Tuesday, November 6, 2012

We are not a stick!

Yep. That was the phrase I took away from time spent Sunday morning with fellow believers in Christ.

The topic of the day was about the importance of fellowship within the body of believers.

Acts 2:42-47
 42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayers.
43 Then fear came over everyone, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles.
44 Now all the believers were together and held all things in common.
45 They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as anyone had a need.
46 Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude,
47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to them  those who were being saved.

There are times when we want to go to a secluded place and just be, ourselves and God, and exclude the rest of the world.

One of the ladies in our group talked about this--our tendency to sometimes think our spiritual relationships are only between us and God.  She moved her hand up towards the ceiling and down to her heart, then said that our fellowship needs to also extend to those around us and moved her hand to the left and the right---very much as if she were crossing herself--and said "Hey, that makes a cross! So...we are not a stick!"

We need to be living "like a cross". True, there are times that we need to pull away from others and remove the interaction with others. Jesus did this in Matthew 14:22-23, for example.

Too often I think we find ourselves focusing on one mode of fellowship--focusing either on our relationship with God or our relationships with others.  Basically, we are acting like a stick.  To be more than a stick--to make our life look more like a cross--is a balance that is sometimes hard to keep, but that doesn't mean we don't continue trying to make that balance.

I am one who tends towards going off by myself and secluding myself from others.  Sometimes this is out of necessity and where I am at in various aspects of my life, and other times I just don't want to move outside my comfort zone.

Look at yourself. First of all, do you have a relationship with God? With Jesus Christ? Have you trusted Jesus to save you from your sin?
Secondly, do you  have around yourself a group of fellow believers that you can have fellowship with?

Are you doing your part to nurture these very real needs in your life?

Are you feeling like a stick? Do what you can to be living like a cross. :)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Habakkuk 3: Habakkuk's Prayer

In my last post, I shared how the LORD's main purpose in all that He does is to draw us to Him and for His glory to be praised.

Sometimes we refuse to glorify Him and look to other things for our fulfillment; we even go so far as to claim everything for ourselves, taking the credit for it all.  Now, before I sound like Obama, who was ribbed for saying "You didn't build that(insert whatever fits here).", it's not whose hands, abilities, or time was used to do said thing.

Rather, it's Who gave us the abilities, the hands, the materials, and the time to do said thing that is the point. The LORD has given us all of these things, and we should realize and acknowledge that fact.

How do you think your mom would feel if she made a huge, delicious Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings and received no word of thanks? It's a similar concept.

In Habakkuk 3, Habakkuk responds to what the LORD has said in the previous chapter.  Regardless of all of the bad stuff happening to His people, and the evil running rampant throughout the world, He is still in control.

Habakkuk remembers God and all that He has done to care for His people. From a human perspective, much of it might be seen as cruel, but in reality, God was doing these things to rescue His chosen people (vs. 13).  It is hard sometimes to see the motive behind the action, behind the pestilence, the plague, the shaking earth, the mountains trembling....but the point is that God is All Powerful, even though we feel everything is out of control.

Where do we place our trust? In our earth (that seems to turn against us)? In our leaders? Or in the awesome, all-knowing, all-powerful LORD?

In verse 16, Habakkuk relays his feelings after hearing the words of the LORD about His motives behind the things he has done and things He has allowed to be done.

Although he started out in chapter 1 lamenting the evil that surrounded him, pointing out the many wrongs that were happening in his world, his focus changed by chapter 3.  His focus went from pointing parallel to what people were doing around him, to looking up and realizing the splendor and the power and the majesty of the LORD.  Habakkuk's attitude was transformed from one of despair to one of fear and reverence. He was downright terrified of the LORD! 

And his next response?
16b I will wait quietly for the coming day when disaster will strike the people who invade us (God's chosen people, His anointed ones, vs 13). 
17 Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields and the cattle barns are empty,
18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD!  I will be joyful in the God of my salvation.
19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He will make me as surefooted as a deer and bring me safely over the mountains. (NLT)

In the volatile world that we live in today, know that the LORD still reigns on high. He is in control and more than worthy of our praise and glory.  May we rely on Him as our strength to get us through troubled times. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Habakkuk 1-2 The LORD does allow bad things to happen...Why?

Habakkuk is a minor prophet in the Old Testament, a man who preached to the people before the fall of Judah in 586 BC.

Habakkuk was quite put out with his LORD not coming down to strike down the evil in his day.  The LORD tells Habakkuk in chapter 1 that He would "raise up the Babylonians", a nation "more evil" in that day.

Habakkuk responds back in dismay, asking the LORD whether He plans to destroy them (Judah). The LORD's response was basically this; that all that happens has one motive: to point to the glory of God and to bring the people to HIM. To take the people's eyes from their fake gods, their possessions, their strength, their wealth, the beauty of the world around them, and to bring their attention to the Creator and Provider of all that they have.

Our security should not be in what we have(for most of that can vanish in the blink of an eye), but in Who has given us what we have.

"For the time will come when all the earth will be filled, as the waters fill the sea, with an awareness of the glory of the LORD." Habakkuk 2:3

God wants us to know Him. He wants us to seek Him. He wants us to glorify him. He does not want us to forget Him.

It is the time that we think we have made for ourselves all that we have--our possessions, our titles, our successes(in essence, our idols)--and not given the credit to our LORD--that we need to be drawn back to Him.

Sometimes we just need a gentle nudge to remind us to come to or return to Him. Other times, sadly, as we find in the book of Habakkuk, it will take much more than a nudge for the point to hit home.

May we all be aware of the glory of the LORD and praise Him today!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Gardening, Geraniums, and God

I found a sermon in the garden today.
You see, I salvaged the in-laws' geraniums last year. I hate to throw life in the trash can, know what I mean?  And besides, I could use the pots they were in.

I rediscovered these geraniums in my basement a week or two ago. They had spent the winter down there, safe from freezing and out of my way. Truth be told, I had completely forgotten about them and only found them because of another issue that drew me to The Abyss.

I had filled my other pots for the summer already, brimming with purchased annuals and renewed houseplants from inside. I had my plan and went with it...

...but I forgot the geraniums.

Once I found them, I pulled the plants out of the pots, removed the remaining soil around them, and piled the pathetic plants under a bush until I decided what to do with them. (I'm lucky my hubby leaves the flowers to me and he didn't throw them out into the compost heap!)

I saw these geraniums last year, in full leaf and full bloom. They were gorgeous, and I witnessed them in all their glory! (And they certainly weren't cheap!)

But now they looked sad. Rejected. Downright ugly, if I'm going to be honest about it. (Sorry to say that about the flowers, but they are out in the garden and can't hear me, so they're ok. ;) )

Yet, through all this ugliness, I still saw potential for life. Hope. Renewal.

You know what I did? I got my trowel out, gathered the plants (sticks, really...), plunged each one deep in the soil of the garden, and watered it. 
I fully expect most of these to burst to life and even have some blooms this summer. Why? Because their roots are in the soil and they are getting sunlight and water.

What Soil are You in?

Where are you in your Christian walk today?  First and foremost, have you experienced Life? Do you realize that you are a sinner, and that the only way you can go to be with Jesus one day is to turn away from that sin and trust that Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, paid your sin debt completely when he shed His blood and died on the cross? He alone can pay that debt, and He alone has the power over death (He was resurrected--risen from the dead, as we know from Mark 16:6 and other places in Scripture).

Jesus tells us in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

In Matthew 13:1-9, Jesus tells the parable of the sower who sowed seed.  Some fell in rocky soil, some in weedy soil, some on the wayside where birds ate it, some in shallow soil and some in good ground. All of the seeds except the ones in good ground eventually perished, but the ones on good ground grew well and produced much fruit.

Get yourself in good ground, where the Word of God is taught and preached. Read the Word daily and learn from it and live it.  Spend time talking to God and seeking His guidance in your life.

Are You Getting Watered?

Are you experiencing the Living Water flowing through you and into the world around you?
Or have you been away from the Living Water, Jesus, a little too long.....feeling a bit parched? Have you dug yourself a well, only to find it dry? Are the other things you try to quench your thirst with unfulfilling? Is it kind of like that yawn you feel coming on, but for whatever reason, no matter how hard you try, you can't suck in enough air and you're left wanting more...and more...and more...never filled?

Perhaps you know Who and where this Living Water is, and you've refused it, seeking out another thirst quencher.

I urge you--come back to the Source of the Living Water: Jesus. He will fill you up and you will have more than you need. In John 7:38, Jesus said, "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." 

Are You Getting Enough Light Exposure?

Have you somehow found yourself in darkness, away from the Light and the Word of God?  Have you lost all hope of getting back on the path where you should be? Are you clinging to that one last glimmer, not sure where you will turn next?

Again, same theme here: Jesus is the Light of the world, and in Him is no darkness at all. Position your face towards Him, and He will help you.

I've got good news for you, friend! Jesus is waiting to hear from you. Whether you got to where you are intentionally or not, you can still run to Him.  He will welcome you back into His arms with rejoicing!  Come back!  Immerse yourself in the Word of God (the Bible), get "watered", set your face towards Christ.  Spend time talking to the Gardener. He will fill you and change you and give you a hope and a future! He will probably even prune you back a little bit to encourage that new growth and more fruit production; but take heart, He knows what He is doing!

Like my geraniums, we all need a time of renewal. We may look hopeless on the outside as most of the world sees us, but on the inside we have potential. Thanks be to God that He can see what we are capable of and He can tend to us and make us beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

Thanks for reading!

Scriptures referred to in this blog post are linked to Studylight.org, a very useful reference and study tool to use as you search the Scriptures.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Thinking about the "What If's" of Life... On Miscarriage and Life Changes

If things had gone differently a year and a half ago, and I had been able to carry my last pregnancy to term, we would have a 1 year old child toddling around the house these days. My due date was March 23 of last year, and I tend to go "late" in delivering, so anytime around now we would have been baking a cake and putting one candle in the middle for the wee one to blow out and make a mess of.

I don't know why things worked out the way they did that September. I still look back and question  myself as to whether there was anything I could have done differently, anything that I did wrong to cause this, and I know all the canned answers to these questions. Still, I wonder.

Yes, I know God is in control and all things work together for the good of those that love Him.  That There is a Reason for everything that happens.  A greater plan than what I had in mind.  This isn't a promise that there will be no pain, however. It doesn't mean that (what we perceive to be) bad things will never happen to "good people" and you will never feel like your heart is in someone's fist and they won't let go and you don't know what to do about it other than cry out to God.  I am thankful and blessed to know the Healer, and to find that as He walks with me through pain and trials and works on that heart I spoke of up there, that is often where I experience the most growth in my walk with Christ.  This is quite humbling, actually, to find that trials drive me to Him....but the many blessings I receive often do not. (Why is that, anyway? I have a feeling I am not the only one...)

I am not without hope as I wonder and think back to what was and what is now and what might have been.

I dreamt the other night of a tow-headed little boy toddling around, me trying to keep up with him, and he was very clearly (in my dream) our child.

I don't know whether the dream was a gift from God or merely the working of my subconscious, but either way I did find comfort in it. I also remembered my Grandparents who passed on not too long before Avery(for that's the name we gave the child) went from this world to the next. And I remembered them all with a smile.

I have hope. Hope in Christ and His saving grace. I believe I will see them all, one day, when my work on earth is done, for I have accepted God's gift of His Son, who died on the cross to pay for *my* sins.  When I die (or Christ returns, whichever comes first), I can stand before God's Holy presence, made clean of my sin and forgiven because Christ shed His blood and paid my debt in full...and I believed on Him. As far as I can know I believe my Grandparents knew the Lord as well.  So this is why I have hope, and Who my hope is in--Christ!

As I linger on this earth, these verses in Jeremiah come to mind:

 11For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
   12Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.
   13And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

 These verses are in the context of Jeremiah addressing the people of Israel taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar from Jerusalem to Babylon.  They were taken away from what they knew, and I imagine they were distraught and at loss of what to do in this foreign land.

Sometimes I feel, with life changes, that I have entered a foreign land as well...

What does God(using Jeremiah) tell the people to do in Babylon? (And I ask myself, what should I do in my "foreign land"?)

Verses 5-8 in the chapter gives these instructions:
~Build houses, and dwell in them
~Plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them
~Raise your family, and help them start families of their own
~Seek peace of the city you are in - Pray for it
~Don't be deceived by false prophets and dreams - Seek the Lord

And verses 11-15:
~Call on Him
~Pray to Him, and He will hear you
~Seek Him--and find Him when we seek with all our heart

So, from this, I get that we are to carry on with life, seeking to raise Godly families and take care of what we've been given, to have a relationship with God such that we can pray for the place we are in and seek God's face (and be able to recognize a false prophet when we see one).

So, these things are what I am seeking to do as I walk in this land that is not quite the home I had once imagined it to be.

This world is not my home, I'm just passing through.
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me from Heaven's open door
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore...

O Lord you know I have no friend like you
If Heaven's not my home, then Lord what will I do?
The angels beckon me from Heaven's open door
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore.

There are things that matter. God. Family. Taking care of what God's given to us. Seeking God's face in all we do.
And there are those things that don't matter. <insert everything else here>
I'm trying to focus on the first list.

A piece of a song that comes to mind as I write this is from This World by Caedmon's Call.  

This world has nothing for me and this world has everything
All that I could want and nothing that I need

So true.  If only we could keep this in mind in our day to day lives and not get lost in all this world has to offer.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Our family has gone through the wringer lately with illness in this household. After 2 weeks of tending to sick kids and repeated doctor's appointments, I guess it was somewhat inevitable that Mom and Dad would catch the bug.

This winter has been unusually wet and warm compared to previous years. We have an outdoor wood furnace that we source wood for from our woods and supplement from a semi-local wood place that sells scrap lumber.  Usually, we can start getting wood from the time the crops are harvested (there is a field between our house and the woods) and all through the winter. It's our "family thing" to do on the weekends.

But not this year.  We have places to get the wood, but are not able to get TO the wood to get it to the house. One week of our farm truck taking a "vacation" in the woods was enough, thank you very much.  It's just been too wet. And our semi-local scrap wood place? They're having the same problem.  I'm glad the Lord gave us the foresight to order an extra load or two late this last summer, because it's held us up to this point.

On to my point.

The Lord has been working on me on some issues.  Part of me wants us to be self-sufficient (insert a Tim the Tool-Man Taylor "arr-arr-arr") and able to take care of ourselves no matter what happens and Have Everything Under Control.

If you've not figured it out yet, being sick enough that you feel like someone beat you to a pulp (I think "death warmed over" was the description hubby gave...along with "Horrid") makes one very Not In Control.

Hubby and I were talking last night, trying to decide what to do.  What can we do??? We need wood.  What can We do???

Guess what? The Lord of all, the owner of everything we know on this earth, had it all under control. Not that I ever doubted that, or maybe I did and do and that's why I worry about things sometimes...

This morning, our neighbor called to tell us he was cleaning up near a creek and had some wood if we wanted it. I told him that we would love to have it, but that my hubby couldn't come out to help unload and why.  He was fine with that and brought 2 (!) loads of wood over for us. He had his strapping young boys there to help him unload. I went out to thank him and told him that he was an answer to prayer.

It was a very humbling experience, getting to the point that we probably would have ended the week with no wood for the furnace (we do have propane as backup, but it's quite spendy--hence the wood furnace. Not to mention it just doesn't heat as well.). BUT, it was also a very comforting experience, knowing that our God knew of our problem far in advance and moved within our neighbors to gift us with the wood.  An act of God for sure, gracious, because this was something we could not do ourselves.

This provision brought my mind to how God offers us the gift of salvation through Christ.  There is nothing we can do in and of ourselves to have eternal life, except to realize we are sinners, believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sin and rose alive and victorious over sin and death three days laterThe blood He shed on that cross is what cleanses us from every single sin we ever did, do, and will do in the future. He died to pay for the sins of the whole world.  We each have but to turn away (repent) from that sin and turn to Christ.  He offers the gift to us. It's up to us to receive it.And it's only through Him that we might be saved.

Philippians 4:19
   But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

This means our spiritual need for a Savior......and our earthly physical needs on this earth---yes, even firewood!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Our Vision...Update

Many thanks to those who have been praying for us.

Hubby and I have both been praying for clear direction, and as of right now feel that we have some things to take care of on the homefront before we can seriously begin to proceed in any direction.

So, we are doing what we can at the moment to take care of the things calling for our attention, and we are also keeping ourselves open to possibilities for service in the future.

Please continue to pray for God's direction as we seek to serve Him.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Our Vision...

My husband and I have been seeking the Lord's will in our lives and how He would have us use our gifts, talents and interests for His glory.

I believe that God wishes us to use our gifts for His purposes, and that the things we go through in life are there for a reason.

Last year, as I was working in the garden, I heard the still, small voice of God saying "Feed the people.". Ok, it wasn't an audible voice, but I got this distinct feeling, for lack of a better word, that this is the direction we should be going.

I believe that all of the issues I have learned about and the things I have gone through in my allergy journey are for a reason. I want to incorporate Real Food into whatever ministry the Lord wants us serving in.  I want to take care of the earth God gave us and model/teach that to others.

My  husband, Randy, has had the long dream of having a "Pastor's/Minister's Retreat", or something along those lines, a place where those in ministry can come to get away from the trappings of life and have a time of quiet and reflection.

We both have a desire to share the Gospel (Randy is an ordained preacher and currently teaches Adult Sunday School, I teach Truth & Training in Awana, and we both lead the Children's Church ministry in our church), especially in a small-group setting (House church, possibly?).

At any rate, we have had these thoughts and leanings for years now.  We have toyed with the idea of overseas ministry (Bhutan?).  Ever so often, we stick out our feelers and look in certain areas of the US to see if there is any need or interest in what we have to offer.  Most times, we hit a wall and then step back and look for where we can serve in the here and now and tune out the pull we both feel to some other sort of ministry. But the pull is still there in the undercurrent....

In the last month, Randy emailed the man in charge of mission work in our hometown region of CO to see if there would be any interest in starting a new church/some sort of ministry as described above in the area. There did not seem to be any interest on their part. So we broadened our search and Randy emailed the man in charge of mission work in a different area of Colorado. We have gotten a much more positive response from him, and found him to be very receptive of our Organic growing ideals (very sought-after in that area) and there seems to be interest in starting a new church in the area as well.

At the present time, we are still seeking the Lord's will in this matter. My body wants to get away from the center of GMO farmland.  My heart wants to--longs to--return to what I consider my homeland(and my entire side of the family), but I do not want to make this decision based on those feelings.  I also don't want to block those yearnings and somehow miss or ignore the voice of God.

From what we know presently, we would need a second source of income in addition to any ministry income, and these towns are fairly small with limited options, so that is something to consider.  We want to be able to fully minister, and not be severely limited in what we can do if we are tied to a work schedule.  We are exploring ideas on the bringing-in-income front.

Another thing for us to consider is our children.  Their ages are nearly 11, nearly 9 and 6.5 years old. In the little bit of conversation we've had around them and with them on the topic of moving and ministry, the eldest has the strongest feelings about moving. Understandable.

So, would you please consider praying for us?

  • God's clear leading in whether to pursue this most recent opportunity
  • Working in ALL of our hearts--Randy's and my own, as well as in the hearts of our children
  • Funding to purchase land suitable for growing and a place to live...with a good location accessible to the people....or some miraculous provision of the above 
  • If this is not the Lord's will, that He would point us in another direction and show us where to serve

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Time for Pruning?

I have been contemplating these plants of mine lately.

After a glorious summer in the sun, I had cut them back a bit and brought them in for the winter.

For awhile, the blooms flourished and the greenery was full and bright.

Now, though, the beauty of the blossoms is but a distant memory and much of the greenery from the summer has died...but all are holding on to the stem still, stubbornly insisting that they still belong there...just a while longer? Please?  Or perhaps the main part of the plant hasn't quite discovered that it's time to let go.

I can identify with these plants of mine.  I have things in my life that were once of use to me, a part of me even, much like these dead leaves and blossoms. I have held onto these things and held some of them close, stubbornly and perhaps a bit fearful of letting them go.

Perhaps, as with my plants, these things are causing me to look ugly and unkempt in the eyes of God. Perhaps, as I longingly look back and remember and give my energy to that and miss out on what is happening in the here and now, unable to be present with my loved ones... Perhaps He shakes His head at me for my clinging-on.

Perhaps it's time for a pruning, so that there can be new growth. Perhaps it's time to allow the Gardener to take up the pruning sheers, and along the lines of John 15:1-2, lop off the things that don't produce and allow for the rest of the plant to flourish and grow.

Notice that the parts of the plants that are alive and green are reaching, begging almost, for more light, that which they were created to seek, to somehow know will sustain them and help them grow.

I too, like the plants, am seeking the light. Only the Light I am seeking is Christ, and His will for my life, because I know He is the source of my strength (Psalm 27:1).  I am reaching and growing, and perhaps in this process it is necessary for me to reevaluate the "extra" things in my life. To pray for His guidance as to what to keep and what to let go of.  Some of those things are things of beauty (or have been), and are generally "Good Things", but are they of enough importance for me to keep around now? Or are they things that are pulling me down, a hindrance, filling my time and space to the detriment of what is truly important?

Perhaps, along with some pruning, I need to be re-rooted, so that I can start anew. Much like I should have done with the geraniums when I brought them in months ago, and should perhaps do now. Might be worth my time and effort...an act of reflection, consideration...

Praying for His will to be  made apparent in my life and yours as you seek Him.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Blue Orb...

I saw this glass orb at the thrift store the other day, and couldn't resist taking it up in my hand (and ultimately purchasing it).  For whatever reason, I was drawn to it. 

What came to mind as I held it, its weight perfect and centering, was the thought of God my Creator holding the world in His hands. Rather, of God Himself holding and pondering what was to be the Earth and the universe and all that we know of (and more)....and all the things that He planned would happen....both pleasure and pain...and He created it anyway.  He gave us our existence.

"I have a plan for the whole earth, for my mighty power reaches throughout the world."  Isaiah 14:26 (NLT)

I am reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp this month, and I am finding it to be just what I need. In this phase of my life, it is good to read of a fellow believer's own heartaches and challenges in life and to hear her share how she is seeing God's grace and loving hand woven through it all, even in times of pain and anguish, if we would but open our eyes and hearts to see it.

There is so much more to it, but I thought I would share this part of my day and one of the first of what I am writing in my own gratitude journal of Gifts of God, some of which I'm sure will find themselves on this blog.

May we choose to realize the grace of God around us each and every day, and seek to serve Him above all. May we set our eyes on Christ, the Light of the world, and squelch the darkness that threatens to overcome us.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Flashlight Night Devotional

This Wednesday night was Flashlight Night at Awana, and as T&T leader I was asked to incorporate that idea into our Council Time. So...

Here's the song that came to mind... I did not end up incorporating it, but it helped me keep on task!  I listened to it in the vehicle w/my kids on the way to Awana.
Here's the focal part of the song (Scripture attached because I like to know where the words and phrases come from):
I wanna be in the Light
As You are in the Light (based on I John 1:7)
I wanna shine like the stars in the heavens (Daniel 12:3)
Oh, Lord be my Light and be my salvation (Psalm 27:1)
'Cause all I want is to be in the Light
All I want is to be in the Light

Here's the lesson:

With flashlight in hand and turned on, lead the kids follow-the-leader-style around a dark room. (have other leaders along to keep kids in line) Talk about how it's really easy to follow the path when you  have a light to show you the way.  Walk this way for a bit.

Turn off the flashlight.

Is it still easy to see where to go? Are we more likely to run into obstacles and hurt ourselves with the light off? (Yes) Turn the flashlight back on and lead them back to the classroom, where the lights are turned off and you and the kids have your flashlights to help with driving the point of the lesson home.

Have the following Scriptures written around the room and shine your light on them and have the kids shine their light on them as you read them.

God's Word says in Psalm 119:105
Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path. (NKJV)

God has given us His Word, the Bible, to help us know how to live.
What are some other reasons God gave us the Bible? (allow for kids to answer and facilitate conversation)

Psalm 119:11 says
Your word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you.(NKJV)
How do we hide God's word in our hearts?  We can memorize God's Word, like we do in the Awana program, and it will help us to follow God, to do what He wants us to do in life, and to not sin against God.  God's Word is our guide for living a Godly life.  It is good to memorize God's word, so that when things happen in your life and you don't have a Bible handy, you can still have guidance and knowledge as to what to do in different situations.

John 8:12 says
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."

Remember a few weeks ago where we talked about Jesus being the light of the world? When we are following the Word of God, which is a light so that we can see where to go and what to do in life, we are also following Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, and Who offers the light of life!

I John 1:5-10 says
5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
8If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.(NKJV)
In order to walk in the light, we need to confess our sins. When we admit we are, indeed, sinners, and confess our sins to God, He will forgive us and make us clean from all our sin. Jesus, God's Son, was sent to die and pay the price for the sins of the whole world (John 3:16).  God has given us a choice as to whether we want to follow Him, or not.

Walking in the light, following God's Word, is evidence of a relationship with Christ.  Do you have a relationship with Christ? Have you confessed (admitted to God) your sin to God and accepted His forgiveness and His free gift of salvation through Christ?

Have you made a conscious choice to walk in the Light?

The choice is yours! May you choose to follow Christ today!