Archive for the ‘Nonfiction’ Category

Let Your Light Shine

Both my son and daughter are avid mountain bikers. When Jason told me he was going on a lighted ride, my first response was, “Are you going on the mountain in the dark!?!”

“The lights show up better that way,” he said.

As his mom, I guess I was more afraid for him than he was. I’ve been looking on his FB page for pictures, but haven’t seen any, so the pic here is one I found on the Internet. When I look at it, I think of a song I learned (and have also taught) in Sunday school.

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine . . .”

Jesus said in John 9:5, “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Yet He knew He wouldn’t be here in person long, so He taught His people how to be light. In Matthew 5:14, He said, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, . . .”

Although Jesus was the light of the world, those living in darkness did not like Him or His light, because they preferred to keep their lifestyles (John 3:19). As Christ’s followers, many may not like the light we shine either, but be encouraged. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life,” John 8:12. That means we can trust our loving God to light our path. How? One way is with His word. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path,” Psalm 119:105.

Application

How do you make your light shine? Teaching? Writing? Encouraging? Helping? Giving? God gives each of us different talents and abilities to use as His beacons of light in this dark world.

Prayer

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the light You shine into our world. Help us to carry that light so that others may know your amazing love. Amen.

Advertisements

My Dog Got Skunked

My dog, Maggie, can hear things that I can’t. Sometimes I think she is imagining things. Like the other night–she kept going outside barking and barking. I thought she was chasing cats. She hates cats! Well, then I heard her running and barking around the apple tree. Then I smelled that horrible scent of a skunk and I knew Maggie was in trouble.

Half asleep, I went to the family room where the doggie door is. Maggie ran in scared, really scared. I picked her up (big mistake). She had that smell on her and the smell got on me. In my slumber I dowsed her and myself with baby powder and went back to sleep. Frankly, the powder didn’t work. It smelled good at first but when I woke up, I realized we both got skunked, and so did our bed.

Getting skunked made me think how sin works. When I know I’ve done something that doesn’t please God, I am tempted to do some wonderful things (like using baby powder) so God won’t think about my sin. It doesn’t work that way. I found out that when I confess my sin, God is faithful to forgive me. Then I don’t have to worry about balancing the scale of doing good for every time I sin. The most important thing is that I pray for God to help me live for Him.

If you or your pet get skunked, don’t use baby powder. Here are some things you can do that will help:

  1. Don’t pick up your pet without first wrapping it in a towel and don’t let him/her touch anything in your house, especially your bed.
  2. Bathe your dog using some of these solutions: a peroxide/baking soda bath, orange bath, soda bath, fabric softener bath, or commercial skunk smell removers. Find prices and directions here: http://www.howtogetridofstuff.com/odor-removal/how-to-get-rid-of-skunk-smell/.

Application

Do you try to balance good deeds against wrong things you do? Remember this verse: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9 NIV).

Prayer

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your faithfulness and always being here to get the stink of my sin off of me. I love you. Amen.

The Sixth Commandment

Have you ever been angry with someone? Even Jesus was angry. His anger was a righteous anger, like the time the moneychangers and merchants setup shop at the temple. They thought they were offering a good service for travelers coming from far away to the annual Passover, by providing animals and doves for sacrifice. Yet, they made the temple into a den of thieves and Jesus’ anger caused Him to straighten things out by turning over their tables and scattering the animals.

 

You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.” Jesus’ exact words from Matthew 5:21. Paul said in Ephesians 4:26, “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” Do you know¬†why? If we hold on to our anger, it could grow into grudges, bitterness and malice. That means it could get so out of control that we could murder someone.

Application

While Jesus was with His disciples the last time, He said, “Love others as I have loved you.” Did you know that love is the answer to anger? By following Jesus’ commands we will obey the sixth commandment, “Do not murder,” Exodus 20:13.

 Prayer

Lord Jesus, help us in our anger to be more like You. Help us not to sin but to love as You do. Help us to straighten things out before the sun goes down. Amen.

The Gifts of the Magi

January 6 is a Christian holiday known as Epiphany. Besides being the twelfth day of Christmas, we remember the visit of the Magi or the Wise Men with the Christ child. They brought gifts and they have significant meaning.

Gold is precious across all nations and cultures. It is fit for royalty and said to the Christ child, You will be a King.

Frankincense is a milky sap tapped from the Boswellia tree and is known for its calming, restorative, and meditative properties. Ancient people burned Frankincense, believing it carried their prayers to Heaven. This gift illustrates Christ’s role as Priest.

Myrrh is the resin produced by a small, tough, scraggly tree that grows in semi-desert regions along the Red Sea. It is known as a wound healer because of its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Yet the most popular use is as an embalming ointment. After Jesus died on the cross, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea anointed Jesus’ body with myrrh. This is the gift that signifies Jesus as our Savior.

Epiphany commemorates the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles in the persons of the Magi. For more fascinating information regarding the gifts of the Magi, follow this link: http://www.magi-gifts.com/significance.html

Application–The gifts of the Magi inspired the annual tradition of Christmas gift giving. What gift did you give or receive this Christmas that has lasting value?

Prayer–Thank you, Father God, for the greatest gift of all, the gift of love in Your Son and our Lord Jesus. Help us to love as you do so others may come to know your love too. Amen.

Jesus–God’s Gift of Love

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called

Wonderful Counselor,

Mighty God,

Everlasting Father,

Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.” Isaiah 9:6-7

Did you know that these two verses, often quoted at Christmas, were written by Isaiah more than seven hundred years before Christ was born? Isaiah worked during troubling times when people had no regard for the deeds of the Lord, no respect for the work of His hands. God spoke through Isaiah to warn the people they would be exiled because of their life choices, but that He would bring hope and peace through one Man.

APPLICATION

While we celebrate the first coming of Jesus at Christmas, we prepare for His second coming. That means we respond to God’s amazing love by loving Him and others. Loving God means doing what is right and good. Sometimes that means standing alone. Have you ever had to do that? I have and I feel like the lone ranger Christian. Be encouraged! God says in Isaiah 7:9, “If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.” Hard words, but words that hold great hope and eternal life with God. How will you show God’s love this week? Will it mean that you will stand alone to do what God wants you to?

PRAYER

Father God, thank you for your incredible plan for us. Strengthen us to stand firmly in our faith and to reach out to others with your love, especially during this season when many people feel left out and lonely. Amen.

Find Rest for Your Soul

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light,” (Matthew 28:11 NIV).

The fourth commandment of God’s Big Ten says, “Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy.” The Sabbath in the Old Testament, the day God rested from creation, was on Saturday. However, Jesus rose from the grave the day after the Sabbath, and today we keep that day holy. Some of your friends may not understand why you go to church and Sunday school. The post, “Jesus Loves Me,” http://sue-tornai4kids.blogspot.com/2011/05/jesus-loves-me.html, is based on a true story from one of my Sunday school students, and I hope it helps you make tough decisions about committing yourself to sports that require you to play on Sundays.

APPLICATION

When we know how much Jesus loves us and become familiar with His gentle ways, we want to be more like Him. He was persecuted for healing people on the Sabbath, but His compassion is not against God’s law. What ways do you keep God’s day holy?

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, help us to be more like you, loving and compassionate, and keep Your day holy. Amen.

Don’t Misuse God’s Name

The third commandment of God’s Big Ten is, “Do not misuse God’s name. Yet, I hear people say, “Oh my god!” even though they are not thinking about God at all. The TV show OMG uses the acronym that means the same. Other times people say “Jesus” or “Jesus Christ” when they are not praying to or talking about our Lord. Such careless use of God’s name grieves Him. It is down right disrespectful to our God.

God loves us and calls us by our names. He wouldn’t think of calling us by any other name. If he did, we probably wouldn’t answer. Have you heard Him call your name? I have and it makes me feel loved. It makes me feel special. We should respond to God’s call by returning the favor–by saying His name with reverence.

If people must curse, why can’t they use their own names? I think God would prefer if we said, “Bob Jones!” or any other name besides His in curses. Let’s keep God’s name holy.

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, help us to use your name with love and care. We pray for the people who think nothing of using your name so carelessly. Teach them your ways, Oh Lord. Show them your paths.” Amen.