Life Stories, January 19-23

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This week we look at possible life stories to learn more about our faith in daily living.

Monday, January 19

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord.  “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

“Mommy, it’s white outside!” Sam hollered at Trisha, who groaned and looked at the clock: 6:00am.  “Mommy, come look!” Sam’s persistent enthusiasm finally dragged Trisha out of bed.  Then she remembered: 5-year-old Sam had never seen snow before!  He had been too little when they moved south, and they had only just moved back to Ohio to be near Trisha’s parents.  She went and looked out the window.  “Oh wow!” She exclaimed.  “It snowed a lot, Sam!”  The ugly stubble of the neighboring farmland was draped in blankets of white.  Even the trees were covered with it.  Pretty soon, 7-year-old Jared joined them at the window.  “Do you remember snow, Jared?” Trisha asked.  Jared nodded.  “I think so.”  He gaped in wonder at the transformation that had taken place overnight.  “You know, boys,” Trisha began, “whenever I see snow it reminds me of something wonderful.”  They looked at her, with expressions of “what?” on their faces.  “God tells us that even though are sins are like scarlet, which is a really deep red, He will make them white as snow.  So when I see snow, it always reminds me that because of Jesus, my sins are washed away.  God removes them from me and makes me pure, like a white snow.”  Sam eyes were wide with wonder.  Jared’s mouth was shaped in the comical expression of “Oh.”  Then he looked concerned.  “Mom, if the snow shows how our sins are gone, does that mean we’re not allowed to play in it, ‘cause we’ll mess it up?”  Mom laughed.  “No,” she said as the phone rang. “And I bet that phone means you can play outside all day because there isn’t any school!”

Have you ever thought about snow as a reminder of our forgiveness?
Why would God say “let us reason together” and then talk about making red, white?  Does that make any sense?
What can you do today to help you remember this verse the next time there’s snow?

Pray for Tom and Lynette Roehrig and their children, Travis, Lindsey and Alison.


Tuesday, January 20

But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. 
Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. Psalm 5:11

Trisha gripped the steering wheel tightly as she concentrated on the snow-covered road.  She was out of practice for driving in this wintry weather, and was thankful not to have the boys with her.  She crept along, then caught a line of traffic creeping along behind her.  “Maybe I could go a little faster,” she thought.  “I’m holding everyone up.”  She touched the gas ever so slightly and immediately felt the tires scramble to regain their grip on the road.  Startled, she tapped the brakes, only to find the car’s back end sliding around, threatening to become even with the front end and send her spinning out of control.  She tried to adjust, but instead found herself sliding off the road.  She slammed the brakes, her heart racing, and somewhere in her mind it registered she was also screaming.  Next thing she knew, her car had come to a stop in a snow drift at the bottom of a small ditch.  She put her head on the steering wheel and moaned.  Then she realized that everything was okay.  She was fine.  Her car seemed to be okay – it was even still running.  She glanced up the road a bit and saw that just a few feet ahead of her was a massive tree.  Had she slid off the road a few feet further up, neither she or her car might have been okay.  “Oh, thank You, Jesus,” she breathed.  “You have shown me yet again that you’re watching out for me.  Thank you for keeping my car out of that tree, especially in spite of my bad driving.”  She really was thankful for the protection, and it made her wonder: if she had run into the tree, would she still be thanking God for His care?

Whom does Trisha thank for her safety?  Why do you think she does that?
Does God ever promise us that we will never get hurt or sick?  When we do get hurt or sick, how does knowing that God is our protector help us?
What are the truly important things that God protects us from?

Pray for Josh and Laurie Carmody and their son, Levi).


Wednesday, January 21

The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.Psalm 46:7

Jared ducked behind his team’s mighty snow fortress, laughing as he pulled snow into his hands to make yet another snowball.  It would be launched across the yard at the “enemy” team, who hid behind their own fortress.  Then a taunting voice broke out.  “C’mon, Jared.  Quit hiding like a baby!” Blake yelled from the other side, also hiding like a baby.  Jared stuck his head over the wall only to duck quickly as five snowballs headed his way.  “I think we’re winning!” Jared called back.  Their team was sure to be victorious.  The other team’s fortress was slowly falling apart.  Of course, no one really knew when the battle was really “won.”  Oh well.  “Jared! Time to come in for supper!”  Jared groaned, and then made a mad rush to the front porch while awkwardly throwing snowballs the other way.  He almost made it, getting nailed square in the back as he hit the top step.  “Aw, man!  Bye guys!”  At supper, he retold the tales of his battle to Mom and Sam, who asked lots of questions.  He didn’t get to play because of a sore throat.  “We had this huge snow fortress, and it kept us protected when they attacked.  They couldn’t get to us when we were behind it!” He bragged.  Mom jumped on the opportunity.  “Jared, did you know that the Bible talks about fortresses?” “No way!  Snow ones?” Mom chuckled.  “Not exactly.”  She pulled out the family Bible and read Psalm 46 to the boys.  “It says God is our fortress.”  Jared asked, ‘Does that mean God’s like, a wall?  I don’t get it.”  “Well, Jared, I think the Psalmist meant that because God is with us, we can’t be harmed by any attacks Satan makes on us.  Satan likes to attack us, but God has won the battle.  Like your snow fort that kept you safe from snowballs, God keeps his people from being destroyed by Satan.  God’s won the battle, and He defends us.  Pretty cool, huh?”  Jared nodded in agreement.

Trisha uses a family life situation to teach her sons about God.  What’s a situation you could use to naturally teach someone else something about God?
How is God our fortress?  What does He defend us from?

Pray for Wes & Michelle Kinsey and their sons Colton andKyle.


Thursday, January 22

See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. Hebrews 12:15

Trisha sighed as Jared slammed another door.  He had been irritable all day, and it was happening often lately.  Ever since his father left, there were days when he was angry about everything.  She left Sam playing with his trucks on the floor and went down the hallway to the boys’ bedroom.  The door was shut.  “Jared?” She gently pushed the door open and found him on his bed, knees pulled up to his chest, angry eyes staring straight ahead.  Trisha sat down next to him.  “What’s going on?  I’ve noticed you seem kind of angry today.”  Jared’s eyes darted to her face.  “I’m not angry.”  “No?” Mom prompted.  Suddenly Jared’s eyes filled with tears.  He brushed them away angrily, resisting Trisha’s attempts to pull him close.  She won the struggle, and as he wrapped his arms around her she asked him, “What’s wrong, Honey?”  “Why’d he leave, Mom? What’d I do wrong?” Jared cried. Trisha just sat there, unable to tell her seven-year-old she asked the same questions.  “Jared, you didn’t do anything wrong.  Your daddy didn’t leave because of you.  He just left.  I know it hurts.”  Jared pulled away from her, defiance written on his face.  “I hate him,” he said bitterly.  Trisha didn’t blame him for his feelings, but she couldn’t let bitterness claim her son.  She turned to face him directly.  “Jared, look at me. I know your dad hurt you badly.  I know you’re angry.  But instead of hating him, which is only going to hurt us, we’re going to ask God to help us forgive him.  I’m going to try to help you forgive instead of hate.  Hatred will only hurt you.  Forgiveness helps you heal.  Ok?”  Jared’s eyes filled with tears again, but he nodded.  Trisha put her hands on his and prayed, “Dear Jesus, please help us forgive.  It hurts, but You are the only one who can heal.  Help us to forgive, not to hate.”

Jared’s father left him.  Why do you think he says he hates his father?
Why does Trisha say that hating his dad is only going to hurt Jared?
What does she ask Jared to do instead?  Why?

Pray for Mark and Jody Hulbert and their children, Liz and Laney.


Friday, January 23

Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. 1 Peter 3:8

Trisha moaned when she heard the doorbell ring.  It was only 10:00 in the morning, and the boys were already driving her crazy.  She had no idea how she was going to do everything that needed to be done and keep her sanity.  She was already exhausted.  She opened the front door to the young couple from across the road.  “Hi Trisha,” Kelly cheerfully greeted her.  “Hi,” she said without enthusiasm.  She offered a half-hearted smile to Scott.  “Trish, we were going to go to the park and go sledding, and decided it would be way more fun with a couple of kids along.  We were wondering if maybe we could borrow your boys for a couple of hours?”  Trisha’s face broke into a grin. “You two are life-savers.  Come on in.  I’ll let the boys know.”  Twenty minutes later the house was quiet.  As Trisha sat there, she realized that God had sent her neighbors to her in a time of need.  “Thank You, God, for neighbors who care.  Help me to be a caring neighbor, too.”  With the house quiet, she was able to get far more done and even had hot soup waiting when they arrived home.  She enjoyed the tales of narrow escapes and dangerous runs down the hill.  As Kelly and Scott left, she stopped them, “Thank you so much for taking the boys today.  I was in desperate need of some time to myself.  God must’ve told you somehow.”   Kelly smiled, “Well, I guess you could say that.  I had read a verse the other day that talked about having compassion, and you came to mind.  I don’t even have kids, and I can’t imagine how tough it must be to be the only one caring for them and working for the family, so we thought we’d help out.  And we loved it.” Trisha thanked them again and then thanked God for people who had a heart like Jesus.

What is the lesson you learn from this little story?
Who is someone that you can show care for today?

Pray for Dennis VanScoder and his daughter, Madison.

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