Love is Strong as Death

Bible:

Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm,
for love is strong as death,
jealousy is fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
the very flame of the Lord.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
If a man offered for love
all the wealth of his house,
he would be utterly despised. Song of Solomon 8:6-7 ESV

Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:8-11 ESV

Reflection:

There are many love songs that talk about the power of love. Here is part of an old one called, “The Blackest Crow:”

The crow that is so black, my love,
will surely turn to white
If ever I prove false to you,
Bright day return to night.
Bright day return to night, my love
The elements will mourn,
If ever I prove false to you
The seas will rage and burn.

The singer of this song says that his love is so strong that he will never be false to the one he loves. It would be as impossible as a black crow turning white, a day turning into night, and the ocean catching fire.

The Song of Solomon also talks about love this way. It says that love is as strong as death and burns like a fire. The raging waters of a flood can’t put out the flames of love, and it’s worth much more than all the riches anyone can own. When a person is in love, he or she often feels this way.

Unfortunately, human love doesn’t always last. People are weak and sinful, and sometimes promises are broken. Marriages end in divorce, and family members and friends become angry and won’t forgive. Everyone looks for love that will last forever, but people sometimes disappoint us.

But God’s love is different. God’s love is stronger than death, and it will never end. We can always count on God’s love, because he came to us in Jesus to die on the cross for us. Jesus’ death seemed to be the end of his love and of his power to help us, but his love proved to be stronger than death. He came out of the grave the first Easter morning, and now he is alive forever. His love for us will always be there, as long as we live and even after we die.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for your wonderful love that is stronger than death and that lasts forever. Amen.

Source:

http://www.lizlyle.lofgrens.org/RmOlSngs/RTOS-BlackestCrow.html

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Catch the Foxes!

Bible:

My beloved speaks and says to me:
“Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
and come away,
for behold, the winter is past;
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land.
The fig tree ripens its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
and come away.
O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,
in the crannies of the cliff,
let me see your face,
let me hear your voice,
for your voice is sweet,
and your face is lovely.
Catch the foxes for us,
the little foxes
that spoil the vineyards,
for our vineyards are in blossom.” Song of Solomon 2:10-15 ESV

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. Genesis 3:1-7 ESV

Reflection:

When doctors and nurses and other health professionals take care of very sick patients or do some kind of surgery, they sometimes have to have what is called a sterile field. This means that anything that is used on the patient’s body must be absolutely free of any kind of germs that could cause a serious infection. There are many ways a sterile field can become contaminated. For example, if a sterile item touches something that isn’t sterile, it becomes contaminated. Anything that touches anyone’s skin becomes contaminated. If a nurse or a doctor turns his or her back or walks away from a sterile field, it becomes contaminated. There are many other rules like that. Doctors and nurses have to be very careful, because even one germ can give a patient an infection that could make them very sick.

Solomon had many, many wives, but he also wrote a beautiful love song called the Song of Solomon. This song is about the love between one man and one woman. One part of the song talks about the winter being over and the spring coming. Everything is beautiful. Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, fig trees are starting to produce figs, and the grapevines in the vineyards are in blossom. The man calls to the woman to come out and enjoy the beauty of the spring. But there is one problem. There are little foxes getting into the vineyards, and if no one catches them and gets rid of them, they will spoil the vines and ruin the grape harvest. Even in a time and a place where everything seems wonderful, there is one small thing that can spoil it all.

Love is like that. A husband and a wife might love each other very much and be very happy. But there are small things that spoil love–lies, unkind words, selfishness, and so on. These things might seem small and unimportant, but they can spoil love and good feelings between husband and wife, brothers and sisters, and friends. Solomon’s love poem warns us to catch the little foxes before they do any damage!

Long ago there was another beautiful garden planted by God himself, where everything was happy and lovely. But Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate the fruit God had told them they must not eat. That one little sin spoiled everything and made the whole world sick and broken. But God didn’t leave things like that. He came into this broken world in Jesus and took all our hurt and sin on himself. Jesus took our sin to the cross with him, and brought us back to God. Someday we will live in a beautiful new world where nothing will ever spoil things again!

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to take away our sins and give us the hope of a new world. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

https://quizlet.com/50934534/sterile-field-guidelines-flash-cards/

A Wise Man Acts Foolishly

Bible:

Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the people of Israel, “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love. He had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart. For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and did not wholly follow the Lord, as David his father had done. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem. And so he did for all his foreign wives, who made offerings and sacrificed to their gods. I Kings 11:1-8 ESV

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, [Jesus] said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:34-38 ESV

Reflection:

Most people think that Napoleon Bonaparte was one of the most brilliant military commanders in history. In the early 1800s he won a series of victories that gave him control of most of Europe. Napoleon controlled Belgium and Holland and large parts of Italy, Croatia, and Germany, while other countries became his allies. But Napoleon made a terrible mistake. He led his huge army across the Niemen River into Russia. When winter came, much of this army was wiped out by very cold weather, a lack of food, disease, and attacks from the Russian army. This foolish mistake was the beginning of the end of Napoleon’s power.

Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived, and he was blessed by God in every way. But when he was old, he made an unbelievably foolish mistake. He let his many, many wives persuade him to worship false gods and goddesses! He even built places of worship for these gods and goddesses while his wives offered sacrifices to them. How could Solomon do such a foolish thing? The Bible says his wives turned his heart away from the true God that he had loved and served all his life. His mistake was in disobeying God’s command that said God’s people shouldn’t marry people who worshiped false gods, because they would eventually turn to these false gods also.

Jesus calls his people to follow him only, and to leave the whole world behind if it calls them away from him. What good does it do, Jesus asks, if everything in the whole world becomes ours, but we lose ourselves, and our lives with God? We will be separated from God forever in the end. Jesus paid the highest price possible to win us for him when he gave his life on the cross for us. He sends us his Holy Spirit to give us faith and to help us follow him and stay close to him. Jesus loves us very much and stays close to us as we follow him every day.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, please help me follow you no matter what happens  today and always. Amen.

Source:

http://www.history.com/news/napoleons-disastrous-invasion-of-russia-200-years-ago

The Whole Duty of Man

Bible:

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 ESV

[Jesus said:] “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Revelation 22:12-14 ESV

Reflection:

A young apprentice who worked for a sorcerer had a chore to do one day while the sorcerer was out of his workshop. He had to fetch water with buckets, but the full buckets were very heavy and the apprentice got tired of the job. He decided to cast a spell to make a broom do the work for him. The broom started bringing in the water, but when the job was done the apprentice didn’t know how to stop the broom. It kept bringing in water and started flooding the workshop. The apprentice tried to stop the broom by hacking it to pieces with an axe, but each piece became a broom that kept bringing in water. This disaster only ended when the sorcerer came back.

This foolish apprentice is a picture of the foolishness of trying to understand what God is doing and to try to do things that are beyond what God has given us to do. Some people have big dreams of changing the world, and think that they can figure out all of God’s plans on their own or do incredible things without God’s help. But the Bible says that we should be humble. We need to let God stay in charge of our lives and of his world. God gives us work to do, and sometimes he does great things through a person’s work, but even then it’s God’s work and not ours. Usually our work stays small and seems unimportant, but the work God gives us to do is all that we need to do.

Even the work God gives us to do, and the commandments he gives us to follow, are more than we are able to do or keep. That’s why we fear God, because we know we deserve his anger and punishment. We are afraid of the day of judgment, because when all our secrets come out we know we deserve to be separated from God forever. But God gives us a way to be forgiven and saved. He sent Jesus to do his work perfectly for us, and to die on the cross to pay for our sins. Because of Jesus, we don’t have to be afraid of God’s judgment. We know we will live in heaven with him forever. God helps us do the work he gives us to do with joy and love because of everything he has done for us.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, help us to trust you with our lives and with the world you love. Thank you for Jesus, our Savior. In His Name, Amen.

Source:

Fantasia. Dir. Samuel Armstrong et. al. Walt Disney Productions, 1940. Film.

While You’re Young

Bible:

Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”; before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return after the rain, in the day when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those who look through the windows are dimmed, and the doors on the street are shut—when the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low— they are afraid also of what is high, and terrors are in the way; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along, and desire fails, because man is going to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets—before the silver cord is snapped, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. Ecclesiastes 12:1-7 ESV

For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. I Corinthians 15:21-22 ESV

Reflection:

Have you ever hear this old riddle?

Little Nanny Etticoat
In a white petticoat
And a red nose.
The longer she stands,
The shorter she grows.

Who is Little Nanny Etticoat? A candle!

The Bible reading for today has a riddle kind of like that, and it’s talking about old age and death. Different people have some different opinions about this riddle, but when the sun, moon, and stars are darkened might be talking about the sadness and gloom of old age. The keepers of the house that tremble might be the arms, and the strong men that are bent could be the legs. Grinders are teeth, and many old people lose their teeth. Looking through windows that are dim might be talking about failing eyesight, while the doors to the street being shut so that the sound of grinding and the daughters of song are low could mean becoming hard of hearing. The almond tree blossoming might be hair becoming white. All of these are pictures of old age. Then there are pictures of death: mourners in the streets, the silver cord snapping, and a bowl, a pitcher, and a wheel breaking.

No one can escape death, and if you don’t die of an accident or disease, you will not escape old age and the wearing out of your body that goes with it. These are very depressing thoughts, and young people usually don’t like to think about old age and death. But the Bible says to remember your Creator when you are young. Old age and death are with us because of sin, and our God has a remedy for sin. He sent Jesus to be our Savior, and in Jesus we have eternal life. We will die someday, but death isn’t the end for us. Death takes us to our eternal home and brings our spirits back to the God who made us. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, not only will our spirits live on in God’s heavenly kingdom, but even our bodies will one day rise to a new life that will last forever!

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to give us life forever with you. In His Name, Amen.

Time and Chance Happen to All

Bible:

Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all. For man does not know his time. Like fish that are taken in an evil net, and like birds that are caught in a snare, so the children of man are snared at an evil time, when it suddenly falls upon them. Ecclesiastes 9:11-12 ESV

I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11b-13 ESV

Reflection:

In the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Derek Redmond was running a 400-meter race. He was a fast runner, and at the age of 19 he had shattered the British 400-meter record. He had an excellent chance of qualifying for the final 400-meter race, but as he was running in this semifinal race, something terrible happened. He felt a pop in his leg, and suddenly he knew he had injured himself as he was running. He had hurt his right hamstring, and he couldn’t continue to run. He could hardly even walk. He was terribly disappointed as he limped slowly along the track, but he knew he wanted to finish the race, even though he could only come in last, far after the other runners. Suddenly his dad ran onto the track from the stands. His dad wrapped his arm around him and walked him around the track to the finish line. Even though he had lost the race, his dad didn’t leave him alone, but was right at his side to help and support him.

The Bible says that the fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and battles aren’t always won by the strongest army. The smartest people aren’t always the ones who become rich or popular. As time goes by, everyone has good luck and bad luck. People aren’t in complete control of their lives, and there’s no one who can always make things turn out just the way he or she wants them to. Bad things happen to everyone sometimes, just like a big net catches all the fish that are swimming by at the moment or a trap for birds will catch any bird that happens to fly by when the trap is set.

Derek’s father, Jim, is a beautiful picture of the love a good father has for his son. Jim didn’t leave his son alone when an injury spoiled his chances to win, but he walked alongside him and helped him finish his race. God has promised to do the same thing for us. No matter what happens to us, God promises to be with us and help us. We might not always understand why God allows things to happen the way they do, but we never have to doubt his love for us. He showed his love by sending Jesus to be our Savior. Jesus was arrested and beaten and put on the cross to die, and it might have looked as if he was having the worst of bad luck. But Jesus’ death was God’s plan for saving us and bringing us into his family. When we look at the cross we can be sure of God’s love and that he is in control and working for good, no matter how bad things seem.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for being with us and helping us through all the hard times in life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

http://www.espn.com/espn/espn25/story?page=moments/94

Enjoy Life!

Bible:

Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.

Let your garments be always white. Let not oil be lacking on your head.

Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do,do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going. Ecclesiastes 9:7-10 ESV

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. I John 4:15-18 ESV

Reflection:

The Roman philosopher Cicero once told a story about a king named Dionysius. The king had a courtier named Damocles, and Damocles was always trying to get on the king’s good side by flattering him and saying all kinds of good things about him. One day Damocles talked about how lucky King Dionysius was with his magnificent royal palace and gold and silver and servants and delicious food. The king decided to let Damocles become the king for a day. He was given the best of everything–gold and silver and perfumes and flowers and food and servants. But there was one problem. Dionysius hung a sword above Damocles’ head on a single horsehair. When Damocles saw the sword, he couldn’t enjoy anything he had been given. He was afraid to move or even breathe too hard, for fear the horsehair would break and the sword would come crashing down to kill him.

People who are afraid of God’s judgment are a little like Damocles. They know that they are sinful and that they deserve punishment for what they have done. They are afraid to live or to enjoy any of the good gifts God has given them because they think if they start to enjoy themselves they might do something sinful, and then God will punish them. But the Bible says that people shouldn’t go around fearful and worried about God’s punishment. It’s God’s plan that people enjoy their work and their families, and the celebrations that come their way in life. People should work hard at the jobs God gives them to do while they have the gift of life on this earth.

How can we enjoy our life and our work with the weight of sin on our shoulders? Our Bible words from Ecclesiastes give us a clue: “God has already approved what you do.” How wonderful! We already have God’s approval! We don’t have to worry about earning it or about losing it by making a mistake. God gives us his approval through Jesus. Jesus took away God’s judgment by dying on the cross to pay the penalty of our sins, and because of Jesus we have God’s forgiveness every day. We don’t have to carry the weight of sin, because Jesus carried it for us. We can enjoy all the good gifts God gives us and work hard to serve other people without ever worrying about losing God’s love. God loves us forever in Jesus.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for all the good gifts you give us, and especially for our Savior, Jesus. In His Name, Amen.

Source:

http://www.livius.org/sh-si/sicily/sicily_t11.html

 

No One Escapes

Bible:

But all this I laid to heart, examining it all, how the righteous and the wise and their deeds are in the hand of God. Whether it is love or hate, man does not know; both are before him. It is the same for all, since the same event happens to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As the good one is, so is the sinner, and he who swears is as he who shuns an oath. This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that the same event happens to all. Also, the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead. Ecclesiastes 9:1-3 ESV

Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins. Ecclesiastes 7:20 ESV

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 ESV

Reflection:

Some years ago, in 1979, a plane was taking off from O’Hare Airport in Chicago. It was supposed to fly to Los Angeles, but there was something wrong. While the plane zoomed down the runway getting ready to take off, an engine fell off the left wing. The plane was going too fast for it to stop, so it had to try to take off. No one is exactly sure what happened, but the plane didn’t get very high before it crashed into an old aircraft hangar. When it crashed, it exploded, and all of the 271 passengers and crew on board (and also two people on the ground) were killed instantly. It was a terrible disaster.

Some of the people on the plane were probably very good people who loved God and tried to please him. Other people probably were not very good people. It didn’t matter who was good and who was bad, or who loved God and who didn’t. Everyone died in this plane crash. When disasters happen, there’s almost never a magical way that good people are kept safe from harm and only bad people get hurt.

The Bible says that whether you are a good person or a bad person, whether you love and serve God or whether you don’t, the same thing happens sooner or later. Everybody has to die. Maybe death won’t come in a terrible disaster like a plane crash, but in some way or another death will come. The reason for this is sin. The whole world is sick with sin, and everyone dies because of it. Everyone takes part in the sin of the world, because everyone has turned away from God. There’s no escape from death.

But God made us to live, and he wants us to live with him in his kingdom forever. So he sent Jesus to be our Savior. Jesus won eternal life for us by dying on the cross to pay for our sins. We could never be good enough to earn life with God, but through Jesus God gives it to us as a free gift. Because of Jesus, death isn’t the end for us, but instead we have life forever.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to give us the gift of eternal life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

http://airwaysnews.com/blog/2014/05/25/american-airlines-flight-191-remembered-35-years-later/

More Than We Can Know

Bible:

When I applied my heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done on earth, how neither day nor night do one’s eyes see sleep, then I saw all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. However much man may toil in seeking, he will not find it out. Even though a wise man claims to know, he cannot find it out. Ecclesiastes 8:16-17 ESV

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

“For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”
“Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. Romans 11:33-36 ESV

Reflection:

Have you ever heard of pi? Pi is a letter in the Greek alphabet, and it also stands for a number used in math. Pi is the distance around the edge of a circle, divided by the distance across the circle. In Solomon’s temple, for example, the huge cast metal sea that was held up by twelve metal oxen was 30 cubits around, and 10 cubits across. This wouldn’t be exact if the sea was a perfect circle, because the number pi is a little bit bigger than 3. It is 3.14159 and on and on. Computers have tried to find out the end of pi, and they have gone to 12 trillion digits, but they still haven’t found the end of pi. Perhaps no one ever will. In fact, maybe pi doesn’t have an end.

The Bible talks about something else that is beyond our knowing or finding out, and that’s God’s ways and works and thoughts. God is so incredibly beyond all that we could ever hope to understand that no one will ever be able to get to the end of knowing God. It’s very foolish to think that by our cleverness and effort and wisdom we’ll be able to know what God is doing and thinking in our world and in the universe. Sometimes people brag that they understand what God is doing, but they really can’t know for sure. It’s better to be humble and not claim to know things that really can’t be known.

But God wants us to know him and to know his love, so he came to us in Jesus. Jesus came to be a human person like us, and through him we can know the most important part of the mind and heart of God. We know that God loves us and wants us to be his children. We know that he was willing to pay an amazing price to bring us back to him. Jesus laid down his life on the cross to make us God’s children, and because of Jesus we know that God is love. He gives us his word, the Bible, and his Holy Spirit so that we can know what we need to know to stay close to him in this life and to have life forever with him.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for letting us know your love through Jesus, our Savior. In His Name, Amen.

What Others Say

Bible:

Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others. Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 ESV

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10 ESV

Reflection:

Ginny was in a stall in the school locker room, changing her clothes after gym class. Her friends Ellie and Sarah were standing and talking outside the stall. They didn’t know Ginny was in the stall and could hear what they said. They started to talk about how bad her clothes were, and about how stupid she was in class when the teacher called on her, and about how they didn’t like her new hairstyle. Ginny felt as if her friends had punched her in the stomach when she heard these things. After they left, she started to cry, and slowly got her things together and went home. But when she told her mother, her mother reminded her that she had scolded Ginny and Ellie when they had said some pretty unkind things about Sarah the past weekend at a sleepover. She told Ginny not to worry too much. People sometimes like to say unkind things about others behind their backs, but they don’t always really mean it. It’s always good to be careful with your words, but it’s not a good idea to worry too much about what other people say.

It’s hard when we overhear or hear about people saying mean things about us, because we want everyone to like us. We want others to approve of us, but that doesn’t always happen. Other people are really more interested in what we think of them than of what they think of us. And sometimes if we want other people to approve of us, it might mean doing things that aren’t right, or it might mean we have to act in a way that we don’t really enjoy acting. We might feel we should dress or talk in a certain way, or pretend to be interested in things we really don’t care about. It’s really not worth caring too much about what other people think or what they say behind our back.

The only one whose approval we really need is God’s approval. But to get God to like us and think we’re good, we’d have to be completely perfect all the time, and that’s not possible. On our own, we could never win God’s approval. But God loves us very much and wants us to be his people, so he sent Jesus to be our Savior. Jesus lived the perfect life that we could never live for us, and he died to pay for our sins on the cross. When God looks at us, he sees Jesus’ life and death for us, and for Jesus’ sake he approves of us completely. When we know that God loves and approves of us, we don’t have to worry so much about what others think and say.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for approving of us and loving us for Jesus’ sake. In His Name, Amen.