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Some Ordinary Day
"Mom," said Julian, "isn't that where we picked blackberries one day last summer?" He pointed out the car window to a field that looked familiar to him.
Mom glanced over. "Sure is," she said.
"You know what else?" added Julian. "Driving home from picking berries that day was the last time I rode in the blue car."
"The day before the accident," Mom said thoughtfully. Julian nodded. He remembered what had happened the day after they picked berries--his dad had gotten into an accident while driving the blue car. Thankfully, Dad had not been badly hurt, but the car had looked like a crushed tin can.
"The phone call we got that day sure was a surprise, wasn't it?" Julian said. "When we were driving home from picking berries, I had no idea that Dad would be hit by a truck the next day and the car would be smashed and I'd never ride in it again."
"I'm sure that didn't occur to any of us," said Mom. "The Bible reminds us that we never know what will happen from day to day."
"Yeah, it started out like an ordinary day," Julian said. "I had breakfast, and then I played outside. We were having lunch when--surprise! The day wasn't ordinary anymore."
Mom smiled at Julian. "There's going to be a big surprise on another ordinary day," she said. "People will be doing ordinary, everyday things, expecting life to go on as it always has, and then suddenly
" Mom snapped her fingers. "Jesus will come back."
Julian nodded. "It could happen any day, couldn't it?"
"Yes, it could," said Mom. "It will be a terrible time for those who haven't put their trust in Jesus, but a great and wonderful event for those who are ready--for all who know Him as their Savior."
"Which is why we need to tell others about Him," said Julian. "So they can be ready when He comes too."
Mom nodded. "Exactly. Let's pray for those who don't knowJesus and tell them that they can be ready for His return by trusting in Him."
-Violet E. Nesdoly
"A hamburger for me!" Lincoln announced as he set down his menu. "With French
A smiling young man approached the table. "My name is Kyle, and I'll be your waiter tonight. Iheard one hamburger. Is everyone else ready to order too?" Kyle jotted down each order and soon brought them a tray filled with plates of steaming food.
"Why are those people called waiters?" Ashley asked as Kyle walked back to the kitchen.
"Because you wait while they bring you the food," Lincoln answered.
Mom laughed. "Actually, to wait sometimes means to serve. That's what waiters do. They serve the customers who come in to eat. They're often called servers instead of waiters or waitresses."
"I learned a Bible verse that says, 'Wait on the Lord,'" said Ashley. "Is that like being a waiter?"
"Wait on God?" asked Lincoln. "We can't serve meals to Him."
"Not meals, silly!" said Ashley. "But we can serve Him in other ways."
"Generally, to wait on the Lord means to be patient and trust Him," Dad explained. "But I think we can apply another meaning to that verse too. Jesus tells us that when we serve other people, we're really serving Him. We're showing others what He's like by making ourselves servants the way He did when He came to earth to die for our sins." He picked up the check.
"Don't forget the tip, Dad," said Lincoln. "Kyle was a good waiter."
"I agree," said Dad. "What makes people good waiters or waitresses?"
"They need to bring you exactly what you ask for," said Ashley. "Did you see those people a couple tables over? They weren't very happy when their waiter brought them the wrong salads."
"And a good server is quick," Lincoln added. "When I asked for more ketchup, Kyle brought it right away."
"And they also need to be kind and courteous so people will want to eat at that restaurant again," said Mom.
Dad nodded. "Doing what others ask, responding quickly, and being kind--those are some of the ways we can serve Jesus by serving others. And one day, when we get to heaven, imagine being greeted with the words, 'Well done, good and faithful servant.' I can't imagine a better tip than that!"
"Mom, make Hunter leave me alone!" Alyssa exclaimed as she pushed her little brother into the kitchen and turned to go.
Hunter's eyes clouded with tears. "I didn't do nothin'!"
"What's the problem, Alyssa?" Mom asked.
"He follows me around and asks why over and over and over," Alyssa said. "Or else he asks how or what. I get tired of trying to answer him."
"I see," said Mom. "I guess he's asking questions like you used to."
"Me? What questions?" asked Alyssa in surprise.
"Oh, things like, why are puppies so cute? Where do birds sleep? Who takes care of skunks? When will it snow? Why are trees tall?" Mom smiled. "Now Hunter is learning by asking questions, just like you did, and that's fine. A famous author--Rudyard Kipling--wrote a poem that says, 'I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew); their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.'"
Alyssa sighed. "Well, I hope Hunter learns fast. All those questions get annoying!"
"I understand," said Mom "But you know, even Jesus asked questions when He was a boy. This morning I read in my Bible about how, when Jesus was twelve, His parents lost track of Him in Jerusalem. When they finally found Him, He was in the temple, listening to the teachers and asking them questions."
"But why would Jesus have to ask questions?" asked Alyssa. "I thought He already knew everything!"
"Yes, God is all-knowing, but don't forget that since Jesus became human to save us, He would have had to learn and grow in ways all human children do. However, I think the point of the story about Jesus in the temple is that he asked questions to demonstrate His knowledge of the Scriptures and help people understand what God wanted them to know. He cared about them--and He cares about us, which is why He always welcomes our questions so we can understand things too."
"I guess that means I should be more patient with Hunter's questions and help him understand things," Alyssa said. She held out her hand to her little brother. "Come on, Hunter. Let's go back outside."
Hunter went along happily. Just before the door closed, Mom heard Hunter's voice. "Alyssa, what's a temple?"
The Brave Thing
"Come on, we can sneak in. No one will see us," Paige's friend Noelle whispered, motioning for her to join her at the fence.
Paige bit her lip. She wanted to go swimming too, but she knew it was wrong to use their neighbors' pool without them knowing.
"Don't be so scared." Noelle climbed up and over the fence. "Come on. It's easy!" she whispered through the slats.
Paige stood on the other side, not sure what to do. What will Noelle think of me if I don't go over there? she thought. Maybe we can just have some fun with no one knowing
Paige reached for the fence just as she heard footsteps behind her. She startled and turned around. Ronnie, a boy Paige knew from church who lived a few houses down, was walking toward them, his brows lowered. "What are you doing?" he asked. "That's not your house."
"Um." Paige didn't know what to say.
"Ronnie, you can come too," Noelle said from the other side of the fence. "We're going to swim in the Williams' pool."
"What?" Ronnie's eyes widened. "Did you get permission?"
"No, but they're on vacation, and they hardly ever use it," Noelle said.
Ronnie shook his head. "That would be wrong."
Noelle shrugged. "No one will know."
"God will," Ronnie said.
Paige swallowed. Ronnie was right. "I can't do it either, Noelle."
Her friend scowled and turned away from the fence, walking toward the big, inviting pool. "She thinks I'm too scared to join her," Paige said quietly.
Ronnie shook his head. "You're not scared. You're brave."
"I'm brave?" Paige asked.
"It's easy to do what people want you to do, but it's harder to do what's right." Ronnie smiled. "But you can do the brave thing because you have the power of the Holy Spirit. We talked about that in church last week--how the Holy Spirit lives inside those who trust in Jesus and helps us turn from sin and obey God."
Paige gave him a small smile. "I guess so," she said. "I'm glad you showed up when you did. Next time I'll try to remember that I can be brave and do what's right because I'm never alone. God is always with me."
"Hi, Poppy," Taryn greeted her friend at the church entrance. "I've been waiting for you and Mckenna. Are you nervous?"
"Yeah," said Poppy. "I could hardly sleep last night." The girls were excited because they were going to sing as a trio in the morning church service.
Just then Mckenna's brother Tripp walked by. "Where's Mckenna?" both girls asked at once.
"You don't know?" Tripp seemed surprised. "Our neighbors called yesterday and invited Mckenna to go camping with them. She decided to go, and she won't be back until tonight. I thought she told you."
Taryn and Poppy looked at each other. "How could Mckenna do this to us?" moaned Taryn as they hurried to find Miss Andrews, the pianist.
"Oh, I'm sorry," said Miss Andrews when Taryn explained that Mckenna wasn't coming. "But I think you two should sing anyway. Let's run over the song. I'm sure the two of you will sound fine together." So although they hadn't practiced as a duet before, the girls sang, and several people told them they sounded great.
"I still wish we could have sung as a trio," said Taryn on the way home. "I think it's terrible that Mckenna didn't come! She said she'd be there!"
"It's frustrating when people don't follow through on their commitments," Mom agreed. "Let this be a reminder of how important it is to keep any commitment you make to others."
Dad nodded. "Remember this experience whenever you feel like backing out of something at the last minute," he said. "It's hurtful to others when we don't do what we say we'll do. As God's children, we're called to be like Jesus, who is faithful and always keeps His promises. Of course, since we're not perfect, sometimes we'll fail. But then we can ask Jesus to forgive us and help us be faithful in our commitments--and tell those we've hurt we're sorry too."
Taryn sighed. "I know it will make me think twice before I back out of something I've agreed to do." She hesitated. "Is it okay to tell Mckenna how we feel?"
"Yes, but do it in a loving way, not in anger," said Mom. "And be willing to forgive her."
"Okay," Taryn said. "I will."
A Huge Library
"Wow, Scarlett!" Damon exclaimed as his sister put a teetering stack of books on the table. "You must like to read a lot better than I do."
"Reading is fun," said Scarlett. "And it's a good way to learn about all kinds of things too. Don't you like to read?"
"Well, there are a few books that are okay," said Damon. "Like action and adventure stories."
"How about the Bible?" Mom asked.
"Yeah," Scarlett said. "Lots of Bible stories have action and adventure in them."
"I do like reading those--especially stories about Daniel in the lions' den or David protecting his sheep from wild animals," said Damon. "Or about miracles the prophets did."
"How about miracles Jesus did?" Scarlett suggested. "Like when He used a little boy's lunch to feed five thousand people?"
"That was pretty cool," agreed Damon. "But not as exciting as when He calmed the big storm."
"He did lots of amazing things," said Scarlett. "At church we learned that the Bible tells only a few of them. It says the world couldn't even hold all the books that would have to be written if everything Jesus did was recorded."
Damon frowned. "That can't be right, can it, Mom? The world's pretty big!"
"Well, scholars agree that statement is a hyperbole. That means it's a figure of speech intended to make a point and not to be taken literally," said Mom. "But if everything Jesus ever did were written down, it would surely take a lot of books. The account would have to include things that took place way, way back--even before the world was created--because Jesus was involved in creation!"
"Wow!" Scarlett grinned. "And Jesus has also done lots of things since He rose from the dead and went back to heaven, hasn't He?"
"That's right," said Mom. "He's with each person who trusts in Him, teaching us to depend on Him and helping us through difficulties."
"That would make a huge library!" Scarlett exclaimed. "Maybe it really would fill up the whole world and not just be a hy--hyper--"
"Hyperbole," Mom finished.
Damon grinned. "Yeah. And a library that big would keep Scarlett happy for a long, long time!"
a nice bedtime podcast for kids
a good biblical guide for kids and parents too!