Enoch and Noah – Part 5

“Enoch … Enoch … come on son, it’s time to get up.”

“Okay Mom, just five more minutes …”

I had one more stone to roll before I would beat those town boys at their own game. I lined up my shot and just as I was about to make it …

“Enoch, you need to get up and do your chores. Come on, son.”

“Okay, okay …” Realizing the game was just a dream; I stretched my arms and legs, and then opened my eyes and tried to focus.

The room was pretty dark, “Where was my window, my furniture … my stuff?

Then suddenly I felt my bed lift up from behind me and tilt to my left. I quickly looked around, “What is going on? My whole room moved!

“Huh? Wha—where am I?” I said out loud.

“It’s alright, this is your first time waking up on the ark,” my Mom’s voice again filtered through the morning fog in my head.

Then things began to look familiar, “Oh, yeah, that’s right …”

Memories of the last days, weeks and months began to flood back into my mind, the work on the ark, the fire, the townspeople attacking Grampa, the animals arriving, the rains and flooding and finally the door of the ark closing on the outside world the Lord had decided to destroy.

“Ok Mom, I’m going.”

I got up, dressed, washed, grabbed a chunk of bread from the table and headed up toward the large pen with the netting containing all the birds that came with us on the ark. I have to feed them and clean out their pen.

There was singing and wild calls coming from the top of the ladder I had to climb to get to the upper level. I really like all the birds, feeding them isn’t too bad. It’s the cleaning up after them that’s yucky.

I grabbed a couple of buckets and filled them with the different kinds of food the birds liked and went into the pen. When they saw me with the food, the sound of all the birds got so loud I nearly had to cover my ears.

Looking up into the branches of the trees my Pop and uncles had brought in and mounted to the walls of the pen, I saw many of the birds moving to the lower branches. They seemed eager to eat.

It’s a good thing I looked up because one of the birds was dropping something yucky. I just barely got out of the way in time.

After cleaning out the pen and putting out the food, I sat on the bench inside the enclosure and thought for a while. “This is going to get boring real fast if this is all I have to do every day,” I said to myself.

I had asked Grampa how long we were going to be on this trip. But, the only answer I could get from him was “The Lord will let us know when He is done out there. Just be patient, Enoch.”

So, I decided to explore the Ark.

The first thing I did was to walk all the way from end to end on the deck my birds were on. I had already done that topside (that’s what we call the top deck of the Ark where you could go outside) but, I didn’t want to stay out there because it was still raining.

But, I wanted to see everything.

So I walked and walked and walked, each day I went to a new and lower level.

I looked and looked and looked. I had never seen so many different kinds of animals in all my life. A lot of the animals were new to all of us and we didn’t know what to call them. Many had come from very far away and many were very strange.

I wanted to see them all, even all the creepy, creeping things, no matter how long it took.

One night at supper, we talked about what I was doing.

“What did you see today, Enoch,” Mama asked.

“I saw the monkeys and the antelope and the . . . um . . .striped horses,” I said.

Papa laughed and said, “Those are called zebras son.”

Then he spoke up in his stern voice, “I don’t want you going down to the lowest levels son. The big cats and other very large, dangerous animals are down there. They may be safe enough but, I don’t want you to take any chances. Do you understand me?”

“Yes Papa,” I said.

There were still lots of other parts to explore that I hadn’t seen yet. And, there were lots of animals yet to see.

Every day for several weeks I went out and looked and explored. I was having a great time until one day when I was going down to one of the lower levels where we kept the larger animals.

Hmm, here’s another ladder going down, I don’t remember seeing this one before.” I thought to myself. Down at this level, the cages were much larger than the ones higher up.

Wow! I bet the really big animals are down here. One more level won’t hurt …

Enoch and Noah – Part 4

I ran to Grampa and asked what was happening. He told me the Lord had told him about the water from the sky. Grampa called it rain. He said it would continue for forty days and forty nights. All the water would destroy the whole world that we had known. He called it a flood.

Then something really weird happened. I looked out the door. I could see that the water was everywhere. It was beginning to cover our farm. People from the city and surrounding farms started arriving, and I could see that they wanted to come with us. Grampa, Pop, and my uncles came to the area near the door, and Grampa began to pray. He said, “Oh Lord of heaven and earth. You have blessed us all beyond measure, but we have rebelled against you. And because of this rebellion, you have chosen to destroy the earth by a flood. But you have also chosen your servant Noah and his family to care for the animals that you have sent to us. You have instructed me to build this ark. My family and I have done so. The animals that you have chosen have arrived. They are safe inside this ark, which we built according to your command. The rains have begun. The flooding has begun and we, your servant Noah and his family, are safe inside. The rest is up to you Lord. We place ourselves in your hands Almighty God. Do with us as you will.”

Just as Grampa finished that prayer, there was a loud creaking sound and movement by the door. It was the DOOR! It was closing all by itself! The people that had gathered on the outside began yelling and rushing toward the door, but…they were too late.

The door closed with a groan, a scraping, and finally a loud thud that echoed throughout the ark.

They were on the outside and we were on the inside and suddenly it got real quiet.

No one spoke.

The animals were silent.

Then the whole ark moved!

We suddenly pitched to the left. Things were sliding across the floor and falling. Then we pitched back the other way. Something hit me and knocked me down. Pop was right there with his strong arm and he picked me up. And then…the ark steadied upright again and we could tell that we were still moving. It was really weird!

After we put a few of the things that had slid around back where they belonged, we raced up the big stairway to the windows on the top deck of the ark. All we could see was water for miles and miles. There were just a few mountaintops off in the distance.

We were alone in the middle of all of this water that wasn’t even there just a few days ago. I couldn’t believe it. It was like a dream. I didn’t even want to believe it. I thought that I would wake up in just a minute. But…. I didn’t.

The sky was blacker than anything I had ever seen; the wind was blowing so hard it was hard to stand still. It made me feel so cold with the rain coming down harder and harder. I kept thinking about all the people and things that were under that water. I just stood there hanging on the edge of the window looking out.

I couldn’t understand why they all had to…be destroyed. That made me angry, so I went to a small place on the ark that I had discovered to hide when I didn’t want to be found. I wanted to think about things for a while.

I thought about the people and the places that I knew. Grampa was right. There were people that did really mean things. I didn’t understand a lot of what went on, but I thought that those people wanted to live that way. Maybe it was ok if they weren’t hurting anyone but themselves.

But then I got to thinking about something Pop had told me. If I make something and it doesn’t turn out right or work the way I wanted it to, I could tear it apart and start over if I wanted. He told me that was what God was doing. He was going to start over. He was going to keep parts of what He made that He liked and was going to do the rest over again. It was His choice. I repeated that to myself, “It was His choice and He always chooses to do the right thing.”

I didn’t even hear Grampa come up behind me. The first thing I knew was that his hand was on my shoulder. I turned and looked up at him. He told me to follow him. He led me to where the birds were kept. The light was dim and it was pretty warm in there. They seemed to be comfortable with that. They were strangely peaceful and quiet. We found a little bench to sit on, and Grampa and I sat there watching the birds for quite a while. We used to do that sometimes at home on his favorite bench, under his favorite tree, watching the sun go down. It was almost like old times. I began to feel a lot better and was able to relax a little. Then he scooted away from me just a bit, bent down, and looked me in the eyes and said, “Enoch, I am sure that all of this is frightening. It would frighten me too, and it might even make me angry…if I did not know the Lord the way that I do. That helps me to trust Him. Enoch, I want you to know the Lord the same way that I do. I want you to trust Him the same way that I do.”

I looked into Grampa’s eyes. They were deep and soft and loving. I knew I could believe him and trust him. Trusting God was a little bit harder for me. Then I remembered what Pop had said. He told me to trust Grampa and to trust in the Lord.

“God is faithful,” he always said, “you just obey and wait and see.”

Grampa had said the same thing many times. Suddenly, I felt like I wanted to trust him, God I mean.

“Grampa,” I said.

“Don’t say anything now,” Grampa said. “Would you pray with me?”

I looked down for a moment, and then back into his big eyes.

“Yes”, I said, “I would like that.”

“Hold my hands,” he said. I put my hands into his. My hands were so small compared to his. They were big and worn from many years of hard work, but at the same time, they were soft and tender.

He began to speak quietly, with confidence and familiarity.

“Lord God, God of the heavens and the earth, God of our fathers Adam and Enoch, Lord God, hear us now as we speak. I am here with my grandson Enoch. He is having a hard time trusting you; he might even be a little bit angry with you. He doesn’t know it is ok to be honest about all of our feelings. Mostly because he does not know you as I do. I know you are faithful and true. I also know that you love us each more than we could ever realize. Please help my grandson Enoch to know you as I do. Help him seek you and to know you as his great, great, great….great grandfather Enoch knew you. Help him to trust you and to know you are faithful. Thank you Lord, for I know you will hear and answer this prayer.”

With that, he squeezed my hands, and I knew it was my turn to talk to the Lord.

I was scared.

It’s not every day you talk to the God that created the universe, but Grampa knew Him so well and trusted Him so much I wanted to try.

I started the same way Grampa did.

“Lord God, God of the heavens and the earth, this is Enoch, and I’ve never spoken to you before because I…I…well, I just didn’t know I could. Now I know I can. I have learned that from my Grampa and I just want you to know I want to trust you in the same way my Grampa does. Please help me because I’m pretty young…and, well, I’m really new at this. Please help me to trust that you’ll take care of all of us in this ark and one day soon we can live on land again.”

Grampa laughed a little, but I kept going.

“Thank you, Lord, for loving us. Thank you for loving me and my family. Help us to take good care of all the animals. Especially help me to take care of all of the birds. There are more birds here than I’ve ever seen in my whole life.”

“Anyway, thank you Lord. Please forgive me for being angry with you. Please help me to do my part of trusting you to take care of everything else on the outside of the ark. I know it’s my job to just trust and obey you.”

Then Grampa put his big arms around me and gave me a real good hug. He looked me right in the eyes and said, “God is faithful, just you wait and see.”

I gave him a big smile and said, “Ok, Grampa, I’ll do my best. The Lord has to help me, but I will try very hard and trust Him.”

“God is faithful,” he said, “just you wait and see.”

Then he walked away. I sat there with the birds for a long time thinking about all that had happened. I felt more peaceful than before. I, somehow, just knew that things would be all right. But, our voyage had just begun.

Night Lights in the Forest – 6

Emmy looked at Eryndir and then walked hesitantly into the room which looked like those military command centers she had seen in movies. Except that instead of wires, there was tree branches or roots leading up to and surrounding each display or control panel. All of the equipment, monitors, keyboards, display panels grew out of the wood.
On the far wall, huge screens displayed maps of the forest and surrounding areas. Highlighted in bright colors, she saw groups of dots and in other colors were groups of little squares. Everyone in the room was talking at once.
Tables with two to three elves worked at workstations with large screens that covered smaller portions of the large screens on the wall. Each of the elves had on a wooden headset connected with small, leafy tendrils and rapidly conversed with someone. Occasionally, one of them reached out and moved something on his or her screen. Immediately, a group of dots or squares on the large screens flashed and moved to a new location.
Eryndir poked Emmys arm with his elbow, “Come with me. I want you to meet someone.”
Emmy turned and told Booger to sit and stay, he whimpered but sat down. She then followed Eryndir. One of the darkened, unused monitors, flickered briefly on as Emmy walked within a foot of it.
They approached a woman elf surrounded by other elves providing reports to her, listening to her responses, nodding quickly and running off to deliver the information or to pass on orders.
“Galalithe, ma’am?”
“Yes, Eryndir, what is it?” Galalithe continued to look at one of the large screens and give orders in a subdued voice.
“About that captive human girl taken into the vortex…”
“Get to the point, Eryndir, what is it?”
“I have her sister here and she wants to go on the rescue mission and…”
Galalithe whirled on her heel to face him, “…and what?”
“And, so do I.”
Galalithe looked at the two of them for a short moment. Her eyes darted back and forth between them quickly like a flickering light.
“No!” She turned on her heel and walked away, issuing orders to others in rapid fire as she went.
“Ok, smart guy, what now?” Emmy said while watching Galalithe move quickly away from them.
“Um…”
Emmy turn to face Eryndir, “Is that it? Is there anything we can do to change her mind?”
Eryndir looked Emmy in the eyes and stammered, “No, not that I can think of…Galalithe must have…”
“Oh, never mind, I’ll take this into my own hands.”
Emmy turned on her heel and walked directly toward Galalithe, still surrounded by uniformed Elves either reporting to or getting orders from her.
Emmy stopped about three feet directly behind Galalithe, within inches of an unused workstation, put her hands on her hips, cleared her throat and announced in a firm voice, “Galalithe. I am sorry to interrupt you, but I am going to help rescue my sister.”
Silence filled the room. People stopped moving, stopped talking, turned toward Emmy and stared at her. Then their gaze shifted past her to the monitor that had flickered earlier.
“What is your command?” a voice intoned behind her. People rushed forward to see the monitor. The crowd parted to make room for Galalithe and Emmy, who now stood side by side staring at the formerly lifeless workstation.

Elwood’s Hazardous, Dangerous, Exciting Trip to the Library – Part 1

Elwood’s Hazardous, Dangerous, Exciting Trip to the Library

By: Steve Mathisen

“Elwood!”

The tall boy rolled over and tried to use his pillow to block the sound of his name being called.

“Elwood Phineas Dunkle! Get yourself out of bed and down here for breakfast this very minute,” his mother shouted

He knew the tone and that she would no longer tolerate being ignored.

He groaned, rolled over, slid out of bed, pulled on jeans and T-shirt and headed for the kitchen with a slight detour to the bathroom to wash up.

When he got to the table, there was a book instead of his cereal bowl. Elwood looked at his mom.

“That book is due today. You need to make a trip to the library.”

“But Mom, I was going to−”

She set his bowl in place.

“You can do that after your trip to the library.”

“Okay, Mom.”

After breakfast, Elwood put the book in his backpack and rode his bike toward the library.

He was taking a shortcut through the park when his shoelace came untied and got tangled up in the chain of his bicycle. He glanced down at his foot and hit a hidden tree root. The bike stopped suddenly. Elwood did a complete flip over the handlebars and landed staring up at the sky through the branches of a huge oak tree.

“Well, that was a dumb move,” Elwood said to himself. As he began tying his loose shoelace, he looked around for his bike only to see its rear wheel disappear around the trunk of the tree.

Forgetting his laces he jumped up and yelled, “Hey, that’s my bike!” and then ran to where he had last seen his bike and . . . nothing. There was no bike to be seen anywhere. He ran back around the other way and again. . . nothing.

“What is going on here?” He said.

Clunk!

“What was that?” Elwood ran around the tree again looking for the source of the sound and once again . . . nothing.

Clang!

He looked up and saw his bike, hanging twenty feet up, bouncing against the tree and going higher, with a rope around the handlebars!

Elwood quickly found the lowest branch and scrambled up the tree after his bike. He just barely got his hand on the rear wheel of the bike before it disappeared into the darkness of the upper branches of the tree. He climbed higher. He wanted to know what was going on.

He felt cold . . . and blind. It was so dark toward the top of the tree that he couldn’t see anything but, he heard voices.

His eyes adjusted to the dark, he could see three guys on a platform that was built right into the top of the tree. They had at least a half-dozen bikes. The guys were taking them apart, putting the little parts in boxes and hanging the bigger parts on racks hung on branches.

“Bike thieves”, he whispered, “right here in the middle of the park, hidden up in a tree!”

The Promises of God with Stanley – Conclusion

Mr. Mathisen:             I’m glad you weren’t hurt very badly.

Stanley:                       I was more scared than hurt. I mean I landed pretty hard, but I thought for a minute there that I was gonna die.

Well, I looked around to see where I was and realized that I was stuck on a ledge!

I couldn’t climb back up, and I couldn’t climb down!

I was stuck on this ledge, and I didn’t know where anyone from my school was and they didn’t know where I was!

Mr. Mathisen:             I’ll bet you were pretty scared Stanley. I would have been.

Stanley:                       Boy was I!! I was really scared there for awhile and then…

Mr. Mathisen:             And then what?

Stanley:                       Well, I sang then I prayed for awhile. I asked Jesus to send someone to find me. I sang the song to myself again a couple of times, and I prayed again. I hollered help a couple of times too, but, mostly I prayed. And you know what happened then?

Mr. Mathisen:             No, I don’t Stanley. What happened then?

Stanley:                       Well, after I prayed, I began to feel really calm and peaceful. It was like Jesus was telling me that He would answer my prayer. Just then, I heard a voice calling my name, and I looked up and there was Mr. Christos. He was kneeling at the top of the cliff and looking down at me. I couldn’t believe it. I had just prayed & sang, and there he was.

Mr. Mathisen:             Jesus was really watching out for you wasn’t He?

Stanley:                       He sure was! Mr. Christos yelled down to me to ask if I was all right. I told him that I was, and he told me to not move and that he would be right back.

He went away for a couple of minutes and came back with a rope. He tied one end around a tree and the other around his waist. Then he slowly lowered himself down that cliff until he was beside me. He had me climb onto him in the front. I put my arms around his neck and hung on tight. Then he used his arms and legs and pulled us both back up that cliff. It was really slow, but I was never scared. I knew that Mr. Christos had left all the other kids and came looking for me and then he rescued me. I was so happy that I almost cried.

When we got to the top, we backed up against a tree and just sat up there at the top of the cliff for a few minutes while he got his breath back and I just sat real close to him. He risked his life to save me. He left all the others to come find me. Then he gave me a quick hug and told me to never, ever scare him like that again. I quietly said “OK”, and then we went to find the others.

He never got mad at me at all.

Mr. Mathisen:             Wow! That was a great story. Thanks, Stanley.

So boys and girls, remember we were talking about just two of God’s 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:                       And that means God is right here, right now, ready to help us.

Mr. Mathisen;             Yes, Stanley that’s exactly what it means. The other verse was

“The LORD is my helper, so I will have no fear.”  (Heb 13:6a)

And remember that Jesus said:

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

The Story of Leaving the Ninety and Nine to Find the One – Part Two – Conclusion

Stanley:                       Well, I sang the song to myself and then I prayed for awhile. I asked Jesus to send someone to find me. I sang the song to myself again a couple of times, and I prayed again. I hollered help a couple of times too, but, mostly I prayed. And you know what happened then?

Mr. Mathisen:             No, I don’t Stanley. What happened then?

Stanley:                       Well, after I prayed, I began to feel really calm and peaceful. It was like Jesus was telling me that He would answer my prayer. Just then, I heard a voice calling my name, and I looked up and there was Mr. Christos. He was kneeling at the top of the cliff and looking down at me. I couldn’t believe it. I had just prayed and sang and there he was.

Mr. Mathisen:             Jesus was really watching out for you wasn’t He?

Stanley:                       He sure was! Mr. Christos yelled down to me to ask if I was all right. I told him that I was, and he told me to not move and that he would be right back.

He went away for a couple of minutes and came back with a rope. He tied one end around a tree and the other around his waist. Then he slowly lowered himself down that cliff until he was beside me. He had me climb onto him in the front. I put my arms around his neck and hung on tight. Then he used his arms and legs and pulled us both back up that cliff. It was really slow, but I was never scared. I knew that Mr. Christos had left all the other kids and came looking for me and then he rescued me. I was so happy that I almost cried.

When we got to the top, we backed up against a tree and just sat up there at the top of the cliff for a few minutes while he got his breath back and I just sat real close to him. He risked his life to save me. He left all the others to come find me. Then he gave me a quick hug and told me to never, ever scare him like that again. I quietly said “Ok”, and then we went to find the others.

He never got mad at me at all.

Mr. Mathisen:             Stanley, did you know that our story today is the Parable of the Lost Sheep?

Stanley:                       No. Are you kidding?

Mr. Mathisen:             Nope. Listen to this. It is from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 15, verses 4 through 7.

4 “If you had one hundred sheep, and one of them strayed away and was lost in the wilderness, wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine others to go and search for the lost one until you found it? 5 And then you would joyfully carry it home on your shoulders. 6 When you arrived, you would call together your friends and neighbors to rejoice with you because your lost sheep was found. 7 In the same way, heaven will be happier over one lost sinner who returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!

Stanley:                       That’s just like what happened to me. My legs were a little shaky from being cramped up on the ledge and Mr. Christos carried me until I could walk by myself and then when we got back to the others, he told everyone what happened and how glad he was that he found me and that I was ok and back with my class. Everyone else was happy too. We had a great time the rest of the day. I made real sure that I stayed with everyone else, and I could see Mr. Christos keeping an extra sharp eye on me all the time. That made me feel real good too.

Mr. Mathisen:             Well Stanley, what lesson did you learn?

Stanley:                       I learned that whenever I get myself into trouble, the very first thing that I should do is to pray. God will always help me.

Mr. Mathisen: That sounds like a pretty good lesson to learn if you ask me.

The Story of Leaving the Ninety and Nine to Find the One – Part One

The Story of Leaving the Ninety and Nine to Find the One

By: God

Adapted by: S.C. Mathisen

Mr. Mathisen:             Stanley, I understand that you had a bit of an adventure this last week.

Stanley:                       Boy, you bet I did, and it was NOT fun Mr. Mathisen! I got really scared. But, I learned something really important, and I’m all right now.

Mr. Mathisen:             Well, would you like to talk about what happened? Maybe the boys and girls would like to hear about it. Maybe they could learn something too.

Stanley:                       Well, alright.

Mr. Mathisen:             Let’s start at the beginning. Where were you? And what were you doing?

Stanley:                       Well, all of the 1 2 my school went on a field trip to the park near Puget Sound. You know the one with the big cliffs and the railroad tracks down by the beach?my school went on a field trip to the park near Puget Sound. You know the one with the big cliffs and the railroad tracks down by the beach?

Mr. Mathisen:             Yes, I do. Go on…

Stanley:                       Well, it was a really sunny day. We all met at the school and rode a couple of school buses to the park. We were all excited to be going to the beach instead of sitting in class. When we got to the park, they lined us all up by class and counted us just to make sure that we were all there. I couldn’t believe that there were a hundred of us!

Well anyway, that’s a lot of kids, and so we headed down to the beach. Our teachers and some of were all walking down the trail the beach, and I saw that my tennis shoe had come untied. So, I stopped to retie it. Our group was the last one and my teacher (Mr. Christos) told me to hurry up. He didn’t want me to be left behind. I said that I would tie it as fast as I could and catch up with them. He said to hurry because he didn’t want me left behind. Then, some other kids started asking him some questions; he turned and followed them down the path toward the beach.

By the time I finished tying my shoes and looked up, they were all out of sight around the bend and down the path toward the beach. I started to run after them when I saw it. It was a Bald Eagle! I had never seen one for real, so I started to follow it. It was flying towards the woods that were next to the beach.

Mr. Mathisen:             Wait a minute! You followed the eagle instead of your teacher?

Stanley:                       Well, I had never seen a real, live one before. I’ve only seen them on TV or pictures of them in books, so I got really excited and . . . kinda forgot what I was supposed to be doing. I just followed it into the woods. I wanted to see where it was going to land. I almost tripped over some trees that had fallen over and stuff. I had a little trouble seeing it a couple of times, but I was watching it real close to make sure that I didn’t lose it. The next thing I knew, I was falling down the side of the cliff. I landed on a little ledge about half way down.

Mr. Mathisen:             Wow! Were you hurt very badly? You look ok now.

Stanley:                       I was more scared than hurt. I mean I landed pretty hard, but I thought for a minute there that I . I looked around to see where I was and I wasn’t sure until I looked down and realized that I was stuck on a ledge! I couldn’t climb back up and I couldn’t climb down! I was stuck on this ledge and I didn’t know where anyone from my school was and they didn’t know where I was! . I looked around to see where I was and I wasn’t sure until I looked down and realized that I was stuck on a ledge! I couldn’t climb back up and I couldn’t climb down! I was stuck on this ledge and I didn’t know where anyone from my school was and they didn’t know where I was! . I looked around to see where I was and I wasn’t sure until I looked down and realized that I was stuck on a ledge! I couldn’t climb back up and I couldn’t climb down! I was stuck on this ledge and I didn’t know where anyone from my school was and they didn’t know where I was!

Mr. Mathisen:             Were you scared Stanley?

Stanley:                       Boy was I!! I was really scared there for awhile and then…

Mr. Mathisen:             And then what?

Stanley:                       And then I remembered your song about not being afraid. You know the one that goes like this: (singing) “I will NOT be afraid, I will NOT be afraid, I will NOT be afraid. With Jesus as my helper NOT be afraid!”

Mr. Mathisen: That’s exactly why we sing those songs, Stanley. What happened then? We don’t want to leave you on that ledge.

God Cares for Me – Conclusion

The girls chose to trust Mr. Christopherson and when he led them into the dark and gloomy part of the trail, some of the other kids got scared and nervous. But, Susie and Andrea didn’t because they knew the teacher personally and trusted him to take care of them.

And it did get dark, it got very dark and the breeze began to get cold. The path became wet and the children began to be scared. Then they started hearing the creepy noises. Owls were hooting. Mountain lions were growling. Strange lights were going on in the distance.

The children were beginning to huddle themselves closer together and some of the girls were beginning to cry.

Mr. Christopherson heard all this, stopped the group, gathered all the children together in a little spot where there were some benches.

Mr. Christopherson stood there in the middle of the children with his walking stick.

“All right you guys, I know this place looks and feels really creepy but, remember that I am right here with you all the time and I’ve got this big stick. Nothing can get to you without going through me.”

A sigh of relief went through all the children. Johnny jumped up and went and stood next to Mr. Christopherson and said loudly, “and they’ll have to get through me too!”

The children all laughed.  Mr. Christopherson put his hand on Johnny’s shoulder and said “that’s right! They’ll have to get through Johnny too. Now, let’s get moving.”

So off they went on the path laughing and talking.

Psa 23:5  You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.

When they arrived at the campsite, the children were surprised to see a large white tent set up. Inside the tent were  tables set up with lots and lots of food. Johnny saw a large plate of oatmeal raisin cookies and began to run. Then he saw Mrs. Johnson, Susie’s mom and his mom and dad and all the other parents of the kids in the class. Everyone sat down to a large meal with all their friends and families and had a wonderful time.

Psa 23:6  Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.

When everyone was done eating, Mr. Christopherson stood up and said, “All of this was arranged as part of our lesson on Psalm 23. I wanted you all to know that Jesus is your good shepherd and cares for you all the time where ever you are. No matter what. If anyone wants to harm you, they have to go through Him. I  set all of this up with your parents. The weird noises in the scary place were set up by some of the dad’s. You were never in any danger whatsoever. You were surrounded at all times by people who love you and care for you. But, God cares for you even more than we do. That is our lesson for the day.

God Cares for Me – Part Two

After walking for another half hour, Mr. Christopherson stopped and said “OK guys, let’s take break. Find a place to sit  down. I have some special energy bars in my backpack that will help you feel better and stronger for the rest of the trip. Get out the ”

He asked a few of the kids to help him to pass them out while everyone also got out their bottles of water to drink.

Andrea and Susie were really hungry, finished their bars quickly and decided to do a little exploring while everyone else was finishing their food. Andrea noticed that the trail branched off into two trails. One went up the side of the valley into the sunshine. The other trail stayed beside the stream and led into an area with a lot of really big trees that looked kind of dark and scary.

“Which way do you think we should go, girls?” Mr. Christopherson asked from behind them.

Susie was somewhat startled by the question as they did not know that Mr. Christopherson had come up behind them.

Susie thought for a second and asked “Which way is the safest way to get where we are going to?”

“Only one way gets us to our campsite. But, which way would you choose? The bright and sunny one or the one that looks dark and gloomy?”

“Umm…”

“I could just take a vote of all the boys and girls that are along today, some would go one way, some another. But only one way gets us to our goal, and I will not let you go the wrong way. It’s my job to get you to the campsite safely, and that is the way we will go.”

“That probably means that it’s the way that looks dark and gloomy.” said Andrea.

“That’s right,” responded Mr. Christopherson “but I know the way through there to the other side. Also, I will be there to protect you and calm your fears. You can call on me anytime, and I will answer you.”

Susie looked up at Mr. Christopherson thoughtfully for a moment and then asked, “Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why are so determined to keep us safe and to get us to our campsite safely? What if we run into a bear or a mountain lion or something?”

“When I accepted the job as your teacher and the responsibility of taking you on this trip, I agreed to be your shepherd. I agreed to guard you with my life. I do that to honor God.”

Psa 23:4  Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me. Your rod and Your staff protect and comfort me.

Kenan and Hagar – Part 1

The character of Hagar has always intrigued me. She seems to have been a tragic figure that played an important role in the life of Abram and Sarai. Here is my take on it. It is in draft form. But, that’s ok. You’ll get the idea. You may also remember the boy Kenan from the Abram goes to War story. He shows up again here, a bit older and smitten with a certain Egyptian servant.

“Hagar!” came the sound of a whispered voice.

Hagar awoke with a start and looked around her. She was still in her bed in the servant’s tent. She thought she had heard a voice while she was dreaming but, now, she could hear nothing except the rustling of the tent in the breeze. She lay her head back down on her pillow and closed her eyes.

Just as she was beginning to drift off to sleep again, the sound came again.

“Hagar!” came the whispered voice again.

She propped herself up on her elbow and looked around trying to decide what she heard and where it was coming from.

“Hagar!”

She heard it clearly this time, and it was coming from outside the tent near her head.

“Who are you and what do you want?”, she whispered back, annoyed that someone would do this while she was trying to sleep.

“Hagar! It’s me, Kenan.”

“Kenan!?! What do you want? It’s the middle of the night!”

“We were supposed to go for a walk last evening. I couldn’t find you. Where did you go?”

“That’s none of your business. Now, go away, I’m trying to sleep!”

“Selvi said she saw you coming out of Master Abram’s tent, very late.”

Hagar paused and then said, “I was doing something for my mistress Sarai.”

There was another long pause and then Kenan said. “What?”

“That’s none of your business! Now go away!”

“Hagar! Selvi said she saw you crying when you came out of their tent. I want to know what’s wrong. Listen, Hagar, I care about you. If something is wrong, I want to help.”

“Kenan…go away. I…just…can’t see you anymore. Now, please leave me alone. I’m tired and want to sleep.”

“Well, all right. If that’s the way you want it. I’ll go. But, Hagar, I won’t stop caring.”

Hagar could hear Kenan’s footsteps moving away. She buried her face in her pillow and sobbed “Oh, Kenan…”.