes, but I don't want to," she said. "When I know I've done something wrong, I ask Jesus to forgive me and trust Him to help me not do it anymore. Before I was saved, I didn't really care very much.""Yeah," said Beau. "And you don't get mad anymore when I tease you about your freckles. That's no fun." Clover grinned and made a face at him, then cringed as a rather large branch cracked and fell off a neighbor's tree. "I'm glad the wind doesn't always blow this hard.""I am too," said Dad. "But I'm even more glad that Jesus is always in our hearts. Even though we can't see Him, we know He's there to help us live in a way that shows how He's changed us."-Matilda H. NordtvedtHow About You?Are you different from the way you were before you became a Christian? Can others see the change Jesus has brought into your life? If you were saved at a very young age, you may wonder if you changed at all. God says you did, and He's continuously working to make you more like Jesus. Trust Him to help you grow in your obedience to Him and in your love for others. Today's Key Verse:Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (NLT) (2 Corinthians 5:17)Today's Key Thought:Jesus changes you

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    Helping Hands

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 16, 2023

    Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:26-31; Galatians 6:9-10"Why do we have to pick up Mr. Cook?" asked Brady. "The nursing home is a long way from the park.""If we don't pick him up, he won't get to come to the church picnic," Dad answered as he drove. "Since we pick him up on the way to church each week, we can bring him to the picnic too. It's a small thing we can do for the Lord."Brady thought about that. "It seems like a funny way to do something for God. I mean, God could take Mr. Cook to the picnic on a flying carpet if He wanted to. He doesn't really need our help, does He?"Just then they arrived at the nursing home. Mr. Cook was waiting outside just like each Sunday when they picked him up for church. But today he had a small brown bag, which he waved in the air. "I remembered it was a picnic," he said. "I brought some lunch."At the park, Mom spread their lunch on a picnic table. She had brought ham and cheese sandwiches, potato salad, carrots with dip, lemonade, watermelon, and chocolate chip cookies for dessert. Brady saw Mr. Cook open his bag at the end of the table and take out a bologna sandwich. Mom motioned for him to move closer to all the food. "Don't eat all by yourself," she told him. "Come on! Put your lunch with ours and we'll share. There's plenty to go around."Mr. Cook grinned and scooted over. He carefully placed his sandwich next to the ham and cheese sandwiches. He might as well not have bothered with that, thought Brady. Who's going to eat it? They prayed and began to eat. To Brady's surprise, his little sister immediately reached for the bologna sandwich.Dad leaned toward him. "Brady," he whispered, "we help God in much the same way Mr. Cook is helping us. God has all the power and all the resources, but He invites us to join Him in building His kingdom. He doesn't need our help, but He wants to bless us by allowing us to participate in the work He's doing. He will use whatever efforts we have to offer to work in people's lives and point them to the love of Jesus." -Catherine RunyonHow About You?Do you feel like God doesn't need your help? He's all-powerful, but He wants you to be a part of the work He's doing in the world. He'll use your small efforts to help more people know about Jesus and His love for them. The Bible tells how God used a boy to kill a giant and how one boy's lunch fed over five thousand people. Look around you and find ways you can be a helping hand for Jesus and show others His love.Today's Key Verse:God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty. (NKJV) (1 Corinthians 1:27)Today's Key Thought:You can serve God

    God's Choice

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 15, 2023

    Bible Reading: Isaiah 55:8-9"Is it a boy? It is, isn't it?" Carter jumped around the kitchen while his grandmother talked to his dad at the hospital. Carter was so excited, he almost dropped the apple he was eating. "It's a boy, isn't it, Grandma?"Grandma hung up the phone. "You now have a beautiful baby sister," she said gently. "Her name is Oakleigh.""No!" Carter dropped his apple. "I've been praying for months for a brother." He felt like crying. "It's not fair! Oscar got a baby brother, and he didn't pray at all. Why wouldn't God give me a brother when I asked for one?"Grandma leaned against the counter. "I remember how happy your mom and dad were when they were expecting you. When people asked if they wanted a girl or a boy, they said they just wanted a healthy baby."Carter picked up his apple from the floor and rinsed it off at the sink. "I'm sure they were glad I turned out to be a boy.""Yes, but I was a little bit disappointed. I was hoping for a little granddaughter.""Grandma!" Carter was shocked. "You didn't want me?""Of course I did! But I already had three grandsons. I thought it would be nice to have a girl in the family. But another boy was God's choice for them, and you know what? Now I couldn't love anybody more." She gave Carter a big hug.Carter sighed. "I still don't think it was very nice of you to wish I was a girl!"Grandma's eyes twinkled. "No nicer than for you to wish your sister was a boy."Carter looked surprised. "I guess I wasn't being nice either.""I know you were hoping for a brother, Carter, but God has given you the gift of a baby sister instead. Remember that He loves her just as much as He loves you, and He will help you be a good brother to her." Grandma squeezed Carter's shoulder. "Even though a sister isn't what you were expecting, God's gifts to us are always good, and we can be thankful knowing the same God who loves us so much He saved us from sin promises to do what He knows is best."Carter nodded and bit into his apple. "So when can Oakleigh come home?" -Ruth McQuilkinHow About You?Do you get upset when God doesn't answer your prayers the way you want? He has a purpose for everything, and when He answers your prayers in His own way, He's doing it to fit His perfect will. Remember how much He loves you--so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for your sins so you could be saved--and trust Him to make the choices He knows are best. Today's Key Verse:In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (NKJV) (1 Thessalonians 5:18)Today's Key Thought:God knows best

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    Don't Let Anger Take Control

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 14, 2023

    Bible Reading: Ephesians 4:29-32I didn't do anything wrong, Hayley thought as she stared at the TV, wiping away tears. Her dad never yelled at her like that. She had just been singing. He had told her before that he loved to hear her sing."Aren't you going to eat with us?" Hayley's older brother peeked into the room.Hayley shook her head. "I'm not hungry.""What's wrong?" Mikey walked over to her.Hayley's brother was a teenager. He would think she was stupid for crying. "Nothing.""Something is wrong, Hay." Mikey sat down beside her. "Spill.""Fine." Hayley closed her eyes. "Dad yelled at me in the car. He told me to shut up.""What?" Mikey looked shocked."I was just singing. And we're not supposed to say that." Hayley started to cry again.Mikey hugged her. "I'll save you some dinner in case you're hungry later."Hayley rested on the couch with her eyes closed, her dad's words playing over and over in her head, until she heard footsteps come into the room. She peeked her eyes open as her dad knelt on the floor beside the couch."Mikey told me you're upset," Dad said. "I was really stressed in the car. The traffic was bad and I was trying hard to focus." He brushed her hair back from her face. "I should have asked you nicely if you could be quiet instead of yelling at you.""You hurt my feelings," Hayley said."I know, and I'm sorry." Dad sighed. "It's like how you sometimes get angry if your brother makes a lot of noise while you're trying to practice for your recital. Sometimes we let anger take over when we're nervous and say hurtful things. But we don't have to let that happen. We can trust God to help us control our anger instead of letting it control us."Hayley knew her dad was right--she sometimes got angry when she was stressed too. She just hadn't expected that from him. "If God helps us control our anger, why did you let it control you?"Dad gave her a sad smile. "I'm not perfect. God's still working on me. I let anger take control today, but I'm glad I can always depend on God to forgive me and help me do better. I hope you'll forgive me too." -Emily AckerHow About You?Do you sometimes let anger take over? Do you yell or say hurtful things? Even adults struggle with anger sometimes.* But as Christians, we don't have to let anger control us. Through the Holy Spirit's power, we can control what we say and do when we feel angry. Remember He's working to make you more like Jesus, and trust Him to help you control your anger. *If an adult is hurting you because they can't control their anger, tell another adult who can help.Today's Key Verse:Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city. (NIV) (Proverbs 16:32)Today's Key Thought:Don't let anger control you

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    Who Made What?

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 13, 2023

    Bible Reading: Psalms 19:1-4; 111:2-4; Hebrews 1:10Della sighed as she sat on the porch steps, staring off into space. "What's wrong, honey?" asked her dad as he put down the garden hose."This girl in my class--Raven--says there's no God," replied Della. "I told her there is, but she said, 'Prove it.' I didn't know how. We can't see God, so how could I give her proof?"Dad nodded. "You may not be able to prove it to her satisfaction, but there are things she can see that may convince her of the truth. Come with me." Della stood up and followed her dad into the house. In the dining room, he pointed at the embroidered tablecloth. "Who made this?""Grandma did," Della replied."What about this casserole in the oven?" asked Dad. "Who put it there?""Mom did," Della answered.Dad nodded and removed a drawing of a flower from the refrigerator door. "Who made this?"Della grinned. "I drew that in art class."Dad smiled. "No matter what I point to in this room, somebody made it, right?""Right," said Della.Dad took Della outside again and told her to look around. "What do you see?""I see the little birds in the trees," said Della. "And a bumble bee on a pink rose. And I see the grass and the sky and the sun shining.""And did they just appear there by themselves, or did somebody make them?""Somebody made them," replied Della. "God did!""Yes, indeed He did," said Dad. "Everything made has a maker. Even things made with human hands start with materials made by God. One way we know God exists is that our eyes see the things only God could make. The beauty and complexity of nature and our own bodies point to His existence and His love for us.""I'll have to tell Raven about that," said Della."It might not change her mind, but hopefully it will give her something to think about," said Dad. "You can also pray for her and ask God to help her see that He's real and that He loves her." Dad nudged Della with his elbow. "You can ask Him to help you be a good friend to her so she can see His love in you too."Della grinned. "Okay, Dad. I'll do that." -Suzanne DalyHow About You?Do you know anyone who doesn't believe in God? Even though you can't make people believe in God, you can point them to the truth that He exists and that He loves them. The Bible teaches that He is the Creator of the universe and that He loves us so much He sent His Son, Jesus, to save us from sin. Point others to the greatness of God that's evident in His creation, and let His love be evident in you. Today's Key Verse:The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. (NIV) (Psalm 19:1)Today's Key Thought:Creation points to God

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    Off Balance

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 12, 2023

    Bible Reading: Romans 3:23-24; Ephesians 2:4-10"Hey, look at that, Killian!" Nathan pointed out the car window to a big crane. "Mom, can we stop and watch?""Okay." Mom pulled over and watched with Nathan and his friend Killian as the crane lifted a golden statue to the top of the courthouse. Killian pointed to the statue. "Why is she blindfolded?""And what's in her hand?" asked Nathan."That's a statue of Lady Justice," said Mom. "She's blindfolded to show that justice shouldn't be influenced by who people are or how much money they have. She's holding a balance scale, which represents fairness. Both sides of the scale have to hold equal amounts. If a wrong is committed, the penalty has to balance the crime.""Balance the crime?" asked Nathan. "What does that mean?""The crime is on one side of the scale, and if the right penalty is on the other, they balance," Mom explained. "Say someone steals a pair of shoes from a store. To balance that, they'd have to pay for them, or give them back, and probably pay a fine for doing wrong.""Oh, I get it!" said Nathan."Is that how it works with God too?" asked Killian. "My sister says He's keeping track of all the bad things I do, and I'll have to pay someday. If I do lots of good things, will it balance out?"Mom shook her head. "People often think that's how it works, but all our good deeds can never be enough to balance the wrong things we do. The Bible says that what we do wrong is sin--and sin puts a lot of weight in the bad side of the scale.""Yeah. It's like our sins are a pile of stones," said Nathan. "And our good deeds are like feathers. We can't put enough feathers on the scale to balance the stones.""So how can we make it even?" asked Killian."We can't," said Mom. "But Jesus can. He paid the penalty for our sins by dying on the cross, and if we trust in Him, He puts His goodness on the scale for us."Nathan grinned. "His goodness does more than balance the scale. It knocks our sins right off, so it's like we never sinned at all, right, Mom?""Yep!" said Mom with a smile."Wow," said Killian. "Then that's what I want!" -Kathy GustafsonHow About You?Do you do good things to try to make up for bad things you've done? You can never do enough good things to balance your account with God. Today's verse applies to anyone who isn't a Christian--and if you've never trusted Jesus to be your Savior, that includes you. Trust in Jesus and receive His goodness in place of your sin. (To learn more, click the "Good News!" button in the right column of this page.)Today's Key Verse:For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (NKJV) (Romans 3:23)Today's Key Thought:Jesus offers you His goodness

    The Vegetable Garden

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 11, 2023

    Bible Reading: Isaiah 58:11; John 4:13-14; 7:37-39"Are you packed and ready to go?" Macy's mom called."I'm ready!" Macy exclaimed as she came bounding down the stairs carrying her backpack. She couldn't wait to spend the weekend with Mimi and Pop on their small farm and help them plant a vegetable garden. Macy and her parents lived in a townhouse in the city, so being out in the wide-open countryside was a real treat for her.After Mom dropped her off, Mimi helped Macy get her things unpacked and then they headed out to plant the garden."Here, you hold the seeds and the hoe while I get the wheelbarrow and dirt," Mimi said.Pop had already plowed the garden area for them, so they were set to start planting. As they planted the seeds, Mimi talked about how they would need to make sure the garden was properly watered and weeded until harvest time.Macy sighed. "That sounds like a lot of work." "It is," said Mimi. "But it will be worth it when you see and taste those vegetables."Macy giggled. "My mouth is already watering!" Mom and Mimi made a plan for Macy to come over every Saturday morning during the growing season to help weed and water the garden. Macy worked hard in the garden all summer, and boy, did it pay off! They ended up with a good crop of vegetables and a couple of juicy watermelons."Was all the work worth it?" Pop asked."Definitely!" Macy said as she took another big bite of watermelon.Pop grinned. "Did you know that our lives are like a vegetable garden, Macy? Just like we had to keep the garden watered and weeded so the vegetables would be healthy and grow, we need Jesus to water us spiritually. He does that the moment we put our trust in Him, and He continues to water us with His love and grace throughout our lives.""I sure did enjoy working in the garden with you this summer," said Macy. "I'm glad Jesus is working in my life so I can grow just like our vegetables!" -Lisa FullerHow About You?Are you like a well-watered garden? In today's Bible reading, John 7:38 says that Jesus provides us with living water. When we trust Him as our Savior, He gives us the Holy Spirit, who works in our lives and helps us grow in our faith so we can produce fruit of God's love for others to enjoy. As you learn more about Jesus and listen to the truth of God's Word, trust Him to help you grow in the love and knowledge of the Lord. Today's Key Verse:The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. (NLT) (Isaiah 58:11 )Today's Key Thought:Jesus waters us spiritually

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    Ocean of Love

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 10, 2023

    Bible Reading: Romans 8:35-39; 1 John 1:9It was a beautiful day for a picnic at the beach. The Patel family spread out a blanket and put up sun umbrellas in their favorite spot. Then Mira and Priya dashed for the water, but Ari looked fearfully at the waves. "The water is so scary today," he murmured."Oh, come on in," called Mira. "The waves are fun. Don't be so scared."But Ari shook his head. He sat down on the beach and began to build a sand castle. "Dad…" he began hesitantly. His voice trembled as he continued, "I feel awful inside. I don't think God loves me anymore.""God has never quit loving you for a minute in your whole life," Dad said, turning to look at him. "What makes you think He has?""Well, my Bible club verse this week says, 'Keep yourselves in the love of God.' That must mean I have to do stuff to keep God loving me, but I don't think I've done that." Ari looked at the ground. "I'm sure I haven't. I lied to you and Mom one day last week, remember?""Yes, but you confessed that to us, and we forgave you," said Dad. "When you confess your sin to God, He forgives you too. God never stops loving you." Dad waved a hand toward the ocean. "God's love is something like the ocean. Just think of how much water there is out there, but you're not enjoying any of it. Why not?""Because the waves are so big, and they scare me.""Exactly, so you're not in it," said Dad. "Your fear of the big waves keeps you from enjoying the water. And your fear that God is unhappy with you is keeping you from enjoying His love. But His love for you is there, just as it's always been.""But what about that verse?" asked Ari."The Bible doesn't say, 'Keep God loving you,'" said Dad. "It says, 'Keep yourselves in the love of God.' There's nothing you could ever do to make God stop loving you, Ari. Jesus died for you so you could live without fear, knowing your sins are forgiven. His love for you is always there. To enjoy it, remember that you are His child and that nothing can separate you from Him." -Mary Rose PearsonHow About You?Do you ever wonder if God still loves you when you sin? Maybe you cheated, lied, made fun of someone, or did something else you knew was wrong. God always loves you, and nothing you do will ever change that. He loves you so much that Jesus died for you so your sins could be forgiven and you could have eternal life with Him. Confess your sin to Him and accept His forgiveness. Then enjoy the ocean of love He has for you.Today's Key Verse:Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting expectantly for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life. (CSB) (Jude 1:21 )Today's Key Thought:God never stops loving you

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    The Chicken and the Eagle

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 9, 2023

    Bible Reading: John 15:9-10; Romans 6:11-14"Are you enjoying your book?" asked Mom as Bailey curled up on the couch with a book of folktales."Yeah," said Bailey. "I just finished a story about a baby eagle who thought he was a little chick.""Why did he think that?" asked her little brother, Luke."Well, when he was still inside an egg, the egg was stolen and taken to the henhouse," Bailey explained. "The hen didn't know it wasn't one of hers, and she sat on it with the rest of her eggs. After the egg hatched, she brought him up like one of her chicks.""Someone should've told him he was an eagle," said Luke."Someone did tell him!" said Bailey. "The wise old owl who lived near the farm told him he was an eaglet--and that he could fly high in the sky like the great eagle--but he didn't believe it. He just kept on living like a chicken almost until the day he died.""That was dumb of him!" said Luke. "He could have soared the skies, and all he did was scratch the dirt!""We do that too sometimes," remarked Mom."We scratch in the dirt?" asked Bailey. "I don't do that.""Me neither." Luke shook his head."Not literally," said Mom. "But like that eagle, we often fail to realize our full potential. The Bible says we were all once slaves to sin. Then Jesus came to save us and set us free from the power of sin.""And that means we don't have to keep on sinning?" asked Bailey.Mom nodded. "Because we trust in Jesus, God has given us the power to say no to sin. But like that little eagle who lived the life of a chicken, we often choose to live as though we can't help but do wrong things. That's more foolish than he was, don't you think?" Bailey and Luke nodded. "We've been set free and don't need to be ruled by sin any longer," said Mom. "When we realize that something we're doing is wrong, we can stop immediately and confess our sin to Jesus, who always forgives us. We don't have to stay stuck in sinful habits--Jesus has freed us from sin so we can soar with Him!" -Tanya FerdinanduszHow About You?Did you know that if you trust Jesus as your Savior you have the power to say no to sin? You don't have to give in to it because Jesus has freed you from sin and it doesn't control you anymore. When you're tempted to do something that's wrong, remember that you can say no, and trust God to help you do what's right instead. Thank Him for freeing you from sin and for making His power available to you! Today's Key Verse:The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. (NKJV) (Romans 8:2)Today's Key Thought:God gives power to say no to sin

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    Watered-Down Christians

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 8, 2023

    Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; Revelation 3:15-19"Mom, what's wrong with these ice cubes?" asked Nora. "They're all brown!"Mom glanced at the dark cubes and grinned. "I used iced tea to make those," she explained. "I made them for Grandpa. You know how he loves good, strong iced tea on hot summer days."Nora smiled at her grandfather, who sat at the kitchen table. She knew he disliked his tea watery and weak, the way it got when too many ice cubes melted in it. She popped several of the brown cubes into a tall glass and poured fresh iced tea over them. "Here you go, Grandpa. Good, strong tea, unspoiled by ordinary ice cubes.""Thanks, Nora," said Grandpa, taking the tea. "Just the way I like it." He took a big gulp and let out a sigh. "Now, what can these ice cubes teach us about living the Christian life?"Mom and Nora exchanged knowing glances. Grandpa seemed to be able to find a spiritual lesson in almost anything. "Well," said Nora, "I guess ice cubes made out of tea keep your iced tea tasting strong, and we want to stay strong as Christians, right?""Right," said Grandpa. "When you use regular ice cubes, they melt and the tea becomes diluted--weak and tasteless. We don't want to be diluted Christians, do we?" He took another sip of tea. "What kinds of things might water us down if we're not careful?""Hmm," said Nora. "Maybe going along with what everyone else is doing just to fit in?"Grandpa nodded. "When we allow the opinions of others to determine what we think and do instead of God, it makes us weak and ineffective. The Bible tells us to separate ourselves from the world. That means we should think and act differently from those around us who don't know Jesus. Instead of looking for worth and contentment in the things of this world, we need to look to Jesus, who loves us so much He died on the cross to save us."Grandpa finished his tea and then shook the glass, making the brown ice cubes at the bottom rattle. "You can't follow both Jesus and the world--one will eventually water down the other. We need to remember that we belong to Jesus and trust Him to help us stay strong as we follow Him." -Lois A. TeufelHow About You?Can others tell you're different by the way you live? While the world may tell us that what we own or what people think of us is what gives us value, the Bible tells us to look to Jesus for our worth--and we're worth so much to Him that He died to save us. Don't water down your life with the things of this world. Follow what Jesus says and trust Him to help you reflect His love in your life.Today's Key Verse:Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. (NKJV) (2 Corinthians 6:17)Today's Key Thought:Follow Jesus, not the world

    Bean Pie

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 7, 2023

    Bible Reading: Psalm 25:16-22; Matthew 11:28; Philippians 4:13"What are you doing?" asked Jonie, astonished to see her grandmother spilling beans into a pie crust."I'm using uncooked beans as weights so my crust will bake evenly," answered Grandma. She slid it into the oven and set the timer.Jonie laughed. "I thought you were making bean pie!"Grandma smiled. "No, beans add pressure so no air gets inside to puff up the pastry. My crust will bake beautifully once the real filling replaces the beans." She pointed at a bowl of green apples. "There's our filling. Would you like to peel those?""Sure. Apple pie sounds way better than bean pie!" Jonie got to work with the peeler. "I love your baking, Grandma. It never affects my allergies."Cutting the fruit, Grandma said, "It must be hard keeping track of what's in your food."Jonie raised her hand. Counting on her fingers, she listed, "Nuts, eggs, tomatoes, and seafood." She returned to her task. "It's not fair. Some people only have one allergy or none at all."The timer beeped. Using oven mitts, Grandma removed the crust. She dumped the beans into a bowl. Setting the crust aside, she returned to slicing the apples. "We all have difficult situations--burdens--that weigh us down. Jesus knows our burdens. When He came to earth, He experienced hard things too. We can trust Him to give us the strength we need to face them, even if we don't understand why." She added sugar and cinnamon to the fruit. "Whether our burdens are big or small, Jesus is with us, and we can rely on Him for help. He willingly took on the biggest burden of all--our sin--so we could be free from all our troubles one day when He comes again." She stirred salt and lemon juice into the mixture. "Sometimes it may seem unfair to have difficulties, but they can make us stronger and prepare us to become who God intended us to be."As Grandma transferred the apple filling to the crust, Jonie exclaimed, "It's like those beans! Your pastry needed them to get ready for the apples, otherwise it wouldn't become a delicious apple pie."Grandma's smile widened. "Right. The beans helped the crust take shape for something better--the apples.""Don't forget the ice cream!" added Jonie. -Elena DeeHow About You?Are you facing difficulties? Do you wonder why you have them in the first place? Jesus knows your challenges and why you have them. He can use your burdens to help you grow in your relationship with Him and shape you into the person you were meant to be. Rely on Jesus to give you strength to face your troubles. He is with you every step of the way.Today's Key Verse:You can have peace in me [Jesus]. In this world you will have troubles. But be brave! I have defeated the world! (ERV) (John 16:33 )Today's Key Thought:Jesus knows your troubles

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    Listen to the Call

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 6, 2023

    Bible Reading: Genesis 6:17-24"Can I go out and play now?" Dylan asked. "Can I go too?" asked Molly, Dylan's younger sister. Mom nodded, and the kids took their plates to the sink and then hurried out the door. Dylan went straight for his bike that he had thrown in the middle of the yard when his mom had called them in for dinner. Molly went to the driveway and continued working on her chalk drawing. They were not outside long when they heard the rumbling of thunder. Soon rain started to fall fast and hard. "Molly! Dylan!" Mom called. "Come inside before you get soaked!" Molly knew there was nothing she could do to save her chalk drawing, so she quickly gathered her chalk and ran into the house. Dylan, however, continued to ride his bike in the rain. "Dylan!" Mom called again. "It's not safe to be out there when there's lightning. You need to come in right now."Just then a huge bolt of lightning lit up the sky, followed by a loud clap of thunder. Dylan quickly threw down his bike and ran inside. "Wow, that was scary!" Dylan said, water dripping from his clothes. "You should have listened to me the first time I called," said Mom. "Go put on your pajamas and then come to the living room for devotions." This time Dylan was quick to do what he was told. "I thought tonight we would read about Noah's ark," Mom said, opening her Bible. "Dylan, when I was watching you out in the storm, it made me think of all those people long ago who ignored the warning that a huge storm was coming. But when God told Noah to build an ark so he and his family could be saved from the flood, Noah listened.""The storm outside isn't going to cause a flood like that, is it?" asked Molly. Mom smiled and shook her head. "No, but the story of Noah's ark reminds us that God is calling all sinners to come to Him and be saved from the storm of sin, and we need to listen to His call. We can only be saved by Jesus, who washes away our sin when we turn to Him for forgiveness." -Melissa YeagleHow About You?Have you listened to God's call? Have you trusted Jesus to forgive your sins and give you eternal life? He wants you to turn to Him and be saved. God loves you so much that He sent Jesus, His only Son, to die for you. Don't let anything stop you from listening to His call. Trust Him to save you today. (See "Have You Heard the Good News?" on page 102.)Today's Key Verse:Repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. (NLT) (Acts 3:19)Today's Key Thought:Listen to God's call

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    Zacchaeus's Tree

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 5, 2023

    Bible Reading: Luke 19:1-10"I can't see anything," Joey complained at the concert. Everyone was standing in front of them and he just wasn't tall enough to get a view of the stage.His dad crouched down beside him. "Get up on my back!" he shouted above the music.Joey quickly did as he was told and could finally see the band. "Wow!""Too bad we don't have Zacchaeus's tree," Dad said.It was too loud to talk much in there, so Joey didn't ask his dad what he meant right then.The next day, when he and Dad were getting the grill going for supper, Joey brought it up again. "What did you mean yesterday about Zacchaeus's tree?"Dad lit the grill and turned to him. "Don't you remember the story of Zacchaeus?""Not really," Joey said."Well, we have time for it now." Dad sat in a lawn chair and Joey pulled one up beside him. "When Jesus was living on earth, many people wanted to see Him and hear Him speak," Dad explained. "He drew crowds everywhere He went, and one day a man named Zacchaeus was in the crowd."Joey glanced at his dad. "And he had a tree?""He climbed a tree," Dad said. "Zacchaeus was a short man, so he couldn't see from where he was standing. Jesus noticed what he did and went over and told him He'd eat at his house that day."Dad got up and checked on the grill before continuing. "What's cool about the story is that Zacchaeus hadn't been a good man. He was a tax collector and had taken more than he should have from people. But meeting Jesus changed him, and he decided he wanted to follow Jesus and live a good life, so he gave back to those he took from even more than he owed." Dad smiled. "Stories like that remind me that Jesus can change anyone's heart."Joey made a face. "Even people like the bullies down the street?"Dad nodded. "Jesus changed us even though we were sinners, and He can change them too. God can change anyone and help them grow into a better person." Dad touched the top of Joey's head. "Speaking of growing, maybe you won't need a Zacchaeus tree the next time we go to a concert."Joey grinned. "Maybe not." -Bethany AckerHow About You?Do you believe anyone can change? The story of Zacchaeus in the Bible shows us they can. When Zacchaeus met Jesus and saw that Jesus cared about him even though he was a tax collector, his heart was changed. Jesus can do that for you too. He can do it for anyone you know who seems like they'll never change. He changes hearts and lives every day!Today's Key Verse:I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (CSB) (Ezekiel 36:26)Today's Key Thought:God can change anyone

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    Lesson from a Little Brother

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 4, 2023

    Bible Reading: Psalm 71:15-18; 1 Peter 2:9"Little kids are so funny!" Brayden said, laughing as he came into the kitchen. "Finn and his friend Arlo are playing war. They're upstairs building a bunker in the bathtub--filling it with pillows. We'd better be careful, Dad! According to them, there are bombers overhead, submarines all around the house, and tanks roaring up the street!" Dad chuckled. "I see what you mean.""But get this, Dad!" said Brayden. "I was standing outside the bathroom, and I heard Finn say, 'Are you going to heaven, Arlo?' And Arlo said, 'I don't know.' Then Finn said, 'We could die in this battle, and it's real important to know you're going to heaven to be with Jesus when you die. So repeat after me!' And, Dad, he led Arlo in a prayer to accept Jesus." "That's amazing!" said Dad."But, Dad! The danger isn't even real!" said Brayden."Well, the war they're preparing for in the bathtub certainly isn't real," Dad agreed. "But I'm proud my little boy loves his friend enough to want him to be safe--even in a bathtub war. Finn's right--it's important to know you're going to heaven to be with Jesus. Any one of us could die at any time.""That's true," Brayden said. "I guess you can learn things from a little brother. I know I could do a better job of talking to my friends about Jesus." He frowned. "I've invited Angelo to church events, but I don't think I've ever asked him straight out if he's saved. I guess I should talk to him about it, but I'm not sure how to get started." "Why don't you start by talking to God about it?" Dad suggested. "I'll do that too. Then come back and we'll see what ideas we can come up with." Brayden nodded. "Okay. Thanks, Dad." He started to leave, then turned back. "But what about Arlo? Do you think he's really saved now?""I don't know," said Dad. "If he truly trusts in Jesus, he is. I'll talk to him about it and make sure he understands who Jesus is and how he can know he's going to spend eternity with Him." -Elsie DodgeHow About You?Do you know if your friends have trusted Jesus as their Savior? Are they going to spend eternity with Him? It's an important decision for them to make, and no one can be certain of how much time they have left on earth to make that decision. Talk about it with them. Tell them how Jesus has saved you and what He's done in your life. Let them know you want to see them in heaven one day with Jesus.Today's Key Verse:My mouth will tell about how right and good You are and about Your saving acts all day long. (NLV) (Psalm 71:15 )Today's Key Thought:Tell friends about Jesus

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    Home Soon

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 3, 2023

    Bible Reading: Revelation 21:1-5; 22:20Keziah loved it when she and her mom got to babysit two-year-old Elodie, Mrs. Gordon's daughter from church. Mom, Keziah, and Elodie would color, play dress-up, read books, and munch on snacks all morning while Mrs. Gordon attended seminary classes.One such morning, Elodie was missing her mom more than usual. As they played all her usual favorite games, she would occasionally get very quiet and say, "Mama home soon."When this happened, Keziah or her mom would give Elodie a hug or a shoulder squeeze and say, "That's right. Mama will be home soon. She loves you so much and can't wait to come back to see you."Sure enough, Mrs. Gordon was home soon, and when she arrived, Elodie screeched with delight and ran to her.Mrs. Gordon wrapped her daughter in a big hug, "I missed you too, little one! I love you so much."After the Gordons left, Keziah and Mom began to clean up the various toys and books strewn across the living room. "It was cute how excited Elodie was to see her mom today," said Keziah."It was!" said Mom. "It kind of reminded me about how excited I'll be when Jesus comes back.""How so?" asked Keziah."Well," said Mom, "we live in a world ruined by sin and its effects. When we see all that sad stuff, we can rest knowing that Jesus promised He would return to make everything new--free from the brokenness we see right now.""There is a lot of sad stuff on the news," said Keziah.Mom nodded. "When Elodie got really quiet and said, 'Mama home soon,' it made me think about how the Bible records that the early church was eagerly waiting for Jesus to come back and would often say, 'Come soon, Jesus!' That's my prayer too."Elodie smiled. "So, when Jesus comes back, we'll kind of be like Elodie when Mrs. Gordon came back? Really excited and happy?""Yes," said Mom. "It will be a day of celebration! Our loving King will make all things new and we will be together forever with Him and all our siblings in Christ--all who put their trust in Jesus!" -Kandi ZellerHow About You?Are you excited about Jesus coming back? When He returns, He'll right every wrong and get rid of sin and all its effects. He'll make everything new, and those who trust in Him will live with Him forever in a world free from sin and death. (To learn more, click the "Good News!" button in the right column of this page.)Today's Key Verse:He [Jesus] who is the faithful witness to all these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon!" Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! (NLT) (Revelation 22:20)Today's Key Thought:Jesus is coming back

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