Our Important Conscience

Reading Psalm 32

 

This psalm by David shows us what a blessing it is to have God’s forgiveness.  David mourned over his sin and was then comforted by God.

 

What did David feel like before he asked God for forgiveness?  How does he feel after praying to God?


The following story was written by Howard J. Chidley and published in Fifty-Two Story Talks for Boys and Girls in 1914.  Now out of print, the book may be read free online.

 

 

THE BOY AND THE TURTLE

 

 

One day, as [a boy] was going across the fields, he came to a pond where he saw a small turtle sunning itself upon a stone which rose out of the water. The boy picked up a stick, and was about to strike the turtle, when a voice within him said, “Stop!” His arm paused in midair and, startled, he ran home to ask his mother what the voice meant. Tears came into his mother’s eyes as she took the boy in her arms and told him that it was his conscience which had cried “Stop!” Then she told him that his conscience was the voice of God, and that his moral safety depended upon his heeding that inner voice.

 

The same thing is true of all boys and girls. If you obey that inner voice in questions of right and wrong, it will speak to you clearly.   But if you neglect it, it will grow silent, and you will be left in darkness and in doubt as to what is right and wrong.

 

Some people call this voice the “inner light,” and that is a very good name for it. Every time you walk by the light you put fresh oil in the lamp, and the light grows stronger and the way clearer.

 

Whenever that inner voice speaks to you and tells you that a thing is wrong, don’t argue with the voice and give reasons for doing the thing that is wrong. Obey the voice at once, as Parker did, and it will save you endless trouble.

 

 

 

 

 

For Further Study:

 

  • Read 2 Corinthians 7:9-11.  The Corinthians had sinned, and Paul had pointed out their sin to them.  Their sorrow over their sin caused them to repent.  This is called “godly sorrow,” because it led to repentance, a turning back to God for forgiveness and a turning away from sin by changing what they were doing.  When the Corinthians were sorry and repented, they could be joyful over their salvation. 

     

 

 

  • If someone needed to apologize to you, how would you feel if they made a joke about it? if they smiled while doing it? if they became angry at you instead?  How do you think God feels when people need to say they are sorry to Him, but don’t really mean it?

 

Posted in Beasts & Birds, Courage, Holiness/purity, Humility/Pride, King/Judge, Repentance & Forgiveness. Comments Off on Our Important Conscience

Our Advocate

Reading: Psalm 51: 1-4

 

Do you know where the courthouse is in your town?  In our town, it is right in the very center of the business district, a very beautiful building with tall pillars and many steps leading up to the front doors.  Sometimes there is much traffic and activity in front of the courthouse, as people bustle in and out with their papers and briefcases… but once you walk inside, there is a reverent quiet, for you are not allowed to speak loudly or cause a scene in a courthouse.  Serious business goes on there as different cases are heard, and judges often make decisions that affect people’s entire lives.

 

Have you ever been inside a courtroom?  They are beautiful in an austere way.  The judge sits at the front at a high desk.  There is a small area in front of him that must be kept clear of obstructions, and no one may trespass this area without permission from the judge.  Then there are tables and seating for the parties whom the judge will hear.  Behind them is usually a railing; again, this keeps uninvited persons from approaching the judge.  The audience may sit behind this railing, although sometimes the judge forbids an audience.  In certain trials, there is an area to the side for the jury.  These citizens are called on at times to make decisions about the guilt or innocence of a person.  However, the judge still presides over the trial.

 

It is a formidable thing to approach a judge.  Imagine approaching a high desk and having to look up, up, up at a person who holds your fate in his or her hand; with one word, your future is decided.  You may not speak without the judge’s permission, and every word and action from you is weighed.

 

The judge knows what you have done.  The judge knows the laws of the land and the options for your punishment or release.  Wouldn’t you want someone standing next to you who also knows those things – and not only these things, but all the good things you have done as well, your dreams and intentions, and the future good you wish to do?  That is why people hire lawyers.  Lawyers know how to speak to judges and plead their cases for them.

 

I have told you this story so that you could understand not just the importance of obeying the laws of your land, but also the importance of obeying your own Judge, the Creator and Heavenly Father, who sits on high and sees every thought and deed of mankind.  It is a formidable thing to approach this Judge, but we have a great Comfort – we have a “lawyer,” an Advocate, who can speak to the Judge for us.  And not only that, but this Advocate is His very Son, Whom He loves, and who earnestly entreats the Judge for mercy and love on behalf of the little children who need Him so.  He wants to be our Brother and Friend, if we would but listen to His words, which give us warning and guidance through life’s many battles and trials.  Then we may approach the Judge with confidence, knowing we have One to plead our case for us.

 

The next time you drive past a courthouse, remember the beauty and the importance of its function, and that we need not fear judgment if we have a Friend beside us.

 

 

For Further Study:

  • Find a Bible that has descriptions before each Psalm (you can search online for a New American Standard or New King James if you don’t have one in your home).  What was happening in David’s life when he wrote this Psalm?  Read the story of David’s sin in 2 Samuel 11-12.

 

 

  • Read 1 John 2:1-2.  Look up the definition for the word “advocate.”  What does an advocate do?  Do some research into modern-day advocates.  Try to find examples of advocates who volunteer their services.  Why do they do what they do?  What motivates them?  What kind of risks do they take?  Whom would you be willing to be an advocate for?

 

Posted in Government, King/Judge, Repentance & Forgiveness, Savior. Comments Off on Our Advocate

Memorizing Psalm 23

This is a little puzzle I made for my children to help them memorize Psalm 23.  It consists of flashcards that can be put together to form a picture.  You will need scissors, glue, and construction paper or cardstock if you want sturdier cards.

Download the flashcards here: Psalm 23 flashcards/puzzle

I have each verse printed with a short explanation to help the child understand what it means.  I used the New King James version of the psalm.

You will notice that I am no artist 🙂  Your child may want to color the puzzle before gluing.  Another option is to have the child color one card at a time, as he learns the verse.

You will notice that the placement of each verse on the page corresponds to each related puzzle piece.  Glue the two pages together back-to-back, or glue a piece of cardstock/construction paper in between them for sturdier cards.  Then cut on the lines.

This is how I used the cards:  I would read verse 1 to the child, then explain it and show her the picture.  Then I would read verse 2 and show her the picture on the back.  Immediately she wanted to put together the whole puzzle, and I let her.  She asked why the puzzle had the pictures that it did – why is there a table?  why is there a scary place in between the mountains? – and so I would read those verses also.

Sometimes I would show the picture and have the child recite the corresponding verse.  It was very satisfying to the children to recite the verses and put together the puzzle as I handed them the pictures.  My goal was to teach one verse a week, but once they became used to putting together the puzzle, it went much faster.  Each of my children memorized this Psalm when they were 3 years old.

Count Your Blessings

Introduction: After many years, Jacob is returning to Canaan. Jacob left behind an angry brother. He is worried that Esau may attack his family. He divides his family so that they will not be attacked all at once, leaving him with nothing. Jacob has nothing to worry about, however. Esau meets him with open arms and tears.

Reading: Genesis 33:1-9

Jacob looked at the containers on his grandmother’s kitchen counter. There were little boxes of sandwiches, fresh vegetables, and fried chicken. There were jars of pickles and olives. There was even a bag of cookies. It was all getting packed into the picnic basket so that they could have lunch in the park with grandfather.

Grandmother was standing at the kitchen table with the picnic basket open in front of her. First she lay a towel at the bottom of it, then called, “Jacob, come help me fill the basket, dear.”

Jacob carried the items to his grandmother and helped her place them in the basket. Grandmother was so good at getting everything to fit. She put the boxes and jars in first, then lay the bag of cookies on top. “That way, they won’t get crushed,” said grandmother. Then she winked and said, “Although, I suppose they’ll taste just as good crushed as they do whole!” Then she frowned and said, “Oh, dear. I still have to pack forks, plates, and napkins.”

Jacob peered into the basket. “There’s not any room left,” he said.

Grandmother went to the pantry to get her paper plates and napkins. “I know, honey. We’ll have to take something out. What do you want to leave behind?”

“Anything but the cookies!” Jacob said with certainty.

Grandmother laughed and took out the jars. “I think we can leave these behind. That will make room for the other things we need, plus a thermos of ice and some plastic cups.” Jacob returned the jars to the pantry, and together they finished packing the basket.

As Grandmother latched the lid of the basket, she said, “You know, Jacob, our hearts are like this picnic basket. They can only hold so much. We can fill them with goodness and thankfulness, or we can fill them with anger and hate.”

“I know God wants only good things in my heart,” said Jacob.

Grandmother nodded. “When we have good thoughts and feelings in our hearts, then we won’t store up the other things that make us so miserable. We won’t waste our times being so angry and sad. We can spend our time being joyful, kind, and forgiving.” She sat down so that she could look Jacob in the eye, then took his hand and smiled. “Sometimes it’s very hard to forgive someone who has hurt us. But if our hearts are already filled with thankfulness and joy, there’s very little room for holding on to anger. Can you help me remember to fill my heart with good things like God wants, just like you helped me fill this picnic basket?”

Jacob hugged his grandmother and said he would!

For Further Study:

  • Read Matthew 5:21-24. What does Jesus teach here about loving our brothers? What does He teach about forgiveness here?

 

  • Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Now put your name in place of where it says “love” in all these verses. Would these verses be true about you?

  • Make a list of your many blessings, big and small. See if you can fill the page. Mark this page for times you need encouragement!
Posted in Contentment/Thankfulness, Family, Heart, Joy, Repentance & Forgiveness. Comments Off on Count Your Blessings

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.