Interruptions …

I knew when I started on this project that it might be interrupted. That continues to happen as the countdown to Christmas goes on. I will get back to this project soon, I remembered that this is for future publication and is just now in a draft status. Pressure off, my apologies to my faithful readers. Life and editing work continue to claim my time.

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Stories for Advent – Day 12

God’s Plan for Christmas

Christmas foretold by the Patriarchs

Moses

 

“Grampa said that he was going to talk to us about Moses tonight,” said Jon as he set out the mugs for their hot chocolate. “I was trying to remember everything I knew about Moses and couldn’t quite figure out how he was like Jesus.”

Sue pulled a bag of marshmallows out of the cupboard, cocked her head to one side, and responded, “I think it might be how he led the Children of Israel out of their slavery and took them to the promised land.”

“Yeah, that’s probably it, but Moses lived for, like a really long time. Didn’t he? And Jesus was only around for about thirty years.”

“I’m not sure how that fits into the story. I guess we’ll have to wait for Grampa to tell it.”

“Yeah, let’s finish getting the treats ready and hear what he has to say. He always seems to surprise me with his stories.”

“Yeah, me too.”

* * *

If everyone is settled, let’s get started. Tonight, our story comes from the first part of the book of Exodus. I wanted to talk about Moses because he was the next in the line of what we call the Patriarchs. That means that he was one of the fathers or main leaders of the Jewish faith. Moses was born at a time when things were getting really bad for the descendants of Jacob in Egypt. They had grown so large in number that they Egyptians were afraid of them, so they forced them into slavery. They were making them build the great cities of the land and even forcing them to make their own bricks for the buildings. They had gone from honored guests to despised slaves in just 400 years. Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, even tried to keep them from having any more boy children and ordered the women helping the Hebrew women give birth to kill the boy children and only let the girls live. But, the Bible tells us that the midwives feared God and disobeyed.

Moses was born at this time to a couple from the tribe of Levi, and you might remember the story of how he was put into a basket of reeds and floated down the Nile River where he was found and adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter. He was raised like a prince in the royal household until one day when he went out to visit his own people and killed an Egyptian that was beating one of the Hebrew slaves. He ended up having to run away to the land of Midian. He was about forty years old when he runs away, and during the next forty years, he marries and has some children and becomes a shepherd. All that works out well for Moses, but his people are still suffering. They cried out to God, and he heard their prayers. At the right time, he chose to act. He called Moses.

God’s call of Moses is interesting because he uses a burning bush that wasn’t being burned up. That must have really caught Moses attention and amazed him, but God really got his attention when he spoke to Moses out of the middle of the bush and called him by name. You can read all about the details of this in Exodus chapter three. But, in the end, Moses returns to Egypt and, together with his brother Aaron, deal with Pharaoh and demand that the Children of Israel be let go. After a great deal of haggling and God inflicting the Egyptians with ten different plagues, the people were allowed to leave.

Moses led them through the desert, across the Red Sea, and into the wilderness to a place called Mount Sinai. It was there that God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, and most importantly to our point tonight, God allowed Moses to see him face to face. That is where Jesus is like Moses. In the book of Deuteronomy chapter 18, verses 15 it says this:

“Moses continued, “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your fellow Israelites.”

You see, the people were afraid of the voice of God thundering down from the mountain in the midst of lightning and thunder. They thought that God might just kill all of them. But, God, in his tender mercy and love says this in verse 18: “Then the LORD said to me, ‘What they have said is right. I will raise up a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites. I will put My words in his mouth, and he will tell the people everything I command him.’”

This is his promise directly to the Children of Israel that he would send Jesus. Jesus knew the Father face to face like Moses did and would speak all the words that the Father commanded him to say. In the Gospel of John 12:49, Jesus says very clearly that “I don’t speak on My own authority. The Father who sent Me has commanded Me what to say and how to say it.” Jesus says here exactly the same thing that Moses predicted he would say and do.

* * *

Grampa took a big drink from his hot chocolate and said, “So, can you see how God revealed Jesus in the life of Moses and predicted or foretold the promise of Christmas?”

Jon, sat there with his mouth open and moving but no words were coming out.

Sue reached over and pushed his chin up to close his mouth and said, “I think what Jon is trying to say is wow! It is more than amazing how not only planned it all out but also brought it to pass.”

Stanley was sitting quietly and finally just said, “Can I have the last cookie?”

Parents Corner

Well, if we were detectives looking for clues to tell us how much God loves us. I think that we are beginning to build up a lot of evidence that he loves us all very much. Who else would go to so much trouble to organize all of history to bring us just the perfect Christmas present?

In Acts 3:22, Peter shows us that he understood it and tells us these words of wisdom: “Moses said, ‘The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among your own people. Listen carefully to everything He tells you.’”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stories for Advent – Day 11

God’s Plan for Christmas

Christmas foretold to the Patriarchs

Jacob – Part Two

It was nearly story time when Sue found Grampa Johnny sitting in the big chair in the living room with his Bible open. He was sitting quietly, but it seemed like his lips were moving,

“Grampa Johnny are you all right,” Sue asked.

A smile spread across his face, and he replied, “I sure am Sue. I was just praying about tonight’s story. I was asking God to help me make it clear for you children.”

“What are you going to tell us about tonight?”

“There are still some special things about Jacob that we haven’t talked about and I was going to share those.”

Grampa Johnny straightened himself up in his chair and laid his open Bible on the side table, “I’ll tell you what, let’s go help those two boys get the story time snack ready and then let’s get started okay?”

Sue said excitedly, “That sounds great Grampa!”

She took his hand and led him toward the kitchen where the smell of Mrs. Johnsons Christmas baking still filled the air.

Soon they all filed back into the living room with cookies and warm cider and settled into their places.

Grampa Johnny began, “Last night we talked about Jacob’s life of walking with God began, tonight we’re going to talk about some bits at the end of his life. It goes like this …”

* * *

Jacob had lived a long full life and had ten sons. Their names were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Gad, Asher, Joseph, and Benjamin. You might remember the stories about Joseph and how his other brothers despised him and sold him into slavery and how he ended up in Egypt. The life of Joseph is a really fascinating one because he also developed a very strong relationship with God, but it was primarily born out of the adversity Joseph experienced as a slave and prisoner. Joseph spent many years in Pharaoh’s prison, but it was while he was in prison that God gave him the gift of interpreting dreams. It was that gift and Joseph’s incredible talent for administration that God used to move him from a prisoner to the second most powerful man in Egypt and responsible for guiding Egypt through one of the most devastating periods of drought in that period of time.

Now God used all of that to bring Jacob and the rest of his sons and their families down into Egypt where they would live for 400 hundred years until God would raise another mighty servant to lead his people.

But, before that happened, Joseph received permission from Pharaoh to bring his father and the rest of his family. Jacob took a bit of convincing because he was very old and he knew that God had promised the land of Canaan to his descendants. But, he also knew that if they stayed in Canaan with the drought, they would all likely die. Jacob gave in and allowed the move to Egypt but not before he offered sacrifices at a place called Beersheba to the Lord, the God of his father Isaac. The Bible records this:

“During the night God spoke to him in a vision. “Jacob! Jacob!” he called. “Here I am,” Jacob replied. “I am God, the God of your father,” the voice said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make your family into a great nation. I will go with you down to Egypt, and I will bring you back again. You will die in Egypt, but Joseph will be with you to close your eyes.” So Jacob left Beersheba, and his sons took him to Egypt. They carried him and their little ones and their wives in the wagons Pharaoh had provided for them. They also took all their livestock and all the personal belongings they had acquired in the land of Canaan. So Jacob and his entire family went to Egypt—”

Genesis 46:2-6 (NLT)

The Bible goes on to tell us that Jacob lived for several more years in what was called the land of Goshen. They were separated there from most of the Egyptians because they despised shepherds. At the end of Jacob’s life, he called all of this sons together to bless them—one by one. When he got to Judah, he said this in Genesis 49:10, “The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from his descendants, until the coming of the One to whom it belongs, the One whom all nations will honor.”

This was a prophecy from God saying that Judah’s line would be a royal line and we know that King David was from the tribe of Judah and that the line would continue through the ages right down to Jesus. So, we can see that God was preparing for Christmas even in the midst of extreme upheaval for Jacob’s family. Tomorrow we’ll see how that progressed through the slavery of Jacob’s descendants and God’s call of Moses to help free them and bring them to the promised land.

* * *

Jon swallowed the big bite of cookie he was chewing and said, “That was really interesting, Grampa Johnny. God took the time to reassure Jacob that the move to Egypt was a good thing. Sometimes I get afraid of changes and want to know that I am doing the right thing. I guess staying close to God can really help my confidence in situations like that.”

Sue nodded, “I also think it was really cool that God also used him to predict something way off in the future like who Jesus the Messiah would be descended from. God took a lot of care with his Christmas preparations even though they took thousands of years to come about.”

Grampa Johnny smiled, “It kind of puts your mother’s and father’s Christmas preparations into perspective. When they do a lot of things to get everything in place so you can have a wonderful Christmas, it doesn’t seem like so much work when they ask you to help. Right, Stanley?”

Stanley kind of scowled, “Okay, I’ll be more cheerful about keeping my room clean, Grampa.”

Grampa Johnny chuckled and said, “That would certainly be a great place to start.”

Parents Corner

God planned out the details of Jesus life like where He was going to be born when He would be born, who His parents were going to be just like he plans out our lives. He plans these things for us because He loves us and cares for us more than we will ever know. Thank God tonight for His infinite love. For loving us so much that He pays attention to the smallest details of our lives before we are even born.

Stories for Advent – Day 10

God’s Plan for Christmas

Christmas foretold to the Patriarchs

Jacob

Sue handed Jon a cookie, “You can only have one now because you had two already before dinner.”

“Sue, you know that your mom’s cookies are my favorites. Just one more? Please?”

“Not until after the story.”

“Oh, alright. What’s tonight’s story about?”

“I don’t know. Let’s ask.” Sue said loudly. “Grampa, what is tonight’s story about?”

A voice came from the front room, “How about Jacob’s Ladder?”

“Jacob’s Ladder?” asked Jon. “What does he have to do with Christmas?”

“Come find out.”

“Ok, here we come.”

Everyone settled into their seats, and Grampa Johnny began:

* * *

Jacob was on a journey to the land of Haran where he was to pick out a bride. He stopped to set up camp for the night after the first day of traveling and settled down to sleep for the night with a rock for his pillow.

As he slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway. At the top of the stairway stood the LORD, and He said, “I am the LORD, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants. Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions–to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants. What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.”

Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!” But he was also afraid and said, “What an awesome place this is! It is none other than the house of God, the very gateway to heaven!” The next morning Jacob got up very early. He took the stone he had rested his head against, and he set it upright as a memorial pillar. Then he poured olive oil over it. He named that place Bethel (which means “house of God”), although it was previously called Luz. Then Jacob made this vow: “If God will indeed be with me and protect me on this journey, and if He will provide me with food and clothing, and if I return safely to my father’s home, then the LORD will certainly be my God. And this memorial pillar I have set up will become a place for worshiping God, and I will present to God a tenth of everything He gives me.”

(Genesis 28:12-22) NLT

* * *

Stanley jumped in first, “Wow! If I had to sleep with a rock for a pillow, I’d have weird dreams too.”

Grampa Johnny leaned back and said, “Stanley my little man, I don’t think it was the fault of the rock that he had such an odd dream. Didn’t it seem like he was seeing a bit of heaven and having his first real meeting with God in that dream?”

Stanley scratched his head and said, “Well, maybe … but it still seems odd to me.”

Sue leaned over her brother’s shoulder and said, “To me, it seemed more like a vision, and it might have been really hard to take if he was awake for it. We’re more used to seeing fantastic things in our dreams, so it was the perfect place and time for God to introduce himself.”

Jon cleared his throat and said, “I agree. I remember having a dream or two about some Bible stories, and I think that God used them to help me to understand him better.”

Grampa Johnny interjected, “Exactly, Jon. God set up the circumstances to not only introduce himself personally to Jacob and to make sure that the promise that God had made to Abram that had been passed on to Isaac was now also being passed onto Jacob. Did you notice that the same words for part of the promise that God gave to Abram were also used in giving the promise to Jacob.? Does anyone remember what they are?”

Sue raised her hand and said, “all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants.”

Grampa Johnny smiled and said, “Exactly. ‘all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants,’ That promise was a foretelling about the coming of Jesus. He is telling us that he had Christmas all planned, wrapped up and ready to give to us at just the right time.”

Stanley blurted out, “Like a Christmas present, right Grampa?”

“Bingo, Stanley. You got it just right. Just like a Christmas present. Tomorrow, we’ll look at the next link in the chain.”

“Who has that piece Grampa?” asked Sue.

“Come back tomorrow and find out,” Grampa said smiling.

 Parents Corner

God planned out the details of Jesus life like where He was going to be born when He would be born, who His parents were going to be just like he plans out our lives. He plans these things for us because He loves us and cares for us more than we will ever know. Thank God tonight for His infinite love. For loving us so much that He pays attention to the smallest details of our lives before we are even born.

Stories for Advent – Day 9

I’ve realized that my early drafts of the stories for this series have required rewriting so the numbers of the stories will not match their initial intended sequence. Just remember that these are draft stories for later publication.

God’s Plan for Christmas

Christmas foretold to the Patriarchs

Abram

“Ok Grampa, this is a new week. You finished telling your great story about Enoch and Noah. What stories are you going to tell us this week?” asked Sue as she sat down with her hot chocolate.

“Thash wut ah wanna know too.” Added Jon.

“Jon, you would probably be easier to understand if you didn’t talk with cookies in your mouth,” Sue said as she poked him with her elbow.

Grampa Johnny began, “Well, we are going to fast forward many years to when God called Abram to leave his homeland with only a promise in return.”

* * *

Abram was sitting and praying on a little knoll while tending his sheep one day. It was a bit warmer than usual, but a good, stiff breeze kept it cool enough to be a comfortable day. He was thinking about places he would like to see and what he wanted for his children he would have in the future when he heard a voice like no other voice he had ever heard before. It seemed to ride on the wind and come from everywhere and nowhere at the same time. He was sure it was the Lord and fell to his knees.

It said, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’ family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”

Abram wasn’t exactly sure what all of this meant, but he focused on two things. The first was that he was to pack up his family and everything he owned and travel to the land the Lord would tell him about. The second was that he would have so many descendants that they would be a great nation.

After thinking about the Lord’s words for a bit, he hurried home to Sarai. They would begin packing up his whole household, including his nephew Lot. They would take all of it to this place that the Lord would show him. There was a great sense of urgency in Abram’s obedience. He believed what he had been told wholeheartedly and eagerly looked forward to the promise of becoming a great nation through which all the families on earth would be blessed.

* * *

Grampa Johnny scooted forward and said, “What was the important part here?”

“Ooh, ooh! I know!” shouted Stanley as he bounced up and down on his seat.

“Ok, what was it,” asked Sue.

“The part about becoming famous,” smiled Stanley.

Grampa smiled, “I’m sure that was important to Abram, but not the most important part to us at Christmas. Jon, do you know?”

“Sure, it’s the part where all the families on earth would be blessed.”

“That’s right! That is the first thing that we are going to learn about Jesus from the patriarchs this week. We have six more days so we will learn six more things.”

“That is very cool!” said Sue. I can’t wait until tomorrow.

 Parents Corner

As we go through this week, we will see that God dropped little bits of information about what He was planning in the stories of the patriarchs. Like Hansel and Gretel dropping breadcrumbs. God provided insights into what He was planning for us to find, to treasure and to ponder. As we consider them, one by one, we can only be amazed at how awesome our God is and how incredibly much He has loved us to plan all of this for us. That is something to talk to our children about.

Genesis 12

 

Stories for Advent – Day 8

God’s Plan for Christmas

The Tale of Noah and the Ark – Part 5

Jon burst into the kitchen, “All right, tonight’s the night the Grampa Johnnie’s going to finish the story about Noah and Ark. It sure has been exciting, hasn’t it?”

Sue nodded in agreement, “I especially like the way that God is working with young Enoch and teaching him that he is trustworthy.”

“And the elephant,” said Stanley as he piled a plate high with cookies.

Sue looked at the plate, and her eyes grew two sizes, “Stanley did you leave any cookies in the cookie jar? Do you expect that we are going to eat all of those cookies?”

Stanley’s face turned a brighter shade of pink than normal, “Uh … um, I was kinda hoping you wouldn’t notice. It’s just that mom has been baking so many that we have to eat ’em all, right?”

Jon laughed out loud and said, “Oh, they’ll get eaten all right, I can guarantee that. But we don’t have to eat them all tonight. Here let me help you put most of those back.”

Sue chuckled and said, “Okay, you two do that while I take the tray of hot chocolate out. I’ll meet you in the living room.”

Not too much later they were all settled, and Grampa Johnny began the story.

# # #

It took a while for my leg to heal and I had to stay in bed for several weeks before I could get back to caring for my birds.

When my leg did get better, I was still very curious and still looked around at the many strange, beautiful and sometimes terrifying animals; but now, I always went with someone else.

And I always came back to my birds. I decided to learn as much about them as possible.

There were lots of strange and beautiful birds to see and to get to know. There were white ones and black ones; red ones and green ones; yellow ones and blue ones. Every color you could ever imagine was painted on those birds. There were even some that had lots of different colors on them. It was like the all the colors had exploded everywhere. It was marvelous!

There were very big ones and very tiny ones. Some were noisy, and some were quiet. Some just squawked loudly while others sang sweetly and quietly.

But, no matter how excited they seemed to get at times, when I took out my flute and played for them, they settled down and got almost quiet.

One day as I was sitting and playing for them, I realized Grampa was sitting next to me. He had sat down while I was playing, and I didn’t even notice. “You’re getting pretty good with that little flute of yours,” he said. “I like the way you play, and it seems the birds do too. In fact, all the animals nearby seem to settle down and quietly listen to you.” I hadn’t noticed the part about the other animals. I had just noticed the birds.

Grampa seemed to favor the birds above all the animals like I did. We liked sitting together and talking or just listening to the birds sing. After a while, I noticed there was one mostly white bird that would move over closer to me when I was playing, and it would sing with me while I was playing. I liked that, and so I began to play even more often than before.

The mostly white bird, which Grampa told me was called a dove, moved closer and closer to me on a low hanging branch. When I fed the birds, I started making sure the dove got extra food. He would even eat out of my hand sometimes. I named him Jubal. I think it was a he, I’m not really sure. Jubal was the name of one of my ancestors who played the pipes, so I thought the name fit him.

Jubal and I would spend part of every day together. I would play, and he would sing. After a while, his mate would join us too. I named her Adah. They were a lot of fun to be with.

Then one day Grampa told me, “Enoch, the Lord has been speaking to me and told me there was going to be a special job soon for a few of the birds. He wants me to take one up to a window on the upper deck and let it go to see if it comes back. This is part of God’s plan for us, Enoch. This is how the Lord is going to let us know He is preparing for us to leave the ark.”

I wasn’t sure how to take that. We had been on this trip for several months now. We had all been looking forward to the day it would come to an end but, now, I was worried for Jubal. Would Grampa send him? What would happen to him? Would he be able to find his way back? Would he get lost and die?

I made a plan to take Jubal and Adah and hide them. I know my Grampa means well, but these two birds were my very best friends.

The next night after supper, I went to the bird pen like I did every evening and began to play my flute. Jubal and Adah came to sit and sing with me like they always do. I coaxed them into a special cage I had made for them. Then I grabbed a small bag of feed and took them down into one of the lower holds near where the elephant was that took care of me when I had broken my leg.

I hung the cage from a hook on a beam that I could reach from the ladder. I sat and played for them a little while to help them feel at home but, this time they didn’t sing along. That bothered me, but I shrugged it off and went back to my families’ cabin to go to sleep for the night. Or, at least, I tried to sleep. I kept having a dream that we never got off of the ark because Grampa couldn’t send off the doves the way the Lord had told him to.

I kept tossing and turning, having the same dream over and over again. Then I heard it. “Enoch.” It was almost too quiet to hear at first, and then I thought it was Pop calling me. But the next time I heard it, I knew it was not Pop or Grampa.

“Enoch,” it said for the third time.

“Yes?”

“Enoch, do you trust your Grampa?”

I was almost afraid to answer. Then I heard my voice saying, “Yes, yes I do.”

“Enoch, do you trust your Grampa?”

“Yes, sir I do.”

“Do you trust the Lord your Grampa’s God?”

That scared me, but still, I answered, “Yes sir, I do.”

“Enoch, do you trust the Lord as your God?”

That scared me even more, but still, I answered, “Yes sir, I do.”

“Then trust and obey.”

At that I felt ashamed, I did trust Grampa and I needed to trust the Lord too. I knew then my fear for Jubal and Adah was really a lack of trust in Grampa and the Lord. I got up right away and ran quickly down to where I had hung the cage. I returned to the bird pen and released them.

I went back to bed, prayed to the Lord and told Him I was sorry for not trusting Him. Then I slept very well the rest of the night.

In the morning Grampa came to get me and said, “It is time.” Grampa had released a raven the day before, and after several hours, it came back. Today it was Jubal’s turn.

We went to the bird pen and got the cage I had used for the birds the night before. As soon as I opened it, Jubal flew right in just like he knew he had a job to do.

Grampa and I went to the upper window, opened the cage and Jubal flew right out. We stood there and waited. My mom brought us some food for lunch after we had waited several hours. Just as we were sitting down to eat, Jubal came back. I was so excited I forgot to eat my lunch. I fed most of it to Jubal who was very tired and hungry.

A week later, we did it again. This time Grampa wanted to send Adah. I wasn’t afraid this time. We did the same thing. We released Adah in the morning and then waited. She did not come back by lunchtime. All afternoon we waited. Grampa sat and prayed, and I played my flute. Suddenly there was a flutter of wings in the window. Adah had returned, and she had a leaf in her beak. Grampa reached up with an open hand, and Adah dropped the leaf into his hand.

Grampa smiled and showed it to me. It was an olive leaf. The flood had gone down enough for things to be growing again.

A week later, we did it again. This time Grampa wanted to send Jubal again. I thought it would be like the last two times. We released Jubal in the morning and then waited. He did not come back by lunchtime. We waited all afternoon and nothing. He never came back.

Over the next few weeks, Grampa and I spent a lot of time looking out the window. We could see more and more land every day. Then one day, the ark lurched again, hard. I ran up to the top deck, looked all around and saw that most of the water was gone. We had run aground. The ark settled at an angle with the bow pointing up slightly. We all gathered with Grampa at the door. It was like when we first started. We stood there silently while Grampa prayed. Then he quietly said, “Yes, Lord.” And then he said, “Shem, Ham, Japheth….open the door.” Pop and my uncles did just that.

It opened with a large creak, and then it fell open to the ground with a huge “THUD!” Then the sunlight began streaming in so brightly it nearly blinded us for a while. When I could finally see, I was amazed by the rich, lush green of the earth and the sparkling blue of the sky. Then, I saw a huge rainbow growing across the whole sky that just took my breath away.

I looked up in the sky and prayed to the Lord, “Lord, I see now that you have been taking care of us all along. Please forgive me for not trusting you. Thank you for all you have done and, please, help me to obey you completely from now on.”

Grampa built an altar for a sacrifice while Pop and my uncles began to open the pens so the animals could leave.

They all walked out peacefully just like they went in. Adah flew to me when I opened the bird pen. I walked outside with her on my shoulder. We stood there together for several minutes and then I heard what sounded like a dove singing. It was the same tune I had played on my flute so many times. It was Jubal! He had come back for his mate. Adah took off and flew up to meet him. They circled around several times and then flew off together. I never saw them again.

Then I heard a sound I hadn’t heard for a while. The elephants were coming off the ark, and they walked right toward me. One of them stopped, looked right at me, touched my shoulder gently with his trunk and then walked away quickly while making his horn sound. I smiled and waved and off they went to wherever God was sending them.

I felt a hand on each shoulder. I looked up and saw Papa on my left and Grampa on my right. They were both looking out at the animals as they trailed into the distance and the rainbow in the sky.

Papa leaned down and said, “Well, Enoch, you have grown up a lot on this trip. I am very proud of you.”

Grampa then said, “And so am I. I have seen you grow in your faith in the Lord. What can you tell us about what you have learned?”

I looked at each one of them and then out on the valley again, “I learned that God keeps His promises. He kept us safe on the ark, and I learned, to simply trust Him and obey because like Grampa always says: God is faithful, just you wait and see.”

We all laughed together.

That was the end of our journey on the ark, but it was the beginning of our brand-new life.

# # #

“I always love that the story ends up with God’s promise posted in the sky as a rainbow,” said Sue.

Grampa responded, “That’s one of my favorites too, and we get to see rainbows all the time whenever the conditions in the sky are just right. No matter the time or the season, God continues to remind us that his promises can be relied on. He always keeps his promises. We can look back in the Bible and see that God promised a savior at the Fall and then we can see him continuing to remind his people that he will send the Messiah at just the right time. We just have to have faith and trust in God, just like little Enoch learned in this story.”

Parents Corner

Learning to trust God and have complete faith in his loving care for us is often the hardest thing we ever have to learn. But as we go through these stories, you will learn that God has been with us all along the way. He has been guiding our steps, guarding us when necessary and letting us fail when that is the best way to learn a lesson. Building up our faith is sometimes a slow process, but as we get better at it the reward of living closer to the center of God’s will for us is also greater. Put your trust in Him.

Proverbs 3:5-6