Tag Archives: jesus

Mt. Everest, Life, and Other Tough Climbs

Today in Sunday School, we learned about another group of people who live in the Himalayan mountains called the Sherpa. The Sherpa people are known for being kind, friendly, and welcoming of strangers. They are also known for helping people climb Mt. Everest. They cook for many of the mountain climbers, help guide them up the dangerous mountain, and carry much of the mountain climbers’ supplies.

Let’s imagine we are taking a trip up to the top of Mt. Everest. What sorts of dangers do we run into? Make a list of what you can think of.

Here’s what I wrote down: 1) it can get awfully dark up on the mountain at night 2) we can slip and fall 3) we can get very tired 4) we need someplace safe to make camp 5) we can get into dangerous places where we have to help each other 6) we have to trust each other because sometimes things don’t make sense and it feels like we are going the wrong way.

And you know what I realized? God helps us in all those ways. It’s true! Take a look at these verses and you’ll see what I mean. If you don’t have a Bible handy, check out www.biblegateway.com. God helps us …

1) When things look dark and hopeless

Psalm 119:105

2) When we feel like we’re slipping and falling

Psalm 94:18

3) When we’re tired and discouraged

Psalm 73:26

4) When we need someplace safe to rest

Psalm 31:3, 20

5) When we admit we need God’s help

Psalm 25:9

6) When life doesn’t make sense or seems unfair and we have questions for God

Psalm 73

I think if God helps us in all those ways, He wants us to help others in the same way. We can all be like the Sherpa guides and help people overcome whatever challenges they face. And, we start by asking God for His help and accepting His help. Then, we can ask Him how to help other people who need help. I’m going to go back through that list I made and write down ways I can help other people the way God has helped me. Give it a try and let me know what ideas you come up with!

“Dear God, please help the Sherpa people of Nepal. Just like they help so many people, please help them understand how much You want to help them and guide them. Help them understand that Jesus died to save them, so they can overcome every obstacle that comes their way, even death, just like Jesus did when He came back to life. Thank You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

If you’d like a copy of this post you can print, click here: Mt. Everest, Life, and Other Tough Climbs.

A Little R & R

Modern Witnesses: Jesus

easter_morning

Do you remember a few months ago when our Sunday School teacher first started telling us about the Christians in other countries who follow Jesus and love Him, even though it is very hard? Today, she asked us a question—why do they keep loving Jesus when so many people try to make them stop?

Do you know the answer? I wasn’t sure at first, but when I came home from church and read my Bible, I asked God to help me understand, and He did. I found a verse that says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.” (I John 4:18-19)*

Maybe that is the reason. The Christians who are suffering know that Jesus loved them enough to suffer for them when He lived on earth. He didn’t just give them a bunch of rules, He gave up Himself in order to make things right with God. He knew we could never keep all of God’s rules and live a perfect life. So He lived a perfect life for us and died to pay the price that was owed because of God’s judgment.

I think the Christians know, too, that He knows how they are feeling. He knows what it is like to be mistreated, because people mistreated Him. Look and see what I mean—

  • Jesus knows what it feels like to be abandoned and left all alone. Just like Susan Ithungu, whose father locked her up by herself for six months, or Saaed Abedini, who was kept in a prison cell all by himself for a long time, Jesus understands. Part of the punishment that sin brings is that we are separated from God. God is too holy and righteous to allow sin in His presence. But He loves us so much that He didn’t want to live without us. So when Jesus was dying on the cross for our sins, He took all of those sins onto Himself. When He did that, He couldn’t be with God anymore, and God turned away from Him. It broke Jesus’ heart, and “Jesus cried out in a loud voice…My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)
  • Like so many of the suffering Christians like the Adivasi Tribal Christians or the Ganda Christians in India, or Nguyen Thi Lan in Vietnam, Jesus was beaten and mistreated very badly. “…took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.” (Matthew 27:30)
  • He knew what it felt like to be hungry and thirsty and to not have anywhere to call home where He could rest, like Christians who lose their jobs and their homes because they love Jesus. “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20)
  • He knew what it was like to have friends or family turn their backs on Him and even betray Him. One of His closest friends, named Judas, turned Him in to the people who wanted to kill Him. “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Luke 22:48)

They know if they meant so much to Jesus that He was willing to suffer all those terrible things in order to save them, then they need to be willing to suffer terrible things in order to help other people hear about His love for them.

“Dear God, thank You that You loved me so much that You sent Jesus to die for my sins. Please help me love other people enough to tell them about You, no matter how hard it is. Thank You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

*All Scriptures taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

For a printable version of today’s post, click here.

Blogging Through the Alphabet

Superheroes in Action

Do you remember last week, when I told you about getting to hear Darcie Gill, our special guest speaker at church? I remembered something else I wanted to tell you!

Darcie told me the story of a pastor who lives in a country where Christians aren’t allowed to tell other people about Jesus.  But that didn’t stop this pastor.  He kept telling people how much God loved them.  He got arrested and put in prison.  And the guards were terrible to him.  They beat him up time after time.  He was hurt badly and needed a doctor.  But the guards didn’t care.  As far as they were concerned, the pastor was a criminal because he told people about Jesus.

When Christians found out what was happening to the pastor, they wrote thousands of letters to him!  And God used the letters to lead the prison guards to get the doctors and medicine the pastor needed.

Darcie said she knew of countless cases where God used letters people sent for wonderful things.  Who knows what God might do with the letters you write.

“Dear God, please help me to remember to pray for Christians who aren’t free to worship You and serve You. And, please help me help them anyway You want me to. Thank You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

How to be a Superhero in Twelve Easy Steps

Superhero2 

Have you ever wished you were a superhero, that you could help someone in trouble? This morning at church, we had a guest speaker come and talk to us about the persecuted Church. Did you know there is a special day set aside to remember to pray for Christians who live in other places where they aren’t free to believe in God? The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) happens every November.

The guest speaker’s name was Darcie Gill, a remarkable person who works with an organization called The Voice of the Martyrs.  The Voice of the Martyrs is a Christian organization that helps Christians in other countries who are being persecuted and mistreated because of their faith in Jesus.  They help by providing food, medicine, clothing, Bibles, and other things to help Christians live each day and share Jesus with others.  Darcie filled us in on a way every one of us can be a superhero.  And we can do it in just twelve easy steps.

I tried to write down what she told us, so I could tell you about it when I got home.

Step One: Meet Jesus.

Every superhero has a moment when they go from being ordinary to extraordinary.  Every person who has asked Jesus to be in charge of their life has already undergone the greatest change anyone ever could.

The Voice of the Martyrs tells the story of Daniel, a 13-year-old boy in Iran who didn’t used to believe in Jesus.  He used to get into fights and do all sorts of things he shouldn’t.  But now that Jesus is in his life, God is helping him to make good decisions, even when people hurt him.

Step Two: Learn about someone in trouble.

With your parents’ permission, check out Kids of Courage (KOC) at  www.kidsofcourage.com.  KOC is the part of The Voice of the Martyrs that tells the stories of children all over the world who are suffering because they believe in Jesus and tell others about Him.  One of the stories talks about eleven kids who live in an orphanage in Laos.  They learned about Jesus and started going to church together.  But, when the person in charge of the orphanage found out, he warned them that if they kept going to church, he wouldn’t let them live in the orphanage any more.

Step Three: Pray.

The first thing we should do when someone needs help is pray.  God knows everything there is to know, so He can tell you the best way to help.

KOC told kids in the United States about Som, a 12-year-old boy in Laos.  One day, Som left school because he was sick.  But some boys were waiting for him, and they beat him up because he’s a Christian.  KOC asked everyone to pray for Som.  Som needed God’s help to keep following Him and to heal.  Later, KOC found out that Som is well and is still following Jesus.  And, no one has beaten him up since.

Step Four: Learn how to help.

On the KOC website, there are lots of things you can do to learn about Christians who need help.  One way is by checking out Prisoner Alert, a way The Voice of the Martyrs has created for people to write letters to Christians who are in jail all over the world.

Step Five: Learn a foreign language.

Just kidding!  The website lets you write the letter in English from a list of phrases and Bible verses.  The phrases and verses print in English and the language of the person you are writing to!

Step Six: Write a letter.

As long as your parents say it’s all right, write a letter from the Prisoner Alert website to one or more of the Christians you learn about.

Step Seven: Pray that God uses the letters to help.

Darcie said that persecuted Christians are very excited to learn that someone knows about them and their hard times.  They don’t want to be forgotten, and they very much want us to pray for them.  Only God can help them be strong when they are hurting and separated from their families.

And you can pray any time—while you are waiting in line at the bus stop or the cafeteria, while you are waiting for your little brother or sister to finally be ready to go somewhere.  You can even write a prisoner’s name on a bookmark and put it in the magazine you are reading, to remind you to pray.

Step Eight: Pray that God’s love will reach everyone at the prison.

The people in charge of the prisons don’t always give the letters to the Christians.  But, sometimes, God uses the letters to cause the jailers to help the Christians. And sometimes God uses the letters to help the prison guards find out about Jesus and His love for them.  And, the more people who learn about God’s love, the more people who will have a chance to believe in Him.

Step Nine: Learn more about the countries you send letters to.

There are many ways you can learn about how hard it is to follow Jesus in many countries around the world.  KOC has articles, books, newsletters, and stories about Christians all over the world.

Step Ten: Keep praying and sending letters.

Darcie said persecution is always taking place someplace.  There is always someone who needs our help.

Step Eleven: Recruit some allies.

Every superhero needs strong allies.  Allies help the hero fight the battles.  And, they help the hero when he’s in trouble.  Ask your friends, family, Sunday School teacher, or other Christians you know well to pray for the prisoners and the guards.  And, ask them to pray for you, too, that you won’t get tired writing letters and quit.  Even if you love to write, there will be times you sit down to write and you just won’t feel like it.  Ask your allies to pray for God to help you do whatever He wants you to do.

Step Twelve: Tell other people what you’re learning and how they can help.

Get your friends and family involved.  Tell them what you are reading, and let them know how to help.  Your friends and family can’t help if they don’t know what needs done.  Tell everyone you can how simple it is to be a superhero, in just twelve easy steps.

“Dear God, thank You for the brave Christians who love You and tell others about how much You love them, no matter what. Help them be strong, and help us to remember to always pray for them. Thank You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

Stories from The Voice of the Martyrs are

Used by Permission of The Voice of the Martyrs

PO Box 443 Bartlesville, OK 74005-0443

1-918-337-8015

www.persecution.com

If you would like a printable version of today’s post, click here.

FrugalHomeschool Family Friday Link

Danger in Dhaka-Finale

Our teacher told us the rest of Sanjoy’s story this morning!  I loved finding out what Sanjoy discovered at the end!

 “I told you Dhaka doesn’t have room for Christians.  What do I have to do to convince you?”

            Sanjoy said nothing.

            “I see you’re alone.”

            Kamrul knocked a pile of brightly colored shirts onto the dirt floor.  Then he knocked over the pants.

            As he turned to leave, he scooped up a pile of pants that had fallen on Sanjoy’s mat.  “Thanks for the new pants.”  Then, he was gone.

            Sanjoy hung his head and tried to pray.  Why was all this happening?  Why would God let Kamrul behave like this?  He searched for his Bible under the piles of clothes, but it was gone.

            When his father returned, Sanjoy told him about Kamrul’s visit, the mess, and his missing Bible.  His father cleaned up the scattered clothes, then carried Sanjoy home.

            That night, Sanjoy lay on his mat and tried to pray.  He didn’t understand why some people hated Christians so much.  His family had only been kind to their neighbors.

            He didn’t hear another sound until his father whispered to him in the middle of the night.

            “Sanjoy, get up.  Kamrul is here to see you.”

            Kamrul?  Here?  In the middle of the night?  Sanjoy pushed himself up on the mat.  His father pointed Kamrul to the mat beside Sanjoy.

            “I’ll be just outside if you need anything,” his father said, warning Kamrul with a stare.

            Kamrul held out a Bible in his hands.

            “I found this rolled up in the pile of pants I stole.  I’ve been reading it ever since I got home.  It’s what my mother has told me all along, that Jesus is the Savior.”

            “Your mother taught you about Jesus?”

            Kamrul nodded.  “She has taught me about Jesus for many years.  My father forbade her to speak of Jesus in our home.  The first time she defied him, I told him what she had done.  He was so mean to her, but she kept telling me about Jesus.  But I never told on her again.  Why do you keep telling people about Jesus when it causes so much trouble?”

            Sanjoy tried to think of something to say.  But the memories of what Kamrul had done held his mouth shut.

            Kamrul hung his head.  “I don’t blame you for not wanting to talk to me.  I wouldn’t either.”

            He turned and picked his lantern.

            “Wait!” Sanjoy said.  The lantern.  Something suddenly made sense.  “You carried a lantern with you tonight.”

            “I had to see where I was going.”

            “I just remembered something I read in my Bible today.  Jesus is light.  He shows us where to go, just like your lantern.  He told His followers they were like lamps that gave light to everyone.  But not everyone wants light.”

            “What do you mean?  Why would anyone want darkness?”

            “Because they’re used to it, and the light hurts their eyes.  When my father woke me and told me you were here, I didn’t want to open my eyes.  They were used to the dark from sleeping.  The light hurt.  Sometimes people hide their eyes from light, just like they try to keep their lives from God.”

            “Is that why you won’t stop telling people about Jesus?”

            “Right.  It’s the light’s job to keep shining.  Then the choice is up to you.”

            “Could I keep your Bible for a few days?”

            Sanjoy smiled.  “Sure!  We could even read it together.  I won’t be going too far for a few weeks.”

            Kamrul said, “I’m sorry I broke your leg.  I was just trying to scare you.  But I think now I’m glad it worked out this way.  I think I’ll be back soon with a lot more questions.”

            “And I’m sorry I stayed angry with you for so long.”

            Sanjoy watched Kamrul slip back out into the night, holding his lantern in front of him.  He prayed Kamrul would soon discover the true light that never went out.

How do you think you would feel if you were Sanjoy?  Would you want to talk to Kamrul and help him?  What do you think about what Sanjoy said, that it’s the light’s job to keep shining?

“Dear God, please help everyone who loves You to share the joy and love You give.  Please help me to forgive people who hurt me.  I know that without Your help, I’ll never be able to do it!  Thank You.  In Jesus’ Name.  Amen.”

If you would like a printable version of today’s story, please click here: Danger in Dhaka-Part Three

Happy Father’s Day

Our teacher told us another part of Sanjoy’s story today.  I thought I’d let you know what was happening to him.

Danger in Dhaka-Part Two

             An hour passed.  Then another.  The winter fog settled in for the night, cloaking the end of the alley in mist.  He could not see a single soul.  And they could not see him.  He closed his eyes and prayed.  Had he done the right thing, telling Kamrul he would not stop telling people about Jesus?  He closed his eyes.

            The next thing he heard was a panicked shout.

            “Sanjoy!  Sanjoy!  Are you all right?”           

            “Mukta!  Get your brother.  Get Faruk.”

            Minutes later, Faruk ran down the alley and dropped to one knee beside him.

            “What happened?”

            “Kamrul found me.  My leg is broken.  My ribs hurt.”

            Faruk gently pulled the bicycle away from Sanjoy.  He and Mukta each wrapped one of his arms around them and pulled him up.

            Sanjoy winced as his broken leg fought being moved.

            “Mukta, don’t forget the sack of blankets.”

            “Blankets?”

            “My surprise.  There’s enough for both of you, plus a few more.”

            Faruk led them through the alleys and streets.  The never-ending sea of people slowed their progress.  Most didn’t seem to notice Sanjoy or his pain.

            Finally, they reached his father’s clothing stand at the busy market.

            As Faruk and Mukta explained what had happened, they laid Sanjoy on a mat in the back of the shop.  Then, they left with their blankets, promising to check on him soon.

            “Father, what I have done?” Sanjoy asked.  I needed my bicycle to tell people about Jesus, and it’s ruined.  Maybe I shouldn’t even bother telling anyone about Jesus.  No one seems to care.”

            “God told us some people wouldn’t care when we tell them.  But since we can’t know who will listen and who won’t, we have to tell everyone.  God is the only One who knows what choice they will make.”

            The next two weeks passed slowly.  Only Faruk and Mukta’s visits broke up his boredom.   And  his leg still hurt.  It hurt worse when he remembered how Kamrul had acted.  Sanjoy knew he was supposed to forgive him, but he didn’t want to.

            The next day, Sanjoy’s father carried him to the market.  He watched the shop while his father went to a meeting of the church leaders.  Sanjoy enjoyed talking to the customers, especially when they asked questions about Jesus.  And in between customers, he read his Bible. 

            He looked up when he heard another customer enter.  But it wasn’t a customer.  It was Kamrul.

What do you think?  Did Sanjoy do the right thing by telling people about Jesus, even though he got hurt?  Is his father right when he says it is our job to tell people about Jesus’ love, and it is their job to respond?  What do you think Kamrul will do?

“Dear God, please help us do the right thing, no matter what.  Help us be strong and trust You, even when it hurts.  You did what You knew was right when You suffered and died to save us.  Help us tell others, so they can live with You and be forgiven.  Thank You.  In Jesus’ Name.  Amen.”

If you would like a printable version of today’s story, click here: Danger in Dhaka-Part Two

Danger in Dhaka

It’s time to take another trip!  Only, this time we’re not going to Nepal.  This time, we’re going to explore the country of Bangladesh through a story about what life is like there for some of the people.  See if you can find Bangladesh on a map, and find the capital city of Dhaka.  Then, get ready to go on a trip with me and my Sunday School class as our teacher tells us the story Danger in Dhaka.

Danger in Dhaka-Part One

             Sanjoy shifted the sack of blankets on his back and pedaled his bicycle through the alley.  He knew he shouldn’t be out after dark, but he couldn’t wait to tell his friend Faruk the news.  Even though they were so far away, a church in America had sent a crate of blankets all the way to his church in Bangladesh.  Now Faruk and his sister could stay warm tonight.  Ever since they became Christians, their family would not let them come home.  They lived on the streets and slept at the bus station in Dhaka.

            All of sudden, his bicycle slammed against something.  He lurched forward.  The handlebars dug into his ribs.  The sack of blankets yanked him to the ground.  The bicycle crashed onto his leg.

            He tried to sit up.  Pain shot through his ribs.

            “Have an accident?”

            Sanjoy looked up and saw what had caused his crash—a rope pulled tight across the alley.  And he saw Kamrul with a broken board in his hand.  He prayed quietly, “God, please help me.”

            “I told you this would happen if you kept riding that bicycle and telling people about Jesus.”

            Sanjoy closed his eyes and waited.

            Kamrul brought the board down on the back wheel.  The thud sent a shiver down Sanjoy’s back.  Another thud, another shiver.  Another thud—

            “Stop!”

            “Will you stop telling people about Jesus?”

            Sanjoy shook his head.

            Kamrul brought the board down again.  The bicycle jammed his leg into the ground.  Sanjoy felt something in his leg snap.  His stomach rolled and threatened to come up to his throat.

            “That should keep you home for a while!” He tossed the board to the side and ran out of the alley.

            Sanjoy shivered.  He needed a blanket from his bag, but he could not move.  He leaned his face into the dirt and fixed his eyes on the end of the alley.  He needed help.  He needed someone to find him, someone who would help.

What do you think will happen to Sanjoy?  Will anyone find him and help him?  Is he really alone in the alley?

“Dear God, please help all the kids, like Sanjoy, who are being hurt and bullied because they love You.  Please help them not to give up.  And, please help all those who are doing the hurting and bullying, in Bangladesh and everywhere else, to hear about You and understand how much Jesus loves them.  Thank You.  In Jesus’ Name.  Amen.”

If you would like a printable version of today’s story, click here: Danger in Dhaka-Part One