Real Love

Luke and Grandma

Luke crossed his arms and kicked the wall in the corner where he was standing.

“Luke Jenkins, you better not be kicking my walls!” Luke stuck his head further in the corner.

“I hate you!” He screamed. He was so mad. He couldn’t believe his grandma had put him in the corner. All because he wanted to finish his game. It wasn’t fair!

“Well, that’s too bad, because I love you too much to allow you to behave badly and be disrespectful.”  Luke jumped. He hadn’t heard Grandma come up behind him. 

“You want to talk about what happened?” Luke turned his head back into the corner. “No.”  Grandma got the rocking chair and sat down behind Luke. Soon she was humming and fanning herself. She wasn’t speaking; just rocking, fanning, and humming. Finally, Luke couldn’t take it anymore. “It’s not fair. I don’t deserve to be in the corner.” He said. Grandma just kept rocking, fanning, and humming, the soothing sound calming Luke. As he listened, he recognized the tune. What A Friend We Have In Jesus. It was one of Grandma’s favorite hymns. Luke started thinking about what had happened. Grandma had asked him several times to put away his tablet, but he didn’t want to. He just wanted to finish his game. She finally took it from his hands and turned it off. He had exploded at her and tried to take the game back. As he stood there, he was glad his face was in the corner. He was so ashamed of his behavior. Tears started to pool in his eyes. “Grandma?” Luke whispered shakily. “I’m sorry.” 

Grandma just kept rocking and fanning. “What are you sorry for?” She asked. 

Luke felt shame wash over his face. “I’m sorry I was disrespectful to you. And, and, I’m sorry that I yelled at you. I don’t hate you Grandma.” Luke turned and reached for Grandma’s open arms. He fell into her lap and cried on her shoulder as she rocked him and whispered “Shh, I know,” over and over. Finally, when he had stopped crying, she sat him up and asked, “Are you ready to learn now?”

Luke wiped his eyes. “Yes ma’am.”

“Good.” Grandma said. She looked into Luke’s eyes. “Luke, do you love me?

Luke felt sad. “Yes, Grandma. I love you.”

Grandma looked deep into his eyes. “Are you sure? Do you know what love is, Luke?”

Luke was puzzled. “I think so.” He said. Grandma lifted Luke off her lap, rose from the rocking chair, and held out her hand to Luke. “Let’s go make sure.” She said. Grandma led them to the kitchen table where her Bible was laid open. “You sit right there in my seat.” Luke sat before the Bible as Grandma sat to his left. “Flip over to First Corinthians chapter thirteen. Start reading out loud at verse four.” Luke found the scripture verses and began to read. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

Grandma looked at Luke and asked, “Luke, did you act like you loved me?” Luke looked back at the verses again. He finally understood what Grandma was saying. If he loved her, like what the Bible said love was, he wouldn’t have acted the way he did. “No, ma’am. I’m sorry. I guess I didn’t really know what love was. I thought it was letting me have anything I wanted.” Grandma nodded. “The messages we get from the world tell us that, but the Bible tells us the truth. Now, I’m not the only one you needed to apologize to. You also need to talk to Jesus. Ask him to help you love like He loves.” Luke nodded. “Yes ma’am. Will you pray with me?” Grandma opened her arms for a hug. “Of course, child.”  

Follow Up Verse

“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

F. I. T. – Follow It Through

Do you love others like the Bible says we are to love? Are you listening to the world or are you listening to Jesus? Pray and ask God to help you love like He loves.

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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 Good Choices

Ill Gotten Goodies

Sasha looked through the desk drawers for the notebook Mrs. Richards wanted. She finally found it in the bottom drawer. When she lifted it out, she discovered a box of candy bars. Her stomach rumbled. She’d skipped snack today because she forgot her money. She lifted the lid. There were several in there. Would she notice if she took one? She could always buy one at the snack store tomorrow and replace it. Her stomach rumbled even louder. Sasha took a candy bar and closed the lid. She’d replace it tomorrow. 

The next day, Sasha was talking with her friends on the way to the snack store. When it was her turn, she got her wallet out to buy a snack, and the replacement candy bar. “$3.50” the attendant said. Sasha opened her wallet.  Where was all her money? She knew she had ten dollars in there yesterday. “Uhm, I need to put the candy bar back. Just the juice please.” Sasha said. She handed the attendant the only dollar bill in her wallet. What was she going to do? She needed to replace the candy bar in Mrs. Richards’s desk before she noticed. All day Sasha worried over the situation. When she got to Mrs. Richards’s classroom, Mrs. Richards had the bottom drawer open pulling everything out of it. “Are you looking for your notebook again? I think you left it on the podium.” Sasha said. 

“No. Today is special snack and I know I counted fifteen candy bars, but when I checked the box, there were only fourteen,” she sighed. “I guess one of the kids won’t be getting a candy bar.” Sasha swallowed. She felt terrible. She never should have taken the candy bar. What would she do now?

Mrs. Richards reached for her purse and pulled out a five dollar bill. “Sasha, can you go down to the snack store and buy me another candy bar? I can’t believe I miscounted.”

“Yes, ma’am.” Sasha took the money and walked to the snack store, feeling sicker with every step. She had to tell Mrs. Richards the truth and face the consequences.

When she returned, Mrs. Richards was setting up the special snack. “Thank you, Sasha. Just put the change in my desk. I’m so glad we caught my mistake in time.”

Sasha swallowed hard. “Mrs. Richards, it wasn’t your mistake. I’m so sorry.” Sasha looked at the floor. “I took a candy bar yesterday because I forgot my snack. I intended to replace it this morning, but when I opened my wallet, my money was missing. I am so sorry for taking the candy without asking.” 

Mrs. Richards sighed. “Sasha, I am disappointed in your actions, but thank you for being truthful. You could have easily lied and gotten away with it. Have you learned your lesson?”

“Yes, ma’am. I never want to take anything without permission again.”

Follow Up Verse  

“You shall not steal.” Exodus 20:15

F.I.T. – Follow It Through 

Do not take things that do not belong to you without permission.

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