Idols in our hearts

Reading: Exodus 32:1-6

Have you heard this story before?  Did you know that God was so angry with the Israelites for making a golden calf that Moses killed 3,000 men for worshiping that idol (Exodus 32:28)?

Most Americans can’t ever imagine bowing down to a statue the way that the Israelites did.  But people don’t realize that anything can be an idol if it comes before our love for God.  For example, when we are greedy and covetous, that is a form of idolatry (Colossians 3:5).

Do you remember that when the Israelites entered Canaan, God told them to destroy all the people and all their idols?  He did not want any of that to remain.  God knew that idol worship would make the Israelites forget their love for him.  And the same thing can happen to us if we put anything before God.

How to be Happy was written by Lydia Sigourney and published in 1833.  Now out of print, the book is in the public domain and may be read freely online.  The following is an excerpt from one of the chapters.

LOVE YOUR SAVIOR

His character, so beautifully related in the Bible, is worthy of your warmest love. You remember his obedience to his mother, his being subject to her will, even when his wisdom astonished the most learned men of the realm. May you also, my dear children, as you “grow in stature, grow in wisdom, and in favor with God and man.”
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Elders

Reading: 1 Timothy 3:1-13

These verses are a list that helps Christians appoint elders and deacons in their local church.  Who are the elders and deacons at your congregation?  What are the important qualities that men should have in order to be elders or deacons?

These verses show us how important our families are in helping us be good servants.  If a man wanted to be an elder or deacon, what qualities should his wife and children have?

Sometimes we think of an elder or deacon as acting a certain way when we see him at church.  We forget that he has a role to play at home, and that his home life is what makes him such a good elder and deacon for us.

Small Means and Great Ends is a collection of stories edited by Mrs. M.H. Adams published in 1851.  The book may be read free online.

MY GRANDMOTHER’S COTTAGE

Of all places in the wide world, my own early home excepted, none seem to me more pleasing in memory than my grandmother’s cottage. Very often did I visit it in my boyhood, and well acquainted with its appearance within, and with almost every object around it, did I become. It stood in a quiet nook in the midst of the woods, about five miles from the pleasant seaport where I was born. The cottage was not a spacious one. It had but few rooms in it; but it was amply large for my aged grandparents, I remember. They lived happily there. My grandfather was somewhat infirm; my grandmother was a very vigorous person for one of seventy-five; this was her age at the time of my first recollection of her. She used to walk from her cottage to our home; and once I walked with her, but was exceedingly mortified that I could not endure the walk so well as she did.

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Priorities

Reading: Colossians 1:15-23

“It’s my turn!”
“Me first!”
“Ladies first!”

Everybody wants to be first.

But who is really FIRST?  Colossians says that Christ is first.

He was first-born ~ He was here before anything else was.  By Him, all things were created, even things we can’t see.

He is also “pre-eminent” ~ He has authority and power.  He rules over kings and presidents.  He is the head over His church.

Even though Christ deserves to be first, He came to earth and made Himself LAST.  He died so that we could have forgiveness.  It pleased God to do this and show us how much He loved us.

Have you learned the word “priority”?  To make something a priority means to give it first place in importance.  Christ should be a priority in our life, THE priority in our life, because He is our King, Creator, and Savior.

“Thanksgiving” was written by Bruce S. Wright and published in The Children’s Six Minutes in 1922.  The book is now out of print and in the public domain.

THANKSGIVING

What does Thanksgiving mean to you? I hear one boy say, “It means a big dinner.” I think we all agree with him. Who does not welcome and enjoy a good dinner! I hear Mary say, “Thanksgiving means a day off from school.” I guess you are right too. School is not such a charming place that girls and boys are unwilling to have an occasional holiday.

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Day By Day

Reading: Philippians 4:4-13

Philippians is one of my favorite books in the Bible, and this passage is my favorite one in Philippians.  We are reminded to guard our hearts and fill them with joy.  We’re reminded to be content and to trust in Christ.

Paul was in jail when he wrote these verses.  His faith didn’t become this strong overnight; he practiced it over and over, through all the good and bad moments of his life.  Every step of his day was an important battle for his soul.

Our lives today aren’t filled with the same hardships that Paul endured. Are we spending our days fighting Christ’s battle, or are we too caught up in our daily pleasures and wants?  Are we daily taming our thoughts and emotions, bending them to holiness instead of to sin?  Are we building that peaceful trust in our Master, day by day?

The following story is from Tiger and Tom and Other Stories for Boys.  The book was published in 1910 and is now in the public domain.

THE BOY AND HIS SPARE MOMENTS

A lean, awkward boy came one morning to the door of the principal of a celebrated school, and asked to see him.

The servant eyed his mean clothes, and thinking he looked more like a beggar than anything else, told him to go around to the kitchen.

The boy did as he was bidden, and soon appeared at the back door.

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Doing Good

Reading: Luke 6:27-38

The following tale is an excerpt from the story “Metempsychosis.”  This tale can be found in the book, The Wonderful Pocket and Other Stories which was written in 1869 by Chauncey Giles.  Now out of print, the book can be read freely online.  It is an interesting story that encourages young boys and girls to do good to others.

METEMPSYCHOSIS

“O Father!” said little John Clive, “what is the meaning of this long, hard word?”

“What word?” asked his father.

“I cannot pronounce it. It is too long and hard for me,” said John… John brought the book to his father.

“That is metempsychosis.”

“Me-temp-sy-cho-sis,” said John, pronouncing it very slowly. “What a long, hard word! It must have a big meaning, I am sure. But I don’t see what they make such long, hard words for.”

“They make them to express ideas,” said his father.

“Well,” replied John,” metempsychosis must express a bigger idea than I ever had.”

“Very probable,” said his father; “but it contains a very interesting one, nevertheless; and when I have explained it to you, I will tell you a very strange dream I had about it last night.” Read the rest of this entry »

Learning to Say “No”

Reading: 2 Kings 17:7-23

Here we read a long list of all the sins of the kingdom of Israel. It all started when Israel wanted to be just like everyone else around them. They learned to worship the idols of the people around them. The Israelites forgot that they were supposed to be holy and different. You can see that many terrible things started with just one “small” thing: wanting to be like everybody else.

Sometimes we don’t like being so different from others. But we have to remember that our different-ness is what makes us bright, beautiful, shining lights in this world. Some people will not like us for that. But some will – they will notice, they will want to learn, and their soul may be saved because of the Light that you brought to them!

The Wonderful Pocket and Other Stories was written by Chauncey Giles and published in 1869. Now out of print, the book may be read freely online.

NO

“Po-p-o, Popopo, Popocat, Pop-o- catapit. Oh, dear, what a hard word! I can never pronounce it, I am sure. I wish they would not have such hard names in geography,” said George Gould, entirely out of patience. “Will you please to tell me how to pronounce the name of this mountain, father ? I wish they would not have any mountains, or else give them easier names.”

“Why, do you call that a hard word to pronounce ?” said his father. “I know much harder words than that.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Whole-Hearted Love

Reading: 2 Kings 10:21-31

Jehu the king did many good things for God. However, Jehu had learned how to worship idols just like his father. Jehu never did remove idol worship completely from Israel. He was not “careful to walk in the ways of the Lord with all his heart.” There were things that Jehu allowed his heart to love more than God. Isn’t that sad?

No matter how much good we do, it doesn’t help us if we love other things more than God. There are many good people in the world. But God wants our hearts. If we give God our whole hearts, then goodness will follow. Learn to love God now with your whole heart, while you are young and can choose a godly life. Give Him your heart!

“Only This Once” appeared in Tiger and Tom and Other Stories for Boys. This book of short moral stories for children was published in 1910 and can be read freely online.

ONLY THIS ONCE

“I’ll be in again very soon, mother; I am only going ’round the corner to see the new billiard rooms;” and, cap in hand, Harry was closing the parlor door when his mother called him back.

“I cannot consent to your going there, my dear,” she said; “you must know that both your father and myself disapprove of all such places.” Read the rest of this entry »

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