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					Keys for Kids – CBH Ministries

"The Broken Lamp"
Gal. 5:13-14, Eph. 2:10

"How about showing Pastor Lopez to his room, Mike?" suggested Mom when the visiting evangelist
arrived for the weekend.

"Sure. You're going to use my room," said Mike as he led the way. "I left some space in the closet
for you, and I cleared out the top dresser drawer." He switched on the overhead light in his room.
"Oh, I forgot . . ." Mike picked up a lamp from his desk. "This lamp doesn't work," he added, "but
Mom said you could use the one from her sewing room. I'll get it."

"Maybe I can repair that one," said Pastor Lopez. "I know a little about fixing electric things. Let's
have a look."

Mike watched Pastor Lopez tinker with the lamp. Hearing him mumble something in Spanish, Mike
grinned. "I've always wanted to learn Spanish," he said. "Could you please teach me some words
while you're here?"

"I'll be glad to," agreed Pastor Lopez. He smiled. "I was just saying 'this doesn't work' in Spanish.
The phrase we use for an appliance that doesn't work is 'no sirve.' In my church in Mexico, we
have a saying: 'El que no sirve, no sirve.'"

"El que no sirve, no sirve." Mike tried to repeat the phrase. "What does that mean?" he asked.

"Literally translated, it means 'He who doesn't serve, doesn't serve,'" replied Pastor Lopez. "It's a
reminder that if a Christian is not being a servant, he's something like this broken lamp." He
smiled at Mike and added, "Being a servant is the Christian's job in life, just like giving light is the
lamp's job. When a Christian serves God and others . . ." Pastor Lopez flipped the switch and the
lamp came on, ". . .he's doing his job."

Mike grinned. "You fixed it!" he exclaimed. "Great! I've
been missing that lamp-and from now on it will remind me that I need to be a
good servant for God."

Are you serving God? You cannot be saved by doing good, but after you become a Christian, God
does want you to do good works-often in your own home, school, or neighborhood. When you're
asked to do chores around the house or to help in church or school, do you remember that a
Christian's job is to serve? Cheerful service honors God.

TODAY'S KEY VERSE: (Psalm 100:2)
"Serve the Lord with gladness."

"A Slow Start"
Psalm 119:89-97

Zahkia had promised to take daily walks with her grandfather, but it was several weeks before she
actually started doing it. When she finally began, she was surprised at how much she enjoyed the
brisk walk. "I missed some good times by not joining you sooner," she said one day. "I knew
walking would be good for me and being with you would be fun, but it was so hard to get started."

"I understand," Grandpa assured her. "I've had that kind of problem myself."

"You didn't start walking as soon as you should have?" asked Zahkia.

Grandpa smiled. "Actually, I was thinking of the way I used to be about reading my Bible," he said.
Zahkia stopped and looked at her grandfather. "Reading your Bible?" she asked in disbelief. "I've
seen you read it so often! I think you've read your Bible every day as long as I can remember!"

Grandpa nodded. "But I did have a hard time getting myself to read it regularly," he said, "though
I've always known I should. After I finally made it a part of each day's activities, it became a
natural and important part of my life-almost like breathing or eating."

Zahkia sighed. "I don't do very well at daily Bible reading," she confessed. "I plan to read it-and
I've even started more than once, but then I seem to forget."

"How did you read it?" asked Grandpa. Zahkia looked
puzzled. "Did you try to see how many chapters you could read at one sitting?"
continued Grandpa. "Or did you take a bit at a time to see what you could get
out of it?" Zahkia admitted she hadn't wanted her older brother to get ahead of
her, so she had tried to read as much as he did. "Try it again, but this time
start slowly-read just a little at first," Grandpa suggested. "It's like walking
or jogging. You don't go three miles the first day. You start slowly, do it
regularly, and add the miles-or extra verses-gradually."

Have you set a time for reading the Bible? Why not start with reading the short passage given with
each Keys for Kids story? Read it again after you read the story. What is God saying to you? Think
about it throughout the day. Make God's Word a normal part of your everyday life.

"Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day." Psalm 119:97

Sour Notes
Hebrew 13:20-21,25

Maria took her violin out of the hall closet and set up her music stand. She began to play, but as
she drew her bow across the strings, the notes that came from the violin were shaky and unsure.
"I'm outta here!" exclaimed her brother Carlos, heading for the door. "Those high, squeaky notes
hurt my ears!"

"Carlos is right-they sound awful!" wailed Maria. "I know just what my teacher would say-she'd call
those 'sour notes'! This piece is too hard!"

"Try it again," said Mom, coming into the room. "Keep practicing."

With a sigh, Maria did so. Though she still couldn't play the song perfectly by the end of her thirty-
minute practice session, it had definitely improved.

"Did everyone have a good day?" asked Dad at the dinner table that evening. "What did you all

"Well . . . I played and read and practiced the new piece my violin teacher assigned," said Maria.
"It still needs a lot of work, but it's coming along."

"Some of us guys in the neighborhood played ball at the park," reported Carlos. "John lost his
temper and went home mad. He doesn't get mad as often as he used to, but he sure blew it

"That's too bad," said Mom, "but I'm glad to hear he's been doing better."

"He's a Christian, isn't he?" asked Maria. "He must know it's wrong to get mad like that."

"Well, let's pray for him and be thankful he's making progress," said Dad. "It's easier to be patient
with others when we remember that we all need a lot of improvement in living for the Lord."
"Right," agreed Mom. "Think about your violin practice, honey. Remember all the sour notes we
heard at first? When we sin, we're like a sour note, and the harmony we had with God is gone. But
when we confess our sin and ask forgiveness, our friendship with Jesus is like new."

Dad nodded. "When we accept Jesus, God begins to change
us and make us pleasing to Him," he added. "It takes time, but God has promised
to continue working in our lives. You didn't give up on your music, and I'm glad
God doesn't give up on us." He smiled. "He won't give up on John,

Have you or your friends been making "sour notes" lately? Maybe you've heard the saying, "Be
patient-God isn't finished with me yet." Ask forgiveness for your sins. Try each day to learn more
from God's Word and to grow more like Him. Thank Him for His patient work in your life, and
thank Him for not giving up on you.

He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6

"Practice Time"
Psalm 119:9-16

Nick was passing the kitchen door when he heard his little brother's
voice. "Dad, can I ple-e-e-ease have those shoes? They're the kind Jerome Ford

Nick grinned as he went into the kitchen. "You think that since Jerome Ford is a basketball star,
those shoes will automatically make you into a great basketball player, too. Right, Scott?" Nick
shook his head. "Wrong!" he added.

Scott fidgeted. "Well . . . they might help," he said.

Nick laughed. "Hey -- if you buy a Princeton Heroes shirt, too, maybe they'll invite you to play on
their football team!" he teased.

Dad smiled. "Instead of teasing your brother, maybe you can help him understand that effort, not
a fancy pair of shoes, will help make him a good basketball player," he suggested.

Nick nodded. "Dad's right," he said. "If you practice every day, Scott, you'll get better and better,
no matter what kind of shoes you wear."

Scott looked a bit disappointed. "Guess I'll start practicing then," he said with a sigh as he headed
for the backyard basketball hoop.

Nick grinned at his dad. "I was going to our Junior High Bible study," he said, "but maybe I'll go
help Scott with his basketball practice instead."

Dad motioned toward Nick's Bible. "Is that the Bible Grandma gave you last Christmas?" asked

Nick nodded. "Yep. It's a nice one, isn't it?"

Dad nodded thoughtfully. "Nice shoes and nice Bibles are great, but by themselves, they don't
make you a good player or help you grow spiritually, do they?"

It took a moment before Nick realized what his dad was
driving at. "Scott needs to practice to become a better basketball player," said
Nick slowly, "and I need to study the Bible and practice the things it teaches
in order to become a stronger Christian, right?" He picked up his Bible and
looked at it. "Guess I'd better be on my way to Bible study after all," he
decided. "I don't want to be late for 'practice'!"

Do you want to become a stronger Christian? To be good at sports, you need to learn the rules
and spend time practicing. To learn to live as a Christian should, you need to use your Bible and
put into practice the things you learn.

TODAY'S KEY VERSE: (Psalm 119:9)
How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.

2 Timothy 3:14-17

When Alexis was honest with herself, she had to admit that family devotions didn't mean much to
her. She especially wished they could skip them on days when she was late getting downstairs and
had to wait till after devotions to eat breakfast. "How come we have to do this every single day?"
she asked when Dad ended his prayer one morning. "Emma's family never has devotions."

Ignoring her question, Dad picked up the cereal box and held it toward her. Then he pulled it back.
"Oh . . . maybe you don't want breakfast," he said.

"Of course I want breakfast!" Alexis exclaimed. "I'm starving! Besides, our nutrition teacher says
it's the most important meal of the day."

"I see." Dad handed her the cereal. "Well, I don't suppose you'll be eating lunch today, will you?"
he asked.

Alexis looked at him in surprise. "Why wouldn't I? You know I always take a sack lunch to school."

"What about supper?" asked Dad. "Are you planning to eat supper?"

Alexis was beginning to get irritated. "Dad, I always eat supper."

Dad nodded. "I know you always have," he said, "but I wondered if you were thinking of giving up
eating on busy days."

Alexis looked first at her mother and then at her dad. "Give up eating," she repeated. "I'm not that
dumb!" Suddenly she stopped. "Oh," she added slowly, "you're trying to tell me that it would be
just as 'dumb' for us to quit having devotions, right?"

"Right," agreed Dad with a smile. "I think of daily
Bible reading as getting spiritual food every day. In fact, I think it's good to
start the day with God's Word-just like it's important to have a good breakfast.
Don't you agree?"

How smart are you? You wouldn't go very long without food for your body, would you? How about
food for your soul? It's important to feed upon God's Word each and every day. Read it, think
about it, and apply to your life the principles and teachings you learn through daily Bible study.

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable." 2 Timothy 3:16
"Evan's Lesson"
Psalm 119:97-104

"Sometimes the Bible uses such funny language," Evan told his mother as he worked on his
Sunday school lesson one evening.

"Funny language?" repeated Mom. "In what way?"

"Well, our lessons have been about the Bible, and this week we had to read some verses from
Jeremiah," explained Evan. "There's a verse that talks about 'eating' God's Word."

Mom chuckled. "When you were a baby, you literally tried to eat the Bible one time," she said. "I
wasn't paying any attention to you as you sat on my lap in church. When I looked down, there you
were-chewing on my Bible!"

They laughed together. "Well, I know I'm not supposed to really eat my Bible," said Evan, "so
what does it mean when it says that?"

Mom thought for a minute, then smiled. "Can you remember when you were smaller and you were
so taken up with baseball?" she asked. "You watched baseball on TV, and you always wanted me
to buy the cereals with pictures of baseball players on the boxes. You collected all the baseball
cards you could afford. Grandma used to say, 'That boy lives, eats, and sleeps baseball twenty-
four hours a day!'"

"Oh, I think I get it," said Evan. "So to 'eat' the Bible means to get very involved in reading it and
thinking about it, right?"

"That's right," agreed Mom, "and especially in living the way it tells us to live." She smiled. "It's far
more important than food or baseball."

Just then Evan's older sister walked into the room. She had her nose buried in a book, and didn't
look up. "Ellen, I've just made oatmeal cookies. Do you want one?" Mom asked. But Ellen was so
interested in her book that she didn't even hear.

"I'll take hers," offered Evan. "Let's not disturb her.
She's 'eating' her book right now."

Is the Bible important to you? Do you ever "eat" it-that is, become thoroughly engrossed in it?
Make time in your schedule to read the Bible. Find a quiet place, and shut other things out of your
mind. Ask God to help you understand what you read. Ask Him to help you live according to what
it says. Doing this every day will help you develop more love for God's Word and give you a
greater desire to please Him in all you do.

Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. Psalm 119:97

"The Right Instructions"
2 Timothy 3:14-17

"This isn't working!" exclaimed Bryce. "Adam's the smartest guy in our class, and today he showed
me how to do these fractions, but I still can't figure out this math problem."
Mom walked to the table where Bryce was studying. "Maybe I can help you," she said, glancing at
his figures. "Let's look in your textbook to make sure Adam gave you the correct instructions."
"Okay," said Bryce reluctantly. He opened the book and found the chapter they were studying.
"Now," said Mom, "try it one more time. Follow these directions step by step."
Bryce started again. Soon he found the correct answer. "Adam left out a step when he told me
how to do these!" he exclaimed. "Thanks, Mom."
Later that evening, Dad asked Bryce to read the Scripture passage for family devotions. Bryce
sighed. "Dad, why can't I just read the devotional story?" he asked. "Some of the words in the
Bible are too hard for me to read, and I don't know what the verses mean."
"The devotional stories can help us understand the Bible passage," said Dad, "but they're not
God's Word. We need to read His Word for direction in our lives. If we ask Him, He'll help us
understand it. Mom and I will help you with the hard words."
Mom nodded. "Bryce, remember what happened when you were doing your homework today?" she
asked. "You couldn't get the correct answer by using Adam's directions, could you?"
"No," replied Bryce, "but when I followed the textbook instructions, I got it."
"Exactly," said Mom. "That's an example of the importance
of reading God's Word and following His instructions. People make mistakes and
may point us in the wrong direction, but God's Word has no mistakes. I guess you
could call it our textbook for life."

<P>Do you find the Bible hard to read? Keep on reading anyway! Ask God to help you
under?stand and obey His Word. Parents, teachers, and pastors can help explain what the verses
mean, too.

TODAY'S KEY VERSE: (2 Timothy 3:16)
All Scripture is . . . profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in

"Better Than Rewards"
Psalm 119:9-16

"Oh, here's a letter for me!" exclaimed Tawana as she came in from school. Putting her books on
the table, she picked up the envelope. "There's no return address. Who's it from?"

Mom laughed. "Open it and find out," she said.

Tawana did, and the letter was from her cousin Cecilia. It told all about the wonderful week Cecilia
was having at camp-swimming, boating, playing games, taking part in skits. "Camp didn't cost me
anything," wrote Cecilia. "I learned 300 Bible verses for Sunday school, and got to go for free."

"I wish our Sunday school had a plan like that," murmured Tawana. "I'd learn verses, too, if I
could go to camp free."

"Memorizing verses to win a week at camp is fine," replied Mom, "but there's an even better
reason to learn them. God can use them to teach you how to handle various things that happen in
your life." Tawana wasn't sure. "Tell you what," said Mom, "I'll give you a list of verses to work on.
Start learning them, and see what happens," Mom challenged.

"Okay," agreed Tawana, and in the next few days, she was surprised to see how quickly she could
memorize verses when she really tried.

One day as Tawana walked to her friend Anita's house, a big dog started following her. She caught
her breath-it seemed friendly, but she was afraid of dogs! Suddenly she remembered a Bible
verse. Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. She kept saying the verse over and over, and
soon her fears were quieted.

As the girls played that day, Laura said some unkind things about another girl. Tawana was ready
to agree and add her own comments when another verse came to her mind. Let no corrupt word
proceed out of your mouth. Tawana bit her tongue and quietly told Laura she would really rather
talk about something else.

"Mom, you were right," Tawana called out when she
arrived back home. "There are good reasons for learning verses, other than just
to go to camp."
Do you learn Bible verses even if nobody promises a reward for doing so? It's nice to receive
rewards from people, but it's even more important to receive God's help in your daily life. Learn
Scripture verses for that purpose. Try learning the Key Verse with each day's story in Keys for
Kids. If that seems too much, start by picking one verse a week, and say it each day for that
whole week.

"Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You." Psalm 119:11

"A Perfect Solution"
Ephesian 6:10-13
One look at Ryan's flushed face told his mother something was wrong. "How was school?" she

"So-so." Ryan drew a deep, ragged breath, then blurted out, "If Brysen doesn't leave me alone on
the bus, I'm going to have to fight him!"

"Fight!" exclaimed Mom. She frowned. "If you do, you'd better be prepared to take the

Ryan looked up. "Will you whip me?"

"No," Mom shook her head, "but Brysen might. There surely must be a better solution than a fight.
Does Brysen bother you at school?"

"No. He knows Miss Jenkins won't allow it," Ryan answered, "but it's different on the bus."

"Well, let's pray about it," said Mom. "The Lord will help you find a solution."

The next day Ryan came home from school, grinning from ear to ear. Before his mother could ask
what had happened, he told her. "Brysen left me alone today," he said.

"Good!" exclaimed Mom. "What did you do to keep him from bothering you?"

Ryan chuckled. "I sat on the front seat of the bus," he said. "With the driver right there, Brysen
didn't dare make trouble." Together Ryan and Mom celebrated with cookies and milk.

Ryan was surprised by what his mom said when she came over and hugged him a little later.
"You've taught me a lesson today, Ryan. I've been having a little trouble with my temper lately,"
she confessed. "I haven't thought about having a fist fight with anybody, but there are a couple of
people I've been tempted to 'tell off.' I think the devil has been encouraging me to really give
them a piece of my mind, but you've given me the perfect solution. To keep Satan from bothering
me, I need to live as close to Jesus as I can. I've been sitting in the 'back of the bus.' I need to
move up."

"How?" wondered Ryan. "I mean . . . we're not talking about a real bus."

Mom smiled. "No, but when I'm tempted, I need to
remember that Jesus is with me and look to Him for help. I need to think about
what He'd want me to do-and I need to be willing to do it and not try to beat
Satan on my own."

Is Satan giving you problems-trying to get you to do something wrong? Is he encouraging you to
fight? To cheat? To neglect your chores? Get close to Jesus by reading His Word and thinking
about what it means. Pray and consider what Jesus would do in your situation. He can give you the
perfect solution for solving your problems and resisting temptation.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8

"A Mushroom's Message"
Col 2:6-10

"Look, Grandpa!" exclaimed Lisa, pointing to the ground. "Another
mushroom!" She was visiting her grandparents for the weekend, and she and
Grandpa were on a nature hike, looking for mushrooms.

Grandpa grinned as he put the mushroom in his bag. "We'll enjoy these in Grandma's stew
tonight," he said.

"I've got an idea, Grandpa," said Lisa as she swatted a mosquito. "Let's dig some up by the roots
and put them in your garden. Then you won't have to come so far to get them."

Grandpa laughed. "I'm afraid they wouldn't do too well in the garden," he said. "Most vegetables
enjoy lots of sunlight and good, loose soil to sink their roots into, but mushrooms prefer dark,
moist conditions. They don't have real roots or leaves at all."

Lisa nodded. "Yeah -- they're funny," she said.

Grandpa smiled. "I have to teach the senior adult Sunday school class this week," he said. "Maybe
I'll take a mushroom or two along to use as an object lesson. What do you think of that idea?"

"A mushroom? For an object lesson?" asked Lisa. "What lesson would it teach?"

"Oh-h-h-h, I could point out that, unlike the mushroom, Christians do have roots -- we're 'rooted'
in Jesus," said Grandpa. "I could explain that sometimes we're too much like mushrooms, which
don't make their own food but depend on other plants. We become lazy and want to depend on
other people for all our Bible knowledge instead of finding out things for ourselves."

"Shouldn't we listen to our pastor and Sunday school teachers?" asked Lisa.

"Absolutely, but we should also study God's Word on our own -- asking God to help us
understand passages that aren't clear to us," said Grandpa. "With no roots, mushrooms can be
easily pulled out, and Christians who are not well rooted in God's Word can often be easily misled
and persuaded to follow false teaching." He held up a mushroom. "So what do you think?" he

Lisa grinned. "Go for it, Grandpa," she

<P>Do you study the Bible for yourself? Pastors and teachers are helpful, but it's also good to
read His Word on your own. Learn what God says. He is always right.

TODAY'S KEY VERSE: (Colossians 2:6-7)
As ye have . . . received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him. Rooted and built up in Him.

"It's True"
Plalm 119:145-152
"Grandma, this isn't the way it really happened," complained Jessica as she held up her school
newspaper. "I wrote this story, but they changed it!" Jessica thrust the paper toward Grandma.

"I'm sorry, honey," said Grandma, "but sometimes people change our stories. They think they're
making them better. Sometimes they twist or leave out our words."

"But you can't change the facts," protested Jessica, "and they did. Amanda isn't my sister-she's
my cousin. And we weren't coloring, either!. "

""Well, I guess that goes to show that you can't always believe what you read," said Grandma. She
handed the paper back to Jessica. "But there's one book you can read and know that whatever it
says is true. Do you know what book that is?"

Jessica nodded. "The Bible," she said confidently. "We learned John 17:17 in Bible Club. It says,
'Your Word is truth.' We talked about how the Bible is always true."

"Good!" Grandma smiled. "How else do you know God's Word is true-other than by the verse you

"Well . . . I learned that things predicted in the Bible a long, long time ago have actually
happened, down to the littlest details," replied Jessica. "Old Testament prophets told how Jesus
would be born-and it happened exactly the way they said it would. And archeologists have dug up
cities mentioned in the Bible . . . and . . . and . . . I just know in my heart it's true."

"That's because God the Holy Spirit helps you," Grandma
explained, giving Jessica a hug. "News reports quite often state something
wrong, but the Bible never does. We can always believe what it

Whom do you rely on for truth? Your friends? Do they always tell the truth? Newspaper, television,
or radio reporters? Your teachers? Respect them-they're in authority, but even they can be wrong.
How about yourself? Do you always tell the truth? Be wise about whom you believe. God always
tells the truth. Whatever He says in His Word-the Bible-is correct.

"Your Word is truth." John 17:17

"Julie's Cake"
Psalm 25:4-10

I don't know how I'm going to get everything done," said Mom one morning. "I have so many
errands to run, and I've got to bake a birthday cake for Tommy."

"I can make Tommy's cake," offered Meg. "I've watched you do it lots of times. Besides, Tommy's
only three, and he'll eat anything! I can make it."

"That would really help!" exclaimed Mom. "The directions are right on the box, and there's a can of
frosting in the cupboard, too."

Meg started the cake soon after her mother left. She read the directions. "Simple," she said as she
poured the mix into a bowl. She had just thrown the box into the trash when the phone rang. It
was her friend Cheryl. After chatting a while, Meg hung up the phone and went back to making her

This batter is thick, Meg thought when she poured it into the cake pan. I don't remember it being
so stiff when Mom made it, but I suppose it was. When the cake was done, Meg frosted it carefully
and was pleased with the way it looked.

After supper, Meg cut the cake. "This doesn't look right," she said when she took a piece out and
put it on a plate. "It looks . . ."
"Odd," finished her brother Keaton, "but the frosting looks good."

"I'm sure it's fine," said Dad quickly.

 Meg was disappointed when even Tommy refused the cake and ate only the frosting. "What did I
do wrong?" she asked.

"Did you follow the directions?" asked Mom.

"I . . . I think so," said Meg. "I read them, but then Cheryl called, and I didn't look at them again-I
had already thrown the box away, and I figured I remembered them anyhow. Now that I think
about it, maybe I was supposed to put more water in the batter. Was it supposed to have an egg,

"Well," said Dad after a moment, "let's have family devotions." He reached for the Bible. "Let's be
sure we don't treat God's Word the way you treated the directions on that cake box," he added
with a smile.

"You mean we shouldn't think we already know all we need to learn from the Bible because we've
read it before?" suggested Keaton.

Dad nodded. "Paying attention to directions-especially
God's directions-is very important," he said. "Let's be sure we don't ignore

Do you follow the directions God gives in His Word? Read them carefully, and read them more
than once. Check up often to see if you are living the way you should and to see if God has further
things for you to learn. It's important to spend time with God's Word and then to follow the
directions He gives.

I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word. Psalm 119:16

"Caught in the Storm"
Psalm 119:97-104

The wind whipped snow all around the small car, and the Carter family
shivered in their seats. They had slid off the road and into a snowbank. Dad
stepped on the gas pedal and tried to move the car forward and then back.
Nothing happened. The wind was strong, the snow was deep, and the car was stuck!

Mom got behind the wheel, and Dad, Isaac, and Nolan tried to push the car free, but it was stuck
tight. "Last winter I bought a shovel to keep in the car in case something like this happened," Dad
muttered as they got back into the car, "but then we had such a mild winter that I never needed
the shovel. I stored it away in the basement, and it's still there." He sighed. "Now we'll just have
to sit here and wait for help." He flicked on the car's emergency flashing lights.

It seemed like a long time before someone stopped to help, but eventually the car was back onto
the roadway. "When we get home, I'm putting that shovel in the trunk first thing," declared Dad
when they were finally on their way.

During family devotions that night, Dad had a question. "How many of you read a few Bible verses
on your own today?" he asked. Only Mom had done that. "We all need God's Word in our hearts
and in our memories," said Dad. "I've found it important to read my Bible daily, and you should
read a little each day, too. I'm sorry I haven't been encouraging you to do that."
"That's okay," said Nolan. "I don't have time to do much reading anyway."

"Me, neither," agreed Isaac.

"It wouldn't take you any longer to read a few verses
than it would have taken me to get the snow shovel from the cellar and put it in
the trunk of the car," Dad told them. "Ever since we got home today, I've been
thinking about being prepared. As long as the winter was mild, I didn't bother
to pack a shovel, and when things in our lives are going smoothly, we often
don't read God's Word. But sooner or later we're going to be challenged -- with a
snowstorm, or with a temptation or problem. In either case, we need to be

Are you preparing for whatever may come your way in life? Don't wait until you have problems
before you read God's Word. Read it now -- and learn verses, too -- so you'll be ready for both
good and hard times.

TODAY'S KEY VERSE: (Psalm 119:92)
Unless Thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction.

"The Bird Feeder"
Psalm 119:41-48

Alicia sat at the window of her grandmother's house, watching birds at the feeder in the back yard.
"Look, Grandma!" she called. "A squirrel climbed up there, and he's taking the food you put out for
the birds. They all left."

"I know," said Grandma. "It almost seems like it's a 'first come, first served' event." Alicia wanted
the birds-especially the beautiful red cardinals-to get the food, so she watched to see what would

The squirrel sat eating for a long time. Mourning doves came, but the squirrel sat erect and made
a loud noise that frightened them away. Blue jays flitted around the feeder and tried to get the
seeds that had been put out for them. Though they scolded at the squirrel, it made little or no
difference. He refused to move. Woodpeckers approached the area. One perched on a branch just
above the feeder; another sat on top of the birdbath. The squirrel ignored the sounds they made.
Then the woodpeckers flew to the feeder and began to eat. The squirrel seemed surprised and
moved slightly to one side. The woodpeckers continued to make loud sounds and edged closer and
closer to the squirrel until he left, leaving the feeder available to all the other birds.

"Wow!" exclaimed Alicia. "That squirrel is bigger than the birds, so he sat right there and wasn't
going to let any birds get their birdseed. I'm glad those woodpeckers chased him away."

Alicia's grandmother nodded. "That squirrel's behavior
reminds me of some of Satan's tricks," she said. "Satan doesn't want Christians
to get to their spiritual food-the Bible. So he puts all sorts of things in the
way. Sometimes it's schoolwork, sometimes it's friends, and sometimes it's even
church activities. But the Lord is stronger than Satan. He will provide
opportunities to spend time in His Word and to learn about Him. It's up to us to
watch for them and take advantage of those times-to 'eat' and grow spiritually
as we listen to God and do what He says."

Do you get to your spiritual "feeder" each day? Or does Satan help you find excuses to not read
your Bible? Does he show you reasons to skip Bible club or Sunday school where God's Word is
taught? Ask God to help you, even in planning the hours of your day, so that you'll learn from His
Word and receive spiritual food regularly.

"I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word." Psalm 119:16

"The Droopy Plant"
Eph 3:14-19

Kim looked at the planter hanging from the porch ceiling. "What's the matter with your plant,
Mom?" she asked.

"My plant?" asked Mom, turning to look at it. "Wow! It doesn't look very happy!" she exclaimed.
"I've been so busy with all the company we've had lately that I forgot to water it! I'll do it right

The next day, Kim noticed that the plant's leaves were no longer droopy and it looked healthy once
again. "Mom, look at your plant now!" Kim exclaimed. "I guess it just needed to be watered."

Mom, smiled. "Yes, after I watered it, it perked right up," she said, looking fondly at her plant. "I
enjoy tending plants," she added. "Maybe that's because they're something like Christians."

"Like Christians!" exclaimed Kim. She laughed. "You make the funniest comparisons, Mom! How
are plants like Christians?"

"Well, they both need a good root system," said Mom, "and they need proper care and food."

Kim grinned. "Everybody needs food, of course, but roots? Plants have roots, but if Christians had
them, wouldn't they be stuck in one spot?"

 "The Bible says Christians are to be rooted and grounded in Jesus," Mom explained with a smile.
"Plants get food from the soil they grow in, and sometimes we put plant food in the water we give
them, too-I did that yesterday. As for Christians, besides physical food-which everyone needs-
Christians need spiritual nourishment from God's Word and from Christian fellowship."

"And will they get droopy and unhappy looking, like the plant did, if they don't get spiritual food?"
asked Kim.

"I believe they often do," answered Mom. "They may be
unhappy and impatient, and their lives may lose the evidence that God is in
control." She looked at the plant. "If we see this plant drooping again, maybe
it will remind us that we must not let that happen in our spiritual

Do you feel "droopy" when it comes to spiritual things? Think about your life-is it a shining
testimony for Christ? Maybe it's been too long since you received spiritual nourishment. Spend
time with other Christians, enjoying their fellowship and learning from them. Read God's Word
daily, and spend time in prayer. It will help you become well established in your Christian life.

Key Verse: (Be)rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith. Colossians 2:7

Psalm 25:4-5, 8-10
Dad, what are those long ropes on the side of the road? asked
seven-year-old Derek as they drove down the highway.

"Those are called guardrails," Dad replied. "Sometimes guardrails are made of wide metal bands,
and sometimes they're heavy wire ropes."

"Guardrails?" asked Derek. "What are they for?"

"They're there to make sure people on the highway stay on the road," Dad replied.

"Why would they want leave the road?" asked Derek.

"Well they wouldn't want to leave the road," said Dad, "but sometimes people have accidents. In
winter, the road might get slippery and cars might run into each other and off the road. Other
times, people may not pay attention to what they're doing, or they may get sleepy while they're
driving. When things like that happen, they could swerve off the highway. Then those guardrails
would catch the car before it could roll down the hill at the side of the road. The guardrails keep
them from much more serious damage."

"Have they ever saved anybody on this road?" asked Derek.

"I'm sure they have," said Dad.

"Wow!" Derek exclaimed. "They're really important!"

"Yes, they are," agreed Dad. After a moment, he added thoughtfully, "Those guardrails protect us
on this highway, and when we use God's Word, it acts as guardrails to protect us on life's

"Where is life's highway?" asked Derek.

"By life's highway, I mean the way we live our lives. When we have questions or doubts about
what is right, the Bible can guide us and show us the right thing to do," explained Dad. "As we
obey God's Word, it keeps us from straying from the way God wants us to go. It keeps us from
trouble and helps us through difficult situations."

"Just like the guardrails," agreed Derek. "Guardrails are

Do you check your Bible when you're not sure what is the right thing to do? As you trust and obey
God's Word, it will work as a guardrail in your life and will help you stay on the right road. God's
way is the best and safest way for you to go.

TODAY'S KEY VERSE: (Proverbs 4:26-27)
Take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left.

"The Ruler"
Proverb 7:1-3

Peter looked up from the made-to-scale model of an old frontier town he was building. He grinned.
"Hi, Dad. I was just measuring to put the roof on the bank," he said. "Looks great, don't you

Dad came in to look at the tiny buildings. "Yes, it does," he agreed.

"I can't wait to see it all painted and finished," said Peter, "but it will still take a lot of work first. I
have to measure carefully to get everything the right size."
Dad watched a little longer. "Before you get too involved here," he said, "I think you should finish
your lesson for tomorrow's Bible Club meeting."

Peter sighed. "I really wanted to get more of this done tonight," he said.

"I know, but . . ." Dad paused and picked up the ruler Peter had used to measure the tiny pieces
for the buildings. "Do you really need this ruler?" asked Dad. "You could get done faster if you'd
just guess how big to make each piece."

Peter shook his head. "But it wouldn't get done right-you have to use a ruler," he insisted.

Dad nodded. "We need a 'ruler' in life, too," he reminded Peter. "We need something to tell us how
God wants us to live. It wouldn't be good to guess at the measurements for your buildings, and it
isn't good to guess at how God wants you to behave in your daily life, either. You need a ruler-
something to tell you what's right-for both of those things. So . . . what do you suppose the ruler
for life is?"

Peter stopped working. "It's the Bible, isn't it?" he asked. Dad nodded. "So you're saying that by
doing my Bible lesson I'll be learning things about God and how I should act?" Again Dad nodded.
"Well . . . okay," agreed Peter. "I'll go and get the lesson done. I guess my model town can wait
one more day."

"Right," approved Dad. "And when you learn what God wants
of you, be sure to do it."

Do you use the "ruler" God provides? Do you attend Sunday school or some other Bible study? Do
you study God's Word, the Bible? It gives principles to guide your behavior in your daily
relationships with family, teachers, and friends. It helps you know what pleases Him and what
does not. Study your Bible to learn how God wants you to live-and then obey it.

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom." Colossians 3:16

"A Huge Library"
John 6:5-14, 21:25 Col 1:12-17

Wow, Benji! I can't believe all the books you borrow from the library!" exclaimed Luke as his
brother came into the house and put a stack of reading material on the table. "You must like to
read a lot better than I do."

Mom entered the kitchen. "Reading is a good way to learn about other countries, various animals,
or any number of things," she said.

"You can learn how to do things, too," said Benji. "Last year Dad built Rover's dog house from
plans he found in a book about wood projects."

Mom smiled. "And where would I be if I had to cook without my recipe books?" she asked.

"Well, I do like reading some books," admitted Luke. "I like to read adventure stories, and I like
books about science experiments."

"How about the Bible?" Mom suggested.

Benji nodded. "I like reading the stories we have in Sunday school," he said.

"Yeah, they're pretty interesting," agreed Luke, "especially those about the miracles Jesus did."

"How about the one where He used a little boy's lunch to feed five thousand people?" asked Benji
with a grin. "That was cool!"
"Did you know that the Bible tells us only a few of the things that happened when Jesus was on
earth?" asked Mom. "In fact, His disciple John suggests that the world can't even contain all the
books that would have to be written if everything Jesus did was recorded."

Luke frowned. "Do you think that's true? That it really couldn't?" he asked. "That seems kind of
odd to me."

Mom smiled. "Well, I imagine the account would have to begin with what happened even before
the world was created," she said. "Jesus was involved in creation, you know. The first chapter of
Colossians is one portion of Scripture that indicates that."

Benji grinned. "If everything Jesus ever did was written down, we'd have some huge library!" he

Luke grinned, too. "And that would keep you happy for a
long, long time!"

Do you like to read books? Reading can be fun, and reading the Bible is the most important
reading you can do. It teaches you about God, the Lord Jesus, and the plan of salvation. God has
many things to say to you. Even the oldest Christian will tell you he's still learning as he continues
to read and study the Bible.

All Scripture . . . is profitable for doctrine . . . reproof . . . correction . . . instruction in
righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16

"Refresher Course"
Det 11:18-21

Marissa sighed and turned off the computer. She went to the kitchen where
her mother was working. "Mom, I'm tired of computer games. I want something
different to do," said Marissa. "I wish I could take that cookie baking class

"Well, that would be fine," said Mom, "but wouldn't you rather take a different class?"

Marissa shook her head. "I liked that class, and it would be like a refresher course if I took it
again. Our teacher had so many ideas that I can't even remember them all." She sighed. "I'm
bored, and it sounds like fun."

"Well, I guess you can repeat the class if you want to," said Mom, "but it's held on Saturday
mornings. It won't help you now. How about your chores-are they all done?" Marissa nodded.
"What about your Bible correspondence lessons?" asked Mom.

"Uh . . . I . . . I . . ." muttered Marissa, wondering how to make her excuses sound good. "The
lesson I'm up to is mostly Bible reading, and I've read those chapters so many times. I don't
really think I need to read them again."

"Maybe you need a refresher course in Bible, too," suggested Mom.
Marissa sighed. "Can I bake some chocolate chip cookies now?" she asked. Mom agreed, so
Marissa got out the recipe box and thumbed through it, looking for the one she needed.
"Mom, the recipe isn't where it's supposed to be," she said.

"It isn't? Well . . . maybe you won't need it. You've made those cookies so often," said Mom.
"Just make them from memory."

"From memory!" exclaimed Marissa. "I don't remember the recipe that well."

"You mean you don't remember cookie recipes as well as
you remember Bible passages?" asked Mom as she helped search for the recipe.
When she found it, Marissa accepted the card without comment, but she got the
point-and while the cookies baked, she got out her Bible lessons and her Bible.
She had quite a bit of catching up to do.

Do you feel like you know many Bible stories and are already familiar with the lessons they
teach? When you read familiar passages, consider them to be a refresher course from God.
Read them again, ask Him to teach you something new from them, and put them into

TODAY'S KEY VERSE: (Psalm 119:105)
Thy word is lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

"Noisy Kids (Cont'd.)"

It had been hard to do, but Joel had apologized to the Petersons for his bad behavior in
church. He had also told them he hoped they would visit the church again.

To Joel's surprise, the Petersons came back to church the very next Sunday. Cool! he thought.
They even gave him a friendly smile as they walked in.

Before the service started, Joel's dad took out a notebook and a pen. "I want you to write
down at least three things the pastor teaches in his message today," Dad instructed him. "I
think you'll find note-keeping to be helpful."

Joel frowned. "I . . . I never really understand much of what Pastor Holt says, but you don't
need to worry-I'll sit quietly," he promised. Dad just smiled and continued to hold out the
notebook. Joel sighed. He nodded and took the book and pen.

At first Joel doodled a lot on his paper, but then he began to listen for things to write down.
He was surprised to find he could understand more than he expected! By the end of the
service, he'd written five things the pastor taught-two more than his dad had told him to
write! Doing this isn't so bad, he thought. I guess the reason I never could understand Pastor
Holt's messages before was that I didn't really listen to them very much!

After church Joel showed the pastor his notes. "I'm going to do this every week, Pastor Holt,"
he said.

"Great!" approved the pastor. "Why don't you suggest to the other kids that they try it, too?"

"Well . . . okay," Joel agreed. He wasn't at all sure
the other kids would like the idea, but it couldn't hurt to suggest it. He felt
good. Not only had the Petersons come back to church, but now he knew a good way
to learn something from the pastor's sermons.

Have you tried taking notes on your pastor's sermons? Taking notes may be one way to help
you learn more and more about God and grow in your trust and relationship with Him. If your
pastor uses a word you don't understand, write it down and ask him about it. You can also ask
your parents to discuss the message with you. They can help you understand it, too.

"Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 3:18

"She Loves Me; She Loves Me Not"
Psalm 119-:97-104

"How was Mrs. Forsyth today?" asked Mom when Alyssa returned from her weekly visit
with their elderly neighbor.

"As always," Alyssa answered. "She was reading her Bible as usual."

"I'm so glad she can still read," said Mom as she dried her hands.

"But why does she always read the Bible?" asked Alyssa. "I like to read, too, but I don't want
to read the same book all the time."

"Well, Mrs. Forsyth is eager to know all God has to say," explained Mom.

"She's read the Bible so often, she ought to know it by heart," said Alyssa as her older sister
came in. "Hi, Kara," Alyssa greeted her. "I thought you'd be at Holly's house all morning." As
Kara headed for the closet, Alyssa followed her. "Did Holly hear from Jordan? When's he
coming home? Are they engaged yet? Does she have a ring?" asked Alyssa excitedly.

"Yes, she got a letter from him. He should be home some time next week. And no, they're not
engaged as far as I know," replied Kara with a grin. "Any more questions?"

"Jordan's through college now, and I should think they'd get engaged-they've been going
together for so long," said Alyssa. "What did he say in his letter?"

"I wouldn't know. Holly never read it," answered Kara. "She said the letter her mother handed
her was from Jordan, and then she put it on her dresser." Kara frowned. "That's kind of odd,
isn't it? She hardly ever mentions him unless I ask about him."
"Doesn't she love him? If she does, why wouldn't she read his letter? I should think she'd read
it over and over!" exclaimed Alyssa. She shook her head sadly. "Poor Jordan," she said. "If
he loves Holly, he must feel really bad that she doesn't seem to care about hearing from him."

"That's interesting, honey," said Mom, "and I think it
answers your question about why Mrs. Forsyth would read her Bible over and over.
It's because the Bible is God's love letter to her-and to everyone, actually-and
Mrs. Forsyth loves to hear from God. We should, too. Imagine how God must feel
when people don't care to hear from Him!"

Do you read the Bible-God's letter to you? It tells you how much He loves you and that He is
willing and able to help you anytime, anywhere. It teaches you how He wants you to live. It
will help you make right and wise choices. If you love God, open His letter and see what He
has to say. You don't need to read huge portions at a time, but read a little every day. Enjoy
the blessings He gives as you learn what a great and awesome God He is.

Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Psalm 119:11

"All Roads Lead to Rome"
Act 17: 10-12

This picnic is fun! Kara told her Aunt Sue and Uncle Don. "I love it here." She turned to her
brother. "Don't you wish we could live here in the Rockies, Ethan?" she asked.

"It sure is nice," agreed Ethan as he glanced around him. "Look-there are a whole bunch of
different paths leading to this picnic area. It's just like the city of Rome."

"How is this like Rome?" asked Aunt Sue.

Ethan grinned. "Last week our preacher said that in the days of the Roman Empire, you could
follow any road and it would lead you to Rome," he explained. "He said that's like going to
heaven. No matter what religion we follow, it will lead us to heaven if we are sincere and do
our best."

"Perhaps all roads did lead to Rome, but all religions certainly do not lead to heaven,"
declared Uncle Don. "The Bible has something to say about that."

Aunt Sue nodded. "Jesus said that He is the way-He is the road, or path, that leads to heaven.
He said no man or woman or boy or girl can come to God the Father except through Him."

Kara looked doubtful. "I never heard our minister say that," she murmured. "Wouldn't you
think he'd know?"

"If we want to know what's right and what's wrong, we can't accept the word of any person-
unless what he says agrees with what we read in the Bible," explained Uncle Don. "It doesn't
matter how nice he may be-or who he is. When the apostle Paul went to Berea, the Christians
there checked the Scriptures to see if what he said was correct."

"I never thought about that," said Ethan. "I always thought whatever our preacher said was
true, but I suppose he could be wrong sometimes."

Uncle Don nodded. "People can be wrong, but what God says in His Word is always right.'

Do you attend church and Sunday school? Read good books? Listen to Christian TV and
radio broadcasts? That's great, but make sure that what you're learning agrees with God's
Word. Follow the example of early Christians and read the Bible yourself.

TODAY'S KEY VERSE: (Acts 17:11)
<p>"They . . . searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so."

"Guidebook For The Trip"
1Cor 10:1-11

Randy did not enjoy family devotions. "The Bible is about people who lived thousands of
years ago," he had once complained. "That's boring! Things are way different now."

His parents didn't agree with that. "The Bible is about yesterday, today, tomorrow, and
forever," Dad often said. Mom encouraged regular Bible reading, too, so Randy had to sit
through family devotions every day.

One day Dad announced that he was going to Australia on business, and-best of all-his family
could go along. Randy was excited. He told all his friends and teachers about the coming

As Dad picked up the Bible for devotions one evening, Randy showed him a book and map
he had brought home from school. "My teacher loaned me these," said Randy. "Mr. Tucker's
been to Australia, and he told me all about it. Lots of things are different there. This
guidebook suggests things to do and good places to go."

"That's great, Randy," Dad said.

Randy laughed. "Mr. Tucker says he'll tell me about some mistakes he made when he was
there-he says that should help me to not make those same mistakes. He says this book lists
things we shouldn't do, too. I'm going to start reading it tonight. I think it will be interesting."

Dad nodded. "A guidebook is a good idea," he agreed, "but since you never seem interested
in reading the guidebook for your most important journey, I'm a little surprised that you're
interested in this one."

Randy stared at Dad. "What journey?" he asked. "What guidebook?"

"Your journey through life," answered Dad. He held up the Bible. "This is the guidebook for
life-it teaches us a lot of things and tells us about people who have gone before us. Some of
them made mistakes, and we can read about them and learn to avoid making those same

Randy was quiet. He had to admit that Dad was right.

Are you trying to journey through life without a guide? The Bible is filled with instruction
and help for you. It has all you need to know how to make a good trip through life. Read it,
and follow its directions.

TODAY'S KEY VERSE: (1 Corinthians 10:11)
"These things happened unto them as ensamples: and they are written for our admonition."

"Drive It Deep"

"We've got work to do before we go fishing," said Dad as he and Robb reached their camp
site. "We've got to get the tent up."

"All right!" exclaimed Robb. He eagerly helped his father stretch out the tent and set it up.
Then he pounded the stakes into the ground on one side while Dad worked on the other side.
Soon they were ready to get out their poles and catch some fish.

Fishing was good, and they hardly noticed that it was getting cloudy. They were surprised
when a light rain began to fall. A rather strong wind had come up, too, so Robb and his dad
headed back to the tent. "Oh, no!" exclaimed Robb when they reached their campsite. "One
side of our tent fell down. Hey . . . it's my side! What happened?"

Dad stooped over and picked up a stake that was lying on the ground. "I'm afraid you didn't
pound these deep enough," he said, "and the wind and rain took the tent down. But come on .
. . let's get this back up."

Putting up the tent was rather uncomfortable this time because they had to work in the rain.
Robb felt like it was his fault. "Sorry, Dad," he apologized.

"Don't give it another thought," said Dad. "It's no more your fault than mine. I should have
checked the stakes before we left."

When the rain stopped and they were finally able to cook their fish, Robb grinned at Dad.
"We studied some verses in Sunday school-something about being rooted in Christ and
established in our faith," said Robb. " Our teacher said if our spiritual stakes go deep and
we're very familiar with the things God teaches, we won't be easily fooled by false teachers or
quick to wander away from God. I guess we wouldn't collapse like this tent did."

Robb's father smiled broadly. "Well," he said, "you may
not be too great at pounding in a tent stake, but if you continue listening and
learning as well as you did last Sunday, I don't think I'll have to worry about
your spiritual stakes."
Are you firmly convinced that what God says is true? It's important to "pound your spiritual
stakes" deeply by listening well in church and Sunday school, studying Bible lessons-and
above all, obeying what God says. Learn to check what you hear with what the Bible says
and become firmly "established in the faith."

"Built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught." Colossians 2:7

"Line to Heaven"
Psalm 5:1-3

Your science project is looking good, said Grandpa as he looked over
Clay's shoulder. "What will you call it?"

"Means of Communication," answered Clay. He had written reports about the telephone,
radio, TV, satellites, and submarine fiber-optic cables. Then he had found pictures and made
diagrams to illustrate the project. He was just adding the finishing touches.

Grandpa studied Clay's work for a few minutes. "Ah," he murmured, "you forgot the most
important form of communication, Clay."

Clay was startled. "I did? What's that?" he asked.

"Communication with God," answered Grandpa with a twinkle in his eye.

"I never thought of that," said Clay. "In Bible times, God sometimes talked to people through
dreams, didn't He?"

"That's right, and at other times He spoke to people directly," Grandpa said, "but He has a
different way of speaking to us now."

"I know," said Clay. "He speaks to us through the Bible, right?"

Grandpa smiled and nodded. "God also speaks to His children by putting thoughts in their
minds-and desires in their hearts," he said. "That's the work of the Holy Spirit. And do you
know how we can talk to God?"

Clay nodded. "Sure. Through prayer." He looked at the chart he had made. "Hey, I've got an
idea! There's still room on my chart, so I'll add a picture of heaven with a line running to
earth where a man is reading his Bible. Then I'll have a line running to heaven from a man
who is praying." He grinned. "It will be fun to see what my teacher says. He'll probably think
I'm crazy, but I don't even care."

"It will be a good testimony," approved Grandpa, "and don't forget to make use of this means
of communication yourself, too."

Is there regular communication between you and God? Do you read some Bible verses each
day? Do you take time to pray? Be sure to talk with God each day, and listen as He speaks to

TODAY'S KEY VERSE: (Psalm 63:1)
O God, Thou art my God; early will I seek Thee.

"First Aid Course"
Psalm 40:8-10

Jenna glanced out the window just as elderly Mrs. Carlson tripped over the curb and fell to
the ground. Jenna quickly jumped up and ran out of the house to see if her neighbor was hurt.
Even though she was in obviously in great pain, Mrs. Carlson was trying to get up when
Jenna reached her. "It's my back," gasped Mrs. Carlson. "I hope it didn't break it."

"Don't move," cautioned Jenna. "You might hurt yourself worse. I'll go call 911." She ran
back into the house.

When Jenna returned, Mrs. Carlson looked up and smiled weakly. "I'm so glad you were
here," she said. "You seem to know what to do, Jenna. Thank you so much." Soon the E-unit
arrived, and Jenna watched as the rescue workers carefully lifted Mrs. Carlson into the

The next Sunday, Jenna told her Sunday school teacher about the incident. "I'm sure glad I
took a first aid class this summer," said Jenna. "I knew enough to have Mrs. Carlson lay still
so she wouldn't hurt herself worse."

"That's great!" exclaimed Miss Berry. "It's good to know what to do in emergencies." She
paused briefly. "You know," she added, "it's good to be prepared to give physical help when
it's needed, and we should also be prepared to give spiritual help to those meet. We should
know how to help someone find Christ."

Jenna was quiet. "I'm sure not all of my friends know Jesus, but I don't really know what to
say or how to talk to them about accepting Him," she admitted. "Actually, I . . . I'm a little
afraid to try because I might not know how to answer their questions or make it clear to them
how to be saved."

"I understand how you feel," Miss Berry replied, "but what you're learning in church and
Sunday school and in any Bible study you've done on your own is a little like a spiritual first
aid course. You practiced what you learned in your first aid class, and now you need to
practice what you've learned about God, too. Trust Him to give you the right words to tell
your friends about Jesus and what He did for you-and what He wants to do for them."
Are you afraid you won't know what to say if you try to tell friends about Jesus? It will be
easier if you've prepared by regularly reading your Bible and memorizing verses. Listening
carefully in Sunday school and church will help, too. Learn all you can about the Lord, and
then speak up for Him. Share your testimony with your friends. They need Jesus.

I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. Romans 1:16

"Batter Up"
Proverb 4:5-9

Luke squatted behind the batter and watched the ball sail toward him. As he raised his mitt to
catch it, the batter swung wildly and lost his grip on the bat. It hit the bottom of Luke's mask,
causing him to fall backward.

Several people rushed forward to see if Luke was okay. Someone lifted the mask, and he
heard his mother's voice. "Luke, are you all right?"

Luke rubbed his chin. "I think so," he said. "My chin is just a little sore." He got up and put
his mask back on. "I'm fine," he assured everyone. The game went on, and Luke's team won.

After supper the next Wednesday, Luke hesitantly approached his mother. "Can I . . . ah . . .
can I skip my Bible study group tonight?"

"Skip Bible study?" repeated Mom. "Why?"

"Well, I . . ." Luke hesitated. "It seems like I'm always studying lessons and memorizing
verses," he said. "Why do I have to do that so much? I'm a Christian, and that's what's really
important anyway, isn't it?"

"Accepting Jesus is most important," agreed Mom, "but Bible study is important, too." She
paused, then asked, "Remember when you got hit on the head with a bat?"

Luke rubbed his chin. "I sure do."

"You don't want to quit wearing your catcher's mask now, do you?" asked Mom.

"Of course not," said Luke. "But what does that have to do with Bible study?"

"The catcher's mask offers protection, and Bible study does, too," said Mom. "Actually, God
compares His Word to a sword. It offers protection in your everyday life."

Luke frowned. "I don't get it," he said.

"As you grow up-and even now-people may question your faith, and if you don't have a solid
belief in God and knowledge of what He says in His Word, you may begin to doubt,"
explained Mom. "Knowing and understanding God's Word is protection for your faith."

"So . . . I keep wearing my catcher's mask to protect my head, and I keep going to Wednesday
night Bible study to protect my faith, right?" asked Luke. He rubbed his sore chin again.
"Okay," he agreed. "I'm on my way."

Have you wondered why you should study the Bible so much? Why you need to learn so
many verses? If you're familiar with many Bible verses and with the principles God teaches
in His Word, you will often recall them when troubles or temptations come your way. They
can bring comfort and peace. They can help you resist temptation. They help you know what
to say when others question you. They're a form of protection as you face the challenges of
everyday living.

The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword. Hebrews

"Michael, Milk, and Meat"
Hebrew 5:12-14

Morgan sighed and closed her Bible. "I've been working on my Sunday school memory
verse, but it's way too long," she complained. "I'll never be able to learn it! I don't even
understand what it means." She watched Mom put Baby Michael into a high chair and tie his
bib. "Can I feed Michael?" asked Morgan.

"Sure," agreed Mom, and she handed Morgan a spoon. "Can I help you with the verse? What
don't you understand?"

Morgan shrugged as she took the spoon. "Okay, baby brother," she said, "here we go-open
your mouth!" As she gave him a spoonful of baby food, the phone rang and Mom went to
answer it. "Oh, Michael, don't let it drool down your chin!" scolded Morgan. Michael kept
grinning at her with his mouth full of food. It was messy, but Morgan still thought he looked
cute. Suddenly Michael banged his fist right into the bowl of baby food. Then he rubbed his
eyes with his grubby little hand.

When Mom returned, Morgan was trying to clean the floor with a paper napkin. "Oh, Mom,
this is gross!" she moaned. "It sure was easier to give Michael a bottle. Why does he have to
eat this stuff anyway?"

"Babies need milk, but they also need solid food to grow strong," answered Mom. "Here . . .
why don't you let me take over? You get a washcloth and some mop rags, and we'll clean up
Michael and the floor."

After dinner, Mom suggested that Morgan tackle her memory verse again. "But I told you,"
whined Morgan. "It's too long and hard!"

"I remember," said Mom, "but studying your Bible and learning verses helps you grow
spiritually." She paused, then added, "See, honey . . . just like Michael has to get his
nourishment from eating solid food as well as from drinking milk, you need to read and study
the 'meat' of the Bible-the more difficult parts-as well as the 'milk,' or easier parts. All of it
helps you grow strong spiritually. Okay?"
"I . . . I guess so," agreed Morgan. She grinned. "After all, I don't want to be a baby Christian

Have you grown spiritually? Are you willing to learn from the more difficult passages in the
Bible as well as from the simpler Bible stories? All of God's Word is useful and helps you

TODAY'S KEY VERSE: (Hebrews 5:14)
"Strong meat belongeth to them that . . . have their senses exercised to discern both good and

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