How must we live?

Unzip the Bible!

Scripture reference: I Thessalonians 1:1-10

[You’ll need a can of DEET or some other safe-for-kids mosquito repellent, and a Bible with a big zipper]

Last week I went for a long walk through a tall, dark forest and everything was just right—except for mosquitoes!—big, hungry mosquitoes who wanted me for lunch!

Do you know what this is? [show the can of DEET, and elicit a number of responses]

That sounds like it would be really helpful for going on a hike through the bush, or for going fishing, or for sitting around a campfire at night, doesn’t it?

So, what do you have to do to make this work?

  • you could carry the can in your pocket all day with the lid on tight;
  • you could use it like a baseball bat to squash the mosquitoes when they come buzzing near;
  • you could stand in the middle of the bush and shout to all the bugs that are bothering you, “I have this can of DEET, so you can’t catch me!”

Hmmm….. would that work? Of course NOT! So, what then? …

OPEN IT; and follow the instructions:

Be sure to do just what it says: Cover yourself with it (spray it on yourself – on your arm)  – and then you will be protected from the mosquitoes and black flies. And then you can go hiking!

But… the instructions say this stuff doesn’t last forever. You have to put it on again after a few hours, or the mosquitoes will come back! So keep it handy, and use it faithfully…

So here is the Bible, closed, zipped up tight. And all around us are sinful things that buzz around us and want to catch us:

  • that make us pick fights with brothers or sisters;
  • that make us too lazy to help with chores;
  • that make us whine and complain when Mom says no gum at the store.

So what can we do to make the Bible work? Unzip it, open it up, and use it; read it not just once, but lots. There’s a little song that goes [sing with the children, “Sing: Read the Bible, pray every day  If you follow me”].

And we can learn how to live for God, if we open his book every day.

Listen to the kids at Faith Baptist Church sing “Read the Bible, pray every day“.

Advertisements

Jesus the vine, we the branches

I am the vine

Scripture reference: John 15:5

David is fifteen years old. He lives with his grandpa in a small house with a big garden. David’s Grandpa Joe is a short little man with very thick glasses and very, very wrinkled hands. Grandpa Joe is a gardener, and what he likes best in his whole garden are his grapevines.

David thinks his grandpa is the best vinekeeper on the block. All during the growing season, Grandpa Joe gets up early, tugs on his big black rubber boots and, rain or shine, hot or cold, pushes open the old wire gate that leads into the garden.

Grandpa Joe shuffles slowly between the growing vines, and now and then reaches up to the branches twisting around the wooden trellis. He turns over a leaf or two with his big, gentle hands. He peers at them closely through his thick glasses. Are the leaves green and shiny and healthy? Or are insects chewing holes in the leaves? And are there enough blossoms? He looks for branches that have diseases – maybe bugs or fuzzy fungus – and if they are sick or rotting, he snips the sick and rotting branches off the big stem and tosses them into the fire pit at the far corner of the garden.

Days of sunshine and days of rain … In Grandpa Joe’s garden, the blossoms fall off and small grapes appear. There they hang on the branches, just growing, while the vine brings them food and water up from the soil. Slowly, slowly, they grow — round and plump and ripe.

Days of sunshine and days of rain … Sometimes during a big storm, a blast of wind tears a branch away from the vine. The food can no longer travel to the leaves and grapes on the broken branch. The green, shiny leaves become dry and crunchy; the growing grapes dry up and fall off, and even the birds don’t want to taste them. These too, Grandpa Joe tosses into the fire pit. At the end of the summer, Grandpa Joe makes a big fire and burns all the dead and useless vines and branches.

But on the big vine, on the healthy branches, the clusters of grapes keep on growing: juicy and sweet, tasty and good. Finally, it is time: Grandpa Joe picks the grapes and fills the baskets – one, two, three… At the end of the day, he sits in the garden with his grandson David and smiles. Grandpa Joe is happy with the harvest.

Jesus knows all about vines and grapes like Grandpa Joe’s. His garden is the whole world, and Jesus is the vine. “Stay by me,” he says, “and you will grow strong and healthy just like the green shiny leaves that stayed on Grandpa Joe’s vine. Stay by me and I will give you all the food you need to be a child of God.” And before you know it, in sunshine or rain, good times or bad, your friends will know you love Jesus, and every little thing you do for Jesus will make Him happy..