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 »

Advertisements

Loving our Neighbors

Reading: Matthew 5:21-26

Is it easy to make things right with those around you? Is it easy to “agree with your adversary”? Romans 15:2 tell us to “please our neighbor for his good, leading to edification.” When we can put aside differences, it builds up our faith and the faith of those around us. When we refuse to do so, it displeases our Lord.

The following story is excerpted from Parables from Nature by Margaret Gatty. The book was published in 1891 and can be read freely online.

THE LAW OF THE WOOD

“NEVER!”

What a word to be heard in a wood on an early summer morning, before the sun had quite struggled through the mists, and before the dew had left the flowers and while all Nature was passing through the changes that separate night from day, adapting herself gently to the necessities of the hour…. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Anger, Beasts & Birds, Humility/Pride, Kindness, Plants. Comments Off on Loving our Neighbors

On Eagles’ Wings

Reading: Isaiah 40:27-31

Do you know any children who are smaller than you? When I was growing up, I was always the smallest one in my class. And now that I am an adult, I am still the smallest in my class. In fact, if you ever met me in person, you would see that I am actually smaller than some children, even though I am quite older than a child. I have always been a very small person. Perhaps that is why I sympathize with little children, who are often told to hurry up, catch up, and grow up. Has anyone ever said this to you? It’s hard to do that when you’re small.

These verses from Isaiah tell us not to worry about being small and weak. You see, we have a strong and mighty God who wants to help us. He is Everlasting, and has known us from our smallest beginnings. He is the Creator, so He knows everything that might hurt us or harm us. Bigger, stronger people may stumble at the problems and trials of life, but we have One who wants to lift us up on eagles’ wings.

Unlike me, YOU will probably grow quite a bit more in your lifetime. And then do you know what? Perhaps you will shrink when you are older. My grandmother became smaller when she grew older. Her bones became frailer, and she stooped lower. I wonder if that will happen to me as well? But it doesn’t matter. I will still have the same Heavenly Father to lift my faith and help me feel strong enough to face the difficulties of life. I hope that, big or small, you will too!

For Further Study:

  • Have you ever seen an eagle? I’ve seen them at the zoo, but not in the wild. The eagle is used to describe swiftness and power in the Bible. Read Exodus 19:3-6; 2 Samuel 1:23; Job 9:25-26; and Proverbs 123:5. What things are likened to eagles in these verses? What can we learn about God’s power and goodness from them?

  • What are the things in your life that make you feel weary? Perhaps there are some responsibilities, activities, and even relationships that are tiring you. What can you pray to God about these things?
Posted in Beasts & Birds, Courage, Elderly, Hope, Loves children, Patience, Savior, Youth. Comments Off on On Eagles’ Wings

The Lord’s Highway

Reading: Isaiah 35:8-10

“I think we are lost,” said Michael to his older brother. He tried not to sound too scornful, but the sun was hot, and he was tired.

The boys had taken a picnic lunch and gone riding through their ranch all morning. Now they were heading home on their horses. But lately there had been no familiar landmarks. The sun was right above them, so they could not use that as a guide.

Matthew scanned the horizon for something familiar, perhaps a windmill or a hill that would tell him where they were. He tried not to look worried. He knew that if they stayed gone too long, their family and ranch hands would come looking for them. However, he didn’t like the idea of being stuck in the wilderness waiting for them, especially when it grew dark. He knew there were wild animals roaming about, as their ranch land covered thousands of acres. Fortunately, the days were long, and they would have several hours more to try and reach home before the coyotes and mountain lions emerged.

Suddenly Michael pointed at something shiny on his left. “Look at that streak of light. What do you think it is? The river?”

Matthew looked carefully for a while to make sure of what he saw, then said a silent prayer of thanks. “That’s the highway. And praise the Lord, it’s on our left-hand side. That means we’re headed in the right direction. We’ll turn a little bit so we come closer to it, but we’re going the right way, Michael. We should be home in about an hour.”

Michael was relieved. He knew that if they had turned their backs to the highway by mistake, their travels would have taken them many miles away from home. “It’s a good thing I saw that.”

Matthew agreed. And though he didn’t admit it, he felt a lot safer knowing where they were headed.

For Further Study:

  • Here are some other verses about walking on the Lord’s way: Proverbs 4:11; Proverbs 16:17; Psalm 23:3; Psalm 25:10; Psalm 119:35; Matthew 7:14. How do we know that we are walking on the right path for God? What has He given us to guide us? Think of the opposite of these verses – what are people like, and what is life like, when His way is not followed?

  • At what times in your life have you felt spiritually lost? Has there been something you are doubting or fearing? Is there something in the future that worries or scares you? Let God know about it today.
Posted in Beasts & Birds, Inspiration of the Word, Pilgrims/pioneers/immigration. Comments Off on The Lord’s Highway

Surviving Difficulty

Reading: Isaiah 17:1-8

As I write this Bible lesson, it is December in West Texas. This is a deceptive month, for some days it is bitterly cold, and some days it is as sunny and warm as an April morning. We may leave the house at breakfast in coats and jackets, then abandon them in the afternoon to play in the park; yet by nightfall, it is time to light a fire in the fireplace.

This is the time that our trees are losing leaves and the garden has been put to bed. Yet, one may see a few brave flowers in the fields. Birds that are flying south for the winter stop here to sing. We see these little reminders of the warm weather, before the January frost arrives. They remind me of these verses in Isaiah.

God says that difficult times will come for His people. Sometimes these include trials and distresses, persecution and wars. But God said He would strengthen His people, and that some would survive. Those are the “gleanings” left in the field, and the “four or five branches” left on the fruitful tree. Those are the ones whose faith remain intact. Could that be you? When things are difficult, will you be that brave little flower in the field, that bird still trilling his song into the gray December sky? Pray that your faith will grow in strength and wisdom, so that you can be a certain reminder of God’s love to those around you.

For Further Study:

  • The idea of a “remnant” is that God would allow some of the faithful Israelites to survive, because Christ was coming from this people (remember the theme of the Old Testament?). See Isaiah 1:9; Jeremiah 23:3; and Ezekiel 14:22. God gave these words to be a hope to His people Israel.
  • In a sense, Christians are a remnant as well. Do you sometimes feel like you’re in the minority because you serve God? There was a young person in the Bible who might have felt the same way, but who stayed loyal to Christ and His cause. Young Timothy traveled with Paul and “stuck with him” even when others didn’t. You can read about him in Philippians 2:19-23.
  • Talk to an older person this week about his or her life in Christ. What things have helped them remain faithful? What things have shaken their faith? What advice could they give you about staying true to God?
Posted in Beasts & Birds, Bible History, Courage, Hope, Joy, Patience, Plants, Savior, Skies, Wars, Weather. Comments Off on Surviving Difficulty

On Being Disciplined

Reading: Proverbs 29:15-21

The following story was written by Howard J. Chidley and published in Fifty-Two Story Talks for Boys and Girls in 1914. The book is now in the public domain and can be read free online.

A HINT FROM A CARIBOU

This is an animal-story. It is about a caribou. A caribou is a kind of reindeer, and lives in Canada.

One day a man was out in a stumpy pasture-field beside a woods in Canada, and he saw a mother caribou and her little calf feeding quietly down in a valley nearby.

He was on a little hill some distance away, but the wind was blowing in the direction of the caribou. Presently the mother caribou raised her head, sniffed the air, and looked in the direction where the man was hidden behind a stump. She had caught the scent of a human being. That meant danger to her calf. Soon the mother caribou, leaving her calf in the valley, started in the direction of the man. He slipped from his hiding-place to another stump. On came the caribou till she reached the very stump behind which the man had first hidden. There she smelled the ground, and then a strange thing happened. She called her calf to her, had it smell the ground, too, so as to get the scent of the man. When that was done, she got behind that little caribou and butted it down the valley as fast as it could go. Why did she do that? It was to teach her calf that whenever it got that scent on the air, there was danger, and it must get away as quickly as possible.

Ever after that, even before the calf knew that this scent belonged to a man, or had seen a man, it would run away from it.

Your parents are constantly doing for you what that mother caribou did for her little one. When they tell you that such and such a thing is wrong, and you must not do it; when again they tell you there is danger in going to a certain place, or in chumming with a particular boy or girl, they are again doing the same thing for you. And when they punish you, as that mother caribou did her calf, it is because they know the danger far better than you, and they know that your safety depends upon keeping away from such things.

Then, bye and bye, perhaps, as you grow older, you will begin to see for yourself what the danger meant, just as the little caribou might some day see a hunter for itself. And then you will no longer think your parents cruel or strict; you will be thankful that they were so wise and kind.

 

…what does the Lord your God require from you,
but to fear the Lord your God,
to walk in all His ways and love Him….
And to keep the Lord’s commandments and His statutes
which I am commanding you today
for your good?
Deuteronomy 10:12-13

For Further Study:

  • Read Hebrews 12:7-13. If we want to call God our Father, what must we accept from Him? What is the purpose of discipline?

 

  • The book of Proverbs has a lot of advice from Solomon to his son about discipline. Did you ever think that Solomon was thinking of his grandchildren when he taught his son about discipline? Read Proverbs 17:6 to see how thankful Solomon was for his children and grandchildren. It’s no wonder, then, that Solomon wanted them to please the Lord. Read other verses about discipline in Proverbs 13:24, 19:28, 22:6, and 22:15.

  • When have you received discipline? How did it help you? If you had a child that acted exactly as you act, how would you discipline him or her? Why?
Posted in Beasts & Birds, Family, Loves children, Youth. Comments Off on On Being Disciplined

On Teasing and Cruelty

Reading: Proverbs 26:18-22

Do you like telling jokes and riddles? I do! What is your favorite joke or riddle?

Sometimes we like to tease one another with jokes and riddles. But we should never make fun of each other in order to hurt someone, or try to start fights for our particular enjoyment. It isn’t wise to stir up problems between others. Do you like feeling as if others are laughing at you? Do you like feeling as if everyone is against you?

Today’s verses in Proverbs talk about this particular kind of foolishness, the kind that likes to start problems among others. Sometimes people do this so they can feel in control. Sometimes they do it so that they can feel better about themselves.

“The Boys and the Frogs” was written by Aesop. You can read Aesop’s Fables free on the internet.

THE BOYS AND THE FROGS

Some Boys were playing one day at the edge of a pond in which lived a family of Frogs. The Boys amused themselves by throwing stones into the pond so as to make them skip on top of the water.

The stones were flying thick and fast and the Boys were enjoying themselves very much; but the poor Frogs in the pond were trembling with fear.

At last one of the Frogs, the oldest and bravest, put his head out of the water, and said, “Oh, please, dear children, stop your cruel play! Though it may be fun for you, it means death to us!”

Always stop to think whether your fun may not be the cause of another’s unhappiness.

For Further Study:

  • Read Ephesians 4:29-32. What kind of words should be coming from our mouths?

 

  • Read 1 Timothy 5:2. When a group of young men are together, it’s natural for them to jest and” talk tough.” Likewise, a group of girls together might tease each other playfully. However, there is a soberness and gentleness of heart that young people in God’s family must learn to have with others, especially when they are in mixed company. We must remember to shine the light of Christ upon everyone we meet. Good-natured teasing & playful arguing can quickly turn into hurt feelings. We can’t lead others to Christ unless we show them His love. People will not want to be part of God’s family if that family cannot get along.

  • List the names of all your family members. Also list your three closest friends. Now list three children whom you know, but not very well. Next to each person’s name, list three good things about them. Over the next few weeks, how can you compliment these people for their good qualities?
Posted in Anger, Beasts & Birds, Family, Kindness, Love. Comments Off on On Teasing and Cruelty