Marching to Heaven

Reading: Jeremiah 50:4-5

When I was young, I played in the marching band.  It was hard being a new band student.  One of the strangest things to learn was to march with your head sideways. Sometimes our routines called for this, so that the sound from our instruments would all go in the same direction. Have you ever tried to walk with your head pointing in a different direction from your feet? Try it some time. It takes concentration and practice. Imagine if you had to do it all the time! You see, it isn’t natural. Our feet usually walk in the direction in which our face is pointed. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Heaven, King/Judge, Priesthood, Prophets. Comments Off on Marching to Heaven

Being Right with God

Reading: Judges 17:6-13

Introduction: Once there was a Levite looking for a new place to live. Do you remember that Levites were to have their own special cities? What was the job of the Levites? Why wasn’t this Levite taking care of the temple like God had commanded? We don’t know why this Levite was wandering around, but I have an idea. Verse 6 says, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” What did the men in this story do instead of obeying God?

“Doors” was written by Bruce S. Wright and published in The Children’s Six Minutes in 1922. Now out of print, it is available free online.

DOORS

This morning, after you were awake, you passed through your bedroom door. Then you went through the bathroom door. Later you entered, through a door, the dining room….Every day you are passing through various doors. What wonderful things doors are! I wonder who invented doors. What would we do without doors?

There are doors to houses and there are doors to life. Let me tell you about them. A door is made of wood….The doors of life are made of our will. By the exercise of our will we open and close whatsoever doors of life we choose.

The doors of our houses swing on hinges. Heavy doors seem as light as a feather because they are so delicately hung upon hinges. The hinges of the doors of life are made not of brass or iron, but of love….

What about the lock? Yes, doors have locks. So also have the doors of life. Can you guess what locks the door of life? It is faith. If you have faith, faith in God, faith in the Saviour, faith in things that are true and pure, you need never fear that your house of life will be broken into by burglars. You are secure if you have the lock of faith. Now here is a strange paradox, namely–you lock your door only by opening it. Open your door to the Master.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice
and open the door, I will come in to him,
and will sup with him and he with me.”
Revelation 3:20

Memory Verse: …let us not love with _____ or with _____, but in _____and _____. 1 John 3:18

For Further Study:
Have you ever looked at an optical illusion? Have you ever watched a magic trick? You know that your eyes can fool you. That’s why God does not want us to rely on what “looks” right to us. Read Genesis 3:6; Luke 12:16-21; and James 4:13-15.

Journal:
You can pray to God to help you “see” things the right way. God wants us to have a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12). God doesn’t want us to be unsure (1 John 2:3). What things are you unsure about in your life? What would you like God to help you figure out? What (and who) has God given you to help you through life?

Posted in Government, Humility/Pride, Priesthood. Comments Off on Being Right with God

A Royal Priesthood

Reading: Leviticus 10:1-11

Parents: “Candle Children” was written by Bruce S. Wright and published in his book, The Children’s Six Minutes. The book was published in 1922 and is now out of print, but it is available free online.

Introduction: Today’s reading teaches us several things about what God expected from His priests. Why were Nadab and Abihu punished? What were the special things that God commanded of Moses?

There is something about a candle we all love. We have our clear gas lights and our still more brilliant electric bulbs, but when the birthday comes we want a cake with candles on it….

First of all [a] candle speaks of Symmetry. How perfectly formed is this candle! It is smooth, there are no rough places that stand out…. Your life should have symmetry. God asks you to give heed to your physical, your mental and your spiritual duties that your life may be well rounded, a life of beautiful symmetry.

Second, [a] candle stands for Fragrance…. There are some children we do not like to have around, they are surly, sulky and mean. There are others we dearly love to have with us at all times. They have what I call fragrance. They have the fragrance of thoughtfulness, the sweetness of unselfishness…

[Finally], the candle stands for Light. It is useless until the wick is lighted. It burns for others. Your life is a light. Jesus wants all Christians to think of themselves as lights in the world. “Let your light shine.” Be a lighted candle for the Lord.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession,
that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him
who has called you out of darkness
into His marvelous light….
2 Peter 2:9

For Further Study:

  • Aaron’s sons were priests in the Old Testament. Christians are priests in the New Testament. Many things in the Old Testament was really just a “shadow” or pattern for what He was really going to do in the New Testament. Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day – things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. Colossians 2:16-17. We can read about more shadows and what they were meant to teach us:
    Temple ~ 1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19
    Sabbath rest ~ Hebrews 4:9-11
    Incense ~ 2 Corinthians 2:14-16; Revelation 5:8
    Sacrifice ~ Ephesians 5:1-2; Romans 12:1
    Flood & ark ~ 1 Peter 3:20-21
  • List the names of other religions/denominations that you have learned about. What do they practice that would seem “strange” to God? Do you know the Scripture that tells you why these things are strange, or is it just because it’s not what you are used to practicing? It’s OK if you don’t know; you’re still learning and growing. But, pray to God to help you keep learning His Word so that you can learn what would be acceptable to Him.
Posted in Church, Holiness/purity, Humility/Pride, Inspiration of the Word, King/Judge, Priesthood, Worship. Comments Off on A Royal Priesthood

Boldness of Faith

Reading: Ezra 9:1-3

Judy was helping her older sister Mary iron their father’s shirts for work & church assemblies.  Judy sprayed the shirts with starch and laid them on the counter.  Mary took shirts from the counter and ironed them on a nearby board.  Together, the sisters would finish enough shirts for their father for a week, as well as earn some spending money.

 

“Here is a T-shirt that was mixed up in this load of laundry,” said Judy, holding up one of their father’s undershirts. 

 

Mary’s eyes widened and then she giggled.  “Oh dear,” she said, “it looks like I accidentally washed this one in the load for hot water.”

 

Judy looked at the shirt, which was now small enough to fit her.  “Ooh, will Daddy be angry at us?” she asked.

 

“I don’t think so,” said Mary.  “It’s one of his oldest shirts.  I’ll ask him, and if it needs to be replaced, I’ll use my money for it.  It was my fault.”

 

Judy was relieved. She was already envisioning her spending allowance being reduced.  She looked again at the shirt in her hands and said, “I can’t believe how little this is.”

 

“Yes, that can happen if you’re not careful,” Mary said, picking up her iron again.  “Judy, do you know that the Bible talks about shrinking?”

 

“It does?  Who shrunk something in the Bible?” 

 

“Well, in chapter 10 of the book of Hebrews it talks about Christians who ‘shrink back’ from faith in God.  A person can shrink back in the faith when they become discouraged or afraid, or when they become caught up in sin and forsake God.  This is what the Israelites did when they worshipped idols. Christians do it today when they disobey God and mistreat others, and don’t ask for forgiveness.  Can you imagine if your faith shrunk smaller and smaller, like this shirt?”

 

“That would be terrible,” Judy said. 

 

“Yes, it would be so dangerous for us.  Some people’s faith shrinks so small that they have trouble finding it again when they most need it.  That’s why in the same chapter in Hebrews, it says we should be brave, love others, and worship Him as much as possible.  This will help us keep from shrinking back.”

 

Judy grabbed her father’s shirt and held it up.  “It will keep us out of hot water!” she said.

 

Mary laughed. “That’s right!  It will make us useful for God!”

For Further Study:

  • Priests and kings in Ezra’s day had a special purpose.  In Ezra 9:2 God says that they did not teach the people to obey Him.  Do you think your life has a purpose? Do you think of yourself as having a special job? You are very important to God, Christ’s church, and your family. Even though it’s hard to imagine, even a child can do wonderful things for God. Do you remember how Christ talked about children in Matthew 19:13-15 and Mark 10:13-16? When you are humble, trusting, willing to obey, and loving, you teach older people what they must be like to enter Heaven! God has given you this great job because children are so good at trusting God, helping others, and being cheerful.
  • Finish these sentences:
    I have a special purpose for God. It is:
    I can fulfill this purpose every day by doing these things :
    These can get in the way of my work for God:
Posted in Courage, Holiness/purity, Idols, Priesthood, Prophets, Worship. Comments Off on Boldness of Faith

A Forgotten Book

Reading: 2 Chronicles 34:14-21

“Aunt Mary,” said Jonah, “who is this little boy with the toy bear?” Jonah was looking at an old photo album that he had found in his aunt’s bookshelf. He pointed to a faded picture of a little boy hugging a teddy bear.

Aunt Mary smiled and patted the picture. “That is my little brother, your Daddy. He carried that bear with him everywhere when he was a baby. It was his favorite toy.”

“He must have really liked that bear. Where is it now? I should like to see it.”

“Oh, sweetie, that bear is long gone,” said Aunt Mary, shaking her head.

“He didn’t keep it? I thought it was his favorite.”

“Well, Jonah, sometimes we give up old toys and find new favorite toys to replace them. You don’t play with the same toys you had when you were a baby, do you?”

“No, I don’t. But I like the toys I have now better.”

His aunt nodded. “That’s as it should be, because you are getting older and learning new things, so your toys must change for you to enjoy them. However, there is one thing that never changes, and we must continue to cherish it our whole lives.”

“What’s that, Aunt?”

“That is the Word of God. We must never outgrow it, for it can teach us what we need to know even as we grow older and change. It is precious, and should not be forgotten.” Aunt Mary pointed to the photograph in the album. “Your Daddy no longer has that toy bear. But your Daddy still reads his Bible every day.”

Jonah nodded. “I’m going to do that also, and I shall not forget God’s Word.”

For Further Study:

  • Read Matthew 5:4. Think about today’s reading from 2 Chronicles. Why did the king mourn in this story? What did he do when he mourned? Read 2 Chronicles 34:27-28. How was the king comforted?

  • Do you know of people in your church family who are mourning, either over their sins or over problems in their lives? How can you give them comfort?
Posted in Humility/Pride, Inspiration of the Word, Prayer, Priesthood, Repentance & Forgiveness. Comments Off on A Forgotten Book

Kings & Camels

Reading: 2 Chronicles 26: 14-21

“Jacob, I must have your help,” said Jacob’s grandmother. “My eyes are simply too weak to thread my needle, and I need to sew this button onto your shirt.”

Jacob went to his grandmother and threaded the needle for her. In return, she gave him a hug and her thanks. “Now, Jacob, do you think you could put a camel through the eye of my needle?”

Jacob laughed, “Oh no, Grandmother! Not even a toy camel from my Noah’s ark set can go through your little needle!”

“That’s right,” said his grandmother. “Jesus said that it is as difficult for a rich man to enter heaven as it is for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.”

“Why did Jesus say it would be that hard?” asked Jacob.

“Well, I believe it is because a rich person would have a harder time trusting in God. When a person gains and owns many things, he is more likely to trust in himself. You remember the lesson of King Uzziah, who had a great army and many weapons. He became so sure of himself that he thought he should be a priest also. He thought he should be allowed to enter the temple and offer sacrifices. But do you remember what happened to him when he did this evil thing?”

Jacob nodded. “God made Him very sick.”

“Yes. And in the end, Uzziah lost all those wonderful things he had as a king. He should have been thankful to God for his blessings, and used them to obey God, instead of being so proud and disobeying God’s law.”

Jacob looked at the little needle in his grandmother’s hand as it flew in and out of the button on his shirt. “Grandmother, how can a camel go through the eye of a needle?”

“It’s impossible, my child. But with God, all things are possible. And if a man trusts in God instead of his riches, then he can enter the kingdom of heaven, just as easily as you threaded this little needle for me.”

Give me neither poverty nor riches;

Feed me with the food that is my portion,

Lest I be full and deny Thee and say,”Who is the Lord?”

Or lest I be in want and steal, And profane the name of my God.

~ Proverbs 30:8-9

 

For Further Study:

  • The Bible has many warnings against honoring ourselves instead of God and others. Read Proverbs 11:12, 16:18, and 25:6-7; also Matthew 23:12. Compare these with the description of Christ from Philippians 2:5-8.

 

  • Why did Azariah thrust Uzziah out of the temple after seeing his leprosy? Do some research into what the Scripture said about leprosy, both in the Old Testament and the New.

“Uncleanness”

Reading: Leviticus 11:41-45

Louis was looking at his picture book from Bible class.  He was looking at a picture of the tabernacle.  Men in the picture were dressed in special robes, and they were leading different animals to the tabernacle for sacrifice.

“I’m glad I didn’t live in Bible times, Daddy,” said Louis.

“Why is that, son?” asked his father.

“There were too many rules!  I don’t think I could remember them all.  Wasn’t it an awfully strict way to live?”

“It did have many rules,” agreed Daddy.  “We have to remember that God had a special purpose for the Israelites.  Do you remember the special Person who would come from their nation?

“Jesus!” said Louis.

“That’s right,” said his father.  “And because such a special Person was to come from their family, the Israelites had to live in a special way.  All of these rules made them different from the idol-worshippers around them.  It made the Israelites realize that they had to be holy and special, like God and their future Messiah.”

“It would still be a hard way to live,” said Louis, looking again at the picture in his book.

“I agree, son, and I’m thankful God freed us from that way of life when Jesus died and taught us to live as Christians.  But God’s people still have to think of God as holy and special, and we still have to live in a way that shows we belong to Him.”

“Why, how can we do that, Daddy, when we don’t have the same fancy clothes or other rules that those people had?” asked Louis, pointing to the picture of the priest.

“Well, the New Testament still teaches us how to act, and talk, and dress in a way that shows people we belong to God.  We talk about the Bible, we act kindly, and we dress modestly.  People will notice how different we are, even if it’s not as obvious as it is in your picture book.  The way we spend our time, the things we spend our money on, and the way we treat others, all show people what is in our hearts.  And Who is supposed to be in our hearts, Louis?”

“Jesus!” said Louis, who felt this was a safe answer since it worked before.

His father smiled and hugged him.  “You are right again!  Jesus Christ is in our hearts, and we must show Him to everyone because we love Him.”

Memory Verse: Therefore be ye holy, for I am holy.  Leviticus 11:44 (also quoted in 1 Peter 1:16).

For Further Study:

  • In the book of Leviticus, from chapters 11-15, the word “unclean” is found more than 100 times. Read Acts 10.  Peter was told by God that the foods which were once unclean to the Jews could now be eaten.  What did that tell Peter about Cornelius and other Gentiles?
  • Have you ever heard the saying, “Cleanliness is next to godliness”?  Read these verses to see what God says about “cleanliness” today:
    Matthew 23:27-28 ~ What does God really want us to cleanse?
    Acts 22:16 ~ How are men able to “wash” themselves on the inside?
    2 Corinthians 7:1 ~ What happens when a person washes his soul?
  • How often do you wash your hands?  How often do you wash your face?  How often do you wash your body? Do you pray this often?  Prayer for help and forgiveness helps cleanse our souls from disobedience.  It lifts away the filthiness of our sins, and also the guilty feelings we may carry around.  It can refresh and revive our spirits!  We give up many benefits when we neglect prayer.  Make a plan today to pray more often (not just at mealtimes, and not just with mom and dad).  Can you put up reminders or have people help you?
Posted in Heart, Holiness/purity, Idols, Modesty, Prayer, Priesthood, Repentance & Forgiveness, Savior, Worship. Comments Off on “Uncleanness”