Listening

Another Nicholas Story

Anna sighed as she threw her backpack into the seat beside her and buckled up. 

“How was school today?” Mom asked as she pulled out of the car rider line and onto the street.

“It was okay, but Nicholas got in trouble again.” Anna said.

“Again?” Mom asked. “What did he do this time?” Nicholas had become the central character of many after school discussions and teaching points.

“Today, he was jumping chairs and running in the hall. Mrs. Baker told him to stop several times. When we went to PE, he threw a ball at Kyle and hit him in the face. After that, the teacher sent him to the office. I don’t know why Nicholas won’t just listen. He acts bad and gets in trouble every day. It’s like he wants to get in trouble.”

Mom shook her head again. “I understand that feeling.” Mom said.

Anna met Mom’s eyes in the rearview mirror as they waited at the stop sign. “You do? What do you mean?”

Mom pulled out onto the road and continued the conversation. “Well, sometimes I act that way with God. I know He has to be shaking His head over my behavior when I don’t listen. I try to do things my way instead of God’s way and that’s when I get in trouble, or sin. I don’t want to be disobedient to God, but I do want to have my way. Maybe that’s Nicholas’s problem. He doesn’t want to be disobedient to the teacher, but he also wants to get his way. That doesn’t always happen.”

“Wow, I’ve never thought about it like that.” Anna said. “All this time I just thought he was bad. Maybe he doesn’t listen because he doesn’t know how.” Mom pulled into the garage and turned to Anna. “Anna, that is very insightful. I hadn’t even thought about it that way. Sometimes I want my way more than God’s way and I don’t know how to listen. How much easier would our lives be if we just learned to listen and were obedient to what God has already told us in His Word?”

Anna clapped excitedly. “Oh, that’s like my memory verse for this week. It’s James 1:22. “Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” 

“Good job Anna Banana! That’s something we ALL need to do.”

Follow Up Verse

He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” Luke 11:28

F. I. T. – Follow It Through

Are you listening to what God says and doing it? If not, ask for forgiveness and then do what God says.

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Making The Team

Chosen

Daniel checked the list on the door of the gym for his name. It wasn’t there. He didn’t make the team? His shoulders slumped as he turned to walk back to his bike. What happened? How did he not make the team? Daniel took his time riding home from the school. When he came in the back door, his big brother Michael was sitting at the bar working on his homework.

“What’s up squirt?” Michael asked as Daniel opened the refrigerator to get a drink.

“Nothing now.” Daniel mumbled. 

Michael turned to face Daniel. “What do you mean, nothing now?”

Daniel sat down on the opposite side of Michael. “I didn’t make the team at school. I just checked the door where they posted it.” Daniel took a long drink of his juice box.

Michael nodded. “Sorry squirt. I know you really wanted to be chosen for the school team this year.”

“Yeah, now I’ll have to play on the rec team again. They have to take everybody.” Daniel grumbled.

“I know it isn’t your first choice, but rec ball is a good way to build your skills. You can try out for the school team again next year.” Michael paused for a moment and watched his little brother. He had really struggled fitting in since they had moved. He knew Daniel wanted to make the team so he could make some friends.

“You know, I didn’t make the school team at your age either.” Michael said. 

Daniel looked up from the circles he was drawing on the countertop with his fingers. “Really? I thought you always got picked.”

“Nope. My first year at Jefferson I didn’t even make the alternate list. So I played rec ball and worked hard on my skills in the off season. When I tried out the next year, I made the team.” Michael reached around and got a juice box out of the refrigerator. 

“I just wanted to be picked.” Daniel whispered still looking at his fingers making circles on the countertop.

“I know, man. I did too. But Dad helped me to see it as an opportunity to work hard and get better. Plus, he shared a Bible verse with me that helped. It’s from Ephesians.” Michael grabbed his phone to look up the verse. “Here it is, Ephesians 1:4 — ‘Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.’ Dad said that Jesus picked me for His team before He even created the world. That made me feel a little better about not making the school team.”

“Yeah, I guess.” Daniel perked up a bit. “I mean, being on Jesus’s team is more important than any other team.”

Michael smiled. “You know it! How about I finish my math homework later and you and I go practice some ball?”

Daniel jumped out of his seat. “Let’s go”

Follow Up Verse

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit–fruit that will last–and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” John 15:16

F. I. T. – Follow It Through

We might not always make the team or be chosen to play a special part or sing a solo, but God has chosen us to be His children in Christ. When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we become part of His family. We are CHOSEN.

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Follow Through

I don’t know about you, but it has been a rough couple of  weeks. Getting kids back in school, planning and carrying out a birthday party, traveling with a youth group to a weekend conference, and trying to put the house back together, all while operating on only about five hours of sleep per night has made it hard for me to follow through with my Bible study and writing schedule.

I’ve made myself a calendar to try to schedule my time so that I can follow through and meet deadlines but life hasn’t necessarily been helping me out. I’m also trying not to beat myself up too much that the Bible study I am currently working on hasn’t seen me in like two (or ten) days.

What is working in my life right now is getting to school on time, doing a short devotional each morning with my youngest daughter, and discussing how we can apply what the devotional says to our life. So, even though things are going according to my plan right now, doesn’t mean they’re not going according to God’s plan.

“We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.” Proverbs 16:9 NLT

I’ll get my wagon back on track and get into a rhythm again. I just have to keep on. And you can make it too. Don’t give up. RESOLVE to follow through. Even if there is only one thing you can follow through on, do it. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Just choose one thing and set yourself a short time frame.  

Want to start getting up and reading your Bible in the morning? The don’t bite off too much. Go to bed 30 minutes earlier than you normally would and set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier to wake up. Choose a book to start in and read just one chapter. If a chapter is too much, start with five verses and work your way up. Get a notebook and record whatever the Lord impresses upon your heart.

Ask: What is this verse telling me?

Apply: What can I do about it?

Reflect: What happened after I applied the verse to my life?

Or, if you feel like you need a little more structure and direction, find a devotional or Bible study to help guide your reading. 

Following through will become more second nature. We can do this. After all, our end goal is to become more like Jesus. That is a goal worth following through on.

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

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