Joseph’s Story Part 1

Joseph’s Story 

Part 1

 

“Yow! Boy, does my head hurt. Where am I?”

I tried to open my eyes.

“Oh man, even my eyes hurt and it’s too dark to see anything. Okay, what can I feel?”

I sat up and began feeling around with my hands and feet and could feel nothing but dry, dusty, hard, round surfaces and walls.

“Nothing but rocks here, it’s terribly hot, it’s exceptionally dry and dusty and—oh, my head still hurts, my eyes hurt and so does just about every other part of me … and I’m talking to myself. How crazy is that? Okay, what can I hear or smell?”

I leaned back, listened, and sniffed.

“So, I can hear some sheep and it smells like someone has used this cistern as a latrine. Wait a minute,  where is my coat? Oh no, Father is going to kill me if I lost that coat. But I’ll have to wait to worry about that. For now, how did I get here and … for that matter where is here?”

I rubbed my sore head and then my eyes before trying to open them again. 

“Alright, I can finally see a sliver of light up there. Okay, I think I get it now. My brothers took some unreasonable offense to something I said, beat me up, stole the special coat that father made for me and stuck me down a dry cistern. Wow! I knew I wasn’t popular with them, but what did I ever do that made them mad enough to do this? Hmm … it may have started soon after we moved here from Paddan-Aram. Come to think of it, it may have gotten worse when I had those dreams. Oh man, my head still really hurts. I think I’ll sleep for a bit using these rocks for a pillow like Father did on his way to Paddan-Aram before he met Mother. Yes, a little nap is what I need to get it all straight in my brain.”

 

# # #

 

I remember sitting at the desk in my father’s tent tallying up columns of numbers to help Father manage our flocks and herds. Then father entered the tent and I called him over to show him what I had found, “Father, did you know that since we arrived here in Canaan, our flocks have grown by 25%? The pastureland here must be much better than it was at Paddan-Aram. Also, you might want to think about selling some of them off. The size of our flock is getting too large and difficult for my brothers to manage. They are having to move the flocks much more often to find new pastures.”

Father sat on a chair near me stroking his beard and said, “You know, I think you might be right. Why don’t you go to where your brothers are keeping the flocks and report back to me what you see.”

I am pretty sure I made a face and said, “Are you sure about that Father? I have not been warmly received by them since you gave me this wonderful new coat.”

Father just smiled and said, “Why don’t you let me worry about them. You just go first thing tomorrow morning and then bring me a report on how your brothers and our flocks are doing.”

“As you wish, Father.”

That night, I had a large meal and then retired to my tent where I had a strange dream. My brothers and I were out harvesting grain and stacking the tied up sheaves in neat bundles. It was really hard work. I remember getting really sweaty and then the beginnings of blisters on my hands. The blisters hurt a lot, but then the strangest thing happened. One of my sheaves stood up on end and then the sheaves of my eleven brothers all bowed down to it. It was so weird that I woke up and had to get a drink of water. After that, I slept for the rest of the night without any more dreams. That dream stuck in my head so I couldn’t forget it. 

When I found them, they avoided talking to me but Reuben gave me some tasks to do. I did them quickly so I could do the inventory that Father asked for. 

At lunch, I decided to tell my brothers about my strange dream. That might have been a mistake. I spoke up loud enough for everyone to hear and said “Listen to this dream. We were out in the field, tying up bundles of grain. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles all gathered around and bowed low before mine!” 

At first, it didn’t seem like they wanted to listen. Some of them turned away from me at the beginning but when I got to the part about their sheaves bowing down to mine, they got angry, rushed at me and started yelling at me, “So you think you will be our king, do you? Do you actually think you will reign over us?” Then they all stomped off to care for the sheep. Talk about getting in my face! Needless to say, I shut up and silently continued with the inventory Father had asked for.

When we got home, I reported to Father that my inventory did not match up with the numbers that my brothers had given him. I told him that I thought they were selling some of the sheep without telling him so they could have spending money. I thought I saw some women hiding in their tents while I was there. Father said nothing about my report, but he questioned them thoroughly when they got home a week or so later. They seemed to pretend from then on that I did not exist. None of them, except for Reuben would even talk to me. 

Several weeks later, I had another dream and one night at dinner I stood up and shared the dream with my father and my brothers. “The sun, moon, and eleven stars bowed low before me!” Father scolded me. “What kind of dream is that?” he asked. “Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow to the ground before you?” This surprising reaction from my father seemed to match my brothers. I think they were jealous of me. My brothers wolfed down the rest of their food and took off. They rushed rudely past me nearly knocking me over with their arms and elbows.

After his initial outburst, Father sat quietly while he finished eating. He said nothing to me when I left to go to my tent. 

# # #

A few weeks passed by and then Father asked me to go and check on my brothers again and bring back another report. I can tell you, I was not in any big hurry to see them again, but headed to Shechem as I had been asked to do.

The next morning I packed a bag, put on my special coat, and rode my favorite donkey to where my brothers were supposed to be tending to the flocks. But, they weren’t there. So I had to look around for them. After an hour or so, I ran into a man that told me that they had gone to Dothan. Typical. They are so unreliable.

When I first saw them, I could tell that they could see me too. I waved at them and could see a lot of hurried activity. They seemed to be huddling together about something. I hoped that it was because they had forgiven me for telling them about my dreams. I hoped for a warm welcome.

But, when I got there, they grabbed me by the arms and tied me up. They were arguing among themselves trying to decide what to do with me. I have to say I was actually frightened when I heard them say, “Come on, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns. We can tell our father, ‘A wild animal has eaten him.’ Then we’ll see what becomes of his dreams!” 

But then, Reuben came to my rescue. “Let’s not kill him,” he said. “Why should we shed any blood? Let’s just throw him into this empty cistern here in the wilderness. Then he’ll die without our laying a hand on him.” 

I was hoping that Reuben was secretly planning to rescue me and take me back to father. But my brothers ripped off the beautiful robe I was wearing and threw me into an empty cistern. 

 

# # #

 

I woke up from my nap to the sound of my brothers arguing again. It seems like that’s all they ever did. But then I heard the sound of camels, They removed the lid from the cistern and threw down a rope so I could pull myself out. I have to say that I got my hopes up that they had changed their mind. It was a wonderful feeling that lasted only until I got up to the top of the cistern and climbed out. Then they grabbed me and took me over to some rough-looking men with a caravan of camels and shoved me to the ground in front of them. I looked around to see if Reuben was there to stick up for me, but he was nowhere to be found. The traders gave Levi what looked like twenty pieces of silver and then grabbed me, tied my hands together, and then tethered me to one of their camels.

As we traveled away, I could hear one of my brothers say, goodbye dreamer! It felt like my life was over. I needed to connect with my father’s God. No one else was going to help me. So I prayed as I walked. 

“God of my father Jacob, his father Isaac and my great-grandfather Abraham. I have taken you for granted all of my life, but I need you now. I was born into privilege and luxury. I was the favorite son of my father and did not appreciate any of it. When I had dreams of being worshipped and bowed down to, I took pride in my lofty position and lorded it over my brothers. I am sorry, Lord. I am sorry for my pride and my arrogance. I know that from now on I will need to walk closely with you and learn humility from you in order to survive. A slave’s life is very hard. Please accept my repentant heart and walk with me on a daily basis. Teach me to walk in your ways, O Lord. Keep me close to your heart and protect me with your powerful right arm. Amen.”

A few weeks later, after walking all day every day behind a camel and trying to make sure that I avoided stepping in his droppings, we arrived in Egypt. I was taken to a slave market and sold to an important looking Egyptian man named Potiphar. I was then taken to his house, cleaned up and put to work cleaning everything in sight.

 

 

The Story of Esther – Part 6 – Conclusion

King:                           Queen Esther we have eaten your excellent food for two days now, what is it that you request from me? I will give you anything that you request up to half of my kingdom!

Esther:                        (With her heart beating so loudly in her chest that she was afraid that the king might hear it.) If I have found favor with you, my king, and, if it pleases your majesty, please grant me my life. This is my request. Also, that you spare my people, this also is my request. For I and my people have been condemned to horrible punishment and…and…I can‘t even say it! If we had just been sold like fruits and vegetables in the market, I would have kept quiet and not disturbed the king. But, that is not the case . . .

King:                           Who is he, where is he that would do such a thing???

Esther:                        (Standing and pointing at Haman) Here he is, your majesty, the foul villain Haman!!

Esther accusing Haman

Mr. Mathisen:             Now Haman nearly choked on a bit of bread that he was eating and began to sputter food all over himself and the table. He was suddenly more frightened than he had ever been in his whole life. He did not know what to do. He did not know, nor would he have ever guessed that this lovely young queen was a Jew! How could he have known?

The king got up and walked quickly to a nearby garden to think. While he was gone, Haman went up to the queen and began groveling at her feet, pleading for his life. Just as he was doing that the king came back in and found him on the floor clutching at the queen’s feet whimpering for his life. The king thought that Haman was attacking the queen. The king called his servants and ordered Haman to be taken away. Another of the kings servants told the king that Haman had built a huge device in front of his home to punish Mordecai the Jew. The king then ordered that Haman be punished on the very device that he had prepared for Mordecai.

Haman being led to the gallows

Esther explained the whole story to the king. The king then sent for Mordecai and gave him his royal signet ring and appointed him to Haman’s old job. Esther and Mordecai then explained to the king about the proclamation and asked that the king issue a new proclamation saying that the Jews in the country could defend themselves from others that tried to harm them. He did so and on the day appointed the Jews all over the country assembled together to defend themselves. That day is remembered by Jews today as the feast of Purim.

So, always remember to be strong and very courageous and never be afraid to do the right thing.

Stanley:                       Boy! That was some story. Queen Esther sure was brave, even if she was a girl.

Mr. Mathisen:             Stanley, girls can be just as brave as boys. Remember it God who makes us really brave. We can’t be very brave at all without Him. Well, boys and girls, what do you think???

The Promises of God with Stanley – Part 1

Stanley:                       Two hundred twenty-one, two hundred twenty-two, two hundred twenty-three…

Mr. Mathisen:             Stanley?

Stanley:                       Two hundred twenty-four, two hundred twenty-five, two hundred twenty-six…

Mr. Mathisen:             Stanley?

Stanley:                       Two hundred twenty-seven….

Mr. Mathisen:             Stanley, what are you doing? What are you counting?

Stanley:                       Two hundred twenty eight….huh? Oh, I’m counting the promises that God has for us in the Bible.

Mr. Mathisen:             Stanley, do you want me to just tell you how many there are?

Stanley:                       Two hundred twenty eight….huh? Do mean that you already know?

Mr. Mathisen:             I know about how many there are. Would you like to know?

Stanley:                       Would I like to know? You bet! How many are there?

Mr. Mathisen:             I looked it up, and there are more than three thousand promises that God makes to His people in the Bible. Isn’t that fantastic?

Stanley:                       Wow! And I was only up to two hundred twenty-eight! Can you tell us about them? I’m sure that the girls and boys would like to know too.

Mr. Mathisen:             Sure, let’s start with two basic promises. The first one is found in the book of Isaiah chapter 41 verse 13.

For I hold you by your right hand—I, the LORD your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.  (Isa 41:13)

Stanley:                       Wow! Does that mean God is right here, right now, ready to help us?

Mr. Mathisen;             Yes, Stanley that’s exactly what it means. There is another verse that talks about what Jesus said. It’s in a book called Hebrews chapter 13 verse 6. It says:

So we can say with confidence, “The LORD is my helper so that I will have no fear.”  (Heb 13:6a)

And in another verse Jesus says:

“I will never leave you or abandon you.”  (Heb 13:5b)

Stanley:                       Wow! That does mean God is right here, right now, ready to help us!

Mr. Mathisen;             You know, I know a couple of stories that talk about that. Would you like to hear them?

Stanley:                       You bet. I bet I know one too.

Mr. Mathisen:             Would you like to tell your story first?

Stanley:                       No, I want to hear yours first.

Mr. Mathisen:             Okay, remember the time when Gideon was asked by God to fight the Midianites, but God would only let him have 300 soldiers to fight 32,000  Midianites? They didn’t even have to fight. Gideon and his men startled the sleeping Midianites with horns and lamps and the Midianites beat themselves and then they ran away! How cool was that?

Creation – Part 3

Mr. Mathisen:             Well Stanley, it says here that:  “And God said, “Let there be space between the waters, to separate water from water.” And so it was. God made this space to separate the waters above from the waters below. And God called the space “sky.” This happened on the second day.

Stanley:                       There He goes separating stuff again. God seems to be really good at that. I sure am glad that the water is below the sky.

Mr. Mathisen:             Why Stanley?

Stanley:                       Because, I wouldn’t want all that water to fall on me.

Mr. Mathisen:             (Laughing) Oh, Stanley… Let’s see what happens next. 9 And God said, “Let the waters beneath the sky be gathered into one place so dry ground may appear.” And so it was. 10 God named the dry ground “land” and the water “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

You see Stanley, there is that good thing again. Let’s continue.

11 Then God said, “Let the land burst forth with every sort of grass and seed-bearing plant. And let there be trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. The seeds will then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came.” And so it was. 12 The land was filled with seed-bearing plants and trees, and their seeds produced plants and trees of like kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 This all happened on the third day.

Stanley:                      Whew! I’m getting tired just listening to all of this. God is doing a lot of cool stuff! But, Mr. Mathisen, I thought that God made people first. Aren’t we His favorites?

Mr. Mathisen:             Well, that’s a good question Stanley. Does your Mom call you for dinner before she cooks it?

Stanley:                       No…

Mr. Mathisen:             That’s because she wants to get it all ready for you first. That’s what God is doing here. He is getting the world ready for us. I’d say that was pretty smart and shows how much He loves us.

Stanley:                       That’s cool, but, if He loves us so much why did He create weeds? My mom makes me pull weeds sometimes and it’s really hard work and sometimes I can’t tell the weeds from the stuff that’s supposed to be there….

Mr. Mathisen:             I don’t think that this is where the weeds came from. I think that the weeds showed up after Adam and Eve sinned and had to leave the Garden of Eden. Weeds are a lot like sin. You don’t want any weeds in your garden, and you don’t want any sin in your life. That is why we need Jesus as our saviour. When He comes into our heart, He helps us to not sin. In a way, He helps to keep the weeds of sin out of our life. Does that help Stanley?

Stanley:                       Hey! That’s pretty smart, what happens next? This is getting really interesting!!

Mr. Mathisen:             Well, let’s see. Where were we? Oh yes, let’s pick up with verse 14.

14 And God said, “Let bright lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night.

Stanley:                       (Interrupting) There He goes separating stuff again.

Mr. Mathisen:             They will be signs to mark off the seasons, the days, and the years. 15 Let their light shine down upon the earth.” And so it was. 16 For God made two great lights, the sun and the moon, to shine down upon the earth. The greater one, the sun, presides during the day; the lesser one, the moon, presides through the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set these lights in the heavens to light the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 This all happened on the fourth day.

Mr. Mathisen:             Stanley, what do you think that all of that meant?

Stanley:           Wow!

God Knows Me – Conclusion

Mr. Mathisen:          Yes, I do Stanley. When somebody makes something, they know it pretty well. But is that the only reason God knows you. Do you think that He knows all about you just because He made you?

Stanley:                    Well, yeah. Is there another way that God can know me better?

Mr. Mathisen:          Sure, remember when you were asking if God was watching you from behind a bush or with a camera?

Stanley:                    Yeah, was I right? Is He really doing that?

Mr. Mathisen:          No, not exactly, listen to another part of that Psalm.

O LORD, You have examined my heart and know everything about me.

Stanley:                    What? He looked at my heart?

Mr. Mathisen:          You know when I sit down or stand up.

You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.

Stanley:                    Has He got a big telescope?

Mr. Mathisen:          You see me when I travel and when I rest at home.

You know everything I do.

Stanley:                    Wait a minute, wait a minute, WAIT A MINUTE!!!!

Mr. Mathisen:           Yes, Stanley?

Stanley:                    Do you mean that God knows everything? He knows everything I do,  everything I think, everything I’ve ever done or thought?

Mr. Mathisen:          Yup! Listen to the rest of this.

You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD.

You go before me and follow me.

You place Your hand of blessing on my head.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand! (Psalm 139:1-6)

How about all that Stanley? God knows you better than anyone in the whole world, He made you different from everybody else. He loves you in a special way that He reserves for just you.

You see Stanley, God is not watching you because He’s nosy. He watches you because He loves you so very much and wants to keep an eye on you.

Stanley:                    Wow! I feel really special!

Mr. Mathisen:          You are special, Stanley. Another way to say that is that you were “fearfully and wonderfully made”. All of you children and all of us teachers were “fearfully and wonderfully made. God took the same care in making all of us. He watches over all of us. He knows us all better than anyone else does, AND He loves us better than anyone else does. What a wonderful God we have!

God Knows Me – Part One

Mr. Mathisen:             Boys and girls, did you know that God knows you better than anybody else in the whole world?

Stanley:                       Are you sure? My friend Elwood knows me pretty good.

Mr. Mathisen:             Stanley, God knows you better than Elwood. He  knows you better than your sister Susie, He knows you better than even your Mom or Dad.

Stanley:                       Whoa, that must be pretty well! How come God knows me so well? Has He been watching me from behind a bush? Is there a camera somewhere around here? Is He watching me now?

Mr. Mathisen:             OK, Stanley, slow down. No, God isn’t watching you from behind a bush or on  a camera somewhere. He knows you that well because He made you.

Stanley:                       What? I thought that my Mom made me.

Mr. Mathisen:             Well, she did help by carrying you around for nine months, but it was God who made you.

Stanley:                       Didn’t my Dad help? I always that he helped.

Mr. Mathisen:             Yes, your Dad helped too, but it was God who made you.

Stanley:                       How do you know that? Where you there? You are awful old…and fat…and bald.

Mr. Mathisen:             Hey! That’s not nice, Stanley.

Stanley:                       I’m sorry.

Mr. Mathisen:             Well, let me tell you how I know. King David tells us about it in Psalm 139. Let me read some of it to you. King David is talking about God here:

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. (Psalm 139:13-16)

Stanley:                      Wow! You were right! He made me! I think He did a really good job, don’t you?

Mr. Mathisen:          Yes, I do Stanley. When somebody makes something, they know it pretty well. But is that the only reason God knows you. Do you think that He knows all about you just because He made you?

Elijah and the Widow – Part 1

Mr. Mathisen:          Boys and girls, this morning we are going to tell the story of Elijah and the Widow. Who can tell me who Elijah was?

Stanley:                      Ooh, Ooh, ooh…I know, I know!

Mr. Mathisen:          Stanley, do you really know who Elijah was?

Stanley:                      Sure, sure, he’s a great big, tall guy that plays basketball. I was watching a game on the TV with my dad the other night. He’s really good. There was this one shot from half court that went swoosh! Nothing but net! It was fantastic! He was great! He won the game for his team.

Mr. Mathisen:          Wow! That sure sounds like fun Stanley, but that is not who we are going to talk about.

Stanley:                      We’re not?

Mr. Mathisen:          Nope.

Stanley:                      Not even a little right?

Mr. Mathisen:          Nope.

Stanley:                      Oh…sorry.

Mr. Mathisen:          No problem Stanley.  Actually, you were a little bit right in that Elijah was great and he won a game for his team.

Stanley:                      Huh?

Mr. Mathisen:          Well let me tell the story and you just ask questions when you don’t understand something ok?

Stanley:                      You mean I can interrupt you? I already do that anyway.

Mr. Mathisen:          That’s right you do and I am going to solve that problem by giving you permission to interrupt me.

Stanley:                      That’s not much fun.

Mr. Mathisen:          Maybe not, but let’s get started anyway.

Stanley:                      Hmmph!

Now Elijah, who was from Tishbe in Gilead, told King Ahab, “As surely as the LORD, the God of Israel, lives—the God I serve—there will be no dew or rain during the next few years until I give the word!” (1Ki 17:1)

Stanley:                      Wait a second! How did Elijah know there was going to be no rain or dew for the next few years? How could he know that?

Mr. Mathisen:          Stanley do you know what a prophet is?

Stanley:                      Sure I do. That’s what you get when your business is making money. (I heard that on the news.)

Mr. Mathisen:          No, a prophet is somebody that God talks to and then he tells the people what God told him. Listen to the next verse and maybe you’ll understand better.

Then the LORD said to Elijah, “Go to the east and hide by Kerith Brook, near where it enters the Jordan River. Drink from the brook and eat what the ravens bring you, for I have commanded them to bring you food.” So Elijah did as the LORD told him and camped beside Kerith Brook, east of the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat each morning and evening, and he drank from the brook. (1Ki 17:2-6)

Stanley:                      Ravens? Did you say ravens? Like the big black birds?

Mr. Mathisen:             Yes, I’m pretty sure that’s what they were.

Stanley:                      And they were bringing him food? I hope that they didn’t carry it in their mouths. Eew! That would be yucky

Mr. Mathisen:          Yes, that would be yucky. But, I am pretty sure that God had them carry the food with the talons on their feet and dropped it where Elijah could clean it up and eat it.

Stanley:                      That was actually a pretty cool way to get your food. It was Air mail, special delivery.

Mr. Mathisen:          It was pretty cool and God kept it up for nearly a year and then…

* * *

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Abram Goes to War – Part 5

Abram’s small army was highly organized and seemed to move as a single entity. With his leg throbbing again, Kenan could barely keep up with them. But, he was determined not to be left behind. He fell into the last row of marching soldiers and managed to keep pace with them.

After a two-day march, they caught up with King Kedorlaomer’s army at Dan where they had stopped for the night and made camp. It was clear that the king was unaware he was being chased. They had set no sentries. They were not expecting another fight.

After assessing the situation, Abram went away for a short while to pray and to consult with the Lord about his next move. Kenan took note of the fact that Abram seemed to confer with his God a lot. Every time he did that he returned full of confidence that he was about to do the right thing. Kenan had never seen anyone be that way before. His respect for Abram and for Abram’s God was growing.

Abram divided his men into two groups; Kenan was assigned to the group that he had marched with. Abram himself commanded that group. He assigned the two groups to positions opposite each other on the hills above King Kedorlaomer’s camp.

As Kenan stood with his group waiting for Abram’s signal he began to be overcome with fear. “The last time I went into a battle, I was hurt and left for dead. I’m not really sure I want to go through that again,” he thought to himself. “Wait a minute! Since that time, I have tried praying to Abram’s God and I have been helped each time. I’m going to try that again.”

Kenan looked up into the night sky and said silently, “Lord God of Abram, please protect me during this battle. Please give us victory over our enemies and help us to rescue my master Lot and his family. Thank you for listening to me. Help me to become your servant like Abram.”

Kenan felt a surge of strength and confidence. He smiled, gripped his sword and waited for the signal.

When Abram gave the signal, they attacked the king and his army from opposite sides. They yelled for all they were worth and that noise seemed to echo and get louder in the little valley.

Kenan raced down the hill with his unit. Abram’s men were shouting “For Abram and his God!”

Although the night was clear, they caught the enemy completely by surprise. The unprepared soldiers of the king were running around in circles, fighting each other and amazingly, their vastly superior force ran away from the fight. They abandoned their camp, livestock, plunder from Sodom and the captives.

Abram left a few men to guard this camp, but took the main force to chase after the King Kedorlaomer’s army. They chased them all the way to Damascus where the kings finally surrendered.

After Abram and his fighting men returned from the battle, there was a grand re-union between Lot, his family, and Abram. Lot asked Abram why he came after them and how they knew where to find them. Abram called for Kenan and presented him as the hero of the day to Lot and his family. Lot thanked him, but immediately turned his attention to locating his household goods and his personal gods from among the plunder.

Kenan felt like Lot considered him as nothing. He turned away from the family that he had done so much to save and found a place away from the rest and sat by himself.

The rich voice of Abram cut through Kenan’s sadness. “Mind if I sit with you awhile son?”

Kenan looked up to see Abram standing there, looking at him. “No, my lord, please be seated. I was just doing some thinking.”

“I could see that. My nephew seems to be more disappointed in his things than his people. I’ll bet you were expecting more thanks than you got.”

“Well, no…it’s just that I…I…I think that I’m really tired.”

“All right, if that’s true. I’ll just leave you to your thinking. But remember this, I can tell that you have been watching me. I can sense also that you have been testing the Lord and find Him to be faithful. I can tell you this. Place your faith in Him. There is a little saying that I learned from my father and I will pass it on to you if you want to hear it.”

Kenan looked deep into the man’s eyes, “Yes sir, what is it?”

Abram simply smiled and said, “God is faithful, just you wait and see.”

The After School Bible Adventure Club – Part 3

They began meeting the following week and for the next couple of months, things went really well. They studied the Bible. They memorized Bible verses. A few more kids from school saw the announcement about the club and began to meet with them. They found service projects to do for the elderly people that they knew about. They were one of the clean up teams when the school held a work day on a Saturday to clean up the school grounds.

Things were going really well; until Freddie showed up.

Freddie was the leader of a group of bullies at their school and they tried to run the playground. He and his group had been playing some softball one day on the playground. Johnny was on the other team.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Johnny’s team was behind by a score of 5 to 3. Freddie was having a rough inning. He had already allowed one hit and walked another batter.  So there were two guys on base with two outs when Johnny came up to bat. Freddie thought that he was a really good pitcher but, Johnny had gotten two hits and a walk against him. If Freddie could get Johnny out, his team would win.

Johnny decided to wait for a pitch that he could hit. If he could hit it deep enough, the two guys on base could score and the game would be tied. After falling behind on two pitches that were borderline balls, Freddie threw his corkscrew pitch and Johnny swung. He hit the ball really hard and it sailed to left field. The two guys on base began to run as soon as they realized that the outfielder wasn’t going to catch it. Johnny watched for a few moments and then began to run as hard as he could. The ball kept sailing until it went over the fence. It was a home run and Johnny’s team had won the game. After all the runners scored, Johnny’s team huddled around home plate yelling and screaming their excitement. Johnny was the hero.

Freddie didn’t see it that way. He felt that all of that celebrating was embarrassing and decided to get Johnny back for that. Freddie had seen Johnny walking home with his friends Susie and Andrea. He knew just where to intercept Johnny with his gang.

The next day he and his buddies and give Johnny a hard time on the way home in front of his friends.

The After School Bible Adventure Club had been studying the book of Romans in their after school meetings and were memorizing verses each week as they went through it. They were up to Romans chapter 12 in the part that says:

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

In fact, they were memorizing that last verse.

The After School Bible Adventure Club – Part 1

“The After School Bible Adventure Club”

By: S.C. Mathisen

(Note: Part of this story is an homage to the original Susie and Johnny stories written by Dr. J C Brumfield for the Radio Kids Bible Club. Those stories inspired these and, this one scene was so powerful, I included a version of it in this story.)

One day at school Susie and Andrea came out of the girl’s room and found Johnny sitting on a bench in the school courtyard with his Bible open on his lap, staring off into the sky. As they got closer, they could see that his lips were moving. They looked at each other and then walked over to where he was sitting. As they got closer to him they could hear “John 3:15 “…that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life” John 3:15, John 3:15 “…that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life” John 3:15….” “Johnny” said Susie “are you reviewing your memory verses from AWANA?”

“Yup, I don’t want to forget them. These were some of the first verses that I ever learned” he said. “I especially want to remember this one because it reminds me that Jesus wants everyone to have eternal life like we have and I want all of my new friends here at school to know it too!”

Johnny’s enthusiasm was infectious and soon our little trio was talking about starting their very own bible club at school.

“What should we call it?” asked Andrea, turning to look at Susie.

“I don’t know…yet,” said Susie with a thoughtful look on her face. “I think that we should pray about it and see what the Lord suggests to us.”

“That’s a great idea,” said Johnny. “Besides, lunch is over and we need to get back to our classroom in a hurry!”

After school was out for the day, the three friends were walking home still talking excitedly about their idea for a Bible club at their school. Johnny turned to his friends and said, “You know, we’ll need a teacher to be our advisor and I was thinking that Mr. Christopherson would be a really great; especially since he is our Sunday school teacher too.” Both Susie and Andrea thought that was a great idea too, and it was decided that they would talk to Mr. Christopherson the next day before their science class.

As the three friends said their prayers that night, they each prayed for their club and asked the Lord to give them a name that would tell the other kids at school what being a Christian was all about.

The next morning on their walk to school each excitedly shared what they had thought of and prayed about the night before. When Johnny mentioned memorizing verses, Susie responded,

“That’s a great idea Johnny. Memorizing will help us more when things get hard and when we are tempted to sin.”

“And when we witness to other kids” he replied. Andrea then told about her idea to do chores and errands for the elderly people in the neighborhood.

“Hey, Andrea that’s great too” said Johnny. “Did you think of a name for our group Susie” Johnny asked.

Susie looked at her two friends, “No, I didn’t. I was hoping that one of you would. Did you think of anything Andrea?”

“Nope, sorry” Andrea responded while shaking her head.

“We’ll just have to keep praying about it…God will give us something really great, I’m sure” said Susie.