Thursday, December 30, 2021

Calendar of Devotionals 4 of 4 (end)

 This is the last of the devotionals. It has #49-64.

Just to let you all know, my new blog is at Feel free to enjoy all the posts on this one, though


Alberto practically leaped into the car after church. Moments before, he’d been praising God and learning how to follow Him and be more like Jesus. Now, he had a game to get to.


“I’m glad Coach didn’t mind me coming late,” he told his dad before biting into a hastily prepared sandwich. ‘It was one thing when we had warmups at 1, but this game starts at 1.”


He looked at his watch – he should have said “started,” since they would get there after 1. Oh, well, he would only be a little late. And, he’d worn his uniform under his church clothes. The last time he’d come like that, his coach had jokingly asked if he needed a phone booth to change in.


“I’m glad you’re honoring God – the way you act on the field plus things like this show how much you love Him,” his dad pointed out.


He remembered how Sandy Koufax had refused to pitch in the World Series on a Jewish feast day – and then he came back to win the Series for them.  This game wasn’t that crucial. But, as Alberto stretched and prepared to enter, he praised God for letting him come. No matter what happened, he knew God would reward him somehow for choosing to honor Him.



“Aren’t you missing something?”


“Like what?” Alex waved his hand over the many things he had put out on the counter. “I’m making chocolate chip cookies,” he told his younger sister, Tatiana, “and I’ve got a lot to do.”


“You heard Mom say she needed help, but you’re not doing it right. What’s that verse?  Be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only?”


Alex rolled his eyes. “Look, I am making chocolate chip cookies like you wanted for your birthday. I’m following the recipe, I’ve got the batter ready to mix-“


Tatiana blurted, “Don’t you think these would help?” She held out the bag of chocolate chips.


Alex’s face felt warm. “Yeah. I guess it would be kind of hard to make chocolate chip cookies without those.”


“What good does it do to hear something if you don’t do it?” Tatiana shook her head as he took the bag and started pouring the chips in.


“I guess it doesn’t do any good.” Alex realized he should thank her. “Thanks for helping. This is a lot to keep track of. I’m sure I would have figured it out soon – well, once I looked at the directions.” He thought he would have looked at them, anyway. “I do know how to bake cookies. I just need to apply what I know to whatever each recipe calls for.”



“Twelve days yet? My birthday will never get here!”


Barry couldn’t help but laugh at his brother, who was almost eight, as he gazed at the calendar while Barry checked his homework before school.  “You’ve stared at that calendar every morning for the last two weeks. While I’ve got a couple tests next week and my report on the bald eagle. Which is fitting. Isn’t there a verse about mounting up on wings like eagles, Dad?”


“Right; Isaiah 40:31 is a mini-chorus we sing, too. You’re looking forward to our vacation next weekend as a break as much Benny is as a birthday present,” their dad said. “Life goes a lot slower for him at his age. But, that verse shows no matter how life gets – if it’s really crazy and packed with stuff or really slow and mundane, we can wait on God. And, He will renew our strength to get through it when we do.”



“Some of these names are really weird.”


Little Sherry looked at the list of Old Testament Books that her big brother was trying to memorize. “Teacher said that wasn’t really a name,” she said as she pointed at “Ecclesiastes.”


 I know,” Shaun said, making a funny face at her. “But, even prophets like Malachi – names have really changed since then.”


 Their older sister, Lucy, pointed out, “It’s ironic that one of the key verses there is ‘I am the Lord; I change not.’”


“I’m glad God doesn’t change; we’ve lived in three different places since I can remember,” Shaun remarked.


“That verse isn’t just about stability – but that is important, I’m so glad with all that goes on God’s always there for us,” their mom said. “It goes on to say because He doesn’t change, His people don’t get destroyed when they keep turning away from Him. Once He declares someone saved because they trusted Him to save us, He’s not going to say they aren’t.”


“That’s the best stability we can have – knowing God is there for us no matter what,” Lucy agreed.



“I’m not going,” Hayley told the stunned youth leader.


The teen didn’t feel like sharing her many conflicting thoughts. She wasn’t thinking of others, yet she knew she should since she’d promised to help with face painting. She suffered from anxiety, but she knew she should ask for help. She worried about being bored, yet she knew she enjoyed it…


Why was their leader knowing on the door of her neighbor and fellow youth group member?


“Great, thanks, I’d love to,” her ten-year-old neighbor practically shouted.


Heyley’s mouth flew open; now, she felt jealous, too. Why was she getting to go, and even get paid a few bucks, when Hayley was supposed to?


“Oh, yeah,” Hayley realized later. “I turned it down, didn’t I? And, Abby’s mom let her go. But, I’m older and more experienced, and all she has is… well, she tries hard and has a humble attitude,” Hayley reasoned.  


Next time, she would help when she promised to – she’d seen firsthand how God resisted her when she was too proud to seek help, and gave grace to the humble.



Destiny frowned as she read her Bible. She could tell her parents were leaving for some worldly place to party.


Once they hugged goodbye, before finishing homework, Destiny turned to a few of her favorite Scriptures. Verse about following Jesus.


“The disciples followed you when a lot of people around them refused,” she prayed out loud. “Just like the prophets before them.”


 She didn’t suffer persecution like them. Thankfully, they supported her desire to follow and try to be like Jesus. She knew others suffered, though, and prayed for the persecuted church.


“You’ve done so much for me, Lord,” Destiny prayed. “I’m so thankful. It’s hard to follow you sometimes when my own parents don’t. But, I know you’re with me. You live in me now. And, the way I act might determine whether they come to know you or not.”


Yes, Destiny considered, it was hard. Anything could be an idol - placed ahead of God - if one wasn’t careful. She would simply keep trusting Jesus and trying to be like Him, so she could earn treasure in Heaven. And, hopefully, one day see her parents following Jesus, too.



“What’s that thing?” Bo shouted without thinking.


He didn’t know how he knew – but he thought he’d just seen a demon.


He pulled over quickly, his heart racing. He wasn’t sure how to describe the experience, but as he thought about it, he couldn’t wait to tell someone, anyway.


He didn’t want to wait for church – when he got home, he quickly called his youth leader.


He remembered lessons about spiritual warfare, and how real it was. He knew he had to change things in his life and turn back to God. What he’d just seen was way too scary for him. He’d never have imagined spiritual warfare would actually be visible to him – but it had been!


He wished he’d listened when the Holy Spirit – which lived in each believer – was telling him to stop turning away from God. As he finally went to sleep and awakened the next morning ready for church, he was glad for the reminder he’d had in talking with his youth leader. That God’s mercies are new every morning.



“That’s a cute dog,” Brooke told her new school friend Jordan. They were up in Alex’s room.


Jordan bounced the dog, which was actually a stuffed toy, a little and answered, “Thanks. I call her Katy after a dog we used to have.”


“Did it bark a lot?”


“She was never quiet! I still like to play with stuffed dogs sometimes,” Jordan added a bit sheepishly.


Brooke sensed Jordan’s unease. “That’s okay. I play with mine sometimes. The key is just to not worship the creature more than the Creator. If we praise God and thank him for gifts like our toys and let Him use them for His glory, then comfort objects like that are great. Like my uncle’s a police officer and they have them to help children who have been through trauma.”


“I know. Sometimes I pretend to talk to aa stuffed dog to release stress and help me figure how to say stuff, and I do its voice reminding me to talk to God about it, so I start praying.”


Brooke playfully patted the stuffed dog on the head. “That’s a very wise dog. We should make sure everything we have helps us walk closer to God.”



“Hey,” Phil complained to his older sister Darlene, “you ate all the chocolate!”


The youth leader couldn’t help but grin. Phil had just eaten all the Twizzlers they’d brought for snacks, much to Darlene’s chagrin.


“You know,” the leader told Phil and Darlene, “there’s a reason the Bible lists temperance as a fruit of the Spirit.”


The preteens said “tell him that” and “tell her that” at almost the same time.


“I know you don’t get treats like that often at home. But, sharing snacks like that is part of putting others first. We’re told to be filled with the Spirit. That means we should let the Spirit control us; and one way we do that is by letting God help us not to only think of what we want, but what others might want,” the leader said.


The siblings each told the other they were sorry.


“There might be others who wanted more, too. But, I’m glad you’re not staying mad. Part of of growing in Christ is learning to control yourselves, but so is learning to forgive and move on and not keep complaining about little slights,” the leader finished.


“Yeah, ‘cause we’re brothers and sisters in Christ now,” Darlene recalled. “That we we can have fun and bug each other sometimes, and still love each other.”



Melanie looked in awe at all the neat crafts.


Okay, it wasn’t like they were in a craft store. Instread, the youth were in a numble youth room on the top floor of the church. Still, it was a lot more than she’d seen in a while. And, everything was so new.


“I know you’d like to take it all home,” the youth worker told her. “But it’s for you kids to use up here. When we go to the craft store, you can pick out something to work your way toward by earning points for church attendance and such.”


“Since you asked nicely, you can pick out some of those beads.. and maybe one little animal or two,” another youth worker said.


“Thanks; it’s just all so new and exciting to be up here,” she explained.


“Sure; that’s normal. That’s why the Bible says to be filled with the Spirit – that’s a continually filling that comes from keeping your relationship with God strong,” the director complimented her. “Like following Him by asking politely and accepting what we say.”


Melanie be3amed; not because she got to take a few little things home, but because of that relationship with God helping her in relationship with others.



Claire perked up when her mom peeked in her bedroom door. She’d heard the phone ring and a lot of commotion. She knew something was up.


Once she saw Claire was awake, her mom came into the room. “Your grandma’s okay, but she fell and might have broken something. Dad and I are going to the ER to be with her. Aunt Wilma ijust got here to watch you.”


“Thanks, Mom. Tell her I love her and I’m praying for her.”


Claire remembered the Bible lessons on prayer. As she talked to God, she thought of a bunch of things. She asked that her grandma get better, that there not be a long wait in the ER, that the doctors and nurses have wisdom, and so on. She didn’t know if an ambulance was taking her, but she even prayed like she did if she heard one, that everyone pull over like they were supposed to to let them by.


She couldn’t believe how much there was to think about. And things kept coming to her throughout the night and next day till she heard all was okay.


“No wonder the Bible says ‘pray without ceasing,’” she pondered. There is always something to pray about and so many situations to pray for.”



“Actually, it’s yours – our insurance paid for it,” the bank teller told Ray at the counter.


Ray smiled. He’d told his children that he was returning the extra $20 the ATM machine had mistakenly given him. They understood – they expected it since he’d always told them to be hnoest.


“I know you say that, but it’s not mine,” Ray told the grateful teller. He handed her the $20 back. “I expect people to be honest with me. Someone might need to see a good example. Most of all, God wants us to be honest and not take anything that isn’t ours.”


Ray smiled as he left the bank. God might not reward him till he got to Heaven, but the good feeling he had at doing the right thing was worth it all.


“Dad,” one of his kids called out as he got in. “Guess what? Mom just opened a card from Grandma; she gave us $20. Isn’t that great?”


“It’s more than great,” he said as they hugged. “It’s God at work. Even if He hadn’t rewarded us this way, He would have in other ways. Who knows who our honesty may have helped.”



Phil felt bad as the Sunday School teacher held the paper close to his eyes. "It's so sad you can't see well," the boy said sorrowfully.


"Thanks. God has given me a lot of great gifts, though," the man replied.


Isn't there anything they can do?


No, and glasses don't help since my problem is behind my eyes." After a pause, the teacher added, "I trusted Jesus to save me from my sin,  though. So one day I'll be able to see perfectly in Heaven. I'm glad you think about others, though. It's important to put others first. And, maybe you'll grow up to be a doctor and help people like me."


That idea excited Phil. He came from a poor family and hadn't thought of being a doctor. But, he also knew God could do anything. Even if he wasn't a doctor, though, he could still have compassion. 


(@did I do Uncle Tim with magazine article inspiring him? – could be separate)



 The lush green grass stood out like a jewel. The color on the home team's caps seemed to shine much brighter than the faded one he had. The smell of hot dogs excited his taste buds like that of a thousand cookouts.


Sandy had never even seen a baseball game in color - his family had an old black and white TV. Everything seemed to spring to life here, even though he'd seen and smelled the things before.


He also recalled something from church. 


The pastor had said the new life which came from trusting Jesus as Saviour was like having God open your eyes to things you'd never seen, and making His creation seem much greater.


Sandy recalled trusting Jesus to save him. It was true. God had opened Sandy's eyes to so much. Things were much clearer to him as he sought God's wisdom. And, just like the splendor of that first game live and in color, after years of black and white, there was something so much greater about creation when seeing it through the eyes of faith in God's great design. 



"Wait, that's from the Bible?"


"Yes," Lucas’ friend said. "Jesus says we are the salt of the earth for a few reasons. 


Lucas was amazed. He had heard the saying that someone was the salt of the earth all his life, but had never known that the saying came from the Bible.


"I wonder what other common sayings are from the Bible."


That's one added benefit when you start to read it. You'll see how much of language comes from God's word itself.



“Jenny, bring me my Bible,” the older lady said.


Jenny smiled. Her grandma couldn’t walk, but she still had so much love for God.


Jenny sat on her grandma’s lap and proudly opened to the place her grandma asked her to. “I’m getting good at this,” she said. Then, she asked, “Grandma, why don’t my mom and dad like Jesus?”


“They just want their own way, just like we all do. They can’t understand how I can have such faith when I’ve been crippled for decades.”


“I know how. ‘Cause Jesus gives you real joy.”


“That’s right. That’s why the Bible says ‘No man taketh your joy from you.’ That’s why I’ve always taught you to pray,” her grandma said. “God will remind you of all the good things you have. And one day, since I know Him as Saviour, I’ll be running around like you.”

Caendar of Devotionals - 3 of 4

Page 3 of 4 of these devotionals - #32-48.


“Did you tell on me?” Ronnie asked in a huff.


His brother looked strangely at him. “I didn’t have to,” he said matter-of-factly.


“What do you mean? Mom just yelled at me for taking cookies from the cookie jar right before supper, and…” Ronnie was really mad at Lenny now. “What are you giggling about?”


“You have green icing on your hands and face,” Lenny replied.


Their mom chuckled a little from the kitchen, too. “The Bible says your sin will find you out – but it’s usually not that obvious!”


Ronnie sighed as he went back into the kitchen and wiped his hands and face with a paper towel. “Even if I tried to hide it better, would my sin still have found me out?”


“Oh, yes. Maybe not right away, but God has ways of bringing the truth out. God wants us to know we can’t avoid consequences – like when one of you eats so much candy you get a stomachache.” She put an arm around him and said, “The only way to avoid the consequences of sin is, don’t sin. Because God always wins in the end.”



Leon frowned as he walked up to his youth leader. “I looked through the whole Bible. I didn’t see Ohio State or Michigan.”


Mr. Steward knew what would normally have been a joke was very serious to Leon. “Still thinking about college?” The boy nodded. “The Bible says God will direct your paths every time you acknowledge Him. But, God speaks in other way, too, right?”


 “Yeah. I just wish it was as clear as stuff where the Bible talks about it,” Leon said.


Sure, like having a backup plan if sports don’t work out,” Mr. Steward said as they sat. “You’ve got a good one, taking courses toward a front office job.  Or making sure your relationships bring you closer to God and not away from Him. Leon,” he said as he leaned forward, “I know it’s a hard choice. But, keep praying, getting good advice from people you trust, looking at each campus, the programs, and so on. Trust God; He knows the right place for you.”


“Thanks. Just being reminded of that really helps,” Leon said sincerely.



Mandy was amazed. Why wasn’t anyone going forward?


“…It’s free. Come one up,” the speaker was saying. All you have to do is be the first one.”


Mandy shyly crept forward. Then, she started to walk more boldy, though still with caution. Surely someone would get there before she did. She was coming from way in the back.


“I’m waiting…here comes someone.” Mandy took the speaker’s wallet and pulled out a $5 bill. “Take it, I said whoever got it first could have it,” the speaker said.


Mandy said “thank you” and returned to her seat with the money as another kid cried out, “That’s not fair!”


The speaker insisted it was fair. “Everyone had an equal chance. That girl came from way in the back. It’s just like God’s free gift of salvation. ‘Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ You don’t have to be anywhere special; you can call on Jesus right now to save yhou from the penalty for your sins. The choice is yours. Thankfully, everyone hs that chance, but people don’t take that chance when the have it.”


Mandy grinned. She’d trusted in Jesus and called on Him by faith to forgive her and save her from her sins last year at church camp. She hoped everyone there would make that important decision, too.”



“What’s a yearbook?”


Katie smiled. The first grader she volunteered to help was looking at the many pictures and papers on Katie’s table. “A yearbook is where they put pictures of all the students and teams and clubs. It tells about all the fun stuff at the school that year.”


“Oh.” The girl thought for a moment. Katie’s table was really full. “That must take a lot of people to do that.”


“It should, but I’m doing it all,” Katie told her.


The girl spun around. “Wait, what? Why?”


“The last few years, our Yearbook staff got smaller and smaller. Nobody wanted to work. This year, no one showed up. If I hadn’t made this my English project, our class wouldn’t have a yearbook. And, every class treasures theirs.”


 “They’d be real sad, huh?” the girl guessed.


“Right. It’s just like Jesus says about sharing His love and salvation. The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. I’m so glad I get to work with you. I wish more people took the time and built the patience to help others.”


The girl smiled proudly at Katie. “I’m glad you help people. And if you need any help with this, let me know.” Katie said she would.



Courtney loved spending time with God. Some of her prayer needs seemed to big, though! She kept praying for a job, for instance. It was hard at her age, yet she knew God could provide.


Sometimes it seemed to take forever, though.


Suddenly, she got a text. Someone hadn’t been able to find a sitter. All of a sudden, she had a job offer. Sure, it was just one time, but at least it was something.


She tried hard to get a ride, and finally got one. She had really wanted to – and while she’d have taken $10, she wound up getting $20.


She came back home refreshed. She still had that prayer need, but she had seen how God could provide. Sometimes, His way wasn’t one big thing, however. Sometimes it was a bunch of little ones, especially if the real answer would take a while to come.


She knew God was faithful because His Word said so. It felt great to get a little taste of proof in her life, though.



Troy remembered Paul’s quote. Reporters sometimes twisted things to make news. But, his relationship with his teammate, Paul was strained anyway.


So, Troy walked up to Paul the moment he saw him at the next practice. “Do you have a problem ith me?” he asked casually.


Paul replied, glad for the chance to talk with Troy. He hadn’t been sure how to handle this. “I have a problem with how you act,” he said, careful not to attack Troy personally. “You seem arrogant sometimes, like you’re trying to boss people around.”


“I’m sorry if I come across that way,” Troy said. “It’s hard for me to express myself, so my confidence can come out wrong. Plus, I’ve been bullied so much I’m afraid sometimes I need to take charge of everything. Do you have some ideas for how to improve?”


Troy and Paul gladly discussed ideas so both of them could get along. Troy didn’t care if the reporter had quoted Paul right. His concern was to not divide the team but to be united. And, he knew the Matthew 18 principal was best for this, so they could develop a friendship and help each other improve.



“Meow,” Missy said with a small giggle as she crawled around and rubbed against Kacy’s ankles.


Kacy smiled at her little sister as she put lunch on the table. “Come on, Missy, get up.” She reached down to put her in her booster seat, but the little girl pretended to scratch at her. So, Kacy’s voice became sterner, like their mom’s – who was paying her to babysit this afternoon. “Missy, you can’t eat human food if you’re a cat. Do I have to feed you cat food?”


Missy didn’t like the tone. She rubbed against Kacy and purred, but let Kacy pick her up and put her in her booster seat this time. Finally, Missy said, “I was just playing.”


“I know. I love you; but you need to be a person now.” Kacy blessed the food. “You know, for some weird reason I just thought of Romans 12:2. You’re a great kid. It’s okay to play sometimes, but just now you had to be a person, and not conformed to being a cat.” Kacy asked how her sandwich was – it was good. “Good. Anyway, we’re not supposed to be conformed to this world – that means we shouldn’t be like those who ignore God. We’re children of God – so we should act like He wants us to.”



“How do you put up with it?”


Alexis smiled. She still felt a lot of pain from her surgery, but she was here, at least. “God gets me through somehow.”


“I’m sure,” her friend said as she sat visiting her. Alexis would be in the hospital for a few more days. “Don’t you ever just wish your body worked like normal?”


“I do,” she admitted. “I should be able to have treatments now that will keep me from having to have more surgery.” She agreed with her friend that wasn’t quite the same. “Jesus said ‘In this world you will have tribulation.” It’s a fallen world. Sure, God made it perfect, without pain. But, man’s sin way back when caused everything to fall apart., so I won’t have a perfect body till I get to Heaven.”


 “I’m glad you made it through. I don’t know if I could handle all you have to go through.”


“It’s not always easy for me, either. But, I have friends like you. And, that verse goes on with Jeuss promised we can be of good cheer because He overcame the world.”



Pat finished the laundry, then went into the living room. “Thanks, Mom,” Pat said while taking the camp registration form.


Pat had heard from a counselor that quite a few young people lived with someone suffering from depression. “Whether Mom suffers from it or not,” Pat prayed, “I found a way to get to that church camp. That’s the important part.”


Pat went over the checklist while thinking. It was rough having to do so much around the house. Pat even took care of a younger sibling sometimes – who had gone to camp the week before. But, Pat knew God could help with anything.


Pat sang softly to himself while waiting for a ride. “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear. And what a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer…”


Pat grinned as the car pulled up, and jogged to it while carrying his bag. “Thanks,” Pat said while getting in.


“I wish Mom got off the couch more. But, I’ll keep praying for her,” Pat prayed. “And, in the meantime, I know I have a relationship with you, Lord. Because I know you provide all my needs and give me wisdom no matter what when I trust you.”



Joann felt alone sometimes. Even in a crowd of people.


She knew she shouldn’t let her best friend pull her down. But, she found it hard to think of going to church without her.


“What’s wrong,” Riley asked. Joann’s best friend was Riley’s older sister.


“Well… you know how they talked about Joshua 24:15? About choosing who to serve? Lauren stopped coming to church a while back. And, it’s hard without her.”


“Mr. Rotini says it’s ‘cause you lost your mom when you were little.”


Joann put an arm around Riley. “You’ll blurt out anything sometimes.” She sighed. “I don’t know. I just know she gets me. Sometimes I don’t know if anyone else does.”


“God does.”


Joann’s tired look said Riley may as well have said “the sky is blue.” It was true, but did she feel like trusting?


 “You have to try. I’ll be there no matter what.”


“Thanks. I know you’re trying to help.” She smiled. “I guess I have to choose sometime. It does help me understand what the Bible means better. I feel more peace since I started praying more.” Joann relented. “Okay. The people are nice. I’ll go. It is nice to be around people who care,” Joann said with relief. She didn’t know why she felt like she did sometimes. But, she knew God had given her hope, and she wanted to learn how to keep getting more.



“We can’t have a four-year-old referee!”


“We don’t have even sides otherwise,” Rob countered as he picked up a ball in the park and the other kids discussed strategy.


“Mom said he had to come with me,” Devon said evenly. “Besides, he helped stop a fight the other day.”


Daryl, who had spoken first, and Rob looked oddly at the tot, who was staring with great interest at crawling ants. “How’d that happen?” Rob asked, shocked.


“Well, not a big fight, but our parents were having a little argument, like a tiff. And, he starts saying what we teach him. He told them to talk nice. Then Dad said something that hurt a little. So, he said, ‘That was mean. You made Mommy cry. Say you’re sorry.’ I mean she wasn’t really crying, just a bit teary, but still, he said stuff like that and got them to remember to talk nice and be kind to each other. And, they settled their problem.”


“He was just repeating the rules,” Daryl said. “Of course, I guess that’s what a referee does,” he muttered, still skeptical.


“It’s fenced in here, We’ll watch and keep him watching us. Chris’s mom is close by watching anyway,” Adam pointed out.


Daryl relented. “I guess you’re never too young to be useful.”



Andrea sighed gloomily as she gazed out the window. She then walked over and plopped down on the couch. “It’s no use. He promised he was going to come pick me up to do some stuff with our friends.”


Andrea’s mom put an arm around her. It hadn’t been a real date, but a group activity felt like it to Andrea. “I got stood up a few times, too.”


“I bet Dad never did it to you,” Andrea remarked.


“No, but boys aren’t very mature yet at your age. Sometimes they change their minds, like a puppy that finds a new toy and forgets the one he was playing with a minute ago exists,” her mom said, trying to cheer her up with the comparison.


 Andrea read a text while her mom talked – the boy said he’d gone with some other friends for pizza. “Or, maybe I’m just not good enough.”


 “Andrea, you know God made you special. I felt bad sometimes, to; being lied to feels awful. But, don’t let one moment define how you feel about yourself.”


“I try not to. It’s just so hard being lied to,” Andrea admitted.


“I know it hurts. We want to be able to trust people – God’s has lots of reasons why He doesn’t like lying. But, you can always think of good things; like the fun you have with yoru friends, and especially the fact God never changes.”



“Wow, what a shot!”


Dwight had won the game at the buzzer. He smiled and glanced at the scout. “Thanks.” After the teams shook hands, he came over to the sideline.


“I’ve been talking with your friends and Coach Washington. I know you have to go to college a year, but we’re already looking, and you might be a pro prospect,” the scout said; he’d met Dwight once before.


“Thank you, Sir.”


“That doesn’t mean the NBA right away – we’ll see how you develop in college. You might start in the G League even after college. But, you have a chance,” the scout said.


Many things ran through Dwight’s mind. The idea of playing four years and maybe getting to the NBA faster then. The money he could get if he made the NBA, even as a bench player. The fans and big cities. But, one thing stood out most.


“I’m praying about what to do. God’s given me the talent. But, Billy Sunday was the fastest baseball player of his day, and God called him to preach.” He assured the man he’d let him know either way. “The most important thing to me is doing what my Saviour made me for. Sports skills are just part of what He gave me. Whether or not I’m supposed to be a witness as a basketball player is up to Him.”


The scout agreed. He was glad for Dwight’s commitment to God. It would make him more committed to sports if that was his calling, because he’d be following God first.



Anne leaped up excitedly at the sound of the fireworks.


It wasn’t because the family was watching them. They planned to visit the big fireworks show downtown tomorrow.


It wasn’t even so she could maybe catch a glimpse of the ones being shot off down the street.


Instead, she ran to her dad.


“I’m okay,” her dad said slowly, reminding himself to remain calm. “I’m so glad you’ve been praying for me.”


“I know the war was really scary for you,” Anne said soothingly as she took his hands in hers.


“It was,” her dad said. He was so glad he took his chidren to church and worshipped with them at home, too. Even if he didn’t, though, he knew prayer would work when he trusted the Lord. “But, we serve a great God. I’ve been praying, too. It’s great to know we can always trust Him to help us through everything.”



Andrew kept thinking about the gym’s basketballs.


They weren’t marked. And, they sure were nicer than his at home. As he and his friends took a break from playing, he noticed nobody was watching him.


“Hey, Andy,” Andy’s friend called out as Andy stared at the basketballs. “Come tell Pat about that crazy stuff that was going on when the the school bus passed by that one house.”


Andy smiled. “Sure, be right there.”


Silently, he thanked Jesus as he considered that sight. Pat went to a different school. Andy knew Pat would enjoy the story. More importantly, he knew it would take his mind off the temptation to take one of the balls. He knew it would be stealing – and he had in fact been coveting already.


However, God had been faithful, and with the temptation he had just faced, God had provided a way of escape. Andy thanked God for His faithfulness as he jogged over to share the story.”



Amanda couldn’t believe it! She had always been the fastest girl in her youth group. Yet Barb, who had been there for only two weeks, had just beaten her. And it wasn’t even close.


Amanda didn’t like what she was starting to feel. She knew she shouldn’t be mad at Barb, but she was.


After sitting quietly for a minute on the ride home, she told the driver, “I felt a little jealous today because Barb’s so much faster than me.”


The van helper smiled. “I understand; one thing that helps is to remember there will always be someone better than you at something, and there will always be someone worse.”


Amanda thought a moment. That made sense. She couldn’t be the best at everything in the world – there were over 7 billion other people.


“It’s good to want to be the best,” he continued. “But, what’s important is being the best at what God made you for. The only person you need to compare yourself to is Jesus – how are you doing living for Him, and how can you be more like Him?”


“Thanks.” The nice thing was, focusing on that helped Amanda not be jealous or covetous, either. “I’ll be thankful God made me like I am. Because I know He loves me no matter what.”



“Does this include making funny faces?”


Daniel tried hard not to laugh at his younger brother, Kenny, as the campers recited the camp’s key verse: “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”


Kenny continued to think of silly things throughout the day. Finally, the brothers asked their camp counselor, Aaron.


Aaron agreed – the questions were silly. “You’ve got quite the imagination to keep coming up with things,” Aaron added. “But, yeah, all that random stuff – trimming toenails, doing backflips, flying kites – is included in ‘Whatsoever ye do.’”


“Even laughing so hard milk comes out your nose?”  Kenny asked.


“Well, the Bible says ‘a merry heart worketh good like a medicine.’ The key is, are you honoring God? Making fun of other people isn’t, but remember that movie when they got people with the same name mixed up? You laughed so hard you fell off your seat.”


Daniel nodded and smiled at the memory.


“It’s all about honoring God. That can be good, clean fun like that, or something you can thank Him like food or physical ability or health. It means letting God get the glory and not ourselves; and, being the kind of person Jesus wants us to be.”