The Stuff of Life


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The Cheese Confession: An Accountability Devotion

I’m happy to have a devo at christiandevotions.us today. If that devotion brought you to this site, welcome.

I love checking out the stock photos that go with my devos and articles online. You never know what you are gonna get. In the instance of The Cheese Confession, it’s a photo of a really cute kid, but it’s not my kid. Below is the wild, crazy and wonderful kid whose cheese confession turned into a devotion.

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The Cheese Confession

By : Kim Harms

It was the night before parent-teacher conference that our kindergartener, Lewis, nervously made his cheese confession.

“Mom, I forgot to tell you that I had to go to the principal’s office. It was at lunchtime. I wasn’t trying to be naughty.”

Since disruptive behavior is not common for my youngest child, I was more intrigued than upset by his statement. It turns out that his friend was having trouble getting his shredded cheese out of a container at lunch, and with Lewis’ “help,” that cheese flew in the air and landed on three of their classmates.

I can visualize Lewis’ goofy grin as he pounded on the plastic cheese cup. I can also imagine him enjoying the attention of this little stunt enough that it drew the notice of his principal. I don’t know all the details, but I do know my little boy’s guilty conscience would not let him sleep. Or more likely, his guilty conscience combined with thoughts of a looming parent-teacher conference. The fear of being found out often seems to influence the decision to fess up. Whatever it was, Lewis knew his best move was to confess his minor transgression to his father and me. And I’m thankful he did.

We could all use some healthy my-teacher-is-going-to-tell-on-me fear in our lives. We need someone to keep us accountable for the times our actions cause us to deserve a trip to the principal’s office. I know there are times I’ve tossed some stinky cheese in the way of unkind words or ugly thoughts. And I know when I am accountable to someone else for my actions, I’m far more likely to guard my mouth and my actions.

Keep accountability in your life. You’ll grow stronger in character and your Father in heaven will be proud.

(This devotion was originally posted at christiandevotions.us. Check out the site to find a new devotion daily.)

 

 


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The Rotten Apple that Helped Me Believe I Could Write

In honor of heading to Chicago for my third Write-to-Publish Conference, I am posting the very first non-newspaper item that I ever had published. It was a children’s devotion called The Rotten Apple, and it was the result of a writing exercise at one of the classes I took at my first Write-to-Publish Conference.

Because Terri Kelly (then editor at Devokids) chose to publish it, I started to believe I could do this writing thing. Now several years and many acceptance letters (and many rejection letters) later, I am looking forward to soaking in as much writing knowledge as I can in my whirlwind two-day Chicago trip.

“Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts.” —Larry L. King, WD

The Rotten Apple

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My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight.

Proverbs 3:21NIV

“Ewww. Gross!” Jeff hollered from the deck. He had just watched his little brother Paul sink his teeth into an apple he found on the ground beneath Grandma’s apple tree. Jeff rushed to Paul’s side just as the five-year-old grimaced and spit the bite of rotten apple into the grass.

With a trickle of apple juice dribbling down his chin, Paul looked from the discarded fruit on the ground up into Jeff’s eyes. “That apple looked yummy, but it was gross.”

Many things look good at first glance. Just like the apple. Paul saw a shiny apple on the ground, but he didn’t look close enough to discover the underside was rotten.

Sometimes we do that too. Bad things can seem attractive simply because we don’t look close enough. Like buying a magazine just because our favorite athlete is on the cover only to find that the advertisements inside are inappropriate. Or watching a television show because the kids at school say it is funny only to find out that the content is not pleasing to God.

It is always wise to take a serious look at opportunities before we make decisions we regret. No one wants to mistakenly sink their teeth into a rotten apple.


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The Cross

This kids’ devo was inspired by a conversation I had with the boys a couple years ago after skipping Good Friday service and watching an Easter cartoon together.  We love the bunny. We love the eggs. And we love the chocolate, (except not the Cadbury eggs – GROSS).  But I am so thankful that Easter is really not about those things at all.

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The Cross

Philippians 2:6b “He humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross.”

James winced. Even though it was just a cartoon, it was hard to watch as Roman soldiers nailed Jesus to the cross.

“Why did Jesus have to die? Couldn’t He have saved the world some other way?” he asked his dad.

“If I were Jesus I would just punch the soldiers’ lights out. Or even better, I’d make them disappear. Jesus is God. He could do that, couldn’t he?” piped in Michael.

“He could have,” said their dad. “But would that have taken care of our sin?”

Every year on Good Friday James and Michael watched a movie about Jesus with their mom and dad, and every year they talked about Jesus coming to take away the sins of the world. But this year James felt like his heart was breaking as he thought about what dying on the cross must have been like.

“Whose sin did Jesus die for when he was up on that cross?” their dad asked.

“Ours,” said James.

“Just ours?”

“Well, no. He died for all the sins of everyone.”

“What do you think would be a good punishment for every single sin ever commited by every single person who has ever lived on this earth?”

James and Michael were both silent as they stared at the cartoon drawing on TV of Jesus hanging on the cross. James thought about the time he hit Michael and gave him a bloody nose, and the time he lied to his mom about bringing a snake into the house, and the time he snuck a popsicle after his mom told him he couldn’t have one.

Then he started thinking about all kids in the world and how many sins there would be if they added them all up. And when he started adding in the grown-ups and the horrible things some people do like stealing, abusing and murdering, anything less than dying for that didn’t seem like enough.

“It was the only way, wasn’t it Dad?” he asked. “I think if it were me, I would want to make those soldiers disappear like Michael said, but I sure am glad Jesus didn’t do that. I’m going to think about the Jesus on the cross the next time I want to do something wrong. He loves us an awful lot.”

 


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Devokids Devotion – Friendship Has No Color

Devokids recently published the following devotion I wrote.  🙂

Friendship Has No Color

Then Peter began to speak:

“I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism,

but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.”

Acts 10:34-35

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“See ya tomorrow, Michael.” Joshua dropped the red and yellow football in the grass and hopped on his bike to head home.

“I’m so glad I wasn’t born in the 1950s,” Michael said to his dad as he picked up the football.

“Why do you say that?”

“Well, in social studies, Mrs. Logan said if I were a kid in the 50s, Joshua wouldn’t be my friend. We couldn’t play on the same football team, and we wouldn’t even be able to go to the same school.”

Michael’s dad went out for a long pass. “Not allowing kids to go to the same school just because of their color sounds crazy, doesn’t it?   Especially when we realize God made everyone, not just the people who look like us.”

Michael dove for the ball when his dad threw it back to him. “Yeah. You know how this football is my favorite because of its good grip, but it’s a different color than the ones we use in our games? What if I decided not to use it just because it doesn’t look like the game balls? I’d be missing out on my favorite backyard ball for a silly reason. Just like if I wasn’t Joshua’s friend just because he doesn’t look like me. I’d be missing out on my best friend for a silly reason too.”

You can also check it out, (along with a lot of other kid stuff) at devokids.com


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Writing with Kids

I had the pleasure of spending a morning writing with Owen’s third-grade class earlier this spring. We talked about the process of writing a devotion and then came up with an idea and wrote one together. The kids were full of ideas and fun to work with. Owen’s good buddy, Nolan, came up with a great start for the devo, and lots of kids piped in with their ideas.

The story is made up with some elements of truth. The class really did donate money toward gifts for a family in need this past Christmas. I love it that my kids go to a school where they are taught the value of giving to others.

The devotion we wrote, “Freddy’s Gift,” was published at devokids.com today. Click on the link below to check it out.

http://devokids.com/category/devotions/


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Weird or Wonderful (Part 2)

This is the second Weird of Wonderful devo that was published in Keys for Kids. In my original, I had Sophie dancing in a purple tutu. That understandably got edited out because dancing is an area of contention among some Evangelical circles. I remember learning in my 8th grade Bible Instruction class that Pastor Aubrey McGann was not in favor of dancing, and he was a big, more-than-slightly-intimidating man, so I did not even think about questioning his opinion.  I do understand dancing can be inappropriate, but I have never gotten my head around the idea that all dancing is bad. I mean, David danced with all his might in the street in his skivvies as an act of  worship for goodness sakes. And though his wife was less than impressed, I have a feeling God received Glory through that act of worship. Anyway…I digress. I hope you enjoy the following devo.

Michael pointed. “Look, Zoe,” he said as he and his family arrived at the home of his best friend, Casey. Through the window, they could see little Sophie, who had been adopted from Africa several months before, twirling around the room.

When Sophie’s mother opened the door and Sophie saw the dinner guests, she giggled and fell onto the couch. “It looked like you were having fun, Sophie,” said Michael’s mom as Zoe took hold of Sophie’s hands and spun around with her.

“Hi!” Casey dashed into the room and greeted his friend. “Are ya hungry? Mom’s got pizza all ready for us.”

Soon they were enjoying their meal of pizza and root beer floats. When they finished, Sophie took up her spinning routine again. The adults laughed as all the kidseven the boysheld hands and spun in circles. It was a fun evening for everyone as they visited and played games.

“You know what, Dad?” said Michael as his father tucked him into bed that night. “I thought it was really weird when Casey told me he was getting a sister from Africa, but now it seems like Sophie was always supposed to be a part of his family.”

“I noticed that, too,” Dad replied as Michael nestled under the quilt. “It’s plain to see that they all love her a lot.”

“Yeah, and she seems really happy, too,” Michael observed. “They love her, and she loves them.”

Dad smiled. “Adoption is an incredible thing, isn’t it? You go from not knowing someone to dancing around the room together, loving each other, and all being part of the same family,” he said. “And you know what? That’s something like our relationship with God.”

“You mean . . .” Michael hesitated, then began again. “You mean because when we ask Jesus to be our Savior, we go from not knowing Him to being a part of His family?”

“Yes,” replied Dad. “The Bible says He adopts us as His children. He loves us so much, and we love Him in return.” Dad tucked the quilt snugly around Michael. “I think it’s great of God to use a giggling, twirling little girl to give us a picture of how much He loves us, don’t you?” Laughing, Michael agreed.

HOW ABOUT YOU?
Do you know anyone who has been adopted? Through adoption, God gives a beautiful picture of His love for us. When you trust Jesus as Savior, God adopts you into His family. And His family is the place you were meant to be. Adoption into a family—especially into God’s family—is not weird. It’s wonderful! Accept Jesus as your Savior today and become a part of the family of God.
TODAY’S KEY VERSE: (John 1:12 )
As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God.


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Weird or Wonderful (Part 1)

 The following devotion was published in the January/February issue of Keys for Kids, and can be found at http://www.cbhministries.org/ForKids/KeysforKids/ReadListen.aspx. It is really fun for me to see my writing in print! This devotion was inspired by a conversation I had with Owen a couple years ago when his friend’s family was in the process of adopting. Since then both Carter and Owen have asked us about adoption on occassion. I don’t know what our future holds, but I love to see it when people welcome orphans into their loving families.

“Casey’s family is weird,” Michael told his mom as they hopped in their minivan to head for school. “Casey’s mom and dad flew all the way to Africa to get him a new sister, and she’s not even a baby. She’s three years old!”

“And you think that’s weird?” his mom asked.

“Well, yeah. They don’t even look like a brother and sister,” Michael replied.

“You and I don’t look so much alike either,” said his sister Zoe.

“No,” agreed Mom. “You have blue eyes, Michael, and Zoe’s eyes are green. You have brown hair while her hair is red. You don’t have big dimples in your cheeks like she does, and she doesn’t have a little dimple in her chin like you do. So . . . do you really think looking alike is an important part of being a family?”

“Well . . . I guess not,” Michael replied, “but . . . why would someone want a kid who belonged to a different mom and dad? And why would a kid want to go live with a family he doesn’t even know?”

“What if we lived in a poor country without clean water or a high standard of living? What if we didn’t have good hospitals and doctors and medicines like we have here, and what if your dad and I got sick and died? That would make you an orphan. Do you think you’d be lonely?” Mom asked.

“Well . . . yeah, but . . .” Michael was silent for the rest of the drive to school as he thought about how alone and scared he would feel if he had to live without his mom and dad. Who would pack my lunch? he wondered. Who would take me to school? Who would rub my back at bedtime?

By the time they pulled up to Ballard West Elementary School, he had decided that it must make God smile when families adopt orphans. After all, he had learned a long time ago in Sunday school that Jesus loves all the little children. Not just the ones with moms and dads.

“Maybe we should go to Africa and get another sister for me,” said Michael as he opened the car door and grabbed his backpack.

“You don’t think that would be weird?” his mom asked with a smile.

“No more weird than having Zoe,” Michael teased. He laughed as Zoe gave him a playful swat and they ran together to the school playground.
HOW ABOUT YOU?
Do you think it’s weird when families adopt children? Maybe you were adopted or have a sibling who was adopted, and you know firsthand how wonderful it is to grow a family in that way. God loves all kids. He loves those who have lost their parents and who need help and care. Today’s reading from Deuteronomy is an example of many verses in which God indicates that we are to reach out to the fatherless—to orphans—and do what we can to help them. They are precious in His sight.

TODAY’S KEY VERSE: (James 1:27)
Visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world