The Straight and Narrow Way

Reading: Matthew 7:13-20

Today’s reading shows us how important it is for those who love God to keep their focus on their Heavenly goals. The way that leads to life eternal is narrow and difficult. It requires patience, effort, and courage to follow God’s will instead of “going with the crowd” and living only for today. Also, there are many distractions along the way.

What kind of distractions did you read about in today’s verses? What did Jesus say would happen to people who tried to take others off the right way to Heaven?

The author of the following parable is unknown. The story was passed on to me by a friend.

Once, a Christian father and his three adolescent sons went on a winter hike. They came to They came to a field glistening white from a snow the night before. There was not a single track of any kind that had been made in the field. The father, wanting to challenge his youngsters and perhaps teach them a lesson, suggested they have a contest – which one could walk the straightest path across the field? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Courage, Heaven, Inspiration of the Word, King/Judge, Pilgrims/pioneers/immigration, Prophets. Comments Off on The Straight and Narrow Way

John the Baptist

Reading: Matthew 3:1-12

Think about how John the Baptist dressed, talked, and acted. Then tell me, and be honest ~ if someone like John the Baptist showed up at your school today, would you be his friend? If he came to your house, would you call your neighbors to come over and meet him? If he showed up at worship next week, would he be greeted and shown a place to sit? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Bible History, Courage, Holiness/purity, Prophets, Youth. Comments Off on John the Baptist

Learning and Growing

Reading: Lamentations 3:22-29

Jeremiah is writing about the Israelites. They have been carried away into captivity and slavery. Jeremiah hopes that during this hard time, they will turn back to God and increase their faith. It is a time of sorrow, but it can also be a time of great learning. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Church, Courage, Hope, Patience, Prophets, Repentance & Forgiveness, Talents, Work, Youth. Comments Off on Learning and Growing

Ghost Town

Reading: Lamentations 1:1-1-2

Have you ever heard of a ghost town? I live in Texas, and there are many legends of old Wild West ghost towns, towns that used to be filled with cowboys and gold miners, but which now stand empty. Imagine buildings with darkened rooms, cobwebs and tumbleweeds everywhere, and no sound but the lonely desert wind. That is what I imagine when I read these verses in Lamentations. The Israelite’s enemies have come and taken God’s people away. Jeremiah the prophet is looking out over his beloved city and all he sees is a ghost town. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Bible History, Idols, King/Judge, Pilgrims/pioneers/immigration, Prophets, Wars. Comments Off on Ghost Town

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 »

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

God Charges Jeremiah

Reading: Jeremiah 1:4-10

When I was a little girl my mother had to take a job in the evenings at a pharmacy. My father cared for me and my two little sisters while she was working. I was nine years old, my next sister was six, and my youngest sister was a baby. You can imagine what hard work that was for my father in the evenings. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Church, Courage, Family, Hope, Humility/Pride, Inspiration of the Word, Loves children, Prophets, Talents, Work, Youth. Comments Off on God Charges Jeremiah

Christ’s Sacrifice

Reading: Isaiah 53:4-9 (older children can read the entire chapter)

Imagine that you are a young prince in the Middle Ages. What are the many advantages that you would have? I think one of the best ones would be your own personal whipping boy. Imagine not ever getting punished for anything, but instead having someone around to stand in for you and receive your punishment! “Yes, Father, you are right, I did steal a cookie…. Mickey, hold out your hand for Father to spank.”

Now tell me, if that were happening today, who would you pick to be your whipping boy? Do you have someone in mind? Would you pick your best friend, a stranger, or an enemy? What if you were someone’s whipping boy? For whom would you be willing to do that service?

These verses in Isaiah show us the punishment that Christ received in place of men. We cannot compare Him to a mere whipping boy, because the punishment He received was far greater, and led to His death. Yet He received it willingly. How do these verses describe what happened to Him? How do they describe His willingness?

Can you imagine a prince being a peasant’s whipping boy in the Middle Ages? Yet Christ the King took the punishment for man, whom He created.

I hope that today you will think hard about the sacrifice that Christ made for men. When sin lies heavily upon our hearts, there is a wonderful hope waiting for us: the knowledge that Christ has already borne the punishment for it. These verses in Isaiah are dark and sad, but they also contain a wonderful, saving message.

For Further Study:

  • Read Isaiah 53:1-3. Christ did not have the kind of face or body that seemed “kingly.” In fact, most people who knew Him on earth were amazed at how “ordinary” in appearance He was. Read Matthew 13:54-58; John 1:45-46; and Mark 15:16-20. What do these verses tell us about the power of the gospel? What do they tell us about the faith of Christ’s followers? What do they tell us about the way we should think of appearances, family ties, and worldly accomplishments?
  • Read the account of Christ’s trial & crucifixion from one of the gospels today: Matthew 26:47-27:56; or Mark 14: 43-15:41; or Luke 22:54-23:49; or John 18:12-19:30. Note how the prophecies in Isaiah 53 were fulfilled.
  • How willingly do you (or don’t you) receive punishment? How would you feel and act towards your sibling or friend, if they willingly and silently received punishment that was intended for you?