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 »

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

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

Our Father’s Many Gifts

This song can be adapted and used with many different props.

Tune: London Bridge

 

Our Father gives us many gifts, many gifts, many gifts,

Our Father gives us many gifts,

And one gift is our friends(Show a picture of friends, or many children together)

 

You can also substitute: family, clothes, pets, food, toys, plants, etc.

Many thanks to Pam Lattin for sharing this song!

Posted in Beasts & Birds, Benevolence, Contentment/Thankfulness, Family, Joy, Love, Loves children, Plants, Songs for children. Comments Off on Our Father’s Many Gifts

The Little Tree

Reading: Psalm 1

 

A little tree was born one day.  He didn’t remember being planted as a seed, or the long sleep he had during the winter months.  He just knew that one day he was awake.  He looked up and saw the Spring sun shining on him.  He looked down and saw water running nearby.   He looked around and saw fields and meadows.  What a lovely place to call his home!

 

He looked across the stream and saw a large, stately tree.  “Good morning,” it told him in a smiling voice.  “It’s good to see you growing there!  I was hoping another tree would grow nearby when I scattered my seeds last fall.  I was hoping one of them would become a baby tree that I could watch and love.”  The big tree was proud of the little tree.  It bent over as far as it could across the stream and said, “Grow, my little tree!  Try to grow as big and strong as you can!”

 

The little tree noticed that the birds nested in the big tree across the stream.  It noticed that animals rested under its shade.  It noticed that the big tree was beautiful and strong.  Oh, how it hoped to give beauty, life, and help to the world someday also!

 

The little tree grew.  It stretched its arms to the sun.  It dug its roots down into the stream as far as they could go.  It was thankful for the sun and the water.  Then a bird started building a nest in it.  What a nice thing that was!  He enjoyed watching the bird build a nest and tend to its eggs.  He felt so useful to the bird family.

 

But one day a thunderstorm came.  The heavy rain and strong wind lashed at the little tree.  It was scared.  “What will happen to me?” the little tree thought. 

 

When the storm was over, the little tree noticed with dismay that one of his branches, his best branch, was broken.  The bird’s nest had been blown down by the wind and the bird family was gone.  How disappointed he was!   He felt so ugly and useless.  The little tree was dismayed.  He stopped drinking water.  He stopped reaching for the sun.  He could feel his legs drying up and shriveling.  He could feel his leaves yellowing and dropping.  He watched the leaves swirl in the stream.

 

Then he heard the voice of the larger tree across the water.  “What is wrong, little tree?’

 

He told the big tree how he was feeling.  “I’m so little and weak.  How can this be happening when I haven’t grown very much yet?  How unfair life is!” 

 

The big tree nodded in the breeze.  “I felt that way once also,” it said.  “I remember being a little tree just like you.   I remember how terrible my first thunderstorm felt.  I lost two large branches that day.”

 

“How can that be?” asked the little tree.  “You’re so big and strong now.  How did you survive such a terrible storm and grow so much?”

 

“I’ve been planted firmly here by the stream,” said the big tree.  “Just like you, my feet go deep into the water and my face receives plenty of sunshine. Perhaps I have had losses in the worst of times, but I soon overcame them.  I have never given up on all the provision and care afforded to me, so I’ve been able to grow in spite of my losses. And I have never forgotten that the creatures here need me, and the land needs me.  There is beauty and strength and goodness in me.  I remember that whenever the storms come.

 

“Can you do that, little tree?  Can you look past the storm and remember all the goodness you have been given?  Can you look past your hurt and remember that there is work for you to do?”

 

The little tree nodded in the breeze also.  “Yes, yes I can!” he said. 

 

 

 

For Further Study: 

  • Do you know that David, the shepherd and king of the Israelites, wrote many of the Psalms?  Do you remember the life of David?  David was not a perfect man.  Can you think of some of the things he did wrong?  But God used to David to write the Psalms.  Some of the Psalms are very joyful, some are sorrowful, and in some of them David talks about his fears.  Read Psalm 5:1-2; 7:1-2; and 9:1-2.  They each express different emotions.  I often read the Psalms when I feel sadness, fear, or joy.  God wants us to go to Him with all of our feelings, all our ups and downs, just as David did. 

 

  • What does a plant need to grow and be strong?  What does a human need to grow and be strong?  What does your soul need to grow and be strong?  God provides for all of these things!  Praise God for His provision!
Posted in Courage, Hope, Joy, Loves children, Patience, Plants, Talents, Weather. Comments Off on The Little Tree

Sowing and Reaping

Reading: Proverbs 11:25-31

Matthew and Michael were riding horses with their Daddy around their ranch. They stopped briefly now and then to check the wires on their fence lines to make sure none of them were damaged. Once in a while they paused to look at tracks in the dirt. The boys enjoyed guessing what kind of tracks they saw.

One the way home, Daddy picked a pod off of a mesquite tree. The bean pod was still green and beginning to bulge with beans. He broke it open and showed it to the boys. “These beans were eaten by native Americans and pioneers that lived here. They’re not too tasty, but they’re easy to gather. It can be dried and pounded into meal for baking. Some folks just ate it straight off the tree. Tell me boys, what kind of tree would you expect to grow from a mesquite bean?”

Matthew smiled. “Why, a mesquite tree, Daddy. That’s the only thing that can grow from it.”

“Not a pecan tree? Not a cottonwood tree?” his father asked in a teasing voice.

Michael laughed and said, “No!”

Daddy rolled the beans from the pod into his hand and smiled. “Every seed that is planted bears its own fruit. That’s a lesson we learn from the Bible. God is just, and men will be rewarded for their good deeds and their bad. When men plant seeds of unkindness and anger, then this will be rewarded with pain and difficulty. But when we sow seeds of love and righteousness, God notices this. He promises us the tree of life in Heaven, and sometimes we can win souls to Him as well. This is good, holy fruit for God.”

For Further Study:

  • Read Proverbs 11:29. What do you think it means to “trouble your own house”? What does this Proverb promise about those who do so? What do you think this says about the way we should treat our parents, siblings, and others in our home? See Ephesians 6:1-4 and Colossians 3:18-21 to find more commandments for families.

  • Make a list of the kind of “fruit” you would like to bear for God. You can find some examples in Galatians 5:22-23. Some other suggestions are: a happy family, that a certain someone will learn more about Christ, that I will be more knowledgeable to the Word. Write these things in a column. Next to each item, list what kind of “seeds” you would have to sow in order to bear this fruit. Will you have to learn how to be less angry? Will you have to learn how to be more confident? Will you have to change your schedule or pick new friends? Try to be specific. A gardener doesn’t just randomly plant whatever seeds he finds; he plans and prepares so that he’ll have a good harvest. We should too!
Posted in King/Judge, Plants. Comments Off on Sowing and Reaping

A Good Gardener

Reading: Proverbs 8:12-17

One breezy Saturday morning, Maria arrived at the home of her neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Ray. The Rays were special friends of hers from church. They liked having Maria at their home. Maria enjoyed helping them, especially when the work involved their beautiful garden. Today Maria had brought her gardening tools. She wore a gardening apron and a wide-brimmed hat. Mr. Ray also had an apron, hat, and tools.

Together, Mr. Ray and Maria knelt in the garden pulling weeds. Mr. Ray liked to sing hymns as they worked. Every time Maria visited, she learned a new hymn. She also learned other things, as well.

“You know, Maria,” said Mr. Ray in his kind voice, “being a child of God is a lot like being a gardener.”

“Really?” asked Maria.

“Yep,” said Mr. Ray. He pointed at the ground before them. “To be a good gardener, it’s not enough to love plants. You also have to hate weeds. Do you know why?”

“Yes,” Maria replied, “because if you don’t hate weeds, then you won’t pull them out. And if you don’t pull them out, they’ll take over the garden.”

“You’re right! And if they take over your garden, then all your own plants won’t get the water and food they need to grow. Eventually, they’ll die. Now, how is that like being a good follower of Christ?”

Maria thought for a minute as she dug gently around the plants and loosened the weeds that grew in the ground before her. Loosening them helped make them easier to pull. After a few minutes, she answered, “I think you mean that if I don’t hate sin, it will take over my life, just like a weed.”

“That’s correct. It’s important to hate evil, just as God hates evil, because it’s so damaging to our souls. Even a small bad habit can grow to be a terrible sin. It’s better to stop sin when it first happens, before it takes over. But this can only be done if we know God’s Word and we are humble and willing to use it in our lives. That is why God wants us to grow wise. He gave us many good Bible verses, like the Proverbs, so that we could be wise and good.”

“I do want to be wise and good, Mr. Ray,” said Maria earnestly.

“I know you do, my child. God says that those who are wise and good are pleasing to Him. He loves all men, from the richest king to the poorest servant, and any who seek Him, fear Him, and hate evil, will be blessed.”

For Further Study:

  • Proverbs 6:16-19 lists seven sins that God hates. Are there some others that you can think of that you should hate? Try to think specifically of bad habits that YOU are trying to give up so that you could serve God better. Can you pray about learning how to hate these things, so that you do not sin, and so that you can be more useful to God? Finish this phrase: “There are six things that (your name) hates; yes, seven things which are an abomination to him/her:…..”
Posted in Holiness/purity, Humility/Pride, Plants. Comments Off on A Good Gardener